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Brakes, suspension & tyres Land Rover Defender 1983 - 2007 Diesel 2.5 TD5

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Land Rover Defender 1983 - 2007  | 2.5 TD5 Brakes, suspension & tyres

  • time 20 minutes
  • difficulty 3
Start with the front wheels
With the wheel off the ground, check for wear in the wheel hub bearings by grasping the wheel and trying to rock it. Very slight play is OK, but if the movement is appreciable you should seek further advice
Now remove the wheel
Check the condition of the brake discs. Some light scoring is normal on the area in contact with the brake pads, but if heavy scoring and/or cracks are found on the disc or around the wheel bolt holes, the disc must be renewed. ALWAYS replace both front discs and pads
Now locate the brake pads. There are two, one on each side of the disc. Locate the brake pad's wearing surface. It's the wear material that is pressed against the brake disc to slow the vehicle when the brake pedal is applied
Using a ruler, measure the approximate thickness of the remaining wear material on the brake pad. If it is less than 2.0mm, all front pads need replacement. If you need to replace the front pads, click below
- Close + Open

Front brake pads replacement

Warning: Renew BOTH sets of front brake pads at the same time – NEVER renew the pads on only one wheel, as uneven braking may result. Note that the dust created by wear of the pads may contain asbestos, which is a health hazard. Never blow it out with compressed air, and don’t inhale any of it. An approved filtering mask should be worn when working on the brakes. DO NOT use petroleum-based solvents to clean brake parts – use brake cleaner or methylated spirit only.
1 Apply the handbrake, then jack up the front of the vehicle and support it on axle stands. Remove both front roadwheels.
2 There are three possible types of pad retaining pin which may be used:
  1. Pads retained by large split-pins, and plate-type anti-rattle springs fitted.
  2. Pads secured in position with pins and R-clips, and wire-type anti-rattle springs used.
  3. Pad retaining pins are secured in position by a split-pin, with coil-type anti-rattle springs fitted over the pins.
3 Identify the type of retaining pin used, and proceed as follows.
4 On models with the first type of retaining pin, noting the correct fitted locations of the pad anti-rattle springs, straighten the ends of the pad retaining split-pins, and withdraw them from the caliper. Recover the springs from the top of the caliper, noting which way around they are fitted.
5 On models with the second type of retaining pin, remove the R-clips/split-pins (as applicable) from the inner end of each retaining pin. Noting the correct fitted positions of the anti-rattle springs, withdraw the retaining pins, and recover the spring from the top of each pad.
6 On models with the third type of retaining pin, using a pair of pliers, remove the R-clip/split-pin (as applicable) from the inner end of each pad retaining pin. Carefully withdraw the pad retaining pins, recovering the anti-rattle springs as they are released (see illustrations) .
On later models, remove the split-pins . . .
. . . then withdraw the pad retaining pins and recover the anti-rattle springs (arrowed)
7 On all models, withdraw the pads from caliper (see illustration) . Note the location of any brake pad shims fitted.
Lift the brake pads out from the caliper
8 Brush the dirt and dust from the caliper, but take care not to inhale it. Carefully remove any rust from the edge of the brake disc.
9 First measure the thickness of each brake pad’s friction material (see illustration). If either pad is worn at any point to 3.0 mm thickness or less, all four pads must be renewed. Also, the pads should be renewed if any are fouled with oil or grease; there is no satisfactory way of degreasing friction material, once contaminated. If any of the brake pads are worn unevenly or fouled with oil or grease, trace and remedy the cause before reassembly. The pad retaining pins and anti-rattle springs should be also renewed if the pads are to be renewed. New brake pads, pins and springs are available from Land Rover dealers.
Measuring brake pad friction material thickness
10 If the brake pads are still serviceable, carefully clean them using a clean, fine wire brush or similar, paying particular attention to the sides and back of the metal backing. Clean out the grooves in the friction material, and pick out any large embedded particles of dirt or debris. Carefully clean the pad locations in the caliper body/mounting bracket.
11 Prior to fitting the pads, brush the dust and dirt from the caliper pistons, but do not inhale it, as it is a health hazard. Inspect the dust seal around the piston for damage, and the piston for evidence of fluid leaks, corrosion or damage. If attention to any of these components is necessary.
12 If new brake pads are to be fitted, the caliper pistons must be pushed back into the caliper, to make room for them. Either use a G-clamp or similar tool, or use suitable pieces of wood as levers. Provided that the master cylinder reservoir has not been overfilled with hydraulic fluid, there should be no spillage, but keep a careful watch on the fluid level while retracting the piston. If the fluid level rises above the MAX level line at any time, the surplus should be syphoned off, or ejected via a plastic tube connected to the bleed screw. Note: Do not syphon the fluid by mouth, as it is poisonous; use a syringe or an old poultry baster.
13 Apply a thin smear of high-temperature brake grease or anti-seize compound to the sides and back of each pad’s metal backing, and to those surfaces of the caliper body which bear on the pads. Do not allow the lubricant to foul the friction material.
14 Locate the pads in the caliper, ensuring that the friction material of each pad is against the brake disc. Note: The friction material on new pads may have a chamfered edge. The pads must be fitted with this chamfer on the leading edge, ie, this edge is the first part of the pad that the disc encounters in the normal direction of rotation (see illustration) .
New pads may have a chamfered edge which must be fitted at the leading edge Arrow shows normal direction of rotation
15 On models with the first type of pad retaining pin, position the anti-rattle springs on top of the pads, ensuring that they are fitted the correct way around. Insert the new retaining pins into the caliper, making sure each pin is correctly engaged with its anti-rattle spring, and secure them in position by bending over their ends.
16 On models with the second type of retaining pin, locate the anti-rattle springs with the brake pads, making sure that the spring ends are on the inside of the pad. Slide the retaining pins into position, making sure they pass through the pad holes and over the spring ends, and secure them in position with the R-clips or new split-pins (as applicable).
17 On models with the third type of retaining pin, fit the anti-rattle springs between the pads, then insert the pad retaining pins. Make sure each pin passes through its anti-rattle spring and both pads. Secure each retaining pin in position with an R-clip or new split-pin (as applicable).
18 On all models, depress the brake pedal repeatedly, until the pads are pressed into firm contact with the brake disc and normal (non-assisted) pedal pressure is restored.
19 Repeat the above procedure on the remaining front brake caliper.
20 Refit the roadwheels, then lower the vehicle to the ground and tighten the roadwheel nuts to the specified torque setting.
Roadwheel nuts:
  Steel wheels 108 Nm (80 Ibf ft)
  Alloy wheels 130 Nm (96 Ibf ft)
  Heavy duty wheels 170 Nm (125 Ibf ft)
21 Check the hydraulic fluid level.
TIP! Virtually all cars have this inspection window in the brake caliper body, and you can usually see the brake pad thickness from here
Now quickly check all the brake pipes for condition, check for any leaks, also inspect the rubber gaitors for integrity. Should the front shock absorber need to be replaced, click below
- Close + Open

