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What to look for when buying an 1800 - Eriks   (29/11/2000) 

Here are a few pointers on what to look for when buying an 1800.

These are based on my discussions with Austin 1800 owners in the Austin Car Club of NSW.

One of the first things to look for in any old car is rust. Australian built 1800's were Roto-dipped when they were built, this has meant that many are still rust free (unlike Austin Healy Sprites and MG Midgets which missed out on the Rotodip process, and rust is a major problem). I was told the thing to watch out for in the 1800 was any sign of accident damage, especially if any welding may have been done, damaging the Rotodip protection so rust could become a problem.

I was told to be wary of automatics, as a rebuild of a faulty transmission would cost around $3000, ouch!  Maybe that's why there were a number of unregistered automatics for sale in the Trading Post for around $500?

When asking about the leaking suspension, I was told replacement hydrolastic units are still readily available in wrecking yards, and were identical to the later Tasman/Kimberley models so should a unit need replacing try and get one of the later ones (the theory being the unit would be a few years newer).

** Pumping up the suspension could be easily done at home as well by slightly modifying a grease gun, and pumping up with a mixture of Metho and 5% antifreeze. Driving the car, to work any trapped air to the top of the hydraulic system which just so happens to be the filler valve, then letting the air out.

I was told the engine is the same as an MGB, so if I was having trouble finding new parts to go to an MG parts dealer (I already knew the location of several of those).

While I didn't get a clear picture of what the difference was between a Mk1 and Mk2, I was told that there were a few items on the Mk1 that have not been available for many years, but the equivalent parts would bolt straight in from a Mk2. The main items in this category being the Girling brakes, and the rubber CV joints on the driveshaft.

With regards the manual transmission, I was told to watch out for a plastic housing on the back of the transmission where the gear lever cables enter the gearbox. The plastic housing fatigues and cracks with age causing oil to leak. Apparently theres a guy in Melbourne who can repair these by vulcanising a skin over the top of the old housing making it superior to the original. (I don't have his details).

Also inspect any rubber components such as brake lines, dust boots on the CV joints and suspension as these perish with age.

I'm sure this doesn't cover everything to keep an eye out for, so maybe if anyone out there has any other thoughts or ideas, please post them here and we'll all benefit.
Cheers, Eriks


From Peter A Jones - Landcrab Owners Club Australia Queensland - 01/12/2000

Australian YDO Numbers

Around 1962 (after ADO42) BMC Australia used YDO numbered for all new Australian designs, these are listed below:-

YDO 001          Morris Major Elite (production type),
YDO 002          Morris Major Elite with longer turret,
YDO 003          Austin Freeway MkII and Wolseley 24/80 MkII,
YDO 004          Standard Mini with wind up windows,
YDO 005          Deluxe Mini with wind up windows,
YDO 006          Mini Cooper S with wind up windows,
YDO 007          Mini Moke with 10" wheels,
YDO 008          Mini Moke with 13" wheels,
YDO 009          Morris Nomad sedan,
YDO 010          Austin 1800 ute,
YDO 011
YDO 012
YDO 013          Austin Tasman/Kimberley sedan,
YDO 014          Austin Tasman/Kimberley ute,
YDO 015          Morris Nomad 5 door hatch,
YDO 016
YDO 017
YDO 018          Mini Moke with 13" wheels update,
YDO 019          Austin Tasman/Kimberley MkII,
YDO 020
YDO 021          Australian Leyland Mini Clubman Standard,
YDO 022          Australian Leyland Mini Clubman Super,
YDO 023          Australian Mini Clubman GT,
YDO 024          Australian Morris Marina,
YDO 025          Australian Leyland Marina 4 and 6 cylinder (facelift).

Peter A. Jones August 2000.


From: Kurt Christensen (Denmark)
Dear John.
Hope you got my first e-mail.
I wonder if you know that we had both the Austin and the Morris models here in Denmark.
From the beginning in 1966 the models had their own name, which they became here in DK when they arrived.
The Austin was called WINDSOR, and the Morris called MONACO. Windsor was only used on Austins for about one year, so afterwards they were just Austin 1800.
The Morris was called Monaco until 1972 when the Morris importer took over the Austin importer, and the 1800/2200 models were all called Austin.
(The MORRIS 1100-1300 were called Morris MARINA from 1964-1972, when the "new" Marina came they were just called Austin 1100/1300, like the sister model Austin always had been named. Also MINI's had their names. Austin Partner and Morris Mascot. Partner was only used from 1959 to 1964 but Mascot was used from 1961 until import of MINI ended in 1981. When people in Denmark talks about the MINI they mostly call the car for MASCOT.)

I send you some pictures of the cover of some 1800 brochures.
Monaco Mk1 and Monaco Mk2 with an almost similar cover except for the minor changes on the grille.
Austin Windsor brochure from 1966.
Did you know that the rear lamps on the Austin and Morris Mk1's were different in shape?

I show you two pictures so you can compare. Hope you like the pictures.


Thanks for that interesting information Kurt.

From Ken Green:     23/02/2001

........... On the subject of (engine) blocks, the MGB and MK2 1800 use the same basic block but they are machined differently for example the Mk2 1800 has a mechanical fuel pump fitted to the block the MGB an electrical one so there is no hole in the block for the pump. There are other differences.
However the internal bits are interchangable (except the camshaft -&- clutch ) I have just got mains big end and piston rings for my 1800 from a MG specialist so unless the block is totally scrap ie rod through the side an 18H 1800 engine can be treated as a worn 18V series MGB unit and bored out for oversize pistons up to .60 thou. of an inch, the crank re-ground etc and made as good as new.You can also get parts for the Mk1 1800 from an earlier "B" as well. You do however need a special tool to remove / replace the pistons on to the con rods of a 18H engine an MG specialist or an old BMC dealer (they sure are now!!) should have one as they are the same for all late "B" series engines. There is a picture in the workshop manual.
You can use the auto crank in the manual if you change the bush for the clutch shaft in the end of the crank for one off a manual - see hints and tips on this site.

There is an MG specialist 'Sussex Classic Car Parts' in the UK who will do mail order .... ask for a catalogue on-line. (if you can find their website)

MGB Pistons for the 18H are 12H5161 they are 8.5 to 1 c/r but this is probably an advantage these days with the crap unleaded fuel. (Tell me about it)

Hope this helps


Thanks Ken, this is very useful information on this subject.


How to make a Hydrolastic Pump. - By Marcel Chichak (Canada) 26/01/2001

I made one from a portapower pump. All I did was change the end of the hydraulic hose. Initially I tried a heavy duty air chuck but they blow off at about 150 PSI so it makes it really difficult to hold it on with one hand while working the pump with the other. I run the Minis at about 280 PSI and the Landcrab something lower than that at 250 PSI. Piece of cake for the portapower.

Eventually I ended up changing the schrader valves for Parker quick disconnect hydraulic couplers. Did that on all the Minis and the Landcrab.

I suppose if you went to the guys that handle industrial tires you might find a source for the clip-on schrader coupler that the proper BMC pump has.
Most of the Mini guys use converted grease guns, but I've never tried that.

MFC - Jan. 2001

Many thanks Marcel, I'm sure there are many 'relieved' Landcrab owners who will try their hand at making a Hydrolastic Pump now.


