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.


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.

Glow plugs/heater plugs (1)

Back here I wrote about our Diesel Woes. And said that we would be checking through to see if we could find the source of the problem.

We couldn’t see any loose cables, so armed with our trusty new circuit tester with both a lamp and audible warning, we decided to go check the ballast resistor and then onto the heater plugs.

The resistor on the Santana is in the dashboard, under a nice plastic cover. It looks totally different to the Series ones.

Unfortunately Adrian had virtually put it all back together before I found the camera and I decided it wasn’t a good idea to ask him to undo it all again.

Then I went off to check the heater plugs, following Big Sandy’s clear and simple article at LRUK Forums.

So I started at the one nearest to the radiator, while Adrian held the ignition on. The top feed was fine. The bottom one wasn’t. Wondered if I wasn’t doing it right. Checked all the others, all top and bottom feeds had current to them. We would have checked how much voltage to each one if the battery in the volt meter hadn’t been dead. The first one seemed to be the culprit though, so out he came.

Even with our limited electrical knowledge we figured it would be pretty difficult to complete the circuit when the element at the bottom has snapped.

He looks like he’s had copper slip on him and he certainly came out easily enough. So now we are waiting for some new ones, part no 568335, ie one to replace the faulty one and some spares. NB Do not throw away the washers, ceramic insulator, and threaded top (incidentally this has a slot in the top for a screwdriver when you want to undo it to take out the plug).

Part 2 to follow when the new plugs arrive.

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.