Land Rovers - Mechanical Tips

It is well known that when you attempt to do some work on a Land Rover, your first attempt is in the most convoluted way possible! Here are some tips which I learnt the hard way, but might help other people in the future. These tips are fortified with advice from the listservers.
(See also: Land Rovers - Military Specifics)

Land Rover Workshop Manuals & Parts Catalogues are listed on our books page.

Zenith Carburettors

A lot is uttered about the Zenith - many swear by it, others swear at it! Those who swear at it, forget that it replaced the Solex - a carburettor with too many bits, and was hence difficult to maintain.

When rebuilding one, remember to flatten the mating surface between the top and bottom halves. Apparently the Zenith was never annealed properly, so the body tends to warp. As mine was only 6 months old, I skipped this stage.

Also replace the o-ring (which slackens with age) and any gaskets.

*That* port: On the lro listserver there is a whole brigade of people who take their Zeniths apart and block an "extra" port. When I had problems running too rich, this they were certain, was my problem. It wasn't! The official parts manuals and handbooks (including Haynes!) show a plugged port. The plug even has a part number. It would appear that Zeniths available in the US are "generic" and do not include the plug. Check it, and it doesn't take much to block it.

As for my problem: The symptoms were that it was running rich, and the mixture screw made no difference whatsoever. Despite the plumes of black smoke, it passed the visual exhaust test in the MoT! The fault? There was a leak in one of the gaskets on the so-called "economy-device" - this let fuel seep into the vacuum circuit. The valve on the economy device never opened, and the vacuum was not as good as it should have been (this could even be felt in the servo-assisted brakes). Something else to watch out for!

Is the Weber better? The list opinion is divided! The Weber is meant to be more economic, but this is only at the top end. If you're light-footed, you probably wouldn't notice the difference? Yes, it is true I changed from a Weber to a Zenith - the cost of rebuilding my Weber and the books/stuff to do it, was the same as a new Zenith (and I already had the instructions for that!).

Brakes and Clutches

Land Rover brakes tend to have a bad reputation. If you look after them (and have a servo! :-) ), this need not be the case.

Don't skimp on brake parts. It is stating the obvious, but your life could depend on them. Also keep them well-adjusted.

If replacing the cylinders, be prepared to replace some of the piping. If the cylinder is old enough to need replacing, the chances are the pipe joint has seized up! On something like the 109", there are 6 slave cylinders, if one is leaking, the chances are the others will soon. Its often a good idea to replace them as an axle set.

The shoes have horrendous springs which need fighting. We made a tool out of 6 mil. diameter steel. This was bent with a large hook (=handle) and a smaller hook (to go in one of the holes). This made fitting the shoes a doddle - especially if you have a helper. All the helper has to do, is to pull hard on the shoe (pulling it outwards) as you lever the end in with pliers.

I hate adverts, but a pressurised bleeding system (eg. Gunson's Eezibleed) really does make a difference when bleeding the hydraulics. The "Vizibleed" and similar non-pressurised systems are rubbish. I have to admit I've had trouble getting a good seal on the clutch reservoir with an Eezibleed, but clutches are easier to bleed anyway (honest!)

Handbrakes: Don't drive with them on! :-)

Clutch masters: The Repair Handbook implies that you take the cylinder out of the turret/pedal assembly. This might be possible, but I found it easier to undo the pedal/turret assembly. It took a bit of levering to get it out, but you only have to undo 6 extra bolts. The cylinder can then be taken out, on the bench-top. It is not worth refurbishing them. New seals might do the job, but you are not replacing the body, so it will start leaking in another 6 months. Genuine Parts master cylinders are approximately 3 times the price of "other suppliers" - be warned!

Gearbox Rebuilds

As everyone knows, Series Land Rovers are really just giant Meccano kits. The same is true of the gearbox. With a moderate supply of tools, it is possible to rebuild a gearbox. I did it, so it cannot be too hard!

The first problem is getting the thing out. You might be able to do it, by removing the chassis cross-member (if you have a military chassis). I opted to take the seatbox out. This can be done single handedly, but you will need an engine crane or second person, to get the gearbox itself out. We strapped the gearbox to an aluminium ladder, and lifted it out like that. It is heavy.

An easier way, is to actually disassemble it in-situ. In particular, take the base off the transfer case, and remove the intermediate gear, whilst the gearbox is still in the vehicle. The two boxes can then be taken apart. This is how I put the gearbox, and it is much easier.

Replace all worn and broken looking bits. Don't skimp.

Replace the synchros. I didn't have a synchro problem, so I didn't. With hindsight I should have.

Take care with the 4wd housing - this is fiddly.

Make sure all the bearings are seated properly. One of my biggest problems was getting the rear-meainshaft bearing seated properly.

This is a good time to overhaul the clutch and handbrake assemblies. I already had new clutch plates, but the handbrake was in a bad state of repair. I have since ended up replacing much of the clutch hydraulics.

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