Disco revival

After three weeks of stunning sunshine, nature has been keen to make up for the lack of rain. I spent some frustrating hours today hoping for a gap in the downpours so I could get on with fixing the Land Rover. The clutch slave overhaul kit had arrived – just two rubber seals – and I wanted to crack on!

Eventually, water ceased falling from the sky and I could get started. Task one – remove the slave cylinder. This is a mucky job, not helped by several engine oil leaks. At least the chassis shouldn’t rot and there are actually fewer leaks than there were! It’s an annoying job too as while some aspects can be tackled in the engine bay (with a suitable step), you also need to clamber underneath to get at some other bolts.

I finally got the bolts turning (had to hammer a 3/8 socket onto one of the 10mm bolts as it was rounding) and away it came. You have to be very careful at this stage because the clutch pin needs to stay where it is. It is possible for it to either get pulled out of the bellhousing, free of its clip, or to get pushed right into the bellhousing. Either scenario then requires you to split the engine and gearbox. I didn’t want to go there.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to. It helped that the outer seal on the old cylinder simply came off, holding the pin nicely in place. I could then study the slave cylinder and work out what to do next. This took several hours as it started raining again, and Test Match Special was on. I also had to try and work out how to get the cylinder apart. There was talk of a circlip, but I eventually decided there wasn’t one. I managed to get the piston out by pushing it in and letting it bounce out. It has a spring beneath it (which I almost forgot to refit…)  and the freedom of the piston suggested the bore was ok. That was good as otherwise I’d need a new cylinder – something I arguably should have just stumped up for in the first place.

However, I had the cylinder in pieces and could set about fitting a new seal. Two small screwdrivers had this done in no time, then the outer seal was fitted and it was time to refit it all. Fortunately, the test match had been rained off but it was now dry at home. I was soon up to my armpits in oily filth once more and with the cylinder refitted, I could set about bleeding the system. This proved tricky at first, but eventually the pedal began to firm up. I use a one-man bleed kit, not a pressurised one. It works by having enough fluid in the container that clean fluid gets drawn back in when you let the pedal come up. Ideally, you’d shut the bleed nipple off before the pedal is lifted.


The first bleed got the clutch working again, but the bite was low. I pumped the pedal a few more times and bled it again. Success! The bite was now nice and high rather than down on the floor.  A suitably long test drive revealed that all is well. Good times! The Disco is hopefully now ready for an off-road outing next weekend.

I really do like the Disco very much. It’s crude and a bit tired in places, but it makes me smile. Before next weekend though, there’s a change to the fleet. Like the revealing of the new Doctor, I shall leave you in suspense…

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