We’ve sprung a leak

The thing about owning a Rover is… its always something.

One week it is the brakes, and the next it is the fuel filter and the next it is the over drive and then its the shocks and then you’re on your back fixing the starter and then its the grease and bolts and nuts and trim…and the leaks… have you seen my parking spot? It looks like the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Richmond Virginia.

This is what it is all about. Some people play chess, and some do crosswords and others assemble little ships in impossibly small bottles. For me, it is working on the Rover. But it wasn’t always that way.

Sure, there have been some frustrations. I refer you, dear reader, to not only every post on this blog but the poignent lack of posts over the last few months. In fact, for your reference here is everything you missed:

  • busted starter – turns out the mid-1980′s engine I have was only made for 4 years and sold in the UK only. Starter from the UK was hard to source but surprisingly cheap.
  • fuel filter – apparently these are important. And apparently those little glass cups require a snug fit. And apparently getting them to fit again is really a challenge. Unless….unless you have a beer bottle cap. Troegs Nugget Nectar to be exact. Perfect fit.
  • MAR – the Mid Atlantic Rally Screen shot 2010-11-18 at 9.36.23 PM
    eriously, this is what it’s about – 500 rovers, fall weather, mud, dogs, trucks… is there anything better? Susan and I had a blast. We started out pretty timid. After hitting the “green” trails, we spent one morning using the new winch pulling out all manor of stuck Rovers. You’ve never truly tested a series frame until you’ve tied two rangies to the back and pulled defenders out of the mud. After that, we got up some courage and conquered the red trails. Who knew, series Rovers are smaller, lighter and geared right for some serious off road action.
  • Speaking of the wench – how awesome is that!!
  • Which brings us to camping we’re into it. Like really loving it. Susan and I pack up the Rover and head out into the national forest. There is something iconic about a Rover loaded down with gear and a dog, trekking through the woods.
  • The fuel tank after all the camping and this year’s MAR, I took the Rover to the local pressure  wash-it-yourself carwash. About 24 hours later, the tank started gushing gas. Apparently I disturbed the delicate balance of mud and rust that was holding the tank together…. if all goes well, the new tank will be in this week.

A non-starter

Originally uploaded by NickDawson

See those reduction gears? No you dont…and thats the problem.

something broke, what a shock!

Just a quick update – and apology since it has been a while….
The Rover is still purring like a kitten and it motors around town pretty well for a 36 year old – thats senior citizen in the SUV world. In fact, it was doing so well that I took it on a road trip down to Lynchburg. Normally a 2 & 1/4 hour jaunt, it was a good 3+ in the Rover. We were feeling like some mud and decided to drive up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and connect up with a trail system known as the P-Vine Trails. They were in fantastic shape (read 100% Virginia red clay mud) after a few weeks of rain. The Rover preformed flawlessly; like a billy goat down the side of a mountain. It was nimble when it needed to be and dug in when the trail got rough.

Unfortunately somewhere along the line, things must have gotten a bit rough. Although it was not discovered until an hour after we had traded the mud for asphalt, one of the older shock absorbers had given up the ghost. Most likely it happened on the rampart pictured above, the axles over articulated, the canvas retaining strap gave way and like Christmas popper being pulled at both ends the shock absorber snapped. The good news is that shocks are a luxury, not a requirement on these old rigs.

After taking it easy on the back roads back to Richmond, I set about to do some research. A few weeks and surprisingly reasonable amount of cash later, I found some replacements (I was talked into replacing all four…why not?). Thats where things got hard. Like everything on the Rover, I ran into snags. Someone decided to weld on the cotter pin that held the bottom part of the old shock to the axle mount. After 30 minutes of prep and another 90 minutes to remove the tire and most of the old shock it was apparent that the new one was not going on without a fight.

So the Rover is limping around town, rear drivers shock in absentia but not down for the count. Next warm(ish) dry(ish) weekend things are going to get nasty with a Sawzall, a blow torch and a pry bar. Stay tuned!

On safari in The Fan

On safari in The Fan

Originally uploaded by NickDawson

Hard top weather

Its that time of year – the hard top is back on and the Rover is getting ready for winter. I had hoped to refinish the hard top before winter, however timing got away from me. Its nice to have the rover sealed up. Surprisingly it even handles a little better with the spare tire on the rear door.

MAR 2009 video

The MAR – Mid Atlantic Rover Rally 2009

What happens when you gather two hundred Land Rover enthusiasts on a 1,000 acre farm in Virginia?

Roavstock , that’s what!

Susan and I got lucky – my 1973 Series III Land Rover left the rover hospital just in time to make the 2009 MAR. We spent all Saturday (its a 4 day event for most people), exploring the trails, meeting new friends and checking out some seriously spectacular off road machines.

Take a look at the pictures on Flickr.


For some serious off road action, have a look at RCC92′s video of some of the “red” trails

Mid Atlant Rally 2009


Originally uploaded by NickDawson

We are just back from the MAR – great event! You can see all of my pictures here on Flickr.

Guess what’s back in Richmond?

The Rover is back!

Just a quick update:

  • New brakes
  • engine timed
  • new points
  • new plugs

Looking forward to the Mid Atlantic Rally this weekend – will you be there?

To the rover hospital

to the rover hospital

Originally uploaded by NickDawson