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   Honey the Bunny Chaser

The 2nd 1991 Range Rover Vogue 3.9V8 Auto - on LPG

April 2009

Honey is my second 1991 Range Rover 3.9 Vogue Auto with LPG, and has JUST arrived at Maison-Tef.

No one has noticed yet..... she's exactly the same age, exactly the same shape, and exactly the same colour as Jaqui, my 'other' 1991 Range rover 3.9 Vogue Auto with LPG, though she does have a few differences!

Basically, after three years, I had got to the point where I just had to admit defeat; I did not have the where-with-all to get Jaqui through another MOT. Shame because she still runs great; but the top tailgate had disintegrated into a pile of red-oxide on my drive, and she needed far too much money spending on her, and work I just am no longer strong enough to do.

So I looked long and hard at what was was on offer out there, and EVEN, I have to confess, looked at 4x4's of 'other makes' I EVEN looked at a few JEEP Gran Cherokee's!

But, after weighing things up, came back into my wrong state of mind, and concluded it had to be a Land-Rover again. So started hunting, and.... oh no! I started looking at Discovery's...... worse DIESEL Discoveries....... Well, they are a Range Rover, REALLY, aren't they, just in trendy working cloths!

For the money in my pocket though; there was nothing that really suited. The Disco's are nice enough I suppose; but at the tag end of their life, finding one that didn't look like a dog had chewed it was tough; so it was back to Rangies, which still seem to offer more motor for your money.

And Honey, well, she cost me quite a bit more than Jacqui did, to be honest; finding a 'bargain' is getting tougher! And she isn't in as great a shape as Jacqui was when I got her, either. BUT she was 'cheap' or at least cheap enough, and is a much better starting point to fettle into shape than Jacqui is.

Most remarkable feature she possesses is a top tailgate..... not only that, one that opens, and closes, without showering you with rust! Even MORE remarkably, she latches..... both sides...... AND locks!

But...... she needs a lot of TLC. She is a lot like an old Golden Labrador dog my grandmother 'rescued' when I was ten, also called Honey... she was the 'companion' of an old Lady in the lake district, and at seven years old, she was used to having things her own way. She was a very 'matronly' mutt who'd turn her nose up at her food, and expected lots of 'treats', climbed onto all the furniture, and looked at you sideways if you tried to make her move.

But she had a devil in her, did our Honey; and she came to live with us because after the old lady went into a home, none of her relatives could manage her. Most of the time she would lounge around the house; rattle her lead to take her for a walk, and she raise her nose at you, then bury it in a cushion and steadfastly ignore you..... but THEN she'd get the devil in her and decide she wanted to go play and this overweight hound would suddenly get up and start charging around the house knocking stuff over, skidding on the parquet in the hall and generally going 'cracker-bang' until you let her out and opened the boot of the car to take her to the local playing fields.......

Open the boot at the local park, and she would tear off across it like she had a string of fire crackers tied to her tail, chasing hither and dither and NOT coming back when she was called........ And it was all to do with rabbits!

She'd grown up in Beatrix Potter territory in the Lakes, and apparently at the bottom of the garden to the cottage where she had lived was a rabbit warren, and she used to 'play' with the rabbits...... not entirely sure the rabbits saw it like that, but any way, when she got a sniff of rabbit, she'd be set, and she would scent and sniff and paw and chase until she managed to catch one! Didn't know what to do with it when she DID, but that didn't matter; she was going to catch her quarry no matter what.

Now, we lived in an old farm-house, surrounded by fields. Full of rabbit hutch houses now, fittingly, but back then, they were full of rabbits, and we eventually realised that when Honey got scent of one, THAT was what set her off, and if you DIDN'T take her out, she'd do it herself....... My Granddad spent MANY hours stapling chain-link to the stock-fences around the garden, and there was a LOT of fence to be stapled! And not ONLY did it have to be stapled, it had to be buried a foot into the ground beneath, because otherwise she'd dig under it!

And she STILL managed to find a way out, when she was of a mind! And guess WHO was sent over the fields to find her when she did! Yup; yours truly! And I'd usually find her in the blue-bell wood, sniffing out rabbits, or in the meadow tearing hither and dither between the wood and the hedgerows!

