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Line-X could become the new black for hard-as-nails Defenders, reckons Mark Saville. But what exactly is it?

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SILENCE John Pearson gets a first test drive of a diesel-electric hybrid Range Rover – just minutes before it sets off for a 9942-mile expedition from the UK to India


and Rover’s decision to send three pre-production Range Rover Hybrids on a gruelling overland expedition to Mumbai is brave. But then, the company does have a long history of providing new models for big adventures, even from its earliest days. The Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition in 1955 used Land Rovers, and the 1971-72 British Trans-Americas Expedition was in a pair of Range Rover Classics. The latter event drove south from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego through the notorious, almost impenetrable Darien Gap, completing one of the most amazing adventures of the 20th century. The trio of Hybrids here today is unlikely to experience anything quite as daunting as the swamps of Central America, but this huge shake-down test before the new model’s launch proves the company’s confidence in its worldleading engineering and technology. I’ve previously tested one of the electricpowered Defenders that Land Rover is evaluating, but that was a completely different experience to driving this, the company’s firstever hybrid vehicle. While the Defender’s electric motor is quite noisy, the new Range Rover Hybrid wafts along in almost total silence. It’s an expensive, luxurious fourth-generation Range Rover L405, so we should expect nothing less. But I’m surprised and impressed when I put my foot on the accelerator and can’t hear much other than some well-insulated road noise as I cruise past the Land Rover factory’s gatehouse

and out into everyday Solihull morning traffic. The Hybrid has a range of up to a mile on electric power. But after sitting in almost total silence at a road junction with the only sound coming from the climate control’s electric fan, I floor the accelerator to slip into a gap in the traffic and the SDV6 3.0-litre diesel engine decides it’s time to kick in. Even this is a smooth, quiet operation. You can just feel the starter motor stirring the engine into life in a muted, somewhere down in the engine’s bowels sort of way, but the sound levels are so low that you end up driving along wondering whether you’re using electric or diesel power. It really is that good. And there’s a stop-start system for when the diesel’s in use, so you sit in silence whenever you stop at junctions whether you’ve been running on the electric system or the diesel. How is the battery recharged? Well, when the diesel engine takes over, the electric motor that has been powering you becomes a generator – as well as harvesting a charge through the vehicle’s regenerative braking. When the highly sophisticated Vehicle Supervisory Controller decides there’s sufficient charge in the battery, it changes seamlessly back to electric power. Next I try the Hybrid in EV mode – by pressing a button on the centre console marked, unsurprisingly, EV. This should help me travel up to a mile at speeds below 30mph using just electric power. I can feel that throttle action is softer and progress is less urgent, and I do travel

THE TECHNICAL STUFF n Land Rover designed the L405 Range Rover to use hybrid power from the start, so passenger and luggage space is unaffected by the hybrid kit. n The fuel tank is smaller than a normal SDV6 Range Rover’s, but overall range is unaffected. n The company jointly engineered the eight-speed automatic transmission and integrated 35kW (47bhp) electric motor with German

transmission specialist ZF. n The permanent-magnet AC synchronous motor is housed in the transmission unit and the design is unique to Land Rover. n The electric motor is also a generator, charging the battery when the diesel engine is running and harvesting kinetic energy through the regenerative braking system. n The lithium-ion liquid-cooled battery has 72 6.8Ah cells,

producing 266volts and 50kW peak output. n Weighing 49.2kg, the battery sits in a tough boron steel cradle under the floor. n The sophisticated Vehicle Supervisory Controller: • Optimises use of diesel and electric motor power units • Manages the smooth transition between modes • Manages energy into and out of the high-voltage battery.

