Land Rover series 3 Electrical Rewire blog

Following on from the Fitted For Radio and Signals Trucks this Land Rover Series 3 is what I purchased feeling it would provide a sound basis for my Signals Truck.

Detailed through this story, the Land Rover had suffered an internal electrical fire by bad luck, or an “engineering solution” that someone set up some time ago.

She is Ebay purchase No 130 AND she is another thing that I bought “knowing it does not work”

Land Rover Series 3 109 Hi Capacity Pickup

Land Rover Series 3 109 Hi Capacity Pickup

The Ebay auction had this to say….

Land Rover Series 3 Diesel Hi Capacity Pick Up.Overdrive included. Ifor Williams Top. Free Wheel Hubs fitted. Selling with no reserve.

I purchased this Land Rover recently to use. However the vehicle caught fire while parked in the drive way and I don’t intend to fix so I am selling on.

Luckly the fire did not happen while I was driving. The fire was started by non standard positive starter motor cable that was fitted at some time in the vehicles past. This had rubbed its way through and made the chassis live. At this point it looks like things earthed back around the diesel stop cable starting a dashboard fire. This was put out rather than burning out (saw the smoke going past the outside window and initially expected it to be a bonfre and not my own vehicle !) hence the fire had caused some damage.

From what I can see the instruments, wiring and dash panels will need to be replaced.

I was getting ready to MOT the vehicle so had started fixing the odds and ends. Before the fire the lights were all working excluding one side light. On the drive back the vehicle went well. I drove the vehicle 115 miles without problem. The overdrive worked well and did not introduce more noise so seems good. All gears selected OK. Steering was heavier than some Land Rovers I have driven. Brakes worked OK. The seats were bad and are the later defender type. These need to be replaced as now also damaged by water. I only started the vehicle once from cold before it caught fire and there was some reluctance to start. The previous owner left an easy start can as the glow plugs look like they are not working. Some significant amounts of smoke when cold but did not smoke unduly on the drive back when warm.

MOT’s back to 1991 showing the indicating mileage of 61,000 is at least once round the clock. 98,000 miles in 1991.

You will need some way to collect the vehicle as it will not start and does not have electrics. It is taxed and MOTed but really believe a trailer or a flat bed would be needed.

I would like collection within 1 week of the auction ending. Payment is by Paypal only. UK bidders only. If you have less than 5 feedback please contact me before placing a bid. Please pay within 24 hours of the auciton ending or I will offer to the next highest biddder. These conditions only here due to problems before.

Happy bidding !

Fire damaged Land Rover Series 3 interior

Fire damaged Land Rover Series 3 interior

Land Rover Series 3 Fire damaged Dash

Land Rover Series 3 Fire damaged Dash

What I did not know at the time is the 1 Tonne Hi Capacity pick up body style was reasonably rare. However why it appealed to me is the pickup style rear is a module in itself and this suggested it would be ripe for converting into a box. I plan to use the normal Land Rover side panels probably to one and a half times normal height to give sufficient height in the box.

To my mind further plus’s were it was Diesel, had Overdrive and free wheeling hubs.

The fact that it had endured a fire, and was thus un-drivable to vendors description was to me, a red flag to a bull. I had decided I would drive it home even before seeing it. Considering I have never owned a Land Rover of any description, or worked on one, this might have been a tall order.

Having won the auction arrangements were made to borrow a friend who happened to be going that way, and a collection of tools assembled together with a spare battery.

Upon arrival the batteries were swapped over. At the starter motor, pre-engage type, the existing wiring was all disconnected. A new wire to the starter solenoid was connected. The main battery cable was still serviceable electrically but not safely – the insulation had rub through and caused the short circuit. I had a good length of flexible electrical conduit I’d brought along while cutting the end off this lead allowed me to sleeve the wire’s entire length in conduit removing this risk.

A this point part of the problem of someone else solution became apparent, the negative wire from the engine block to the battery was also colored red. The battery terminals had been made to fit with the addition of a nail, the type used to shoe horses. The Glow plugs were original series type, and while I had to hand a new set of parallel ones to hand I felt I should at least do  the minimum work to prove we have a running vehicle. The can of Easy Start sprayed into the air filter, the solenoid wire touched on to the battery and she was running.

The logic behind this being that a Diesel Engine does not need electricity to run once it is running. The second point who knew what damage had been done to the existing harness and frankly it was extensive. But being disconnected it really didn’t matter. With no electrics running, there was no need for the alternator either, besides which, this fully charged battery would have handled running stop lights and indicators all the way home without loosing breath.

At this point I was interested in wiring up the rear stop lights and indicators in a temporary fashion for the journey home, but there was an unforeseen problem that reared its head a this point.

There is a short length of accelerator cable that connects to the accelerator rod arrangement that runs across the bulkhead to the butterfly assembly. This cable was at the point where the short circuit had happened and it had seized at one end. Thus we had her running but we had no throttle at all – the peddle was on the floor.

Essentially this was a show stopper. However, I had bought a bag of cable ties with me and it was the seller’s idea that finally found a workable solution to give the fuel pump some movement on the throttle with some range on the foot peddle in the cab. To effect this we had to open the butterfly valve fully, and this I have since found out is why I felt there was absolutely no brakes on the thing. The butterfly must be fully closed for the engine to create the servo assist. We’d fixed it fully open. I felt after driving modern Peugeot’s I had to stand on the brake peddle and think /plan well ahead on the road to be able to bring her to a stop. It required the mentality of a motorcyclist in planning ahead.

A bit of time was spent trying to connect the brake lights so they operated before we left but by this time and one cup of tea later my friend had enough and suggested we just get going. So we did – no electrics at all.

He sat behind me all the way home, around 50 miles at I think my best rocket speed down hill was recorded at 47 MPH. Recorded in his car that is because the speedo also didn’t work. On the flat I think it was around 37 MPH. It was slow going and as I had since read about Land Rovers, they are slow, noisy above 30 MPH, drafty, while steering is the ‘point and hope’ style. All of this is true. Why people bother with Land Rovers is because apparently they are fun to drive. Going right through Guildford town center on a sunny Saturday had definitely been a ‘dry mouth’ experience.  No indicators, no brake lights, lots of lane changes and standing on the brakes to stop.

Having arrived home with her, as the noise in my ears subsided and pint of beer entered my hands, a big grin spread over my face. I felt I had actually enjoyed driving her plus we’d got home without braking down, over heating or running of Diesel. Having two gear levers to play with and a big steering wheel in front of me, the height of the cab and that big spare wheel on the bonnet had given me everything I felt that Austin K9 would have done. Its like nothing else I’ve ever driven.

All I have to do now is fix it.

Corrine, my other half, asked what the economy was like. I said I have no idea, the fuel gauge doesn’t work. She said “The fuel gauge doesn’t work and you still bought it?

She hates it.


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