Rover DEFENDER 1997 Owner Manual



Introduction ..........................................................


SECTION 2 Controls & instruments ........................................


SECTION 3 Driving & operating .............................................



Owner maintenance .............................................



Workshop maintenance ........................................



General data .........................................................


SECTION 7 Parts & accessories ...............................................



Off-road driving ....................................................



Index .....................................................................



In-car entertainment


Publication No. LRL 0095NAS

© 1996 Rover Group Limited Published by Technical Communications



The Passport to Service included in your literature pack, contains important vehicle identification information, details of your entitlement under the terms of the Land Rover warranty, as well as useful consumer advice.

Most important of all, however, is the section on maintenance. This outlines the servicing requirements for your vehicle, as well as incorporating the service record slips, which the dealer should sign and stamp to certify that routine services have been carried out at the recommended intervals.


Safety warnings are included in this handbook. These indicate either a procedure which must be followed precisely, or information that should be considered with great care in order to avoid the possibility of personal injury or serious damage to the vehicle.



Warning labels attached to your vehicle bearing this symbol mean: DO NOT touch or adjust

components until you have read the relevant instructions in the handbook.

Warning labels showing this symbol indicate that the ignition system utilises very high

voltages. DO NOT touch any ignition components while the starter switch is turned on!


Your vehicle has a higher ground clearance and, therefore, a higher centre of gravity than ordinary passenger cars. This will result in different handling characteristics. Inexperienced drivers should take additional care, particularly in off-road driving situations and when performing abrupt manoeuvres on unstable surfaces.




If you need to communicate with a Land Rover dealer, you may be asked to quote the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

The VIN and other information concerning the vehicle, can be found on a plate, located in the driver’s footwell (this should also match the VIN recorded in the Passport to Service).

In addition, the Federal VIN plate is mounted to the vehicle body, in such a position that it is visible from the outside, through the bottom corner of the windscreen on the driver’s side.


While it may be difficult to deter the ’professional’ car thief, the majority of thefts are carried out by unskilled opportunists. Therefore, take vehicle security very seriously and ALWAYS adopt this simple ’five point’ drill whenever you leave your vehicle - even for just a few minutes:

Fully close all the windows and the sunroof (if fitted).

Remove your valuable belongings (or hide them out of sight).

Remove the starter key.

Engage the steering lock (by slightly turning the wheel until it locks).

Lock all the doors.

Thieves are attracted to ’vulnerable’ vehicles. Even if you have followed the ’five point’ drill, there is still much you can do to make your vehicle a less inviting target.


Park where your vehicle can easily be seen by householders and passers-by.

At night, park in well lit areas and avoid deserted or dimly lit side streets.

At home, if you have a garage, use it - and NEVER leave the keys in the vehicle.

Do not keep important vehicle documents (or spare keys) in the vehicle - these are a real bonus for the thief.




Remember the breakdown safety code

If a breakdown occurs while travelling:-

Wherever possible, consistent with road safety and traffic conditions, the vehicle should be moved off the main thoroughfare. If a breakdown occurs on a freeway, pull well over to the inside of the hard shoulder.

Switch on hazard lights.

If possible, position a warning triangle or a flashing amber light at an appropriate distance from the vehicle to warn other traffic of the breakdown (note the legal requirements of some areas in this respect).

Consider evacuating passengers through the right hand doors away from the road as a precaution in case your Defender is struck by another vehicle.



Controls & instruments

In this section of the handbook you will find descriptions of the controls and instruments on your vehicle.

For your own safety, it is most important to read this section fully and to gain a thorough understanding of all the controls before driving.

Section Contents


Controls .......................................................


Door locks .................................................


Seats .........................................................


Seat belts ...................................................


Instruments ...............................................


Warning lights ...........................................


Lights & indicators ....................................


Wipers & washers .....................................


Switches ....................................................


Windows ...................................................


Sunroof .....................................................


Heating & ventilation .................................


Air conditioning .........................................


Interior equipment .....................................





Heating & ventilation controls

15. Ventilator control


Warning lights

16. Hazard warning light switch



17. Hood release handle


Temperature gauge

18. Fuse box cover


Fuel gauge

19. Transfer gear lever



20. Main gearchange lever


Heater fan control

21. Parking brake lever


Ventilator control

22. Accelerator pedal


Rear screen heater switch

23. Windscreen wash/wipe control

10. Rear screen wiper switch

24. Brake pedal

11. Ashtray

25. Starter switch and steering lock

12. Rear screen washer switch

26. Lighting switch

13. Clock

27. Instrument illumination switch

14. Cigar lighter

28. Lighting, direction indicator & horn switch


Door locks


You have been supplied with two sets of keys, comprising:

a black key for operating the starter switch.

a plain metal key for operating the door locks.

a grey key for operating the cubby box lock.

Key numbers

The starter key and glovebox key numbers are stamped on a tag attached to their respective key rings. The door lock key number is stamped on the key itself. All key numbers should be entered on the Security Information card.


Keep the spare keys and key tags in a safe place - NOT IN THE VEHICLE!

