Tuesday, October 13, 2009

All you ever wanted to know about . . Land Rover V8 Engine Failures

Welcome to John Elder Robison's Land Rover pages.  My latest story in on collectible Land Rover models from the 1990s. This next story is about liner and block failure in V8 engines . . .






Land Rover V8 Engine failure
Land Rover V8 liner failure
Land Rover engine block failure
Land Rover Discovery engine problems


There’s a new problem in the Land Rover world. Engines in Discovery II and P38 Range Rovers are dying, and I’m about to tell you why . . .

The story begins at the foundry in Solihull, England, where Land Rover engine blocks are cast from aluminum alloy. The block is the innermost component of the engine; it’s the foundation everything else is built upon. After the engines are cast the rough holes for the cylinders are bored out and finished. After that, eight sections of steel tube are pressed into place, one for each bore. After being cut off and machined flush, those tubes become the cylinder liners. It’s those blocks and liners that are going bad.

At the plant, the raw aluminum blocks are expanded by heating, while the liners are shrunk by chilling. The block swells to maximum size, while the liners contract as much as possible. At that point, the two are pressed together. Even then, the liners are a tight fit into the block, but that’s what powerful hydraulic rams are for. Once in place, the liners expand for an even tighter fit. They are there to stay, or at least, that was the idea.

Unfortunately, things did not quite work out that way. The liners started moving, and engines began failing. How could that happen? The liners are subject to constant up-and-down forces as the pistons move within them in the running engine. In some engines, the press fit between steel liner and aluminum block just wasn’t tight enough to last.

When Land Rover started making V8 engines – thirty-plus years ago – the tooling was all fresh and everything was spot on. The engineers had calculated exactly how big the block bores should be, and what diameter was needed for the liner tubes. When those liners were pressed in place, they never moved.

Whatever else went wrong with Land Rover engines, the blocks stayed strong. And that was good, because it seemed like everything else gave trouble. Some would say, the vehicles required a lot of tinkering. Such is the British way.

That’s how it was for the first couple decades of engine production. Most engines don’t last that long on the production line, but the Land Rover V8 held on. Other manufacturers introduced more sophisticated overhead cam engines, but Rover stood firm with the old 1960s vintage pushrod V8.

I wish I could say that was a testament to its wonderful design, but the truth is, Rover really didn’t have the money or engineering resources to develop a replacement. The longer it stayed in production the more worn the tooling became. Machines that originally bored holes with an accuracy of a few ten-thousands of an inch lost their precision. In some cases, the tolerances slipped by a factor of ten. The result? Some engines left the factory with tight liners, while others were a tiny bit loose. Those were the engines that began failing.

The designers knew that steel and aluminum expand at different rates when heated. And car engines make the transition from cold to hot every time they are run. So it was absolutely vital that the steel liners be fitted tightly enough that they would never move, no matter hot how the engine got. When the tooling was new, that was what happened. When the tooling wore out, the liners weren’t always so tight anymore.

The block problems were compounded by ongoing engine development. The first Rover engines displaced 3.5 liters and made a little over 120 horsepower. In thirty years the displacement grew by 35% and power almost doubled. The displacement increase meant there was less metal in the block to soak up heat and energy, and the power increase meant there was a lot more to handle.

At the same time, today’s need for fuel efficiency and low emissions has resulted in significantly higher operating temperatures, especially inside the combustion chamber. That puts even more stress on an old design.

Problems began appearing about ten years ago. Mechanics began talking about “dropped liners,” a phrase I’d never encountered before. The constant heat cycling as the engine ran combined with the running motion and caused the liners to break loose. When they did, coolant leaked around them into the combustion chambers, and the engines failed. The solution: a new engine block, and a repair bill near $10,000.  Current overhaul costs (winter 2014-15) with the new flanged liners run $11-14,000 parts and labor, removed and installed.

As you can imagine, owners were outraged. To most people, the engine block is like the back seat. You just take it for granted, and it lasts the life of the vehicle. It does not wear out or fail. It’s not a wear item like a fan belt, tire, or spark plug. Yet the blocks were failing, and in large numbers.

