History of an expedition vehicle
During my time in Belize, I kept a detailed log of all works and problems that occured whilst supporting the jungle expeditions. Below is the history of one of the vehicles over the first 6 years of its life. I'm sharing this because it was an expedition work horse, spending about half of its life off road, did 120,000km in 3 years and was well maintained.
The vehicle was a 2002 Defender 110 Hardtop 300Tdi ROW - 4 and a half years old by the time it came under my care - which had been owned from new and had a comprehensive service history. Being the newest vehicle in the fleet, it did a lot of miles, in a very short period.
Personally, I think it makes interesting reading of what can, and does, happen to an expedition Land Rover Defender, constantly working in arduous conditions. Most notably it had a history of overheating, which had caused a serious reduction in power, managing a maximum of 100km/h, chuffed a lot of black smoke and was off the road for 6 months in one particular year. The fun starts at 132,000km...
|Mileage (kms)||Event||Work Done||Notes/work pending|
|2,789||Repairs to front Bush Guard|
|7,844||30 Point Inspection|
|16,753||6 month service||Full service, valve clearance adjusted. Various other 'checked', all filters replaced.|
|24,769||6 month service||Repair radio, replace rear door handle, replace front shocks|
|27,092||Repair Clutch sticking|
|35,753||Shock support broken, bolt replaced. Rear brake pad replaced, rotor resurfaced.|
|38,256||6 month service||Air/oil filter, full inspection|
|39,934||Repair shocks support completed|
|57,576||Oil Change/filter, Top Link Bush, Windscreen washer jet, LHS sidelamp.|
|58,637||Front and Rear Brake Pads Changed|
|65,246||6 month service||Oil, Oil Filter, Air Filter, Fluids|
|68,900||2 yearly Service + Full Inspection||Lower link straightened. All oils (except engine) renewed. Swivel Pin Bearings - load adjusted. Brake lights. Hydraulic cistern flush. Grease points greased. Fuel Filter replaced. Coolant flush and change. Handbrake system stripped and adjusted. Top link ball joint. Top link bushes, Repair to front bush guard. Full wheel and hub strip down - all bearings re-packed with new grease, new seals.|
|71,680||6 month service||Oil Change + filter / Air filter / Fluids level check|
|83,888||3 month service||Oil, Oil Filter, Air Filter, Fluids. Replaced Left/Front Brake Pad (one side only). Clutch Pedal freeplay adjusted. Left H/Lamp replaced (needed). Tested Steering for lock – nothing found|
|86,300||Windscreen replaced (used glass with crack).|
|86,681||Tyres replaced x 4, Wheel alignment carried out -wheels lean slightly inwards not a problem for safe driving + truck maintenance.|
|91,005||6 month service||Oil, Oil Filter, Fluids, brake lights dashboard light repaired. NOTE: requires bolt at front RHS (body to chassis)|
|-||Oil Filter replaced and level topped up. Front Brake pad check - both fine: observe squeak.|
|101,564||3 month service||
||Welding, painting of Bull Bar. Seats need welding/brackets. New Reverse light assembly needed. Rear Shocks: need new bushes. Sediment bowl needs 2 x new seals. Replace Timing belt. Reassemble VHF Base Station.|
|107,520||6 month service||Engine Oil and filter change. Oil levels checked, Tbox topped up with 1 litre. Underbody greased. Changed timing belt for new. Sediment bowl seal changed. Rear shock absorbers changed L/H/R - used, R/H/R - new.|
|-||Turbo outlet hose replaced (old hose had split). Valve clearances adjusted.|
|-||Vehicle temperature gauge behaving erratically. Garage checked sensor and thermostat, both fine. Suggested gauge may need replacing - keep an eye on it. 2 x valve clearances adjusted.|
|120,209||3 month service||Engine Oil and filter change. Oil levels checked, Tbox topped up, was low. Underbody greased. Air filter replaced with new. Sediment bowl cleaned. Clutch fluid topped up - was low due to leak from L/H/R. L/H/F AND R/H/R wheel bearings adjusted. L/H/R break calliper piston changed. Break disc serviced (min 13mm, now 12mm +/-). Rear break pads replaced. L/H/R Shock absorber exchanged. Top link bush changed. R/H/F door handle secured.||Rear break discs will need replacing at next service. L/H/R bottom link front bush, serpentine fan belt, R/H/R new bearings. Pair of rear disc breaks. Set of valve clearances Possible clutch leak?|
