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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Hi,

Sharing this story as I think you may find it entertaining to follow along. My brother and I are amateur Land Rover enthusiasts. We've rebuilt two classics now, owned two LR3s, and a 2012 LR4. But this could be our biggest adventure yet...

Recently, after watching a few too many YouTube videos to work up the confidence, we acquired a 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged (heck yes!) from Copart. 78K miles, used to be a fleet vehicle, very clean inside and out. Except for one problem: the car didn't start. No crank, no sounds, nothing.

We brought it back to the shop, and found a dead starter motor hanging by the leads. Ok... new starter acquired, fuses replaced, and then a nice big "WHIRRR" and nothing: the engine must be seized. Wedging a prybar into the starter hole and attempting to turn the motor by engaging the ring gear directly yielded nothing either.

So we then removed the coil packs, and the spark plugs. On the last plug of the passenger side back I think this is cylinder #8, the plug had a bit of resistance coming out. Then the horror: it was totally mangled (see picture). Something inside the engine obliterated that plug. That's not what you want to see. We could get a feeler stick about 24 inches into the spark plug hole of that cylinder too, so maybe the piston has been compromised.

We continue the disassembly. We have to figure out how to get the body off the frame in our home garage, and then take apart the engine to see how bad the damage is. Best case it's a valve job or a new head. Worst case this is a really expensive paperweight.

Any guesses? Big thanks to AnvilRob for his guidance thus far.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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48 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Aaand I can't submit any images. Any guidance here? I click on the "Manage attachments" and it just takes me to a blank screen. Using imgur link for now, but please let me know what I'm doing wrong.

https://imgur.com/a/8FPeACU
 

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Pictures kinda look like something may have gotten ingested through the intake. Such as a supercharger gear or something. Did you try rotating the engine counter clockwise? If there is something wedged up against the Piston and cylinder head it won't rotate clockwise but you may be able to rotate it backwards. Any way I'd guess you're looking at at least a new Piston and a cylinder head on that sideand at worst case a new long block assembly. I would also remove the belt and rotate that supercharger to see if it may have been the culprit. Btw how is the process of buying a vehicle from copart?
 

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x2 with copart experience, saw an '05 l322 on there go for $1,200 the other day, very tempting but want to know the hurdles. Thx
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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48 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the tips! We did not try rotating it counter clockwise, but we'll give that a shot this weekend. Will take some more pics too when we get into her.

On the subject of Copart- not a terrible experience. I had my eye on this truck for a while. Had to buy through a broker website because of Mass state laws. Thankfully that only added about $200 of fees. It was really straightforward otherwise (similar to eBay). The funniest part was shipping it: the driver that the brokerage engaged saw the listing online and refused to pick it up because he was convinced "the info screen is off, so the transmission must be locked." My brother and I went out there a jump pack and turned it on, got it in neutral, and then called AAA to tow it off. Watching those guys on the front loaders play Car Jenga is pretty neat too. Overall decent experience to find project cars.
 

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2019-2021 Range Rover Sport
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276 Posts
I know mass can be confusing about registering and certifying a salvaged car but what was it that didnt allow you to buy directly from them? Just curious...
 

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2002-2005 Range Rover MkIII / L322
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402 Posts
I know mass can be confusing about registering and certifying a salvaged car but what was it that didnt allow you to buy directly from them? Just curious...
some states dont allow public to buy salvage titled vehicles via auction. Gotta be a broker or dealer. That’s when you pay fees to a broker to use their account to bid.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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48 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Interestingly enough it has a clear title, no salvage brands. The rules still applied though :confused:
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #12
Update!

The Amazon boroscope/endoscope worked beautifully. We could see straight down the spark plug hole and into the cylinders. Provided a great view of the total destruction within cylinder 7. Ahh so that’s what was locking the engine! Cylinder 5 too had some scoring, like it too had touched a valve. We’re totally speculating here but a lean condition could have caused the 7 piston to cook apart and bang into the valvetrain, and then timing jumped and 5 met its valves too. Either way that looks like a total loss to me.

That means we need to take the body off, and source a long block. Step 1 was cheaper and easier, so we started there. A trip to the local big box lumber yard later, we had 40 2x4’s which we cut into 16” jenga blocks. After a few hours of disconnecting all the wiring harnesses, we started jacking up the body with our floorjack and building jenga towers of cribbing to support the body. The first few layers were slow progress as we had to frantically check all the creaking noises and search for any wires we missed, but we got into a good rhythm soon enough. The steering shaft was disconnected at both ends, but didn’t separate at either- instead it decided to pull apart in the middle. Bummer. Will get a new one..

The other challenge came at the end. To support the body more permanently, we added beams to the jenga towers. The front was easy: lift the nose of the body and slide two 2x4’s under. The rear was considerably harder. After some trial and error we settled on the following approach: 5 2x4’s laminated together passed under the body mounts in the wheel arches. Hi- lift jacks (“ca-chunka-chunks”) to lift the beam simultaneously, then slide the two cribbing towers out and away from the body and under the beam, to allow the wheels to roll forward.

Then, she was free! We rolled the undercarriage out and took a lot of pictures. Can’t believe that worked. Getting it back on will be interesting. Next up: sourcing a new engine and installing it.