Front shock absorber replacement

Note: Many of the suspension and steering components are secured in position with self-locking nuts. Whenever a self-locking nut is disturbed, it must be discarded and a new nut fitted.

Removal

1 Apply the handbrake, then jack up the front of the vehicle and support it on axle stands positioned underneath the chassis. Remove both front roadwheels.
2 Position a hydraulic jack beneath the front axle assembly, then raise the jack until it is supporting the axle weight.
3 Slacken and remove the shock absorber lower mounting nut, and recover the outer washer and rubber mounting arrangement, noting each component’s correct fitted position (see illustrations) . Note: The washers are different, and must not be interchanged.
Slacken and remove the shock absorber lower mounting nut (arrowed) . . .
. . . and slide off the washer and mounting rubber arrangement
4 From within the engine compartment, undo the retaining screws and remove the access cover from inside the wing.
5 Undo the four nuts and washers securing the shock absorber upper mounting bracket to the vehicle body (see illustration) .
Slacken and remove the four shock absorber mounting nuts and washers
6 Lift the shock absorber and upper mounting assembly upwards and out of position. As the shock absorber is removed, recover the inner washer and mounting rubber arrangement from its lower end – refer to the Note in paragraph 3 (see illustration) .
Lift out the shock absorber, and recover the second washer and mounting rubber arrangement from the its lower end
7 With the assembly on a bench, unscrew the upper mounting nut, and lift off the outer washer and mounting rubber arrangement – refer to the Note in paragraph 3 (see illustration) .
Shock absorber upper mounting nut
8 Separate the shock absorber and mounting, and recover the inner washer and mounting rubber arrangement from the upper end of the shock absorber – refer to the Note in paragraph 3.

Testing

9 Examine the shock absorber for signs of fluid leakage or damage. Test the operation of the strut, while holding it in an upright position, by moving the piston through a full stroke, and then through short strokes of 50 to 100 mm. In both cases, the resistance felt should be smooth and continuous. If the resistance is jerky, or uneven, or if there is any visible sign of wear or damage to the strut, renewal is necessary. Renew the complete unit if any damage or excessive wear is evident.
10 Inspect the mounting rubber for signs of damage or deterioration, and renew if necessary.

