Freelander problems

Ed Knowles from LRO (June 2000, page 153) had a brand new Freelander for a week and immediately encountered 2 rather serious bugs: Water entered by a considerable amount into the passenger footwell and at a stop the revs shut up to 5000 rpm needing an immediate shut off of the ignition. I agree with Ed that those 2 bugs are serious enough, especially the engine management bug.

The fuel filler cap is rustprone as it has a spot where water accumulates. The front bonnet edges are also easily damaged by stonechips.

The heating is only good for moderate temperatures. If you live somewhere it gets really cold in the winter the heating will have much trouble keeping the inside of the front windscreen ice free. Don't talk about the rest. But bad heating is a Landrover tradition.

Offroading brings scuffs and scratches to the underside of the rear bumper and side sills (below left). Many mechanical pieces are IMHO quite vulnerable (see pictures below). Rear exhaust is specially prone to damage. Plastic side sills are hard to clean often looking dirty again after a few miles driving.

Mark Dixon of LRO reported that the lockable parcel shelf in his new Freelander (above left, the dogs sits on it) has been dropped although the lock looks as if it's still there- it's a dummy. Reasons were cost reduction. Bad idea.

The front tow hooks aren't made for recovery work. If you have to use them hard use both of them at the same time. Don't drive backwards when giving a tow to a stuck vehicle. Better turn around and use the rear loops.

Interior plastic is vulnerable to scratches from dog paws and hairs are particularly difficult to clean out from the rough carpet. Also there's very little luggage space if you travel with four or five people.

Rear window on first models was sometimes blown out when a side window was opened at highway speeds. Make sure that the mechanism that lowers the window an inch when opening the door does still work- or you will soon have to buy new glass. Check for undamaged seal around the whole rear door. Also on early cars look for cracks in the glass from leaving the heated screen activated for too long. Most of them have already been replaced under warranty.

Removing the hard top as well as the soft top is a lot of work, definitely not a 30-second-job. Refitting the hard top isn't explained in the manual and is complicated. The rear glass has a tendency to slip out of the guides so you may need someone to push against when closing.

Plastic wings do take damage well so distorsions can only be seen if looking at reflections. This here turned over twice, look at how good the wings still look. But underlying structures are damaged beyond repair.

The petrol 1.8 is usually dependable IF serviced regularly. Weak oil seals on early models should have been repaired under a factory recall. The diesel should behave similarly.

Some gearboxes showed early problems but those should all have been repaired under warranty. A bunch of PG1 gearboxes had been assembled without the ball bearing and spring that locate the reverse idler gear. On left turns the idler gear can slide and catch on the top gear cog giving an horrible grinding noise.

The hydraulic clutch setup is a pain in the ass to replace and adjust, even for the factory dealer with genuine equipment. A slipping or too harsh clutch is usually mended by replacing the complete clutch and all its components. Great- I don't want to know how much this costs just for adjusting a clutch! Clutch wear can already show at 20.000 miles. The pedal should have at least an inch an a half of travel.

On early models the throttle linkage can stick causing high idle or over-reving.

Rotate the tires from time to time as the rear ones tend to wear more quickly which is a bit surprising as it's normally front axle driven and only when a speed difference of 2% is sensed the rear axle gets torque. Rear brake pads have been reported to wear less quickly than the discs itself. In city driving a wear of 3mm of the rear dics in 12.000 miles has been reported- with non-agressive driving style. Drum brakes also rust quickly.

The seals in the power steering pump can split which can immediately be seen through the wheel as well as a warning lamp on the dash. Groan and rumbling when turning at standstill might point to a problem with the pump.

Rear windows that get misty may be caused by a piece of carpet covering the rear ventilation slots. Just cut a hole in it.

This one rolled over twice. The outside wings seem surprisingly good but beware of supporting structure deformations. More of this car in our Wrecks section.

Interior fixtures aren't as durable as on other models. Don't get the interior muddy as it's not easy to clean out. Hard plastic parts collect scratches quickly.

Sunvisors are too low for normal sized people so they cut down your vision field. The seats are remarcably uncomfortable some people say. I can confirm this, they are too short in the seating space to support your legs but I think this is a common fault on Land Rovers. Even new ranges could do with better seats. Also leg room is on the tight side.

There are many storage places but almost none to store big maps or books.

On some cars mirror fuses blow regularly and rear wash-wipe do not work.