And this seems uncannily like Honey the Rangie! she's a cantankerous old girl, and is not inclined to move when you ask her to! At the moment, this may be something to do with a poorly LPG system, and a V8 that is not in the best of fettle; but you definitely get the sense of that dog, burying her nose in the upholstery at the idea of exercise!

Meanwhile, she ALSO seems to have a yearning to frolic in the fields. She doesn't seem to have been used for any particularly demanding off-roading, but she definitely seems to have a hankering for some, and got all exited when I took her for a test drive, heading up a farm track! So we'll see!

Right now, she needs some attention. Mentioned the motor; I'm hoping she doesn't need much more than a dang good service. If not, then it looks like I might have to do a transplant and fit Jacqui's to her.

Main thing that needs sorting though is that her sills are completely shot.... I mean SHOT..... rusted through, gone, departed, extinct! Welding is on the cards..... lots of it! But thankfully none of it is yet 'critical' and she has plenty of test left before it becomes a big issue. But it scheduled for attention next week, with a bit of luck.

Then there is her steering box, which is a right state; worse than Jacqui's when I got her; but again, Jacqui shall be kindly donating the reconditioned steering box I fitted to her three years ago to remedy that. (She's already given up her fan belt!)

And she will probably also be giving up some trim; which is likely to include the passenger seat, which doesn't tilt, and possibly the roof.

Not too sure about that one yet; but she has a severe case of Bedouin Tentitus, with the dralon hanging from the ceiling. And one of the few differences between her and Jacqui is that Jaqui has a sun-roof, and reasonably tidy headlining.

Think I may just pull the headlining out and re-trim it for a feature on the site; its a common question, and it should be a bit easier than swapping the roofs.

But I am swapping components off the LPG system to try and find the cause of her poor running; so far swapping the mixture valve off Jacqui and substituting it for the electronic one on Honey has got her at least working on gas, but as there doesn't seem to be a fault with the stepper valve, I think it may be the evaporator / regulator, so that's next to investigate.

So, watch for the updates, because it looks like this old girl is going to generate some interesting little tasks to be chronicled! Main thing though is I'm back on, and hopefully OFF the road.

Other than that, I need do little more than that point out a few things about Honey, I haven't yet mentioned. She has a boot mounted LPG tank, rather than under floor 'torpedoes'. I THINK that tank is a 110l job, mounted across the back of the rear seat. This DOES make the seats difficult to fold down, though that's a rather pointless exercise.

But then, I did a bit of head scratching and worked out that in three years driving Jacqui, I folded the back seats down, I think three times. In contrast, I lost count of the number of times I clanged the sill tanks!

I think this MAY be the better compromise, especially as an audit of Jacui's boot reveals that where Honey's LPG tank is I have two staka-boxes; one full of kids beach toys, the other full of such essentials as wellies three sizes to small for any-one, and assorted 'parts' I had never got round to fitting!

Next, she still has her brooklands spoiler, complete with spotlights, which remarkably still have their lenses! I am not sure whether I shall remove this yet...... It may be prudent to do so deliberately with spanners, rather than doing it the way I did with Jacqui..... and using bits of undergrowth!

On which topic, she has a nice matching set of Wrangler AT's on her un-matching tri-corn alloys. The ones on the nearside of the car are blue; but NOT colour matched to the car. On the off-side they are standard grey.

I am torn as to whether I OUGHT to fit Jacqui's rims with her incredibly useful INSA Dakar mud tyres. They'd look good....... but they'd also let me take her places extremely threatening to her body-work! Knowing me, I probably will, and I'll probably regret it after, but, c'est la vive!

Watch this space!.............................

..................... because I'm sure she'll be featuring in a few adventures yet to come!

Shame She arrived a week to late, or I'd have taken her to Bala for the LRO Forumer's Camping week-end....... which I had to attend in a Honda  Civic!

May 2009

Well, Honey has been in my tender care for just about seven weeks now, and I'm BROKE! The tax has just come up for renewal, and due to a couple of set backs, has to be paid in the same week as a big chunk of dosh for welding her sills; all budgeted for, but, I've just had the kids for the half term holiday, and am nor RATHER stretched for the planned Green-Laning expedition I have been REALY REALLY hoping to head off on!

