Margarita June 2002 - big trip - the landy - maintenance - margarita 2002

Remember to mark the shaft position

Is there supposed to be a hole here?

Transfer box before

Whilst on Isla Margarita we had the chance to do some long overdue maintenance on the landy. The transfer box had started leaking (more) oil since Panama, half a litre every 1000kms or so, so we thought it was a good idea to have a look at the mainshaft seal. This turned out to be a time consuming job taking the lads a couple of days mainly due to a lot of trial and error. We pulled out the service book and found the relevant page, all the steps are fairly straightforward, if occassionally a bit awkward. However it did mention something about a hoist and manufacturing a metal plate to attach to the box to aid removal.

Ignoring this minor inconvenience we removed the cubby box, g'box tunnel and covers and disconnected the handbrake, transfer box lever, propshafts, some wires and removed the mid section of the exhaust to facilitate easy removal of the tranny box. We decided to put the spare wheel under the landy to stop the box smashing into the ground, which seemed like a good idea in light of our lack of hoist and as we didn't know exactly how much it weighed.

Then we tried various arrangements of rope, bits of metal pipe and a tree strop to support the box as we attempted to slide it away from the gearbox mainshaft. Luckily we found a swing away snatch block (a pulley to non sad off roaders) which we'd forgetten we had - a vital piece of kit as it turned out. Half an hour of levering, huffing and puffing and not a little head scratching later the tranny box still would only move a couple of centimeters and wouldn't clear the mainshaft. Eventually we noticed that the rope was tied around the g box as well as the tranny box hence holding it in place - that explained the problem!

With the rope re-tied appropriately the box dropped out easily onto the spare. As dusk was approaching we packed up until the next day.

Screwdriver makes a handy guide bolt

Bricks couldn't take the weight

A Dillweed


Click to see winching

Propshaft dosn't wobble

The next day we discovered that we couldn't get the box out from under the landy as the combined height of the spare wheel and the box itself is higher than the chassis. Fairly obvious really. To resolve this little problem we thought it would be a good idea to jack up the landy and slide the box and wheel out together. After an hour of messing about breaking the supporting breeze blocks and putting a dent in the chasis we tried lifting the box from inside the landy and managed to get the spare from beneath it - sorted in 5 minutes. More lessons learnt for now. After giving the box a clean and putting a new mainshaft seal in we thought about changing the intermediate shaft seal too but decided against it as we weren't sure if we were going to cause untold damage to complicated internal bits by dismantling them.

Enthused by our success so far we undertook trying to get the box back in. It was clear we needed some sort of hoist device as the box was too heavy and awkwardly shaped to hold and slide back into place. After much trial and error we came up with a wicked system using the winch, tow rope, other rope and the snatch block. This worked well and the remantling process went smoothly from then on. Thinking a test was in order before putting everything back together we landied off up the road and all seemed to be well, if very noisy and hot, driving along with the propshaft visibly spinning away below and no oil leaking out.

Unfortunately that wasn't the end of the story as a longer drive resulted in a pool of oil under the landy. After a quick email to the Dunsfold eggsperts in England confirmed we should've changed the other seal too, so we have to do the whole thing again. A bit gutted. They also said that we shoud've got drunk first - sobriety obviously the real problem!

Adjusting the valve clearances

Dont forget to check the battery water

The valve clearances were also due for their second adjustment of the trip, so we whipped off the rocker cover and fiddled about with feeler gauges and spanners, which did the trick. We found some distilled water in one of the spares boxes too, so thought we'd better check the battery levels. The main battery was fine but the secondary was dry in 3 out of 6 chambers and very low in the others - and its supposed to be sealed for life!

Overhauling the rear hub... a bit messy

Snap, oops!

As we'd been hearing a low drumming sound from the front wheels we decided to check the bearings plus adjust the rear brakes. The fronts seem to be fine but the rear drivers side wheel was wobbling a bit and the back of the drum had oil stains on it. Upon further investigation the inner hub seal was leaking, coating the brake shoes with a minging paste of brake dust and grease - perhaps contributing to our recent handling problems. We replaced the inner seal with one we had bought in Costa Rica but discovered the outer seal is a different size - despite the CR landy dealer saying both seals are the same. Luckily our friendly landy dealer in Caracas sent the relevant part, but only after a search on the internet to find the part number as the service book or his parts catalogue dosn't have it listed as existing at all. Wickedly we could use the drive flange to safely push the seals into position without damaging them.

Moving on to the passenger side rear wheel we discovered the hub bolts are rusted in, something to do with B driving into the sea in Baja, Mexico perhaps! The first bolt head snapped off so we called it a day until we get some more.

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