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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings from Melbourne Australia.

This post will be long but I’ll be as concise as possible. A quick search from previous posts didn’t reveal a similar problem with my RHD 2001 P38. But there is always someone here who knows or can help.

My temperature gauge started behaving erratically; it would intermittently move right to the top with the red light coming on. I pulled over the first time it happened and checked under the bonnet; all seemed to be well with no signs of overheating so I assumed it was a faulty temp sender or a faulty gauge; when I banged on the dash and instrument cluster I seem to remember that it returned to normal but that may not have been connected.
This happened several more times but I ignored it. Then I heard small ticking, creaking sounds coming from under the dash as if something was heating up, then whoosh… my left foot was scalded by steam and there was coolant everywhere in the footwell.

It’s as if there is some blockage in the heater circuit as the main coolant circuit does not seem to be overheating BUT I may be wrong on that. The engine seems fine with no loss of power; I took it for a drive and all seemed well.

I have no issue doing the work or looking for the fault or faults but, with everything in life, accurate diagnosis is the key.
Can anyone help, before I pull it all apart?

I am taking the dash out (again) to replace a power transistor in the RH blower fan and disassemble all three blender motors and file the brushes flat. While I am in there I might as well replace the heater O-rings (which is where the leak may coming from anyway).

Is there anything else I should do in terms of preventative maintenance while the dash is removed?

With many gushingly grateful thanks in advance.
Tom
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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482 Posts
why are you filing the brushes flat is there a problem with the blend motors or is the heater box the real problem.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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174 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Just for maintenance; they start life as flat and become curved over time. While the dash is out I thought I'd do it but the leak and temp gauge issues are the real problem.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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768 Posts
If your taking the dash out theres to options for the heater, keep the LR one and have the famous Orings, or the Audi heater route, it seems popular at the moment, sounds like the o rings have been leaking for a while, a common fault, I’d bypass the heater to check you haven’t blown the heads ,
 

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LEGACY VENDOR
1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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4,198 Posts
The gauge in the cluster very rarely gives problems - it's either the sensor, or it could possibly be a bad ground to the engine block.

That or it could be that the sensor was picking up hot patches or pockets of air going past before the seal blew - or maybe there's a head gasket issue which caused pockets of heated coolant/gas which caused the gauge to twitch.

The Thor gauges and sensor seem to be a lot better than the early GEMS ones as they had only one wire to them and relied on the engine block for a ground point. The later GEMS and Thor sensors have 2 wires for ground and sensor feed.

I'd get to the bottom of the coolant spraying into the footwell first and then worry about the gauge. Usually O-ring leaks are drips, rather then steamy spray on your foot!
 

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I converted to the Audi core since the plate that holds the o-ring in was cracked from over-tightening or fatigue. It seemed like my heater pipes didn't align perfectly so that may have been the issue. Going to heater hose from core, through firewall, attaching in the engine bay seemed like a better plan.
The erratic temp gauge is something I have experienced as well. It only seems to happen when some minor coolant leak has dropped the coolant level to a minimum. Is it possible the heat sending unit gets air locked and pegs the reading? I haven't worried too much about it because it did seem to point out a problem happening. I've never seen the momentary high temp spike on the gauge with proper coolant level and nothing wrong.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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174 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thank you to all.

It seems clear now that the leak will most likely be coming from the O-rings. I'll know this weekend. What I forgot about initially and forgot to include in my original thread was that there has been a slow leak from the water pump so it seems likely that the coolant was indeed low. I hadn't checked it for ages! This could explain the intermittent high temp readings as NorCal said.

It starts and runs perfectly with no power loss so I'll hope and assume that the motor and heads are OK.

Now I'll change the O-rings with the Vitrol type, do all the work under the dash I mentioned then refill the coolant correctly and see what happens. Expect updates next week. It's a great car; I looked long and hard to find one this good so it will be fun to get it going again.

Best to all

Tom
 
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