Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2016 Land Rover LR4 - Please Change Your Oil

This is on a 2016 Land Rover LR4 HSE Supercharged - engine had a rattling noise on cold starts under 50*, found one of the HPFP relief valves knocking away for bank 2 with fuel pressure on that bank also not within acceptable levels, it was replaced as part of TSB LTB00710NAS3. The engine also had some kind of valve train noise on start up that would go away beyond 1500rpm. 

This is the engine oil that was being drained while the HPFP was being replaced

As you can see, there was more to the noise that met the eye. 

Some kind of off brand oil filter was installed on this engine (oil quality and viscosity questionable as well) that was completely deteriorating. The pleats were full of paper type debris and without a doubt, were blocking the filter's oil flow capability - potentially starving the engine of much needed oil. 

As you can see, it's a paper type filter that was collapsing in on itself from the pressures the LR4's 3.0 engine is capable of. 

With a fresh oil change done and as much of the oil system cleaned out as possible, a high detergent oil was used with the correct polyester reinforced oil filter that JLR requires. On initial start, the noise from the valvetrain subsided considerably and with the engine run at higher RPM at operating temp, the noise dissipated entirely. 

Just as a note, I recommended the client drive the vehicle and to let it get up to operating temp as much as they could for the next 1000-1500 miles. If any noise persists, the truck will come back for further diag - most likely in need of cam phasers or timing chain tensioners with all the debris that might have clogged their ability to work properly! For now, its quiet and cam timing/phasing is correct.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

G-Allrad Summit: Camp and Crawl Mixer V.1 - Windrock Park, Oliver Springs, TN

UPDATE 2-2-2021: please scroll down to see the updated event schedule fri-sun!

Trail Drives, Camping, and some great times with G friends! Bring your tent, sleeping bag, food, and anything else you might need to make your stay comfortable! You MUST purchase day use permits to use park lands. Permits are per-person. You can buy permits online here: Online Land Use Permit

Trail runs will be split in half through the day: 1st run, lunch, 2nd run, dinner, night run for the most advanced in the group is still TBD.


If you're looking to camp, we'll be reserving primitive sites around bathhouse #2 (a picture will be pinned in the posts below). Water pressure is so -so, but the water gets HOT. Facilities are clean! Get your reservations in early as Windrock is a pretty busy OHV park! There are hotels in the area that offer discounts if they know you're planning on running at Windrock. Please see the "How to Windrock" tab on Windrock's website and scroll all the way to the bottom to find the hotels that have partnered with Windrock.


Weather this time of year in Oliver Springs is usually above freezing at night with the possibility for 70s during the day. Usually highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s is common. Bring warm clothes and a warm sleeping bag just in case! This is a rain or shine event, your G WILL be getting muddy in some areas. Pressure washers are available at the campground HQ or the General Store for a small fee. Last time we were there, it was a couple bucks for 5 minutes.


Trails run will be a mix of scenic offroad tracks with some moderate trails that have the potential for some mild bumps and bruises. You will not be allowed to follow the group onto moderate trails if you are on standard all season tires. All-terrain or Mud-Terrain tires are a requirement. 2" lift or greater would be ideal, however stock height G will make it through with mild touchdowns. Cheap CB/Handheld required, if there are obstacles you are not comfortable with you WILL be spotted onto the best line! Don't be afraid to ask! Winch is NOT necessary. Please have your lockers working, some spots are slippery enough that they're needed.

More details will be added as they come! RESERVE YOUR SPOTS ASAP!

Trail runs include a stop for lunch, random photo ops, and sights. We'll be leaving camp at 9:45 to take the access trail down (how's an offroad trail to get to the offroad trails sound?) to the General Store where everyone will have an opportunity to make last second permit purchases and stock up on snacks/supplies. Leave the general store at 10:30 and make our way onto the trails. We'll be taking trails up to our lunch spot at the abandoned train where we'll stay for anywhere from 30-45 mins. Should give everyone a good chance to relax, explore the train, check over their rigs, and get ready for the next set of trails. 

