1994 Range Rover Classic
Lenny was pretty rotten the day I collected him! I don't think there was that much left of him by the time I drove him the 3 hours back. It was also a pretty scary drive! I couldn't tell the difference between 1st and reverse (the pin had shattered!), I had no lights, indictors didn't work at all. The tailgate kept popping open and my reverse light was on permanently. I wondered if I had made a mistake selling my van and buying this rotten box. By the time I had gotten him home I was totally in love with him, I loved his shape and all his quirks. I saw it as he is 26 years and there is some work to do! That was all. I was excited for the project to start.
The saving grace from the project going any further south was that a previous owner had red oxided all the panels so behind them there was absolutely no rust at all! It was a shame really they didn't do the wheel arches, the floor and everything else that Land Rover touched. But it was fine, it was a start.
The first thing that NEEDED doing more than anything was the cross member. There was nothing left of it at all, a few straggly bits of metal hanging on for dear life. That came out with a good smack! The reciprocating saw came in pretty handy too!
Before removing the cross member, welding the bar along the top stopped the panels pinging out and never being able to go back into place again!
After all the floor pans and wheel arches had all been replaced the next step was to replace the belts, radiator, thermostat and all oils! There was a lot of metal filings in the gearbox oil, worrying! But whoever had changed the oils before had put the wrong oil into the gearbox. After a good flush through everything run smoothly, including the gearbox, there is no more grinding or struggling with the gears. In the future I will refurbish the gearbox totally just so I know it is all new, clean and fresh. I will do this before I go on a long trip!
At the same time I also replaced the pin for the top of the gearbox which means you can tell which gear you are in also!
While up in Halifax we had the use of a ramp so up Lenny went! Lenny was never meant to be welded on this trip away but as I was 12 hours out of MOT and the lovely out of area policeman decided to stop me I had no choice but to weld Lenny up and get him back down South and MOT'd in the next 14 days! Did you know that when your MOT runs out it is at 00.01 on the day of expiry not 23.59 like I thought it was. Nevermind. We managed to get his footwells replaced, the light carrier welded in and the sills patched up for now.
Lost in Europe
Dogs in a Pickle
Lenny was also treated to some HID's. The original headlights were just shockingly bad! I hated driving in the evening because of his lights, I could never see more than about a metre infront of me!
For now he has HID's, potentially next LED's. But who knows, these haven't packed up on me. Yet!
Chris Dyer. Donks Customs. Welding Rear Wheel Arch.
June 2021, Lenny has 4 wheel arches and foot wells, the light carrier has been replaced, the pin on the top of the gear box has been replaced, the calipers have all been refurbished, he has new sills (thank you to Donks Customs, Chris), the rear drivers side window also works, he has a new headliner, all the lights work (occasionally!), he has been painted green, the boot now stays closed and the tailgate no longer has a hole!
BUT, with all this positive-ness, he has developed a few more issues… It is a Land Rover, so when you fix one thing, something else breaks! Where do I even begin with his list of things that now need fixing…
Swivel ball seal needs replacing
Sun roof is leaking
Engine oil leak
Front brake lines
Front caliper refurbish
Central locking system
Rear floor needs welding down
Electrical Issues – Every time I hit a bump the radio turns off, I hit a bump and my headlights are on I lose all lights, when I need to indicate I have to hold the hazard switch down, when I need to use the hazards I have to put the fuse in. A random 12v disappears when it shouldn’t.
Replace the door locks
Replace indicator stalk
Replace the entire suspension system
So not too many problems.
The most important thing that was on the list to repair was the sills, they were rotten through, had been patched and badly welded with half a tonne of seam sealer over the top to cover up any imperfections.
Chris (Donks Customs) came and took off the previously badly welded sills, wheel arches and a small amount into the floor pan. Although it did the job for the time being, it was not just safe anymore, the centre of the car had dropped to the extent the doors were struggling to shut and open again. We took the rear doors off, propped up the door pillars and we could see they had dropped about an inch roughly. After taking the rock sliders off and cutting out all of the rusty sills and a small amount on the floor pan, Chris propped up the door pillars and welded the new sills into place. The passenger side was not too bad in comparison to the drivers side. The n/s sills were chopped away, new sills in place all within 9 hours! The drivers side on the other hand took way longer than expected – 17 hours of grinding, cutting, measuring, patterns, plating and welding later Lenny has new sills and Chris has a newfound dislike towards Lenny! Haha.
Although I didn’t get involved very much – I made the coffee, cooked dinners and passed him the tools, I have learnt a hell of a lot. The main one being, it isn’t as difficult as people make out, yes it does take a long time and a lot of hard work and funny coloured showers in the evening, but all in all, it was not too bad. Also, having an experienced welder helps… haha.
Doing the sills were a task that I have been dreading since I bought the car, the previous MOT’er said that they need to be done prior to the next MOT, although not bad at the moment, they will certainly deteriorate very quickly now. I didn’t realise how bad of a state the sills were actually in until we took the old ones off! We could see why the car was starting to dip, before I bought the car they had welded new metal over the top of the existing sills (that were never going to hold the car up!), nothing had been treated, the bare metal was still showing and the new metal had started to rust on the edges.
Chris did an absolutely fantastic job in the short space of time we had the use of a workshop for. Working so hard to be out by 8am on Monday morning! We ended up finishing at 5am! I just could not sleep so I got back up and painted the sills – I then proceeded to ‘rest my eyes’ under the car!
Lenny has new sills and looks amazing, he drives better (I don’t even know if the sills make a difference) and is stiffer, doesn’t feel like there is any give in sills now and more importantly, the doors shut and open first time! Chris lined up the doors and latches too.
Is this a job I would take on again?
Yes! Although I didn’t do anything, I watched Chris from start to finish do the sills. I now have the confidence to be able to do this for myself in the future, I didn’t realise how much work it was going to be, but also, as Chris said “He isn’t that bad!”, I don’t think I want to see what a ‘bad sill’ looks like!
I bought the sills from a company called ‘DDS Metals’ who specialise in Land Rover panels from Series 1, 2, 2A, 3, Defender 90/110, Range Rover Classic, Discovery 1 and 2, all the off roading parts including turrets, beading, bumpers and winch bumpers etc. Based in Coventry, they send their parts out for delivery all over the world. They are a fantastic company!
Both inner and outer sills to both sides have been fitted, welded and painted, the rock sliders will go back on in the coming weeks and then he is ready for a little off roading, maybe.
The next job on Lenny will be to re-spray the body work, tint the windows, build a roof rack, fit the internals – cooker, leisure batteries, solar panel and various other things!
The time-lapse video of Lenny’s sills will be added to YouTube once the rock sliders have been added and you can see the whole process from start to finish!