21 March 2023
LRM Tech contributor Dave Barker finds his own Freelander 2 needing some TLC
Despite also owning an early Series I, it’s my Freelander that’s recently been requiring a little bit of TLC and even some repairs. As I’m sure I’ve said before, the Freelander 2 Td4 has been recognised as the most reliable Land Rover ever produced. There might be some owners who disagree with that, but I’m guessing many more would agree. And looking around today, a model of that size and build is sadly missing from JLR’s current offering of new Land Rover models. Whatever some might say, the Evoque or Discovery Sport don’t come close. A good number of people locally who have Freelander 2s, when the time came for them to get a new car, decided to keep their trusty steeds. Others have swapped to other brands and not gone with anything from the Green Oval stable.
Be careful when walking past your own car…
I’ve been putting off changing the Freelander for a while now, as I’ve no idea what I would replace it with. However, back to recent problems. First was the passenger-side door mirror glass. I walked into the mirror trying to squeeze between the Freelander and the fence and while it did what it’s meant to do – spring forward – the glass shattered. Luckily the mirror case itself was undamaged. Over the years I’ve smashed a few Defender door mirrors and I know how much replacement glass is – around a fiver. Okay, I know they’re not heated and it was an aftermarket brand, but I didn’t think replacement glass for the Freelander was going to be much more. I was advised to go for a genuine Land Rover replacement but it came as a shock when it turned out to be almost £60! But it did just clip in and work, so I can’t complain too much – after all, it was my fault. I will be more careful next time I’m squeezing past the Freelander.
The next problem – and what could have been even more expensive – happened one morning within a few yards from home. A warning message flashed up on the dashboard display, and it read ‘Gearbox Fault Traction Reduced’. You imagine the worst, of course: gearbox or diff failure. I swiftly drove to Maddison 4x4. The warning message was right, traction was most definitely reduced, and I could tell the Freelander was in front-wheel drive. I feel sorry for anyone who bought a FWD Freelander, if that’s what they drove like all the time.
Faults resolved, for now...
Patrick at Maddison’s knew straight away what the problem was – the Haldex unit, but plugged it into the diagnostic machine to be sure. It confirmed low oil pressure in the Haldex pump, which in itself didn’t prove just what the problem was, just where it was. The fault was cleared and a short test drive confirmed I had four-wheel drive back again.
After a discussion with Patrick about what to do next, we decided that the simplest and cheapest option would be to change the oil filter in the Haldex unit and replace the oil. Often it’s either the oil filter or the oil pickup that has become clogged, resulting in low oil pressure, which then causes the fault. It could, however, be the pump that has failed or something else, which would mean a replacement Haldex and a lot of expense. But Patrick thought this unlikely as the fault had not come back straight away.
The Freelander was booked in for the oil and filter change. However, the fault didn’t return so the appointment was cancelled and four-wheel drive was still working half a year later.
Nine months rolled around and the warning message flashed up again. So, the Freelander was booked back in for the Haldex filter and oil change. Now back and working it looks as though I’ll be keeping it for a good few years yet.
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