Life at the end of the road

May 26, 2011

The operation was a success :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:13 pm

To say that a day of continual rain and north west wind was a perfect day for anything may seem a little odd but it was. After yet another post 7:00am wake up I went forth into the trenches to do battle and feed the pigs in the swamp that is now our croft. The 5:00am starts of late April having long ago been washed into the sea along with my enthusiasm by the incessant rain. I can’t say that I’m not used to it, for in 1990 it started raining on the 7th of January and did not stop until Easter, well perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration but not by as much as you’d think. Rain, like the midge and  winter gales is all part of life on the west coast, it is however unheard of at this time of year and I’m getting severely pi553d off with it.

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As are all our pigs 😦


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Here’s Bracken looking decidedly sorry for herself after just waking up to yet another deluge.

Changing valve stem oil seals

After breakfast and seeing the boy off to school I wedged the nose of the Land Rover into my small workshop to attempt to change the valve stem oil seals.


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The door is barely wide enough and the spare wheel has to come off the bonnet to get it up but it did provide a pleasant working environment out of the rain. The change of wind from yesterday may have dropped the temperature but it did mean that the rain was not getting driven in or wrestling with the doors.

The ‘Old Girl’ has been a little smoky on start up of late, especially on the overrun as I roll down the first steep hill or two upon leaving the croft. I was suspecting/hoping it was the little rubber oil seals on top of the valve guides that prevent oil running into the combustion chambers. Normal procedure would be to remove the cylinder head and valves to do this but I had a cunning plan.

The Land Rover’s cylinder head is flat with very little clearance between it and the pistons at TDC (top dead centre, that is when it’s at the top of its stroke).


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Finding one and four is easy as there’s a mark on the crankshaft pulley, so with that line up I removed the rocker gear and pushrods, keeping them all in the order they came off. I use a piece of cardboard  for this with eight holes in it, one for each pushrod, putting the valve caps alongside its corresponding pushrod. I don’t suppose it really matters if you mix them up but it’s something I was taught as an apprentice and it’s stuck with me 🙂

With all the rockers and gear out of the way I could see better to try and devise a tool that would press the valve down onto the piston thus allowing me to remove the two collets that hold the top onto the springs.

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I came up with this tool made from the handle of a junior hacksaw, a manifold clamp, an 8mm nut and bolt and a grinding disc key.


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Using another 8mm bolt screwed into the rocker post bolt holes it allowed me to compress the spring and remove the collets.

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Number four cylinder was a little tricky until I discovered that the tool worked just as well by switching the position of the of the valve and fulcrum and pulling it towards you 🙂 (opposite to in the picture)


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The rag is to stop the collets disappearing down the pushrod holes and once cylinders 1 and 4 were done I turned the engine through 180 degrees to do 2 and 3. As usual a two or three hour operation took me all day but there was little else that I could do on such a cr4ppy Thursday 🙂


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Once finished I got cleaned up and had a run to Brochel to check out the brakes and make sure all was well,  just in time to see a group of children from Raasay House finishing a days climbing. Rather them than me 🙂



  1. I’ve never seen that sign in the highway code – is it Pink Flyd related


    Comment by Andy Poulton — May 26, 2011 @ 10:55 pm

  2. But did the work on the engine cure your smokey over-run…?

    Comment by Markp — May 27, 2011 @ 6:22 am

    • Morning Markp and welcome,

      The operation was a complete success but the Land Rover is still smoking 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 28, 2011 @ 5:19 am

  3. Hi Paul,
    That’s an ingenious tool for replacing the Valve Grommets.
    Does Mr Haynes know that one.
    We’ve got a field full of piglets across the road from the house. It’s great watching them rushing around in all directions and especially seeing them play “chase the rabbit or crow”
    Unlike your weather our farmers are crying out for rain everywhere is just a dust bowl.
    Questa e la vita.
    Hope yours improves soon
    Best wishes from Devon

    Comment by chrisb — May 27, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    • Morning Chris,

      we need a very long pipe to send you some water 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 28, 2011 @ 5:20 am

  4. Love the “flying piggies” sign Paul, how long before some Wee Free wowser whinges again?!
    Now, if you’d fitted the gas lift thingies, you wouldnt need to remove the spare wheel! 😉

    Comment by Mike — May 27, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

    • I’m going to fit the gas hinges to the cylinder head to make that easier to remove 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 28, 2011 @ 5:21 am

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