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Unread 2013-02-18, 01:30 PM   #1
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Been considering picking up cheap SUV as a 2nd vehicle. Always had a soft spot for Land Rover Discoveries, they're just the right mix of truck and comfortable vehicle. Love how they drive, feel, and look. Anyone here own a Rover, or have any experience with them? Most of my experience has been working on the LR3, especially the POS air-ride and always seems to fail and eat tires. From what I've seen, the driveline seems to be pretty solid and it won't leave you stranded, but your damn window will get stuck down and lots of little issues like that.

I'm looking to spend no more than $3k on initial purchase, another $1-1.5k on lift, maintenance, updates, etc. Mostly looking for a 96+ Disco 1 or a coil-spring Disco II. Found a few candidates on CL, a couple sold before I could even go check them out.
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Unread 2013-02-18, 02:37 PM   #2
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I did some serious looking before I ended up getting a ZJ Jeep for a DD.

My search was about the same as yours and to be honest, they're either expensive and nice, or cheap and junk. You won't find one in the middle.

Not to mention, you'll be down an arm plus a leg for the maintenance and the cost of repairs.

If you're looking for a hobby, I'd say you'd have to weight the cost/benefits. If you're looking for a cheap, fun, reliable DD, stay far away.
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Unread 2013-02-18, 03:42 PM   #3
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I did some serious looking before I ended up getting a ZJ Jeep for a DD.

My search was about the same as yours and to be honest, they're either expensive and nice, or cheap and junk. You won't find one in the middle.

Not to mention, you'll be down an arm plus a leg for the maintenance and the cost of repairs.

If you're looking for a hobby, I'd say you'd have to weight the cost/benefits. If you're looking for a cheap, fun, reliable DD, stay far away.
My e30 will still be my DD, I just can't kill that car.

The Rover/(other SUV) will be a 2nd vehicle. Other than fun outings to get off the beaten path, it will be mostly driven on days with crappy weather, if I need to haul something, or if more than 1 other person needs to ride with me somewhere.

I've heard arguments either way on maintenance costs and reliability. Some people have done nothing but minor repairs that any other vehicle of that age/mileage would need, and been fine to 200k+ miles. Others have dropped thousands in the shop just to keep it on the road. Price on parts seems to be a debated issue as well. Some say parts are high, while others say parts cost much less than similar vehicles (Toyota, Nissan, etc). The same was said about BMWs, parts are "high" but I've never had such a cheap-to-maintain car as my e30.

And you are right, they seem to be expensive and nice, or cheap and crappy. The ones that are cheap and in decent shape sell in an instant. I passed up on a smokin' deal a while back and have kicked myself ever since.

What other vehicles even come close to the combination of on-road/offroad capabilities? Land Cruisers always come to mind, but to find one in my price range it will have well over 200k miles and be pretty much junk. Nothing from Jeep appeals to me, 4runners and Pathfinders are "meh", Troopers are junk, and the full-size Montero (non sport) is tough to find that hasn't been beat to hell.
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Unread 2013-02-18, 03:55 PM   #4
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What other vehicles even come close to the combination of on-road/offroad capabilities? Land Cruisers always come to mind, but to find one in my price range it will have well over 200k miles and be pretty much junk. Nothing from Jeep appeals to me, 4runners and Pathfinders are "meh", Troopers are junk, and the full-size Montero (non sport) is tough to find that hasn't been beat to hell.
There really isn't a lot that compares. The problem is, if the Land Rover were everything it was meant to be, the DII's would still be pulling $7-10k.

They'd be worth it too because of the luxury, quality, power, off-road capabilities, etc.

The problem is, they aren't and that's why the prices tanked on them. They're cheap because anyone that gets one wants to get rid of it because of the problems.

I test drove I think three in the $2-3k range. One had dings on every corner, an off colored fender, misc. interior problems but seemed to run OK. The second looked great and everything worked, but had a CEL and lost compression in 2 cylinders. The third was a mix between the two. It had a few dings here and there and a few things wrong on the interior but nothing major. The day after I test drove it, the waterpump went out and overheated cracking the heads.

That's just my experience. Yours may be different.

