This page shares all the details of a Series Land Rover Restoration, built by George Jeffcoate (07538 911146). It all started when George looked at my Land Rover Series III that had a massive MOT fail  within eleven months of purchase from that ‘Classic Land Rover specialist’ in Thirsk… Browned off because theirs was a con job, wrong engine, no Range Rover Diffs as advertised, said dangerously unroadworthy by the DVSA as well as by independent Land Rover expert and book author Richard Hall.  George and I came to a mutually beneficial agreement and a proper Series Land Rover Restoration starting from another donor car was agreed to. Below is a video of one of her shake down drives, just to show you what the outcome of the project looks like:

Landy green county windows no bonnet tyre mock-up

The Plan

George wanted a showcase for his business, to restore a Series III Land Rover to ‘As Near As New’ standard as possible. I wanted a Series Land Rover, fit for purpose as an almost daily driver that, Land Rover Schedule serviced, would not need for assistance by the RAC or AA. The time frame for this complete rebuilt was 1 year. This Series III was to be no Trailer Queen but a Landy that had best fit for purpose  and longevity  written all over it. A beautiful and reliable work horse…

When the Series Land Rover Group pointed me towards George to help me, I could never have imagined this outcome. Having worked with him for over a year, I wish to tell you that George is a genuine, generous, reliable man with a vast knowledge of Land Rovers. He is the salt of the Earth, unreservedly Dyslexic for Britain and if you want a Series Land Rover Restoration built by George Jeffcoate then give him a ring on 07538 911146 (International 0044 7538 911146).

Chassis

A Land Rover direct replacement Richards galvanised chassis was bought, cleaned, etched with Mordant solution, primed and given multiple coats inside and out of black Hammerite Waxoyl. Simply because Waxoyl has stood the test of time and can be re-applied easily in the future. The ladder-frame and outriggers on the Richards chassis allowed a good fit for the bulkhead and bodywork. On Land Rover forums “who makes the best replacement chassis” is a frequent question. We decided to take the one headache less option, to buy the chassis from Richards and, no, we’re not on commission!

Engine

The 2,286cc petrol engine in the 1975 donor vehicle turned out to be beyond economical repair. Mark Slater (I.B. Engineering Nuneaton) completely rebuilt a Land Rover original 2,286cc 8:1 CR 5-bearing petrol engine. These were fitted from 1980-1984. Yes, purists may not approve that we opted for the sweetest engine ever put into a Land Rover and they may not like duck egg blue (a.k.a. Admiralty grey) either. Compared to a 3MB, the 5-bearing crankshaft engine’s compression went from 7.1:1 to 8.1:1 reportedly giving it an output of 74hp @ 4,000rpm and a torque 120lb/ft @ 1,500rpm. The 5-bearing crank is infinitely stronger than the 3-bearing. Its crankshaft rear oil seal design also is far superior and easier to replace if it would leak. It had a separate flywheel reinforcing plate, an improved timing chain tensioner, improved exhaust valves and improved piston rings. By improving bottom-end strength, refinement and having a life expectancy in excess of 250,000 miles (400.000 km), a 5MB was best fit for purpose. To achieve a noticeable improvement in performance and potentially a 3mpg increase (soft right foot and smile per mile optimism), we ticked the following boxes:

  • all servicing adjustments spot on (Mark Slater adjusted tappets, points, condenser, dizzy cap, rotor arm)
  • replace original ignition leads with 8mm performance, double silicone high tension leads
  • replace original coil with a Lucas sports coil
  • fit multi-electrode platinum spark plugs
  • use a gas analyser to tune the engine to its optimum
  • scheduled drivetrain services (and possibly add Molyslip to drive train oil to reduce friction)

At this moment HUC is being run in with a refurbished, original Zenith 36IV (factory fitment Series IIA and III 1967-84) which is a primitive device that suits the 2,286cc petrol engine well. However, it is prone to throttle spindle wear, blocked accelerator pump jet and ‘O’ ring between the upper and lower body perishing or splitting (causing fuel flooding). We may be on the lookout for a refurbished original SU HS6 carburetor such as is used in the ACR tuning kit. It’s a nice to have performance/fuel economy replacement rather than a necessity. As part of our initial engine tuning, we did an exhaust gas analysis and scored 3% CO. At ACR with a SU HS6 3.5% is their suggested ideal setting.

