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Underbody Maintenance.

Four wheel drives need regular maintenance, particularly if used in dusty or in wet and dirty conditions. Read the owner's manual and use the recommended oils and grease. Look out for milky oil which can indicate water in the oil - find the cause (possibly wading) and change the oil immediately.

Never work under a car supported only by a jack. Use stout axle stands and chock those wheels still in contact with the ground. If the vehicle has a transmission hand-brake, it can roll forwards or backwards if one rear wheel is lifted. Engaging 4WD, or locking a centre differential, will cause the hand-brake to act on both axles.

Check the breathers on both axles. Each one contains a ball bearing check-valve to keep water out during wading; it can corrode shut. This leads to a build up of pressure when the axle warms up under driving and can blow the axle hub seals. The rear axle is more vulnerable as it gets more muck thrown at it. Each breather should be checked by removing it, blowing air through it (from inside to out) and ensuring that the ball can move (rattle). Alternatively, some owners replace the breathers with tubing vented to a high, dust-free point.

[rear brakes, SIII]
[backing plate]

The Land Rover SIII rear brakes have one leading and one trailing shoe. The SIII LWB front brakes have double leading shoes. The rear axle slave cylinders and bleed nipples are at the top (arrowed). Fit rubber caps to the nipples to keep the muck out and reduce the chance of them corroding and breaking off. Do not be too heavy handed when doing the bleed nut up. The brake clearance is adjusted by turning the nut (arrowed) which turns a "snail" cam. There is one for each shoe - no self adjusters on this car! Rotate the wheel and turn the adjuster until the brake shoe just starts to drag then back off one notch.

[Salisbury diff']

The SIII LWB is fitted with the heavy duty Salisbury differential at the rear. The drain plug is at the base (arrowed). A half-inch socket drive fits the drain plug nicely. The filler plug is on the cover plate at the rear of the differential Do not over tighten the filler plug as the cover plate is only light steel. The universal joint has a grease nipple (arrowed).

[Front steering swivel]

The Land-Rover steering swivels are filled with oil (Hypoy 80/90), not grease. The drain plug is small and tucked away at the base - do not get over enthusiastic and sheer it off. It has a small joint-washer that is easy to overlook. The filler plug (arrowed) is on the rear face of the swivel housing. A half-inch spanner, or square hole (e.g. socket drive) fits it.

Many other four wheel drives use grease in the swivels and a thin rod or piece of wire should be poked up the drain plug hole from time to time, and particularly after wading, to check for the entry of water.

The brake bleed nipple (arrowed) is on the lower slave cylinder (SIII LWB). As at the rear, there is an adjuster for each shoe.

The front differential is isolated from the swivel housings by oil seals so it also needs its level checked, and its oil changed periodically.

[LT95 hand brake]

The SIII Stage-1 uses the LT95 transmission. The hand-brake adjuster can be reached by removing a rubber plug (arrowed) on the hand-brake drum. The universal joint (arrowed) and the prop-shaft slip-joint both have grease points.

Check all of the prop-shaft fixing nuts - it can be expensive and dangerous if they come loose.

The gearbox and transfer case are separated by an internal oil seal. If this seal fails, oil tends to move from the (higher) gearbox to the (lower) transfer case on most four wheel drives. It can move in the opposite direction with the LT95 transmission if the sleeve that the internal oil seal runs on is loose or if the reverse gear O-ring is u/s.

The transfer-case drain plug is on its base cover plate. The filler level-plug is half way up the rear face of the transfer case. The LT95 transfer case has a filler plug on its top plate (remove centre seat), but do not overfill, check through the level plug.

The gearbox drain plug is on the gearbox base (SIII) or lower left hand side (LT95). The gearbox filler level plug is half way up the left side if the gearbox.

The front prop-shaft also has grease points on the universal joints and slip-joint. The front slip-joint should be compressed (undo at least one end) before it is greased as there is no hole for excess grease to escape through if it is overfilled.

...... don't forget the engine, steering box, steering relay.

Go to the Land-Rover and Series pages

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