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Land Rover Discovery and Discovery II



  • The reason for upgrading from the ’96 to the ’03 was that in the ’03 model year, Rover finally fixed the last remaining “issue” I had with the initial Disco I and subsequent Disco II models. That was engine power.

    Rover took the 4.6L power plant from the ’02 Range Rover and put it in the Disco boosting the HP to 217 hp from 188 hp. That’s not Indy Racing League material but, in my opinion, the Discos have suffered from a lack of power for city/highway driving until now. There is a noticeable difference between the models now.

    All of the other issues were minor inconveniences but were cleared in years between ’96 and ’03 – rear cargo area room increased, rear seat belt attach points anchored to the seats and thus lift clear of the floor when folding the seats forward, pull handle door releases on the outside, rear side and alpine window gaskets modified, rear self-leveling suspension available, remote fuel door opener, turn indicators on dash show left and right, better driver left foot-rest position, taller windshield for driver visibility, better thigh support on front seats, central locking switch for both front occupants, factory tinted glass, steering wheel mounted radio controls, more rear legroom with redesigned front seat-backs, better rear visibility with lower spare tire, and probably a few more.

    Since I am obviously fairly finicky about my vehicles based on the foregoing issues, I decided to take the plunge on the new ’03. There was nothing wrong with my ’96; basically I just wanted a new Disco with all the new bells and whistles.

    Many on this board that go off-road will tell you that the Disco I models are tops for that but I do not go off-road and so I do not need the center differential lock or better departure angle ability of the Disco I. CDL is back in ’04 though.

    As far as the rust is concerned, you will never get rid of it especially since it is in the location you mentioned. You can do superficial repairs on the surface but it will always lurk beneath and come through again and again.

    I could not really tell you a fair market price for a ’98 with 125K but Edmunds TMV service shows that a Texas based dark green ’98 Disco LE with 125K in clean condition should be about $12K in a private party transaction. What is she asking?

    You should look in detail at the differences between the original design and the Series II. That will be your guide as to what works best for you and what way to go.

    Good luck.
  • alattalatt Posts: 11

    Just recently purchased cert. pre-owned 2000 Disco II from LR dealer with 40k miles on it. So far I am happy with the truck and I enjoy driving every minute of it. I replaced a break lamp on my own and every now and then I had to recalibrate the digital compass on the rear view mirror. I have a question to all the Disco owners. I use premium gasoline every time I go to fill up gas ($2.10 per gal in NYC!!). Do I need to use products like STP Gas Treatment in the winter time?

  • congrats on your truck---you're certainly putting the right gas in there--but LR does not recommend the use of any fuel additives for your disco.
  • Does anybody know if the LR extended warranty would cover lifters? I just bought my certified 2000 DII and hope this would be covered. Just wanted to know before I called the dealer.
  • I recently had my '03 in for the 15k free service and it came back with a few problems, which have been resolved, but wanted to pass along.

    After the service was complete, the dealer told me they replaced the water pump. I noticed water in the garage, but I thought it was the climate control system (AC). They didn't do a great job in the replacement because I had to bring it back in to bleed the water line. We heard water swooshing around in front of the dash!

    I also noticed a squeaking sound on the driver side window, which I asked them to fix at the 15k service. Soon after, the window made a pop and it wasn't functioning properly. Turns out they had to replace the window assembly.

    It was an inconvenience to have to bring the Disco back in, but I called on a Monday morning and they said bring it in, we'll fix it right away. I was impressed with the fact that they were able to do the service in such short order, and it kind of made up for the fact that they didn't do a great job in the first place.

    After 15k we have had only these problems with our 14-month-old `03 Disco. Are these the kind of problems that have made some characterize it as an unreliable brand and brought down the Land Rover reliability reputation at JD Power? Not for me! Here is to another rough winter in New England and the boys in England who built the machine that will make it fun! Cheers!
  • Thanks so much for your detailed feed back, you answered a lot of questions for me.

    As far as price, when we last spoke about it she was asking $11,5K. From what you mentioned that sounds fair. Of course if she goes down more that would be fine. But either way it appears that I'm going to get a good deal. I will just have to contend with the small rust problem. It doesn't appear to be too extensive, but I will have it thoroughly check out before purchasing.

