Archive for ‘Man vs Land Rover’

One man’s struggle against the pinnacle of British engineering – tools, blood, swearing – what’s not to like?

Final pre-Europe spannering…

*Written from the legoland campsite in Denmark* So we had a few issues to resolve in the last days before leaving the UK for the continent.  To cut a long story short, the viscous fan bearing went in quite spectacular fashion (close to home, and fortunately didn’t send the fan through the radiator).  The exhaust also decided to start making contact with the gearbox crossmember (sorted out by Nick Kerner 4WD near Windsor, thanks guys).  And… I somehow managed to warp the exhaust manifold (probably related to the tasteful level of tune applied to the engine, combined with a heavy foot on the way back from Wales).  This was not much fun at all to fix – in the end I sourced a replacement manifold, as we had no time to get the original skimmed flat again.  More than 1000km in (and driven hard) there is no sign of a repeat issue, so hopefully there is a line drawn under this now!  It was a bugger of a job, especially as we were due to drive to Dover the following day to catch the ferry.  As the image with the spirit level shows, there was a significant warp (around 2.5mm).  Amazing how much noise this can generate, once the gasket begins singing…

On a more positive note, I am pleased to recommend the Canvas and Nylon Company to anyone needing rooftent repairs, sails, whatever… ( – sorted out our rooftent cover within a few hours (this is the appalling stitching quality from factory that I was complaining about a few months back – Nakatanenga of Germany, hang your heads in shame…) – top service from Nick, cheers mate!  It is now reinforced as it should have been from day one…

Heavy breathing…

The TD5 engine is a famously heavy breather – and not in a good way unfortunately.  Given we now have a shiny clean intercooler, it makes sense to try and keep it that way going forwards, rather than let the well intentioned (if a little half-arsed) attempt by Land Rover to “Greenwash” their engineering solutions by diverting the oil vapour (that would otherwise waft free) from the crankcase back to the combustion chamber (via the turbo, associated pipework, and intercooler).  The intercooler fills up with oil and crap, and efficiency goes downhill thereby negating any “Greenness”.  It’s a rubbish solution, especially when combined with the (obviously removed already) EGR system.


A far more sensible solution is to install a proper oil separator such as those used on trucks (not a catch-can, they are rubbish).  Mann and Hummel make a particularly good one (Provent 200) that can be muscled into the TD5 Disco2 enginebay in a few places.  By far the easiest option (and the one everyone else seems to have chosen) is to mount it on the firewall, behind the ABS valve block.  Unfortunately this is also the only place that you can shoehorn a second battery, which I have done already — so it’s a non-starter.

Provent 2

My solution to the tetris challenge is to mount the Provent to the ACE/PAS reservoir (it’s very light – only a few grams) with a few chunky zipties.  Rotating it so it’s on a nice jaunty angle means that using a silicone reducing elbow I  can connect the outlet directly to the factory turbo intake pipe… nice and simple.  The inlet is connected (again via a reducer) to an insulated braided hose run from the outlet on the rocker cover (the top of the engine).

Provent 1

The nasty oily vapour exits the rocker cover and flows down the braided hose to the inlet on the Provent.  It enters the inlet chamber, where it condenses on a filter element, allowing nice clean air to exit the bottom hose and make its way to the engine air intake to burn up in the fiery hell of Solihull 5 cylinder combustion.  The condensed oil flows down to the base of the Provent, and then out down a collector tube (a foot of clear silicone hose – clear, so I can see if there is oil collected) and remains there until I get around to crawling under the car, opening the tap, draining it into a cup, and putting it back into the engine…  Now why didn’t they design it this way at the factory…?  Could it be that cleaning out an intercooler is a nice profitable dealership service item?  Surely not…



Build Update from Galway


So… due to circumstances out of our control (i.e. Phil had a rather bad reaction to some jabs that we need for Africa) we ran out of time to complete the landrover build before heading to Ireland. We have only got one of the steel bumpers mounted, the winch is bolted but not wired in, the replacement sunroof visors aren’t fitted, the “light cannon” spotlights are languishing in the garage, and the water tank and filter set isn’t fitted either. Still lots to do once we get back from this trip!

However, the Taniwha is running pretty well, with just the expected moans, groans and niggles that settling into a new chassis and bushes entail (a bit of tightening up to do I think, plus one wheel hub needs replacement).

