Adapting to a new environment


Basil's in a new place now. The off-roading will be a lot more frequent and probably more photogenic. Hopefully the repairs will become less common. So the two shall be mixed in the new diary entries.

August 24: Basil takes advantage of the new shop for all new fluids and an investigation of a vibration. The fluids were disgusting after the cross-continent run and the vibration turns out to be a siezed universal joint in the front propshaft. So I banged in a couple from my spares, astonishing my Miata-driving co-workers. "You had spare u-joints?"

August 26: Spent the weekend in Grand Mesa National Forest, combining mountain biking and off-roading. One of the shortcuts on the way home was run - there are a LOT of trails in the bush here. Great for exploring.

September 3: A bike rack was put on a few days ago, and today some new, strong GBR axles went in. At the same time, I put a K&N filter in place of the oil bath - the benefit of working in a performance shop. The big news was the crack in the frame, however. Taking the roof off exposed a weak spot by the bumpstop, so I welded on some patches. I'm not a very good welder, and I think it's time to start thinking about pulling the body off and properly fixing up this frame.

September 10: The weekend was spent in Moab, doing some light off-roading and mountain biking. Photos will follow. Basil is extremely happy when blasting along at 45 mph on sand with the windshield folded down, it turns out. A great desert vehicle. Unfortunately, some of the vibration killed an (unsupported) rear brake line. My mistake - but a set of Visegrips cut off the rear brakes and I was able to carry on home. When replacing the hard line and the flex line, the hard line that ran up to the main junction also failed. So I got to rebuild almost the entire rear brake system. Sigh. This failure will not happen again thanks to proper anchoring and protection of the new lines.

September 11: Okay, that patch job wasn't good and it wasn't holding. So I did a right proper job of it.

September 20: The Moab photos are here. I also spent last night rebuilding Basil's carburettor. He tended to drool fuel on the exhaust manifold, which I did not think was a fun trick. Boy, was I happy when he fired up afterwards! Partly because it was 11:45 pm...

September 27: The frame patch is basically complete now. I'm hoping the amount of metal will compensate for my lack of welding skill. Also, a small drool in the radiator was fixed after Basil played a cute trick and dumped about 4 litres of coolant on me. A whistle in the carb was traced to a bad gasket where it attaches to the manifold - fixed. The big news is that the "chunk chunk chunk" in the rear has been tentatively identified as a diff. So tomorrow, it's time to replace that with a spare. I've also got tow hooks, another seatbelt, tiedown hooks for the load bay and a Jeep bikini top to install. Should be fun. A potential frame and bulkhead replacement have been found - it may make more sense than repairing Basil's originals.

September 28: Well, I pulled Basil's diff out tonight. Surprise, surprise! It's not a normal diff. It looks to be a limited slip or a locker. But it's locked up. This is worth figuring out. I'll also have to replace a couple of press-in studs that had to be cut off in order to free this thing. I picked up a load of 1" electrical conduit for the bikini hoop. This is going to be an interesting weekend.

September 29: Well, I spent the morning moving 6 Land Rover engines across town. Kind of fun. Then I returned to Basil and fitted the new diff. A test drive revealed that it is smoother and quieter than my old locked one - easier on axles too, no doubt! A seatbelt has been added to the passenger's seat, a tow hook to the front bumper and the header for the bikini top is also fitted. Now I just have to go get some 3/4" conduit for the hoop - an inner vs outer diameter mixup. Oops.

September 30: Another busy day. The bikini top is on. The hardest part was crafting the hoop, as I wasn't satisfied with a pair of 90 degree bends. It actually looks pretty good. Far cheaper than paying $600 US for a full softtop, my total investment in this top is around $50 US. The hoop was $3 :) It's got some ballooning at speed but it can't really be beat for price. I just have to find some way of extending the rear straps to reach the back of Basil. I also added a very hefty grab handle for the passenger.

October 4: It's been a big day. Basil's new frame arrived home. More information is on the new frameover page. Also, the tailgate has (finally!) been installed after the arrival of the final pieces. The tie-down points for the bikini top have been moved outwards for a perfect fit and two of the rear seats have been removed. Basil now looks like a real desert truck :) Progress has been made on The Mystery Diff. It's been identified as an optional Rover LSD - identical to a Dana Power-Lok. Excellent news - it apparantly needs an additive in the gear oil to work properly and should come back with the appropriate solutions. That makes me very happy.

October 7: Hmm. I seem to organized these pages wrong. Anyhow, Basil spent the weekend climbing peaks and passes in Colorado. The trip's been written up separately, but two of the three legs have very high Land Rover content: up and down Engineers Pass.

