DAS 442 last appeared in LRO in June 2008, when Mark Saville came to see the results of my first rebuild. But by early 2011, the paintwork was looking very tired so I began what was meant to be a ‘light freshening up’, as my fiancé put it. This soon escalated into something more involved.
I started with the orbital sander on the front wings, which revealed a load of filler. Once I’d got rid of that, I could see all the hidden dents from her past.
I soon realised that the only way to properly paint the panels would be to remove them, as well as all the steel cappings.
This led me to fully strip the front end into component parts, allowing me to rivet in repair panels to rather ropey front wings after removing all the corroded aluminium and treating it all with etch primer.
I replaced the ribs under the tub floor with secondhand, freshly galvanised ones. The whole floor was replaced too, with new top hat sections running front to back. The quarter panels were replaced with fresh ones from YRM Metal Solutions, along with the angled section that bolts the tub to the chassis. Once I was happy that the tub was fully repaired I moved back to the engine bay area.
I replaced the bulkhead support brackets and steering box stiffener with new galvanised units as the originals were warped. Off-roading had damaged the steering box housing so I rebuilt the whole thing with a replacement housing. I replaced the rotten old under-wing splash guards with galvanised ones. I treated the engine to a full service, adjusted the valves and fitted a genuine Land Rover spin-off oil filter housing for ease of filter changes. I’ve installed electronic ignition too, using a Simon BBC kit.
The most significant upgrade has been the ACR SU carb and manifold that I purchased on eBay at a bargain price. With service parts for the carb, the whole setup cost just shy of £100. I took the opportunity to convert a clunky rod and lever throttle mechanism to a cable-operated throttle, to eliminate the problems of slack in the original complex linkage setup. Throttle response is now much better.
This was later complemented with another eBay find, an ACR stainless-steel free-flow silencer. Although I don’t think it has done much for fuel economy, it has certainly given the Land Rover more torque, which is essential as she struggled to haul the weight of the roll cage off-road when it was running on the Zenith carburettor.
The engine now runs much better than before, with a smooth idle that can be set as low as 450rpm. Engine pick up is instant and it now pulls very well, as well as cruising much more happily. The exhaust lets the engine breathe just that bit better and also gives a more throaty sound to the 2.25.
Other work included getting the new door bottom frames, upper tailgate frame, bonnet frame and front headlight/rad panel galvanised, fitting a pair of Series III side panels with fixed windows that I won for £16 on eBay and a pair of ‘elephant hide’ bench seats for the back. The radiator panel and upper tailgate needed minor welding repairs, all carried out at the local garage.
The final step was the paint. I thought it best to return her to the colour she left the factory in, which is Mid Grey supplied by Bill the Paint Man. As you can see, the work involved snowballed right from the start. As with all projects, it is never going to be ‘finished’ but for the time being I can take delight in driving her as is.