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  • Ratel

    Hello again from Brisbane.

    I figured that since I have been hanging about the G&R site for several years, made plenty of posts, comments and generally offered some advice relevant to leaf sprung Land Rovers, it was about time to confirm that I actually have one.

    In this case, just the one vehicle - Ratel - an Australian assembled 88" truck cab, year model 1975 with the four pot 2.25 litre petrol engine.

    The truck was bought about eight years ago on eBay sight unseen and didn't look too bad in the photos - it was located in a small village in western New South Wales and was off a truck and standing in the street outside my home when I first actually saw it. The previous owner had taken quite a few liberties in his description of how much restoration it had enjoyed - basically few of the electrics worked, it had no brakes, the tyres and seats were stuffed, and it leaked out of every orifice. But it was rust free and the body was straight which were both significant plusses. It also hadn’t been butchered with a Holden six engine which was a bigger plus.

    SWB_3 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

    SWB_2 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

    The Australian trucks were a mix of imported and locally manufactured parts - engines, gearboxes, steering and axles were mainly UK supplied, but most of the rest of the trucks came from local automotive parts suppliers. The chassis and body work were built in Sydney by the Pressed Metal Corporation which was owned by British Leyland to originally make bodies for Leyland buses.

    The North American rivet counters may spot a few small differences between ours and yours - the Leyland badges on the doors, drop down rear number plate assembly on the tailgate, LR badge on the left hand side of the rear tub, mirror mounts on the windscreen supports, tail lights mounted under the indicators, reversing lights at the upper part of the rear panels etc. They were also fitted with a four core 'tropical' export radiator. Otherwise they were similar to the UK and African export models.

    It was parked up in the street for about a year until a kindly neighbour complained to the local Council and I was threatened with a removal notice. So, it went under the house where it was progressively dismantled, but otherwise didn't get a lot of attention.

    As it went in:

    On_blocks2 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

    A keen eye might spot the oil stains after only a short time there.

    As it looks now:

    Springs5 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

    Chassis8 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

    Unfortunately, any metal object left idle in a subtropical environment will soon get a layer of rust and dust - so it looks a bit sadder now than depicted in those photos.

    But, the New Year is fast approaching and another set of resolutions will no doubt come forth concerning accelerating its long-hoped for coming back together.

    I'm getting back into flyfishing these days and it is central to some of my remote area travel plans. Back in the day I had a 1968 88" hardtop that saw a fair bit of mountain travel in southern NSW and this one was originally bought to revisit some of that territory.

    Cheers,

    Neil
    Last edited by S3ute; 02-15-2020, 03:01 PM.

  • #2
    Looks like it's in amazing condition to me! You'd never find one that nice to "restore" back here. That would be a daily driver for us.

    Thanks for pointing out the little differences. One thing I always wondered about were these front wings:
    Click image for larger version

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    Were they Australian made? And only for the military?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by 50 wulf View Post
      One thing I always wondered about were these front wings:
      [ATTACH=CONFIG]24194[/ATTACH]

      Were they Australian made? And only for the military?
      Hello and thanks.

      The cut out guards were military specification for the Australian Army Series 2A short and long wheelbase trucks. It was discontinued on the later Series 3 military trucks. No sills and the brush guard and pioneer tools on the wing tops were retained.

      All were fitted with extended shackles and shock absorbers, stronger springs, 7.50 x 16” wheels and bar tread tyres, twin fuel tanks, bridge plates, unit insignia holders, jerry can holders, and a larger fan. The military canopy was made of a heavier duty canvas and had covered side and rear windows without plastic inserts.

      Cheers,

      Neil
      Last edited by S3ute; 12-23-2019, 09:18 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        What a great looking Series. Just beautiful.


        Colin
        A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by S3ute View Post
          Hello and thanks.

          The cut out guards were military specification for the Australian Army Series 2A short and long wheelbase trucks. It was discontinued on the later Series 3 military trucks. No sills and the brush guard and pioneer tools on the wing tops were retained.

          All were fitted with extended shackles and shock absorbers, stronger springs, 7.50 x 16” wheels and bar tread tyres, twin fuel tanks, bridge plates, unit insignia holders, jerry can holders, and a larger fan. The military canopy was made of a heavier duty canvas and had covered side and rear windows without plastic inserts.

          Cheers,

          Neil
          Hello again, again.

