Air Suspension

Air leaks are the #1 enemy of your air suspension system.

The front Air Springs can come loose from the top mounting.  The seal can easily be broken when the wheels have been allowed to hang down without disabling the air suspension system.  This can be an intermittent leak when stationary as the weight of your Range Rover will tend to re-seal them, but when driving the combination of movement and heat will allow air to escape.   
Note:  The new style Air Spring has a stainless steel band around the top and I have not had one of these leak – so far.

Front and rear Air Springs have had leaking 'O' Ring seals at the Air Pipe connection and the Air Springs can develop small age cracks that the air bleeds out through. (8 to 10 years seems to be a good age for the Air Springs to develop these small cracks (around Sydney), even earlier if your Range Rover has been used in hot climates.)  Replace the Air Springs when the small cracks appear.  (After market rubber bellows are available separately.)

The Valve Block has been known to leak from the 'O' Ring Seals for the Air Pipes, from under the Solenoid covers, and internally.  Replace the Valve Block. (Reconditioned Valve Blocks may be available from your repairer – quality???) 

A leaking Engine Exhaust Pipe Flange over the top of the of the rear axle directs the hot exhaust gasses on to the three Air Pipes located on top of the chassis and melts them. (Air Pipe joiners are available.)

A Battery Acid spill in a Range Rover will eat away the Air Pipe under the battery tray going to the RH front Air Spring.

Air Tank leaks have been found at the 'O' Ring seals for the Air Pipe and at the threaded connections. 

It is strongly recommended that your Range Rover be thoroughly checked for air leaks regularly and before you depart for the Outback.  The extra work the Compressor and the Valve Block have to do to keep up with air leaks only shortens the working life of both and costs you money.  

The job of the dryer is to absorb moisture from the incoming compressed air and hold this moisture until air is expelled at which time the trapped moisture is blown out and the dryer media is recharged.  With air leak(s) the incoming moisture builds up in the dryer media as there is more air coming in than being expelled.   When the dryer media is saturated it breaks down into a white powder that is blown throughout the system.  This plays havoc inside of the Valve Block with valves no longer sealing causing internal leaks, failure of the Air Operated Solenoid Diaphragm and clogged exhaust silencer.

Remember - Air leaks are the #1 enemy of your air suspension system.  Stop the leaks and save $$$$

Finding air leaks

This process is, at best, a half-day exercise.  Read these instructions through first and then follow them.

You will need a spray bottle with a soapy water solution so that when it is sprayed on an air leak it will bubble and expose where the leak is.  I use and recommend diluted Morning Fresh dishwashing liquid - it really is just great at making bubbles.

Start the engine and raise your Range Rover to the highest height setting.  When the high setting is reached open a door/tailgate to prevent any further height changes.

While the Compressor is running use the spray bottle to check for leaks in the EAS-Box.  Spray around the bases of the black Solenoids that are on top. Un-screw the Silencer* from the Exhaust Port, wet your finger with soapy water and gently place it over the opening.  If you get a steady flow of air out of the Exhaust Port you have a split/damaged Diaphragm in the Air Operated Solenoid Valve.  (Replacement diaphragm kits are available.)  Check the inside of the silencer (Air Pipe) for a white powder residue (Dryer Media) and with your mouth blow air through the silencer to check for a blockage (some resistance is normal).  Dryer Media in the exhaust port requires a new Dryer, Air Pipe flush and Valve Block flush or in bad cases a replacement Valve Block.
* Classic Range Rovers have an Air Pipe that has to be removed from the Exhaust Port.  Thoroughly clean the area and push the Collet in against the Valve Block body and hold it there while wiggling and pulling out the Air Pipe. 

Do not attempt to stop leaking air from escaping out of the Exhaust Port.

Just before the Compressor stops running you can hear and see it working at it's hardest pumping the Air Tank to 10 bar (150 psi).  Spray the blue Compressor Air Pipe, the Dryer, the Solenoid Valves again and the Air Pipes on the side of the Valve Block while the Compressor is working at its hardest. Looking for leaking 'O' Rings at the Air Pipes.  Spray the top fittings of the front Air Springs.  Spray the top fittings of the rear Air Springs - from over the top of the tyres. 

When the Air Tank is full and the Compressor automatically stops close any open doors/tailgate and put the suspension to Standard height.  This is where your suspension is most of the time and where most of the wear on the Air Springs takes place.  When the suspension has settled at Standard height and the Compressor stops automatically after re-filling the Air Tank - stop the engine and open a door to prevent any further height changes.

Disable your Range Rover EAS - unplug the delay relay from under the left front seat.  Classic Range Rover - use the disable switch located at the rear under the RH front seat.  Put a piece of masking tape at the top of each wheel arch.  Measure the height from the bottom edge of the wheel rim, place a mark on the tape and write the height measurement.

