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jordan_meakin

Buying a Range Rover classic

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I've been a LR Series owner for around 15 years but now have my eye on a RR.

I've spotted what seems to be a very solid 1990 3.9 EFI. What advice can you give in looking for potential issues?

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Rust, everywhere in the body.

Mechanically they are much the same as a defender, but the rust, oh boy, the rust!

chassis tends to fair well, but sills, bottoms of door posts, rear floor, entire front end including wheel arches, and battery boxes, body mounts rear cross member.

To get an idea, you could watch Soup on YouTube? Georg has just spent an inordinate amount of time fixing one of these up.

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Thanks for the reply.  Supposedly, all that stuff has been done with pictures to prove although, I've not seen it in the flesh.  Some pictures I've already seen appear to be very good underneath.  What about engine and gearbox, anything particular to be aware of?

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Nothing more than a Defender, they are essentially the same. So look for oil leaks in usual places.

What mileage? if over 100K, if it hasn't had a cam, it will need one. Open the oil filler and look in, if black and sludgy, then a rebuild is not far away in all honesty....

Brake system will be hydraulic assist at that age, I believe, make sure the pump isn't running all the time when ignition is on, but that it does run when ignition is first put on. It should pressurise within around 5 seconds, and then switch off.

Otherwise, pull up all the carpets and look for rust, coolant leaks (heater, a pig of a job) and then all the miscellaneous electricals, they are fairly robust and not unfixable, but can be a pain. 

Oh, and electric seat switches! Make sure not smashed and are working, expensive common failure, can mostly be revived with contact cleaners, but sometimes not.

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Rust, rust, and rust... everything else is nuts & bolts. An auto that's reluctant to shift up can mean a rebuild but that's not the end of the world. 3.9EFi is a nice lump, the extra torque is useful.

if you really want to know... watch George's series on welding up this beauty:

 

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As a lover of the RRC's, I have to say they don't rust...

They dissolve.

Almost everything has been tried and it seems that acid rust removal, welding, more dipping and galvanizing is the way to get result worth the effort...

Bon Courage !

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Thanks, chaps. My current series is solid but getting to the point where it needs work that I don't have time for. Her indoors won't drive it either so looking for something more civilised. Even a 90 would be too much for her and an RR would still give me tinkering opportunities. But, needs to be solid!

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TBH I'd sooner buy an honestly crusty one and fix it right than an apparently solid one that may have been done less than brilliantly.

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9 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

TBH I'd sooner buy an honestly crusty one and fix it right than an apparently solid one that may have been done less than brilliantly.

Hang on .... you have one don’t you ?

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Posted (edited)

Hi Jordan,

That's my video above, chuffed to see it thanks lads.

It's all been said already but to expand - start at the front and look up behind the front air dam under the light boxes and around the four forward body mounts. Looking for rust obvs ;). Check the top of the bulkhead from inside the engine bay, so just over the engine under the overhang of the scuttle. If there's any sign of rust water or scabs there it's a scuttle off job and if you ask me to do it nicely it's an engine out one too. Inner arch stuff should be fairly obvious but pull out the driver and front pax carpets and sound deadening and thoroughly check the footwells, all the way in to the trans tunnel.  Bottom of A, B and C pillars don't fair well. There's an L shaped flange that runs under the floor on both sides carrying the brake lines, it's a stupid design and a trap for rust. Then the rear inner arches, especially the outer edges of them where they meet the inner side body panel. The rails that carry the boot floor, the sides and rear of the floor itself and the rear cross member. If you've still got energy try and inspect the tiny gap between the top of the windscreen rubber and the roof gutter. I'm not even sure that with a torch you will be able to see in that gap it's so tight, but that was rotted out badly in there on mine. Oh and check the door spines and bottoms, the fuel tank cradle, the cross bar of the rear goal post and the bottom of the alu outer panels where they fasten to the bumpers/mud flaps.