Email from Paul Copeland
Date:  Fri, 24 Nov 2000 10:24:42 +1100

Hi there,

I have a book with some information on the 1800, that you don't have in your book list.  The title is "Complete Catalogue of Austin Cars since 1945".  Author is Anders Ditlev Clausager, published by Bay View Books Ltd, ISBN 1 870979 26 5

It is quite a good book for any Austin/BMC fan and gives far better wrap of the 1800 than Graham Robson does in The Cars of BMC.  Also compliments on the great site it is good to see the 1800 has a presence on the net.

Kind regards
Paul Copeland

Thanks for the information and kind thoughts Paul.


From:  Peter Richardson
Subject:  Austin1800 & Wolseley 18/85
Date:  Tue, 27 Feb 2001

G'day there,

I bought my 1967 Austin 1800 (S) in 1969 from Lanes Motors in Camberwell, Melbourne. It was a conversion by Larke Hoskins in Sydney. I used this car for everyday transport to work until retired in 1982, when I (foolishly) sold it. Here is a picture of it, together with my two Wolseley 6/90s.

I eventually acquired more Wolseleys, the final one being the 18/85 shown in the attached picture. Does this qualify for your Austin website? I bought the car from WA, where it had been carelessly maintained by an elderly lady, but had done only 49,000 miles. I have restored it to near its original condition. It is automatic and has power steering. It has a new windscreen, new light fittings, new headlining, new tyres and new engine mounts. I recently added a secondhand rear bumper from an Austin 1800.
I am enjoying your website, with its information and advice about these cars. I agree they were very under-rated.

Best wishes and regards,

Peter Richardson (Founder, Wolseley Car Club)

Peter Richardson's Wolseley 18/85

A sight to behold Peter. What a beauty........ agree????


From:  Peter Richardson
Subject:  Austin 1800
Date:  Sat, 03 Mar 2001

G'day John,

Thought you might like to see this. Austin 1800 growing on tree in WA!



Ha ha ha ha ha..... and who said they didn't grow on trees? (ROFLMAO)
Great pic, thanks Peter.


From:  "steve1800"
Subject:  steve,,,from england
Date:  Sat, 24 Mar 2001 14:41:11 -0000

hi there

I thought you would like to see my finished austin 1800 I rebuilt it from the wheels up its a 1970 austin 1800 mk 2 I've had it for about 8 years and I re built it last year hope you like it ,,,,,,I have more pics of it being built if you want to see them I can send them another time ,,,,,steve {england}


A great looking MkII Steve. Yes please........, send more pics of the rebuild.


Differences between UK and Oz 1800's

From Ken Green  Thursday Sept. 20, 2001

Here are a few things that I have noted:

1. Lower Compression ratio on the Oz engine.
2. PBR brakes on Mk II Oz cars, UK had Girlings.
3. Email (brand) alternator on Oz MkII, UK had Dynamo up to Mk III.
4. Different Needles in the Mk II carburettor.
5. UK 1800 S available with high compression, twin carb engine had bigger brakes and a 120 mph speedo.
6. UK cars had higher diff ratios 3.8 against 4.1, this gave better cruising.
7. One thing that was the same was all Mk II cars had the same steering rack ratio in both Oz and UK.
8. Oz cars had a smaller fan pulley to increase the speed of the fan to give better cooling, UK cars had an 82C thermostat.
9. UK Mk II cars had the indicator repeater in the speedo not on the stalk.
10. Both Austin and Morris versions were sold in the UK.
11. The UK Mk II had a silencer with 2 boxes to reduce the exhaust note.
12. The UK cars ran a lower ride height 14 7/8 inches against 15 1/2 for the same Hydrolastic pressure.
13. UK cars were NOT fitted with a sumpguard.
14. UK Mk II cars all had the old style downward pointing oil canister with the replacable inner filter.
15. The front suspension bottom bushes are different on Mk II Oz cars UK stopped the same as Mk 1.
16. UK cars had the single engine mount on the drivers side Oz had 2 mountings.
17. The coil on the UK Mk II cars is mounted on top of the R/H engine mounting bracket, on Oz cars it's mounted in a bracket that's fixed to the engine block.

Thanks Ken (our 1800 Guru). You're a fountain of information.



From: Eriks 
Subject: Sump Guard
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001

Thought people might find it interesting to hear why Aussie cars were fitted with a sump guard.
This is the story I was told only a couple of months ago by Roger Foy who was the Supervisor of the Australian BMC/Leyland Experimental Department at the time they were trialling the Austin 1800 before the start of local production.
It was common in those days to take cars to the outback in NSW and give them a bit of a hiding on rough dirt roads. This was the best way to find out what might need to be modified / strengthened for Australian conditions.
On one such trip the test car hit a deep pot hole, causing the engine sump to catch the ground. The engine was torn from it's mountings, pushed backward in the engine bay severing the hydrolastic plumbing causing instant suspension failure.
Then almost immediately after the Aussie 1800 was launched, a car dealer in Granville (NSW), entered a driveway too quickly, resulting with the same devastating damage.
As a result, BMC Australia fitted all 1800's with sump guards, there was also a BMC service bulleting issued for this matter and is still just as relevant today.
Roger's words of advice are, do not drive your 1800's without the sump guard or you risk sustaining major damage to your car.

Eriks Skinkis

A likely story Eriks - (knowing how rough the outback was in the '60's).


From: keith 
Subject: wheel bearings
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001

Just today I was after front wheel bearings for my car. Only to be told that in Australia it was deemed a waste of time for Timken to make available these bearings. So armed with the old bearing I marched down to the local bearing shop. Surprise surprise, bearings are common with a lot of other applications and NSK believe it viable to have them available.
The NSK number to look for is LM48548R/LM48510R 0-10 at $15 each.
The seals are a problem yet to be solved. Hopefully tomorrow that will be cured.

Thanks for the info Keith, I'm sure we will keep this part number in our Manual.



From: Ken Green 
Subject: Hot Run Stickers
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001

The Austin sticker for the rocker box cover are available from the UK try - part no. ST 136

I think the Hot Run Sticker is available from the Landcrab Owners Club of Australia  (LOCA),  I also think that any one who owns a Landcrab in Australia should be a member - I am, and I live in the UK!

There is also a UK based club (LOCI)
Contact for the UK club.
In Australia (LOCA), contact: Daryl Stevens  22 Davison Street. Mitcham. Victoria 3132

Ken Green

Good points Ken.



From: Aristidis 
Subject: Wheel Bearings
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001

I am restoring my 1966 Austin1800 Mk I from bare shell, here in Greece where I am living. A long term project.
Six months ago it was the turn of the front wheel hubs. Here too the Timken agent did not carry the bearings, but I found them in a SKF specialising shop. The shop keeper said "OK I have them as SKF bearings", went to his shelves and came back, himself very surprised, with Timken (England) bearings!! Priced at 6400.-GDR each, about 17.30 US$.
According to the shop manual, new bearings should be installed in matched pairs with a distance tube.
Ten years ago I had found here such a match, it was Unipart Hub Bearing Kit GHK 1012. It included 2 bearings, one distance tube and also the two seals plus some plastic parts for some other make. The Timken web site, lists,for the Morris1800 1965-1970, the hub bearings just as "set 5".
For my restoration I used the old distance tubes; first I over-torqued the nut, loosened it and retorqued it again to the spec's 150 lbft.
There was no end play and there was free rotation. Hope its OK, will know for sure when the car hits the road again some day.
The hub seals I got from Tony Wood (UK), the LOCI spares secretary.

