Starting the Year off Right, Sorting Out A Few Annoying Things (Post #522) 1/4/2015

After I took the Christmas lights off the house I moved the Range Rover into the shelter of the garage. It’s a little bit chilly out there and being out of the wind seemed like a good idea.

The first annoying problem I looked at was the problem opening the driver’s side door. As most of you Land Rover owners have experienced, the flappy-paddle-trapeze of opening a Range Rover Classic door is silly. Once it gets out of adjustment it’s pretty frustrating trying to get your doors open. To top it off my door especially doesn’t like to open when it is cold out.

The left rod in this picture is the rod you turn for adjustment.

I pulled the door card and looked for the outside handle’s adjustment rod. To adjust it you remove the keeper clip at the top and then turn the rod clockwise. I chose to turn it four revolutions. I hooked it back up and then tested it.

Worked just as I expected it to, perfectly. The inside handle needed adjustment too. For this rod you trace it from the handle to the end that attaches to the trapeze bits. It has a “Z” in the rod and a spring to keep it in place. On the end it has a 7mm nut. It’s not fun to find the end and get the wrench on it.

I gave it at least a full revolution. The inside handle now engages the release a little sooner. This is better than the last time when I got a bit carried away and couldn’t get the door open after adjusting it.

The second was getting the unlock lever back into it’s guide. I had removed this when I had trouble getting the door panel reattached to the door. The guide broke and I didn’t bother to reinstall it until today.

The broken guide I had glued broke again. I installed it anyway. I think it looks better than just the lever floating around in a hole in the door card.

When the door card was off I investigated the electric door actuators. Mine have become weak and cause the famous “bouncing lock problem“. Since those initial investigative blog posts I’ve learned the actuators weaken and don’t set the lock correctly and cause the lock and unlock issue. Replacing the actuators fixes the issue in some instances.

I then turned my attention to the center brake light. It has not worked for a while. I thought it was a burned out bulb. A few months ago I check it and the bulb was just bouncing around loose in the lamp fixture. So I swapped the bulb, still no light. I made the sure the bulb was making a good connection. I then traced the wires to the plug under the headliner. I found two plugs that did not match. I guess when I replaced the upper rear door frame they sent me a frame with the wrong plug on it.

I went out to my old frame, which I kept because it has good glass still in it. I had cut the old plug off. I guess in my haste to reinstall I didn’t swap the plug. Well long story short the plug is in a box somewhere and instead of digging through boxes for hours, I decided that I’d just splice the wires. Once completed, my center brake light now works again.

The last thing was the Range Rover letters on the tailgate are coming unglued. After I worked on the brake light they were all but coming off. In fact the A did come off.

I got some rubbing alcohol out and cleaned up the glue locations. I got some glue and decided to attempt to glue them back into place. If it fails again, I have another sticker I can replace them with.

So today I knocked out these little annoying things. Not a bad day if I say so myself. I wish I had time to work on the radio too but it will have to be another day.

It’s January. S.C.A.R.R. is in April. If you can make it to S.C.A.R.R. now is the time to plan for it. If you are from Oklahoma contact me, I’d like to get us in matching shirts and make a good club showing. I promise you will have a good time.

Thanks for reading, Happy New Year, and Happy Rovering.

An Unexpected Gift (Post #454) 2/24/2014

One of my best friends Facebook messaged me the other day. He was cleaning out boxes and organizing his life and found a pair of fog lamps off his Range Rover Classic and he wanted to give them to me. Eric K. is the reason I was called “Biff” by that circle of friends when I went to college. In that circle of friends there happened to be three “Eric’s”. Arric, Eric K., and Me. I did not like the impersonal manner of being called “Stephens”. I was called that by everyone in my unit in the Marine Corps and much preferred a more personal name. So one day I started a rant and asked my friends to call me anything but “Stephens”. I rattled off half a dozen names, some rude, some absurd. One of the absurd was “Biff”. The only Biff’s we had ever known were members of fraternities and we mostly made fun of them. So “Biff” stuck. Only a few friends still call me Biff. And I’m affectionately known as Uncle Biff by one set of my friend’s kids still to this day.

