Hesitate no more
Patrick tries to sort out his Defender’s hesitation issues
My Defender has been running pretty well since arriving from Africa but now that the temperatures have started to plummet as we head into the depths of winter, I have noticed a slight engine hesitation, especially on long inclines. In the hot summer months I could just power out of similar situations, but now I need to gear down. What’s going on with the 2.8? Did water or moisture get in somewhere while I was doing all those deep-water crossings at the Billing off-road site during Storm Brian? Rogers of Bedford were fully booked, so I drove it to my good friend Barrie Hearn from Havelock Motors, which is located on the Charles Wells Brewery property in Bedford. I pop the bonnet and explain the problem to Barrie. He confirms what my research has thus far revealed. I’m a member of a 2.8i Facebook group and the general consensus is that they don’t like extreme cold.
We need to check the spark plugs first. The engine cover is removed and then Barrie carefully removes each of the six coil packs. Several of the rubber ends on the coil packs are pretty badly worn.
Hardly ideal when they are supposed to cover the spark plugs. Has some moisture managed to find its way in there? I do not like the colour of the spark plugs and they look as if they have been in there for a while. Some of the electrodes look worn. New ones cost less than a fiver each, so I ask Barrie to order us six more then jump in my wife’s Audi (she works at the brewery) and drive to BMW to buy some new rubber ends for the coil packs. The Bedford BMW garage probably still works on loads of M52 engines like mine and they should have some. They do – but they want nearly £20 per rubber, so I pop across the road to Bosch (who make them) and get them for £7 each! A bargain compared to BMW.
By the time I return, Barrie has already installed my new steering damper which I purchased while visiting Bearmach last week to do the photos for the Camel Discovery replica story on page 74.
I still chat to the previous owner of my Defender and he recently told me that the Terrafirma RTC steering damper was already about six-years old. Also, it was pissing out fluids. Hopefully this situation is now rectified thanks to my new damper and hopefully the steering on Green Mamba will be a whole lot smoother.
While I put the new rubber ends on the coil packs, Barrie quickly installs the new spark plugs. Will it be better now? Well the steering is without a doubt smoother and while I do initially think that the hesitation problem has gone, it soon comes back again. Especially on cold mornings or nights or when I have not driven it for a day or two.
I post the details of my problem on the 2.8i Defender Facebook group. I also chat to a mechanic mate in the pub and he offers to come an take a look. I’m confident that we will find a solution.
New spark plugs and rubber ends for coil packs are also fitted Pat’s good friend Barrie Hearn of Havelock Motors in Bedford Old, leaky Terrafirma steering damper was replaced New rubber ends for the coil packs