Brake (stop) lights

Travelling up the coast last weekend back to the finca, Adrian noticed the electrics seemed to be playing up.

He couldn’t tell whether the dashboard lights were coming on and couldn’t see if the headlights were working in the tunnels.

As the tunnels are pretty well lit, it’s virtually impossible to tell whether your lights are working or not.

Plus, the ammeter seemed to be swinging around a bit. Maybe it was a fuse somewhere – always nice to hope for something simple.

Anyway, we got there ok, but before setting off on the return journey, we went methodically through the light check. It seemed the brake (stop) lights were the culprit and weren’t working.

Now – some two years ago, we had a problem with the brake lights. We had been checking everything before we took the vehicle for the Spanish ITV – and, the brake lights weren’t working.

At the time, we had no idea which was the fuse for the brake lights. In fact we didn’t know what any of the fuses were for. There is no manual with the vehicle and we have not been able to find anything remotely resembling one.

Santana fuse box

So trial and error was called for, and we methodically went through the fuses, trying to identify what each one was for. Out of 14 fuses, we managed to identify nine of them. But even with a full set of working fuses, the brake lights still weren’t coming on.

We posted on LRUK asking if anyone had any idea about the Santana fuse box – hoping it might be similar to a Defender one, because it certainly is nothing like a Series III one. We discovered it is nothing like a Defender one either.

But, help came our way, with a suggestion that we needed to check the brake light switch and see if there was any current going through it. There wasn’t.

Brake light switch – really convenient position…..

The next day Adrian cycled into town to see if he could get a switch. He did, at a cost of 9€. So far, so good.

Then all we had to do was to work out how to replace it. There was no way we could do it without a dismantle job, so off came the wing, out came the pedal box, the reservoir, servo, brake master cylinder blah blah…… All for a nine euro switch.

Everything out

Pedal box on kerb complete with new switch

Anyway, job done and back in and on. Auto-electrician was well impressed with our efforts and he told us it would have cost hundreds because he would have needed to pay a mechanic to do the dismantling job.

All back

So back to the present, and when the brake lights still weren’t working we had that nagging feeling that the switch might have gone again.

But, after the fuses, the next step was the bulbs. Checked those, no, not working either. Not looking good at this point.

Adrian jumped in the Landy and shot into town to see our favourite auto-electrician.

“Arranque,” said the auto-electrician. Adrian started it up. “Ponga los frenos.” Adrian put the brakes on.

“Muy bien,” said your man. “Funcionan.”

Adrian jumped out looking puzzled, so the auto-electrician duly demonstrated to him that they were working.

At which point the penny dropped. The second time we had tested them – after changing the fuse – Adrian had turned on the ignition, but not the engine. So the brake lights didn’t come on. Everything else did – but not the brake lights.

Anyway, he made up a really cool story about how his useless woman couldn’t even tell which lights were brake lights……… and drove happily home.

At least we know which fuse is for the brake lights now.

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The wished-for Christmas present

Before Christmas we managed to take a week’s holiday so drove up to the finca.

The last time we drove down to Gib, the engine cut out when we turned out of the lane into the main street.

Once back in Gib, it didn’t get forgotten about, rather put on the back burner as work took priority, and we rarely use the LR in the city.

So driving up to the finca, all went well. A good journey. Leaving the main road to turn into the village, left hand indicator on – engine cut out.

Started up again, and we pulled up outside the house. Reversed back to park close to the kerb. Engine cut out again. Even Mr and Ms Non-Electrical could work out there was an electrical problem that happened when some lights came on (LH indicator and reversing light).

Rather than spending the week messing around trying to diagnose the fault, we took the easy option and booked her into the local auto-electrician’s which is pretty good.

Needless to state it wasn’t difficult and he diagnosed it in about two seconds flat. Those of you who know more than us about electrics – not difficult – will no doubt have worked out what it was. One of my internet friends guessed it correctly straightaway. Oh well, electrics are not our strong point.

