Originally Posted by Duct Tape Engineer
Appreciate the advice - and look forward to interacting on here in the coming months as I undoubtably will be converting a stock disco 2 into a dedicated overland rig to chew through some dirt. Woot!
I'll share my 'opinion' so take it for what it's worth.
I love mine for trail riding. I have a winch and find myself having to pull my wife's Jeep out more than using it to become unstuck myself.
I don't think you are spot-on with the idea '04 being without issue or at least minimal. I personally keep away from '03 and '04 because of the cooling issues they had; HOWEVER, if you are going for high-mileage and find one that has had a minimal amount of work AND runs great, go for it? Just make sure whoever had it took care of the cooling system. That's the number 1 killer on our trucks - improper or just lack of upkeep on the truck and the cooling system. Once you have one that is running good, it's fairly easy to keep up with BUT it is definitely a money pit because when it's running, it's a beast and when it's not...well, love/hate.
I'd also stay away from Secondary Air if you can. It's a real knuckle buster when changing your wires or anytime you are working around behind the plume. If you have to get a truck with Secondary Air, I'll expect a email from you saying you should have listened to me, after the fact.
My favorite years are all Disco's up-to and including 2002 w/o ACE or SAS. I tend to skip 03/04 due to the much documented issues with dropped sleeves on these, but again, with the miles you are looking at, you may be OK there. I like LR3 and LR4 as well and there are a couple people on this list who do a lot of trail riding with those and they perform well too.
Honestly, you should spend some time on the list reading strings once you start to track down the truck you want. Get a idea of the common issues etc. We're here to help when we can on whatever you do get.