Our featured post is replacement of front and rear coil springs and shock absorbers on a 2002 Land Rover Discovery.
Our client had recently purchased this vehicle and while doing a comprehensive inspection we found 2 broken coil springs. The shock absorbers, which were the same vintage as the springs, also needed replacement .
There are several different types of suspension springs used on trucks: torsion bar, leaf and coil. Additionally, some fancier vehicles, like the Range Rover use air springs which allow height adjustments in the suspension system. The Land Rover Discovery is a more utilitarian 4 wheel drive vehicle and uses coil springs.
Shock absorbers remove the oscillations of the springs. When your vehicle hits a bump it bounces on the spring and continues to do so until the energy of the bounce is gone. It may take several up and down movement for all of the energy to be used up. The shock absorber stops the bouncing and makes the vehicle ride smoother. If you’ve ever ridden in a vehicle with completely blown shocks you will likely feel sick from the continuous and uncontrolled bouncing.
For springs we had only stock replacement units available but for shocks there were several options. After discussing the various offerings with the owner we chose to install Bilstein shocks which are original equipment on this vehicle. These are a very tough and durable shock absorber that will last for many years and be able to handle the roughest roads. While the Bilsteins are substantially more expense than most other aftermarket shocks they are very worth the additional cost.
After replacement of the springs and shocks our client’s Land Rover Discovery sat higher and sat evenly. The ride was superb and the truck was ready for any road conditions.
For more information about the Land Rover Discovery click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Rover_Discovery
For more information on springs and shocks click here http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-suspension.htm
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re talking with award winning, 12 times voted Best in Vancouver by their customers from different publications in Vancouver, Mr. Bernie Pawlik from Pawlik Automotive. How’re you doing today Bernie?
Bernie: Excellent, and you?
Mark: I’m good. So we’re doing an early morning one today and we’re going to talk about Land Rovers and Range Rovers, pretty fancy vehicles, seems to be a lot more of them around these days – So do you see a lot of them in your shop?
Bernie: Yeah, we do. We work on plenty of Land Rover vehicles. They’re really nice vehicles, generally very tough and luxurious for sure, but they are somewhat problematic, which is kinda good for us.
Mark: So, problematic, doesn’t spending a lot of money on a high end vehicle ensure a trouble free ride?
Bernie: Definitely not. I think it’s kind of interesting, at least with European cars, there seems to be a correlation between how much you spend on a car and how much service you have to do. You’d think to yourself, if you buy a good quality car you’d have less problems but it seems to the exact opposite. In all fairness, in a complex vehicle, a luxury car, there’s a lot more things that can go wrong. But it seems like they don’t make them quite as well in some ways, especially when compared to the Japanese luxury cars like Lexus and Infiniti, they seem to be a little more trouble free.
Mark: So what sort of issues do you see with Land Rover and Range Rover?
Bernie: Well, there’s lots of stuff and I’ll say they’re getting better with each passing year. Going back to the mid to late ’90’s, there were quite a few of engine problems with their V8 engines, they have cylinder liners that would sometimes fail, not a lot, but when they do you have to replace the whole engine, they’re not something that can be readily machined like a lot of standard V8 engines could be. Oil leaks from the valve cover gaskets and a number of different spots are common. In the early 2000’s some of the Range Rovers had a BMW V8 engine which you think would be great but they’re actually not the best V8 engine. There’s a lot of problems with them, I mean they’re good when they’re younger but as they get older, they start to get oil leaks and coolant leaks and they’re pretty expensive to fix. So they got away from all that, it seems like the engines these days are pretty good in the Land Rover and Range Rover car, or trucks, I should say.
Mark: What other kind of issues do they have?
Bernie: Well, most Land Rovers, and all Range Rovers certainly, use air suspension which is great because you can change the height of the vehicle for different road conditions, or if you’re going down the highway, the vehicle can drop down for more stability, it’s a great feature, but a lot of things go wrong with air suspension. There are sensors on each corner of the car, there’s an air bag which is basically a giant air spring on each corner and eventually those bags will leak. It can take quite a few years, but they do leak. Probably the biggest problem the compressors that uses an air compressor to fill the air bags and over time, the compressors will fail for various reasons. But one model of Land Rover, or sorry Range Rover, they actually put the air compressor in the trunk underneath the spare tire, which is a great spot for it. Other models, they put the air compressor outside the vehicle, underneath the vehicle, inside a somewhat weatherproof box, but of course it’s not fully weatherproof, water gets in eventually and wears it out. And it’s just a stupid place to put it because this is an off road type of vehicle which is designed to go off road and that’s the last place you want to put an electronic device. Anyways, that’s what they’ve done and you have to deal with it.
Mark: So are these good off road vehicles?