Engine Running In

Running in a refurbished 2,286cc 8:1 CR 5-bearing petrol engine takes 500 miles of mindful driving and a complete oil change afterwards. The following may be ‘telling grandma how to suck eggs’ but it is worth remembering:

  • Avoid idling because inadequate engine speed means that the oil pump generates too little pressure and does not supply enough oil to the lubricating points
  • Run the engine at constantly changing speed levels not exceeding ⅔rd of the maximum speed (avoid underrevving and maximum gear speeds)
  • Avoid excessive load (fully laden, towing, uphill in mountains)
  • Avoid lengthy downhill driving (insufficient load and undesirable overrun condition) and do not use the engine brake system

As soon as the engine is run in, we will take HUC to the Rolling Road at Dynodaze in Nuneaton. This may well seem OTT for a Land Rover Series III but a 2,286cc petrol engine, even with a SU HS6 carburetor, has a limited bhp output and a limited mpg. I just want to make sure that HUC is performing as well as she can. Would/could my 2,286cc Petrol match or do better than 74hp @ 4,000rpm and 120lb/ft @ 1,500rpm?

Transmission

George Jeffcoate fitted a LOF ROADspec clutch because it’s much better than the original. I will do only light towing (1 ton), light green laning and visiting Aloeride customers by road. LOF’s TUFF Friction uses the highest possible grade of premium organic clutch material, a woven composite construction, rather than lower grade Laminate/Moulded types. This prevents delimitation of the friction face. The friction material has been engineered to contain high levels of copper and brass giving it the ultimate protection against heat damage and clutch fade (burst strengths of over 11,000 rpm).

The Land Rover original LT76 gearbox was completely reconditioned, as was the transfer box, as was the Fairey Overdrive. Thank you Mr. Jeffcoate Senior for you help with this. The downside of a Fairey is that they have a tiny oil sump. Check and top up its EP90 level regularly and it should not wear out rapidly and not whine loudly. The upside of a Fairey is that it may improve a 2,286cc petrol engine’s fuel economy to 17-18 mpg (or never mind mpg and a faster top speed). Above spark strength and engine tweaks help its mpg also. Uphill and in 30 mph zones, third gear + O/D works better than driving in fourth gear. George thinks that I am too optimistic with that 17 – 18 mpg. By comparison, my 1948 Bentley Mk VI averaged 16.34mpg on a 1,600 mile (2,500Km) smile per mile trip to the Dordogne.

Suspension

I asked George to fit parabolic leaf springs because they react quicker to bumps and provide a softer ride than original leaf springs. In fairness, standard leaf springs only give a progressively uncomfortable ride when the leaves can no longer slide easily. That always points to poor maintenance. Given my desire for driver comfort, my Series Land Rover restoration also has Nitrogen gas-charged Pro Comp shock absorbers (improve load capacity, ride and handling). I don’t intend to carry huge loads in the cabin. Instead of transferring the five Deestone Extra Traction tubed tyres, HUC got five Goodyear Wrangler Radial 7.50 R16C 108/106N (6-Ply tubeless) on Defender rims. Painted pastel green so Rutland and Leicestershire mud won’t show too much. Purists may not like it, but I do. During the shake down drives (sleeping policemen, potholes and other bumps in road/track) it was glaringly obvious just how much more comfortable HUC is to drive compared to that Series III from Thirsk. With parabolic springs a Landy stands slightly higher on its pins but the 7.5 x 16″ tyres fill the wheel arches enough to make the whole thing look ‘proper’.

Bodywork & Trim

As for a Series Land Rover restoration without polyfiller, finding body panels that were straight and without dents was not easy. The door bottoms are Defender ones because, together with Defender door seals, I will have a cabin that isn’t overly drafty and is likelier to stay dry. Defender door checks (without their cover) because, with these, you won’t ever damage the A post and they allow a door to remain open. All doors have anti-burst locks for safety. Defender door mirrors provide optimal rearward view. The razor style bonnet (unused old-stock) is fixed with Series I bonnet hooks because the Land Rover Series II, IIA, III Bonnet Catch Striker Plate is not 100% reliable and I don’t want a bonnet to obscure my forward view in traffic. The II/IIA Maltese grill looks better in my view than the plastic grill. The spare wheel will be mounted in the tub. This Series Land Rover restoration was about creating a functional car, so I wanted standard seats (creates a flat surface to sleep on for me and/or the dog). We had to fit seat adjusters instead of the standard fixed frame because, even though I’m not circumferent, the clearance between the front of my jacket and the Series III bakelite steering wheel was very tight. Expensive add-ons but, without them, I couldn’t drive the car!