Another very useful piece of information Aristidis.



From: Lieven Merckx <> 
Subject : Hydrolastic Suspension
Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2001

Hello John and all other Landcrab fans,

Just for those who are interested, a hydrolastic suspension filling pump can still be bought new as well as the fluid. Look at  for the pump and at for the fluid.
I have no experience with those products and by the way, making your own stuff is more fun !!!

Another great idea Lieven. Thanks for your information!!!!



From: Norman Wisdom 
Subject: Don't Laugh At Me For I'm a Fool
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001

Don't laugh at me - I'm no engineer - so apologies if the following sounds a bit off the wall. (I've asked Mr Grimsdale for advice but, as ever, he's about as useful as a chocolate fireguard.)
The Achilles (well, Issigonis was Greek, wasn't he?) heel of BMC's front wheel drive cars was the gears-in-sump-with-power-sapping-idler-gear arrangement, yes?
Engine and gearbox sharing the same oil was a necessary evil for the Mini, but why was this arrangement adopted for the 1100, 1800, Maxi etc. when Issigonis' 1952 experimental front wheel drive Minor (the famous TFC 717) used an end-on gearbox with its own oil supply?
Dammit, this drive arrangement was copied by FIAT for the 128. So, in this respect TFC 717 is the true forebear of today's FWD cars, not the Mini. Either way, you have to admire Issigonis' genius.
Early Mini prototypes (and Issigonis' putative Mini replacement, the 9X) did away with the idler gear (which caused a 4% drop in transmission efficiency.) That 4% drop must have bugged Issigonis, the High Priest of Automotive Efficiency, to his dying day. I find it hard to believe that carb-icing was the reason for the prototype Mini engine's 180 degree volte face.
In 1970, Datsun launched the 120Y Cherry. It goes without saying that this was a horrible device. Yet it used an Oriental iteration of the BMC A series mounted transversely and driving the front wheels. The gearbox was bunk-bedded with the engine, but unlike the Mini etc. engine and gearbox did not share the same oil.
Four years earlier, Lamborgini launched a V12 mid-engined Mini, the Miura (Marcello Gandini has admitted that the Miura was 'the son of the BMC Mini.')
The Miura's Bizzarini-designed V12 was mounted transversely, and shared its oil with its in-sump transmission. However, although the transmission of all Miuras sat beneath the engine, the transmission of later Miuras did not share the same oil as the engine.
And yet, it seems BMC was alive to idea of separating the lubrication requirements of engine and transmission. Auto transmission 1800s did not share the same oil as the engine. And what's a Morse Hy-vo chain?
My point (as a Mini owner) is this: would it be possible to separate the engine and transmission so that they each had their own supply of oil? And is this Hy-Vo chain more efficient than that damn' whiney old idler gear? I want a Mini with a reliable, efficient, non-whiney transmission...

Well Norman - maybe a rubber belt (like some Japanese cars have, might be the answer) - but most of them are no longer on the road - or are past their use by date. (ha ha ha). Put up with the noise I say and invest in a good sound system.



From: Eriks 
Subject: Unleaded Petrol.
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001

We had a guest speaker from one of the major oil refineries at one of our Sprite Car Club of Australia meetings last year. As you can imagine the same concerns apply to all of our British cars no matter how big or small they are.
The guy who came to our club was one of the laboratory technicians and not a marketing person and was extremely knowledgeable.
These are the main points that I remember, it was a year ago, and my memory may have been traumatised from working on the 1800 too many times so I will not guarantee total accuracy...
The bottom line was that all the major oil companies in Australia have spend a considerable investment in research to make sure that Lead Replacement Petrol (LRP) was safe and performed as close as possible to the old Super. They don't want to be sued for damaging your engine.
The fact is without lead, LRP doesn't have the same valve recession protection of Super but it comes awfully close. I don't remember exactly the difference, but it was around the 95% range, which realistically for most of us means we probably would never notice any difference. What many people seem to forget is you were still getting valve seat recession with Super.
The other option is to fill up with ULP and squirt an additive in the fuel, this additive should be available at the petrol station (I think one brand is called Valemaster), but some of our Sprite club members have found that some self serve service station attendants (who are there only to operate the cash register) don't know anything about it.
The bottom line is don't panic, unless you already have your engine apart, don't rush out and change things. Just keep using LRP, when you finally need to get any work done to your cylinder head, get hardened valve seats inserted so you can then switch to ULP.
Apparently there's not much difference in the make up of Unleaded Petrol (ULP) and LRP, apart from the additional anti-valve recession additive.
They are both just as bad for you. The chemical make up of petrol has been changing over the years, a tank of super from 2 years ago is different to super from 20 years ago. Modern petrol is charged with a gas which slowly evaporates, thats why you find you can't store petrol in the shed for extended periods anymore as it goes off.
Also, sunlight kills modern petrol as well, so store it in a can and not a glass bottle. Notice those glass flow gauges have disappeared from modern fuel pumps?
The other interesting thing he hold us was that he uses Shell Optimax in his car (not the company he works for). It's a denser petrol which means not only does it produce more power, but in doing so, you don't need to use as much petrol - so you get better economy which out weighs the slightly higher cost.
I've been meaning to try this myself, but out of habit I keep forgetting.
There was probably stacks more he told us, but I can't remember any more at the moment. I think these were most of the major points anyway.


Grrrrrrr. Nothing like the good ole days eh?



From: Ken Green
Subject: Unleaded Petrol. 
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001

We have had unleaded petrol in the UK for a while now and tests by FBHVC ( ) have shown that you an use unleaded with an additive or LRP petrol in an old car.
If you use Unleaded then you risk valve seat recession, again tests have found that this occours more on high revving engines (over 4000rpm).
Unleaded contains more nasty substances than leaded but the catalytic converter (cat) is not the complete answer as a cat in a cold country puts out more pollution than a car without a cat - you want to try sitting behind a cat equipped car in cold weather the smell is awful. So not less polution just a different sort.
You can have a 1800 fitted with hardened inserts but this has its drawbacks - if not done properly they will drop out. Use sintered inserts.
The later MGB's sent to North America had induction hardened valve seats (and smaller valves) to cope with unleaded.
Unleaded is more prone to Vapour lock on hot days and has a shorter shelf life - it goes off after about 2 months in the tank (aromatic content boils away) causes engines to run hotter and has a lower octane number causing pre-ignition knock.

We can still get Leaded fuel here in the UK but it costs about 3 Dollars a LITRE.

Happy Motoring - Just remember we let the government(s) do this to us.

Ken Green.

You're not wrong there Ken!!!!

Ken Green's latest purchase - THE ORIGINAL 1968 London-Sydney Marathon car  SMO 227G driven by Evan Green, Jack 'Gelignite' Murray and George Shepheard.
Well done Ken.



From: Patrick  Farrell
Subject: hydrolastic fluid recipe 
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002

I have used a 50/50 mix of methylated spirits and radiator coolant (the complete fill type, must be to Australian standard AS2108) for the last 20 years it has proved completely satisfactory in all conditions including rallying.

