Land Rover Defenders can be fickle mistresses when it comes to their wiring. Notorious for their quirky unreliability. Talk to anyone who has ever owned an aging Defender and they will regail you with tales of earth faults, flat batteries and wiring shorts.
This is of course a problem for many older cars, but due to the long lasting nature of the average Defender, the fact that many are not daily use vehicles, and the fundamental design limitations of a vehicle designed over 70 years ago, they are common issues which can be a trial to resolve.
There are of course several ways of resolving wiring faults.
The first is to spend time and effort tracking down the faulty wiring or component that is responsible for draining your battery and fixing or replacing it.
That sounds fine in principle, but with a Defender, particularly an elderly one that has been around the block a few times, there will in all likelihood be all manner of wiring modifications, accessories, repairs and changes that have been carried out over the years.
This has the effect of creating many potential fault points which can be uneconomic to track and repair.
We have had an instance of such a fault which several electrical engineers had attempted to locate. The vehicle was draining a new, fully charged battery in 24 hours, when parked up. As a 300 TDi it had no alarm or immobiliser, as far as we could see, the only thing that should be drawing any current was the clock in the dash.
We hunted high and low, made repairs to several potential chaffed wires in the loom, but nothing made any difference to the problem….. the battery was still draining in a day.
We spent far longer than we should have done to be fair….. thinking we would be able to locate the fault and fix it…… after all, how hard can it be?
It turns out quite!!
This happens to be one of our own vehicles, which is just as well really because you just couldn’t bill a customer the hours we spent learning!!
It turns out in our honest opinion that without a ground up loom replacement…… some wiring faults are not economically fixable….. it just doesn’t add up.
Our practical solution was to make the vehicle useable. To do this, we fitted a battery isolator, which as you might expect resolved the flat battery problem instantly.
The only downside is that the clock never keeps time, but that has become a small price to pay for a vehicle that starts on the key first time ever time, all year round.
We next decided to wire the clock directly into the battery to behind the isolator so we could have a fully functioning vehicle. This proved effective and as a result we ended up with a Defender that works.
One major issue, especially with an aging Defender is that the original lighting will become less reliable. This will lead to you tapping side lights and indicators on a regular basis in order to make all your vehicles lights work properly.
The connections are prone to corrode as you vehicle ages and so after a time (which will depend on where and how the vehicle is kept), corrosion and deposits will lead to your bulbs not connecting reliably.
You can of course clean up the contacts and the lights will work again for a while, but once corrosion has set in, the lights need replacing.
You can replace with like for like units, or upgrade with LED units.
In our experience, new LED lights are a significant upgrade. If you want reliability and lights that you don’t have to think about going forward then the LED upgrade option is the best solution.
With a variety of LED options available, you can have clear lens, coloured lens, large or small lights, flat or curved etc.
Each will provide you with a different look for your Defender.
Ask us about what light upgrades will best suit your usage?