Some of the most expensive parts to replace on a Land Rover Freelander are in the drive train – the IRD unit (transfer box), rear differential and gearbox. So why would you risk damaging any, or all of these parts? If your viscous coupling unit (VCU) has past its useable life then instead of paying out for a replacement viscous coupling unit (VCU) you could be spending thousands on ALSO replacing the IRD unit (transfer box), the rear differential and possibly even the gearbox.
The viscous coupling unit of a Land Rover Freelander is a sealed unit positioned in the centre of the prop shaft. Inside the unit is a viscous fluid. Over time this fluid gets thick – much as your engine oil would – and eventually causes the prop shaft to rotate at a slower speed than is required. You can tell when you have reached this point as your Freelander will feel as though it is holding back on you, especially when turning on full lock – but don’t wait this long, by then you may have already done expensive damage!
The problem with the viscous coupling unit (VCU) is that it is a sealed unit, so you cannot check the condition of the viscous fluid inside it. There are a number of tests that people say will test if your fluid has had it, but none of these are really reliable.
The viscous coupling unit (VCU) has a life span of about 70,000 miles – after this time you are dicing with, not death, but very large bills!
So why should you not buy a used viscous coupling unit (VCU)? Well, simply because you have no idea as to the condition of the viscous fluid inside it, because generally you have no idea of the mileage it has done. So how will you know when to change it? How will you protect yourself from those big bills? You can’t!
If you have been unfortunate enough to suffer from a damaged IRD unit (transfer box) or rear differential was your mileage over 70,000 miles? Had your viscous coupling unit (VCU) been replaced previously? If your mileage was over 70,000 miles and you never replaced your viscous coupling unit (VCU) then this will generally have been the cause of your empty wallet! And if you still don’t replace your viscous coupling unit (VCU) and fit a new IRD unit (transfer box) or rear differential, then it is almost certain the same thing will soon happen again!
The key is to always buy a new or reconditioned viscous coupling unit (VCU) which has had the viscous fluid replaced. This way you know you have another 70,000 miles of carefree motoring without having to worry about damaging your expensive drive train.
So, whatever you do, DO NOT buy a used viscous coupling unit (VCU) for your Land Rover Freelander just to save a few pounds – it may turn out to be the most expensive saving you’ve ever made!