Life at the end of the road

July 9, 2014

Just like the nineties :-)

Golly gosh 22:25 and that’s me just in the house, it may be late for me, but not much later than I’ve been coming in all week. Nine, nine thirty has been about ‘par for the course’ for me this last week. Totally out of character for me since the millennium, but certainly just like I used to be back in the nineties when working from dawn till dusk was normal. Well, perhaps not working all the time but at least indulging in some form of activity other than ‘veg’ing’ in front of a ‘puter, or TV. Yes even I used to watch TV once upon a time, it was only a passing phase. Unlike the Malaria like ailment of Land Rovers that keeps returning like the common cold my contraction of the ‘one eyed monster’ was more like mumps.

I caught it briefly in the nineties when analogue satellite TV came to Raasay, probably several years after everywhere else right enough but I had it quite bad for a year at least. Which reminds me, I really must fix our TV for the wife and MiL before they return, it’s just me Molly and the Dude for a few days. It was really, really great  to rediscover the art of conversation a couple of months back when it died. However Utopia is about to start ‘season 2’ and I’ve been ordered to sort it. From what I can gather I’d like it if I could find the time to watch it.

Boodly hell it’s almost 23:00 now and I’ve still not had a shower or got changed, my hands resemble the dried and cracked peat that was once bog on certain parts of the croft. Sure we’ve had no shortage of rain or water this year but the hill has dried out nicely for all that. It’s now possible to do the entire feeding round in steel to capped sandals, ordinary ones have the hens eating my toes and are a little dodgy around the pigs.

It all begins again

The major project and reason for the long days has of course been the Land Rover and Discovery but in between removing the engine, gearbox and transfer box from the Disco there has been much action. Many rushes have been cut, much weeding done in the garden, pigs have been wormed and twelve of them delivered to Skye.


Whereupon we met our Christmas dinner,


not sure which one it was right enough but we’ve placed a firm order with Brian Green at Portnalong  for one to grace our table this year. We had one of Brian’s turkeys last year and it was moist, tender and delicious like only a home reared bird can be. Normally I think he buys young birds in around August and just fattens them for Christmas. However these were bought as ‘day old’ chicks and that’s them just three weeks old.

The right tool for the job

I may well have had the enthusiasm and stamina for working this last week but I’ve certainly had no clear plan, or at least I didn’t until I remembered Lachie’s telehandler.


This will be the Disco prior to me ‘modifying’ it with a 9” grinder. They must be a real pig to lift the engine out of without cutting gear and a telehandler.


To be perfectly honest when the weather is like this and you have the use of one of those it’s far nicer working outside than in a workshop. For a start it’s much lighter, there’s far more room and you can also drain the water off without having to catch it Smile

014  014 015 016

In fact, I doubt very much if you’d get the whole lot out without hacking away the ‘slam panel’.



That really is a long and heavy lump and once it was out it got severely cleaned. We carried it well away from the garage and gave it a damn good scrubbing and soaking with Jizer before power washing several times prior to splitting the three major units.


The transfer box is lovely and quiet but too highly geared for a 110 with 33×12.50×15 tyres that does most of it’s mileage on Raasay. I’m tempted to leave it’s 1.222 : 1 ratio alone just tom try it though, even if only to save a couple of hundred quid for an ‘Ashcroft 1.410 : 1cluster’ like this

 1.410 Gear Set . It’s a 1.410 I put in the other week and it’s way too high for towing with the old 2.5TD but I reckon it will be ideal for the 200TDi. Travelling down ‘Calum’s road’ on Monday with 12 pigs had me in ‘low ratio’ until the ‘Bealach Ruadh’. OK, that will mean ‘diddly squat’ to most folk and I’ve probably spelt it wrong anyway, but suffice to say it’s almost 4 miles from home.



After the major clean up and splitting I set about removing the flywheel, clutch and flywheel housing, the lovely oil free engine I saw last week at the south end had developed a slight leak on the way up the road. It was probably just a dry seal gone hard because the amount of rust on the sump clearly indicated an ‘oil tight’ motor. However it’s far easier to do these things whilst the engine is out and both the ‘spigot bush’ in the end of the crank and clutch were shot anyway.

Next I turned my attention to the timing belt, just as well for it was rubbing on the tensioner and had left many bits of frayed rubber and nylon in the casing.

020 021 

The beauty of working with a telehandler is you don’t have to bend down Smile

One thing I had been impressed with was the Disco’s steering and that was one of the jobs on my ‘MOT list’, I’d even bought a repair kit for my own steering box which was pishing out oil. As luck would have it the early Disco has the same ‘four bolt’ Adwest steering box as mine so I started on swapping them today. Of course most of the time was actually spent cleaning and painting the Disco one, I’ll be loosely fitting mine onto the Disco just to keep it ‘towable’.


I really do have to get all this carp tidied away for the weekend, it looks like a ‘scrappies’ and we’ve a few people coming to view over the next week.


I mean, would you want to live next door to this lot?

The gearbox dilemma

My next snag is going to be the gearbox, you see the lovely quiet LT77 in the Discovery is several inches longer than the one in the ‘Old Girl’. Many people do actually fit them to Defenders (I hate that name) but it means carving up the transmission tunnel and puts the gear stick in an odd place. Not only that but I spent several hundred quid and a lot of effort ten years ago soundproofing my old tub to the level that you can actually speak and listen to the radio above 40mph. Or at least you could before I fitted the rusty transfer gears the other week Smile


Now, I do have a spare ‘Defender’ LT77 (the bottom one) with a shot main shaft and it should be possible to use the selector housing and input shaft off that if the internals are OK, so ‘watch this space’.

