Randomly Meeting Another Range Rover Owner (Post #432) 1/9/2014

I was coming out of lunch today at Richey’s Grill (Urbanspoon) in the Research Park and eyed a young man giving my Range Rover “the once over(Idiom dictionary). I quickly noticed his Range Rover next to mine in the lot. That gentleman was Cyrus. I introduced myself and we then began chatting about our Land Rovers.

As you can tell his Land Rover was a bit different from mine. His is a 1988 model. Cyrus went on to tell me that the fellow he got it from went to a lot of trouble to make it appear to be an even earlier model. You can see some of the work in the pictures. Wing-mounted mirrors, badging, wheels, even the gas filler looked to be non-North American standard. He’d stripped out the interior and even swapped the steering wheel for an older version.
We talked about that a bit. I don’t know the models before 1989 very well so I didn’t have much to offer. I later looked them up on Rangerovers.net and the differences were great. Cyrus’s previous owner was obviously on a mission. The automatic shifter-cover even appeared to be from a 1970’s model Ford Maverick.
He opened it up and showed me the terrible floor pan rust he has. It is truly terrible and will take a lot of fabrication to correct. Cyrus talked about bringing it back to more original kit with an instrument bezel and some other bits.
I really enjoyed talking to him. As with most of my meetings it almost immediately turned to the subject of off-roading. I told him about Red Dirt Rovers and some garage days of old and shared my blog address again. He seemed really keen to join and meet up again. I’ll be sending him an email and a Google Community invite for Red Dirt Rovers.
I think I need to have some of those cheap business cards printed up so I can share this info more efficiently. 
Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Bad Fuel? Nope… (Post #273) 11/23/2011

Here’s a quick follow-up.

It probably isn’t bad fuel.
I have come to the conclusion that once the engine is hot she stops running. I’ve had a few suggestions, bad coil was a good one from ini88.

[ini88] I had something similar with mine after working on it. I hard spark*, fuel, air, etc. Everything was set to go. Then a swapped coil with my Defender because I suspected the coil was weak. yup, that was it. You can have spark, but if its yellow or orange its too weak. You need that white, blue spark to set it running. Maybe check your spark again?

Complete thread here.
Indeed ini88, I will be sourcing a new coil and possibly look at swapping some sensors. I found a derelict 1994 Range Rover in the local breakers yard. I pulled a bunch of stuff off of her. More on that in a later blog post.

Bad fuel? Seriously? (Post #272) 11/18/2011

This is a real shirt!

Radiator project completed.
So I’m putting the radiator back in last Saturday. I get her all fitted and buttoned back up and the battery is dead. So it was late and I stuck the trickle charger on it and decided I would test drive her the next day.

The next day rolled around and I was taking a break from my studies and thought I’d give the old girl a spin around the block. Around the block lead to me visiting our first house on Quanah Parker. I was keen to know if the deck I built was still in the back yard. You can see it if you wander into the Chisholm Trail Park in Northeast Norman.

I turned her around and headed for home. I pulled in the ‘hood and was pretty proud of myself. I rounded the traffic calming circle and she died. Dead. No sputter, no cough, dead.

I started on my diagnosis…

  • Checked spark. CHECK.
  • Checked air. CHECK.
  • Checked fuel. CHECK.
  • Injectors firing. Stethoscope confirmed clicking sound. CHECK.

What the hell? I was stumped. So I called the wife and she pulled me down to the house. I posted a few messages on the Landroversonly.com and RangeRovers.net sites. A few days went by with no responses. I figured I’d probably really done it now.

I called JagGuy and after talking to him he told me a story of two weekends ago when a similar thing happened to him. He tore his Jag apart and never found the problem. It wasn’t until he checked the fuel. It didn’t have that overwhelming gasoline smell when he opened the fuel rail. I mentioned to him neither did mine.

Well, there you have it. Bad Gas. Lets look at the evidence now that we have the culprit. Range Rover sitting for weeks at a time without being driven.

  • Using Ethanol fuel.
  • Would not run.
  • Fuel didn’t smell like fuel.

JagGuy said he couldn’t even get his gas to ignite unless he put the torch directly on the fuel. JagGuy does some funny experiments some times. He was being safe, trust me.

So with this as a suggestion, I went down and got 4 gallons of fresh fuel and with RovErica holding the funnel, I poured the fuel all over the side of the Range Rover and on to the ground into the tank. After it was all in, I attempted to start her up. The battery was not charged enough for a proper attempt so we hooked the jumper cables up. A few attempts, she finally coughed and sputtered. And then she started and ran.

