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The Curse of Blondie


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Introducing 'Blondie' my 1980 RR 3 door project. Bought back in March 2018 whilst on a flying trip to the UK. She has already made a brief appearance here posted in a thread on 2 post and 4 post lifts and ought to have been featured a bit more before now except that life gets in the way and registering vehicles in different countries is never a straightforward as one supposes.


So DVLA finally got the right detail in sufficient boxes for me to go back to the Vehicle registration tax office (VRT for short) and because it is more than 6 months since I was last there, my file has been erased and I need to start again, oh well............. which means (re)presenting the vehicle for an ID check,......  better check it over then.

 I go out and start up Blondie, check the lights, brake pedal nearly hits the floor not good! And I set about putting the back seat back in after it was used to ferry some big sheets of glass, when I went round to open the passenger door to deal with the LHS the bottom hinge pin promptly snapped! even less good!  It is clear Blondie  hasn't appreciated 6 months of inaction.

Never had an early  Range Rover before, so I set about looking at how the hinges are fixed and reckon its easier to take the wing off for access, before long I have the bonnet , scuttle panel and wing off (snapped a bolt in the bumper on the way) and finally see that the hinge bolts, on this one anyway have loose nuts at the back of the door post.

Next nasty surprise is now obvious, the door post mounting plate for the wing is half rotted away and there are a couple of rusty holes in the post itself.

Well lately I have been watching a lot of 'Binky' vids and of course George's 'SOUP' series, so I think I ought to see to the rust before I put the wing back with a proper patch. I should say that whilst I have been tinkering with cars since I was in short trousers I have never attempted any bodywork before. 

So out comes the grinder and the cardboard and this is what I have managed to do today.

Damage cut out and patch in the making.


Welded in.


Finally added a piece for the wing fixing, old and new side by side, quite pleased with the result.


All in all I am reasonably pleased with my efforts and glad that I wasn't trying to do a frame by frame sequence at the same time!

It is obvious that the standard of most previous work carried out is poor and there will be a lot of re-doing of bodywork as I go. Tomorrow I need to get this back together and look at the brakes. 

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3 minutes ago, Arjan said:

This is sooo much why I'm no longer into RRC's...

I have a memory of the BBC news item when they were launched which has stayed with me all my  life...... I always promised myself one and when they started to get silly prices I thought 'now or never'. I accept they have flaws, but a bit like Debbie herself the exterior design is still pretty impressive after all these years and still has huge appeal. Mechanically and interior wise the majority of it is and will be much more modern Disco, creating a balance of kerb appeal and usability.

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Not much to report, but I have been tinkering with the brakes, changed the fluid and things have improved quite a bit, things are pretty rusty under there though, new pads is about the only good thing about them! I think the front discs will just about pass muster with a bit more driving before the test (booked on Friday) but the rears are awfull. 


On the lookout for D2 axles though so I don't want to spend anything on these if I can help it. The photo was rotated but seems to have fallen over again, not sure what the fix for that is.


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Thanks for the offer Simon,  and although I had envisaged dismantling a whole car, I would be interested in loose axles. The obvious problem would be getting them from Ayr, unless we can arrange a forum relay to W. Sussex or south of Englandshire for next month.

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Was chuckling at the level of strip down before you realised you go at the hinge bolts without any peeling back :P Typical aye! Lovely work and I'm very jealous, I was supposed to be half way through my two door by now. 

I'm surprised at the comments towards the RRC here, they're the same thing as a Defender just a different shape, what's the beef?

I'll send a message about some D2 axles if you like @Blanco? Might be able to find you a pair, but why you wouldn't want the RR ones, I might be wrong but they're stronger both inside and out aren't they?

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1 hour ago, Blanco said:

Thanks for the offer Simon,  and although I had envisaged dismantling a whole car, I would be interested in loose axles. The obvious problem would be getting them from Ayr, unless we can arrange a forum relay to W. Sussex or south of Englandshire for next month.

Brother transports vehicles but may be a bit pricey. I don't get much in the way of consessions. What is the possibility of the Forum relay. I am happy to take them to say Cumbria.

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Time for an assessment. What have I bought and what am I to do?? (Apart from the obvious hang head in hands and sob gently!)

Underneath, chassis etc. it is pretty sound, except that it won't stay that way for long because it has not been painted, has some awful 'underseal' which it is beginning to shed.


also it I think the tunnel and front floor comes from the D1 and you can see here the standard of installation which is a widespread problem.......



It is very wet inside when left out and this is just one of many causes. There are also a couple of bad oil leaks to fix, one at the filter mounting and one the other side from I think the sump pan, apart from its scruffy install, the engine starts well and seems to run pretty smoothly.


Under the bonnet, the inner wings and slam panel etc. are all I think replacements which were never painted, all seems pretty sound but will need adjusting and painting.


Moving round the vehicle there is some corrosion to sort, principally these rear corners, ....IMG_20190115_093949.jpg.03036e14f7c05251e17100bf3fbf6c35.jpg

..... the drivers door...


And the inner scuttle top has a couple of big holes as well......


Around the outside the wings are annoyingly in great shape except tha some vandal has hacked lumps out of the arches to fit big tyres, ....


The biggest bodywork headache is going to be seals for the side windows and doors....


Well, it's a start!

