Having a keen grasp on the precise operational characteristics of your Land-Rover will most certainly yield a higher margin of safe operation. One of the simplest safety strategies which the intelligent operator can easily employ is to tap the brake pedal in order to warn the operator of a following vehicle that you are slowing down. Not everybody is attentive in their driving habits, so if we diminish our speed subtly, an inattentive following driver may not register the change, and damage the rear-end of our cherished Land-Rover.
The diagnostic strategy is essentially as follows: back the Land-Rover against a wall and stop the vehicle. Apply the hand brake if the vehicle is on an incline. Then apply the brakes and observe the exact point, with respect to pedal pressure, at which the brake lights illuminate. There are two types of brake lamp switches in the majority of vintage Land-Rovers; one is hydraulically activated, and the other is mechanically triggered .
The hydraulic variety was fitted into the high-pressure brake lines of Series II and early IIa machines through vehicle Suffix E, while later vehicles fitted with power assisted brakes utilized a mechanical switch. Unfortunately the hydraulic switch is not adjustable; only replacement of the switch can alter the point at which the brake lamps come on.
The mechanical switch, however, can be adjusted by altering the proximity of the switch to the brake pedal. Therefore, if it is necessary to depress the brake pedal forcefully before the brake lamps illuminate, the mechanical type of switch can be moved closer to the brake pedal to cause the brake lights to come on before the vehicle actually begins to slow down. Thus one can simply tap the brake pedal lightly to alert following drivers to the need for extra caution. If the hydraulic switch is sluggish to respond it would probably be best to replace it, as the switch is set at the factory to activate at a low point of pressure. While the foregoing observations may seem somewhat “fussy”, perhaps, a well-tuned vehicle coupled with an intelligent driving attitude could well avert an catastrophic accident some day.