An Archive for Fanatics of Land Rovers

An Archive for Fanatics of Land Rovers










Land Rover Problems FAQ and Tips


The LandyOnline questions and answers is a list of common Land Rover Problems and FAQs that we have received over the years. You can browse through the list and see if your questions have been answered. If you are experiencing a problem then check the Land Rover Recalls to see if it is a known Land rover or Range rover problem. Another great place to look for answers to Landrover Problems is to visit our Land Rover Forum. If you think there is a problem that we should address then mail us.

Belt noise
Electronic ingnition
Gearbox oils

R6 rim problem
Smokey diesel
Sticky Series Steering wheel
Wading plugs
Water Proofing V8 Engine

I have a Defender 110 CSW TDi and I am having problems getting a belt noise eliminated.

Remove the belt, carefully clean all the little grooves with a stiff tooth brush, soap and water, then clean the grooves in the pulleys as well, Do not apply any belt dressing or other spray/powder. Some vehicles had alignment problems, ask your dealer if your vehicle falls in this category. Also see troubleshooting ribbed belt noise.

Is it worthwhile getting Luminition electronic Ignition? Is this the "electronic ignition" where the points are replaced by this gadget?  Does it really give better performance and fuel consumption?  What's the situation with water around it as with river crossings ?

The Luminition electronic ignition replaces the points in the distributor with a optic sensor and a chopper that fits around the cam inside the distributor. Once installed it is set up for life and is also much less effected by distributor wear than a set of points.
The electronic box is the size of two match boxes and completely sealed and can be immersed in water with no ill effects. The Luminition was one of the first electronic ignitions around and were designed around the standard coils available at the time. If you use one of the new generation high voltage units with it the current draw is too high and it can fail. Rumor had it that they were built to military specification although nowadays automotive specs are tighter than mil specs.
Once set up the Luminition keep going for ever.

Some Land Rover gearboxes use engine oil, is that true ?

The LT85 has an oil pump inside, the reason for the 15W40 is that the pump cannot handle the thicker oil and will be damaged. A good choice of oil is Futron or Magnatec or as close as possible to 15W40. More on Land Rover Oils

Problems with R6 Rims

Since leaving JHB over a month ago on our trans-Africa trip I’ve had two rims fail in exactly the same way: through the welds between the dish and the rim.  There is no obvious problem with either the rims (both only had about 10 000 km on the before the failures) and there’s no problems with the axles or any other part of the drive train: no overheating, no wobbles, no noises, no leaks.

Stuart, who runs a Livingstone 4x4 Hire and Foley’s Land Rover workshop here in Zambia, tells me he’s seen this often when R6 rims are used with vehicles that are heavy.  The dish is set deeper, pushing the tyre about one inch further outward (makes the vehicle look better), thus allowing for slightly more flex between rim and dish.  Over long kilometres of corrugated roads and bouncy sand tracks, a heavy Landy will cause these fatigue failures.  I estimate the life wheel life under these conditions to be about 4000 km.

In my case the back left wheel came off the first time in Cape Town at 20 km/h.  The capstan saved the wheel from coming off completely and the brake drum from gouging a furrow into the tar (there’s a new use for a recovery capstan !).  The second time (30 km outside Walvis Bay) we heard the wobble on the back left wheel once two welds had given up and changed the wheels before any damage occurred.

I’m advised that the older versions or series vehicle rims are better because the disg is not set as deep.  The best to date are apparently the “wolf” rims, identified by the 5 mm thick steel and 12 or so 1” holes in the dish.  The flip side of these wolf rims is that Stuart manages to import them from the UK (when available) at approx R 1000.- per second-hand rim (before duties and taxes).


My Land Rover diesel is smoking at the exhaust, what is the problem?

Black smoke is mainly attributed to over fuelling :

  • The injector pump is set too rich, there is an excessive amount of diesel being sprayed into the cylinders.
  • The turbo charger is not supplying sufficient pressure (air) into the engine.
  • The injectors may be worn, posibly linke with some white smoke.

Blue smoke is only caused by oil in the wrong places:

  • Blue smoke while idling and low revs, or a puff if smoke when accelarating from idle means the valve stem seals are shot.
  • Blue smoke while driving shown the rings are worn, usually harder to detect than in petrols but always linked to higher oil consumption.
  • Blue smoke on decelleration on long slow downhills, shows valve stem seals are shot.

White smoke is a result of incorrect injection pump timing, foreign fluids and air :

  • Constant thin white smoke on idle, puffing when revving the engine.
  • Water in the fuel system - Maybe from a bad tank of fuel ? Been wading in deep water lately ?
  • Air in the fuel system - a badly sealing filter, or joint or tank return blocked.

The steering wheel of my SIIA gets sticky and grimy in damp weather. 

This is this common in old Landies and there is a way of solving it other than hunting for a steering wheel cover which will fit such a large narrow steering wheel

You can remove it, then sand it using about 300 sand paper, wash it in a
very strong caustic solution (to get the 20+ years of goop off. Spray paint
the wheel with lots of coats of paint.


Go to Midas, buy a genuine leather steering wheel cover for 16" steering
wheel, wet it thoroughly, gently and with lots of patients fiddle it over the
wheel and lace it on neatly - works very well. This one has no padding but
has holes punched in it.


Order the genuine leather steering wheel cover from the UK via the LROi
magazine and fit it, it is a million times better than anything else and
feels oh-so-nice. This one has a foam padding and no holes punched in. - it
gives a softer more comfy feel while the Midas ones are very hard once

What are wading plugs ?

Wading plugs are used to block the seepage drain holes in the bell housing and timing cover on Land Rover engines before wading in deep water. These are usually 1/4 NPT threaded plugs.
Leaf Sprung vehicles have only one fitted at the bottom front most point of the flywheel housing.
Engines using a timing belt (2.5P/D/Td/Tdi) have one at the bottom of the timing belt housing, just behind the crank shaft pulley. These plugs must be fitted when wading and must be removed immediately after wading. If water comes out when the bell housing plug is removed, the vehicle should be driven a fair distance to dry the housing out or the clutch assembly will become rusty and sticky. If water comes out of the timing belt housing, the timing belt could get damaged or oily - This can have severe consequences.

How to waterproof a V8

New plug/coil wires.  NOT champion red ones they are useless.  
Genuine black ones are pretty damn good in the wet, yellow Silicone Bougicords are also great.(Ed)

High power coil.
Plugs gapped right.
Transistor assisted ignition.(Electronic Ignition)

Large piece of plastic over the radiator grille to keep the water out of the radiator when bow-waving.

Tie up the viscous unit so the fan doesn't rotate, or disconnect if electric.  You won't overheat too quickly.  This makes a hell of a lot of difference.
Condom over the coil, tie wrapped to the leads.
Rubber glove over the distributor, 2 wires per finger with the exception of the coil lead.  Zip tied around base of distributor and leads.

Copious quantities of WD40/Q20/DWF/Silicone spray inside everything.

Oh and raised axle breathers.  And wading plugs in.  LT95 leaks water in slowly to the bellhousing whatever you do so make sure you take the wading plug out ASAP.

Most important...  Keep that (sensible) bow wave going.
No splashes.  Gently gently.  Extra Q20. Make sure a companion is there to pull you out when you drown it.  

Oh and practice makes perfect.  Particularly when you are draining the oil for the umpteenth time!

- Andy Grafton



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