But any way, lets start at the beginning! When I collected Honey, there were three main issues to tackle; She had rotten sills, didn't run on gas, had a steering box the seals were about to fall out of, and head-lining I wore as a hat!

Getting Gas

Well, first thing to be tackled was the gas-supply. Not heavy mechanics, just fiddling, and I started that almost as soon as I got her, and managed to get her running on LPG by swapping over the mixture valve from Jaqui and running her open loop, though I THOUGHT the problem may have lain with her evaporator.

So I swapped Honeys Evaporator with Jaqui's and didn't see any significant improvement, so went back to looking at the mixture valve.

I have NEVER looked at one of these before, and have absolutely NO Idea how it works, but figured what the heck, and on my kitchen work-surface, started taking it to bits!

Bit like a kid with a clockwork mouse, actually, and JUST like a kid with a clockwork mouse, springs and gears and allsorts 'pinged' everywhere, a plunger hitting me on the head, as soon as I tugged the casings apart!

''Err....." I thought... "Um!.... how's this work then?"

Actually seems pretty simple, there's a motor in the black bit, and that pushes a plunger that in turn pushes a piston up and down a barrel against a spring across the bore of the pipe. I guessed out how it most likely went together, and went back out and plugged it in, and with Honey Running on Jacqui's open loop system, watched to see what it did.

Now before I'd seen that piston 'move', but now watching, I saw it not just drop to the bottom of the bore, but move up and down a bit, as I tweaked the throttle, then move further when I revved the engine! Which looked helpful, so I pulled Jacqui's bits back off, put Honeys back on, and tried her out again!

But, after a lot of head-scratching, and fiddling with settings, I realised I had turned down the delivery pressure from the evaporator, to suit running the open loop mixture valve, which had been opened up. Winding the evaporator delivery pressure up a few turns, and messing with the course mixture setting on the stepper, and WHEY! off she went!

I think I like closed loop gas...... a LOT more responsive than open loop, and I guess, the 'problem' was a stuck stepper-mixture piston, fixed, serendipitously, when the thing exploded in my kitchen!

Wot a Lot of Rot!

So, onto the sills. Concurrent with the gas problem, I did some investigating and thinking and plotting and planning.

My first job was to find some-one to do the welding. I have mentioned the subject many times, I don't do 'structural', and these days I probably shouldn't do any at all.... heavy-mechanics, but to keep costs reasonable, I had to do at least some of the prep.

My first port of call, was Neil at Arbury Coach Works, who welded the bulkhead on Wheezil however many years ago, and runs a tricked up 90 as his works recovery vehicle, and has a bob-tailed two-door Rangie for 'fun'! Anyway, Pete, the gaffer has semi-retired, so Neil now does all the MOT work, and didn't want to take on a big welding job one of his new apprentices couldn't handle, but recommended Dave, and old friend of Pete's, also in semi-retirement who did 'bits and bobs' on the side, to keep him busy.

He came over and had a look, and to keep the cost reasonable, I agreed to do the 'prep' and strip off the sill covers, take out the back seats, lift the carpets and that kind of stuff so he could see how much needed doing, and actually get on with it, without too much hassle.

He had jobs on that week, and I had the kids the following week-end, so he agreed to come back ten days later, give me a better quote, and take her away and weld her up.

So, I set too and started stripping.

With the sill covers off, and everything exposed, which was no mean feat in itself, as the capping and trim did NOT want to budge, and I sheared two bolts trying to take the back seats out.... it didn't look TOO bad! Not good, for sure, but I have seen worse which people have either just plated or re-skinned.

But, the bottoms of the sills were bad, and she'd gone through in both front foot wells and the corners of the rear wheel arch. It seemed pointless to try and patch that much, better to cut it out and renew.

One bit of good news though was the rear wheel-arches.

When I had bought Honey, this had been a sales 'feature' mention, it claimed that they had been plated, in 'stanless'.

