Stuffed it up today

Off down the river bed
Avoiding the deep rut on the driver’s side

Which was quite deep ie we would have been fucked

But going into the ditch on the near side

Water, soft sand, unstable. Good one

Adrian having a quick look before he just drives out.
Puts a bit of cane down. As if. Haha

Maybe not drive out straightaway

Rear diff and rear nearside spring seem to be a bit stuck.
No, we aren’t going anywhere without a bit of work

Spade got us nowhere.
Takes Jackall off Brownchurch roof rack.
Two things that have never let us down

Back on track


Glow plugs/heater plugs (3)

We began to panic about the heater plugs. They had not arrived. I sent an email to the UK supplier. I walked back outside onto the terrace.

The postie had arrived and was yelling for us. Naturally the neighbours were yelling too. “Paquete, paquete,” hollered half the street. Obviously a paquete was something rare and exciting.

Yes! It was our box of heater plugs. We dashed inside with them. Adrian was too excited so he was banished outside to wait for me to open them carefully. Apart from anything else if they didn’t work, we wanted to send them back in the same packaging.

I carefully cut through the brown paper. Each layer of it. The double layers of sticky brown tape. Inside, underneath another two pieces of card as packaging, were six little boxes, surrounded by bubble wrap. Wow, were these plugs well wrapped.

Well packed

We took one out. Compared it with the broken one. Not only was it the same – it even included the ceramic. Four posts ago I wrote about looking for one in Spain and the robbin’ bastards were going to charge us 35€ for one second-hand plug, with NO bits. No washers, no ceramic insulator and no top stud. We didn’t ask for the washers but we did get the insulator and stud for a glorious price of just over £5 each incl postage. Or as a direct comparison, price for price, probably the equivalent of around 7€. NOT 35€.

New plug, complete with ceramic and knurled terminal nut, heater element carefully enclosed in a plastic tube

Perfect new heater element

We went outside to fit the new plug.


As we were too excited and it was nearly lunchtime, we decided to leave the big moment to start her for early in the morning the following day.

Once the sun was up and it was nice and warm out we went. Being methodical, I thought we would do a check. No, still no current according to the circuit tester. After messing around a bit more and cleaning up the terminals, we decided to go for it, especially as we suddenly noticed the light was coming on when we turned the key to choke position.

Oops, wait a minute. “What is that loose spring doing there?” I said, knocking it on the floor.

I knew it went somewhere

OK confession time. We did cheat. We did give her a little tiny whiff of EasyStart. We didn’t want a flat battery and she had stood for two weeks. So off she went, burble burble. Up the track and across the river to the supermarket.

Today, fingers, toes and everything else crossed, we started her on her own. Burble burble she went. No addictive additive. Just our super heater plugs. Sorted. Thanks to the people on Land Rover UK Forums who gave us lots of advice and talked us through it.

And the postscript is……..Adrian decided on a cycle ride today and when he was coming back through town, one of the lads at the auto-electrical garage stopped to ask him about the Land Rover.

Naturally he thought because Adrian was on the bike that it wasn’t sorted. Wrong. “Non. Funciona,” smiled Adrian. (No. It works.) And off he cycled leaving a dejected money-hungry Spanish auto-electrician in the middle of the road.

Finally a big thanks to P A Blanchard. Both Pete Blanchard and Nick were helpful. If you aren’t sure about what you want, just ask them. We sent pictures of the heater plugs via email, and rang on Friday evening when everyone else would have gone home, and spoke to Pete.

We’ve never been able to fault Blanchard’s and used them loads of times when we were in the UK whether over the ‘phone or visiting in person. We have always recommended them and will continue to do so, and to use them.

Reliable as ever. Thanks Blanchies.

Back on the road again……………

So we were sitting outside in the sun, as you do, just before lunch – enjoying the view and life in general.

We both saw it at once coming up the street, and our heads moved slowly, simultaneously, to watch it slow down and draw to a halt next to the Santana.

It was a Defender 90.

The driver called to us in sort-of Spanish.

Adrian took the easy route. “Habla inglés?”

One of them did. It turned out they were looking for a guy called Jésus, who lived somewhere near and had three Land Rovers, and did mechanical work.

We didn’t know of any Jésus with three Land Rovers near us. We have two Land Rovers though and a Sankey trailer. Our neighbour is called José. Adrian is regarded as a mechanic around here because he has more than one spanner.

Alex explained that he had a problem with something on the transmission but he couldn’t work out what it was.

He pulled up next to the Santana, and Adrian and Alex got underneath. Jeremy and I stood around. By this time we had worked out they were French and he told me they were off to Morocco for a couple of months.

