Readers Tips and Pics
(submitted by visitors to this site).

'By those who sit in the drivers seat'

Your contribution WILL help
save the life of another Landcrab.

 Austin History
 The Austin 1800
 Credits / About Us
 Under the Bonnet
 The Aussie 1800
 The Workshop
 Unique Design Concept
 Hips & Tints
 In Pursuit of Trivia
 Hydrolastic Suspension
 The Rotodip Process
 Photo Album
Landcrab Discussion Group
 Readers Tips Page 1
 Readers Tips Page 2
 Readers Tips Page 3
 FANtastic Pics
 Rallying & Testing
 Car Clubs
 Crabs For Sale
 Down Memory Lane
 Links to Other Sites

More great tips here.

David Elliston in Australia
Ball Joint Dust Boots
Tue Apr 8 2003

I had noticed a tip in the April/May 2000 LOCA Newsletter regarding a source for replacement dust boots for upper and lower ball joints.

To amplify upon this information, I was able to source these from my local AutoPro store as Master Part MPTE3.

It seems they are actually made offshore by KOK and re-packaged for domestic consumption.

It may be that other parts suppliers re-package as well.

Thanks for that David, good info to keep those ball joints protected.


Ken Green
Twin carburettor set up.
Sun May 11 2003

Hi  Ian

Try this

1/ Check that you have petrol in both float chambers.

2/ Check that the pistons are free The needles and springs are standard 1800's so should be OK - you do have .100" jets don't you?

3/ Check manifold and breather for air leaks.

4/ Set carbs -
First: remove both the pistons and wind up the jets until they are both level with the bridge of the carb, now wind down each jet 12 flats (two turns).

Second: unscrew both the idle screws right back and ensure that both butterflies are shut - if not, undo the clamp and shut them. Tighten clamp then wind in each throttle screw until it just touches the butterfly and then 1 and 1/2 turns more - from now on adjust each screw the same amount.

You now have the basic setting.

Start engine warm up and do the final adjustment.

Hope this helps.


David Fry
Re: Overheating
Mon May 12 2003

I have modified my Kimberley by fitting a thermostat housing to the far end of the cylinder head. I also fitted a larger fan but only because the original broke. It does not overheat in traffic even on the hottest Queensland summers day, but it does run hot at high speed. I found it runs lean at high speed which is due to the design of the engine. It does not have a good "mixing ratio spread" which is why the SU can not much the extra rich mixture required for fast driving. To drive the car from Qld to Sydney I had to fit a richer needle, which I replaced with the standard unit after the trip.

I have suspected for a long time that poor air flow around the exhaust manifold was a contributing factor and have recently confirmed this after acquiring a 6 cylinder Marina. It has a larger and much more powerful engine, with a smaller radiator and same fan as the Kimberley. It does not run hot in traffic and does not seem bothered by high speed driving.

Due to the north south layout of the engine it has better airflow over the exhaust manifold and has the added advantage of the vacuum caused by the transmission tunnel sucking the hot air out of the engine bay.

The fan on the 1800 blows air out throw the radiator and the air around the engine is also drawn out by it. If the Kimberley had the same system as the 1800 it would work with greater efficiency.

Anyone fitting a bigger fan to a X6 should be aware of the limitations of the standard alternator. If the current draw of the fan induces an off charge condition, the fan might slow to the point were it will be less effective than the standard fan.

Good points David.

This is exactly why so many Kimberleys and Tasmans 'died' at around the 70,000 miles mark. The thermatic fans ceased to work and their unaware drivers literally cooked the engine. Mechanics and parts costs unfortunately sent many of them to the 'sin bin'.

The Austin 1800 fan ONLY draws air to the radiator from the engine side. The effect is that air is drawn through the grille and blown into the radiator (and from some updraft around the engine when the car is in motion).

It's a really great system provided you don't put any obstacles behind the grille.

Ian Davy
Re: Repairing displacer hoses
Thu Aug 7 02:16:50 2003


I have replaced hoses in the manner you describe and have no problems. I use SAE 100R6-8 hose with crimped fitting on one end and a two bolt clamp to attach the hose to the barded hose tail on the displacer.

