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Land Rover Diary

Part Eight: Lock, stock, barrels and things

First Posted: 21st Aug 2010 10:58

Whilst some of the members of the forum have been in sunny Stoneleigh, drinking beer, eating cake and generally enjoying themselves, (jealous... who, me?) I have been continuing to improve, repair and otherwise fettle my pride and joy.

As I mentioned previously, one of the things I needed to do was make it so that I can actually secure the vehicle - it is not a comfortable feeling leaving it in a car park knowing that anyone can walk up to it and open the doors. (Mind you, as any fule kno, anyone armed with a flat-bladed screwdriver could probably do that even if the locks were working).

So I set out to replace the lock barrels on the rear and passenger doors. I started with the rear door.

To change the lock barrel, you have to remove the complete door latch assembly, and to do that, you need to take off the rear door trim, and to do that, you have to take off the cowl over the rear wiper motor, and to do that you have to take off the grab handle... stop me if you're bored, won't you?

The rear door grab handle is secured with two 10mm bolts. A liberal application of WD40 and off they come.

The cowl over the wiper motor is supposed to be secured by two small self-tappers - in my case it was securely held in place by a broken matchstick...

The rear door trim is fastened by a number of self-tapping screws around it's outside edge, and a few spring clips - two across the top and one each side. I only managed to shear two of the self-tappers, so I was quite proud of myself!

The spring clips can be eased out of the door frame using a suitable tool. (I used a pair of small bent-nosed pliers.)

The door trim has to be bent, pulled, sworn at and generally abused, to get it from around the wiper motor, interior door handle and check strap, but I managed to remove it without tearing or permanently damaging it.

The trim on my vehicle was liberally covered in cow... muck, (what on earth did the PO do with it? shovel it in and slam the door quick?), so I took the opportunity, whilst it was off, to lie it on the ground and scrub it clean.

With the trim off, I was able for the first time to see the state of the rear door. It was generally pretty solid, but at one point on the outside edge, below where the door latch is, there was a suspicious lack of metal, and a great big lump of filler shaped to look like the frame. When I'm feeling rich, I'll have to think about a new back door, I think.

The door latch assembly is held on with four attachments, two set screws at the top and two nuts at the bottom. There is a pair of plates on the inside of the outer door (where the hole is for the exterior handle, if that makes sense) which have captive nuts on the top and studs on the bottom. With the help of WD40 I managed to remove the two nuts on the bottom, and one of the set screws at the top, but the other one was being stubborn.

It had a cross-head end on it, but I managed to round that quite well with my big cross-head screwdriver...

So I cut a slot in it with a hacksaw, to try and use a big flat-bladed screwdriver, but that didn't work...

Then I got annoyed, and used a FBH and an old screwdriver to shear it off.

The door latch unit was now free, so I plonked it down to try and get the lock barrel out. The problem is, the instructions I have seen say that you need to insert the key, and turn the barrel until you can see a little brass plunger through a hole in the side of the latch unit, and then depress the plunger with a suitable implement and pull the barrel free. Well, my key would not fully enter the barrel - so I coudn't turn the lock - that's why I was replacing the damn thing.

I mucked about with the key and lock for a while, I tried shoving a small jeweller's screwdriver into the lock to see what was stopping the key going in, but in the end, I settled for the brute force approach. I put the key in the lock as far as it would go, then I hit it repeatedly with FBH...

Surprisingly, I didn't manage to break the key - although it bent a bit - but I did manage to get it in so the barrel would turn.

After that, things were plain sailing, and I depressed the little brass plunger with my trusty jeweller's screwdriver and pulled the lock barrel out of the latch unit.

I had a look down the hole, to see if there were any nasties, but everything looked ok, so I gave the lock assembly a good soaking in oil and put the new lock barrel in place. It gives a nice little click to let you know it's seated correctly.

I played with it for a while, locking and unlocking it, using both the (new) key and the internal lever, and it all seemed fine.

To replace the latch assembly on the door, I had to find some new fixings for the top two bolts, which were now unusable. I dug around in the cellar and came up with a couple of 2 inch long M6 bolts, and nuts and washer to match. Of course they were miles too long, but I bunged them in a vice and hacksawed them down to about half inch long.


(If you want to cut a bolt down in size, put the nut on first, and screw it right up to the head end, then, when you have cut the bolt, you can unscrew the nut and it will recut the threads on the part where you hacksawed, straightening out any damage you have done to the threads whilst cutting the bolt.)


Having butchered the bolts, I was able to re-attach the lock assembly to the door, starting with the bottom two; which are captive studs on a spreader plate which goes in from the outside of the door, and then the top two, using my new short bolts - again feeding the bolts from the outside, so the nuts end up on the inside. One of these is very fiddly, the hole for the bolt is tucked up inside the outer panel of the door above where the lock barrel protrudes, but I managed to get it in, and stay there while I got the nut on the other end, with the aid of a magnetic screwdriver, some oil, and a lot of prayer.

Then I re-attached my nice clean door trim, found some self-tappers to fix the cowl over the wiper motor, and finally the grab handle.

I can now lock my back door!


Next job, a general cleaning of the interior.

I spent a lot of time, with various cleaning products (Mr Muscle and friends!) removing the ingrained dirt from the dashboard, steering column shroud, and door trims.

When it was all dry, I applied some silicon spray, and it has really come up well.

The seats were filthy, and after a long time trying to clean them in situ, I bit the bullet and dismantled the seat squabs, and removed the covers. This is not as hard as I feared it was going to be.

My seats are in cloth trim (Neptune, apparently) and I think all the cloth trim ones are the same, I don't know if the vinyl trim ones are different.

At the back of the seat squabs, underneath, there is a metal rod through the fabric, which is held by two clips on the seat base. I bent back the clips and removed the rod. You can then pull the back of the trim over the two locating pegs on the back of seat, which go into the seat back frame when the squab is in place. There is a cord that runs around inside the bottom of the trim which is used to pull the trim tight, you may have to release this slightly.

Then , there is a rubber trim strip all round the bottom edge of the seat, which will, with some persuasion, pull away from the frame. Take that off and then you have to release the bottom edge of the trim from a slot around the front and sides of the base of the seat. Once released, you can pull the fabric off the foam rubber padding.

Then, I chucked all the covers in the washing machine, gas mark 4... sorry, I mean cool wash 40 degrees, and left them to it.

When they came out they looked like new. I let them dry, and then re-assembled the seats.

Pull the trim over the interior foam, and down over the seat frame. Then feed the bottom edge of the trim into the slot around the front and sides. Find the ends of the cord and pull tight. Then, refit the rubber strip which keeps the bottom edge in place. I found the easiest way to do this was to hit it with a hammer...

Finally, pull the back of the trim over the locating lugs, replace the metal rod in the back of the trim, and bend the metal clips over the rod to secure it.

Coo, clean seats!


You know, I haven't yet taken the Landy off road - apart from up and down the track here, and once onto a bit of loose stuff to check the low-range and diff lock worked. So, tomorrow, I'm going to do a bit of gentle green-laning. If you are very good, I might show you some pics!


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