That's an effective and easy to make hydrolastic fluid recipe. - Thanks Patrick


From: Chris Linford 
Subject: Unleaded Petrol
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002

I've been on unleaded for the past 10 years with my Wolseley. The head was rebuilt with new TRW-valves, guides and seat inserts. As it is and S the valves are really close so the insert of the exhaust were fitted first and then the other ports were cut so they would fit into the head. Never had a problem running on any fuel (not even 91 octane German fuel) and never noticed any recession. Over here (Netherlands) using LPG is rather common, so the art of running without lead is well practiced.
The head built for my car was in fact a normal LPG conversion. I don't run the car on lpg by the way. My Wolseley usually runs at about 4200 rpm on the motorway.
My MGB on LRP without conversion has burnt a valve recently. I tried additive too. That seemed to dissolve into some sort of goo after a while and then the car wouldn't start.
Conversion is no big deal and we could use rebuilt MGB heads of course, but I don't trust the USA-spec heads. They're not better than a converted head. Inserts are really tougher.
They only fall out when the machine shop has used the wrong tolerances or materials.

Chris Linford

Thanks for that story Chris. It serves as a warning to all of us.


From: Patrick  Farrell
Subject: brakes-servo unit 
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002

PBR VH40 boosters are available from Landcrab Club Aust at a cost of $A180 changeover.
PBR tandem master cylinder, steel sleeved with new seal kit is $A190 changeover.
Seal kit for PBR m/cylinder is $A30.
All these items are plus freight.

Patrick is the Parts Co-ordinator for Landcrab Owners Club Australasia (LOCA)



From: William 
Subject: hot rod Landcrabbing 
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002

Yes Mr Gillson,
You can get intriquing thoughts looking down into the engine bay of your Landcrab. Mr Roger Partker is a marvel indeed as it comes to knowledge about English cars.
Since oktober I own a 2200 sixer, whilst driving a MG Montego Turbo 2l. at the moment. I have read a lot in the bulletin board. There is a lot of information about the Metro turbo and this leads to thinking about two tubo's on the manoifolds of the 2200 Landcrab. Taking two threequarters of the manifolds. In the whilst thoughts are going about a 2 l. 8v engine with turbo and intercooler in the engine bay of my Landcrab. After all the 1800 engine is the same block with a little smaller bore.I had to take the engine out because of a stuck clutch. When I am looking into all that space you have, I could imagine what good it would be to have a five spead gearbox down there. It should be possible to use the inner universal joints of the Landcrab and the halfaxels of the donor car with the outer universal joints of the donor or the other way around.
Is there any body that didn't stop by thinking and did it try out?


It sure hadn't occurred to me William, but I'm not as big a petrol-head as you (ha ha ha)



From: Patrick  Farrell
Subject: Diesel in unleaded
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002

You should be aware that diesel is not a substitute for lead in petrol, it's use will only give you problems.
The only substitute for lead is one of the approved additives such as Flashlube or similar. Also do not use any of the 'black magic' solutions that you fit in the fuel lines they don't work either.

Let's keep away from voodoo products eh?



From: Ken Green 
Subject: Hardy Spicer Uni's
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002

I think the white set were made by Quinton Hazell in the UK and were sold as a replacement for the original Dunlop rubber X joint the part Nos I think was Q 5000 They are still available from LOCI.
I cannot remember seeing a set in black but Hardy Spicer is a very well known company that is based in Birmingham UK (where I live) and they made virtually all the parts - CV Joints Auto drive shaft joints etc for the 1800 and supplied them to BMC.
Hope this helps

It sure will Ken, especially if our uni's are gnarled and knotted.


From: Eriks 
Subject:Hardy Spicer Uni's 
Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002

Hi Ken,

I had a chance at a club meeting on Friday night to talk with Roger Foy who was the Supervisor of BMC Australia's Experimental Department. Roger was familiar with the black units as an aftermarket accessory in the 60's, but wasn't aware of the white ones. I think it's safe to assume then that the black ones are older.
Roger also had some advice to offer that may be of interest to others. As it's difficult to know how old some of these things really are, he said to clean them out and repack them with fresh grease. He said that grease can go off if it's sitting around doing nothing, it can either harden, or start to break down and
separate into its original components, in use it's not an issue as the motion of the part it's protecting tends to keep the grease components mixed up. I have to admit I've seen this myself when opening a tin of grease and seeing a pool of oil on the surface.


Thanks for those greasy tips Eriks.



A FUNNY THING - by  Sahra Stolz   Wed. Feb. 6 2002 

I just got the Austin back from the mechanic - the hydraulic suspension failure defeated me and I just took it there and had it fixed. I assumed something on the road had flicked up and caused damage to the pipe which allows the pressurised suspension fluid to pass from the front to the back and vice-versa.... however what actually happened was much funnier.

It seems that while the car was idle at the panel beaters for 3 months recently the drivers side front tyre arch had become home to one or more rats. The rat/s made a lovely nest of straw, leaves and newspaper and snacked on the hydraulic suspension cables. When the cable finally did blow the rat/s were blasted to smithereens.

Of course the less funny (and more probable) version is that the rat/s munched almost all the way through, substantially weakening the cable and then vamoosed when I started driving the car again, but as I say that's much less violent and therefore much less funny.

Great story Sahra, looks like we have a 'script writer' for our site.



From: Larry Lebel 
Subject: Canadian Newbie 
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002

I am a newbie to the Landcrab world having just bought a '67 MkI Austin 1800. This car sat unused and partially dismantled in the original owners carport since 1979. It has issues, like no hydraulics which I am slowly sorting out.
Every time I get up close and personal with it, I am impressed by the quality of the engineering and the build. Superior to my other car which is a '67 Austin Cooper S. The motor runs fine but I do not know the condition of the transmission. I can't wait to take my first drive and experience the legendary Landcrab ride.

Welcome aboard Larry and Leanne - from the land of the Muscle Cars! You surely will enjoy good old fashioned quality when you take your first Landcrab ride. - Won't they?



From: Eriks <> 
Subject: 1800 rubbers
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002

Peter Jackson sold his auto rubber business to someone else, the new company is called Spectrum Auto Rubber, Ph: 02 96235333. (in Sydney)


Thanks Eriks, their windscreen rubber seal prices are VERY competitive.


Crossroads Alice - The story of the Austin 1800 and the Morris Mini 850 that travelled in a figure of eight across Australia - through the inland deserts - an amazing feat.


re: Wolseley Six - Paul - 11:49 pm wednesday april 10, 2002 

Dear Landcrabbers
I am on the verge of buying a Wolseley Six and would appreciate any advice on what to look out for when I go to see the car on the 13th of April 2002 (this Sunday). The car looks great, but it will be my first Wolseley so any advice would be appreciated.



Hi Paul

I have 3 Sixes including an auto. Body checks are the same as for the 1800 model. The most important areas being the sills and the front footwells lift the front carpets and check the corners of the floorpans where they meet the inner sills and across the front of the floorpan where it meets the bulkhead/toeboard. If the carpet and sound proofing are wet this could be simply the screen rubber requiring replacement but it is worth checking the inner wing area immediately behind the front wheels as this often rots through.

