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Sunday 28 October 2018

Fender clock replacement

The hands on the clock in Shelley's Defender had become out of sync. On the hour the short had was not pointing directly to the number when the longer hand was.

This made it a bit confusing at any time to tell what hour it was. Looking on eBay for a replacement I saw this on many of the clocks for sale.

I'm guessing a good clock is hard to come by because most of the dashes for sale, either had a dodgy looking clock or no clock at all! A new matching Land Rover clock is nearly £300!

There are several makes of compatible 52mm diameter clocks at a fraction of the price.

I opted for one by VDO.

Cosmetically it's not an exact match but it is complimentary.

The wires need some minor adjustment. Two female spade connectors would have done but, luckily, I had the exact 'T' connector housing to fit.


Thursday 25 October 2018

D4 steering guard

As with all our Land Rovers it does not take long for us to start making them ready for off-road use. The tyres were the first thing and now I've fitted a steering guard.

I think this is generally called a front guard as the steering components are not as vulnerable on a Discovery 3 and 4 as they were on previous Land Rover designs.

There are a few choices of front under body protection available for this generation of Discovery they include some complete front to back armour options. For the sort of off-roading we are likely to do, we only need to protect the front of the car.

I chose the Prospeed front guard because it had additional supports that stop the front the guard being pushed up against the bumper. The brackets push up against the steel crash bar instead of the plastic bumper.

The disadvantage of the Prospeed guard is that it needs the bumper removed to fit the extra brackets.

To that end, today, I took off the bumper to fit the guard.

I watched a YouTube video to see how to remove the bumper. It's necessary to remove the grill, the headlamps, and the wheel arches in order to get to one screw either side to remove the bumper.

In addition there is a row of screws on the top with M8 heads and T30 bolts on the bottom and sides. There are also some posidrive screws under the wheel arch.

First job is to remove the small stub valences either end. These will not fit back on with the guard in place. There are three posidrive screws and one of the bumper bolts holding each of these on.

The trim covering the towing eye also does not get re-used. That comes off with 4 quarter twist clips.

Each wheel arch has two clips to the rear, a screw accessed from behind the head lamp and shares one of the screws that holds the end of the bumper.

Once the clips and screws have been removed, the wheel arches just pull off. There are a row of poppers round the edge.

All that is so that the two brackets can be bolted to the crash bar. They are supplied with hex key head bolts. The head goes on the inside of the crash bar and the nut on the outside.

The instructions say to discard the plastic trim that fits round the crash bar but I decided to cut it to fit round the brackets and refit it.

It was a bit tricky but with a bit of extra force it did clip back together.

With that done the instructions neglect to tell you that you have the refit the bumper BEFORE bolting the front guard to the car. As you can guess, I did not do that, so I had to remove the guard and refit it!

The guard is a bit heavy but I was able to fit it on my own.

I chose to use my own M10 nuts and bolts for the rear fitting rather than the captive nuts. For the front fittings, I used the supplied captive nuts and counter sunk bolts.

By the time I had finished, it was dark. In all it took me about 6 hours with interruptions. I'm sure it could be done a lot quicker if necessary. The front guard is a strong bit of kit and I am confident it will do its job.


Sunday 21 October 2018

Defender blown fuses

Fender has been blowing fuses for a couple of days. It was mainly fuse 2 to start with and then Fuse 15. These control the stereo and clock and the heated rear screen. That last bit made no sense because that is not fitted!

I thought it was worth writing a few words on this because it was a particularly frustrating fault to find.

It took me half of yesterday to eventually narrow the fault down to the left hand indicator and most of today to find the cause.

Fuse 2 and 15 were red herrings. I had to fix a dodgy joint on Fuse 2 which was arcing and Fuse 1 caused more confusion because it would blow if I tried the hazards with fuse 3 removed!

With Fuse 2 fixed I was reliably getting a blown fuse 3 when I used the left hand indicator or the hazards. The dash tell-tale light was also dim. If I was quick I could eventually test it without blowing the fuse but I still got through at least a dozen 15 amp fuses before I was finished.

