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.|
- X2Power Group 34 SLI34AGMDP
I had been running a Sears DieHard Platinum AGM battery since summer of 2015. That battery finally died in October 2019. Thank you, Sears; it was a great battery for a great price. I drained it many times and it always charged back up. I replaced it with an X2Power Group 34 battery from Batteries + Bulbs which other than the color it looks almost identical to the Sears DieHard Platinum. X2Power is a rebadged Northstar. Compare them and you'll see they are the same battery. Anything else isn't as good. Avoid Optimas of any color, they haven't been the same quality since they stopped being made in the USA. For my RRC and the places I drive it, I simply don't want the hassles of a lesser battery. The X2Power is worth every penny.
I have been using Ferodo brake pads since the first time I replaced the brake pads in my 1989 RRC. After Tata acquired Land Rover 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 Land Rover pads 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.
- Genuine Land Rover
They last. And with 0.9 and 2.0mm usable wearout, it matters which ones you buy. While it is not recommended to replace pads without replacing rotors, I can usually get four sets of brake pads to one set of solid rotors. I'll let you know about the vented once I have some data on them.
Genuine Solid Rotor LR017951 new thickness 13.9mm, discard thickness = 13.0mm
Genuine Vented Rotor LR017952 new thickness = 24.0mm, discard thickness = 22.0mm
- Use it every time you park your Range Rover!
Everyone, regardless of vehicle, should ALWAYS use the parking brake. Every time. Even when you are not a hill. Never rely on the parking pawl in the transmission to hold the weight of the vehicle by itself. The amount of metal that is actually holding your vehicle's 4000+ pounds is very small and maybe 2-3 millimeters of metal is all that is keeping your vehicle from rolling away.
The photo above shows the parking pawl from a ZF 4HP22 transmission which is in all 1987-1995 Range Rovers.
The best way to park your vehicle is to come to a complete stop using the vehicle brakes. While the vehicle brakes are still being applied, apply the parking brake. Then put the transmission in park. If you were to put the vehicle in park first, that can still leave the weight of the vehicle resting entirely on the parking pawl.
- Sierra Antifreeze/Coolant
I have been using Sierra Antifreeze/Coolant since the latter half of 2003 in my 1989 and exclusively in my 1991 Hunter even while it was serviced by Bill Rhoades in Santa Fe, New Mexico prior to my ownership. 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 at aluminum engine blocks. This one is the safest for our engines. I have the fewest cooling system related issues of anyone I know. I keep a 5L Wavian jerry can of it in my RRC at all times, check the level regularly and measure the ratio to make sure I keep the distilled water to coolant ratio correct for the current season.
Dome Lamp and Dome Lamp Lens Replacements
- AlliSport Land Rover 200 / 300 TDI / V8 aluminum header tank with sight gauge
Ok, don't skimp here! If you have the original black plastic or the nearly clear plastic coolant reservoirs replace them as soon as possible with the AlliSport aluminum tank with or without the sight glass. The black plastic 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 2021 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 and if they do start to leak they can be repaired.
- 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. Search 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.
Front Turn Signals
- Tom Woods Custom Double Cardan Drive Shafts
Simply the best available and not the highest priced out there. A little over $400 per driveshaft. Fast, quality parts. If you have more than a 2" lift on your RRC, you'll need these to eliminate drive line vibration. I have two sets. One always freshly lubed or rebuilt ready to install.
- 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.
As of early 2019 there are aftermarket replacements available on eBay for under $30 a lens with free shipping. I don't know anything about them, but the price is sure attractive compared to genuine Land Rover replacements.
Gasoline Jerry Cans and Spouts
- Chevron Supreme 91 Octane with Techron
I 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 the valves 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 15,000 mile 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 new vehicle window stickers. Chevron gas is not 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 label. Up until October of 2018 when I moved to Wisconsin where neither were available I used Shell V-Power NiTRO+ Premium Gasoline. However, I believe the ethanol content was substantially higher than listed on the pumps as my mileage had been lower than normal per tank and I suspect it caused my fuel injector O-rings to all fail simultaneously creating a very hazardous situation. Thus, I stopped using Shell gasoline immediately. I switched to Kwik Trip/Kwik Star Premium Unleaded 91 octane gas which did not contain ethanol. And with their mix of detergent additives, Kwik Trip/Kwik Star Premium is a Top Tier fuel. Mileage improved and I did not experience any more fuel related issues. Now that I am back in Arizona as of July 2019, my RRC is back to strict use of Chevron Supreme only.