Also there is another way I found in the MG1100 list.

First thing to do is to cut the old pipe just above the rubber cone.

Yes! You do cut the part of metal pipe that the rubber pipe is pressed on.

The pipe that comes out of the displacer should be flush with the rubber cone. Then in the metal pipe that goes into the displacer cut a nice fine "female" thread, so that you can screw in your new pipe.

You prepare your new pipe using a piece of high pressure rubber hose, the same length as the old one. You have to go to a shop to press-fit at the one side your old union that bolts to the hydro pipe at the car, and at the other side a suitable "male" thread union that it can bolt into the "female" thread that you opened in the displacer.

Finally it's just a matter to bolt your new pipe to the displacer using some teflon tape to make a good seal.

It's simplicity itself isn't it?

I guess that the barbed pipe is not thick enough to make internal threads to it successfully. So you have to cut it off completely. On the other side, the part of the pipe that is in the displacer is not that long but it is thick enough for the thread.

Remember that the thread has to be a fine one and you need to apply plenty of teflon tape to make a good seal.


Larry Lebel
Displacer Hoses
Tue Sep 23 2003

I have fixed my blown displacer hoses using the method on the MG1100 list that was suggested by Ian Davy (above).

I cut the 'spigot' off to which the hose is normally crimped. Then I threaded the metal insert with 1/4" - 18 pipe thread to take a 1/2" adaptor (in pipe thread terminology sizes are 1/4" smaller than the actual size, hence 1/4" actually = 1/2").

There is plently of metal for the 1/2" insert and the hole in the insert is already 7/16", so all I had to do is run in the tap. Turns the tap I bought bottomed out inside the displacer just as it was fully 'home'. The insert is about 1/2" thick so I ended up with about 9 threads which is plenty to make a seal.

I then had the hydraulic shop make up a hose with a female fitting to attach to the adaptor and a male fitting to attach to the pipe in the engine bay. The hydraulic hose is 2500 psi single wire hose that ought to last forever. I made the hoses a little longer than OEM to get a longer curve with the stiffer hydraulic line. Two or three of my hoses failed at the crimped connector so maybe BMC should have made them a little longer also.

I came close to using 300 psi oil line (very similar in construction to the OEM hose) and a clamp on the displacer spigot and a push-fit fitting and a clamp on the other end. But the idea of putting it all together and having it fail persuaded me to use the more high tech method.

The cost for 2 adaptors, 4 fittings, a couple of feet of hydraulic hose and the 1/4"-18 NPT tap and some teflon thread sealer was about $CA90.

The angle on the mating surfaces of the new fittings is slightly steeper than on the OEM fittings so there is a potential (low, in opinion of the hydraulic shop) for a poor seal at the metal pipe connection.

The proof is in the pudding. I am also going to change the other side as a precaution while doing the diff seals as well. I'll let you know how it turns out.

If anybody wants more details, email me at:

Thanks Ian and Larry I'm sure this method will 'save the life' of many otherwise discarded displacers.

Let's see how the eating of the pudding turns out eh Larry?


From: "Ian Davy"
To: "John Roach" <>
Subject: Part Numbers
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003

Hi John,

Over the past short while I have been rebuilding brakes, clutches etc. and have collected the seal numbers for PBR Brakes and the 3/4" clutch master. I thought they might be handy to have on the website for others who need them. It's much cheaper to buy just the seals and boots than the whole kit :)

Clutch Master 3/4"
       Seal    P4366    PBR
       Boot   P4632    PBR

Clutch Slave
       Seal    P4515    PBR
       Boot   P5985    PBR

Wheel Cylinders  (PBR)
       Cups    P12400    PBR
       Boots   P16932    PBR

I was also cleaning up my rear wheel bearing and found that I had replaced them with some Japanese ones last time.

Here's the numbers for them:

Inner Race   K-LM67048    SKF Brand
                      K-LM67910    SKF Brand

Outer Race   4T-L44649    NTN Brand
                       4T-L44610    NTN Brand

I'll send on anything else I find as I go.