Now when I turned up to view, I examined that area marked by the roughly applied red primer, and poked it with my pen-knife.

It was NOT metal... it was in fact filler. And the implication was that she HADN'T been plated, but the holes had been gobbed full of Davids P38 and maybe a bit of fibre-glass.

What 'Plate' there was appeared no more than a large spreader plate put behind the seat belt anchorage bolt, and I pointed this out to the seller, at the time, marking it as an area for attension.

BUT, one of those small joys, stripping back for Dave, under probably half an INCH of filler, I struck metal..... good metal, and it looks like it IS stainless steel!

I was quite delighted, and more than a little impressed, because welding stainless isn't easy, and who-ever did this dolled sections to shape to cover a wide area of the rotten arch, well beyond the edges of the hole.

What did annoy me though, was that after going to all that trouble, and displaying that much command of the craft, I presume the same bloke copped out on finishing the job, and left those holes under the door striker plate, gobbing them with an old amber-leaf packet and more P38! However!

Doing a bit of research on the forums, I came across this solution applied to a Disco. Replacement sill, with attached tree slider loop, the iron-mongery apparently available off the shelf. However, its just a skin, plated over the outer sill and bottom, and cut around the bottom of the door pillars, it offended my sense of engineering aesthetics. But a couple of people had apparently replaced the entire inner and outer sill with standard, heavy duty rectangular section. This seemed a much more elegant, and actually easier way of going about things, so I set my mind to work, got out a tape measure, then sketched what was forming in my mind.

Basically, replacing the entire sill section with a big, heavy duty box of metal, shaped at the ends to smooth the approach of any strike onto it, and with a tubular slider loop attached under the doors.

I talked the notion through with Dave when he came back, and he thought it a good one, but he didn't have the steel, and would have remade the entire section in sheet, but if I got the box section, he was happy to have a go at it.

Back to the old bug bear of metal suppliers not wanting to deal with amateurs buying small quantities, but, Steel Express in Bilston were recommended to me, they aren't 'cheap' but they will supply to the public, and they will deliver, paying the driver. So I ordered the necessary.

Then, after a week and a half's delay, because Dave was ill, meaning a hoped for 'Laning debut with the kids during half term, couldn;t happen, but now she's back, and looking Goo---oo--ooD!

The New sill is 100x60x3mm thick box section, its almost exactly the same size as the original tin plate, and Dave squeezed it into the channel of the old metal left from cutting out the bottom and front entirely, leaving just a lip of the old outer sill to locate it.

Front and rear footwells have been plated, as has the floor in the rear around the arches, which Dave's 'tidied up' a bit. Door pillars have been fish-plated, and the ends of the box section closed and, at the font edge, shaped to give a ramp against any thing they may strike.

And he plated up those holes around the rear door strikers in proper metal too.

So, I am pretty happy with it all, though you'll notice the tree-loops didn't happen!

When I was pondering, 'rock-Sliders' or 'Jackeable-Sills' aren't normally the sills themselves, but a separate structure that replaces the sill covers. This is so that they protect the sills.

Now, a standard sill is vulnerable, because it is made from two seamed pressings, which don't take too long to end up as rusty as you saw mine were. Reason for adding 'protection' is to protect that structure. IF it takes a hefty strike, normally the first thing to happen is that the seam on the lower edge gets bent, possibly propagating a split. If not, the bottom or sides can get dented or even holes, particularly if the metal has corroded a bit thin.

As shown, cutting out and replacing sills, either because of rot, or because of damage isn't quick, cheap or easy, so if you have good sills, makes sense to protect them with a rock-slider that replaces the sill cover.

But, the problem then, is how to mount them. For best strength they should really be attached to the chassis out-riggers, but they are on the other side of the sill, leading to various arrangements where-by the slider is attached under the sill via brackets, but is then vulnerable to bending up into the door bottoms, or being attached to the sill, where any strike impact it takes has to be taken through the sill and the body mounts... or often bracketed to the outriggers AND welded to the sill, effectively permanently attaching the body to the chassis and negating the isolation provided by the rubber mounts!