My advice, get a Jeep XJ for cheap, put the extra money into a lift/tires/maybe a locker and run the thing for 300k miles.
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Unread 2013-02-18, 10:13 PM   #5
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Just posting to say that my 4runner is pretty much the perfect vehicle for what you want. Its got the factory 4.10 diffs, 5spd manual, and trd supercharger so its fun to drive for a mid-size, 15 year old suv. Its got a slight lift and some AT tires and has been through some pretty hairy stuff offroad and has also done its fair share of onroad duty pulling a 21' ski boat 2-3 times a week for a summer. I've got 270k miles on it and have done nothing but an alternator and regular maintenance.
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Unread 2013-02-19, 12:47 AM   #6
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Just posting to say that my 4runner is pretty much the perfect vehicle for what you want. Its got the factory 4.10 diffs, 5spd manual, and trd supercharger so its fun to drive for a mid-size, 15 year old suv. Its got a slight lift and some AT tires and has been through some pretty hairy stuff offroad and has also done its fair share of onroad duty pulling a 21' ski boat 2-3 times a week for a summer. I've got 270k miles on it and have done nothing but an alternator and regular maintenance.
I've had the chance to drive a 4runner with the TRD supercharger on it, and it's very nice. I definitely wouldn't want an NA one, unless it's one of the newer ones with a v8 in it. I can't find ANY 4runners worth a damn in my price range though.

Looked at a $1600 96 Disco from CL this evening. Alarm went off when we tried to start it and the owner couldn't get it to disengage the immobilizer. Was a little rough, but nothing too bad for a $1600 vehicle. A good detail would have been a huge improvement, and a Saturday just cleaning up miscellaneous little things that have been left unfinished over the years. If he can get the alarm figured out (most likely a bad battery or just reset the driver's door lock), then I'm going to drive it and give it a chance.

Also looking at a 98 Disco tomorrow, and contemplating checking out a 93 Range Rover Classic just to keep my options open.
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Unread 2013-02-20, 12:49 PM   #7
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I've owned a '97.... My experience, mechanically that thing was pretty solid. there is a common problem with headgaskets going out and leaking oil cooler lines. On the electronic side, forgot what its called, but some ABS deal that constantly runs and pretty much drains your battery. Definitely notice if you hook up some subs. Then the automatic seat switches go out. My goal was to lift it also. Just never got around to it. Very nice on snow but sucks on gas. 22gal tank, I might get 250 miles out of it.

Oh, maintenance really isn't all that bad as people make it out to be. Well not expensive for those older models.
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Unread 2013-02-21, 03:44 PM   #8
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Well after looking at about every $3k or less junk Rover I could find, I've decided to change it up and search exclusively for a 2004 Discovery. Has the bigger 4.6, lot more luxury options and refinement, but still the great aftermarket support and off-road ability. Planning on keeping the vehicle for quite some time, so I'm looking at using my original budget as a down payment and taking a small loan to finance the rest. Plus my wife would be much more comfortable with me having a newer, more reliable vehicle, especially if it will be around long enough to potentially haul kiddos.

Here's one I have my eye on right now, unfortunately it's in St Louis:

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...gIndex=2&Log=0

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Unread 2013-02-25, 04:51 PM   #9
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There is a reason why Land Rover's as a brand rank lowest in reliability year after year. I say F it and get a nice WJ Grand Cherokee. If you are on the cheap get a XJ like talked about earlier. Make sure it has a 6 cylinder and you will not have issues period.

Or you can keep looking for a Land Rover and be a limey fgt.
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Unread 2013-02-25, 05:01 PM   #10
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I just don't see the point in the Disco hen there are so many better options without the worry or higher price associated with the LR.
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Unread 2013-02-25, 06:44 PM   #11
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What exactly do you anti-Rover guys recommend then? Jeeps and domestics just don't appeal to me, yes an XJ would be a good off road vehicle but they have the cheapest shittiest interior I've ever seen in my life. Looking for comfortable, nice inside (leather, heated seats, etc), off road capable, and good highway manners. So far the only options are Land Rovers and Land Cruisers.

Rover reliability reports don't scare me, consumer reports and the like count all trips to the shop equally. 5 trips to the shop for window motors and BS is less to me than another brand with transmission or other major issues. It won't be my DD, and from my experience they don't typically fail to the point of leaving you stranded. Now the LR3 is another story, air ride failures...
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Unread 2013-02-26, 04:46 PM   #12
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I think you're much better off spending a little more for a nicer/newer one than to find one of the piles of shit that would fit your original range. I like the 04's.

Just my opinion.
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Unread 2013-03-13, 01:14 PM   #13
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I think you're much better off spending a little more for a nicer/newer one than to find one of the piles of shit that would fit your original range. I like the 04's.

Just my opinion.
At this point, I've looked at just about every $3k Rover or comparable 4x4 SUV I can find for sale in town, and they've all been shit. Used to be I could find vehicles for $2-3k that needed some minor work and TLC, but lately absolutely everything has been shit. A few good vehicles have popped up, and sold within the hour of being posted so I never even got a chance. FJ80 Land Cruiser, with 160k for $2500, for example, what a freakin steal.

