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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently acquired a 2003 Discovery that belonged to my cousin. He unexpectedly died at the age of 31, and the truck has just been sitting in my uncle's driveway for the past 4 years. I recently got a promotion at work and wanted a 4WD vehicle, so I asked him about buying it. To my surprise, he just gave it to me.

It's covered in 4 years of Alabama pollen, but the paint is actually in pretty good shape underneath that. It has 110k miles on it and it has some issues:

  • It has the 3 amigo lights + plus the BRAKE light.
  • The brakes also require you to pump them to build up good pressure when you're trying to stop, and the handbrake doesn't appear to do anything at all.
  • It also has an electrical short somewhere that slowly drains the battery when the truck isn't running.
  • The only code the OBDII reader gave me was P1590.
  • The snake belt appears new, but the pulleys are clearly original and they make a bit of clicking noise while the engine is running.

I'll be retrieiving the truck in 2 weeks, at which point I can start working on it. Here's my plan of action:

  1. Change the engine, differential, and gearbox oil
  2. Use a multimeter to try and figure out which circuit is drawing power. If it's something unimportant like the cigarette lighter, I'll just pull the fuse and call it a day. I suspect it's something in the ABS module.
  3. Inspect the ABS modulator for corrosion and faulty wiring.
  4. Replace the ABS shuttle valve switch (and possibly the entire modulator unit if necessary), replace the rubber brake hoses, and fully bleed/refill the brake system. (I'd probably just pay a mechanic to do this part, and have him check the handbrake cable while he's at it.)

Beyond that, it could use lots of little things, like a new passenger side mirror, Disco I wiper arms, a rear wiper arm, steel bumpers, etc. I'm new to this whole Land Rover thing, so is there anything obvious that I'm missing?
 

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With four years of sitting I'm sure you will find plenty of unexpected issues.

The cooling systems are a continual source of problems. You'll need to replace every piece of it. Most likely the radiator has the wrong coolant in it and it's corroded, partially blocked or both. The water pump will most likely begin leaking within the first week after sitting that long. The hoses probably needed to be replaced when it was parked, so they're definitely due now. Put the soft open thermostat on it. Don't forget to replace the tank cap and the throttle body heater. You don't want to even come close to overheating that engine. if the needle on the useless temp gauge moves north of center, you're in deep doo doo. You'll probably need pads and rotors after that much sitting as well. Akebono pads are the way to go. Don't forget to service the transmission. And replace the u-joints with greaseable one's before the front breaks and destroys your transmission. You'll probably need to deal with oil leaks from the valve covers, front cover and pan.

There's tons of info in the D2 section- start reading.

The 1590 may be the Amigos, but probably an ABS sensor or wiring issue
 

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I recently acquired a 2003 Discovery that belonged to my cousin. He unexpectedly died at the age of 31, and the truck has just been sitting in my uncle's driveway for the past 4 years. I recently got a promotion at work and wanted a 4WD vehicle, so I asked him about buying it. To my surprise, he just gave it to me.

It's covered in 4 years of Alabama pollen, but the paint is actually in pretty good shape underneath that. It has 110k miles on it and it has some issues:


  • It has the 3 amigo lights + plus the BRAKE light.
    The brakes also require you to pump them to build up good pressure when you're trying to stop, and the handbrake doesn't appear to do anything at all.
    It also has an electrical short somewhere that slowly drains the battery when the truck isn't running.
    The only code the OBDII reader gave me was P1590.
    The snake belt appears new, but the pulleys are clearly original and they make a bit of clicking noise while the engine is running.

I'll be retrieiving the truck in 2 weeks, at which point I can start working on it. Here's my plan of action:


  1. Change the engine, differential, and gearbox oil
    Use a multimeter to try and figure out which circuit is drawing power. If it's something unimportant like the cigarette lighter, I'll just pull the fuse and call it a day. I suspect it's something in the ABS module.
    Inspect the ABS modulator for corrosion and faulty wiring.
    Replace the ABS shuttle valve switch (and possibly the entire modulator unit if necessary), replace the rubber brake hoses, and fully bleed/refill the brake system. (I'd probably just pay a mechanic to do this part, and have him check the handbrake cable while he's at it.)

