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Land Rover Defender common problems (2005-2017)

Land Rover Defender

Talk about long-lived. There are mountains with shorter lifespans than the Land Rover Defender, a car that can trace its origins back to the 1940s.

It was designed from the outset to be rugged and comparatively simple, and that philosophy continued right up to the end of the original Defender’s existence. And that makes it the perfect choice of vehicle for the home mechanic because it’s the sort of car you fix with tools, not a laptop.

The good news is that parts are in plentiful supply and aren’t expensive, so it makes sense to repair any issues yourself and avoid the dreaded garage labour bill. That’s where Haynes can help, because the Defender manual can guide you through pretty much any repair you’ll need to carry out.

Land Rover Defender

What recalls has the Land Rover Defender been subject to?

The Land Rover Defender is a simple, rugged machine, so it hasn’t actually been recalled very often. And given that Land Rover has had a few decades to get it right, this shouldn’t really be a surprise.

In 2007, 28,178 cars were recalled because of a faulty transfer ’box output shaft, which could allow oil to leak onto the rear brake linings.

Then 2666 cars were recalled because the front axle tube could fracture over time, causing front wheels to detach.

A faulty seatbelt mounting bracket caused another recall, because it could fail in an accident – precisely the moment you don’t want it to.

In 2014, it was found that fixing bolts for the front and rear hub assemblies were not to spec; the concern was that these could break, causing a loss of control.

The front brake flexible hose was found to be chafing against the brake disc to hub bolts, with an attendant risk of sudden brake fluid loss, causing an inability to stop.

Land Rover Defender

What common problems does the Land Rover Defender have?

Some owners have reported a problem in which the engine of their Defender continues to run even after the ignition has been switched off.

The Defender has also been found to be prone to a leaky brake vacuum pump, and the Defender’s clutch and gearbox are also known to give the odd bit of grief.

Defenders are designed for use off the beaten track, but some owners have reported that the car generates an odd knocking noise when being driven off-road. A faulty sump is the cause.

And owners have also had cause to complain about the accuracy of the fuel gauge in their Defenders.

Land Rover Defender

Why won’t my Land Rover Defender switch off?

If you’re driving along in your Land Rover Defender, and suddenly notice that the engine speed is increasing of its own accord, the first thing you’re going to try to do is pull over and switch off. Except that even when you turn off the ignition, the engine continues to run.

Is this witchcraft? Demonic possession? Well, not quite.

The problem is that during the diesel particulate filter’s regeneration process, the engine oil can become diluted with fuel, especially if the car is being run on poor-quality diesel.

The solution is to replace the engine oil and oil filter, which is a procedure covered in depth in the Haynes Defender manual. So, just invest in the parts required and you’ll be back running (and stopping) smoothly before long.


Land Rover Defender

Does the Land Rover Defender have vacuum pump problems?

The last thing you want is to suffer a problem with the brake vacuum pump, but that can afflict the Land Rover Defender on occasion. If you notice that you suddenly need to exert more pressure on the brake pedal to get the car to stop, the vacuum pump is a good place to start investigations.

This is because it is known to spring the odd oil leak.

The only solution is to remove the faulty old unit and replace it with a new one (part number: LR014973) plus a gasket (part number: LR004381).

That’s when your Haynes Defender manual will be a vital assistant, because the whole procedure is covered in great depth. Just follow the steps and you’ll soon be stopping quickly and smoothly once again.

If you want to know how to service the cooling system on your Land Rover Defender, just watch our FREE video below.

Land Rover Defender

Why is changing gear difficult in your Land Rover Defender?

The clutch and gearbox on the Land Rover Defender get a harder time than most, so it’s no surprise that the clutch is known to fail on occasion.

You’ll know when it is, because you’ll suddenly find that more effort is required to get the gearbox to do what you want it to – namely shift up and down through the ratios smoothly.

Of course, the only solution is to replace the clutch (part number: URB500080). It’s not going to be the work of a moment, but just sit down, study the in-depth procedure contained in your Haynes Defender manual, and start twirling those spanners. You’ll be back on the road before long, and you’ll have saved hundreds of pounds that would otherwise have gone to your local garage.

Land Rover Defender

What’s that knocking noise from under the Land Rover Defender?

Hearing a disconcerting knocking noise from underneath your Land Rover Defender while you’re driving it off road is going to be quite a cause for concern. This is mainly because it might sound like something’s about to fail, and if you’re off road you’re naturally a long way from rescue. You don’t want to face a long trudge through the undergrowth.

However, the problem isn’t as serious as it sounds, although you’ll want to sort it quickly. It’s caused by contact between the driveshaft and the engine oil sump, and tends to happen in moments when the vehicle’s axle articulation is being tested.

Land Rover has developed a reshaped sump (part number: LR007598), so you’ll need to drain the oil, remove the old sump, clean up the old sealant, then fit the new sump. As ever, we’ve already done this, so you just need to follow the steps as we guide you through the procedure.

Land Rover Defender

How much fuel is in your Land Rover Defender?

The Land Rover Defender is some way off what you might call economical, so it pays to always know exactly how much fuel is in the tank.

However, that has proved to be somewhat problematic in some examples, which have fuel gauges that either display the incorrect fuel level or flap about like a flag in the breeze. Not ideal.

The problem is a faulty fuel level sensor, so you’ll need to remove the fuel pump from the tank, then replace the sensor with a new item (part number: YAD500040).

This is actually easier than it sounds, so just follow the steps we’ve laid out for you, and you’ll soon know exactly how much motion lotion you have left in the tank.

Land Rover Defender