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The nature of our sport takes us to far off and often remote places. As a result, help is also often far away. As 4x4 enthusiast, we are expected to be some what self reliant. No matter how well we are prepared for a trip, we should always expect the unexpected. We have had lots of discussion about safety equipment and recovery gears, so this will be a bit different. 

The aim of this thread is to start a discussion and draw on the experiences and ideas of members, especially those with many years off roading and those more mechanically inclined. What to do or techniques employed in the event of a mechanical breakdown or failure; EG when an engine overheats or when a clutch burns. Some might want to list items or spares that they carry on board. 

Listed below are some of the common problems and potential failures that we may encounter. We will update or add to the list as the discussion progresses. 

I am sure we will all find this information invaluable. 

>Loss of engine coolant 
a. carry some leak stop for radiator leaks 
b. carry various sizes of jubilee clip & duct tape ot tubes for temp hose repairs 
c. use a self tapping screw to plug hole 
d. egg in radiator known to stop leaks 
e. if leak is from heater matrix, clamp off supply line in eng bay. 
>Engine overheat 
a. stop the car & keep engine at idle if it doesn't further ovht 
b. use your heater system as 2nd radiator (ie turn AC off & heater on) 
>Burnt or burning clutch 
a. stop & let it cool 
>Failed clutch cable or hydraulics 
a. try engage 1st or 2nd, start & drive off. Try clutchless gear chg by varying eng speed 
>Overheating Auto Transmission 
a. stop & allow to cool, keep eng idling 
>Broken drive shafts 
a. remove & contune in 2WD 
>Broken diff or CVs 
a. Engage Ctr diff locks or engage 4 low to drive in 2WD. 
b. disconnect the 1/2 shaft & engage diff lock for 3WD 
c. disconnect fwd/aft drive shaft &/or hub lock to allow free wheel 
>Broken belts 
a. keep old belts as spare 
b. carry emergency belt kit 
>Power steering loss/leak 
a. if it's the hose try a patch & jubilee clips. 
>Broken brake flex lines 
a. cut off & plug pressure side with screw to prevent further loss, expect assymetric braking 
b. use vice grips upstream of leak 
>Blown fuses 
>Alternator failure
 
Swap battery with a friend or used 2nd batt if avail 
>Dead batteries 
>Broken windshield
 
a.if rear windshield, apply plastic bag. exhaust fumes get drawn in the rear whilst moving 
>Broken suspension 
a. use block of wood & lots of tie wraps 
>Major oil loss 
>ECU faults
 
a. try remove and reset fuses 
b. try remove battery connector for a min & reconnect, turn key to on (dont start), turn off, now start.

17.05.2014
 
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  •  jeepler: 
     
    While not an everday event, heater leaks can and do happen - I have personally experienced 2 such leaks (and before any chorus starts, not on the same brand of vehicle as in this event), and given the sometimes rough treatment vehicles are subject to offroad, there is an even greater chance of this happening than on a road vehicle.

    I suggest that it is prudent to carry the means therefore to stop such a leak should it occur, and the simplest way is to cap off or block the two hoses within the engine bay.
    This could be done using two blanking plugs with suitable hose clips (Jubilee type) after either removing the hoses from the bulkhead fittings, or by cutting; or by the use of some clamps which will close the two hoses by compression. 'G' clamps with some small metal channels to spread the load would work, or square section 'U' bolts.

    Another more complicated measure would be to fit shutoff valves permanently in the heater lines. This last measure would have another potential benefit in that heater valves sometimes do not shut off completely and the AC is fighting against the heater, so in this case shutting off the heater system completely would result in a more efficient AC system.

    Another consideration while on this subject is early warning of coolant loss. Once the coolant is low and below the level where it covers the temperature sensing element, the temperature guage will not register the overheat and the indication may be normal - until you notice power loss associated with impending engine seizure. One way to get an early warning is to fit a monitoring system in your cooling system. You could do this by fitting a system from another vehicle such as the one fitted to Range Rovers, or by using a 'one size fits all' after market system.

    Happy (and cool) offroading!
     
     17.05.2014 
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  •  jeepler: 
     
    davidOffline
    Post subject: Items to carry PostPosted: Nov 28, 2008 - 01:31 PM

    Learning from the experience of one of our colleagues, it seems sensible to carry the means to cap off the heater hoses on your vehicle, especially if you are going deep into the desert where recovery is difficult.

    To recap on the event, a heater coolant leak caused a loss of coolant in the engine cooling system while on a trip through Liwa. Assisting vehicles were not able to tow the stricken vehicle up the steeper climbs on the exit route so the stricken vehicles' engine was kept running to assist at these times. This caused overheating and eventual seizure of the engine.

    If you are not familiar with your vehicles' heating arrangement, it will have two pipes running from the engine or adjacent parts of the engine cooling system, to fittings on the bulkhead, carrying hot water to the heater unit behind the dashboard. The heater will have a shutoff valve inside the dashboard area, but only in the hot water entry line - not the cool (er) return line. Therefore any leak in the heater radiator, even if your heater is off, will deplete the engine cooling system, and if you don't stop the engine smartly, will result in engine overheating and seizure as in this case.

