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Which Range Rover to buy

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Hi All,

Just spent a fortune on replacing the turbo on my 58 plate HSE D3 and as its a high maintenance car only doing 3-4 k a year mainly towing the caravan decided to cut my losses and replace it,

seems for about 5K there is  plenty of choice P38 petrol or diesel even early Range Rovers, i would appreciate you comments,

Mike.,

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I ditched my Range Rover L322 in favour of something a little simpler! And I ended up with a tatty Classic Turbo D....

At 5k you should be able to get yourself a very nice replacement, it rather depends on what you want it to do..... 

Firstly I'd steer clear of the P38 diesel.. total pain with the electrics and not that powerful too. The petrol P38's are a very nice car, but you have to remember  that they have the same level of complication as the D3, but with older electrics... If you're prepared to do some more frustrating and fiddly repairs they can be kept running, but there are a lot of ECU's in the car so you'll need diagnostic equipment.

If you want to get back to a simple tugg that is respectable and caperable then a Classic is probably the way to go.. the earlier they get the less electronics they have, and the easier they are to fix! The later the better engines....1992 saw the introduction of the 200TDi and the 300TDi was used from 1994, this is probably the best simple engine that was used. but either of the TDi engines are better to get parts for... 

Pre 92 you get the VM diesel engine, which has a very bad reputation... and I can't see why! Mine is a 2.4 VM, and when I brought it I was fully prepared to swap it out for another engine, either a 300TDi or a Mercedes OM unit. But for just pottering about the VM has proved more than caperable!

Petrol Classics are a different kettle of fish... around 1986 they introduced the EFI... bit of a dogs dinner, and rather unreliable.. got slightly better in the 90's with the later 'hot wire' air flow metering, but still nothing on today's fuel injection setups. But all is not lost as there is a replacement system called Megasquirt that gives you an engine with more power, moisture restiants, and reliability! And adding LPG will give you more affordable motoring.

One thing to look out for is some of the later Classics have Air suspension... nice ride, but expensive to keep running correctly!

Personally I'd go for a good classic and drop in a Mercedes OM605 engine, if you don't want to do it yourself there is a company called Gazfabs that do the conversion... why the OM605? they can be tweaked over 500 bhp! although 200-250 bhp is the figure I'd aim at... slightly better, but similar, power to the D3/D4 without all the computers to complicate things!!

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Mine's a 1986 3.5EFi, I've had it since 1994 & has been on LPG for years. Under the sill tanks as a big in-car tank would lose too much loadspace.

If you're considering a Classic then it either needs to be fully sorted bodywise or you'll be adding a mig to your toolbox!

LPG will give roughly the same cost per mile from a V8 that you would get from the factory fit diesels.

You can't take an LPG converted car through the Channel Tunnel.

Edited by paintman

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£5k is a dangerous sum to pay for a Range Rover of any type/age, I see it all too often. That sum would buy a very good DII TD5 auto. Before anyone states their obvious faults,they are all known,(As they are with RR's) but unlike the RR's a TD5 DII can be sorted long term. Chassis rust if caught in good enough condition can be slowed right down, low stall torque converters and a stage one map make them go very well. Cracked cylinder heads can be upgraded to a Spanish AMC version and then forgotten.The higher spec ones are still a very nice place to sit in and they can be very capable.They are also still worth enough,(If in good nick to start with) for any failure/repair to be worth doing.Which is why so many P38's and D3's got scrapped. RR Classics are lovely if not rusty,but if you were involved with them back in the day you would know that VM 2.4/5 engines only make good boat anchors.3.5 v8's were fine, 3.9,4.0,4.2 and 4.6 v8's often caused the scrapping of the cars they were fitted to.Shame, but true.

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Buy a Classic, and watch it's value go up over the years, probably give you free motoring if you get one in good shape and keep it that way.

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8 hours ago, Ally V8 said:

,but if you were involved with them back in the day you would know that VM 2.4/5 engines only make good boat anchors.

