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Freelander 1 Return of the (Land) Rovers: Kilo-Hippo-Delta

Discussion in 'Land Rover Freelander' started by rob_bell, Aug 15, 2016.

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  1. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    Hi, first post on here! I already have about three car projects on the go (all MG-related; the old Triumph is on the back-burner for now) - so what I felt I needed was another car project. Obviously. So I'd like to introduce both myself and the new Hippo project car! :)

    I felt the need to get a Land Rover - and since I am already talking to the converted, I really don't really need to explain why! LOL So what would be the basis for a good first-time Land Rover Project? I fancy a Mk1 Disco - which would enable me to learn and practice welding, but perhaps not ideal as my front drive is very small and we need to use it: perhaps a full-size Landie isn't quite what I needed.

    Since I am already rather familiar with 90s MGs, the Freelander seemed to make sense - particularly the oft-maligned 1.8 K-series version. Happily I have a couple of spare engines I've been hoarding for various projects ;)

    But which version? 5-door or 3-door? I like a bit of wind-in-the-hair, so actually, a 3-door seems ideal for a bit of summer fun, and then come more inclement weather, some 4WD enjoyment?

    Therefore, by some twisted logic, I am aiming for a 3-door 1.8 K-series Freelander - which I suspect isn't necessarily the most popular variant.

    Oh, and I wanted a project car. If Mike Brewer and Ed China can do it, why can't I?

    To spice things up a bit, I decided to thow a die of fate and buy a "Spares or Repair" car from the Bay of Fleas. Purchase budget? £250-275.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Allow me to introduce what, quite by chance, I bought (sight unseen). Currently I am calling it Kilo-Hippo-Delta, so somewhat predictably, "Hippo" for short - which would be confusing since they're all Hippos... So Kilo-Hippo-Delta it is! Here are the pictures from the eBay auction advert:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [[​IMG]

    It's green. It's also painted green too ;) Underneath the grubby mossy exterior is quite a straight looking car, with new tyres front and rear. Never heard of "Land Sail" though? Are they any good???

    The advert suggested that the car was over heating. Head gasket you'd think? I emailed owner: "oil is okay, just a couple of spots of mayo on the dipstick, but I don't think it's a head gasket failure". Hmm - failed pressure cap/ expansion tank? Sticking thermostat? Failing head gasket? I thought it was worth a cheeky punt and err... somewhat unexpectedly won it. Oops.

    This Hippo is a 2001 1.8S 3-door 4-seat hardtop. Unmodified, still with the 4 wheel drive unit connected up. 80k miles. A "reasonably" complete service history: first 7 years via Land Rover, and then via local garages.

    I bought a one-way ticket (30 quid) to Oakham with some tools in my back pack, and a packed lunch. The latter proved to be a good idea, the former turned out somewhat redundant...
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
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  2. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    I met the vendor - a very nice chap, who'd been "given" the car by a friend who'd decided that they wanted rid because of the overheating. "It gets as far as the shops and back before it goes into the red," the very pleasant sci-fi and fantasy fan tells me, over a cup of tea.

    Oh dear. Best not hang around, let's go for gold here and see if we can't make a diagnosis and work out whether I can drive Kilo-Hippo-Delta home. Pop the bonnet. First check: expansion tank. It's empty. Poo.

    Pull dipstick. Covered all the way from tip to hilt with that joyful sight: emulsified oil. No prizes for guessing where all the missing coolant has gone!

    "Wow!" Says our vendor: "it wasn't like that before!"

    Thereafter followed a long day involving the transportation of a dead Hippo on the back of flat-bed recovery trucks. Plenty of time to munch the packed lunch, to contemplate the errors of my ways and to figure out what exactly I'd bought.

    As it turns out, the body is really straight. A couple of very minor paint scrapes and that's about it. The underside was really what you'd expect to see on a road car, so I don't really think it's been used much off road. New tyres - as mentioned above. Land Sail. Never heard of them. Sounds like a name of a Chinese car company!?

    The next major discovery was the fragrant interior:

    [​IMG]

    The interior wasn't terribly clean. It's being sold for "spares or repair", so that's forgivable. There wasn't much of a bad dog smell (hairs everywhere though): but the chemical warfare of multiple air fresheners was rather too much!
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
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  3. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    Happy days: I found 22 pence in the ashtray. Buying an old car is always about what you can find left behind - what's the biggest amount of money you've found in a second hand car? I think mine's a couple of quid...

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Nodge68

    Nodge68 Well-Known Member

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    Looks ok for the money. I suspect that the HG is on the way out though, based on the mayo found. The mileage is about right for HG issues.
    At least the ugly corrugated plastic body kit will have kept the doors free from knocks ;)
     
  5. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    I loved the many, many stowage bins, boxes and pouches in the car. Amazing. Interestingly, the lockable one in the boot comes with a water feature!

