Bonus Blog: 10 000 km on the road with Gary the Land Rover

Lots of people (cough, Toyota drivers, cough) pay out on Land Rovers as 'unreliable,' 'poorly built' and 'incapable.' The truth is that there is a bit of the old Ford vs Holden, Red vs Blue, Brand A vs Brand B rivalry going on, and, like any other vehicle (Except for Jeeps. They really suck at remote travel), you look after it, do the appropriate preventative and necessary maintenance and you are likely to have no issues on the road, off the road (provided you don't take stupid risks) and remotely. Driver: Know Thy Vehicle.

The Daily Ritual Before departing in the morning, after starting Gary up, these things happen:

1. Walk around the vehicle. Look for anything different or damaged. Check we haven't left any equipment behind.

2. Listen to engine on starting. Any new or different sounds? Squeaky bearings?

3. Check tyre inflations, maybe with pressure gauge if temperature or road conditions have changed to last drive.

4. Look under vehicle for leaking fluids, pools of anything but A/C condensation.

5. Check all lights work.

The Weekly(ish) Ritual

1. Check all fluids levels under bonnet (oil, coolant, PAS Fluid, Brake Fluid, Windscreen washer water, Provent Drain pipe), top up as required. These don't usually change unless something is wrong (except oil from crank case vent, Gary uses about 50 mL / 1000 km).

2. Check battery voltages.

3. Look for wear or damage on any coolant hoses.

4. Check tyres for damage/wear and inflate tyres to correct pressure.

5. Remove and inspect air filter element, tap out dust or replace element.

6. Check undercarriage components for movement/free play, wear and damage.

Also, if you drive in challenging conditions (very hot day, rocky/dusty road, deep mud/ruts, etc. etc.) spend ten minutes to check your vehicle over once you get back to more sedate terrain.

The 10 000 km Service

So, what has gone wrong with Gary since we left Perth? Not a lot. Here is a list of expenses relating to vehicle maintenance up to and including the service:

$ 138.90 - new auxiliary battery (fridge battery)

$ 66.55 - heat shield material to protect new battery from turbocharger

$ 67 - new second key after second key got wet

$ 98 - Pair of new headlight globes

Service Items:

$ 107 filter kit for service including two oil filters (Gary has two), sump plug copper washer, fuel filter, air filter, automatic transmission filter, gasket and o rings

$ 93 Seven point two lites of Penrite HPR5 5W40 Diesel Oil (only the best for Gary!)

$ 25.86 Six Litres of Coolant

$ 46.99 Four Litres of Automatic Transmission Fluid

A day of my labour.

Other pending items:

$285 drivers door locking mechanism (was on the fritz, but is working now, so i have a spare one sitting in the spares box, will replace if I need to)

$41.45 Starter Motor solenoid rebuild kit (I purchased this before leaving Perth, and the starter has declined working and required a bump a couple of times, but haven't gotten around to pulling it out and doing the rebuild yet)

...and that is it. No big bad scary mechanical failures (touch wood). When it gets very hot, or very steep (Gary is pretty close to GVM), take it easy, use the gears properly and don't ask more of the engine and gearbox than the designed maximum temperature threshold.

If I was towing something, or we were going to be more consistently in 40 degrees plus weather, I would probably install a larger alloy radiator in Gary to get a little better cooling under heavy load. Other than that, there is nothing I would change.

The next service (in another 10 000 km) doesn't need the ATF filter or fluid done, and shouldn't need a coolant drain and refill either, so will be a little cheaper.

Dinner is ready, so i am off. Feel free to ask anything else about Gary below.


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