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Flywheeling by the seat of our trousers

November 16th, 2009

Ambitious plans this week. We now have a car which is near to completion, but for a while now we have been contemplating dropping the gearbox out.

Having taken a lot of advice from the Foley Brothers Stuart and Paul over at Foley Special Vehicles, we decided to bite the bullet and tackle one of the jobs we’ve been dreading, so with the help of TJ Nicolson over at Better Prepared Vehicles, we disconnected the transfer box, hand brake drum, gear box and clutch bell housing and wrestled this mass of metal to the ground.

This was ostensibly in order to allow us access to the oil seal fund behind the clutch and flywheel. Whilst we had the plate off, we also decided to inspect the clutch plate and renew if necessary with our Britpart replacement clutch kit. Finally, it would also allow us to change our clutch fork over to a heavy-duty version.

So, we journeyed down to see TJ on Wednesday, stacked up to the ceiling with our kit and tools. However, these pale in comparison to TJs toys; he has three Defenders in varying stages of Overlanding prep. The two 90s are quite special themselves; one is an out and out mud-plugger and the other has been tweaked and tampered with to allow for rocket-ship acceleration.


However, its the big 130 that catches the eye. TJs pride and joy has more tricks up its sleeve than Paul Daniels. We spent a lot of time going over how TJ had set up his living quarters and jotted down a few tips before moving outside to get down to the mechanical side of things.

All went well despite the weather’s best attempts to drown us and all our tools in TJs workshop, with regular trips up to the cottage for tea and coffee keeping the spirits up. We managed to drop the bell housing and gearbox and found the clutch plate had been changed in 2006, so was in ok condition  but we have changed it for the Britpart anyway, thus ensuring that we have a new clutch and carry a working spare.

Unfortunately, this is where our luck ran out this week, as the next step meant the removal of the flywheel in order to change the oil seal at the back of the crankshaft. The flywheel came off ok, but on refitting a large crack was found between two of the bolt holes.

This was a major problem, as it left us with a £270 hole in our budget and unable to reassemble the car until we could find a replacement. To further compound our misery, this all happened on a Friday, thus allowing bugger all time to find and order a replacement.

Thankfully, we have both met a lot of generous people on our travel preparations thus far, none more so than the boys at Britpart. A quick call on Friday afternoon was all it took for Richard at Britpart to sort us out and dig us out of a very big and expensive hole; a new flywheel was in the post for Monday. Absolutely stunning work which has saved us spending money we simply don’t have to spend and also allowed us to get back on the road!


On top of this, we needed one of the front calipers tested as our fault finding continues with our spongy brakes. Tom jumped in the Civic and put the hammer down up to Birmingham and back to see John at Bigg Red Calipers, who took the caliper apart and pronounced it to be in perfect health. Damn, back to square one.

Meanwhile, Carl set about the woodwork in the back of the car and chasing down potential sponsors for a new set of wheels. The shelving in the back is taking shape, just need to get the car back from Southampton now in order to fit and finish it!


We also removed all of the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) components this week, which should help improve MPG and also give us a bit more boost from the turbo. In addition we are looking to extend all of the breather pipes to allow for an increased wading depth, remove and change the cracked brake servo, fit our D44 steering guard, plumb in the fuel sedimenter and sort out a few other small jobs. The work goes on!

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  • Koni
  • aalx designs
  • Bradt Travel Guids
  • Map Vivo
  • Antares - engineering with answers
  • EBC Brakes
  • Sentry Safes
  • Twisted Performance
  • X Eng
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  • Goodwinch
  • K and N
  • Kenlowe
  • Waeco
  • Polybush
  • MM 4x4 Land Rover
  • Keith Gott
  • comma
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  • BOSCH - invendted for life
  • Allparts - number 1 in car parts
  • Proppa
  • Goodyear 4x4
  • Aaron Radiator
  • Sign a rama
  • better Prepared
  • Devon 4x4
  • foley specialist vehicles
  • Labcraft LED lighting
  • Mammouth Premium
  • Plastor
  • Exmoor Trim
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  • aquarius
  • Master Lock
  • P and O Ferries
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