The dark revenge - or Series III electrics
by Annette Flottwell
The mysteries of spider wiring
Alain helped me to remove the steering wheel and we had the first overview. Unfortunately, we found many crimps, clamps and insulation tape clusters that were definitely not installed by Sollihull. One hour later, we still hadn't finished finding all burnt cables. Some of them had melted into solid blocks, others were burnt to naked copper wires beyond recognition. Nathalie noted down every cable I could identify by colour or former purpose. Gladly, at least some of them were vaguely resembling the wiring diagram in the workshop manual. I love LRs definition of green and light green, it's so easy to distinguish under a Maglite (see picture).
You might ask now why I did not mention any blown fuses. Well, none were blown since the previous owner had thought it wise to combine flimsy household cables with 35 Amps fuses. We spent the next two hours carefully removing every burnt wire and noting down every cable we had disconnected. Our guests made it to the fridge and bed later after patiently helping us till 11 pm.
Now almost every mass cable had to be replaced, after making a new mass connection to a door hinge bolt. Some of the 12 V cables had suffered the same fate, but at least our supply of new connectors was appropriate.We were very pleased that the headlights and indicators were still working after we had done away with at least 2kgs of surplus cables. A very useles 4 cylinder rev meter was removed in the procedure. At 2 am we decided to call it a day, the test drive across the road was rather uneventful.
But the next morning greeted us with the famous grey Flanders drizzle and new problems. The Speedo and odometer ceased working on the way to the gas station, the windscreen piss wasn't pissing and the water temperature gauge was dead, too. The heater worked occasionally, only the lights were really ok. At least we detected no more smoke signals. But you don't really want to drive a Stage One through the mud without a temperature gauge. My LPG tank can only take 45 l, so it's always a good idea to have a working odometer. OK the speedo is nice to have but then you are slower than all other traffic so why worry.
Weird Voltage Stabilizers
On Sunday we said goodbye to our guests and hello to the next Lucas adventure. Takeo suggested we hadn't checked the temperature gauge's connection to the so-called voltage stabilzer. This thing is well hidden behind the speedo and the workshop manual never mentioned which output it is supposed to produce. But it was connected allright, so we had to define it @#%&ed. We deduced the only problem could be a nervous needle or a temperature seemingly rising during acceleration. So we simply connected input and output: all wrong, we had more than doubled the temperature reading. Hmm. Put in a 7812 voltage regulator, I suggested. But then these things need a 3V difference between input and output. Not good, I thought, lemme try a 7805. Yes, you guessed right, that also didn't work. Inside the stabilizer (use a can opener if you really want to know) you'll find a coil and a bi metal contact (¿¿¿???). OK, the speedo cable core was broken, too.
The next day Takeo phoned a couple of LR dealers, fortunately the one we bought the Stage One from had at least a speedo cable. He also allowed us to search a half dismantled S III for the stupid stabilizer. Mind you, even he didn't know what the thing was supposed to do.
Tuesday saw us at the easy task to fiddle in a speedo cable between the mud and the handbrake in a gap to narrow to turn any hand, if not a tool. There is another funny attachment further in front where you need a 12mms deep socket and WD 40 to remove the cable. Don't dream of putting it back, use tie-raps.Yes, you have to remove the choke cable before you can push the new cable through the rubber. Took us only three hours. I was still digging rust out of my ears two hours later in school (the Flemish course).
Now, one week later, we have pushed the speedo back on the instrument once again and we still don't know why the right indicator works only when we have the panel open. Any ideas: Contact me, I don't know what I studied electronics for anymore. At least we have some nice REGULAR 12 V sockets installed in the middle panel now.
So if you want to have some real fun fiddling behind your instrument cluster, here are a couple of hints. Please send us an email containing all the new swear words you invented during the procedure.
After you have removed the steering wheel (26 mms socket required), secure the indicator striker. Don't forget to remember its position in the steering wheel, before you start to remove the plastic covers and take care not to lose the inserts. Carefully remove light and horn switch. Then the real fun starts. Loosen panel screws and pull VERY gently. Note down immediately every cable you plug out.
Try to push speedo cable clip in and drag it back without breaking the clip. If you do, secure the core and think of some genial tie-rap construction to put it back in. The guy who invented that should be punished by being condemned to removing and re-installing that piece of shit 1200 times at least.
Light bulbs like the charge lamp have the tendency to fall out before you even notice. Don't expect to see what you are doing, it's next to impossible. Try to check EVERY item before you even dream of reassembling. Mind you, the windscreen piss, by example needs a connection from switch to auxilliary relais which is NOT documented. So try every switch, even those you never used before.
Make sure your wheels are aligned before you re-install the steering wheel with the indicator striker, keep it horizontal when pushing it back. Don't forget the tag washer under the nut. Go for a test drive and keep in mind that your indicators or whatever could be disconnected.
by Annette Flottwell