I called JagGuy and told him he was a Supra-Genius*. He declined the title because he had torn his Jaguar all the way down to find bad fuel, I hadn’t. I got the Range Rover ready for a trip down to the Conoco/Phillips petrol vendor. I went in to tell my wife I was heading out and would be right back. She said, “Take your phone. If you are stranded this time, call me before you sit there for 2 hours.”
I think she still loves me…I know her confidence in the Range Rover is waning.

I went out to the Range Rover and touched the door to get in and she died.
I won’t bore you any further with a long story laced with lots of expletives. I was unable to get her started again. The bad news was I thought I had less than a quarter of a tank of bad fuel…I have nearly three quarters of a tank of bad fuel. My hypothesis is that as I was pouring in the petrol it stirred the tank. As it sat the fuel and water separated out again.

SO I either have to drain the tank or try to add more fuel to try and get her started again to burn out the bad fuel. Either way I’m probably going to replace my fuel filter and will have a mess to sort out.

So we can say this without doubt, “Don’t use ethanol in a vehicle you don’t drive frequently.” I think I will start driving the Range Rover on Fridays. Most people drive their classic cars on Fridays in Oklahoma. You can see all the guys that have car hobbies because they drive them on Fridays.

I still have a CODE 14, Throttle Position Sensor problem. I will sort that out as soon as I can get the Range Rover running again. I’m proud I haven’t had to replace it yet. 190,000 miles. I am also contemplating replacing the fuel temp sensor (running rich), and possibly the O2 sensors again.

I have serious questions now about how to get the Range Rover in a condition that I am confident she would make a multi-day trip to Moab or Colorado or even to work three days in a row.

Follow-Up on Tires (Post #241) 1/20/2011

I received a GREAT coupon in my email from my preferred tire dealer. Basically it is store cost plus a dollar for Bridgestone or Firestone tires. As you have no doubt read I have had a love affair with Bridgestone Dueler AT Revo II’s. The bad news about this is the supply of this tire in sizes that would work well for a classic Range Rover has dried up.
Basically I am looking for tires that match as closely as possible the original size.

As you can read on RangeRovers.net the original size was 205/80-16.

Getting a tire close to this size is the trick. Knowing which tire is the same size requires a little math. Thankfully there are lots of tire calculators available on the interwebs.

I used this one on 1010tires.com.

The tire sizes I’m considering are…

Tire Size Comparison
Size Size Change Percent Speed at 60mph
205/80-16 0 60
215/85-16 -.77 60.4
225/75-16 +1.27 59.2
245/70-16 +2 58.7
235/75-16 +3.22 58.0

This tire calculator will pop up a message saying the 235/75-16 tire is outside the recommended range of 3 percent or smaller.

I highly recommend you read the tire page on RangeRovers.net. There is a lot of information about sizes on there that will remove a lot of the guess work.

So back to the Bridgestone problem of supply. Art at Hibdon’s Tire Plus called Bridgestone and asked the question I’ve been trying find out. Are they dropping the Dueler AT REVO II?

According to Bridgestone they have a supply problem. Tire manufacturers do not like to have tires sitting on the shelf too long. Tires have expiration dates just like milk only a tad bit longer. I can’t answer how long is “too long” but lets just say the tire companies know. In any event, they are trying to keep their stock rotated. When uncertain times like these come around manufacturers cut back. Apparently they cut back too much and a GREAT tire became unavailable.

Again, according to Bridgestone the Dueler AT REVO II’s stock will be replenished. So the tire sizes for that tire that are best for our Range Rovers will again be on the shelves or racks in late March or early April. You know I will be checking out this information.

In the mean time a quandary has appeared in our path like a rather large rock slide. Do we buy tires now and just source a different tire that got good marks, in effect DRIVE AROUND the rock slide? Or do we wait for the Dueler’s to show up meanwhile driving around on bald tires or severely limit our driving? This second portion has some added weight that I will miss using the coupon the dealer sent me.

How good a coupon is it? Well, I’ll tell ya.
I asked them to quote me Firestone Destination A/T with full hazard replacement. Here is the survey page for this tire at TIRERACK.COM.

They place 2nd in the category and are actually ranked higher than both of the Dueler AT REVOs.

With out the coupon I can get a set of four installed for 733.45$(US)
With the coupon I can get a set of four installed for 589.63$(US)
143.82$(US) savings!!!

That’s a pretty good alternative to waiting for the Dueler AT REVOs to arrive. Now I could buy Bridgestone Dueler AT REVO IIs in the 245/70-16 size. This is a common pickup truck size and there seem to be plenty of them to be found. They will supposedly fit with no modifications. The coupon is in affect as well giving me a 200.09$(US) savings (nice) on a set of four. Unfortunately a set of four tires without the coupon is 1009.53$(US). HOLY CRAP!

