Door Lock Fun Fact

If I understood Mr. Wolf correctly, the three doors on my truck can all be locked from the outside, but not from the inside. Which means I can stop worrying about locking myself inside the truck. On the down side, car jackers won’t have to come up with elaborate ruses to get me to unlock the doors. They just yank it open and drag me out.

Radiator Muff

We’re finally entering the farkle phase of the Land Rover project. According to the Urban Dictionary “The word is generally accepted to mean a combination of “function” and “sparkle”, hence, farkle. Motorcycle enthusiasts may install accessories, called farkles (also spelled farkel), to customize their machine.” Today Mr. Wolf added a grill muff to my truck.

From the Rovers North website: “Dramatic increase in your heater’s output, quicker warm-up, reduced engine stress. In the snow-belt, this simple accessory will make a big difference in a Land Rover’s winter performance. By controlling the airflow through the radiator in freezing weather, the engine can run at its optimum operating temperature. This means reduced engine wear and increased heater output. We have developed this radiator muff exclusively for our customers and we believe it is the finest one you will find. Made of heavy Cordura® Nylon with sturdy fasteners for a secure fit and long life.”

I’ve seen these on big trucks and even recall seeing people attach a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator. So they must work (or Mr. Wolf wouldn’t have brought it up). Only $50 and the small (2.25 liter) diesel engine in my truck doesn’t like the cold. As for heating the cab of the truck… imagine a large dog breathing on your feet.

UPDATE: I’ve moved this post up from last week to use the new photo. The Spanish license plate adds a touch of Euro-exotica and the Santana badge proclaims my pride the in Spanish heritage of my truck. Olé!

Cruising Speed

When the topic of Series Land Rovers comes up (almost never) someone is sure to point out the trucks are a little hard to drive, they’re noisy, and they’re slow. Top speed around 55 mph.

Last night Mr. Wolf shared this photo of my truck’s speedometer cruising nicely at 50 mph. I’m hoping to hear more about how the car handled on the highway and I’ll update this post. One more thing almost everyone says about Series Land Rovers: They are fun to drive. Again, Mr. Wolf:

On two separate occasions someone slowed from 80 mph, moved all the way over from the fast lane to pull up next to me and give a very emphatic thumbs up. First one was a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, second one was a Tesla Model S P90D

This sounds like he was on the freeway — something I won’t be doing — but nice to know the truck can cruise at a decent speed.

Road Test

The Rover gets its first real road test today when Mr. Wolf drives it down to San Jose (40 miles). Doubt he’ll be on the freeway but doubt traffic on secondary roads is much slower. Eagerly await his report. A brief summary of latest fixes:

  • The front leaf spring shackles were assembled incorrectly, and without any grease. This was allowing the front springs to shift laterally, making the steering sloppy and causing an occasional clunk. Greased and reassembled.
  • Britpart steering damper that came on the truck was faulty, at times not damping at all, at other times binding. The truck is driving great without it right now, but I should probably put a new one on there.
  • The filler neck. (long story)
  • The odometer rolled over 600 km yesterday, so I gave it an oil change. Note: it holds 9 quarts, not 7 like the manual says. I think it has an extra large filter housing.
  • I think I finally solved all of the brake issues. The final piece of the puzzle was pulling the master cylinder and shortening the booster pushrod. It was adjusted much too long, not allowing fluid to come back into the master cylinder.

If you’ve been following this story you might be wondering about the quality of the restoration. And rightly so. I was warned from the beginning that a nuts-and-bolts, frame-off restoration isn’t the end of the process. There will be problems that just can’t be spotted until you put some kilometers on the truck. That said, Mr. Wolf has found a lot of careless mistakes. And he’s fixed them. He’s still fixing them.

Buying a restored vintage vehicle is risky business. Even more so if you have zero experience. My salvation has been having someone who can spot and fix the problems. By the time my truck is done I’m confident it will be as close to perfect as a 40 year old truck can be.

Would I do this again, knowing all that I know now? I would. If you are in a hurry and easily pissed off… this isn’t the route for you. And if my new/old Land Rover stops running a week after I get it, I’ll sit in it and drink beer in the back yard.

Age of Offlining

Another thought-provoking post from David Cain. Once again he perfectly articulates a feeling (can you articulate a feeling?) I’ve had for some time. Like his take on social media: The phrase “social media” itself has become mostly pejorative, code for time-wasting habits, superficial relationships, and the mob mentality.

It’s become too much. Way too much “online.” But I think a shift is happening. It’s becoming more obvious that always-on connectivity is having some serious side effects on our minds and our society. More of us want less internet. […] I think, or maybe just hope, we’re on the cusp of an “Age of Offlining,” an era characterized by a conscious mass departure from using the internet in such reflexive, uncontrolled ways.

Internet connectivity will always be a vital part of our infrastructure, but its services don’t need to be hyper-connected and endlessly distracting. […] I want to go down to the basement after work, put my messages and my writings into the box, take other people’s messages and writings out, and read them in my easy chair. And I want a big mechanical switch to shut it all off when I’m done with it.

I’ve been hearing versions of this from some of the most thoughtful people I know.

Four chords

I came across a video showing how most pop songs are made with the same four chords. This got me wondering which chords go together so I asked my ukelele mentor, Professor Peter. Knowing my musical limitations, he dumbed it way down. If you want a 4 chord group:

A, F#m, D, E(7) – or
G, Em, C, D(7) – or
F, Dm, Bb, C(7)- or
C, Am, F, G(7)

When I started noodling around with these I noticed each group sounded like every teenage tragedy song from the early 60’s so I started jotting down high school memories. A quick, stream of consciousness list: high school cafeteria; AM radio; drag racing; orange vodka and cherry slo gin; fake IDs; 3.2 beer; drive-in movies; etc. I plugged ’em into C-Am-F-G7 and came up with three verses in search of a chorus.

The cool kids table in school lunch room
The A-M radio, playin’ our tunes
They put my jockstrap on my head
You go too fast, you wind up dead

Some orange vodka after the prom
Passed geometry with help from mom
My buddy Jimmy had a fake ID
But three-two beer was good enough for me

Too hot to neck at the local drive-in
Wasted money on the cherry slo gin
Suzie’s footprints on the dash of my car
You can leave but you can’t go far

I’ll cast these crumbs upon the water in hopes that someone will come up with the chorus.

The first 1,000 miles

The first thousand miles after a frame-off restoration are important. This is when you find the inevitable small (and our case, large) things that need “sorting out,” as the Brits say. Mr. Wolf has finally been able to do this kind of diagnostic driving.

Drove the Rover a bit this weekend, and it was quite enjoyable. Next will be hooking the brake booster backup and fine tuning the brake shoe adjustments. Still waiting on the replacement filler neck hose. (The exhaust is) pretty darn good, I think we’re within the normal range now. A bit of smoking for 30 seconds or so after a cold start, then a regular amount for a healthy diesel in normal driving. Cold starts as still a little labored, but I want to get fresh glow plugs in it before I make a decision there. The “direct replacement” glow plugs I bought for it before didn’t fit, need to track down the right ones.

This process is critical and something most owners do themselves (I assume). Given what this truck cost, one might argue it should have been part of the restoration but that’s fluid through the crankcase. I’m fortunate to have Mr. Wolf to find and fix these things.