Bernie: They certainly are, they’re built very tough, they’ve got solid frames, large drive train components. One exception is the Freelander or the LR2, which is a replacement of the Freelander. These are more car like models, but the main LR3, LR4 Land Rovers and the Range Rovers, they are definitely big truck type vehicles. Land Rover has that reputation for being an off road vehicle, you see them driving through the Serengeti, they have a well deserved reputation. You can pretty well take a lot of the older ones pretty much anywhere, they’re simpler vehicles, but with a lot of these more modern ones, most people, they never get off road, they’re just a nice little luxury ride around town or up to Whistler for the weekend. But the great thing about it is if you get tired of the night life up at Whistler, or sitting around in your hotel room, you can always go off on some rough logging road and go exploring and you’ll get there and back most likely. the only thing I’d worry about is scratching the paint and maybe wrecking the nice low profile tires and wheels. We have one client who has an LR3, he goes out hunting with his buddies, it has the air suspension and everything so you can adjust the height ride. He goes out quite frequently and uses it for what it’s meant for, drives around daily and it’s a tough truck, it works really well.
Mark: So you mentioned something about the Land Rover Freelander
Bernie: I did, and this is the only vehicle we’ve worked on in our shop in years that I can say, is a piece of junk. It’s a horribly built vehicle and is really actually the only vehicle I can think about other than maybe like an older Hyundai or a Lada – that I can say is a piece of junk. The engines in the Freelander, at least the ones sold in North America uses a strangely designed V8 engine and what happens with this engine is it uses cylinder liners that are held in place with some sort of strange adhesive or glue. And eventually after not too long, maybe five years the liner fails, or the glue fails, and the cylinder liner starts flopping around and that causes the head gasket to leak. The only way you can fix it, is to replace the engine with an engine from Land Rover. There is nobody who can rebuild it, nobody can fix it, and these engines rebuilt by Land Rover may well be new engines. The problem is so bad apparently, that Land Rover was actually buying the vehicles back from customers and actually just sending the vehicle off to get crushed. I find that just appalling when I think about it, I mean, any vehicle built should last for at least twenty years, if you take good care of it – if you choose to keep it that long. But the fact that some of these vehicles you wouldn’t even get a 100,000 km out them, before sending them to the scrapper is horrible.
Apparently in Europe they sell the Freelander with a diesel engine which is really reliable, so it’s just the engine offering that they put in it makes it a crappy vehicle around here. Now they replaced the Freelander with the LR2 which is a much nicer vehicle and it uses a Ford/Volvo drive train, but interestingly enough, we had one a little while ago where we did a service where both the front and rear differential pinion bearings were worn out, it made a horrible noise when you were driving down the road. It didn’t even have 80,000 km on it, and apparently the rear pinion bearing failure is very common on these. So I don’t know, they’re not built all that well either. That’s all I can say on those, they’re not great vehicles.
Mark: So that’s a pretty scathing review, you normally don’t say that kind of stuff about bad things about vehicles.
Bernie: Really I don’t. I think almost any vehicle you can buy nowadays and even within the last ten years is a good vehicle. But the Freelander really is a piece of crap and I find it frustrating being in a business where we’re trying to fix vehicles and get them going and save people money and yet it feels like with the Freelander no matter what you do it’s a waste of time because it’s just a ticking time bomb. So it’s not really worth our efforts to even work on one.
Mark: So here we go to the dealer, kind of viewpoint perhaps, the Land Rover and Range Rover especially are really fancy, high end vehicles, very expensive, aren’t they best serviced especially at the dealer?
Bernie: Well, the definitely are fancy and sophisticated vehicles, however any shop with proper equipment and skilled technicians can work on them. We’ve invested a lot in equipment to work on Land Rovers and Range Rovers. We’ve got the right diagnostic equipment and the service equipment to do it. Dealers generally do a good job, but we were recently shocked, we had a client who had a two year old Range Rover, 2012, 20,000 km, was quoted $1,200 for service from the dealer. We did the same service for $450 taxes included everything, out the door. And I really can’t figure out what they could have possibly done for $1,200 on a two year old, 20,000 km vehicle. So you know with dealers of the European cars, we often see people with huge quotes for service and I’m not sure what they’re getting. It’s not the case with all of them, but some of them, it’s crazy, I don’t quite understand. So I think there’s the opportunity for us to save, especially people with high end luxury cars a lot of money on their service
Mark: So it sounds like you can save people a lot of money on service
Bernie: Yeah, absolutely in many cases we seem to find that.
Mark: Any final thoughts on Land Rover and Range Rover?