My wife and I have talked budget, and I'm going to start looking in the $10-15k range, which really opens up my options. I can get something a lot newer and with a lot more of the luxury amenities that the older trucks didn't have. Plus she wants me in something safer and more reliable than the older trucks I was looking at. She hates that my DD will still be my e30.

So far my list of options that I'd like to research and test drive, in order of preference is:
  1. 4th generation Toyota 4Runner
  2. Nissan Xterra
  3. Jeep Liberty CRD
  4. Land Rover LR3
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Unread 2013-03-13, 02:55 PM   #14
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So far my list of options that I'd like to research and test drive, in order of preference is:
  1. 4th generation Toyota 4Runner
  2. Nissan Xterra
  3. Jeep Liberty CRD
  4. Land Rover LR3
Good idea. I'd definitely remove the Liberty from your list. Even in CRD form. They're just a poorly made vehicle even if the motor is solid. I've never owned one but I know of a TON of people that have and they never have good things to say about them.

4Runner's are an excellent vehicle and hold their value well. The LR3 I hear is a decent vehicle as well.
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Unread 2013-03-13, 03:39 PM   #15
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Good idea. I'd definitely remove the Liberty from your list. Even in CRD form. They're just a poorly made vehicle even if the motor is solid. I've never owned one but I know of a TON of people that have and they never have good things to say about them.

4Runner's are an excellent vehicle and hold their value well. The LR3 I hear is a decent vehicle as well.
Luckily I've had a lot of wrench time on all of these options from my days as a tech, so I feel like I at least have a good handle on the majority of their issues.

I'm only so/so on the Liberty. I've heard and seen good and bad with them. Read about lots of problems, but one of my coworkers has had an 03 since it was new, is currently at almost 200k with very few problems. Most of the issues I've seen on the CRD models are with the transfer case, which was a recall, and some of the driveline not holding up to the increased torque of the diesel. Otherwise, the most problems I've encountered on them were with the 3.7 gas engine. I'm going to try to test drive one soon, but I have a feeling that cheapo interior will kill it for me.

The LR3 is definitely a lot more solid than any of the previous Rovers, but obviously not as reliable as the Toyota or Nissan. 90% of the ones that came through my bay had air ride issues and related alignment/tire wear issues, but that was also 6-7 years ago when they were close to new. From what I've read, a lot of the problems have been sorted out. I'd probably switch to an OME coil spring setup anyhow.

The only thing interesting me in the Xterra is they were still made with a manual transmission in those years, and a few models had a locking rear diff. Otherwise, I prefer the other vehicles in about every aspect.

Most likely I'll end up with a 4Runner, I love how they drive, and they're stupid reliable. The v6 and v8 are both great engines, and it has a lot of options that appeal to me for daily driving: leather, heated seats, power everything, etc. Plus it has a ton of aftermarket support for the day I decide to do a lift, bumpers, winch, etc.


Thanks for the feedback, I'm glad I'm looking for something newer. I was going crazy only finding piles of shit with everything I looked at. What all do you have done to your ZJ?
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Unread 2013-03-13, 03:53 PM   #16
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Thanks for the feedback, I'm glad I'm looking for something newer. I was going crazy only finding piles of shit with everything I looked at. What all do you have done to your ZJ?
You can't go wrong with a 4Runner really. The LR3's are nice, but they definitely aren't as reliable as a 4Runner. I haven't had much experience with Xterra's to be honest.

My ZJ is pretty close to stock, just some upgraded shocks and a set of cragar d windows. I'm not going to do much to it, just keep it maintained so it keeps on running.\

Be sure to post pictures when you settle on something.
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Unread 2013-03-24, 06:12 PM   #17
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I just picked up an 2010 Xterra two weeks ago. I personally love it but had to put a new head unit this weekend because the vehicles are built with utility in mind, everything in them is pretty plain. Stock radio was a plain single disc cd player, seats aren't powered or heated. The SE and off-road versions come with a Rockford head unit and the Off-road has the rear locker but good luck finding one in your price range. I have the S model which is the second trim up.
Only downer is that the gas mileage hasn't been great, 15-16, but it did also come with some more aggressive A/T tires than stock. Its been great in this snow though

I have helped a buddy the past two years build a LR discovery II, fully locked on 35's. Wouldn't recommend it for a DD, lots of luxury but gas mileage is bad even on stock tires, it takes premium, and anything that does break is very expensive to fix.
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Unread 2013-03-25, 06:38 PM   #18
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I just picked up an 2010 Xterra two weeks ago. I personally love it but had to put a new head unit this weekend because the vehicles are built with utility in mind, everything in them is pretty plain. Stock radio was a plain single disc cd player, seats aren't powered or heated. The SE and off-road versions come with a Rockford head unit and the Off-road has the rear locker but good luck finding one in your price range. I have the S model which is the second trim up.
Only downer is that the gas mileage hasn't been great, 15-16, but it did also come with some more aggressive A/T tires than stock. Its been great in this snow though

I have helped a buddy the past two years build a LR discovery II, fully locked on 35's. Wouldn't recommend it for a DD, lots of luxury but gas mileage is bad even on stock tires, it takes premium, and anything that does break is very expensive to fix.
Thanks for the input on the Xterra. They definitely are a little plain compared to the other options on my list, but also the most affordable. 15-16 mpg isn't terrible, I'm still going to drive my e30 most days, and have the motorcycle as well.

