This LRO reader emailed LRO.firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for advice about removing a seized steering relay.
I'm stripping my 1952 Series I 80-inch. I want to change the steering relay but I've been unable to get it out. I heard it can be somehow extracted with a car jack, but does this really work? The relay is stuck tight.
M Preston, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Relays are a perennial problem. Everyone hates dealing with them - even old hands struggle - and they're virtually always stuck tight.
They're one of the worst design features of a Series Land Rover. If you look at a Parts Catalogue drawing of the relay, you'll see that its body is wider at the bottom than the top. The tube in the front of your chassis, though, is parallel-sided. When your Land Rover was being assembled, the relay would have been slid (a push-fit) into the tube. The lower (wider) part of the relay is a close fit to the tube, but the upper part - the section that's within the tube - is loose, the relay being located by two long bolts through two vertical tabs welded to the top of the chassis front crossmember. With these two bolts removed, this upper part of the relay is where you may be able to start some movement.
Inject penetrating lubricant (WD-40) between relay and chassis tube. Then with a hammer and brass drift, knock the relay from side to side. It probably won't seem to move, but your efforts are starting to break down rust into smaller particles, and helping lubricant penetrate. Be patient, repeating as often as possible over several days if you can. Weakening rust is essential if you're going to get the relay moving.
The car-jack trick is essentially a sort of lash-up hydraulic press. Make a frame for the jack to stand on, which hangs from the crossmember and is positioned under the relay. Protect the top of the chassis crossmember with wood packing. Jack under the relay until you have pressure, then knock the relay from side to side. Then a little more pressure and knock from side to side again. Be patient, keep repeating - the relay should move eventually. You probably won't be able to force the relay up and out by pressure from the jack alone; it works in combination with knocking the relay top. As the relay rises (hopefully!), put some wooden packing under the jack and continue - and keep adding penetrating lubricant.
All the time you're doing this, think about safety. Wear eye protection, and don't apply excessive pressure - if some part fails, you could be injured. Consider risk, and work carefully. But, if you're patient, this is a good method of relay removal.
This workshop advice appeared in the May 2016 issue of LRO. Back issues are available to download on digital devices here.