Adrian and Alex checked the prop shafts and found that the rear spider bearing was letting go. They might have got to Algeciras but not much further.

We sat them on the terrace and made them a coffee while Adrian took the dog out. I asked them if they wanted to log into some French forums to see if they could get any help so they did. And then decided they were more confident in Adrian.

So off they all went to the local county town to the motor factor to buy a new spider bearing – a cruz (cross) no less. Once said new part was bought, it was off to work.

The ramps and chocks were brought out of the garage and Alex drove it up. Between them Alex and Adrian took off the rear prop shaft.

Taking off the prop shaft
Alex holding it up while Adrian undoes some of the nuts

Alex had no circlip pliers. So he couldn’t take off the circlips and would never have been able to take the spider bearing out from the yokes. NB Would-be travellers (1). Do not travel without circlip pliers (both types). Make sure the pair you take with you are good quality as the end bits can break off.

Off into the workshop. Adrian put the yoke into the vice, and inserted a piece of wood. He picked up a large hammer. Alex cringed as he envisioned his propshaft shattering all over the workshop.NB Would-be travellers (2). Do not travel without a reasonable sized ball-pin hammer.

The bearing caps popped up and then Adrian took out the spider. The propshaft was still in one piece. They cleaned out the yokes and popped the new one in. Adrian wasn’t happy with the new circlips provided so they used the originals. So far so good.

Next two pix both show some of the disintegating bits

Back to the Defender and time to put the propshaft back. After Adrian and Alex had put it in, Alex tightened up all the nuts and bolts. Jeremy and Adrian put everything away. NB Would-be travellers (3). Always travel with plenty of spare nuts and bolts that are the correct size, plus nylocks for the studs.

Job done
Adrian has a good laugh while Alex finishes off

We’d offered them a night’s kip if it hadn’t worked out, but once sorted they were keen to get on the road again. Alex’s family had a chicken farm so the back of the Land Rover was well-stocked with tins of chicken. They tried to press some onto us as thanks. Saying you are vegetarian is a pretty good way out of it though. It was a nice gesture, but we didn’t want anything.

The only other comment. It seemed to us that it had let go because there was no grease in it and it was running dry, hence the noise from the transmission that had alerted Alex to the problem.

Although Adrian had put some grease in the caps when they replaced the bearing, he didn’t think it was enough to get them to Morocco and back. He tried to pump grease in with his gun, but wasn’t satisfied so told them to make sure they stopped somewhere en route to get some pumped in properly.

Total cost to us:
• a nut
• a bolt
• a washer
• two coffees
• four hours of time all in including the trip to the motor factor.

A pleasure to help you both. Great lads and bon voyage/buen viaje.

The good guys…….

Oh and while I’m on a roll, I thought it would be good to post up my admiration for those expert people, who help any struggling Land Rover owners (especially women who really don’t do mechanics), out of the goodness of their heart.

I have read a fair few posts about these occurrences and I really can’t express how generous I think these people are, to give up their time, skill, expertise, possibly even their tools, equipment and a few consumables.

It’s really good to know there are lots of knights of the road out there.

I am right aren’t I? You are all helping someone for free aren’t you?

Just like we did the other day. Tomorrow’s post will be about how we got two French lads on the road again.

And good on you all who are doing just the same as us. For no charge, just a general love of Land Rovers and wanting to help.

A rant

Well, as I’ve said before, we read a lot of Land Rover forums. So I’m not going to say which one I’m talking about because it shouldn’t reflect on the site or the mods/admin of the site concerned. And when I say, a lot of forums that is exactly what I mean.

This is a rant about some of the tossers who use the sites. Actually it has now turned into a rant about one particular tosser. With an amazingly fast learning curve.

So when happily surfing Landy forums the other day, I was reading a thread about someone asking for technical help.

As usual a few people came on to give a number of suggestions. Very good, peeps, that’s what forums are about.

One suggestion was one I’ve not read about before on the internet. And someone else came on and said, that may work or not (paraphrased).

Well, actually, sweetheart, the person who responded, said it had worked for them on a number of occasions. So why be so rude? If you haven’t tried it and can’t comment either way, you are not adding any value at all. In fact, I think it would be a really good idea, if people like you, shut the fuck up when you don’t know what you are talking about.

But, as I don’t want to make assumptions about people, especially ones who claim they are in their 20s, and therefore maybe don’t have as much Land Rover experience as the rest of us who are a bit older, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the rest of your posts. In the less than 12 months since you joined that particular forum.