At the rear of the car they can rust around the area of the rear suspension mounting. Check the area around the aluminium casting which the rear displacer housing bolts to at its rear most point, if you go to the rear of the sills about the last 12" then reach up between the displacer carrier and the inner sill which is exposed at this point the condition of this area is a good indicator of the rest of the structure around the rear suspension mountings.

Structurally these are the most important areas to check on all models but on the sixes you should also check the front cross-member at each corner where it meets the chassis legs, and the front inner wings where they meet the top of the front chassis legs, as there is a lip on the top edge of the chassis legs which holds mud that can cause the inner wing to rust through at this point.

While in this area check the front tie rod mounting plates for cracks around the mounting bolt holes at the front edge and at the point the tie rod bolts through as this also often cracks - these are easily repaired but are important safety wise as they take a lot of stress under acceleration and braking. The rest of the body rusts in the same areas that most 30 year old cars do, mostly cosmetic like around headlamps, door bottoms and rear wheel arches. Bear in mind though that new panels are getting scarce and expensive so repairs will often involve making your own repair sections.

On the mechanical side 1800 owners will tell you the sixes are clapped out by 60,000 miles which isn't true however they don't tolerate neglect like the 1800 and can become oil burners if they haven't had regular oil changes with a quality oil. This was often skimped on because the early 72-73 manual cars require a whopping 19 pints to refill so get the engine well warmed up and look for blue smoke on acceleration and overun, or once hot hold the revs up at about 2500 up for about 30 seconds and watch for blue smoke, then switch the engine off for ten minutes and restart it. A small puff of smoke is OK but any more indicates worn valve stem oil seals or valve guides.

Also check that the thermostatic cooling fan cuts in before the engine starts to rise above normal. Some cars have been fitted with an overide switch on the dash as the thermostatic switch is notoriously unreliable this is a worthwhile modification since cars that have been regularily run hot soon become oil burners or rumbly around the bottom end. Higher mileage engines can become tappetty a time consuming job as the clearances are adjusted by shims but adjustment is only required after about 50,000 + miles - timing chains can also become noisy but again only after high mileages normally 80 - 90,000+.

On manual cars check for clutch judder as this indicates the rear crankshaft oil seal is leaking this can be confirmed by traces of oil dripping from the hole at the base of the clutch housing clutch replacement is straight forward as unlike the 1800 it can be carried out with the engine in the car however a special tool is required to change the oil seal. Reliably - friendly garages may lend this to you for a small fee.

Driveshafts are durable as they don't have rubber couplings like the 1800 but a 2nd inboard CV type joint and on manual cars the gear selection is the rod type so no hydraulicing gear cables to worry about, - the internals of the gearbox are standard 1800 and virtually bomb proof. Its worth checking the power steering if fitted for leaks or excessive noise from the pump and the driver's side rack mounting clamp as these have been known to break. I think this covers most maladies peculiar to the six. The stories of crank thrust washers dropping out and the idler gear tab washer failing really only applied to early cars most of which have been modified years ago.

Don't be put off by this long list of checks it covers the worst areas on the worst cars. Personally, body condition is most important, mechanicals second and don't be too put off by scruffy trim if the rest is good since it was of very poor BL quality and did not wear well so is not often found in perfect condition.Many six owners have replaced it with the earlier Wolseley 1885 II style which was much more durable than the later cloth trim.
Good luck  on Sunday


Thanks for that great list Joe. I reckon body condition is more important too.



From: "David Bennett" 
Subject: Refurbishing bonnet badges
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002

I have restored a couple of Mini K/Matic bonnet badges but it is a very time consuming exercise. I had to meticulously scrape all the old dried paint from the grooves from the inside of the plastic disc then use a liner brush with only 6 or so hairs to get a very fine line then very, very carefully fill in the grooves in the appropriate colours.

I have found Jo-Sonja craft paints excellent to use (I also paint Aussie folk art on bits and pieces when I'm not working on BMC cars so I've had a bit of a head start with fine painting).

Once the colours have been filled in, I applied silver/chrome paint from the inside to give that chrome look round the circumference, then covered everything in clear lacquer to protect everything.

I remember one took me a good 6 to 8 hours on my Mini K, but it won a Best Original so I must have done something right.
The only requirement is that the external clear plastic must be in reasonable nick. If it is badly cracked and opaque it cannot be restored.

Minor scratches on plastic including indicator lenses can be polished out with a creamy mixture of toothpaste. I kid you not it does work, try it some time. 

I'm sure you have the patience of Job. Thanks for that helpful tip Dave.



From: Eriks 
Subject: Austin Workshop Manuals for service 
Date:  Sat, 27 Apr 2002

As it happens I just recently spend some time trying to track down a manual for my new project, an Austin A30. I think it is the same manual you are referring to, the Austin A30 Seven Service Manual. I spent a bit of time looking through second hand bookshops, specialist Austin Parts suppliers and several major swap meets.
I eventually found a copy at a swap meet for $10.
This manual is very hard to come across. I don't think the person selling it realised this. I would have been prepared to pay more.
The Morris 1100 manual is far more common and you can regularly pick them up starting at $5.
A general observation is that most second hand workshop manuals sell between $5 to $40, with the genuine Austin/BMC being slightly dearer.

The prices I mention are in Australian dollars.


Swap Meets are the way to go, eh Eriks?



From: Patrick Farrell
Subject: 1970 Austin 1800 Alternator
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 

All time alternator fix is to go to the wreckers get yourself an alternator from a Mitsubishi Magna, bolts straight on. Has inbuilt regulator, 55 amp, just connect wires same as 1800, although it only uses two wires plug is the same.
I use an 85 amp version on my rally car, no problems so far (10 years).

Keeps 'em charging Patrick.



From: Joe
Subject: Fitting Power Steering
Date: Tue, 7 May 2002

Retro fitting power steering is not difficult provided you have all the bits from donor car they are:
Power Rack
Pump assembly with pivot bolt and spacer off engine
Hoses and clips
Steering Column

Fitting is basically a direct replacement of the above items with the PAS ones. 3 points to watch: the rack bolts on to captive "nuts" in the box section on one of these (o/s I think) you will need to move the captive nut to the alternative mounting point.

The mounting clamp on the driver's side of rack is prone to breaking, check it for cracks before fitting.

The bolts that clamp the steering column to the dash bottom rail are shear bolts that is the heads shear off once the correct torque is reached these can be a pain to remove if the heads are gone, tapping them round with a punch or small chisel seems to work. The same bolts are used for the column lock. Personally I would use the lock from the PAS column to save all the bother.
Bad luck with the thrust washers but it explains the lack of oil pressure I assume yours are just worn not fallen out which wrecks the gearbox - which is what happened on early cars before modification. Worn thrust washers would suggest lack of oil changes or very high mileage. I started getting end float on the crank at 275,000+ miles. Make sure your engine builder checks the end float on the primary gear on re-assembly or you could have oil leaks on the clutch and judder back again.

Cheers Joe

Watch out for those 'captive nuts'  Joe - they seem to be everywhere!!!



From: Larry Lebel 
Subject: North American 1800's
Date: Sat, 11 May 2002 

I am also a Landcrab owner in North Vancouver. Mine is a '67 which I am currently trying to get mobile again after it sat idle 23 years. It has several issues, the latest of which is a lot of smoke emanating from the generator when I turn the key on.