I wrote an article about the situation a few years ago, and we developed a way to repair the blocks. We used sleeves with flanges on top, referred to as “top hat” liners. The flange kept them from moving up and down, and the problem seemed solved. Unfortunately, it wasn’t permanent.

Failures happened when the engine got hot enough that thermal expansion made the liner loose in the block casting. For most people, that meant liner failure followed what we euphemistically called a thermal incident. In other words, the engines failed after the cars were overheated. The initial overheating could be caused by anything – water pump leakage, fan belt failure, or a blown hose.

The out-of-place liner was a visible evidence of failure, but some engines had more serious problems hidden inside. It turned out that the overheating was also causing cracks in the aluminum block castings. Sometimes the cracks allowed oil and coolant to mix, leading to another engine failure. Other times, cracks allowed combustion gases to get into the coolant, which led to another thermal incident.

When the blocks developed cracks we were stuck. Repair of the cracks required removal of every liner from the block, and costs were prohibitive. Replacement blocks were the only answer, or so it seemed.

The problem got so bad that Lad Rover began supplying warranty exchange blocks to dealers for about $1,000. By doing that, they in effect subsidized the repair of thousands of engines over a period of several years. The problem was, the new engines weren’t any better. They were all susceptible to failures.

However, they were all we had to work with, so we made the best of the situation. The main thing we learned was: Never drive a Rover with an overheated engine! By following that advice and preventing overheats we kept the problem at a manageable level.

Until this year.

That was when we saw our first Rover that had combustion gases leaking into the coolant with no prior history of overheating. And when the motor was torn down for inspection, all the liners were in place and there was no sign of thermal damage. Yet the block failed a pressure test where we applied compressed air to the cylinder to simulate what happens when pressures build up as the motor runs. The air leaked right into the coolant passages. How could that be?

We removed the leaky liner, and made an alarming discovery. The aluminum casting that should have supported the liner had rotted away. The inside of the block looked like a piece of decomposing cheese. It was an ugly situation, one of the only failures for which we could see no repair option. It was like looking at rusted floor boards . . . at a certain point, there is no solid metal left to fix.

Since that time, we have seen a few more engines failed in the same way. Other blocks that didn't rot, cracked instead.  The symptoms can be subtle at first. There may be slow loss of coolant, and the truck may develop a misfire as spark plugs become fouled by white deposits from coolant that leaks in and burns.

We’ve been wondering what would cause this new, severe, failure and I think we’ve got some answers.

The first problem is the tooling. As the tooling aged, production tolerances became sloppier and sloppier. We’ve seen new engine castings with actual holes where the aluminum failed to fill in. Overall production quality on the last pushrod V8 engines was a far cry from what we saw at the beginning.

That means the last crop of engine blocks – those made from the late 1990s through the end of production in 2005 – are weaker than the blocks that came before. That makes them more vulnerable to corrosion because there’s less consistency in the metal. Something must have changed, since these blocks have been in production a long time and we’ve never before seen these gross corrosion failures.

That’s where the second issue comes in - the coolant. In 1999, Rover began using Dex-Cool in place of the green coolant they’d used for the previous thirty-some years. There have been some recent lawsuits alleging corrosion when Dex-Cool is used in late model engines, and the revelations of those cases may shed some light on the Land Rover situation.

It appears that Dex-Cool can react with the materials in the engine if there is an excess of air in the cooling system, as happens when the level is low. Dex-Cool can also react with other coolants, something that happens if old style green coolant is added to the system.

I believe those are the issues that underlie the current block failures, but I can’t rule out the possibility that something more is going on. What does it mean for you? I’ll close with some specific tips for any of you who own or service 1999-2004 Land Rover Discovery or P38 Range Rovers.

First, I urge you to follow Rover’s recommendation and change your coolant every 30,000 miles. It’s very important that you use the correct Dex-Cool product. If your system has been contaminated by mixing several types of coolant, flush it thoroughly before filling.

