An inner-city runabout?

[Picture of a 101] The Land-Rover 101" Forward Control is a unique and interesting vehicle that I used to own

My old 101 appeared to be a 1976 model and is right-hand drive, has 24V power and the winch installed. It was originally used by the Australian Army as a rapier tractor. It left the service of the Army around 1990 when many were sold off at auction, and was destined for a project that never happened. When I picked it up (late July, 1996), it had just been sold to Ritter Automotive. At that time, it had the Rapier missile racks, an auxilary 24V radio battery pack (defunct) and listed only 1850 Kilometers on the clock

Since I purchased it, I have removed the missile racks from back, and most of the other hardware that was added by the Army to make it a rapier tractor.

Although I have not driven it for much distance since I bought it, I have already discovered a major downfalling with the 101 - Speed! I am totally happy with the performance once I have gotten to some 4x4 place, but to actually get there it takes forever. The highway cruising speed that I have found best is 80kph, but even that is making for many high-revs; 100kph is achiveable, but at a very high fuel penalty, even higher engine revs and huge amounts of noise.

I am considering three different ways to speed up my 101. Probably the most likely way is that of changing the high-range transfer gear ratio from 1.17:1 to 1:1 - this is achieved by replacing two cogs in the transfer case. Also on the list is the less easy task of changing the diff ratios from 5.57:1 down to 4.7:1, but that has the disadvantage of changing the low-range gearing as well as the high-range gearing. Lastly, the addition of a range-rover overdrive unit is possible, due to the range-rover gearbox. I like the idea of an overdrive, but I have been told that it is difficult to find one in good condition. The oil has a habit of pumping from the gearbox into the overdrive, and from there out the overdrive vent-port - thus eventually leaving the overdrive to cook without sufficiant lubrication, apparently most availiable second-hand overdrives have had this happen to them. I actually have found some possible solutions to this problem, IF I can find an overdrive unit in good enough condition to use.

In the end, I got the high-range transfer gear ratio changed at the beggining of November. At the same time, I had tapered rolling bearings put in, and most of the centre diff rebuilt.

The saga of the car troubles...
Oct/Nov 1997
Put car in for a service and got a couple of niggly things looked at. They told me that this and that needed replacing. Amongst these things was the break pressure equalizer and the two rear break drums. This took a month and a half (mostly waiting for parts.
Dont drive the car much due to busyness and not having much call for a big four wheel drive
Just before Easter 1998
Drive the car a little, in preparation for a possible easter trip. Discover that the breaks are stuffed. Dont bother taking it back to the same place as above as too much time has passed to yell, and I dont trust them to do the job (they cost heaps too). Take the car to a mechanics and get them to look at the breaks.
Just after Easter 1998
Get the car back from the mechanics. They re-conditioned the master break cylinder and booster unit. Attempted to drive somewhere and discovered that over a 15-20 minute period, the breaks lock solid in the applied position. I have to leave the car at a 7-11 over the weekend! (not even the low-range budged the car much - makes the breaks condition sound good, if only the preassure was right) Take the car back to the mechanics after disconnecting the break booster vacume tube - the breaks were fine on this trip, if a _little_ spongy.
Two weeks later
My Dad picks the car up from the mechanics, drives it around a little and discoveres that it is still not right and takes the car back to the mechanics.
Several weeks later
The mechanics discovered a blockage in the rear break feeder line - possibly blamable on the month-long time in the workshop back in Oct/Nov 1997. This is fixed and the car is pronounced working (to their credit, I didnt get charged more than a token for this work)
Picked the car up and attempted to drive it home, discovered that over a 15-20 minute period, the breaks lock solid in the applied position. This is exactly the same problem that happened in the first place. I am fully pissed off. I STILL think that this is a problem with the vacuume assisted booster that was reconditioned back before Easter. I really hate mechanics and all their evil spawn.
It feels like the passing of an era - after over 10 years of mucking around with my 101 I have sold it on into a new life. The new owner sounds very enthusiastic and will be sure to breathe new life into the car, which is good as I have found little time recently to work on it.

Hamish Coleman