Undercoating? We don’t need no stinking undercoating (Post #142) 4/30/2009

Some Toyota Tundra owners are reportedly experiencing inordinately heavy amounts of premature rust, and they want the Japanese automaker to take action to address the problem. WCVB TV in Boston has been investigating the Toyota rust situation for about a year, and they’re reporting that at least two dozen 2000-2001 Tundra owners have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Owners of 1995-2001 Toyota pickups say their vehicles had inadequate corrosion protection, and many feel that the automaker should recall the vehicles.

Wow! I thought Land Rovers were rust buckets. I’ve never seen any Land Rover that badly rusted. I will say though, that I live in a nearly perfect climate for Land Rovers.

Click the pic for the story.

And of course the original…

I’ve discussed on a number of occasions a couple of place you should check your Land Rovers for rust. Namely everywhere…wait, no, mostly the floor pans and rear gates of the Range Rover Classics and the cross support on the Land Rover Discovery.

I’ve had floor pans rust out on a Dodge Ram pickup. And I used to ride around in a JagGuy’s Ford Falcon that had liberated speed limit signs for floor boards due to the rust on that body.

JagGuy's Falcon didn't look anything like this one

Rust is not any fun on a classic automobile, let alone on a new model. So if you haven’t made a point of taking up the carpets in your Land Rover I highly recommend it. You need to nip that rust in the bud as soon as you find it. Otherwise you will be doing the difficult and unpleasant work of replacing panels and other parts lost to this silent killer. (almost sounds like an infomercial doesn’t it)

There are lots of solutions for your rust problems. I urge you to research them before you are buying a complete frame or worse, scraping a beloved Land Rover.

Happy Rovering and thanks for reading.

R.I.P. 2003 Discovery (Post #138) 4/14/2009

As many of you have heard, the 2003 Discovery is no more. Okay, that’s not entirely true it will live on as a parts car or with a rebuilt title for some lucky or unlucky fellow. My daughter tapped rear ended a Dodge pickup and totaled it. I know what you are thinking, TOTALED? After the insurance company added up all the plastic crap bits on the front that had to be replaced and a very slight push back of the fenders it was more to repair the vehicle than the value of the vehicle.

I was none too pleased either. We still owed more than the value of the vehicle. Making me upside down in a vehicle I was about to give over to the insurance company. The good news is the bank, having no other choice, is going to let us pay out the remainder on a signature note. I got lots of offers to buy bits off and even Disco Mike called me offered a way to close the gap on the value to loan ratio.

I had wanted to put an ARB bumper on it the first few months after we had bought it. But my wife vetoed my purchase. Buying a 1000$(US) bumper to replace $1000(US) of plastic made sense to me. But sadly not to my wife. So the Campho-Phenique on the wound of the wreck was when Charlie Blankenship of Sports and Classics told me after looking at the damage, “if you had an ARB bumper on there, you wouldn’t have had any damage.” So my advice to all you Discovery owners, buy a better bumper FRONT and REAR. And my own advice is to attempt to never buy another vehicle that in a 10mph wreck, disintegrates on impact.

Have you ever thought about this? Look around, nearly every car has plastic crap bumpers. You can’t buy anything short of a truck that has metal bumpers. And even in those there are a lot of plastic bits.

Let’s move on to the ranting evaluation.

I did not like the following about the Discovery 2 design.

Getting in and out of the back seat. Doors did not open far enough and the portal was was too small. If the doors would have opened to 90 degrees or 6 inches were added to the wheel base they would have sold a hundred thousand more of these in the US.

The back door opened to the side. You could not haul any over length items due to the method in which the door opened. The lift gate on the Range Rover is more practical for “working vehicles”.

Integrated hub/wheel sensors. You have to replace the entire hub (400$ part, eight hours labor) to swap out a 25$ part. Very poor design. The famous Three Amigos began glowing one month out of warranty.

Placement of the coil packs. Placing the coil packs behind the engine under the cowling is stupid. You have to be a magician to reach the plug wires or disassemble the top of the engine to replace them. I have been told this can be done without this disassembling but with the addition of the next “stupid add-on” it is impossible.

Pre-heater pollution control crap. They fitted a heated air pump that failed twice in 95,000 miles of driving to the vehicle to reduce emissions. I’m pretty sure the idea, while probably a good one, was put in place to appease some jackass Kalifornia congressman or woman who is hell bent for leather to save the planet. About a year after that emission control standard was enacted another even more stupid standard was released making that feature totally unnecessary/out-dated.