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STARRING ROLE Peter Galilee takes a good look at four generations of Range Rover to discover just why each one was so good, and which one is the brightest superstar of the bunch


very re-incarnation of the Range Rover seems to introduce a quantum leap forward in 4x4 technology while remaining true to the original Classic. A bit like Dr Who, each re-generation brings a whole new way of doing things and a new look, but the same unbeatable character beneath the skin. The new hybrid Range Rovers and Range Rover Sports are the latest members of an illustrious cast. As technologies have opened up, Range Rover engineers have exploited them – and in the case of electronic control of suspension, handling and braking, they’ve often invented or ingeniously adapted them. That’s happened with every model – even the

first pre-production Range Rovers put together components in a way that was ahead of the market’s thinking. So we decided to line up and assess all four generations, first to last. But it wouldn’t be fair, for example, to compare a late Classic against an early second-generation P38. The first-generation Range Rover started off as a fairly basic coil-sprung twodoor with simple electrics – but by the end of its production run it had air suspension and lots of sophisticated electronics, and a lot of that was on the P38 too. Comparing similar-age cars makes no sense,

so to keep our evaluation fair, what’s needed is the original design concept for each model. Because of this, the cars here are not just randomly picked Range Rovers – each is an early version of the model it represents. What’s here, then, is something more than four Range Rovers for evaluation. It’s a timeline, spanning over four decades of one of the most prestigious automotive brand names in the world.




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P38A £3000 TO £5000

CLASSIC £3500 TO £70,000


£5000 TO £50,000

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’ve driven greenlanes all over the UK, but one area that has eluded me is north Nottinghamshire – the area around Sherwood Forest. But a check of the OS maps quickly shows me the error of my ways: there are loads of great lanes to drive here. To explore them, I’ve met up with the local Green Lane Association (GLASS) rep Simon Wilson, and his band of merry men (well, his son Harvey and mate Cal Morgan). Simon has plotted a route that includes a wide variety of tracks and trails, including the type of dark, sunken lane you’d imagine wealthy travellers fearing in Robin Hood’s days. It may not have the rugged scenery of the nearby Peak District, but it more than makes up for that in number of lanes. Here we go…


NOTTS LANDING Neil Watterson fetches up in north Nottinghamshire and finds dozens of greenlanes waiting to be explored

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Part two: As Mark Saville’s big 3500-mile, 27-day adventure reaches its end, there's a sting in the tail


e’ve been travelling for 13 days – the buffeting and bouncing of our 1957 88-inch Series I is beginning to take its toll on our all too finite stamina and sanity. This is why I’ve booked Seatours’ Baldur ferry. It’ll carry us (me, my wife Julia, and ‘Plimsoll’) across Breiđafjörđur, cutting 150 miles from our drive. ‘All we’ve got to do is drive about 80 miles from Isafjordur to catch the ferry. It leaves at 12.15, just under three hours from now – shouldn’t be a problem.‘ 68 LRO November 2013

That’s the problem with man maths. Add in Series I speed multiplied by gravel tracks and divide by photo opportunities and ‘comfort breaks’, and the sums don’t add up. I'm about to embark on one of the most exciting drives I think I’ve ever had in Plimsoll. I don’t often have the excuse to engage fourwheel drive in high range, but today it's vital. The first part of the journey is steady enough. As we descend the track to what I believe to be the shore of Breiđafjörđur, we discover that

we’re in Arnarfjörđur, a whole peninsula away; there’s less than hour to get to the ferry. In fact, little more than 45 minutes. It’s now gravel track all the way to the end of the road, which winds past Dynjandi waterfall and over a towering pass. Julia has had her eyes shut for the past 20 minutes. We’re only doing about 35-40mph but I feel like one of those manic racing drivers from the early 1900s. We finally arrive at the quayside about a minute late; they held the ferry for us. Phew!

Snæfellsnes peninsula is magnificent – epic, even

The crossing is silky smooth and we arrive at Stykkishólmur a couple of hours later. We’ve got about 70 miles ahead of us to the hotel. The weather has broken; it’s grey, wet and windy. By contrast, the hotel is warm and welcoming. The next morning, the sun is back and so are the blue skies. Leaving Julia to recover from the long day yesterday, I take Plimsoll on a photo pre-scout up the lower slopes of Snæfellsjökull. The views of and from this superb volcano are truly astounding. You can see the whole

sweep of the southern edge of the Snæfellsnes peninsula – magnificent. Unfortunately, the mountain pass over Snæfellsjökull to Ólafsvik is blocked at the top, by snow, so I turn back. Stopping in a handy layby to admire the view and take more photos, I spot a colourful info sign all about Axlar-Björn, the local axe murderer. Luckily, he's not around: he was executed in 1596 for killing 18 people. Today, we’re heading for the capital, Reykjavik, and one of our favourite hotels, Hotel Frón.

