Range Rover - Classic or P38

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 20:31
ThreadID: 31150 Views:9478 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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Hi, In a quandry as to whether to buy an early 90's Classic or a 95/96 RR. Have $15,000 to spend and have heard conflicting reports on the reliability of the first couple of years of the P38. Interested to know whether any actual owners are on the site and can give me a bit of an insight. More than prepared for the normal niggles, but bit concerned about a V8 with 250K or so on the dial - will they go much longer without an expensive rebuild. thanks Sam
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Reply By: garrycol - Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 20:42

Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 20:42
Ask your question on http://www.aulro.com/modules.php?name=Forums

the Aust Landrover Forum - you will get what you need there
AnswerID: 157051

Reply By: Willem - Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 20:46

Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 20:46
I know nothing about Rangies but my mate bought an '89 Vogue as a project.

Lovely vehicle and a really go-anywhere machine( I have driven it off-road)

He had a lot of electrical problems though but persistence has solved most of them.

He also yearns for the later model.

I would need something more reliable out in the Never Never

AnswerID: 157052

Follow Up By: Member - George (WA) - Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 21:13

Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 21:13
I am with you Willem, nice car on the highway but don't take them out on the rough stuff.
I used to own a RR 1986, nothing but trouble when off road. Mainly little thing going wrong, but you never feel totally happy, just waiting for the next thing to go wrong. They may have improved by now. For me, I stick to the Toyota, personal oppinion of cause.

ps. Sorry we could not make it to your place on our way to Canberra early in January, there were good reasons for that which i dare not explain on this forum.
FollowupID: 411238

Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 21:19

Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 21:19
No worries George

When we're home we are home

When we're not we are out bush...lol
FollowupID: 411239

Follow Up By: ACDC - Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 22:06

Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 22:06
I'm with them don't touch it unless your rich!
FollowupID: 411257

Reply By: Exploder - Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 21:28

Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 21:28
Well Ford Windsor 302 V8’s have been know to do 500,000k’s

It all depends on how the engine has been treated.

A few years ago a mate had a 308V8 Statesman with an original 380,000k’s on the motor when he brought it and he gave it an absolute thrashing, it always started on the first click of the starter and the motor just kept on going, It had 405,000k’s on it when a Lady in a new 5 series BMW hit it a wrote it off.

LOL this thing was an amazing piece of machinery as well as a Cop magnet.

AnswerID: 157057

Reply By: Member - David 0- Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 21:53

Saturday, Feb 25, 2006 at 21:53

I was hoping to privately message you but, if you are interested, contact me for a 1990 RR that will soon be for sale, will definitley suit your budget. 170,000k

Dave O
AnswerID: 157070

Reply By: arthurking83 - Sunday, Feb 26, 2006 at 12:47

Sunday, Feb 26, 2006 at 12:47
I have more faith in the Rover V8 than any ToyNissan motor.

Having had my '79 Rangie for the last 17 years, I got it with 148000k's on the clock.

It's passed the 500000 k's milestone some years back!
For about two years, I drove it running very hot, as any attempt to figure out why it ran hot, just came to the conclusion that it maybe just a faulty temp gauge.
There never seemed to be a problem running at those temps.
Finally figured it was the radiator was rotted internally, but the car ran near the red for 2 years!!
You would guess that after 1/2 million k's the motor requires a freshen up!! :)

It's last big trip was to Melbourne to Darwin via LakeEyre, Chambers Pillar, Kings Canyon, bloody-just-about-everywhere!!!
Dropped more oil than I would normally like.
A rag was required on every stop to minimize an environmental catastrophe.
I topped the vehicle up with 8 litres of oil over the 12000klms!

But as you would expect after so many klms.
I used it for my courier work for about 6 months till I ended up with my Rodeo.

It's only ever big problem!!!
was the centre diff died/exploded/locked up, and my mechanic fixed cheaply...maybe too cheaply?? as 'a' transfer case 'pin' then proceeded to break, causing the transfer to jump out of high ratio!

All this and the horrendous fuel consumption from the 4 speed were totally overhauled with the fitment of a 5 speed!

Fuel went from 5km/l to about 7km/l on a highway run (90-100kmh)
noise dropped, off road ability was marginally improved...........etc.

Car still goes, though a less worn V8 would be nice.......
maybe one of those V8's sitting in the wrecks in my yard may do the trick!
(can't be bothered yet!)