Before you drive, always make sure the expansion tank is full to the proper level. Don’t drive the vehicle if the level is low, and don’t drive it at all if it’s overheated.

Finally, if you work on these cars pay close attention to the cooling system pressure. One early giveaway of block failure is high pressure in the system before the engine is really warm. I’ve seen Rovers that pressurize the radiator hoses rock hard while the engine is still cold. That’s a sure sign of a serious internal problem.

Another thing to look for is white deposits on spark plugs. If you see six or seven clean-looking plugs and one or two fouled with white a deposit, that’s a sign of coolant intrusion into the cylinders.

I wish I could close with a quick and easy answer, but I’m afraid there’s no such thing. It’s a serious problem that can be managed but if you experience a failure, the only cure that has lasted is overhaul with new pistons and flanged liners.  We at Robison Service are proud to have pioneered that process in North America.

I have an article about that situation here that covers the decision process

This article tells all you want to know about the flanged liner overhaul

Land Rover V8 engine with flanged "top hat" liners at Robison Service

As of summer 2014 we have a small stock of rebuildable blocks at Robison Service, and we continue to overhaul client engines.  This article describes the ex-Buick V8 engine.  We also support the Land Rover diesels, and the new Jaguar-derived V6 and V8 power plants used through the current model year.

So take care of that engine – it may be the last one you get for a while.

Until next time,
John Elder Robison

John Elder Robison is the general manager of J E Robison Service Company, restoration and repair specialists in Springfield, Massachusetts.  John is a longtime technical consultant to the Land Rover, Mercedes, and Rolls Royce Owner's Clubs, and he’s owned and restored many of these fine vehicles.  His company has been independent Land Rover service specialists since their return to North America in 1987.  Find him online at www.robisonservice.com or in the real world at 413-785-1665

52 comments:

Eric said...

An interesting blog John. As a long time Land Rover/Range Rover owner, I've long since gotten used to the eccentricities of these vehicles. I did have 2 Discovery IIs, and although I loved them to death, they would have me yanking my hair out in frustration at times (hence, my profile photo lol). I'm now driving a 2006 Range Rover Supercharged, and sure enough, at 50k my warranty expired and immediately I started having electrical gremlins. I have no more hair to yank out, but I still love the brand. I just wish we could get the Defender back in this country, time to get back to the basics.

John Elder Robison said...

Whatever other troubles your Sport has, liner failure is not one of them. You have a totally different and modernized engine. The sport uses the Ford Modular V8 design. The Supercharged Sport engine is actually derived from the XKR engine used in supercharged Jaguar cars.

Eric said...

John, I realize whatever plagues my Range Rover (actually it's the full size model, not the sport) is not due to liner failure, with all of the electronics in the model, electrical issues are almost a certainty. If my history memory is correct, I believe the engine in question was derived from a 215 cubic inch V8 from GM used in the early 60s in the Buick Special and Pontiac Tempest. It was sold to British Leyland around 1962-63 if I'm correct. I agree, it was a great engine at first, but I did start seeing the problems you had mentioned in my 95 Disco. The Ford/Jaguar engines are great, it's the only reason I still have my '06.

mmbirtcher said...

Thanks John, the information you provide is as always better than that found elsewhere. I currently have a 2004 DII that I am replacing the head gaskets in (first time for that). The engine has made a tappeting sound for some time now and as the second owner since 30,000 I don't know if it had ever been overheated. It did overheat on me after it surprisingly started drinking coolant although the head gasket problem and tappet began long before that. Have you looked into any of the aftermarket blocks available such as those offered by Turner Engineering in the UK?

John Elder Robison said...

Turner Engineering is not making new blogs. They rebuild old ones. At this moment we're waiting for someone to take up casting new Rover blocks

Range Rover World said...

Its clear that anti freeze/summer coolant is critical to these blocks, be it a Classic 3.5 or 3.9,Disco II or a P38.