It didn't do this when I bought it, the generator and/or the voltage regulator are the usual suspects. The previous owner did a lot of rewiring which I am slowly trying to figure out and make right. He wired in an ammeter, a warning light that isn't connected to anything, and auxilliary switch with a wire to the trunk for some unknown component and he put a switch on the fuel pump which bypassed the fusebox. No wonder there's a short in the generator. I am also working on the brakes and I am awaiting a rebuild kit for the servo.

There is at least one other 1800 in the area that I saw the other day on Main Street in North Van
presumably heading for the 2nd Narrows southbound. It was a very nice looking biege one. Mine is a very ratty looking black one. Ruth Burgess at All British Cars has been quite helpful with parts. She even came up with a brand new old stock windshield wiper the other day when I was looking for a new drive gear. The drive gears are like gold because they seem to be unique to the 1800.

You wouldn't happen to have some MkI seats, would you? The seats I have are from a MkII model and the mounting rails are narrower than MKI's. I jury rigged mounting them by putting in some angle iron cross members but I would prefer the right ones. Don't ask how I ended up with the wrong seats.
Bye for now.

How DID you end up with the wrong seats??
Maybe that warning light was meant to warn you about getting the wrong seats....



Subject: 1800 engine removal 
Date: Mon, 13 May 2002

George Antonijevic A.M.S.I.A.
Hornsby Shire Council

Having had six 1800's over a 15 year period, two of which were utes, I feel qualified to share a useful tip when removing and replacing the powerplant. The very first time I pulled the motor out through the top, I vowed I would never do it that way again!

Support the top suspension arms with an old disk pad wedged between the bottom bump stop and the top arm, then take off the brake calipers without disconnecting the brake hose. Remove the bottom ball joint nuts and lower the bottom suspension arms. Pull the hubs hanging from the top arms out so that the axles withdraw from the diff. Remove the two triangular plates at the bottom front of the engine bay, rotate the radius arms outward. Undo the gearshift mechanism from the car, speedo cable and wiring harness. Autoshift cable at the top firewall.

Lower the car using either two 1800 jacks onto two 2 x 2 blocks of softwood. Undo all engine mounts where they connect to the body, exhaust clamp, fuel line at the inlet side of the pump, remove the carburettor, leave the radiator attached to the engine. raise the car with a hoist or whatever until the engine clears the underside of the front of the car. Then either push the car back or pull the engine out from under it.

You can work on the powerplant easily. Replacement is a reversal of the above. Engine mounts can be lined up with a Phillips screwdriver. When the bolts are in, you can raise the car back to normal height and refit all the bits hanging off.
I have removed and replaced the clutch in 2 hours (I was young and fit then).

My preference is the automatic which I found was better for the engine (no shared oil). The torque converter gave me low ratio FWD 2:1 in tough bush conditions and faster changes on acceleration. Automatic engineers can rebuild the Borg Warner type 35 with their eyes shut for $500 if you give it to them on the bench. That's easy using the above method.

I had a bored out 1950cc 1800 engine which went through 4 bodies (hence the experience in engine fitting) and it kept up with Honda Accords off the mark and achieved 108mph on the Cooma road in 1976 (my ribbon speedo had 'HELP' written at the far left hand side) all with a standard carbie. The utes were terrific carriers and left everything behind on the Wombeyan Caves Road.

Great car

Good luck

I wonder how much it would cost if those Automatic engineers they kept their eyes open, eh George?



From: "David Bennett" 
Subject: Cover Plates 
Date: Thu, 16 May 2002

Look for raised sections on all cover plates when changing gaskets as gasket goo and new gaskets alone will not compensate for the extra space taken up by the raised sections.

The problem is normally caused by overtightening, which creates the raised areas surrounding each hole in the first place. Appropriately sized pieces of wood and small tack hammers will usually solve the problem.

A quick run around the plate edge with your fingers will identify raised areas. 
Dave Bennett

Thanks for that tip Dave, I'm sure we've all been down that track before.



From: Ken Green 
Subject: Brake calipers for competition use 
Date: Fri, 17 May 2002

Hi Ian
I have the 1800S 3 pot calipers on my car and they are a great improvement over the two pot.

You can find them on the 1800S (never imported into Oz) the 2200 and some Jaguar and Rover models. You should really use the 1800S discs but they will just fit on the PBR disc  (the "S" had larger 246mm dia discs)  If you run 13" wheels they will jam on the steel wheel but not on Minilites or you can fit the spacers and longer studs off an Oz Mk1 1/2 car.

If you want me to look for a set in the UK for you contact me directly.

Ken Green
1800 Rally car register

That should help our competitive Austins, Ken. (Actually I'm a two pot screamer!!!!)



From: Ken Green 
Subject: Quick Rack steering 
Date: Fri, 17 May 2002 

There were two standard steering racks for the 1800. The later MkI and MkII rack had fewer turns lock to lock. Contrary to popular belief, both the Australian and UK cars used the same racks.

The Works 1800 used a very special one off - high ratio rack for the London/Sydney cars. The chances of getting one are very close to zero unless you were lucky enough to find one made as spares for the rally car. I think that someone in Australia had a couple made at great expense in the 1970's, but these are long gone.

If you live in the UK and have a early MkI car then you could fit a MkII rack. This will sharpen up the steering. If you have an Oz car or a late UK car there isn't much you can do without remanufacturing the parts.


More good info there Ken.



From: Ian 
Subject: Gear Change Problems 
Date: Fri, 17 May 2002

I am very familiar with this problem as I had it on my MkII and with both MkI's and with my rally car. The solution is to groove the sections at the gear box end or drill out the seal at the gear box end so that the oil moves freely. The other thing that tends to happen is that the cable frays, yep it frays and makes shifting difficult, did not believe it but it did happen.

If he is still around, a gentleman called Hans Peterson produced an up graded and modified cable set up which was exchanged. I fitted this to my rally car and I have never had a problem,.I believed he used Kimberly cables, a heavier cable cover and did the grooving trick.

I found it the best shift for my 1800's and well worth fitting. I think he still uses the HP name and is out Boronia way in Victoria Australia.

Thanks Ian, there's nothing worse than fraying ends and a lack of grooving is there?



Subject: 1800 mags
Date: Mon, 27 May 2002

I have a set of 15 inch Performance Superlites, on my Austin 1800 MkI and they make the car. You can get them at any tyre place, they take about two weeks to make. I think they cost about $180 a rim, plus of course the tyres. They look like minilites that were fitted to Minis.

They arent cheap of course, but they make the car. I can email you a picture of my car with the rims on if you want, to see what they look like.

Hope this helps,

I'm sure a pic of the car minus the rims would look a bit silly eh? Send us the whole pic Rob.



From: Andrew Childs 
Subject: Austin 3 Litres 
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002

I wonder if anyone could give me an indication as to how many Austin 3 Litres are left in Australia or New Zealand?
I am currently restoring three of them in the UK, where they are now quite a rare car. It is believed around 100-150 or so are known to exist (a large percentage of these require restoration, and the actual " on the road figure" is much smaller than this).
One of the problems is that the club which caters for them here (Austin 3 Litre owners club), is pretty much non existent. There is no annual show or anything like that, and it really is a great shame that such a good car has so little recognition. I have one of each variety, an auto, a manual and a very rare manual overdrive. It would be much appreciated if anyone has any news of them down under.
I also have a great respect for the 1800/200 Landcrabs and have a Wolseley 18/85 and a Six.
Andy Childs

I'm sure if anyone knows Andy, they will surely let you know. Rev up that 3 Litre Owners Club.



