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Got an itch for one of these, as I now have a Nissan Leaf, so fancy one as our second car / dog walker/ getting muddy/ workhorse. Would not be doing mega miles but prefer the 2.5d flavour.

Please tell me if they are as bad as they say or if they are OK as a hack, seen one on an 98 plate with 215k with good history on MOT check, sadly has newer alloys but i'm sure that it would not cost much to get back to less blingy!!

Let me know your thoughts....

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Mk2 rangerovers tick lots of boxs for me, however reading up on them I hear alot about the Becm being a temperamental and lesser understood totalitarian hub of the vehicles .

I oft wonder about any means of doing away with the needless electrics on a low spec 2.5 manual on springs when idly pondering.

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There's plenty of knowledge and help out there if you decide to get 1

The electronics have always been a bit "special" on them,but tbh becm issues are no worse than posting them off to be repaired 

2.5 is a very relaxed drive with its detuned bmw engine,but can be swapped for a proper 3.0 

Air suspension isn't too bad to repair, bags and sensors wear out and need replacing 

I've heard of insurance problems with a couple of p38s on springs

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I've run Classic Range Rovers for a long time, a few years ago I figured I'd give a P38 a go.

Picked up a 2001 Vogue and spent a few weeks going through the snag-list of bits that needs doing on all of them. Once these had been done it was a very nice place to be and I didn't have any issues. It got used hard for towing car trailers and blasting up and down the country as my daily for 18 months.

I sold it to build a campervan and regret it. It's actually the only vehicle I ever regret selling! Sold it to a old guy who is local, he uses it to tow his caravan, still going strong.

For me the post facelift cars are better, the Thor engine management gives more torque in the V8 and there are other subtle changes which improve the package. I'd avoid the diesel.

There are some P38 buying guides out there but as a rule of thumb, look out for these bits:

  • Metallic ticking noise on the V8s, prone to liner issues, the only fix it engine out and top-hat liners or a replacement block.
  • Keys, make sure there are two and they both work, replacements are eye wateringly expensive. Also make sure you know the EKA code. I disabled the immobiliser on mine with a diagnostic kit although I never had any issues that led me to do that, just because I could. 
  • Damp in drivers footwell on transmission tunnel, heater matrix o-rings. A PITA job but not really hard, just time consuming.
  • Book symbol on HEVAC screen, this is nearly always either a shagged blend motor or air con out of gas. An unreadable HEVAC screen is an easy fix with a contact block to replace the damaged ribbon.
  • Air suspension issues can normally be solved with a new pump, fixing leaks and replacing worn bellows. I personally wouldn't buy a P38 on coils.
  • No sound from stereo or no sound from rear speakers with the Harmon Kardon system, the P38 specific amp in the boot has a habit of dying and replacements are often more expensive than the vehicle itself. The best bet is to replace all the speakers and head unit with something more modern.

 

In many ways the P38 is actually really easy to work on, certainly compared to a D1, D2 or RRC of the same era, although it's quite a bit more complicated all of the systems and foibles are well understood and workarounds have been found for all these issues.


 

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I’m a serial Landrover licker..... the P38 and the discovery 2 are the two is never own. My mate had a 2.5 p38, it was horrible. Forever going wrong. Fuel pump, fuel pump, fuel pump wiring, wiring in general, ECUs, fueling problems. The list was endless. He was glad to fuck it off to the scrap dealer to be cubed. And the D2s, well they’re just as crap. Others will disagree. But I’ve heard nothing but crap about them. One mates D2 decided to lock itself while my mate was stood outside it..... on a 25degree day, with 2 very young children inside. Fucking electrics. 
 

 

 

so get one bought. Sounds like you need a stress test or something to take your anger out on. 

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Sounds like this is an itch that needs scratching. Usual nonsense, get the best you can afford. Try to find the mythical 1 owner with full main dealer service history. Such cars do actually exist. Failing that get one that is obviously well loved. They were expensive new, as are the current ones, so were built for those with deep pockets. Get the V8 on air. Anything else, well you've your Leaf. Enjoy and remember,  never stray too far from a filling station!

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I have a 98 BMW 6 cylinder 2.5 manual in Rioja red which I love dearly and intend on keeping a very long time. It's one of the better ones and I specifically chose a life long national trust member poverty spec car with manual cloth seats, manual gearbox, no wood cappings on the doors etc etc. Full history. Yarnolds Land Rover dealer number plates. Been tucked away most of 2020 but will get it out of hibernation when lockdown finally does one for good.

It's been converted to  coil springs which I see as a must if you want no fuss and drama in your life. It's bit rolly poly in comparison to air ride but more akin to the many RR Classics I've had, which is no bad thing.  Just my opinion!

