Miscellaneous Repair Operation Details
(Collected short blurbs on different topics)
Many repair operations have their own pages;
listed here are the ones that are too short to warrant devoting an entire page to them.
index of these topics see the main Repair
Operation Details page.
Air Suspension: Disabling (Classic, P38)
For many repair operations you don't want the suspension to be
itself up and down while you work on the vehicle. Classic air sprung
have a disable switch under the seat. On the P38, leaving the
open pretty effectively freezes the suspension, but for an extra
of safety you can unplug the air suspension delay timer, a small black
box that looks like a large relay under the drivers seat. For more
information see the air
suspension disabling section of the air spring replacement page.
Adam Moore reports: There is nothing technical about this job, it is just a bit dirty. But, if you are at all timid about these things the $240 the dealer charges for the job may be worth it! You will need to remove the black bumper. Disconnect all wires and vent hoses to the two front fog lights. Slowly back off the two bolts that secure the bumper below the bumper on the "bumperettes" on either side of the license plate. I say slowly because the two of these hold the bumper up and then it slides towards the back of the car on a rail, the clips that hold it up on the rail are adjustable and you may have to loosen them before you can slide it. Make sure that no part of your body is under the bumper as you remove the bolts, it is heavy!
At this point you need to find an assistant and slide the whole
bumper assembly to the front of the car and it will come off, it is
- (100 lbs or so). You can now access the frame mounts for the brush
Remove and put the whole thing back together. Note: Once the bumper is
off you can remove
the exterior temp sensor by unplugging the multi plug and turning the sensor 180 degrees. To reinstall the same procedure...........
The coil springs on the Classic eventually sag, especially on the rear, and need replacing. If the space between the bump stops and the rear axle is less than 3 1/4 inches, replacement is indicated. The shop manual gives the part numbers and specs of all the springs used on the Range Rover. To correct the usual lean to the right suffered by most pre-swaybar Range Rovers in the US, you can replace the rear springs with two left hand units (the left spring is slightly longer than the right).
For those wanting to experiment with various different springs on their Range Rovers, it is good to know that all Land Rover coil springs are interchangeable in terms of fit. See the section on Coil Spring Upgrades in the Mechanical and Electrical Upgrades page. See also the Suspension Details and Mods page.
Perrone Ford suggests the following method for replacing coil springs without renting a spring compressor:
1. Jack side of axle to be worked on. Remove tire and drop onto Jack stand at LOWEST setting.
2. Unbolt shock on one end (upper mount for rears, lower mount for front). Jack frame near wheel to be worked on. I used the front crossmember and the section of frame under the passenger door for my front and rear respectively.
3. Remove retaining bolts for springs and remove and replace.
4. Reverse procedure.
Perrone reports that by dropping the axle onto a jack stand at the
setting, you can PRETEND you have a VERY long throw jack. He
a 3.5 ton floor jack when he started doing this stuff often. Even
with that, he still uses 2 6x6 wood blocks to get to the front
To access known failure items such as the door lock solenoids, it is necessary to remove the door panel trim. Kevin Kelly offers this advice on removing the trim on a '89-'95 Range Rover Classic (instructions are the same for the front and rear doors except you don't have to deal with the speakers on the rear doors):
Pop off the plastic thing that surrounds the door lock (the plastic thing that goes up and down when you lock the car) stick a flat head screwdriver under it (the plastic surround not the thing that goes up and down) and push straight up, and it will pop off.
Stick a long thin small flat head screwdriver in the plastic door handle "bucket" and pop the plastic screw covers off (be gentle or you will snap off the plastic tabs that hold the covers down). Take the screws out with a phillips screwdriver (a magnetized one works great for this) pull the plastic handle "bucket" out.
Take the single phillips screw holding the plastic piece behind the inside door release handle out and remove the plastic piece that the screw came out of.
Stick a screwdriver between the bottom of the door panel and the door and pry the panel out . The panel is held on by "male" plastic things on the door panel that stick in to "female" plastic things in the door. The wood on the door is real, and it will snap if bent, (so don't bend it).
You will need to disconnect the speaker wire before removing the
door panel if you have a second speaker in the door on a 1989-1992 RR
speaker is bolted to the door).
Try not to tear the plastic vapor barrier so you can put it back on.
