Leox Rovers https://leoxrovers.com Refurbished Land Rover Defender for Sale Fri, 23 Oct 2020 12:32:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://leoxrovers.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/leoxrovers-flavicon-min.png Leox Rovers https://leoxrovers.com 32 32 How to try really … really hard to keep from going Australian on and off the road with a 4×4 SUV https://leoxrovers.com/2020/10/23/how-to-try-really-really-hard-to-keep-from-going-australian-on-and-off-the-road-with-a-4x4-suv/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-try-really-really-hard-to-keep-from-going-australian-on-and-off-the-road-with-a-4x4-suv https://leoxrovers.com/2020/10/23/how-to-try-really-really-hard-to-keep-from-going-australian-on-and-off-the-road-with-a-4x4-suv/#respond Fri, 23 Oct 2020 09:55:19 +0000 https://leoxrovers.com/?p=3395 Now how did that happen? Image Credit: Oops! Jeep upside down in the mud | Jeep, 1997 jeep wrangler, Willys jeep Ha ha … nothing against the lovely people from Australia. I was referring to the memes where going Australian implies that you are upside down. In this post, I will be discussing how to keep […]

The post How to try really … really hard to keep from going Australian on and off the road with a 4×4 SUV appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>

Now how did that happen?

Image Credit: Oops! Jeep upside down in the mud | Jeep, 1997 jeep wrangler, Willys jeep

Ha ha … nothing against the lovely people from Australia. I was referring to the memes where going Australian implies that you are upside down. In this post, I will be discussing how to keep your 4×4 SUV from rolling or flipping over on different kinds of terrain.

Image Credit: MEANWHILE

Different types of terrain

In general, we can differentiate between three types of terrain – tar, off the tar but accessible to most vehicles e.g. gravel road and then offroad terrains such as mud, obstacles and sand.

Tar road: Accessible to all roadworthy vehicles

Image Credit: Tar Paving – The Best Tar Surfacing Roads services!

Gravel road: Accessible to most vehicles

Image Credit: Grading Gravel Roads: Motor Grader Adaptations

Offroad track: Only capable offroad vehicles need to apply

Image Credit: Muddy offroad track stock image. Image of mirefilth, insurmountable – 39277729

Long or short wheelbase SUV

We are specifically talking about offroad capable SUV’s here such as the Jeep Sahara or Rubicon and pre-2017 Land Rover Defenders. Vehicles with low range, solid axles and some sort of difflock configuration. Please don’t roast me slowly over hot coals, I know that there are many more examples of capable SUV’s, but I am sticking here to what is most familiar to me.

The important thing to keep in mind is that a long wheelbase is inherently more stable than a short wheelbase. Personally, I prefer a short wheelbase because it is more manoeuvrable but I have to adjust my driving style to compensate for an increased risk of rollover.

How not to flip over on tar

You have to accept that an SUV with solid axles is not going to perform around the corners like a sports car.

When you look at the Megane cornering around the track below, you will notice a few things:

  1. The tyre profiles are low to minimize sidewall flex. This increases grip on the tar.
  2. The chassis is low to the ground, contributing to a low centre point of gravity.
  3. The stiff racing suspension allows for minimum body roll around the corner.

All of these factors contribute to stability around corners at speed and therefore the car can safely do this (within reason). The vehicle is designed in a way to prevent rollover around corners.

Megane RS around the track

Image Credit: Renault Megane R.S. review: Sport to Trophy-R driven

Now consider the Jeep below. It has a suspension lift and bigger tyres.

  1. The tyre sidewalls can flex to accommodate deflation in offroad conditions.
  2. The chassis is high off the ground as the increased clearance decreases the chance of damage due to rocks or other obstacles.
  3. The suspension is flexible to maximize wheel articulation. It is a great advantage to a vehicle if all the wheels remain in contact with the ground at all times as it increases traction.

Jeep flexing its muscles

Image Credit: Lift your Jeep the Right Way – Not Just to Look Cool | AutoInfluence

Can you see the two vehicles are on opposite sides of the spectrum as far as these points are concerned? The Jeep is going to experience a lot more body roll around corners and therefore it is much more likely to flip if you corner at high speed.

The key is to brake BEFORE the corner to reduce your speed to a safe level. Braking in the corner can increase body roll and should therefore be avoided. The second thing to keep in mind is that the Jeep is not designed to drive at the same speed as the Megane.

You may be able to (illegally) do 160km/h in the Megane and not necessarily put yourself at risk. The Megane can steer and brake properly at those speeds. Not so with the Jeep. The SUV can reach 160km/h or faster but then you better pray that you don’t have to swerve or do an emergency brake in the near future. The chances of exiting the tar in a most unpleasant and catastrophic way are simply too big. I would go as far as to say that the Megane is safer at 160km/h than the Jeep at 120km/h.

