Land rover series suddenly stopped… (mogok)

Few days ago I have little incidence that make me quite confuse… The Dolly Parton suddenly (name of the landy) stopped, no sign, no clue no warning, no coughing, no nothing… it just stop dead, it happened just after I refill the fuel… So there is no way it lack of fuel.

The Landy is just stopped…

So what to do..? having landy for few years you kind of know what is potentially went wrong.. so I did few several tests… hope that it will help you in the future if you have the same case…

Something that we need to understand is… rarely landy stop dead because of the engine.. most of the times it caused by two things:

  1. Electrical problem
  2. Fuel problem…

So I run few test as below (click for a bigger picture):

Three simple test to Check the electric fault… if just click for larger file

Now from this test I know that there is three possibilities:

  • The coil is dead
  • the distributor is dead / faulty
  • and no current from key starter

But which one is it..? the easiest is to check “whether there is current from the key starter…” by jump starting the coil like the following…:

Jump starting the coil, by passing the current from dashboard by directly connecting it to the positive battery…

The engine can not be started… so I still left with three possible problems… but I know for sure that either the coil and or distributor is faulty… so next step is to open the distributor cap… mine is using electronic distributor and …

Found that a one cable is loose, not connected properly… re connected again and start the engine.. voila.. engine runs… Picture is for illustration only (I have no time to take picture at that time)

I  thought that this is the end of story, so I disconnect the cable jumper… like so..

mogok 6
 after disconnected… the engine is dead again…!! 

Alas.. after disconnected, the engine is dead again.. means that there is other potential problem causing the engine dead.

First thing first need to check the fuse by using test light.. and sure enough I found out that the second fuse from the top  is dead… and I have to improvise the fuse using cable strand like the following…

Improvised fuse…!!! :)


And I pray that no other problem… turning the key starter… and voila…  I hear the engine purring happily…  :), thats it folks… Happy landying… I hope never happened to you but if your landy start playing tricks.. you know what to do


Cheers for now..



Electronic Ignition – A Little Incident

Electronic Ignition can be considered as upgrade from point contact ignition, but which one…? a lot of option out there, but for me I choose the cheap(ish) option ( but not the crap by all means)… Powerspark from SimonBBC… the consideration is: the technology is already mature, the improvement will not be much different with the point breaker anyway, and I might go for Megajolt route later so I do not want to spend big money here. I ordered this item, a Chinese copy of Lucas distributor 45D4… well Lucas is well known as prince of darkness anyway, what can be worst from that…

45DsimonCut the story short, I have received the item in a good condition and installed it about two  months a go… I feel bit of improvement compare to the old distributor (not sure if this is only psychological or actual), it works.. so no more maintenance… or so I thought…

One month later, when I happily driving around the town… I heard a noise from the engine bay and the engine stopped… just like that… ooh, Dolly is playing another “guess what when wrong this time” kind of quiz again…!

I opened the bonnet and checked few things, I saw the distributor cup is no longer properly clamped or loose, and the rotor arm is not in the place it should be… ah.. this is the problem… “Common Dolly, you insulting my intelligent… this is too easy….” I said to Dolly (if you see a landy owner talking to his /  her car, consider it as normal… we do that all the time :)). Easy fix, just put it back I will be going in no time… me think… but it seems I under estimate dolly in giving a hard quiz…  the engine is not starting… it crank OK but not starting…

Another look at the distributor, it is clamped alright now, slightly loose but clamped by both clip, tried again cranking again the engine.. same result…so  this is the time more thorough investigation is needed.  I checked the inside of the distributor…

The Cup… although cosmetically no problem I found something strange… here is the pict:

Yap the spring is broken…

So no wonder the electric current can not be transferred from coil to spark plug, because no connection to the rotor arm …  it should have something like this…

original 45D4 cup distributor

But what about the rotor arm..? it too seems badly “injured”… here is the pict..


What the hell has happened… I am checking the internet and seems no one is having the same issue, so I accept it that this might be my fault during installation, somehow it is probably not properly clamped, the cup is loose, and *Bang* the rotor may be hitting the one of the aluminum post  inside the cup, the rotor stop moving but the mighty force of the engine pushing it further and the plastic broken, and so on and so on…

I finally replaced the rotor arm and the cup from the original dizzy which I always bring for the spare… I fired up the engine no problem,  and I can go  home safely… seems that the main unit is OK…

I talk to Simonbbc and ask whether this type of “accident” is covered by his warranty… He kindly agree to send the replacement… great service… no wonder he has 100% satisfied customer in ebay. Now the original distributor cup is still being used waiting replacement from Simon…

Cheers for now…

Dissapointing dyno result – Solved..!

