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Series Land Rover: Engine Cranking Problem


The most likely cause will be related to the battery. Check if the headlamps are dim, if so, then a battery fault is indicated. The battery could be discharged (happened before? did you leave something left switched on?). Series Land Rover batteries are necessarily high powered, especially for diesel engined models, but they don’t live forever. They generally decide to retire after 3-4years and can be reluctant to work effectively on cold winter mornings. Otherwise, look for a dirty or loose battery terminal connection (is there a white corrosive deposit on an unsealed battery?). Also, look at the earth terminal connection from the battery to the chassis and the earthing lead from chassis to the engine for looseness and/or corrosion. High current is required to crank the engine, so the cleaner all connections are, the better.

With plenty of human muscles available, pushing the vehicle is an option; engage the clutch with first gear selected once the muscles have the vehicle moving; the engine should start. If not enough humans are available then a tow vehicle can do the same job. Alternatively, with battery jumper leads and another vehicle with a similarly rated battery to your vehicle, then you can 'jump start' your Series Land Rover. With a negative earth Land Rover, connect the donor positive terminal to the positive flat battery terminal THEN connect the donor negative terminal to any secure place on the engine or chassis. For a positive earth Land Rover BEGIN by connecting the donor negative terminal to the negative flat battery terminal, then connect the donor positive terminal to any secure place on the engine or chassis. Start the donor vehicle engine first then try to start the other. If successful, remove the leads in the reverse order.

If the engine still only cranks slowly with the jump leads connected, then the starter motor/circuit is likely at fault; the brushes could be worn or displaced. Try hitting the starter motor casing smartly with a hammer or heavy stone ..... yes, it really can work (passengers suitably impressed)! But if that fails, then on later Series models, check the operation of the starter relay switch mounted on the bulkhead, by pressing the rubber-covered button on the underneath of the switch. If the starter doesn't turn the engine at all, then the starter may be jammed; try removing the protective cap on the end of the starter shaft, then use a spanner on the squared end to free it. If the starter spins fast but doesn’t crank the engine then the starter pinion is stuck on the shaft (another opportunity to hit it!). Otherwise, if the vehicle is new to you, there could be teeth missing on the flywheel, so try nudging the vehicle in high gear. Failing that, it looks like you have an internal fault on the starter motor.

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Fascinating facts
(No.97 )

About 5,000 Series II Forward Controls were built.

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