Rear view too obstructed. This is a trend I’ve noticed lately with all cars. You just can’t see out the back to back up or change lanes. Thank God for mirrors and good bumpers…oh wait not that last part. I am very spoiled after driving my 1993 Range Rover. You can see very well out of every window.

Plastic bumpers. Seriously? W.T.F?

Black interior. I know it’s cosmetic, but I’ll never own another black interior automobile. It never looked clean, no matter how much cleaning you did.

18 inch wheels. Who came up with that? And why couldn’t you at least match the diameter of the wheels you intended to ship with the vehicle? With the factory 18 inch wheels the speedometer was five miles per hour off (slow). So when you were blazing down the highway at 75mph you were really only going 70mph. I’m pretty sure this was a miles per gallon cheat. Funny thing was I reported a problem to the dealer about a lag between 3rd gear and 4th gear. And they said it was due to OVER SIZED TIRES. That’s strange, because those are the exact size tire shipped on the S model of the Discovery.

CD changer location. On the Range Rover Classic the CD changer is located in the rear of the vehicle. On the Discovery it is located under the passenger seat. It is very difficult to eject the magazine, especially with a light wave sucking black interior.

Rear seats. They simply felt like they were an after thought. They sat up too far, meaning if they had reclined just another 10 degrees they would have been much, much better.

Added after contemplation and sorting of spares in the garage.

Wipers didn’t work when the temperature dropped below 30 degrees. I’m pretty sure this was the relay under the dash as I could hear it clicking when it did work. As the cab heated up the wipers would work as designed.

Headlights wouldn’t come on when the temperature dropped below 25 degrees. Again I think this was a relay. You could turn on the switch and about 20 seconds later the lights would come on.

Climate control center. When you started up the Disco you could just about be guaranteed that the air would not come out of the vents you had set upon exit. It was not uncommon that I would cycle through the settings to get the air coming out of the correct vents. Often I would cycle each option just to get back to the setting the system was set to. Heating up. I also didn’t like the way the cabin would heat up on those magical days when the outside temperature as perfect and you didn’t need the air conditioner. I would turn off the climate control and sure enough the cabin would feel like the heater was on just a few minutes later. In the later days I could hear the passenger side dampers slapping shut randomly. Dual climate control is a silly feature. You could have the heater blowing on one side of the car while the AC was blowing on the other. In my opinion a complicated system riddled with things that fail.

Unserviceable parts. The first thing you read about when buying a Discovery is replacing or rebuilding the center drive shaft. For a vehicle with roots in the Savannah crossing masterpieces of Africa, why would you build a DRIVE SHAFT that you couldn’t lubricate? Why would a dealership put ANOTHER unserviceable drive shaft on after it failed? Where was the thinking on that one design engineers? I’ll give you that it perhaps wasn’t the design engineers, so where was the thinking on that one, parts sourcing manager guy/girl?

Noisy transfer box differential. It is a common problem that Discovery’s have a high pitched whine come from the transfer case. After replacing the oil at the scheduled maintenance points you can reduce the noise but it never really quite goes away.

Now for the good things…

I liked the front seats. It was comfortable especially for a guy with a bad back. The back seats were nice but as I mentioned above if they had reclined a bit they would have been better.

The 4.6 engine. I liked the responsiveness and power. The gas mileage was totally crappy at an average of 12.5 miles per gallon. But this thing was just short of a hot rod. If there was a nice tuned diesel under the bonnet, I would have paid to have the wreck repaired.

Sound system. Only a few times did I wish the dial had “gone to eleven” as they say.

Every time I heard, “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour. The sound system responded well, it was loud and it sounded good, but it needed an eleven.

Off-road. I only had her off-road a few times. Even with the Three Amigos glowing at me it never gave me a reason to cuss her. Only one time did it fail me when one wheel came off the ground trying to park at Norman High’s soccer and softball facility. We had to adjust how we parked that day.

Roomy cargo area. The one gripe I have about my Range Rover Classic is the lack of space behind the rear seats. I have slept in the back of my Disco and my Classic and the Disco was better due to the height of the space. You can really pack in the gear and since you can’t see out the back even when it’s empty, you really don’t notice it too much when it’s full of reenacting gear.

The design looked good. I’ve seen all manner of this model decked out from full on expedition mode to plain Janes running soccer moms to their favorite latte watering holes and the Land Rover Discoverys always look good.

