This LRO reader emailed LRO.email@example.com to ask for advice on his Land Rover Series I's vibration damper.
There’s a slight oil leak from the front of my 2-litre engine just behind the vibration damper in my 1953 80-inch Series I. I’ll be replacing the front seal. Can you give me some information about the front nut (starter dog)? I have a manual for 86 and 88-inch; are instructions similar for 80-inch? The manual says: ‘Remove the starter dog, using spanner 263055’. Can I not just use any spanner? And what size is it?
K Preston, Cheadle
You’ll be okay using your later workshop manual, but this starter dog causes problems for many Series I owners. I don’t know of any illustrations showing spanner 263055 in use. It’s a ‘slogging’ spanner – designed to be hit with a hammer, to provide high-shock turning motion. What this tells you, apart from anything else, is that the starter dog will have been screwed up very tight. Slogging spanners are always very solid, and typically fairly short, so that when they’re hit there’s no bounce in the length of the spanner – all the force of the hammer’s blow goes direct to the nut. Even if you had a correct-size normal spanner, it might well bounce too much if you used it with a hammer.
What’s the solution? Well, there are two schools of thought – do the job by shock, or do it with leverage. My friend Colin has just tackled this job on his Minerva, so we’re able to see all the options. Before starting, don’t forget to bend back the tabs of the lock-washer behind the starting dog.
Let’s look at shock fi rst. The theory here is simple: male and female threads are tight together, but if that bond could be shocked free even slightly, the nut will eventually come off. This is the way the 263055 special tool works, so it was obviously Rover’s preferred method. You could make a replica special tool from steel (not too thin – about 12mm would be minimum) – if you have engineering capability.
Alternatively, you could resort to a hammer and chisel. Don’t chisel too near to the point of the hexagon – you want to be about 8mm or more behind the hexagon’s point or you risk chiselling the point clean off. Nick the nut first so that your chisel gets a grip, then hammer sideways to turn the nut. This provides a very solid shock action because there’s no possibility of lost energy through bounce or slack fit between spanner and nut. Many of the engines I’ve come across have had chiselled starter dogs.
Of course, if you have access to air tools, you could just use an impact wrench, assuming you can get hold of a socket of the correct size. The true spanner size is 11∕8in Whitworth (which is also 1.in BSF). This is 47.24mm and the nearest Imperial socket is 17∕8 inches (47.52mm).
This workshop advice appeared in the Feb 2015 issue of LRO. Back issues are available to download on digital devices here.