The owner could not remove the key from the ignition of a 2004 Vogue.

The advice from Ward – Workshop manager at GCA was as follows

1. There is an interlock system where the “lock” affects several components within the vehicle
2. Ensure “park” is engaged. If not, that alone would prevent key removal.
3. Do NOT attempt to remove the mechanism – that may cause serious problems. Take it to a specialist

WARRANTY WORRIES? Come to the experts

Not only because it within the new vehicle “rules” but due to practical experience, our service of your Land Rover has NO adverse effect on warranty. In fact, we guarantee the results.

The management and mechanics at Graeme Cooper Automotive arguably have greater hands-on experience with Land Rover Discovery, Range Rover, Defender, Freelander and Evoke models than most other service shops. Recently, we have serviced the latest Range Rover Sport and LM models, but also numerous Evokes.

We have all of the diagnostic tools and experience needed to find and rectify the problems that often puzzle others – even the dealerships!

Call 02 5880 2689 for more information.

Graeme Cooper Automotive – late model engine work

Until now, only authorised dealers could remove the cylinder heads on a TD V8 due to the need for special tools. GCA now has that facility. Contact Stuart or Ward on 02 9550 2689 for further details

As an update to this blog, here are some pictures of a Range Rover Sport where the body has been removed to provide full access to the engine and transmission.

DON’T DO THIS AT HOME! Or for that matter – smart not to trust your friendly local service centre with a job like this.

body_off2 (466 x 600)body_off1



This blog by Graeme Cooper Automotive addresses solutions to customer problems. Please search the entries for issues similar to your own, OR post a new message to obtain answers from the GCA team and/or expert contributors


Changing the transfer case on a Classic Range Rover

There are several good articles on the Internet about this job, but as someone who has just done it, here are some hints not generally covered elsewhere:

The symptom is usually a loud banging noise occurring under load – meaning when taking off and/or climbing a hill etc. It is cause by a worn drive chain that is slipping – best to fix it before it gets worse.

The chain itself can be replaced, but it is expensive, the case has to come out of the vehicle anyway and the replacement of the chain can take several hours – not including the removal and replacement of the case. Good second hand units can be found at reasonable prices – contact Graeme Cooper Automotive or another specialist Land Rover service specialist in your area.

Be warned – This is generally NOT a job you can do without a vehicle hoist, also a engine/gearbox lifting jack and a lot of patience.

Get the new case before you start removing anything on the vehicle. Make sure you get new seals and prop-shaft bolt and nuts, gear oil and silicone sealant.

With the vehicle on the hoist. drain the oil (do NOT lose the plugs – you will probably need them for the replacement case), remove both prop shafts. For this you need a pair of open ended spanners for each bolt. It is a nasty job because of the difficulty of getting the spanners onto the nuts.

Remove the transmission brake cable, speedometer cable, the sensor plug, the “fore and aft” metal stay and tape these out of the way. Remove the brake drum.

Support the gearbox (not the transfer case) on the lifting jack. Remove all of the bolts securing the transfer case to the gearbox. The top one is actually a stud and does not need to be removed – the case will slide off it.

Unbolt and remove the two gearbox mounts. Move the cross member under the gearbox (the tubular one with flanges at each end) out of the way by removing the four mounting bolts and hammering the unit downwards to provide as much space as possible between it and the transfer case, but do NOT remove it completely, because you may never get it back in. Most likely it will be jammed tight between the chassis side rails). It should NOT be necessary to remove the exhaust pipes.

With the jack, lower the rear end of the gearbox and transfer case and pull it downwards and backwards to clear the drive shaft, then remove it from the vehicle.

Sit the replacement case next to the old one in precisely the same alignment so you can see what has to come off one and be fitted to the other.Clean up the main flange and smear it with silicone gasket material

Replacement is essentially the reverse of the removal, Probably the hardest part is aligning the drive shaft Do NOT forget to refill the oil – keep going until it reaches the upper hole then tighten the two plugs

Sounds easy? Like most other jobs of this kind, it is easier when you have done several already.

Sourcing parts (the wrong ones)

In a mistaken attempt to save money, quite a number of well-meaning owners think they can source their own parts – especially from the US where prices appear to be significantly lower than they are here in Australia.

There are two problems with this:

First – is it absolutely certain that the correct part has been ordered? There are some real cases where a part for a LEFT HAND DRIVE vehicle (us MODEL) will not fit a RIGHT HAND DRIVE (Aus) model, even though the parts may otherwise seem to be identical. Try returning the wrong one! Even if the supplier accepts the return, the cost of freight and maybe a “restocking” fee would cancel out any initial price advantage. Also, now the owner has wasted weeks and must start again. OK, maybe the local price seems high, but in the case of Graeme Cooper Automotive, EVERY part number is checked against the Chassis number of the vehicle to ensure the correct item is selected. This is the reason why parts orders are NOT taken online – but via a phone call so the details can be checked prior to dispatch.

The second reason is warranty. Although many after market parts are perfectly OK and can be used if the workshop knows and approves their use, critical components that are non-standard can void warranty and/or cause rejection of an insurance claim. This is where the knowledge and experience of the mechanic truly matters.

The best advice is – don’t risk it!

Anticipating trouble

Stuart – who as the owner of Graeme Cooper Automotive might well have known better, recently did not anticipate the failure of a cooling hose right under the supercharger when he removed and upgraded the charger. Guess what? You got it – the supercharger had to come off again to fix the leak.

I had a similar problem some time ago on a RR Classic when after removing most of the dashboard, I did not change the heater core or heater hoses at the same time.

The moral of these stories is to look around carefully whenever any major component is removed to see what else might need fixing at the same time!