Category Archives: Electronic Air Suspension

New Vs Old

McDonald 4X4 Discovery G4

Generations of offroaders, picture courtesy of The Telegraph

British offroad veterans have told The Telegraph that they spurn the trappings of modern soft-roaders. Not that they’re rejecting climate control or multi-zone entertainment systems.

What’s at issue here is the very DNA of the vehicle. Pick any modern SUV and you’ll be swamped in a raft of acronyms which let you know that you’re in the best of hands. You don’t have to worry about going fast, or going slow, or going sideways, because #insert name here# is the only manufacturer to keep you and your loved-ones safe.

Except all this techno-wizardry comes at more than a financial cost. It may be a hoary old chestnut, but until turbo-charged engines came along, you could keep your Land Rover going on a shoe-string budget by doing most of the work yourself with the tools you had in your own garage. Even with Tdi engines, the rest of the car was mechanical (and didn’t you just know it if you ever had to push one) so bounced rather well along rutted lanes.

So when you take a Land Rover Discovery 4 for a drive, would you assume it’s natural environment would include mud, or mud packs? Is the intelligent 4 Wheel Drive system going to work this well in 15 years time? Will it do 200,000 miles? How much will it cost to fix when the super-computer in control of everything goes AWOL?


McDonald 4X4 JLR Urban Wnindscreen

Technology can show you the way, picture courtesy of Auto Express

And from the sub-slime to the LEDiculous. Jaguar Land Rover has conceived of a time when the computer and the car merge to the driver’s benefit in a Frankensteinian HUD-meets-HAL windscreen, where a series of cameras can be used to replace the view of the car’s internal structure, providing a 360 degree view of the outside world. How likely this is to come to fruition is debatable, as the cost of a TV unit is one thing whereas turning the inside of your car into the outside of your TV is another.

Of greatest interest and use though is the ‘urban windscreen’. Linking a projector to the internet provides a windscreen display with not only a ‘ghost-car’ navigation system but also visual prompts including available parking spaces in car parks or fuel prices at the up-coming service station.

Considering their previous concept of cameras under the body to show the state of the ground under the prodigious bonnets of Range Rovers, we can only wonder when the interior of cars will consist almost exclusively of TV Screen…

If you need parts and accessories for Landrover Defender or indeed any other Land Rover model, from in-car entertainment to air-locking diffs, you can buy Land Rover spare parts and accessories online at


This article was written by Rupert Astbury.

Workshop Tales

McDonald LR

Range Rover Cream Interior Kills BECMs. ish…

Workshop chatter is cut to a bare minimum as it’s inefficient and wasteful…

…although it does have its uses.

Over a boiling kettle the issue of Range Rover Beckhams was discussed.

Then the workshop-ingenue was slapped down viciously corrected; the Body Electrical Control Module or BECM is the all-important brain of the vehicle, and must be functioning correctly for the vehicle to run at all.

IT is responsible for:

  • Instrument pack
  • SRS (Airbag) Diagnostic Control Unit (DCU)
  • Selector lever display panel (Automatic transmission
  • vehicles only)
  • Engine compartment fusebox
  • Fuse 1 – Power supply
  • Fuse 4 – Power supply
  • Fuse 5 – Power supply
  • Cruise control ECU
  • Transfer box ECU
  •  Engine Control Module (ECM)
  • Electronic Automatic Transmission (EAT) ECU
  • Electronic Air Suspension (EAS) ECU
  • Center console switch pack
  • RH door outstation
  • LH door outstation
  • RH seat outstation
  • LH seat outstation
  • ICE (Radio) unit
  • Diagnostic Socket

Of course, if it should fail, you’ll see all kinds of problems, including but not limited to:

  • mis-operation of headlights
  • door locks
  • electric windows
  • fuel filler flap
  • indicators
  • sun roof
  • rear washers/wiper
  • fuse failure codes
  • engine won’t turn over

These faults may be intermittent.

For a fantastic article on the workings of the BECM, try’s Demistifying the BECM

There’s nothing a home mechanic can do to fix a BECM, but you can try to avoid trouble by buying dark-carpetted P38s.

I know, it sounded strange to me too, but it’s a little-discussed fact.

The lighter carpets featured on the Range Rover options list encouraged dirt and stains to hitch a ride, necessitating a motivated schedule of interior cleaning. As the BECM is under the seat, next to where your feet are, it’s right in the firing line.

The more carpet Cleaner you use, the more moisture there is around the box, the greater the chance of degradation in the circuit boards.

So buy a P38 with dark carpets and you’ll have a much-reduced chance of BECM woes.

If you’ve got a P38 (brave little old you, well done) and you need anything at all for it, from the smallest washer to a brand new 4.6 V8 engine, give us a call or go to


McDonald 4x4 Timing Belts

Timing belts, so innocent-looking.

One of the spanner monkeys highly-qualified and -skilled workshop technicians was relating the tale of a damaged-repairable vehicle (all identifying details have been removed for fear of being sued mercilessly) which had had a fair old smack on the nose. Serious enough to write it off, but only for the sake of the insured value.

Parts had been ordered and fitted and all was well in the world until the key was turned and the engine refused to fire up.

Everything was tried, to no avail, and the word went out. Help was needed.

One phone call later, our chief spanner monkey highly-qualified and -skilled workshop technician was on the scene, tuning his ear to the engine’s sound.

Doesn’t sound right when you turn it over.


Have you checked the timing?

Why would we do that?

And lo, there were degrees of separation between where the belt should have been and where it was.

Not so bad a knock you’d have thought the motor had been affected, but still enough to move the belt.


If you’ve a need for Tender Loving Care for your car, give us a call or go to

Written by Rupert Astbury.