          I may have posted some of these photos in earlier threads, but thought I might do so again anyway in case anyone is interested in pre-Perentie military Land Rovers. These were mostly taken at a historic military vehicle show at Canungra in the Gold Coast hinterland. This is the site of the Army's Jungle Warfare Training Base and if you had been there in the early 1940s you might have seen thousands of Australian and American troops there preparing for the various Pacific Island battles against the Japanese.

          Back to Land Rovers - A GS 109 troop carrier

          Canungra_2008_041 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          Canungra_2008_033 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          An 88" utility model - the shorties were common in the 1960's, but were progressively phased out in favour of the larger 109" trucks during the model run. Most of the newer 88" trucks were sold as a job lot to the New Zealand Army when the Series 3 trucks began to come on stream.

          Canungra_2008_029 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          Canungra_2008_008 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          The rear badge identifies the truck as having been locally built - this badge was replaced when the Series 3 came out by a badge that didn't identify the country of origin.

          Canungra_2008_034 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          A military Ambulance - these were quite different to the UK vehicles and were kept in service when the Series 3 trucks were commissioned. Apparently this particular vehicle was the classic "barn find" having been found parked up in a paddock about five weeks before the show and started with a new battery and air in the tyres for the first time in many years.

          Canungra_2008_003 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          Canungra_2008_021 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          A FFR unit - these vehicles had the same 24 volt electrical system as their UK built counterparts.

          Canungra_2008_019 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          A command wagon - these trucks were not very common.

          Canungra_2008_039 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          Canungra_2008_038 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          Finally, an old Series 3 veteran that has been fitted with a newer hard top - the main thing to note is the lack of cut outs on the front guards. Otherwise, and with the exception of being fitted with the 2.6 litre six pot petrol motor, the fit out is the same as for the S2A trucks.

          Casino_1 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

          Purists might spot the odd blemish on most of the vehicles shown here - plastic windows in the canopies and free wheeling hubs are a couple. The early S2A trucks came into the ranks in a shiny bronze green similar to the UK military of the time - all of those shown have the Vietnam era matt khaki or camouflage pattern that applied from the later 1960's to now.

          That's about it.

          Cheers,

          Neil
          Last edited by S3ute; 12-24-2019, 03:49 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hello again from Brisbane - just back from a week up at the beach with the family and starting to get organised for another attack on the truck. It’s been a slow march since it first went under the house six or seven years ago. Too many diversions I suppose.

            From early on it became a classic example of shipfitter’s disease in action - moving past a planned quick attack on a few obvious problems (brakes and electrics) to deciding to refurbish most of the truck. Unclear objectives had a good bit to do with it - owning a cosseted classic or putting it to use. In the process so far achieving neither.

            Anyway, there is a plan - just not one handcuffed to a particularly strict time frame. As part of the plan I have accumulated a significant pile of parts from all around the world but mostly Australia, Africa, UK and the US. Other places included Canada, Cyprus and Greece. So, it’s an international effort - probably should repaint it UN white...

            The basic plan is:

            - new 7.50 x 16” tyres (Dunlop Roadgripper Ex-Toyota Landcruiser), correct size rims, and new speedo to match larger tyres
            - twin fuel tanks and electric pumps.
            - boosted brakes 11” x 3” front 11” x 2” rear.
            - new brake lines, dual circuit master cylinder, slave cylinders etc.
            - new clutch, master and slave cylinders etc.
            - four core heavy duty radiator.
            - Roamerdrive.
            - new truck cab roof with headlining.
            - safari roof cover and NOS fittings.
            - refurbish Zenith carburettor.
            - electronic ignition and new Lucas distributor.
            - new alternator.
            - Startrex high performance starter.
            - spin on/off oil filter unit ex-2.5 litre motor.
            - battery isolator.
            - headlamp on warning buzzer/light.
            - headers.
            - new uni joints propshafts and drive shafts.
            - all wheel bearings and swivel bearings updated with Japanese parts.
            - new swivel balls, railkos and bearings.
            - heavy duty clutch and new release bearing, spigot bush etc.
            - two speed wipers and upgraded washers.
            - new bumper and fixed recovery points front and rear.
            - khaki canvas tonneau cover.
            - Dixon Bate tow hitch.
            - Cibie headlamps and heavy duty relays.
            - new wiring harness.
            - auxiliary 12v and USB outlets.
            - hazard warning switch.
            - polybushes chassis and springs.
            - uprated shock absorbers.
            - new steering wheel, box and tie rod ends.
            - ExMoor seats.
            - new antiburst door locks and handles.
            - hand throttle.
            - twin tone horns ex Jaguar.
            - new door and tailgate seals, side/rear window channels and locks.
            - upgraded retractable seat belts.
            - upgraded heater with rebuilt core and two speed fan.
            - professional body repaint.
            - chassis repaint.

