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'Work' vs 'Hobby', Project n+1 Lightweight non-update!

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Well, a year goes by and no build progress! No excuses, I have just been busy. So, with a second child due very soon, it must be time to put a rocket up this one and get things done, or at least started. Yeah, fat chance! The Rover 11 was supposed to be first however, that has stalled as well. <blog_break>

Anyway, the problem that is my own project Lightweight, my n+1 when n is the number of Land Rovers you should own. I know what I (mostly) want to do. I know I want to cover the nasty-gloss-bronze-green, over-several-nato-shades paintwork with nato-matt-green, over-nasty-gloss-bronze-green, over-several-nato-shades. The dash top rail needs swapping out as the bits I get in my eyes when driving are sharp and tetanus tipped. I have a new canvas for it. I have new doors for it. It needs a bit of love and tidying up. Simple stuff. A good weeks work when that week appears. My main issue is the power-plant.

So, the dilemma I have is of epic Land Rover geek proportions. My Lightweight is a very early example. It is currently fitted with a 2.5 Defender petrol engine. I have a 237 serial numbered engine stripped that needs to go to the engineers and then be rebuilt. An expensive luxury given baby two is on its way. But the 17H petrol currently in my Lightweight runs really well. . .and is the 237 block right? The original plan was the 2.5 petrol would go in my 109 that is currently 2.5 NAD powered. . .only the NAD will never die! It needs a new rear main seal but, despite the faff of getting to the engines nether regions to do the work, does a seal failure justify the junking of the NAD and the cost of rebuilding the 2.25 237 motor? And ultimately, in this modern era of old Land Rover ownership when everything needs to look factory fresh and have the right numbers, is the 237 block correct enough for my early 236 chassis numbered truck? Should I hold out for 'the 236 one'? Or hold out for a 252 block that would be nearer the cast specification according to the copy of the original V5 I have. And this argument just spins in my head time and time again and I am not sure if it matters or not!

10 or 15 years ago I would have gone with my heart and, probably due to my love of having a wallet with some cash in it, stuck with the 2.5P as it is a good engine. Why change? Nothing is to be gained. Engineering wise it is the greatest variation of its type simply by being the last of its breed.

This thought process has led my 109 to be what it is. It was a 24volt FFR when I bought it in 2005. Petrol used to be more expensive than diesel at the pump. 24volt spares were also getting expensive. I did not have all the money in the world available to keep Rovering but didn’t want to sell my precious 109. So, when my 2.25 petrol gave up, I ended up with the NAD and going 12volt to 'future proof' myself. Better MPG from cheaper fuel, cheaper electrical spares, more engine noise, less speed, err, all win! It is my truck, my logic, my rules.

Sometimes I feel guilty for the state of my 109. I mean it is now quite a way from being the 24volt FFR truck I bought. Diesel, 12volt, uprated headlights, Defender heater. . .I even have a seat in the middle of the front row these days, battery relegated to under the passenger seat where the fuel tank I could never afford to fill lived. It was installed with the thoughts of wife + child and I chatting away together on a Land Rover adventure (nobody mention child 2, maybe wife now stays at home?!, more thought required). And when did you last see a 109 FFR on the road? Their where thousands cast in the early to mid 2000s. I have not seen one around these parts since we moved north in 2013. So, to be lucky to chance upon a very early Lightweight, gives me the opportunity to right all my previous 109 wrongs if I so wished.

I was under a Defender the other day replacing the power steering box. My mind wonders. . . A 300TDi would be good in my 109, probably better than a 2.5P given my local terrain. Bin the NAD, fit the TDi. A bit of boost to help me up the hills is really what the NAD is missing. I always have a spare gearbox floating around should things go bad. Find a MOT fail Discovery for the donor and all would be good. May even make the conversion cost neutral by breaking the rest of Disco for spares. All win.

But the Lightweight would still have the wrong engine so I would still need to build the 237 back up, or get a 252, or find a 236, to gain forgiveness from the Land Rover originality gods. But then where would the 2.5 petrol go? It’s a good engine so needs a new home in my stable. Urmmm? Another Series Land Rover! A Station Wagon this time so child 2 can come along with my Wife! Just what I need! An n+2 project!

And then back to planet Earth. The Lightweight is an ex-mod workhorse just like my 109 was. It is never going to be factory fresh again. It was probably never factory fresh for very long. It is never going to leave my custody. Everything reverts to it being my truck, my logic, my rules. So that’s the decision made then. My 109 keeps the NAD but gets patched up for now. My gut says a TDi is the proper way forward for that truck. The 2.5P will stay in the Lightweight. It will be serviced, cleaned and maybe painted Duck Egg so to the quick glance looks right. I will probably put an oil-bath air box on it but only because I have one or two spares kicking about. But what of the 237 engine that’s currently blown apart across the shed? Its probably about right to go in my Rover 11 thinking about it. I will just need to distract the Gods for a day or two!

So yes, after my rant I now feel reinvigorated. I plan to start tomorrow, oh, actually I am busy. How about mid-May?

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