Ute2 Reincarnation

After buying Ute2 it was decided to leave the new jigger alone and as is. Somebody had already put an enourmous amount of time and effort into the restoration of this truck and it would seem a great shame to destroy that by making some wylie adjustments to the combined efforts from Solihull and the mid-north NSW coast.

It is a Mustard Land Rover Series II 1960 109" Military spec Petrol Cab chassis with a civilian Aluminium work tray on the rear. It was also running what appeared to be Game wheels with 31x11.5-15 Muddies.

Well, it took 2 months to get over how wonderful this truck was. With a fresh 12 months rego on her now, it was time to build it into something a little more..... well....... "animal" I think the word is.

The build of my previous IIa V8 100" with SOA and coiled rear was an awsome learning experience, though in hindsight and with a little more experience there were a lot of things that I would have done differently to try to make it a better truck, and so this is what Ute2 Resurection is all about - to start again and do it better with a better base. This one is registered also!

The plan is this:

Rover 3.5V8 - done.
LT95 - done.
LPG/Petrol fuel system.
Land Cruiser 60 series axles SUA. - done.
37x13.5-15 Mickey Thompson Radial Claws. - undone.
Hybrid Land Rover & Land Cruser 60 series power steering - done.
Land Cruiser 60 series brakes - done.
Trimmed Guards to fit the tyres. - done.
Restoration as required - done.
Rustgard Blue recolour.

Down the track I would like to link the suspension and run a long travel airshock, coilover or coil setup.

So the conversion begins. I'm doing this in my works workshop over the Christmas break, so I don't have a lot of time to make this all happen. This is how it went:

Push the ol' girl in, ready for a "grease and oil change"

Well, the strip was to begin. Off with the front end + radiator. This also included dismantling and labelling the wire loom

Stripping the body. The firewall wasn't too crash hot with some cancer in the DS chassis mount, so that'll have to get replaced - well, especially considering it fell apart when removing it.

Next off came the roof and rear glass

Then the seat box and rear bulkhead.

With the body off, then all of the tailshafts could be removed or disjointed, the engine and gearbox mounts released, exhaust detatched - then lift!!!

After a few quick tidy-ups, the chassis is now bare. Well, at least where the work will be done.

In preparation for the new engine and gearbox, the front crossmember has to be removed, and later a replacement will be fabricated. The revised setup will be the same as that used in the Series 3 chassis so should not present any structural problems. The V8 motor length will cause the fan to come very close and the radiator to possibly not fit. The power steering box will also need to be bolted through where the current crossmember and steering relay are.

The front crossmember has been oxy cut out now, as have the original engine mounts.

Then ground flat before painting with Rustgard paint.

After the paint had dryed the chassis was pushed outside and washed to remove any brake fluid, mud, grease and grinding dust. Then of course pushed back in to dry.

The blue IIa 100" Hybrid was then brought into the workshop to begin stripping. The IIa already has most of the equipment that will be used in Ute2 such as the V8, Lt95, LC60 axles etc. The firewall in this truck is also in a lot better condition that Ute2's, and so will be swapped over.

The stripping process of IIa was fairly quick, as the bolts were all in excellent condition and split washers were used instead of Nylocs.

Off came the front panel work, the roof, then the rear glass, and the rear bulkhead. This process took about 1 hour.

Nosing IIa up to Ute2 gave an insight into where Ute2 was heading, except lower, longer and meaner!

Next the donor IIa's firewall was lifted. This firewall is in pretty good shape and Ute2's original firewall will be rebuilt onto this one with the required modifications.

Back to the Ute2 chassis, there are some marks on the chassis from wear and tear, spilt brake fluid, parts removal etc. that need to be sorted.

Its important that the chassis looks like its in top condition so that the Engineer is under the impression that the job has been done professionally. The chassis has been sprayed using Rustgard Matt Black paint to tidy it all up. At this stage, only the tray forward is being sprayed. When the rear half of the truck gets worked on or the tray is lifted, then those parts of the chassis will be sprayed also.