Ensure the key numbers are recorded on the Security Card supplied with your literature pack - DO NOT KEEP THE CARD IN THE VEHICLE!

Front doors

From outside the vehicle, turn the key towards the rear of the vehicle to lock and towards the front to unlock.

Door sill locking buttons

From inside the vehicle, each door can be individually locked, by depressing the appropriate sill locking button.


DO NOT depress the sill buttons as a means of locking the doors from outside the vehicle (this practice - known as ’slam locking’ - is not recommended, because keys can be locked inside accidentally).


From outside, use the key to lock and unlock. From inside and with the door closed, push the locking button up to lock and down to unlock (as illustration).





To avoid the risk of loss of control and personal injury, never adjust the driver’s seat or seatback while the vehicle is in motion.

DO NOT allow occupants to travel with the seat backs reclined steeply rearwards. Optimum benefit is achieved from the seat belt, with the seat back angle set to 15 degrees from the vertical (upright) position.

Forward/backward movement

Lift the bar at the front of the seat base to slide the seat forward or back. Ensure the seat is locked in position before driving.

Backrest movement

Lift the lever and lean backwards or forwards to achieve the desired angle, then lower the lever to lock.



Rear seats - (Station wagons) Station wagon models are fitted with inward facing rear seats, which can be folded away when not in use.

To erect the seats, release the strap securing the seatbase, pull out the seat stand and fold down the seatbase, ensuring that the seat stand locates where the vehicle floor meets the wheel arch (see illustration).

NOTE: Soft top vehicles can be fitted with forward facing rear seats, provided that a full Safari roll cage has been installed.


DO NOT adjust the seats or seat stands while the vehicle is in motion.

When the seat is erected, the seat stand should be visually checked and physically tested, to ensure that the seatbase is secure before driving.

DO NOT allow the rear seats to be used unless the seat stand is in the correct position.

Ensure that rear seat passengers wear seat belts at all times.

DO NOT carry passengers in the rear of the vehicle unless rear seats are fitted.


Seat belts

SEAT BELT SAFETY Seat belts are life saving equipment.

In a collision, unrestrained passengers can be thrown around inside the vehicle, or possibly thrown out of the vehicle, resulting in injury to themselves and to other occupants. DO NOT take chances with safety!

DO make sure ALL passengers are securely strapped in at all times - even for the shortest journeys.

ALWAYS adjust seat belts to eliminate any slack in the webbing, and to ensure that the diagonal belt passes across the shoulder without slipping off or pressing on the neck.

ALWAYS fit the lap strap as low on the hips as possible (never across the abdomen).

DO NOT slacken the webbing by pulling the belt away from the body - to be fully effective, the seat belt must be in full contact with the body at all times.

DO have seat belts checked if the vehicle has been involved in an accident.

DO NOT allow front seat occupants to travel with the seat backs reclined steeply rearwards. Optimum benefit is obtained from the seat belt, with the seat back angle set to 15 degrees from the upright (vertical) position.

DO use the seat belts to secure large items of luggage that are to be carried on the seats - in the event of an accident, insecure items become flying missiles capable of causing serious injury.

DO NOT fit more than one person into a belt, or fit a seat belt that is twisted or obstructed in any way that could impede its smooth operation.

DO NOT allow foreign matter (particularly sugary food and drink particles) to enter the seat belt locks - such substances can render the locks inoperative.


Pregnant women should ask a doctor for advice about the safest way to wear seat belts.

Ensure that all seat belts are worn correctly - an improperly worn seat belt increases the risk of death or serious injury in the event of an accident.


Seat belts


At all times, occupants should wear a seat belt for their protection in the event of a collision or sudden stop. In some circumstances, perhaps due to the vehicle being on a slope, the automatic locking mechanism may engage, preventing the initial extension of the belt. This is not a fault - ease the belt free and use it.

Fastening the inertia reel belts

Draw the belt over the shoulder and across the chest, and insert the metal tongue plate into the lock nearest the wearer - a ’click’ indicates that the belt is securely locked.

Seat belts are designed to bear upon the bony structure of the body (pelvis, chest and shoulders) and can only be worn safely with the webbing crossing the shoulder MIDWAY BETWEEN THE NECK AND THE EDGE OF THE SHOULDER and with the seats in a normal UPRIGHT position - DO NOT allow the front passenger to travel with the seat steeply reclined.

Lap belts

To adjust, pull the slider along the belt and feed the webbing through the buckle until the belt is comfortably tight. When not in use, the lap belts should be stowed behind the seat back.


Seat belts

Infant and child restraints

All infant and child restraint systems are designed to be secured in forward facing vehicle seats by means of a lap belt or the lap portion of a lap/shoulder belt.

When installing and using any infant or child restraint system, always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer concerning installation and use. Failure to properly secure the child restraint system in the vehicle can endanger the child in a collision or sudden stop and cause injury to other passengers.

The front passenger seat belt is fitted with a retracting lock mechanism, providing extra security for a child restraint in the event of an accident. To activate the passenger seat belt lock mechanism, pull the seat belt out to its full extent and then allow it to retract until it is the correct length to secure the child seat. The seat belt will now be locked in that position until released by undoing the seat belt in the normal way.