October 9: Basil spent yesterday evening on the dyno. An unfamiliar territory for a series Rover, but anything in the name of science! Here are the results. I also re-installed the LSD with the appropriate friction modifier. The operation appears to have been a success.

October 26: The diff is working wonderfully. I just got back from 5 days in Moab for On The Road (aka Camp Rover West), a driving school run by a Camel Trophy vet. Most entertaining and educational and Basil survived in good shape! See the full report here.

The garage at Flyin' Miata where I work. Yes, that's a dyno beside Basil. I had to drive a 359 hp Miata out of the shop so I could work on Basil.
Another view of the shop, showing a co-habitant. That particular Miata is known as the "Yellow Submarine" after it was submerged in 15' of water for a few days. It'll be back on the road soon.
Oh, yuk. That's about the colour of Larose forest mud. Basil has some extremely bad swivel balls.
The front propshaft gets new u-joints. Even after a stint in the parts cleaner, the Rover parts still made a mess of the shop. I suspect the steering joints are misbehaving as well.
A look at the spin-on oil filter. It had a slight weep, so I tightened the bolts.
Basil at about 9100' in an aspen forest. Change the colours a bit and this could almost be parts of Australia.
Now this is fun. Looking for mountain bike trails in a Land Rover. The bike also doubles as secondary transportation if necessary!
The circle marks where I live. Thiswas taken partway up the Colorado National Monument. You can see the Bookcliffs on the other side of the valley. The Monument is so dramatic it's beyond description. It's a park, not a plaque.
Another look at the Bookcliffs from a lot higher up. This was just a little trail I found off the side of the road.
Coming down from the Grand Mesa National Forest where I was camped, I took a little "shortcut". It was shorter but took a little longer :) The bike is strapped down inside the truck! The drop behind was exciting enough, but....
..this was still to come. There was a drop here that was dramatic enough to hang one wheel 2' in the air with Basil leaning all sorts of different ways. It was also dramatic enough to hurl the digital camera across the truck, ending photography for the day. That's the end of the trail you can see.
After that adventure, a more permanent bike carrying solution was required. A Yakima fork mount is now attached to the seat bulkhead. You can see the problem with an 88!
Some strong Great Basin Rover axles go in. I didn't have any spares and I really didn't want to replace any.
When the top was taken off, a weak point in the frame became obvious. A patch was welded into place badly, but I fear that the rear tub is going to have to come off to fix all the problems.
Photos of the Moab weekend will follow, but here's the Visegrip that got me home.
Much better. A properly secured and protected brake line.
Time to take off that bad patch job and do it properly. Nice rust!
The outside and bottom are done. I want to drive Basil home tonight, so the top and inside will have to wait. This should hold things, though!
Yup, Moab. Not a bad little campsite, no? I couldn't see another light anywhere.
Basil dressed for camping.
These rocks not only stick out of the desert most improbably, they also are basically two-dimensional. Utah is a strange place. More photos of the trip can be found on my postcards pages.
Back into the shop for a carb rebuild. There's about 500 horsepower in this photograph. Most of it does not come from Basil.
Oh, yuk.
Thanks to Ted Rose, I had a spare Solex carb as well as a rebuild kit from the UK. The best of both were used.
Basil likes the desert. This is a place where he feels at home. And 45 mph never felt so fast!
Can anyone identify what kind of differential this is, and how to fix it?
Another photo of the old diff. A likely possibility is that it's a locking Rover diff - a rare beastie. Now, can I fix it?
The "new" diff. This is from a truck that burned to the ground, melting all the aluminium. It also cooked the tranny fluid inside this thing - stinky. But this was the front diff and the truck had freewheeling hubs, so it's in great shape.
Now that Basil no longer has a locking rear end, he might need this tow hook...
The new passenger retention device. That's a handle off the back crossmember of a Rover, attached with two grade 5 3/8" bolts. If someone pulls that off, it's a signal that I should perhaps reconsider what I'm doing.
Bending the hoop for the bikini top. This took a bit of juggling to get right.
The finished hoop. It's got a joint in the middle so I can easily stash the hoop in the back of the truck when the top is off.
The header that's attached to the windshield frame. I'm going to move that snap to the edge of the header so the top is held tighter. This was originally designed for a curved windscreen so I had to flatten it out. The dent at this end is to accomodate a seam in the top.
The finished product, out by the Bookcliffs.
Side view. That's the front tire of my bike you can see under the truck. The hoop legs are not crooked as they look from this angle - that's just the inwards bend showing up.
..and from the rear.
The tailgate is on, the rear seats are better and Basil looks a little more finished!
Basil did some exploring this weekend. Click the image to be taken there....
Some of the exploring was a bit of an adventure. I was glad for that bikini top in the snow!
We spent 5 days in Moab for a driving school. See the full report here.

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