Fitted Y2K lights and Hurricanes but have kept the gingercators and 16"s in the garage for a rainy day.

I average just shy of 30mpg (real)/(34mpg trip computer) on mixed driving, much of which is down to the manual gearbox I'd imagine. R380 Disco/Defender type. Quite agricultural but that's what gives it character.  BMW 6 cyl unit really sings with the manual gearbox as you can hang on to the gears. Fitted with a PSI tuning chip which helps performance quite remarkably but apparently these ruin the already weak autos when fitted. 

HVAC system is simple enough once you commit to chopping a good part of the inner center console away for ease of access. Same goes for matrix o rings.

BECM rebuild is a few hundred at various specialists now.  Old school tech, nothing scary.  Quite a few people now specialize in these. Bugger when it goes but easily fixed and plug in. 

I've turned off my immobiliser and alarm at diagnostics level so have old fashioned keys with no chip/remote locking or drama now. It's now not endlessly checking itself and not not going to sleep when left for a week plus. £11 to cut a replacement no chip key blank as opposed to £250 from LR for a remote flip fob (they won't supply a valet key any longer). I have other forms of security before anyone chimes in 😉

I can cope with the electrical niggles as I'm not welding the bugger every 6 months! Ask me how I learnt that the hard way...

My father always ran these when I was young and has two currently, one at 210k and its replacement on 125k. He estimated the 210k car cost him five grand over eight years he ran it for to keep reliable, and on air, which I think wasn't too bad considering how much these things were when new. He swears by them as they are supremely capable for living in the middle of the remote countryside.

I'd recommend you choose wisely and do it before they start to rise in value, which inevitably they will looking at almost everything else LR related.

Mine has not yet nor imminently looking to financially ruin my life. Learn how to be handy with a spanner and get the appropriate software and you're already ahead of the game.  

For perspective I paid £1200 for mine so the overall risk is minimal. Price me up an R plate Defender TDI or perhaps a late N plate sofdash RR? Both absolute bastards in their own ways and hugely expensive to buy, run and maintain. 

I'd love a V8 but I've not got shares in BP!

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The only one I have seen in London recently was parked with the bonnet up... But hey it's not really about that...

Cheap-ish to buy so you are not in deep if it all goes wrong and they are great things.

As you have a second car and don't need to depend on it - I'd say try one.  T'interweb makes owning stuff a lot less frightening there days and there seems plenty of advice.

And just think you can write about it here...🙄 and keep us amused.

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19 hours ago, 124Cab said:

I have a 98 BMW 6 cylinder 2.5 manual in Rioja red which I love dearly and intend on keeping a very long time. It's one of the better ones and I specifically chose a life long national trust member poverty spec car with manual cloth seats, manual gearbox, no wood cappings on the doors etc etc. Full history. Yarnolds Land Rover dealer number plates. Been tucked away most of 2020 but will get it out of hibernation when lockdown finally does one for good.

It's been converted to  coil springs which I see as a must if you want no fuss and drama in your life. It's bit rolly poly in comparison to air ride but more akin to the many RR Classics I've had, which is no bad thing.  Just my opinion!

Fitted Y2K lights and Hurricanes but have kept the gingercators and 16"s in the garage for a rainy day.

I average just shy of 30mpg (real)/(34mpg trip computer) on mixed driving, much of which is down to the manual gearbox I'd imagine. R380 Disco/Defender type. Quite agricultural but that's what gives it character.  BMW 6 cyl unit really sings with the manual gearbox as you can hang on to the gears. Fitted with a PSI tuning chip which helps performance quite remarkably but apparently these ruin the already weak autos when fitted. 

HVAC system is simple enough once you commit to chopping a good part of the inner center console away for ease of access. Same goes for matrix o rings.

BECM rebuild is a few hundred at various specialists now.  Old school tech, nothing scary.  Quite a few people now specialize in these. Bugger when it goes but easily fixed and plug in. 

I've turned off my immobiliser and alarm at diagnostics level so have old fashioned keys with no chip/remote locking or drama now. It's now not endlessly checking itself and not not going to sleep when left for a week plus. £11 to cut a replacement no chip key blank as opposed to £250 from LR for a remote flip fob (they won't supply a valet key any longer). I have other forms of security before anyone chimes in 😉

I can cope with the electrical niggles as I'm not welding the bugger every 6 months! Ask me how I learnt that the hard way...