Never leave a child unattended in your vehicle.


Infants and children too small for seat belts should be restrained in a child safety seat or restraint system, appropriate to their age and/or size, and which is approved for use in your vehicle. Always ensure that the manufacturer’s fitting instructions are followed exactly.

Do not fit child safety seats or restraint systems to the inward facing rear seats.


Seat belts

Caring for seat belts

Regularly inspect the belt webbing for signs of wear, paying particular attention to the fixing points and adjusters. Always replace a seat belt that has withstood the strain of an impact or shows signs of fraying.

DO NOT bleach or dye the webbing. Clean the webbing using warm water and non-detergent soap only - allow to dry naturally and DO NOT retract the belt until completely dry.

Testing inertia reel belts

From time to time carry out the following tests:

1.With the seat belt fastened, give the webbing near the buckle a quick upward pull. The buckle must remain securely locked.

2.With the seat belt unfastened, unreel the webbing to the limit of its travel. Check that unreeling is free from snatches and snags.

3.With the webbing half unreeled, hold the tongue plate and give it a quick forward pull. The safety mechanism must lock automatically and prevent any further unreeling.



1. Speedometer

Indicates road speed in miles and/or kilometres per hour.

2. Odometer and trip odometer

Indicates the total distance or the individual journey distance travelled by the vehicle - press and release the reset button (3) to change between the two.

3.Odometer and trip odometer mode/reset button

Press and release the mode button to change the digital display between either the total distance the vehicle has travelled, or the individual journey distance. Press and hold the button to reset the trip odometer to zero.

4. Fuel gauge

The pointer indicates the fuel level when the starter switch is turned to position ’II’.

5. Temperature gauge

Once the engine coolant has reached its normal operating temperature, the pointer should remain between the ’C’ (cold) and ’H’ (hot) segments. If the pointer enters the ’H’ segment, stop the vehicle as soon as safety permits and seek qualified assistance before continuing.

6. Tachometer

Indicates engine speed in revolutions per minute (rev/min). In normal driving conditions, the engine speed should NEVER exceed 5500 rev/min.

7. Warning light pack

For a full explanation of the function of the warning lights, see ’Warning lights’.


Warning lights


The specification of the warning lights will vary according to model and market requirements.

The warning lights are colour coded as follows:

RED lights are warnings.


DO NOT drive if a RED warning light remains on once the engine is running or illuminates whilst driving.

GREEN & BLUE lights indicate that a unit is operating.

AMBER lights show that a unit is operating and should be switched off (or rectified) as soon as conditions allow.

Low engine oil pressure - RED Illuminates as a bulb check when the starter switch is turned to

position ’II’ and extinguishes when the engine is running. If it remains on, or illuminates whilst driving, STOP THE VEHICLE as soon as safety permits and seek qualified assistance before continuing. Always check oil levels when this light illuminates.

NOTE: At very low ambient temperatures, the light may take several seconds to extinguish.

Battery charging - RED Illuminates as a bulb check when the starter switch is turned to

position ’II’ and extinguishes when the engine is running. If it remains on, or illuminates whilst driving, a fault is indicated. Seek qualified assistance urgently.

Brake system check - RED Illuminates as a bulb check when the starter switch is turned to

position ’II’ and extinguishes when the engine is running and the parking brake is released. If it remains on, or illuminates whilst driving, a fault with the braking system is indicated. STOP THE VEHICLE as soon as safety permits and seek qualified assistance before continuing.


DO NOT drive the vehicle while the brake warning light is illuminated.

Direction indicators - GREEN Flashes in conjunction with the direction indicators. If the light

does not illuminate, this may indicate a bulb failure in the warning light pack or in one of the direction indicator lights.

Headlight high beam - BLUE Illuminates whenever the high beam headlights are on.


Warning lights

Differential lock - AMBER Illuminates whenever the differential lock is engaged.

If the light remains on after the differential lock is disengaged, transmission ’wind up’ may be present. Reversing for a short distance and then going forward will usually ’unwind’ the transmission. If the light remains on, contact your dealer as soon as possible.

Heated rear screen - AMBER (if fitted)

Illuminates when the rear screen heater is operating.

Seat belt warning - RED

If the driver’s seat belt is not fastened, the light illuminates

when the starter switch is turned to position ’II’. The light extinguishes as soon as the driver’s seat belt is fastened. ALWAYS fasten your seat belt BEFORE driving!

Emission maintenance reminder


Illuminates as a bulb check when the starter switch is turned to position ’II’. If the light illuminates at any other time, the vehicle should be taken to your Land Rover dealer for a special emission related service to be carried out.

Trailer direction indicators - GREEN

Flashes in conjunction with the vehicle direction indicator lights to show that all trailer indicator lights are functioning correctly. In the event of a bulb failure on the trailer, the warning light flashes once and then remains off.

NOTE: When a trailer is not fitted, the warning light will only flash once.