Spoken by a man who has never been near one! I brought mine with that attitude, and only had a Mercedes ML270CDI Manual to compare it against.... Now remembering that I ditched a Range Rover L322 TD6 in favour of the Merc and the Classic, I have a few revelations! Firstly the Merc is quicker, and has better mpg than the L322...it has become my everyday car... When I get in my Agri spec Classic (2.4 VM diesel) I do notice a drop off in performance.. but not enough for me to be sitting there willing it to go faster... when you consider it is a 30 year old, totally mechanical, diesel... you come to the conclusion that it is no slouch! But I'd still go 300TDI given half a chance as they are easy to get parts for!! 

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47 minutes ago, miggit said:

Spoken by a man who has never been near one! I brought mine with that attitude, and only had a Mercedes ML270CDI Manual to compare it against.... Now remembering that I ditched a Range Rover L322 TD6 in favour of the Merc and the Classic, I have a few revelations! Firstly the Merc is quicker, and has better mpg than the L322...it has become my everyday car... When I get in my Agri spec Classic (2.4 VM diesel) I do notice a drop off in performance.. but not enough for me to be sitting there willing it to go faster... when you consider it is a 30 year old, totally mechanical, diesel... you come to the conclusion that it is no slouch! But I'd still go 300TDI given half a chance as they are easy to get parts for!! 

For your information I have run an independant Landrover garage for the last 22 years and have earnt a living from fixing them for 35 years.During the time before starting my own garage I did engine builds and warranty work for 4 major players in the engine reconditioning world.From my experience in repairing them and the problems involved,I can only say that I wouldn't ever bother with a VM product.LR kindly built TDI's for us,there is no comparison in long term reliability.A TDI engine still has excellent value either in a vehicle or sat on a pallet.Don't see many VM's being transplanted into anything,does that not tell you something ?

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Granted you'd never see a VM engine transplanted in to something else... other than a boat! And I know that they are prone to overheating, But if memory serves me correct that's a Land Rover Classic trate, cos the V8 liked to blow off steam too!

But I think I'd prefer it to say a 2.25 diesel! At the end of the day each generation of engine is better than it's predecessor, and the very good 300TDI is 2 generations better than a VM, which is only one step above a Lister Dumper engine.... 4 cylinder engine with 4 heads is so 50's... 

And let's face it in the 80's there wasn't a really good diesel engine available, with the possible exception of the German offerings and I don't think it would have been Quite Cricket to fit one of those.... It is only in the last 20 years that powerful small diesel engines have appeared with the advent of common rail injection. The only problem with this is they are very complex compared to the old mechanical oil burners, and carry a much higher price tag to reflect this. With complexity comes higher maintenance costs as you require factory computers to diagnose faults. 

I get the feeling that the OP was looking to get away from the expense of stealer servicing and get something that will do the same job, tow, and can be easily and relatively cheaply maintained... so 1990 on diesel classic will be LR powered!!

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I think I’d rather take my chances with a D3 over a P38 for reliability any day but having never owned a D3 I don’t know what they are like to work on DIY. The P38 is a nice vehicle and very cheap now to, but be prepared to spend lots of time and a bit of cash replacing lots of components and a lot of research in the quest to try and make it a more reliable vehicle. I’m sure there are lots that have done so but it’s a bit of a learning curve. They don’t really rot though so if you don’t like welding and are good with a spanner than the P38 may suit you.

A Range Rover classic 200/300tdi pre air suspension would probably be best for DIY work with a spanner but be prepared for lots of welding/rust prevention ongoing more than actual spanner work. You will end up with a vehicle that will go up in value rather than down if you keep it original and rust free and still a nice vehicle to drive and own.

