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General Maintenance: The Very Basics

or "They die in the worst possible spot"

By Ted Rose (OVLR)

Seeing how the Tune-up event is going to be happening at the beginning of next month, I thought that it might be useful for those of you who will not be bringing your aluminum pet out to MiniMan's to have a list of some of the part numbers that are usually required for such a job. Many of these parts, albeit through equivalence with other British cars, will be available at MiniMan's If you can't attend, these parts are also available through other suppliers such as Rover's North or Atlantic British on this continent, or Land Rover parts distributors in Great Britain for the more adventurous. Whether or not you desire genuine LR parts will be determined by your supplier of choice. In some cases there is no such thing as genuine beyond a different box, while in others "genuine" makes a major difference.

Before we get to the parts list, it should be remembered that you don't always need to undertake a complete rebuilt, at least some of don't. Just a few things need to be done, or checked, regularly to keep your antique running in a fairly reliable state. Otherwise you risk:

They Die in the Worst Possible Spot by Ted Rose

Just a few notes on reliability to keep enjoyment up and frustration down. Starting with the battery, get the best on you can afford, with lots of cranking amps. Avoid rebuilt or used batteries. Try and find one you can top up, ie. without the caps gued on. Make sure the battery is "tied down", even a bungy cord will do. Make sure the terminal clamps are clean (on the inside too), tight, and that the battery cables are in good condition with connections to ground. Make sure the solenoid is also tight.

Next, check that the generator (alternator) belt is in good condition, and properly adjusted; say about ½" deflection on the belts longest span. If you are not sure then go on the loose side. Going too tight can ruin the bearings in the water pump or generator and can often put the pulleys out of alignment which can substantially reduce belt life.

Try and give your Land Rover a tune-up at least once a year, even if you don't put many miles on it. It can be very minor, but it is time well spent. It doesn't take long to check the plug and point gaps and run a feeler gauge through the valves, besides, your valve cover gasket is probably leaking anyway.

Have a look at the tires. Those cracks in the tread and sidewalls aren't too serious until to see the carcass canvass stuff looking back. Check the pressure too. This really is critical to tire life and good fuel mileage (ha ha). While you're there, check all of the wheel nuts for tightness. Try and make sure they're all the same size. It is hard enough to find one wheel wrench, let alone two when you're sitting in the forest with a flat.

Before you start charging through the wilds this year check all fluid and oil levels. After all, you don't really even have to jack the Land Rover up to do it and they are critical. Take the grease gun under there too and give all of the joints a shot. Do this again after you've been off-roading in swamps and the like to push any water out of the joints, but don't blow the boots off them.

To keep that Formula One braking up to par, adjust the brakes a couple of times a year. If you're running in mud it is prudent to pull the drums off as soon as you can and wash all the mud and debris out. It really does rip the linings off the shoes in a hurry.

That's it for now. Ted Rose

Reprinted from the Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, April, 1994
Copyright Dixon Keener, 1995-1998. Last modified 1 April 1998.
Comments? Send mail to Dixon Kenner or Benjamin Smith
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