While the panel is off make sure the drain holes in the bottom of the
Anthony Bromberg reports that when replacing engine mounts, it's a good idea to undo nuts on top and bottom of the engine mount. Ron Beckett reports: "When I replaced mine on my old Classic (I've done it twice), the second time I jacked the engine up and removed the mount and the metal brackets. Replacing the mount with the bracket in place is extremely difficult." Ron also advises not to forget to undo the fan shroud. He also had to remove the air cleaner as it was being fouled by the alternator as he jacked up the motor. He found the mounts had UNF threads (9/16 wrench). Also, the engine mount brackets require a 1/2" wrench for the top bolt and 5/8" wrench for the bottom bolts that attach the mount to the engine block.
Anthony notes: "When you jack up the engine by the front point it may tear the other engine mount. So you might need to undo to other one as well. It's usually the left mount that goes bad first (due to being too close to the exhaust header)." Accordingly, Ron feels that if one mount fails it is advisable to replace both. "If they are the round mounts like Rangies, use Jaguar enginemounts. They are stronger. Whatever mounts you get, make sure they come with nuts. I fitted the mounts to mine and found the threads on the mounts were different to the old ones so had to find a nut & bolt supplier who was open on the weekend so I could by them (they were metric)."
Front Axle Outer Seal
If you find you are pouring a lot of oil into the swivel housings, check the level in the diff at the same time; if the seal between the two is leaking, oil can make its way from the swivels into the diff. Andy Grafton gives the following practical instructions for changing this seal with an minimum of disassembly. Remove the wheel, undo the brake calipers and tie them out of the way to the spring, remove the steering rods, undo the 6 bolts holding the entire swivel assembly to the axle and remove it complete with the half shaft. The seal is fitted to the swivel housing side of the assembly, open side out, and can be removed by knocking the sides in with a screwdriver/hammer and then pulling with snipe nosed pliers. Don't try and drill holes in it and put a screw in because it buts against the swivel casing on the flat side. Seal is refitted as usual using the old one between it and the hammer, but more of a PITA because the half shaft is in the way all the time.
If this method of getting the seal out does not work, you have to take the hub/bearings off, remove the stub axle, pull the CV joint complete with half shaft and bash it out from the other side.
Remember to get yourself a gasket for where the swivel joins the
Locating the half shaft in the diff on reassembly requires
strength because the hub+disc+swivel housing+half shaft weighs quite a lot.
On '87-89 North American Spec. Range Rovers, the red plastic needles on the speedo, tacho, fuel and temperature gauges are illuminated by a little fiber optic which tends to fall out. Kevin Kelly was told that dealers recommend replacing the affected instrument when this happens; however he was able to do his own repair using the procedure below. The entire instrument binnacle has to be removed (unless the problem is just a burnt out bulb), so plan on at least an hour for the job.
1. Remove the cover from the back of the instrument cluster; it is hooked in at the base with three tabs. Slowly pull it out from behind the instruments, bending it slightly to get it past the gauges. Use caution because the surface of the plastic instrument cluster cover and gauge surround are both coated with a substance that will easily scratch.
2. With the back of the instrument cluster exposed CHECK THAT ALL THE BULBS ARE WORKING! It is easier to do this check in a garage or other low light area. Turn the headlights on and check all the instrument cluster lights (the little thing that sticks down from the top right corner of the instrument cluster in not a mini bulb, it is a light sensor) Turn the ignition key to the "on" position to activate the bulb check feature and (while you have them exposed) check all the warning lights in the binnacle. (The no charge light should have a red plastic holder; this bulb is not the same as the others).
3. If a bulb is not working, first try removing it and cleaning the contact area (A Radio Shack contact cleaner pen works great for this). If the bulb is working, the fiber optic has come out of the base of the clear plastic gauge needle. The entire instrument binnacle must then be removed for access.
4. First, disconnect the wiring harnesses and the speedo cable from the back of the instruments. To prevent the speedo cable thumbscrew from sliding down under the dash, secure it with tape or a zip tie. To access the four threaded posts that secure the binnacle, lower the under-dash panel. Pop the left AC vent out to access the screws above it, then pry out the plastic plugs that hold the piece in below the AC vent. Remove the rest of the screws that hold the under-panel to the dash, and lower it to the floor without disconnecting the dash light-dimming control.
5. Remove the four nuts securing the instrument cluster. A 1/4" drive deep well socket (8 mm) on the end of a screwdriver handle works well for this. Some models have a relay or something mounted to the instrument cluster posts, necessitating removal of two extra nuts. The entire binnacle should now lift out.