I see that in the less than 12 months you have been the proud possessor of at least three Land Rovers, one of which you broke for spares, and made a number of postings on the for sale section, and ebay. In fact, not content with that, you also advertised the same for sale items within the relevant Land Rover model section of that forum. Don’t know how many vehicle forums you are on (if you are) under a different name.

And you are looking at buying another Land Rover, naturally, just to help with your rebuilds, although you may be able to pick up a few pennies by selling the other bits……

You have started a lot of threads. (Far more than me which isn’t difficult). Particularly in your first month. I’m not sure you have responded to a lot of people though with helpful advice – apart from the obvious, that you could have nicked from elsewhere.

Let’s see now. Asking for advice, young, enthusiastic. Doesn’t know much about Land Rovers. And yet, capable of buying bargain Land Rovers, breaking them, and selling a lot of stuff on eBay? Declaring it to the revenue are you? Or maybe it is a full-time business? If so, I don’t think you should be advertising under private members’ sections.

I could have got this wrong. Sometimes, although not often, I do get things wrong. Usually when I am not cynical enough.

But so far I see:

– you are someone who answers a thread and provides inaccurate advice (ie not a response to the question) and then rubbishes someone else’s views.

And this is because either

a) you don’t know what you are talking about


b) you do, but you like a nice veneer of incompetence and amateur youthful enthusiasm so you can keep on flogging stuff


c) there is some other perfectly reasonable explanation that I have not thought of.

Now. This is my blog and I can write what I want. Any comments from anyone and I will happily consider them. And if I don’t like them they are right in the trash. Which is where you should be. And actually, everyone else who abuses these forums, because there are loads of you around.

Glow plugs/heater plugs (2)

Robbin’ bastards

So here we are waiting patiently for our heater plugs to come out from the UK.

In the meantime as we can do very little on the Santana, Adrian thought he would cycle into town and see what was on offer at the local auto-electrical garage which we have used a number of times before. Naturally – us being useless at auto-electrics, although these days slightly less than we were.

He walked in with the offending heater plug and asked if they had one.

“I’ll go and look,” said one of the owner’s sons, and disappeared into the dungeon.

After five minutes he returned, proudly waving a Lucas spark plug box, with Land Rover written on it by hand.

Inside was exactly the part we were waiting for. But this was not a new part.

Adrian looked at it carefully. It had obviously been taken out of someone else’s diesel when they had changed a set of heater plugs. Nor did it include the top pieces. It was just the plug.

Just to remind you all – the photo at the top is the defunct plug

The owner’s son went behind the bonnet of another vehicle where his brother was working and they had a very quiet chat to think of a good price that the silly foreigner might pay. He then came out and said: “Thirty five euros.” Smiling. Again.

Adrian fell on the floor.

When he picked himself up, he said, “No, thank you. I’m not paying that.”

“Oh, well in that case, we’ll give you a discount. Thirty euros.”

“No, I’m not paying that either. And give me back my plug.” Which at this point was sitting on the work bench, in the hopes that he would forget it. Including all the difficult-to-get-hold-of top parts.

Taking the piss or what?

So we have now decided to compile a useful list of small parts and consumables on the Santana which are directly compatible with Land Rover parts and I will put it on the sidebar, and keep it updated when we find new equivalent parts.

Glow plugs/heater plugs (1)

Back here I wrote about our Diesel Woes. And said that we would be checking through to see if we could find the source of the problem.

We couldn’t see any loose cables, so armed with our trusty new circuit tester with both a lamp and audible warning, we decided to go check the ballast resistor and then onto the heater plugs.

The resistor on the Santana is in the dashboard, under a nice plastic cover. It looks totally different to the Series ones.

Unfortunately Adrian had virtually put it all back together before I found the camera and I decided it wasn’t a good idea to ask him to undo it all again.

Then I went off to check the heater plugs, following Big Sandy’s clear and simple article at LRUK Forums.

So I started at the one nearest to the radiator, while Adrian held the ignition on. The top feed was fine. The bottom one wasn’t. Wondered if I wasn’t doing it right. Checked all the others, all top and bottom feeds had current to them. We would have checked how much voltage to each one if the battery in the volt meter hadn’t been dead. The first one seemed to be the culprit though, so out he came.

Even with our limited electrical knowledge we figured it would be pretty difficult to complete the circuit when the element at the bottom has snapped.

He looks like he’s had copper slip on him and he certainly came out easily enough. So now we are waiting for some new ones, part no 568335, ie one to replace the faulty one and some spares. NB Do not throw away the washers, ceramic insulator, and threaded top (incidentally this has a slot in the top for a screwdriver when you want to undo it to take out the plug).

Part 2 to follow when the new plugs arrive.