Cooling systems should be flushed out with reverse flow a few times as the holes in the head acts like jets and dislodges debris though I do prefer to add a flush agent for a day or two prior to a cooling re charge.


Old radiators are also a overlooked item so to is the thermostat.

Another over looked cause for these problems in radiator fins and the AC fins getting blocked up with bugs, leaves etc applying a good chemical cleaner then washing out from rear to front will dislodge years of built blockage.
Aftermarket water pump replacements also need to be considered for correct water flow, I've changed a few pumps for more better branded pumps with positive results, its all about water and air flow
Just for kicks I have a blog with interesting info on the RR P38 for South Africa but useful for all
http://rangeroverworld.blogspot.com/

heers and keep well
Chris

Adam said...

Hi John
This makes for really interesting reading...if very disheartening. I'm suffering all these symptoms at the moment on my '98 Disco V8, and as a first time owner, I've rapidly developed a love/hate relationship with it. To make matters worse, I'm driving it in Saudi Arabia, where any guy off the street can call himself a mechanic, and charge you what he likes as soon as he sees your blond hair and blue eyes...
Coolant gushing from the overflow/reservoir has been happening for a while now. I have been able to control it by switching off the A/C about 30 seconds before parking up. I have the A/C on all the time as average temperature at this time of year is about 45C. Driving the 50 miles each way to work isn't a problem. Temp gauge always stays just on the thermometer symbol on the gauge - say about 45% up the gauge, and has never overheated.
I've noticed a few sizzling noises recently, after switching off the engine, but asssumed this was condensation from the A/C dripping on to something hot.
Today I added another 20 miles to my journey home for no real reason. It was the coast road, where humidity is around probably around 80-90%. A cloudy mist with no smell started blowing from the A/C vents. I parked up at a shop, and the coolant was fighting to get out of the reservoir. When I got home, same thing happened, and this time quite a lot escaped. Both times today i had taken the precaution of switching off the A/C about 30 seconds before parking, but it was no help. A possibly related problem is starting up when the engine is hot - it really is hit and miss sometimes. However, whenever I've parked in the shade or overnight, it starts first time. The starter cranks and cranks, but can't get the engine started. Occasionally I can just coax it into starting. Look, I love this Disco, but worrying if it's going to start or not every time you get in the thing is becoming a real pain...maybe you can help me out with a diagnosis before I go and throw myself under a train!
Many thanks
Adam King

dany said...

Just a small remark, cylinder liners are usually made out centrifugally cast gray iron, which has good friction properties due to its carbon flakes.
Steel cannot be used without a coating like hard porous chrome, and this would be a possibility if the liners were cracking.
On cast iron liners, steel rings are used, and on steel liners the rings are in cast iron.

BakerGal said...

Hi John, Great info. We are at a point where we want to drive our 99 LR Disco off the cliff. Our head gaskets just went out. The shop said they ethically cannot recommend we replace these since it has 150K miles on it. We have had a couple incidents where the temp gauge went to red. This last time, it was because of an oil leak. I immediately got oil in and it was fine. Question is, should we sell it for nothing or replace the gaskets (and also rear brakes). It's another big investment that I think is still just another fix of many to come.

Kathy

BakerGal said...

Hi John, great article. We have a 99 LR DISCO. Hit 100K miles and we've had to continue to sink a lot of $$ into it. It's now at 150K miles and our head gaskets are shot and rear brakes need replacing. A few other things also. The shop said they ethically cannot recommend the replacement of the gaskets because of the miles and the reputation for the car to have troubles. would you drive it off a cliff or pay to have it fixed?

John Elder Robison said...

BakerGal, I am confident of our ability to fix these trucks, so I would fix it. Many shops lack my degree of confidence, and I would not want to press them in a direction where they are not comfortable

BakerGal said...

Thanks John for your quick reply. How can the shop tell if the block is compromised prior to opening it up? We have had over heating issues. Gone into the red 2 or 3 times, but haven't kept driving it in the red.