I thought long and hard on the matter, and concluded that by losing the seam on the bottom of the sill between inner and outer sill sections, using seamless steel box section, and a gauge of steel almost as thick as the chassis... the sill itself SHOULD be pretty tough!

The chamfer on the leading edge should, in the case of a strike make it act LIKE a rock-slider, directing the strike under the sill, and along the smooth bottom. But what I have to remember is that this is NOT a Rock-Slider, or a bit of sill protection... it IS the Sill!

Which was why, when I considered the tree-slider loop, to be permanently attached to the sill, I chose a size and gauge of pipe, 1mm thick 1 1/8" diameter, that the competition lads all said emphatically was too thin and would almost certainly bend or buckle under load.

Which was actually my hope! Bit like crumple zones, and remembering that this construction IS the sill, not 'protection', I've beefed it up, so it's not so likely to be damaged by any impact, but those forces have to go somewhere, and the next link in the chain is the body mounts, so not over-loading those, I figured a slider loop that would crumple, before damaging anything it was attached to was a good idea.

However, after a bit more thought, the notion has been shelved, since neither I not Dave have a set of pipe benders to shape the tube, and I couldn't find any-one with a tool to assist.... so the pipes are stacked in the shed, for me to ponder some more.

Rushing on!

Meanwhile, more pressing, apart from getting the interior back in, has been sorting the steering box. Between picking Honey up, and handing her over to Dave, the seals in it finally gave up, making this task a bit more urgent.

So far, while Dave was doing the Welding, I have removed the reconditioned PAS box from Jacqui, who is starting to look rather sorry for herself, and I MUST get her into some kind of shape so I can at least move her to get the caravan out this year! But, that's for another day.

I'm now on a deadline; I have the kids again, this week-end, and after three aborted plans to get this old lady frolicking in the fields, have tentatively planned a trip to Derbyshire to drive Stannage, this week-end, with some of the LRO Forumers, including Organ Grinder & the Little Silver Safe 'Cracker' Chappers!

So, I now have two days, to get the cracked steering box of Honey.... which I expect will be three times as difficult as it was getting Jaqui's off, since that was only fitted three years ago, by a considerate and Coppa-slip happy mechanic... Me! This one I expect to be stubborn!

THEN I have to get the recon box fitted up and plumbed in...... and IF I have time, because Stannage has a bit of a reputation for removing bits of body-work, I want to try and get the Brooklands spoiler off.

The head-lining, I think can wait! Though if I have a chance, I may try and fit the CB, because I expect that we'll be using the Hand-Held CB's quite a bit to talk each other through the trickier sections...... IF I get there of course!

July 2009

Well, we didn't make it to Stannage. I took a look at the Brooklands, and decided, to take it off right away, as it might make getting the steering box off easier, and it did. Not much, the steering box was still a swine, but that too, eventually played ball, and by the time I collected the Kids on Friday, had, fingers crossed, a viable vehicle again.

So, while the kids played with thier friends, I set to and cobbled the CB into place. Still not wired in too neatly, the aerial cables draped across the dash rather than tucked away behind it, and I need to do something a bit more 'useful' with the aerial mount. Its currently sat on a sort of home made gutter clamp.

Anyhow, rain suggested to Rhys, that we ought to fit the muds, rather than go on the Wranglers, so, we set about swapping those over, too. BUT; come Saturday night, all set to head up to Staffordshire to spend the night at my mums Caravan, we had a little 'wibble'. I wont go into the details, but the children suddenly were over wrought by 'fears' about any excursion we may go on, and quite co-incidentally, and I really CANT imagine who it might have been....... but there was a letter in the mail asking me to supply DVLA with a load of info over my 'disability' as they had received 'confidential' information, that I ought to have surrendered my driving licence! Oh, I WONDER if the two are connected some how! How bloody petty and vindictive can some people be, eh?

Anyway, that put the kybosh on that week-ends adventure, so giving Honey some kind of 'Shake-Down' had to wait a week, and instead, I toddled over to Sibbertoft Pay & Play venue on the Leicestershire/Northamptonshire boarder, with a Mate called Abe, with a beige 84 Range rover, with a Disco TDi engine in it, he has STILL to get muddy! It was a good day, and when I get round to it, will be detailed in 'The Sibbertoft shake-Down'.

