The CarAdvice team reveals what's hidden away in their sheds and backyards awaiting some TLC.
It's been a long road, but I'm getting closer and closer to finally driving my 1971 Land Rover on the road.
After years of languishing against laziness, ineptitude and a lack of time, I've recently hit a purple patch of progress with my little green Land Rover.
After finding a massive tear in the head gasket recently, I was able to fix it with some new parts, a bit of good luck, and some new skills learned along the way.
I took my time with a scalpel on the head and deck, making for as clean and flat a surface as I could. At least being all cast iron, it's more forgiving than modern engines.
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I also learned about lapping valves, and cleaning the crud off them with a drill and some kitchen scourers. And with a new copper head gasket and fresh valve seals, I methodically reinstalled everything to as high a standard I could. I don't think I'll be getting a call from Alan Butler any time soon, but hopefully it will do the job.
And it did!
I reinstalled the front timing cover and sump, and had trouble figuring out how to mount the alternator and brackets in the right fashion. But we got there, and the engine runs much smoother than it has for a long time. I threw in some new spark plugs and engine oil, and I'm proud of how bad this job isn't. So far.
I have to say, if you're keen to do this kind of work, but you're put off by not knowing what you're doing, don't. A few hundred dollars' worth of tools and other consumables, a small workshop and a good dose of perseverance are all you need. There is so much content online to help out aspiring spanner swingers when you get in a pinch, and these old cars are mechanically very simple. Doing this has helped me learn so much along the way about how stuff works.
Next in line was the handbrake and Power Take Off (PTO) on the back of the transfer case, both swimming in years of crud and oil from hardened seals. At least any bolts weren't seized... These were removed, disassembled and cleaned in a haze of petrol fumes, before being reinstalled. And as a bonus, the handbrake now seems to work.
So after tidying up a few smaller details, replacing the clutch slave cylinder and re-bleeding the brakes, this old battler will be ready to face its final exam over the pits. This is a new experience for me: joining a car club, and the historic vehicle registration scheme. Wish me luck.