Electrical Gremlins (Post #331) 4/20/2013

I’ve resolved that this weekend will be mostly electrical in nature on the Range Rover. This is not my favorite thing  to fix. I took electronics at Mid-America Vo-tech school when I was still in high school. I was only mildly interested in it. My dad was an electronic technician for the Federal Aeronautics Administration (FAA). He learned it in the Navy and wanted me to have the same life. That was not to be. I didn’t fall far from that tree, I went into the computer industry.

I have quite a list to address this weekend:

  • Sunroof
  • ABS Sensors
  • Utility light
  • Clock

Those are the electrical issues. This is not to mention my radio is still not working. But that is another post. I decided to start with the sunroof tonight. Mrs. OkieRover was going out to a Pampered Chef party which left me at home to drink beer work on my Range Rover.

I opened up the PDF of my workshop manual and found the location of the sunroof’s relay. I have already tested for power at the switch. The fuse is good and I’m pretty sure now it is the motor. I think I have a few more things to test but I’m mostly convinced either the controller is dead or the motor.

Next up was the ABS sensors. I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to test each one for conductivity. I did that tonight. I required me finding the ABS sensor plugs. The fronts are located inside the engine bay on the fenders. A quick pull and measure, done. The rear are located on the bottom of the bed just above the rear axle. I pulled those and measured, done. All four have the same value when run through the ohm meter. As does the other end when checked toward the computer.

That’s mostly disappointing. As I was hoping for a Sesame Street easy, this one is not like the others and I could swap it and my life would be ABS complete again. The second thing to test is that the sensors are fully seated against the ABS rings. This requires a dowel rod and hammer to knock the rear sensors back into place. When you start rolling the sensors are set at the correct distance and should start functioning correctly.

I haven’t got her rolling yet so I’m not sure if this made any difference. Hopefully I’ll find its all good. I said hopefully, I’m not insane, I know it won’t, but until tomorrow there’s still hope.

Not excited about the blue plastic dust shield.

Having had so much success with my projects so far, I thought I should do something I knew would be completed. I decided to fit the new Terrafirma steering damper. That was pretty easy. The old Bilstein I bought in 2000 was probably ready for a swap. If you are thinking of this job, its a One on the Difficulty Scale.

Tired Bilstein

I then looked into the Utility light under bonnet. I went to a breakers yard in 2001 and parted a light off of a Chevy Suburban. It’s a low watt light with a long extension cord. For some odd reason this “amazing piece of American technology” (end sarcasm) had stopped working. I checked all the wires back to the battery and everything was in order.

Mounted near the radiator overflow tank.

From the driver’s side across the top of the engine.

 This left just the light itself as the problem. I tested the bulb and concluded either the cord or the switch had failed on the light. The cord was the less likely so I pulled the light off and decided to fix the switch. The switch it used was a simple friction switch. Turn the switch 90 degrees and the a wedge presses a tab against another tab for contact.

I cut the plastic casing away and found a very gunked up contact point. I cut away more and then fitted a proper toggle switch. I soldered it all up and now have a working light again.

Tomorrow I’m out to Newcastle to see a T-ball game and then back in the garage.

Take a minute and visit this clever fellow’s site (http://www.mez.co.uk/lucas.html). He has several funny jokes about Lucas, The Prince of Darkness.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Rovering.

A diamond in the rough (Post #275) 11/25/2011

Last weekend I dragged my neighbor Fish4OSU up to JagGuy’s shoppe to see if I had a spare starter on my spare engine. Unfortunately I did not. On a whim and a suggestion we went by the local “pull-a-part” which I learned today is not part of the national chain. It is U-Pull-It, whatever.

Fish4OSU needed a fan motor for his daughter’s Saturn LS-1 and a mirror. I needed a starter. I’ve been to this breakers yard many times, they seldom have any Land Rovers. But I thought what am I out, a buck…what the hell.

We found lots of Saturns and the mirrors were not in that great a condition. Fish4OSU commented it must be a thing with these cars. Bad or missing passenger side mirrors. Nearly everyone had either swapped paint with something or been driven behind a truck pulling a sand blaster down I-35. While he sourced the fan I went in search of a diamond in the rough.

