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VCU Replacement


jimmy86
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Hi again,

As some of you know from my previous post I am on the hunt for a freelander 1. Preferably a 2.0 diesel L series unless a particularly decent petrol comes along.

I have read that the vcu should be replaced at about 70k to prevent damage to the drive chain and ird. Is it a big job to do. Expensive from a garage or a possible diy?...cant say I'm that mevhanically minded.

Any ideas of costs and what's involved etc would be great.

Cheers

James

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It's easiest to remove the complete propshaft with vcu and bearings as a single unit.

I bought a reconditioned vcu from Bell Engineering for about £200. You have to send them your original, they cut it open, replace the fluid, and weld it back together properly. DO NOT be tempted to get a reconditioned one from the people advertising on eBay - they just send you someone else's that is probably in worse condition than yours!

You will also want to replace the vcu bearings (unless they're brand new) for about £40 the pair.

When I removed my vcu, I couldn't remove one of the bearings so I sent the whole thing to Bell and they did it for me.

I also replaced the universal joints while I had the propshaft off.

It's not a difficult job, and you don't really need to jack the car up to get at the propshaft, so safety isn't an issue. Just be aware that the propshaft with the vcu in the middle is quite heavy and you want to make sure it doesn;t drop on your foot (or other sensitive part of the body).

In total, it probably only took me 5 or 6 hours (including the u-joints, but excluding the turn-round time from Bell which was about a week or 10 days), so a decent garage ought to be able to do it in less, but if you go that route make sure you use someone with Land Rover experience.

Also remember, you can drive the Freelander without the propshaft in fwd-mode perfectly safely (unless it snows, of course) so it isn't laid up while you wait for the vcu to be reconditioned.

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By the way, I can heartily recommend the Freelander with the 2.0 L-series diesel. Yes, it's a bit sluggish and sounds like a tractor from the outside, but it does 80 happily on the motorway, gets 40mpg on a long run, it pulls my caravan (just) and with the back seats out the load space is enormous. It's a very simple engine with almost no electronics and virtually nothing to go wrong - just make sure the cambelt is changed when it's supposed to be - mine has done 127,000 miles and uses virtually no oil between changes. It's comfortable to drive (I have leather seats and air-con) and the four-wheel-drive with traction control is unbeatable in snow and ice. For someone like me, who has always maintained his own cars, it's perfect.

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You will also want to replace the vcu bearings (unless they're brand new) for about £40 the pair.
I would recommend splashing on genuine bearings, Bell will fit them for you if you ask which saves a job. Non-gen can be noisy and don't last as long. Britpart lasted ~2 weeks, the next set (Allmakes or BM I forget) lasted ~1 year.

I'd suggest reading back through the forum, your questions have been covered in great detail many times before.

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I would recommend splashing on genuine bearings, Bell will fit them for you if you ask which saves a job. Non-gen can be noisy and don't last as long. Britpart lasted ~2 weeks, the next set (Allmakes or BM I forget) lasted ~1 year.

I'd suggest reading back through the forum, your questions have been covered in great detail many times before.

100% agree. I found this out to my cost. For reasons that I won't go into, I had to replace just one of the bearings and had a pair of Britpart ones. I have now done it twice within 6 weeks and they're noisy again.

Foundry 4x4 are listing a pair of OEM GKN ones for £44.50 delivered!!!! Absolute bargain

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So is general opinion to wait till it starts having symptoms before changing it or do it before hand as a precaution?

Test it. Put a line of tipex across the join in the VCU and drive in a figure of 8. It shouldn't still line up if it's working. Reversing on full lock there should be a bit of resistance, but not too much (subjective I know).

If it's still working, leave it :)

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My 53 plate freelander TD4 has done 125k on the original VCU and I noticed when turning into the car park at work on full lock I could hear the back wheel scuffing. It happened a few days running so I jacked it up and tried to turn the VCU by turning the back wheel with a long breaker bar. At first I thought it was seized as I used a LOT of force and I could barely move it, then after a few attempts it freed up a bit. Not convinced though so have removed it for now. Its pretty useless in the snow in 2WD so I need to do something about it at some point. I think I'll send it to Bell Engineering anyway as it has by far exceeded its life expectancy.

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Is there anyone in the Derby, Leics, Notts area that would be able to give me a hand removing the prop on my freelander? Apparently its easier with a couple of people and have never really undertaken anything like this before.

Or is anyone able to offer a step by step guide as to how to do it? Do I need any special, axle stands or anything?

Am I correct in thinking that I don't need to put a blanking plate on if it is only short term?

Plan at the moment is to get the prop shaft off then drive to Bell Engineering and get them to fit a new VCU while I wait.

Thanks,

James

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Well I've got it booked in with Bell tomorrow evening to get it replaced by them. Saves me a job and doesn't cost a fortune to have them fix it. Worth it for the piece of mind a reckon. Still not 100% convinced its actually passed it but worth doing anyway at the cars done over 70k. Thanks for the advice guys. Now onto the the next thing on the list of bits that need looked into......

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