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November 2011 Homepage (UK/Europe)

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Series Land Rover Winter Preparation Part I

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It's approaching that time of year again when Series Land Rovers are tested to the maximum in a cold, wet and more frequently dark environment. Vehicle reliability is particularly critical if you are planning some offroad driving this winter. The effects of winter's ravages can be kept to a minimum by adopting a 3 point action plan:

  1. Thorough inspection of chassis and bodywork for corrosion, electrics for loose connections and wiring problems and mechanical components for leaks and wear.
  2. Fix problems found during the inspection and sort out any previously known issues that have been on the "To Do" list for too long.
  3. Winterize the vehicle by adopting a preventive maintenance approach.

Thorough inspection: Check underneath of the vehicle for tell-tale leaks of brake/clutch fluid from master/slave cylinders and leaking coolant from tubing and connections. Check the condition of flexible brake hoses and brake lines. If you have been off-roading or generally not cleaned underneath the Land Rover for awhile then get the hosepipe or pressure washer out and give the underneath a good clean so you can inspect properly - but do your fluids leak check first. Any mud remaining on or around the chassis can absorb salty grit later on and worsen existing hidden corrosion rapidly. Do a thorough chassis inspection looking for spots already weakened by corrosion or offroad damage. Series Land Rover chassis are most prone to corrosion attack near front dumb irons, rear spring hangers and rear crossmember - you may need to tow or be towed this winter. Problems found will be worse next year and cost more to fix!

Winter is a testing time for basic accessories found on a Series Land Rover, so check on the condition and operation of the heater, demister, wipers and washers. When the engine is hot, but switched off, feel the radiator hoses for thin spots that may tear later and cause leaks. Coolant leaks are often indicated by white powdery deposits near and around the source of the leak. Check the working of all lights and indicators, not just for functionality but also for maximum brightness. If you have been driving offroad then check that there is no damage that may escalate to cause problems at a later date.

Cold and damp particularly affect the electrics of the standard Series Land Rover petrol engines, so check carefully for loose or corroded connections in the ignition circuit and particularly any bullet connectors. On diesel engines check the connections to the heater plugs are clean and tight. Lighting circuits are critical on cold winter nights so be very particular with checking for loose connections and clean earths. A multimeter set to resistance measurement is useful for checking bullet connections and set to voltage for checking earth connections (connect the multimeter between the lighting 'earth' point and a convenient live supply wire).

Land Rover winter scene
Part II is on the USA homepage


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