Flatbed of Shame…again (Post #517) 11/18/2014

Well it happened again. The Big White Bus came home on the back of a wrecker. Sorry, no pictures this time…I just didn’t have it in me.

The 5:00 rush hour had me turning off the highway to take the back roads. I had just started down North Kelley in OKC. I was talking to my wife about the neighborhood I was in. I will be kind and say this is a “rough” area in Oklahoma City. Shootings after dark are not uncommon.

I no more said I’d be out of the bad part in a mile when I heard “BING” and a lovely grinding sound. Of course there was a lot of traffic on this side road just when this happened. I put it in PARK and then back into gear. Nothing but grinding. I put it in PARK and got out to see if anything was obvious underneath. She was rolling down the street as I got out.

I set the emergency brake and climbed under. Nothing obvious. A nice gentleman stopped to help immediately. He directed traffic while I coasted back to the side street and off the main artery I was on. He was very helpful. I was very aware of my surroundings and this is not a place I should be after dark. That was confirmed when the gentleman said to me, “You got dem doctor clothes on so you should be alright.” Continue reading “Flatbed of Shame…again (Post #517) 11/18/2014”

Now That’s a D Ring (Post #512) 9/21/2014


I ran up to O’Reilly’s to get oil and a Wix filter for an oil change. In the parking lot I saw this D ring on a Dodge Cummings truck. Silly I know, but fun.

I am switching to 10w40. I know, I know,  you always used Castrol 20w50. 20 50 is probably too heavy. Winter is coming so I’m gonna add run lighter oil and see how that goes.

Richard our Web programmer for RedDirtRovers.com recently had to part with his Range Rover. He just happened to find an original set of carpets in his garage. There was even a set of rubber mats.



The mats are much nicer than my old set. Thanks so much Richard.

I picked up a Taurus from a friend. It needs some work but will make a good daily driver for someone. I’ll be sorting out the parts I need this week.

It looks like Charlie Blankenship’s Sports and Classics will get the transmission rebuild. He gave me a good price for the total job. I need to get the funds together. The Taurus will be my transport while the Big White Bus is in the shoppe.

Thanks for reading and Happy  Rovering

My search for transmission service (Post #182) 6/23/2010

Well once again a resource I counted on is gone and I am left looking for service for my transmissions. I have two vehicles needing service for their transmissions. RovErica is driving the Ford Taurus these days. She reports trouble with it shifting…sometimes. She has independent third party confirmation that the transmission is misbehaving. I’m not sure that is enough to have it taken to the shop. So I went out one night she was home, which is a rare event, and tested it. I drove it and made it shift hard. It didn’t misbehave for me. And when she drove it home it didn’t misbehave for her.

I’m guessing at this point it only happens when it’s hot. When we got back to the house I checked the level, it was good, and smelled the fluid. It does have that lovely burned smell. The Taurus has never had a transmission service in its 8 year life. The car doesn’t even have 70,000 miles on it yet. But it looks and drives like it was driven to through a war zone, twice. So a service it will have. And hopefully it will last another 70,000 miles until RovErica can afford a new car.

As you read in the last trailer post, I think I’ve done something to the Range Rover’s transmission. As you may or may not remember there was some rough going when the transmission ran in 4th gear as I got to the half way home portion of the drive. The transmission fluid is burned. That is a fact. Or as my son, Diet Mt Drew would say, “that is a true fact”.

This is the original transmission and has well over 190,000 miles on it. I have had it serviced only once that I can remember (curse me for not filling out those service books). I had trouble with the transmission one other time when the torque converter went out. I was hauling down the Indian Nation Turnpike in route to a Fur Trade event at Fort Towson. I stopped for a candy bar (3 Musketeers) and a Coke (what kind? Coca-Cola, see #19) it’s an Okie thing, you may not understand.

When I walked back out to my Classic I thought I saw a puddle of magic red motion juice under the right rear of the engine bay. I thought to myself, “I must have parked over someone else’s leak. Sucks for them.” But then I thought, “what if its mine?” So I moved her to a dry spot and sure enough I was leaking. Eek Gad! I quickly popped the bonnet and looked. I finally found the leak at the transmission filler tube. What had happened as best I can figure was the torque converter was failing (wobbling) and was causing the fluid to foam. When the magic red motion fluid foams it is less magical and thusly less able to move your Range Rover down the road effectively.

In any event the Indian Nation turnpike between I-40 and that gawd awful state to the south (Tejas) is not somewhere you want to be stranded on a cold Oklahoma night in February. You can die out there. Now I’m a resourceful kinda guy and had all the trappings with me to sleep over night in February in Oklahoma circa 1820. So that was not what I was worried about. I was worried about getting the Rover home and avoiding a 300$(US)+ towing bill by Bubba the “how much money you got” tow truck driver. So I canceled my plans and rotated my “Which Century Are You Living In” dial back to the late 20th Century and headed back west on the first exit and traversed the back highways to highway 9 and on into Norman at an easy, slow pace.

The Monday after the aborted trip I took her to Cottman’s off West Lindsey street in Norman. They did a great job getting my torque converter repaired [895$(US)] and I would recommend them again. But that’s where this post started. They are no longer in business at that location. And if you have read the post that details my preparation for our cross country jaunt to California in 2008 you will remember the trouble I had getting the Discovery a transmission service. The Cottman’s in South OKC left me hanging. As you may remember I made an appointment, took half a day off from work and when I arrived they told me they couldn’t get me in due to a man “not showing up” that morning.
Therefore unless someone tells me that they are…

  1. Under TOTALLY NEW management, as in everyone from the district manager down has been fired and replaced.
  2. And, the recomendee received what would equate to SUPERIOR service.

Otherwise, I will never use them again.

So that leaves me with no “reliable” source for transmission service. Read “reliable” as recommended by someone I trust. This trust, led me to call Sports and Classics to find out who they use to rebuild and service transmissions but they want first crack at it. And if it is too serious they will have the work done by another shop. I’m thinking I could save my self some time if I just go to the shop that will be doing the work in the first place. Its no reflection on them or their work, but time is important.

The transmission service for a Range Rover Classic is not fun. The transmission is a common European transmission. ZF HP24’s are used in BMW, Volvo, and Land Rovers. And as I have read, it is a very tough transmission. Being that it is tucked under a very tough Range Rover Classic it is difficult to work on. There is a frame cross member directly below the pan and to replace the filter it must be removed. This in itself makes this project a really crappy one. And as you can imagine an expensive one too.

So after a precursory call to JagGuy shake of a Magic Eight Ball browse through a phonebook look on the internet. I am going to go to Transmission Clinic on South Classen in Norman. I called them and Breck seemed very up front and said they would evaluate the situation before making any determinations. Basic service for the Taurus is going to be $110(US). And who knows how much for the Range Rover. He would give me a quote before any work was done.

Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

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.