If you have called me for advice or stopped by to buy a part, chances are, you might have heard me mention some of these items, especially if you were a new RRC owner or your RRC was new to you. I figured it was time to start writing them down.|
First off, the most important advice I can give to you is do not pay someone to learn how to fix your Range Rover Classic. If they are not a Land Rover Specialist and have the credentials and work history to prove it, do not let them work on your Range Rover period. You will lose every time.
- Rov-N-Techs - Scottsdale, Arizona
My go to guy is Kevin at Rov-N-Techs. Kevin is the best person to work on your Range Rover in Arizona. He knows them inside and out and apprenticed on them in England. There is no better mechanic in the Phoenix area to work on your Range Rover Classic. Unfortunately as of 2018 he isn't accepting new Range Rover Classic clients so it may be very difficult to get him to work on yours, still there is no one better in Arizona.
- Bill Rhoades - Santa Fe, New Mexico
If I find myself in New Mexico, my Range Rover is going back to Bill Rhoades. Bill previously owned Bill's European Auto Repair. You could say Bill was the reason I didn't balk at the 160,000 miles on my 1991 Range Rover Hunter when I bought it. He had maintained it since new. Bill also did a number of repairs on my 1989 Range Rover back in 2003. If I'm ever in New Mexico, you can bet I'll stop by and see Bill for anything my RRC needs.
Not in Arizona or New Mexico? Visit Bushducks or find the Facebook page for your local Land Rover club and ask the members who they recommend near you.
- Chevron Supreme 91 Octane with Techron
I highly recommend only Chevron Supreme 91 octane with Techron gasoline in your RRC. First off, your Range Rover does in fact require 91 octane fuel. So why Chevron Supreme 91 octane with Techron? Here's why. In my college days I was a courier during the day and delivered pizza at night. I was driving a 1993 Isuzu SpaceCab pickup truck that I bought new. Initially, I used any gas. Mostly whatever was cheapest and convenient. And I did so from the day I bought it up until the warranty expired at 60,000 miles. That was in 13 months. The manual recommended the valves be lapped every 15,000 miles. And as I approached 15,000 I could begin to hear them make noise in the engine. I repeated the process at 30,000 miles, 45,0000 miles and again at 60,000 miles. Each time I could hear the valves getting louder and louder as the next mileage interval approached. After the fourth valve job at 60,000 miles I switched over to Chevron Supreme 91 octane with Techron gasoline exclusively. As I approached 75,000 miles, no valve noise. Not interested in spending the money on a valve job again I skipped it and thought I would wait until I heard the valves like before, regardless of the mileage. At 90,000 miles, again, no valve noise. At 105,000 miles no valve noise. At 120,000 miles still no valve noise. It had been 60,000 miles without doing the valves now. I figured, even without any noise, I better have it checked and done.
The mechanic that had been doing the valves for me came out to talk with me after inspecting the vehicle. He asked me when the last time I had the valves done. He knew I was pretty religious about mileage increments and doing all the recommended maintenance on time. He asked me if I had forgotten if I had just had the valves done. I said no, I haven't had them done since he did them at 60,000 miles. He told me the values looked like he had done them yesterday. He asked me what I was doing differently. I said nothing, aside from only using only Chevron Supreme 91 octane gasoline for the last 60,000 miles.
I have been using Chevron Supreme gasoline ever since.
Chevron is also the gasoline that the big three domestic automakers use to get their fuel economy ratings posted on vehicle window stickers. Chevron gas isn't sold in Michigan. Therefore, they have to truck it in specific just for use in the EPA mileage testing. Which gas are you going to use?
Find your nearest Chevron station here.
What do I use when Chevron isn't available? Texaco with Techron! Which is exactly the same, just a different brand. If neither are available I will use Shell V-Power NiTRO+ Premium Gasoline. If Shell is not available, anything I can find without ethanol if possible.
- Shell Rotella T4 Triple Protection 15W-40 Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oil
I began using Shell Rotella T4 Triple Protection 15W-40 Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oil around April 2013 when it was known simply as Shell Rotella T 15W-40. My RRC had about 200,000 miles on it when I switched. I had been using various Castrol grades previously and really had no complaints other than that I was burning a lot of oil between oil changes. Sometimes more than two quarts every 3,000 miles. And under heavy acceleration I could see smoke in the exhaust if I checked my side mirrors at night with a car behind me whose lights were shining on the back of my vehicle. Mostly noticable heading up on ramps to the freeway.
Since I have been using Shell the engine feels smoother, the smoke is less than before, now only noticable between high RPM gear changes headed up steep grades. I have not yet scoped the engine, but since I did not scope it before, I do not have a point of reference to see if inside the engine is in fact cleaner. What I do know, is it runs great with substantial power still for a 1991 Land Rover 3.9L V8 engine with 250,000+ miles on it running the stock 3.54 gears and 33" tires.
