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Land Rover Freelander



  • I'm trying to put some closure on my experience with Land Rover, and thought I'd share some details. I had a used 1999 Discovery II that died within two years of ownership. I then traded it in for a 2004 Freelander, which died at 50K miles last April due to the all-too-common coolant leak issue.

    The dealership that I purchased it from (Land Rover Bellevue) treated me very poorly throughout the entire experience. I won't go into full details here, but I had to pay $1,000 out of pocket for the engine replacement (yes, I had a full extended warranty through Primus -- they're great at finding loopholes). The sales staff treated me like garbage and wouldn't even consider a trade-in on the vehicle (but another non-Land Rover dealership in the area took it sight unseen!). Land Rover North America was no help either. All told, I estimated to have lost $20K on needless repairs and loan pay outs (for both vehicles) in order to get into a new vehicle.

    I sent a letter that fully detailed my experiences to Land Rover North America (both to Tim Watson, VP Communications, Land Rover North America and as a general inquiry), Land Rover Bellevue, and the Washington State Attorney General. I did get a personal phone reply from Mr. Watson's office -- I got a shallow apology for my troubles and an offer to save $1,250 towards the purchase of a new or pre-owned Land Rover vehicle. I can't believe that they would think that I purchase a third piece of junk after the way I was treated! Land Rover is obviously out-of-touch with how to build quality vehicles and how to treat customers. There are many, many other brands on the market that far surpass the quality of a Land Rover, at far more reasonable prices.

    My advice is that if you start losing coolant, dump the car. I feel so sorry for everyone else out there that had similar experiences. Be sure to contact Land Rover North America, your local Land Rover dealership, and your State Attorney's office and let them know how you feel.

    I see fewer and fewer of these on the road and see lots of negative press. I hope that they go out of business soon! :lemon:
  • It's been a while since the history of the engine and transmission was posted in here, and since there's so much fresh but incorrect speculation, I thought I should post.

    Freelander U.S. V6 Engine:
    Manufactured by Rover Company in England. NOT Land Rover ...."MG/Rover". A completely separate company. The motor was originally designed in the 1980's for a front wheel drive car weighing much less. In the U.S. that car was known as the Sterling. Well, one day in 2005 to the surprise of Land Rover, Rover went bankrupt. The Freelander was canceled for the 2006 model year only because they suddenly had no engines for it. As part of Rover's Bankruptcy, the machinery and tooling of the Rover factory was sold to a company in China. After that, it is rumored that Land Rover contracted the company in China to re-build Freelander motors from the engine blocks of already failed motors.

    Made in Japan by Jatco. The identical transmission is know to fail often in Freelanders, Jaguar X-types, a few Volkswagens and various Mazda cars. Most likely it fails more often in Freelanders because of the additional load of an AWD Truck.

    What are the options Land Rover can offer for your engine? Nothing. There are no new motors coming from Japan or anywhere else. The cost for Land Rover to Federally certify a different motor for the Freelander in the U.S. would cost more than buying back the last running trucks still under warranty. Think about emissions, EPA mileage testing, saftey and everything else a car must go through.

