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Thinking about a 4.6 HSE


Simon_CSK
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Been thinking about a new toy and getting a 4.6 HSE with a Gas Conversion. Have extensive knowledge of Classics but know naff all about the P38 what should I be looking for and what should I be avoiding?

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Have extensive knowledge of Classics but know naff all about the P38 what should I be avoiding?

P38's ! :lol::lol::lol:

I am sure that there will be some people with more experience along, but from the little I know:

1) Engine - Bore liner issues (well documented). Gearbox ECU is also linked to Engine ECU, so upgrade to Megasquirt (or similar) not easy(/possible?) to improve mixture.

2) Air suspension - Similar to later Classics - perished bags, compressor and of course an ECU.

3) Electronics. Lots of them and all linked together in a Lucas stylee (i.e. not logical).

Think the bodies and chassis held together a bit better than the classics.

Like many people, I have only seen the bad bits commented on, but I am sure there must be some good bits. Try rangerovers.net for the full sp.

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Okay, my knowledge of P38s is pretty limited, but from what I've seen of them:

1) Engine - Bore liner issues (well documented).

Well documented, but appear to actually be quite rare.

Gearbox ECU is also linked to Engine ECU, so upgrade to Megasquirt (or similar) not easy(/possible?) to improve mixture.

Probably true? Ashcrofts could probably cast some light on the chances of getting the gearbox working without the original ECU. Replacing it with an earlier non-electronic gearbox, but overall it might end up making a lot more sense just having the original ECU reprogrammed if it needs it. Most P38as run quite happily as shipped though...

Ignition is coil packs not distributor, so not moisture sensitive like the classic.

2) Air suspension - Similar to later Classics - perished bags, compressor and of course an ECU.

And as with the classic perfectly straightforward to work on - plus much improved ride quality and road handling. Does still need reseting with a diagnostic computer if there's been a fault.

3) Electronics. Lots of them and all linked together in a Lucas stylee (i.e. not logical).

Anecdotally at least, this does seem to be true. I'm pretty certain they talk to the ECU too, which is another strike against Megasquirting.

Think the bodies and chassis held together a bit better than the classics.

I've never seen a really rusty P38a, but I've seen a lot of basket case classics (even late ones not much older than the P38as)... They seem to be generally better put together too, doors that shut properly, that sort of luxury...

Interiors are much more modern, they're much quieter and significantly less agricultural on the road (even the diesels).

Parts were hard to get hold of second hand and aftermarket a few years ago, but that no longer seems to be the case - plenty getting broken now.

www.rangerovers.net is USA biased but a good site - lots of info and many more P38a owners on there, so definitely worth a visit.

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Okay, my knowledge of P38s is pretty limited, but from what I've seen of them:

Well documented, but appear to actually be quite rare.

Probably true? Ashcrofts could probably cast some light on the chances of getting the gearbox working without the original ECU. Replacing it with an earlier non-electronic gearbox, but overall it might end up making a lot more sense just having the original ECU reprogrammed if it needs it. Most P38as run quite happily as shipped though...

Ignition is coil packs not distributor, so not moisture sensitive like the classic.

And as with the classic perfectly straightforward to work on - plus much improved ride quality and road handling. Does still need reseting with a diagnostic computer if there's been a fault.

Anecdotally at least, this does seem to be true. I'm pretty certain they talk to the ECU too, which is another strike against Megasquirting.

I've never seen a really rusty P38a, but I've seen a lot of basket case classics (even late ones not much older than the P38as)... They seem to be generally better put together too, doors that shut properly, that sort of luxury...

Interiors are much more modern, they're much quieter and significantly less agricultural on the road (even the diesels).

Parts were hard to get hold of second hand and aftermarket a few years ago, but that no longer seems to be the case - plenty getting broken now.

www.rangerovers.net is USA biased but a good site - lots of info and many more P38a owners on there, so definitely worth a visit.

slipped linners have had one very recently and it was a thor spec engine supposedly the more reliable but the contributing factor was a worn cam sticking valve and worn rockerarm needed a new engine.

gearbox unsure if this can be bypassed as you will need the older auto box and the ecus are linked and effect one another with info.