John Elder Robison said...

With all due respect, if you have to ask how they would know if it's damaged, they are not the shop for this job. You do not want to be the first person to go through this kind of fix. My advice: find an experienced LR specialist who has done this before, or replace the motor with a used unit, or just buy a short block.

SeekingTruth said...

So am I reading correctly don't buy the 2004 discovery I so desperately want? Are the last ones rubbish? What year discovery would you recommend???

John Elder Robison said...

Seeking Truth, I am sorry to say that premature engine failure is all too common on 2003-4 Discovery models. I'd suggest you buy one at a price that reflects this eventual reality (very cheap) or buy one that has a re-linered engine.

SeekingTruth said...

Thanks for the reply! Sounds to me like the engine design has a fatal flaw. Is there someway to guarantee even if you bought a new engine it won't happen? If they are reman'ing old flawed engines how are they guaranteeing its ok? I love the discovery and have wanted one forever, but right now it sounds like junk to be avoided at all costs. Does anyone make a swap kit? I would love to drop in a tried and true Chevy small block. The aftermarket needs to step up here! And telling someone who wants 9k for their discovery their engine is rubbish I can't give you more than 3k is not a fun afternoon. lol Land rover should be sued over this and forced to make it right IMO.

Land Rover victum said...

Land Rover sucks!
Enough said.

marcus sesbury said...

Hi John,
Wow! Really informative and very interesting...thanks very much.
I jet washed my engine v8 thor and it ran very lumpy. I sprayed a whole can of water repelent oil over everything but still the same.
I drove for 30 miles and still the same.
I left her to dry for 2 days and then we noticed lots of white smoke on starting and a smell like fuel.
It hasn't gone away.
I'm really upset.
What should I do please?
Thanks and best wishes
Marcu

yannisk said...

Hi John,

I have a 99 LR series II with 117K miles on it. A year ago I had the engine head & head gaskets replaced. About 4 moths ago, I got the "check engine light" on and a clacking noise coming from the (lower part) of the engine. The noise would become more frequent as the engine revs up and stay at a constant level after about 2K rpm.

I took it back to the shop, the reading was "cylinder 3 misfiring". They took good care of me, they even replaced the engine head again for free, changed oil, etc (used refurbished engine heads both times). After a couple of weeks, I got the same check engine light on again...

They never discovered where the clacking noise is coming from nor did they fix it.

I am about to spend some $$$ on tires, brake pads, etc. and I wonder if I should be looking for another vehicle instead.

Your thoughts will be much appreciated.

Many thanks in advance.

Neil Fixes, Sydney, Australia said...

Gday John...thanks for your blog. I found it while reconstructing my 6 year data base, lost while unzipping the RAVE manuals download. I have added it to my "SITES" folder.Chris' Range Rover World South Africa blog is also very useful for a professional repairer's experiences. I have cooked 2 P38 4.6's, one due a failed water pump (expect 80-100th K's), the other (freshly rebuilt) by not fully seating a water hose clamp. "Check Engine"....what with???..it's too late! There is no water jacket between the central cylinders, saving an inch of engine length....what could go wrong? No flashing or audible or even text readout warning. There are available small cheap button-type narrow-range on-off thermostats as used in laundry tumble driers.Infra-red scan the block sides on a hot engine, add 5degC,(12F), silicon-blob over an appropriately ranged t/stat between cyl's 3-5 and 4-6, and run a flashing LED and piezo buzzer to the dash for each bank. This might save me a future 10 grand. I'll get on to it a soon as I've rebuilt the EAS pump, rewired the air con compressor, replaced the front axle shaft seals, retoothed the drivers window gear quadrant, fitted a fan to cool the relay board, reglued the headlining, sent the radio off for repair, and put new bulbs in the message centre. I'll get back to you. Why do we do it? I love to drive it; great ride,great braking,powerful steering, great view. Nice to meet you all, Neil

Constantin Toma Constantin said...

