Britpart lights and Soul Traders dep

This week I had a dep on bass at Toftwood Social Club with Soul Traders a local soul, ska, disco band. I was a member of this band nearly 20 years ago and the people in it make it an absolute joy to be with on the few occasions their super-talented regular bass player Paul takes a holiday. They add new material often and it is very much bass players’ music so I put in quite a bit of work learning their set and even had the luxury of a rehearsal with them earlier in the week. I do like to memorise my parts and always aim to dep without the aid of bits of paper on stage. I wondered how they would go down at this local venue which is more used to sixties and ‘middle of the road’ music.

I decided to use my bigger rig for this gig so a good excuse to take the Land Rover. I had noticed that the driver’s side side light was not working so this would need fixing first, and on the other side the headlight was loose and shaking around as if sending morse code to the stars.

The problem…

Sidelight problem
The state of this sidelight is representative of all the marker lights. This one has had an additional earth wire poked through at some time, but the other end had broken off anyway

On examination I found that the side light problem was a bad earth (no surprises there) at one end and the failure of a past owner’s emergency ‘temporary’ repair. All of the marker lights were held in with extremely rusty screws and the indicator lenses had lost their amber colour way beyond the requirements of the MOT.

Once I had managed to remove the fitting I realised it may not be such a quick job…

Mmmm... not much to fix to!
Mmmm… not much to fix to!

I do think that the policy of earthing electrical items to the bodywork next to the accessory, especially with aluminium, is not a good idea.  This has undoubtedly hastened the corrosion here and I wonder if it would make sense to remove the connection made through the fixing screw on all of these lights and just ensure a really good earth from the terminal back to an common earth bar, location yet to be decided.

Britpart light set

Had I more money available I would have bought some LED replacement marker lights, or maybe just upgraded to ‘NAS’ lights but as I’m saving for bigger improvements I went with the cheapest. I bought a complete set of Britpart lights (4 indicators, 2 tail lights and 2 sidelights) from Craddocks for just £16.39.

How they do this I don’t know, but on receiving the package I was pleasantly surprised, even the bulbs are included.

All this for £16.39? I can only imagine the cost of replacing marker lights on a modern vehicle
All this for £16.39? I can only imagine the cost of replacing marker lights on a modern vehicle
The condensation drain cut-out is poorly moulded but this was easily trimmed
The condensation drain cut-out is poorly moulded but this was easily trimmed

As the image above shows the only stand-out downside to these lights is in the moulding process to the rubber sealing boot. I trimmed this up with sharp scissors and I am quite happy with them. I substituted the lens fixing screws with stainless No 6 x 3/4″ screws. Overall, for the money, these lights are good value and better than I’d expected.

As the mounting hole is completely corroded and time was running out I fixed the light from the inside with slightly oversized stainless self-tappers and three washers. There is an aluminium reinforcing ring behind each of the marker lights and these will all need replacing but I can find no mention in the parts book or online. Please let me know if you know the part numbers.

Headlight problem – rotted wood!

I had to chuckle when I looked at the nearside headlight. As I wiggled it, three wooden wedges dropped out! These were obviously a hasty repair by a previous owner to compensate for the complete corrosion of the fixing / adjusting screws and mounts. Maybe if he had used a nice piece of hardwood his repair could have lasted longer but the wedges had been fashioned from a bit of pine and had rotted badly. As I had only 10 minutes left I bedded the headlight in using neoprene self-adhesive tape and decided to hope for the best!

The gig

On arrival at the venue I met Mick the sax player who is a well-known mechanic and garage owner in Dereham. He was quite interested in the Land Rover and had a good look around. He seemed generally quite impressed with it and admired the ingenuity of the TDi conversion. Mick is a Piaggio van enthusiast and I recognise similar personality characteristics as seen in us Land Rover nuts.

Normally the stage at Toftwood hosts three and four piece bands so fitting nine of us on there was quite a challenge to say the least but somehow we managed it, very cosy! There is a lot of witty banter in this band and some of it would frighten an over-sensitive newcomer, but I love it, it is all in good fun an makes for an extremely enjoyable time. The band has some talented players and the girls provide some impressive lead and harmony vocals. On drums is Mike Bigwood who runs Bigwood Drums, who amongst other things manufactures high-end snare drums from old Sabian, Paiste and Zildjan cymbals. Mike was using one of his snares on the night and it is a superb sounding drum. This particular example had been part of the house kit at Ronnie Scott’s.

Depping is made much easier thanks to the helpful visual cues given me by guitarist Phil Green throughout the night and overall I was more than happy with my performance despite having to fill Paul’s large shoes!

Mick, Nick, Keri, Sue, Phil's forehead, Julie, me and Ken. Somewhere in there is a drumkit with Mike Bigwood sitting behind it!
Mick, Nick, Keri, Sue, Phil’s forehead, Julie, me and Ken. Somewhere in there is a drumkit with Mike Bigwood sitting behind it!

I noticed a few familiar faces from the ‘normal’ gigs I do there, most of those left after the first set. But we were left with a still very full club and it turned out to be one of the best nights I have seen in there, a responsive and genuinely appreciative audience. The ska songs are floor fillers. Bass highlights for me are Uptown Funk, Grits ain’t Groceries, Le Freak, Disco Inferno, Car Wash etc, all good stuff!

The headlight?

The journey there and back was good (apart from the kangarooing effect of the throttle linkage). Amazingly my quick-fix for the headlight was almost acceptable, a little high on that side but within limits. However another parts order will be placed this week….

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