This few days, I can not sleep and eat.. I wish I did not do the Dyno.. :). But that is the beauty of having old car, this problem is actually a lot more interesting than problem in the office, you do not know what is wrong… it just does not work as expected but the good thing is almost everything under our control to solve it…

Dolly at Dyno machine

So what is wrong then… if you read my previous post, you know that Dolly power is low, and peaked at 3000RPM, which should be around 4500 RPM and  lot higher.  A lot of things can be the cause, I need to check it one by one…

  1. Engine Compression, may be the compression is low and resulting low HP… checked… and the result is 165 psi across all pots. so no problem here.
  2. Fuel supply problem… how can it be..? I just replace the seal… and seems works ok
  3. What about ignition timing..? I checked using strobe and the result is 5 deg, should be no problem…
  4. The suspect  now is the carburetor SU HS6 or electronic Ignition or problem with the timing chain

The fellow land rover forum said that the Electronic Ignition can be faulty, or since I do not know the advance curve of this distributor, it may be not suitable for landrover… to prove this point, I did an exercise… set the ignition timing too advance (deliberately) and drive it full power (stopped when it start knocking), and then retard it a bit and drive it full power again, and so on and so forth until the timing is too retarded  loss power at all RPM). In this exercise, I found that no matter what, I lost power after around 3000 RPM at all ignition timing set up. So the Electronic ignition is no longer suspect.

Now how about carburetor, again little exercise in the morning, I set the jetting from too rich to too lean, again the result is the same.. loss power at around 3000 RPM. and I gave up… I am not bother checking the timing chain, the symptom is not relevant for timing chain. I just use it at low rpm, but back in my mind I always have that question… “what the hell is wrong”  something is fundamentally wrong and we can not find out what it is..? even my fellow land rover forum who usually very knowledgeable on this matter can not solve this riddle.

Finally I went to local Land rover garage and discuss it with the garage owner, I show the dyno result… just with one glance he said… ” Fuel supply problem..!”. Can not be… I replaced the seal and clean it… “Fuel supply problem..!” he said again… How can it be..? I challenge him… “FUEL SUPPLY PROBLEM.. ! DAMNED..!” he almost throw the “land rover number one tool” at me.

Ok Ok.. I said… how to solve it…? He then installed an electronic fuel pump after the mechanical lift pump… “this will do” he said. “let me know how it goes…” Why not install it before the mechanical pump..? me questioning his installation… “you fool..! you want the fuel flood your engine and blow you up…?” and it shut me down… :) here is the installation..


Very true.. this solve the problem… I can feel Dolly is still pulling even after 3000 RPM, very happy, I say thank you to him (and pay of course) and drove home smiling… I do not bother to dyno it again… one because I have to pay, two I am afraid that I will find another problem that keep me awake during the night… may be later, but not now :)

So moral of the story is… don’t dyno even if it is free…. ah ha ha..

Electronic ignition for land rover series

Another little weekend project…  this time,  installing Electronic Ignition distributor to replace point breaker (we Indonesian call it “Platina” ) distributor which already 30 years old … I have few problem with current stock distributor is:  the vacuum is not working properly (blocked) and also the wires, contact point seems no longer in top shape, might as well replace with the electronic one. For those who want to read a longer explanation on ignition system, you can read it here :

You may ask why do we want electronic distributor..? Well, many reasons actually… some of them are the following:

  1. Less moving  part hence minimal wear and tear hence better performance especially in high mileage car where wear tear affect timing and loss performance
  2. In point distributor, sparking at the points burns the contacts and wastes energy, Electronic ignition systems allow most of the available energy to reach the spark plug and improve combustion
  3. Better starting and smoother running
  4. No need to check or adjust and clean contact breakers
  5. No capacitor to fail or go weak
  6. More water resistant

Having said that… the perfectly set up (if both new) electronic and breaker point distribution show no significant difference in terms of performance. The disadvantage however, unlike point distributor, if it is fail, you can not fix it, have to replace the unit. Just for peace of mind, you can bring the electronic  “gut” for spare that will solve the only disadvantage of electronic distributor.

here is the picture of typical point distributor:

point distributor
picture taken from :

This is the electronic distributor

image taken from :
image taken from :

The following video showing the conversion from point distributor to electronic (5 minutes video).

Do I see or feel any improvement using this set up..? I will say yes.. :)