So the key is to drive slower in the SUV. With its brick-like aerodynamics, you will also thank me with all the fuel that you are going to save.

Another phenomenon to look out for with solid-axle SUV’s is steering wobble. If you hit a bump in the road or a pothole at speed, you will have a tough time keeping the steering wheel steady. For quite a distance afterwards, you will be riding rodeo.

Again, brake well in advance when you see something in the road ahead.

How not to flip over on gravel

Your SUV was designed for offroad driving, right? Your Jeep will make mincemeat of a level gravel road, right?

Hold on, not so fast.

Especially if you are driving a short wheelbase SUV, you really need to pay attention if you don’t want to see your rear end drive out in front of you.

When I enter a gravel road, I always engage the centre difflock on my Defender as a precaution. Remember, even though an SUV may be all-wheel drive, it doesn’t mean that much if one of the tyres lose grip. Let’s say one of your tyres hit an unexpected loose sandy patch on the gravel and you are driving at high speed. That tyre is going to spin and all drive will be sent to it if the axle is open. That means that all the other tyres are going to lose drive and traction for a moment. The same principle as when you are going around a corner and you suddenly take your foot off the gas.

The force of motion will make you want to go in a straight line – that means off the road and taking a tumble. And I’ve seen dashcam footage of this happening very quickly – Toyota Landcruiser doing 80km/h on gravel and then flipping in less than a second after hitting a patch of sand.

The moral of the story is to take gravel slow and easy and engage difflock (if you have it – the Sahara has traction control) if the gravel is loose. If the gravel is highly compacted and almost resembles tar, you don’t want to do this as you are likely to break something in the drivetrain.

Trail Driving

I am not going to cover trail driving here. If you are interested, I have written a short blog post on offroad tips and techniques that covers a few of the basics.

Hope that you found all of this informative and that your worldview remains right side up.

The post How to try really … really hard to keep from going Australian on and off the road with a 4×4 SUV appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>
https://leoxrovers.com/2020/10/23/how-to-try-really-really-hard-to-keep-from-going-australian-on-and-off-the-road-with-a-4x4-suv/feed/ 0
Offroad Driving Tips and Techniques – from “gun-shy” to gung-ho” https://leoxrovers.com/2020/10/22/offroad-driving-tips-and-techniques/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=offroad-driving-tips-and-techniques https://leoxrovers.com/2020/10/22/offroad-driving-tips-and-techniques/#respond Thu, 22 Oct 2020 08:56:00 +0000 https://leoxrovers.com/?p=3367 Offroad driving is a lot of fun but there are a few things to keep in mind to keep the experience safe and enjoyable. Below are some offroad driving tips and techniques to help prevent damage to yourself as well as your vehicle. Don’t be a fool that rushes in … Image Credit: Newbie error … […]

The post Offroad Driving Tips and Techniques – from “gun-shy” to gung-ho” appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>

Offroad driving is a lot of fun but there are a few things to keep in mind to keep the experience safe and enjoyable. Below are some offroad driving tips and techniques to help prevent damage to yourself as well as your vehicle.

  1. Don’t be a fool that rushes in …

Image Credit: Newbie error … oops!

So you have just bought yourself a spiffy new Toyota Hilux, Jeep Wrangler, Pajero or {insert choice of offroad 4×4 machine here} and you are eager to stretch its legs. You venture off the tar and dive in to see what your new pride and joy can do in the field.

The rookie mistake that you are making is to think that your skills on tar will directly transfer into offroad driving skills. This is not true … seriously. The vehicle may be very capable but you might not be. Offroad driving technique is very different from road driving. 

Offroad or trail driving has a steep learning curve and many factors are not intuitive like picking the correct line over an obstacle or knowing when and when not to apply brakes. How to get yourself unstuck is a whole field of study in itself and the forces present is often unseen but very real (we are talking tonnes of force involved in a snatch recovery, for example). It is invaluable to have a more experienced driver or a certified instructor teach you the offroad driving technique basics before you test your new vehicle.

There is a real danger in offroad driving – damage to the car if you are lucky and injury or death if you are less lucky.

2) Don’t drink or be hungover on a trail

Image Credit: Hold my drink and watch this move…

Nothing is more enjoyable than a cold brewsky when you are enjoying nature, right? Especially if you hit the trail early the Saturday morning and last night’s social gathering is still painfully present in your head.