I can't believe my eyes, I' m about to buy a 99' disco v8 on LPG and I've been waiting for a lifetime to get my hands on it... And after reading this I' m afraid. It just doesn't feel right how could an underpowered v8 fail? I just hope that it's at least better than the devil's fuel powered td5 :-)) Is it possible to throw in an older 3.9?

Jan Ben said...

Thanks for the post.. Great info. too sad to read it though..
My '95 disco w. 5-speed has 190k miles and still running (well the starter just went). I was looking to replace it w. a '03 or '04.. but perhaps I'll go fix the starter instead..
BTW, the old GM block was cast differently: the liner were cast-in during the casting. And they had axial grooves.. so misalignment/loose liners were not a problem.. Got an old BOP 3.5 block sitting around somewhere..

Jan Ben said...

Thanks for the post.. Great info. too sad to read it though..
My '95 disco w. 5-speed has 190k miles and still running (well the starter just went). I was looking to replace it w. a '03 or '04.. but perhaps I'll go fix the starter instead..
BTW, the old GM block was cast differently: the liner were cast-in during the casting. And they had axial grooves.. so misalignment/loose liners were not a problem.. Got an old BOP 3.5 block sitting around somewhere..

ruel empleo said...

Disco II owner

Hi John, I own a 2000 Disco II and already had cylinder head jobs done twice around 3-4 years apart. I started using synthetic oil to improve efficiency and recently I had to have a gasket leaked done. I love my Disco II and I even added a third row seating to it. I just invested 5 new tires including spare and 5 new bilstein shocks including steering dampener. had the ace pump replaced recently and really plan keeping this truck for a long time but after reading your blog I am now very skeptical. any suggestions recommendations?

Joe said...

Great Blog.I just wanted to add that I have a 99 Discovery II with 220k and have had No problems at all. Its been the most dependable rig Ive ever had.I have had to replace the normal stuff Water pump ,a few sensors belts & hoses but thats it.So to ALL the readers wondering if they should buy one ,I would check it out or have a mechanic check it out if it passes GET IT !!

Randy said...

I have a classic RR 4.2 LWB 155k miles that has a tapping noise at warm idle. Having to top up expansion tank regularly but not running hot. Does the 4.2 have the dropped liner issue also? Thanks for any info.

cloud9 said...

Well I have a 2000 DII with a cracked engine block,(liner issue brought up earlier in the blog. I have no idea what to do with the truck now. It looks like it could go another 150k, but without an engine, not going to happen. any suggestions?

John Elder Robison said...

Cloud9, it's a hard decision. You either make a commitment to keep the car and fix it, or scrap it

cloud9 said...

A small block is $7500 install puts it up to around $10,000. A newer DiscoII is around $4500. If there was a cheaper way to go, I would keep it, but in my area there isnt.

cloud9 said...

Wish I could send it off somewhere and have it come back in working order.

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ketchemandfleezem said...

I assume with all the @$# polution control there is no way to put a good engine into a 99 rr.

John Elder Robison said...

We can definitely build good solid engines for 99 Disco - total cost, parts and labor, for a truck runs $11-14k as of 2014-15

Graham Harris Graham said...

Very interesting article. My 2004 V8 4.0L Discovery 2 has 70,000 miles on it & does very well living in the highlands of Scotland with its cool, breezy & damp climate. It's ability to drive off single track roads or down dirt roads covered in deep snow in winter, offers a huge sense of confidence.

Only failures so far have been a knock sensor which caused poor running due to excessive spark retardation but is very easy & cheap to fix, a misfire due to a defective high tension lead (original) & a weak battery. The battery was also original which means it lasted over 10 years!

Auxiliary belt tensioner & idler bearings are starting to squeak so am replacing them but again, only £4-£10 for a bearing is peanuts. The tensioner pulley has a plastic wheel and technically unserviceable as bearing is welded in but I used a Dremel tool to grind lip off and used Araldite to lock in the new bearing. Runs fine.

Our wet climate has rotted away the near side, rear mud flap panel and near side, rear brake dust shield this year but these were also cheap to replace.

