Ownership Verified: Say Hippo Again, I Dare You - 2002 Land Rover Freelander Td4 3-door

As tempting as it is to turn my old tent into a cover for the car, that sounds like a lot of work! I think a blue tarp is more my level. I do want to get the roof off as much as I can because I think it looks great, I'll just wait until the summer.
I had a few jobs planned for today as, unlike last week, the weather was going to be good. First was to fix the centre console as the front was broken. I apparently didn't take a photo, but all of the plastic around the front screws was broken. I initially didn't understand how this was possible but after removing the centre console and attempting to unscrew said screws, I understood why. I'm guessing water had got in there and rusted the whole lot up.

I fetched my impact driver (the one you hit with a hammer) for its first ever use but this and a large hammer didn't shift the screws at all. Eventually the captive nuts gave way and the screws dropped into the floor. OK fine, I'll cut the heads off and replace them with rivnuts...

So I did. This is the only photo I took, after installing the two rivnuts at the front and cleaning up all the crap that was hiding under the console. The handbrake was only held on with two bolts and could be moved out of the way without disconnecting the linkages. Much easier to do everything with it out of the way.

I also cleaned up the console and got the rear ashtray working again, it was all gummed up. It was then refitted with some long bolts and big washers that were big enough to cover the remaining plastic, I'll take a picture tomorrow. I've repaired the broken front screw cover but not fitted it yet, also for tomorrow.

I tried to repaint the front Land Rover emblem, the Halfords Aluminium paint I have is a good colour but my initial plan of brushing it on didn't give a good result. I could buy a replacement but the clear coat around the badge has lifted a bit and I don't even want to go there. I might mask it all up and spray it but that sounds like a lot of effort. I can't decide if the letters are original or replacement, if they're supposed to be silver or black. They're actually quite glossy, it's as if they're clear and painted from behind with a silver paint that is now rotting or going mouldy. Really odd.

I gave up on that and painted the lower grille with black Hammerite. It's direct-to-rust satin black spray, but put on with a brush because spraying would be messy. I've had this can in the shed for years and thought all of the gas had leaked out of it, although there was clearly plenty of liquid still in there. I was going to knock the valve out but I'm glad I didn't as it was just stuck, a shower in black paint and solvent wouldn't have been fun.

Anyway the grille just had surface rust on it and was quickly transformed. This is during the painting (sorry it's out of focus but you get the idea)

And afterwards. It wasn't visible in any of my pictures but it was very visible if you stood in front of the car.

Finally I checked to see if I had a locking wheel nut tool in the toolbox, which I do and it fits. I want to get these tyres replaced soon and it would be dumb to go and for them not to have a way to remove the wheels...
Last edited:
As promised, a follow-up on the centre console.

Fixed with new bolts and big washers, it's really happy about it.

The cover that I fixed with some black plastic and superglue, it used to have little tabs moulded into it.

In place. I made the mistake of cleaning the console with isopropyl alcohol so it's gone a bit funny, might dye/paint it or it might wear off.

Finally, eeeee. There must've been a sticker on the window at some point, probably saying Freelander. More evidence that someone loved this old thing.

Drove it quite a bit today and it's just great fun, will be even better with new tyres. Needs a gearbox oil change too as it seems to get a tad erratic when it's warm.

Edit: I forgot this from last Monday:

Looks like there's a 120 km /h warning light there, which is odd. I will investigate.
Last edited:
Update time for Geoff.

The other week I decided to try and restore the lettering with some metallic vinyl. I kind of like it but I'm not sure. It looks pretty OEM but I actually think the hippo face would look better with the letters in gloss black. I coloured in some of the obviously bubbling lacquer with a paint marker, that did work well.

New tyres fitted today, same tyre as it had previously but without scale models of the grand canyon in the tread.

The alignment also needed to be done (no surprise as it didn't feel quite right) and after I picked it up the TC and HDC lights were on. I stopped to reset the computer and get a beauty shot, maybe beauty is a bit ambitious but it doesn't look too bad.

Resetting the computer cleared the lights and it drives much better with the wheels properly aligned.
Last edited:
Decided to clean out the header tank today, it wasn't looking very healthy and I couldn't see where the level was.