Refitting

11 Refitting is a reversal of the removal procedure, noting the following points:
  1. Ensure that all washer and rubber mounting arrangement components are positioned correctly. The flat (seating) washer should be fitted so that its flat face abuts the upper mounting bracket/axle (as applicable), and the slightly-cupped washer should be fitted with its concave side towards the rubber mounting (see illustration).
  2. Fit new shock absorber mounting nuts, and tighten them to the securely.
On refitting, ensure that the shock absorber mounting rubbers and washers are correctly positioned (upper mounting shown) 1 Shock absorber mounting 2 Shock absorber 3 Cupped washer 4 Mounting rubber 5 Flat (seating) washer 6 Mounting nut
Roadwheel nuts:
  Steel wheels 108 Nm (80 Ibf ft)
  Alloy wheels 130 Nm (96 Ibf ft)
  Heavy duty wheels 170 Nm (125 Ibf ft)
It is a similar procedure with the rear wheels. Check for wheel bearing movement, then remove the wheel
Check the condition of the rear brake discs
Locate the rear brake pads
Measure the brake pad wear thickness. If it is less than 2.0mm all rear pads need replacement. If you need to replace the rear pads, click below
- Close + Open

Rear brake pads replacement

Warning: Renew BOTH sets of rear brake pads at the same time – NEVER renew the pads on only one wheel, as uneven braking may result. Note that the dust created by wear of the pads may contain asbestos, which is a health hazard. Never blow it out with compressed air, and don’t inhale any of it. An approved filtering mask should be worn when working on the brakes. DO NOT use petroleum-based solvents to clean brake parts – use brake cleaner or methylated spirit only.
1 The rear brake caliper is similar to the front brake caliper. Pad renewal can be carried out as described in the link (see illustrations) . Note that on some models, shims will be fitted to the rear of the brake pad(s) (as applicable). Where this is so, note their correct fitted locations on removal, and ensure that they are correctly positioned on refitting (see illustration) .
Withdraw the pad retaining split-pins, then remove the anti-rattle springs (arrowed) . . .
. . . and lift out the pads
On refitting, ensure that the anti-rattle springs are correctly seated, and engage with the retaining split-pins as they are inserted
On vehicles from 2002 models year, coil type anti-rattle springs are fitted between the pads
On some models, shims are fitted to the rear to the rear of the brake pads Arrow shows normal direction of rotation
Take a good look around the brake system and suspension arm, checking for any leaks. Should the rear shock absorber need to be replaced, click below
- Close + Open

Rear shock absorber replacement

Removal

1 Chock the front wheels, then jack up the rear of the vehicle and support it on axle stands positioned underneath the chassis. Remove the relevant rear roadwheel.
2 Position a hydraulic jack beneath the rear axle assembly, then raise the jack until it is supporting the axle weight.
3 Slacken and remove the nut and outer washer from the shock absorber upper mounting (see illustration) .
Slacken and remove the shock absorber upper mounting nut and washer . . .
4 Unscrew the nut from the lower mounting, and slide off the outer mounting rubber and its washers, noting their correct fitted positions (see illustration) . Free the shock absorber from the axle, and recover the second mounting rubber and washer arrangement from its lower end.
. . . then unscrew the lower mounting nut, and recover the washers and mounting rubber
5 Remove the shock absorber from the vehicle, and recover the inner washer from its upper mounting.
6 If necessary, slacken and remove the retaining nuts and bolts, and remove the upper mounting bracket from the chassis.

Testing

7 Examine the shock absorber for signs of fluid leakage or damage. Test the operation of the strut, while holding it in an upright position, by moving the piston through a full stroke, and then through short strokes of 50 to 100 mm. In both cases, the resistance felt should be smooth and continuous. If the resistance is jerky, or uneven, or if there is any visible sign of wear or damage to the strut, renewal is necessary. Renew the complete unit if any damage or excessive wear is evident.
8 Inspect the upper mounting bush and the lower mounting rubbers for signs of damage or deterioration, and renew as necessary.

Refitting

9 Where removed, refit the upper mounting bracket to the chassis, and insert its retaining bolts and nuts, tightening them securely.
10 Fit the inner washer, then locate the shock absorber on the upper mounting bracket.
11 Fit the first mounting rubber and washer arrangement to the lower end of the shock absorber, positioning a washer on each side of the rubber. Engage the shock absorber with the axle, then fit the second rubber mounting and washer arrangement, followed by the retaining nut.
12 Refit the outer washer and upper retaining nut, then tighten both retaining nuts to the specified torque setting.
Roadwheel nuts:
  Steel wheels 108 Nm (80 Ibf ft)
  Alloy wheels 130 Nm (96 Ibf ft)
  Heavy duty wheels 170 Nm (125 Ibf ft)
Shock absorber:
  Mounting bracket nuts and bolts 64 Nm (47 Ibf ft)
  Upper mounting nut 82 Nm (61 Ibf ft)
  Lower mounting nut 75 Nm (55 Ibf ft)
Check the rubber exhaust mountings
Before refitting the tyres, take a look at the tyre tread. There is a UK legal requirement to have a minimum of 1.6mm remaining tread depth. Also check sidewalls for any kerb damage
Finally, check the condition of the spare wheel
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