We'll then make our way back to camp using some more technical trails, please take care to pay attention to where you're going, the possibility for some paint pinstripes or door dings, etc is pretty high if you're not paying attention to where you're going!! 
UPDATE 2-2-2010

To be clear, I can't be responsible for everyone. I'm happy to organize these, but I am in no way responsible for what happens under your piloting. I will do whatever I can to help those along who aren't comfortable through more difficult sections. If I have to lay some rocks down, or my traction boards to get you over something, I'll do it. I will be letting you know, at every possible opportunity, whether it's better for you to bypass an obstacle. Everything we're doing is well within the capability of a G, but I need you to be aware, this is an off road style event, there is ALWAYS a possibility for some paint scratches, wheel scratches, popped tires, etc. Make sure you have a good spare and whatever else you need for your trips!
Schedule will be as follows:
Roll in day, show up whenever (I plan on being around my campsite anywhere from noon-2pm), but you MUST check in with the campground by 6pm in person for your site tag. If you can't make it by that time, please give them a call by 5pm eastern to let them know you'll be coming late. They'll give you the info that you'll need and you'll settle up with them first thing in the morning Saturday before we depart on the "chicken" track to the General Store.
At 3:30 Friday, for whoever manages to show up by then, we'll leave for an hour or two for some rattle check trails. This is your chance to tie down what you need to in your trucks, get your land use permits for the park in order, get your tire pressures in order, check your oil, get radios set up, actuate your lockers, etc.
9:45 camp departure time, get your breakfasts in and get the trucks ready to go. We'll be taking a chicken track (your last shot at backing out, if you commit past this point, you're committing to the day!) down to the general store from camp and will be by the general store until 10:30. This is your LAST chance at getting your land use permits for Windrock! The ranger at the start of the track will not let you past if you don't have them. They are PER PERSON. You're able to get some last second snacks, souvenirs, etc from the park store. We'll be hitting the tracks at 10:30, first half of the day have some mild technical sections, some have bypasses, I will make a note over the radio at one area where there is a VERY off camber section, there's no rollover risk, but it'll have you clenched. You have an option to skip that section and go down an easy track for about 1/4 mile to regroup with those that choose to do the technical stuff! We'll be doing the tracks till about noon, where we'll take a winding exit trail to our lunch spot by some abandoned train cars. The cars are available to explore while we're there. If you'd like a side of tetanus with your lunch, hop up in them and check them out. They ARE cool and worth checking out.
With lunch done and dusted, we'll be reentering the park and doing some of the more technical trails for the day. The first track on reentry will be another bypass opportunity, it should take about 30-40 minutes so I'll make sure to note where those who bypass need to hang out for the rest of the group to pop out! This small section involves some mild water crossing, steep grades, couple tiny rock gardens, etc. Ample opportunity to get the G's flexed out and some locker action in. It does have some scary feeling downhill clay sections, that might deter someone, but I've been with a Jeep Renegade that managed to do it. With everyone regrouped, we'll make our way back to the General store for a potty break. We'll then be making our way to a Jeep badge of honor trail... if a stock Rubicon Jeep can do it, so can you. Again, you WILL be notified as to what's happening and you'll have an exit opportunity, though this exit would have you looping back to the General store where you'd have to wait for the last regroup of the day where we'll be taking a quick scenic ride up to the top of Windrock. Its the highest point in the park and offers some really cool views of the entire landscape, I'm hoping to see most of sundown here to end the day before shooting back down to the campground for the night. I'd bet on being back at camp by 6-6:30 or so.
Check out time from the campground is 11am for anyone that doesn't have the time to do this, but for those willing to blow 2 hours before a boring drive home, we'll be leaving at 8am and we'll be going about 35 minutes (22 miles) southwest of the campground to check out the abandoned Nemo train tunnel and bridge. There's a final track to do that will loop us back to a little picnic area and we'll part our ways from there. Huge photo ops here, the location there is 36.06746, -84.65281 if it can work into your way home, awesome!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Mercedes 600 Grosser Repair P.2 The Nitty Gritty

In this video we go over some of the finer details and findings I've come across on the 600. I've just recently got the OK to fix everything, so we should have some interesting repair content coming around soon. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

At what point do you choose aftermarket parts over dealership supplied OEM? When it all goes wrong, apparently.

I'd like to preface this by saying, Mercedes corporate customer service lines are absolutely phenomenal. I have nothing but praise, especially for you Denise!, with how they handle these calls. Unfortunately, you get dealerships and parts managers who refuse to stand behind the products they sell and it certainly leaves a sour taste for the brand as a whole. Ultimately, there are aftermarket company's that sell equivalent parts to Mercedes, that will actually honor their warranty.