    If you can cap or close the heater hoses, you can top up your coolant and proceed as normal as the engine is now isolated from the leaking heater.
     
     17.05.2014 
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  •  jeepler: 
     

    AnimalOffline
    Post subject: PostPosted: Nov 24, 2008 - 12:39 PM

    Water will suffice if you run out of clutch or brake fluid. Just take it easy as it tends to boil quite quickly.
     
     17.05.2014 
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  •  jeepler: 
     
    cols110Offline
    Post subject: PostPosted: Nov 21, 2008 - 04:01 PM

    I drove a CF Bedford van back from Turkey to the UK with no back brakes and a pair of vice grip clamping the rear flex above the diff after both rear slave cyclinders started leaking.

    As for broken suspension you can normally get out of trouble if it is just a spring by leaving it sit on the bump stop, the same van as above we snapped a front spring and shock in Romania and it made it back to the UK on the bump stop. If it is a wish bone or similar you are in a bit more trouble.

    Cols, what was this? Wacky races?

    Not quite mate, there were 4 lads in it on a 5 month beer drinking trip of Europe when I was a bit younger and stupider, all of us were quite mechanically minded, we just never got around to fixing it as it just kept on going which was quite amazing, on the front of it in big letters made out of 2 inch tape we had named it the "Busted Arse Bus" as it was litterly falling to pieces, we got pulled over by a couple of Coppers in Austria who did`nt have a sense of humor and even un-clipped their pistols when they saw the screw driver we had hanging out of the ignition after the ignition barrel had failed but after explaining the situation they saw the funny side of it and let us go on our way again.

    We ended up selling it to a scrappy in the UK for 50 quid when we got back which got us a couple of rounds of drinks, so that was a bonus.

    I would love to do the Plymouth to Dakar race in an old banger that you have to try and hold together for the duration of the race, then leave it at the other end for the charity auction.
     
     17.05.2014 
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  •  jeepler: 
     
    JT wrote:
    Any suggestion for

    1. a starter relay failure? direct battery +ve to starter perhaps? anyone tried that.

    Start relay no probs, this photo is a typical starter set up, remove the small wire with the spade connector and the use a screw driver or similar to touch both the small spade terminal to the main power lead, this will directly pull in your start solinoid, if you cant get a screw driver in then a piece of wire directly to the spade then to you battery or other power source will pull it in. You get a few sparks trying to get a good contact between them both with a scerw driver, but no harm is done.

    Driving without a battery works once the vehicle is started just make sure you insulate the positive battery terminal so it is`nt flapping around and shorting onto the body, but with modern vehicle it is not recommended as you have more chance of voltage spiking your ECU, where the battery will normally help maintain a more constant voltage and dampen voltage spkikes.

    Fuel pump depending on the vehicle older ones are easier to bodge but newer vehicles with integral pumps in the fuel tank can be very hard, for example my fuel pump has 4 outlets, LP, HP, LP retrun, engine return it also runs at approx 60psi and this pressure is also monitered by the ECU so a low pressure will probably effect the engine but you might get out of trouble. It probably safer to carry a spare pump.
     
     17.05.2014 
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  •  jeepler: 
     
    JonOffline
    Post subject: RE: Breakdowns & Mechanical failures PostPosted: Nov 21, 2008 - 12:57 AM
    Founder

    Here's another one for you - two cars - one working battery and no jump leads. This happened to me in July 1996. We took the bad battery out, put the good battery in, started the vehicle and then put the good battery back in its original place and drove both vehicles out of the desert!

    Should have had jump leads I know, but we didn't.
     
     17.05.2014 
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  •  jeepler: 
     
    JTOffline
    Post subject: RE: Breakdowns & Mechanical failures PostPosted: Nov 20, 2008 - 08:46 PM

    Any suggestion for

    1. a starter relay failure? direct battery +ve to starter perhaps? anyone tried that.

    2. plug or ignition failure

    3. fuel pump failure
     
     17.05.2014 
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  •  jeepler: 
     
    cols110Offline
    Post subject: PostPosted: Nov 20, 2008 - 10:30 AM

    >Broken brake flex lines
    a. cut off & plug pressure side with screw to prevent further loss, expect assymetric braking

    For a quick fix a pair of vice grips on the flex line works well as well, I drove a CF Bedford van back from Turkey to the UK with no back brakes and a pair of vice grip clamping the rear flex above the diff after both rear slave cyclinders started leaking.

    As for broken suspension you can normally get out of trouble if it is just a spring by leaving it sit on the bump stop, the same van as above we snapped a front spring and shock in Romania and it made it back to the UK on the bump stop. If it is a wish bone or similar you are in a bit more trouble.
     
     17.05.2014 
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  •  jeepler: 
     
    SharkyOffline
    Post subject: PostPosted: Nov 20, 2008 - 09:49 AM

    Hi Range or Low Range Eggs Laughing
     
     17.05.2014 
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  •  jeepler: 
     
    JonOffline
    Post subject: RE: Breakdowns & Mechanical failures PostPosted: Nov 20, 2008 - 09:17 AM
    Founder

    There's also the very old trick of cracking an egg in the radiator if it's leaking. It does work!
     
     17.05.2014 
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