            Plus pretty much every knob, switch, seal, lamp and other miscellaneous 'what not' will have been replaced with NOS parts or better. Also there are a few embellishments in terms of extra gauges, jerry can holders, hi lift jack holder, gun rack, tie down rails and interior lights. Anything under the truck that can be unbolted is being replaced with a stainless steel or galvanised equivalent, anything elsewhere has been stripped and powdercoated.

            These parts are all there and a good bit of the sub-assembly work has been completed - just been taking a while to come together.

            Find myself in the odd position of reporting after the event. So, I may eventually post some photos of past activity and then move on to where it is going from here.

            Cheers,

            Neil
            Last edited by S3ute; 01-23-2020, 06:43 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Sounds like a good plan of attack is forming. My only issue with your list is the header. The big problem with removing the stock exhaust manifold is that you lose the heat on the intake manifold. This makes it very difficult to properly Jet the carb and during long runs at highway speed you can actually ice up the carb and have to coast over and let it thaw before continuing.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hello from Brisbane and thanks.

                What you say about fitting the headers to the 2.25 litre motor is technically correct, and I have given it some consideration. However, here in the subtropics where the truck is located, and also the semi arid areas where it's most likely to be driven, the heat exchange issues are generally less of a problem in practice. Quite a few local trucks are fitted with headers.

                A few of the local engine gurus query the claimed performance gain from fitting headers, especially if and where the gain occurs in the power band. The original exhaust on my truck was fitted new by the previous owner - one of the few claimed improvements that was actually apparent when I got it. When the time comes to get the motor going again I may yet sell the headers to someone else and just refit the original manifold and pipes.

                One thing about the exhaust is that there is only the one muffler on the whole system - at the rear - and it was quite noisy when it was running. This is the standard set up, apparently, but I don't recall my previous 88" being quite as loud. Mind you, that was back in 1977 which doesn't make for particularly sound memories.

                Cheers,

                Neil

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by S3ute View Post

                  Find myself in the odd position of reporting after the event. So, I may eventually post some photos of past activity and then move on to where it is going from here.

                  Cheers,

                  Neil
                  Hello again from Brisbane.

                  Been giving some thought to how to approach outlining some of the work that has already been undertaken on my truck versus what might be done in the future to complete the process of getting it back on the road. It's been a long time since the truck was acquired and for several years it had some of the hallmarks of a failed project - that is, little was done to it other than continue to amass parts. Plus, for anyone who has pulled a Series Land Rover apart, the process is pretty much the same and it starts to look a lot like sharing baby photos - more interest to the owner since they all look very much the same.

                  So, I thought I'd start with the workshop and then some detail on what the truck looked like up close before the dismantling really took off. After that a few items involving addressing a few of the dot points from the earlier plan listing.

                  The workshop is a semi-enclosed area under my home - being a 'Queenslander' the house is on stilts well off the ground to capture airflows in a tropical environment. The basic design is taken from an Indian bungalow and came with early settlers who had spent time on the sub-continent during the Raj.

                  Workshop1 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  Workshop4 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  However, I usually prefer to work on an old table under the rear deck - nice looking out over the garden.

                  Air_cleaner2 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  Getting to the truck - it was pretty straight, but also just a classic example of a 30 plus year old vehicle that had spent a working life on a western farm. With the exception of the exhaust and clutch which had been replaced, most of the mechanicals were well worn and it leaked fluids from just about every orifice. The chassis number matched the build plate on the firewall which identified it as a May 1975 build Series 3 rather than January 1974 which the PO had listed it as. The engine number, on the other hand, suggested that the original had at some time been replaced with another from a 1969 Series 2A - which isn’t all that uncommon and helped to explain why the heater (stuffed) wasn’t connected to the motor. Also why even the rudimentary Series 3 pollution gear had been blanked off.

                  Tyres were twenty plus year old Bridgestone Jeep 7.00" X 16" and no longer fit for any application. Hand painted rims were at least the correct size for 7.50" X 16" - these probably came from a 109” at some time in the past.

