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Tales Of The Unexpected - Part 14

Tales Of The Unexpected - Part 14

Today, for the first time, I used the Land Rover to travel a longish distance.

Previously, I have only had to use it for local journeys (say 20 miles or so maximum) but today I had to go to Wakefield for work, a round trip of about 140 miles, mostly on motorways.

I set off at about 6 o'clock this morning, thinking I would leave myself plenty of time to get up there. Google maps reckoned it would take me an hour and 20 minutes, but I thought that would be unlikely in a Land Rover, so I gave myself a good two hours, just in case.

The first 12 miles is minor A roads - a route I travel often - then I got onto the M1. I joined the motorway quite cautiously, staying in lane one until I had some idea what the Landy could do, but I found that even pootling along in fifth I was catching the lorries, so I started overtaking and gradually sped up.

At no time did the Landy feel strained, and I didn't have to nail my foot to the floor - in fact I was probably using half-throttle or less most of the time.

After about 5 miles at motorway speeds, The speedometer needle suddenly gave up, and dropped to zero... This was at first quite disconcerting - looking down to see I was doing 0 mph when the world was flashing past - but I've had this trouble before so I ignored it. It does mean though, that I can't say, really, how fast the old beastie would go, but based on the speedo's previous reports, I reckon it was possible to exceed the speed limit without causing the valves to bounce off the underside of the bonnet!

I arrived at my destination at 07:15 - so much for mr Google, then... and had to wait around for someone to turn up at 8 o'clock to let me in.

Apart from the speedo, the Landy behaved very well - it didn't drift about, and felt quite comfortable at motorway speeds.

The one thing I did notice, was that the brakes got a lot sharper, and the pedal effort required got less, when I was travelling faster with higher engine revs. I had not really noticed before, but at normal A road speeds the brakes have always been a bit poor - not to the extent that I thought there was anything particularly wrong with them - just that they needed a fair amount of effort. I had accepted this as normal, not having had a Land Rover for so long, but having now investigated a bit, I reckon the vacuum pump is not doing much at normal engine revs, so consequently neither is the brake servo.

Looks like I might have to buy a new vacuum pump, then...

Other than that, I was really happy with the old Land Rover on the motorway, and would be quite content to use it for long distances.

Having completed what I had to do, I made the return journey without incident, and was pleasantly surprised to see that for the whole journey I used about a quarter of a tank of diesel, not bad considering I wasn't being gentle.

Had to laugh at some of the looks I got from other road users though, as the muddy old beastie rattled past them with a bloke in shirt and tie at the wheel, one old dear in a Mercedes did a classic double-take as I shot past :D

More soon...
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