It needed a new ignition switch and barrel ie complete unit. One advantage was that we got new keys – and we have needed a spare one since we got the LR.

It wasn’t too expensive either as it obviously didn’t take long. The only problem was that it needed to come from Málaga, and it was a holiday weekend. So sadly we had to extend the holiday and take a couple of extra days off work.

Obviously needing something to do during those extra days, Partner went to look at another Santana. Older than ours but the same model, diesel, 3.5, 6-cylinder. The intention is to buy it for spare parts – although it seems such a shame to break something that would probably work with a bit of TLC.

Mmmmm he was lusting after it. And still is.





Alternators

The alternator seemed to be a bit iffy.

It didn’t seem to be holding its charge.

Bloody alternators cost a fortune in Spain. We know because when we arrived the one on the Series III started playing up.

At the time we got it checked out at a local robo, I mean autoelectrical garage, but they gave us the sad news that we needed a new one and charged us hundreds of euros for it.

As we needed it there and then, we were in a bit of a catch 22 situation, so we couldn’t really order one from the UK and then fit it ourselves. So the garage got the pleasure of doing an easy little job too.

We thought we would have a quick checky out to see if it was the same one on the Series III as is on the Santana.

Just to prove I can actually lift the bonnet….

Trying to see the number

Reading off the number

The Santana alternator

Yes, looks the same to us

Looking very similar here. Both the same French company. If we could see the numbers on the Santana – they have worn off – we could have confirmed it. Anyway we reckoned it was.

So out with the relatively new one (from the Series), and it was added to the ever-growing chest of spares to travel permanently in the back of the Santana.

Tightened up the fan belt in the Santana and it immediately seemed to charge better. Maybe it’s just a short somewhere. I really must buy that Haynes guide to electrics for idiots though.

2 COMMENTS:

Kaiser Chef said…
I am duly impressed at your mechanical knowledge.Relieved you can actually lift the bonnet….. ;0)Have gone for a short comment today? But no doubt will not win a prize.

21 MARCH 2008 14:42
El Casareño Inglés said…
Glad you found the Santana alternativor? cheaper.I had the same story with a Suzuki Samurai. I had various local quotes of between 500 and 700 euro for a new one. My local Suzuki dealership (Gallardo, Algeciras) put me onto Santana and got me one for 300 euro including IVA.

15 MAY 2008 16:08

Glow plugs/heater plugs (2)

Robbin’ bastards

So here we are waiting patiently for our heater plugs to come out from the UK.

In the meantime as we can do very little on the Santana, Adrian thought he would cycle into town and see what was on offer at the local auto-electrical garage which we have used a number of times before. Naturally – us being useless at auto-electrics, although these days slightly less than we were.

He walked in with the offending heater plug and asked if they had one.

“I’ll go and look,” said one of the owner’s sons, and disappeared into the dungeon.

After five minutes he returned, proudly waving a Lucas spark plug box, with Land Rover written on it by hand.

Inside was exactly the part we were waiting for. But this was not a new part.

Adrian looked at it carefully. It had obviously been taken out of someone else’s diesel when they had changed a set of heater plugs. Nor did it include the top pieces. It was just the plug.

Just to remind you all – the photo at the top is the defunct plug

The owner’s son went behind the bonnet of another vehicle where his brother was working and they had a very quiet chat to think of a good price that the silly foreigner might pay. He then came out and said: “Thirty five euros.” Smiling. Again.

Adrian fell on the floor.

When he picked himself up, he said, “No, thank you. I’m not paying that.”

“Oh, well in that case, we’ll give you a discount. Thirty euros.”

“No, I’m not paying that either. And give me back my plug.” Which at this point was sitting on the work bench, in the hopes that he would forget it. Including all the difficult-to-get-hold-of top parts.

Taking the piss or what?

So we have now decided to compile a useful list of small parts and consumables on the Santana which are directly compatible with Land Rover parts and I will put it on the sidebar, and keep it updated when we find new equivalent parts.