Killing few bugs in one strike – land rover series III – Starter motor upgrade

Few days ago I have to manually crank the engine of land rover series III, due to malfunction of the starter system… as I said earlier there are a lot things can go wrong, it is expected from vehicle with more than 30 years old. So I need to investigate few things:

  1. Key ignition works OK,
  2. Starter motor, So and So but it works
  3. Battery need to replace with newer one (but still have some power to crank the engine)
  4. Starter solenoid is not good
  5. Cables and negative ground is loose and rusted in few places

Few things failed at the same time will be very difficult to fix in short time or on the road, just to give illustration how the starter system in land rover


Actually it is very straight forward… but it need big cables everywhere, because the current is quite big, cables from battery to soleniod to starter (big red cables) has to be able to handle 250 amps… . Can you imagine if the contact is loose, the cable will not deliver enough current to turn the starter motor, and the cables become hot (in fact I saw the rubber/ insulation get burned) especially near contact point.

This set up is using old technology, now I want to upgrade it to newer technology where the it will more efficient, simpler, less wear and tear and easier to maintain…. this following video is explaining what is the advantage and dis advantage of the three starter motor types… (6 minutes video), which I strongly sagest you to watch it before continue reading this article…

Of course I want the latest technology hence I opt for Hi Torque gear reduction type… and here is the set up:

hitorque starter  From the above diagram, seems that  it involved more cables than the original set up, however there are few benefits using this set up:

  1. The current to ignition key is much  smaller only 0.5 amps hence less likely to burn the cable inside the cabin (saver)
  2. There are additional relay which will handle higher current (30 amps instead of 250 amps), if the relay fail, it is very easy to replace. only less than 1 minute job (easier to maintain)
  3. Solenoid is still there but become one with the starter motor (simpler)
  4. If you watch the video, you will understand that the new starter motor will draw less amps and because it “pre engage” it will less likely damaging the flywheel
  5. I am also change the old cables on the ignition system with bigger and better cables

The actual comparing side to side with the old starter motor as as below


So… that is the upgrade, and  I am pretty please with it… Now starting the engine is very pleasant is much smoother and easier… it works first time, any time and every time . Gives me smile when I turn the engine on. I may be will not need the manual crank handle anytime soon, but I keep it ready in its place just in case…

Is it the end of the story..? NO.. far from it, one thing that I remember from the school back then is… we need to know what is the route cause… and certainly this upgrade is not addressing the route cause on why the Landy suddenly stop in the middle of the road… without addressing the real problem, this upgrade will become useless.

So stay tune.. more on this later

Cost of upgrade : US$ 350

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