With a paint job like John Adams’ (Coventry Classic Minis), who wants headliners or door cards (I didn’t want any to start with). John Adams did the entire car and his paintwork looks stunning! Meticulous prep, meticulous finish. The bulkhead, foot wells and tub were pastel green (LRC005) mixed with the urethane coating Raptor to give it much greater durability. The roof should have been Land Rover Limestone (LRC007) but looks like Old English White. It doesn’t look out of place on the roof. Kindly note that it wasn’t John Adams who mixed the paints.

Framptons (part of the Jepson family of companies) made my raised riveted black digits on reflective plate: 3D style injection moulded plastic digits are riveted by hand to a reflective coated aluminium plate with silver bevelled edge. Sure enough, from April 1st 2019, vehicles manufactured before April 1979 can display a classic black and silver number plate (registrations ending with ‘T’ or anything before). My 1975 Series III would have rolled out of the factory with yellow and white plates, see image gallery.

All galvanising was redone except for a few galv’ bits in the County panels. That’s because they had never been fitted, brand new they were, what a find! Getting galvanising done right can be a right headache and George sent everything to DDS Metal Services who did us proud. DDS only takes orders from trade not from customers direct. Ring George Jeffcoate if you need help with your Landy.

Electrics

One of the frustrating things when you order a new, good quality Series III wiring loom is, that it may not have all the wires, or colour continuity or all the right connectors. We had that problem. When you undertake a Series Land Rover restoration, you’ll soon discover that your progress is as good and as fast as your supply chain is. Ordering product A and being sent product B is depressingly common. Anyway, thanks to a Land Rover Defender 100 Amp alternator, I can have high beam halogen lights, LED spot lights, fog light, dual-speed heater fan, dual-speed wipers and GPS device running simultaneously without it draining the battery. George fitted the Warm White Dash Light Bulbs LEDs, so I can see the gauges when I switch them on. So far for Meat Loaf… We fitted a FIA Battery Master Cut Out Switch as one level of security. I had liked a Hella Rallye 3000 spotlight with H1 12V/55W bulb in the middle of the front bumper. My 1948 Bentley Mk VI has a centered Pass Light and this works a treat, so I had thought to replicate that with the Series III. Both Jeffcoate Senior and Junior felt that a modern lamp didn’t look right on a 1975 car, so George fitted two 4″ 48W LED spot lights behind the grill. The jury is out on which illuminates the road ahead best.

Heating & Demisting

George Jeffcoate married a T7Design 5kw Midi Heater with Side Outlets 4x 50mm 12v (With Water Valve) to the existing Land Rover heating setup. He blanked off two of the four outlets, because no heat is directed to rear passenger seats (there aren’t any). The ducting from the heater to the adapted, standard cabin inlet is 50mm and this was used also for the dash vents ducting. The flexible hose from engine to heater matrix had the same diameter as standard Land Rover so that was very easy. As you can see from the photos, George fitted metal rimmed silicon pipes, these look good and are sturdier than the originals. The airflow of heater fan is 235 cfm (399 m3/hr) and draws 10.5Amp. It has 3 speeds but the Landy switch (off/on/on) only allows us to use speed 2 and 3. Speed 2 is more blowy than standard Land Rover and speed 3 is better still. The key to cabin heat is the thermostat that you use (74C summer, 82C winter), right now it has the 74 degree Celcius. My observation thus far is that speed 2 = less flow but hotter air and speed 3 = faster flow but not as hot. With a warmed up engine (a 2.25 doesn’t get all that hot), the T7Design is able to make the cabin reasonably warm! This is where those Defender door seals also come into play.