|Temp gauge reading high||Temperature gauge once again up high but fluctuating erratically. Fuel gauge also jumping between full and half full and when lights were on light behind fuel gauge fading in and out on dash.||Need to get electrics checked for any possible shorting.|
|122,166||Tyre change||All 4 tyres replaced with new Hankook tubeless mud-grip tyres. All four wheels aligned and balanced.||Tyres need to be rotated in 6 months.|
|128, 670||6 Monthly Service and Inspection||Engine oil and filter changed. Tbox topped up. All levels checked and joints greased. Replaced for new: Fan Belt. Both rear wheel bearings, hub seals, drive flange, break discs and pads. Rear shock abs x 2. Lower link front bush, rear prop universal joint. Radius arms exchanged containing new front and rear bushes.||N.B. No need to clean and re-grease rear wheel bearings during 2 yearly service. Need new bracket in order to attach new rear mud shield. Order new sensor and gauge to try and eradicate prob with temp gauge. New RHR half shaft required for next service.|
|132,250||Engine overheated on Western Highway||All coolant had leaked out of coolant reservoir due to a small hole in the heater maxim, causing the engine to overheat. Vehicle was towed back from Hatteville to Belize City. Overheating caused the engine block head to warp and this had to be skimmed by 16 thousandths of an inch to make it flat. Head gasket replaced with new, thicker gasket. Coolant hose disconnected from heater as we do not use it and diverted.||Engine weakened by overheating. Garage suggested that the truck may now be more sluggish and we may need to consider re-building engine or exchanging for new in due course.|
|133,150||Problem with rear swing on acceleration and deceleration||Swing and loss of some steering control was being caused due to lower link front bushes being worn out (esp. LH bush). Both lower link front bushes replaced for new.|
|133,150||Underbody Wash||Vehicle under carriage washed using pressure hose|
|133,700||Vehicle loosing power and whole body shaking||Loss of power and vibration were caused due to a broken rocker arm. Vehicle was tailored back from Belmopan as did not want to further damage the vehicle by driving it. Rocker arm had sheared off on one side and therefore become detached from the piston.
|135,245||Loss of power||Another rocker arm had broken. Upon further investigation it became apparent that since the cylinder head had been skimmed due to warpage it was now too shallow and the pistons were hitting the underside causing the rocker arms to break.
||Whole cylinder head to be replaced with new.|
|135,245||New cylinder head fitted and 3 Monthly Service and Inspection||
||Minor leak from one of the fuel returns on the engine – replace whole set (3) Observe small oil leak from T-box – keep an eye on this and possibly replace seals / gasket at next service.|
||Both lower link front bushes replaced and RH radius arm bushes replaced with new.|
|142,459||2 yearly service||
||Observations: Rear brake piping broke by master cylinder (mended with tubing but watch for loss of fluid). Pending work: Rear crank oil seal leaking L/H/S engine mount. Gearbox front seal. Clutch Master cylinder. Intake filter housing mounts x4.|
|Coolant leak||All coolant had leaked out of coolant reservoir, causing the engine to overheat. The leak was due to a small hole in the heater maxim, despite this having been recently replaced.
|147, 840||Vehicle broke down due to overheating||Vehicle overheated and had to be towed back from close to Belize zoo to Belize City. Overheating had caused the engine block head to warp.
|147, 840||Cylinder head and radiator re-fitted||
||N.B. Radiator in NHT is now the radiator previously fitted to the SW, a 2001 vehicle. Work still pending: Rear crank oil seal leaking L/H/S engine mount. Gearbox front seal.|
|147,500||Loss of Power||Overtaking on the western highway, the engine had no power suddenly and a disturbing knocking. Towed. Yet another Rocker arm had broken.
|148,500||6 month service||
|150,700||Extra work as stock received||
||LHS Gearbox mount due next service (not the engine mount)|
|153,500||Front prop sheared off||The entire thing split off driving from GJ to Orange Walk. Remaining piece remove and driven in diff lock to garage where they replaced the front prop shaft with a used one. (new costs $900!)|
|154,700||Fan Belt Shredding||Driving in Mountain Pine Ridge, the fan belt was shredding. It happened earlier on the Hummingbird Highway. A new fan belt was attached that then snapped. 2 fan blades had snapped off, so the fan wasn’t spinning in a true circle.
