Why is the Electrical System Crap? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old October 20th, 2017, 07:30 PM
mjones1700
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Michael Jones
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Why is the Electrical System Crap?

I have fully restored a Series III 109 (not too bad as Stealth Swimwear now uses it in their ads). So I have some experience, but I'm not a expert by any means. I am now restoring a 1990 Defender 90. Everything under the hood is new, brand new (runs great). I have finished my body work and paint and now am working on the interior (while being a daily driver). However, I am constantly being bugged by electrical problems. It seems like every time I hit a bump, some light goes out. I have cleaned (dremel wire brush) all the fuse and wire connectors, tightened all the wire connections, rewired the lights (only the last foot or so to the light) and etc. But my honest question is, why in the hell did Land Rover make a vehicle that I value like a Lamborghini, yet put the electrical components of a K Mart? The outside lights are rediculous (same as my Series). I got all new lights, but not LEDs (yet, but will when I have more money). The plastic is extremely brittle and the hole that you must push the lights through is so tight it is almost impossible to do it without breaking them. Same with the switches. I am tempted to pull every tiny wire and crimping (that looks like spaghetti in a tornado,), switch and fuse box and rewire the whole thing. Is there a reason for this crappy electrical, or am I just delusional?
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  #2  
Old October 20th, 2017, 07:38 PM
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rdavisinva
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Robert Davis
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If you haven't already replace the fuse boxes with the newer style mini-fuses.
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  #3  
Old October 20th, 2017, 07:39 PM
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john
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones1700 View Post
I I value like a Lamborghini, yet put the electrical components of a K Mart??
Thanks for the chuckle but the value you place on it and its original MSRP are more like Kmart than Maranello. But in all seriousness does it have glass or blade fuses?
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  #4  
Old October 20th, 2017, 07:43 PM
mjones1700
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Michael Jones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenix37 View Post
Thanks for the chuckle but the value you place on it and its original MSRP are more like Kmart than Maranello. But in all seriousness does it have glass or blade fuses?
It still has the original glass ones. I almost put in a marine blade box, but then I saw that it was a negative ground with only one wire attachment for each blade. The original box, of course, has a wire attachment on each end. I thought it would be a mess trying to figure that out. So, I may come back and do that later.
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Old October 20th, 2017, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones1700 View Post
It still has the original glass ones. I almost put in a marine blade box, but then I saw that it was a negative ground with only one wire attachment for each blade. The original box, of course, has a wire attachment on each end. I thought it would be a mess trying to figure that out. So, I may come back and do that later.
Get rid of the glass fuses.
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Uncle "Richard" Douglas has a Land Rover with big wheels that never gets stuck... until he breaks something so it won't go. Uncle Douglas always breaks something. - Anna Crowther at the Conclave 2012 (AKA Carburetor Neck)

"What's with this death wobble, Uncle Douglas, I can't keep it in 1 lane?"
UD: "Just Power through it man!"
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  #6  
Old October 20th, 2017, 07:50 PM
mjones1700
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Michael Jones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdavisinva View Post
Get rid of the glass fuses.
I've been looking for a replacement and so far haven't found the best one. I think that original has 16 spots (not in the Defender and can't look) with, of course, a rear wire entrance. I want to be able to do it as easy as I can without pulling the dash, if I can help it. So it would be nice to have a blade one that closely matched. The Marine one was exactly that (plus waterproof) but, like I said, the blades only had one wire attachment. I pulled the dash in my Series and really had a heck of a time getting back in right. Is there one (fuse box) here in the US that you recommend?
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  #7  
Old October 20th, 2017, 07:57 PM
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john
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Fuse Box: Glass fuse --> Spade Fuse - Defender Source
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  #8  
Old October 20th, 2017, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones1700 View Post
I've been looking for a replacement and so far haven't found the best one. I think that original has 16 spots (not in the Defender and can't look) with, of course, a rear wire entrance. I want to be able to do it as easy as I can without pulling the dash, if I can help it. So it would be nice to have a blade one that closely matched. The Marine one was exactly that (plus waterproof) but, like I said, the blades only had one wire attachment. I pulled the dash in my Series and really had a heck of a time getting back in right. Is there one (fuse box) here in the US that you recommend?
Thank you for the humor.
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  #9  
Old October 20th, 2017, 08:13 PM
mjones1700
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Michael Jones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenix37 View Post
I'm working my through that thread. Haven't found the best box yet, but I'm still reading. Some of the links don't seem to work for me.

