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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
P38 DANGEROUS ENGINE CUT OUT

My RR HSE 4.6 1995 engine cut out while driving yesterday. Alternator fault was displayed so was gearbox fault.

I have LPG and Petrol, about 500yds before the fault, I felt a loss of power, which I’m use to as a tell tail sign that the gas was running out, it was expecting it to, so I switched to petrol and continued as normal, although it did feel a little less smooth which at the time, I put down to the road.

It was dark and I was in fast heavy traffic when the engine cut out, the warning bleeps were heard, the faults were displayed and I lost power steering. I pulled over, the light and heater blower appeared fine, I tried to restart and the engine turned ok for first two attempts on the third attempt it was like no power was getting to the starter at all. It remained this way on immediate attempts to restart. Lights and blower still seemed ok and dash was functional.

I pulled the bonnet and looked for obvious faults. The batteries own red or green indicator was showing green, the terminals were tight, the Alternator leads looked Ok the connections were tight. I didn’t see any loose or disconnected wires under the bonnet or around the gearbox. As id been working on the cooling system I gave that I look at that too seemed fine. I did have a backfire running on Gas about 40 miles earlier when I accelerated hard, so I checked all the air filter connections to ensure they hadn’t popped off, it all seemed ok. I must have been 5-10 minutes before try to restart, when I did it started with no problem.

Off I go again, but as I hadn’t found a fault I was more than a little weary, but 70 miles from home and with near zero temperature, and with the misses and kid in tow, I was just grateful to be moving again.

I got about a mile before the engine cut out again just as before. After further fruitless checks and waiting, it fired up again, and away I go, I was able to get off the A road before it cut out again, there was next to no traffic now, I waited five minutes and away I go again, I didn’t get far. The good old RAC was called, while waiting and after what seemed to be the compulsory five minute period between cut-out and restart, I was able to get the engine to run in Idle but it still kept cut-out. It seemed like petrol starvation, I thought it might be a fuel pump, I tried the gas again, it to ran in Idle but still cut-out.

I dismissed the alternator fault as the lights and blower didn’t seem to suffer, but this could just be a sign of a good battery.
If it is the alternator would it cut power to the starter? I don’t think it should, Is there a test I can do or have done to know for sure?
Does anyone know where you can get replacement carbon brushes for these?

The gearbox fault comes on any time I rush into drive from turning the ignition to selecting drive and driving, the result is a less than smooth and short ride, easily corrected by switching off, and starting again and not selecting drive until the check lights are out. I put the gearbox fault down to the fact that power had first been cut but the car was still moving in gear and drive position. But when I got moving again there was possibly signs of the higher gears not being as smooth as they could, its hard to tell as you do become hyper sensitive, it could just have been the road surface. Changing to manual gears didn’t stop the engine cutting out. I will check and clean around the air filter and housing. Fingers crossed it is the alternator, or what ever caused the fault is as definitely identified and rectified as I don’t fancy driving it to test it.

In case there is a likely link I have listed work recently carried out. Any help or thoughts would be gratefully received.

Regards Olden

The gas is run via an IMPCO model L, previously when in use, its had some problems with misfires and blown off the K&N filter, back in January I replaced the K&N with a old Classic cylinder style air filter, since then misfires and back fires had until yesterday ceased, except for a few times when the system automatically switched to Gas before the cooling system had warmed. Earlier yesterday I had tried to increase the idle speed, but adjusting the idle from one extreme to the other didn’t seem to make any different, I doubt I left set back were it had been before my twiddling fingers found it.

Ive been working on a long term problem off water loss and recent over heating. I flushed the cooling system replaced the thermostat after which although and thou it didn’t seem necessary I followed the instructions and added a ceramic sealant (Irontite) to the system.

I changed the rotary steering coupler due to an airbag fault display, a test revealed no connection at the steering wheel end. On removal I tested the old coupler and found it was faulty, the new one tested ok and fitted, but I haven’t had the airbag fault remove. Waiting for blackbox solutions to bring out their new £200ish p38 faultmate.

I have suffered the P38 problem of battery running flat until about a month ago when I removed and did not replace the RF radio remote receiver, other than having to use the key to lock, the motor has been in use most days since then, I haven’t noticed any other problems which as a consequence of this being removed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Having several problems previously the engine cut out, it would then restart but wouldn’t run for long and then it wouldn’t start, unless it was left for ten minute’s or so. The process would repeat but ran less each time. It did the same in Petrol or Gas or automatic or selected gear.

