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Series Land Rover - Rumbling Sound Below Vehicle

All Series Land Rovers are noisy and we need to be able to identify what is normal and what spells trouble. We are considering here a rumbling or low pitch clicking sound that seems to come from below the vehicle when it is moving.

The first task is to decide the approximate location where the sound is coming from and whether it is engine-speed related or road-speed related. If a front or rear wheel is responsible, then removing your foot from the accelerator and then disengaging the clutch should result in the frequency of the sound decreasing as the vehicle slows down but engine revs remain constant at tickover revs.

If the sound is more central to the vehicle and is also towards the front or the rear then the most likely source of is one of the propshafts. If the sound is coming from the front and freewheeling hubs are fitted, then disengaging them should eliminate the sound, as the front propshaft will then stop rotating when the vehicle is in two-wheel drive.

If one of the propshafts is suspected as the cause, then inspection of the universal joints may reveal which one is worn or damaged; use a sturdy screwdriver to lever the joint with respect to the shaft. There should be no movement detectable if the joint is good. Re-greasing the joint may reduce some of the sound temporarily but a replacement joint is required. It is also worth inspecting for loose propshaft bolts that could also be the source of the sound.

The sliding joint on a propshaft can also produce this type of sound, if worn and lacking in grease. It can be tested by attempting to move the joint up and down and checking that there is no detectable vertical movement. If movement is detected then the complete propshaft needs replacing as the joint is not serviceable.

Other possible problems with a propshaft are that it could have been damaged recently when driving offroad or that the propshaft has been dismantled and the sliding joint re-assembled wrongly - the propshaft is checked for balance after manufacture and it is important to mark the relative positions of the sliding joint parts before separating them.

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