Side lights - GREEN Illuminates whenever the side lights are on.

Check engine - AMBER Illuminates momentarily as a bulb check when the starter

switch is turned to position ’II’ and should extinguish when the engine is running. Illumination at any other time, indicates an engine fault - if the light flashes, reduce speed and seek qualified assistance urgently.



Driver’s seat belt reminder

A chime will sound for up to 8 seconds, if the starter switch is turned to position ’II’, when the driver’s seat belt is unfastened.

Starter key warning

A chime will sound if the key is left in the starter switch, with the switch in position ’I’ or ’0’, when the driver’s door is opened.

Lights on warning

A chime will sound if the lights are left on when a front door is opened.

Transfer box warning

A warning chime will sound whenever the transfer box gear lever is in the neutral position.


Lights & indicators

Direction indicators

Move the lever DOWN to indicate a LEFT turn, and UP to indicate a RIGHT turn (the GREEN warning light on the instrument panel will flash in time with the direction indicators). Hold the lever part-way up or down against spring pressure to indicate a lane change.

Main light switch

Lever position;

Static - all lights off

First position - parking, tail and instrument panel lights on

Second position - headlights on

Headlight high beam and ’flash’

With the headlights switched on, push the lever away from the steering wheel to activate high beam (BLUE warning light illuminates).

To flash the headlights, pull the lever part-way towards the steering wheel and then release.


Press end of the lever to operate the horn.


Wipers & washers


To prevent possible overload damage to the linkage or the wiper motors in either freezing or extremely hot conditions, care must be taken to ensure that the wiper blades are not adhering to the glass before operating the wipers.

NOTE: Ensure an approved screen washer solvent is used in the windscreen washer reservoir, to prevent freezing.


Single wipe

Push the lever up against spring pressure and release immediately.

NOTE: With the lever held up, the wipers will continue operating at high speed until it is released.

Intermittent wipe

Pull lever down.

Normal speed wipe

Push lever up to first position.

Fast speed wipe

Push lever up to second position.

Windscreen washer

Press to operate (the wipers will also operate).


Wipers & washers

Rear window wiper & washer (if fitted) The rear window wiper and washer only operate with the starter switch turned to position ’II’.

Press the switch (1) to operate the wiper, press again to switch off.

Press and hold the switch (2) to operate the washer and wiper for the required duration. The wiper will operate four times after the switch is released.


DO NOT operate the wipers on a dry screen.

In freezing or very hot conditions, ensure that the blades are not frozen, or stuck to the glass.

In winter, remove any snow or ice from around the arms and blades, including the wiped area of the windscreen and the heater air intakes.

NOTE: If the wiper blades have stuck to the glass, a thermal cut-out may temporarily prevent the wiper motor from operating. If this is the case, switch the wipers off, free them from the obstruction and then switch on again.



Rear window heater (3) (if fitted) Press to operate, press a second time to switch off. The warning light on the instrument panel illuminates while the heating elements are switched on and extinguishes when they are turned off.

After 15 minutes continuous operation, the heater switches off automatically.


DO NOT stick labels over the heating elements and DO NOT scrape, or use abrasive materials, to clean the inside of the rear window.

Instrument illumination switch

With the headlights or sidelights turned on, press the upper portion of the switch to achieve a low level of illumination and press the lower portion of the switch to illuminate the instrument panel fully.

Hazard warning lights (1)

Press the switch once to operate; all the direction indicator lights (including those fitted to a trailer) and warning lights will flash in conjunction with each other.

Use ONLY in an emergency to warn other road users when your stationary vehicle is causing an obstruction, or is in a hazardous situation. Switch off by pressing the switch again before moving away.




Front windows: (Station wagons)

Raise or lower the window by rotating the handle mounted on the door.

Sliding rear windows: (Station wagons) To open, press the catch tongues together, slide the window to the desired position and release the catch, ensuring that it locates

securely in the sockets, locking the window in position.

Sliding front windows: (Soft top)

Push the lever down to unlock the window and slide the window open as required. Push the lever up to lock the window.



SUNROOF (if fitted)

The sunroof can be opened or, if required, can be removed completely.

To OPEN the roof:

Turn the hand wheel counter-clockwise to give the desired opening.

NOTE: A partially open sunroof may vibrate due to aerodynamic pressures. Adjust the sunroof aperture to reduce vibration.

To CLOSE the roof:

Turn the hand wheel clockwise until resistance is felt.

To REMOVE the roof:

Open the sunroof fully and push the catch (1) rearwards to disengage the hand wheel mechanism.

Remove the sunroof by tilting upwards and lifting rearwards to disengage the locating lugs.


DO NOT store the sunroof loose in the vehicle.

DO NOT allow passengers to extend any part of their bodies through the sunroof while the vehicle is moving.

DO NOT remove the sunroof whilst the vehicle is moving.

Refit the sunroof by following the same procedure in reverse.


Heating & ventilation

Fresh air vents

To open the two vents in the windscreen frame, push the lever to the right and then downwards to the desired position and release.

The temperature of air supplied to the fresh air vents is not controlled by the heater.


