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!

Designed for the extraordinary

A brilliant ad on YouTube for Land Rover! Apparently is has only been aired on TV in the USA. Kind off says it all, the Land Rover brand has been part of many worldwide expeditions and events. Land Rovers have been used as a key exploration tool for many decades by adventurors, scientists and many others. Like said by Land Rover themselves; 'Designed for the extraordinary'.

Ignition system overhaul

Whilst working on the clutch system I could not resist to dig a litter deeper. I removed the cap protecting the spark plugs and ignition leads. And noticed that there was a spark jumping of ignition lead #1, this also may have explained the ticking noise I heard earlier.

I had also been warned by the Land Rover dealer during a complete checkup of the vehicle that these leads were not original Land Rover parts. Since I needed to replace lead #1, I decided to replace the entire system with all original Land Rover parts.

I ordered the following from the local Land Rover dealer:
  • 4 Spark plugs
  • 4 Ignition leads
  • 1 Rotor Cap
  • 1 Main lead
  • 1 Rotor Arm
  • 1 Rotor plate
The installation was pretty simple, not much you can do wrong. Except of course for the correct lead placement order. Like suggested in the Haynes manual I did this step by step leaving the old system in place and replacing one by one with the new system. The contact points inside of the rotor cap looked pretty worn and corroded so a full replacement paid off I guess. The new leads where also noticeably thicker than the old ones.

Oddly enough the correct order can't be directly found in the Haynes nor the official Land Rover workshop manual. I later found out that the cylinder numbering starts with cylinder #1 at the cam belt side and stops with #4 on the rotor cap side. The numbering for the ignition leads on the rotor cap can be found on the rotor cap itself.

I was told by the dealer that gapping of the spark plugs was not necessary and that there was a risk of breaking the plugs doing so, so I did not bother.

Video of the engine running with the new leads (pretty boring actually...):


Clutch Master & Slave Assembly Replacement

After having the clutch failure a complete replacement of the clutch hydraulics was necessary. The clutch hydraulics in the 1.8 Freelander is a closed and sealed system. Meaning that if anything fails you have to replace both the slave and the master cylinders. A new clutch hydraulics kit consists of a single part filled with oil and is ready to go.

According to the Haynes manual it's an advanced job, all in all it's pretty simple just a few snags to watch out for. I started out with taking out the battery and air filter box, this gives good access to the working area. The slave cylinder had simply exploded, most parts where lying around in the engine bay. The master cylinder is a little trickier, you first need to release the pin fixed to the clutch pedal, this takes some fiddling around lying upside down in the car.

The real tricky part was to get the master cylinder itself out, you need to rotate it clockwise 45 degrees before you can pull it out. The problem is that on a LHD vehicle there is simply no extra clearance to do this. You need to keep it perfectly straight to be able to pull it out. This took me about 30 minutes of messing around before I got it out.

Putting the new kit in takes some caution. You need to guide the kit through the engine bay and put it roughly into place. Fitting the slave cylinder is simple, all you need to do is place it on the bracket and clip on the C-clip. I cut the plastic retainers and that was all, for now...

The second tricky part is refitting the master cylinder. The same problem applies, you need to keep it perfectly straight when inserting it through the bulkhead. My problem was that with all the pulling and twisting I noticed some oil coming out. The lid of the master cylinder is not firmly fixed, so whilst fitting be very careful not the undo the lid by accident. If you open the lid air will come in and you can start all over with a new kit. After all I managed to get it in and re-attach the pin to the clutch pedal.

During the test drive I did notice some play in the pedal, not sure if this was there before, the clutch also felt heavier to operate.

Maybe I let a bit of air into the system with all the twisting of the master cylinder...

I placed the wires, air filter and battery back where they belonged and took it for a test drive. All OK! It works once again!

Milage: 153229

Freelander Freelifting

Clutch slave cylinder broke. Apparently this happens. This happened in the middle of the city on a busy intersection. The clutch pedal was like kicking air, nothing happened.

We got the Volvo XC70 out to pull the car to the local Volvo garage who we know very well. They where helpful enough to load the Freelander on a car ambulance and bring it home (with a Land Cruiser...). We could not tow the car home the entire way, with the last adventure in the middle of a field in the middle of the night we damaged the front tow point and whilst pulling over the road with the XC70 it snapped off.

I asked a friend who works at a Land Rover garage to get an new clutch master/slave cylinder kit, and a new front tow point.

Next up some time in the garage...

Stuck again....