On another note....
I have a thing for the rover V8!!!! (because of their incredible reliability)
To date I've had experience with about 12 vehicles with Rover V8 propulsion.
My combined kilometer experience of my Rover V8-ing must be around 1-1.5 million k's.
Only 1 has ever broken on me!
An early '74 P6B. bottom end broke, locked the motor and that was that!
Onef my 3500SE/VDP had develped a cooling problem.
Rusted welsh plug caused it to lose all its coolant, but I pressed on for 30 minutes to get home (at a vastly reduced speed!)
Got me home in a cloud of smoke, steam and noise, but after the welsh plug was replaced the next morning, with coolant levels at normal, the car fired up first go, without any problems....long live the Rover V8!!

Another had a leaking water pump....same problem same solution(this time with much more "confidence in getting me home" :))

Don't let anyone try to tell you the Rover V8 is unreliable!!!
(otherwise I'll come over.... :)

Never had an airbag RR, but I'm told they cause problems, and after seeing one driven on the Clalder FWY a while back, 'on the bump stops' I have my doubts too!!!

The only problem with RangeRovers off road is the "air of unstoppability" they inspire!
Caught me out on two occasions!
They don't REALLY go anywhere, just 'a little bit further than the Japs'.

Only real weak point is any Lucas electrical item!
Change the dizzy and alternator to Bosch equivalents, and you won't have any problems!
Only 1 of my 12 V8's hadn't given Alternator or Dizzy(ignition) problems :(
(but I have a bosch dizzy and alternator on my RR and 1 spare dizzy for any other V8 that comes my way!)

Parts pricing is a major sore point, but look for alternative suppliers (small indepedents etc...)

My '79 is soon be permanantly retired for a later model(4 door for the kids!)
I have no doubt as to the long term ability of a Rangie.

Just learn everything you can about vehicle electrics!! ;-)

if I could afford the fuel I would dump my Rodeo in an instant to go back to my V8's!!!


AnswerID: 157136

Follow Up By: lestraw - Sunday, Feb 26, 2006 at 14:49

Sunday, Feb 26, 2006 at 14:49
Mate, thanks for the info - as l don't do a lot of k's and have always wanted a V8 l'm going to get one. Just torn between an 87 Classic thats had everything done on it or a 94 HSE. May have to flip a coin. Thanks again
FollowupID: 411371

Reply By: arthurking83 - Sunday, Feb 26, 2006 at 18:59

Sunday, Feb 26, 2006 at 18:59
I 've had three " rover V8's " all been used as my courier vehicle at some stage...(ever since the bonce in the van took my knee with him as he sidesiped me!)
2 mid 80's hatch type, (SE and VDP)
and my 'ol faithful 79 RR.

Like I said (and everyone else said too???) the electrics can be suss, but I ususally find the real problem ones are due to incompetent elecs that have been brought up on a diet of HQ's and XA's.

My regular electrician hates these cars, but his brain can figure out why something is causing trouble, rather than just run "another bypass wire" like the others tend to do! ;-)

Classic is "more proven" than the P38's I suppose, but the extra space and some of the extra refinements of the 38 would be nice!!

Be very suspicious of the air suspension, and plan for a compressor breakdown!

good luck!
AnswerID: 157182

Reply By: craig - Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 10:36

Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 10:36
As a former land cruiser owner and now a p38 owner I find it great. Yes it dose have allot of electrical stuff that sometimes has a mind of it own. Just make sure you check everything works like it should .
The engine elect's changed from lucus to bosh around 99 some say they are better But I have not had any major issues with the lucus. the last of the classic's are pretty much a p38 with a different body. as long as you give the old buick engine plenty of fresh oil and keep the cooling system in good nick these engines will do many many miles. As for the air suspension it is a great feature , keeps car level at all times even when towing big loads. The only parts in the air-sus that are very expensive to replace can be repaired quite cheaply if you are slightly mechanically minded. you can also get bypass kits to pump up the air suspension if something goes wrong with the compressor or valve block etc...You can also get coil spring conversion kits if you want. (biggest problem with land rovers are the main dealer !!! most of them are crap and will just want to replace things at huge cost as they cant find or fix it without just replacing ) find a good Independent workshop and fixing them is no different than toyota or nissan. I also owned a 79 rangie with over 200 000k on the clock and found it very reliable on all the trips and offroading I did . I loved my cruiser but the Rangie just walked up things the cruiser struggled with. This is just my opinion and we all have them , and with all the great advice on this site asking a question about anything land rover here you will find it hard to get un-bios opinion unless its toyota or nissan.

If you need any info on all things Range Rover this is the bible


hope the rangie works out.
AnswerID: 157269

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