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Land Rover Diary

Part Three: Taking Steps

First Posted: 21th Aug 2010 00:06

Well, actually, putting Steps on.

As I said in the last part, I suffer from being a shortarse... well I didn't actually say that, but that was the general gist.

My new(to me) Land Rover Defender 90 sits on 235/70R16 BFG tyres on modular wheels. It is therefore a long way up - or, once in the driving seat, a long way down.

So, fold up side steps, Land Rover, for the use of, two of.

Open box.

Ooh, one genoooine Land Rover fold-up step - feel that quality, one straight bracket, and one poly bag containing 3 bolts, 3 nylock nuts, four washers, one weird thing that looks like a thimble, and one Allen-bolt type affair. Oh, and one badly printed bit of paper showing the contents of the box and its name (bolt, nut, washer, doojit).


How the hell do these fit on then?

Well let's do the driver's side first, as it's where I am, and there's a dry-stone wall 4 inches off the passenger side as we are parked now.

So, if we unfold the step into it's down position, we have two long prongy bits which attach somewhere to the floor of the cab... Oh, god, don't say I have to drill holes in my floor - I can see that going well. Oh, hang on a minute, the gap between these two bits is the same as the gap between those two bolts holding the seat box in...

Ahah, cunning folk, these Land Rover people, I'd never have thought of that.

Right, so we just whip those bolts out, and put the new ones in.

So, we just clean up this bolt head with the correct tool - a flat bladed screwdriver - what? what do you mean? it's what I always use!

Ahh, shaddap.

So as I was saying, clean up the bolt head, identify the correct size spanner - 10mm then - and put spanner on bolt. Hmm... they're very shallow these bolt heads, not a lot... to... get... a... purchaaase... whang! thump! AAAAAGGGHHHH, MY BL***** HAND!

Who'd a thought Birmabright could be so hard?

Right, where's me little socket set... 10mm socket, straight bar, and apply... some... pressure... OOOPs!

great, that's freed that off a treat, turns quite happily. The only trouble is the nut underneath is spinning merrily. I can't see that, but judging by the amount of dust and debris landing on my nice new step, I guess it must be.

So, another 10mm socket, and a long extension, and a ratchett. Now where's that dratted... cough, splutter, spit.

There really is a LOT of cow sh** er... mud, under there - or there was, it's now in my hair and down my neck. At least it's dry.

Okay, so at last I can get the two sockets on the nut and bolt, and apply some pressure... Crack!

Well, I wasn't going to re-use those bolts anyway.

Oh, great, I now have a sheared-off nut-and-half-a-bolt jammed in my 10mm socket. Screwdriver, slightly larger socket, precise application of force... Thwack! AAAAAGGGHHHHH.

It's a good thing I heal fairly quickly.


Who's idea was it to do this side first? With a damn great fuel tank in the way?

I can't physically get my hand up to where I need to, to put the new nut onto the bottom of the new bolt. Oh, and with my third hand, I'll just hold the step in place!


if you put two nuts (they are 13mm nylock) together in the half-inch drive 13mm socket, it makes the second nut lie just at the top of the socket, then if I apply a bit of choice saliva to the washer it sticks just enough to the nut to stop it disappearing into the undergrowth - on the end of a long extension I can firtle it until the bolt bites into the nylock bit and then stop and remove the second nut from the socket... voila! nut and washer threaded on bolt.

Sorted, two bolts done, step in right place. Bit wobbly though, oh, I see, the bracket goes from the frame of the step across to the chassis and you... you... WHAT! DRILL A HOLE IN THE CHASSIS! How can I? theres a flippin' great fuel tank in the way!

Pleeeeeese don't tell me I have to take the tank out!

Oh, why didn't I take up something simple, like cross channel pebble skipping?

No, madam, I wasn't talking to you, I was just thinking out loud. Yes it was a bit, I'm sorry.

OK, ok, deep breath. Lets mark where we need the hole to be, and then we can run away screaming. Hmm... actually not too bad, we can get the drill at an angle and drill that, no problem. Tell you what, the other side will be a doddle - no fuel tank in the way.

Do I have to drill right through? Oh, no, I see, that thimble thing is a collapsible bush type affair, like a cavity wall fixing. so I just drill a 10mm hole and carefully shove it in - and hope it doesn't drop right through!


And then tighten the allen-screw-bolt-type-thingy... Where's my allen keys? Sigh, down the cellar...

Ooh, easier than I thought, right, one side done, and damn good it looks too. I can get into the driving seat now without looking like a mountaineer on the south face of the Eiger.

Right, let's turn the vehicle round, so we can get at the passenger side.



Forewarned is forearmed, they say, so first job is to get a big screwdriver and rattle it about under the sill panel, releasing all that loverley muck... What THE HELL IS THAT? Hmmm... half a dead rodent, how interesting!

So I can get the 10mm sockets onto the nut and bolt, and apply some pressure... with a bit of luck it'll shear off like the other side... gnnnnnnnhhhhhhhh... nope, maybe it won't.

Good stuff, that WD40 - gave it the length of a cup of tea and a ciggie to work and they come right off.

No problems with access this side, easy job... So bolts done, step on, just the chassis to drill and the job's a good-un... oh noooo! Battery flat on drill.

Oh well, Dinner time.


Renewed and refreshed, just like the battery! Mark the hole, pilot hole, 10mm drill. Squashy thimble thing in place, tighten the allen-screw-bolt-type-thingy... all done. Cool!

Do you know, it's a doddle this Land Rover maintenance...



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