The V8 and LT95 gearbox is finally lifted from the IIa ready to be transplanted into Ute2.

IIa chassis is pushed out. Those Landcruiser axles and 37" Claws will get lifted from it also for use in Ute2

The engine mounts from IIa have been cut out and new mounts based on these have been fabricated for ute2. These are comprised of new plate sides and a plate rear will also be added later.

The V8 motor is now having an LPG system added to it. This has come from a donor rangie and should allow the motor to not only be a little cheaper to run, but also allow it to run on steep angles without fuelling problems.

The V8 motor and gearbox have now been test fitted to the chassis. The gearbox needs to be offset to allow the tailshaft to pass through the chassis port. Gearbox mount now need to be made up to suit the offset location. grrrr.

In hindsight, I thought that the gearbox relocation and twisting of the engine/gearbox was going to be a silly way to do things, so the alignment problems with the gearbox output were fixed by removing the particular crossmember as in the pic below. The crossmember may be replace with one similar that that which is behind is as it shouldn't interfer with the tailshaft.

The engine mounts which had been tacked in place were welded into position properly and a brace plate added to prevent any for/aft movement of the engine which may cause fatigue. This was sprayed also.

Now to replace the axles. I dropped the springs and unbolted the axles with the chassis sitting on a tyre.

Drill the stocker U-bolt plates to suit the LC60 rear axle U-bolts (used up front)

U-bolt are LC60 rears for the front, plus a square Ubolt to the same specs for the the U-bolt next to the diff pumpkin. Keeping everything close to how LR did it from the factory reduces complications. Shocks just bolt straight up.

and the front axle is in, waiting for steering.

3x3mm plate was cut and drilled to reinforce the chassis and to suit the LC60 steering box

The chassis was also drilled to suit and crush tubes inserted to help further reinforce the chassis and keep the engineers happy

The crush tubes were welded in place using bolts and plates to ensure proper alignment, and then the welds ground smooth.

The chassis then had the paint ground away from where the plates were to be welded on, and the plates welded into position, with 1x3mm plate behind the steering box, and 2x3mm plates on the inside of the chassis. This was all sprayed while warm, for some accelerated drying times.

The engine was then dropped in to its proper location, and the steering box bolted in

Now the body was to be reassembled back onto the chassis. This wasn't as seemless as what I had hoped initially as the gearbox was a little bigger than the old one and the seatbox would not fit over it. The best parts of both Ute2 and the IIa were used.

Until it met the nibbler at least, which subsequently encouraged the seat box to be a little more accomodating.

Seat box in with rear bulkhead, rear glass and roof now in place

Add firewall and windscreen

And flooring. Hmmm, this also needed to be adjusted with the nibbler to allow the engine/gearbox to fit.

Add doors also and its starting to look like a Landrover again.

When the firewall was out, it had the factory steering removed, and a Defender steering column put in. This was very close to being bolt in, with one bracket being cut off the column, and 2 bolt holes being drilled into the firewall to mount the bearing. The steering wheel is a Range Rover unit, and so naturally as luxurious as a royal would come to expect in a Land Rover. Although not seen in the pic, the column is mounted inside the cabin using the original clamp that holds the Series style steering column - both shafts being approx the same diameter.

The LC60 link to the steering box is telescopic and is a very good part to use between the Defender column and the LC60 steering box. The splines at the uni joint between the 2 parts do not match though. I trimmed the end off the shaft by 10mm and fitted a Rover uni joint to the end of the shaft, and this was welded in place. Beware of any absorbed impurities that will lead to porosity in the welds - this is critical. This way the LC60 shaft would now join with the Defender steering column.

As the kiddies were coming back to school I've had to push it back out of the workshop. Its had the door uppers put back on, the front clip disassembled and the guards attached to the firewall, the facia moved forward to accomodate the motor in this position and the bonnet placed on top until the next round of works.

I've just been thinking while looking at the pics and wondering. I reckon the body would look good in Hammertone blue instead of the rustgard blue. Now that would be something different and still so very easy to find and touch up. Based on the comments of others that seem to have done this, the Hammertone is a really good hard paint that resists scratching etc. Sounds like its the go!