Offroad trail driving involves technique, judgement, reflexes and quick reaction times. It also requires you to be humble and know your limitations as well as the limitations of the vehicle. Alcohol tends to impair all of the above.

Many a tragic tale have started with the words:” Hold my drink and watch this move”.

3) Don’t Panic

Image Credit: Dune days: namibia

Trail driving is an activity where you get your kicks in slow motion. Of course, there are exemptions to this rule e.g. when you tackle a steep dune, you want to maintain speed and momentum.

But most of the time you want to crawl a bit slower than necessary so that you don’t get nasty surprises. You are not a rally driver – you want to avoid doing damage to the trail, your vehicle, yourself and others.

Panic happens when you are suddenly presented with challenging circumstances and you do not yet have the experience or muscle memory to safely handle the situation. As I have mentioned before, offroad driving technique is a skill that takes time to develop. Chances are that this will happen to you the first time that you attempt an obstacle with a steep incline. When the tyres start slipping, panic will make you step on the petrol or brake. Both situations can be rather … ahem … interesting.

Giving beans can produce a magnitude of unwanted results such as the vehicle overturning, breaking a half-shaft if the tyres suddenly start gripping or you can even veer off the side of the obstacle.

Stepping on the brake with a manual gearbox while depressing the clutch can make the vehicle suddenly roll back and if your front wheels are even slightly turned, you can take a tumble down the obstacle.

If you are slipping badly, the safest bet is to keep the wheels straight and calmly step on the brake without depressing the clutch. If you come to a standstill and the engine stalls, pull up the handbrake and assess the situation. Gently release the handbrake and roll back on the clutch (in a controlled fashion) while maintaining grip with the brakes until you are on more level terrain and then rethink your driving line over (or around) the obstacle.

If the wheels keep slipping and you are sliding back uncontrollably, use gentle braking and engine braking while focussing on keeping the wheels straight. Eventually, you will come to a standstill when the terrain levels out.

4) Snatch Recoveries can be Fatal

Image Credit: 4wd Recovery Strap

I really don’t want to say too much about the correct procedure on snatch recoveries. If you don’t know what you are doing, then don’t snatch. If you do know what you are doing, snatch only as a last resort. Recovery techniques vary and not all experts agree on each and every point but the one thing that all knowledgeable people agree on is that extreme caution need to be exercised. 

Let me share an experience that happened to me on a trail. I leisurely set out to a local trail on a Sunday morning, I desperately needed to get out of the house for a bit. It was a lovely day and I enjoyed the trail, which I knew fairly well, thoroughly.

As I approached the final obstacle – a steep hill – I noticed a commotion and big dust clouds being kicked up. On closer inspection, I saw an older man with a Defender 110, trying to recover a younger man with a brand new Ford pickup. The Ford was close to being on its way down the side of the mountain and the older man tried in vain to pull him back onto the trail with a normal tow strap. In between the two vehicles, right next to the strap, a young lady and her daughter of around five years of age were spectating.

The Defender was kicking like a wild mule and the tyres were spinning up dust and rocks in all directions. I stopped and asked if I could assist. The younger man told me that he had just bought the Ford two weeks ago and he then got retrenched a week later. His thinking was that if he was going to lose the vehicle in any case, he would at least take it offroad once so that he could experience trail driving for the first and only time.

He didn’t know that a 4×2 truck was insufficient for the trail and his father-in-law with the Defender turned out to be a bit of a cowboy.

My first order of business was to get the young man’s wife and daughter to a safe distance. I was seriously peeved that the father-in-law, who seemed to have a bit of experience, did not have the common sense to keep them out of potential harm’s way.

I then asked them about their tyre pressures. The older man got highly antagonized with me and stated bluntly that he doesn’t believe in deflating tyres. I calmly replied that if they want my help they will follow my instructions or else they were free to struggle on without me. The young man was close to tears and he begged me to keep on helping them.

After we had deflated the tyres, I asked him if he had engaged the diff-lock on his truck. He replied that he did but for some reason, the truck kept going skew like a crab and that was why he got into trouble. At this point in time, I found out that the Ford was only 4×2. Cold sweat rolled down my neck as I realized the seriousness of the situation.

I decided to remove the older man from the equation and I offered to snatch the younger man’s truck lightly back onto the track. I attached the strap and secured it on both sides with safety bridles. An arrestor bag went over the strap, halfway between the vehicles.

Fortunately, only a light pull was needed to get the truck off the side of the mountain and back onto the track. The bridles were not really necessary but I decided to err on the side of caution.

When the young man saw how easily I had recovered his truck, he asked me to drive it all the way up the obstacle. I flat-out refused. I was not keen to be held responsible in case I damaged his truck. He assured me that he would not worry, he just wanted to get his wife and daughter off the trail and back home. Evidently, he had lost all faith in his father-in-law.