The L322 is the nicest drive of all and reliability is not too bad and quite easy to work on DIY. They are also cheap to buy but beware on buying a cheap dog that somebody is trying to move on because they don’t want to spend any money on it. They are lots around the 100k mark that are showing there age related problems and need money spending on it. Most owners will still go to the dealer or Indy and get a huge whopping bill which is scary, hence the reason they sell them but if you do the work yourself, no so bad at all. The td6 also has a weak gearbox so not the best choice for towing but a good reliable engine if prepared to replace the box. The 4.4 petrol has a good engine provided it’s been maintained and gearbox is the same, they need problem areas adressed before they become a headache car. This is where they may start to get a bad reputation, because some owners don’t want to spend the money on maintenance or get their hands dirty. 

I’ve owned and ran a few RR classics and a L322, had plenty of P38s but only to break as they all had issues. I currently own a L322 4.4 V8 as a daily driver on Lpg, been trouble free for over a year except for a starter motor and a faulty recon transfer box motor that got replaced under warranty. I also have a soft dash classic for restoration.

Hope this helps a little in your decision.

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One that we don't know is ..... how big is the tin tent? 

There might be something that would fulfill the towing and reliability needs, that doesn't require a 3.5 towing capacity.... we also don't know if there is a gearbox preference, some like manual, some like auto.... And as some of you will know a diesel automatic isn't the spritelyest of things in some combos... 

The D3 is a very good workhorse, and a suitable replacement might not as straightforward as we are guessing... Also is the OP going to be getting the spanners out, or sending it down to the garage for repairs?

There is another thing to remember... only Discoveries and Defenders came in 7 seat config! Is there a requirement for more than 5 seats?

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Hey Mike. If you're saying things like '...cut my loses...' about a D3 I think it says a lot. For me the most compelling thing about either the RRC or D2 is simplicity by comparison. I've two RR's, a 3.9 Vogue Auto and a '73 with Td5 and a Defender R380. I have a D2 Td5 Auto too. I'd tow long distance with any, they're all lovely. I favour the Td5's fuel wise, and the lower gearing of the RRC/Defender setup for the feeling of making more progress, there's prob not much in it but the D2 auto is lethargic. Still wouldn't exchange it for the manual. 

My instinct without looking at the UK market, is that your money will put a better D2 on the road than it would a RRC.

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Thank you all for your very interesting and constructive comments, was hoping for recommendations towards a P38 as there is a lot of apparent genuine ones for about 5K clearly from your comments it's not going to be long before i have to start tinkering. 7 seats is not a priority but the caravan is a ton and half, guess all recommendations would cope with that, perhaps i should have headed it which Landrover. I do get paranoid with rust which is why i went the P38 way but as was pointed out 5K is a dangerous amount to pay for any Landrover. RRC would be perfect but not for 5K so will have to rethink  and maybe bring my Lightweight rebuilt on a galvanized chassis, bulkhead and vent panel into the equation and they don't simpler than that!!  - Surely i could't drop a V8 in and use that, could i !! 

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I'd rather spend £2k on a P38 and put £3k aside for repairs as I don't see much (other than age) advantage in the expensive ones.

P38 is NOT as complex as a D3, although both are now old enough that the knowledge to fix most things is out there. From what I can tell, D3 maintenance is more onerous as it's a bigger heavier vehicle with independent suspension and a jam-packed engine bay, the P38 is a RR Classic wearing a posh frock.

By all means drop a V8 in your lightweight, that would be brilliant fun (apart from the brakes!) although your travelling companions might wish you'd get something more civilised...

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My traveling companion is very forgiving and she would be allowed to smoke but no!

Very interesting comment Fridge Freezer and does help with all the feed back, the D3 is a very nice car but i had the misfortune to have a turbo actuator fault which kept  resulted in the car going into reduced power, because of where it is near impossible to get at without the body off at which point and great expense best to replace the whole turbo, and easy to see how compact the engine compartment is, recent front lower suspension arms, egr valve rear discs, oh and a door actuator has been expensive to say the least, ok it could be argued with all that  what else could go wrong, but it does't end there over £500 tax expensive insurance, surely i could keep a P38 on the road for less even given the MPG and have money in my pocket

 I have had a couple of D2'S got fed up climbing underneath with a can of Waxoil to fight the rust only to be trodden in doors from the drips. 

