|Posted on 11 June, 2014 at 1:35|
RANGE ROVER CLASSIC - THE ODYSSEY - PART ONE
Quite a few “Rover car” exponents also have a darker side but still want to stick to their intrinsic belief in the marque – so they also own a Land Rover or a Range Rover – good on them – I am one of the order – I do believe that the classic Range Rover – say for argument sake, 1986 to 1993 models, are questionably the best (in a wide context) four wheel drive “still” on the road.
The Rangie encompasses all the plus’ of later marques and many in built features and characteristics that still shine after 30 years.
We won’t go into fuel consumption at this point but suffice to say that any current, (heavy and big capacity) 4X4 still isn’t any better in the economy stakes – especially if pushed hard – Perhaps with the exception of some diesels.
There still are not all that many 4X4’s with constant 4 wheel drive – four wheel disc brakes – a smooth V8 engine – excellent suspension – ground clearance, good ride and handling with the capacity and design to be upgraded even further and finally a feeling of solidarity and security with CLASS.
The later and lighter derivative of 1993 to 1998 Land Rover Discovery has a stronger body than Range Rover and a similar suspension but not the sophisticated drive train and brakes of the Range Rover.
All in all the Range Rover presents as a fairly well thought out package.
Sure! They had a few design and production problems i.e. Dust sealing, fuel consumption and inefficient air con, but so do a lot of others.
So with a few tweaks here and there they can be a pleasure to drive and own for many years after the alternatives are dead and buried.
Some of the tweaks consist of improvements in braking – suspension mods – power output -- cooling system – drive train – electrical – fuel system and body bits.
There isn’t a vehicle built that can’t be improved- even the latest and greatest.
We will start with the braking system.
Range Rover’s up to the 3.9 series didn’t have ventilated discs on the front and suffered a bit from brake fade under severe conditions and even later ones did have the malady but to a lesser degree.
Softer brake pads work well at slow speeds and lighter use but when subjecting the Range Rover to higher speeds and heavy loads with hard braking, the brakes get hot and fade occurs – Fade is caused by several factors but mainly due to boiling or vaporizing of the brake fluid – a higher boiling point fluid (i.e. Castrol racing fluid) can alleviate some of the problem and coupled with harder, temp resistant pads, the system can cope better and be much safer.
The moisture level in brake fluid is critical and must not exceed 5% as a general rule – change and flush fluid annually and you will be trouble free for many years.
The brake booster is another component that is often overlooked and needs some attention – things like blocked or soggy vacuum hoses and leaking boosters can decrease efficiency quite a lot.
These maintenance items apply not only to Range Rover, any vehicle over 10 years old should be maintained to a higher degree than its newer cousin, especially in the area of fluid moisture levels.
Equally important are the brake hoses, they get soft – spongy and even blocked and expand under pedal pressure, causing a loss of feel and a spongy soft feel to the pedal. A good Mod is to replace the standard hoses with braided lines, which don’t expand to the same degree and give the pedal a better feel. A big benefit can also be had by grooving or drilling the discs to help get rid of the heat and Pad residue build-up, thus making a better surface contact, the pads and discs will last a lot longer also.
Getting plenty of cooling air to the discs is an advantage and sometimes the fitting of wider wheels and tyres can mask the disc and stop the flow.
I will leave part one at that and go further into other avenues next time.
Dennis Trigg. O.A.M. J.P. MIAME.