    I'm OK with not a lot of power, my last car was a 528e BMW, and it was a little sluggish too. Too much power in a car has gotten me into trouble in the past so that's not a problem for me.

    My hope is that I will be able to afford a used/clean Range in a few years. On my salary I don't think I'll ever be able to afford a new one. My 528e was 3 years old when I bought her, I drove her for 16 years, she has a new owner now and she's still riding smooth.

    Thanks again, the detailed info was much appreciated!

  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    There are tons of great responses here today! Great answers, guys!

    Windows: my lift mechanism did the same thing... squeaking and then it broke. They replaced it for free under warranty.

    Water noises: Same here. If you drain the cooling system it is a pain to get all the air bubbles out. I never took mine back to get it fixed and the bubbles eventually worked out on their own.

    "Rust" at the rear side windows: Same here... it's a brown dusty fuzzy buildup and it's not rust. I'm not sure what it is... maybe airflow back there lets the stuff accumulate? It wipes right off. My alpine windows and rear sides don't leak.

    Premium fuel: This is important. The ECUs will detect preignition and they will retard the timing to protect the engine... and once it's backed off it will not advance again on its own. The power loss is noticeable. The OBDII Testbook is required to reset the timing back where the fun starts again (at least on the DI). STP is not necessary. Just buy gas with ethanol content and that will suck water out of your fuel system.

    Lifters: Discos are notorious for "reporting" lack of proper oil change maintenance by getting tappety in the lifters. If yours are doing it, consider a few frequent oil / filter changes with a strong detergent oil like a synthetic. That cleared my lifters when Anuqa was tapping when I first bought her. Now, no worries whatsoever.

    "Reliability" concerns: I think you're right, people see squeaks and a drop on the garage floor as grounds to scream LEMON and threaten litigation. All things considered these are very minor problems. I have several relatives and coworkers who experience MUCH more severe problems with their SUVs. Jeep Grand Cherokees blow transmissions and axles, Dodge Dakotas and Durangos do the same, my buddy's Toyota Sequoia blew the air conditioner module and pump and evaportator, all at 8,000 miles. My brother's Chevy needed the front A-arms, driveshaft and tie rod ends replaced at 10k miles. Meanwhile my Rover just keeps churning along.

  • I saw this posted on the H2 Hummer board and it will make any Disco owner smile. The H2 is coming down a rocky trail and blows a tie rod. I do not find happiness at the owners expense, it just makes me want to see a Disco come down that same hill and triumph.

    Apparently the video link was so popular, the site was overloaded and webmaster has asked visitors to download it vs. linking to it from so many sites. It is a big file at about 7MB.

    Go to:

    Select VIDEOS on the top menu, then scroll to the H2 photo credit at the bottom.

    Any inputs on the mistakes made by the driver? Any Discos with the same blowout?
  • By the way, I went to the Land Rover dealer on yesterday and I looked around to see if I saw that "dusty-rusty" looking residue around the window seals on any other earlier model D1's and sure enough it was on all of them. He told me that in fact it's not rust at all, it is a substance that Land Rover put around the inside window seals so that the seals would not dry rot.

    He said they have since changed that design which is why the newer models don't have the thick seals around the rear side windows anymore, obviously another improvement Land Rover has made to the Disco.

    When I saw it on other D1's and got his explanation I felt quite relieved!

  • I've had the dealer correct this squeaking coming from some belt twice already. Its fixed then starts again in a few months, does anyone have a similar problem. Its so loud when idleing people stare at the truck. I'm taking it in next week to correct it once again.
  • alattalatt Posts: 11

    I am new to Discos and I have never driven a brand new Disco before. My cert pre owned Disco II has hard shocks, meaning I can feel all the bumps on the road. Also, the breaks are soft, meaning I have to put more effort into it than other SUVs. I used to own a Honda CRV and driven Passport. The ride comfort feels more luxury on those vehicles than Discos. My question is that are Disco IIs supposed to have hard shocks and soft breaks? Forgive me if I am using wrong terminology.
    Thanks again. Your suggestions have been helpful.
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    I tried to watch the video and didn't have the right decompressor so I just listened. No idea if he was doing something right or wrong... but bear in mind that the H2 is a takeoff of an existing Chevy design (Silverado?) and it's not purpose-built to be a serious offroader.