- MSD Blaster 2 Coil
I have been running the same MSD Blaster 2 coil for the last 10 years or so. It was in my 1989 and now it is in my 1991. It is a direct replacement for your original Lucas or Bosch coil that sits above the driver side front wheel well. It is the cheapest electrical improvement you can do to your RRC's ignition system.
Spark Plug Wires
- Champion Copper Genuine Spark Plugs Part Number RN11YCC
Over the years I have experimented with various spark plugs such as Bosch Iridium, Bosch Platinum +4, NGK, Split Fire and others that promised various benefits and improvements. And what I found that lasts the longest and simply works the best is what my mechanic Kevin told me would work best in my Range Rover 3.9L V8. The Champion Copper spark plugs. Now, do not run down to your local auto parts store to try and get them. More than likely they will not have them and will unwittingly sell you an "equivalent" or "replacement" part not knowing any better. You want the original ones with the correct part number AND the correct resistance which only the originals have. I always have at least one extra set in my spare parts inventory. Be prepared to spend about $60 for a set of 8.
- Magnecor KV85 8.5mm Spark Plug Wires
I do not remember exactly when I bought my set of red Magnecor KV85 8.5mm spark plug wires, but I do know that I had them installed in my 1989 before they were swapped into my 1991. They simply work great. The supress a lot of the EMI the Range Rover and its electronics put out. And if you have a CB or HAM radio or aftermarket stereo, the more EMI supression the better. They don't fit the plastic wiring looms very well, but function rules out form in this case. And anything under the hood that's red just looks cool.
- Sierra Antifreeze/Coolant
I have been using Sierra Antifreeze/Coolant since the later half of 2003. Turned on to it by Bill of Bill's European in Sante Fe, New Mexico. It is the safer pet friendly coolant. But not only that, it's the safest one for aluminum engine blocks. You have probably heard about the problems with the incorrect antifreeze eating away your aluminum engine block. This one is the safest for our engines. I probably have the fewest cooling system related issues of anyone I know. I keep a NATO style 5L can of it in my RRC at all times and check my coolant level regularly.
- Allisport Land Rover 200 / 300 Tdi / V8 aluminum header tank with sight gauge
Ok, don't skimp here! If you have the original black or the nearly clear coolant reservoirs replace them as soon as possible with the Allisport aluminum tank with sight glass. The black ones are prone to cracking as the black plastic is not the best material for the job. The nearly clear ones are absolute aftermarket crap and will burst or crack within months of installing if not during installation. The clear plastic is even a worse material than the black plastic and not up to the task at all. If you have the opaque yellowish-white reservoir, that is the second best behind the Allisport and the one I recommended until I discovered the Allisport. My 1991 Range Rover Hunter currently has the opaque yellowish-white installed in it. I bought it 2 years before the Allisport was available. I'll be installing the Allisport unit sometime in 2018 I expect just as a precaution against failure.
If you have a 1987-1989 model enjoy your factory metal coolant reservoir, no need to upgrade those, Land Rover got it right the first time.
Extra Gas Cans
- Airtex Waterpumps
Airtex also was the original supplier to Land Rover for the waterpumps. They last longer than any other brand in a Range Rover Classic. When a fellow RRC owner has a premature pump failure, it's usually some other brand. The benefit of the Airtex pump is the weep hole. It will let you know the pump is beginning to wear out and it is time to plan for replacement.
- Wavian NATO style gas cans in 5L and 20L sizes
I always have at least three of these with me in my RRC. Typically they will each be the smaller 5L size. I have one for coolant, one for gas and one for oil. Overkill, yes. But what I have not experienced yet since I began carrying all three is any type of catastrophe relating to any of the three. Everyone knows that all plastic gas cans leak and vent vapors. Consequently, extremely unsafe to carry them within the confines of your vehicle. I have had two plastic bottles of coolant leak due to improper placement within the vehicle and some metal object punctured the bottle leaving a green slimy coating of coolant all over the carpets and rubber mats. Extremely time consuming to clean the carpets, the rubber mats and the vehicle itself. Oil has not caused a catastrophe yet, thankfully, and I did not want to wait for it to happen. I keep the cans neatly inside a Pelican case for safety. On longer trips that require carrying extra fuel I can carry up to 5 Wavian 20L cans.
I have been using Ferodo brake pads since the first time I replaced the brake pads in my 1989 RRC. Recently I tried a pair of genuine pads now made in India. Absolute crap. They looked correct and they fit fine. However, they would squeak when the brakes were not being applied. Apply the brakes and they would stop squeaking until your took your foot off the brake pedal and then they would start squeaking again. After 6,000 miles of that I bought replacement Ferodo pads, pulled out the genuine ones and threw them right in the trash. I popped the Ferodo pads in and haven't heard a noise from the brakes since. Keep in mind, if your RRC behaves like mine, you'll wear out the rear pads before the front pads. Usually on at least a 2:1 ratio.