I made an adapter for my wet vac so I could stick a small diameter hose in and suck out all of the coolant. I wasn't impressed with the colour of the stuff that came out of it. It all went in a bottle to be disposed of correctly, apart from this drip which went into a paper towel and then into the bin.

Cleaned as best as I could with brushes and hot water. I will replace it anyway when I'm ordering from JLR.

Refilled, by removing the coolant from here I knew there would be no airlock issues, this is the highest point. Looked nice and bright, however...

It soon looked murky as it got mixed up. Definitely needs a coolant flush.

I filtered the rubbish I washed out of the tank, don't think this should've been in there. Not sure if it's rust deposits or stuff that has dropped out of the OAT coolant. No temp issues so not massively worried.

Thought I was finished but not quite. I plugged the hoses while I cleaned the tank, which wasn't really necessary but I felt better doing it. I used an old tyre valve on the larger hose and, when I pulled it out, it pinged off behind the engine and didn't fall out underneath. I was worried about it being stuck on something like the exhaust manifold and didn't want it to catch fire, so I ended up jacking up one side so I could get underneath. The axle stand is supporting it.

It was just sitting in the tray beneath the engine, probably would've been fine but I couldn't even see it without getting underneath. Quite clean under there.
Last edited:
Sunday jobs for Geoff - fitting the solar charge lead. It's fed up from here, that's a CTEK connector with charge level indication.

Wired in with a 10A fuse like on the Mazda. The negative clamp is broken, which is how it managed to completely jump off the terminal the last time I went out in the car. It actually tightens up properly with the M6 ring terminal on there too, so it gets a pass for now.

I got a new controller with the 10W solar panel I bought for the bobtail and this one is better than the one I had before, so it's now hooked up to the 20W panel. This also allows for an additional load like an LED light to be connected, handy in a garage with no electricity.

After cleaning out the header tank and running for a while, some shite settled to the bottom as you can see. I sucked all this out with the vacuum again and then topped off with fresh. If I keep doing this I might get most of the crap out without having to drain the whole system.

Otherwise, Freelander keeps plodding. Still need to get the gearbox oil changed and get the bits from JLR but all in good time.
Last edited:
God these cars just disappeared off the face of the earth in America - apparently the engine offered here was a complete shit show??

The removable top thing is very cool, should make for a fun summer car. Enjoy!
God these cars just disappeared off the face of the earth in America - apparently the engine offered here was a complete shit show??
The US didn't get the K-series 1.8 that was renowned for popping head gaskets like Pringles tubes but you got the KV6 instead. A better engine but I learnt while looking at which model to buy that it suffers from an issue that the 1.8 and diseasel Freelanders don't - for some reason I don't yet understand you can't run it in FWD only.

Therefore where European cars like mine would live on as FWD, if the IRD or rear diff gave out on a V6 the car would probably be scrapped due to the cost of fixing it. I'm guessing maybe the V6 was too powerful for FWD only and it would eat itself, still need to look into it.

It's a lot of fun to drive with the windows and sunroof panels open (including the drop-down tailgate window) and it'll be even better if I can get that roof off at some point. Could've done it yesterday actually but this is England so we can trust the weather about as well as we can trust our politicians.
Time to turn my attention to Geoff again.

Act I

After the tailgate opened itself while driving a few weeks ago due to the latch/button (it's just a microswitch and there is no mechanical connection) and I had to tap the brakes to close it, I decided I should get a new set of springs.

I was worried that I would have to take the door card off and unbolt the whole latch assembly to replace the springs, but it came out spurprisingly easily after removing the two screws that held it on. *Foreshadowing*

Old springs were broken as expected but the plastic was fine

After removing the old ones, cleaning it all up, evicting the spider that lived inside the latch and fitting the new springs without losing one.

So remember me saying that was going too easily? Well I put the latch back in, which took quite a bit of force but it still went. The button to open the tailgate worked fine until I tightened the screws and then it stopped working. One of the wires inside got cut because they aren't guided very well. One end of the wire was very short so after everything was apart again, touching the wires together to open the tailgate was difficult.

Initially I took the number plate light off and found I could shove the cut end of the wire on the switch into the earth terminal of the light and get the tailgate to open. I also noticed that someone put LED lamps in here.

So now I had to take the entire latch off. It wasn't too bad as there are four screws and three trim clips that are easy to pop off without breaking them. There should be a couple more but they were already broken and the foam moisture barrier thing was completely torn off. I don't really mind but it does explain why it can get damp inside. Anyway when I took the latch off things didn't look too nice.

