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Land Rover Freelander common problems (1997-2006)

Land Rover Freelander Mk1

Land Rover used to be a firm favourite with farmers a few decades back, with a bit of posh Range Rover throw in for the more wealthy. But Land Rover needed to come up with a car that would appeal to the masses. The Land Rover Freelander was that car. Small, funky with a hint of toughness, and pretty cheap to buy and run, it was quite the landmark machine.

However, as everyone knows, Land Rover’s record for reliability is… well, let’s just say there’s room for improvement. However, the good news is that the Freelander Mk1 isn’t actually that bad, and this reputation makes it cheap to buy and exceptionally cheap to run if you do the work yourself. And that’s precisely where Haynes can help.

Any Land Rover Freelander is going to have glitches, but we can help you to isolate any problem, and we can show you how to sort it all out yourself. Just buy a Haynes Freelander manual, dust off the tools, read the procedure and away you go.

You’ll be saving hundreds of pounds on labour charges – labour charges that could otherwise have rendered your car uneconomical to run. So you’re actually extending the life of the car by sorting it yourself too. Save money and be green with Haynes.

Land Rover Freelander

What recalls has the Land Rover Freelander been subject to in Australia?

The Land Rover Freelander has been recalled several times in Australia:

  • Suspension link welds caused a recall for 1633 Freelanders in January 1999, because they could break.
  • Then, in August 2000, 3548 Freelanders were recalled because the child restraint anchor fittings may have been fitted incorrectly.
  • In October 2001, 587 cars were identified as having a potential issue with a wiring harness in the engine bay.
  • In the same month, 4660 Freelanders were recalled to have their handbrake levers inspected.
  • Then, in July 2005, 48 cars were recalled because the child lock in the left rear door could fail, allowing the door to be opened from the inside. Locks were replaced by dealers.
Mk1 Freelander

What common problems does the Land Rover Freelander have?

It isn’t unknown for drivers of the Land Rover Freelander Mk1 to see their ABS/ESP warning light illuminating every time they touch the brake pedal, which would be quite concerning in an emergency stop.

Some owners have reported that their Freelander can suffer an issue that causes it to run roughly, and for the engine to surge when at idle.

However, some owners have had it worse, because their Freelanders have failed to start when they turn the key. The engine will turn over, but won’t fire.

And the Land Rover Freelander’s EGR valve can be prone to becoming blocked, with unfortunate consequences.

Window regulators are known to be weak on the Freelander Mk1, too.

Land Rover Freelander

Why is my Land Rover Freelander ABS/ESP light showing?

Seeing a warning light flashing up every time you touch the brake pedal is definitely going to be a worry. After all, it’s annoying enough when you’re just bring the car to a slow, controlled stop in traffic, but what about if you have to perform and emergency stop while swerving around an obstacle? That’s definitely something to be fixed sooner rather than later.

Your first task is to plug in a fault-code reader. If it comes up with the code C1222, then you can breathe easier – the fault isn’t too serious. It’s simply a brake pedal switch that has gone on the blink.

We’ve covered how to remove and replace the brake pedal switch in the Haynes Freelander manual, so just read the procedure then get into the driver’s footwell and replace the switch. Easy.

Land Rover Freelander Mk1

Is your Land Rover Freelander performing roughly?

The Land Rover Freelander is known to suffer an issue in which it runs roughly when being driven, and the idle speed can fluctuate when the car is sitting still.

No fault codes are displayed either, which means you can trace the fault to damaged ignition leads. It is quite common for these to chafe against the cylinder head bolts due to the way they are routed, and over time this can cause them to become damaged.

It’s easy enough to invest in a new set of leads, and the Haynes Freelander manual will show you how to replace them, but it’s also important that you reroute them once fitted, to avoid the possibility of the fault reoccurring in time.

Land Rover Freelander

Why won’t your Land Rover Freelander start?

If there’s one thing that’s pretty fundamental to every journey in your Land Rover, it’s that it needs to start. However, some owners have reported that at times this is not a given. The engine might turn over with gusto, but it won’t fire.

All the clues are that fuel isn’t getting from the tank to the controlled-explosion bits inside the engine.

The problem most commonly lies with the connections for the low-pressure fuel pump, which is accessed by tipping up the rear seat, and removing the inspection panel.

If the connections are okay, then the pump itself is at fault.

Your Haynes Freelander manual will demonstrate how to remove the faulty component, and how to replace it with a fully operational one. Just read the procedure and there should be no hitches along the way.

Land Rover Freelander

Does the Land Rover Freelander Mk1 have EGR valve problems?

Back in 2006, Land Rover issued a technical directive that the EGR valve on the 2.0 Td4 models should be cleaned out every 12,000 miles instead of every 48,000 miles.

Now, it’s fair to say that a great many owners display selective memory loss when it comes to this, because it represented, in effect, a four-fold increase in cost. However, the cost of not carrying out the work can be a great deal more, because if it becomes blocked, oil will be forced out of the dipstick hole, and if you don’t notice this in time, then the engine can run low on oil, leading to significant damage.

However, the removal and replacement of the EGR valve is fully covered in the Haynes Freelander manual, so spend a little time cleaning it up and your wallet will thank you in the end.

Land Rover Freelander

Won’t your Land Rover Freelander let you in?

Remote locking has been around for decades now, and it’s one of the more commonly used convenience features.

So, it’s going to come as a bit of a shock to find that your key and your car have had a tiff, and aren’t talking to each other. You can still get in by using the old-school, stick-the-key-in-the-lock method, but that’s hardly the point, is it.

First things first, change the battery in your Freelander’s key – this is a quick and easy fix if it works.

If, however, it doesn’t, there’s a procedure you need to follow.

Firstly, you need to disconnect the battery completely. After a minute, reconnect the battery.

Then you need to insert the key in the front passenger-side door lock and turn it anti-clockwise. Keep it turned for 20 seconds. Then turn the key all the way clockwise, and keep it there for at least a minute. After you’ve done this, use the key to turn on the ignition within a minute. The car and key should be back in sync.

Land Rover Freelander

Are the Land Rover Freelander electric windows fragile?

Several owners of the Land Rover Freelander Mk1 have reported that the electric windows on their vehicles can become slow to operate, and can even become stuck in one position (not ideal if this is the ‘down’ position!).

The issue is that the window regulator can gradually fail, making the window movement extremely stuttery.

The best way to resolve the issue is to remove the faulty regulator from the affected door, and replace it with a new item. That way you’ll have an electric window that’s smooth and quick once more.

Land Rover Freelander