- Wavian NATO style jerry cans in 5L and 20L sizes
I always have three of these with me in my RRC. They are the smaller 5L size. I have one for Sierra coolant, one for Chevron Supreme gasoline and one for Valvoline VR1 20/50 racing oil. Overkill, yes. But what I have not experienced yet since I began carrying all three fluids in the Wavian jerry cans is any type of catastrophe relating to any of the three. Everyone knows that all plastic gas cans leak and vent vapors. Consequently, plastic gas cans are extremely unsafe to carry 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. On longer trips that require carrying extra fuel I will carry up to 4 Wavian 20L jerry cans filled with Chevron Supreme.
The only issue with NATO style gas cans is that 99% of the spouts for sale in the market today are absolute crap. They are either too short or the glue used to attach the flexible black plastic nozzle gets dissolved by the gas and/or gas additives and then leaks or comes off when transferring fuel. So I don't recommend them. Get either a Super Siphon OR if you can find one, get the spout that came with vintage Bellino BMW and Mercedes 7L and 9L reserve gas cans. They are extremely hard to find and usually only come with a 7L or 9L can. But they are worth their weight in gold. I've never had one leak or fail and they make spill free fuel transferring possible. If you can find one, buy it.
- Bellino BMW/Mercedes-Benz 7L and 9L Petrol Jerry Can Spouts
I was introduced to this spout by my friend Ed Watson on our Utah Traverse Trip in May of 2016. We had camped for the night near Grand Staircase Escalante and after loading all the Land Rovers up to begin the next leg of the trip, we all opted to refuel from our jerry can supplies. While most of us used less than ideal and very leaky plastic tipped metal spouts or the gravity fed Super Siphons, Ed was refueling faster than any of us and wasn't spilling a drop using a Bellino spout that was semi-flexible with a slanted and beveled tip. I had to have one. And in fact, in writing this I realized I had once already owned this particular spout on a brand new BMW Bellino 9L jerry can that I had sold a few months prior. I had to buy another tank to get the spout and then sold the tank off by itself recuperating a portion of my investment. Worth all the hassle and every penny. BMW part numbers for just some of the Bellino Jerry cans are 82 11 9 413 174, 71 60 9 057 346, 82 11 9 413 136 and I'm told they are no longer available (NLA) new from BMW. There may be other part numbers and probably a bunch of Mercedes-Benz part numbers with one being B6 7 58 0038.
Hood Prop Rod Replacement Rubber Bushing
- 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, and is the only heated LED 7" lamp available. I switched over to the heated version in late 2018. Tested in Wisconsin and they really work well at keeping the lenses clear of ice and snow.
- 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 O'Reilly Auto Parts.
- MSD Blaster 2 Coil
I have been running a MSD Blaster 2 coil since shortly after I bought my 1989. After I rolled my 1989 I transferred it to 1991 and used it for another 8 years! That's over 100,000 miles. I replaced it with a new one in April of 2019. 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 and one of the best upgrades you can do for your RRC. Don't tighten the clamp too much or you will deform the soft brass casing. Available at O'Reilly Auto Parts.
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. Bill was the reason I didn't balk at the 160,000 miles on the odometer of 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.
And remember, never pay someone to learn how to fix your Land Rover!
- Valvoline VR1 20/50 Racing Oil
In April of 2019 I switched to Valvoline VR1 20/50 Racing Oil due to the higher zinc levels over the Shell Rotella T4. It's also the recommended oil of RPi Engineering, a Rover V8 Engine Specialist in the UK.
Previously I was using 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.
With regular oil changes at approximately 3,000 mile intervals my engine still ran very strong until I swapped it with a 4.2L. in April of 2021. Which, with the over 286,000 miles on it running the stock 3.54 gears and 33" tires, is certainly impressive for a 30 year old Land Rover V8. Available at O'Reilly Auto Parts.