Well, I made it to the top of the mountain. Let me rather not elaborate on how I did it and how close I came to the cliff myself. When I exited the vehicle at the top, my hands were shaking as much as the younger man’s.

Many things could have gone wrong that day. I guess I had earned a pocketful of karma points to assist the young family in need. But I hope that I am never in a similar situation like that again.

Same spot with a different Landy

Image Credit: Groenkloof Nature Trail with Defender 2.8i

How to get started?

If you think that trail driving is a hobby that you might enjoy, I have written a short blog post on how to check a used vehicle before buying. The post is specific to Land Rover Defenders because I refurbish them for a living, but much of the information is applicable to any prospective truck or SUV. If you only learn about the importance of compression and leak-down tests, you are head and shoulders above other buyers. I wish I had known about it before I bought my Defender …

The post Offroad Driving Tips and Techniques – from “gun-shy” to gung-ho” appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>
https://leoxrovers.com/2020/10/22/offroad-driving-tips-and-techniques/feed/ 0
Why does Land Rover have a reputation for poor build quality? https://leoxrovers.com/2020/08/08/why-does-land-rover-have-a-reputation-for-poor-build-quality/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-does-land-rover-have-a-reputation-for-poor-build-quality https://leoxrovers.com/2020/08/08/why-does-land-rover-have-a-reputation-for-poor-build-quality/#respond Sat, 08 Aug 2020 11:25:54 +0000 https://leoxrovers.com/?p=3074 There are a number of reasons why Land Rover had built up a reputation for poor build quality. Some of the reasons are justified whereas others may lift an eyebrow or two. Lets first start with one of those … Brand hate Now, most offroad enthusiasts know that there is a bitter rivalry between Toyota […]

The post Why does Land Rover have a reputation for poor build quality? appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>

There are a number of reasons why Land Rover had built up a reputation for poor build quality. Some of the reasons are justified whereas others may lift an eyebrow or two. Lets first start with one of those …

Brand hate

Now, most offroad enthusiasts know that there is a bitter rivalry between Toyota owners and Land Rover owners. If you ever mention the word “Defender” in front of a die-hard Land Cruiser owner, you better have your running shoes on. Much of the poor reputation of Land Rover is a fiction spun by people who have never even been behind the wheel of a Defender.

Of, course the brand-bashing also goes in the other direction, as depicted by the sticker on the Defender below.

Image credit: Toyota Rescue Team! AWESOME. There is also a Jeep recovery version out there too! | Land rover defender, Land rover, Land rover series

The justified reasons

Land Rover made poor choices, especially with three models over the years. These vehicles tarnished the reputation of Land Rover for many years to come.

Range Rover Classic and P38

Image credit: Used car buying guide: Range Rover P38 | Autocar

In the Top Gear Bolivia special Jeremy Clarkson remarked that his vehicle had the reputation for being the most unreliable car in the world. Oddly enough, all three presenters agreed at the end of the show that the Range Rover performed the best out the three vehicles that they had selected.

So where does the reputation come from? The Classic had relatively simple electronics but the P38 started to bash new ways into motoring technology as far as electronics go. It also sported air suspension, a feature that left more than one owner stranded next to the road.

Land Rover also started to put a different type of coolant in their vehicles and subsequently, some of the V8 engine blocks started to slip liners due to bore corrosion.

The general consensus seems to be that if you choose to own an early Range Rover, you better know a mechanic that understands and loves these vehicles.

Freelander 1

Image credit: Land Rover Freelander | Junk Mail

I used to work with a young lady that had her heart set on buying a small 4×4 as she loved to go on holiday in Mozambique. She asked me to help her make a decision. Her first choice was was a Pajero IO. Unfortunately, the ones we could find for sale were all rather long in the tooth and we were both wary of her buying a beaten-up piece of scrap.

I suggested that she consider a Disco 1 – lots of car for the money and there were some viable prospects on Autotrader. I knew someone on our local 4×4 Community forum that did a million kilos in his Disco and he raved about the truck. She didn’t like the idea of such a big vehicle though and after that, the conversation kinda went dead.

About a month later she shyly confessed that she had purchased her car. Upon asking she said that it was a Freelander 1 and then she immediately became defensive, listing reasons why it was the ideal purchase. It was bought from a trusted family member who just had the gearbox overhauled and this family member would never cheat her.