    Why does Land Rover and the dealers lie to you, stretch things out and make you wait? Because time softens the blow. It also gives them more time for the company to base it's reputation on newer models. All that Land Rover wants is for Freelanders and thier owners to quietly disappear.
  • I just want to thank everyone for the detailed information you gave. I have been deeply depressed with the fact that I have been lied to on so many occasions, my credit is ruined because I can no longer afford to pay the monthly payments on two cars. The Land Rover sits in front of my home unable to run due to major mechanical issues, now I can't get it started because after sitting for 5 months the battery is now dead. I just swiched the insurance on the car to only liability as I had full coverage including collision. I already mentioned that I am $5,000 upside down on this car so I have to let it go. I am finally going to call the finance company and tell them to come and get it.... I need to move on and let this thing go... my credit is now to be ruined..... anyway, so much for Land Rover - the only thing I can say that is good about the car is that it is made of aluminum..... i guess... and the bodyof the car is in excellent shape.... any takers!!!
  • Sorry to hear about your (and everyone else's bad experiences). In addition to co-miserating with one another, have each and every one of you filed your complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration? If not, why not? The NHTSA initiates investigations and orders recalls based on the volume and seriousness of failures for a given vehicle. Help yourself and all of us out by filing your complaint where it actually can make a difference: go to and click on "file a complaint" in the upper left hand side of the window. Once you've done the free, painless, easy filing, entertain yourself by looking at the complaints already filed by clicking on "search complaints" and inputting the make, model and year of your crappy Land Rover (don't bother with the component selection, just click "retrieve complaints"). You'll find that we're in good company with others who've filed complaints already.
    Now for something really amusing: The little Mini that I bought to get around in when my Free Loader bit the dust has a recall on it. Seems some moron with no nerves in his legs and no brains in his head burned himself on the cute little tailpipes. They're recalling the tailpipes and replacing them with shorter (surely less cute) tailpipes with which presumably even a moron can't burn himself. Now, I ask you, how many people complaining of Land Rover engine and transmission failures does it take to get a recall on that load of crap if Mini has recalled her tailpipes?!
  • Hi all, it's incredible to me that we are all going through the same thing, yet no one has stepped forward on our behalf to help. Has anyone heard whether a class action was filed? I can't find a link to it, if so, anywhere on the web. I've filed a complaint with the NHTSA as well and, to date, there have been 100's of complaints filed by consumers. That should be enough to warrant an investigation. I am a legal assistant who practices in individual personal injury matters, so I'm not very familiar with class action suits. However, I know enough "legalese" that if anyone knows the name of an attorney who is considering filing a claim for us, please let me know and I will contact him to try to get more info. I can be reached at Oh, btw, I am the (formerly proud) owner of a 2004 Freelander, bought in '07... now has 66,000 miles on it, engine overheating regularly, engine coolant leaking, coolant in the oil, sounds like an airplane most days when first started up. My local LR dealer basically told me to "get rid of it immediately" after I freaked out when he told me that it would need an engine replacement at a cost of $10,000.00. Gee, thanks, buddy, I still owe $13,000 on this thing!
  • sripleysripley Posts: 39
    I have filed my NHTSA complaint already, the more of them the better, even if anything ever gets done. Land Rover should be prohibited from doing business inside the United States for selling faulty products like this. We get on China for tainted toothpaste, why is this not as important?

    You can get a year or so driving with the Head Gasket Failure (coolant in the engine) issue. It requires alot of monitoring the coolant levels and progression of the failure, inevitably leading to weekly oil changes to remove the emulsified oil w/ coolant mixture from cloggin the pistons. Eventually, so much coolant gets into the engine you actually hear the sound of swishing coolant when you make a turn, to engine not starting easily, and finally, for me, engine oil completely filling up the coolant system & overflow (complete gasket failure).