LC60 rear axle on a pallet and ready for prep to be fitted to the ute.

OE spring perches are removed with an angle grinder and will be replaced with new ones which are spaced to fit Landrover springs.

Well, the old girl was finally to have that mixed axle syndrome sorted now, so out with the old axle (interestingly was a Rover rear axle, not a Salisbury which surprised me as the truck is all military spec).

In with the LC60 axle. Spring perches in place to sit the axle into, centre and tack into position.

Axle back out and prep'd for welding. The LC60 axles are bloody heavy compared to the Rover axles!

Interestingly the rear diffs don't look a lot wider, though the LC60 is definately heavier and stronger than the rover diff.

The Toyota U-bolts are also significantly bigger in diameter with a drill size of 16mm

The rear lower U-bolt plates were also replaced with the type used on the front to relocate the shock mounts from the axle as done by Rover in the rear to the spring as done by Slunnie.

On the drivers side the axle breather and brake line junction were in the same spot that the U-bolt needed to go. The breather was unscrewed and the brake line junction moved out of the way. The hole was welded over and ground flat before the U-bolts were put into place and the axle bolted down to the spring pack.

Got width? 2" Snake spacers.

Stock stance

And the stance on 31's is good now, especially in comparison to a stocker, though will be wider again when the 37's are put back on again.

Now all of the 37" tyres are on. The blue front guards really need a good trimming to make this work and in fact the 37's wont fit on with the blue guards untrimmed. As a temporary measure, until the blue guards can be trimmed properly I will fit the yellow guards which have the high clearance military cut on the them which better suits the 37's. This yellow guard is just sitting in position.

Front cross member has been replaced with 3mm RHS

The steering damper was also tested for position and had the chassis mount welded into position. It ended up going directly onto the original IIa steering damper mount. Actually the way I've welded it on, a Toyota or a Landy steering damper may be used, it just depends on the chassis mount that gets used.

Out of interest, I was able to raise the front wheel by 470mm before the hoist ran out of travel. I think that about 500mm or so will be about the limits of the suspension though. Also the rear tyre was pressed onto the tray, so the tray will also later need to be raised to suit.

The tailshafts arrived from Tom Woods in the US. Great looking shafts and very well built. Due to the length of the rear shaft the tube diameter has been increased from 2" to 2.5". The shorter one is for the front. Both shafts have been built with 1310 uni joints to suit this truck and joining a Rover transfer case to Toyota axles. The front shaft also has a long slip joint due to the shackle reversal design of front suspension that Rover have used.

The flanges were built to match the centre diameter of the Toyota pinion flange and so located centrally, but the bolt pattern is different. I ended up clamping the tailshaft to the pinion flange and drilling out the 10mm holes to suit. This task required a round toyota flange to do it.

The pinion flange was then replaced onto the diff and the shaft bolted in.

At the gearbox end the output flange and handbrake drum had previously been modified to run a Toyota shaft directly onto it, and this had to be converted back to a standard drum and output flange as the new shaft was a standard Rover DIN flange.

Today was radiator and guards. I sat the radiator into position and fitted the top radiator hose to estimate its position forward of the engine. From there I fabricated some lower mounts, then welded them onto the chassis X-member to support the radiator. The radiator sits on rubber cushions over the mounts. The radiator still requires the upper mounts, though this cant be done until the guards are locked into place.

The front body work was next. Using a military guard as a template, I marked out and cut the replacement guard with an angle grinder. The military guard also has a horizontally cut front guard panel, though I've instead used a MogRover style angled cut to suit. More will have to be taken out of the front later for additional tyre clearance. The guard was then fitted.

The Drivers side guard was also modified, though this time the front guard panel was unbolted, unriveted and unspotwelded, and the panel replaced with a Series 3 part to match the other side. This was bolted and riveted into position (poorly at that). The inner guard was modified with the angle grinder to allow space for the steering mechanisms and the MogRover cut also applied to the front. A headlight was installed from a Series II facia before fitting the panel to the 4WD.