Famous last words … the last time I spoke to her she just meekly remarked that the car had been in a couple of times for repairs. One of our mutual friends told me later that the car had been with different mechanics for the largest part of the year that had gone by. She ended up spending more on repairs than the purchase price of the car. And the end was not yet in sight with repairs …

I think this was the typical experience for many Freelander 1 owners. It appears that anything that can go wrong with these cars does tend to go wrong.

Disco 3

Image credit: File:2004 Land Rover Discovery 3 TDV6 HSE 2.7 Front.jpg

The first Disco was almost as rugged as the Defender but it provided a more luxurious ride. They completed the Camel trophy in Discos, after all. Then came the Disco 3 TDV6. Hailed all around as a luxury SUV that is still a capable offroad vehicle, many people bought this model.

Then the problems started. The offroad forums filled threads with countless pages of the dreaded Disco 3 crank failure. Eventually, the vehicle earned a reputation as a ticking timebomb – without warning the crankshaft would break and thereby destroy the engine. If you were fortunate enough to buy one of these cars that were out of warranty, the engine transplant procedure could set you back with a repair bill that equalled the purchase price.

Current models

Image credit: 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos

Sadly Land Rover does not feature well in consumer indexes with their current line-up. Perhaps the new Defender will change that but it is still too soon since the release of the vehicle to tell.

Even the final incarnation of the classic Defender, the Puma, was not well received. Numerous factory recalls tarnished the owner’s experience and there were complaints all around about the Ford engine under the hood. I have seen a number of forum members expressing their regret that they “upgraded” from a Tdi or Td5 to a Puma.

Which are the Land Rover gems then?

Surely, Land Rover could not stay in business for decades if all their vehicles were crap? And why would there be such a loyal following if they consistently produced below-par products?

Disco 1 & 2

Think of one of the most challenging endurance offroad contests ever concocted. Think of mud and forest and snakes and a million other things that are out to get you.

Think of the Camel Trophy.

Do I need to say more?

Image credit: Camel Trophy

Defender 300Tdi, Td5, V8 & M52 2.8i

Had there ever been an offroad truck that inspired so many tales of adventure as the legendary and iconic Defender? A rugged beast of a truck that is virtually unstoppable, even in stock-standard format.

Defender 300Tdi

Image credit: 1994-1998 Land Rover Defender 300Tdi 4×4 Review — LRO

The 300Tdi has been a favourite to overland across Africa due to its simplicity. Parts are available everywhere, it can run on low-quality diesel and even serious breakdowns can usually be fixed with simple tools. There is a saying that you just need to carry a roll of wire and a pair of pliers in your Defender and then you can bush-repair virtually any component in the truck. There is a lot of truth to that, I speak from personal experience here.

300Tdi’s in relatively good condition are scarce as hen’s teeth and highly sough-after.

Defender TD5

Used 2008 Land Rover 90 Defender Td5 for sale in Wolverhampton

The Td5 was more refined and contained an engine ECU that turned off many die-hard 300Tdi fans. But the reality is that apart from the well documented oil-in-loom failure, these trucks generally don’t have that many problems.

The interior was much more comfortable than the 300Tdi and the engine relieved the truck from its “donkey” status. It was also fairly economical for a truck with the aerodynamic properties of a brick.

Defender V8

Image credit: 1993 Defender 110 V8 Blue : Leox Rovers

Although the V8 is heavier on fuel than the diesel models, it has the advantage that a gasoline engine is generally easier and cheaper to fix than a turbo diesel. Added bonus is that you don’t have to worry about turbo failure, something that tends to be rather expensive.

For this reason, many people prefer the V8 variants of the Defender and Disco models. Even the dreaded crank failure mentioned earlier with the Disco 3 is only a flaw inherent to the diesel model, people who own Disco 3 V8’s tend to rave about them.

Currently, there is quite a demand internationally for quality refurbished Defender V8’s. I have seen some of these trucks being advertised for well over the $150k mark.

Defender 2.8i

Image credit: 1997 Defender 90 328i Black : Leox Rovers

The most elusive Defender of them all – the South African built Defender 2.8i that sports an M52 328i engine under the hood, the same engine that featured in the Z3.

This is the holy grail of factory-built Defenders but finding one is almost impossible as only 645 90’s and roughly the same amount of 110’s were ever built.

If you ever find one of these for sale, you should buy without hesitation.

Verdict – does Land Rover deserve its reputation?

Yes and no. As illustrated above, Land Rover went through ups and downs over the years. If you know what to buy, you have a chance to end up with a truck that you will love with every fibre inside of you.

If you pick a lemon and you hate it … remember that you have been warned what to look out for.

