The Series 2B Forward Control

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 Don't grow up - buy bigger toys!

Click HERE to download the Forward Control Workshop Manual...

and HERE to download the 2B sales brochure.

A bit of background

In 1967 the Kenyan Geological Survey, Nairobi had about 30 Land Rovers one of which was a forward control 2B; I never drove it but it 'looked the business'. When I worked for the British Geological Survey (now the Institute of Geological Sciences) in Leeds they also has a Series 2B 'affectionately' called the Flying Pig not least of all because its registration number was appropriately PYG***. Anyone who drove it hated it; it was very noisy and grossly underpowered with a top speed of about 45 mph. But I wanted one and the madness has not left me nearly half a century on!

One came up on Ebay and, in what might turn out to be a supreme error of judgement, I put in a bid and won the auction.

So, here we have what will hopefully be a story of the transformation of a lot of corroded metal (Jean refers to it as the 'Pile of Rust' - aka POR) into John's boyhood dream; I am very definitely reliving my youth ..... nearly 50 years on!


The Auction - an act of folly?

The ebay listing read as follows (slightly edited) ...

Project chassis shot blasted and primed, needs a few bits of welding but easy as striped down. All panels for it except seats have all gear box and all linkages, rad but no engine. Bulkhead is solid with only surface rust.  These are coming rare now and hard to find. Has original axles on it. Cash on collection viewing recommended...

And the images below as on ebay,

Click on the images below
for a bigger picture.

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Well on the basis of what I saw in the advert I was prepared to take a chance.

The restoration

I don't intend to restore it to its original condition - I want to use it. Not least of all, though, I intend to take full advantage of the useful bits on the Series 3. The Series 3 is in poor shape and I have  for some time now been on the lookout for a rolling chassis with a decent bulkhead but to no avail; very few seem to come around and those that do seem unreasonably expensive.

And then the 2B turned up.

A lot of the parts on the Series 3 are the same and, not least of all, I have a good engine in the Nissan LD28 six cylinder that should fit.

Click on the images below
for a bigger picture.

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As received

Stripped to the
bare bones


..the advert said a few bits
 of welding

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There must be something
here to weld onto.

A piece of
shaped plate

In place.

The welding will get
better with practice and
it looks as if I will
have plenty!

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Quite a lot of welding
and a coat of primer
 and it's beginning to look
 a bit more respectable.

Somtimes the distinction
between repair and rebuild
is hazy

After an (awful!) lot
 of welding, a couple
of litres of black chassis paint
and ‘new’ springs.


'Back on her feet'

‘New’ parabolic springs were taken from the Series 3 and the original axles replaced. Steering box was refurbished (it arrived in bits) and rod ends were replaced. Removing and replacing track rod ends that had not moved in decades was a challenge but the rods were unique to this vehicle and no longer available as spares so the originals really had to be salvaged - lots of WD40 and a blow torch eventually freed them. The wheels (and tyres) were in reasonable condition; I sprayed the wheels with standard Land Rover Limestone. So she was put back on her feet but o fit the engine I had to turn her round so a friend with a Fergie was enlisted.

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He's got a ticket ride...

...with a lilttle help  from his friends

Look out the Fergie
is going to get you!


Engine and gearbox next.

I intended to fit the Series 3 LT76 box, with syncro on all gears, rather than the original box that only had syncro on 3rd and 4th. So, I drained the oil on the box but … rather a lot of metal came out as well! Oh well, it was getting a bit noisy - gearbox refurb here we come.


If all else fails read the instructions!

The gearbox refurb turned out to be a bigger challenge than anticipated. I replaced all the bearings and the 1st - 2nd synchro bits that were knackered. A bearing press was essential and I managed to fabricate one using a surplus hydraulic jack. The 6-cylinder Nissan 2.8 engine was removed from the ‘donor’ Series 3; it was running well previously. Engine mounts had to be relocated but that was not too much trouble. It was a tight fit; the pulley on the main shaft at the front had to be removed (and replaced) leaving just enough space to squeeze in the fan belt. Various other challenges but after lots of smoke – it ran!


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Engine and gear box on its way

In place with re-furbed bulkhead
in the background

A bit tight near the front

A bit of smoke

click thumbs for a bigger picture


No brakes, iffy steering, gear change absurd but it rolls!


Gear linkage and electrics (September 2018)

The gear linkage was a major headache. It is about 1.5m from the gear box to the gear lever and to get controls stiff enough and with the correct geometry was a challenge. Two initial designs failed and the third after numerous modifications sort of works although it is still a bit like stirring porridge.


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the linkage

Gear change 'cluster';
not sure where the
overdrive lever is going

Burnt off three layers of
paint and after a spray looks almost new.

(mainly for my records)