Thanks for these Part numbers Ian.

I'm sure they will be of great help when sourcing individual items instead of the whole kit if its not necessary.



Aristidis - Greece
Hydrolastic Pump
Sat Jan 3 10:59:30 2004

In Landcrab News, 2001, Vol.12, No3, p9 (the LOCI magazine) there was an interesting article with drawing, by LOCI member Mick Street, about a "Portable Hydrolastic Pump" of  Australian origin. You can make it yourself.

Also in a much older Landcrab News issue, I remember having  read of a method to evacuate the hydrolastic system. You use the vacuum of the idling engine, for examle by taking it from the Brake Servo vacuum pipe.

Vacuum is needed only when the system is void of liquid and has filled up with air. To pump out the trapped air.

If the system is full of liquid and just low in pressure there is no need for a vacuum: just pump it up to raise the pressure.



David here in Canberra
Clutch gaskets
Thu Feb 26 09:25:55 2004

I originally posted the message below on 18 Feb last year.

This may be of interest to anyone changing their clutch in their Austin 1800 in Australia, in respect of the gaskets needed for this task. We have sourced them from a supplier in Sydney after a fair amount of research.

ACL told us via their 1800 number that the two gaskets were only sold, as individual units, to Mini Car Clinic (now known as Mini Spares Centre Australia).

We were able to buy the flywheel gasket (AYH3081) for around $12, and the double figure eight gasket (22H876B) for just under $6.

I also now know that there is an ACL gasket set for the "oil  pan", including the input shaft and rear main seals, available from the local AutoPro shop for around $105 (retail price).

There is also an ACL gasket set called a "conversion set", including timing cover seal and a few other bits and bobs, for around $50 (retail price).

I imagine these sets represent good value for money.

By the way, the Mini Spares Centre can be contacted on (02) 9774 3366, and you should find the .pdf files found on the ACL gaskets website informative.

Thanks for this important info David.


Eriks [Sydney]
Wheel alignment jig
Sat Mar 27, 2004

I was just reading the lastest 1961 issue of the Practical Motorists magazine (our postie is a bit slow delivering the magazines) and there is a 2 page article on how to build a jig to easily check and set the toe-in of your front tyres. Looks like it should give fairly accurate results.

Thanks Eriks, the info should be of benefit to our DIY enthusiasts.
I have posted the article here for better viewing and printing.



Valve spring retainer collapse
Thu Apr 1 2004

Just before last Christmas coming back from Stanthorpe down the New Englang Hwy to Glen Innes tootling along at 100k's, the car just stopped as though the ignition failed. After much examination, ignition, fuel etc. off came the rocker cover and there it was.

The No. 2 inlet valve was not there and the valve guide was driven up out of the through the outer valve spring. The valve had decided to visit the No 2 piston, the meeting did not go well, well what do you expect they had been neighbours for 30 years, something has to give, IT DID.

Home in Camden, car lifted and carried home, a LOT of money, head off, what, no No 2 piston, engine out, dismantled, collected all the parts. Originally thought that the colletts on that valve had failed but no, the valve spring retainer on the outer circumference where the outer valve spring pressed was non existent on the two pieces of the retainer that I found in the debri.

Checked all the other retainers and out of the remaining 7, three of them were paper thin on the outer part, so thin you could bend them by twisting with a pair of pliers.

So whenever you have the tappet cover off your machine or if you have not had it off for awhile I suggest you all do so and have a very close look at those retainers. The thickness of the retainer on the outer lip is 3/64ths to 1/16th of an inch, if under 1/32 you are looking for trouble.

Of course all this is a good excuse for a total rebuild as the engine and gear box had to be totally dismantled as some of the debri of the piston ended up in the oil channel thru of the counter shaft (laygear). The block so badly damaged in the bore it would have, in the past, to have been resleeved. Obtained another engine and am using that block.

As an aside, the ONLY people who stopped to help were from car clubs all going to the Glen Innes meeting for who I cannot express enough thanks.