Will you ever buy another one?
As I learned from Sean Connery, “Never say never, again”. If I did buy one I would probably look for a 1999 Series 1. And the closer it was to simple workhorse the better. And if I could find a rare diesel import all the better. I would prefer to own a Series Landy for a toy. So who knows.

Well that’s about it. I don’t think anything else I could say would be terribly constructive or helpful for my readers. I’m gonna miss my Discovery even though I hated so much about it. It managed to grow on me. I guess the old saying, “it’s a Land Rover thing you wouldn’t understand” really fit for this Land Rover. I’ve never been so excited and at the same time disappointed by a vehicle.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Holy Crap! What a week. (Post #136) 4/7/2009

Let’s start with the good part. I took my son-in-law to his first living history event. We attended the Fort Washita Rendezvous. He has been interested in his Pottawatomie heritage lately and wanted to “do it old school”. So I dressed him as best as my kit would allow and we went to the event and had a great time. We are dressed as Natives in the Fur Trade Period from the 1820-1830s time period in what is today Oklahoma. I am dress as a Cherokee and he as a Pottawatomie.

Some nice panoramic photos of the fort can be found HERE.

I’ve posted some pictures. One has me tomahawking a man in the “mock battle” we had for the spectators on Saturday afternoon. It was great fun.

On the way home we “took the long way” due to a train parked across the tracks in Madill. There was no sign of it moving so we headed north towards Tishimingo. Along the way we pulled off the road several times to gawk at the old farm houses mostly abandoned. We didn’t think to take pictures. We did stop on the side to take a picture of a weird sculpture outside a welding shop.

Sunday night was full of fun. RovErica called from her cellular on the way home from dropping off DietMtDrew’s friend to report the Range Rover was very hard to keep on the road and was shaking “like last time”. The last time was the loose lug nuts incident. I had rebuilt the left rear brake caliper and failed to tighten up the lug nuts completely.

Well this time I was sure it was the steering box. RovErica reported a steering problem a month or so ago. I had been reading on the forums about steering boxes and thought that was it for sure. I tighten the steering box up and the problem seemed to go away.

So I took the Rangie out for a test drive to confirm my suspicion. It indeed wobbled all over the road. I had only drove a couple of blocks and it was really bad. How she managed to keep it on the road was amazing.

I called my buddy JagGuy and asked him about steering box replacement. He had done some work recently on his and I wanted to find out what I had gotten myself into.

I crawled underneath to investigate and found. The nut holding the pitman arm to the steering shaft was nearly completely off. My youngest two kids and my niece were in that Rover. If that nut had come off it could have been really bad.

I was thinking the slotted washer that is designed to keep the nut from spinning had failed. Well that washer is NOT slotted or keyed. I was shocked. What’s the point of bending the washer to hold the nut from spinning if the washer is not held in place by some manner?

So I cleaned off the arm and the shaft and the nut and the washer. I wire brushed as much of the old lock-tite from the threads.

OH I didn’t mention that? Yeah I had blue thread locker on it from the steering seal replacement from 3 years ago.

I got the nut tightened down and added some more thread locker. I then bent the washer again. I’m not sure why but I did. A quick test drive to the Norman North crosstown clash with Norman High in soccer, North took both games, proved that it would be safe to drive again. This week I am going to be attempting to get as many of the bushings from the bushing kit on her in JagGuy’s shop. He has a lift and that should help greatly getting the bushings replaced.

But Monday was not done. At lunch RovErica managed to hit a Dodge Ram Pickup on Gray street and totally destroy the front of the Discovery. AWESOME! So just to keep the score straight. RovErica 4, Discovery 0. Yeah in some manner or other she has wrecked the Discovery 4 times. She was hit from behind. Bumper checked a car during the ice storm, backed the Discovery into the Taurus which took out the B piler on the Taurus. And finally she smacked the pickup truck. She has also been rubbed by a kid in the parking lot of North while she was impatiently waiting to leave the parking lot.

Awesome start to a week don’t ya think?

(I’ll post pics of the Discovery’s front tomorrow.)

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

More of the same (Post #120) 12/17/2008

I haven’t had much to blog about lately. The Discovery still has a door panel off waiting for me to get a window regulator or the plastic wheels to fix the existing mangled regulator.

The Range Rover is still throwing codes for 69 position switch and 44 for a bad O2 sensor. And the exhaust still sounds like crap. The down turn in the economy has me on hold for now. Maybe after the new year comes around. My mother usually gives me money for Christmas, maybe I’ll buy parts with it this year.

