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September 2013 Homepage (UK/Europe)

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Series Land Rover: Heater Problems

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Non of the standard heater units fitted to either Series I, II ,IIA or III Land Rovers are comparable in performance with those of cars of the same period. If you are new to Series Land Rovers, then you will find the heater dismally insufficient for your needs. Part of the problem however is with the cold air drafts that get past poorly fitting door seals and also the general lack of heat insulation material in a standard Series Land Rover roof, door or body panel. Furthermore, aluminium is a much better conductor of heat than steel and so it robs the vehicle of its heat content more rapidly than a steel-bodied vehicle.

Perhaps the most important aspect of any vehicle heating system, is its ability to keep the windscreen free of mist. It is important then to maintain whatever efficiency is present in the heater for personal safety reasons at least.

Delivering warm air to the windscreen is the most demanding of tasks that the heater in a Series Land Rover can be asked to perform. Even if the heater fan is working at its maximum design efficiency warm air can be lost through poorly fitting doors on the Smiths type round heater, or damaged air tubes on the Smiths and the later type of box heater. Damaged air tubes can be sealed with duct tape.

For the heater to work best, it needs a full supply of hot water; so check that the rubber heater tubes delivering the hot water to the unit are not kinked and that the heater water supply valve is fully open.
Over the years, deposits can build up in the heater core, especially if the water used is from a limestone ground source. The 'fur' in your electric kettle will indicate how likely your heater core is to have heat insulating deposits. The cure is to use the same commercial de-scaling products as you would use in your kettle, but just disconnect the heater tubes and treat the heater unit only, rather that the entire cooling system.

The fan needs to be working well to blow sufficient warm air up to the demister vents. Check that the fan motor is operating well and inspect particularly the resistor switch that regulates the fan speed. The switch can develop corrosion on the contacts, increasing electrical resistance and slowing the fan down. A replacement switch is the best solution. If the motor is not operating at full speed it could also be that the carbon brushes in the motor need replacing. Replacement motors are also available.


On the Series III Land Rover check that the operating cable for the heater control valve is set correctly and opening the valve fully.

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