Heating & ventilation


1.Fan speed control

With the control at ’0’, the fan is switched off and no air will enter the vehicle through the heater vents. With the control moved downwards to the first position, the volume of air entering the passenger compartment is solely dependent upon the ram effect of the vehicle moving through the air. The subsequent positions operate the fan at speeds ’1’ and ’2’ respectively.

3. Air distribution control

Lever fully up - windscreen vents only.

Lever midway - foot level and windscreen vents.

Lever fully down - foot level vents (also provides some air to the windscreen).

2.Temperature control

Move the lever downwards (towards the RED segment) to increase air temperature, or upwards (towards the BLUE segment) to reduce air temperature.


Heating & ventilation


Ensure the front grille and the air intake grille on the front wing are kept clear of obstructions (especially snow and ice).

The following examples of basic heater settings are intended as a general guide; the air distribution, temperature and blower controls can then be further adjusted to suit your comfort requirements.

Always remember that full heating is not available until the engine has reached its normal operating temperature.

Maximum heating

Temperature control - fully down.

Distribution control - midway.

Fan speed control - fully down.

Fresh air vents - fully closed.

Demisting and defrosting

Temperature control - fully down.

Distribution control - fully up.

Fan speed control - fully down.

Fresh air vents - fully open for demisting (closed for defrosting).

Opening a window may improve ventilation.

Maximum ventilation

Temperature control - fully up.

Distribution control - fully down.

Fan speed control - fully down.

Fresh air vents - fully open.


Air conditioning

USING THE AIR CONDITIONING (if fitted) If your vehicle has been fitted with an air conditioning system, you may find the following guidelines useful.

Air conditioning provides additional cooling to the vehicle interior and also reduces the moisture content of the air.

The air conditioning system will only operate with the fan switched on and the engine running. It is also important to keep the windows closed during operation.

Operation of the air conditioning system, places an additional load on the engine which, in very hot conditions and if the engine is required to work unusually hard, could result in high engine temperatures. If the temperature gauge pointer reaches the RED zone, turn the air conditioning off until engine temperature returns to normal.

Points to remember:

If the temperature inside the vehicle is higher than that outside when you start the engine, it will take time for the air conditioning to become fully effective. It is best to ventilate the vehicle by opening the windows and operating the fan for a brief period before switching on the air conditioning. Remember to close the windows whenever the air conditioning is operating.

Operating the air conditioning takes power from the engine and consequently increases fuel consumption.

All air conditioning systems need to be operated for a short while every week (even in winter) to maintain them in peak condition.

The air conditioning system will also dehumidify air. The surplus water produced by this process is expelled from the system via drain tubes beneath the vehicle. This may result in a small pool of water forming on the road when the vehicle is stationary and is not a cause for concern.


Interior equipment


Station wagons:

With the switch midway between the ’ON’ and ’OFF’ positions, the light will illuminate whenever a door is opened.


With the starter switch turned to position ’II’, press the lighter in to heat up. When it has reached the correct temperature it will partially eject and can then be withdrawn for use.

ONLY hold the cigar lighter by the handle.

DO NOT use the ashtray for disposing of waste paper or other combustible materials.

DO NOT plug accessories into the cigar lighter socket unless they are approved for use in your vehicle by Land Rover.


To adjust the time, press and turn the button in the bottom right hand corner of the clock face.

NOTE: The clock will need to be reset, if the battery is disconnected.


Interior equipment


Lift the lid of the ashtray to open. To remove, carefully prise the ashtray out of the fascia panel.


Turn the key clockwise to unlock the cubby box, then squeeze the catch to open. Turn the key counter-clockwise to lock the box.

The flap on the underside of the cubby box lid, can be folded out and, when the lid is shut, acts as a security cover for the in-car entertainment unit. It is recommended that the security cover is used (and the cubby box locked) whenever the vehicle is left unattended.

NOTE: The two recesses to the side of the gear selector are for cups or drink cans.



Driving & operating

Section Contents


Starter switch & steering lock

.................... 35

Starting & driving ......................................


Catalytic converter .....................................


Fuel ............................................................


Gearbox & transmission ............................


Brakes .......................................................


Towing & load carrying .............................


Emergency starting ....................................


Vehicle recovery ........................................


Canopy removal & fitting ...........................


Ancillary equipment ...................................



Starter switch & steering lock

To unlock the steering column

Insert the ignition key FULLY and turn the starter switch to position ’I’, while turning the steering wheel slightly to disengage the lock.

To lock the steering column

With the main gearshift in ’P’ and either High or Low selected in the transfer box, turn the starter switch to position ’0’ and withdraw the key from the starter switch. Turn the steering wheel towards the straight ahead position until the lock engages.

NOTE: The starter key can NOT be turned to position ’0’, unless the main gear selector is in the ’P’ (Park) position and either High or Low range is selected in the transfer gearbox.


The starter switch is located to the left of the steering column, and uses the following sequence of key positions to operate the steering lock, electrical circuits and starter motor.

Position ’0’

Steering locked (if key is removed).