    Take a look at this picture. You can clearly see the tie rod ends are stock. Hmmmmmm... a little careful analysis tells me the driver was doing something wrong too, so apparently it's not limited to H2 owners!

  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    Rovers are purpose built to be offroading tools. Hence they have long-travel throttle and brake controls... you push them a long way to get a full "stroke" from the pedal and that provides you lots of room to modulate your pressures. For example it takes a stepladder and two small boys to the get the throttle all the way to the floor on my DI. But offroad I can easily dial in "just a smidgen more" throttle without breaking the tires loose in a nasty spot.

    Since Rovers eat brake pads it may be yours were replaced recently and someone didn't bleed the system right after doing so. That always contributes to mushy brakes. If you "pump" them coming to a stop do they do better? If so just bleed the air and all is well. Simple (messy) job.

    Suspension on Rovers is likewise a big part of their offroad prowess. It has to be soft enough and have enough travel to follow the contour of the terrain and keep the wheels planted. Stiffening up your suspension may improve ground clearance and look cool but you nearly always lose offroad capability... you lift a tire with open diffs and you're stuck. So then you go to lockers of some kind and you're set once more. Crawl under there and see if you have Rancho shocks? Those are common and some are adjustable. Stock shocks or "stockish" OME shocks should not be too stiff... but it will also not be soft and squishy. It won't feel like an SUV designed for road use and flying around corners.

    Now I gotta go play in the snow! YAHOO!!!

    (Steve: that is NOT an endorsement for another web site!) ;)
  • Soon after buying my '96 Disco I (new in '96) I had a squealing kind of whirr from the engine compartment. It was noticeable at idle and was RPM dependent and made me quite an attraction at stop lights. The dealer determined the source to be the water pump and replaced it.

    Strangely enough though, soon thereafter the problem reoccurred and they traced it to the water pump again. I even went to the garage bay and listened to it with the “stethoscope” and sure enough, it was true. They replaced it a second time and the noise finally went away for good.

    Not sure if this is the same potential noise source as your problem since our model years are far apart but the basic engine has been pretty much consistent over the years.

    By the way, the regional Rover service guy was consulted on the situation and he was pretty baffled by the whole vent.

    As usual though, the warranty service and Rover support was outstanding.
  • Hi,

    Budget constraints may force me to buy a used 2003 S Disco. Has anyone had any experience installing the Jump Seats themselves? If yes, what was the level of effort required? Where did you buy them from? Cost?

  • Ouch!!

    Was that picture taken in Australia? Looks like he’s driving in the “land down under” ;-)

    Thanks nanuq.
  • Although the Disco comes with very many common elements to allow the least cost in manufacturing between models (examples: all front seats pre-wired for heat, heated windshield wiring pre-installed, many left/right hand drive capable standards, etc.) I was told that one of the few things that are not possible to retrofit is the rear jump seats in the ’03 model year.

    The three-point seat belt mechanisms, head restraints, overhead liner design, and floor mounts, to name a few, are all specific to the (H)S(E)-7 models.
  • Nanuk, in your reference to Rancho shocks I realize that you were just trying to determine if they were the adjustable ones and if so were they cranked all the way up to cause the hard riding condition. But, what do you think about Ranchos? Some of the motorheads I bump into think that Rancho is mostly about the cosmetics (red paint job, rubber booties, etc.) and prefer Trailmaster or, the perhaps overpriced, Bilsteins.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Send some of that white yahoo stuff down this way will ya? (not down below 3,000 feet though <g>).

    Steve, Host
  • stopgostopgo Posts: 16
    So my Land Rover dealership, based on the advice of a tech at LRNA, replaced the Mass Air Flow Sensor this past Tuesday. They were quick, in at 7:30am, picked her up at noon.

    On the way back to work I thought that I had felt the same "shuddering" but was on some bumpy roads and couldn't be certain. Yesterday, Wednesday, I stayed home sick with the flu but had to take my kids to school, it's a 10 mile round trip. In those 10 miles the "shudder" happened 4 times.

    I called the dealership back and let them know. I'm waiting to hear back from them. This morning LRNA customer satisfaction called and I let them know as well.

    Back to square 1. Not sure what they'll come up with next. If it's not the transmission the other things I can think of are bad spark plug wres, bad spark plugs, fuel injectors(not likely though).