More good info Scott. We had all better check those retaining clips soon then.



From: "Eriks Skinkis"
To: " austin1800" <>
Subject: Those painful CV joints
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004
Hi John,

No doubt you would have seen my string of messages on the bulletin board about CV joint dust boots. I was so frustrated that the thought even crossed my mind that unless I could find a solution, it was becoming unviable to continue replacing dust boots every 6-12 months.

I've attached a photo and put together some notes as I think this is worth documenting and including on your technical page. This is assuming ours isn't the last early Mk 1 still running around with it's original CV joints???

Thanks for the illuminating info Eriks. I have set up a special page that contains the pic and your observations. Hopefully this will reduce the frustration for everyone else.



Scott (Sydney)
Steering Wheels
Mon Jul 19, 2004 22:07

Just a tip on restoring your steering wheel.

Is your steering wheel covered in leather, plastic, or is it naked? If it has a steering wheel cover it is most likely covering a dirty steering wheel which is probably in bad condition.

Remove the cover, take the steering wheel off the car (making sure your front wheels point straight ahead before removing/replacing it).

Scrub the steering wheel clean, scrape all the dirt off that came from your hands etc., by using a scotchbrite with Prepsol then let it dry.

Buy a spray can of vinyl paint (whatever colour you like - there are 10 colours available) and give the steering wheel 4 or more coats of paint allowing much drying time between coats, the result will surprise you, all glossy - looks new - and feels good without a steering wheel cover, the paint does NOT wear off, mine has been done for a year. If your wheel has cracks in it plastic body filler works well

Just a thought.

Good thought Scott. A nice shiny steering wheel looks good and does feel great.

Garry Fry - (Australia)
Consequences of  91 octane fuel
Wed Dec 15, 2004

Further to the earlier discussion about suitable fuel and fuel additives for our cars, I wish to advise about the apparent effect of running less than half a tank of  91 Octane fuel in one of my cars.

Between my fleet of 1800's and Kimberley's some have had cylinder head conversions to run on unleaded petrol by way of hardened valve seats and on those that haven't yet been converted, I have used Flashlube and now Penrite additives without any sign of ill effect over thousands of miles.

I switched to a Penrite additive after being advised that there were some very acidic chemicals in the Flashlube product detrimental to the insides of the engine so I am erring on the side of caution without the benefit of a qualified analysis of both products side by side. I have recently become aware of other classic car club members that are running unleaded petrol in leaded engines/heads for thousands of klm's. without any detrimental effect, contrary to what I've read in magazine articles in the past reporting valve damage after relatively low mileage without a conversion or without a lead replacement additive.

My engines range from stock standard Mk 1 to 10.03:1 compression on my Mk II that Hans Pederson built. My first choice in any of my cars has always been Shell Optimax,at 98 RON, but am equally happy to now use BP Ultimate and Caltex Vortex which have subsequently appeared on the market, both advertised as 98 Octane.

I can hardly notice any difference in the Mk 1 between 91 and 98 octane, I've never heard it ping even once, but in the HP car with high compression anything less than 98 octane is immediately noticeable by a marked increase in pinging under load as soon as the new fuel reaches the carburettors. Even a drop from 98 to 95 LRP is instantly noticed.

Due to non availability of  98 Octane fuel in Sydney recently from any refinery, running on empty I had to put a batch of  91 octane fuel in the car as there was nothing else available at the third petrol station I stopped at looking for 98. Drove the car around for a few days waiting for 98 to reappear when it suddenly started to ping alarmingly with big loss of power. A compression test recorded a loss of compression on cylinders 1 and 2, removing the head revealed a blown head gasket at that point.

Conferring with Hans (Pederson), who knows the car intimately, and Bill Stevenson who has had a great deal of competitive experience with 1800's and Minis' as to why the head gasket had blown, both believed it was due to the 91 octane fuel.

Hans can't find words in the english language that describe how bad 91 octane fuel is for a high performance engine. So just half a tank of this rubbish is enough to blow the head gasket just on suburban driving.