I was misled by the immobiliser, which did not blow the fuse, despite flashing the indicators. This took me in the wrong direction for a while.

Removing the flasher unit stopped the fuse blowing but, of course, the indicators did not work at all!
They are all LED indicators and use an appropriate flasher unit. I had the old, non-LED, flasher unit so I swapped that over just to rule out that bit.

I sat with the circuit diagrams for an hour or so working out where these things came together. Only the hazard warning light switch stood out but I had a spare and it made no difference using that.

I went back and had a closer inspection of the indicators when they were operated by the immobiliser. I could see that the left hand indicator was dull but, my guess, not on for quite long enough to blow the fuse.

Back to the circuit diagrams. It had to be the green wire with the red stripe. It was the only common denominator.

With half the dash out I traced the wires and with fuse 3 removed I was able to test the resistance to earth at the hazard switch.

The working right hand indicator had a resistance of 6k ohms. The faulty left hand had a dead short to ground. That was not right.

The trouble is that all the wires are connected at a header the only joint was for the run to the rear of the car.

I was able to quickly rule out the part of the harness that runs to the rear of the car but that still left some tightly bundled cables behind the dash and a long run under the bonnet.

I started from the left hand indicator and worked backwards. The harness was trapped behind the left hand wing. With a bit of fiddling I was able to get my arm in and free it.

That done, I tested and that was it. The fuse no longer blew. At last.

I'd been at it long enough, so I decided that as it was working, I would leave it at that for now. Ideally I need to take the wheel arch off to gain access to the damaged cable and tape up or repair any weaknesses in the harness but that's for another day.

I've put the car back together, checked all the lights and taken it for a good test drive with left and right hand junctions.

All OK.


Saturday 13 October 2018

Smarter wheels

Today the refurbished alloy wheels arrived and were fitted with new Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tyres.

The wheels were from eBay and I had them refurbished by Tyre-Smart in Witham, Essex. They send them to a company, I think they said they are in Kent, which specialises in refurbishing wheels.

They have done a fantastic job, I am very pleased.

I deliberately wanted to stick to genuine Land Rover wheels. There are plenty of other alloys but I did not know if they had been designed with off-road abuse in mind. I thought it better to stick to genuine Land Rover wheels.

I used copies of old brochures to make sure that what was for sale on eBay was genuine Land Rover. There are some very close looking that were not Land Rover options. There are also plenty of already refurbished Land Rover wheels but they were more costly than having my own done.

The 63mm black centre caps are easily available from eBay.

It took me ages to select the tyres I wanted. From past experience, I know I am unlikely to swap the wheels round just to go off-road, or more commonly, not swap back for on-road use. I was therefore after a set of all-terrains that I could drive on all the time but as chunky as I could find to give me the best chance of traction in the mud off-road.

By chunky I mean that they have wide tread spacing and, for me, most importantly a more square profile, viewed front on. The idea is, that gives better side wall grip to pull out of muddy ruts. That's just my thinking, apart from my own experience, I have no evidence of this being better.

I like B F Goodrich All-Terrains but they are not available in a size suitable for a Discovery 4 without changing the rolling circumference. I wanted a standard overall size. Partly so the odometer reading remains correct but also to avoid insurance complications.

Eventually I found the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac in 255/55R19 111Q.
The Goodyear web site is hopeless, it does not show any of the tyre sizes, I nearly didn't look at them but the tyre dealers had more information and there were a few good reviews by other Land Rover people.

The DuraTrac tyres are exactly what I was after. I've driven them for about 70 miles, so far. Nearly all on-road, except for a dry grass car park, and I am very pleased with them. I can't notice any road noise, if there is any, its definitely not intrusive. Not that I worry about that, I drove the D2 on mud-terrains for a year.

I've also replaced the spare wheel and tyre. I like all my tyres and wheels to match so I can swap them round.

I am not keen on space saver spares, so that had to go.

I've fitted the spare with a security plate to reduce the chance of it being stolen.