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Posted (edited)

Funny I took a bit about a P38 we had in the family out of my post because I felt it was irrelevant; it was a DHSE and bloody lovely to drive. It was meticulously maintained and the only trouble it gave was needing an updated security module with RF shielding - the older ones were in production before wifi was everywhere and could have false alarm triggers by spurious wifi signals.

Anyway my uncle who owned it, and who [importantly] is a reserved driver, on buying took it straight to JE Engineering to have an uprated intercooler and remap put in, because even he felt it was terribly underpowered. So this P38 had 50 extra horsepower. It then also needed an uprated torque converter [£300 ex fitting] because the factory one is only just enough for the standard car. 

Edit: in case it sounds otherwise; I'd defer to those with more experience with P38's but to me the above is very little effort for a very nice car.

Edited by Shackleton

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I'll agree with Fridge here. A P38 is, in the end, stupidly simple. It's all just large looms of wires, no CAN-bus except in later models between the engine and gearbox. It's a lovely vehicle to drive, very comfortable, and a 4.6 is cheaper to run than a diesel car if you put it on LPG.
The electronics are an older design, think early '90s computer, but that doesn't mean they're not robust. I mean, I drowned my BeCM and it's still working.

The air suspension issues are almost all related to age of the components, remember that rubber wears out. If you replace your tyres because they're dry-rotted, you really should be replacing airbags and o-rings as well. In reality you don't, because they last quite a bit longer than that, but know that any leaks will put extra strain on the compressor. A good mod is swapping out the EAS timer relay for a regular 4-pin one, to stop it from levelling when the ignition isn't on.

Apart from that, any old vehicle will have some issues with suspension bushings etc. Replace those (or have it done), and you'll be fine for another 15 years.

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Posted (edited)

Well I'd still go for a classic, £3k would get you a reasonable one and £2k to have any repairs done.. I know someone with a P38, just before christmas (november) he popped to his local shops for some milk, jumped out the car, locked it..... on returning the car wouldn't unlock, then the key wouldn't work doing the okey cokey... you know on off, open close, press the switch, pat your head and hop around the car twice.... Fail!! He had to get a new pre programmed key for the stealers... that took 3 weeks, and he paid for the express service:blink:

A number of times we have had to tow him half a mile down the road so that he can start the blood thing, and unfortunately it is so complicated and you don't stand a hope in hell of bypassing all the security electronics.... and everything is computer controlled, even the sun roof and windows, the heating... had to change the blend motors, it would have been easier to remove the dashboard totally... A) what a stupid design and B) what is wrong with manual sliding levers??

Plus there is that added bonus that the Classic gets Classic insurance, and quite a few years now qualify for free road tax, and of next May will be MOT free too....

Edited by miggit

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3 hours ago, miggit said:

Well I'd still go for a classic, £3k would get you a reasonable one and £2k to have any repairs done.. I know someone with a P38, just before christmas (november) he popped to his local shops for some milk, jumped out the car, locked it..... on returning the car wouldn't unlock, then the key wouldn't work doing the okey cokey... you know on off, open close, press the switch, pat your head and hop around the car twice.... Fail!! He had to get a new pre programmed key for the stealers... that took 3 weeks, and he paid for the express service:blink:

A number of times we have had to tow him half a mile down the road so that he can start the blood thing, and unfortunately it is so complicated and you don't stand a hope in hell of bypassing all the security electronics.... and everything is computer controlled, even the sun roof and windows, the heating... had to change the blend motors, it would have been easier to remove the dashboard totally... A) what a stupid design and B) what is wrong with manual sliding levers??

Plus there is that added bonus that the Classic gets Classic insurance, and quite a few years now qualify for free road tax, and of next May will be MOT free too....

Your P38 friend just needs a new RF receiver which will screen out everything except P38 fob signals. The part number is YWY500170 from memory,fitted loads of them,fixes them properly.Also makes the battery stay up longer as the BECM is not constantly woken up. Blend motors can be done quite easily without removing the dash,often its the heater box shrinking which causes the distribution flap to stick.2 hours will do a set of blend motors when you get used to the job,but rarely do all 3 need changing.

