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The only place for a coil spring is up Zebedee's arse.
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Joined: Jul 03 2018
Posts: 16

I didn’t want to hijack the other thread.... but I had mentioned in it that I will be going on my first off-pavement adventure in about a month. I’ve had my truck for about 2 years.... it has 167k miles on it currently. In that time, for general peace of mind (and eventual off road prep), I’ve changed the drive belt, diff fluid, trans filter/Xfer case fluid, rebuilt the EAS compressor and valve block. I’ve also replaced various cooling and vacuum hoses, plus a brake accumulator along the way. As of this past weekend, I have now flushed/bled the brakes, and have now replaced the radiator and thermostat along with fresh coolant. U joints do not appear to exhibit any play or odd movements. Mechanically, I feel the truck is about in as good a shape as it can be in. Granted, it was fairly well kept to begin with.

For spare parts, I will be taking the usual fluids, plus a spare drive belt, water pump, some hoses and the old T stat, a spare ignition coil, crank sensor, and I have spare air springs and spare air compressor, plus spare air spring hardware. Also some spare U joints. I have done the “one wheel” test to confirm the viscous clutch appears to be working. I also have a Nanocom, plus a Bluetooth OBDII scanner that gives me live data on my phone for any diagnostic needs.

For the purposes of taking it off pavement, I’ve added some front recovery points, factory brush and lamp guards, Terrafirma rock sliders, front diff/axle guard, and a rear diff guard. More protection would be nice, but as we know the aftermarket is limited, and my fabrication skills are lacking. I have obtained some 16” alloy wheels with Cooper Discoverer STT Pros (about 31”) for enhanced traction. The truck is currently riding on Bilstein shocks with what I believe to be are Arnott Gen II air springs. I bought it this way. Not sure how I feel about the Bilstein shocks, but the air springs at least appear to be in good shape but of unknown age. I try to wipe the bladders down whenever I’m under the truck to prevent any unwanted abrasions. Over the past few months I have acquired a complete set of new Gen III air springs. Was saving these as spares until one of the current ones decided to pop. But with the upcoming trip, I’m wondering if I would be better served to swap all of the new ones in? I just don’t know how kind the terrain will be to the current air springs.

I guess the point of all of my rambling is.... what else would you folks do? I have a small amount of generic off road experience as a passenger... but I’m interested to see if anyone has any P38 specific tips or driving techniques - both on the trail and anything else that might help me prep for my little adventure here. Fortunately I will be going with a local LR club... but I will likely be the only P38 present.

Cheers!

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Joined: Jul 12 2016
Posts: 922

The only prep I've ever done is to fit mud terrain tyres and raise the air suspension.

Worst I've ever suffered is a cracked front bumper. I'm not sure what kind of land you're going to be driving through but I've mainly been playing around in old rocky quarries, muddy hills/ruts and greenlanes.

You'll want to use low range and make sure you press the sport button. This puts it in to manual mode. If you leave the sport/manual button off it will still shift gears automatically for you. This could be catastrophic when going down a steep hill!

With manual mode off the car will auto-shift between all the gears UP TO the one you have the gear stick in, If you activate the manual mode it lock the gearbox in which ever gear you have the stick in.

For descents you'll want to lock it in first and avoid the brakes.

To go up a hill you'll want to lock it in third and use as little throttle as necessary. The traction control is excellent at scrabbling you up a hill with appropriate tyres.

If you find yourself beached on a rut try moving the steering left to right through the full steering range while applying some power. This will help the knobbly bits on the sides of your tyres to try and find some grip if you've worn away the mud below the tyre.

Wet grass is possibly the worst terrain you could encounter. It looks so innocuous but offers no grip AT ALL. I found the other week that the car WILL take off like a toboggan on a wet grassy slope. Even locked in first gear and using no brakes the tyres had so little grip they were sliding on the grass. Using the brakes made it worst as it caused the car to want to turn and I was worried it was going to roll over!

If you have the handbook for the car it has a section in it with some general advice for offroading. How to traverse side slopes etc. Worth a read if you have it.

As you're in America I have no tips if you're off rock crawling - that's rather different to anything I've done!

