Run by Tim Bulley
Owned since March 2012
Total mileage 40,354
Miles since May 2015 report 704
Latest costs £126
EVIDENCE POINTS TO THE IGNITION
The Landie was a reliable friend over the winter and early spring, regularly undertaking trips to collect logs for the fire, or ferrying the family and our new puppy Bramble to remote spots for a good walk. It even sailed through the MoT test with no advisories, apart from the obligatory oil leak.
In March, I had a great run down to Goodwood for the Members’ Meeting with a car full of mates. Parked up on Lavant Bank, we watched the great and the good out on the circuit while enjoying a picnic and hot tea in the chilly spring sunshine. All very pleasant.
The following weekend, I piled the family into the Land-Rover to drive to a pub for dinner. When we were ready to return home, however, she wouldn’t start. It was completely out of the blue, because the journey there had been fine.
The Landie was turning over okay, but I tried the Power Start booster pack that I keep in the back for this kind of emergency. I also checked the HT leads and eventually tried filling her with fuel from a jerrycan, at which point she started.
The SIIA got us home without any further issues but I was suspicious. On return from Goodwood I had filled her up, so I knew that the petrol tank wasn’t empty. There was no evidence of a leak, and it would have been immediately obvious if I’d put in diesel by mistake.
The following weekend, SVR wouldn’t fire. I tried filling up the fuel again, but nothing. I took off the HT leads, gave them and the inside of the distributor cap a wipe with WD40and she burst into life. Problem solved, I thought, and set off to give her a run. Three miles up the road, though, she misfired and, as I pulled off into the village school car park, the engine died. Over the next half hour I got nothing from her, so called my mate Andrew Cameron.
Although en route to get his hair cut, he kindly came to the rescue. Andrew’s been around old cars all his life, and suggested that the problem was probably the coil. He offered me a lift home so that I could pick up my Discovery and a tow rope. Before setting off, I gave my Land-Rovering mate Jono Lye a call to see if he was around to help with the tow. Jono is an engineer and owns a Series II that he rebuilt himself (I’m lucky to have some very handy mates). Always happy to diagnose a Land-Rover worry, he quickly agreed to lend a hand and dug out the old coil from his SII, suggesting that we give it a try.
We set off to the car park, where Jono gave SVR a good inspection. The fuel pump was working and the leads were fine. Then a passing villager came to offer support, saying that he’d also owned a Series II (Surrey Hills is full of them). He suggested that we measure the current going in and out of the coil, and went off to find a voltmeter.
Sure enough, there was 12V going in, but only 6V coming out. SVR has electronic ignition and I didn’t know whether a standard coil would work with it. Jono thought that it should, so we tried his unit but it gave the same reading. By this time, Andrew (with his new haircut) had returned with another coil. Still no joy, though, so we got out the ropes and called in the Disco.
I posted a couple of pictures of the recovery on Facebook, which got the attention of the Landie’s previous owner, C&SC art editor Martin Port. He sent a message to say that he’d fitted the electronic ignition and that it was a ballastresisted circuit, suggesting that the resistor might be at fault as well as the coil. He sent me a link for an AccuSpark set-up and the next day I trailed around the few autofactors that were open on a Sunday in the Guildford area. I drew a blank at all of them, so on the Monday I called Phil Bashall at Dunsfold Land Rover to see if he had one.
His advice was to revert the ignition system to points, saying that it would be cheaper as well as much easier to do the kind of roadside repairs that we had been attempting if ever the need arose again. So the next day I enlisted the help of another friend, David Ball, and towed the Landie to Dunsfold for Darryl Burdfield to swap the ignition back. Since then, SVR has been running like a dream.
I’m pretty lucky on two counts. Firstly, I have a lot of old-car enthusiast chums who live within a few hundred yards that are more than happy to help if something goes wrong. Secondly, in the five years that I have owned SVR, she’s only left me stranded this once. Maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon, though. As I write this, I’m about to take part on the 200-mile Hope Classic Rally. Mind you, two of those mates are going on the event with their cars, too. Fingers crossed.
THANKS TO Andrew Cameron / Jono Lye / David Ball / Dunsfold Land Rover: 01483200567; / www.dunsfold.com
‘Always happy to diagnose a Land-Rover worry, Jono quickly agreed to lend a hand and dug out an old coil’
Lye searches for the cause of the problem.
Having reverted to points, the SIIA is now back in action, to the delight of Bramble the dog.
Investigation included testing for a spark Swapping the coil didn’t improve matters.
Modern Discovery made short work of towing the stricken Land-Rover home.