Your questions answered: Park brakes, Chassis, Choke cable


19 March 2024
Drum and shoe type park brakes can be troublesome : credit: © Ed Evans
Expert advice on D4 electronic park brake, Hi-Cap Chassis, Ninety choke cable, D3 diagnostics and D1 engine swap wiring

Japanese auto Discovery goes manual

I am putting a 300Tdi engine and an R380 five-speed manual gearbox into a Japanese import Discovery 1. My problem is fooling the car into thinking it’s in park/neutral to allow us to start it. We have the Japanese transfer ’box with the inhibitor neutral switches on top already installed in the car, and I believe we can fool the car by grounding a relay that’s located in the passenger footwell. But I don’t know which one; for example, the colours of wires on the relay and which one to ground. Can you help? 

Andrew Varrall replies: The simplest way to deal with this wiring is at the original auto’s wiring connector, a cylindrical five-pin connector with only four wires going to it. The green/yellow and green/brown wires are for the reversing light and need to be wired into the manual ’box reversing lamp switch. The black/yellow is the inhibitor switch wire which needs to be linked to ground to enable the starter to work. The final wire, which is black/orange, is for the gearbox overheat switch, so can be ignored.


LR4/Discovery 4 electronic park brakes

I read your ‘Understanding electric park brakes’ feature in the December 2022 issue and found it very informative. I have started to get the shudder shakes with my LR4 at highway speeds with heavy brake smell, which led me to your article.

My question is: why would the EPB be engaging randomly at those highway speeds? I understand the fault and what mechanically is occurring, but what makes it engage to induce the fault itself?

My back left disc has two noticeable uniform parallel grooves in it and I assume that is the side that is faulting. No dash lights and I have encountered this problem three times now. I believe this is the beginning of the end of my EPB. Any input is greatly appreciated on what I should do.

Ben Barmore

Drum and shoe type park brakes fitted to Discovery 3 and 4 and Range Rover Sport 1 can be troublesome. It worth having the drum cleaned of dust and the shoes checked and readjusted by a competent garage at main service intervals

Ed Evans replies: I don’t think the grooving in the left-hand disc is causing your symptoms, but it suggests a new pair of discs and pads are needed.

The shuddering and brake smell are likely to be caused by the park brake shoes binding or grabbing in the drum, which is inside the rotor. This can be caused by corrosion if water has seeped into the drum, usually via a damaged or poorly fitted seal where the cable enters. It may also be due to incorrect (or loss of) adjustment of the brake shoes, or wrong clearance due to excess wear of shoe friction faces, or a build-up of brake dust inside the drum.

As one disc is already grooved, I suggest renewing the discs and pads, which will also include the integral drums for the park brake, and assemble with new park brake shoes. Fitting and adjustment of the park brake assembly is a delicate operation that has to be done accurately to avoid overloading or over-running the actuator, so I’d advise having the work done by a Land Rover dealership or a known good independent using genuine Land Rover parts. They will also carry out a diagnostic check on the system.

I haven’t mentioned the EPB actuator here because you have no warning lamps showing on the dash and I’m assuming the park brake still functions without producing a screeching noise from the actuator, which I expect you would have noticed. The diagnostic check will confirm this though.


Hi-Cap chassis differences

We have a Land Rover Defender pick-up (Hi Cap) 110 and have stripped it down ready for a new chassis. I have identified a Maer chassis and wondered what the differences are against the County and pick-up chassis. The chassis price is a good deal and, if the only difference were some mounting brackets, I could make the modifications.
Rory Scott

A basic chassis is a basic chassis, no matter which 110 it fits under – bolt-on parts make up the differences

Andrew Varrall replies: There are no differences in the main chassis of a 110, no matter what body style you have. All the parts that are different are bolt-on brackets and crossmembers. Maer does actually have a listing on its website offering a Defender 110 HT chassis that comes with the required bracketry for the HCPU body, so you could order that directly from the company or get the one you have seen advertised and buy the brackets separately. It is worth mentioning that modifications to galvanised parts must be done with extreme caution and using suitable breathing filters because the galvanising is harmful if you breathe it in, in particle or vapour form.