Immediate plan is to attend to the immediate needs of the shell and running gear. I want the lose the spacer things and go to the D2 axles, for the time being just clean and tidy the engine installation. (Eventually planning M52 and auto box, but I'll wait for that). Interior wise, I'll be updating the dash to a D2, the seats are currently D1 3 door folding seats which don't quite work, I need to work out what the spatial differences are between the seating and steering position relative to a D2 which I find near perfect for me.

Visually I think I'll ditch the EFI front spoiler and I need to repair or replace the wheelarches/wings, I think that upsets me more than anything else.

Plenty to think about and I'll welcome any/all suggestions 

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1 hour ago, Shackleton said:

I'll send a message about some D2 axles if you like @Blanco? Might be able to find you a pair, but why you wouldn't want the RR ones, I might be wrong but they're stronger both inside and out aren't they?

The axles on it at present are D1, with anti-roll bars, it actually drives fine on them, but the alloys end up quite inset, if you don't put the spacers on, even if the  arches were unmodified. 

D2 axles would help address that and enable me to get rid of the spacers. Plus If I find a late  D2 with some damage or other I might get my interior and a more modern loom into the bargain.

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9 hours ago, bishbosh said:

Eeeek! Orange Springs......! :blush:

I am told they were 'Police' spec progressive rate, bearing in mind what I now know I take that with a large pinch of Himalayan pink salt. But actually it rides OK, the colour I can live with.

8 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

This, why bother ruining a RRC with D2 axles, seems a lot of work Vs a different set of wheels?

I was thinking I prefer the brakes and CV's,... you're right though I was looking again at the watts linkage aspect of it, trouble is I don't have a D2 on the drive anymore to refer to. At the end of the day it will probably depend on what turns up locally. 

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Update due then,....

So Blondie failed her NCT/MOT test


Now as I understand it, although there are several visual defects reported, the only thing it properly failed on was the tracking! To be honest I feared much worse.

Back home I put the ladders down the sides and checked the tracking, toe'd in by quite a bit, really struggled to free the steering link, but managed eventually, although with the big stilsons and 3ft of scaffold tube I did wonder whether I would crush the tube before it moved. That sorted I thought I would hve a look at the rest of it.......

Rear shocks although working well enough bushes were knackered the top was rusted and worn right through the tubular centre .I pondered ordering just bushes but as they are aftermarket shocks I decided I couldn't guarantee the fit so ordered whole new shocks. Waiting for Paddocks to deliver now.

Next the lights then......

Number plate lights simply aren't connected, thats easy enough. But the fog light on the off side has been a challenge....


Basically as you can see from the tide mark here, there has been water sitting in the bottom of the lamp and that has caused the bottom bulb holder to rot...


I discovered the bulb feed had been soldered to the bulb, but the earth through the bulb stem was the problem, fresh corrosion preventing it earthing.

Tried to but a bulb holder locally and failed, I can see that vehicle wiring products do them but I didn't want to order just that for this..... so I spent most of today tinkering with it.


the rusty bulb holder was prised out and the hole enlarged to 28mm, then I  filed the bayonet slots like the defender indicator I robbed from the idle defender and fitted in the plastic bulb holder which went quite well. It isn't a great solution because the whole thing is too tall, and the bulb interferes with the fresnel lens insert, but it worked. 

I then trimmed the reflector from a cheapy fog light to fit inside the fog housing, ..... I am guessing that it would all have been silvered originally.


I had to drill the centre of the fresnel lens to get the cover back on over the bulb but it doesn't seem to matter, the lamp is much improved. It helps tremendously just washing the lenses.


Biggest problem refitting it all is the broken screw seats, one in the housing and  two in the lenses, and missing/knackered screws. Top left and bottom at the side I have used two wood screws that fit the speed nuts in the body and just won't pass through the lens. Bottom left is a VW body screw which is self tapping into the BA thread of the housing and holding the lens with its wide head. Not pretty but effective. New lenses are pricey, I hope we get alternatives from eastern europe before too long.

I still have the N/S to look at,.....IMG_20190120_155910.thumb.jpg.7501118b19c136fd2f580058b57b88f6.jpg

If you look closely, you can see the 'tide mark' on this side too, not to mention obvious damage at the top, I am sure the story of corrosion will be the same inside.

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Should be properly on the road next week now if I can get a retest to suit. The corrosion isn't as bad as George's I don't think, and having dipped my toe in with the A post repair the other week it doesn't bother me in itself.

6 minutes ago, Shackleton said:

Is the NS rear rust the corner panel? 

Yes pretty much, the off side I had a good look at while the lamp was out and it is basically sound, I think the N/S will want a bit of welding, I'll get a better idea tomorrow, I am going to pop the lamp out and have a closer look.

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1 hour ago, smallfry said:

shall be in Cumbria (Millom) with me van at the end of February if you can wait that long.

Kent could be good, my Mum came from Gillingham and  I have family and friends in Whitfield and Dover.... End of Feb.... less good ....I'll be flying round a couple of weeks before that but thanks for the offer..... I am still  trying to plot the fab work for the axles, (ie cost grief and motivation) against the -25mm  offset wheels required, which it looks like would be a new only if not actually a special order. I do think a whole vehicle would be the best way to get the axles as it brings so much else along with it,... but keeping an open mind for the time being, thanks for the offer Smallfry.


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I'm sure adrenaline 4x4 do hockey sticks and trailing arms to fit D2 axles to earlier chassis mounts, then all you need to do is glue some what's linkage brackets on or just an a frame ball joint mount over the rear diff.


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