Enjoy your trip, take lots of photos and show us what you get up to!

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Joined: Dec 29 2015
Posts: 691

RTFM. There's a whole section in the manual on driving off road.

I use mine off road a couple of times a week at work, and I've found that Cooper Discoverer ATs were as good as anything else in all but really wet skittery mud.

I never bother with manual mode in the low box, just stick it in 3rd for going up hills and 1st going down, and D for everything else. It's really really important to remember that in 1st the sprag clutch in the gearbox is locked up so it won't try and "freewheel" down the hill! Try it in high range on a quiet bit of road or big empty car park - in 2nd or above as soon as you lift off the throttle the revs will drop and you get very little engine braking, but in 1st it'll stay locked together.

Just remember "As slow as possible but as fast as necessary", and you'll be fine. And there's *always* another route. You want the slowest easiest route, where you can.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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I'll echo what the others have said. If you actually look at the gearchange, it shows you little pictures, Low 1st for going downhill, Low 3rd for going up. My preparation for going off road would be much the same as my preparation for doing a 3,000 mile round trip, change the oil and filter, check the coolant level and tyre pressures and set off. If you have Arnott Gen 2 air springs, it might be worth changing them first as they have a reputation for being not that reliable, Gen 3 give the advantage of more travel but only if you change the shocks to allow it, But you don't really need any more travel. Think about it, the lowest point of the car is going to be the diffs and no matter how high you lift the bodywork, the diffs are still going to be the lowest point. Dunlops were designed for the car and work the best. Put the suspension on High if travelling slowly but remember it will automatically drop to standard at over 35 mph to lower the centre of gravity unless you press the inhibit button.

It also depends on how extreme the terrain you are going to be driving on and how far you anticipate going. I would think what you refer to as trails we would call dirt tracks, so nothing to worry about there. You will be astounded at what a P38 is capable of, you'll run out of balls well before it runs out of ability. If you are going with a LR club, chances are it will be you towing others out rather than the other way round. When I did my course at Land Rover it had rained for most of the previous week and the first thing I saw when I got there was a huge, rutted, muddy hill. My thought at the time was maybe in a Defender on big, knobbly, off road tyres but half an hour later I was driving up it in a completely standard Discovery 2 on road tyres. The instructor told us that a Range Rover on air was even more capable than the Disco and that was pretty damned impressive.

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Joined: Jul 12 2016
Posts: 922

If he's doing any proper offroading on much more than a mild slope in a field he very definitely wants to use low range manual mode - especially if inexperienced.

If he's on a serious slope and leaves it in high range it will change up through the gears as gravity takes over and the vehicle speeds up. He'll then be left to use the brakes to slow it down and this can be very dangerous on a proper slope, putting himself and anyone in front of him at risk. If the wheels lock up it will just slide away and lose an ability to steer or control the speed. ABS is of limited use in this situation.

He'll also want to use low manual for going UP hills too. If left in high range 3 the vehicle will start in 1st then change up to 3rd as it needs too, losing momentum and changing the load on the tyre. This will need the throttle input adjusted to compensate for the change in gearing. Get the throttle input change wrong and you'll spin the wheels and lose traction or slow down/lose more momentum. Low manual 3 and it will start from a standstill in low 3rd and won't try to change gear and he won't risk a loss of momentum or change in traction and he can apply a steady throttle.

High first is too highly geared for a safe descent on a big hill. I've been in situations where low first has been a tad too high too. Low first on a P38 is quite a bit higher than low first in a Defender.

Using high third for going up proper hills also puts far greater strain on the drivetrain as the gearing is higher. You risk breaking something expensive, especially if you're climbing something bumpy. The shock load going over a bump and coming down on the wheels can easily be enough to make a diff go bang in low range (I've seen it). Provided the diff or drive shafts don't go that load is transferred to the transfer case and gearbox. In high range you're using more throttle input turn the higher gears. The engine is pushing on the drivetraine a lot harder so there's a lot more resistance when the shock load goes back through the system.

