Oil Change

Replacing the engine oil, engine oil filter and gearbox oil. The engine oil service was according to schedule, however according to the Haynes manual gearbox oil it is not needed to be replaced. Since I am taking of the IRD (see other post) I might as well put new oil in it. Getting the oil out is easy, but geting new oil in is a little trickier.

To fill up the gearbox I used a (clean!) garden hose and stuck it in the filler hole.
Mileage: 169030

VCU and Driveshaft Removal

The VCU realy started to stiffen up the drivetrain, to be safe I removed the entire main driveshaft including the VCU and bearings from the car.

Removing it is pretty straightforward, just make sure to secure the shafts they are a bit clumsy. I fixed the shafts to the bottom of the car and gradually lowered the enter shaft gradually, being careful not to bend it to much.

Belt change

As the Haynes manual states the auxiliary and the power steer belt should be changed every so many miles, also when I start the engine a short squeal is heard. Not a very hard job but I managed to mess this up in a great way.

To take of the auxiliary belt the tensioner should first be relaxed. But before you do this you should of course first loosen the securing bolt that holds the tensioner to the engine. I did not do this.... As a result the bolt broke. To find out what bolt this was I ordered the official Land Rover parts manual. This book is full of exploded views with part numbers of every part of the entire car, highly recommended!

After finding the correct part number for the bolt I ordered and installed a new bolt, power steer belt, auxiliary belt and auxiliary belt tensioner. Job done.


IRD and engine oil change

Changed the engine oil, filter and the IRD oil. Not a very hard job. I had no record of the last engine oil change so it seemed like a good idea to do it now and keep records. Engine oil had no surprises, the IRD oil however did show some scary symptoms. The oil was silvery and had some small metal parts in it. I guess the parts are from broken spacers from inside the IRD. Not good.

Since the oil was out I was curious about the state of the pinion. I loosened the nuts on the drive shaft but had trouble removing it from the flange. To get it loose I attached a hose clamp to the CV joint on the drive shaft and carefully tapped it loose.

When the pinion was finally loose I could not see any visible damage to the gears or excessive play in any of the gears or bearings accessible. I reassembled the IRD and drive shaft and filled up the IRD with oil while following the instructions in the Haynes manual. To be safe the next plan is to get hold of a new IRD, preferably a newer unit with the newer/better ratios.


Installing a portable radio set

Having a portable radio set in the car should be fun. Every now and then we set out with multiple cars and having an easy way of communication always comes in handy. I did not want to mess around with battery's so I got a cheap radio set including a DC charger base/holder.

It took a while to figure out where to place the charger, eventually the small storage in the tailgate was the best fit. This way the radios are also out of sight when the car is locked, it's not an expensive set but could be convincing enough for someone to break open a window for it.

The charger unit is 7.5 VDC so I needed a DC/DC converter, again a cheap option was at hand by using a plug-in cigarette DC/DC type. The unit was stripped and the input and output cables were attached directly to the PCB.

The power is sourced from the central cigarette lighter, a cable was added and routed beneath the carpet along existing wires the the back of the vehicle. Here the DC/DC converter is attached behind the bodywork and all cables are labelled. The charger base is fixed with screws to the base of the tailgate inner plastic. Some Velcro straps are attached to the charger to secure the radios while in the charger.

We have been using this setup numerous times since installed, pretty cool to always have fully powered radios at hand! The maximum range is about 3 to 5 kilometres, which is good enough most of the time.

New rear differential

While the subframe was removed for the chassis repairs I also replaced the rear diff for a completely new unit from Ashcroft. The old unit had worn pinion bearings, and was also the older TVK100380 type. Replacing the diff with the newer TVK000180 type sounded like the better option than rebuilding the old unit.

It's a pretty easy job, especially when the subframe is removed.

Mileage: 15400

Cracked Chassis

Literally the moment I drove out of the garage after the ignition upgrade I noticed a loud, metallic, short, hard to describe click coming from the back of the vehicle. The click occurred practically every time I reversed the car while turning 90 degrees and then pulling away forward, as you do when you drive a car out of a parking space. The click/bang/knock sound happens at the instant you pull forward after the initial reversing.

After a lot of searching on the net about this problem, which is a common one for the early Freelanders, a few causes and fixes turned up for this problem.
  • Loose nut cage
    The rear subframe is attached to the chassis with four long bolts, these bolts are inserted from underneath the car and go through the subframe arms, then through a thick chassis rail. Inside the chassis rail is a square nut that holds the bolt in place. This square nut is encased inside a metal cage which is welded directly to the chassis.

    To access this nut and cage you can pop out a plastic cover in the boot floor, there are at least four of these. But the problem one of the four is always to one on the right side of the car, and the most forward one of the two right one's.

    Now comes the important part! Most people suggest that this cage can be loose, and is the cause of the problem, I assumed this was my problem, but was wrong! I lifted the car and removed the bolt, when the bolt was almost out I could move and wiggle it around with the nut still on the threads on the other end. Because of this I assumed that my problem was indeed that the cage had broken loose and I simply needed to weld it back in place.

    I decided to remove the carpet out of the boot fully, and cut open the floor in an X pattern around the hole. Now I could see the nut but started to doubt that this was the problem. It looked in good condition, and the cage itself was welded firmly to the chassis. I could move the nut a little inside the cage but started to think this is normal. To check this I removed the other three bolts one by one from below the car, and all where the same. Once loosened (not fully removed) I could move the nut around a little inside the cage (not fully rotate it though).

    Now I had a hole in the floor, and no solution to the problem.

  • Puddle welding tubular cross member
    I found this solution in an official Land Rover Technical bulletin (0112). I could hardly image this was the problem, and the welding would be the solution to this problem. In the same bulletin Land Rover basically says the same and comes up with the second suggestion to replace the entire right hand longitudinal rail of the chassis. This is a major repair involving expensive parts and lots of work. I skipped this.

  • Welding and Fixing the Actual Crack
    On a number of forums I found that more people had had the same problem and fixed it themselves. It actually is a pretty simple fix as long as you can weld (or can find someone that can and know what he is doing).

    The repair consists of removing the subframe and cleaning the surface of the chassis where the subframe meets. I welded the crack to make sure that all is back to normal on the chassis rail. I welded on a metal plate as wide as the chassis rail, and about 15cm long. The plate should have both the holes for the center pin and the bolt. The plate was welded all around, and around the hole where the bolt goes through.

    To be sure we did the exact same at the left hand side of the car. To keep it a bit balanced, although this may not be necessary. We left the rear subframe mounting points as they were.
Both metal plates where coated with Tectyl and we reattached the subframe. After this repair the clicking noise had gone!