Singular Point of Failure

p m

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This thread is inspired by our last club trip to Death Valley and events afterwards.
I'd like it to be a repository of tips about what can break on a trail and make one's life much more miserable. It would probably be more prudent to have the same thread in every vehicle type-specific section, but some of them are common for all, so here it is.
Please chime in, and be elaborate. A few things should be very prominent:
  • Models and years affected
  • Probability: in any way you like: "once in a blue moon," "every 341 miles," "every other tank of gas," you name it.
  • Severity: drivable for a while, field-fixable, McGyver ingenuity required, shop only, take off plates and VIN and push over the edge, your choice.
  • Failure itself
  • Tips on possible fixes
  • Tips on maintenance/prevention/early diagnosis if known
  • whatever else can make search easier.
Bring it on.
 

robertf

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Jan 22, 2006
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you must really love FMEA meetings

anything with a distributor should have cap,rotor, and coil within arms reach
 

p m

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you must really love FMEA meetings
I had to google FMEA - fortunately, never had to attend one in my life!
anything with a distributor should have cap,rotor, and coil within arms reach
I believe the First Overland guys had to stay in a village somewhere in Pakistan or thereabouts waiting for a month for a new distributor cap to arrive.
Writing it in makes it a lot more verbose than your statement...
Make and model: 1986-1995 Range Rover, 1993 NAS D110, 1994-95 NAS D90, 1994-1999 NAS D1 anything with a distributor
Probability: from every 15 years to every other deep water crossing
Severity: maybe drivable in fifteen minutes, maybe not drivable at all
Failure: cracks and burnt terminals or moisture in distributor cap, worn out or cracked rotor, shorted or broken ignition coil
Fixes: moisture: wipe the distributor cap, rotor, and coil, with toilet paper, and spray it with cooking oil WD-40. Otherwise, replace the part.
 

Frobisher

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Dec 27, 2012
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Great idea! Here's a bit more subtle problem.

  • Models and years NAS 94 and 95 D1 and RRC, maybe later but solutions will vary
  • Probability: Unknown, but when it does, you'll know, so carry a paper clip in your ash tray
  • Severity: quick fix if you know it's nothing else
  • Failure truck won't start
  • Tips Paul Grant has a simple and concise explanation here:

I'm copying his whole entry here to make it easy:

While this information is out there in a variety of threads on different boards, I thought I would provide a write up on what I did with my '95 DI today when the Lucas 17VT Alarm ECU began acting up.

What was happening with the Alarm ECU is, suddenly, it would not allow the truck to turn over. It would just crank.

This led to a bit of research about bypassing the Alarm ECU on 14CUX 3.9L/4.2L 1994 and 1995 DI's/RRC's. I know all about bypassing the green Lucas 10AS alarm ECU in GEMS trucks. I did that to get through last winter with a '96 DI beater but this was an entirely different ECU. A quick read of Discoweb turned up one particular thread where PT Schram mentioned an easy way to bypass the Lucas 17VT Alarm ECU. Essentially, unplug everything and the truck will still work fine. Well, that turned out to be a little too optimistic. Another comment indicated that you needed to ground the #1 pin on the white multi pin connector that goes into the Alarm ECU. With that, the neutral safety switch on the transmission is grounded and the truck will turn over. You lose the central locking and the horn but the truck will run.

The #1 pin has a Black/Orange wire running into it. At least that's the case on my '95 DI. I installed a plug into the #1 connector and routed that wire to the outer passenger footwell where there is already a ground. With the neutral safety switch properly grounded, the truck fired up on first crank. Overall time to do the bypass was well under an hour and I no longer have to worry about the truck not started because of a 21 year old alarm box. The next step is to examine what needs to be done to restore the central locking and the horn. I short time with the '95 DI ETM should provide the necessary info to help with restoring those features.

In the end, this is yet another reason why my favorite DI's are these '94's and '95's. Their simplicity makes problem solving electrical issues such as this one a breeze compared to later Discovery models. I'm just sorry that winters have taken their toll on these trucks here in the northeast and it's getting harder and harder to find models that aren't rusting away.

  • Tips It didn't happen to me until my door locks quit functioning, then it was a long time of running a bypass to my starter (complete with push button) before I found the above link. It was short job once I found out the culprit. Later models that include the spider style of security system have a more complicated fix. This only involved dropping the passenger side kick plate and finding the correct circuits.
  • Additional Tips According to Paul, it will disable your locks and horn. My locks were already gone and I had already re-wired a push button for the horn so I never noticed its absence. It's a trade-off but worth it to make the truck run again.
 
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p m

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ok, I'll get to what precipitated starting this thread.
Model/year: All NAS and likely many ROW Land Rovers with engine and transmission coolers.
Likelihood of failure: 100% over the lifetime of a vehicle. Since all replacement parts now come from parts of the world known not to be overly concerned with quality, it will only go up. The blown hose shown below failed less than 10 days and about 600 miles after installation in the vehicle.
Severity: guaranteed to disable the vehicle, if not discovered in time - ruin the engine or transmission. The worst outcome - vehicle fire.
Failure: breakdown of the rubber hose of an engine or transmission cooler line, followed by partial or complete loss of lubricant.

