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April 2007 Annual Mendo list gathering at the Mendocino National Forest

The Green Rover in line for departure at Mendo 2007

Mendo 2007 was The Green Rover's first venture on a long distance weekender after her front disk brake and carb to EFI conversion. I convoyed to the camp site with Linus Tremaine and his Park Ranger.   For me, this trip was meant to be a conversion reliability test and not an off road trek and I found my share of problems.  Before this trip I found  problems with most of the used electrical EFI components I had purchased and replaced them but there was still a lingering problem I had not identified.  What better way to force the problem than long miles and a long hot hill climb.

Just before the climb into the park I had a minor engine compartment fire.  Linus and I were stopped checking the map when he noticed my Land Rover was on fire.   The left exhaust bank had been getting very hot and ignited brake fluid that had weeped from a pipe connection on top of the frame directly below the exhaust manifold.  A short spray from the fire extinguisher and the fire was out.  I evidently did not get one of the connections brake line quite tight enough when I installed the front disc brakes. 

My engine was heating up and running rough about half the way up the climb.  About 3/4 of the way up I needed to transfer fuel from one fuel tank to the other.  Early into the process the engine came to a sudden halt.  After some quick troubleshooting I discovered the problem was a blown 10 amp fuse providing power to the engine fuel pumps and the transfer fuel pump.  It was the first time I had all three pumps going at the same time.  Linus quickly came up with a 15 amp fuse.  I installed it, fired up the engine and the transfer fuel pump.  The 15 amp fuse held. I don't have the fuel pump power specs and had taken a low ball guess when I first installed the fuse. I like to start with low current fuses and only replace them with higher rating fuses when it is found that the current was too low.   One more teething issue down.

We made it the rest of the way into camp  OK, The engine was still running hot and rough.  Just as I was approaching my camp site my rubber hydraulic clutch line let go spewing fluid and leaving me clutchless.   Luckily I carry a spare hydraulic line and was not planning on taking to the trails this year.  I'm a firm believer in not taking a vehicle on the trail unless I think it is in good trail shape and reliable.  I knew mine still had one or more gremlins left in the engine compartment.   My plan had been to be a camp lizard, relaxing and visiting.  To that I added working on the Land Rover.  I tightened down the brake line connection which stopped the weeping and replaced the clutch line with my on-board spare.   I was back in business but no closer to knowing why the engine was overheating and running so rough.  I spent the rest of the weekend  reading and visiting.

Linus and I explored a different way out of the park going West when we left. The engine still ran rough and hot on the way out  as I alternately got us lost and found again depending upon junction markers or the lack of them and a map lacking in trail detail.   The engine got hot enough to melt my new clutch line which was about 6 inches away from the left side header, leaving me clutchless again.   I noticed that the insulation had melted off the subharness connecting to the left side O2 sensor shorting the wires to the sensor.

When we got down to a town, Linus and I parted ways as he needed to be at work the next day and I had decided to limp over to Granville's house for repairs.  Granville lives about 20 miles away from the town we had stopped at.  Linus gave me his spare hydraulic line for my repairs and after fuelling up, wished me luck and  and departed for home.  Luckily for me my geared starter motor could get the Land Rover's engine started in third gear so I was on my way.  When I got to a major highway I poked along then pulled over on a down hill section shutting the engine down.  I put the gearbox into fourth and with the help of the slope got the engine started in fourth gear and made it to Granville's where I spent a lovely time visiting, catching up on Granville's art projects, and shared Granville's birthday dinner.  Next morning I replaced the clutch hose and made it home without any other problems.

During the days that followed I purchased 3 new hydraulic clutch hoses, one to return to Linus, one to return to my spares kit and one to install on my Land Rover.  I replaced the slave cylinder while I was at it as the rubber boot had melted and the fluid came out with what looked like little chunks of rubber.  The new clutch hose is now sleeved in a high temperature insulating sleeve and the exhaust headers got wrapped as well.  I thought that it was significant to note that the left bank overheated badly melting everything nearby but the right bank showed no signs of overheating.  I installed an new O2 sensor on the left side since the wires and connector were burned & melted on the old one.  When I removed the O2 subharness to replace the melted left side connector  I discovered that the sensor signal wire for the left O2 sensor was broken off at the top connector.  AHAH!  The computer was not getting feedback from the left O2 sensor and was leaning out the left bank to alleviate what it thought was an over rich condition.  That's why the engine was overheating and everything was melting on the left side.  I rebuilt the harness and installed a check engine light so I will know the next time the computer thinks there is something wrong.  I was originally going to have a check engine lamp but had accidentally wrapped the wire I needed to tap for the light.  Rather than open up the harness I thought it would be OK to due without. I learned the errors of my ways.

I reassembled the harness and the engine still ran like crap.  I worried that I broke something with the overheated bank.  I pulled the plugs.  They looked like new.  I ran a compression test.  All 8 were within 5 lbs of each other. THe fuel pressure tested to be exactly what the manual said it should be. A vacuum test showed a good constant vacuum.  So no intake vacuum leaks.   I also noted that my newly installed check engine light went on for a few minutes then off every few minutes, indicating that something in the EFI system was going out of range.

Of all the used electrical components I had installed during the EFI conversion, the fuel injectors were the only parts that I hadn't replaced with new ones while fixing problems.    Testing for bad injectors was going to cost me close to the same as the cost of a new set of injectors, so I choose to just replace them and hope that was the problem.  I bought a new set of injectors from Summit Racing, installed them, fired the engine up and it ran smooth as could be.

It appears that my last elusive teething problems were: a brake line junction that was not quite tight enough, a broken connection from the left O2 sensor and bad fuel injectors. I had gone through multiple bottles of fuel injector cleaner before hand but they evidently did not do the job.  

The EFI conversion problems from first attempted start to this writing were: Bad EEC (bought used on ebay, DOA, replaced with a rebuilt unit), out of spec mass air flow sensor (bought used on ebay, replaced with new), Bad idle air valve (bought used on ebay, replaced with new), wrong throttle body for the EFI system (misadvertised on ebay, replaced with new), bad connection on the O2 subharness and a clogged/broken set of fuel injectors (bought used on ebay, replaced with new).  So no more used electrical components off ebay.  New personal rule.

At the time of this writing the engine is running as good or better than I ever remember it running, I now have a check engine light to inform me of anytime the engine thinks it is out of spec and I have learned that  the EFI  will keep the engine going in limp home mode with major problems and that I get 13 MPG highway while in limp home mode.   I feel confident that I know my fuel injection system well enough to troubleshoot most any problem I'm likely to encounter.

Oh, in the picture above, you might have noticed that the front right outer wing panel is off and there is a black box like thing bungee corded to the underside of the wing top. That's because I have yet to find a air filter that I like.  The black box is a temporary air filter.  The EFI system gives me the choice of putting the air filter inside the engine compartment directly behind the radiator or outside the right inner wing panel.  A Defender inner wing panel would increase my options. I'm evaluating different solution of putting an air filter on top of the wing panel or hanging it from the underside and having a prefilter on top of the wing.    After I decide on a solution and install it I will add the outer wing panel.


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