My father always ran these when I was young and has two currently, one at 210k and its replacement on 125k. He estimated the 210k car cost him five grand over eight years he ran it for to keep reliable, and on air, which I think wasn't too bad considering how much these things were when new. He swears by them as they are supremely capable for living in the middle of the remote countryside.

I'd recommend you choose wisely and do it before they start to rise in value, which inevitably they will looking at almost everything else LR related.

Mine has not yet nor imminently looking to financially ruin my life. Learn how to be handy with a spanner and get the appropriate software and you're already ahead of the game.  

For perspective I paid £1200 for mine so the overall risk is minimal. Price me up an R plate Defender TDI or perhaps a late N plate sofdash RR? Both absolute bastards in their own ways and hugely expensive to buy, run and maintain. 

I'd love a V8 but I've not got shares in BP!

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20191217_171510.jpg

 

 

 

 

I'm very jealous of your cloth seats and manual gearbox. Wish mine had them!!! I actually covet a P38 DT, but I haven't been able to find a decent one that is as reliable as my DSE auto.

As an owner of a P-plate 2.5 diesel auto for well over two years now and 3 MOTs, they can be made good and reliable, but it is a commitment. First thing is to buy as good as possible an example you can get. Spend more buying a good one and I guarantee you will save money almost immediately. The chassis is very thick steel on the P38, totally unlike the Discovery 1/2 (which will actually snap in half), so rot isn't a real concern. With the diesel look out for injector pump issues. Other than that it is really the electricals and air suspension to be look out for.

To get mine reliable it took a new starter motor, new alternator, a damn good service, new viscous engine fan, chasing down small electrical gremlins, gearbox service and crucially the often ignored failing in-tank fuel pump. If you see air bubbles in the clear fuel lines in the engine bay, it could be indication of the in-tank fuel pump failing. People seem to rush to rebuilding the injector pump first though, which had been done on mine prior to me buying it. I also highlight the importance of having the correct lead-acid battery to help these run well. The various modules in the car are very sensitive to voltage drops and the alternator will not charge a silver-calcium type battery properly. Often people fork out for a fancy expensive battery and the car just kills it slowly. A big plus is if like in the post above the immobiliser has been disabled at a software level, it will save you a great deal of hassle. Most want a BeCM rebuild by now also, which mine has had done already

If you are keen there is a wealth of knowledge and they aren't actually horrible to work on.

I do some videos on the P38 for my little YouTube channel. Here is a brief buyer's guide type thing, which you may find useful:

 

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I've had mine for 14 years. Its a 1999 4.6HSE. Bought it off ebay for I think about £7500. It's been a good car-broken down twice -both due to a dodgy door lock (apparently there is/was a fault in the wiring between the door lock and bootlock)-once under my car port and once in Newport-had to be recovered. Obviously its had a few niggles-headlining drooping, air con went kaput due to underbonnet insulation wearing through a pipe and sunroof wouldn't work. I had the air springs replaced years ago due to age and I replaced the suspension pump a few years ago-it also had an intermittent height sensor fault-easily remedied with my air suspension dongle. It's had a couple of exhaust bits-cheap and easy to change as well as tyres-fairly inexpensive. It'd been with a specialist for over a year who's doing a bit of work on it between jobs. Nearly finished now. It's having the air con repaired, new roof lining, doorlock changed, as much of the security programmed out (immobiliser etc), service, new battery (battery is at least 15 years old), sunroof repaired, height sensor changed,gearbox mega flushed and a full service and valet. Costing about £1200. Worth it in my view as it's a cracking car. I was going to change it  a few years ago for a newer supercharged model-but they seem to have a few more issues. Here it is doing what it does best.

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I’ve had a couple of these and my current 2001 2.5 auto (‘county’ model) is a keeper. 
I rotate different cars that I unfortunately own - both modern and classic, but I always love getting back into my P38. 
 

Yes, they can be a pain in the ass - but realistically mine has been very reliable. I’ve put just over 30k miles on mine now and while I’ve had a few issues, I’ve never had to have it recovered. 
I guess I’ve been slowly replacing worn out bits on mine over the years but the one thing they hate is being left idle. Use it and it generally goes better - in my experience at least. This year I plan to find a decent gearbox, sort my injection pump leak and replace all the bushes. 
Otherwise it’s grand. They are a bit of a marmite car - you either love them or hate them. 
 

CFD

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On 1/4/2021 at 12:57 PM, Broadsword said:

I'm very jealous of your cloth seats and manual gearbox. Wish mine had them!!! I actually covet a P38 DT, but I haven't been able to find a decent one that is as reliable as my DSE auto.