    The posts are correct, dont waste your money or time trying to figure out how to fix the engine, every cent is better spent towards a new vehicle. Maybe one day there will be some sort of legal remedy/resolution for us all, Land Rover didnt go out of business and they really do owe each and every one of us our money back!
  • rgunnrgunn Posts: 17
    Well I just called my finance comp. and told them to come and get the POS. My credit is shot, and I am out 6000.00 in a little over a year. I just cant afford to keep a car I cant drive. I have to get to work somehow. I sold a 98 saab 900 to a friend of mine and bought the LR. I am now going to by the car back. It has almost 140,000 on it but it runs like a dream. To bad the LR didnt make it past 80,000. Saab is born from jets and LR is born from s**t. I hope everyone eles can get rid of theirs before they go through What I have been through. Good luck to you all.
  • kpencekpence Posts: 11
    Hi All,
    I've also filed a complaint with the NHTSA on my 2002 Freelander. The engine failed at 70,000. I've also had sunroof motor failure and rear passenger window motor failure and now my transmission is acting like it might fail. It is slow to shift until the engine is warmed up. I have quit driving it for fear the transmission will fail because i can't afford to fix it. I want to be part of any class action lawsuit so, if anyone has information on that issue could you please pass it on here? I haven't ever been involved in a lawsuit and don't know how the process works. Any help ?
    Boy, we got taken didn't we!
    Best to all.
  • Hi all,
    I also own a Freelander. I have been back to the dealership so many times to fix the car they all run when they see me coming. The latest is the engine overheating, now I know why. My service guy could not fix the problem so he told me that is how the car runs, everything is ok. If anyone gets anywhere with a lawsuite, please let us know. :sick: :lemon:
  • Thank you all for your advice. I've been following this board for awhile but have never posted. I bought a Freelander new in Sept '04. About a month later the service engine soon light came on for the first time. 3 years and 38,000 miles later, I had been in the shop 17 times. Often I wouldn't even make it home before the problem re-occurred. I replaced brakes and rotors at 18,000. Rear window regulator. Several oxygen sensors. Several VIS motors. The entire intake manifold, etc. I had planned to wait it out and pay the car down before trading it in, but this forum convinced me otherwise. The service engine light was becoming a monthly occurrence, usually after a long drive. It was also starting to burn coolant. From all the stories I've read, I knew this was a sign of impending engine failure. I decided to take the $4,000 loss, even though it was still under warranty, and trade it in on a new Toyota Tacoma. Let me tell you, I couldn't be happier. I love Land Rovers. I never saw myself driving anything else. But the way I've been treated has changed my mind. We'll see what Tata does with them, but at this point I don't see myself ever buying another one. And all of my friends and family who have known of my car trouble will never buy one. I can't imagine how many customers LR is losing over this. The head salesperson at my local dealer even confided that he was sick over it. He said that they have lost countless customers over the freelander debacle. Maybe LR will eventually make it right, but I doubt it. All I can say is, I'm happy I'm out. I've filed complaints with the NHTSA, BBB and LR North America...for what it's worth. I suggest you all do the same. Good luck.
  • No sense repeating what has already been said in many of the above posts.
    Leaking coolant? check Mystery 'check engine light'? Check Did I say leaking coolant?? Check Check

    I had my car - 2003 Freelander at the dealership for the past almost 2 months at a cost of $1300.00 for a car rental while I 'patiently' waited for a replacement engine - $10,000 covered by my warranty which has now expired thanks to several overpriced repairs that exceed the value of the car which I still owe $11,000 on!

    I received an engine after calling customer service at the prompting of the service manager who was getting no where with LR by himself.

    I shudder to think where this engine magically appeared from when there is such a long back order. I shall be trading this car in ASAP even though I know I too will have a ridiculous negative equity.

    Customer service at the corporate level is pathetic for a company selling cars with such a big price sticker. I was very disappointed and shall not be purchasing a LR again. oddly enough, I drove a VW Jetta as my rental - I used to own one - and it was the most relaxing time I've had behind the wheel since I bought my LR. I didn't realise how paranoid I'd become to running low on coolant and the engine overheating!

    Please let me know when and if there is a lawsuit going. I'm in 100%!!!!!!
  • Well guys I hate to be the one to bust anyones bubble,but these engine in these vehicles are called " interference" motors. Which means exactly what it says. the pistons interfere with the valvles and if you have them go out of alignment" i.e broken timing belt" you will damage the valve assemblies. This is a costly repair as I just did this with my eclipse. The repair of a broken timing belt with an interference motor is not cheap, Now in your Land Rover Free Lander repair manual it states that the timing belts MUST be replaced at 60k intervals. As the timing belts are made of rubber and not of achain material as most US domestic cars are. If you do the proper maintenance on your vehicle you will save money. Timing belts are only about $150.00 and to have them installed if you can't do so is a few hundred bucks extra. That is a bnig savings compaired to a 2k head job. Instead of giving this lawyer a few hundred bucks out your pocket to sue, take that money and put it towards your maintenance. I too have a 04 land rover freelander and love it, so don't think I am not talking from experiance.
  • Fferik, That is helpful information on the timing belts, however the head gasket failure is an issue that is unavoidable and every Freelander owner should take heed on. These gasket failures are not supposed to happen on these vehicles, and are generally occuring anywhere at between 30,000 and 50,000 miles on many of the reports I am reading in various forums.

    You may love your '04 Freelander now, but I will assure you it is the same piece of [non-permissible content removed] engine that we all own (barring that you put an non Series-K engine into the vehicle, which were installed into all Freelanders purchased between 2001 and 2005, when the model was discontinued for this very failure and resulting multitude of complaints).