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What Fridge said, a P38 for 2k and spend a few K and some time doing repairs/going through it. Be prepared to do some work and for a few issues to appear while you iron out the kinks and you should end up with a decent vehicle. 

I currently run both a late (1994) RRC and a late (2001) P38 Vogue, they are actually fairly different cars. I've done work to them both (threads in sig) but a rough rundown of each;

RRC - rebuilt engine, new air springs, new EAS compressor, new heater motor, new heater matrix, the usual moving bits like bearings and bushes and the usual wear items. It will eventually need welding but is fine for now.

P38 - Blend motors, HEVAC repair, both front door locks, new air springs, replacement key, sealing leaks, fixing stereo and a few other items. I also bought a fairly expensive piece of diagnostic kit (LYNX) as I don't think you can own one of these without one.

I've spent more on the classic but I've owned it far longer, I reckon the P38 owes me around 4k.

In terms of ownership the P38 is a nice place to be, drives well and looks smart. It has often been described as very comfortable. The Classic is also a nice place to be, albeit not quite as much as the P38, it is also smaller and lighter which gives it a different dynamic to the P38.

If one had to go tomorrow though I'd part company with the P38 and keep the classic...

 

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19 hours ago, Ally V8 said:

Your P38 friend just needs a new RF receiver which will screen out everything except P38 fob signals. The part number is YWY500170 from memory,fitted loads of them,fixes them properly.Also makes the battery stay up longer as the BECM is not constantly woken up. Blend motors can be done quite easily without removing the dash,often its the heater box shrinking which causes the distribution flap to stick.2 hours will do a set of blend motors when you get used to the job,but rarely do all 3 need changing.

Thanks for the info I'll pass it on!

Re blend motors... yes it can be done without removing the dash, that is what we did.. and with practice it could be done reasonably quickly. However most peeps will only be doing the job once, hopefully!, and it took a lot longer than 2 hours to do!

At the end of the day the P38 is a lot more advanced than the Classic, advancement will lead to more complicated systems and servicing methods... It is a lovely car to drive and has a very good ride, but, for a home mechanics point of view the Classic is a lot more user friendly. 

Personally I prefer the old school type cars as that is what I grew up with... ECU's are electrickery! Not that it's stopped me repairing my L322 and ML270CDI, I just find the more nut and bolt engineering of a Classic more comfortable! And on the subject of comfort the Classic is a very nice ride, granted not as good as the P38 or L322, but good all things considered... although it would be nice to have the old fart easy out option that air springs offer:D

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Electronics to me are just another skill to acquire... With a different set of tools.

If you think you can do it, then a P38 can make sense.

In essence, it is up to you :D

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3 hours ago, Bowie69 said:

Electronics to me are just another skill to acquire... With a different set of tools.

Exactly. Plus, the electronics in a P38 are a lot nicer than those in a Classic...

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Whilst I like all the above suggestions, if you've put the money into the D3 why not keep that? 

Lots of the bits designed for body off can be done with the body on so that wouldn't worry me. We did the turbo on a friends 08 D3 a couple of years ago I think now . That was done with the body on and would have been done quicker than the LR method if we'd not had to wait on parts.

Having the cash set aside to pay for the bigger jobs when they're needed would see you with a decent D3?

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I didn't think this post would generate so many comments for which i am grateful, listening about the pitfalls of the P38 and mostly positive about RR Classic coupled with the fact while sat in my local remembered a chap in the next town that lives Landrovers and is magic with a mig who says he can sort anything i buy it has to be RR Classic, one last question will a 200 TDI  cope with my heavy Caravan. Looking forward to searching for one and will keep you posted mind it might take a while!!

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It won’t feel like a Range Rover with a diesel in though, if you want it waft along effortless like a Range Rover should you want a V8 and on LPG for better economy. Sorry to confuse you further 🤔

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