- 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. Rebuild, recore, whatever you do, make sure it is a four core you are 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. Alternatively 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.
I have of course considered the stunningly beautiful work of art that is the AlliSport aluminum radiator with dual electric fans. And I spoke with AlliSport about making the swap. However, even AlliSport said, if I want the maximum cooling capacity for any Land Rover V8, I should keep the stock engine fan and not switch to electric fans. No electric fan combination can move more air than the stock fan.
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 original factory 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 $60-70 for a set of 8.
Suspension Upgrades for 1987 to 1992 Range Rover Classics and 1993 to 1995 with Coil Spring Conversions
- 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 where I put another 100,000 miles on them before I replaced them in April of 2019. They simply work great. They suppress 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.
Tailgate Lift Struts
- RTE Fabrication suspension products
I highly recommend making some suspension component changes if and when shock replacements need to be made.
When replacing the front stock 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:
Here are my recommended suspension parts to avoid:
- Bilstein 7100 remote reservoir shocks WHY? They don't fit very well in front due to the odd upward angle the remote reservoir hose port.
Tires & Suspension Lifts
- Stabilus Part # SG312004
I had previously replaced my tailgate lift struts on my 1989 at least twice over my 8 year ownership with random brands. They just didn't last. So when I replaced them in my 1991 Hunter, I found a better product. I purchased lifetime warranty Stabilus Lift-O-Mat lift springs from O'Reilly Auto Parts. After eight years with temperature swings between -40 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, they still work like new.
Tires and suspension lifts really should be thought about together as they really need to be matched properly.
If you decide to lift your RRC and don't exceed a lift of 2" you can accomplish a lift merely with spring spacers if you want to do it inexpensively. But you won't get 2" more drop from your shocks with just spacers. The shocks will then likely be the limiting factor for the downward travel of the wheel. If you don't off-road, that is not an issue at all. If you do off-road and flex out that suspension regularly then new shocks and springs are the better way to go.
On a RRC that is stock up to a 2" lift you can run 225/75R16 tires. They will still fit in the stock spare tire location and they'll fill the wheel well out a lot nicer than the stock 205/80. This is probably the smallest tire you would want to install with a 2" lift and it's also my recommended size tire for RRCs with 100% stock suspensions.
With a lift taller than 2" you can still run 225/75R16 or jump up to 235/85R16 or 265/75R16 size tires. The 235/85 size is nearly identical in height to the 265/75 (235 is 0.1" taller) but will not rub on radius arms as bad and won't rub the sheet metal like the 265 will. If you go with a 265/75 your turning radius will suffer immensely and you will rub a lot on the radius arms and sheet metal. The 265/75 is really too wide of a tire for the RRC in my opinion for both on and off-road but will probably have the best ride feel depending on the tires chosen. Still I do NOT recommend tires in the 265/75 size for any RRC with stock alloy wheels regardless of lift.
Keep in mind, 235 and wider will not fit the stock spare tire location without sheet metal modification. If you go beyond lifts of 2 inches then you need to buy a lot more parts like modified radius arms, trailing arms, double cardan drive shafts, longer brake lines, an A-frame spacer, spring retainers, spring drop outs and that's just for starters. It really depends what you wish to do with the vehicle, the terrains you wish to conquer and of course, your budget.
I run 255/85R16 BFGoodrich KM2 tires currently and have 255/85 BFGoodrich KM3 tires on order as of May 2021. In my opinion this is the tallest and widest tire that should be installed on a RRC before you either install portal axles or start cutting fenders and wheel arches to clear 35" or larger tires. I, however, do not recommend cutting the fenders or wheel arches ever on a 4 door RRC. I also do not recommend wheel spacers of any kind ever on any RRC.
- Airtex Water Pumps
Airtex also was the original supplier to Land Rover for the water pumps. 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. Watch the weep hole at the bottom of the pump, it will let you know when the pump seals are beginning to wear out and it is time to plan for replacement. Don't forget to order a gasket, too!
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- 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 they make a great gift when you have no idea what to get someone for Christmas.