    [​IMG]

    Looks like the hard top seals are past their best - there are tell-tale water marks on the B-pillar trims.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Skinny Mike

    Skinny Mike Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you've found something to keep you amused.
    Welcome to the forum.
    Mike
     
  7. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Nodge.

    Yes, the body kit.... oh dear. Not sure what to do about it. I found the receipt in the history file I got with the car: it cost a previous owner £1400! I also found receipts dealing with sticking it back on after it had fallen off. I think it would have been better off left off!

    But I guess it protects the doors. It looks a bit better from some angles than others - but it does make the car look under-wheeled.

    Head gasket? Yes, it's definitely gone. :( Fortunately, I have a spare engine or two (as you do).

    I got Kilo-Hippo-Delta home last weekend. The first task was to remove the weapons of mass destruction - also known as air fresheners - from the interior. Then the task of cleaning the interior. Gaffer tape seemed to be the only thing capable of picking up the masses of dog hair!

    This weekend was a little more productive: Sunday was spent taking off the cylinder head :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  8. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Mike :)

    Yes, it is a project and will certainly keep the whole family amused! One of the problems with my MGs is that they only have two seats, and we're a family of four. On this Freelander, we will be able to take out the sun roofs, remove the hard top and enjoy fresh-air fun all together! :D
     
  9. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    There are quite a few "how-to" guides on line for K-series head gasket replacements. I may post one here, which will be a slight refinement on previous versions, as this Freelander is MEMS3 rather than the earlier MEMS1.9. Curiously, the Freelander guides I found talk about removing the alternator bracket. I don't really understand why? I did remove the alternator top bolt (I'll need to refresh all the belts as a matter of course), but the bracket can be left in place.

    I have been through all the receipts and I couldn't find any regarding a head gasket replacement, so I had thought that at 80K miles the car was suffering from its first HGF. But as I took things apart, it became crystal clear that the head had been removed previously. The cam sprockets were both labelled (IN and EXH in red marker, with the timing marks highlighted in Tippex). The exhaust and inlet manifolds were suspiciously easy to remove - and one of the exhaust studs had been replaced with a screw, and in any case, the heat shield was missing. Hmmm.

    Then I took off the head.

    A multi-layer shim gasket had been fitted.

    It was, frankly, not in good shape. I also ran my finger over the liners in the block - and to my digits at least, the liners feel at the height of the block face - which is a no-no for fitting the MLS type head gasket - http://mgf.ultimatemg.com/pdf files/cylinder_head_inspection.pdf I shall measure the stand-proud of the cylinder liners with an engineer's straight-edge and feeler gauges - although doing this in the depths of the engine bay might prove interesting!!!

    I also have had a quick look at the cylinder head. I think it's toasted. It has clearly been skimmed to within an inch of its life: I'd doubt it could take another. Equally worrying is the broad-looking and reasonably deep liner indentation on the cylinder head. To me, it looks typical of a head that has been heat-softened.

    I'll be taking the head and my spare head to K-series engine guru, Dave Andrews, for his expert opinion and hardness testing. I fully expect the head from this engine to be scrapped - but I hope that the spare head I have can live to fight another day. I'll need to transfer the cams and hydraulic lifters though.

    I haven't got any pictures of the offending parts at the moment - but will upload later!

    But we cheered ourselves up by giving this dirty Hippo a thorough clean - the alloys are in good nick, and other than the light grey bumpers, the car comes up near good as new:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
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  10. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    One week in, mileage 0. Costs £275 to purchase, £30 train ticket.

    This Hippo has a failed head gasket and a probable cooked cylinder head.

    Any other problems? I am suspicious of the VCU. Predictably I haven't driven it any distance, but as the engine ran (very nicely actually, despite the mayo-gunge!), I reversed it onto the drive. At lock in reverse the car practically came to a halt.

    Drive train wind-up?

    So a quick question - there is a sticky thread that goes on for about a million pages, and I know involves a 1.5 metre bar off the hub nut, weighed at 5kg. Raise one wheel off the ground and you time the time it take to drop from 45 degrees to the horizontal to the horizontal. But I don't know how long it should take?

    I am sure it is a rhetorical question, and I am budgeting on a VCU replacement. I am hoping that the IRD hasn't already been damaged, but fingers crossed.

    Quick question number two: GKN OE VCU replacement off eBay, or recon from a reputable supplier?

    Thanks! :)
     
  11. Disco1BFG

    Disco1BFG Well-Known Member

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    Welcome aboard - nice intro, and a good project you have there - especially with your MG experience..:)

    Good job you didn't get a D1 then, as they often come with multiple water features - ask me how I know :rolleyes: :D

    (We wouldn't have anything else though, but that's just us!)
     
