This LRO reader emailed LRO.firstname.lastname@example.org looking for advice on running his Freelander 1 in two-wheel drive only.
I own a 1998 Freelander 2.0. I read in LRO that you can run a Freelander 1 without the propshaft fitted. I don’t use four-wheel drive but I do occasionally tow a caravan. What, if any, are the problems in removing the prop? My local Land Rover dealer says that long-term damage can occur to the traction control system. Would you recommend removing the prop?
Rob Benjamin, Spalding, Lincolnshire
Several owners have run the Freelander 1 without its rear propshafts and viscous coupling unit (VCU). I don’t see how the prop removal could affect the traction control system, and I have confirmed this with an ex-Land Rover chassis engineer.
Although some independents are happy to convert a Freelander 1 in this way, I wouldn’t expect a franchised Land Rover dealership to condone the modification. Understandably, they stick rigidly to the rules.
My own recommendation is that should the propshafts and VCU start giving trouble and you can’t get to a garage, or if there’s a long wait to have repairs done then you can remove them. That can avoid damaging other parts of the transmission.
For example, a seized VCU can cause damage to the intermediate reduction drive, which is expensive to replace. I suggest this as a temporary measure, with the intention of reinstating the rear drive - especially as you may need to move your caravan on a wet or muddy site.
If you do remove the system, take care with the propshaft support bearing bolts that screw into the underbody. These can easily shear off if corroded. Incidentally, the vehicle won’t pass an MoT test in Northern Ireland with the props removed.
This workshop advice appeared in the October 2007 issue of LRO. Back issues are available to download on digital devices here.