Bernie: Overall they’re great vehicles but they cost a fair bit of money to buy in the first place, but because it’s a luxury vehicle, you can expect to pay more maintenance and repairs. They’re more complex built, there’s more parts to break so that’s going to cost more money. A lot of times they’re a bit exclusive, so you’re stuck with a dealer for parts. And the other area with Land Rovers, that can make them kind of expensive is that somewhere in their servicing and I’ll just leave you with a final example; a transmission service on an LR3 for instance, normally we take the pan off, clean it and put a gasket and filter in and flush it with a machine. The Land Rover uses a synthetic fluid which is not uncommon, it’s more expensive, quite a bit more expensive but lots of cars use synthetic fluid. But with the LR3, the transmission pan is complete assembly of a pan, a gasket and a filter, it’s several hundred dollars for the part, and then labour wise to get it off – it was never really designed to be removed easily, so it’s another couple hundred dollars labour in addition. So it makes for a very expensive transmission service, still worth doing every 100,000 km to keep the transmission alive but that’s just an example of what you do end up paying sometimes to service these vehicles. But overall, great vehicles, a few more problems than some but we can service them and we love working on them.
Mark: Awesome, thanks. So we’ve been talking Land Rovers and Range Rovers with award winning, best in Vancouver for auto service, Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at pawlikautomotive.com a fantastic website with tons of information or give them a call 604-327-7112. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark, we’ll talk again soon
Friday’s featured service is Differential Bearing Replacement on a 2008 Land Rover LR2, brought to us by a client from Dunbar, Vancouver.
This Land Rover LR2 came to us with a noise coming from the rear of the vehicle which was noticeable at both low and moderate speeds while driving. Initially we thought the noise to be a bad wheel bearing, however upon further inspection we found the noise was emanating from the rear differential. While diagnosing the vehicle on the hoist we also noted a very loud bearing noise coming from the front power transfer unit as well. This is the name Land Rover uses to describe a type of bevel gear assembly that transfers the front wheel drive motion to the rear of the vehicle.
After breaking the news to our client that both differentials needed repairs we proceeded to remove both units and dismantle them. What we found was interesting: on both units the small pinion bearings were badly worn. This issue is common on the Land Rover LR2 rear differentials as Land Rover has issued a bulletin outlining the repair procedure. All internal parts are readily available.
Front differential or power transfer unit repairs are less common. The only parts sold by Land Rover are the outer seals. Worn bearings require replacing the whole unit at a cost just shy of $1800.00. We dismantled the unit and found only one worn bearing at a cost of $40.00.
After replacing all bearings and seals as required in both units we reinstalled the differentials and took a quiet road test.
Besides saving our client well over $1500 on this repair job there are few interesting things to note:
First is that the front power transfer unit is equipped with “fill for life” fluid. In our repair information this is touted as a benefit, and yet at 85,000 kilometers this part has failed. Would changing the fluid more frequently have saved this part? Very likely yes; however based on both bearings in front and rear diffs wearing out it may just be bad engineering that caused these parts to wear.
Second, is that this drivetrain is essentially a Volvo all wheel drive system. Ford, owner of both Land Rover and Volvo in this era share this platform among several models. The front differential failure and lack of individual repair parts for both brands is similar: see our similar blog post about repairs to a Volvo XC70 angle gear unit .
Third, both Volvo and Land Rover sell a very expensive ‘special lubricant’ for their power transfer unit or angle gear unit, yet these components only consist of simple gears and bearings. These units require nothing other than regular gear oil for proper lubrication. We always use synthetic gear oil just to add a little extra margin of durability. This still costs a fraction of the dealer fluid. It is important to use the manufacturers recommended fluid while the vehicle is under warrant.
On a final note the Land Rover LR2 is known as the Freelander in the rest of the world. This newer generation is a massive improvement over the previous generation with its crappy, unrepairable and frequently failing engine.
For more about the Land Rover LR2 click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Rover_Freelander
The Land Rover power transfer unit is essentially a bevel gear assembly, for more click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bevel_gear
Today’s featured service is Air Suspension Compressor Replacement on a 2006 Land Rover LR3, brought to us by a client from Coquitlam, BC.
Many Land Rovers and all Range Rovers from the past decade have air suspension. This is one of the highest failure systems on these vehicles.
Air suspension is complex, featuring air springs and ride height sensors on each corner of the truck plus an air compressor assembly, control valves, piping, wiring and a computer.
Many Land Rover/Range Rover vehicles experience air suspension system concerns at an early age with failures of ride height sensors and compressors most common. Our featured 2006 Land Rover LR3 had nearly 200,000 kilometers and some hard off road use before its compressor failed: a pretty decent lifespan.
Land Rover LR3s and Range Rover Sports mount the compressor assembly under the vehicle, inboard of the frame in front of the driver’s rear wheel. This is a poor location for such a critical, expensive, electrical part. In Land Rover’s defense they do mount the compressor in a protective box but it is far from weather proof. Late 1990 to early 2000 Range Rovers install their units under hood and HSE models have theirs positioned in the trunk area: both of these are superior locations.