Sadly I’ve been a little too distracted to take pictures of the amazing sunsets and Rocky humping the sows but I guess he deserves a little privacy Smile We did give Ellie and Jamie a few days rest after weaning them but there’s just no keeping a horny sow away from the boar and JL just burst out of her paddock to get to him within a couple of days of weaning.


It’s nice to see our harbour getting used but I’d prefer it wasn’t by clam dredgers Sad smile Sure they’ve got to make a living but if they just saw the devastation they caused they’d perhaps not be so keen. I see there’s a boat on the seaward side of the pier, though that looks like Jim Kilcullen’s MV Kylebhan, probably the longest serving and most experienced charter boat skipper on the West Coast.

Quadzilla ‘Crapzilla’ again

Then of course there was that piece of ‘Chinese junk’ to fix yet again, for my mate is coming up this weekend. I serviced and replaced the voltage regulator some months ago, during which time it’s covered around a full six miles before breaking down once more. In all fairness one of the problems was a dud battery that was only a few months old but even fitting another failed to make the starter work.




I eventually traced the fault to a faulty starter solenoid, that will be the offending article beside the meter. One thing that I have discovered with these pieces of sh1te is that they use clones of good parts and I managed to graft a Yamaha part onto it by simply breaking a tag off the terminal block and enlarging the terminal holes from M5 to M6. I dread to think what Quadzilla want for a new one but this Yamaha one was less than £20 of eBlag. The last (of the many) electrical failures was a voltage regulator that Quadzilla wanted £90 for, I got a better new one off eBlag for less than half that. 



  1. Next time you need easy access to the engine in a Disco, there’s six bolts that hold the entire body shell to the chassis – whip these off, hoist up and away the body (you have the ideal lifting machine there) – for all to be revealed – don’t forget to take the glowplug relay and loom off the body (you probably know all this)

    Comment by Sean — July 10, 2014 @ 8:47 am

    • Aye Sean, I seriously thought of making some type of buggy for the Dude out of the remains but it’s a little too big and wide for the tracks up here. As I had too take off the Disco flywheel housing anyway I can’t make my mind up whether to swap it for an NA one that I have rather than drill and tap the Disco one, any thoughts? Does the TDi timing tool still fit in the NA/TD flywheel housing?

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2014 @ 8:54 am

      • mine fits just fine – but check as things change – I bet the first time you put your foot down in your new old girl it brings a big smile to your face

        Comment by Sean — July 10, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

      • Hi Sean,
        just checked the old NA/TD housing and it doesn’t match the TDi timing tool (which I’ve already purchased) so methinks I’ll drill and tap the TDi one to fit the Defender bell housing.

        Cheers, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2014 @ 9:16 pm

  2. You’re obviously a man who served a ‘proper’ apprenticeship! I’m in awe… if you could just pop Sowf and fix my petrol mower that would be great. 🙂 🙂

    Comment by Carrie — July 10, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

  3. You really do need to get an electric quad bike, it would make so much sense for you.

    Comment by Kev — July 10, 2014 @ 7:01 pm

    • I’d love an electric quad Kev, but are they made in China? That piece of junk Quadzilla isn’t actually mine, I would not touch one with a barge pole. I own a Honda that was given to me seven years or more ago after the first owner had abused it from new in 2001. It’s been underwater, in the sea, struck by lightning and shifted more loads than your average lorry. It runs as sweet as the day it was built and rarely gives trouble, the odd set of starter brushes, wheel bearings and drive flange being the only faults. I would need to be sure it could match the Honda or Yamaha for reliability before I parted with any cash. I certainly have been giving the electric car plenty of thought, just for commuting to work.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2014 @ 9:11 pm

  4. Just read your two most recent posts and had to laugh out loud about your observations on showering and decimalisation (don’t read all the engine stuff!)! Don’t give up on the blog, Ivan, it brightens up my day! Sue

    Comment by Sue from Sallachy — July 11, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

  5. Hello my friend. i have been looking into lt77 mainshafts as my 200tdi j reg defender has terrible spline wear on the input gear and mainshaft. i do have a k reg 200tdi discovery sat in the yard doing nothing, its the long bell housing box and my defender the short bell. the discovery has a good meat on the splines on its input gear and mainshaft when ive took the cover off the trans box to check. so to save me a fortune I am tempted to take the discovery lt230 trans box but that leaves me with what to do with the mainshaft? Should I spend the £80 on a new mainshaft and rebuild the defender box myself, or can i use the discovery mainshaft and strip tht from the box and use this mainshaft on my defender box? The discovery is a 200tdi 1992 and the defender a 1991 200tdi…

    Comment by John Paul Cummings — February 23, 2016 @ 7:31 am

    • Hi John Paul and welcome,

      pretty sure you can use the Disco mainshaft, it’s only the input that’s different but it is a lot of work and you do need a press. I have also heard of people fitting the entire Disco box and altering the tunnel and gear stick to suit. Me, I’d probably get a recon box as chances are the layshaft and reverse idler are fecked too 😦

      Good luck, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 24, 2016 @ 11:36 pm

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