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R380 Woes


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Hi guys, new on here. I'm an Auto Engineering postgrad student at Cranfield Uni. I drive a South African import 1999 Defender 90 with a BMW 2.8i for anyone thats interested

I'm having some problems with my box... as it were. On monday the right hand side of the gate ceased to exist when I vainly tried to select 5th on the motorway.

It returned shortly afterwards when I went to park, and the realisation dawned on me that reverse had also parted company along with 5th (it was an early morning), and, when faced with pushing a 1.7 tonne Defender backwards into a parking space in the middle of my Uni, gave it the 'two hand technique' and wrenched it back across the gate.

I can now get both gears, although the stick sort of gets stuck to the right hand side of the central neutral position, so I sometimes need to give it a wiggle when changing from 5th to 4th. Apart from that it seems OK... and it still shifts better than our old LT77 one :D

I'm told its probably layshaft extension shearing off, disconnecting the two gears. The strange thing is... if its sheared off, how can I now select the two right hand gears at all after yanking it back in? It makes me want to think that maybe, just maybe, I wont have to spend £x00 on a new gearbox, and something temporarily got caught in the linkage, and giving a good yank has dislodged it, or bent something. Wishful thinking maybe, but there were no nasty noises to indicate things shearing off, and it was working perfectly moments before.

If I do need a new one, I don't suppose there are any 6 speeds that fit. I do a lot of motorway caterham towing, and it'd be nice not to be revving the nuts off it for hours on end. If anyone says overdrive, what are the frictional losses like on them?

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I had that problem with my R380, travelling along needed to drop to 4th, then back into 5th ---- gone nothing there, no unknown clunk or vibrations changed back to 4th & carry on, wasn't until later when I had to reverse then found that had gone off on holiday with 5th too, new gearbox, found out later my layshaft bearings had failed effectively disconnecting 5th/reverse from the gearbox,

sounds like your bearings are going & letting the layshaft engage/disengage when it feels like it, talk to Ashcroft Transmissions for a more informed reply, my new R380 came from here & it's superb :i-m_so_happy:

Welcome to LR4x4.com :)

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Welcome, be interesting to see some more about the 2.8 as I don't know of anybody else on the forum that has got one :)

Not sure about the problem but something to do with the layshaft shearing does ring a bell from some years ago :unsure:

What the Ashcrofts don't know about LR transmissions, you could write on the back of my ear, but whether they would do one for a 2.8 I don't know :unsure:

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Their website under R380 doesn't mention 2.8i BMW 6 cylinder engines but I'm sure Dave will be happy to advise/supply if able or even rebuild your gearbox.

Didn't get a chance today to ring, but should have a spare moment tomorrow. I'd guess the gearing is just the same as a Tdi. The only difference is the odd 2 part bellhousing. It would be nice to have my original box back though, as it hasn't really done very many miles. I'll stick some pictures in the members vehicles bit now and post the link

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very bling, has it ever been dirty? looks showroom condition in those pics.

could the gearbox fault be as simple as the grubscrew coming loose? where the gearstick goes into the box its locked to the selector shaft by a grubscrew. i know they have a habit of coming loose on LT77s i'd be surprised (knowning LR) if R380s didnt do the same.

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very bling, has it ever been dirty? looks showroom condition in those pics.

could the gearbox fault be as simple as the grubscrew coming loose? where the gearstick goes into the box its locked to the selector shaft by a grubscrew. i know they have a habit of coming loose on LT77s i'd be surprised (knowning LR) if R380s didnt do the same.

They do come loose on R380s (though not the later ones, not that I have seen anyway) but you lose all gears (sometimes ends up jammed in one gear) and you can stir the gear lever round in circles with apparently no gates or gears or anything :)

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Its not the grub screw, that happened to our old 2.5 petrol once, it got stuck in 3rd gear.

As for grubbyness... not often but it has had its moments! Bit of green laning in wales, a day in a quarry, and plenty of excursions into fields around where I live for various reasons, usually picking up logs. I wouldn't describe it as showroom, the paint is flaking in a couple of spots and has been keyed on the passenger side door, as well as a couple of dings from unpleasant people in supermarket car parks.

Its a good engine though, plenty of mid-range. The only problem with it is MOT emissions. Its pretty marginal and doesn't always pass as the cats are mounted a long way down the exhaust. I managed to get a letter from LRSA saying it wasn't built for the UK MOT, which effectively exempts it from the emissions test.

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Your engine has the same R380 as the others, but the xfer box ratios are lower because of the high-revving engine. I believe it is something like a 1.6 ratio as once fitted to the 2.5 petrol back in the old days. (For comparison, the normal Defender box is a 1.4 and the Disco box is a 1.2). We had one in the other day with a destroyed rear Rover 2-pin diff caused by the owner trying to do donuts. Maybe the engine has a bit too much power for the R380 as well.

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