I checked all the fuses and relays, and clean some earth and live terminals, cleaned the MAF and sensors and I changed the crankshaft sensor.

Now when the key is turned to start, its acts as if my 95 HSE 4.6 Petrol duel LPG Automatic was not in park or neutral and the starter makes no attempt to turn.

I’ve connected a temporary wire from the starter solenoid to the battery, with the key turned to position 2, the starter then turns the engine when I connect the wire to the live. But there’s no sign of a spark at the spark plugs nor direct from the HT leads.

The coils look hard to access, I didn’t want to try looking if someone thinks they know what I might be best to look for next?

Regards Olden
 

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You need to some some diagnostics onto you vehicle.

Sounds like the engine code has lost sync with the becm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Rick-the-pick

It crossed my mind about lost sync. I had a quick look for a sync gadget, but when I couldn't see one for a 1995 P38, I spoke to someone who lead me to believe it would be unlikely for mine to lose sync. So are they wrong?
Is there anyway of checking for sure to see if the sync is out?

I wish to buy Blackbox solutions promised new P38 £200ish fault code reader and setter, their release date for this keeps being delayed, I don't mind if it means the units will work without failing from start, I cant get much info, I think I will still need a different gadget to re-sync if indeed I need to do that. If anyone can knows for sure, kindly let me know.

Just got back from a last little play tonight, I’ve hammered the battery a bit, the interior lights started to dim, so its now on charge.
Am I wrong to think that provided the engine still cranks over the Spark plugs should still fire?

Can anyone tell me where the live feed for the starter solenoid come from?

Regards Olden
 

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Your best bet would be to download RAVE form the internet. It will give you full schematics with component location pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cheers rrtoadhall,

I had been looking for and now found my rave disc, but it seems pointless going thru it at the moment, since my last posting I have called out an RPI engineer armed with a Rovercom, that couldn't diagnose the problem, so I don’t give myself much hope in a correct self diagnostic.

I tried to get a blackbox sync-mate RPI told me they didn’t do one for my 1995 petrol p38?

I did get RPI to come out with their Rovercom workshop diagnostic, the unit could not communicate with the engine the engineer suggested the engine ECU was at fault, he also said the engine fuse/relay box could have a play in the problem, or otherwise it would be the BeCM.

The Diagnostics was able to read and clear an old airbag fault, it also read the heater matrix, but just wouldn’t read the engine. I didn’t ask him to do a sync, but he did say he the Rovercom to do a ”learn” on the engine management. I took that as being the same thing.

The engineer is planning on coming back this week with a replacement engine ECU, to see if that solves the problem.

The BeCM seems to be a troublesome and cost unit to replace or even repair.

I’m not sure if because the Rovercom couldn’t read to engine, whether it would have read if the alternator, battery or MAF was at fault.

I will post the out come, if anyone in the mean time if anyone can offer any help, feel free to do so.

Regards
Olden
 

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Maybe related, maybe unrelated. My old '88 rangie cut out suddenly, would start again after a short rest ( 1-20mins ) then randomly stop again. After alot of soul searching turned out to be a loose connector / wire on sensor. Computer couldn't read the temp so shut the engine down to prevent overheating, so I was told. Never had a chance to check if spark was present when this happened and can't remember if it would crank or not. Would be a nice simple, cheap fix. :think:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cheers bresam,
I've changed the inlet manifold several months back. When it come to it all being back together it turned but wouldn't start. The culpret was the crank sensor was still disconnected, it is amazing how one tiny electric cable can totally disable the whole car, so yep I will take up your suggestion. I've found my Rave disc and will be checking that out this weekend, if anyone know what sensors would stop the power to the starter solinoid let me know.

I will keep the out come posted.
Regards Olden
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorted!
Thanks to you all. esp. Gavin Smith of Ireland

Did loads of tests spent a little of dosh.
used rave and gend-up brother-in-law to trace fault at in the internal works of the fuse box for one engine relay, replaced engine fuse box - JOB DONE

Noted a lot of contamination on a few fuse box plug connectors, also inside both my original and second hand replacement fuse box had signs of contamination i guess from water spillage to the water filler tank. I cleaned all terminals and circuit board with switch cleaner prior to fitting.
Hope this helps someone else.

Regards
Olden
 
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