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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Land-Rover Antics - Part III

In Part II of this short series, I mentioned that being an ex-military vehicle, the wiring arrangements were rather different from standard. One might add “and how”!

Bill pointed out that the vehicle was fitted with a heated windscreen which had never worked. Indeed the windscreen must have been a costly item: it had very fine (for obvious reasons) heating wires inside the glass running from top to bottom. SII Fulvia owners will recognise the idea as it is similar to the heated rear window fitted to those cars.

The Land-Rover had been an army radio vehicle, so there were many now unused fuse places in the large fuse box – find that fuse!. I knew also that there had to be a relay somewhere – I had already checked the windscreen heater for continuity and it was fine. Bill has a factory workshop manual which showed some details but not all – and no locations!

As is quite common with electrical faults, I spent many hours trying to trace the circuit. This was subsequently found to be even more complex as there turned out to be an internal short-circuit to ground somewhere inside the military wiring harness which is practically impossible to dismantle. Secondly, the control relay – a very special high-current item, which I eventually found buried in a stack of wires behind the instrument panel was controlled by a voltage level unit. Quite ingenious, as this means that one cannot drain the battery since once voltage drops to a certain point, the relay will be shut off. Typically, the damned thing didn’t work!

So I rewired everything behind the instrument panel and ran additional cables to the windscreen heater with an in-line fuse. The ammeter confirmed that all is now well.

I then did quite a lot of the same concerning the heated rear window!

From time to time Bill had experienced a fuel starvation problem. This is nasty on diesel-engined vehicles as of course once there is air in the system the engine stops and that’s it! The installation as I mentioned in Part I was not very nicely done, and this included some rather hit and miss “modifications to the fuel lines not to mention something similar in the turbo piping (more on this later). Bill decided that he would take no chances in future and so he purchased a Facet electric fuel pump to assist the lift pump that is installed in the injection pump unit. I managed to fit this (just) on the bulkhead under the driver’s seat right above the fuel tank, together with a relay and a small fuse box which will provide a useful additional source of current should this be required in the future. There is a reassuring lack of air visible in the piping now.

A useful feature on an expedition-type vehicle is an inverter to provide 230v A.C. so that e.g. a laptop computer can be run. The one installed had packed up, so Bill bought a better-quality one which inevitably was rather bulkier. With the amount of accessories fitted space was becoming increasingly in short supply. I devised a neat solution: behind each of the windows is a security grille, so we hung the unit from one of these. The installation which Bill did, is very neat as may be seen in the picture below.

The final electrical task was to persuade the front side lights to work. This turned out to be due to the horrid “bullet” connectors so beloved of British manufacturers – I have experienced vast amounts of grief with these on Jaguars, Austin-Healeys Triumphs etc., etc. As usual one or two had corroded – not behind the lamps where one would expect of course, but once again buried underneath a pile of coloured “spaghetti” behind the central switch panel…

Next time: Turbo pipes, half shafts and other bits and pieces.

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