I walked the 200 yards to the “import” section. I stopped to admire a Mercedes Benz 300SD with a diesel motor. As I walked on, I dreamed about dropping that into my Range Rover. I looked right and what did I see?

YES! that was the tell-tale roof line of a Range Rover Classic. When I got up to her there was a gentleman attempting to extract the transaxle or transfer case or transmission. I’m not sure he was sure. As I looked her over I mumbled, “1993 or 1994, I wonder if there are any others”. He heard me and replied, “1994. This is the only one.” I politely told him I was going to be in the front and that I’d be right back.
I went back to tell Fish4OSU I found one. He was finished and we returned to the Range Rover. The gentleman was gone and the drive train was still intact. I started on the top end retrieving parts. I got the fuel temperature sensor, the water temperature sensor, the cap from the overflow tank and the throttle position sensor (fingers crossed, say goodbye to my error 14). I went into the cab and found the EFI computer and the window ECU. I pulled them too. I was pretty happy with myself and we returned to the counter to pay.
Just as I put my receipt in my wallet I looked down and noticed a starter sitting on the counter. I forgot to get the one thing I had gone there to get! I had already paid, so I told Fish4OSU to wait for me, “this will only take a second.” I got back to the Range Rover and started to work on removing the starter.
The bottom bolt came off easily enough. I got lined up for the top bolt. No matter how hard I tried I could not get it out. I worked on it for at least 30 minutes before I gave up bruised, battered and covered in oily dirt. The tools we borrowed from JagGuy just weren’t quite up to snuff or I sucked using them…the jury is still deliberating.
They had Sunday hours and I said I’d just grab my tools and come back tomorrow. Saturday was beautiful, middle 70’s and truly pleasant outside. Sunday was the opposite of that. It was 37 degrees and a 10-15mph wind from the North blowing in low clouds. If it had been 10 degrees colder it would have been snowing. That figures doesn’t it? But it is the OkieRover way, never easy.
So I got back to her and got to work. I could not break that bolt free. I’m pretty sure I tore the head up as I was unable to get any satisfaction. Frustrated I looked at the top of the motor. There was an original alternator there and an original air conditioning compressor. I thought I could use both of those things. So I went about removing them. 
As I cut the lines for the air conditioning compressor, they still had pressure in them! Bonus, this compressor was still working when this Rover met her demise. I grabbed a rear lens from the passenger side and both of the door handles still in the doors. My second day injuries were minimal, some light bruising and a partially crunched pinky finger. Funny thing is, I don’t bruise. I’ve fallen off the back of a van going nearly 30mph through a field and I didn’t bruise. Yeah, that’s a story for another time.
How this Classic wound up in the yard I do not know. The panels were all straight. It was not a wrecked truck. It even had a cigarette lighter in it (I grabbed it too). The inside was in rough condition. Not as bad as mine but you could tell it was not well cared for by the driver. The headliner was still original. It lead me to believe the transmission or some electrics may have been its undoing. I would have liked to have had the whole body but that was not possible. You cannot buy a Salvaged Title vehicle “intact” in Oklahoma. She was probably still Dealership maintained, looking at the parts I saw inside.
All in all I made a killing. The first days parts cost me roughly 26$(US). If even one of the parts is in working condition I scored big.

The second day’s parts were more pricey, 87$(US). But the air conditioning compressor costs twice that so I’m still “standing in tall cotton” as we say in Oklahoma.

I am really happy I found her and was able to get some parts off her. I was sad to see her in the breaker’s yard. It just makes me realize that Classics are getting harder to come by and getting parts for them will be getting harder and harder. I guess when I can no longer get the important parts, I’ll just have to buy a Series 2a or Series 3. You can still get most of the parts for one of those from Rovers North.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Uggggh! Electrical Problems (Post #220) 11/15/2010

I love electrical problems. I love them like I love ingrown toenails. I love them like I love getting speeding tickets. I love them like I love getting phone calls from my children telling me they have dropped ANOTHER cell phone in a toilet or a sink at work or jumped in the swimming pool with it in their pocket.

