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Land Rover Discovery and Discovery II



  • Some of the posts here mention problems in owning a Rover. Before anyone gets real upset, cruise over to the German car boards. People are irate over there. Very irate. The MB, Audi, and BMW crowd are ripping at lousy quality control, plummetting resale ( especially on out of warranty vehicles), mucho electronic glitches, spending 5K in one service visit to fix an E Series A/C, etc. etc. Apparently the more you pay for one of Munich's finest or Stuggart's wonders, the more the problems. And then in 24 months your 70K 745i is worth 40K. (No wonder they are mad, they are paying more per month in depreciation than most people pay on their mortgage!)

    All in all, if you want to have a little fun and recognize that nothing is perfect, the Disco seems the place to be: not so much money going in, lots of potential fun, and no major coronaries when you're done.
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    I started a thread here years ago about "Reliability, what is it?" and it went on for quite awhile... got pretty heated too. But it came down to people's perception of quality and whether the perception is valid or not... and at what scale? Local or global?

    Some scream LEMON!!! at the first drop of oil on the garage floor... others just think of it as an opportunity to get under the truck again and turn some wrenches.

    I'll tell ya what, my Disco works absolutely flawlessly AT LEAST 99.5% of the time. The PC I'm sitting at works nowhere near that well... nor does my camping gear or my mtn bikes or my watches or my appliances or my wife's car (snicker). Get the drift? These are amazing machines when you look at them in perspective.

    Best regards to all, now I've got to go outside and do a snow dance. I want some SNOW!!!!!!!!

  • OK, guys, I like the styling of the new front end on the 03's, the suspension is getting better and better, and with the full floating rear end, boxed chassis, etc. it is built really well. Not so incidentally, the price for a new '03 is now really good. And the thing should be some fun for not a whole lot of money.

    So, if I buy one to run around New England in good weather and bad, some modest off roading, and want to keep it for 10 to 15 years, what do you recommend I do?

    1) Aftermarket/performance disc brake pads to increase longevity?

    2) Does anyone make slotted and/or drilled rotors? If I UPS Next Day Air a set up to Nanuk, can he drill some holes for me?

    3) Do I not order it with a sun roof to avoid potential leakage problems, just have the local dealer put in one (aftermarket) to avoid the potential problem of two roofs, or just get the two OEM roofs?

    4)Tires. Not going to lift anything more than a cool drink after I buy it. Not going to off road that much. I am concerned with highway handling doing 75MPH on I95 and being able to cross some sand dunes in summer. In winter, the truck will be used for light commuting in the six months of crud that we get, deep Boston pot holes, and the occasional fire road, logging road. I do want to hear myself think though while on I95. What do you recommend for an all season tire? Then, I should throw on Artic Alpins, Hakkalapettas, of Blizzaks come winter? Can I negotiate the OEM tire that comes standard? (Sure I can!)

    5) The winter package with the heated windshield really appeals to me. But I have heard that on other older, non LR cars with heated windshields that they were expensive to replace when cracked and had problems. What is the Disco history?

    6) Recently, I've put PIAA Bright bulbs in our cars with good success. Are the Disco bulbls standard such that PIAA has them? How soon until xenon lighting as standard?

    7) Anyone mind if I use Mobil1/Red Line ATF/synthetic rear end lube right away after breakin? Whats the good long life coolant? Has anyone cut open an OEM filter to compare with Wix? (Synthetic oil and good filters are cheap; what I can't afford is the alternative)

    8) The English talk about Waxoly (sp?) and now Zeibart is back in business. Don't laugh, but how good is the factory undercoat? Should I have it done in the aftermarket?

    9)Shocks. I do dislike the body sway. Should I put on four Bilsteins? Another brand? Leaving body lean aside, are the OEM shocks any good, or should I replace them fairly soon with some aftermarket ones?

    10) How foldable/removable is the back seat? If removed is the floor then flat? I'm never, ever going to use it and it would look nice in my garage. Spare tire. Should I leave it where it is, bring it inside against the driver's side rear glass, put on roof?

    As you can see from the above, I'm interested in doing it right from the get go, and doing it for longevity and handling.

  • Does anyone know the actual algorithm the Disco ’03 uses to engage the ETC? I tried to search on this topic but couldn’t find anything that states the actual speed differences in the wheel spin and / or a time required (ie 5 mph wheel spin difference for 5 seconds).

    I’m don’t think the ETC is aggressive enough but maybe I don’t understand what it takes to engage.

  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    :) If you send me your rotors I'll be happy to lean them up against a tree at 100 yards and "drill" them for you. My son and I have been practicing and we can cut a playing card in half now, shooting it sideways 3 shots out of 10 at 50 feet with a .22 rifle. I doubt my accuracy is quite so good with a .30 magnum but I'll be happy to give it a try!

