Life with a new Rover


The frameover is complete, with the exception of a little bit of cleanup. After all of that, I basically have a new Rover made of older parts. Now it's time to start using Basil again.

March 3: If you read back, you'll notice that today is the first anniversary of Basil's arrival in my driveway. Happy birthday, Basil. It's been a hell of a year. Yesterday, Trevor and I bolted the interior, hardtop and wings back on the truck and I drove Basil home.It feels good to have a Land Rover in the driveway again. Today I pulled one wing off to do some finishing work on the wiring. Basil also got a new battery because the old one was basically toast.

March 26: A couple of visitors and a lot of long-neglected work meant that Basil had to take a lower priority for a while. But I'm still working away whenever the chance arises. The lighting is complete. The gas gauge works and the water temperature gauge doesn't because of a voltage mismatch. The heater is in place and working. Little touches have been finished all over the truck - ones that don't look like much, but the sum total feels good. Upcoming jobs include a starter rebuild and a spring swap to softer springs in the rear. This is in addition to the last few frameover-related jobs such as installing the seatbelts and replacing one floorboard. More photos to come, hopefully in interesting places. Right now, there's about a 15% chance that I will have to use the starter handle to get Basil going, adding to the adventure of a simple trip to work!

April 3: Whoops. A short drive around town turned messy. The line going to the mechanical oil pressure gauge ruptured, giving a good coat of oil to the underhood area. Thankfully, no damage was done and I was able to limp home after a roadside repair. This weekend, I'll be installing a braided stainless steel oil line as well as hopefully building a voltage regulator to fix the water temp gauge. Basil's first anniversary as a road-going vehicle is coming up and I need to celebrate in the desert. So there are a few things to do.

April 7: I've just heard that Basil appears in a few photographs in the June issue of 4WD and Sport Utility Magazine. Cool! Meanwhile, the new oil line is in and a fuel problem has been fixed. A previous owner had put 5/16" line on a 1/4" barb, making me wonder why it hasn't been leaking all this time...

April 14: Well, I can report that if you use the starter handle at a gas station, people will stare. I can also report that I really should fix the holes in the floorboards (or even better, actually replace the floorboards) before I drive in the rain any more.

May 5: What's going on? Well, I've been building a race car. That's been occupying all of my waking hours for the past month (and a few extra). Basil has been faithfully waiting for me to get my life back. He is getting a bit of attention - the wiring has been secured so that there will be no vibration-related failures and the starter was replaced last weekend. I had no idea Basil could crank that fast! Meanwhile, some detail work on the interior and body fixings has got the frameover basically finished. Next step, some softer springs to prepare for the well-underway roofless season and the rock sliders will be constructed. All I need is a free weekend, and the next one is in mid-June. I'll get some new photos up soon, folks.

June 12: Hey, I said the next weekend was in June. So here I am. Basil got a new set of soft springs which really made a difference both on and off road. I do rather miss the flat cornering! Basil spent the weekend climbing around way up high near Ouray. 100 miles off road and the only problem was a clutch that started to become a little erratic on disengaging - this only happened on the pavement sections to and from Ouray! I'm very sorry there haven't been more photos recently.

June 20: It looks like the pilot bushing is starting to go on the flywheel. I've got a spare, but I need to find the time to tear into it. At least I know everything will come apart easily! The roof is off, and Basil's simply enjoying running around in the hot weather. Today I checked the alignment using the laser tools from our race car - overkill, but accurate! I've also dragged home a new toy - watch this site. Thanks for all the guestbook comments!

June 28: Many people thought it was overkill when I put waterproof wiring behind the dash. But I can report that it works fine when your co-workers launch a water ballon right into your instrument panel. Nice shot! Basil's old frame has finally made it to the recyclers, where it, an automatic tranny and an old Miata top totalled 350 lbs. Seems a bit light to me - no wonder Basil was a little wobbly. In the current 100F+ temperatures (38C or more), Basil is a very comfortable vehicle with all the ventilation. Ahh.

July 13: I was away in Ottawa running Northern Exposure, an international Miata event. Now that I'm back, most of my work is concentrated on getting the Cadillac in to a reasonable shape. It's not going to be a show car, but it does need a bit of attention. Meanwhile, I'm in the process of importing Basil into the US so he can be registered here. It's straightforward if you read the regulations, but you'd think that nobody had ever done it before by the reactions I get....

August 28: Yes, August. I've been trying to get classic car insurance for Basil. However, most "classic" companies don't understand the appeal of experienced paint. The previous insurance expired on July 4. So I finally gave up and put Basil on my (expensive) regular road car insurance. He's about to undergo a bit of work so he's ready for the Solihull Society rally in Moab next month. Today, the water temperature gauge was finally fixed up with a voltage regulator. This weekend, rock sliders and general maintenance. Shortly, a new hub seal and lower rad hose. And yes, soon there will be pictures of the Caddy. Once again I picked a car that needs a bit of love.

August 29: Daddy's got a new web page.

September 1: I've been working hard the past couple of days on the sliders. Just wait until you see the photos - they're nice. I'm trying to decide whether they should be body colour (like the original sills), silver (like the bumper) or black (like the rear crossmember and frame). All last week, I was installing a turbo system on an over-the-top Miata show car. It was all fine detail work and blue/yellow hoses. Working on Basil was such a relief - I pulled out the angle grinder, welder and my favourite hammer and proceeded to make something big and solid. Very noisy and gratifying.

September 3: The sliders are installed. I'm thinking they definitely don't want to be black anymore, but the POR protective coat is on. Oh, and there's a dual-barrel Weber carb on the way along with some freewheel hubs. This should make the big brick a little livelier. The hot-rodding begins.