                  Wheels1 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  Wheels2 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  The rims were sandblasted and powdercoated in Limestone and new 7.50” X 16” Dunlop Roadgrippers sourced from a Toyota Landcruiser - split rims are illegal on Australian mine sites, so the wheels and tyres were removed and replaced pre delivery and were readily available from many Toyota dealers for about half the price being charged by tyre outlets. New Landcruisers now come with a one piece rim so this useful lurk has pretty much dried up.

                  Wheels4 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  Wheels5 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  Brakes were from a six cylinder truck, but the components weren't new and the drums were on their last skim limit.

                  Brakes4 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  Brakes1 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  Unfortunately, the PO hadn't completed the brake transformation and the original 88" unassisted master cylinder was still in place. It didn't and couldn't work....

                  Steering_box13 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  These have been upgraded with new drums, cylinders, linings etc. The backing plates were also refurbished prior to reassembly. The new drums came from a now defunct local independent Land Rover parts specialist and were supposed to be NOS - but the fronts came in Britpart boxes which is a bit of a worry. If they aren’t true when I get around to fitting them I’ll probably go looking for drums off an ex-Army wreck that still have some skimmable life in them.

                  Brakes10 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  The master cylinder is changing to a dual circuit vacuum assisted unit using NOS parts and a refurbished tower from an ex-Army wreck. The clutch tower has also been refurbished and the master cylinder replaced with a NOS unit. The clutch slave cylinder and pipes/hoses to the master cylinder have also been upgraded with NOS parts along with the release bearing and spigot bush.

                  Towers4 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  The front and rear driveshafts have been rebuilt using Hardy Spicer joints and seals. Ditto the front axle drive shafts which also got new distance pieces and collars.

                  Propshafts2 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  Axle_shafts12 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  Axles2 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                  That's the fifteen photo limit reached and probably enough for this session.

                  I'll add a bit more in some following posts.

                  Cheers,

                  Neil
                  Last edited by S3ute; 04-24-2020, 09:57 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Neil, I could look at stuff like this all day. Looking forward to more!


                    Colin
                    A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cnfowler View Post
                      Neil, I could look at stuff like this all day. Looking forward to more!


                      Colin
                      Colin,

                      Hello and thanks.

                      I'll endeavour to keep it interesting and forewarn that the sequence might end up any old way for a while as I post some of the photos that are already on Flickr and dig up others to fill some of the gaps. I prefer to use embedded photos rather than thumbnails, which is probably already apparent from other posts - pictures give context and often carry the story better than words (although I tend to use a lot of them too)…

                      I'm off to the cinema with the missus, so won't be updating the thread until later.

                      Cheers,

                      Neil

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hello again from Brisbane.

                        Back to the renovation of Ratel drawing on some older photos taken at various stages of activity or inactivity as might have been the case in point.

                        Starting as a reference point to some of the later activities are a couple of photos of the cab interior and engine bay at the time that I picked up the truck.

                        Dash2 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        The interior didn't look too bad other than a missing seat and the rest of the squabs needing attention. The dash was in good condition for a truck of that age - usually the top is stuffed with cracks. Apart from a hole in the lower fascia that once housed a radio, everything else was there, although few of those switches actually activated anything. Possibly a dodgy earth in the relevant circuits. The ignition key came with the truck, but the door locks were missing - the first job of the restoration was getting new keys cut so that it could be left parked on the street. The side and rear window channels were stuffed, and the rear catches both broken. It had seat belts but these were in poor condition and their replacement was added to the work list.

                        SWB_4 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        The engine bay didn't look too bad and the engine showed signs of having had some attention - painted block anyway. One of the appeals of this particular truck was that it still had a Rover engine, although investigation of the numbers revealed that it wasn't the original one. It had powered an older S2A which explained why there were no attachments on the head for the heater, and the pollution control connectors were missing or blocked with bolts. The heater core and tap were stuffed, which might have excused the PO from bothering to hook it up. Many of the parts had been given a fairly crude coat of black paint, as had the chassis and suspension. So, addressing those shortcomings went onto the early plan.

                        I never met the PO and couldn't get a very coherent description of what he had done with the truck - a good deal had to be deduced from outward appearances. This added to a few of the early part sourcing mishaps in the restoration plan - beyond not fully understanding the tacit caveat emptor warning that came with Britpart stuff. One was seeing the 88" master cylinder and assuming that it had 10" drums front and rear. The brakes didn't work but I had planned to fit the 11" drums from a six cylinder 109", so I didn't worry too much about that at the time. I sourced a six cylinder wreck and stripped the pedal tower and backing plates from it for the job. Many months later when I pulled one of the front wheels off to fix a flat tyre I realised that it actually had been fitted with 11" brakes anyway - the 88" master cylinder couldn't cope. So, I handed the backing plates that I had sourced from the wreck on to another person who was also planning that conversion but kept the pedal tower for my truck - the refurbished tower was in the last set of photos. I might add that the upgraded cylinders and linings were fairly dodgy and I bought NOS replacements for the final correction.