Good news, the door lock on the rear door of the Discovery just magically started working again. It had a weird problem. When I locked the Disco, the latch would not go down. When I double locked, it would go down. But if I doubled it would not unlock when I unlocked the vehicle. Weird. But with the ultra cold weather recently, 11 degrees F on Monday, things have changed.

Temporary(?) fix for the leaking throttle body preheating thing (Post #115) 11/21/2008

How do you like that title?
I wasn’t sure what the part on the bottom of the throttle body that developed the leak is called. So that will be the temporary name with the temporary fix.

Temporary because I would have done it a lot different if I knew more about what those bits do. The hose is small and couldn’t possibly affect the cooling ability of the system. It is also temporary because if i were to “re-plumb” that part I would have cut the hose and matched it with the hose going into the manifold. But because it is pressurized it’s got to have a flare on the hose. I don’t have anyway to flare that plastic hose and without the flare the first time it got hot and pressurized it would dump all the coolant in short order.

So for now it will be plumbed that way. I tucked the hoses out of the way and put a zip tie on it to hold it down.

Many thanks go out to Disco Mike for his suggestion to just plumb it closed and call it good. He is an excellent resource and knows his Rovers very well. I owe you a beer (or six) for sure.

The Magic of the Service Engine Light (Post #110) 10/27/2008

I was under the hood of the Discovery just the other weekend looking for the vacuum leak that was causing the pre-heater to throw codes. I found it and got that sorted out. While in there I noticed some things. The coolant leak I found when I was swapping the plugs and wires. Well it is looking like that again.

And guess what? Yeah I’m overheating. And this morning the coldest day of the fall I had NO HEAT. So I’m guessing I’ve got a coolant issue somewhere. I’m going to fill it up tonight to see if I’m just low on fluid. I hope that’s what it is. I, like many others, are having a bad fall quarter financially and car repairs are way down the list of necessities right now. The potential expenses on the other current problems doesn’t leave us much left for a new serious problem. So lets just hope it’s just low coolant.

Also a couple of weekends ago I changed out the differential lubricant on the Range Rover Classic. It came out the consistency of goo. The only way to describe it is a cross between the 90-140 and the grease for the CV joints. Kind of a black slurry. It couldn’t possibly have been doing it’s job. I have to order some new pre-measured CV lube and get that in there quickly.

I can’t seem to find the swivel grease at Atlantic British site. I know they have it…but it’s not on the site, or I’m using a different name than they do.

So to recap, we need oxygen sensors and swivel grease for the Range Rover and for the Discovery we need a solution for the window regulator and to sort out the coolant/no heat issue.

Geee, aren’t cars fun?

Speaking of fun. I ran across a really good site the other day. And I’ll pass it along to you.

It’s got all the fun pics of hot rods and motorcycles and some chicks too. I really liked the design and content. Lots to see and lots of pictures. I’m not a “hot rod” kinda guy. I do like old cars and I do like motorcycles. Mostly old motorcycles. And I really like the 50-60s culture. Rock-a-billy is fun to listen to and just counter cultural enough to keep out the posers (like me) but easy enough to get into. Just buy a old bike or build yourself a hot rod or cruiser and some boss clothes.

I really enjoyed some of the hot rod pics. This one caught my eye. With my buddy JagGuy building a car hauler out of a 1940s truck, I thought this guy has a really nice rig.

That is taking a concept and throwing away any sort of budget and just getting in there and making something great. The best part is, I know a place in Newcastle Oklahoma that has a similar truck in his driveway. They’ve been just sitting and rusting in his yard since I was a boy. I drove by there last month and they are still sitting there.

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

If you keep going west on NW 10th you’ll see a nice Google Glitch if you are looking North.

When I see “potential projects” like this I wonder what people are thinking. I wonder if when they buy that old truck they had plans to “do something” with it. I know I’ve driven by at least 50 cars I wish I had the time and money to make into fun projects to drive. From a Volkswagon bus in Willow, Oklahoma to numerous 1960s and older camper trailers, to this 1940s behemoth (I’m guessing a Packer) that’s been just sitting in this guys backyard on Carter Avenue for at least 15 years I know about.

View Larger Map

It’s the blue blob there in the middle. It looks like it has all the parts. Just never been worked on. My dad’s friend had a bunch of cars sitting in a field in Tuttle Oklahoma when I was growing up that I thought would have made great hot rods. With my more mature age today, I know they would have made great restoration projects.

Until next time… fire up some Rock-a-billy at the nutSie website and cruise over to the Blacktop site and check out the bitchin’ rides.