September 7: That's not what was supposed to happen. I was draining the fluid from the rear diff, and I drained out some pieces of teeth. Pulling the diff revealed that at least one of the spider gears has self-destructed. The diff was starting to show signs of locking up around town, thus the reason for the fluid check. I heard that gear go about a mile from the shop, too. Argh. I've put the open diff in, but I really wanted the LSD for my Moab trip in a few days. I'm looking in to what I can do to fix it - I like the LSD in the rear but I don't want to mess with air. That means Detroit Locker or Truetrac if the current one can't be repaired. I like the design of the Truetrac - it's a Torsen-style and I think that's one slick piece of engineering. Not the ultimate offroad, but it's just so cool!

Otherwise, I also spent the day replacing a leaky hub seal, attaching the front recovery point, replacing a leaky coolant hose, fixing the drooling transfer case (well, some of it), repainting the sliders, working on a new floorboard - oh, and replacing the pinion bushing. That little guy is pressed into the flywheel. Yes, I pulled the tranny. So, what did YOU do today?

September 8: Oof. I'm exhausted. I think I've spent 24 hours this weekend working on Basil. Even with the engine hoist, putting the tranny back in alone was tough. I also had to rebuild a wheel cylinder - a lot of the rubber parts that came in my initial order from Paddock Spares are in bad shape. Luckily, I had a rebuild kit with me. After all that, Basil should be a happy camper next week. I leave on Wednesday....

September 9: Mike Saint, a NZ friend who's living in the UK, delivered a care package today. Inside were shiny new swivel balls and freewheeling hubs. The balls will have to wait, but the hubs went on it about 20 minutes. I can feel a difference already, and the open diff in the rear means easier steering as well. So Basil is ready for the trip to Moab - even the spares are packed. Myself, on the other hand, not so ready.

September 16: A most successful and enjoyable trip. Even without a locked up rear, Basil did well. He met a lot of old friends and people who knew him as well. There's a full report coming soon - but not today. After cleaning off all the mud, Basil's "new" frame doesn't look quite so new.

September 18: The pictures from the Moab trip are online.

September 19: I fixed the link for the Moab photos above. Sorry! Basil's new Weber carb arrived yesterday as well. A couple more horsies wouldn't hurt.

October 10: I've been busy at the racetrack and playing with other toys. Basil has been doing very little. Today I went through and did the final post-trip maintenance, and maybe this weekend the new carb will go on.

October 13: No carb yet, but Basil did a bit of work. Daddy needed to go in to the shop for some refurbishing. However, Daddy's sick and can't drive very far. So Basil towed the 4500 lb Cadillac across town. No problem for a Land Rover. Basil also got a lot of new door and scuttle seals to keep the cold air at bay in the morning. Now the doors are a little harder to close - I have some adusting to do.

October 22: Basil's been quiet. He doesn't need as much attention as some of the other members of the fleet. Baby is getting ready to hit the track and Daddy took all my time this past weekend with tranny, engine and other work. Poor Basil, not getting any fun. I'm actually looking forward to colder weather now that he should actually have a chance at keeping warm!

December 4: This is kind of sad. No updates for 6 weeks. Quite a change from the daily adventure in the beginning, isn't it? Basil's at a happy place. Not concours, but ready to go for a little fun whenever I feel the need. Meanwhile, I was working day and night on the race car at Flyin' Miata. Quite a beast - and of course, skills I learned on Basil are being used. So what's next? Well, I'm going to be spending New Years in Moab. I'll need some recovery gear first, and I've got to double-check some electrical connections. But that's about it. This weekend, instead of working on cars, I'm going skiing!

December 17: Basil's ready for Moab. New tie-downs for the new recovery gear in the back and some basic maintenance. Oh, I also installed the mud shields in the wings. I bought those before taking Basil out of the barn! He's a happy little Rover ready for some fun. Once I get back, I'll be putting in the Weber and an electric fan - but these aren't things I need to test on a 5-day trip!

January 3: I'm home! On to the next page....

Oooo, look at that new interior! You can't see the shiny rivets along the bottom of the seatbox, but almost every fastener is new.
WIth the wing off, you can see all the new bits. Finishing some wiring and doing cable management.
Up at the top of Cinnamon Pass - click the picture for a full trip report!
The new toy. A 1966 Cadillac Sedan de Ville hardtop. Almost 19' long, this is a monster. Hey, I couldn't resist. Yes, it need work. Of course it needs work.
My faithful Subaru takes Basil's old frame off to be recycled. Kind of sad, but I did save a few special pieces.
Aaaah! A spider! No, wait, it's Basil's electronics. His new voltage regulator so the water temp gauge works.
Because I like them so much, you get lots of slider pics. Here's the first cut into the steel beam. The curve was traced from the original sills.
All welded up and ground down for a smooth finish. And to hide some sloppy welding!
The forward mounts. These attach to the bolts that hold the bulkhead to the frame.
The rear mounts. These attach to the angle iron reinforcements I welded to the frame outriggers way back when it was sandblasted.
The finished product, pre-POR.
The sliders in place! I don't like the black, so they're now body colour. First I painted them silver so they'll wear like the real paint.
The sliders leave a gap below the body, in case the slider gets mangled - I can still open the door! You can also see how they protrude for more protection.
Just your average Saturday maintenance. Flywheel on the gas tank, diff on the floor, hub on the workbench.
It's a whole lot easier pulling the tranny when you've got an engine hoist and a lift!
The newly painted sliders. Compare to the original sills
Selectro! Perhaps not the greatest hubs in the world, but they do have the greatest name. Basil moves one step further away from originality.
Click on the picture to read the report from my latest Moab trip!
Basil the tow truck. Pull, Basil, pull!

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