Getting Basil mobile


Now that Basil is at home, I can work on him whenever I get the chance.

March 4 Removed and rebuilt the clutch master cylinder, replaced the brake master cylinder, started to reattach the rear electrics (they had to be cut for the crossmember installation), reinstalled the dipper switch and done a bit of general exploration of the vehicle. Oh, and how could I forget to mention the new mirror heads?

March 5 Tail lights and rear turn indicators are functioning now. The brake lights can't be checked until I pull the pressure switch from the braking system. Low beams and the left side front lights are still AWOL along with the license plate light.

March 6 Clutch and brake master cylinders are in, headlights are working and I've started to remove the hard lines for the clutch and brake. That's going to be difficult, I fear.

March 7 The license plate light is working. Okay, so it's not a big step. But I was busy tonight. One little wrinkle has appeared - the clutch master cylinder is of the wrong type. Using it will require one of the outlets of the brake fluid reservoir to be blocked off or an appropriate reservoir sourced. No problem.

March 11 Okay, there are new hard lines for the clutch and brakes in the engine bay. I've discovered that the studs on the left rear hub have all come out with the lug nuts, but I've also got a couple of spare hubs. I also picked up a new windshield and glass for the rear door off a parts truck that belong to Ted and his friend Rob. A number of miscellaneous bits have come off that critter, including almost everything I need for the clutch. Except for one thing - the outlet on the clutch master cylinder is the wrong size! That's a problem. No wonder the previous owner didn't get this working.

March 12 Making progress. The left rear hub (the one with all the missing studs) has been removed, the wheel cylinder replaced, new brake pads installed and a freshly repacked hub is now in place with stronger studs. The old brake drum was packed with grease - the brakes would have been useless! One bonus is that the old hub popped right off which was an unexpected happy surprise. I finished at midnight. My butt was actually frozen to the ground when I tried to get up. The clutch line problem has been solved by discovering an adaptor that was used on the late SIIa and SIII trucks for exactly this purpose. One is on order along with some new sockets for the front lights - they were rusted away.

March 15 It was beautiful out today. I changed the other rear hub and did all the brake work on that wheel. So the rear brakes and hubs are done - now on to the front. That's very satisfying work, putting a set of good clean bearings on the truck and uncovering smooth surfaces on a truck that is primarily covered in a layer of crud. The clutch master cylinder has come out of the truck again in order to be cleaned out and rebuilt - I did that a week or so ago, but used petroleum-based grease. It'll kill the natural rubber seals. No problem - it's a 15 minute job to do, really.

March 16 ...and on to the front. The left front wheel now has a newly repacked hub, new wheel cylinder, flex line and other brake hardware and it ready to go. The only problem is that the old hub had one stud pull out. Argh - I'm out of spares now. And the lug nuts on the right front wheel won't even budge. I think they're all going to rip out the studs. I'm off to the States for 10 days or so, so no more updates for a bit!

April 1: I'm back! It's been a busy week. The fourth wheel was removed with the help of a torch but without pulling out any studs (whew!). There is now new brake hardware on that wheel, along with new hard lines for the back wheels, a new pushrod for the clutch actuator arm along with a new clevis due to some creative re-engineering by the PO. The master cylinder has also been rebuilt and the hard line tweaked slightly. So the entire clutch hydraulic system is complete and ready to be bled. The brake system was about to be bled today until I discovered pinhole in the bottom of the fluid reservoir thanks to rust. I've got a spare that's not ready to go on yet, so JB Weld came to the rescue. The front lights are also completed and ready for installation. On top of this, a number of small little jobs have been finished up in anticipation of the Big Drive Around The Block that will hopefully take place this week. It's all up to the hydraulics. That will be the first time this truck has moved under its own power in a decade.

April 2: AROUND THE BLOCK! Okay, so I cheated. I could not get the clutch hydraulics to cooperate even with a vacuum pump and about 2 litres of brake fluid. I figured I'd try. So I started Basil in gear and took him for a roaring, smoky trip around the block. I'd better fix that exhaust system! Good news is that 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears work and I ran out of nerve to try fourth. Basil seems quite happy to be underway and the steering is surprisingly good. Bad news? No speedometer and I think it's stuck in high range, and of course I was shifting without a clutch. But it moved! The brakes are bled but still need a LOT of pumping to get decent line pressure - I suspect a small leak somewhere. Everything looks pretty dry. More experimentation tomorrow. I'm happy right now. Oh - the brake lights work.

Starting out, early in the morning. Note the handy access panel installed by a PO in the left wing. It makes removing the clutch master cylinder quite simple.
Not ideal working conditions. There was a windchill of -23C at this point but Land Rovers are hardy beasts. As must their owners be. I'm currently removing the clutch master cylinder.
"Is there supposed to be a bolt in that hole? Where does THIS wire go? And what the heck was bolted on to this - there's a cut-off plate of 1/2" steel!" (Hint - wear waterproof, warm clothing when lying on the ice in these conditions)
Meanwhile, down in the lab.... Cleaned up fluid reservoir, new clutch slave cylinder, rebuilt clutch master cylinder, old brake master cylinder - and the new master cylinder in place. Where possible, I'm installing new galvanized fasteners as you can see on the brake assembly. Someday I'll thank myself.
The new clutch and brake master cylinders in place. That access panel is pretty handy. Note the abused hard lines near the brake cylinder. Argh.
The front lights are removed in order to replace the rotten sockets. These had to be cut off - some of the few recalcitrant fasteners on the truck, strangely enough.
Working on one of the front hubs. Not ideal working conditions, but it was actually quite pleasant outside. Despite the appearances, there are two jackstands under that axle - the jack is only a backup!
It's surprising to see something this clean on the truck. That's the brake backing plate with the wheel cylinder, brake shoes, hub, brake drum and a couple of other parts missing. It's a lot cleaner looking than the rears were.
My collection of extra bits grows - and you can't see the glass that's in the garage. The middle brake drum is one of the ones off the rear still covered in grease. Yuk. The hub at the bottom is missing one stud. You can also see the cardboard box full of old brake shoes, master cylinders, wheel cylinders, bearings, seals...
Mmm. Parts bath. Kind of pretty, actually.
The old master cylinder from the left front wheel. The arrow points to the bleeding nipple. No, it actually points to where it should be. That would have been a problem to put it mildly.
JB Weld rescues an old fluid reservoir! I'll know how well it worked shortly. You can see the blanking plug that's blocking off the second exit that used to supply the clutch system.
The new lights from Holden Vintage Spares. You can see the remains of the old ones as well as the two new sockets destined for the other side of the car. The side light socket actually accepts an 1156 bulb that's recessed instead of the small Lucas one used earlier. Great - they're a lot easier to find, but the rubber boot is too small for the new one. Thus the extended boot on the one light. It's made of a 27x1 1/8" inner tube, a zip tie and a shot of silicone.
Doesn't look like much, does it? But Basil's driving down the road in this photo! I'm along for the ride - and that's just about what it felt like at times!

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