RUN­NING RE­PAIRS

Land Rover Monthly - - Dunsfold Diaries -

N A few weeks I’ll be fir­ing up the trusty Dunsfold Se­ries I 107 and join­ing a bunch of like-minded Se­ries I own­ers on our an­nual boys’ out­ing. Ev­ery year we go some­where dif­fer­ent and for 2016 our Dutch and Bel­gian friends have or­gan­ised a trip vis­it­ing Lux­em­bourg and the Ar­dennes. I like to act as tail-end Char­lie and the 107 is the sweeper ve­hi­cle for any­one who breaks down.

Over the years I’ve had a few ad­ven­tures and I’ve got the busi­ness of road­side fixes down to a fine art. Be­sides a crate of beer and sev­eral bags of crisps, I’ll load my old wooden ammo box into the back of the 107, which is packed with spares that will be of most use in get­ting a bro­ken ve­hi­cle moving again. Orig­i­nal­ity isn’t im­por­tant here; what’s cru­cial is to get a stricken Land Rover off, say, the Brus­sels ring road when the pass­ing jug­ger­nauts are try­ing to blast you into the ditch.

In my ammo box I keep an old dis­trib­u­tor which is al­ready con­nected up to a spare coil and a set of leads, so that if there’s a sus­pected elec­tri­cal fault I can sim­ply drop the dizzy in the hole, ca­ble tie the coil some­where con­ve­nient and get the ve­hi­cle go­ing in mo­ments. You don’t want to be fid­dling about with points and con­densers at the side of a mo­tor­way; you can sort that out at the ho­tel later. Any dis­trib­u­tor will do, as long as it fits. I use one from an old

ISeries II and it will work on any four-cylin­der petrol Landy from an 80in up to a 110. Don’t worry about tim­ing it up prop­erly – safety is the pri­or­ity and you just need to make the ve­hi­cle mo­bile again. Another es­sen­tial in my tool­kit is a long piece of wire with croc­o­dile clips at the ends, which can be run straight from the bat­tery ter­mi­nal to the coil to by­pass the ig­ni­tion switch and cir­cuit.

Sadly, the qual­ity of elec­tri­cal com­po­nents is an on­go­ing prob­lem, now that orig­i­nal 1950s parts are be­com­ing scarce. There’s a batch of new ro­tor arms in cir­cu­la­tion where the rivet for the cen­tre con­tact is too long, so that cur­rent ends up track­ing straight down through the in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial and into the dis­trib­u­tor shaft. They look fine from the out­side so you’d never guess they were faulty. Dunsfold uses con­densers and red ro­tor arms made by the Dis­trib­u­tor Doc­tor (www.dis­trib­u­tor­doc­tor.com), which are ex­pen­sive but very good, and the DD also makes an ex­cel­lent elec­tronic ig­ni­tion sys­tem. We pre­fer NGK spark plugs, now that the orig­i­nal Lodge plugs aren’t avail­able – and I don’t rate Cham­pi­ons.

Fuel is the other ma­jor cause of break­downs. Mod­ern petrol is just rub­bish com­pared to what we used to have, and the ethanol con­tent eats rub­ber com­po­nents. Then a hose splits, and the pump squirts petrol all over your reg­u­la­tor box… We use plas­tic hoses now, which are ac­tu­ally mod­i­fied Se­ries III Light­weight parts. It’s a mat­ter

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