From: Patrick Farrell
Subject: Austin 3 Litres
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002

There are at least two in the OZ Landcrab club, one in Western Australia and one in Victoria, not sure of condition of either.
These cars were not imported into Australia, there are possibly more in New Zealand.


Well, that's two of them accounted for.



From: "Ian Comport" 
Subject: Austin 1800 Magazines 
Date: Fri, 31 May 2002

I have been keenly following your great web site and actively submitting to the bulletin board.

I note in your magazine listing that an early 1990's magazine called Race and Rally or Road and Rally with an historic theme was missed. I have a copy at home and it features Hopkirks L-S car with photos and a write up. It may have been called Historic (and or Classic) Race and Rally.

The front cover featured the car and there were a couple of pages inside. It was about 1992 -1994.
Just thought it would be of interest if you would like I will get the exact details just emailing as it came to mind.

Anyway great site.
Ian Comport


My reply sent to Ian on Friday 31st May 2002

G'day Ian,
Thanks for your kind comments and your offer of listing the magazines you speak of. I would be interested with the exact details and if you can send any pics they would be greatly appreciated.

I have noticed you are an active participant on the Bulletin Board and enjoy seeing the assistance and contacts that are established by Landcrab enthusiasts from all around the world.
The latest being the folk in Canada finally 'finding' each other. That's the reason why I created this site in the first place.

John Roach - Webmaster.



From: "Eriks Skinkis"
Subject: Uni Joints
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002

There were two brands of aftermarket needle roller uni-joints produced to replace the solid rubber uni-joints used on the manual models.

The earlier type consisted of an inner steel yoke with needle rollers encased in a black solid rubber outer. I have had different comments that these were manufactured by either Hardy Spicer or by Repco. The general consensus seems to be that these were not very reliable.

There is also a later type that was produced by Quinton Hazell, which also have the inner steel yoke and needle rollers, however these have a hard white nylon outer casing. These Quinton Hazell units can sometimes be found at swap meets and seem to sell between $45 to $75 (AU) per unit.
There is divided opinion on the reliability of these units, some people suggest they are only useful as fishing sinkers, while others swear by them.

I have also been told of a couple of factors that can severely affect new old parts, that is 30 year old car parts that are still brand new. 30 year old rubber components may look brand new when initially removed from their packaging, and you might even expect to get a 20 year service life from them because these are original parts that originally gave you 20 trouble free years. However once in place in the car and exposed to heat and oil and fumes, the rubber can start to break down rapidly and you can find the 30 years of time catches up and the part perishes in as little as 6 months!

Parts that were packed with grease, such as the above uni-joints, even though new, should be stripped down, cleaned and re-packed with new grease.
More than likely that after sitting on the stock shelf for 30 years, the grease would have broken down, either hardened, or separated back into its oily components. Even if it looks OK, why take the chance of destroying that hard to find original new part just for the sake of replacing a little bit of grease?

Thanks Eriks, even though we think we're getting a bargain, we still have to be careful.

Quinton Hazell Universal Joint
Photo courtesy Eriks Skinkis




From: Peter Laursen 
Subject: Oil 
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002

If your engine is not too worn I should recommend high viscosity index synthetic oil i.e. a  5W-50 oil. Apart from being an oil of very high quality it will reduce the oil consumption considerably. I have used this type of oil for some time, and have doubled the oil exchange interval. The oil is rather expensive, but the doubling of the interval in connection with the low oil consumption results in cost of oil being about the same or even a little lower than ordinary engine oil.

Happy landcrabbing

I think you opened up a CAN of worms with this one Peter. Read on.....

From: Ken Green 
Subject: Oil
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002

I dont know if you can get it in Oz but I have always used Duckhams Q 20-50 in my 1800  In the UK Duckhams have just re-released the original spec for older cars in the original yellow One Gallon (well 4.5 litres to keep the EEC happy!) cans.
The oil was originally formulated for BMC Transverse engines where the oil shares the sum with the gearbox.
One other thing Quinton Hazell do the auto drive shaft Hardy Spicer joints part N0 QL 16103 they are the same as a Landrover series 2


From: Eriks 
Subject: Oil 
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 

A couple of years ago the Sprite Car Club of Australia held a technical morning at an engine rebuilding company in the western suburbs of Sydney. They had an engine dyno on the premises, that is the engine is hooked in directly to the dyno, and not via a rolling road, so the readings are more accurate (thats what the proprietor told us).
The proprietor mentioned that he had tested numerous brands of motor oils in an engine on his dyno, and pushed the engine hard to the point where the readings indicated the oils started to break down.
The oil that performed the best came as a total surprise not only to him, but also to our group
when he told us. Are you ready for it.....

It was a brand sold by K-Mart, K-Mac 20W-50 Motor Oil.

Really? Well shut my mouth!!!!

From: Maarten Kempen 
Subject: Oil
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002

Since the last 4 years I use Castrol RS (5w 60) on my Austin 2200, where lots of other brands lose oil pressure at high temperatures this one holds its pressure perfectly. Before this oil I used Pennzoil (5w 50) and for me this was the next best one.
I also double my intervals and consumption is less.


From: Leone 
Subject: Is my 1800 worth holding on to?
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002

I have a 1968 Austin 1800 MkII in pretty good condition, but it's getting more and more difficult to get the parts. A friend has offered to buy me a newer car, but I really love my Austin.

I'm not very mechanically minded - do I need to be to own an Austin, or are there sympathetic mechanics about? I'm the bane of my very patient mechanic's life at the moment.

My landcrab needs a paint job also - people tell me it costs about $2,500 for something decent. It also needs a tiny bit of rust treatment, but is pretty good in that respect. Also needs door seals, etc. but the upholstery is pretty good (only 1 small tear that was my fault - any way of repairing that before it gets bigger?) Help - what to do? I love my car.

Who wants to answer her?
Leone, you're seriously thinking of getting rid of a fabulous Classic Car?
Answer: Get a mechanic who cares....
I'm having my Mk I resprayed now, including minor dent and rust repairs, for $2,500 (Little Aussie Bleeders) and that's a great price.
Some resprayers ask from around $4,000 - ask someone here for advice.


From: Bill Stevenson:
Subject: Is my 1800 worth holding on to?
Date: Wed. June 19 2002

Hi Leone, anyone can get a newer car, not everyone can have the courage of their convictions. If you love your car, you'll fix it up. If you don't fix it, it will continue to deteriorate until it's not worth fixing. You can get parts here. $2,500 for a paint job is cheap. You decide!


From: Paul Fryer:
Subject: Is my 1800 worth holding on to?
Date: Wed. June 20 2002

New cars are dull. Not that long ago you could line up a SAAB, a BMW, a Merc and a Bentley and they all had individual character in terms of their styling. These days if you took the badges off you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart. They are all designed using the same computer programmes. Is this progress? Probably.