6. Put the binnacle face down on a soft cloth on your work bench and remove the four small Phillips screws holding the front cover on. Then take off the bent wire that holds the clear plastic to the front of the instrument cluster and remove the clear plastic (be careful not to bend the trip odometer reset). You will have to pry the plastic up from the bottom to get it out.
7. Pinch the black plastic piece in the center of the speedometer with "MPH" (or "RPM" on the tach) on it and lift it out. You should see the fiber optic and the hole in the end of the speedometer needle. Put a dab of glue on the fiber optic about 1/8 of an inch from the end; don't get any glue on the end of the fiber. Push it back (hard) into the hole.
8. Accessing the fiber optics on the temp and fuel gauges involves removing all the bulbs and taking everything off the back of the instrument cluster. This is a long job; go slowly and make notes to ease reassembly.
9. While the dash is apart, Kevin recommends that the owners of '87-'89 Range Rovers ('90's have an electric speedo) unbolt the 90 degree speedo drive gear from the back of the speedo and lube it with sewing machine oil or 3-in-one oil. He used a Q-tip to clean the "gunk" out of it. If it is not making noise now it will soon. I also put a couple drips of oil down the speedo cable.
10. As they say in the shop manuals, "installation is the reverse of removal"
Most cooling system problems fortunately do not "boil down" to head gasket failure. However it does happen occasionally, allowing coolant to leak into the cylinders and disappear without trace. The traditional method of identifying head gasket leaks is to observe bubbles in the radiator while the engine is running (indicating the cylinders blowing air through the leaking gasket into the cooling jacket). However it is not always possible to observe bubbles, and diagnosis can be tricky. Neil Abbott of New Zealand went through the "is my head gasket really gone?" drama and much of the following is based on his observations.
If there is regular loss of coolant but there are no obvious water leaks from heater, pump or hoses, suspect the head gasket. Another likely symptom, following the loss of coolant, is huge build ups of pressure in the system.
Neil offers this advice for prospective "do I have a head gasket problem" owners: when the engine has warmed up and the thermostat is open, check the top radiator hose to make sure it is uniformly hot over its full length (you can put your hand on it but only for a second or two). During Neil's head gasket problems, the hose would be hot about 1/3 it's length and then only warmish towards the radiator. (If it is cool along its entire length the thermostat may not be opening). Neil could keep his hand wrapped around the hose for ages. This was obviously (wise after the event) because the hose was mostly full of air/gas and not coolant.
Neil reported another warning sign which occurred during the week
he noticed the huge build-ups of pressure in the cooling system (yes
your head gasket is really gone, this is the final warning...) the
gauge (which had normally read fairly low) suddenly burst into life and
went up to 3/4 white. In traffic it would head up to 99% white, but not
into red, and back to 3/4 white on the open road. This sort of erratic
behavior can merely indicate a broken temperature sender, but bears
in case the head gasket is at fault.
Ignition Mechanical Advance
Callan Campbell offers the following information on checking and repairing the mechanical timing advance that is incorporated in the distributor. Remove the distributor cap and try to turn the rotor/shaft with your hand [counter-clockwise]. It should move a bit, then rotate back again from the tiny advance springs at the base plate/shaft when you let go of the rotor. If it stays and has no spring action, then the shaft at the bottom has seized [very common].
You can actually get a check engine light from the distributor being advanced all the time [mechanically] and this throws off the idle air setting. This in turn throws off the amount of air your engine usually uses at idle, so the air mass sensor and then the Fuel injection ECU doesn't know what to make of it. You usually get a throttle or stepper motor fault that doesn't make sense, as the parts will all test out. If the timing is checked, you'll find it advanced, and if the vacuum advance still works, you end up with even more advance at the wrong time, since the weights inside are moved forward from the shaft being frozen in the advance position!
To prevent the mechanism from seizing, oil is supposed to be added at service intervals to the shaft end under the rotor, but this is often neglected (especially if your vehicle is serviced by a non-dealer mechanic). In any case, it is unclear whether the oil makes it all the way down there to the weight section as intended. There are only 2 tiny slots/or cut-aways that the oil can ooze down into for the shaft lubing. Any rust build-up here, and the oil can't get through. Callan has seen that pretty often during rebuilds.
If the advance mechanism is malfunctioning, you need to remove the
break the plastic "top hat" retaining part as Land Rover calls it, and
pull the whole guts out for repair.