These spacers are known to go rusty and they can cause the bodywork in this area to rust too. These are better than some I've seen. The third was completely fine

Anyway that was all on Thursday evening, once I knew the latch came off I just put it back together and saved it for today, so I took it off again and brought it in the house for repair. This is another shot of the two rusty studs with the smaller good one. Of course, another spider was living inside and ran out across my desk. I was forced to kill it before it could get behind the desk and cause me to burn the entire house down.

I wanted to measure them so I could maybe make replacements, the outer two have chunky square nuts but the middle one is threaded into the plastic. The 'spacers' are 10mm diameter but it's all one piece of machined metal. This one came out fine...

...but this one broke so I had to cut the head off a bolt and make my own replacement with two nuts. It worked fine.

I didn't take any pictures of reparing the wire but I just cut a bit of similar thickness wire from stock and spliced it in, then when refitting the latch button I taped the wires into the guide groove so they couldn't come out and be damaged again. I slapped some anti-rust around the holes in the bodywork before fitting to the car and it works fine. Springs do the job too.

Act II

I was originally going to get a new set of floor mats from JLR but I saw a used set selling cheap on eBay so got those, around a third of the price of new. Yes they're worn but they look right in an old Freelander that's got rough edges. First thing was to give them a wash as the previous owner hadn't bothered to do so.

They're proper Freelander mats so fit perfectly as you would expect. They do look a bit faded though so I wanted to give them some help. I got some Auto Glym tyre dressing and gave one a bath, then rubbed off the excess. Definitely an improvement, the picture doesn't really do it justice.

Once fiited in, I was going to add a 'before' picture but once again the difference isn't as noticeable on camera. I didn't dress the back mats as they were darker and less worn already so I thought they might look odd.


The seller with the spring kit also had some black caps that replace the roof bar fittings (you can see them on any previous pictures of Geoff's rear) so I grabbed those too and fitted them. Definitely better than roof bar mounts that are useless. Broken trim seen at the top here will be ordered next.

Act IV

With the rear door card off, I wanted to give some vinyl spray paint a go to remove the scuffs. Halfords did their own so I grabbed some to try.

Before painting but after degreasing, lots of scuffs and cuts in the plastic, heat didn't do much to fix them.

After two coats, looking much better. As you can see by the overspray this is thin stuff and it doesn't go on like a thick paint, however it does cover well. All the scuffs are gone, the scratches hidden and a satin shine brought back.

I liked this so much I refitted the tailgate door card and then removed the two back trim pieces in boot. No before picture but imagine these looking like the door card before painting and that's it. Much nicer. Cat bowl for scale.

Those are now drying and I need to do a lot of cleaning up before they can be refitted, I found straw behind them. I'm going to see if I can find the missing pocket cover things that should clip on but were missing.

Next up is to order the bits from JLR - a rear vertical trim piece and covers for the roof where the bars bolted on, it'll be nice to get rid of the duct tape. Maybe some trim clips that were missing and those cover panels if they're still on sale.
Last edited:
I put the plastic trims back in today, didn't take any pictures but it was actually quite easy. With no rain on the radar for today, I couldn't help but get the roof off and do some green laning.

This lane has a ford on it but with the very small amount of rain we've had it was just a puddle. With such little ground clearance you do need to think a bit more about driving through ruts or crossing sections with holes but it was a walk in the park really.

When I got back I went and washed it at a nearby fuel station, it was already muddy but now it was all caked in the wheelarches too so I couldn't just leave it. First time I've actually washed it and it scrubs up quite well.

On the way back this selfish bastard smeared itself over the freshly washed bumper.
Last edited:
New parts from Land Rover Classic arrived in the week, fortunately there are still old Freelander parts in stock. The trim moulding had the original date chart filled with marks and someone had actually scratched a new 'chart' into the mould with the manufacture date of this part being in 2006. Someone also scrached an R in the mould at some point, they must've been getting left and right parts confused.

Old part removed by force and the new one just pushes on, nice and easy.

Covers for the area where the roof bars would've bolted on if it still had them.

A view of the back end that was painted last week, it's funny how the camera picks up the scratches more than my eye does but it's still much better than it was.