This takes us back to the thoughts in my last tire post about “how much driving am I going to be doing”. This is not my daily driver at best it will be two days a week one of which is a Saturday or Sunday. This Range Rover does not need to rest on a 1000$ set of tires in my driveway. This makes this a fairly easy decision.

So to wrap up.
Milk expires on the shelf. Tires expire on the shelf.
Manufacturers reduce inventories of even their best products when hard times come around.
According to one source at the Bridgestone warehouse, as of this post, they are not planning to eliminate the Dueler REVO tire line from their inventory.
Tires are expensive. Why buy a more expensive tire when a cheaper and notably better product is available? Rhetorical question Farley.

Transaxle Fluid Fill (Post #210) 10/13/2010

As you read yesterday, or are about to go back and read from yesterday, or about to click on the next link in your list, I had a sick feeling in my stomach from finding very little fluid in my transfer case. The fluid that was there was in terrible shape.

I had a gallon of Dex-Merc which is a Dextron III compatible fluid. Matter of fact, Dextron is a General Motors owned name. It denotes a standard of fluid. As the fluid was improved with each new formula they added a number to denote which formula was in the container. Dextron, was replaced with Dextron II, IIa and eventually Dextron III. In 2006 all the licenses to produce this fluid expired.

The licenses were for companies wishing to produce a Dextron III fluid and market it. If the company’s product met GM’s standard they received a license to use the name. That is why you see companies that don’t use the name produce documentation that compares their “BRAND NAME X” product to Dextron III with out using the Dextron III name.

With all the licenses expired it is more important now to know the numbers for the fluid to compare it to another company. Claiming or using the Dextron III name does mean anything any more. GM no longer controls the quality or standard and thus companies can say their product is Dextron III even though you don’t know what it really is.

Now this is not to say that these companies are skimping on quality. Any company in their right mind that wants repeat business will continue to produce fluids of the quality they are able.

Today Dextron VI is the standard and is specially formulated for “today’s” automotive transmissions. Meaning, Dextron III will not work in your wife’s Chevy Aveo. And Dextron VI is not formulated for your 1978 Chevy Suburban.

With that out of the way. I had some Coastal Dextron III. Its just some generic transmission fluid my buddy gave me when he decided he would not be fixing his step-son’s 1991 Range Rover with the busted transmission case. I will run this fluid for a few months and then drain it. That is, if the transfer case is not crapped out. If it is good to go, I’ll refill it with Castrol Dex Merc.

I located the fill plug.

I broke it free using a 1/2 inch break over bar. It required at least that much leverage it was well placed.

I then broke the drain plug lose.

You can see my painting handy work there behind the transfer case. This plug took the 1/2 inch break over bar and the cheater pipe for me to break it lose. It was in very tight.

The fluid that drained out was black like the fluid that came out of the viscous coupling. I would say there was not near enough fluid in the transfer case. After it drained out, I prepared the plugs with with gray gasket sealer and put the drain plug back in.

I then located my fluid pump.

If you don’t own this tool, go tomorrow and buy one, hell, buy two. They are great for filling differentials, transfer cases, anywhere you need to move fluid from a bottle into a place where you can’t tip a bottle up.

I proceeded to fill the transfer case.

You can see my black nitrile glove covered hand on the pump. I pumped a full half gallon into the transfer case.

I can’t wait to drive the Range Rover to test my work. I will probably empty the transmission and refill it with transmission fluid. This is only a test as I’m pretty sure that 4th gear is toast. I’m hoping that it is not and that the troubles I had are related to the transfer case and the VC.

With that said and a prayer on my lips, I need to see if the new used viscous coupling works.
I need to see if the brakes work.
I need to feel the transmission shift into and out of fourth gear.
I need to know that all this work has made a difference.
I need my Range Rover Morale lifted.

Thanks for all the great posts from the guys over on RangeRovers.net.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering….hopefully! {fingers crossed}

My Farm Girl is Wearing a Prom Dress (Post #200) 9/2/2010

Check out these videos. Those guys are wearing suits! That fellow there is wearing a sweater and tie AND operating a open belt PTO driven table saw! That’s just Crazy-Awesome. If this feature was available on today’s Land Rovers I can assure you the lawsuits from idiot misuse would fill the bloody Superdome. I’m also guessing that poor lady’s Jaguar or MG was in the shop when her husband suggested she do the daily shopping in the Series 1.

And part 2…

What was that in the 36th second of the first video? “the strong aluminum body… no corrosion, no rust in the corners, no laying up for painting.”

