‘DOLORES’ THE SERIES 3 109” DIESEL HARDTOP
Welcome to the Series Diesel Land rover site. This site cover the Series 3 Land rover which was built between 1971 until 1985. It is the most common Series Land Rover with 440,000 examples being built. The example here is a 1980 model and has the 2.25 normally aspirated Diesel engine fitted. Not the most powerful unit around for its size but originally these vehicles were designed primarily for off road use where lower gear ratios and a robust hard working engine were more important than high speed motorway cruising.
I’ve always been interested in older vehicles and a time came when I fancied something that was old, fairly easy to work on, could carry a decent sized load and would offer plenty of opportunities to tinker, adapt and personalize. The Series 3 Land Rover met this criteria and with the added bonus of being a capable off-roader it was the ideal vehicle. When I bought the series it obviously had had a hard life as one would expect seeing as that's what they were designed for.
Originally these vehicles were aimed at farmers, the construction industry and the military. With that in mind Land Rover built these vehicles as ‘tools’ and practicality was the key. Features such as wide pedals so they could be driven in muddy Wellington's or boots, a flat cabin floor to assist in the hosing out of mud/dirt etc, an extendable filler spout so the vehicles could be easily filled from a Jerry can all helped to make these vehicles the brilliant utility vehicles they were intended to be.
My vehicle is quite young in the ‘Series’ family but at over 30 years old has still had many years of use and abuse. The effects of these were apparent when I first bought it despite coming with 12 months MOT. I drove it for a year just getting used to the vehicle and how it behaved etc until the first MOT renewal loomed on the horizon. At this point the engine was smoking quite badly and although these old Diesel Land Rovers are known as ‘old smokers’ or oil burners this particular series was obviously not well. Confirmation at the MOT station that all was not well led onto a ‘light restoration’ of which I covered quite a few jobs to ensure that it was safe and more comfortable to drive. I never intended to turn the vehicle into a show class vehicle but just wanted a tidy, mechanically sound useable vehicle which I would get enjoyment from in the future.
I decided to cover these jobs on this website in the hope that (1) you may get to understand your Series 3 a little better, (2) you will get a better idea of what is involved in the overhaul of various jobs, and (3) it may inspire you to carry out some much needed work yourself although it’s not intended as a definitive step by step guide. I will try to include as much detail as possible but please back up any work carried out on your own vehicle with the appropriate manuals and guides. If in any doubt of your abilities to do so safely then seek advice from a professional. I bought my vehicle mainly as a hobby and for fun and hope you get some enjoyment from both your own vehicle and this website.
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