Securing early Ninety choke/stop cable

Content continues after advertisements

The choke pull knob in my Ninety V8 is loose, making it a two-handed job to operate the choke. Part of the problem is that the plate that mounts the choke cable should be fixed to the inside of the lower part of the steering column cowl, but it’s completely broken away and I can’t source a new or secondhand one. Does anyone supply these? Assuming I can get this sorted, is there a special spanner or method to re-tighten the choke cable assembly in the bracket?

Also, after looking at this it seems a heck of fiddle to get the cowls assembled again on the column. Is there a method without destroying something?
Phil Witham


Ed Evans replies: It could take a long time to find a lower cowl which still has the choke mounting intact and securely fixed. The choke mounting plate was originally moulded to the lower half of the column cowl by plastic protrusions passing through the two holes in the bracket. You can drill out the old protrusions and pop-rivet or bolt the bracket to the cowl, or fix the bracket on using a good adhesive such as Araldite. Done properly, adhesive won’t work loose or allow the plate to rattle, so I’d say that’s the best option.

The mounting plate for the choke (or  stop-cable on diesels)  easily breaks away  from the lower cowl.  This one has been  glued back

You may need to make a 13/16-inch  open-ended spanner to secure the  cable in the bracket before  refitting the cowl

The nut securing the choke cable to the plate needs a 13/16-inch AF spanner and needs to be approximately 4mm thick, so that means grinding down a good spanner, or making one from plate. A bicycle hub bearing spanner is easily available and thin enough, but the jaws will need opening out to suit.

Fitting the cowl back can be a faff, but try this sequence. Seven screws hold the steering column lower cowl to the column structure. Locate the centre forward screw first, then the two each side of it, then the two nearest to you. These are all machine screws (into threaded holes) and, after entering the threads, should be left loose for now. Then fit the two black self-tappers while moving the cowl to align the holes. When those are in, and the lower cowl is in place around the ignition switch and correctly located along the edge of the upper cowl, fully tighten all the screws.


Discovery 3 is temperamental

Since last winter I have been experiencing a peculiar problem with my Discovery 3. Sometimes when starting the car after it has stood for several days, the car starts okay and I drive off normally down a couple of lanes to our main road, and set off at normal speed. After about two miles, and before the car reaches normal operating temperature, I press the accelerator to increase speed and nothing happens! The engine does not lose power, it just won’t accelerate. I have then tried to floor the accelerator pedal, to the kickdown, and then suddenly I get a burst of power and revs, and then all is okay.

The car has done 108,247 miles and I have had a new cam belt, fuel pump belt, and auxiliary belt fitted three months ago. The problem was there before this work.

When the engine is up to normal operating temperature, the car drives perfectly with instant response to light throttle increases.

I have taken the car to my local 4x4 garage, and he has not been able to replicate the problem, or find any fault with his diagnostic equipment. He is also a bit reluctant to get too involved with the electronics. Does the team have any ideas or experience of what my problem may be?
Brian George

Ed Evans replies: It might be necessary for the garage to keep your car overnight and make a diagnostic check while starting it up in the morning when the engine is cold. The fault is probably being cleared from the ECM after the engine has run correctly and been switched off.

I can only guess at the cause without seeing diagnostics because there are many possibilities. But the symptoms are typical of a faulty engine oil temperature sensor, which is inexpensive and can be changed after removing the sump pan.


Like to have your own Land Rover library?

Try our All-Access Digital Subscription. You'll get access to over 7 years of Land Rover Monthly – that’s more than 100 issues plus the latest digital issue. All issues are fully searchable so you can easily find what you are looking for and what’s more it’s less than 10p a day to subscribe. Click the link above to find out more details and start enjoying all the benefits now.