    When, and I seriously mean when, your vehicle experiences this failure, you will think very differently about your beloved vehicle. I don't mean to sound rude or condescending, but having spoken with several Land Rover and non-Land Rover mechanics, you will come to the realization that timing belts, failed gas-filter assembly, transmission failures and every other defect in this vehicle are minor once the head gasket failure happens and slowly destroys your vehicle.

    You sound familiar with these vehicles, so I am surprised that you are not advocating as the rest of us are, to rid yourself of the vehicle while you still are able too. Even Land Rover mechanics advised to sell or trade in the vehicle as quickly as possible, as only replacing the engines that are no longer available can fix the head gasket issue. Get rid of your Freelander as soon as you possibly can!
  • rgunnrgunn Posts: 17
    I had the belts replaced on my Freelander at the cost of 600.00. It had nothing to do with the car leaking coolant into the engine. My Freelander is now undrivable at 80,000 miles. I hope you have better luck than the rest of us. If I were you I would do some more research and get rid of it. I also loved my Freelander when it was drivable, but now after a year and thousands of dollars lost it has been nothing but a nightmare. All that car did was add stress on me and my finances. Get rid of it before something bad happens. I wish I would of known all this info before hand. Maybe I wouldnt of had to go though what I went through.
  • moe71moe71 Posts: 11
    I called LR the other day and they quoted me $1800 dollars to change the timing belts. I have spoke to Howard Gutman the individual who is handing the class action lawsuit (he can be reached at 19735981980) he said unfotunately lately they LR has been so willing to deal with the issue, probably because there is so many issues to deal with. I don't know what to do...unfortunately I am not in the situation to get a new vehicle, but on the other hand I don't think I have a choice.
  • rgunnrgunn Posts: 17
    Is this Howard Gutman taking on the lawsuit or is he just looking into the issue? Does he think he can do anything for us ?
  • I spoke with Howard Gutman (phone 973-598-1980) a few months ago and he stated he was not going to take on any class action lawsuit, but was looking into individual lawsuits or claims against Land Rover Dealers for reclaming money lost/spent on our repairs.

    I chose not to replace the engine that would have been required, not to mention no engines are or were available for replacement with the model discontinued and nor any rebuilt engines currently available. So, Mr. Gutman said without me spending the $7,000-$10,000 on a new engine, he could not help me.

    Recent posts have given some speculation that he was considering class action, but after speaking with him, he was far from the money or resources to take on such an endeavor.

    Each of us have to deal with the vehicle failures and our respective financing companies. I would highly recommend making the financing company aware of the head gasket failure as they occur, the warning signs are very clear and obvious, starting with a constantly slow to more rapidly draining coolant overflow. Land Rover is not being cooperative whatsoever, and anyone who indicates they are either is lying or avoiding the issue.
  • My second post to this forum.....I'm the 'new' owner of an 03 I bought for my son's first car - and horrified that I didn't do more research beforehand. I know I need to trade it in or get rid of it, but so far we've had no problems (70K on it now).
    In your opinion, is there any value in replacing the head gasket as a preventative procedure? And that the thermostat could be replaced with a different one to help prevent overheating. Any thoughts on this? thank you for your time!
  • No, and no.

    First, the head gasket failure is a result, not a cause. The head gasket fails when the piston sleeves start moving. (They are not supposed to move) The sleeves are iron inside an aluminum block, so many asumptions about the failure are made regarding overheating. Aluminum and iron expand at different rates at different temperatures.

    However, many of these engine failures occur without reports of overheating. Also, many reliable engines have iron sleeves in aluminum blocks. BMW, Mercedes, etc.

    Therefore the failure could simply be the sleeves were not properly designed to hold themselves in under any temperature.

    Both of my engines failed in the middle of Winter in the Northeast.

    Trade it. Immediately.

  • Dave is 100% correct. If this problem happens to your vehicle, and eventually it will, you will be inevitably stuck with a 2000 or so pound paperweight.

    Trade it, sell it, do anything but try to keep it or fix it.
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