The original radiator on P38 models gets clogged after a few years due to small water passageways -- the newer replacement radiator has larger core passages. Ron Beckett reports that while visiting his local LR mechanics he ended up pulling out the radiator of a P38A that was in there with overheating problems - he had more experience than they did with P38A radiator removal! "When I compared the size of the cores in the new vs the old radiators, I found that the new radiator has a significantly larger cross-sectional area than the old radiator. I'm not sure if the replacement radiator is OEM or after market - it is the same brand that I fitted to mine recently. I had my digital camera with me so I took a couple of pix through the drain plug. If you look at you can see the difference. Perhaps the replacement won't clog as quickly. What I've done is overlay the pix of the old rad with the new so you can directly compare. The scaling is comparable". See image at right.
As noted in the section on Common Problems and Fixes, the power seat controls are a frequent failure item on the Classic. Because of their horizontal position the intake of dirt is facilitated, eventually causing the contacts to cease conducting. The official solution is to replace the switches with new ones (for about $120 each plus labor). Later models (and new replacement switches) have a rubber membrane under the control knob openings to prevent the ingress of dirt that causes the problem.
Alternatively, you can save a few dollars by taking the switch apart and cleaning the contacts with a contact cleaner pen (Radio Shack and most other electronics stores sell them). A quicker temporary fix is to pop the top off the switch housing and squirt spray-type contact cleaner (also available at Radio Shack etc) into the switch. The section on Power Seat Controls: Switch Cleaning Procedure has step by step instructions and a photographic sequence covering these operations. When you take one apart you will realize why a new one costs over $100!
Ron Beckett and Dave Brown both report from experience that the starter is easy to change. Ron's was occasionally not turning over so he pulled it out, stripped and cleaned it, and it has been fine ever since.
You need a hex socket, about 8 mm, because the motor is held in with two socket head cap screws. You also need a long extension with a universal joint at the hex driver end to get to the top socket head cap screw. The geared motor is not very heavy so it is no trouble to hold when unbolted.
Ron found no need to put the Rangie up on ramps; access was easy just laying on his back under the vehicle.
Suspension Bushing Replacement
Fairly good replacement instructions are given in the shop manual, but a few additional details are useful. For one thing, if you use a hydraulic press to remove the old bushings and insert the new ones, use one with a rating of at least 20 tons. I managed to bend the frame of my 12 ton press while removing radius arm bushings. You also need a short piece of pipe that is just smaller in diameter than the bushing shell, with which to press the bushing out. An alternative removal technique, not sanctioned by the shop manual but requiring much less force, is to cut through them with a hacksaw blade before drifting them out. You might be able to get the new ones in with a very sturdy vise. (After ruining my shop press I resorted to taking the radius arms or Panhard rod down to the dealer and getting them to press the old bushings out and put the new ones in. They only charged a couple of tenths of an hour for the service). In any case, you should replace the bolts and nylock nuts at the same time; these parts come under a lot of stress. genuine bushing kits come complete with new fasteners, while aftermarket ones usually do not.
Ron Beckett reports on his even easier method of bushing removal. He used an air chisel which just sliced through the outer metal of the bushing, allowing it to collapse inward. Then, the bush just walked out of the hole.
Poly bushings usually come in two halves so are much easier to get on and off, in addition to their other advertized virtues. However some people have had bad experiences with them on the radius arm chassis mounts; Michael Slade had poly bushings fail twice in that location. He experienced a suspension clunk when turning right or left, or on a sudden suspension move. The first set actually cracked and split along the narrow shoulder that sits inside the frame eyelet and allowed the arm to bang against the frame. The second time (after about 15K miles), the inner shoulder was separating along the lip of the shoulder, with a crack that went around the entire bushing right where the narrow portion widened up to the wide portion (at the base of the L-shape 90 degree). He replaced them with factory rubber bushings and the sloppiness and most of the clonk disappeared. The remaining clunking remained was probably due to the A-frame ball joint going bad. This does happen, and Michael's RR has 197K on it, so it's about due.Tailgate Repair/Replacement
As noted in the section on common problems and fixes for the Classic, the upper tailgate seems to be especially subject to rust. Details on galvanizing the frame or replacing it with a rust-proof aluminum version appear in the tailgate repair page.Transfer Case Stuck in High
On 93 and up Classics, an interlock solenoid was added to
the transfer case being moved out of either High or Low range unless
main gearbox is in neutral and the ignition is switched on. The shifter
has been known to jam in High range; the cause can be electrical or
Lenaghan had both problems on his '94 Classic; he found no
to the interlock solenoid in the shop manual, though a circuit diagram
appeared in the owner's handbook. Chris
Self experienced the problem on his 94 Classic LWB when he
overloaded the circuit that powers this solenoid. He had an Engel
refrigerator, Valentine One radar locator, and Sirius
satellite radio all on at the same time--powered through the 12v
sockets. "This was fine, until I activated the heated seats." This blew
fuse E1 (20A) under the front passenger (right side) seat, which also
powers the interlock solenoid, so when he reached the went off road
section of his trip he found could not shift into low range.