Smack in the middle of the city, it’s perfect for exploring the top tourist sites. We spend the next four days catching up with old friends and doing some gentle sightseeing. Eventually, it’s time to begin the eastward leg of the circumnavigation of Iceland, towards home. It’s another 225-mile mega-drive from Reykjavik to Skaftafell. On the way, we stop and gaze in awe at a couple of huge waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, and attempt to squeeze their grandeur into the camera. November 2013 LRO 69


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FAN Mark Saville meets a Land Rover fanatic who rescued this ex-army SIIA ambulance and created a stunning mobile home-from-home


t’s hard to imagine that six years ago this immaculate Series IIA was mouldering in a scrapyard, awaiting the final indignity of the gas axe’s terminal kiss. After years of service with the British Army of the Rhine, it had been demobbed and spent time in civvy street before eventually being abandoned to its fate. Enter our hero, Henk Meÿck, a besotted Series Land Rover fan since childhood, and the man who rescued this one. ‘I’ve loved Land Rover since I was about eight,’ he explains. ‘At that time the Daktari TV series came out and there was a Land Rover in it. It fascinated me. My parents bought me a Matchbox SIIA 109-inch Land Rover Safari Station Wagon; I still have it. All through my life I wanted a real one, but couldn’t afford one.’ But many years later, after his own family had grown up, Henk was unexpectedly able to turn

his dream into reality. He recalls: ‘In 2007 a friend phoned me and told me about this old Land Rover in a local scrapyard.’ The 1970 ex-army Series IIA 2.25 petrol 109-inch ambulance was in a very sorry state. Its good points were that it had an LPG conversion, and a previous owner had attempted to convert it into a camper, fitting big side windows. More significantly, that owner had registered the vehicle as a camper – a big step in the Netherlands’ highly regulated vehicle licensing system. ‘It’s the first old Land Rover I’ve bought to restore; my everyday transport is my 2000 Discovery 2,’ adds Henk. You’d think he’d have opted for an 88-inch soft top as a first restoration project, something simple and straightforward. But no: ‘I always wanted to go driving and camping at the weekends in a Land Rover, so I thought I’d build myself a small

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Rebuild project TECH SPEC Vehicle: 1991 Defender 90 Engine: 200Tdi (originally) Mileage: around 300,000 What we’re doing: Replacing the tired 200Tdi engine and gearbox with a 300Tdi and automatic gearbox

HOW LONG? 1 day

Preparing a 300Tdi


Around £100, plus major components


Spending time preparing the engine and gearbox before fitting will pay dividends in the long run. Neil Watterson explains the preparatory jobs on our 300Tdi and auto box WE NEEDED

n 300Tdi P gasket n Timing belt and idlers kit n Reconditioned alternator
n Fuel lift pump
 n Water pump
n Rear crank seal n Gearbox filter


n Standard workshop toolkit n Impact sockets and breaker bar
n Torx bits n Cleaning solvent and rags (lots of!)


n Disconnect the fuel solenoid before turning over the engine to undo the crankshaft nut n Wear safety glasses when cleaning parts


e’ve decided to fit an ex-Discovery 300Tdi and four-speed ZF automatic gearbox to our Project Defender to give the vehicle a new lease of life as part of its refresh. Last time we lifted the tired old 200Tdi and manual gearbox from our long-suffering 90 in readiness for the replacements to be fitted. This month we’re looking at getting the engine and gearbox ready for fitting. You may ask why we didn’t get an engine and gearbox from an automatic Disco, but we knew the gearbox was good. The donor engine is a low-mileage example in


Scott works for Avenger 4x4 (01733 266690) and has been working on Land Rovers for six years. He has owned three, a Series III, 200Tdi 90 and currently drives an ex-military One Ten he converted to 300Tdi-power so he’s no stranger to swapping engines.

