Glow plugs/heater plugs (3)

We began to panic about the heater plugs. They had not arrived. I sent an email to the UK supplier. I walked back outside onto the terrace.

The postie had arrived and was yelling for us. Naturally the neighbours were yelling too. “Paquete, paquete,” hollered half the street. Obviously a paquete was something rare and exciting.

Yes! It was our box of heater plugs. We dashed inside with them. Adrian was too excited so he was banished outside to wait for me to open them carefully. Apart from anything else if they didn’t work, we wanted to send them back in the same packaging.

I carefully cut through the brown paper. Each layer of it. The double layers of sticky brown tape. Inside, underneath another two pieces of card as packaging, were six little boxes, surrounded by bubble wrap. Wow, were these plugs well wrapped.

Well packed

We took one out. Compared it with the broken one. Not only was it the same – it even included the ceramic. Four posts ago I wrote about looking for one in Spain and the robbin’ bastards were going to charge us 35€ for one second-hand plug, with NO bits. No washers, no ceramic insulator and no top stud. We didn’t ask for the washers but we did get the insulator and stud for a glorious price of just over £5 each incl postage. Or as a direct comparison, price for price, probably the equivalent of around 7€. NOT 35€.

New plug, complete with ceramic and knurled terminal nut, heater element carefully enclosed in a plastic tube

Perfect new heater element

We went outside to fit the new plug.


As we were too excited and it was nearly lunchtime, we decided to leave the big moment to start her for early in the morning the following day.

Once the sun was up and it was nice and warm out we went. Being methodical, I thought we would do a check. No, still no current according to the circuit tester. After messing around a bit more and cleaning up the terminals, we decided to go for it, especially as we suddenly noticed the light was coming on when we turned the key to choke position.

Oops, wait a minute. “What is that loose spring doing there?” I said, knocking it on the floor.

I knew it went somewhere

OK confession time. We did cheat. We did give her a little tiny whiff of EasyStart. We didn’t want a flat battery and she had stood for two weeks. So off she went, burble burble. Up the track and across the river to the supermarket.

Today, fingers, toes and everything else crossed, we started her on her own. Burble burble she went. No addictive additive. Just our super heater plugs. Sorted. Thanks to the people on Land Rover UK Forums who gave us lots of advice and talked us through it.

And the postscript is……..Adrian decided on a cycle ride today and when he was coming back through town, one of the lads at the auto-electrical garage stopped to ask him about the Land Rover.

Naturally he thought because Adrian was on the bike that it wasn’t sorted. Wrong. “Non. Funciona,” smiled Adrian. (No. It works.) And off he cycled leaving a dejected money-hungry Spanish auto-electrician in the middle of the road.

Finally a big thanks to P A Blanchard. Both Pete Blanchard and Nick were helpful. If you aren’t sure about what you want, just ask them. We sent pictures of the heater plugs via email, and rang on Friday evening when everyone else would have gone home, and spoke to Pete.

We’ve never been able to fault Blanchard’s and used them loads of times when we were in the UK whether over the ‘phone or visiting in person. We have always recommended them and will continue to do so, and to use them.

Reliable as ever. Thanks Blanchies.


Diesel woes

What happens when you don’t move your vehicle?

It doesn’t start. Naturally. Especially when it is a cantankerous 3.5 diesel.Anyway we got some great advice from LRUK so set about sorting the filter first and then bleeding the system.

Old filter

New filter

When we changed the filter, emptied and cleaned the sedimenter, the fuel was clean. Then we bled the system. Didn’t work. Still wouldn’t start.


The lift pump was not pumping. At all. This then became the main suspect. Had a look round on internet for prices. Some cheap, some dear.

Lift pump

Still wasn’t convinced it was the lift pump though, but couldn’t work out what it was.

Went into the back of the vehicle and took off the cover plates over the fuel tank. Checked all the pipes were clear, they weren’t gunged up and then re-tightened all the jubilee clips. The fuel in the tank was clean.

Access plates to fuel tank in back body

Electrical connections and pipework

Pipe feeds, note the clips in the metal frame –
exactly the same as on our Series

Then we followed the pipework through, checking there were no breaks, there was no intermediate filter on the chassis that could have been blocked. Everything seemed in good order. Had another go at bleeding just for luck, but still no joy.

We wanted to get it moved so in the end we got one of the local garages to come and have a look. They walked down but they couldn’t get it started either, so towed it back to the garage.

How embarrassing.
Small van tows giant Land Rover Santana

How many guys does it take to push a 3.5 truck?

Fast forward to the solution. The fuel system was in order, no problems with lift pump or injector pump. As we knew, the fuel was clean – there was no obvious pipe blockage or build-up of gunge. The nasty diesel bug didn’t seem to have taken up residence either.

So according to the mechanic, the problem was a faulty cable that ran from the ignition to the injector pump. It had no voltage on it. So they replaced it.

And she happily started so we drove her away.

But the next day, would she start? Not without Easy Start. Although only a very tiny spray. Of course, she does start when she’s been warmed up. So naturally when we had picked her up from the garage she had started good as gold as they had driven her out onto the street – she was still warm. Don’t know how they had started her though..Easy Start?

At the time, we had pointed out the glow plug light was not working, but the mechanic said not to worry about it.

Should glow red – doesn’t

So now apart from anything else we have to screw back the dashboard which the garage didn’t bother putting back. And then we have to work out whether there is a loose cable, a loose connection, a cable totally pulled off, or a blown fuse.

Then when we have gone through all that we will be checking the glow plugs.

Glow plugs and injectors

A serious big thanks to all the people on LRUK Series Forum who have put up with our inane questions and patiently answered them all.

When it stops raining we’ll be tackling it. Sometime after Christmas probably, given the three days continuous rain we have had.