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Noob Q&A / Buying.

Discussion in 'Land Rover Freelander' started by g15ost, Feb 4, 2013.

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  1. g15ost

    g15ost New Member

    Mar 13, 2010
    Likes Received:
    West Midlands
    Freelancer Noobs.

    As some of you will be aware I have recently purchased a FL1 TD4. Before buying the vehicle I did a little research via this forum, general web advice and a few words with people on the trade. There's one thing I found when searching and that was a lot of mixed reviews and also quite a bit of conflicting information, so, as I'm sat here doing absolutely FA with my last hour at work I thought I'd gets to scribbling so to speak and make my own little guide for anyone who may be in the market for a FL1. By no means is this an exhaustive list but its the points I seem to have found most prudent over the last few weeks.

    If your an old hand on here you really might not want to read any further as I will not be held responsible for any attempted suicides by the over use of the word VCU or IRD.

    Firstly, if your going to buy a FL1 make sure you know which variant to go for... Ours is a 2005 TD4 HSE and has covered 80k. If your budget allows go for a TD4 (for those who live under a rock the TD4 engine is a 2.0 BMW Diesel Lump), if not go for a standard Rover Diesel which are also a good engine. Personally, I'd avoid petrol models however that said, a well maintained petrol can serve its purpose.

    The main issues to look out for / be wary of are listed below:

    Firstly. The Drive Train. It's the same story on all the FL1 models, its not as bad as you may believe SO LONG AS ITS MAINTAINED. Basically there's a little magical box in the centre of the drive train which has the power to make grown men cry. Essentially it's an oil filled unit which spins between shafts which connect the front and rear wheels creating the 4WD. This oil (well silicone of some sort) inside the unit becomes thick over time and does not do its job properly. To cut a long story short when this unit fails it will go one of 2 ways. It will trash your rear diff or, more likely, it will destroy your IRD (sits at the front and makes the rear wheels turn). This can happen to your vehicle regardless of age or mileage. General consensus amongst real experts is that the reccomended interval to change will be circa 70,000 miles. A re-conditioned unit is best sourced from Bell Enginering and currently will cost £200 (exchange) plus the cost of the support bearing. It is a relatively quick job and will save a fortune in associated damage if you just wait for it to go and take the IRD with it (Recon IRD circa £650 plus cost of VCU so you do the math). Despite the amount of tests people will tell you work there is no sure fire way to tell if a VCU is on its way out. Yes, your car will feel tight in reverse but that isn't 100% accurate as what is too tight? Do you know, cause I don't. A little tightness when reversing is always going to be there. If you are buying or own a freelander with 70k + on the clock and it hasn't had one then JUST CHANGE IT! Simple!
    Just a side note - if your buying a FL then make sure it has a VCU and props fitted before buying it. If it hasn't, my advice is walk away.

    Tyres - Tyres are imperative on these things as they can cause undue stress on the VCU. All tyres should be of same make, model and size. Check tread depths are within 1mm of each other to be safe (check spare complies too). When replacing tyres they should be done in 4's.

    Going 2WD - I personally don't like the idea of this but admittedly I haven't tried it so won't comment. It's the practice of removing the props so that there is no drive to the rear wheels and essentially turns the car into a rather large 2wd Diesel Estate. It apparently save fuel and can improve handling although, again, I here mixed opinions on the matter. My thoughts would be that most FL converted to 2wd have been done so to alleviate the VCU issue that plagues them. If you have a well maintained VCU / drivetrain then there is no real need to 'drop the prop'.

    Brakelight switch. There is a modified BMW part which was introduced for all models and requires a little adapter loom (all in about £25 from stealers). Fit this and don't worry about problems with Hill Decent Etc again.

    Window / Roof Operation - not an issue over ever actually seen but from what I gather the window regulators are pretty touchy on these cars. A repair kit can be purchased and most DIY me Janice's could do one.

    Water Ingress - Again, not something we suffer with at present but a lot of people complain of damp in the little storage compartment in the boot. I've never actually looked much as ours is dry however there is a little drain tube fitted in the right hand side of the boot behind the plastic trim that goes through from the inside to just over the wheel well, this passes through the body in a flimsy rubber pipe which can detach easily which would leave water to drain into the bottom of the bit well (don't know of this is the culprit but worth a check as its easily disturbed).

    TD4 / Diesel Turbo's - These can pop (as can any turbo). Usually due to clogged breathers and poor maintenance. There is a BMW crankcase breather which you can buy which replaces the standard land rover one. The only real benefit of this mod is its a far superior part which can be maintained.

    EGR Bypass - Just do it, it won't hurt but don't expect 10mpg more.

    Towing - The Freelander is an excellent Tow car. It handles well and pulls brilliantly. It is steady at speed and does what it is meant to.

    Overall Engine - if its petrol - jus do the head gasket anyway. Otherwise just drive them and make sure they feel right and don't leave a trail of blue smoke

    Finally - if you are still unsure, use the search button above before asking questions as some of the guys on here cannot be held responsible for they're err witty remarks (which is understands if you sit for five and read the monotonous posts).

    As I have said this list is not exhaustive however I think it covers the main points and gives a little clarity to a few 'over discussed' topics.

    These are all topics which have been covered in depth time and time again so I'm sure some of the knowledgable guides in here will find this post a little tedious but, I just wanted to stick all my findings in one place and, more importantly, kill an hour before I leave work which I have successfully done.

    Oh - if anyone finds the whole 'no sure fire way to test a VCU' a little errr, controversial, I came to the conclusion using my own knowledge (mechanic for 10 years) and after speaking to various trade professionals including Bell Engineering and Lee Perry Land Rover (Bristol).

    Cheers. Phill.
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