Commissioning a Series Land Rover restoration

At the time of writing this web page, George has three Series Land Rover restorations in progress in his workshop and one Land Rover Defender 130 restoration which is destined for the United States of America. He also offers maintenance and mobile repairs to many Land Rovers in the Midlands area. If you have a project in mind, then your best bet is to give George a ring on 07538 911146 (International 0044 7538 911146). This project stayed on budget and overran by only three months (12/11/2018 agreement signed – 17/02/2020 taking delivery). The time scale delay was caused mainly by supply issues and finding quality parts. A pretty good project outcome for the rebuild of a 45 year old car! I funded the project in upfront increments and we kept a running account, so money remained transparent throughout the project. Also George kept me up-to-date with images and messages. I visited regularly once the build got underway. This level of communication and transparency helps Land Rover aficionados (from abroad) when they commission their Series Land Rover Restoration with George Jeffcoate.

Series Land Rover 2.25 Petrol Fuel Consumption

My Series Land Rover 2,286cc petrol engine is now run in. The milometer has been working properly (mph is bewilderingly accurate with Google Maps on my mobile phone) since 148 miles. On that slim basis, I calculated that HUC does 18.85mpg. This was driving unladen mostly on B-roads and a few short stints on the A14 at 50mph with O/D. Wind in the back 55mph. Now at 1,290 miles, that mpg is 17.49 BUT the carburation is off. My guess is that we’ll get back to 18-19mpg once that’s sorted. Power wise I expect:

Engine HorsepowerTorque
2.25 Petrol74 hp @ 4,000rpm120 lb/ft @ 1,500rpm
2.25 Diesel62 hp @ 4,000rpm103 lb/ft @ 1,800rpm
2.5 Diesel68 hp @ 4,200rpm114 lb/ft @ 1,800rpm

Teething Problems

No sooner that you do a Series Land Rover Restoration or you will run into teething problems. Not because you or, in my case, George Jeffcoate and Mr. Jeffcoate Senior failed, but because replacement items let you down. We bought a brand spanking new Zenith 36 IV replacement carburetor and it was diabolical. Two new carburetors later, we decided to give the kiss of life to an old Zenith 36 IV. This works much better but is not right yet: HUC will not cold start with any choke (suggesting mixture might be rich already). It cold starts without choke after a good few starter engine turns. Stationary you can cut off the cold engine by depressing the throttle half way. Because you can immediately restart afterwards I don’t think this is due to flooding. A cold engine drives hesitantly (kangarooing) especially on acceleration. A warm engine drives fine but it doesn’t feel to have full power yet. Fuel pump’s been checked to work fine, new Accuspark coil, new HT leads, timing 6 degrees BTDC as recommended for 95 octane petrol, changing multi-electrode spark plugs back to NGK Iridiums made no difference. I suspect that the compensating jet may be the culprit. This needs cleaning and fettling.

Richard Hall of Glencyone Engineering recommends this method to set the carb mixture: run the engine until it is warm, adjust the idle screw until the idle speed sounds about right (Series Land Rovers idle a bit slower than modern cars – around 600 rpm). The engine should not sound ‘busy’ at idle. If you have an earlier vehicle with dynamo charging, the charge warning light should be flickering, but not bright. Slowly screw in the mixture screw (leaner) until the idle speed drops and the engine starts to run rough. Unscrew it (out) around a ¼ turn from this point, readjust the idle speed if needed. If the engine idles smoothly at the right speed, your settings will not be far out.

During running-in I noticed that my 2.25 Petrol engine delivered less power than the 2.5 Diesel from Thirsk. That shouldn’t be the case. Turns out that it wasn’t running full throttle because the accelerator cross shaft lever was the short one for a diesel engine, not the long one for a petrol engine (part number 531395). George replaced it, problem solved. Mark enjoyed that this had forced me to run-in the engine on only ½ – ¾ throttle…

Despite being fully reconditioned, the gearbox occasionally jumps out of 3rd gear on overrun i.e. going down hill with feet off the pedals. In an old box this’d be either excessive wear in the layshaft gears or a poorly adjusted selector. The detent spring that holds the selector shaft in the “out” position sometimes needs to be stiffened up a bit. The detent spring presses onto the 3/8″ steel ball bearing which in turn is forced into the groove on the selector shaft, stopping the shaft moving involuntarily backwards and forwards. A heavier spring is on order.