Britpart, The Grove, Craven Arms, Shropshire SY7 8DA, England.

excellent condition and we had easy access to a dead 300Tdi auto engine that we could rob the flywheel and housing off. So, in preparation, we’re replacing the consumable parts: water pump, timing belt, P gasket, fuel lift pump and exhaust manifold gasket. Plus we’re changing the rear main bearing seal – something that we can get to as we have to change the flywheel housing anyway as we’re converting it to take the auto flywheel. We’re also replacing the gearbox filter while the gearbox is out of the vehicle. We’re not doing any work on the internals – both the engine and gearbox were driven prior to being removed from the donors and deemed to be okay – if they subsequently fail then we’ll have to deal with them. But, provided we look after them we’re hopeful of at least another 150,000 miles from the set-up.



It’s easiest to loosen the bolts on the auxiliary 1 drive belt pulleys while the belt is attached and tensioned – otherwise you need to grip the pulleys to prevent them turning. Release the belt by turning back the tensioner then remove the pulleys.


If you’re just removing the front cover to replace 4 the P gasket, you won’t need to detach the power steering pipes – just unbolt the pump and push it to the side of the engine. If you do remove the pipes, cover the unions to prevent dirt getting in.


The new P gaskets have a slightly revised design, 7 with an indentation to help form a good, water-retaining seal. There isn’t any harm in putting a very fine smear of sealant onto each side of the gasket – don’t use too much, though; it could clog passages.


Work round the water pump undoing the bolts. 2 It’s good practice to make up a cardboard template to store the bolts so you know which ones go where. Take care with the three left hand-most bolts – they go into the block, so don’t snap them!


Work round the rest of the bolts securing the front 5 cover to the engine block. Loosen the bolts slowly to prevent them from snapping. The lower bolt is secured with a nut round the back between the cover and the exhaust manifold. Remove the cover.


As the three bolts that secure the P gasket also go 8 through the water pump, build up the front cover with the water pump and fit it to the block. Use copper grease on the shafts of the bolt to prevent them from rusting within the front cover.


Disconnect the wires from the back of the alternator (after first disconnecting the battery if you are doing this in-situ), then loosen and remove the bolts securing the alternator to the mount. If you think you’ll forget which wire goes where, take a photo first.



Most 300Tdi engines will have had their P gaskets replaced by now and many will suffer from over-application of sealant. Carefully remove all traces of gasket and sealant from the block face and the front cover, removing any debris from the water passages.


ALTERNATOR AND POWER STEERING PUMP The alternator was an unknown condition Genuine Part, we had it refurbished, refitting the pulley (which we cleaned before running the engine). This was fitted to the front cover together with the power steering pump, to be connected up later.


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Ex-military 101 Strong, with an elevated driving position and huge load capacity, it’s a Land Rover and a small truck rolled into one. But buy carefully


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ig, isn’t it? Noisy, draughty and cramped, too. And not forgetting the wretched rearward vision, or the heavy steering and gearchange. No question, a long drive in a 101 is a feat of endurance – and that V8 engine drinks like a fish. However, forward vision over cars and hedgerows is sensational, and away from tarmac a 101 is absolutely incredible: all that off-road ability, but experienced

from vast height – there’s nothing quite like it! You get masses of loadspace too, and with the canvas and some of the hoodsticks removed there’s unlimited space upwards. As you can see, a lot of this vehicle is focused upwards, but don’t let that loftiness might fool you into thinking a 101 is huge in all directions. In fact it’s shorter than many family saloons – though not quite as easy to park: the square

bodywork hinders reversing vision, while the non-assisted steering requires effort. Just getting in and out of the driver’s seat demands agility. Everything can be DIY’d. A 101 may be big, but it’s straightforward. Some spares are 101-specific but you’ll get help from the 101 Forward Control Club ( So a 101 isn’t bland. Its bad points are that it’s thirsty, cramped, noisy, and needs a lot

of driver effort (though some of these issues can be fixed with conversions). The good points are the incredible views, a sense of achievement after a drive, your own fan club wherever you park up, and more load-shifting capacity than you’ll probably ever need. And haven’t you always fancied the idea of owning a 101 Forward Control? And if you buy a good one, you shouldn’t lose any money at all.