Unfortunately, it did throw up a couple of new niggles. Honey's distict lack of power started to get greater throughout the day, which I thought might just be the heat and the mud, but she was getting more and more difficult to start, until finally, asked to help drag a Pejaru out of a swamp, she wouldn't start at all, and defied jump leads and general fiddling, and Abe hauled me home on the end of a rope.

The 'Problem', was a dead starter motor, or at least that was one of them. The other was a broken down ignition coil, but diagnosing that had to wait until I'd first cleaned the car, or at least as much of it as I could get at without being able to start her up and turn her around on the drive.

Then, I had to remove the starter motor, to find it was a dodo. Cranking the recalcitrant old bitch, had seen off what little life it had left in it; which judging by the state of the brushes and bushes, hadn't been much.

Its an awkward job, getting a V8 starter off, and without the 80 odd to procure a new replacement, had to do it twice, and I didn't think to take any pictures for a how to. Main problem is that the starter is hidden right at the back of the engine bay, under the drivers side exhaust manifold, and held there by what look like two simple to remove allen headed bolts.

Oh No! They are NOT easy to remove, because there is so little space around them, there is no where to swing a ratchet! Consequently, to undo them, you have to string together a chain of socket extensions and knuckle joints, the entire length of the engine, so you can actually turn the ratchet at some point near the fan belt pulley!

Given the length of the drive train, and the lack of support it has, needless to say, the allen socket rarely stays in the bolt head, which is probably half full of rust and crud anyway, so you are lucky to get away without rounding the fastener out, which would be a bit dire, because you couldn't get a drill or grinder in there if you had to!

What I COULD get in there, though, was my trusty old impact driver, and a few taps with teh allen socket on the end of that first, managed to loosen the bolts off a bit, AND drive the allen socket week into the bolt, so I only swore, Oh? Fifty or sixty times, and managed to avoid rounding anything out..... but then you may remember I had to do the same job on Bert.

That 'fixed' with Honeys dead starter removed, and substituted by Jaquis starter, I could then start trying to fault find the cause of the non-starting; which took a while, but proved ultimately to be the coil, discovered again, by substituting parts from Jaqui, whose now looking even MORE sorry for herself!

With that sorted, I could then finish cleaning her, and I'' tell, you, they have a VERY sticky variety of clay at Sibbertoft! Came of in clods... it was a real SOD to clean, phnar! And it didn't impress the neighbours having it all washing down the pavement to the drains outside in the street!

Which was as far as I got, before a certain Dirty-Girtie, of dubious forum fame, threw up a distress signal, as her beloved 'Her-Landyship' had failed her MOT on a plethora of braking problems, and a torn windscreen wiper!

And being the gallant I am, offered her the use of my drive, tools and expertise, if she wanted to come over and have a crack at doing a brake overhaul, following the 'how-to' I wrote on the topic a while back, which she thought a very good idea, and duly toddled over and parked Her-Ladyship up between Jaqui and Honey while she set too scrambling about beneath her, and I did a few odd jobs on Honey, like discover I had a pin hole in one of the exhaust collectors, and refitted the number plate, and Wranglers.

And with all THAT out of the way, and the start of the kids school holidays, we set off for Salisbury plain, for a green-lane adventure, chronicled in 'The Salisbury Safari'. Which, went surprisingly well, give or takle a few mis-fires, and a rather disturbing 'thirst' problem on LPG, which saw us use about half as much more fuel as I'd anticipated, and perhaps twice what she should have, which has persisted, on a run up to my mothers, and rather defeated being able to use half-price fuel.

This needs to be investigated, desperately, but having JUST returned the children, and JUST got Her-Landyship off my drive after three weeks, I'm in no hurry to start delving into Honey's engine bay...... I'm just hoping its something simple, like a leaky hose or union, a bit of pipe or a jubilee clip will solve, since she's drunk her way through this fortnights pay, and I have little left to find the gas to run her up and start prodding, let alone, but new bits for her!

