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Struggling through puddles


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So its never just 1 thing at a time with my defender! The engine is clearly getting upset at the attention the axle is getting just now!

Took the car out today and all seemed fine! Spent yesterday cleaning the front passenger side brake as its full of grease and I need the car before the parts arrived. I also fixed the handbrake which was sticking on recently so a semi-successful day for me.

Today I went through a puddle, a big one but I have been though deeper and bigger before with no problems. It wasn't a road closed puddle. Any car could have got through it. I maybe went a little fast though it but thats the fun part of driving through puddles!

Anyway the car lost all engine power or so it seemed. Almost like the engine went silent, hard to tell what was happening (I was having a panic!). It cleared and stuttered a little more for maybe another 30 seconds.

All was fine after that but I've no idea what happened. When I got home it seemed fine. I have some ideas but no idea if these are logical.

1. Water was getting into the diesel supply

2. The clutch was getting wet and slipping?

3. Water got into the handbrake and somehow jammed it up messing the diff and the power distribution to the axles

I prefer option 1 though as when I lifted the bonnet expecting to see something missing there was a coating of diesel around the FIP. I changed it out about 10 months ago and don't remember there being diesel spilt on anything. Also if it had I would have expected it to be gone 10 months later. The cable to the stop solenoid was probably the worst covered. I looked for obvious leaks but nothing obvious. I also gave the cable a shake to see if that done anything but nope.

My thinking is if I run the engine and then spray a fine mist of water around that area and see if anything happens. If it stutters again I know I have some kind of leak.

Anyone have any other ideas as Im currently stumped

S

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Has it got a viscous fan shear wait of water may of stalled the engine as the water went through the fan. Plus the spray of water could of interrupted the electrics. I doubt water got into the diesel as if it did you'd have other issues that would still be present.

Mike

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No fan fitted. Well there is but its electric. The connector is a little lose and has caused problems before (After I changed the FIP) but has been fine for 3/4 months now. I just a went a look with a torch in the dark and I have a leak on the return pipe between the injectors and the FIP. Which explains the diesel mess everywhere.

Could water have got in there, went into the fuel pump and back to the engine? Or does all the returned fuel go straight back to the tank or can it be recirculated?

Cheers

S

Also I did stutter for a while after passing through the puddle. And it came and went, so it wasn't just during the puddle. I think the puddle caused the problem but it was longer lived. So it affected something. And it looks like it needed time to drain out or clear away before it got back to normal. Also pushing on the accelerator done nothing. Didn't increase speed or change engine noise. I don't know if the engine cut out or not. It obviously kept turning as I was in gear and moving.

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So it happened again today. After driving almost a 50 mile round trip on the way back about 1 mile from home it started losing power. I was in 4th at the time but it happens in all gears. Pressing the clutch in lets the engine rev again. When the clutch is out the car struggles to drive and kangaroos. At first I thought the handbrake could be getting stuck causing the car to kangaroo but nope.

My thoughts are gearbox or transfer box. Since with the clutch pedal pushed in the problem goes. The car does freewheel downhill fine out of gear so I'm thinking gearbox? Does anyone have any ideas what to look at our where to even start?

Cheers

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I would be checking the earth straps and the wiring to the stop solenoid, it could be shorting under engine movement while giving drive, I can't see how it would be gearbox.... but happy to be proved wrong(!) :)

Check the voltage at the solenoid while running, then go wiggle some wires around (a LOT!) to see if you can reproduce, check the solenoid wire along it's whole length.

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If it was the electric why would it sort its self as soon as I pressed in the clutch pedal? If I pushed the accelerator hard I got the car to move, pushing the clutch in while having the accelerator pushed down caused it to rev fast like changing gear without taking your foot off the accelerator. As soon as I lifted the clutch it bounced around and struggled.

Ive just been out and checked all the axles and props move fine and as expected. Handbrake isn't jamming on either. Engine runs fine and wiggling every connection between the FIP stop solenoid and the back of the barrel hasn't turned up any problems. Ive even tried spraying water on the connections to recreate the effect but I can't. I could re-run the power cable to the solenoid but I have no way of telling if thats the fault as the engine is running fine.

Im hoping it is something as simple as that and its just a big coincidence that pushing the clutch in returns the engine to normal. Also while going through the puddle a few days ago seemed to create this problem for the first its been fine since then (around 60 miles) and then its happened again today and for a longer period of time and without any big puddles. Some rain but thats pretty normal up here.

S

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sounds like a fuel supply issue.

No load (clutch disengaged) requires much less fuel, and thus the engine might rev easily with the clutch in, but not have sufficient fuel supply to actually drive the vehicle.

It could still be electrical, if the stop solenoid was somehow intermittent it'd have similar effect.

Have you tried wiggling the whole harness around rather than specific connections? especially in areas where it naturally moves between the engine and body?

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I do have a small leak on the fuel spill pipe between the engine and the FIP and have a new pipe on the way but with that being on the return side and it seems to be spraying diesel out and not sucking anything in I doubt its that? But happy to be told otherwise.

I wiggled it a lot around the bulkhead where it passes through incase it was shorting as it passed through.

Fuel supply wise, it had a new FIP pump fitted last February time along with a new Delphi (I think) lift pump. All been fine since and haven't had any problems.