eas still only a slight upgrade over the classic and that was the manual override in essence it was still the same operating system and layout as the classic again with age and lack of maintainace springs leaking and worn valves in valve block worn sensors and compressor(parts are cheaper than a classic conversion to coils is a carp ride)

the electronics are linked by a central computer the becm when this fails you are fubard everything it linked through this unit it converts anologe to digital signals as some ecus are one or the other.

body wise better steel was used and treated better than the classics interia trims do wear as the classics though a post trims loose the velour covering.

yes this may lok like a total avoid like the bubonic plague but there are some good ones out these and there is a lot of poorlymaintained carp weather it has maindealer or specialist history mechanicaly the same things fair on p38a as did the classics viscous units prop ujs cam shaft wear head gaskets oil leaks auto boxs so rearly it is just a different body with a lot of old problems underneath

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I own 2 P38a, a diesel and a 4.6V8. The diesel has clocked 335.000 km without much problems, only normal wear and tear (alternator, bearings and yes, airbags). The V8 has 320.000 km but the engine was badly treated by the last owner and his mechanic, resulting in me doing a rebuild (very slowly coming, but confident the result will be worth the effort).

I am very found of both cars, ride comfort is superbe and offroad performance astonishing for such a big car! Frankly, I think the Classic is better looking by a mile, but I'll stick to my P38a's because their so much nicer to drive (not that I have anything against driving a Classic off course!).

One thing to consider, the P38a was state of the art when it was released, and consequently still a very complex vehicle today. With age, problems are bound to appear, but most can be fixed with common sense and DIY skills. Parts are often more expensive compared to Classic/Defender and fewer available at breakers.

The EAS is a piece of art and (for me) the biggest plus of the P38a. But as it ages, it does need maintenance. Replacing the airbags is easy and so is a compressor rebuild. Replacing old O-rings can be a bit fiddly but definitely can make a big difference. Just stay away from official stealers, they'll charge an arm and a leg just to hook it up to a computer. Fortunately, a lot of software is becoming available and many independant mechanics (or even owners) now have the necessary equipment to clear faults.

Greetz,

Filip

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Do it

I have a 1996 4.6 HSE with 65k on the clock, drives like a dream, it is like going to work in your front room :)

I have changed the bags and taken a bit of slack out of the steering box but that's it.

As has been said they have something like 11 ecus in them and can have electrical issues.

With the current economic and petrol situation you can get them for buttons!

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Have had mine nearly 2 years, and other than upgrading from the previous owners lack

of maintanance, or my own breakages whilst offroad, I have had no problems with the vehicle.

The RangeRovers.net site is very usefull for info.

Also consider getting your own diagnostics kit from Blackbox. I did and love being able to

diagnose faults, change EAS heights, change settings within the BECM, read live data from the

engine, etc.

As for ECU's, yes they are all linked to the central BECM, so it would be difficult to get the engine to

work with a stand alone system such as Megasquirt.

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Have had mine nearly 2 years, and other than upgrading from the previous owners lack

of maintanance, or my own breakages whilst offroad, I have had no problems with the vehicle.

The RangeRovers.net site is very usefull for info.

Also consider getting your own diagnostics kit from Blackbox. I did and love being able to

diagnose faults, change EAS heights, change settings within the BECM, read live data from the

engine, etc.

As for ECU's, yes they are all linked to the central BECM, so it would be difficult to get the engine to

work with a stand alone system such as Megasquirt.

Thanks for the input guys. Was aware of the liner problem but un phased by it, my CSK had the same fault and I fixed it with cermic block sealer and it has been fine ever since. Also aware of air suspension but unaware of most other issues.

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I have a '96 4.6 HSE which I love - very few problems as it's been well maintained (which is invariably the key). Coming up to 100 000km and I'm also considering an LPG conversion. Anyone know a reputable outfit in Portugal (or even Spain)? I live in Portugal and don't relish trekking all the way back to Blighty to have it done.

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I think the key is when you go to view one to make sure EVERYTHING works already, Air con, Mirrors, Heated Seats etc. Even if you may not use these they will detract from the value if you come to sell, and you should also be knocking off appropriate money.

They are outstanding cars, the only problems I've had have been self inflicted.

As mentioned earlia they are brilliant off road. If I didnt care about my body panels I really could go anywhere.

If you like gadgets go for 98+ they have side air bags and I think the speed adjusted stereo & 4 wheel ETC rather than the early ones with only rear wheel ETC.

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