5 Feb 2013

Diary of a Range Rover restoration - Part 3

Phil Wall is restoring a 1989 Range Rover Classic. We'll be bringing you regular updates on progress. To find the rest of the restoration diary use the label 'RR Restoration'

Swivel hub - Part 1

After a number of days of work and equestrian distraction I set about replacing the top bearing in the o/s/f (UK drivers side) front swivel hub.

First job was to remove the discs / hub casting - the issue being the MOT test had shown the front brakes are 'extremely tight'.  Once I'd removed the retaining bolts, I realised just how bad things were. The split pins were too tight to remove with the calliper in place, so I had to knock the calliper off with a lump hammer. Not subtle, but, as it turns out, effective....It looks pretty corroded, but I got the split pins and pads out (plenty of wear left on the pads) but the pistons looked seized. Before removing the brake lines, I started the engine and pressed lightly on the brakes.  2 of the 4 pistons moved.  Clearly, the only thing to do next was push harder...the 3rd piston moves.  But not the 4th - and stubborn it remained, no matter how hard I pressed the pedal. 

At this point I decided that this was very clearly a job for another day and have 'stored' it on the chassis frame, brake pipes intact (although with a liberal coverage of WD40 on the fixings).

The next job, in order to feel like there was some sense of achievement from the day, was to remove the end hub, which transfers drive to the wheel / disc.  All the bolts looked in bad shape - but cracked easily and the hub pulled out gently with little friction or resistance.

It looks in to be in decent shape, without any wear. The gasket was virtually none existent, but I scraped the remainder off the face of the seal.

A quick referral to the "Haynes Book of Lies" suggested I was still on the right track, but the end bearing nuts looked rather rusted.  No matter, I drifted back the locking sleeve and doused them in WD40 then looked for my 52mm socket.

Which didn't exist.

That stopped play for the day.  I went and ordered one from Rimmer (along with a new distributor cap, rotor arm, and 2 sets of caliper seals.)  Also, while I was on the internet, I may have ordered a new rolling toolbox and some ratchet spanners. In my defence, they were on sale...
All the ordered stuff arrived during the week so I restarted again this afternoon - in spite of it being 0°C (32°F).

The hub nuts seemed tight with a standard ratchet.  But with a 3ft breaker bar came off a treat - as did the swivel bolts (upper and lower), the disc guard and the rear seals for the swivel joint.  The joint didn't appear to have lost much grease, and the CV joint and inner drive shaft were all OK
The outer hub looks OK, but all the seals have disintegrated. However, it's fair to say this is a bloody messy job with the hub grease getting everywhere, no matter how careful you are.  I only had a bit of a roll of kitchen towel with me which soon got used up, and I got through 4 pairs of latex gloves.
The upper bearing looked in bad shape, however, so I compared it to the new one.
The photo is a rather fuzzy (perhaps from the shivering - I was getting a bit cold at this point) but believe me the current bearing is knackered. I had been told that removing 1 or 2 shims would fix the play in the joint, but changing the bearing is clearly the right thing to do and I started to look at the swivel hub to drift out the bearing surround.
However, once I'd cleaned off the grease it turns out this will not be necessary as the hub is badly pitted (bugger!) and therefore will have to be changed.  Note: for some reason I can't rotate the photos to put them the right way up!)

Front of hub:
Rear of hub:
I then had to put the whole assembly back together again and cover it in a plastic bag to protect it from the elements.  But hopefully I'll pick a new hub up from Town & Country Land Rover during the week and (weather permitting) I'll get this sorted next weekend.

On a brighter note, my mate Simon turned up with his new and very cool (in matt black and gold) single speed bike and I also managed to assemble a range of Range Rovers at the yard this weekend.  So, all in all, not a bad day if a touch cooler, and a lot less productive than I would have preferred.