    I still think the tranny is the culprit though.
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765

    We're getting a nice scatter here, and I've been out playing. I got home last night with the underside caked in snow and pulled into the garage. Curious this morning to realize I have no floor drains in the garage of our new home so there was Lake Disco out there. But all is well, a little sweeping cleared it out into the drive. Where it froze. On the hill.

    TIME TO GET OUT THE SKIS!! (making lemonaid here)
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    I've never really liked Ranchos... in my not so humble opinion they make up for lack of quality by cool graphics. Which is why you see them on lifted Chevys all the time (backhanded swipe).
    But my baby brudder has them and he seems to like 'em. They ARE adjustable, but will they last? I'd rather spend the money on Old Man Emu and know they're good for the long haul.

    I put jump seats in back of my DI and it wasn't too bad at all. I imagine the DII is far more complex. It took about 2 hours per seat. I got aftermarket seatbelts and I was REALLY careful making the cuts in the panels and they came out nice. No rattles. They do cut down on useable space in back, but I can still get 2 mtn bikes in there with the jump seats folded up.
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    LRNA actually made kits to add jumpseats to the DI. The side facing aspect of those seats made it easier to add. There is so much interior trim and other parts necessary that make this much more expensive. There was also issues with rear suspension, generally 7 seat vehicles had SLS originally.
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    I was pretty nervous cutting into my side panels but I was darn careful and placed the openings right. Then I cleaned them up and they look nice though not "stock". I did buy the Torx fasteners and spacers and dished washers from the kit... as well as a couple of the brackets and the large bolts that go into the chassis.

    I think I spent $175 at a wrecker for the seats, another $90 for fasteners and belts and miscellaneous... presto! 7 seats.
  • Hi All,
    I am looking to buy a pre-owned Discovery II (for the cost savings). Many of them seem to come in the seven seat configuration. Is it difficult (everything is possible right?) to remove them? Will it look like something is missing (i.e. holes in panels)? I do not need the two extra seats and would like all the cargo room I can get.
    Thank you!
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    While I can't speak about the DII specifically if I remove the jump seats in my DI there are two little pairs of "ears" sticking out thru the side panel near the bottom, to which the lower linkages attach. Likewise there are two holes at the top into which bolts fit. It's pretty unobtrusive.

    The DII is doubtless different, but really the jump seats on mine, when folded, don't take up that much room. They just fit into the "map pocket" recesses at the rear sides and are pretty flush to the sides. But if you need an extra inch of room to get something rigid like a mtn bike in there, the room is taken.

    One plus, you could probably advertize those jump seats and get a pretty penny for them. I paid $175 the pair and I've seen them for $200 apiece sans linkage.

    One plus, the seats make "shelves" in back and provide access to lower level stuff meanwhile letting you stack more in there. For example I can load the back with packs and then put stoves and water bottles beneath the seats. Opening the rear hatch, I can pull out a stove without unloading all the packs.
  • That's belt - not belts, as far as I know there is only one in the Disco!

    After I had the water pump replaced in my 2003 the belt squeaked like mad the first start of the day. Brought it in and the dealer promptly adjusted it! they said the squeak was caused by small fragments of rubber that wore off?
  • The dealer I purchased my 2003 S will sometimes sell a version of the S with the jump seats installed. I believe they do it themselves because the call it the "Milford Edition". I just wish they had one when I was bought mine. It would be nice to have capacity for 7 when needed.
  • A squeaking belt is a common irritation with a Discovery and is remarkably difficult to permanently fix. The best solution I have seen is to use an aerosol spray on furniture polish that has a wax base (but at a light blend - nothing too thick). Spray a very small amount of that onto the inside edge of the belt whilst the engine is running and the squeaking will instantly disappear and stay away for about 1,000 miles before the same treatment is needed again.
  • discomandiscoman Posts: 110
    Here is a bit of advice for those of you who have had, or will have problems with the cruise control. I had a problem with mine, and traced it to a rotting vacuum tube between the unit under the dash that controls the gas pedal, and the unit that controls the throttle body itself. They hoses tend to dry rot, and once a vacuum leak is there the system won't operate. Good news is LR built in a lot of slack in the hoses, so it's no big deal to trim off a couple inches and re-attach the hose. I have, so far seen this in three other 96-98 disco's as well as my own. One guy paid LR $250 to diagnose and correct this. Another I caught yesterday and helped the guy out.
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