Driving back home on a Saturday night we decided it would be a good idea to drive through a ditch in a field. Bad idea. The ditch looked shallow, but was filled with deep and sticky mud.

The Freelander sank to the ground in seconds and was completely stuck. We walked home to get a second car and our 'Search and Rescue' pelican case, which has a mobile powerful winch in it.

The winching seemed to work at first, the Freelander started to move! After some messing about the movement of the Freelander seized and the Volvo V50 to which the winch was anchored started to move towards the Freelander.

By now it was 4:00 AM and 3 degree celcius, after a lot of digging and pulling, we where forced to give up... That REALY SUCKED! We could have tried positioning the Volvo in front of the Freelander to get a better pull, but the risk of getting two cars stuck was to big. I was also scared of damaging things since you start to get desperate at a certain point.

The next day we gave it a second try, this time with a Volvo XC70 AWD weighing almost 2000KG's. Also this was not good enough of an anchor, the winch simply pulled the car over the grass. We did try some pulling with the Volvo, it's a very powerful car, but without grip this of course is useless. We also tried pulling the Freelander at the front having the XC70 stand in the muddy part of the field. Also this time simply no grip, the XC70 just got pulled over the field, even sideways!

Next up was calling a friend with a tractor, he saved us before, so we had high hopes. After more pulling, digging and broken ropes (rated at 5000KG's) it became evident that the tractor was not able to pull it out.

The next and final step was to place the tractor in front of the Freelander, this was risky since this was the muddy(er) part of the field. The advantage of this was however that the tractor would also pull the Freelander up a bit whilst pulling it forward.

This worked!! The tractor got it out and the Freelander was able to move by itself again! After seeing the ravage created in the field the problem became more clear. What happened was that with the first try with the Volvo V50 we pulled the Freelander back by about a car length. The reason we could not get it back more was because the front wheels had fallen in the holes created by the rear wheels. Since the front has less ground clearance than the back it was now really stuck. This was also why we could not pull it in reverse, the full weight of the engine was lying on the front protection plate.

Next up was some serious cleaning, the car was loaded with sticky mud all around, even on the inside. All cleaned up great, the interior is also easy to clean.

So what did we learn from this.....? Land Rovers Rule!
It was the middle of the night, very cold, wearing only a t-shirt, covered in smelly mud, impossible situation and still brilliant! As long as nothing (or no one) gets broken all is alright. Next time we will place some planks or whatever in the tracks to prevent the car from sinking into deeper tire holes. Also quite important is to remember what Ray Mears sayd; 'Walk before you drive'!

A few weeks later I found a post on this forum titled "You know you own a Land Rover when....":

-Your friends won't ride with you 'cause they don't want to wind up in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.

Sounded familier...

Rotating Tyres

It is advice to rotate all four tyres every 10,000KM. I used the method on the BF Goodrich AT site.

This tells you to move the back tyres straight to the front, i.e. back left to front left and back right to front right. The front tyres are then moved to the back but these are crossed; front right to back left and front left to back right.

This way every tyre will eventually get the same wear, for the Freelander this is especially important since the drive line is a sensitive piece of equipment.

It may sound stupid but it's a good idea to mark the wheels with there location on the vehicle before you remove them. Maybe it's just me but you'll be surprised how easy you can get confused. A good way to mark the wheels is by never washing the car, ever, and simply write on the rims with your finger.

Odometer: 151880KM

Catalytic Converter Replacement

The old catalytic converter was clearly worn, when driving around you could hear the metal insides clanging around inside the housing.

I ordered a new converter from this also came with two new gaskets. I picked up some galvanised steel nuts and bolts from a local store assuming the old ones would need grinding of.

The old converter still looked pretty good, the bolts on the back part where also in good enough shape to be removed with using a spanner. The cat and exhaust have a-symmetrical mounting points, because of this you can only mount it on in one way, not one of the wrong ones, brilliant!

New cat, new gaskets, new bolts looks good! I expected it to go all wrong, but no leaks or problems, it also didn't fall of!

Odometer: 151880KM

Blogging a Freelander

For the first time since we have the Freelander I was doing some actual real and needed work on it. The main thing was to replace the catalytic converter, but while I was at it I decided to also rotate the tyres around the car. An important thing to do when rotating tires is to note the odometers milage. I was thinking where to store this information, which would usually render me in indecision thinking about how and where to record this info. Having a bright moment I figured it would be a good idea to start a blog... how boring! Well, at least its not about computers this time so it's not nerdy, is it?
Anyhow, from now on I'll try and keep this blog up to date with the status of our Freelander. Also I'll add some info from before this date, could come in handy.