The post Why does Land Rover have a reputation for poor build quality? appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>
https://leoxrovers.com/2020/08/08/why-does-land-rover-have-a-reputation-for-poor-build-quality/feed/ 0
How should I start and run a cold engine? https://leoxrovers.com/2020/07/25/how-should-i-start-and-run-a-cold-engine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-should-i-start-and-run-a-cold-engine https://leoxrovers.com/2020/07/25/how-should-i-start-and-run-a-cold-engine/#respond Sat, 25 Jul 2020 07:37:43 +0000 https://leoxrovers.com/?p=2932 Starting a cold engine When you start an engine there are a couple of things that you have to keep in mind in order to minimize wear and tear and also to prevent catastrophic failures such as cracked heads or blocks. The lubricating qualities of oil The first part of the equation is the amount […]

The post How should I start and run a cold engine? appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>
land rover defender v8 engine rebuilt by leoxrovers.com

Starting a cold engine

When you start an engine there are a couple of things that you have to keep in mind in order to minimize wear and tear and also to prevent catastrophic failures such as cracked heads or blocks.

The lubricating qualities of oil

The first part of the equation is the amount of oil that is in the engine and able to lubricate the moving parts such as the camshafts and lifters. When the engine is off, the oil drains down to the pan. A little oil remains in the engine in order to lubricate the parts on the next start-up. The problem is that the oil is cold and thick and therefore the oil pump has a relatively hard time to get more oil to the moving parts. This results in wear and tear.

Should I first idle?

Now, some people advocate that you should first let the engine idle in order to get it ready for the road. This is thoroughly bad advice because it means that the engine will take longer to warm up to operating temperature. The oil will be cold and thick for a longer period with poorer penetration and lubrication qualities.

It is much, much better to start the engine and then drive with a light foot on the gas pedal until the engine has reached operating temperature. This is because the engine will warm up faster with a moderate load.

The critical role of the thermostat

The critical part of the engine warm-up phase is the thermostat. The thermostat is closed when you start the engine to prevent coolant from circulating from the heads and the block to the radiator. This means that the engine will warm up fairly quickly when you drive it. Once the engine has reached operating temperature, the thermostat opens and allows coolant to get cooled down by the radiator, thereby keeping the engine at the desired temperature.

The correct driving procedure until operating temperature

It is important to put load on the engine by driving but it is critical not to overload it by revving the engine too high. Letting the revs go above 3000 can be catastrophic for a cold engine, especially if the block and heads are made from aluminium.

This seems counter-intuitive. You might rightly argue that I just said that we want to minimize the time that the engine is running while below the operating temperature and surely the engine will warm up quicker if the revs are high? What nonsense am I spewing now?

Well, the other part of the equation is that the engine is not warming up at the same rate everywhere throughout the block and the heads. The engine will probably have hot spots where the aluminium has become hard and brittle over time while the surrounding areas have retained its flexibility.

What can go wrong if I rev the engine?

If you let the revs go up too high while the engine is cold, the hot spots will heat up much faster than the surrounding areas and the brittle aluminium can crack. If this happens to the heads, you are in a world of hurt and the repairs will be expensive.

If this happens in the block it is much, much worse. You will probably be searching for a replacement engine. But most likely you are going to sell the car for spare parts because to replace the engine is a nightmare.

Personally, I like to keep the revs below 2000 but that is because I had the heads crack on me. I was in a hurry one cold winters morning because I was late for work. Against my better knowledge, I revved the engine. When I stopped at the first traffic light my Landy had decided to throw a smoke-screen, engulfing myself and the surroundings in a bright white mist. A very expensive mist, as it turned out …

Removing the thermostat – a crime punishable by death

One last thought – a popular backyard mechanic fix for overheating engines is to remove the thermostat. The belief is that the thermostat restricts coolant flow (which is true) and somehow that is bad for the engine. As I have explained above, this is utter nonsense. The thermostat is critical and if any mechanic commits the cardinal sin of removing your vehicle’s thermostat – please take him to the backyard and have him promptly shot.

Overheating problems have specific causes such as a leaking head gasket or a failing viscous clutch. Removing the thermostat only masks the symptoms. It is infinitely better to diagnose the problem correctly and fix it.

While you are here, you are welcome to take a peek at our flagship Landy that is currently for sale.

The post How should I start and run a cold engine? appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>
https://leoxrovers.com/2020/07/25/how-should-i-start-and-run-a-cold-engine/feed/ 0
Should I buy an old Land Rover Defender https://leoxrovers.com/2020/07/24/elementor-2913/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=elementor-2913 https://leoxrovers.com/2020/07/24/elementor-2913/#respond Fri, 24 Jul 2020 11:57:54 +0000 https://leoxrovers.com/?p=2913 A person on Quora inquired whether it is wise to buy an old Defender. I explained some of the main points that we look for when we buy stock. Do people buy old Defenders? Well, our company buys old Land Rover Defenders in order to restore them. So ignore all the naysayers and rather arm […]

The post Should I buy an old Land Rover Defender appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>

A person on Quora inquired whether it is wise to buy an old Defender. I explained some of the main points that we look for when we buy stock.