LED Bulb & Dome Lamp Lens Replacements
- Genuine Land Rover
They last. While not recommended to replace pads without replacing rotors, I can usually get four sets of brake pads to one set of rotors.
- 42mm Festoon Style 30 LED panel & Genuine or Aftermarket Replacement Lenses
I bought my 42mm Festoon Style LED panels with 24 LEDs on them. Now they can cram 30 LEDs on the panel. If I felt like spending another few bucks maybe I would go to the 30 LEDs. I love the LEDs over the typical incandescent bulbs for three reasons. First, the LED panels do not get hot and turn the dome lenses brown or make them smell funny. Second, the LEDs are brighter. Third, they don't draw as many amps and if you leave a door open all night you aren't going to drain the battery. I bought my 24 LED panels on eBay. Seach eBay for 42mm Festoon 30 LED panels. Do not buy the ones that have the festoon part separate from the panel. They will not fit correctly. Only buy the ones with pointy metal ends built in to the panel and if they don't work when you install them, flip them around. They are polarity sensitive. And replace your dome light lenses when you put in the new LED panels. The LEDs are not going to look like they are an improvement if they are trying to shine through a brown heat baked dome light lens.
If you have a 1987 or 1988 Range Rover then I am told you will need 36mm festoon style bulbs instead of 42mm. Measure before you order to be safe.
- Tom Woods Custom Double Cardon Drive Shafts
Simply the best available and not the highest priced out there. Under $400 per driveshaft. Fast, quality parts if you have more than a 2" lift on your RRC.
- Calsonic OEM Radiator Supplier
Calsonic was the original supplier to Land Rover for the radiators. And they got it right. A new four core genuine Calsonic radiator is getting harder and harder to find. As far as I know, they are no longer available brand new. You can bet if I find one, whether I need one or not, I'll be buying it to keep as a spare for myself. That being said, there are alternatives. Rebuilding, recoring, whatever you do, make sure it's a four core you're getting. I can't tell you how many crappy three core radiators I have seen installed in other Range Rovers. They simply can't do the job of cooling the engine enough to keep it at normal operating temperatures. I live in Phoenix, Arizona where summer temperatures hit 120 Fahrenheit (°F) or 48 Celsius (°C) or more. I could let my car idle all day in the sun with the air conditioner blowing and never rise above normal operating temperature. Alteratively I can drive up I-17 to Flagstaff in the heat of summer, climbing steep grades and still, never go above normal operating temperatures. Get the right radiator, and if that's not possible, have yours rebuilt and make sure it remains a four core radiator.
Front Turn Signals
- Truck-Lite 7 Inch Round LED Headlamps, Complex Reflector Optics Design
Truck-Lite generously provided me with a set of their incredible headlights. I know a number of people that after seeing them installed in my RRC went out and bought them for their RRC or Defenders. They simply work great. In a side by side highway comparison against a Range Rover Sport HSE that had factory Bi-Xenon headlamps, the Truck-Lites were simply brighter. Come see for yourself. Also available with heated lenses if needed.
Hood Prop Rod Replacement Rubber Bushing
- OE Retrofit of PRC4338 (LH), PRC4337 (RH) and the respective lenses AEU1609 (LH), AEU1610 (RH)
So this is where you will hear me say, "They sure don't make 'em like they used to!" And it's true, I consider the new plastic turn signals that superseded the part numbers above to be absolute crap and there are a number of reasons why I feel that way. In fact, I have created an entire web page as to why I recommend that you retrofit your existing plastic front turn signals to the older metal style as I have done along with some advice if you decide not to.
- Dorman Help! 49450 Wiper Motor Bushings
If you are like everyone out there that owns a RRC, you are probably missing the rubber bushing that holds the hood prop rod in place and so it rattles around under the hood. Here is the cheapest way to replace it. Use the Dorman Help! 49450 Wiper Motor Bushings. They come in a pack of three. Toss out, oops, I mean recycle the metal insert in the middle and what you have left, the rubber bushing itself fits the prop rod and the bracket perfectly. Cost: $3.99 for a pack of three. Available at AutoZone.
Suspension Upgrades for 1987 to 1992 Range Rover Classics
- Silblade 19" Front Wiper Blades & 18" Rear Wiper Blade
Silblade lasts longer than any other wiper blade on the market. If I didn't destroy them when I rolled my 1989 I am sure I would still be using the original set. They simply work better than anything else and last 5 years or more even in the dry heat of Phoenix, Arizona. And you might laugh, but they make a great gift when you have no idea what to get someone for Christmas.
- RTE Fabrication & TerraFirma suspension products
I highly recommend making some suspension component changes if and when shock replacements need to be made.
When replacing the front shocks plan for at least 3 sawsall blades per front shock to cut the shaft if it becomes necessary.
Here are my recommended suspension upgrades:
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