Seal of approval – the MOT

With a pretty mint Defender TD5 we didn’t expect any problems at the annual MOT.

In Gibraltar, they are every two years, unless you have a commercial vehicle, and as ours is a van body, sadly it’s an annual MOT for us.

Last year, the inspector just glanced over it and said how impressed he was with the condition.

At the time of this year’s MOT it was around seven years old with less than 20,000 kms on the clock.

‘Fuck it,’ said Partner when he walked in and threw the keys on the table.

Failed on one oil seal on the front axle.

Now, had we been in Spain at the finca with our ramps life might have been easier. But catch 22, without the MOT we shouldn’t be driving in Spain, and we didn’t feel like having the vehicle impounded by the Guardia Civil. Plus we didn’t have four fancy tools that you needed (having looked at the manual). Plus brake pipe clamps. Tool bill mounting up a bit here.

See, this is why Simple Series are Superior.

Anyways, we bite the bullet and ring up the local main stealer. The ones who mis-sold us the vehicle in the first place. But that’s another story.

Luckily, we’ve always got on with the office staff and mechanics. And because we bought the vehicle there, it whizzed up on the system straight away. Now, rumour has it, that they have long waiting lists for repairs and servicing. We could take it in the following day for a looky by the mechanics.

We did. They checked out their stocks and discovered they had the required oil seals in stock – we’d decided to have both done, as a bit like master and slave cylinders, pretty obvious the other one would go soon. Might as well just have one expensive garage bill than two.

In we went the next day. Felt like VIP treatment. I held my breath for the bill. A hundred and thirty quid or so. Not so bad after all. Good job, fast and efficient, one mechanic changed both seals in two hours. Reading around it seems to take DIY people two hours to do one seal. It’s the first job we’ve paid for since we bought her. First time we have used a garage or a main stealer for years, but it was a good result.

Off we went to collect the coveted MOT. Cost of MOT – £40.

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Changing oil on a TD5

Another ‘easy’ job [insert hollow laughter].

We’d been talking about the oil change for months but never had time or space to get round to doing it.

Chatting to a mechanic in Gib the other day, they casually mentioned an oil change would cost around £300 at one of the local stealers. What?!!

How long does it take, I asked. About half an hour, replied Partner.

We’d been checking the level regularly – and the colour – and it was always above half and not black. We’d been toying with topping it up actually.

Checked last week and it was filthy dirty and below half. Nice to have decisions taken out of your hands sometimes.

Looked at the handbook. We needed 5W30, spec ACEA A1/B!. If that wasn’t available A3/B4 apparently was an adequate substitute.

The handbook was confusing because it also covers TDis. It talks about temperature ranges and it isn’t clear to me which engine it is referring to. Couldn’t work out if the 10W40 was appropriate for the TD5 or not due to the unclear paragraph headings in the manual.

[Note on looking at the workshop manual which we didn’t have with us – the only recommendation is ACEA A1/B1]

But having good Landy friend on line, I asked her if she had any mates with TD5s and what they used. Back came a rapid response involving a couple of her mechanic pals saying ‘go for fully synthetic.’

It’s always difficult when you have a new vehicle that you aren’t used to, and you don’t know the tolerances, and what works best in practice – and what doesn’t work.

Off we jumps in said Landy, with dirty oil, to try and find this desirable 5W30. A traipse around the industrial estates in our local county town couldn’t find the elusive large motor parts/factors that Partner swore was there.

We decided to go to another one on the other side of town to see if they had it. En route, nicking across town rather cleverly, we noticed a bike shop that did oil changes. And on the other side of the road, a shop selling vehicle oils. Bingo! And not only that, there was a parking space right outside.

It wasn’t a big shop and we gazed at the various containers of oil none of which seemed to say 5W30. They were all 10s and 15s. Boooo.