Later the narrator says, “The most reliable vehicle in the world.” Perhaps the Series 1 Land Rover was all of this. The Range Rover Classic? I’d say not so much.

Land Rover engineers need to hear the narrator’s words again. Perhaps these videos should be required viewing.

Having watched these videos and after re-reading “The Range Rover Story” on Ovalnews.com a question comes to mind.

Am I asking too much of my Range Rover LWB?

It’s a fair question. Am I asking a beauty queen to be a farm girl? I realize that I am restoring a RANGE ROVER and not a Defender or Series truck. If you listen to the narrator, Land Rover was once careful about construction. When did they drop the ball?

I highly recommend you read, “The Range Rover Story” you can get the complete story of how a utilitarian work vehicle became the Best 4x4xFar. You can see the direction of the company begin to snowball into maintaining its high end SUV reputation. If you’ve read it, read it again.

The Range Rover was designed to be a higher end vehicle from the beginning. How much higher than the utilitarian run-about, has been a creeping mission statement coming up on fifty years. Wearing the name “Rolls-Royce of Off-Roaders” would probably dictate something perhaps no longer indented to be utilitarian. About the time I was promoted to Lance Corporal in the USMCR, circa 1983 according to the article the “hose it out interior” was replaced with lush carpet. This perhaps is the defining moment when our farm girl started wearing make-up and stopped wearing her boots.

I would never imagine anyone taking today’s Evoque and making it a serious off-road or even driving it on a lovely greenlining tour of Uncle Billy’s sheep farm. Sure there’s a possibility that someone would do it as a stunt, but there is no way anyone would seriously expect an Evoque to be used as a trail vehicle.

Look at it. It’s a CAR for God’s sake. It’s a car wearing the Range Rover name. It is available in TWO-WHEEL DRIVE! What.the.hell? Is the marketing department so inept that they couldn’t launch a new vehicle line with a new name? Is the mother company so afraid of leaving the Range Rover name that they have in fact created a separate brand?

Here is a partial list of the models of Range Rovers taken from RangeRovers.net and Wikipedia. It’s not a complete list nor does it cover any the Special Vehicles modifications. This list spans the three generations of Range Rovers.

County LSE
County LWB
County Sport
Great Divide Edition
Desert Storm Edition (only one made)
25th Anniversary Model
4.0 SE
4.0 SE Panther Edition
4.0 SE Polo Edition
4.6 HSE
4.6 HSE Panther Edition
4.6 HSE Vitesse Edition
4.6 HSE Kensington Edition
4.6 SSE Edition (by Cameron Concepts)
TReK Edition
50th Anniversary Edition
4.6 HSE Callaway Edition
4.6 HSE Autobiography Edition
4.6 HSK
4.6 HSE Linley Edition
4.6 HSE Rhino Edition
4.6 HSE Vitesse Edition
4.6 HSE First Dartmouth Homelink Edition
4.6 HSE Holland & Holland Edition
4.6 HSE Vogue Special Edition
Great Divide Edition
30th Anniversary Edition
Borrego Edition
Westminster Edition
2010 and 2011MY Editions
Range Rover Sport
Range Rover Evoque

Yeah, I had no idea it was so many. I didn’t even list the accessory packages that were available on various models. What do we see here? Do you notice that variety of editions are very important? Owners don’t want the same Range Rover their neighbor drives. People who buy Range Rovers are obviously in the upper income bracket. The average annual income of someone buying a 1992 Range Rover was now at $400,000(US) a year. In 1993 my yearly gross income was $31,000 and we did pretty good on that.

In 1993 a Range Rover SWB’s base price was $45,125, add $4,700 for the LWB (worth every penny I promise). I bought my first house in 1990. It was a small three bedroom home in a good neighborhood. We laid out $29,000 for it.

I bought my 1993 Range Rover LWB for $15,000 in June of 2000. At the time I was looking for a Jeep CJ or even a Wrangler. I wanted one for its utilitarianism. I thought it fit my personality. After describing what, “I wanted to use it for” to Charlie Blankenship of Sports and Classics he said a Range Rover would be much more comfortable. He was right. So at that time I had bought a comfortable utilitarian vehicle.

So back to the question at hand, am I asking too much for my Range Rover to be able to deliver me down the highways and logging roads and gentle green lanes of America without my feet stepping through the rusted out floor boards? I don’t think so and maybe neither do you. I guess the question will be answered by the Range Rovers of today when in 10 years we are reading about how some owner’s supermodel wife punctured her 4 inch high heel through the floor pan of her Evoque in downtown New York City.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.