    1) Dunno about rotor longevity or if they've changed the metallic compound. I use soft pads and replace them often to extend the life of the rotors. It's like $40/axle to do the pads, maybe once a year.

    2) See above (but don't look too close)

    3) Don't do the sunroof. Drive to where you want to be and park it and get out to enjoy the sun.

    4) Avoid the Alpins and Blizzaks, they use a soft compound that wears really quickly. Try the Nokian Hakka LT-10s. I'm happy as a clam at high tide with mine. Consider a slightly taller tire to get more clearance. I did so and it brought my wildly inaccurate speedometer spot-on. They're wonderful on the highway and great in deep snot. DEEP tread pattern to let the goo out from under your tread.

    5) No idea. That's why God made ice scrapers. These trucks heat up so fast anyway that a remote starter will have it warm and de-iced before you get out there anyway. Cheaper than new glass too.

    6) I tried PIAA and IPF bulbs in the DI with mixed success. They burned out at 1 year consistently. I finally went to Osram 100w/100w clear bulbs and I can see *really* well. No charging issues, no alternator issues. If you want more you can always mount up some driving lights on the bumper or an A-frame.

    7) Do a google search for oil filter comparison, including the search term "mopar". There's a great site somewhere that has photos of all the filters cut open and discusses. By all means use synthetics! Note: it doesn't want ATF in the diffs. Just in case you're not quite sure. Coolant: use whatever's called for and change it every 2 years.

    8) My truck is aluminum and coated steel beneath, and the boxed frame railed have a wax coating on the *inside* to prevent internal rust. At 84k miles and plenty of offroading I have many gouges in my rails but zero rust under there.

    9) OEM shocks are the BEST! Assuming of course you're talking about Old Man Emu (grin). Seriously the stock shocks on the DI were fantastic shocks. My brother runs Rancho 9000s with the adjustability and he loves them. Quick to adjust too. Body sway is an artifact of soft springs and long travel suspension, which is what makes these beasts so darn good offroad.

    10) My back seat folds forward flat, then again forward so it's up against the back of the driver's seat. Dunno about taking it out. I believe the floor is indeed flat in a DI with the seat folded up and forward. I left my spare where it is and I can then get 2 mtn bikes inside the back with all gear and I can lock it when I leave for awhile. You can get an amazing amount of load in there, both for volume and weight.

    Regards, -Bob
  • I recently test drove a 1998 Discovery. Very clean, seemingly well maintained. I really, really want this vehicle. The current owner is a very good friend and is putting forth every effort to make sure any and everything that could possibly be wrong, is repaired. It has 125,500 miles (highway) and has been dealer maintained for the life of the vehicle. She says she has never had any major problems or breakdowns.

    She recently replaced the compressor and alternator. I am wondering with this mileage are there any other major repairs I can expect to have to make. I once knew of a Land rover Discovery owner who said that a new transmission would cost $12,000.00. Is this the going price for replacing a Discovery transmission and at what point would a transmission need to be replaced? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
  • peweepewee Posts: 6
    We have a 2003 Disco SE, so the following should apply to what you might purchase.

    I use a T-50 torx wrench on a 3/8 socket to remove my left side back seat when on long fishing trips. If memory serves me correctly, there is one torx behind the seat, when folded forward, and two in the front, sort of under the floor mat. The two front ones are on a spring loaded hinge. I did not have much trouble removing the seat, or reinstalling it. The floor is flat when the seat is removed, up to the little well where your feet would go. Does very nicely for laying 9 foot flyrods or hamstick radio antennas or canoe paddles flat.

    Re long highway trips - we have taken two one from Denver to Florida and back, and the second (the fishing trip) from Denver up thru Montana to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and back. The Disco was quite comfortable on both trips.

    Upon returning from Florida last winter we ran into the beginning of the 36 inch Colorado snow storm. I can vouch for the Disco's ability to handle at least 12" of snow with the Original Equipment Goodyear 18" tires.

    A great vehicle that seems purpose built for Colorado mountain country. The comfortable long range cross country drive was an unexpected plus!

  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    A couple winters ago we had this snowstorm, dumping about 36" snow in 24 hours. I was one of the only people out there, besides the municipal plow trucks. I finally just left the tow strap tied to the rear and coiled up inside the back... I lost count of how many people I pulled out.


    That's an adult Golden Lab in the foreground. :) The Disco did just fine in the snow.
  • Nanuk makes his dog sleep outside in the snow? Come on.