And then crouching down, in the middle of the middle shelf, there it was. The elusive 5W30. One was A1/B!, and the other was A3/B4. Both the same price at 29€. We picked up the only two containers of the one for us (made by Ford incidentally) and went to the desk. This was just after 9am so the young lad looked most pleased to be flogging 58€ worth of engine oil. Did he have guantes? (gloves) – No! Honestly. I ask you. If you are buying engine oil would you not want to buy gloves?

We were on a high, went to collect some paint (for the house) and sensibly asked for gloves there. Yay! Gloves. A boring stop at a supermarket for essentials – beer and bread – and off we went home. Total trip around an hour.

Next morning, the job.

Put vehicle on ramp and chock up.

All ramped up and ready to go

Bread delivery man arrives. ‘Que pasa?’ he asks. ‘Cambio aceite, facile,’ says Partner.

That’s what made my heart sink. ‘What’s happening?’ ‘I’m changing the oil, easy.’

It is calling down the wrath of all Land Rover gods to say that any job will be easy.

Next up, our next-door neighbour comes up to buy his bread and find out what is happening.

‘Hmmm,’ he said, very Spanishly.’Need to be careful, someone might report you.’

Ah right, when your son-in-law changed an exhaust pipe on the street, and over the years we have changed master and slave cylinders, done endless work on brakes, changed a fuel pump in a mate’s TD5, and some spider bearings for a French couple who were travelling to Morocco. All outside the house.

It’s not as though we are going to chuck seven litres of oil in the street.

But not calculated to improve anyone’s mindset when they are just starting a job.

Starting the job

So back to the job in hand after that minor distraction.

Bucket in place and drain plug taken out.

Black oil drips through.

See the thin drip of black oil?

Nasty dirty oil waiting to be taken to an appropriate disposal point.

Extremely black and dirty

And putting back the plug. Don’t forget to buy a new washer. We did. (forget I mean). Don’t drop the plug in the bucket. (we did that too).

Putting the plug back

All ready to start pouring in the new oil.

And back up to the engine bay… for the new oil

Ah, couldn’t find the funnel. Important note – a funnel would be a good idea.

Ready for the new oil

The TD5 holds approx 7.2 litres of engine oil so we put a full five litre container of nice clean oil in. Nothing showed on the dipstick, so we decided to let it settle – and – go and buy a funnel.

Mmm look at that nice clean oil 🙂

…….

Somewhat later, new funnel in place and oil container pouring happily in. Partner explaining about oil changes and engines to non-car driving neighbour (he’s driven a motorbike and a donkey).

Lessons for a Spaniard on how to change oil in a TD5

Top tips:

Order/buy the correct washer beforehand.

Wear gloves.

Use a large container so that if you drop the plug in there it’s not difficult to recover.

Save the container from the new oil to filter the old stuff back in and take it to a safe disposal/recycle point.

Don’t forget to find/buy a funnel.

Most important: Use a socket for flats and not a cornered one. The plug is recessed and if you use the incorrect one you will eventually not be able to get it out because you will have rounded off the corners.. Pix of correct and incorrect tools to follow.

Now if I was strong enough to undo the plug and could wriggle underneath, even I could do that.

Recommended oil change on TD5 at 12 months or 20,000kms/12,000 miles.

This vehicle has done less than 19,000 kms in seven years. When we bought it from the Stealer it allegedly had received an oil change. Who knows? But it seemed a bit silly to keep changing the oil every 12 months on that sort of mileage. We’ve only had it around two years as it sat around at the stealers for five years.

All other levels checked at the same time: power steering, clutch, brake, and water.

Total cost:

Oil – 58€, with some left (ie three litres) for topping up

New funnel – 2.50€


Top post here about engine oil
if you are interested

The road to recovery

Here we have a simple Land Rover project.

Well, that says it all really doesn’t it?

Simple and Land Rover don’t even belong in the same dictionary, let alone sentence.