I lived in the USA for 10 years including Georgia, Texas & Nevada and am well aware that hot climates are hard on any vehicle. Our problem in Scotland isn't heat, it's water. So the main battle on an ageing vehicle is rust, especially to the rear chassis rails & thin sheet metal panels.

Finally, it might only do 20 mpg on a good day & petrol costs £5 ($7.50) per UK gallon but it only costs me £11 ($17) per month to insure.

Is it the best engineered car I have ever owned? No chance. But it's probably the most satisfying. Go figure !

Daniel Kojta said...

I have just gone through this problem and I'm juggling between the ten k I do not have and the 2.5k for a second hand engine.
What I want to know is if you have heard of anyone taking landrover to court. I am in Australia and my specialist LR mechanic has seen this problem many many times. I'm more interested in a law suit or at least hearing about anyone in Australia or not who has taken this issue to the courts. If not do you think this is possible? I know you can't speak for law but I do wonder why this hasn't occurred as yet. Please let me know your thoughts and also if you or anyone else has heard of this happening. Has to be done.

John Elder Robison said...

As you point out . . . I'm not a lawyer. This seems to be a situation where the tooling to make the motors wore out, then went beyond worn out, and they kept squeezing one more motor out.

Maybe I'm wrong but it sure looks that way. The driver - of course - is corporate profit. This is a situation that was set up under British ownership, then BMW management, then Ford ownership and now TATA holds the bag having bought the company and its legacy.

The sad truth is that today's owners had nothing to do with this, and I have no real idea of what liability they may have taken on when buying the company - if any.

cody lokits said...

John,

I have a 2001 Discovery II with 85k miles and recently it has been 'fluttering' at start-up. The flutter quickly dissipates, but as you initially accelerate the engine seems to knock and/or continue to flutter for a short time before the sound disappears altogether. I have recently noticed slow coolant and oil loss, but I also have a front cover gasket leak that I intend to correct asap. I have never had an overheat. Are these symptoms indicative of what you are describing? I intend to pull the plugs this weekend and check for white residue, but was curious after coming across your blog.

Emdee said...

Most people are not aware that this was a General Motors engine used in compacts in the early 60's before they sold it to Rover. My last Rover was an "Auntie" 80 or possibly a 90 I had when I was at school in England and which I had to give away when I returned home. It had a crank which I had to use more than once.

sord87 said...

It was an old model but your elaboration on the liners and re-bore the blocks gave me an idea to make a full overhaul of my land rover

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Anna Park said...

My 2000 discovery started overheating at 110K. I changed the head gaskets and this last 3K and POP... overheat again... number 4 cylinder had some white deposits / crust on the sleeve. This was the end of my rover that I changed the oil and drive train fluids on the recommended schedule. None of this 200K - 300k dream lasting me until I called it quits. I had to buy a Jeep commander to replace the rover until had a handle on what was going on in the rover. Now I find the Jeep Commander w/ 3.7 200HP engine has a plastic timing gear prone to failure .. I lost IT. Both where POS and I loaded the rover on the roll-back and drover the Commander to the Jeep dealer. A nice Jeep Wrangler JK solved the nightmare. Steve in NJ

Randy Ford said...

I have acquired a 2004 Discovery with the dreaded 4.6. It appears to run beautifully but often it refuses to start without a spray of quick start. it will just crank until the battery dies otherwise. The check engine code that comes on once in a while is 1300. I have changed the plugs and still the same. when it starts with the spray it diesels for a second making me wonder if the timing is too far ahead for starting. it runs beautiful on the highway but occasionally stalls randomly from idle. it is worse when the engine is hot but it is getting to be a very frequent problem.

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never HURTS to have Information,it will at the Very Least MAKE you 'think' before you Buy !,,,an informed Consumer it the best Investment !..

joseph nicoletti consulting said...