Eric did not have a good experience with his Range Rover…. Continue reading “An Unexpected Gift (Post #454) 2/24/2014”

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 ( He has several funny jokes about Lucas, The Prince of Darkness.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Rovering.

195,000 miles (Post #316) 1/19/2013

195,000 That’s a lot.
Just 5,000 more miles and I’ve  reached TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND MILES (dramatic reverb) in a LAND ROVER! I know there are Land Rovers out there that have crossed that mile marker and are about to lap it. I’ve only had one other vehicle with anything close to that kind of mileage on her. That was my 1993 Ford Ranger pick-up truck. I sold her after 185,000 enjoyable miles.

That Ford Ranger still had the original clutch in it. In comparison the Range Rover still has her original transmission. But not for long. I need to have the transmission rebuilt. As I have mentioned before, the  transmission is slipping. I know I’ll improve on my gas mileage if I have a rebuilt transmission.

In addition to the transmission, I need to sort out the sound system and get a functioning air conditioning unit working. If I am to make the Range Rover a daily driver again that will need to happen.

The door handles will also need to be adjusted again. I can’t seem to get those working correctly. I may take her into a body shop and get their opinion about it. The left rear door is so far out of wack I can hear the air escaping like I have a window cracked open. That is disappointing.

After that the anti-lock brake system is out of range due to at least one bad wheel sensor. Those are ridiculously expensive in my opinion. But if I want the factory system to work correctly I’ll need to sort that out.

Springs and shocks are on their way. I ordered those last week. I’m hoping that won’t change the drive shaft angles too much. The springs will provide a 2 inch lift. I’m optimistic that will not affect the drive geometry too much.

The last thing is the buzzing sound I sometimes get. The guess is it is related to the brakes. More on this as I get closer to finding the part causing the sound. I think it is a relay that is failing. I hate electrical problems.

Out on the periphery is a problem with the headlight being too dim. I read something once upon a time about the wiring harness being inadequate. It may just be a set of Hella headlights that have reached the end of their life.

Well that is a basic list of the things I have to deal with as the clock turns 200,000.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Bulb died, Customer Service hasn’t (Post #88) 9/27/2007

In December 2006, I got tired of not being able to see when I drive in the dark. So I upgraded the Range Rover’s headlights to Hellas. I also upgraded the bulbs in the Discovery. Sylvania H7ST 12V55W Silver Star were the recommended bulb by many, many sites on the intarwebs.

So I contacted Atlantic British and ordered the bulbs and head lamps. I have had many happy days of driving with both sets. My daughter RovErica even commented that she really liked the way it lit up the road in front of the Rangie. Even her Boyfriend 1.0, commented on how great the light was.

I also noticed how great the light was from the Disco and recommended the bulbs to my friends.

But then last month, I got in the Disco and fired up the head lamps and pop! That was it. The left front bulb died. I was kinda bummed. I told my wife about it and she said, “is there a warranty?” Gosh…I hadn’t thought of that. 9 months is a pretty short time when it comes to head lamps. Seems like forever when you are expecting a baby, or even better your first grandchild, but for a head lamp that is a short time.

I commented on the site and you have read on other sites, that Lucas didn’t intend for us to motor about after dark. I wrote somewhere also that in all the years I’ve owned cars I can only think of a few times where I lost a head lamp. Most of the time it was due to stones flying up while we were rat racing along back country gravel roads in Newcastle, Oklahoma in my youth.

So this week I called Atlantic British and asked them about the warranty of head lamps less than a year old. Les was my salesperson and he and I exchanged a couple of emails, which resulted in him saying, “normally NO they weren’t covered”, but he would check with a manager.

I thanked him for checking and he said they had already sent out the replacement.
How about that?!
Customer service is not dead. On the contrary its alive and well at Atlantic British.
Thanks goes out to Les and the good folks at Atlantic British for taking such good care of my Rovers all these years.