Lately my electrical problems have been related to the transmission system. When I pull the shifter to change gears the warning tone goes off. Here is the page from the Range Rover Owner’s Manual 1993, Page 41.

Just before I took the Range Rover out of service RovErica and I had been seeing the odd Code 69. And during the really, really cold weather the tone would sound randomly. DietMtDrew thought that was, “the coolest code ever”. Great, teenage boys, I’m pretty sure that is something he and I should talk about. Anyway, it looks like I have something going on with the switches and monitoring of my transmission.

I am guessing the next thing is to find all the electrics and check the connections. Right now the engine and transmission are hot and will need to cool. With the weather change outside that will be easy. Today the temp outside was 57 (F) degrees. It is interesting that when I started this project the temperature is 107 (F) outside. By the time I finish this project, and I say finish in a “finish for now” sorta way, the temperature will be closer to 37 (F) outside.

The engine and transmission were hot, because I swapped the transmission fluid in the transmission. And after I swapped it I went for a little drive. The fluid that came out was a nasty color and had a burnt smell. That was totally expected. If you have read the blog you know I burnt four gear pulling the camping trailer back from Fort Sill where I took possession from military surplus.

I ran an errand early this afternoon to fill up my wife’s Honda CRV with petrol and while I was out I bought a gallon of Mercon/Dex-a-something-or-other. I read a blog post where swapping the fluid was as easy as dropping the fluid and pouring in a gallon of new fluid. It took a little more than a gallon to top her off.

While I was working on replacing the center console I managed to damage the emergency brake position switch. And now it’s broke. I’ll get to that after I sort out the last of my lovely electrical issues, brake light. The last time I shut the Rover down all was well. When I started her up this time, I have a nagging brake light illuminated in the warning lights. Nothing has changed in that system from the last time I drove her so I’ll have to get under and check all the sensors and pray I find a loose wire somewhere. It’s a lead pipe cinch it’s not the emergency brake position switch.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Central Locking System Woes (Post #158) 11/13/2009

I attempted to repair the central locking system on Veteran’s Day. I could write this post in the form of a battle, but I will not. I won’t write the post in that form mainly because…

“History is written by the victors.” – Winston Churchill

So with that quote you have probably figured out I lost the battle.

First, I wasn’t totally confident I would win. I took a lot of INTEL (reading and research) in to the battle with me.
I had all the RESOURCES (tools and time) to win.
None of that allowed me to carry the day.

I got the panels off of the passenger side doors. These were the locks that bounced UP and DOWN four or five times each time one of them was locked. This resulted in the locks either being locked or unlocked when it finished. It was a crap shoot each time. So to lock the Rover you waited for the cycling to stop and then you manually lock the doors. As you can imagine, I received quite a bit of teasing from the unwashed non-Rover people that ride in my beloved Landy.

After the panels were removed I attempted to sort out what was happening each time the locks were depressed. I’m guessing there is a threshold that checks if the locks are in the locked state. And at the point you press the lock it attempts to lock the door several times until it just gives up. That is a basically a WAG (wild ass guess).

Even my remote fails to do the job. I did use it once to unlock the doors as a last resort after my daughter locked the last remaining key in the truck on a very cold winter day. Also locked inside the vehicle that day was her coat. So with freezing rain coming down we each learned a valuable lesson that day.

I guess I’m going to replace the entire system. Or I’m going to at the least replace some bits to get it back to functioning. There is a great post by Chris-St Louis on DiscoWeb describing how he repaired his central locking system. There is even a schematic that shows how to wire the entire system with two relays. To check out his post you will have to register at the site.

There are some great tips on the RangeRovers.net site as well. I’d go through these before jumping to the replace everything stage. A used replacement door lock module could also be a solution if you are willing to spend the money for it. Perhaps your’s is just worn out.

So for the mean time I have pulled the fuse and I am locking and unlocking the doors “the old fashioned way” ala’ my 1978 Malibu. It is a barbaric method of locking your vehicle. But it does cut down on the disparaging remarks from my non-Rover buddies.

Chris graces all his posts with another great quote by Winston Churchill.

“Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end; there it is.”

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.