Hans has told me that there is someone in Sydney legally selling a new lead additive with an octane booster which you can put back into the unleaded gunk from the service station. I was on a mobile phone at the time and couldn't take down the details but will post them (on the Bulletin Board) as soon as I get back to Hans.

If you do have a high compression engine that will not run on anything less than 98 it is worth noting that this fuel goes stale relatively quickly which can lower the octane level. If you buy it from a service station with a low turnover or otherwise has had a batch sitting for a while it may already be less than 98 octane by the time you put it in your car.

Hope this information is useful to anyone deliberating over best options for your own car/s.

Thanks for that very interesting experience Garry. It has been well known for some time that petrol with an octane rating below 98 becomes 'stale' and may cause problems for some car engines.

Peter (Denmark)
Re: Why? (Consequences of  91 octane fuel)
Thu Dec 16, 2004

This is from the Internet, and explains why knocking may be harmful to the engine:

Detonation is caused by low gasoline octane ratings, high combustion temperatures, improper combustion chamber shape, too-lean mixtures, etc.

Detonation produces dangerously high loads on the engine, and if allowed to continue, will lead to engine failure. Detonation, unlike pre-ignition, requires two simultaneous combustion fronts (fuel burning in two or more places in the combustion chamber at once); whereas pre-ignition occurs when the fuel-air mix ignites (with single burning front) before the spark plug fires.

Both pre-ignition and detonation produce an audible "knock" or "ping," but detonation does not produce the rapid "wild pinging" noise that is typically associated with pre-ignition. The extreme pressures of detonation can lead to pre-ignition, but even worse the high temperatures of pre-ignition can cause detonation.




Jason Birmingham
Head Gaskets - (Consequences of  91 octane fuel)
Mon Dec 20, 2004

Hi All! "pinging" can basically be described as an "uncontrolled explosion" as opposed to a controlled burning.

Combustion pressures are much, much higher when pinging occurs & can lead to piston & ring damage as well. KC & KE (Ford) Lasers suffer the same fate with head gasket failure between two cylinders as these engines (Mazda B6) only just cope with std unleaded.

Just think about it, how hard you would have to "hit" the piston, to make a noise that you can hear from the drivers seat, above all the other mechanical noises that are going on around you. It gives you an idea of the pressures involved. Makes you shudder huh! I know it makes me cringe when I hear some car rattling itself up the road, with the driver too lazy to change down a gear or not aware what the noise is all about.

Some engines handle it better than others, but I have seen 1st hand what it can do (broken piston ring lands & rings as well as head gaskets.)

On Garry's comment (see above) about 98 octane "going off", yes this is very true. I have experienced this myself with the P76 (Leyland) & I was told (don't know how true though) that the fuel is aerated with butane to increase the octane rating. After a while, the butane boils off & the octane level falls. This process is done to get a poor batch of fuel through the testing process. Who Knows ??




Eriks [Sydney]
Re: Head Gaskets (Consequences of  91 octane fuel)
Tue Dec 21, 2004

A couple of years ago we had a guest speaker from one of the major oil companies at a car club meeting that I belong to.

The story about modern petrol going off quickly is true that it's charged with butane to make it ignite easier, and that unfortunately it does gas off from stored fuel in a very short time (as short as a month).

The petrol we get from the bowser today is a different make up to the petrol that was available when our cars were new.


To Garry, Peter from Denmark, Jason and Eriks, thanks for your enlightening information. It seems us motorists are at the behest of the monolithic oil companies no matter what.

Don't try suing them for 'contaminated' fuel either.


Ken Green (UK)
Steering wheels
Fri Feb 4, 2005

For those of you in the northern hemisphere Motalita in the UK also make steering wheels and bosses for the 1800.

I have them on both my cars, one has a 15" wheel and this is about right size. I have tried a smaller wheel but it gets hard work at parking speeds and you need arms like Popeye just to turn the wheel, but then I do have 195/60 x 14 tyres on 5.5" minilites!!