||LHS Gearbox mount The new Viscous Unit to be installed when it arrives Fuel gauge stuck on full|
|156,000||Rear Shocks not working||With a full load of people and bags, felt the rear suspension was different. On inspection, the rear shock bushes were loose and no pressure was being put at all on the rear shocks.|
||Rear shocks are at the end of their lifetime|
|158,100||L/H/R Shock Broken||There had been some clanking lately, and on inspection of the undercarriage, the L/H/R shock had completely sheared through at the top neck.
||Rear shocks end of their lifetime|
|159,500||Top Link Bracket Broken off Vibrating Steering Power steering leak||The bracket for the top link wishbone that holds the rear diff had sheared off two bolts and lost another. It affected sway on braking. Steering rod was also rubbing on the guard making vibration due to a worn damper bolt. Leak in the power steering system.
||Rear shocks end of their lifetime|
|159,900||Power steering leak||Power steering leak started again after using the sealant. The tube into the pump had lost its ‘crimp’ and was leaking. No time now; to be fixed after JT||Rear shocks end of their lifetime Power steering leak|
|Vehicle Inspection||Full inspection done by garage with suggestions to bring the vehicle up to spec:
||To be done during/after 07B2|
|160,000||Power steering leak fixed||
||See list 10th July|
|160,150||Rear Shock snapped Snorkel cover snapped||R/H/R Shock absorber sheared off at the neck (like the left one did a few months ago). The cover for the snorkel snapped off by being bashed by trees. It’s lost.
||See 10th July|
|160,200||6 Monthly Service and Tune-up||A chance to get things back up to spec after years of battering.
||New Windscreen All rear window glass channels (to fix the rattle) New brake light switch New rear shocks? Bonnet hinge New tires all round|
|160,950||Rear Shock destroyed||The R/H/R shock split apart just from highway driving, and is irreparable. The damage last week must have been greater than expected.
|161,750||Further Tune-up Works||
||New tires all round|
|165,000||Broken Injector||After lots of black smoke, misfiring and bad noises (thinking it was another broken rocker arm), it turned out to be a broken injector. The others are okay.
|165,500||Steering Rod Snapped||
|165,500||Steering Rod replaced||Bought a new steering rod from garage, drove out to truck and fitted it. Taken back to garage for intricate alignment.
|165,700||Broken Rocker Arm||Same old story. Cloud of black smoke, no power and clanking in the engine. Splatter of oil on underside of bonnet. Limped back from Cristo Rey in low ratio as there was no power. The towed to garage.
|165,900||Scraping noise||The constant scraping noise, and more so when turning right was a completely worn R/H/R brake pad, which scratched up the hub. Front pads changed as well for continuity. The rotor is now grooved and needs machining to prevent premature wear of the pads on that wheel
||R/H/R Rotor needs machining|
|166,300||UJ, steering shudder and Viscous unit replacement||The clunk from gear changes is just a worn out rear UJ. The slight steering shudder was a worn bushing. A new whirring noise had started and garage inspected and found the entire viscous unit was bust, meaning the fan didn’t spin to cool the engine. Luckily caught early….!
||R/H/R Rotor needs machining Front prop front UJ starting to wear R/H/R hub oil leak|
|167,150||6 month service||
||Front prop front UJ starting to wear Both flexible joints wearing Drop arm ball joint|
|167,200||Injector lubrication + Motor vehicle inspection||Reverse light not working at Motor vehicle inspection for tax. Poured 2 pints of ATF fluid into the fuel tank to help lubricate the injectors.||Front prop front UJ starting to wear Both flexible joints wearing Drop arm ball joint|
|167,650||Scraping noise from rear||Turning left there was a big scraping noise, which progressed to driving straight as well. The R/H/R wheel was wobbling. Dropped into garage and they had mistakenly missed out a piece when repairing the seal last week. They took it all out and re-machined the threads on the stub axle screws. No charge.
||Front prop front UJ starting to wear Both flexible joints wearing Drop arm ball joint Driver’s door locking mechanism dodgy Reverse light pins rusted Brakes are a bit soft Smashed R/H side light|
|-||Hissing noise from bonnet||The noise was a burst intercooler pipe spraying out oil.
||Front prop front UJ starting to wear Both flexible joints wearing Drop arm ball joint Driver’s door locking mechanism dodgy Smashed R/H side light|
|-||Clonking sound when changing gear||
||Needs new drive shaft and drive member on rear drivers side|
|-||Broke at Burrell Boom||
|-||Vehicle rolled||Vehicle stranded upside down on Mountain Pine Ridge.|
|-||Vehicle received from garage + 5,000km service||
|173,650||Wheel scraping noise and Works||
|174,400||6 Month Tire Rotation||