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Cold weather issues, too chilly for my rover!


It's a bit chilly here this week, currently -22 deg C, and I'm having some issues realted to the cold!!! :rolleyes:

First up is starting. I've just put in a brand new extra heavy duty battery in but the engine really doesn't want to turn over. If I can get it to turn over fast enough it will start first time, but it feels like the starter motor is really struggling to move everything. When I'm at home I can plug in my oil pan and bottom hose heaters, but they really only make a small dent in the chill, and do nothing to actually warm the engine.

I'm currently running 10W40 Castrol GTX, do you guys think I could run a lighter oil?

Also the transmission feels like treacle. I'm using SAE 80W90, but again it feels like everything is struggling to turn. For the first few miles it feels like the brakes are dragging with all the friction in the system. :(
Would running synthetic oil help?

Other issues are the door glass is frozen shut, my breath freezes on the inside of the glass, and the door locks are also frozen solid. The bonnet was frozen down for a while but I cleared that by parking in a sunny spot yesterday.

It should be back up to between -7 (night) and 0 (day) Deg C by the weekend, but they are predicting freezing rain. The problem then comes with trying to keep the screen warm enough to stop the wipers from freezing to the glass.


Engine hard to turn over? I bet you have the original oil bath air cleaner and are trying to suck air through the thick mass of tar that is oil at warmer temperatures. You pistons are creating a big vacuum between Air cleaner and valve. Also start it with the clutch disengaged.

Personal experience only---I recommend NOT using synthetic gear oil. The gear oil will warm up soon enough. If it gets real cold, I hope your brake and clutch fluid is fairly new. It tends to attract moisture and as it hydrates, it thickens in the severe cold.

Bin there, Dun that.
Land rovers were sort of designed for extreme climates but I come from a few miles away from Solihull and -5 is the begining of an ice age for us. As what Greg S suggested (he has way more experince than me) foot on clutch to start I have to do that here in a balmy 0 to 1 degree ambient temp. could you insulate the battery or even take it indoors overnight?
My Great Uncle used to work for the PO up the west coast of Scotland about 40 years ago when we had snow in this country too. The GPO vans they used could be hard work in the cold. He advocated tucking a blanket around the engine so that just a little of the heat remains in it for the morning.

He also used to talk about draining the coolant every night. Don't know if they didn't have antifreeze or it just wasn't as good. He said that the radiators used to freeze whilst driving too - they were thermosyphon cooling systems.

He did mention that they had a few landrovers and that they were the fastest things on the fleet. The mind boggles...
I've just put in a brand new extra heavy duty battery in

I'm sure you ain't done this, but I did know I guy who was baffled for ages as to why his new battery would not start his diesel 2 1/4. He'd stuck a camping battery in on the basis that it looked 'big'.
YOu need to do as much as you can to keep the chill off the engine bay. As said, wrap summat round the engine itself to try and retain some of its warmth. Also, when it's really cold here (minus 5 to minus 15 or so) we put blankets over the bonnet and a board or something in fromt of the rad grille, again just trying to keep the temp in the bay that little bit higher.

As for the oil, you could go down to a 5/40 for winter use, but I have never bothered. Sure it all feels a bit treacly for a few miles, but it soon picks up.
Maybe check out your starter motor. A little trickle charge on the battery before starting will heat the electrolyte and give you a little boost. Wouldnt go below 10/40 oil and obviously back to 20/50 in the summer.

If you have the oil bath filter and you think thick oil is a hindrance then put 5/40 synthetic in it. Landys are good starters generally..........still think the starter or connections somewhere.

When it's cold here (sometimes -20) and I know I'll need the Landy (deisel) in the morning,I'll go out and run it for ten minutes the night before..
A sheet of that corrigated cardboard an top of the blanket is better again,though I've not needed to do that yet,even with the hotpugs not working(though it can take a good minute to get her going sometimes).
Thanks guys, all useful tips and tricks.

I have a rad muff which is up all the time at the mo'. I'm not keen on the blankets idea as I'm sure I'd forget one day and make an expensive mess, but I'll look into trying to seal up the bonnet/wing gap again. I put foam stripping in it last year, but it froze shut too often and got ripped off.

The starter and connections are good.
The battery is actually a small size, but high output style, so has plenty of CCA to play with. I'll see if I can hook up a solar trickle charger. Most really cold days are sunny and it warms up when it snows/rains so that should work.

I must confess to not dipping the clutch to start the engine. Because I've been prestarting to allow it to warm up before driving I've just been starting it from outside and using my hand to blip the throttle. It makes sense now you mention it, so I guess I'll have to stop being lazy and actually get in to start when it's this cold.


DOuble check all your starter connections and grounds. Mine has started reliably on the first try at -20f and that is with 15-40 oil.

You may be having problems with your starter that are just now showing up thanks to the added strain of the cold starting.

There are some engine heaters here that not only heat but also circulate the water through your engine. Do you have one of those?

Also you cuold upgrade to a gear reduction starter which should spin faster at low temps- there is a Mean Green on Ebay right now. I think it is for a 200tdi though...