While it seems unlikely to be the gearbox is there anything I can do to check that? I obviously don't want to be taking it out or anything though!

I will go out again and try wiggling the cables more especially around the bulkhead and where there could be a chance it rubbing against anything.

S

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Another update. Been out and wiggled more cables, checked battery connections, checked grounding cables, wiggled cables behind the fuses, wiggled behind the dash, wiggled looms and nothing. However its obvious the cable for the solenoid is an addition. It looks like it beens wired in green & yellow earth flex. and once it goes into the loom I lose it and have no idea where it reconnects.

My plan is to wire an additional 12V supply to the solenoid but have it switched. Then drive around on the most pot hole filled roads I can find and see if I can get the car to struggle. If and when it does I turn on the extra 12V supply to the solenoid. If the problem goes away its the supply if its stays its something else.

Since getting home I have moved the car around, not far though, just down my drive and then up and down it hoping to recreate the problem and it has been acting fine. When I pulled up outside my house earlier it struggled to get up the street. But seems fine now.

Oh I also bleed the fuel filter, it took 3 pumps of the fuel lifter to get all the air out. Don't know if thats normal? Could this leak in the fuel spill pipe be leaking air into somewhere I don't want it? And if so why so randomly, wouldn't it cause bad running all the time?

S

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I changed the lift pump less than a year ago and fitted a Delphi one. Where are the breathers on the tank? It's a 1986 90. I've looked under the drivers seat but couldn't see anything.

I'm about to head out and rewire the stop solenoid and change the fuel filter.

S

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So another update, I went out and added a secondary switched supply to the FIP stop solenoid so if the car did start to bounce around I could switch on this secondary supply, if the problem went away then theres my fault. If it didn't go away then I have another problem. Been out driving for over an hour and nothing happened.

I drove over the bumpiest road I could find, up and down plenty of speed bumps, even drove the road it happened on last time and nothing. If it was fuel supply related I would have expected some kind of reaction with an hour of driving?

- So it was a lose connection to the FIP and Ive fixed it while attaching the 2nd supply.

- It was the air in the filter and bleeding that sorted the problem

- Its more intermittent than I thought

My plan tomorrow is to try spraying some water around the fuel lines, since going through a puddle was the first thing to trigger it. Other than that I am at a loss. However I don't think its the gearbox now. It sounded fine and there was no weirdness from it at all.

S

Just another quick question, this leaking return pipe, would it cause any problems, other than the diesel thats all over the place? It starts fine and its had plenty of cold starts. Just wondering if this is messing with the fuel system some how. I have replacement pipe on its way but was just wondering if it can cause any other problems than long cranking sessions in the morning?

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it could be drawing air in from your leaking pipe, not really sure.

On my isuzu i had a hole in the fuel line on the top of the tank, but it did the opposite of yours. It wouldnt idle worth a carp, revs bouncing all over the place, you had to keep the throttle down to keep it running. But under load it was fine. Worst case you'd accellerate away after being on overrun and it and gave a small delay while the air cleared and then get full power again. Oddly it didnt leak fuel, was just enough rust covering it that meant it drew air in but didnt leak any fuel out.

Was easy to figure out though as it was always happening at idle, so i hooked up a jerry can into the fuel filter instead of the tank and the problems vanished.

The point above about blocked tank breather is a reasonable one, would only effect longer journeys if that was the case, as it would take time to pull a vacuum in the tank...

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I appreciate you bled the air from the fuel filter head, but has the filter itself been changed recently.

Whenever I have this kind of problem with tractors, a new filter is the usual fix.

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Has your 1986 90 always been a diesel?

If so it should have a fuel sedimenter as well as a fuel filter.

The sedimenter on a early 110 is on the outside of the left hand chassis rail next to the tank. I don't know where it sits on a 90.

A lot of people forget to clean the sedimentor regularly and when its full of gunk it will cause fuel starvation.

Eric

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It has always been a diesel but not sedimenter. I followed the lines yesterday from the tank to the lift pimp checking for leaks or kinks and there's only a fuel filter.

The fuel filter does have a sedimenter fitted though. I'm going to change the fuel filter this morning before I head to work.

S

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Leaking return lines will cause some problems, but usually more associated with starting - a leak will allow the fuel to drain back down to the tank when the engine is off, so the system has to self purge before the engine will fire. This includes those irritatingly perishing-prone black braided hoses that join the injectors (have a roll of that 4mm hose handy from Halfords; it's far cheaper than buying the whole assembly from LR and is a simply cut and fit affair needing only a pair of scissors to do).

I agree that the biggest factor is likely to be bad wiring or a loose terminal on the wiring to the fuel injection pump, displaced by hard water splashing into the engine bay. That kind of playing can cause considerable damage and, and potentially a loss of control (aquaplaning or even shearing the steering rods), so don't do it on the roads. Do whatever you like on private land.

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If you've cj angled the fuel filter then you may have found the issue, it sounds like a fuel starvation issue to me, I had a similar issue but more extreme and less intermittent but the same symptoms, fuel filter was full of horrible gunk, as much as where you were driving the truck at the time could have been a factor, don't get too hung up on that, as it could have been chance. Diagnose from the actual symptoms... which to me suggest fuel starvation.

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