But thanks. I will try to endure the electrical situation until my next outage (everything is working after spending a couple of hours on it today). But I do plan on LEDs and a new box sometime this winter . . . unless the lights go out again.
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  #10  
Old October 20th, 2017, 08:16 PM
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  #11  
Old October 20th, 2017, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones1700 View Post
Is there a reason for this crappy electrical, or am I just delusional?
Because the truck was meant to be a disposable work truck...

The wiring layout is actually pretty good (opinion) easy to troubleshoot, and a few known weaknesses that are quite functional when new, but can be improved for very little cost .

Fuse conversion kit...
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  #12  
Old October 20th, 2017, 10:18 PM
caj13
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so you ask the wrong question. The correct question is: (as I'm sure you know)

Why do the Brits drink warm beer?

and of course, we all know the answer: Because Lucas Electric builds their refridgerators!

In my personal opinion, based on owning a ST and a SW 90 NAS. The Brits seem to believe if it wasn't engineered or built by them, then it has to be crap.
For example - the original softtop had zippers that were not self repairing - Seriously? than "technology has been around for 50 yearsd, and costs no more than non self repairing? so why would Land rover maske that choice, other than they were sourcing the zippers locally (nationally) the dealer called me in, took the soft top and had new self repairing zippers sewn in. how much did that decision cost Landrover?

Also almost immediately the snaps on the soft top started failing - Rover called it in, and redrilled and replaced all of the snaps with cam locks on the body, and either replaced the top - or put on ther donuts in place of the snaps- Duh! how much did that failure in logic cost them?

I don't have hard info to prove this, just my observations and experience. I love my defenders - every one of them, but I sure get mad at factory engineers or whoever was making those repeated stupid ultimately very expensive decisions!
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  #13  
Old October 20th, 2017, 10:27 PM
mjones1700
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Michael Jones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caj13 View Post
so you ask the wrong question. The correct question is: (as I'm sure you know)

Why do the Brits drink warm beer?

and of course, we all know the answer: Because Lucas Electric builds their refridgerators!

In my personal opinion, based on owning a ST and a SW 90 NAS. The Brits seem to believe if it wasn't engineered or built by them, then it has to be crap.
For example - the original softtop had zippers that were not self repairing - Seriously? than "technology has been around for 50 yearsd, and costs no more than non self repairing? so why would Land rover maske that choice, other than they were sourcing the zippers locally (nationally) the dealer called me in, took the soft top and had new self repairing zippers sewn in. how much did that decision cost Landrover?

Also almost immediately the snaps on the soft top started failing - Rover called it in, and redrilled and replaced all of the snaps with cam locks on the body, and either replaced the top - or put on ther donuts in place of the snaps- Duh! how much did that failure in logic cost them?

I don't have hard info to prove this, just my observations and experience. I love my defenders - every one of them, but I sure get mad at factory engineers or whoever was making those repeated stupid ultimately very expensive decisions!

THe other Land Rover "technology" that I never got (and it could be my poor skills") is the "rivet nut" (For example putting on the folding steps). Those crazy "nuts' that you put into a hole on the frame and as you tighten it up, it supposed to compress and expand. I created my own tool (bolt with a nut) and it always failed. No amount of superglue could keep the nut from spinning in the hole. Someone stole my welder or I would have considered that. But I ended up using other techniques for anchoring those bolts to the frame, where you cannot hold a nut on the other side.
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  #14  
Old October 21st, 2017, 08:05 AM
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Robert Davis
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Don't get me started on how shitty these vehicles are.

"If it weren't for the people who own them, I wouldn't have one". (Mark Garrenton 2001).

Jeep Driver at a stoplight: "Nice Land Rover. I heard that some Land Rovers were unreliable, what years were those?".
"All of them" (Mark Garrenton 2017).
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RDavisinVA

Uncle "Richard" Douglas has a Land Rover with big wheels that never gets stuck... until he breaks something so it won't go. Uncle Douglas always breaks something. - Anna Crowther at the Conclave 2012 (AKA Carburetor Neck)

"What's with this death wobble, Uncle Douglas, I can't keep it in 1 lane?"
UD: "Just Power through it man!"
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  #15  
Old October 21st, 2017, 03:20 PM
mjones1700
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Michael Jones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdavisinva View Post
Don't get me started on how shitty these vehicles are.

"If it weren't for the people who own them, I wouldn't have one". (Mark Garrenton 2001).