Ignition key locked in position unless the gearshift is in ’P’.

Most lighting circuits are operational, including: sidelights, headlights and hazard warning lights.

Position ’I’

Steering unlocked.

Radio/cassette/CD player can be operated.

Position ’II’

All instruments, warning lights and electrical circuits are operational.

Position ’III’

Starter motor operates.

Release the key immediately the engine starts (the key will automatically return to position ’II’).

Note that operation of position ’I’ electrical functions will be interrupted during engine cranking.

NOTE: The engine will not start unless ’P’ is selected in the main gearbox and either High or Low range is selected in the transfer gearbox.


Starting & driving



Catalytic converters are easily damaged through improper use, particularly if the wrong fuel is used, or if an engine misfire occurs.

Before starting the engine and driving, ENSURE you are familiar with the precautions shown under ’Catalytic converter’, later in this section.

In particular, you should be aware that continued use of the starter, will result in unburnt fuel damaging the catalytic converter.

1.Check that the parking brake is applied and that the main gearshift is in ’P’.

2.Check that the transfer lever is in either the ’H’ or ’L’ position.

3.Switch off all unnecessary electrical equipment.

4.Insert the starter key and turn the switch to position ’II’ and then on to position ’III’ to operate the starter motor. DO NOT press the accelerator pedal during starting and RELEASE THE KEY as soon as the engine is running.

In temperate climates, DO NOT operate the starter for longer than 10 seconds. If the engine fails to start, switch off and wait 10 seconds before re-using the starter. Please note that prolonged use of the starter will not only discharge the battery, but may also damage the starter motor.

NOTE: If the engine fails to start, the starter key must be returned to position ’I’ before another attempt is made.

In temperate climates, the battery charging and oil pressure warning lights should extinguish as soon as the engine is running.

Cold climates

In very cold climates, the battery charging and oil pressure warning lights may take several seconds to extinguish. Similarly, engine cranking times will also increase; at -30° C (-22° F) the starter motor may need to be operated continuously for as long as 30 seconds before the engine will start. For this reason, ensure that all non-essential electrical equipment is switched off.

Additionally, in very cold climates, use of a cylinder block heater will improve the engine’s starting characteristics. Your Land Rover dealer can advise you about the supply and use of a cylinder block heater.

Moving off

The main gearshift can NOT be moved from the ’P’ (Park) position unless the foot brake is applied. This is a safety precaution to prevent the vehicle moving as soon as a drive gear is selected.

Apply both the parking brake and the foot brake while selecting the required drive position and keep both brakes applied until you are ready to move off.

Warming up

In the interests of fuel economy, it is advisable to start driving straight away, remembering that harsh acceleration or labouring the engine before the normal operating temperature has been reached can damage the engine.


Starting & driving


Exhaust fumes contain poisonous substances which can cause unconsciousness and may even be fatal.

DO NOT inhale exhaust gases.

DO NOT start or leave the engine running in an enclosed unventilated area, or drive with the rear door open.

DO NOT modify the exhaust system from the original design.

DO repair exhaust system or body leaks immediately.

If you think exhaust fumes are entering the vehicle, have the cause determined and corrected immediately.


After bringing the vehicle to a stop, ALWAYS apply the parking brake and select ’P’ in the main gearbox and either High or Low in the transfer gearbox, before releasing the foot brake and switching off the engine.

Switching off

Return the starter switch to position ’I’ and then to position ’0’ to remove the key.


Starting & driving


Proper breaking-in will have a direct bearing on the reliability and smooth running of your vehicle throughout its life.

In particular, the engine, gearbox, brakes and tyres need time to bed-in and adjust to the demands of everyday motoring. It is therefore essential to drive with consideration for the breaking-in process for at least the first 500 miles (800 km) and observe the following advice:

LIMIT maximum speed to 60 mph (95 km/h). Initially, drive the vehicle on a light throttle and only increase engine speeds once the breaking-in distance has been completed.

DO NOT operate at full throttle or allow the engine to labour in any gear.

AVOID fast acceleration and heavy braking except in emergencies.


Fuel consumption is influenced by two major factors:

How your vehicle is maintained.

How you drive your vehicle.

To obtain optimum fuel economy, it is essential that your vehicle is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s service schedule.

Items such as the condition of the air cleaner element, tyre pressures and wheel alignment can have a significant effect on fuel consumption. But above all, the way in which you drive is most important. The following hints may help you to obtain even better value from your motoring:

Avoid unnecessary, short, start-stop journeys.

Avoid fast starts by accelerating gently and smoothly from rest.

Do not drive in the lower gears longer than necessary.

Decelerate gently and avoid sudden and heavy braking.

Anticipate obstructions and adjust your speed accordingly well in advance.



Starting & driving


Instruments & warning lights

Before driving, it is important to fully understand the function of the instruments and warning lights described in section 2.

NOTE: Red warning lights are of particular importance, illumination indicates that a fault exists. If a red light illuminates, always stop the vehicle and seek qualified assistance before continuing.