I got into the habit of carrying spare parts in my vehicles that would render them immobile on longer duration trips. At the very least, enough to get them mobile enough to drag them to a point where a tow truck would be able to get to it. As you can only expect a gelandewagen to go where a gelandewagen goes, the middle of nowhere, you can also expect there to be astronomical recovery costs should there be someone around to actually recover the vehicle.

In my case, this didn't necessary happen in the middle of nowhere, but it happened in a location where the tow bill would've been absolutely obscene and in a location where there's not a single capable facility to handle the work. You're probably going to wonder why, in the picture below, there's smoke billowing out of the passenger rear wheel. You're probably going to ask yourself why that same wheel also is cambered inwards on a solid axle truck. To be short, my wheel was only being retained to the truck by the brake caliper..... total bearing failure...of a brand new bearing...from the dealership...installed by me....so I must not know what I'm doing.

So what happened? Wheel bearing was absolutely obliterated. Just about nothing was recognizable, couldn't find a single in tact roller for either side of the bearing, the outer race got mangled enough to where it was wedged into and locked up inside of the axle housing.

This is where me carrying spare parts comes into play. Prior to this trip, I went through and rebuilt and resealed the entire rear axle. Something I've done on dozen's and dozen's of G's around the country. It's the second time I've done it on my own G, I believe a bit in a bit of overkill to prevent any failures down the road. Who would've thought that my own attention to preventive maintenance would be the thing that strands me. 

I managed to do 95% of the job with a hammer, chisel, and a WOOD saw. That's right, I was hand sawing away a the frozen race to try and cut reliefs into it. Ultimately, higher powers forced me to call it a night and the next morning, a home depot was found and a sawzall and generator were rented to try and speed up the relief cutting. After another couple hours of cutting reliefs and using a grinder to sharpen some chisels, I managed to get the remnants of the bearing out to try and get the axle back into the truck to try and get me home. 

Here's what's left of the parts I had to extract from the axle housing before I could attempt putting a replacement bearing in place.

What caused the failure? Well I don't have the exact cause, because this is the first time I have ever seen a failure like this happen to one of these bearings. I would try to pin it on installer error, but my process is the process Mercedes themselves specifies. I have all the factory tooling for pressing the bearing on, have the factory lock ring wrench, and I have the entire WIS documentation on a moments notice to confirm installation procedures. You can even see where I peened the lock ring to prevent the lock nut from backing off... every last detail was done correctly. 

I could only make two assumptions - lack of lubrication or the bearing was bad out of the box in some manner. I'll discuss both possibilities below.

By now you've probably looked at all of these pictures and are wondering how on earth something like this could've happened. How could this bearing, which for all intents and purposes has a reputation of lasting hundreds of thousands of miles without failure, fail on my truck after 2500 miles? What could've happened was a lack of lubrication, which wasn't the case for me. These bearings are designed to be lubricated by the gear oil that gets splashed up into the axle tube. The way the entire failure unfolded was within about 10 minutes and 6 miles, that's all it took from first signs of failing to total failure. When I finally pulled over, the gear oil that was supposed to be lubricating the bearing, was seeping out from around the bearing retainer onto the axle tube. Not only was it seeping out, it was catching fire every time the fluid dripped. Incredible heat build up in that axle. 

What do I believe actually happened? The bearing cage was broken out of the box and the heat built up and stress involved in carrying a fully loaded G around was enough to lock up the bearings. Simple. 

That's right, this simple brown cage, made of PLASTIC, was the cause of failure for my bearing. If in any way, this part fails, you've just destroyed the bearing race, the rollers, etc. Ridiculous, isn't it? 

My intention here isn't to throw anyone in particular under the bus. As much as I'd love to be a full blown Karen about the situation for how poorly the parts "director" for this particular dealership was in contact with me (aka not at all), I won't throw them under the bus. I would've loved if the dealer stood behind their warranty and guarantee of quality, but unfortunately it can't be helped now. All I can do is move on, fix the truck, and never recommend this dealer. 

