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Tests new Freelander 1 owners should do on their car

Discussion in 'Land Rover Freelander' started by GrumpyGel, Mar 15, 2017.

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  1. GrumpyGel

    GrumpyGel Well-Known Member

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    These points have been written so many times, I just want to put them in a thread by themselves so a link can be used rather than typing them out each time! This relates only to Freelander 1 vehicles.

    Freelander like all cars can have many different faults. Lights can stop working, leaks can occur, engines can run rough etc etc - they just need to be fixed as with any car. Generally I've found my Freelander to have fantastic reliability and have suffered very few faults.

    However, the way the Freelander transmission works is unlike most cars. If not cared for, it will often destroy the transmission with a good chance that it won't be economically viable to fix. However, there are some simple things that should be done to stop this happening...

    1) Does your car still have its prop shafts installed? If you look under the car, you will see the exhaust running from the front to back, but you should also see 2 prop shafts separated by a 'device' supported by 2 bearings - this is the Viscous Coupling Unit (the VCU). Are these bits there?

    These props run from the "IRD" at the front to the rear differential and provide the drive to the rear axle to make the car '4WD'. If they are missing, your car has been converted to 2WD and the following points do not apply.

    2) Are all the tyres the exact same make and model and pumped to the same pressure? You do not necessarily need to know why, but it is vital that they are. If they are not, you need to change as many as needed to make sure they are. It is by far the best practice to replace all 4 tyres at the same time, but if 2 tyres have been replaced, they need to be on the back wheels - ie the tyres with the most tread should be on the back wheels. Essentially all the tyres need to be very near to exactly the same circumference. The only way to ensure this is to use tyres from the same manufacturer as different ones, although they may be the same (for example) 195/80R15 spec, will have different characteristics.

    3) Is the VCU to tight? Over time the VCU (described above) will get to tight - it will not be as loose as it needs to be to allow for those slight difference in tyre wear and cornering differences between wheels. You can immediately detect if this has occurred if when turning corners the car feels like it is applying the brakes. However, problems can occur before you feel this sensation, so the VCU should be tested. This can be done using the "One Wheel Up Test". You jack 1 rear wheel up, put a 32mm socket on the hub nut in the middle, strap a bar tot he socket's ratchet and a weight to the end of the bar. You take the time it takes to turn 45 degrees from "1:30 to 3". To get accurate timings use a bar of 1.2m and a weight of 5kg. You are looking for a time under 1 minute. It has been said that LR recommend that the VCU be treated as a "service item" and replaced every 70,000 miles. However, there's no documentation to back this up plus some fail before this and others last much longer, so testing the VCU is the only sure way of knowing how it is performing. You can buy replacement new GKN VCUs or reconditioned ones. Only buy reconditioned ones from a reputable supplier as there have been many scams with recon VCUs over the years.



    These are simple tests that all Freelander owners should be aware of and perform regularly. If your car is failing the tyre or VCU tests, you should resolve them as quickly as possible, or remove the prop shafts until you can.

    There is lots of information on LandyZone, and the internet in general, about how the Freelander transmission works. If you read it, you will understand why these tests are important.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
    Cassiopia, Nandad, tlo and 6 others like this.
  2. Nodge68

    Nodge68 Well-Known Member

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    Nice work GG.
    This should be a Sticky thread.
     
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  3. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    I'll add a few common issues I've come across.

    Is the boot door handle about to fall off? Bend down and look up to see if there is a nasty big rust hole.
    Does the boot window drop nicely to let the boot door open?
    Does the boot door close nice and easily and the window go back up? Boot door lock and window issues are very common.
    Are all the leccy windows working smoothly including the boot window? Regulator failure is VERY VERY common.
    Is there anything left of the fuel tank support? They tend to rot.
    Do all the doors unlock from the fob? Quite common for the passenger door lock to fail so you have to unlock it from inside.
    Do the rear doors open smoothly or are the door stays sticky/broken? It seems the rear door stays seize if not used much and can break.
    Is the horn working? Maybe an odd one to say but I've seen the clock spring connections fail.
    Are all speakers working? Quite common for them to fail.

    That's all the Freelander specific issues I can think of for now apart from normal service items that can be an issue on any car of that age. I'm sure I'll think of more tomorrow. :confused:
     
  4. GrumpyGel

    GrumpyGel Well-Known Member

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    Thing is Ali, those are standard type problems that people should check when looking at a car. I put this specific thread up to highlight very significant and important tests specific to Freelander that people probably have little idea about going into Freelander ownership (I know I didn't).

    Most of those problems won't stop your Freelander working. If the 3 tests above are not carried out, you run the risk of having to scrap your Freelander.
     
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  5. saxavordian

    saxavordian Well-Known Member

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    Also add if committed to buy a Freelander 1 you need to be Committed ASAP.:rolleyes::confused::confused::confused:o_O
     
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  6. GrumpyGel

    GrumpyGel Well-Known Member

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    You may have a point :)

    However, to labour a point, and show those newbie Freelander owners how great these cars can be...

