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Land Rover Starting Handle

One thing I like about the older cars - especially Land Rovers - is the ability to use a starting handle if your battery or starter motor has failed.

I'd bought one to use with my 109 - and had actually used it a couple of times. When I sold the 109, I kept the starting handle - as I had noticed that the 110 had the characteristic notch on the front panel, and the starting dog on the crankshaft pulley.

The only problem was, the original starting handle was far too long, because the V8 engine is a lot further forwards than the 2.25 petrol.

I had also found that when starting the 2.25 petrol engine with this thing, an enormous amount of force was required. I therefore decided to use up some of the extra handle length to increase the crank or "throw".

I took it to an engineering shop down the road; they straightened it and re-bent it to the required shape. I had an old bearing taken from the rear wheel of my ST1100 which I found had exactly the right internal diameter for the starting handle, so decided to use this in order to make the handle slightly easier to turn due to the added support.

Land Rover starting handle modification

I then used a length of steel to form a bearing housing for this, by bending the steel around the bearing and then welding it closed:

Housing cut for bearing

The old support plate was removed from the front bumper - it had been in the wrong position anyway, and instead of just removing it, the previous owner had hammered it flat with a hammer. I straightened it, then cut out the top section:

Old starting handle slot

I then welded the new bearing housing onto this plate before attaching the plate to its new position on the crossmember behind the front bumper. I put the starting handle in its "live" position in order to determine the exact location of the bearing on the shaft, and then carefully spot-welded the bearing in place.

Starting handle in position

The bearing housing is (obviously) left open at the front, and is a very loose fit - this enables the starting handle to be easily ejected from its position when the engine starts. I tried turning the engine over a few times and was very pleased with the result - the added "throw" of the starting handle was a definite improvement in ease of use!

UPDATE Even with the added "throw" it's still an enormous amount of work starting the engine with it!

When using a starting handle, ensure that your thumbs are on the same side of the handle as your fingers i.e. you're gripping mainly with your palms. When the engine starts the handle should be kicked away from the dog on the crankshaft pulley - but if it isn't, and you're gripping the starting handle with your thumbs on the opposite side to your fingers, a broken thumb could result.

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