The headlight surrounds have also been wirewheeled back and a coat of Aluminium etch primer applied in anticipation of paint.

Today work started on the SeriesIII facia.

The back was cut off it using an angle grinder.

Then it was sanded back ready for painting.

The bonnet selection was also changed as basically I couldn't be bothered making a new bonnet and time was not on my side. The Stage1 bonnet also looks like it will be able to be made to work with the SeriesIII facia.

The bonnet was stripped then sanded back ready for paint also.

Both of the front guards were modified again also. The problem is that with 37's, the tyres will catch the front lip.

The lip was removed, but the Military cut style was maintained.

All of the parts were then prepared for painting.

And then painted in Rustgard Blue. The plan is to eventually paint the car in Hammertone Blue, though the Rustgard provids a really good undercoat prior to doing this.

In addition to this the headlight surrounds have been painted gloss black now. A round Toyota front pinion flange has also been drilled out to suit the new tailshaft also. Once the pinion flange is changed in, the front shaft will be ready to install.

The painted guards were reapplied to the car and made it look a million dollars! Well, maybe a few hundred at least.

Unphotographed, but the bonnet hindes were fabricated to suit also, and the front propshaft was also installed. Getting the old pinion flange off was a real task - though thankfully a good student tipped in with some very effective advice to get the job done. The Tom Woods tailshaft seemed to be a perfect fit again.

The front headlight trims were put into place, as with the grill with none being a permanent fitting, but the truck was looking good.

The refabricated bonnet hinges were installed. These are an adaptation of the SeriesII hinge to suit the height of the Stage1 bonnet and to locate the bonnet back against the fire wall. The external bonnet catches were also installed to hold the bonnet down onto the guards. The facia has also been bolted to the guards.


The brakes are full LC60 setup. A Landy SeriesIII pedal assembly has had a spacer made up to suit the LC60 master cylinder and booster and then bolted together before being installed into the vehicle. Some minor modifications had to be made to the IIa firewall to fit a III brake pedal.

LC60 Brake MasterCylinder

I made up double flare hard brake lines and connected the brakes to longer braided brakes lines which reach down to the axles.

Brake lines

The fuel pump was mounted behind the rear bulkhead to keep it out of harms way and plumbed up to the engine. I'm hoping it will have the ability to draw fuel from the bottom of the tank!

Fuel pump

Then a new transmission hump was fabricated out of aluminium sheet to cover the larger LT95 gearbox. Definately a 2 seater now!

New transmission hump

The exhaust system was bought for the engine half. It was chosen to do this for a more accurate fit and better result especially with the close proximity to driveline and chassis.

The assembly came looking quite good.

Exhaust headers

although the PS engine pipe was shortened by roughly 100mm to make it all fit in properly.

Cut down PS header

and rewelded

Rewelded PS header

This part of the exhuast system was manufactured by Walker exhausts and fitted very well (apart from bit that needed shortening). The exhaust really is designed as a consumer part rather than a performance part. The above pipes are all about 1.75" pipe with press bends and further constriction at the merge between banks.

The rest of the exhaust was fabbed up in the workshop. $150 worth of part in comparison to purchasing about $350 made sence. I've planned to send the exhaust directly down the PTO path to the rear of the 4WD.

To do this I've used a total of 1x 16" offset freeflow muffler and 2600mm of 2" exhaust pipe. Cut the pipe to suit and it went straight in

Rear exhaust setup

Back to sorting the clutch out properly. A new mastercylinder was bought to replace the SeriesII unit with seperate fluid can. A quick and easy piston shaft change to make it fit the Series II pedal assembly was all that was needed before installation back into Ute2.

Removing the master cylinder but leaving the shaft by unbolting the mastercylinder and removing the circlip that hold the shaft in.

Clutch pedal without master cylinder

New master cylinder goes in but using the old piston shaft (but new piston)

New clutch m/c with old piston shaft

Pedal assembly is then refitted and bled.

Installed clutch master cylinder

Still to come:

Rewire, Tyres and paint!
Slunnie from Simba