Top-left hook/clip fitted where it was missing, GDPO had shoved a wall plug in there for some reason. Bottom-right also replaced.

Opposite side with the top-right hooky thing replaced. I got one spare in case I break one.

There should be clip on 'pocket' here but they want £50-£60 each so I won't be rushing to buy those, will see if a local scrapyard has them.
Last edited:
Finally getting around to updating all of these threads. The other week I wet-vacced the seats to get rid of the stains, it came out well but I think it was pulling some of the foam through the perforations. Either that or the seats are full of sand.

I also came across a thread on a Land Rover forum about the auto box issue I've been having on the 3-4 shift, it's apparently due to a weak part inside that can crack and let fluid through. It's described on this page from the Jatco manual:

Parts to fix it are about £100 plus fresh ATF and it's not a massively complicated job, I just need to be able to get rid of the old oil. The fix includes replacing worn out clutches so continuing to drive it isn't going to make things much worse unless I end up stranded. The thread on the Land Rover forum is here and includes some daft questions from yours truly:


Also in the pipeline are front brakes, a coolant flush, removal of the rear diff as the mounts are shot and an A/C recharge if it will hold gas.
Last edited:
What's this then? Oh dear I've gone and bought an entire gearbox. This entire gearbox cost me an entire £36, collected locally. It was supposed to be £40 but there was a 10% eBay coupon for used items, how convenient. It contains the part I need to either directly replace on mine or to rebuild and then fit.

This thing was bloody heavy, picked it up in the Freelander but transferred it to the bobtail for easier disassembly.

Front fell off. Big Makita ugga dugga made easy work of the bolts, despite lots of black silicone.

This drum is the part I need, conveniently right behind the cover and easy to remove.

Stripped to check the friction bands and I'll probably completely disassemble it to check the piston too. Being a 2005 gearbox it should already have the upgraded part, only way to confirm it is to visually inspect.

Friction material measures 1.56mm, new is 1.6mm. Waiting for a more experienced opinion on whether I should replace them.

So as usual I've got really involved with something new and complex, I'd be bored though if everything just worked.
Last edited:
I much prefer traditional slushmatics over anything else both from the comfort and reliability aspect, but I have great respect for them and wouldn't take one apart unless I didn't have any plans to get it back together ever again. :LOL: Good work!

Also why do your Mitutoyo calipers have anti-lock brakes?
It wanted to kill me today, dropping the undertray to drain and flush the cooling system was a real pain. It's now done though.

I'm going to have to admit to a big boob here, I took off what I thought was the radiator top hose and started flushing it and the radiator with water. Turns out that was the intercooler. So I've probably given the turbo a wash, I also started the engine with this hose still disconnected to flush coolant out and a little mist of moisture got pulled into the engine (through vacuum rather than being forced from the turbo, fortunately). I disconnected the hose from the intercooler to the engine, it ran a bit rough for a few seconds and then was back to normal.

I'll let everything dry out and then put it back together, maybe attach a long, thin hose to the vacuum and drop it into the intercooler to try and suck any water out. Maybe I've goosed the turbo, time will tell. May need an oil change at least. Not the first dumb thing I've done, certainly won't be the last.

Also why do your Mitutoyo calipers have anti-lock brakes?

I hate to give a serious answer but I can't think of any silly answers. It's to switch between relative and absolute measurements, this model always knows its position even if I move the jaws when it's turned off. Unless you press that button. The black Origin button sets the zero for the absolute.
Last edited:
I just want to report that I saw an early 4 door Freelander moving under it's own power for the first time in a very long time.

@Crazyjeeper and I were awestruck. It was of course owned by a pensioner lady.

And if you've borked the turbo obviously it's time for a bigger one since you have a spare gearbox to grenade.
When I got back from my holiday at the weekend the warm weather had evaporated all of the excess water as I expected, including most of what was in the intercooler it seems. I refilled the coolant and then reconnected the hose from the turbo to the intercooler so it could force any more water out. All that came out was some fine spray.

I took it for a quick drive and apart from one hose having a boost leak it seems fine. The coolant looks much better, it took a little less than 5 litres with a total capacity of 5.5L so some old stuff got left behind when I flushed it but it's an improvement. Brakes need doing now for the MOT, I got an OEM kit from EBC with the discount I get as a patron of the Late Brake Show.