Pictures here: https://imgur.com/gallery/GFuB0hv
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #13
We have an engine now! Found a local shop who had an extra Jaguar 5.0 Supercharged engine out of a XKR. He was incredibly nice. Took us through all the details of assembly and timing. Everything is labeled and bagged (great practice to follow). We'll start the swap this weekend.

Complete Engine.jpg
CamPhasers.jpg
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #15
OK - lots of updates here! Have been a little busy.

Firstly, we timed the new engine on the bench. If you can, I highly recommend this approach to timing it with it still in the car. :lol:

Secondly, a gratuitous picture of our garage that night - a lot of projects going on!


Timing_New_Engine.jpg Timing_Marks_1.jpg Timing_marks_2.jpg Look_Garage.JPG
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #16
Now for the meat of the post... the engine swap.

Done in about 18 continuous hours of work (24 if you include sleep) - we are amateurs after all.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but here's a general overview:

The old engine was totally seized, so we couldn't rotate the crank to release the flexplate to torque converter bolts. We stripped down the old engine as best as we could to see if we could figure out what was causing it to seize. Note the headbolts are T60. Landrover sells a special tool (of course) but we got a set of extra long Torx sockets on Amazon ($16). You can see the epic carnage from cylinder 7 detonating in the block. I wonder what that must have sounded like while driving!

With the engine totally stripped, and new parts transferred over to our donor Jag block, we took the engine/transmission out as one unit. When it was out, it was clear to see the problem - the connecting rod in cylinder 7 had actually impacted through the side of the block (I didn't get a good picture of this). Some short work with a drill and chisel, and we had a very destroyed, but freely-spinning, engine block. Flexbplate bolts came off next, and then we put the transmission back in the car.

After building up the new engine on the stand, we realized that the Jag and Land Rover engines actually have two different sump designs. So we had to switch the oil sumps between engines. The only part that needed to be swapped over was the pickup tube - the sump otherwise bolts up. We did have to clean out the bits of piston chunks from the sump first, and the destroyed oil level sensor too...

The last challenge we faced was swapping the exhaust manifolds, because they are different between the Jag and Land Rover engines as well. It looks like they are mounted with a Torx bit, but it's in between T50 and T55. We thought we were stumped, but turns out an 8MM hex socket works just as well `)

I don't have any pics, because we were both pretty tired at this point, but we installed the new engine in the bay, mounted it to the trans, and starting hooking everything back up.


Head damage.jpg Destroyed_Cylinder.jpg Destroyed_Engine_in_Situ.jpg Engine_Removal_0.jpg Engine_Removal_1.jpg Replacing_trans.jpg Trans_inSitu.jpg Oil_Sump_Old.jpg New_engine_complete.jpg
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #19
Sadly, yes....I'll tell the fun part before the sad part.

The fun stuff:

Put the body back on. Couldn't get the engine to crank though, feared the worst.
Determined with some real "backyard mechanicing" that by jumping the starter relay, we could get a crank. So for a while we had a sequence where one of us would hold down the start button, the other would jump the starter, and we'd actually get ignition for a few seconds. If you let go of the button it died immediately.

Turns out the brake switch was not picking up the non-pressurized brakes. This was a wild guess, but after plugging in the GAP tool and activating the bleeding protocol, and bleeding all the brakes, the pedal felt much firmer. Engine started up instantly. Whoa.

Had a few problem codes: intermittent misfires on 2,4,6,8. Fairly continuous misfires on cylinder 4. After a few seconds of idling, check engine light and "restricted performance" warning chime on the dash.

Replaced the coil on cylinder 4, still misfiring. Checked that the plug sparked on the block - it did. So misfire could be due to fuel or air issues. Seemed like air was getting to all the other cylinders ok.

Drove to get fresh gas to rule out the "bad gas" excuse. Car handled fine over 20 mph, but at idle it was clearly misfiring, and stumbling. New gas did nothing.

The whole time I monitored coolant temps through the GAP tool. temperature rose normally, thermostat opened at 89C and then it held perfectly. Think we got most of the air out of the system, nice.

So..injectors?
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #20
The sad stuff:

Decided to drive it to a local shop to get the injectors properly diagnosed (60 miles). Drove it slowly on the highway. Again, shuddering at idle and "restricted performance" warning on the dash. I kept it around 55 mph, monitored coolant and oil temps the whole time - perfectly in line.

Parked for about 20 minutes. Got in to drive the last few miles. All symptoms as previously described. Then, at a red light, the engine gently died. No explosion, no drama, just idle rpms and then nothing. Engaging the starter did nothing.

Got out and looked around. hitting the start button produced a "click" but nothing. All sorts of codes showing, but seemed like they were more related to the engine not running (open circuits, etc). Nothing about camshaft timing.

Got it towed to a friendly shop - too far from my garage. See sad picture of Range Rover on a flatbed!

Shop says he thinks the engine is seized. Cannot turn it over by hand. Pulled the plugs, and one is slightly bent. This was cylinder 4, the one with the continuous misfire. Not catastrophic damage, just looks like it was "bumped" closed a bit. Boroscope down the spark plug holes reveals that this cylinder hit a valve. Others all look ok.

TowTruck.jpg PLugs.jpg ValveDamage.JPG ValveDamage2.JPG OkCylinder.JPG
 
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