Tidying Up the 109

The 109 gets used a lot for my commute, so gets a little wear and tear.  The bumper and winch mount were quite stone-chipped and looking a little scruffy, so I removed the number plate,  bullbar, fairleads, tow jaws and all the existing paint for a respray with Hammerite Stone Shield anti-chip matt black paint.  The bumper has consequently lost the reflective black tape I fitted a few years ago, but it is still present on the bullbar and along the sides of the vehicle.  The bullbar had only a few minor chips in the satin back Rustoleum paint, but that merely was through to the industrial red oxide primer sprayed after the bullbar was stripped of the original plastic coating and sand blasted.  It just needed a couple of dabs with a small modelling paint brush.  The tow jaws were given a coat of the Stone Shield, while their pins were sprayed with Galvafroid. 

Left to dry overnight, the reassembly was left for today, along with the addition of modern Defender end caps to protect the parts of the bumper which seem to suffer most from stone damage and consequent surface rusting.  It’s worth knowing that Series bumpers are shorter than Defender bumpers (a new discovery to me), so if the caps are pushed all the way on, their rear curves foul the wings.  The edge of the oval recesses for the securing studs should align with the joint between the front and side wing panels, so that’s how I fitted them.  With the fresh paint and all the parts reassembled, it looks smart and respectable again.

I also took the opportunity to do the same with the folding side steps below the front doors, which were a bit flaky over the red oxide that they were treated with after blasting during the main rebuild.  The black paint was all scraped off back to a solid red oxide base and the Stone Shield sprayed on the legs, braces and steps themselves – all but on the rubber treads.  The work was done in-situ without removing the rubber as rust isn’t a problem with the red oxide primer.  They now look like new again.

The final job is sorting out the rusty lower door hinges (the upper hinges are fine).  They were removed, as much rust scraped and scrubbed off as possible, treated with Kurust and painted twice with black Hammerite smooth.  I’m just waiting for the paint to finish hardening before refitting them.  I was considering removing the top hinges to modify them to more neatly route the heated wing mirror wiring internally through the bulkhead as a trial run for Helena’s new 90, but decided against altering mine and adding heaters to hers.  They’re a nice accessory and help a lot, but I don’t want to be drilling bits of her doors for wiring – it’ll just cause trouble in the future.

As an aside, I have refitted the recalibrated speedo, though have yet to test it.  The four instruments have had green tinted 3W bulbs for a soft dash RRC or 300Tdi Discovery fitted (they’re standard 3w T9 instrument bulbs with a removable plastic twist-base, but have green rubber sheaths to provide the tint – I haven;t been able to find the sheaths separately) , and I have rewired the earths inside the dash to try to cure the over-reading fault that occurs on the temperature and fuel gauges when the lights are on.  I’ll be checking the other end of the main harness’ dash earth wire, where it is bolted to the driver’s foot well to make sure that corrosion and dirt aren’t causing a bad earth at that end.

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