My first time spannering on the Land Rover

My first time spannering on the Land Rover

In July I wrote about the reasons why I had bought a land Rover Discovery. All was going well for a few weeks, I was using it on a daily basis to get to and from work and even used it one weekend to visit family on the south coast of England… sadly this is where things took a bit of a downward turn.

While driving home, we got within a couple of miles of home when there was an almighty bang and suddenly there was little to no power. I pulled over and when I tried to set off again the truck wouldn’t move so I called a recovery truck and had it towed home. It was late so I decided I would deal with it the next day. the next morning I phoned a local Land Rover specialist who said they would get it towed to them to inspect it and diagnose the problem.

It took nearly a whole week for them to come back to me about it and when they did they said “something is wrong with the gearbox, it would need replacing and it would cost £1500 excluding VAT to do it.” Immediately alarm bells started ringing I didn’t want to pay for the gearbox changing when they couldn’t even tell me what the issue was, especially when they were asking for more than I’d paid for the actual vehicle!

So with the help of a friend I towed the lumbering beast home, and got to work diagnosing the issue with the help of more friends and several Land Rover owners forums. Eventually we diagnosed that transmission fluid pump inside the gearbox had died. This was indeed a case of replacing the entire gearbox, so I got to work stripping down the vehicle and removing the old box while I waited for a new one to arrive that I had bought from Ashcroft Transmissions.

Unlike my Skyline this is not a job you want to try doing without some form of transmission jack as the automatic gearbox in a Discovery probably weighs more than the entire engine AND gearbox from the 32! thankfully Lucy and I had just purchased one and with the help of our brand new jack (and after much swearing… I’m sure my neighbours now think I have Tourettes!) The old box was finally free from the vehicle.

About now you’re probably thinking “all you have to do now is fit the new one and hey presto job done!” And you’d be half right, getting the gearbox to line up and bolt back in IS indeed easy with the right tools, however unlike a manual box you need to measure the clearances between the torque convertor in the gearbox and the end of the bell housing, and between the flex plate bolted to the engine and the back of the engine. The first time I attempted the install I only measured the torque convertor to bell housing and as a result when I went to start it for the first time there was no drive to the wheels. What had happened was that the flex plate had been bent at some point causing the distances to be off by around 5mm. As a result when the torque convertor was bolted back up to the flex plate it pulled the torque convertor away from the gearbox disengaging the oil pump.

So now I had to take the whole thing apart again to fix it with the help of my friend Ste who now had a purple finger from the gearbox landing on it!! Thankfully I had already bought a spare flex plate that was in much better condition than the one in the vehicle (it was flat!) and I also had some spacers to put behind the flex plate to ensure the clearances were correct. Once back in one piece it was time to test again, and this time it worked!

With the help of my friends and the internet I had completed my first job on the Disco, and it was a massive job! From this article it probably looks like it took most of a weekend and it probably would have. But because I had no experience working on these vehicles and didn’t know all the little pitfalls and hidden bolt in the end it took me nearly 3 months of working on it in the evenings and weekends.

I’m really pleased I managed to do it and it just goes to show that with a little determination and persistence you can do almost anything you set your mind to.

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