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XCOUNTRY FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Question:
I want to put a CD player into my D90, but don't know whether to get a front loader or a shuttle. Does the front loader work properly in a vehicle like the Defender where it would be mounted at an angle? With the shuttle, where do you normally mount/fit the shuttle itself?

Answer:
The best option is a CD Shuttle, which can be mounted vertically in the center box. The CD shuttle will never jump and is very reliable. The 2nd best option is a Front Loader which costs half the price and gives good service on tarred roads, the units may skip on corrugated roads. The angle of the dash in a Defender does not affect the performance of a Front loader.


Question:
Please could you explain the operation of the diff lock system on a Land Rover.

Answer:
The diff lock (as used in coil sprung Land Rovers ) functions as follows.

This unit is a center diff lock, which means that it operates BETWEEN axles.

A permanent 4x4 vehicle (Coil sprung Land Rover i.e. Defender Rover/RR) supplies driving torque to both axles equally in hard surfaces. Due to the differing route followed by the front and rear axles during a corner, the system uses a center differential. This center diff prevents "wind-up" on hard surfaces i.e. it lets the axles turn at differing speeds.
When you get into a situation where less traction is available or one wheel (any wheel) is in the air the vehicle will loose traction entirely and stop moving. All power is "escaping" from the airborne wheel, this is the center diff doing it's job as per normal operation.
In order to get past this, a center diff lock has been designed in to the diff: When the center diff is locked the diff effectively no longer exists i.e. the front and rear axles are locked together and driving power is now sent equally and unconditionally to BOTH axles.
The net effect of the center diff being locked is that power is available to both axles and as such, at least one wheel on each axle must spin for the vehicle to loose traction.

Vehicles with selectable 2x4 and 4x4 like Leaf sprung Land Rovers, do not have a center diff lock because the do not have a center diff at all. When the vehicle is in 2wd only the rear axle is driven while the front is disabled. When 4wd is engaged, the front and rear axles are locked together and power is again sent equally and unconditionally to both axles, therefore you can see that a Defender or Range Rover with center diff locked is identical to a Leaf Sprung Land Rover on 4wd.

So, where do I lock the center diff and where do I unlock it ?

If you are going off tar where there is a possibility of loosing traction, engage the center diff lock. i.e. Up and down hills, mud, ice, snow, uneven surfaces.

Do not use any diff lock on tarred / concrete surfaces or any similar high traction surface, the difference in front to rear axle speeds will cause extreme torque build-up in the transmission to such an extent that transmission components will wear excessively and/or snap. This build-up is called "wind-up", Even a little hard surface driving in diff lock will cause the diff lock to not dis-engage due to transmission tension


Question:
Does anyone know exactly how the ARB Air Locker functions? I realize that the system must have a button on the dash but when you press it which of the following is true:

Answer:
The system is powered by a pump which has a small air tank and a pressure switch. You can "enable the system" by fitting a switch in the main power line to the pump, when you go off-road, you can switch it on, the pump will run for a short while and charge the tank. The pressure switch will keep the tank full.

When you hit the button, a solenoid opens and sends the air charge to the diff housing which contains the main locking mechanism, locking the diff instantly.
When you hit the button again it releases the solenoid and the pressure line to the diff is discharged to the atmosphere.
I find the ARB's great. The front one can create some interesting moments and makes your steering wheel useless if on a hard surface.
Note that a "hard surface" is in fact a steep hill with serious holes in where you must go straight up, you must dis engage the front locker before reaching the top if you want to turn the moment you reach the top.


Question:
Lumenition: Is this the "electronic ignition" where the points are replaced by this gadget? Is it worthwhile to use? Does it really give better performance and fuel consumption? What's the situation with water around it as with river crossings ?

Answer:
The Luminition electronic ignition replaces the points in the distributor with a optic sensor and a chopper that fits around the cam inside the distributor. Once installed it is set up for life and is also much less effected by distributor wear than a set of points.
The electronic box is the size of two match boxes and completely sealed and can be immersed in water with no ill effects. The Luminition was one of the first electronic ignitions around and were designed around the standard coils available at the time. If you use one of the new generation high voltage units with it the current draw is too high and it can fail. Rumor had it that they were built to military specification although nowadays automotive specs are tighter than mil specs.
Once set up the Luminition keep going for ever.


Question:
Some Land Rover gearboxes use engine oil, is that true ?

