Freelander water leak
A dribbling manifold gasket can overheat your Freelander. Here’s the cure
Martin Domoney fixes a dribbling manifold
Recently, the sweet smell of antifreeze has started wafting into the LRO Freelander. The temp gauge hasn’t risen any higher than usual, but the coolant level has dipped slightly in the reservoir. We have a leak on our hands.
An peek inside the engine bay doesn’t yield anything obvious, but the smell is definitely there. I remembered there being a Land Rover technical bulletin regarding the inlet manifold gaskets seeping water out on early 1.8s… and, sure enough, there’s the leak!
That 1999 bulletin describes replacing the inlet manifold’s fixing studs and nuts too. Our Freelander falls within the VIN range for this modification, but it’s highly unlikely the fixings are the old, faulty type – so we’re leaving them alone. Without doing a lot of digging around there’s no way to prove this; but if the studs and nuts haven’t failed in 20 years they’re probably okay. We’ll just replace the gasket.
One thing to note is that the gasket is supposed to be an improved style; and many owners have noted that the later gaskets are green rather than black. When our one turned up, ordered to the part number given in the bulletin, it was black. We’ll check for any differences between the parts when we get the inlet manifold off, but it’s unlikely there are any of the old pre-improvement gaskets left in circulation, so it’s probably just a change in manufacturing. Anyway, let’s crack on.
Meet Martin, master manifold man