My shopping has pretty much stagnated at this point. I've been to 2 different dealerships to find a vehicle that was already sold, and a Land Rover LR3 that was never even "for sale" even though it was on their site, autotrader, and cars.com. Plus I'm travelling on business for the next month, so even if I bought something, I wouldn't be able to register it. Maybe in May when people start selling and trading in their 4x4s I'll have better luck.
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Unread 2013-11-29, 06:49 PM   #19
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Alright, so update 9 months later. Just sold my Pathfinder, was a great truck but just didn't have that same feel to me that I get driving a Rover. So picked up this toy today, 96 Disco.

It's not the prettiest, has a lot of little items to fix and tinker with, but it's just over 100k miles and drives perfectly. Seemed all the others I looked at were the opposite, owner spent a ton of effort keeping every last little switch and detail perfect but neglected big items like the transmission and engine work.

More pics to come! Will be doing a lot of cleaning up, getting it ready for snow, and hopefully some good offroading.

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Unread 2013-12-01, 01:49 PM   #20
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make sure you work that t-case often. the shifters like to stick on ya if you don't use it often.
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Unread 2013-12-01, 01:54 PM   #21
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Good luck!

Cool rigs, but would never own one.
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Unread 2013-12-02, 12:34 AM   #22
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make sure you work that t-case often. the shifters like to stick on ya if you don't use it often.
It's pretty stiff from lack of use, but does work. Going to give it a workout next weekend.

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Good luck!

Cool rigs, but would never own one.
I've always loved them, but definitely wouldn't have it as my only vehicle. This will mostly be a second vehicle and bad weather DD.

Picked up a few spare parts from a Range Rover, my steering box was leaking pretty bad so I grabbed a spare and some other bits. Stupid things are like $300 for a re-man and $699 for new, I'll gladly take a lightly used one for far less. Love the old-school-style simplicity on these trucks!

Next weekends project is remove the crappy purple window tint, and finish getting all the fluids changed as well as hitting all the grease points. May pull the back carpet and start prepping for a Line-X job and get mounting points in for my tools and some gear. Ordering some new recovery equipment as well, and shopping for winch and bumper options.
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Unread 2013-12-02, 09:38 AM   #23
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Make sure you check out that front driveshaft. If it doesn't have zerks, rebuild it. They've been known to break since ac condensation drips down on to them or something.
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Unread 2013-12-02, 09:53 AM   #24
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Nice pick up! post some pictures of the interior. Every now and then I still look on CL to see if I can find a nice Disco that someone wants to trade for a Jeep just because I like them so much.

My advice, do pretty much all of your preventative maintenance early and often, especially when it comes to cooling. You do not want to overheat it or you'll kill the HG's or crack a head.
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Unread 2013-12-02, 12:24 PM   #25
95PreludeSE
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dylanjacobus View Post
Make sure you check out that front driveshaft. If it doesn't have zerks, rebuild it. They've been known to break since ac condensation drips down on to them or something.
I'll keep an eye on it, the shaft is pretty solid, doesn't have the telltale "thunk" when you put the truck in gear. Believe it has zerks on it already, but I'll double check. A rebuild/upgrade is in my future plans either way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForcFed93 View Post
Nice pick up! post some pictures of the interior. Every now and then I still look on CL to see if I can find a nice Disco that someone wants to trade for a Jeep just because I like them so much.

My advice, do pretty much all of your preventative maintenance early and often, especially when it comes to cooling. You do not want to overheat it or you'll kill the HG's or crack a head.
Thanks! I've had the Rover bug for years, love that I finally got my hands on one for a new project. Check out Expedition Portal, you may find someone who wants to make a trade.

Cooling system is definitely top priority after I get the steering system sealed up. Heater lines were recently replaced and the fluid looks good, and my understanding is it already has a 180 degree thermostat in place. Either way, I'm flushing the whole system and getting an accurate aftermarket temp gauge. Can't be too safe.

I'll toss up some interior pics when I get back in town at the end of the week. It's not as clean as I'd prefer, but a good detail and a little leather stitching or new seat covers and it will be nice.
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