Answer:
The LT85 has an oil pump inside, the reason for the 15W40 is that the pump cannot handle the thicker oil and will be damaged.

A good choice of oil is Futron or Magnatec or as close as possible to 15W40


Question:
Can anyone recommend a good supplier and fitter of parabolic springs
for my SIIA? Preferably in the lowveld or Gauteng.

Answer:
Lance Walton from Warthog Services has some locally built semi-parabolics, he has had good success on various articulation tests so far.
Then try Gary Bauer at bauerg@iafrica.com he is the agent for Rocky Mountain Springs 083 255 5383 These are genuine parabolic springs from the USA, he works from Cape Town and can ship anywhere..


Question:
Where in SA can I find traditional original sand ladders. ?

My wife bought me a set of local sand mats (essentially consists of a number of those car tyre rubber door mats linked together with strong wire) which have not yet had the need to use - any experience/comments? Another question - are the aluminium sand ladders capable of supporting a 110 if used to bridge a donga?

Answer:
I found nothing locally, I eventually imported 4x1,5 meter second hand ladders from Darr Expeditions Gmbh in Germany. Landed and after duties and taxes, they cost R 500 each. Local versions just don't make the grade, the roll-up ones are useless, others are not tough enough. The rubber ones are too heavy and have no support at all.

If you are serious about it, find them in Europe, there are several suppliers, try some of the military surplus places in the UK or Darr, they have new and 2nd hand ones.
(Remember, imported stuff attracts 14% vat and 20% duty...) I have located a source in the UK @ Pounds 51 per set of two (http://www.brownchurch.co.uk/BC_Pri.html)
Remember, they are NOT bridging ladders, generally one can put two on top of each other and a support in the center with something. You can also use trees/logs tied together then tie the ladder on top of the logs to make a more even surface to place a wheel on.


Question:
I have a 1998 Land Rover Defender 110 CSW TDi and I am having endless problems getting a belt noise eliminated

Answer:
Remove the belt, carefully clean all the little grooves with a stiff tooth brush, soap and water, then clean the grooves in the pulleys as well, Do not apply any belt dressing or other spray/powder.

Some vehicles had alignment problems, ask your dealer if your vehicle falls in this category.

STEERING WHEEL ALL GOOEY ?


Question:
The steering wheel of my SIIA gets sticky and grimy in damp weather. Is this common in old Landies and is there a way of solving it other than hunting for a steering wheel cover which will fit such a large narrow steering wheel

Answer:
Aah ha, the sticky steering wheel problem...common as rain.

You can remove it, then sand it using about 300 sand paper, wash it in a very strong caustic solution (to get the 20+ years of goop off. Spray paint the wheel with lots of coats of paint.

or

Go to Midas, buy a genuine leather steering wheel cover for 16" steering wheel, wet it thoroughly, gently and with lots of patients fiddle it over the
wheel and lace it on neatly - works very well. This one has no padding but has holes punched in it.

or

Order the genuine leather steering wheel cover from the UK via the LROi magazine and fit it, it is a million times better than anything else and feels oh-so-nice. This one has a foam padding and no holes punched in. - it gives a softer more comfy feel while the Midas ones are very hard once fitted.


Question:
I want to fit new tyres on my Landy for my trip up to Kenya in March. Do you think that General Super All Grip cross ply tyres is good enough or do you think that the General Super All Grip Radial Steel belts is better suited for this trip?

Answer:
The SAG is the way to go, the radials give really great mileage (100 K Km) while the Cross plies give around 40 K Km but they have serious knobs and
are cheaper.

If you plan to sell the vehicle then fit the cheaper (Cross plies) otherwise go for the radials, they work really well but have new tubes fitted as well


Question:
What are wading plugs ?

Answer:
Wading plugs are used to block the seepage drain holes in the bell housing and timing cover on Land Rover engines before wading in deep water. These are usually 1/4 NPT threaded plugs.

Leaf Sprung vehicles have only one fitted at the bottom front most point of the flywheel housing. Engines using a timing belt (2.5P/D/Td/Tdi) have one at the bottom of the timing belt housing, just behind the crank shaft pulley. These plugs must be fitted when wading and must be removed immediately after wading. If water comes out when the bell housing plug is removed, the vehicle should be driven a fair distance to dry the housing out or the clutch assembly will become rusty and sticky. If water comes out of the timing belt housing, the timing belt could get damaged or oily - This can have severe consequences.

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