Do people buy old Defenders?

Well, our company buys old Land Rover Defenders in order to restore them. So ignore all the naysayers and rather arm yourself with proper knowledge so that you can make an informed decision. Also, we only work on petrol Defenders so I won’t include 300tdi’s or TD5’s in my answer.

For a petrol engine, you basically have two choices – V8 (in different variants) or the South African built special edition BMW M52 2.8i Defender. Good luck in finding one of these … only 645 90’s were built and I am unsure how many 110’s.

Pro tip – we currently have a fully restored Defender 90 2.8i on our showroom, ready to be shipped to a very lucky buyer, if you are interested.

defender m52 restored by leox rovers small

But I digress…

The biggest risk

So let’s assume you will not be able to get your hands on one of these rare gems, that leaves you with a V8. The V8 is a good engine but it was designed with one big flaw – the cylinder liners move out of place over time and then the engine leaks coolant internally. This is very, very bad.

defender v8 engine being rebuilt by leoxrovers.com

This is the inside of a V8 that we opened. Behold the horror!

And rest assured that you are probably going to pay as much for the engine rebuild as you have paid for the Landy in the first place.

Top-hat liners all the way

The proper way to fix this problem is to have engineering install “top-hat” liners that are held in place by the cylinder heads. So the first question that you should ask the seller is whether this conversion has been done. If it has been done you are ticking off the biggest box on your checksheet. If not, consider whether you have the budget for an engine rebuild. Also, the guys who still know how to rebuild a Rover V8 engine are getting pretty scarce.

Compression and leak down tests

Your next port of call is to have compression and leak down tests performed. If the seller refuses, you walk away from the deal. If you don’t know what these are, allow me to explain:

Compression

The compression test consists of screwing a pressure gauge into the sparkplug holes one-by-one and the turning the engine with the starter motor. Each reading is recorded. An engine will have a published spec that you can use as a guideline but factors such as atmospheric pressure and outside temperature will affect the reading. Now, if the compression rings are worn the pressure in the cylinder will read low and this is one of the major problems that we are testing for. Also, head gasket problems and valve problems will affect readings. We won’t exactly know where the problem lies if the reading is low but we are looking for one or more cylinders that have readings that differ a lot from the others. This would indicate a problem.

Leak down

The leak down test is more specialized, needs a compressor and leak down tester and generally takes more effort to perform. The test involves pressured air to be injected into the sparkplug holes, one-by-one via the leak down tester. The tester measures how much pressure escapes from the cylinder. Chances are that a cylinder that tested low in compression will leak excessively i.e. more than 25%

The neat part of the leak down test is that you can also determine more or less where a problem is lying.

If air rushes out when you take the oil dipstick out then the air is escaping past the rings. This is bad because the rings are in the block and this will mean that the engine probably has to come out.

Air bubbles from the radiator (when you loosen the bolt) mean that somewhere the pressurised air is getting into the coolant passages. The bad news is that this can also be in the block – a cracked or shifted liner. It can also be a faulty head gasket or a crack in the head. Best case scenario here is that it is the head gasket, all the other options are really bad.

Air noise at the exhaust or the intake manifold means that the valves are probably not sealing properly. This can mean a simple valve replacement or the head has a crack (which is very bad).

If air blows out by an adjacent sparkplug hole, the head gasket is faulty. This is probably manageable.

Now bear in mind that there will almost always be some degree of leakage, especially past the rings. The engine operates on tolerances and if the cylinders sealed perfectly, the engine would seize. The art is to know how much leakage is within spec.

Wiring

Land Rovers have Lucas electronics in them and this is the bane of our existence. Lucas electronics are finicky at best. On a V8 you will probably not have the option of having fault codes read – the bulk of them (to my knowledge) don’t have ECU’s. So wiring problems are a track-and-trace exercise. If you have time, determination and patience you can do this yourself.

leox rovers land rover defender wiring

I redid the wiring on my 2.8i years ago, armed with nothing but a few basic tools and whatever knowledge I could find on the interwebs. Took me a year but I got the job done.