Remember the Cadillac North star Engine Head gasket Problems and the Jaguar xjr Plastic Timing chain Guides/tensioners,? What the hell were these Stupid People Thinking ?..Plastic Does not belong in an ENGINE of any kind,can you imagine these Engines in an Air Plane ??...Great Designs gone wild, now those cars are Crap,and Priced that way .so sad !,.,.,

Super Dave said...

Great blog, but no one has mentioned the real reason to own a disco II. I hit some black ice outside of steamboat springs going 70 mph (too fast I know) with a fully loaded SE7 with all of our ski gear on top + wife & 5 kids, the youngest was only 3 months old. We rolled twice and landed upright in about 3 feet of snow 50+ yards off the road. We blew out the back moon roof, and the passenger doors got smashed pretty good, but everyone was ok. Not even whiplash. I put it in 4 wd low, drove out of the snow, and drove home. I will never drive anything else! Just picked up another 04 SE7 for my teenage daughter. Needless to say things would have been a lot different in a Minii van or suburban.

Richard said...

I have a 2002 HSE V8 petrol BMW motor that had a developing miss now missing full time. Any suggestions where I start looking?

RANDALL ROBINSON said...

Would the owner of a Toyota FJ60 or FJ62 tolerate such problems as those that abound in these Land Rover aluminum V8s?

Unknown said...

Need help!! D2

2001 Discovery 2, 95000 miles. about a month ago, the transmission went out in my car on the way to work and I had to start driving my Rover to work. since then it has developed some sort of ignition issue. Upon starting the Rover, particularly in cooler mornings around 40 degrees or less, when starting engine runs rough and frequently idles down as low as 400 RPMs fora few seconds, during the first 60 seconds, and has even died after starting 2 times, but restarted instantly upon retry. if I push down the gas too hard, you can feel the misfires and will actually decrease in speed. will not go above 70 miles per hour on flat ground, and will not go more than 55 up a grade or Hill.it takes quite a while to get up to highway speed, and has absolutely no power for overtaking another vehicle. Yesterday, for the first time after it was warm and only going around 50 miles per hour, the engine light started flashing and I begin to lose speed. I pulled over for 10 seconds the engine lights stop flashing and it was back to its typical problematic self, but not until 70or trying to accelerate or going up a hill, etc. forgive me for only being able to offer limited information. The dealership, that being the closest one, is about 100 miles from where I live and work. the code readers that have been plugged into my truck register ignition codes for multiple misfires, random misfires, misfire on cylinder 7 and another cylinder. Most of the codes could not be read by the equipment that is available. right now getting 13 miles to the gallon is optimistic. besides the fact that I drive 600 miles a week to work which cost a fortune in gas, I hate putting all these miles on my disco and eating up the tires. it honestly would not bother me that bad to just throw Parts at this thing until it magically ran the way I wanted it to, but I work 6 days a week and I don't have much free time, so that is not an option. your expertise would be greatly appreciated. to save you from having to ask, I have common sense, tools, and somewhere to work.I am also an electrician and I have a multimeter, so any testing would also be fine. Codes report, individually, that every cylinder detected a misfire, as well a bank 1 and 2 lean, incorrect 3rd gear ratio, random misfire. Please save me!

Charlie Krajeski said...

Loved the article. I have heard the stories about the problems with the aluminum V8 but never heard it discussed in such great detail.

I have always been "in the closet" regarding my feelings toward Land Rover. Publicly I berate them for all the unreliability that, at times, they have been legendary for. But secretly there have been several times I considered purchasing one.

Have you done a similar article for Porsche's IMS bearing? A lot of Porsche owners and potential buyers could use some guidance here.

Joe said...

I am one of the lucky few . My 1999 Land Rover DII has been a great and reliable. I bought it when it had 80,000 miles and have always changed the oil,ALWAYS used the old school green antifreeze. Have only had to replaced the electronic censers,plugs ,wires ,coil packs,brakes ,normal stuff like that . Today it has 255,000 miles and still going strong. Thank you for posting this article and giving me a heads up on what to look for when and if my block ever gives up.