Drive your Range Rover for 10 to 20 minutes to get the Air Springs hot and release air from the top of the front Air Springs if they are leaking.  If there is a leak at the upper mounting the front may drop while you are driving.  If you need to refill the front or rear Air Springs to get back, stop in a safe place and enable your EAS.

Park your Range Rover (at Standard height) on a level surface where you have access to the under side to check for air leaks.  (Disable your EAS again if you enabled it during your drive.)

Measure the corner heights again.  A slight rise in height is acceptable as the air in the Air Springs expands with the heat generated during driving. Use the spray bottle to check for leaks at the Air Springs.  Spray the front Air Springs into the crack between the top Mounting Bracket and the Air Spring. 

Spray both the front and rear Air Springs looking for air leaks.  Spray the top Air Pipe fittings on the front Air Spring mountings for leaking 'O' Rings.  When the rubber of the Air Spring bellows has perished small cracks or splits appear in the rubber.  Air will be leaking out of these cracks when the Air Springs are hot and flexing - replace the bellows.

Spray all of the Air Tank fittings. 

Leave your Range Rover for half a day and check the corner heights.  Land Rover says that 20 mm (3/4 inch) is the maximum drop in 24 hours.  A drop will usually indicate an external air leak and a height increase usually indicates a Valve Block that is leaking internally. 

Use the spray to find the leak.  If you cannot find a leak in the Air Spring or Air Pipe suspect the Valve Block.  Your repairer can undertake further diagnosis or you can try this yourself.  Wet your finger with soapy water and gently place it over the Exhaust Port opening.  If you get a single puff or a steady flow of air out of the Exhaust Port you have an internal leak. 

Range Rovers - Carefully refit the Silencer to the Exhaust Port.  It does go in at a slight angle - do not cross thread it. 
Classic Range Rovers - Just push the clean Air Pipe all the way back in to the Exhaust Port and it should seal itself.

Check the Air Tank for leaks by first opening a door to prevent height changes and refitting the Delay Relay.  Start the engine and see if the Compressor runs or not.  If the Air Tank has not lost much air the Pressure Switch will not turn the Compressor on.  If the Compressor does run there is a leak - a short run time means that you have only lost a little air.   A good Compressor (and no leaks) will fill an empty Air Tank in less than 10 minutes.

When your Range Rover, with the EAS disabled, does not drop overnight and the compressor does not have to refill the air tank in the morning you have no major air leaks. You have done the hard diagnostic work when you have found and noted your air leaks.  You then have to decide what to do about them. 

Major component replacement can be dangerous in many different ways.  Numerous safety precautions must be observed to prevent injury to yourself and possible damage to your Range Rover.  Unless you have the equipment and knowledge to safely carry out the repairs perhaps it is best left to your repairer to replace major components. Please use a memory saver to help prevent the BECM from going into alarm or immobilisation when the new battery is connected. If the battery is dead flat or has already been disconnected see: EKA and Power Up

Emergency Key Access (EKA) for the LP (P38) Range Rover

If the vehicle is locked using the remote handset and loss or failure of the handset occurs, the vehicle can be unlocked and the alarm disarmed by entering a four-digit code using the key in the driver’s door lock. The code is a unique code for the vehicle and can be found on the security information card or it is obtainable from the factory.

EKA procedure - Vehicles up to 96MY

1. Unlock the driver’s door with the key.

2. Open the door and the alarm sounder will sound twice. If the key is inserted in the ignition at this point and an attempt is made to start the engine, the engine will not crank and the message center will display ’ENGINE DISABLED PRESS REMOTE OR USE KEY CODE’.

3. Close the driver’s door and ensure that: All doors, tail door and bonnet must be closed. This is a must-do, otherwise, the EKA will not work.

4. Turn the key to the lock position.
NOTE: The code cannot be entered in the message center displays ’KEY CODE LOCKOUT’. (see below)

5. Enter the code as follows. At each turn of the key to the lock or unlock position, the side lamp warning lamp in the instrument pack will flash to indicate that the key turn has been recognized.

6. Enter the first digit. If the first digit is 2, turn and release the key two times in the unlock direction.

7. Enter the second digit. If the second digit is five, turn and release the key five times in the lock direction.

8. Enter the third digit. If the third digit is four, turn and release the key four times in the unlock direction.

9. Enter the fourth digit. If the fourth digit is two, turn and release the key two times in the lock direction.

10. Turn the key to the unlock direction and, provided that the code has been entered correctly, all the doors and the tail door will be unlocked and the alarm will be partially disarmed.

When the EKA code has been entered, the security LED will continue to flash in deterrent mode to show that the alarm is partially disarmed and will be triggered if the bonnet is opened.

If the EKA code is entered incorrectly, on the final unlock turn of the key, a mislock will sound and the remaining doors and the tail door will remain locked and the alarm partially armed. If five incorrect attempts are made to enter the code, the BeCM enters a ten-minute ’lockout’ period. Further attempts to enter the code will cause a mislock to sound each time the key is turned. During the lockout period, the message center displays ’KEY CODE LOCKOUT’.

