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Electrical System

 
     
 

The Range Rover Classic has a 12v negative earth system, charged by an alternator. The battery is mounted behind the right hand head lamp. In carburetor engined versions (up to 1985) there was an identical mounting behind the left hand headlamp for an auxiliary battery. That space was occupied by the air filter in the later fuel injection variants.

The battery is unusual in respect of the position of it's terminals in the battery case, which are the opposite way round from most battery types - negative nearest the wing valance.

Before doing any work on the electrical system, you should disconnect the battery.

This is best done by disconnecting the earth lead.

This means that in the event of a metallic object being dropped across the exposed battery terminal and the bodywork the system is just reconnected, rather than the battery being short circuited which can result in an explosion.


My tachometer started flickering and showing no revs. Periodically the warning lamp on the dashboard would come on. These symptoms occurred both together and separately. In between, everything appeared normal.

I therefore decided to overhaul the alternator, with a view to replacing the brushes.

Special tools required: 5mm and 5.5mm 1/4" socket or box spanners

The first thing to do is to identify the type of alternator from the plate on the top. Remember that vehicles fitted with air-con have the alternator on the left, those without on the right. Thus there are right and left handed versions!

I then discovered from my local autoelectrician that they can be fitted with blade or bolt-on connectors. As the brushes for the two types are different, it's a help to take a photograph to show when ordering the brushes.

So mine is a Lucas A133-65, left-hand, with bolt-on terminals.

The big fat brown wire on the right hand screw terminal is the connection to the battery.

The white/black lead on the small screw terminal on the left (it's actually one of the brushes) goes to the warning light.

The spade terminal on the top left with the single wire goes to a suppressor.

The spade terminal on the top right with two white wires goes to the tachometer and also to a surge protector (which looks to me just like another suppressor!)

I thought that once these leads had been removed, with the two cover screws, that I could remove the cover in situ. I was wrong!

The suppressor and surge protector are held on with a 10mm head bolt, which is very much easier to get at once the alternator is off the car. I also think refitting the bolt would be extremely difficult with the unit in situ.

Once inside, I found that debris from brush wear had produced a large volume of black conductive dust inside the brush/slip ring housing, which had collected in the 7-9 o'clock position. At the time, I believed that this had been responsible for my problem, but subsequent events proved me wrong.

The brushes are held by three screws.

When removed, they showed relatively little wear after 50,000 miles and were well in excess of the 10mm minimum length.

The bolts retaining the brush/slip ring housing require a 5.5mm socket or box spanner, after which it's relatively easy to clean the area.

The book states that fine sand paper should be used to clean the slip rings if necessary, not emery cloth (presumably it can leave aggressively abrasive particles) and a petrol soaked cloth for wiping dust away.

However, in spite of all this effort the problem recurred and eventually proved to be a faulty regulator, which was replaced for the sum of £27 (a new alternator would have cost over £200 !)