1618524975397.png

Field fixable? Yes, you'll need the following parts:
Hard line adapter with 1/2" compression fitting and (Male or female 3/8" or 1/2" NPT thread, 3/8" or 1/2" male or female JIC fitting, or -8 AN fitting): 2x
Hose adapter: female or male 3/8" or 1/2" NPT, or 3/8" or 1/2" female or male JIC, or -8 AN, to 3/8" or 1/2" barb fitting: 2x
Steel-jacketed -8 AN or 3/8" - 7/16" - 1/2" ID hose: 1-2 feet.

As an example, from the same source:

1/2" tube to -8 AN male adapter (ADPT-00-12TB-8ANM): $11.29 x 2
Rubber Swivel Hose End – Straight AN, 8AN, $7.69 x 2
8AN Stainless Steel Braided hose, 3ft - $19.39

The Internet is full of pre-made hoses (e.g., -8 PTFE Straight to Straight Assembly Stainless with Steel Ends, 12in, $26.28) with whatever connectors you wish; it saves you some effort to install the adapters, but forces you to specific hose lengths. You need to get under and measure your cooling lines (steel line to steel line) to determine the length needed.
If you use non-terminated hose to use as necessary, be prepared to cut a stainless steel jacket on the hose.

Tools: hacksaw blades (in the field), angle grinder cut-off wheel (on the garage apron), and whatever tools are needed to assemble your collection of adapters.

Supplies: ATF and/or engine oil. Both transmission and engine oil cooler lines are pressurized and will spit out fluids quickly.

Here's a photo of a line repaired in the shop, by brazing male -8 AN fittings to the steel line and using pre-made -8 AN hose:

1618526199908.png

The same shop replaced the engine cooler lines on my D1 more than 15 years ago. They are still doing great.
I have to say, though, that the same short transmission cooler line is just fine on the same D1 - from the factory, 25 years ago.
 

eburrows

Well-known member
This one is specific (but not exclusive to) Death Valley, and it's million miles of washboard: Dead battery
  • Models and years affected: All
  • Probability: About one dead battery in every 200 miles of washboard road. Plate or spiral cell, Dual-battery or single.
  • Severity: Will not start
  • Failure Head and vibes kill all kinds of batteries. This can resort in low cranking amps, or even broken terminals.
  • Tips on possible fixes:
    • Spares! Dual-battery setups are worth less than 2x here because they're in the same environment. A spare in a box in the back is better, a lithium-ion "jump start" battery is even better.
    • Get a battery tester. They're cheap and reliable. Test all batteries before EVERY trip.
I had THREE batteries die while driving the Old Death Valley road north-to-south. One was probably my fault, being old. The others were spiral Exide and new. Hundreds of miles of mind-numbing washboard in 110F+ heat is a death sentence for batteries. Carry spares, go with a buddy. Without 1000 amps from somewhere, a rover is just a paperweight.
 
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p m

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Eric,

I can definitely relate to that! We were once working in a remote end of Echo Range of China Lake NAWS, and since it was July, we kept the engine and A/C on in the company F250. We then returned to Inyokern airfield (about two hours away, half on dirt), shut off the truck, and... later found it deader than a doornail. Battery voltage was 4V. All active layer fell off the plates - that was an old non-AGM battery.

That said - I am very, very surprised that any kind of AGM including spiral cell would suffer from this. Probably, internal connections either ripped off or shorted.

FWIW, the little lithium battery gizmos are not particularly useful to start a 4-liter V8 with a completely dead battery.
 

jymmiejamz

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FWIW, the little lithium battery gizmos are not particularly useful to start a 4-liter V8 with a completely dead battery.

I’ve never had an issue with them not starting rovers, but I wouldn’t rely on them. They’re all like cheap winches to me. They work great until they don’t. I’ve probably seen about a dozen of them fail in the shop. When they fail, the just fail completely
 

eburrows

Well-known member
There is a great review of Li-ion jumpstarters on the Project Farm channel:

I have been using NOCO brand batteries for a while, and they do fail eventually, but the solution to that is: More spares, and more testing. They can be tested with the heating-element-type testers.

For my own testing, I ordered one from Amazon, then wired it in to my D2 INSTEAD of the lead-acid battery, and tried to start it. The first brand crapped out. The second one crapped out. The NOCO started it right up. I used that first one for a few years until it died, then bought another.
 

discostew

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I use the NOCO ones. The only problem I've had is the charger connector gets fagged out. But if you use the rubber cover to hold the cable at an angle, it fixes that for a while.
 

p m

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I use the shit out of one of those every day. I start 5.0's and diesels at least 3 times a day. Maybe you have a shitty one.
Since all of them are made in China likely at the same facility but under a gazillion of senseless names, it is hard to say which is good and which is bad.
My take was - find the one with the largest amp-hour and peak current rating, and divide it by 3 or 4. Which means a 300A-rated battery will likely start a mid-sized V8 with a half-flat battery (9-10 volts).

We tried two of 1000A-peak-rated batteries to jump-start an Excursion with a 7.3 diesel in Death Valley, with TWO completely dead batteries that failed like eburrows mentioned. It was a royal fail. Fortunately, I had some gonzo jumper cables, and got the Ford running after 15 minutes of keeping the cables on with my engine at 1500 rpm.

On the upside, Jonathan Hanson reported being able to weld with three of these Li batteries connected in series - that makes them more useful.
 
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