Land Rover at Lowe’s and a New Muffler (Post #461) 3/11/2014

20140308_155449Over the past weekend I stopped at Lowe’s to pick up paint for my Coleman Stove Project which was part of my gearing up for S.C.A.R.R. When I came out this Discovery was sitting next to me. With the parking lot nearly empty parking directly next to me meant this guy must be an enthusiast. So I scribbled a note inviting the driver to check out my blog and to keep in touch as we were forming a Land Rover Club, Red Dirt Rovers, and invited them to check out our Google Community.

Later that day I got an email from John Joyce the owner of the Discovery. He has reached out to me with a couple of emails and I look forward to meeting him at S.C.A.R.R.

His rig looks well used. Seeing this Discovery next to me in the lot has told me I’m pretty sure if I ever get another Land Rover it will be a Discovery I. So much awesome in such a little package. Like anyone I’d love to have a classic Series 2a but for a daily driver that is probably not a realistic nor practical option. There’s more after the jump…

High/Low Range Solenoid Problem (Post #213) 10/26/2010

A common failure on the Range Rover Classic is the high/low range shift solenoid. This system often fails and leaves your Range Rover stuck in high range.

My Classic has had it’s lever stuck this way for 5 years. And in those five years, I’ve needed low range at least once each year since it happened. The reasons are all the same, keeping myself from getting stuck. When I got stuck behind my new house in 2005, I’d like to believe if I had low range then I would not have gotten stuck. Last year during the Christmas Eve Snowpocalypse I needed the low range to help extract the my oldests kid’s Ford Explorer 4×4, some dumb kids dressed in shorts, hoodies, and flip flops (seriously) that got stuck in a snow drift at the entrance to our neighborhood, and when my friend used the LWB to pull his Jeep out of a snow drift a few days later after he got stuck trying to pull a car out.

In every example except the first, low range was not needed. I wonder if it would have mattered anyway. The Range Rover was able to pull everyone out with only the front axle, due to the failed drive shaft and busted viscous coupling. Imagine how capable the Classic would have been with both axles working correctly!

So with that a common fix is to remove the solenoid and to remove the pin that holds the lever stuck in high. I know I could have investigated all the parts that caused it to fail. But I didn’t want to spend the time to find the gremlin. It is easy enough to just disable the SAFETY DEVICE.

You must know at this point you are removing the device that prevents you from ACCIDENTALLY putting your transfer case into low range if you are exceeding any of the conditions that are installed to prevent that from happening. This shouldn’t be a problem. I know you have to basically be sitting still, in neutral before you can move the lever to low.

I lined up my tools to remove the solenoid and investigate how to disable it. I got my socket set out and a hex head bit to remove the two bolts holding the solenoid to the shifting lever.

Once again these were difficult to get broke free. The years of water and corrosion have basically welded the bolts in place. After they broke free I pulled the solenoid out and had a look at it.

That’s the pin that prevents a lever located on the bottom of the shift lever from moving “forward” to the low range. To get to the mechanism you have to remove the silicone bathroom caulk…wait what? Yeah, bathroom caulk, They filled the back side of the solenoid frame with caulk.

You can see in the picture with some of the caulk removed that the unit is not exactly water tight. I wonder how many of these failed before the factory started sealing them with bathroom caulk? I wonder which engineer got a bonus for his simple solution to this problem?

Head Engineer: “These solenoids are failing at an alarming rate from water ingression.”
Lesser Engineer: “I have an idea. Last night I was working in the loo and I was sealing the toilet at the base with caulking. How about we just fill the backside with silicone bathroom caulk. That should buy us at least three years. At that point the warranty will be void.”
Head Engineer: “Genius! Let’s head down to the pub to celebrate!”
Lesser Engineer: “But sir, it’s only 9:03 am.”
Head Engineer: “What’s your point?”

I think you get MY point. So you get the C clip pliers out and with the help of a small screw driver you remove the clip and remove the electrical bits from the casing.

All that’s left is cutting the pin off. No biggy. With the pin cut off it’s time to get it all reassembled and to have a couple of rum and cokes and a nice Arturo Fuente cigar while you wait for the bathroom caulk to set up.

Actually I did mine, got drunk and went to bed.

So why did you re-caulk it if you just destroyed it’s ability to do its job? Well I’m not exactly sure how to answer that. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. Hell, using bathroom caulk on a brand new 50,000$(US) Range Rover with Mediterranean Poplar wood accents is just redneck enough to make it into the Redneck Repair Hall of Fame.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

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

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

Back from Vacation (Post #100) 7/25/2008

The long circuitous vacation trek has been completed. We managed to make it from Oklahoma to the Grand Canyon, across the Hoover dam, to Las Vegas, on to Huntington Beach, down to San Diego and home via the southern route through Arizona and New Mexico. The pictures are not yet categorized so I’ll get to get a more visually pleasing post together in the days to come.
The worries about the transmission service did not materialize into anything. The gas mileage was a little better than average. The low was a miserable 12.2, which I’m not entirely sure the tank filled correctly. To a high of 16.4. Which was pretty nice.
We went up and down the mountains in New Mexico and Arizona with out a single hitch. I was worried about over heating the transmission on the climbs but it didn’t happen. No one complained about comfort but It is pretty obvious that if you were to redo the interior of the Discovery with custom seats they would have to include a recline feature.
I’m going to drain the pumpkins and replace the fluid in the transfer case again just to get those two maintenance items completed. I have the fluid in the steering system about half switched out with the suck some out, fill it with new fluid, run the engine, repeat.
More soon. Thanks for reading.

Oil Change and O2 Sensors for the Disco (Post #93) 6/8/2008

Today I was able to get the 81000 mile oil change done. It was uneventful as always. I did have to get some oil and a filter from O’Reilly’s as I didn’t have enough. Got the Wix filter and another 4 quarts of Castrol 20w50.
As I was under the Disco I noticed that I’m loosing what can only be transfer case oil. This might explain the recent noise coming from that unit. So I guess next weekend I’ll be getting some additional synthetic transfer case oil and once again getting it filled up.
I also installed the new oxygen sensors. It was also an easy job. No major snags. You can read about that here.
And some additional good news…Janie got a 100% on her ACLS test this weekend. So a hard week of studying and cloistering herself in the bedroom and tying up my computer studying paid off. Good work dear.

February 24th, 2003 (Post #23)

February 24, 2003
Great Stuffage
This weekend we had an Ramp Travel Index get together at Rover Cannibal. I got to meet a few members and future members I haven’t seen before and chat with some I have. I was surprised to see how many of our trucks are white. It looked like an Extreme UNSCOM Convention was going on. As we pulled our trucks up to the RTI ramp I saw a few other colors.

As I was being measured on the ramp Alan Bates came around to my side of the Big White Bus
and said, “You’ve got some great stuffage going on there.” Seems my right rear tire was way
up in the wheel well. We ran the trucks on the ramp inside, because of the weather, and then
as we were not entirely pleased with the results we ran them up outside off of the concrete. Alan
has a very awesome 1992 Range Rover. A really great looking truck check out his pics on the Member’s Page.

With the shifting of the transfer case I found another annoyance that had slipped from my memory since the last time it occurred. The microswitch that activates a bell that noisily informs you that you are in neutral would not go off. Finally after a few minutes it did finally go off. It has been chirping on bumps ever since. With every day that goes by I feel like it would be a worthy project to park the Rover and take it mostly apart and fix all the little problems. I do not have another vehicle to drive and no place to do this maintenance close to home. So it will have to wait for later when the average daily driveway temperature to climbs into the 60s fahrenheit.