So I got a whole lot of items sorted on my "to do" list.
1) Cam chain tensioner replacement (get off my back now Wout !:hihihi
2) Rear gear box mounts replaced
3) Fuel filter replaced
4) Left Pitman arm replaced
5) Replaced front shock struts
6) checked the plug leads and distributor cap
I didnt do any of the work myself, sent it to a specialist shop I've worked with for a few years now and in whose ability I have implicit trust. I just dont have the time to work on these major items. Commenting on some of the work done:
1) amazingly he did the work without having to remove the thermostat housing. If it were me, I'd have had to get it out the way to get the new S50 unit in. No noticeable difference in the engine sound, but I'm sure I'll sleep a lot easier now with the uprated part fitted.
2) one g/box mount had swelled after being contaminated with oil, it was pretty knackered
3) Cut the fuel filter open, no wierd nor wonderful things trapped inside. Thick paper pleated cartridge, this is the type of unit you dont replace with inferior quality pirate parts
4) no comment, old unit still good but rubber bellows were compromised and it was only a matter of time
5) The front shocks were buggered, I could feel they seemed siezed up, not responding to bumps in the road. When stripped, i could see why:
Look at the damping valve in the second pic. Its coated with a greasy gunk (probably an oil and water emulsion that has formed over the last 16 years). There were also pieces of hard amber coloured plastic? stuck in the grease. Maybe some internal collar that failed many years ago. This also could not have been helping matters . Also replaced bump stops, the old units having totally disintegrated, and rubber bellows. Springs, upper mounts, spring landing pad rubbers all still 100%. New shocks are revelation, ride is a lot plusher and controlled over bumps.
6) Tested plug leads and did visual on distributor cap and rotor. All still in good working condition.
Next steps are:
a) rebuild leaking rear shock (will replace both units once funds have built up)
b) flush suspension circuit with new Pentosin 11S
c) replace diff and gear box oil
d) check and adjust valve shims
e) 4 new tyres (Michelin PS2 or Goodyear F1 - stll to be decided)