  12. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the welcome! Yup, the Freelander has a kind of "home from home" feel about it for me! :D

    Water features - Chuckle! Yes, I've read about that! I am learning to weld, but perhaps not quite ready for the Weld-a-thon of the kind of Disco I'd probably end up buying! :lol:
     
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  13. Nodge68

    Nodge68 Well-Known Member

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    The VCU test most use is a 5Kg weight at 1.2M from the hub centre. A good VCU will give a time of about 30 seconds to fall to horizontal from 45° before horizontal. A time longer than 60 seconds would mean that the VCU is best changed.
     
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  14. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    You're a star - exactly the information I needed! :D

    Thanks Nodge - I'll sort the engine first and then undertake the VCU test before ordering a replacement VCU :)
     
  15. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    (recovery folks thought that it was a binding hand brake - but I really don't think that I'll be that lucky...)
     
  16. davidsmith1307

    davidsmith1307 Well-Known Member

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    It is worth checking. Mine were absolutely knackered. Shoes parted company with the friction material, cable seized, cylinders seized too.
    I'd recommend taking the drums off and checking, or dropping the prop off the rear diff and trying to spin the wheels by hand.
    ....but it is probably the VCU......:(
     
  17. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    Thanks David - good advice. I'll inspect, but share your expectation on the viability of the VCU... :(
     
  18. rob_bell

    rob_bell Well-Known Member

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    One thing I couldn't explain. When I first collected the car, no warning lights were lit. By the time I had got it back home (two different low-loaders), the ABS light was lit, the TC and HDC warnings had come on (I think they're called the "three amigos"?)

    Not sure whether that makes it more likely to be a binding brake or not? Or whether the ABS ECU didn't enjoy being winched onto and off low loaders without the engine running.

    Fortunately I have a friend with a TestBook, so I should be able to get to the bottom of that conundrum when he gets back from his holiday!
     
  19. 4Bee4Bee

    4Bee4Bee Active Member

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    Looks like you will be kept nice and busy with the new purchase :)

    The water in the cubby box could be from the rear door seal, which usually seems to be a replacement job. The water marks on the B pillar might go away if you take the hard top off, and then give the seals on both the car and the roof a good clean. Last year I found that grit, dirt, and green mould, on mine was causing problems with the seal. But after taking off, cleaning, and rubbing a rubber conditioner on the seals before putting the roof back on, solved the leaking problem. Don't be alarmed when you look at the seal to see a split at some point on the slope. It is supposed to be there. (fingers crossed it *might* solve the wet cubby box problem too)

    Have fun with the new vehicle! - 3 door with the removable roof are great.

    Jim
     
  20. Joe_H

    Joe_H Well-Known Member

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    Hi Rob and welcome.
    Providing you are sure the brakes are ok and not binding, then and 'tightness' on lock and especially in reverse should condemn the VCU immediately.
    Best place to get a VCU is from Bell Engineering - very very well respected. Probably the best recon VCU units in the world.
    275 quid with fitted bearings. !
    http://www.bellengineering.co.uk
    Also, for VCU info -
    http://www.bellengineering.co.uk/5.html

    You can do the OWUT by all means but without a brake issue the symptoms you have are enough to condemn the VCU. Also, the OWUT only does a static test, whereas the rolling test on lock is dynamic. Many people prefer one or the other. - some do both :)
    As for IRD, if the 'tightness' is as bad as you describe, then there is a good chance that a hell of a lot of strain has been applied to the IRD and even possibly the DIFF.
    Unfortunately, it will be difficult to tell until you get a decent vcu.
    You could of course remove the pinion input and inspect the crown wheel in the IRD - simple job to do.
    Also, if you remove the IRD you can easily remove the end cover and slide out the main dual shaft assembly complete with DIFF and examine most components in situ. Pinion housing and end cover unit are simple to refit.
    Also check all the drive shafts and cv joints (inner and outer) - where the D/S - in the UK - drive shaft inner cv enters the IRD can be an issue. (Details are in the Bell guide)
    Might be as easy to remove the whole unit and give it a good once over - DO all the work on the engine - check the clutch and check the IRD at the same time ?
    My L series had IRD issues when purchased and needed clutch and Cam / HPFP belts - and a LOT of other things ;) .. so out came the complete lump - far easier.

    I wish you well.
    I dont envy the air freshner 'pollution' :( - In a vehicle I cannot stand the smell of smoking, Dogs or bloody air fresheners - YUK !

    Enjoy, it will keep you off the streets :eek:
    (literally!) :D
    Joe
     
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