Personally I'd rather have an old car that doesn't work than a new one that does, but that's me. If you want you can have your cake and eat it; i.e. an old car that goes and looks good. I am in the UK but there are many oz landcrabbers who I'm sure would be very helpful with advice and contacts etc. As far as your mechanic goes, if he's complaining about you giving him work maybe you need a new mechanic. Or he needs a change of career. Or both.

All lancrabs are straightforward vehicles which any good mechanic can fix without the aid of thousands of pounds worth of computer diagnostic gear, and once they're working right they are a joy. Keep the crab and dare to be different.




From: Ewen
Subject: Is my 1800 worth holding on to? 
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002

Hi Leone

What town/state are you in?

I am sure that some of us will be able to recommend a good mechanic who specialises in Austins.

Keep your eyes on this board for people dismantling 1800 for parts you need, or put up a request. I am sure that someone will be able to help you out.

Drive in style for the rest of your life.


From: Ian 
Subject: Is my 1800 worth holding on to? 
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002

Simply put the Austin 1800 is a car to keep. It is one of the strongest, safest and reliable cars on the road. Many mechanics refuse to work on them because the cars are too simple and they cannot think outside computers, programs and manuals. Any mechanic worth a pinch of salt can tune, maintain and fix them. 

If you live in Melbourne I can name 4 capable and reasonably priced mechs who can service and maintain them. Parts are not an issue because there are still parts available. New rubber seals are available too. A $2,500 paint job would be a top notch job if you only have a little rust. Find yourself a good mechanic and keep the car, as in many ways it is far superior than the tinny recycled crap you see on the road.

Also, in an accident, the modern car will be like a cushion for your Austin. Keep the car, get a good mech and enjoy.

Great advice fellows.

From: Tim 
Subject: 1800 Chassis No. 117 
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002

I have recently purchased an Austin 1800 with the chassis No. 117. 

Does this make it the earliest surviving example?

I bought the car from a gentleman who worked at the Austin Experimental Department at Longbridge, he bought the car off the Department. I was told it was one of the cars used at the press launch in 1964.
It has the Reg No 531 NOF a Birmingham number.

Over to you on this one Ken. You're a Birmingham boy....



From: Ken Green 
Subject: Diff Ratios 
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2002

This is the information I have on diff ratios.


MkI and MkII Saloon and some utes  4.187 to 1 = 16.8 mph/1000 rpm.
Look for 16/67 stamped on the gearbox casing

Mk1 Ute 4.75 to 1 = 15.7 mph/1000 rpm
Look for 16/76 on casing.

Mk I-&-II Ute and Saloon 3.83 to 1 gives 17.8 mph/ 1000 rpm
All the above on 165x14 tyres.

Uk Production

MkI Saloon 4.175 to 1
MkII Saloon 3.88 to 1 gives 18.1 mph /1000 rpm
Princess 3.72 to 1

Saloon 3.83 to 1 = 17.8 mph / 1000 rpm
Princess 3.83 to 1

All on 165 x 14 tyres.

You must remember that Mk I cars used 175x13 Mk II cars used 165x14 and the utes used 6.50x14 (175x14) tyres.

Both the Auto ute, Saloon and the Princess used the same gearbox ratios. The difference in mph / 1000 rpm are caused by the larger diameter tyres quoted for the ute.

The only way you can reduce the rpm on an auto is to fit larger tyres 175x14 will fit OK.

Hope this helps



From: Rob 
Subject: Door locks
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002

Locks on Austin 1800's are the same as most BMC/Leyland stuff of the era. Vehicles like MGB, Austin-Healey, Jaguar, Morris 1100's etc. all use the same Union brand locks. Getting a brand new set, from say an MGB parts supplier wouldn't be a problem I can't imagine.
They are very easy to change, you just need small hands!!
Hope this helps,



From: Patrick Farrell
Subject: Steering Wheel 
Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2002

AUTOSPORT in Melbourne have 15" Griplite steering wheels in stock, they will fit if you use the SAAS boss.
As a matter of interest the SAAS boss for the Mini will also fit the 1800.




From: Ken Green 
Subject: Suspension mods. 
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002

Aeon was the trade name for a big rubber bump stop/spring assister that were/are still  made in England. They were available for most cars at one time and were fitted between the frame and axle to give extra help with the springing when the car was laden like towing a caravan .

They were also used by the BMC Works teams on the Mini and 1800 as H/D bump stops and were listed in the Special Tuning catalogue both in the UK and Oz.

They are useful in keeping the back of a car off the ground when you have a full load in the boot or are towing.

They were a standard fitment to all the rally cars and were vital on a hydrolastic mini to stop the front to rear pitching on acceleration.




From: Larry Lebel 
Subject: Distributors 
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002

Another option is to install a Pertronix IGNITOR electronic ignition in the existing dizzy. These are also sold by Aldon at a much inflated markup. These are small electronic modules that fit under the cap and use a Hall Effect sensor that is activated by a collar with 4 magnets that fits over the cam lobes.

Installation takes less time than to change and adjust a set of points. This one small item obviates all the machining etc. that is required by Marcel's method.
There are no longer any points to put wear and tear on the dizzy and you never have to adjust the points again. They are priced in Vancouver at CDN$110.

They are available for positve ground eletrical systems at a higher? cost but really the best way is to 'bite the bullet' and change to negative ground. I put one on my Mini and it ran better immediately and I got a 5% increase in HP as measured on a dyno.
These things are the best thing since sliced bread... every British car should have one. The model number for the 25D dizzy is LU142a.



From: Patrick Farrell
Subject: Distributors
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002

The Landcrab Owners Club Aust. has a changeover system on vacuum advance units. The cost to members is $A40.
The club can also supply Hitachi distrbutors (breakerless) for $A36 changeover or $A85 without a changeover distributor. Once again this is a members only price.
If you are not a member the cost is $A72 for the vacuum advance unit and $A68 changeover or $A117 without a changeover, for the distributor.


From: "Allan J Prestwood"
Subject: Tips
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002

Many years ago I ran crabs. A couple of things I learned --

1. When installing second-hand suspension units, I found that when the local dealer topped up the fluid, he spragged the unit (as per manual). The unit lasted no time.
Since then, I used to gently pump up the suspension using a stirrup pump and a jack under the sill. It worked a treat and I got good service from the units.
( I once met a real crab freak - 1/2 acre of crabs - who used a master cylinder mouted on a base with a large reservoir instead of using a stirrup pump).
I don't know whether Penrite still lists suspension fluid, but I think I may still have a 5 litre bottle left.

2. I found that the upper control arm ball joint (the one with the large dia. fine thread ) would sometimes work loose. It turned out that the tab washer, because of its large diameter could go out of shape when tightened and not effectively lock the thread.
I used to use Loctite as a precaution.

3. Priming the oil after a rebuild could take an agonisingly long time. I got around this by blocking off the PCV valve and putting moderate air pressure in the breather with a blow gun, whilst turning over the motor (without spark plugs).

4. I improved cold weather starting by using a ballast and 8V coil. I shorted the ballast on starting using a relay actuated by the starting circuit.

I seem to recall that crab rear suspension units were the same as 1100 fronts - not 100% sure -15 years is a long time for me.

Your website is great

Allan Prestwood

Thanks for those tips Allan. There are probably a few enthusiasts out there who would love to try these tips out.


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