19J, A Horror Story……….

So there we were, sitting in an old hay shed on a wet autumn day……….

My friend had just purchased a Land Rover 90 with an early 2.5 diesel turbo engine, She’d turn over wonderfully, there’d be diesel up to the injectors, you name it, all the signs of life were there. Just something was missing,  A BANG!

So it was decided that we should whip the head off to investigate, to our horror, we discovered not one, not two, not three, but four cracked pistons!

God knows what sort of life this truck cab must’ve had, but whoever let her overheat to cause this, did a proper job.

The vehicle overall is quite a tidy machine, chassis is solid, had all new suspension bushes and shocks and a brand new set of modulars and Dakar remoulds.

“Not bad for a bag of sand.” Said we.

Upon further research it was clear as day that all 19J engines are more trouble than they’re worth. As they’re just a 2.5NA engine with a turbo bolted on, hence they run hotter and there’s much more pressure in the combustion chambers. This would most probably by why they’re prone to gripped liners, cracked pistons, head gaskets blowing, warped heads and in extreme cases they’ve been known to develop cracked blocks whilst warming up.



Land Rover 101″ Forward Control

This Ex-MOD Gun Tractor is being repaired by a friend of Michael and myself. Far from being restored, this beast is almost being re-manufactured into an every day driver/overlander. The Land Rover 101 was developed in the late sixties, powered by a petrol Rover V8, it was able to tow artillery, its ammunition and carry it’s crew. 101’s very made into ambulances and radio trucks too, as well as famously tugging Rapier missiles during the 80’s. Since being sold off from the MOD dozens of these Unimog-like machines have been seen in many roles, from forrestry trucks due to there amazing ground clearance and heavy duty Salisbury axles front and back, and In recovery duties thanks to there heavy duty winch and perfect rear chassis for adding a crane or any other piece of heavy equipment.
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68 FL 34 entered the factory on 19/05/1976 and was delivered to the Army at Hilton on 01/07/1976. It’s being converted with a 200Tdi and LT77 5 speed gearbox from a discovery. Winch bumper from Able Engineering (midlands) Ltd, fitted with winchmax 19,000lb winch. The whole vehicle is to bepainted in bright orange (almost Fordson Orange), with TD5 era defender interior trimmings and discovery power steering.

I’m so Dizzy!

Today I aquired the long awaited casting which sits inbetween the distributor and the engine block on Freida the Ferguson.

It came with half of an old original lucas distributor which I hastely removed to be replaced with the Duccellier which I took off my Land Rover.

I wire wheeled the casting up to remove decades of paint and grime, I then gave the inside a smear of grease and fitted the Duccellier  in it.

I’ll wait for a dry day before I fit it to Freida along with all the other ignition parts and give her a good static timing session.


It’s too cold.

I apologise on the behalf of Michael and myself for the lack of updates recently. With our college work busy and the harsh winter winds, we havent had much spare time to work on our machines.

We’ve found ourselves handed the burden of fixing a spike toothed harrow. The old girl has seen better days, with tines bent and and road pin wrapped up inside the crumbler, she’s hardly in a working state.

So we spent wednesday afternoon heating the bolts and drifting out the tines, turned out to be quite fun and productive.


The Land Rover finally gave up on me yesterday, the fuel bowl seal on the lift pump dried out, so no fuel was supplied to the engine.


This problem had been happening for a while, so I had to manually prime it before I wanted to start it. I had to get towed home from the middle of Bacton/Witton Woods, fun. It turned out to be a five minute fix; remove bowl and disguard seal, and then search our stock for a good fitting O-ring. I’m not worried about not having a guaze in place, as I’ve managed to fit an inline fuel filter.

My next job is to fit a new 7 pin towing socket. I’m most probably going to fit it in the PTO port in my rear crossmember, as I keep knocking it off when I drive over heavy fields when my drop-hitch decides to become a subsoiler.


Tools and more tools

Since the 1950’s and the birth of the mainstream “Home Mechanic” it is widely recognised that no man in the British Isles can have under his possession enough tools.

Whether you’re an Iron and Steam enthusiast with air hammers and fishplate spanners or a boy racer with a full plastic encased set of Halford’s professional, every man has his own specialised tool fetish.

My heart is set  in the golden era of engineering when brands such as Britool and King Dick were everyman’s market leader if he wanted a sturdy tool for his cantilever box which he tucks in the “work’s van.” The test of time has proved their worth.

One great supplier I’ve found in my countless hours of dossing about at college is whitworthspanners.com , They sell what I can only imagine is ex-mod and railway tools obtained via warehouse clearances etc. The products that I’ve had from them have been nice and low priced yet really good quality. My favourite is a 1940’s Britool cylinder head spanner which is 3/4″ american fine on each end, it’s perfect for my Land Rover as it has a double bend in one end and a long handle, this enables my to tighten up the head bolts without removing the rocker cover, due to a socket not fitting above them. I also have a really good and strong pair of pry bars from them for just nine quid, bargain!

If anybody has any links to good websites selling old tools for restorers etc, I’d be extremely greatful if you left a comment.