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Old July 7th, 2010, 07:23 PM
woldd90's Avatar
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1997 D90 ST #1444
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Location: Georgia
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Take lots of pictures and post them along the way. 1000 miles in a S1 is 3 days?


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Old July 15th, 2010, 01:38 AM
D90user's Avatar
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109/110 ambulance-55 series I
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Berkeley
Posts: 1,396
We made it back. The drive was super hot and took forever but it was worth all the sweat and hours. Here is the story:
I flew in to Tucson, AZ on Friday morning. The PO picked me up at the airport. He drove me over to the truck where his buddy was helping get some of the fluids changed. I took a look around the truck, started the motor and gave him the check with out driving it, I knew I wanted Wilbur.

Wilbur is a rust free gem. Originally bought in Yuba city, CA it came to Tucson, AZ and never left. There is literally NO rust to speak of. No clue how many miles, but with a new webber carb she purs.

I spent the next almost 10 hours going through everything. Did the front hub seals, repacked the bearings, all the tierods, adjusted the drums, ect… Come about 7:00pm it was time to hit the road, I loaded the truck with some spare parts original seats, a spare diff, and some other junk and a bunch of water I hit the road. The clutch was not quite adjusted right so I went around the block and came back. Fixed the clutch went to leave and could not get her in to any gear… after being perplexed I found the reverse lever that gives resistance to reverse had fallen down and wedged the shifter. I was very happy because that could have been fatal!

I hit the road and 3-4 hours later I was in Pheonix… Yes it took that long. Toping out at about 40mph it was a long drive and the interstate is not an option for safety’s sake.

My girlfriend teri flew in to Phoenix to drive with me, she would not miss this for the world (she loves rovers). We drove until 2am and got to the outskirts of Phoenix on hwy 60, then slept for the night. We woke in to morning to 80 degree weather at 6 or 7 am… it quickly became a 110degree day. The drive from Pheonix to Kingman was the worst of the whole trip. Beautiful, yes! But hot and hilly. At about 3pm right at the heat of the day we pulled over at a gas station to get some cold drinks. St this point I noticed a new leak ( the rear main had also been pushing oil at high RPM’s)… it was the brake master.

Luckily I had a rebuild kit because the MC was suspect but not leaking. I found a great shad tree mechanics shop that let me use some shade. I pulled the MC, stripped it apart and went to assemble.. the rebuild kit was the wrong one! I was a bit miffed to say the least. I did by best to ‘hone’ the cylinder with an old belt sander belt that was almost cloth (worked great) cleaned the seals the best I could, layered on some Teflon tape (the end seal looked crappy) and guess what… It didn’t leak. We bleed and bleed and finaly got a kind of firm pedal and hit the road again.

By this time it was really hot, and Wilbur started getting warm at speed, I would pull over at 90 degrees C and sometimes it would boil over after it was shut off. The I noticed something bad… Foam coming from the radiator cap. I let her cool , pulled the cap and there was a bunch of foam. My first though was head gasket and I though we would be shortly screwed. But she kept cool when not going up hill.
Eventually we made it to needles, CA where we slept again. In the morning I drove to the a NAPA and there was foam in the radiator again… this was getting scary, but there was no oil in the coolant (or visa versa). I bought some water wetter and it killed the bubbles, absolutely gone. What I concluded (maybe wrong) was that someone put in a cleaner and never fully drained, the bubles were from detergent and sine water wetter does away with surface tension the bubbles went too. No more foam… but still running warm, after all it was another 100+ degree day! We rigged another spray bottle for the radiator with a tube and that really helped on the long grades.

Along the way we found some roads to be just too fast for Wilbur. The truckers were dangerous. So we started taking dirt roads that paralleled the highway. It was actually some of my favorite driving I have ever had. Charging the Mojave in a 55 Series I in the baking sun was and experience we will never forget, right up there with bounding a rover across the Bolivian Altiplano. It was amazing how much of the trip we were able to do on dirt.

The rest of the drive was un eventful, except for the beauty. It is easy to take it in when you are going 35 or 40mph. More time to admire the saguaros, gawk and the vistas and generally enjoy life. I learned something from this trip, yes rovers are awesome (55 year old 1000miles… no problem), but there were some good lessons on life Teri and I shared.

We made it back at about 11am on Monday. Didn’t sleep on Sunday night because Teri had to be back for a meeting Monday afternoon. We drove in to Berkeley, she jumped in the shower and hopped on BART.

Wilbur needs some things, I have some big plans that I will keep updating. One of the first things to do is deal with the rear axle bearings and MC. I ordered the adaptor for a CB style MC, and I’m really thinking about just swapping later series axles in (whole thing) , it would be a shame to break the semi floaters… Anyone have a good set in Northern California?

After some the mechanics are in better shape I will start thinking about paint…

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions earlier, rover people are some of the best people!
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Old July 15th, 2010, 06:36 AM
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Charles Galpin
'94 D90 ST, '63 SeriesIIA
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Location: South Riding, VA
Posts: 11,541
Great story and great looking truck! Congrats again.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 10:05 AM
evilfij's Avatar
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I have never seen a rover in person
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: on the internet
Posts: 14,564
Congrats and I <3 the winch!

Take her apart and galvanize her now.
*not legal advice*
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Old July 15th, 2010, 04:09 PM
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Mike Hammond
110 200Tdi and a 2005 Scorpa SY250
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Oxted, Surrey, England, U.K
Posts: 1,753
Good looking truck, great write-up
Mike Hammond
Diesels.....great when they're going and so easy to work on.
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Old July 16th, 2010, 07:54 AM
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Keith Armstrong
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Land Between the Rivers
Posts: 626
Might just be me, but I think the paint looks perfect.

Looks like great fun!
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Old July 17th, 2010, 10:43 AM
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Jeff Briggs
Antarctic Blue Super Sports Wagon
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Auburn CA
Posts: 12,205
Amazining trip. I cant wait to see it in person.


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