    Seriously, do you run a block heater?
  • disco99disco99 Posts: 74
    I've been looking at a discoI myself now for a couple of months(MY wife has fallen in love with my discoII)--
    The best lesson I've finally learned about my discoII is to just drive it and enjoy it until something actually stops working---I used to worry sick about potential problems that still haven't come at 60k--

    Don't be scared by the mileage--the maintenance record is a lot more important.
    As far as future repairs...well you have the compressor and the alternator out of the way---I've heard NANUQ SAY THAT ABS PUMP,STEERING PUMP USUALLY GO AROUND THAT MILEAGE--
    I have been told by many discolovers again like NANUQ that the powertrain on discos are made to last a long time--even if you needed a tranny down the road I think it would be about $4000.
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    No no no, Buster was in the garage looking out at the snow. Doubtless thinking "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR (PANTPANTPANTPANTPANT) LET'S GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

    Block heater? I have one, but I've never needed it. Even on campouts with my BSA troop at -40F waaaayyyy out 1/2 a mile from the middle of nowhere, she has *always* started right up the next morning. I prepare for that by running 5/50w Castrol Syntec in the winter, and I don't actually drive her anywhere until she's making enough heat to defrost the windows on her own.

    But she is quite the crotchety old coot until she gets a few miles under her in the morning... when it's cold like that all the lubes are cold and stiff and she grumps along stiff and slow for a ways. Granted, she's running like a top... it's just that she's stirring the rest of the drivetrain too, and those lubes are about the consistency of cold molasses with no good way to warm up.

    Here's another picture of Buster the Mudhound, ample evidence of why God created pickup trucks... so the dog can ride in back!

  • discomandiscoman Posts: 110
    Does anyone know how to reset the service engine light on my '96 disco? I recently changed the Spark Plugs and Spark Plug wires, oil and filter and air filter. The service guy at LR says since I already did all the work they would have done, all I need to do is bring it in and they will reset the light for me. I would prefer to do it myself instead of having to take it in for this.
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    Let's see if I remember this correctly. On pre-96 Discos there's a little box beneath the passenger seat, some funny color of reddish brown, having an oval Land-Rover sticker on it. On 96 Discos there's a solenoid in the panel at the passenger footwell, against the sidewall by the door. You open up the panel and you'll see a solenoid of the same color, with the same sticker on it. In both cases the sticker is covering a tiny hole in the plastic. Just poke a straightened paperclip (conductive metal) thru the sticker, into the hole. It shorts a couple of leads and resets the SE light. Next time you're in a wrecking yard, take a look at that piece and you'll see a nice little hole right in the middle of the sticker.

    Hope this helps. -Bob

    ps: as long as your hands are grubby anyway, why not change the transfer box and autobox lubes too? Maybe the swivels and diffs? It's a really easy job and makes the beasts run nearly forever.
  • discomandiscoman Posts: 110
    Thanks Bob. I will check when I get home tonight. I was planning on changing the fluids anyhow this weekend. I am only allowed so many hours at a time before the wife gets jealous. :-)
  • I really appreciate the response to my concerns about becoming a Disco owner. I have long since admired the Land Rover Discovery and am very happy to be soon owning one.
    I visit this board often and really appreciate the Land Rover "brotherhood" that exists here. Despite some of the negative comments I've heard about Land Rover products, it is because of reading the comments on this board that I've been convinced to purchase and feel confident about my decision.
    I'm looking forward to enjoying many miles in this vehicle and it's nice to know that if I do have problems I have a great resource and wealth of Land Rover knowledge to draw from.

    Thanks again,
  • Nanuk, if 5/50 Castrol really covers the range of 5 thru 50 AND is synthetic, why doesn't everyone use it in everything from October thru the end of March?? Winters in the Norheast can be tough and the urban start/stop errand cycles (Do they even have dry cleaning in Alaska? Do guys wear a laundered shirt to work every day?) can be tough on an engine when it is 20 degrees outside.

    So, why doesn't every one north of the Mason Dixon just chuck the good ol' 10-30 their fathers used?
  • discomandiscoman Posts: 110

    Thanks for the assist. The service engine module was, in fact behind the right kikck panel, and though it wasn't as easy to reset, I did manage it. There are actually two holes in the top of the module. The center one does nothing. And I didn't find the other one until I had actually disassembled the module. After that there was no problem. I was actually considering taking it out altogether, since it doesn't seem to perform any other purpose than to be a timer for that idiot light. I was wondering why there are so many wires going into it, so I figured it sent signals to other places as well. I wouldn't want to screw something up, so I put it back in. Thanks again for the advice. Saved me some $$ and an unnecessary trip to LR.

  • discomandiscoman Posts: 110
    By the way. Anyone who needs parts can go to and order just about anything. You get it in about a week anywhere, and it's amazing the savings on parts and accessories. I have used them a few times and would highly recommend them. If they don't have it listed, you can ask them and they will reply within a few hours.
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    Check this link, it explains why 5w-50 is not recommended for year round use in all markets.
  • discomandiscoman Posts: 110
    The roverconnection website also has slotted/vented rotors for installation on the Disco I and II. These work really well. It has vastly improved my braking. I also recommend the Platimum +4 spark plugs and the Magnecor Plug wires. My Disco runs a lot smoother and the acceleration response improved quite a bit.
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