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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. New to the forum, and new to the LR world (well not yet), so please bear with me. I am seriously thinking about purchasing an 03 Discovery that is in immaculate shape. It has 79K miles and runs great. The engine looks to have had all the hoses replaced, valve covers changed, not a drop of oil anywhere (although I have read that's inevitable :D). I have researched this thing for several days now, and the issue of the failing oil pump really concerns me. Eventhough I can get a really great deal on this truck, I still don't want to risk it being useless in the near future. Everything I have read on this issue is kind of back and forth. Some say that once you reach a certain mileage mark, you should be okay, then I read others that totally debunk that theory and others that have had no problems at all. The VIN to the truck that I want to purchase does fall into the range of the problematic ones. Can anyone make any recommendations? Is there anything I can check, test or otherwise to see if this particular truck is likely to fail? Can I buy a 3rd party extended warranty that will cover the engine if it fails, or will it not be covered by any warranty company since LR has claimed that it was a defect in manufacturing? I would be very grateful for any advice or help anyone here can give. TIA
 

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'03 Disco SE
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573 Posts
Odds are that you'll be fine. I have an '03 SE in the bad VIN range that I bought with 77K miles - it now has 105K miles. No oil pump or pressure issues.

My feeling is that the majority of pumps that would have failed have failed and those particular vehicles are now out of the market. That isn't to say that meticulous oil changes using quality oils and filters along with a relaxed driving style won't help extend the life of your pump and vehicle in general.

What you DO need to do is get the car inspected by a knowledgeable LR mechanic prior to purchase. He'll be able to narrow down and potential problems that may be lurking underneath the "immaculate" exterior. There are FAR too many members (or ex-members) of this forum that didn't get the inspection done because the car looked so good only to come back 2 months later with a blown head gasket and dropped sleeves.

I wouldn't hold count on getting an extended warranty. Our cars are too old, to pricey, and too problematic to make the companies any kind of money.
 

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First, what will you be using it for, how much are they asking for it and how mechanical are you?
Do not consider buying it unless you have a pre-purchase inspection done so you know what you are getting.
You can also contact your local Rover service manager with you vinn number to see if yours fell into that small group of bad pump/issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The price is $4K. I will be using it as my main vehicle, probably not much if any off-road. As far as being mechanical, I can do the basics but that's about it. If the engine blew, I would be screwed. I did contact a local repair shop that specializes in LR and they offer a pre-purchase inspection for $150. If I decide to get it, I will definitely do that first. And I have already verified the VIN and it does fall in the range of the bad pump issues.

During my research on this truck I've seen you post several comments and you seem very knowledgeable...is there even anything they can look for in an inspection to determine if there is a higher probability that there may be issues? This problem just seems to happen with no warning of any kind. One minute you're driving, and then BAM!! the oil pump explodes and you need a new engine. That would suck with the whole fam in the truck headed out of town on vacation. Assuming I get the inspection done, are there any must ask questions that you think I should know?
 

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'03 Disco SE
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If the engine exhibits any manner of ticking, walk away. This could be a tell-tale sign of oil pump problems, damaged cylinder liners, overheating, or it could be as simple as a stuck lifter. It's not worth the risk. Wait for it to heat up to operating temp before making an assertion.

As for the inspection? Make sure they do an oil pressure test. 4 readings - 2 at cold idle and cold 2000RPM and 2 at hot idle and hot 2000RPM. Also I'd have them test the coolant system for hydrocarbons - this will give you an indication of the condition of your head gaskets. Then make sure they get underneath it and report on the condition of the suspension, brakes, transmission, transfer case, and drive shafts.

I'll be honest - $4,000 for an '03 with that mileage is really cheap - like concealing a problem cheap. Most '03s and '04s in my area (Tampa, FL) sell for between $8000-$11,000 depending on mileage and condition. KBB is over $7500. You really need to make sure that the seller isn't hiding something before you pull the trigger. $3500 under market value is a little scary.
 

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IUf it is over 80,000 miles it is most likely going to be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the advice guys. As far as the price, let's just say that it's a "unique situation." I'm not concerned with anyone hiding anything. The tests you mention, should something like that be included in the $150 pre-purchase test I mentioned earlier? Also, the previous owner owned the truck for 2 years and only put about 8K miles on it. Mike, you mentioned that if it's got 80K it's most likely ok. Should I be concerned that with more regular driving, more problems could creep up?
 
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