Ouch! that must hurt when you sit on the cold seats in the morning! I am in Central Europe which gets cold but generaly not below -12C. However, I added a 100amp battery ( more for auxiliary lighting when on expedition) plus a 90amp generator ( 2nd hand unit from a BMW 5 series) and my series 3 ( 1982 petrol) starts without any problem, even well below freezing. The battery gives the starter motor some real welly. I know that you can use 5w-30 oil if need be in winter, prefereably the quality stuff such as Shell or BP Vanellus range but if in your engine is in good nick the standar 15w-40 will suffice.
I always place a large thick blanket and/or pillows over the engine bay covering the oil bath, carb and engine. I also stuff some cardboard boxes with paper and ram them in under the engine bay. Cold comes up from the ground and anything to stop the cold flowing under the engine will help. I also place a rag round the starter motor. But DO remember to take them out otherwise it will get very messy!
I also always give a good couple of solid pulls on the petrol pump lever to get fuel in the carb and this works very well.
One tip for stopping your windows steeming up is to clean the inside of the windows with a thick solution of washing up liquid and water and leave it to dry. It really does work although you have to do it daily.
Free wheeling hubs also helps and limits the drag when really cold.
In my view defeats the whole idea of having a pig of a series 3. The best thing is trying to keep them cool in summer and warm in winter.
If all else fails, build yourself a shed!

Come to think of it I even park mine with no radiator muff and with the front aimed directly into the prevailing winds here. This morning the truck started up fine- first try. One thing that may make a difference is the fact that I have an electric fuel pump and I disconnect my battery every time I park the truck- just an old habit of mine.

I DO have a red top Optima(~750 cca) but to tell the truth the truck never had a problem with a regular lead acid battery either.

I really think you might have a wiring/starter issue. Which carb do you have?
My old battery used to fail to start the engine once temperature dropped below 15 F (-9.5 C). That was obvious cold weather battery failure, reduced voltage, in need of constant recharging etc. With the new battery it is all good until temps drop below 5 F (-15 C) and then the starter motor feels very laboured once it's sat for a while, e.g. overnight, all day at work etc.
Since the original post it's warmed up a lot so it's not been an issue, but the temps are forecast to drop again tonight.
I'll try dipping the clutch to see it that helps, else I have to get under and check the starter ground wire.

I have a Weber 32/36 DGV carb. My old 34ICH weber used to pop and spit all the time below freezing, but with this carb once I can get the engine to turn over fast enough it starts just fine and runs beautifully all day.
When you start it early, and leave in running to warm up a bit, put the transfer case in neutral, and the main box in 3rd or 4th.
This will move more gearbox parts around, and warm the 'box a tiny bit.
It also applies a bit of load to the engine to assist it in warming up.

My Series1 fires up easy down to about -30degC, with 20W50 in the engine and air filter, and 90W in the gearbox. Not the most sensible oil to use for round here, but then a Series1 isn't sensible in this weather either!

I have a Weber 32/36 DGV carb. My old 34ICH Weber used to pop and spit all the time below freezing, but with this carb once I can get the engine to turn over fast enough it starts just fine and runs beautifully all day.

I think it was 5-10F this morning when I started up. It had been sitting for a week or so and the sump was full for 20-50. I have the same carb and a 8.5-9:1 head so our set-ups are nearly identical. Perhaps the electric fuel pump helps out- mine is on it's own circuit so when I turn on the ignition I also have to turn on the pump, then I push the starter.

I have a good ground going from my Starter to the chassis and I've gone through all my wiring this summer to make sure the connections were a-ok.
I just went out to play again- -16c~ 3F according to the thermometer I have in my other car. The IIa started up on the third bump of the starter with full choke and no problem. 20w50 Walmart oil is far too heavy for this weather- it took a LONG time to get more than 5psi oil pressure. I think you could safely use a 5W30 this time of year even in an older 2.25l. 20-50 was summer weight oil anyway.

A synthetic would work better in the cold but at 2 gallons of oil and with the typical seals on an old 2.25 it is usually money wasted.
When you start it early, and leave in running to warm up a bit, put the transfer case in neutral, and the main box in 3rd or 4th.
This will move more gearbox parts around, and warm the 'box a tiny bit.
It also applies a bit of load to the engine to assist it in warming up.


Cheers Swag, great tip. Actually probably the best yet. :)

Finding neutral in a transfer case full of treacle was a little hard this morning, but running the main box in 3rd for a few minutes really made a difference once on the road. Those initial gear changes were so much smoother, and warm up time appeared quicker.
Moses do you have a heating pad and jacket for your battery? if not get one and duckl tape it to the side of the battery then get one of those battery jackets or make one from foam insulation for it.

you can also get stick on heaters for starters and oil pans- the oil pan ones don't work especially well.
I have both an oil pan and bottom hose heaters.

Last year when I had a garage they worked pretty well at warming the engine to the point where I don't need the choke to start up.
I don't have a garage this year, and they appear to just suck a lot of electricity and only just take the chill off the coldest nights. I also have to run a long extension cord to where I park so I don't think that's helping. It also means some nights it doesn't get plugged in! :(
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