Vehicle stability

Your vehicle has a higher ground clearance and, therefore, a higher centre of gravity than ordinary passenger cars. This will result in different handling characteristics. Inexperienced drivers should take additional care, particularly in off-road driving situations and when performing abrupt manoeuvres at inappropriate speeds or on unstable surfaces.

Vehicle height

The overall height of your vehicle exceeds that of ordinary passenger cars. Always be aware of the height of your vehicle and check the available headroom, before driving through low entrances. This is particularly important if a vehicle is fitted with a roof rack, or if the sunroof (if fitted) is open.

Auxiliary equipment


DO NOT use auxiliary equipment such as roller generators, that are driven by one wheel of the vehicle, as they could cause failure of the gearbox differential. If the gearbox differential lock is engaged in an attempt to avoid damage, the vehicle will drive itself forward.

Power assisted steering

Power assistance is progressively applied, the more the steering wheel is turned. For example; where manual steering effort would normally be greatest (at slow speeds on maximum lock), power assistance is greatest. Similarly, where only minimal steering effort would normally be required (at high speed with the wheels straight ahead), then power assistance is also minimal, thus enabling the driver to benefit from apparently consistent steering effort at all times.


Under no circumstances must the steering wheel be held on full lock for more than thirty seconds in one minute, otherwise the steering assembly may be damaged.

NOTE: Power assistance is dependent on the engine running. If the engine is not running, greater effort will be required to steer the vehicle.


Modifications to the suspension or steering systems could seriously affect the handling characteristics of the vehicle and are NOT recommended.


Catalytic converter


The exhaust system incorporates a catalytic converter, which converts emissions from the engine, into environmentally less harmful gases - thereby reducing atmospheric pollution.


The catalytic converter can be easily damaged through improper use, particularly if the wrong fuel is used, or if an engine misfire occurs. For this reason, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you heed the precautions which follow:


Catalytic converter


Use ONLY fuel recommended for your vehicle.

Starting the engine

DO NOT continue operating the starter if the engine fails to start after a few attempts (unburnt fuel may be drawn into the exhaust system, thereby poisoning the catalyst) - seek qualified assistance.

When starting a COLD engine, DO NOT drive if a misfire is suspected - seek qualified assistance.


Provided the engine has reached its normal operating temperature, if a misfire is suspected or the vehicle lacks power while driving, it may be driven SLOWLY (at risk of catalyst damage) to a Land Rover dealer for assistance.

NEVER allow the vehicle to run out of fuel (the resultant misfire could destroy the catalyst).

Engines burning excessive oil (blue smoke from the exhaust) will progressively reduce catalyst efficiency.

On rough terrain, DO NOT allow the underside of the vehicle to be subjected to heavy impacts which could damage the catalytic converter.

DO NOT overload or excessively rev the engine.


Exhaust system temperatures can be extremely high - DO NOT park on ground where combustible materials, such as dry grass or leaves, could come into contact with the exhaust system (in dry weather a fire could result).

Switching off

DO NOT switch off the engine while a forward or reverse gear is selected or whilst the vehicle is in motion.

Vehicle maintenance

Any engine misfire, loss of engine performance or engine run-on, could seriously damage the catalytic converter. For this reason, it is vital that unqualified persons do not tamper with the engine, and that regular systematic maintenance is carried out by a Land Rover dealer.

DO NOT run the engine with a spark plug or H.T. lead removed, or use any device that requires an insert into a spark plug.




Octane requirements

ALways use PREMIUM UNLEADED GASOLINE, with a CLC or AKI octane rating of 90 or 92.

NOTE: Federal law requires that gasoline octane ratings be posted on the pumps. The Cost of Living Council (CLC) octane rating, or Anti Knock Index (AKI) octane rating shown, is an average of Research Octane Number (RON) and Motor Octane Number (MON).

Using unleaded fuel with an octane rating lower than that recommended, can cause persistent, heavy ’engine knock’ (a metallic rapping sound). If severe, this can lead to engine damage.

If heavy engine knock is detected when using the recommended octane rated fuel, or if a steady engine knocking is present while maintaining a steady speed on level roads, contact your dealer for advice as soon as possible. Failure to take measures to eliminate either condition, constitutes misuse of the vehicle!

NOTE: An occasional light engine knock, experienced ONLY for short periods while accelerating or climbing hills, is acceptable.


DO NOT use leaded fuel! Your engine is designed to use unleaded fuel ONLY. Unleaded fuel is essential for proper operation of the emission control system. It also reduces spark plug fouling, exhaust system corrosion and engine oil deterioration.

Even a very small quantity of leaded fuel, will damage your vehicle’s emission control system and could invalidate the emissions warranty. In addition, leaded fuel will damage the oxygen sensors in the fuel injection system and also seriously damage the catalyst in the catalytic converter.

Reformulated gasolines and gasolines that contain detergents, anti-corrosion and stability additives, are recommended - they will help your vehicle maintain the correct level of emissions and engine performance.

Fuel system cleaning agents should be avoided, as many of these products can be harmful to gaskets and other materials used in fuel system components.