Beyond that, it could use lots of little things, like a new passenger side mirror, Disco I wiper arms, a rear wiper arm, steel bumpers, etc. I'm new to this whole Land Rover thing, so is there anything obvious that I'm missing?
I replied to your LRF post. Unless you have about $1K in reserve to spend on this truck you may want to reconsider. Even after you spend 1-month and all your savings getting the truck operable there is still no guarantee that the remaining parts will not continue to fail. I have replaced almost every single part (some of them twice) on a dealer-service, babied, highway-only driver with under 100K miles when purchased by myself. You really have to be a Rover enthusiast to want 1 of these things & even then your patience will be tested on occasion. On the other site I posted a guide for refreshing the truck & a link to the workshop manual for changing the trans filter/fluid, & so on. I advise you to read through these forums for a few days and learn what you are getting yourself into before showing up @ uncle Bobs with $200 worth of product and loads of optimism.
 

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Yep. A grand. Minimum. That's before you get into wheel bearings, CV's etc. that may be wrong or could be wrong in the near future.

Before doing anything, inspect the frame thoroughly. If it spend 4 years parked over wet grass, the frame is probably swiss cheese. In the wrong conditions, they rot very quickly.

Sitting is the worst thing you can do to a vehicle.

We're not trying to rain on your parade. We don't want you do get buried into something that will be worth half what you have in it in a few months.
 

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Yep. Even free, you might not be getting a good deal. Any car sitting that long will have lots of problems; a LR will be exponentially worse. A D2 will amaze you with the number of ways it can ruin your day. Like CT said, we're not trying to disappoint you. It's just much better going in knowing what you face rather than the "ignorance is bliss" argument. Ignorance is just ignorance and most often leads to pain. But if you're up for a challenge, I say go for it. I love my D2 right now but I know that will change shortly. You will find plenty of help here. We're all a little nuts for owning one. Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate everyone's concern, and I know this thing is going to be one issue after another. I'm not relying on it for transportation, though, so that doesn't really bother me. I'll mostly be using this to drive around on our timber farm and I can't imagine I'll be putting more than 2000 miles on it in a year.

The hoses probably needed to be replaced when it was parked, so they're definitely due now. Put the soft open thermostat on it.
The hoses look and feel pretty dang good. I think there's a very good chance they were replaced shortly before this thing was parked. I'm going to replace the thermostat, though, so good call on that. I'll probably replace the water pump when I replace the pulleys and tensioner, which is on my to-do list.

Before doing anything, inspect the frame thoroughly. If it spend 4 years parked over wet grass, the frame is probably swiss cheese. In the wrong conditions, they rot very quickly.
It was parked on a concrete driveway in a spot that's shady for most of the day, in a city where the temp never falls below 50. So far I haven't found a spot of rust on it.

Yep. Even free, you might not be getting a good deal. Any car sitting that long will have lots of problems; a LR will be exponentially worse. A D2 will amaze you with the number of ways it can ruin your day. Like CT said, we're not trying to disappoint you. It's just much better going in knowing what you face rather than the "ignorance is bliss" argument. Ignorance is just ignorance and most often leads to pain. But if you're up for a challenge, I say go for it. I love my D2 right now but I know that will change shortly. You will find plenty of help here. We're all a little nuts for owning one. Best of luck!
I appreciate your concern, but this isn't really about getting a good deal for me. I was particularly close with my cousin, so I really like the idea of fixing this thing up. I also don't mind the idea of working on it as things break. I'm always happier when I have a project to work on.
 

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You need to appreciate just how sensitive these engines are to overheating. Your first purchase should be a Scangauge or other OBD port gauge module. It needs to have preset temp alarms. The temp gauge on the dash does not read engine temp. It will sit dead center until the temp reaches a point above overheat and then start moving. By the time it pegs, you're already cooked.

This engine has a couple issues. One, it uses a failure-prone torque-to-yield head bolt. Two, the cooling passages are at the end of the cylinder decks. They are very close to the edge. As the engine heats, both expand. When you begin to overheat, the heads expand more quickly and more in length. This causes the heads to move on the deck. It also often results in a head bolt failure.

The hoses are not always the problem. There are molded plastic pieces in there that, for no outwardly apparent reason will simply rupture. They're OK for a few years but after that, all bets are off. The D2 was redesigned designed by BMW when they owned Rover and they used many of the same parts sources and ideas as they did on their other vehicles. And, by no surprise, they end up with some of the same problems. Cooling systems is one.
 
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