As an owner of a P-plate 2.5 diesel auto for well over two years now and 3 MOTs, they can be made good and reliable, but it is a commitment. First thing is to buy as good as possible an example you can get. Spend more buying a good one and I guarantee you will save money almost immediately. The chassis is very thick steel on the P38, totally unlike the Discovery 1/2 (which will actually snap in half), so rot isn't a real concern. With the diesel look out for injector pump issues. Other than that it is really the electricals and air suspension to be look out for.

To get mine reliable it took a new starter motor, new alternator, a damn good service, new viscous engine fan, chasing down small electrical gremlins, gearbox service and crucially the often ignored failing in-tank fuel pump. If you see air bubbles in the clear fuel lines in the engine bay, it could be indication of the in-tank fuel pump failing. People seem to rush to rebuilding the injector pump first though, which had been done on mine prior to me buying it. I also highlight the importance of having the correct lead-acid battery to help these run well. The various modules in the car are very sensitive to voltage drops and the alternator will not charge a silver-calcium type battery properly. Often people fork out for a fancy expensive battery and the car just kills it slowly. A big plus is if like in the post above the immobiliser has been disabled at a software level, it will save you a great deal of hassle. Most want a BeCM rebuild by now also, which mine has had done already

If you are keen there is a wealth of knowledge and they aren't actually horrible to work on.

I do some videos on the P38 for my little YouTube channel. Here is a brief buyer's guide type thing, which you may find useful:

 

Strangely enough mine is a DSE, it's just had the leather deleted. Fitted with climate control, sunroof and a leather steering wheel. The true base DT thats had no options has no climate, plastic steering wheel and a sort of bizarre cloth herringbone material. I'll see if I can dig out a picture of that. A very course material. 

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I find it unbelievable that the same one has been one here for twelve years. I bought it in very late 09 just before the whole country froze over for a month (which was handy) and it's been a pretty cheapish runaround ever since. I used it as a daily until a few years ago and then my old man took it on to replace a V8 engined Series 3 that was his then snow car. Ex Land Rover press car which was a 2000 (so it just sneaked under the cheaper tax band) 4.6 Vogue. I got it with 78K on it and it's done about 45K in our hands. Apart from the occasional bout of suspension going doolally for no apparent reason requiring an electronic prod it's been cheap to run (apart from fuel obvs). Aside from servicing (laughably cheap):

  • Complete set of suspension bushes and dampers - the cost next to nothing
  • Set of brakes - again cost next to nothing
  • Set of air bags - not much and take a few minutes to replace
  • Brake reservoir failed - about 90 quid and a few minutes to replace
  • Drivers door lock went on the fritz and wouldn't unlock the car properly
  • New window regulator - arrived broken, cost next to nowt and took little time to fix
  • Prop shaft UJ failed - less than a tenner each but you have to lie on your back.
  • Throttle body heater gasket failed - just deleted the TB heater so it wouldn't happen again
  • A clip fell off inside the radio head unit which shorted something out and blew the fuse that ran the instruments
  • Since my old man had it he rebuilt the suspension compressor and valve block and replaced all the steel air pipes but I think he did that because he was bored.

The cost of almost all the parts is laughably cheap. Even if you replaced every component on the EAS then it isn't that much. However, if you are paying someone else to do the spannering then you might not find their little foibles quite so endearing. I've almost certainly forgotten a few (lots) of pain in the arse bits of wiring that messed around but they cost nothing to mend so in my mind they didn't count. As long as you understand they are a bit would suit enthusiast then you'll be fine.

I only bought it because I knew the car and its background - a bad one of these would be a weapons grade horror - and I would have another again but only if:

  • I knew the car
  • It was as late as possible
  • It wasn't gold
  • It was absolutely not a diesel (but then that is true of any car)

 

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I'd like one of these, but there aren't many cars the wife really has a strong feeling against. The Corolla is one, Rover 400 is another, and the Range Rover P38 is the next one. She doesn't want to be driven around by Phil Mitchell, the irony being she fucking loves EastEnders.

So all I can do is look through the window of the sweet shop, wistfully, at all the other boys and girls enjoying the foibles of their own P38.

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25 minutes ago, sgtberbatov said:

I'd like one of these, but there aren't many cars the wife really has a strong feeling against. The Corolla is one, Rover 400 is another, and the Range Rover P38 is the next one. She doesn't want to be driven around by Phil Mitchell, the irony being she fucking loves EastEnders.

So all I can do is look through the window of the sweet shop, wistfully, at all the other boys and girls enjoying the foibles of their own P38.

I know where your wife is coming from. Despite using one as a daily runner I have a big problem with the image ( I spend lot of time fretting about that sort of thing). I tried to improve things by tending to be seen in public wearing army surplus combat trousers with my scally lurchers in the back. I felt it gave off the right slightly down on his luck scrap metal dealer vibe to my look which I was happier with.