                        I hadn't planned to pull the truck apart to the extent that I finally did. I had figured originally that the brake repair might only require a new master cylinder, and the other things such as the seats, channels, belts etc might be effected on the truck as it was. Working out what was wrong with the brakes led to a slightly longer chain of issues that set in train the shipfitter's ailment that saw it back to a bare chassis as shown in the original post.

                        Lying in semi-darkness under the truck I could see fluid on the inside of the front wheel rims that I mistakenly thought was brake fluid and supported the pedal to the floor issue with the brakes. I was a bit surprised that the paint on the rims wasn't reacting to the "brake fluid". The front hub swivels looked to be in quite good condition, but in better light it seemed more likely that the fluid was axle oil rather than brake fluid and this subsequently proved to be correct. That comes later.

                        One early job that I undertook was to remove the u/s heater box and overhaul it - the core went to a radiator specialist and a new tap was finally sourced from a rare spares outlet that specialised in recreating parts for old classic cars. As part of motor industry policy in the 1970's local manufacturers got a more favourable tax treatment if they had a certain proportion of local content in their vehicles - Land Rover was no different and a number of locally manufactured parts were common to a range of makers including, in the case of the heater tap and seatbelts, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

                        It came up well.

                        Heater_box1 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        As did the blower fan which came out of the same ex-Army wreck as the brake tower.

                        Blower_fan2 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        Blower_fan4 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        Going back to the swivels. They looked good from a cursory inspection, but a closer look once the brakes and hubs had come off revealed sufficient pitting to warrant replacing them.

                        Swivel_hubs4 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        Swivel_hubs6 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        Swivel_hubs5 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        In the day, this was easy enough to arrange as there were plenty of Land Rovers around and the dealers would send batches of up to thirty sets of swivels in for re-chroming and the changeover cost wasn't too exorbitant. These days no-one locally does that and getting a single set re-chromed costs about as much as importing new swivels from the UK. These are usually Britpart which adds an element of risk to the exercise.

                        These new swivel balls came from ex-MOD stock in Cyprus. The bushes, bearings etc are NOS and came from a now defunct Land Rover spares outfit in Ballarat - all too common now as fewer of the old trucks are around and the options, beyond Britpart and Bearmach, are shrinking.

                        Swivel_hubs8 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        While I was working on the RHS swivel I happened to detect an oil weep coming from under the metal cover of the steering box. Removing the cover it was apparent that the steering box was leaking badly.

                        Steering_box2 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        As most will know, the only real way to get at the o-ring in the steering box of a Series 3, and/or the sleeves, bushes and bearings, is to pull the whole thing out. But to do that the dash has to come off first.

                        Shipfitter’s in action.....

                        Anyway, after much effort - including removing the front guards - it came out. And was pulled apart for a closer review.

                        Steering_box6 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        Steering_box11 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        I spent a lot of time, and money, sourcing parts from Australia, South Africa and the UK to recondition it - plus dressed up the box.

                        Steering_box15 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        However, a real mechanic took a closer look and reckoned the inner shaft was too worn to be re-used - we opted to import a completely rebuilt unit from the UK.

                        Steering_box22 by Neil Mac, on Flickr

                        The blue bag was a let down...…...

                        More later - it’s lunchtime here.

                        Cheers,

                        Neil
                        Last edited by S3ute; 02-16-2020, 01:58 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This sure sounds like you're telling my story. LOL. When I bought mine I figured I'd be driving it in a month. Like you, one thing lead to another, everything I touched needed addressed, and now it sits nearly 5 years later stripped to the frame. I keep telling myself 'one day I'll get to drive this thing. One day.'


                          Colin
                          A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Colin - tell your story too! Would love to see pics and progress. I know it's few/far between but your work is excellent - start a thread!
                            1968 Series 2a, 88
                            1997 Defender SW (Original Owner - Sold)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by S3ute View Post
                              These new swivel balls came from ex-MOD stock in Cyprus.
                              That's where I sourced mine - excellent quality. No way was I going to touch BritPart.
                              1968 Series 2a, 88
                              1997 Defender SW (Original Owner - Sold)

                              Comment

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