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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gents... before I take the plunge, just wanted to ask a few devotees for assistance. As a long time Landcruiser owner, during a trip to the Southwest we came across a 2002 Disco with 150K which has been serviced by the same reputable Rover Service and Tech shop for the last 10 years.

A quick test drive today showed no issues ran strong and everything worked including all electronics. No accidents or paint work and grey interior showed well for age. BTW ( No third row )

This particular service shop seems pretty honest with good reviews. So before I take the plunge what sorts of specifics should I have done before the "jump".

So far these are the items I intend to discuss:

1) Engine: Head gasket failures are probably the biggest problem that these vehicles are likely to have. How can issues be detected or prevented.
2) Drive Shafts: Original factory driveshafts are also prone to high failure rates and can potentially castrophic damage when they do fail. How do I have them tested and or should I have zirc fittings installed?
3) Brakes: The braking systems on Discovery IIs are pretty reliable, but can may need replacing an ABS sensor or repairing part of the ABS modulator known as the shuttle valve—neither of which is very costly. The entire ABS modulator is the only very expensive component of the system, but it’s not a very high failure rate item. How do I test for issues?
4) Cooling system/HVAC: Discovery 2 HVAC systems are generally pretty reliable with about the only expensive repair you need to look out for would be a faulty heater core. However other cooling system items prone to leaking in several places (i.e. water pumps, expansion tanks, throttle body heaters. Are these tests easy to run?
5) Steering/suspension: Power steering pumps are a very high failure rate component. Power steering hoses are prone to leaking, but they are not expensive items. What sorts of symptoms arise with faulty power steering pumps.
6) Suspensions on D2s are pretty solid setups. Vehicles equipped with Active Cornering Enhancement rarely have any additional issues crop up as a result of the system..
7) Various suspension bushings and steering components may worn out unless they’ve already been addressed by a previous owner. Parts are cheap, but the labor can really add up. Which should be considered.
8) Electrical/Body/Trim: Window regulators are faulty door lock actuators (integrated into the door latches on these vehicles) can cause some headaches and may be difficult to diagnose by non-Rover mechanics in some cases.
9) Interior trim and leather pieces may not seem like major repairs, but many of these components are exorbitantly priced through Land Rover. What sorts of trip items should I look for?
10) Front bumpers on these vehicles are notorious for cracking and breaking under very light contact. I notices the rear bumper was cracked on the step.

Any other comments for what I should look at would be helpful

107 Posts
Welcome i will take a stab at this post it's a long one lol
First of all I firmly believe that if your buying any 13 year old vehicle that you should want to get your hands dirty at some point to avoid the high costs of labour for things you can do yourself. The Rave manual will guide you through almost anything and with the help from forums the job can get done fairly easily. I actually never changed oil on a vehicle before purchasing my first land rover which needed a head gasket. I downloaded the manual did the gasket repair myself and have bought a disco almost every year since ran them for a year and sold them to buy another lol...
now for your questions.
Engine - I believe it's ineviatble that they are going to fail it's a maintenance thing as far as i'm concerned however the new composite gaskets do obviously last much longer so likely anyone you will buy today has likely already had the original one changed out.
Drive shaft - the drive shaft will give a vibration when it needs to be replaced. You will know it, much like a tire unbalanced. Also I have had the drive shaft taken out and had a new serviceable u-joint installed locally for around 200 dollars so also not a big deal.
Brakes - Yes you may need a new ABS sensor occasionally but that is to be expected as mileage goes up, my expedition actually just threw the abs code. I haven't had to replace a shuttle valve yet, i've been able to clear all of the shuttle valve codes i've ever had with hard braking over loose gravel etc.
Cooling - Hoses, expansion tanks, water pumps etc.. if they are leaking replace them lol
this is maintenance on any vehicle, they are all easy even the water pump and very inexpensive. I've never encountered a heater core issue and again i've owned 10 over the years.
Steering - the only parts i've had to replace are a few shocks over the years, a few rear air bags for se7 models also very easy and cheap when ordered from the right people, tire rod ends, nothing major. As far as power steering I've changed a few pumps also easily done, again a maintenance thing change the darn oil if it's black it's old. There is also a knuckle down almost directly below the MAF that can cause problems lube will clear that up.
Electrical - window regulators again an easy job i've replaced 4 in 10 rovers not that bad and door actuators maybe 6 in the 10 i've owned. All easy jobs.
Interior trim - I find that most items of the Land Rovers are built very sturdy. The leather around the hand brake is generally the biggest issue in the interior.
Bumper - I have replaced a few lol... As long as you don't hit anything your fine. They are flimsy just like all bumpers and all vehicles these days. If you are concerned with not wanting to replace it every couple years throw an ARB bumper on it. The cost is not much higher than an OE and if you need to replace it you likely have more problems than the bumper lol
All in all these are very solid trucks in my opinion
Do they require maintenance? of course.
What you need to ask yourself if your buying any used vehicle, is what are you prepared to do yourself and what will you hire out. I've heard so many people over the years ask me about my land rover and they all say "I hear they are so expensive to run" If you goto the stealerships ALL vehicles are expensive to run. I once paid 800 for a brake job on my ford that I realize now I could have down for 200 or less. So the choice is ultimately yours, If you have the means have it fixed and don't complain about it lol, if you don't treat it with love yourself. I have an oil issue with my sons Rover right now that I hope to have fixed within this week but even if it needs an engine swap I will do it myself with my son and I honestly am in the midst of looking for another one for myself. Times got tough last year and I sold mine :( and I have missed it ever since. I can't wait to find another one!!!! I just love them.
It's a ROVER thing :D
2004 Disco SE7

Joe Btfsplk
86 Posts
2002 d2

Wow; shpreetzer covered most of the problems. I have a 2002, (diesel, but the rest is pretty much the same), and the one major thing I would want to get checked out is the automatic transmission, the one minor thing would be the air suspension, both only if so equipped on your car. I simply yanked out the airbags and compressor and replaced the whole shebang with coils on mine. about 200 bucks and spun my own wrenches. No more problems. The tranny on the other hand can bite you. Does the car shift smoothly or is there a pronounced 'clunk' when it shifts down? If so, plan for a rebuild.

I agree 110% that you are getting an older car and must plan to spend some bucks if you want to keep it in good nick. Two other suggestions; get an OBDll reader that can clear codes, and get another heat gauge that works. These cars DO NOT LIKE GETTING OVERHEATED EVEN FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME and the factory heat gauge is not trustworthy.

And then take it in the bush and find out what a capable beast it is offroad!

P.S. to shpreetzer; I have to change out a window regulator on what (for you) would be the drivers side front door on my car. Is there a web site that you know of that walks you through the process? You say it is easy, I need to learn how to do it. Thanks!

107 Posts
Joe - Your best bet is to download the Rave manual if you have not already done so.
It gives you all the information needed for most all repairs.
123Disco - I'd like to add to what Joe said about the OBDII you have 2 options on this one. You can opt for a cheap 30 dollar scanner which will help diagnose normal engine fault codes but then your left up in the air if you have abs issues i.e.. 3 amigos :) unless you want to get the abs amigo from rsw i think it is. or look for a capable scanner for both. I found mine on Kijiji (canadian craigslist equivalent) for 100 dollars. It is an Autel al619 works great for both and inexpensive.
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