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Thread: P38 wouldn't start, but easily fixed in the end

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Upper Caboolture
    Posts
    24

    P38 wouldn't start, but easily fixed in the end

    Hi everyone, I've had my Rangie for a year next month (now 86,000 kms), and until last week I'd never had a problem starting it (although it did hesitate for a moment once, in July).

    But last week I had to travel interstate for 1 night, so I parked at Brisbane airport. I'd already booked and paid online, but when I drove up I was treated to Valet parking (because the regular 'Parklong" section was full). It was the kind of service the original owner probably used quite a bit. But I was a little worried about letting the valet park the Rangie, and didn't really have the opportunity to explain to him how to lower it before getting out.

    Arriving back the next day (Thursday) a little after 5pm, the valet grabbed my keys from the wall and took off to get the Rangie. After a few minutes, she walked over and said she couldn't get it started. After I followed her over to it, I discovered that the key fob hadn't unlocked it, so she'd used the key in the door (which only opened the driver's door lock), and then put the key in the ignition to receive the "engine disabled" message. I tried locking and unlocking with the fob, but nothing happened.

    With no sign of a weak battery (lights, dash etc strong), she wondered if the batteries in the fob might need replacing (fob LED was flashing, but admittedly I never hold it down that long to see it flash repeatedly). She grabbed a couple of spares from some 'lost' keys they have there (dropped around the terminal, I guess) and we changed the batteries. Still no unlocking. The fob LED was flashing the same with all batteries. I didn't care if taking the batteries out meant the fob needed reprogramming - I just wanted to start up and drive home.

    Then I tried the Emergency Key Access code - so many key turns in the door to unlock, and so many to lock etc. It registered on the dash with the light symbol, but no power unlocking of all doors, or engine ignition.

    It was time to call the RACQ - the guy suggested disconnecting the battery for a while. So, with blinkers flashing (but no alarm sound), he opened the bonnet and did so. We waited 10 minutes, then hooked it up again. Window "out of range" alarms went off, but the "engine disabled" message stayed on.

    I then asked for a tow, but because I was parked in the multi-level carpark, another RACQ patrol had to come and tow the Rangie out to the road, where a flatbed could pick it up. We waited quite a while for the other unit - and the first guy steered and braked down the exit ramp (no doubt working up a sweat doing both), with the second guy slowly towing.

    The long wait for the flatbed began - interrupted twice by airport security, checking on what I was doing parked on the side of the road (even with flashers on).

    A little after 10pm, the towie arrived, and I had the Rangie towed to my local auto electrician in Caboolture. As he unloaded, I called the RACQ again (I pay for Ultra Care, which offers a $50 cab fare after towing). Eventually I caught a taxi home.. after waiting.. alone.. outside the workshop after 11pm.. in a very quiet industrial area.. in a cheap business suit.

    I opened the front door at around 11:30pm, but left straight away in my runabout car with the spare set of keys, to go back to the workshop carpark and try them. They didn't work either. I was in bed at 12:06am - thankfully I had Friday off.

    After a sleep-in, I consulted this forum and a lot of others about "engine disabled" and EKA codes, as I waited to hear from the workshop. They were booked solid and didn't get much of a chance to do more than read fault codes, so I went over there, first thing Saturday morning. It was quiet early on, and the Rangie was easily accessible, so the guy allowed me to join him and try a few more things (ensuring there was 12.6V in the battery, the "hard reset" with key in position 2 and battery disconnected, inputting EKA with windows & sunroof set - I even tried the North American default EKA code 1-5-1-5 and then the radio code, getting the 30-minute "CODE LOCKOUT").

    So with no joy, I decided to tow it to MR Automotive at Redcliffe (cost $90 through a local guy, cheaper than RACQ's $171 quote). They squeezed it into their schedule, and the next day they said the battery had nowhere near enough cranking amp, and a new battery would fix it up - and it did.

    The old battery was a little over 3 years old. As Prelude says, the P38's electronics like the power source to be 'just right'..
    P38A 1996 Range Rover - "barn find"
    2003 Peugeot 206 - 'inherited' and used because it's there
    1986 Suzuki Mighty Boy - sold
    classicandclunker.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Williamstown, Victoria
    Posts
    573
    I'm glad that's all it was, but what a place for it to happen!
    I had a similar thing happen once, fortunately for me it was on the ground level at the airport.
    I had been away in Darwin a week and a half, back to Melbourne winter at night and feeling the cold weather, tried to start her up, only to find all sorts of weird error messages popping up.
    I suspected the battery and was able to get the airport van to give me a jump start, which worked without any further issues.
    I give my battery terminals a clean up every now and then, just as preventative maintenance.
    Sometimes a bit of corrosion can creep in unseen and cause all sorts of weird problems due to insufficient voltage.
    I think I'd be unsure of leaving the P38 in the hands of valet parking, I like to know it's locked up safe and where it's parked!
    Cheers, Pete.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Upper Caboolture
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterH View Post
    I think I'd be unsure of leaving the P38 in the hands of valet parking, I like to know it's locked up safe and where it's parked!
    Thanks Pete, yeah there's never a good time for the battery to play up! I do wonder if I'd been able to park it (and therefore lower it) at the airport whether it might have been OK. As I understand, the P38 checks its height every few hours - maybe it doesn't when it's on the lowest setting (bump stops)?
    P38A 1996 Range Rover - "barn find"
    2003 Peugeot 206 - 'inherited' and used because it's there
    1986 Suzuki Mighty Boy - sold
    classicandclunker.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Townsville, QLD
    Posts
    2,474
    I agree with you - had the initial valet not unlocked it with the key instead of the fob, I think you would have been ok. Sometimes persistence pays off, and you (being a P38 owner) would have tried the key fob buttons a few more times from various spots around the car.

    Im glad you’re sorted now mate!

    They do still check and adjust, even when in the access height.

    Cheers
    Keithy

    Green 2000 P38 Range Rover HSE - Gone
    Blue 1999 P38 Range Rover HSE - Gone

    Silver 2002 P38 Range Rover HSE - Sequential LPG, BCDC Charger, TPMS, Rear Locker, Wheel Carrier, Bullbar & Spotlights, General Grabber AT2's, Too Much to Mention!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Upper Caboolture
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by Keithy P38 View Post
    you (being a P38 owner) would have tried the key fob buttons a few more times from various spots around the car.

    They do still check and adjust, even when in the access height.
    Yes Keithy, I even tried unlocking with my fob in the rear wheel arches, in case there was some RF interference at the airport..

    Good to know re height checking, cheers
    P38A 1996 Range Rover - "barn find"
    2003 Peugeot 206 - 'inherited' and used because it's there
    1986 Suzuki Mighty Boy - sold
    classicandclunker.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    138
    Damn, that's a bad place for a failure like this

    They do continue to check height indeed but there is always the option to replace the relais from the land rover special (with an extra pin somewhere) to a normal "green" one. This way the wakeup does not work and the height stays the same. Excellent way to find a leak without keeping a door open or smth. In any case, the wakeup function only works because the becm is never really off so that's where your power is going. Incidentally, I think a boost from the RACQ would have sorted you out if it was just the battery?

    Lessons learned Keep on driving!

    Cheers.

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