If you make a mistake while entering the code open either of the front doors, a mislock will sound and the door will need to be closed and key locked and the code reentered from the beginning. This will not count as an incorrect EKA entry.

With the vehicle in EKA mode, if the remote handset unlocks button is pressed all doors will be unlocked and the alarm disarmed. The lock button will not operate while entering the EKA code.

EKA procedure - Vehicles from 96MY

If the vehicle is locked using the remote handset and loss or failure of the handset occurs, the vehicle can be unlocked and the alarm disarmed by entering a four-digit code using the key in the driver’s door lock as described in the EKA procedure for vehicles up to 96MY with the following exceptions:

1. If the vehicle had not been locked with the remote handset, then in step 4, the key must be turned four times to the lock position.
2. The number of incorrect attempts is reduced to three and the lockout period increased to thirty minutes


Powering up a P38 BECM

I have found that this procedure has worked for me almost all of the time.

NOTE: This may not work if the message centre displays ’KEY CODE LOCKOUT’. (See above)

When you are locked out, have had a flat battery, battery replacement or are removing and refitting the BECM:

1 - Go to the engine bay fuse box and remove the three large 60 amp (blue) fuses. Remove the rear one first, the middle one and the front one last.
These fuses supply power to the three brown wires on the outside of the BECM.

If you are removing and refitting the BECM leave the battery terminals connected to keep power going to the other computers. With the three fuses removed, there is no power at the BECM.

2 – With a charged battery fitted (and the BECM refitted and connected).

3 – Open the driver’s door and leave it open.

4 – Fit only one key/remote into the steering column lock do not turn it! If more than one key/remote is near the ignition lock there will be multiple signals transmitted and the BECM will not be able to do a friendly mobilization.

5 – Replace the three fuses in the reverse order, front one first, middle and rear last.

As the BECM powers up (with the key fitted in the steering column and the driver’s door open) it should do a friendly mobilization sequence.

If it does not then remove the fuses in the above order, turn the ignition key to the ignition on position and refit the fuses in the above order. (Some girls do it one way, some the other!)

If the other doors unlock at this time then close and open the driver’s door or any other door. If a door is not opened within one  minute the vehicle will automatically relock all the doors and arm the alarm.

You will now have to re-synchronise the remote(s) to the BECM.

Put the remote key into the driver’s door lock and turn it to the lock or unlock position and quickly return it to the rest position. Quickly push either button on the remote once. Repeat the above several times until the remote re-synchronises with the BECM. You will know when this happens, as all the doors will start to lock and unlock with the pushing of the remote buttons.

Unlock the vehicle and open the driver’s door (or any door). If a door is not opened then within one minute the vehicle will  automatically relock all the doors and arm the alarm.

Insert the remote key into the ignition lock and when the key is turned the engine should start

Good Luck
Any feedback appreciated.

Open the bonnet and leave the driver's door open and the window down to hopefully stop your P38 from going into immobilization or alarm while you work on the remotes. Would you please remove the soft rubber cover over the pushbuttons on your remotes.  I use the tip of my pocket knife blade to gently lift the rubber edge and then use my fingers to peal them off.

You will see the tops of the pushbutton switches - one in each hole. Use the tip of a small jewellers screwdriver to gently poke at each switch - if either switch moves it has come loose on the circuit board below that is why it does not work. Push each button and listen (and feel) for the click as the switch operates. Good luck at trying to open the case to resolder a switch to the circuit board.  I have had some success at getting them apart and back together again and have supplies of new cases, pushbutton covers etc.

Remove the battery cover and batteries.  Look inside the remote at the ring of three spring terminals in the middle.  Probe them with the jeweller's screwdriver to see if they have come loose at the mounting (solder) point.  Scrape each of the three near their free ends and then carefully bend each one up a couple of millimetres. 

Check the other battery terminal at the lip of the hole.  There should be a rubber tensioner under it.  If not cut a piece out of a small diameter O-ring and fit it in place.  (Use the second remote as a template.)  Carefully scrape the contact surface a little with the tip of the jeweller's screwdriver and ensure it has a springy feel to it and it is aligned to meet with the contact on the battery cover. 

Remove the batteries from the cover and carefully scrape the battery contact at the bottom and on the lip.  Test the batteries and replace if required.  Wipe them with a tissue or clean cloth and refit them the correct way round.  Do not touch the battery surfaces with your fingers after you have wiped them. You will put fingerprints oil on them and eventually your body oil will insulate them and they will stop working.  New batteries also come with a light coating of oil that has to be removed before use.  Clean with a tissue or cloth and do not touch with your fingers after cleaning.

Reassemble the remotes and see if the red LED flashes when you push each of the buttons.  Close the bonnet and the driver's door (window open) and then initialize the remotes in the door lock.

New rubber keypads - YWC000300
Battery Cover/Holder - STC4352  
Battery Cover O-Ring - STC1867