Plodding around on relatively gentle fields/slopes in high auto is fine but if he's going on proper climbs and descents he really should be using low manual.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Nobody has said to use High, always Low range. Fully agree with you on High being too high. As you come into Dover on the A2, there's quite a steep downhill with a 30 mph limit, big signs telling you to use engine braking and emergency run offs. To keep the speed below 30 with a 3 tonne trailer on the back, I have to drop it down to High 2nd rather than risk cooking the brakes. Amusing to watch the temperature gauge plummet down to the blue bit as the engine is spinning at about 3,000 rpm but not firing too.

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Joined: Dec 29 2015
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RutlandRover wrote:

If he's doing any proper offroading on much more than a mild slope in a field he very definitely wants to use low range manual mode - especially if inexperienced.

Manual is just going to give you problems. Anything vaguely steep needs low range, but like I said I've never found manual to be useful.

If it actually was manual then it might be okay but all it does is start off in first then attempt to jump to the selected gear once the travel speed is high enough for it so you just end up screaming around the place in 1st all the time.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
Posts: 1478

As you're off-roading in the US I'd recommend looking at a US forum. Offroading in the UK is not the same thing and doesn't leave you with the potential to be stranded two days walk from phone coverage.
The Cherokee forums: www.cherokeeforum.com have regional forums which should help you out. They don't need to know you're in a Range Rover :)

The kit lists they recommend tend to be on the apocalyptic side and often start with an AR-15 or similar but there's also some very knowledgeable people on there.

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Joined: Apr 23 2019
Posts: 124

take your eka code :o)

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Joined: Aug 07 2019
Posts: 7

thing for first timers to watch out for (based on my experiences)
keep a good eye on unis, they tend to fail quickly on road vehicles that go bush?( their is a reason that this will happen)
use low range more than you think , it auto ,makes a difference.
to disconnect traction control just lift one off the wheel sensors, you will get abs fault on dash self reset when put back in place.(sand mode or for doing wheelies)
you didn't mention fuel, make shore you drain the bowsers before you leave you will need it, every drop
PS don't forget to have fun lots of it and don't go first .

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Joined: Jul 03 2018
Posts: 16

Thanks for the tips and advice guys. Yes, I plan on making a fuel stop and topping off once I reach the town near the park area. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to southern Ohio, but from what I remember it’s mostly trees, brush, with the occasional heavy foresty area. It will likely be mostly dirt trails with some rocky and muddy areas. I’m guessing not too much wide open space but I could be wrong since I have not been to this park before. I believe there are several shallow water crossings too.

As far as an EKA code, since mine is NAS, it may not have one from what I’ve read. I think I tried looking up once with the Nanocom but didn’t find anything.

If there is an open area where we’re at, I may take some time to mess with the gearing and the ‘manual to see how they interact - if I can find a safe area to do so. I have browned through my owners manual a bit in the section at the end. I will take a second look for some light reading here again haha.

Would you recommend leaving the front sway bar/anti roll bar connected as it is? I don’t know if disconnecting one end of it gives much gains in articulation? Maybe it’s a dumb question, but figured I’d toss it out there since it was on my mind.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Don't mess with anything, just leave it as Mr Land Rover intended. It's meant to be capable of going places lesser vehicles can't go. A lot of the modifications people do may be necessary on something like a Jeep but they aren't on a Land Rover.

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Joined: Jun 16 2018
Posts: 74

" I have browned through my owners manual "

!!! - Maybe take a good supply of loo roll with you to avoid using the OM in an emergency! ;0)

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
Posts: 1478

Gilbertd wrote:

Don't mess with anything, just leave it as Mr Land Rover intended. It's meant to be capable of going places lesser vehicles can't go. A lot of the modifications people do may be necessary on something like a Jeep but they aren't on a Land Rover.

Richard is a bit of a Land Rover zealot :)
With having a foot in each camp, I'm happy to report that Jeeps and Range Rovers are each very capable vehicles - just different flavours of the same ice cream :)

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Joined: Apr 23 2019
Posts: 124

maybe take a track rod end or two - they're small, and useful to have anyway. have you removed the ABS "skirt" from the bottom of the bumpers/ fenders