The theory was to take off the perished tyres, BF Goodrich Trac Edge which had been on there for 20 years or so, not huge mileage, been off-road, snow, mud, the usual, and brought us safely down from the north of England to the south of Spain towing a Sankey trailer, and through snow around Madrid and mud in Andalucía. A lot of mud in Andalucía in fact.

Trac Edge were incredibly popular years ago, but then seemed to fall out of favour. They never let us down.

Then get some new tyres to put on the (Disco) rims. That’s as much of the plot that’s necessary for now, as after some considerable time had been spent with the hacksaw and grinder it was obviously not the anticipated simple little project after all. Well, there’s a surprise.

A quick five minute job ……

And given that we were setting off back for Gib around noon, the simple little project had to be abandoned for another day.

Question. Continue with the not so simple little project or take the wheels to the tyre place? When we have more time than a couple of hours on Sunday morning, I may be able to give the answer.

Meanwhile on the way back, having finally hit the road, it was warm. We’ve never had a vehicle with air-conditioning – but who needs air-con when you have vents? Sometimes they are really loud but they were perfect on this warm hot journey.

Last of the Defender vents

We like to stop in classy locations for a quick drink, for all three of us, and a leg stretch for all of us too. Here are the boys chilling out at Marbella service station on the peaje (toll road). Los Altos de Marbella.

Chillin’

Just before Marbella we hit the toll booth and there was a huge queue on the other side. But not for the toll. The Guardia Civil were stopping everyone. I was so stunned, I forgot to pick up the camera to take a pic of the nice man with a machine gun. Or maybe it was just as well I did forget.

Incidentally toll prices on the Fuengirola to Marbella section are currently 6.95€, and 4.70€ on the San Pedro section. We don’t use the one from Estepona to Sotogrande. Unless there is a bush fire of course and we get redirected.

If you don’t want to queue at the toll both there is an automated payment lane headed ‘turismos’ ie private cars and not commercial. You can get a Disco through the roof barrier, but a vehicle with extra lift, a roof rack and a load of clart on top might have a problem. If you don’t have euros you can pay by debit card at both the booth and the turismo lane.

Remember the bush fire from a couple of posts back? Can’t believe how quickly the vegetation and trees are recovering. Look at the amount of growth on these trees.

Green shoots of recovery – let’s hope Spain’s economy gets some too

That’s not just to justify bush fires by any stretch of the imagination, but the recovery time has been so quick. Luckily.

And, this is not the fogblog, but I couldn’t resist this mist swirling around the Rock as we drove through the frontier and across the Gib airport runway into home.

Swirling around

The fog

Every drive down the N340 in Spain is full of surprises.  Appalling drivers, bush fires, and – the fog.

The Fog was a 1980 film by John Carpenter which had a spooky fog that swept in over a coastal town in California and brought lots of mariners ghosts with it.  Carpenter also did the brilliant Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).

So here, travelling up the N340, approaching Estepona from the south, in our Landy, was The Fog.

Creeping in from the sea.

Fog creeps in from the sea

We watched it roll in from the sea as we drove up the coast and suddenly..

…. it was enveloping us.

fog….

… more fog..

.. and still more fog….

And then suddenly we were clear enough for ‘planes to land at Málaga airport.

All set for a clear landing

130 double cabs

It’s not often that Land Rovers come up for auction by the MOD in Gib.  And if they do, they are usually basket cases for spares.

But the last one this month had three, a 110 single cab for spares, and two D130 double cabs.

Saw this the other day in one of the Gib car parks. Wonder if it was one of the auctioned ones?? We didn’t get to go, sadly.

The new Málaga by-pass, A7 – east to west

And the flip side – east to west. I don’t think any text is necessary if you have read the previous post.

Except to say head for Algeciras all the way and you can’t go wrong.

A nice peaceful start to the journey

One of those adorable ruins ‘para reformar’?

Spanish love their bridges

By-passing Málaga and looking towards Alhaurin

Entrance to the tunnel

Spectacular views on the other side of the tunnel

And rejoining the old road again around the hills above Torremolinos

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