The chassis as Bowie said are hardy, built to last and can be fairly scabby around the axle upsweeps and still come back up fine. Have a good look at the diff pans, make sure they're not held together by underseal. Ask me how I know :)

Engine and box wise, well like Bowie also said the V8 needs looking after but is great. My car despite what it might seem, was a one owner and cherished. It runs like a Swiss watch despite having travelled 210k miles. The box shifts smooth and the interior, well you wouldn't know the seats had seen that much use. Quality leather! But it cost to have it in such good mechanical condition. How's £48k in maintenance over the 25 years before I got it! That's more than the top spec car cost new, and that's what it took to meet the service schedules and never let the slightest thing go wanting. Two scheduled services were late in that time, one by 500 miles, the other by 40. The rest were generally a few miles early. So having gone through the bulging service [box]file I'd say make sure the car you get has plenty of paperwork. 

BTW the autobox has a dipstick in the engine bay, you check it while running but while everything's cold. When the car starts first it'll take the revs to something like 1500rpm and drop them fairly quickly in increments of a couple of hundred rpm at a time, settling at 800 or 900rpm [I can't remember exactly] but this is normal and a good indication of the idle air control valve operating properly. 

The '90 model will have the Borg Warner transfer case, not sure there'll be much you can do to check it while viewing but if it's not making funky noises it's a start. It's not known for being the greatest TBox ever but seems ok if maintained. I'm sketchy on that. 

Just to say, they're beautiful machines. Enough time has passed that the tech in them is old school simple and all potential probs are well documented. They're also every bit a LR and massively capable. One of my favourite things is either reminding or informing people that the RR was the first coil sprung LR and essentially the Defender was developed off that platform. The RR may tip it's hat to comfort and style but it's no pansie. 

Edited by Shackleton
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14 hours ago, Anderzander said:

Hang on .... you have one don’t you ?

Yes - an honestly crusty one! :lol:

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Turns out to be really quite solid. Almost faultless underneath. Interior is untidy and paint will need attention. Engine started readily and seemed powerful, fluids all good. One question, what speed do these usually change up to fourth gear?

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So, got it back. All went well until the engine started to miss! Hadn't noticed anything on test drive but as I drove back, it missed a bit under load/acceleration. No nasty noises or anything and pulls well other than this.  Any ideas ??

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Ignition amp, plugs, leads, rotor arm, cap, coolant temp sender.

Hotwire Diagnostics in the tech archive :)

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Oh, and congrats!

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Hope it's not commiserations! They were my normal things to check off and no doubt, it needs those anyway. Just wondered if there were any peculiar sensors that would obviously cause this.  Btw, where's best place for spares?

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11 hours ago, jordan_meakin said:

Just wondered if there were any peculiar sensors that would obviously cause this.

Yes, the stuff Bowie listed in the order he listed them! :lol:

TBH the 3.9 is a pretty simple system, nothing to trip you up.

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On 5/27/2019 at 8:46 PM, jordan_meakin said:

One question, what speed do these usually change up to fourth gear? 

Torque converter lock up, which feels like fourth engaging, is 52mph as stock, on stock tyres.

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Thanks guys. Thought 52 was about right. How does the coolant temp sensor affect running? And in terms of ignition amp, easiest just to replace?

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15 minutes ago, jordan_meakin said:

How does the coolant temp sensor affect running? And in terms of ignition amp, easiest just to replace?

1. Same as choke, if the sensor fails the thing will run pig rich. Beware there's a sensor for the ECU (which has 2 pins) and a sensor for the gauge which as 1 pin.

2. Yes just replace the ignition amp, you can upgrade using a more modern unit from any number of cars (GM unit if memory serves), it's been covered here before.

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Visual inspection of cap, rotor and leads is the cheapest point to start with.

Then get handy with the multimeter and test the CTS and lead resistances. Figures should be in the Hotwire Diagnostics in the tech archive....

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1 hour ago, FridgeFreezer said:

1. Same as choke, if the sensor fails the thing will run pig rich. Beware there's a sensor for the ECU (which has 2 pins) and a sensor for the gauge which as 1 pin.

2. Yes just replace the ignition amp, you can upgrade using a more modern unit from any number of cars (GM unit if memory serves), it's been covered here before.

That's interesting because it seemed to get worse as it warmed up... When I say "missing", it was momentarily cutting out and back in again. If I let off the throttle, it was fine. Thanks both - a learning curve for me as I've only ever had Series Landys...

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That's classic ignition amp failure - as it warms up, it gets worse and worse - and it's harder to make sparks under load than idling.

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Yep, classic ignition amp overheating.

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That's really useful. I notice two types listed online, either one? I'm away so can't check on the motor...

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