Freelander 2 PTU oil change

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Martin had not ever considered changing the PTU oil : credit: © Martin Domoney
Martin learns a new trick at MuddyMods

Regular readers may remember my recent 'How to' guide on replacing rear hub bearings on Freelander 2 using the widely-available Gen II bearing tool. Well, that only showed part of the story, because while the Freelander was up on the ramp I also did the fronts, a very similar procedure to the rear ones.

As well as swapping all four hub bearings as preventative maintenance (they do last very well, but not forever), I was hoping to cure an increasingly loud whirr that was especially noticeable between 30mph and 50mph, but didn’t seem to vary much with accelerator input or when turning left or right, my usual preliminary diagnosis methods.

I was slightly disappointed – but not all that shocked – when I drove the Freelander for the first time after changing all the hub bearings, to find the noise still there. As those in the know on Freelander 2s will attest, this leaves two possibilities; a faulty rear differential pinion bearing, or wear in the front Power Transfer Unit (PTU). So, whilst at Freelander specialist MuddyMods to shoot the Range Rover Evoque makeover, I asked the owner, Warren, if we could put my F2 up on the lift and run it up to speed to pinpoint exactly what was making the din.

It didn’t take long for the problem to rear its ugly head; the whining and rumbling was easily detected through the rear diff casing. This means, realistically, a reconditioned rear differential is needed, preferably with the modified casing and larger pinion bearing that Bell Engineering offers in order to fix the problem and stop it coming back.

“Ever changed the oil in your PTU?” asked Warren, with the F2 still raised above our heads. Shamefully, I hadn’t. Land Rover doesn’t make it easy to change the oil in the PTU or in the rear diff, because neither has a drain bung. A cracking bit of design.

Keen to stop the expensive PTU following the diff’s lead into whirring misery, I took Warren up on his offer to demonstrate how to create an oil drain hole in the PTU to change the oil, and make future maintenance easier. I had never seen it done this way before, but it sure beats trying to slurp the oil out with a syringe.

Essentially, you drop the undertray off and locate the frontmost, lowermost bolt that sandwiches the two halves of the PTU casing together. Undo said bolt and remove it, then very carefully drill straight down the centre of the hole with a 5mm bit, taking care not to damage the threads, and blowing out the swarf along the way. When you strike oil, stop, and let the old fluid drain out, taking any last drillings with it.

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Seal up again then...

...undo filler plug and refill

Once all the old oil has drained, simply refit and tighten the bolt with a copper sealing washer under the flanged head, and refill the PTU with fresh 75w90 through the bung on the back.

Okay, it’s definitely not a by-the-book method, but I’ll rest easy knowing the Freelander’s PTU is full of lovely fresh oil and much less likely to suffer a similar fate to the whiny rear diff. Keep an eye out for an upcoming tech feature on that.

 


 

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