    As I say, I didn't appreciate the 3 steps above and trashed my car's IRD. The only other faults I've had is the ABS pump (twice), a leak back pipe and a headlight. That's not bad for 7 years motoring and 80,000kms for a car that's now 18 years old and up to 180,000kms. I haven't even had to replace any bushes, links, window winders, locks or bearings other than regular belt maintenance (L Series). It has been worked a lot harder than most cars and regularly driven on tracks that shakes fillings from teeth. If it fell to bits tomorrow, I couldn't blame it, but I know (hope!) it won't. She's a good old girl.

    I should add that the clock doesn't work, I have the full compliment of fish tanks and the rear passenger door doesn't open from the outside some times - but they were like that when I got the car - just haven't had the time to fix them yet :D:D:D

    Edit: Had it 9 years now and it still refuses to go wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  7. The Mad Hat Man

    The Mad Hat Man Well-Known Member LZIR Despatch Agent

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    you forgot that you need to check "your sanity" ;)

    also how about the following in the CFAQ section? If peeps ignore them, they will ignore yours as well :eek:. been there, got the T shirt :(.

    freelander threads in the CFAQ section.
     
  8. GrumpyGel

    GrumpyGel Well-Known Member

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    I agree, there may be threads just like this, and I might have been able to find them. But I didn't!
     
  9. The Mad Hat Man

    The Mad Hat Man Well-Known Member LZIR Despatch Agent

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  10. wolflore

    wolflore Member

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    Cheers Gel ;)
     
  11. Nodge68

    Nodge68 Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad this is at the top again. It should be a sticky really.
     
  12. guineafowl21

    guineafowl21 Well-Known Member

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    Change the crankcase breather filter (Td4). These are often neglected, even in garage-serviced cars. It’s missing from the earlier Freelander service schedules.
     
  13. longdog

    longdog Active Member

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    All four tyres having to be at the same pressure is incorrect..
    Fully loaded 2505kg gvw models have to have the rear tyre pressure raised to 40 psi due to the extra load on the rear axle, running them 25% under inflated would be dangerous.
     
  14. Hippo

    Hippo Lord Hippo

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    That's true. But most are running normal weight so we refer to them all needing to be the same pressure as if the FL1 was standard kerb weight with passengers as opposed to much heavier. Owners then need to adjust if towing etc or carrying a heavier weight than normal.
     
  15. GrumpyGel

    GrumpyGel Well-Known Member

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    I would imagine that figure is the quoted figure from LR for the factory fitted tyres. Most people will not be running factory tyres which may need to be run at different loaded/unloaded pressures anyway.

    So its a valid point that the rears will/may need more pressure when loaded, but the pressure they're pumped to will be dependent on load and tyre manufacturer's recommendations.
     
  16. longdog

    longdog Active Member

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    2505kg gvw models have different tyre pressures, tyre loads, wheel nut torque settings, and towing weights than other models but most FL owners don't know this and may pass on incorrect advice.
     
  17. Colthebrummie

    Colthebrummie Well-Known Member

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    When I bought my freelander 1 in September with only 69000 on the clock. I noticed when reversing with plenty of steering lock, the transmission tightened up considerably to the point of nearly stalling. After reading about the vcu issues on hear, I took it to my local 4x4 Indy, and asked them to check it. They said it was ok and stiffening up when reversing was normal. Nevertheless, I got Bell engineering to fit a recon vcu and new bearings. It is still very stiff on full lock and I often feel as if the rear wheel has ridden over a obstacle in the road this is usually accompanied by a cluncking noise. I'm pretty sure something catastrophic is going to happen sooner or later but apart from that it's a good car.

    Col
     
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  18. GrumpyGel

    GrumpyGel Well-Known Member

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    That sounds pretty horrible. Out of interest, have you done a 1 wheel up test with the recon VCU? Are your tyres all matching and pumped the same? I think the best example thread to show how mismatched tyres can affect the car is this one where a tyre shop fitted 4 Goodyear Efficientgrip tyres and afterwards the car felt like it was "driving with the brakes on". The OP noticed that 2 said SUV 4x4 but other 2 only said SUV...

    https://www.landyzone.co.uk/land-rover/feels-like-driving-with-brakes-on.260939/

    Any problems with the tyres will be magnified greatly when cornering.
     
  19. GrumpyGel

    GrumpyGel Well-Known Member

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    Something has just come up again that doesn't really fall into the category of tests for new owners, but is such a big safety issue that I thought adding it here worth while...

    https://www.landyzone.co.uk/land-rover/brake-pedal-goes-to-floor.333703/

    There is a little pin that holds the rear brake shoes in position. This can wear/corrode and let go. The shoe shifts position off of the cylinder and results is catastrophic loss of brake fluid - no brakes work. In a previous report it happened to someone when they were braking on a motorway.

    Most braking on Freelander is done by the front discs/pads, so the rear brakes can go a long time without replacement. If there is no sign of fairly recent rear brake replacement, I think it advisable to renew them even if they appear to be working correctly and not failing MOTs. At least remove the drums and examine all the components for wear or corrosion.
     
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  20. Colthebrummie

    Colthebrummie Well-Known Member

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    Very good advice. I've had mine almost a year and I didn't know that, thanks for the warning GG.

    Col
     
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