After finishing the VWlt campervan conversion, I was looking for my next project. I told my mum and she had little interest. I trawled the internet for a suitable starter vehicle and there was a beaut down in Devon. The pictures were conveniently poor, but the advert said it was original and it looked fine from what I could see. I knew it was not running but as I was removing the engine that was not a concern. My mum thought I was absolutely barking and point blank refused to go pick it up. After some gentle persuasion (constantly nagging her endlessly until she lost the will to live) We set off on our 7 hr journey. We arrived in the dead of night and there is always a reason why things are cheap. It was a total bodge job full of filler but worse than that there was tonnes of MDF that had become wet, it was difficult to see anything that could of been considered original. But with an over enthusiastic child who’s love his mechanics but not computers and a mother who works the computer well, but knows very little about LT’s or mechanics we had got ourselves in a predicament. My mum refused to take it as we would of definitely been over loaded so we rowed for half an hour, but in the end mum and health and safety won. We set of home minus the LT. The journey home was a quiet one, for me it was for loosing my next project, for my my mum it was because had she had opened her mouth she would of probably exploded like a bomb, she would be screaming at me asking why had I not double checked the fact that it was so full of MDF and that it could hardly be move. had I of done this it would of saved her a day and about 100 quid in diesel!
After our little trauma and a day recovering in bed, we laughed about it and got on with life, that was until the phone rang at 7 a.m and on the other end was the enthusiastic owner of the MDF LT. He was going to kindly deposit it on our drive at no cost! My mums face was a picture she looked they Deputy dawg with her mouth wide open jaw dropped there was a long silence then she uttered tha tha tha thank you. She came off the phone and we looked into each others eyes, I exploded into laughter punching the air, she shook her head and said I just don’t bloody believe this.
The LT duly arrived at 7 a.m the next morning after they had travelled through the night I thanked the delivery men profusely as if they were my life saving hero’s, my mum just muttered; they would of done anything to get rid of the pile of crap, I was beaming from ear to ear and project 6Bt LT was born.
I had to now beg my mum to finance the engine she seemed to believe I could get one for a few hundred pounds and the seed was sown. She was dropping a set of show jumps off over near York I thought it only fair to find a Leyland D.A.F over in the area that just happened to be there so we could go look at that as well. I was used to the relentless no’s that culminated into a yes she always did a superb impersonation of Jim Trott from the Vicar of Dibley. This particular wagon was an old horsebox, it was such a knacker that the owner didn’t even bother to turn up to attempt to sell it to us, he must of been that used to people saying no. It did not help that the gate was locked and it was covered in green slime and when mum climbed over it she slipped and fell flat on her face, as she hobbled screaming in pain towards the wagon I could tell this was a defo no as it would not start and we could not get our wagon near to jump start it.
Unperturbed I carried on looking and then a good friend of mine called saying he knew where there was one, the trouble was it was a runner still in M.O.T, the owner used it for business and he was just getting a newer one. I now not only had to convince my mum to buy an engine but also the whole of the wagon that came attached to it!
I convinced her that it was a bargain, she asked a fair question; What do I do with the rest of the wagon? I explained that I would need all the ancillaries to go with it as it was a much more powerful engine, she seemed shocked and ranted that I had not explained this and all the other expenses, as I said she is not much of a mechanic. This wagon again was delivered and no sooner had the guy left the yard I started stripping it, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked down the oil filler someone had put sand in the engine, I rang the guy and he could only think someone had done it too him maliciously. It was really disheartening as I had bought it as a running engine and now I was looking at a full rebuild, it wasn’t the work that scared me it was the telling the mother part!
I lifted the engine out with my friends engine lift and took it into the shed to strip.. I had never done this before so I kept numbering everything and taking photographs so I knew where parts went.
There had been damage and two of the oil feed nozzle’s had blown off, I took the crank to Lancaster engines and unbelievably it was not worn, when I showed them how much grit was in the engine, they could not believe there was no damage.
I then fitted new bearings which I got from engine fix Uk, I fitted everything back together and manually turned it over, everything seemed fine but the thought of starting it I dreaded as I was doing the unknown for me and just didn’t know if all would be okay.
I connected the battery and stalled with baited breath ready to start it, it went straight away and as soon as I heard it all the slog was worth while I couldn’t wait to fit it into the LT!
Stripping the remnants of the ‘original’ Lt was nearly as difficult as the engine rebuild and nothing like as interesting. nothing was salvageable and everything had to go. I have never seen so much MDF or mouse chewed rubbish, nothing was left apart from the chassis and that was in a pretty poor state. I removed all the old paint, rust and rot and welded new plates on and repainted it. I wanted to put the engine in prior to repairing and painting the cab as not to damage anything. I lifted it in through the passenger door.
The next problem I had was changing everything from 24v to 12v also the whole of the wiring loom was shot at and nothing worked. I have never done electrics so it was a case of googling and just trying any connections hoping for some action, I’ve never seen whoops of joy when some windscreen wipers moved. I googled everywhere for a 12v starter and could only find one in America, I’d nearly given up and was thinking I would have to do it 24v. My mum wouldn’t believe that there wasn’t one in the whole of England so took over the hunt. She rang one auto electrician who recommended Leyland auto’s, mum rang them and they had one on the shelf within 5 mins we were off to Preston with mums told you so look beaming on her face. Leyland Auto’s were really helpful and the starter was really cheap and not even exchange, so I could sell the 24v one to claw a bit of money back!
It was awesome when she started from the starter and this was the first time in the vid below:
I am now in the process of refurbishing the cab and will add pics as and when
Thanks for reading!