NOTE: If you encounter driveability, starting and stalling problems, especially in high ambient temperatures or at high altitude, it may be caused by poor quality fuel. Try an alternative brand and, if the problem persists, seek advice from your dealer.


Rover DEFENDER 1997 Owner Manual


Gasoline/oxygenated fuel blends

To avoid invalidating the vehicle warranty, use ONLY fuels blended within the following limits.

1.Up to 15% of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) and unleaded fuel mix.

2.Up to 15% of Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (ETBE) and unleaded fuel mix.

3.Up to 10% of Ethanol (Ethyl or grain alcohol) and unleaded fuel mix.

4.Up to 5% of Methanol (Methyl or wood alcohol with cosolvents and corrosion preventatives) and unleaded fuel mix.


Take precautions to avoid methanol coming into contact with the skin.

Fuel filling


To avoid any sudden discharge of fuel caused by excessive air pressure, the cap is designed to allow the fuel tank to vent during the first half turn. DO NOT fully remove the cap until pressure has been released.

Unless absolutely necessary, the fuel filler cap should not be removed unless the vehicle is standing on level ground.


Most filling station pumps are equipped with automatic cut-off sensing to avoid fuel spillage - only fill the tank until the filler nozzle automatically shuts off. DO NOT attempt to fill the tank beyond this point, or spillage could result due to expansion of the fuel.


DO NOT fully fill the tank if the vehicle is to be parked on a slope, in direct sunlight or high ambient temperature - expansion of the fuel could cause spillage.

NOTE: When replacing the filler cap, tighten clockwise until the fuel cap ratchet clicks at least three times.

Empty fuel tank


Running the fuel tank dry could create an engine misfire capable of damaging the catalytic converter.


Petroleum gases are highly inflammable and in confined spaces are also explosive. Always take sensible precautions when refuelling:

Switch off the engine.

DO NOT smoke or use a naked flame or light.

Take care not to spill fuel.

DO NOT overfill the tank.


Gearbox & transmission


The automatic transmission features a four speed main gearbox with a torque converter and a two speed transfer box. A centre differential in the transfer box distributes power to both front and rear axles, providing permanent four wheel drive. Using the main gearbox in conjunction with the transfer gearing, produces eight forward and two reverse speeds.

Main selector lever

A spring loaded catch, built into the handle of the gear selector lever, restricts movement of the lever, thereby preventing inadvertent gear selection. Press and hold the button (arrowed in illustration) to release the catch whilst moving the lever to the required position.

NOTE: Gear selection between ’D’ and ’3’ may be made without holding in the button.

NOTE: The selector lever cannot be moved from ’P’ into a drive position unless the starter switch is in position ’II’ and the foot brake is applied.


Gearbox & transmission

Automatic selector lever positions ’P’ (Park)

In this position the transmission is locked to prevent the vehicle from rolling away. Select ONLY with the vehicle stationary and the parking brake on.

’R’ (Reverse)

Select ONLY when the vehicle is stationary.

’N’ (Neutral)

Use this position when the vehicle is stationary and the engine is to idle for a prolonged period (eg. at traffic lights).

’D’ (Drive)

Select drive for all your normal driving on good road surfaces; fully automatic gear changing occurs on all forward gears according to vehicle speed and accelerator position.

’3’ (1st, 2nd and 3rd gears)

Automatic gear changing is limited to first, second and third gears only. Use in congested traffic conditions and for town driving.

’2’ (1st and 2nd gears)

Automatic gear changing is limited to first and second ratios only. Use when driving up steep gradients and for negotiating very narrow twisting roads. This position also provides moderate engine braking for descending steep slopes.

NOTE: If either ’2’ or ’1’ is selected from ’D’ or ’3’ when the vehicle is travelling at high speed, third gear will immediately engage. Progressive deceleration will then cause downshifts into second then first gear at the appropriate road speeds.

’1’ (1st gear only)

Use on very severe gradients, particularly when towing, and when maximum engine braking is required.


When parked, always leave the vehicle with the gear selector in ’P’ and the parking brake applied.

NOTE: The starter key cannot be turned to position ’0’ unless the main gear selector is in the ’P’ (Park) position and either High or Low range is selected in the transfer gearbox.

Starting and driving

NOTE: The engine will not start unless ’P’ is selected in the main gearbox and either High or Low range is selected in the transfer box.

Drivers unfamiliar with the performance characteristics of automatic transmission should thoroughly familiarise themselves with the following instructions before driving.

Before starting the engine, ensure that both foot and parking brake are applied.

After starting the engine, KEEP BOTH BRAKES APPLIED before and whilst moving the selector lever to the required drive position (the selector lever cannot be moved from ’P’ to a drive position, unless the foot brake is applied).

Keep the brakes applied until you are ready to move - remember, once a drive gear is selected, an ’automatic’ will tend to creep forward (or backward).

Never ’rev’ the engine while selecting a forward or reverse drive gear, or while the vehicle is stationary with a drive gear selected - remember, an ’automatic’ will move immediately when the accelerator pedal is pressed.


+ 93 hidden pages