I had to have the boss machined down to miss the indicator sleeve (this was with an Astrali wheel) but since then I have got the correct Motolita boss and it clears with no problem.




Philip Blank
Starter ring gear
Mon Feb 14, 2005

Hi Shane.

If you've got the engine out you might as well replace the ring gear and if Robert (Goodall)  has one, great. However, I avoided doing this on my car, avoiding a damn awful job for an amateur, by changing from an inertia starter to a pre-engaged, which uses the other side of the ring gear.

I had thought of the idea but couldn't find what starter to use but thanks to this site, I was told that a Holden or Isuzu Gemini starter (mid 80s? rear wheel drive model) would fit, and it did. It was initially running a bit close to the flywheel but a Triumph Herald (I think) shim pushed it out a few thou and now it's absolutely perfect.

I've been told doing this, given the teeth aren't designed with a lead in chamfer that side, can cut them out, but I've yet to see any signs of that.

Good luck, Phil.

Glad to see you made a successful modification Philip


Converting to Power Assisted Steering (PAS)

Convert to PAS
Sat Jul 9, 2005
Austin 1800 Bulletin Board

Anyone converted an 1800 MK II from manual to PAS, what was involved? Also want to convert to alternator. Any advice?


Answers provided by Ken Green and Joe Barling - both are experts on all Landcrab matters.

Ken Green (UK)
Mon Jul 11, 2005

I have not done this conversion but have done it the other way round (from PAS to manual).

You will need a PAS rack, all the hoses and the steering column as the bottom connector is different.

A PAS pump - and as you want to do an Alternator conversion and the PAS pump is driven off the dynamo (generator) you will need a later PAS pump and the thermostat housing with the mounting to hang it from; plus all the 1001 little things, brackets etc. to fit it.

In fact you need to get a car with PAS fitted already and either swap cars or swap parts.

If you are in Oz find a Mk II car with PAS and an alternator, if you are in the UK find a Mk III car with PAS and an alternator. UK Mk I and Mk II cars had a dynamo.

With PAS a special dynamo was used with the PAS pump fixed on the end of the dynamo so you can't just fit an alternator

If there is no good reason for the swap I would leave things as they are.

Non PAS is a lot simpler and cheaper to fix when it goes wrong.



Sat Jul 16, 2005

Also the suspension top arms and tie rod combination up front was different on Mk II PAS cars and if you go the alternator route, the radiator is also different as the top hose is re-routed to the rear of the radiator with the special thermostat housing.

Other alterations if you use the alternator are the water pump which allows the alternator to be mounted lower to accommodate the PAS pump and you need to change the engine front plate to use the correct engine mounting to clear the alternator.

Last item I can think of is the double pulley for the water pump so you can drive the PAS pump.

For PAS and the alternator you would basically need a scrap MK III PAS car for all the bits and it would probably be easier to buy a good one and sell the MK II as it would save a lot of work.

Heavy steering could be due to worn front suspension lower arm bushes and the tie rod bushes as this upsets the geometry at the front quite badly, as does low trim height on the suspension.

Might be worth looking at these first before going to all the trouble of this conversion.


Ken Green
Re: overheating
Fri Jan 27, 2006

If the radiator is clear, then is the block?

I find that the block gets clogged up with rust and scale.
In severe cases I have had to remove the head and loosen the deposits in the waterways with a long screwdriver so the water can flow where it should.

I did this with my 1968 Mk II and it now runs at 80c at 70mph

A simple check is to remove the drain plug by the distributor. If no water comes out, the block is clogged. You can try to poke a bit of wire up the hole to see if that gets a flow going. But as I said, the last resort is to remove the head. If the engine has been overhauled then the block should have been cleaned out, are you sure this was done at the time? If water comes out of the drain hole then it probably has been.

One final thought, there were two different types of water pumps. Make sure you use the one with the 1" deep impeller as this pumps more water around the engine. Also check the hoses. I have known them to look OK on  the outside, but collapsed in the middle restricting the flow. Running without a thermostat will also raise the temperature.

Hope this helps




Feel free to print off this page if useful.