We have been spending a lot of time talking over packing strategy and modifications we need to make to the way we are doing things (nothing worse than a handful of felt tip pens shooting forwards off the day fridge and ending up under the pedals…)

Speaking of the day fridge, we have had a disappointing experience with our “old” Ironman 30l fridge.  A few days befiore heading off on this trip, it started madly freezing everything while insiting the temp was 11+ degrees…  clearly the thermostat has failed. It’s under warranty still, so we will get it fixed, but will not trust it for Africa.  We have sourced a replacement (36l SnoMaster) which is South African, and is the same brand as the big fella in the boot.  The Ironman will be sent home in disgrace in Margaret’s car.  We are also rather disappointed with the PVC “truck awning” cover for our rooftent – the seams in the corners are splitting, they are only single stitched.  Lazy design. Easy to reinforce – we will sort it before Scandinavia – but it’s highly irritating –  products designed for offroad should be better thought out.  Time for a shitty email to customer service methinks.  (Nakatanenga, Germany, if anyone is curious).

We have been really lucky with the weather so far – a few spots of rain today, but the sun is back out again.  Off on a daytip to the Aran Islands tomorrow…

Ship of the Desert?

It was stupidly hot in London today.  An appropriate time to turn my mind to the onboard water tank that has been languishing in the garage for the last month or so – this guy needs to be fitted imminently, as we get the Taniwha back from SpannerMonkeys tomorrow or Tuesday, and are off on our shakedown trip to Ireland and the Isle of Man on Friday…

The tank is a 60l stainless rear footwell tank (with baffles to stop sloshing and the corresponding rapid weight transfer).  It will bolt in under the kids feet, and is shaped to fit exactly (I hope!).  I have noticed that it gets REALLY hot (untouchable) in the sun – not good with small paws in close proximity, so time for a wee craft project.  I have leftover automotive carpet from another job, plenty for the task at hand.  Carpet + Scissors + Contact Adhesive, job done!

Once we have the Taniwha back, I will fit the tank and plumb it in (electric pump, 3 stage filter to sieve out the nasties).  Running water, super fancy…  We will have a filter bag and a 20l jerrycan which will be used to fill the main tank, however no need for that until we get to Africa really, so still mulling over our options.

A Giant Meccano Set

ejector.jpegSo…  it’s been awhile since I updated the world on vehicle prep progress.  As I write this, I am gazing at an empty driveway – the Landrover is up in Newcastle at SpannerMonkeys getting its underbelly tickled, and the Jaguar is at the chop-shop having all its ailments treated in preparation for shipping back to NZ to be put on ice for awhile…

SpannerMonkeys – great people, I can thoroughly reccommend them to anyone else wanting open heart surgery on an aging Land Rover.  The list of jobs they are ticking off for me is significant: a new hot-dip galvanised chassis (painted black so as not to scream “steal me”), new bushes all round, new brake lines and calipers, a 2″ suspension lift (heavy duty springs at the front, +2″ spacers under the bags at the rear), the engine bay and underside will be stripped and coated in “Lizard Skin” to enable easy cleaning, a bit of cutting and welding, new high pressure hydraulic lines for the ACE system (Active Corner Enhancement).  There are also a few electical niggles that are being sorted, and they are fitting my front and rear airlocking differentials as well as some Safari Equip long range stainless fuel tanks – we will have 160l in total onboard, plus a 20l jerrycan – so should get around 2000km before sucking fumes.

Waiting here in the garage for fitting is a 60l stainless water tank that will go in the footwell under the kids feet, angry steel bumpers front and rear (I am still deciding on what winch and rock sliders to get).  I need to fabricate a shelving solution that takes my rear fridge/freezer into account as well…  it slides out halfway for easy access, but Scotland taught me that unpacking around it a few times a day is a pain in the bum.

I have delayed the writeup on rear electrics and onboard air, as I had to strip the vehicle completely before delivering it to SpannerMonkeys, when I reassemble I will take better photos and do a proper writeup.

So – only a few big purchases left: a winch (choices, choices…), tree/rock sliders, anti-truckdriver spotlights… maybe a fat airhorn.  16″ steel rims and agressive tires (I am a bit torn on what tires to buy, down to BFG or Cooper).

I have also started the painful process of working out what tools I *really* need to take. Harder than it sounds…

Getting there, slowly but surely.  Ireland and Isle of Man in a few weeks for more shakedown time!