109 July 2012 Update

The 109 is going well at the moment, though a new small puddle under the off-side swivel housing seemed ominous.  The swivel seal had allowed EP90 to escape into the concertina rubber gaiter, and it was dripping out of a new small hole in the seam (the gaiter is glued at a joint at the 6 o’clock position similar to where leather gaiters are laced up).

A little concerned over whether this was symptomatic of a fault or was just accumulated seepage over the last four years in service, I jacked up the wheel to give it a good tug in all directions.  Satisfied that the swivel pins and bearings are still in good order, I drained the swivel down to replace it with Land Rover Gen Part 1-Shot swivel grease.  The amount of oil that drained out seemed reasonable, though it wasn’t measured.  The amount that came from the swivel gaiter was probably a couple of soup spoons full.  The oil was clear and clean.  In fact, it looked like new.  The same was repeated on the near-side, with a similar accumulation of (clean) oil in the gaiter but a healthy amount of fresh looking oil in the swivel.

I used the grease because I have had good results with it before and because I am a little unsure whether the Britpart swivels’ diabolically poor surface finish had damaged the seals or not – given how much oil was still retained in the swivels, they are still sealing to an extent, and will be good enough to hold the 1-shot grease in until the newer axles are fitted – this is a temporary remedy, but I will keep the axle as a spare for the Lightweight once it comes off (apart from the brakes and the drive flanges and outer ends of the half-shafts, it’s the same as the Lightweight’s current axle.

I used the 109 to take the family on a three-day camping trip to Alton Towers, with two days in the park (great fun).  It took all the kit easily, though the Hannibal roof tent bag has perished slightly, letting water into the roof storage space and trapping it, causing the Homebase exterior grade plywood to rot – it collapsed in a few places when I stood on it and new needs replacing.

It ran well on the first tank of SVO, which was a mix of new sunflower oil and very, very old rape seed oil, but didn’t like the pure sunflower oil as much – there was a noticeable drop in power as the sunflower oil replaced the diesel in the injection system that wasn’t evidenced with the first tank of fuel, so I’ll be sticking to rape seed oil in the future.  Still, the sunflower oil allowed the vehicle to easily reach 60mph and ran smoothly and cleanly.  Rape seed oil seems to give no noticeable drop in performance over diesel, though.

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