Jeep Driver at a stoplight: "Nice Land Rover. I heard that some Land Rovers were unreliable, what years were those?".
"All of them" (Mark Garrenton 2017).
What's wrong with us? It is like the girl with the dragon tattoo. She was a psychological disaster, yet the reporter guy became totally infatuated with her.

So, after getting my electrical all working, once again, working on water-proofing the sunroof, once-again, patching a leak where there was an old roof antenna and then finding out my clutch (brand new with new lines) was leaking, once again (and hopefully fixing it for good this time). I drove it into town for coffee. As I came out i saw a man standing on the sidewalk staring at it. His wife was trying to pull him away. He didn't see me get in at first. I cranked it up with a puff of diesel smell hitting the air. His wife was pulling him down the sidewalk as he was walking backwards watching me pull out and away. We are all sick.
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  #16  
Old October 22nd, 2017, 11:52 PM
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Robert Lynch
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Currently my d90 is my most reliable vehicle... out of 3 Rovers... think On that a bit...
Itís pure crazy..
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  #17  
Old October 23rd, 2017, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones1700 View Post
What's wrong with us? It is like the girl with the dragon tattoo. She was a psychological disaster, yet the reporter guy became totally infatuated with her.

So, after getting my electrical all working, once again, working on water-proofing the sunroof, once-again, patching a leak where there was an old roof antenna and then finding out my clutch (brand new with new lines) was leaking, once again (and hopefully fixing it for good this time). I drove it into town for coffee. As I came out i saw a man standing on the sidewalk staring at it. His wife was trying to pull him away. He didn't see me get in at first. I cranked it up with a puff of diesel smell hitting the air. His wife was pulling him down the sidewalk as he was walking backwards watching me pull out and away. We are all sick.
I hear you.
This was LR spectator weekend.
Everywhere I went someone came up to ask about our white 110.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlynch356 View Post
Currently my d90 is my most reliable vehicle... out of 3 Rovers... think On that a bit...
It’s pure crazy..
We have a yard full of them and generally have only 1 running on the road.
The rest are in various states of disrepair.
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RDavisinVA

Uncle "Richard" Douglas has a Land Rover with big wheels that never gets stuck... until he breaks something so it won't go. Uncle Douglas always breaks something. - Anna Crowther at the Conclave 2012 (AKA Carburetor Neck)

"What's with this death wobble, Uncle Douglas, I can't keep it in 1 lane?"
UD: "Just Power through it man!"
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  #18  
Old October 23rd, 2017, 08:08 AM
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I'll step up in defense of Land Rover electrics and the build quality of the marque in general...
The reason they seem to be so bad I think falls on the way the trucks are used...or abused as the case may be. If your standard is a S3 that was built at a time when the British automotive industry was in its abysmal death spiral, then you have to wonder how these things have survived so long. Most of the trucks we own are decades old. In all those years there has been plenty of opportunity for corrosion, wear and tear. Add in an owner who doesn't maintain it like it demands and you end up with a marginalized vehicle.
I defy you to show me ANY car or truck that is 40 years old or more that doesn't have a lot of problems.
Don't blame the current state of the fleet on the factory..
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Old October 23rd, 2017, 05:58 PM
mjones1700
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o2batsea View Post
I'll step up in defense of Land Rover electrics and the build quality of the marque in general...
The reason they seem to be so bad I think falls on the way the trucks are used...or abused as the case may be. If your standard is a S3 that was built at a time when the British automotive industry was in its abysmal death spiral, then you have to wonder how these things have survived so long. Most of the trucks we own are decades old. In all those years there has been plenty of opportunity for corrosion, wear and tear. Add in an owner who doesn't maintain it like it demands and you end up with a marginalized vehicle.
I defy you to show me ANY car or truck that is 40 years old or more that doesn't have a lot of problems.
Don't blame the current state of the fleet on the factory..
I think you are right Sometimes, after I get the outside and under the hood looking like new, I sometimes forget that the other systems are 26 years old.
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  #20  
Old October 23rd, 2017, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones1700 View Post
I've been looking for a replacement and so far haven't found the best one. I think that original has 16 spots (not in the Defender and can't look) with, of course, a rear wire entrance. I want to be able to do it as easy as I can without pulling the dash, if I can help it. So it would be nice to have a blade one that closely matched. The Marine one was exactly that (plus waterproof) but, like I said, the blades only had one wire attachment. I pulled the dash in my Series and really had a heck of a time getting back in right. Is there one (fuse box) here in the US that you recommend?
great reviews on this fuse box: http://a.co/01XLCkX
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