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9 minutes ago, JimH said:

I know where your wife is coming from. Despite using one as a daily runner I have a big problem with the image ( I spend lot of time fretting about that sort of thing). I tried to improve things by tending to be seen in public wearing army surplus combat trousers with my scally lurchers in the back. I felt it gave off the right slightly down on his luck scrap metal dealer vibe to my look which I was happier with.

See we have a lovely staffy, and I'm a fairly big robust bloke who might shave his head quite often. So I already give off traveller vibes without driving a Range Rover or Transit van (which I'm desperate to own, but she won't allow me to have due to said perception of skills with tree surgery and/or driveways).

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41 minutes ago, sgtberbatov said:

there aren't many cars the wife really has a strong feeling against.

Don't you run a website on the premise of your wife hating cars? Or am I confused?

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21 minutes ago, loserone said:

Don't you run a website on the premise of your wife hating cars? Or am I confused?

I do. But she's made it clear that there are certain cars that would result in divorce if I ever got them. 

So the Lada she dislikes, but she can see why I have it. The Peugeot 107 she thinks is shit but tolerates it. A Rover 400 would result in divorce, and I quite like my house!

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@Alan Prost

The P38 earnt it's unsavory reputation in the 90s and early 2000s when it was thought to be spaceship level complex the rest is found by people who have unfortunately bought one that has been neglected by people who think they can run them on a Micra budget

People look at them as "complex" this isn't the case a top spec MK7 Fiesta is more complex, P38's leccy bits don't throw fits for no reason, water ingress is usually enemy number 1. 

 

Another issue is people that unfortunately bought them when prices crashed, these types  leave little niggles until they're massive issues. 

Then they throw a temporary bandage on the issue and flog it on to someone to experience the pain!

The BECM doesn't act up unless it has had water introduced to it generally, usually leaking heater core O rings or leaking pollen filter covers saturates the carpet and the water wicks into the BECM and makes it go up the shitter.  

Air suspension again is thought to be massively complex, this isn't so the system is very easy to maintain a Valveblock rebuild every few years and a compressor rebuild every 2-3 years should see you right both those items can be done for less than £60  

Air bags are around £45 a corner, they have a service life of around 5-8yrs

EAS gets its unsavory reputation from neglect, the main issue is usually it takes a while to rise up or it sinks overnight, this isn't rectified in the early stages generally, people wait until its on the bumpstops with a EAS hard fault. 

And then the system is slated and instead of spending £260 ish on a complete EAS overhaul people spend £400 on a coil kit 🤨

 

HVAC system faults are known too, all of which are easy to rectify without removing the entire dash like some suggest 

Blend Motors 

Heater blowers 

Heater core O rings 

Are all easy to get at without major removal

 

Engine issues are shared from the RRC 

Look up RV8 issues! ;)

Transmissions and axles last the course 

The chassis and body doesn't disappear after a hard rain. 

 

Their reputation for being shit simply isn't the case, having owned a neglected one for over 3yrs I can tell you that even a bad one isn't too hard to pull back around. 

I know as much as there is to know about them after going through mine without a clue and just blind determination ;)

And to be fair if i hadn't of been going down the "trial and error" route in the beginning it would of been a good sight cheaper to fix! ;)

learn't from my mistake!!

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To this,. 

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If you think it'll be cheaper than an Allegro to maintain then you'll be surprised, not in a good way! ;) 

Are they nowt but shit and cause nothing but problems? NO a properly maintained example is the best 4x4 you'll ever drive, the smiles per gallon are phenomenal

And if a skint thick as shit 20yr old can run one of these, anyone can! ;) 

the "massive expense" comes from people who have used main dealers or specialists to troubleshoot systems and fix. 

 

For example, will a mechanic charging an hourly rate, sit and rebuild an EAS block for £30? 

No of course not he'll fit  a brand new valveblock for £900 and charge accordingly.. 

The same for the compressor, £20 rebuild of £400 genuine replacement? 

 

when you look at it like that, you see why they're thought to be expensive to maintain! 

Will a specialist do the blend motors or heater O rings the simple way or will he insist the entire dash has to be removed along with the heater core to fix it? 

Massive labour bill anyone?! 

That is where the "expensive to maintain" mantra comes from, if you do it yourself the cost is just the parts, which in P38 circles are quite cheap.. 

Nanocom is a great piece of kit to have and IMO is a necessity for the P38 £400 this is quite a bite in the wallet, but it pays for itself in a few months!

 

 

 

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