For the record, the parts damaged:

902 350 1410 - Repair Kit x2 
017 981 4605 - Axle Bearings x2 
(2 because my spare parts had to be used to limp the truck, they have to be removed to do the repair correctly)

Parts damaged as result of failure:

902 357 1919 - Bearing Retainer 
902 357 0226 - Lock Nut 
463 357 1001 - Axle Shaft Right 
ABS Sensor (melted)
Brake Wear indicator (melted)
parking brake pads delaminated from heat
brake pads delaminated from heat
rotor is now warped (and still blue from the heat)

So my roughly $130 preventive repair parts purchase and install has now cost me roughly $2k in parts cost to repair correctly. The real question here and some food for discussion, why should I continue buying genuine parts if the "warranty" they supply for the parts would only apply when installed at a dealership? Why should I be buying parts that, at this point, are of questionable quality from the dealer when I could buy those same questionable parts from the actual manufacturer (SKF, which warranties their bearing regardless of who's installing by the way). 

Mercedes, I love you, but start getting after your dealerships. 


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Mercedes 600 Grosser Repair P.1 Overview

Had a Grosser dropped off! I'll try to document the repair on this car as I go through it the best I can. I feel I'm overdue in making some videos on what I do here.
You don't see these beast's on the road too often, so I'm excited to go through it. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Little Blue MG

There's nothing quite like returning something to its former glory, especially when it's had it's fair share of shoddy mechanics causing the car to sink further into the rabbit hole. 

I present a 82 MG MGA - complete with intake/exhaust manifold studs missing, engine pouring oil out of the lifter galleys, etc

I realize I'm very sporadic in when I take pictures. All of a sudden missing parts were returned to their proper location! I'm a sticker for heat management on carbureted cars. With the ethanol present in today's fuels, boiling the fuel in the bowls is a huge possibility. So I went ahead and went nuts keeping the heat away from the bowls

Replacement firing order plate in place

Routing the heater box feed hose - radiator was out earlier and the ram air portions for the carb and heater box joints were installed. Those sit in front of the radiator on either side and feed air into their respective engine bay locations

Hoodless for carb tuning 

Enjoying the view after putting on about 50 miles running the carbs in and making sure all the work completed isn't leaking anymore. The car had a severely corroded thermostat housing that was seeping heavily when hot. It was so corroded, in fact, that it was jamming up the thermostat! 

Detailed up and ready for the hood to go back on

Homeward bound 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

1998 Mercedes SL500 For Sale - 4700 Miles!!!

In on consignment, this gorgeous 4700 mile 1998 Mercedes Sl500 - formerly owned by US District Judge Kabala. 

Please contact Allen 7737069210 for a private showing. I will be updating this post with better photos and videos soon!


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A picture's worth a thousand words...

...but how about having the experience, the picture, and a work of art to remember it by? 

It all started with a taking the old G out on a trip into the west to take this picture:

Monday, June 29, 2020

Gallivanting Gelandewagen - The Adventures of Rosie, the G Wagen p.1

We'll call this an introduction to Rosie the G - a 2001 Mercedes G500 that was imported by Europa. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Porsche 996 Clean/Reseal/Trans

What do you do when your 996 Carrera has a screaming transmission and is crying tears of oil? Pull the engine out and take it all apart, you just may find something very broken. 

No pictures of the car handy, but I did have this pathetically filthy flat 6 sitting on some stands getting ready for cleaning and restoring it's oil holding capability. 

This particular engine was losing coolant at an alarming rate, diagnosed a cracked and leaking oil separator on the rear of the engine. Considerably easier to replace this piece when the engine is on the ground. First step in it's replacement is degreasing the area so no chemicals enter the engine. 

Normally 996 valve covers are silver in their raw state, this one has a nice coating of decades old oil to give it the satin black look. 

AOS failure, she was spitting oil coolant at a steady rate from this area - would only happen with the system pressurized and it would evaporate long before it reached the ground. Fairly difficult to spot if one isn't 100% familiar with how this system is set up. 

Area degreased and new AOS installed. 

Next on the list for this car was the transmission pinion shaft bearing. This one actually had a cracked race! 

Pressing the nightmare apart to get to the bearing

All together - the replacement bearing has a step, this step aims down

Didn't take pictures of it, but this car had a wonky 2nd gear as well - the 2nd gear syncro was chewed up. Looks like someone was really struggling with 2nd gear on this car for quite some time. 


Nicely degreased and reassembled

Shift fork install on these is annoying, takes a few tries when reinstalling the case

Can see how bad the old pinion bearing was here

Case reinstalled and sealed

Ready to go back into the car

After running the car, confirming AOS repair was successful. No coolant loss

A benefit to the molygen oil from liqui moly, even though the camshaft solenoid received a new seal it still managed to leak. Replacement seal and she's on her way - Liqui Moly makes a great product for finding oil leaks! 

That's all for this one