Ed Evans

How the old Land Rover mod­els lend them­selves per­fectly to im­pro­vised tools and levers

Land Rover Monthly - - Contents -

When one of my cy­cling mates called round for a ride I sug­gested that, by way of a pre-ride warm-up, he could help me lift the bulk­head onto my Se­ries III rolling chas­sis. I ex­plained how we’d lift it, how to carry it, how to lower it to the chas­sis, and I showed him the mount­ing bolts I’d placed into the chas­sis ready to se­cure the bulk­head. I also ex­plained how it would fit per­fectly.

It did, ex­cept that the bolts didn’t line up and we were stood hold­ing the thing, with me gaz­ing around the work­shop. Now, this guy knows noth­ing about cars, let alone 1970s Land Rovers, but he was al­ready laugh­ing and said: “I think the tool you’re look­ing for is over there on the bench.” It was. I picked up the heavy lump ham­mer, ap­plied a cou­ple of hefty blows and de­clared the bulk­head a per­fect fit.

It seems ev­ery­one knows a heavy ham­mer is the uni­ver­sal Land Rover assem­bly tool – a fact the cur­rent in­car­na­tion of the Land Rover com­pany would prob­a­bly care to for­get. But, I’ll bet those Se­ries I mod­els that Soli­hull is cur­rently restor­ing for wealthy cus­tomers have felt the oc­ca­sional pre­ci­sion ap­pli­ca­tion of heavy steel dur­ing their re­build. I can sug­gest other tools used dur­ing my own SIII re­build, in­clud­ing a tree-split­ting wedge and a 15-feet-long steel tubu­lar bar that proved the ideal in­stru­ment to straighten my rear body tub.

Such tools are not blunt in­stru­ments. When care­fully and thought­fully ap­plied, they can pre­cisely ad­just heavy metal. It’s a mat­ter of pre­think­ing how the metal will re­act – how far will it bend, will it kink or crack, or whether ad­ja­cent com­po­nents might be af­fected. When us­ing im­pro­vised tools and levers, it’s vi­tal also to think whether the tool it­self might break, bend, or slip out of po­si­tion caus­ing dam­age or in­jury. Thick gloves and eye pro­tec­tion are al­ways worth­while, and spe­cial care is needed if the ve­hi­cle is sup­ported on stands or ramps, where long levers or heavy blows could dis­lodge it.

Im­pro­vised tools are some­times es­sen­tial for old Land Rovers but, if the op­er­a­tor is tired, frus­trated, or not tak­ing time to care­fully think the process through, they can make a heck of mess.

“It seems ev­ery­one knows a heavy ham­mer is the uni­ver­sal Land Rover tool”

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