• Welcome to my Series III Restoration Site
  • Fairey Overdrive Overhaul
  • Fitting Forward Facing Rear Seats & Belts
  • Fitting a Defender Heater

Welcome to my Series III Restoration Site

This site is dedicated to my eternal fiddling and tweaking of my 1972 Series III 109 inch Land Rover. I bought it in February 1992 and immediately set about a few repairs and a bit of tidying up and all these years later I’m still working on it! After years of minor rebuilds, in 2004 the discovery of some major corrosion led to a full ground-up rebuild. As this started, the specification started to creep, and many new features were incorporated in order to make it a highly usable combination of daily driver, family vehicle, expedition vehicle and general utility.
This multi purpose use leads to many compromises and is why the vehicle still continues to evolve after the rebuild as new ideas or new frustrations reveal themselves. I have acquired two more vehicles (the Range Rover and the Lightweight), which also have their own jobs.  They are not subject to the level of work or alteration that the 109 has been,  so they have their own smaller, more generalised blog sections.  The “how to” guides on popular repairs or modifications to all three vehicles are included in the FAQ section. Please note, I am not a trader in vehicles or parts, and am not a garage providing repair services. This site is to offer inspiration, technical information and ideas to other Land Rover enthusiasts, helping others learn from my experiences over twenty years, both positive and negative.  I write about what has and hasn’t worked for me – I cannot promise that the same ideas will work for your vehicle.
The vehicle is still an ongoing project and still gets the occasional new accessory or modification, but below is a list of alterations that make up the basic specification of the vehicle and are covered in posts in the respective subsections on the site navigation bar and menu:
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Some new bits and plans

Well, there’s no chance of me putting any of this into place for a very long time, but I have bought a Range Rover Classic Borg Warner transfer box and a Discovery 200Tdi ZF22 automatic gear box and associated parts for a retrofit to the 109.  Both were very cheap and the ZF at least needs some attention, according to the seller, though I’m assured the BW is good.  They’re in storage for me to collect at a convenient point.

The idea is to move the engine forwards and for the back end transmission to be mounted a little aft of where the back of the standard transmission ends as the Discovery/RRC transmission is a fair bit longer than the SIII, even with its overdrive.

The reasons for the change are several, but mainly the noise level reduction.  Drive any of the RRCs or Discoverys and the difference in noise level is fantastic.  Even the Defender, with less noise insulation than my 109, is considerably quieter when driving.  I would also like to have a less worrisome drive and ownership; the SIII transmission has stood up well to the Tdi, contrary to early internet advice, with all the problems occurring while I had the overgeared 3.54 diffs, but the later transmission would allow higher speed cruising with lower revs, lower gear noise and much greater resilience and oil retention.  I am also getting used to driving an automatic in Dubai, and though having disliked them previously, I am getting used to the ease of use (despite still disliking the slow reaction and performance losses).

I have seen write-ups of a couple of LT77/LT230 retrofits that I was highly impressed by (Ed Parrot and “DiscoMikey”), and will be copying some of their solutions, specifically the use of the red lever connection to the later transfer box (BW has no diff lock, so the yellow lever could be omitted or installed as a dummy) and retaining the original tunnel (and matting).

The reason for going with the BW unit instead of an LT230 is primarily the way it behaves on a snowy or part icy road – the 4wd is permanently locked, but with enough slip to prevent damage on tractive surfaces, so you get the best of both worlds with no need to engage and disengage a centre diff as you go from slippery to good surfaces. I really like that in my RRC in winter.  It is also quieter than an LT230, being chain driven.  Its down sides are that it is reputed to be less robust than the 230 and it causes faster tyre wear (roughly double the rate for the same tyres on my RRC as on my 109, which was almost always in 2wd) because of the way the axles wind up against each other in tight turns.  In theory, the LT230 also has the advantage of allowing one to remove a broken rear half shaft or prop shaft and drive on the front axle with diff lock, while doing so with the BW could conceivably cause continuous slip that could damage the viscous unit (not cheap).  However, I don’t think that slip is likely when driven conscientiously on the front axle only, and the chances of blowing the rear drive is very small, being a Salisbury axle.

If anyone has any experience or knowledge of such a mod, do be generous with the advice!

Brief Visit, Feb 2016

I had a fleeting visit to the UK (I requested a specific flight pair that meant I flew my folks down to Dubai personally), and used the 24 hours in the UK for a few tasks, including checking on the house and the 109.  The result is that both are … [Continue reading]

October 2015 – missing the 109

Well, it's now six months since I emigrated and I miss driving the 109. As good a car as the XC90 is, it doesn't have anywhere the character and enjoyment of a Series Land Rover or even a Defender.  I write this sitting in a Bangkok restaurant; in … [Continue reading]

New Mechanic

The 109 has a new mechanic: Helena. I moved out to Dubai two months ago, so Helena is the sole user of the 109 now.  That also means that she has to deal with any problems that come up, like a recent issue with gear selection being very difficult. … [Continue reading]

Road Legal Again

Having finished the last details on the PAS conversion, the 109 was booked in for MoT test (annual safety check, for non-UK readers).  The old check expired at the end of December, but UK rules allow the vehicle to be driven to a testing station as … [Continue reading]