All production versions used Rover’s 3.5-litre aluminium V8 petrol engine, somewhat buried in the 101 – access is between the front seats or via a lift-up section in the rear floor, though even then it isn’t easy to get at. The V8 is in a low compression (8.5:1) form, so may have been worked hard to compensate for its low power. If you can, check the engine when cold – that’s when it’ll rattle most. Start-up rattling from the top of the engine is normal but should subside quickly. If not, it points to a worn cam. Steve Knight (steve@offroading., 07889 519492) is a trained Land Rover technician whose business is mobile-servicing 101s. These engines run quite low oil pressure, he advises, but you don’t want to see the oil light flickering on tickover when warm. If the light takes a long time to go out while cranking it suggests a worn cam or cam bearings. ‘But unless there’s oil pressure to put out the oil light, a switch cuts out the fuel,’ says Steve. ‘Squaddieproof!’ Should you need them, a new camshafts £50.40, lifters £2.39 each from John Craddock ( Top-end noise could also indicate a neglected engine, so listen for big-end thumps and rumblings on a test drive. Unlike bigger-capacity Rover V8s, internal block cracking isn’t usually an issue, but, should the worst happen, PA Blanchard ( can supply new Rover V8s at £3k – they’re not 101-specific, but they’ll fit if some of the ancillaries are changed. Spare V8s can be available from members after Tdi engine conversions. Any Rover V8 will fit if some original ancillaries are retained. The other common V8 issue is head gasket failure – look

Spartan interior won’t faze you but poor driving position might

TECH SPEC PERFORMANCE ENGINE: 3.5-litre V8 petrol TOP SPEED: 60mph POWER: 135bhp at 4750rpm TORQUE: 205lb ft at 3000rpm ECONOMY ON-ROAD: 14mpg ECONOMY OFF-ROAD: 8mpg or less TANK CAPACITY: 24 gallons/109 litres

DIMENSIONS LENGTH: 162in/4127mm WIDTH: 73in/1842mm (excl mirrors, GS version) HEIGHT: 88in/2235mm (GS version) WHEELBASE: 101in/2565mm FRONT TRACK: 60in/1524mm REAR TRACK: 61in/1549mm WEIGHT: 4241lb/1924kg

externally for leaks and rev the engine after a minute’s idling to check for white exhaust smoke (water in bores). Uneven running is sometimes caused by head gasket issues, but rough running plus black smoke could point to a split carb diaphragm (the 101 uses twin Stromberg 175 CD 2S). Note that most V8s run smoother with electronic ignition. The 24-volt versions have a double-points distributor, which

(12-volt GS); 6173lb/2800kg (12-volt ambulance) LOAD SPACE: 46.11sq ft (4.284sq m) total CAPABILITY APPROACH ANGLE: 50º DEPARTURE ANGLE: 46º (with tow hook) TURNING CIRCLE: 37ft (11.3m) MINIMUM GROUND

is very fiddly – better to convert to 12-volt. Exhaust manifolds can crack – with the engine running, feel for gas blowing (hands away from hot and moving parts, of course). Nick Kay of NK Recovery Services ( has right-hand manifolds at £210, but the left-hand item is currently unobtainable. Check oil cooler and radiator pipes for cracking and weeping – V8s don’t like

CLEARANCE UNDER AXLES: 10in/254mm WADING DEPTH: 35in/900mm (without waterproofing) TOWING CAPACITY (trailer with over-run brakes): 2240lb/1016kg CO2 EMISSIONS: n/a VED RATE: £215 INSURANCE GROUP: 2 LEZ COMPLIANT? Yes

over-heating. The engine top is sometimes oily, usually from the valley gasket end seals (behind timing case, at the back). There’s a DIY fix involving seals and a latetype rubberised-coating composite gasket. If you’re interested in V8 tuning there are plenty of options, of course. LPG conversions are also popular – there’s plenty of room for a tank under the body sides. Alternatively, a Tdi November 2013 LRO 175

Land Rover Owner - November 2013 issue  

Land Rover Owner - November 2013 issue

Land Rover Owner - November 2013 issue  

Land Rover Owner - November 2013 issue