November 2010

It's been a long time since I updated this blog, and a lot has happened in that time, unfortunately, not much of it with Honey! After the Salisbury Safari, we had another adventure to Wiltshire in October 2009 to drive parts of the Ridgeway, before it closed for the winter. It was a two day 'run' I haven't got round to writing up, but was all good fun, with little misadventure to report.

Most drastic malady of the week-end was I broke a wing-mirror. NOT clobbering it on anything hard and unyielding, doing anything interesting, but being ham-fisted trying to adjust it before going on the motorway!

After that, Honey's activities were restricted to normal domestic duties until the end of November, when, for The Rasta-Blanca's birthday, and because I was being pestered by Dona and kids to do some more 'off-roading' we went back to Sibbertoft, where we got stuck in a big mud-hole again! But nothing got broke, she was just rather caked in mud, and remained so throughout most of the rest of the winter.

Christmas was Chaos. More so, because apart from Donna becoming a part of the family number three son had been kicked out and came to stay with me. I had little time and less inclination to be cleaning brake callipers, and then her MOT ran out. Christmas spending saw me short of funds, so nothing was done to her in January, or February, and it was actually Easter before I finally managed to start sorting 'stuff'. Which started with the exhaust, which was basically disintegrated and leaking everywhere.

Trying to do everything on a budget, wasn't getting me very far, and eventually LRO Forumer Alistair came to my aid, donating half a stainless system he had left over from his old classic, when he sold her to buy Mabel the 101 Ambulance. However, it didn't want to play ball, and of course some of the manifold studs decided to shear when I took the old ones off.

Much swearing ensued, until I eventually capitulated and took the manifolds off to try and drill the sheared studs out. and even then it took about ten days of more swearing until I had something in the holes that an exhaust would clamp to. But once it did, the down-pipes and centre box went on, though not as easily as I'd have hoped, but I had nothing from there to the back of the car, and the sections I had couldn't be convinced to do the job, so it all had to wait some more time until I had some money to grudgingly buy some new sections, that would.

By June, it was looking promising, and I booked an MOT, which she failed. NOT the hugely bad news I'd expected, she only needed the brake pads changing, and the steering swivel pre-load shimming. I wasn't inclined to start messing with the swivils, and the garage gave me a reasonable quote, so I booked it for them to do, and came home.... with a blown head-gasket!

Pulling the Rad revealed that all my best attempts at blowing it through with the pressure washer had been to little avail, and there was a thick layer of silt between the air-con evaporator and the radiator! Probably not the cause of the head-gaskets going, but certainly unhelpful!

Oh DEAR! I had seven days to get THAT fixed, before the re-test. Needless to say, I didn't make it, and after pulling the heads off and sorting it all out, it was nearly a month before it was back at the MOT centre, in fact it was ONE day before our summer holiday.... to Bala for the LRO Forumer's annual bash!

And taking photos as I went, was not a high priority in the list of things I HAD to do!

But, despite a couple of set-backs.... the rear hub-bearings needing replacing! She passed, HOURS before we were due to leave! And the following morning we set of, once again, for Bala, THIS time in a Land-Rover!

But with no time to de-bug her, the run to Wales was her shake-down. Two faults were noted. The battery kept going flat, and she wasn't holding water. This was eventually diagnosed as a 'dickey' rather than completely duff alternator, providing juice, but not much, and a brand new water-pump, fitted purely as a precaution, was ultimately found to be the culprit of the water leak!

That particular fault, left her on the Drive through August, after our return from Wales, while I worried about other things, and got round to replacing the gasket, which turned out not to be the problem, discovering instead that it was the impellor seal.

That was identified in September, BUT, I still haven't fixed it! I've been too pre-occupied trying to sort Donna's little Honda Super-Dream project, and get it out of my living room!

She also needs a flat tyre fixing. Two in fact, as the one that's gone flat is the 'spare' we fitted in Wales, because we had a puncture!

Watch this space, some time this decade I MIGHT actually get some more work done on her. The list of things to do is as follows:-

November 2011

Honey has sat forlorn on the drive, with little motorbikes absorbing all my attentions! MUST get round to that bug-list!

August 2013

It's not been forgotten! A new water pump has been fitted.... but the water poored straight out of a popped core plug!


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