Life at the end of the road

September 1, 2015

It takes me right back :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover, shed/house — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:12 pm

There was a time ‘long long ago in a galaxy far away’ that I used spend an inordinate amount of my time underneath vehicles welding rotten chassis legs and spring hangers. That would be in the days before my 29 year old Land Rover rolled off the Solihull production line. It says much for the improvement in manufacturing techniques and corrosion protection that the ‘Old Girl’ hasn’t needed ‘major surgery’ before now. When ‘I were a lad’ most ten year old cars were in the scrap yard and the second or third MOT on a Ford usually involved welding the inner wings. The Fiats, Lancias, Ladas and Skodas were either carrying a bent MOT certificate or dead, whilst the British Leyland vehicles were having their sub frames patched.

MIG welders were the size of a small wardrobe and only found in the likes of the Mercedes and Jaguar dealers body shops. In those days it was inevitably ‘oxy acetylene’ welding with the apprentice sat inside the car on ‘fire watch’. Many is the ‘bargain’ I’ve bought that turned into welders nightmare.

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This Lancia Fulvia 1.3S being a classic example, it can only have been 5 or6 years old when I bought it for £150 thinking it just needed a pair of sills. Two doors, a bonnet, boot, pair of front wings, a gazillion man hours  and several square feet of steel later it was a lovely car.

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My very first Land Rover was half the age of my current one but needed major welding every MOT.


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The first Range Rover I had was less than ten years old and needed new inner wings and sills, not only that I managed to set it on fire in MW’s garage Smile

Land Rover 110 rear cross member

With all these long years of experience you’d have thought that I’d have known that changing the rear cross member on the Land Rover wasn’t going to be straight forward.


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It started fine enough with a trip to Tarbert to feed the pigs, the day wasnae bad but far from the sunshine that was promised.

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First job was to remove the fuel tank, and much as I’ve derided Britpart ‘Shitpart’ components over the years this tank was a bargain at £85 some 12 years ago. A genuine Land Rover one would have set me back over £400!!! and even now it’s ‘as good as new’. Right enough I did give it several coats of paint and regularly power wash the underneath. With the tank removed I carefully cut the wiring loom which runs through the inside of the chassis then made some cuts with the grinder behind the spring seats.


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It was once the cross member was on the deck and out of the way that I started discovering all the other holes Sad smile

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I managed to get the cross member in place but to be honest it’s going to have to come out again in the morning as no amount of hammering would get it lined up.

Lachie on the other hand made sterling progress on the ‘bunker’ roof.


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And just for Kev,

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here’s how we did the solar hot water mounts. The mounts are screwed directly to the sarking boards with a small cut made around the adjoining slates. I actually purchased this kit first but as you can see it’s for ‘English’ roofs. The mounts I used are actually PV mounts as I thought the recommended solar hot water mounting kit was a joke , fine in Leicestershire I’m sure !!!!

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  1. Great to see progress at every turn.

    Comment by SOTW — September 2, 2015 @ 8:25 am

  2. Good to se it being done properly, I wouldn’t trust those light-weight straps anywhere let alone the west coast. I’m not sure I’d trust them against extreme sneezing.

    Comment by englishjim — September 2, 2015 @ 9:14 am

  3. I need to do the cross member on my Series 2a eventually. I bodged it up with some steel from an old oil tank when I first bought the Rover, and have kept it washed and painted since, but it looks like s*#t. I bought myself a MIG/flux core welder this year, so I can make a neater job of it. Now I’ve seen the fun you’re having, I think I’ll take the tub off to do it!

    Comment by Mick Womersley — September 2, 2015 @ 9:32 am

  4. Takes me back too, Paul. I’ve had 26 cars and only recently have they been rust-proof. After a mini-van with a hole in the driver’s side floor, a Ford Consul with rotting doors and several Fiats that rusted away (all bargains) it’s good not to fear putting a foot or hand through something. The toughest were the 4 VW Beetles, especially my first – a 1951 ex-German army, LHD, crash gearbox effort that was built like a tank. Happy days.

    Comment by Sue — September 2, 2015 @ 5:12 pm

  5. Perhaps after undercoating the Landy with thick black goo, you could add assorted wool and fleece. Or do the local sheep rust through also?

    Comment by drgeo111 — September 2, 2015 @ 5:24 pm

  6. Hi Paul.
    Looking at your pictures of the bunker with Skye in the background, Isn’t that roof facing north, if it is how useful could any attached solar device be at your latitude?
    Green van man

    Comment by Ray Wilshire — September 2, 2015 @ 7:11 pm

    • Hi Ray,
      bunker roof faces south east and gets sun from early morn until late afternoon. Love that ‘Brocken Specter’ link by the way, it really was that awesome.

      Thanks, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 2, 2015 @ 8:19 pm

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