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Maintenance: Lubrication and brake bleeding

by Annette Flottwell

So you have been in the mud recently, don't know when you last checked your fluid levels and the territory marks of your Series III can't be identified and/or dated any more.

This is about a Stage One, some things will differ if you've got another type of engine. A Stage One engine needs fresh 20W50 every 3000 kms and this is not exaggerated if you want to keep this engine running for another 50,000 kms at least. I just did it again now only a month after I had written this page. But then a Stage One needs only 5.2 liters. the 4 cyl petrol needs 6 litres of engine oil and the 6 cyl needs 6.8 litres. Every second oil change a new oil filter should be fiddled in. There is no strict rule when to check or refill the other oil levels, but we strongly recommend to do it after every fording and at least once a year.

I assume you can locate your brake and clutch fluid reservoir and check the levels regularly. Same goes for the windscreen piss container and your battery level. Don't forget the radiator, use antifreeze liberally if necessary in your part of the world. All this can be done at ease, you should only remember that it's easier to top up clutch fluid from behind the hood. One of the moments you rather wouldn't have your spare wheel there, but when you are at it, don't forget to spray some WD40 on these bolts. Continue spraying liberally at all suspicious Lucas parts (excuse the coarse language) found under the hood, it can never do any harm.

If you suspect your brake lines need bleeding read appendix 2 for Padraic's excellent hint.

But now let's face the real fun. For a Stage One prepare 8 liters of engine oil and 6 liters of EP 90 plus a grease gun. A regular Series Three will need LESS engine oil but at least 5 litres of EP90, I will point out where the differences are. What else do you need? A 1/2" male (both sides) socket, a 29mms 0R 9/8" socket and two pieces of transparent hose, a pump in between OR a syringe to treat sheep's tapeworm. OK I'll explain that later. Now let's face it:

This is what you'll see, the colour of the mud might differ, though. Get the largest container you can find and carefully place it under engine sump.


      1. Get the exotic 29 mms socket. Lower truck so that you can hold your elbow and hand almost above the drain plug when unscrewing the drain plug. That means, undo plug only a little bit and try to hold ratchet handle above plug level. See picture. Beware of the famous attraction of drained oil and sludge to clean objects, which is not subject to the laws of gravity. Anything can be defined as clean compared to the stuff you are draining now.

Believe me, it can be done without oil running up your sleeve. Carefully wipe plug and start searching for new seal. If you really change your engine oil every 3,000 kms you won't have to renew the seal so often.

Our webmaster has proposed a tap instead of the silly plug, but then on these modern coil sprungs the plug is in a less vulnerable position as in our S III. You'll get dirty anyhow when you renew the oil filter.



While the oil is dripping, locate gearbox filler plug. It is situated above arrow (2) and is the largest bolt head you can find on the side of your gearbox. You will immediately understand why some Series owners prefer to fill their gearbox completely ( 7 -10l) from above. You must do this if the plastic gearbox pump is @£$%ed because you once used EP90 instead of engine oil in a late S III. Note: 4 and 6 cyl. Series Three need 1.6 litres EP90. All the rest is the same for V8 and other models.

Now remove and replace oil filter. I prefer the removal tool that consists of a chain and a 1/2" socket, because there is no space for these with a handle. Yes, it will run all the way down your arm to your shoulder.

Now you know what you need the strange instruments mentioned above for. If your engine sump is drained now, loosen carefully gearbox drain plug located below the fill plug. Place container under it and unscrew slowly. The plastic gizmo seen in the picture is a filter you should clean carefully. If necessary replace seal as shown in appendix.

We used a jug with the 2.6 liters of ENGINE OIL, one end of hose in the jug, the other on the gear pump driven by an electric drill, and the second hose fiddled into the filler plug. You need two people for this to work. Our Series One specialist is a vet and recommends the above mentioned sheep tapeworm syringe with a long hose. This is a rather slow procedure, but it can be done by one person alone. Ask Joachim for instructions of use.

(3) Transfer Case

- Drain plug-

The drain plug is situated at arrow (3). Place the container under it and watch - as before - for mayonnaise colour in the liquid you're draining. This colour is an indication for water. If you see anything suspicious, check for rust as well. Again, replace seal if necessary.

(3a) Now you can start to work with EP 90. You'll need 2.7- 3 liters of this stuff. Thanks to Geert Van De Putte, our estimated neighbour and garage owner, it is available in the compressed-air-driven dispensers in his garage. In case you can't use anything like that, try a hand-pump.


(3a) Transfer case

- filler plug-

Takeo loves the smell of EP90 and has suggested some other applications, as in aftershave. Feel free to ask him for undiscovered possibilities.

Repeat procedure for low box. Sorry, no picture.

Don't forget to wipe all threads carefully before re-fitting.



(4) Front and rear diffs.

Now locate the 2 sided male 1/2" socket. If you haven't got one, this is how I made mine:

Grind off two useless Rahsol or Gedore sockets, say 19mms, and weld them together. That's all.

If you got Rover axles, like me, the bad news is that there are no drain plugs. Yes, I will drill a hole there one day, cut a metric thread and screw in a stainless steel M16 and a seal.

For the time being, feel oil level with your small finger and examine what you find in there. If it looks suspicious, pump it out

Then, simply top it up till you start spilling. Quickly replace clean plug with seal.

(5) Swivel housings.

Now undo the filler plugs of both swivel housings. The procedure is much the same as for the diffs.

(6) Driveshafts, font and rear.

Now it is time to fill your grease gun and grease front and rear driveshafts. There are three nipples on each shaft, one each may be well hidden in the uni joints so that you have to move your Land Rover a bit before you can access these. This is not a good reason to forget it.

Replacing seals.

This is the stuff we used for our central heating oil pump. It's heat-resistant, damn hard to cut and very reliable, certainly better than beer carton... The name is Klingerite . There are other brand names, of course.

It doesn't have to look nice, cutting it with a penknife is fine. Just make sure that edges don't protrude over machined surfaces. Did you CLEAN the thread?! Tighten firmly and check for leaks.

When you have put your truck back on its four wheels, fill 5.2 liters of 20W50 in engine . Start engine and top up again. Check for leaks the next morning. Yes, you've successfully serviced the beast now.
Have fun and feel better before diving into the next mudhole!

Appendix 2 Brake Bleeding by Padraic Smyth, Ireland

I have been using a easy and clean way of bleeding the brakes on my Series III which works really well and does away with a helper having to pump the pedal like mad.
All you need is a short tube about 12" long and a syringe with a capacity of 20 to 30mls. Firstly drain most of the brake fluid from the resevoir. Fill the syringe with brake fluid, open the bleeder nipple, connect the syringe/tube to the nipple and inject its contents into the brake line. Next close of the nipple and hey presto! your brake will be rock hard as all the air has nowhere to go but out through the reservoir. Repeat for each drum as per your workshop manual (remember to reduce the fluid content in the reservoir after each brake is bled).

There is sufficient fluid in the syringe to fill the brake line and partly fill the resevoir. A quick and easy solution to an awkward job.

by Annette Flottwell

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