You are looking for wires that have chafed through, burned, got eaten by rats and most likely – DIY wiring jobs by the previous owner. Fortunately, the Defender wiring system, with all its faults, is pretty forgiving. My Landy had more than fifty potential shorts, yet it never burned to the ground. This included plenty of DIY wiring by the previous owner – it even had open wires right in the petrol tank to the fuel pump, that was burnt!

Drive train

Check for clunks, grinding noises, or the sound of gears turning. This spells trouble in the gearbox, transfer case or diffs. All of these need to be professionally tended to if there are problems. Check if the diff-lock engages. Put the truck in low range and listen for screeching noises – this can indicate worn bearings in the transfer case.

Rust

The Defender’s body is made from aluminium but that doesn’t mean that it is rust-proof. Check the entire body for “alu-worm” – a trail of bubbles under the paint. This is mostly cosmetic but can be challenging to fix.

The door frames are made of steel and are especially prone to rust on the undersides where condensation forms. Not a deal-breaker but can be challenging to fix. You will need someone who can cut out the rusted part of the frame and weld in new steel. Then some paintwork will also be required. Or you can choose to live with this.

The firewall is also steel and can rust, especially if brake fluid leaks inside the engine bay. If the rust is bad – walk away from the deal.

The chassis is the most critical area to check for rust. If the chassis is badly rusted, the truck is a no-go.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive but I feel that I have covered the most critical things to check. Good luck in your search and I hope you find the Defender that will put a smile on your face for many years to come.

Driving a Defender is a really special experience.

The post Should I buy an old Land Rover Defender appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>
https://leoxrovers.com/2020/07/24/elementor-2913/feed/ 0
Why are Land Rover Defenders so expensive? https://leoxrovers.com/2020/07/21/why-are-land-rover-defenders-so-expensive-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-are-land-rover-defenders-so-expensive-2 https://leoxrovers.com/2020/07/21/why-are-land-rover-defenders-so-expensive-2/#respond Tue, 21 Jul 2020 12:11:37 +0000 https://leoxrovers.com/?p=2834 Someone recently asked on Quora why Defenders are so expensive. After some pondering I wrote the following answer. Being in the business of restoring Land Rover Defenders at Leox Rovers, I can attest that it is an expensive and time-consuming process to bring these beasts back to life. There are a couple of factors that […]

The post Why are Land Rover Defenders so expensive? appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>

Someone recently asked on Quora why Defenders are so expensive. After some pondering I wrote the following answer.

Being in the business of restoring Land Rover Defenders at Leox Rovers, I can attest that it is an expensive and time-consuming process to bring these beasts back to life. There are a couple of factors that drive up the cost:

Scarce to source

The Defender was discontinued in 2017. Many people started buying them for investment purposes. High demand and low availability drive up the cost.

Condition of prospective vehicles

So if you find a vehicle that is eligible for restoration the chances are that it is not going to be in good condition. For the US market, the vehicle needs to be older than 25 years. This means that it is probably going to be an early-90’s V8.

Engine

The engine is probably going to need to be rebuilt. The original cylinder liners tended to shift and then the engine leaks coolant internally. Engineering the engine with top-hat liners probably costs as much as the purchase price of the vehicle.

Here is a pic of the engine of a V8 that we are almost finished with. It was in a nasty condition …

Land Rover Defender V8 Engine to be rebuilt by Leox Rovers

Electrical

Defender owners love to customize their trucks. I know, I am one of them. Currently, the wire to the fuel pump in my truck runs straight from the fusebox, through the compartment into a hole that I cut with a grinder in the load bin. Sigh … I didn’t have the willpower or time to properly run it through the chassis.

So when we start with the electrical restoration we have to assume that the standard wiring diagrams mean nothing and that the wiring will be non-standard.

25-year old wires are cracked, chafed through, burnt, eaten by rats … you name it. We are currently restoring a truck where we literally could not reuse a single piece of wire.

Here is a pic of my truck when I redid the wires. Honestly, at the time I never thought it would drive again:)

land rover defender 28i electrical leox rovers

Paint

The body needs to come off when we paint the truck and chassis. This is no small operation.

Here is a pic of my fiance’s favourite truck in our inventory. I must say … the paintwork came out very nicely.

land rover defender 110 V8 from leox rovers showing off its new coat of paint

Upgrades and replacements

Tyres, rims, free-flow exhausts radios upholstery, carpeting … the list of upgrades is quite lengthy. But I guess anything that is worth doing is worth doing well.

land rover defender v8 detail of upholstery

While you are here, why don’t you have a look at the trucks that we currently have for sale?

The post Why are Land Rover Defenders so expensive? appeared first on Leox Rovers.

]]>
https://leoxrovers.com/2020/07/21/why-are-land-rover-defenders-so-expensive-2/feed/ 0