Labour to remove and replace the compressor is not particularly time consuming but the part is pricy.
While air suspension is more complex and adds significant repair costs there are many advantages: ride height adjustablitiy being the biggest. As these vehicles are luxury off-road trucks they ride low and stable for on road use but can gain significant ground clearance for snowy or rough gravel roads.
Land Rover adds some handy preprogrammed driving modes to their vehicles. These presets adjust the suspension height, four wheel drive and traction control systems for sandy terrain, steep hills and other conditions one might encounter.
For more on the Land Rover LR3 please click this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Rover_Discovery
For a more indepth look at air suspension systems click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_suspension
Front Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement on a 2006 Range Rover Sport is Wednesday’s featured service, brought to us by a client from Surrey, BC.
Like all vehicles the Range Rover Sport requires brake service from time to time. While this truck is equipped with very large disc brake rotors and pads, especially on the front where most braking effort is needed, they wear out very quickly. This seems to be a fairly common occurrence on many European luxury sport utility vehicles. Pads and rotors frequently wear out as quickly as 25,000 kilometers on these vehicles. Audi Q7’s and Porsche Cayenne’s have similarly short life spans.
What is perplexing is that these are big brakes and designed to quickly stop these performance vehicles. Normally large brakes also equal long life; perhaps they simply aren’t big enough. There seem to be no long lasting, long life parts available so unfortunately we must live with the status quo.
The Range Rover Sport featured here is the Supercharged model. These are awesome vehicles: luxuriously equipped and very fast. Off road they perform superbly, with air adjustable suspension for increased ground clearance and a sophisticated four wheel drive systems. Unfortunately with a vehicle this nice you likely wouldn’t want to scratch the paint, scrape up the fancy wheels or gouge the expensive low profile tires.
For more about the Range Rover Sport and all of its fabulous features click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_Rover_Sport
For more about disc brakes click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_brakes
Our latest featured repair is Rear Parking Sensor replacement on a 2006 Range Rover Sport, brought to us by a client from Kerrisdale, Vancouver.
Most modern vehicles feature some sort of warning system to prevent you from hitting something while parking your vehicle. A major component of the system is the parking sensors: usually four in the front bumper and four in the rear.
Failure of any of these sensors will cause the system to shut down. This was the case with our 2006 Range Rover Sport where one rear sensor had died.
Having a good quality scan tool is essential for us to diagnose this concern quickly and accurately. We found that the right inner rear sensor was not registering. Replacing the sensor brought this useful system back to life.
The Range Rover Sport is a fabulous, luxury SUV. It drives like a car but features the toughness of a truck. With its air suspension system the drive height of the vehicle can be adjusted for various road conditions: normal height for everyday driving or raised height for off road and deep snow. This model comes with a 4.2L supercharged V8 engine which provides very quick acceleration.
For more about the Range Rover Sport please click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_Rover_Sport
For more about Parking Sensor Systems click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parking_sensor
Friday’s featured service is Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement on a 2006 Land Rover LR3.
On all vehicles, brake replacement is a required repair: the question is when? With some vehicles the brakes wear out in less than 20,000 kilometers where as others go for over 100,000 kilometers. Most of the difference is in the design of the vehicle and its braking system.
The Land Rover LR3, being the luxury vehicle that it is gave the owner a warning on the dash that the rear brake pads were worn out. This is accomplished with an electrical brake pad wear sensor that clips onto the brake pads. Sensors are installed front and rear.
Typical to most European vehicles, the brake rotors require replacement along with the pads. The rotors wear at an extreme rate and by the time the pads reach the end of their life, enough rotor material has worn off so as to make them unusable.
The Land Rover LR3, while being a luxurious sport utility vehicle is also an excellent off road vehicle. Equipped with air suspension, the ground clearance can be raised for off road usage. The suspension is tough and with the four wheel drive system’s electronic controls this vehicle will take you over the roughest of roads.
For more on the Land Rover LR3, view this link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Rover_LR3
Our featured post today is a 20,000 Kilometer Maintenance Service on a 2012 Range Rover.
The main part of this service is an oil and filter change. As this vehicle uses synthetic oil and has a large oil capacity (8 liters) it has a 20,000 kilometer oil change interval.
This is similar to most European vehicles these days: service intervals are between 15,000 and 25,000 kilometers.
Included with this service is inspection of all fluid levels, tire pressure adjustments and a general visual inspection under the hood and under the car. As was to be expected, this low mileage vehicle had nothing wrong.
The Range Rover has been around since 1970, though like all vehicle it has evolved greatly from it’s earlier generations.
For more information click on this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_Rover