The following diagnosis and repair procedure was contributed from Mike with additional information from Chris. .
Electrical Fault Tracing: In the light of Chris's experience, I would first check the fuse that powers the solenoid -- Fuse E1 under the front passenger seat (LHD models). If that is not the problem, the two relays in this circuit can be checked by removing the cubby box tray in the centre console. They are at the rear RH side (one green and one yellow). The first relay in the circuit is the green one. With the ignition ON +12V is applied to terminals 30 and 86 on the relay via the white/purple wires. A ground signal is applied on the black/pink wire to terminal 85 but only if the transfer case in is High or Low. If you do not get a ground connection, suspect the neutral transfer switch which is located in the rear of the transfer case. Access to this switch requires removal of the handbrake drum on the rear of the transfer case! If all is well with this relay, with the ignition ON and the transfer case in H or L, the relay should operate and +12V will be fed to the remainder of the circuit from terminal 87a on the red/black wire. Otherwise suspect the relay.
Now go to the yellow relay, with the ignition ON and the transfer case in H or L you should have a +12V input to terminal 86 via the black/red wire. If you do not get +12V here there is an in-line diode from the output of the green relay (87a) to the input of the yellow relay (86) that is probably defective. A ground signal is fed to terminal 85 of the yellow relay when the auto transmission box is in Park or Neutral, so if you don't get a ground signal here, back track the yellow/black wire and check the in-line diode. If the diode is OK check for correct operation of the P/N switch on the auto transmission lever - accessed by removing the cover on the console.
Now check for +12V at terminal 30 of the yellow relay. If you don't have +12V here check Fuse E1 (20 amps), located under the front passenger (right side) seat, in a block of eight fuses. It is the first one on the left end of the fuse block. If everything checks out OK and the yellow relay is functioning you should have a +12V signal at the output terminal (87) on the grey/black wire. This is the power feed to the solenoid. If you have +12V here and you still cannot shift out of H or L into neutral then suspect the solenoid itself.
Mechanical Faults: To access the solenoid itself, it is necessary to remove the centre console to get at the plate holding the rubber boot for the transfer case lever. There were 8 pop rivets to drill out to remove this plate. You can then see the solenoid, held by 2 star headed bolts (size 40). In Mike Lenaghan's case, upon removing the solenoid he found the plunger was stuck and had to be removed so the transfer lever would operate. He replaced the solenoid, minus plunger (to keep dirt out of the mechanical linkage).
(While removing the centre console, Mike also found the electrical part of his problem -- the previous owner had a cell phone set up added with a small handset that rests in a little receiver screwed onto the side of the centre console. One of the 3 screws had been screwed directly into the wiring harness !!!!).
P38 Models: On the P38, a new way was invented for the transfer case to get locked in one range or the other. Since the case is controlled completely electrically, there are opportunities for the shifter solenoids to jam in one position or the other. This happened to me once (naturally it stuck in low range!!); the problem turned out to be the transfer case ECU. The only remedy was to replace it.Water Pump Replacement
On an aluminum engine, the water pump is a most vital component. Trevor Easton fixed a small leak in his using Bars Leaks, but a short time later was stranded when the pump shaft seized, causing the outer end to shear, liberating the fan and pulleys to collide with the radiator. He has heard of cases where the fan also took out the shroud and hood!!! He had to replace his radiator, fan and water pump due to this unpleasant incident (Atlantic British managed to ship him a water pump for $109, a fan for $149, and a used radiator for $125, in less than 24 hours!). He now recommends replacing your water pump every 80,000 miles or whenever a slight leak appears. Don't rely on temporary fixes for your cooling system, except to get you home in an emergency!
If you have corrections, comments or suggestions, email us.
Page revised February 2, 2012