The siren's song is calling
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Thread: The siren's song is calling

  1. #1
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    The siren's song is calling

    Well I'm thinking of taking the dive. I currently own a 1997 Disco that I service myself so am somewhat familiar with LR's of the vintage.

    The P38 seems to represent a value niche in the market though I'm sure some will disagree.

    If you had to purchase your P38 again, what the main items you would want to make sure are in good order?

    Also, I'm having difficulty understanding if a 4.0 Bosche was ever used, or was it 4.0 GEMS and 4.6 Bosche?

    Thanks in advance for all the advice, tips, warnings, and encouragement!

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  3. #2
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Find someone familiar with EAS and take them with you.
    2001 4.6 HSE

  4. #3
    JUNIOR ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Both versions of engine were fitted in all years, so up to 99 it will be 4.0 or 4.6 GEMS, after 99 will be 4.0 or 4.6 Bosch. Make sure the engine is good, no coolant leaks, no pressurising of the cooling system, no misfires or running on 6 or 7 cylinders. Make sure the gearbox shifts smoothly and it changes from high to low ratio properly. Get at least two working key fobs and make sure they do work. Everything else is easy and relatively cheap to repair, and you almost certainly will have to repair it at some point, but the major bits are those that will cost big money to repair.
    97 4.0SE
    98 4.0 Police spec
    and a number of others I maintain for the owners.

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  6. #4
    FOUNDING MEMBER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    If you have a vehicle with the DSP amplifier system then check it works. If the EAS doesn’t work it can usually be sorted out at reasonable cost - the threads here cover everything you will need to know about it and its rectification. Check it has the latest RF receiver unit otherwise battery drain can become a problem. Check the small coolant return to the header tank pipe on the radiator is intact. Check the aircon works properly and that all blend and directional motors for the system work correctly.

    You need to be handy with spanners and soldering iron.

    Treat the following as maintenance items:

    - EAS valve block rebuild - I suggest every 5 years
    - EAS compressor rebuild - again, every 5 years

    Perform the following as preventative maintenance or be prepared to do them when (not if) they fail:

    - Replace the RF receiver unit with the latest version.
    - Replace the scuttle panel (below the windscreen) foam filter with a more permanent solution - threads on here show how.
    - Replace the water pump.
    - Replace heated seat cushion elements and solder in a higher temp thermal switch for toastier buns when you do it.
    - Retrim the headlining when it sags.
    - Replace the driver’s door lock unit and keep a new/repaired one as a ready use spare.
    - Find out and test the EKA procedure for your particular vehicle and test it works - you will need it at some point in time.
    - Replace the heater matrix O rings or, better still, replace the actual heater matrix itself with a suitable non OEM replacement that does away with the O rings.
    - Fit the HeVAC unit with a ‘proper’ connector for the LCD screen.
    - Replace/refit the subwoofer speakers.
    - Replace (if fitted) the DSP amplifier - expensive, if you can even find one. They are not repairable so you may need to swap out the complete ICE system for a more modern version!
    - Read up about the ‘three amigos’ and understand the possible fixes required - usually the ABS sensors or ECU (see below)

    Keep the following as ready use spares:

    - A known good ABS ECU.
    - A spare front and rear ABS wheel sensor.
    - A drivers door lock assembly (see above)

    Regarding the EAS valve block I acquired a second hand one on the bay of e together with an O ring rebuild kit and rebuilt it and kept it nicely packaged with a dessicant pack ‘on the shelf’ and then swapped it on the vehicle (takes less than half hour) at the first sign of trouble. I immediately rebuilt the one swapped out and kept that on the shelf and swapped it around at the five year point even when everything was still working. Rinse and repeat.

    Compressor rebuild takes under an hour and I do it each time I swap the valve block out (new cylinder, piston seal and filters).

    Parts for these vehicles are not overly expensive (except DSP amp) or can be refurbished/repaired at reasonable cost and most fixes are within the competence of an enthusiastic DIYer.

    Remember, The P38 is a hobby! It takes a lot of time and effort to keep one running in tip top condition.
    2001 Vogue . . . . . . and, yes, I do own the road!

  7. #5
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Here is what my list would be for a must have check list:

    Coolant must not be getting into the cylinders

  8. #6
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Sorry pressed "enter"

    Here is what my list would be:

    1. Coolant is not getting into cylinders (easier said than done when buying a vehicle)
    2. Transmission shifts correctly
    3. Working fobs
    4. EKA code is known

    Number 4 may be an issue if you have a North American P38. The EKA code is a must. It can be taken care of later by sending out the vehicles main computer but if you have all the of 4 in my list everything else can be fixed with not too much cost

  9. #7
    JUNIOR ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Its going to be hard to find a P38 that is thoroughly sorted out these days. Most that have gone to that much work have done it to keep it since the market is crap for P38's. But if you are buying that's a bonus. If it were me, I would research the items in Garvin's list but I certainly wouldn't go after most of them as preventative until you address immediate issues. Personally, I don't do paint or body work so I would find something garaged with the paint good enough to live with. Interiors are incredibly durable (at least the leather is) so that's not a huge concern. I had a '95 4.0 Gems and then went to a '99 Bosch 4.6. That wasn't an accident, a '99 is prior to DSP amps, useless GPS, and air injection to the cats which can be problematic but new enough to have a little more power than early 4.0. Have a couple thousand available for maintenance issues. I would skip anything converted to coils unless you want to build an expedition vehicle. Did anyone mention confirming its not overheating and consuming water? I would prioritize a 4.6 over 4.0 more than Bosch vs. GEMS.
    '99 Range Rover HSE
    '02 Audi S6

  10. #8
    SOPHOMORE ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    +1 on Cooling & heating system, Gearbox all modes. For ABS & Traction find a gravel road to test both.

    In addition to above check every electrical switch works as expected, and make a list of what doesn't. Most failures are usually easy to fix (if sometimes fiddly), and can be used to reduce the price.

    Pete

  11. #9
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Great help. Thank you very much.

    It is sorta funny....from what I can tell, a 4.6 Bosch P38 is basically the same truck as a 4.6 DII. Same axels, ABS, engine. Xfer case is different, EAS, and fancier electronics.

    When you ask about a DII at this age, it always starts with head gaskets. Meanwhile P38 discussions are much less frequently about head gaskets.

  12. #10
    SOPHOMORE ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Head Gasket issues are usually caused by lack of coolant flow, leakage or air-lock issues in the cooling system.

    Previous owner of one of my P38's tried gaskets, bodged thermostat, water pump, and never actually resolved it. He advertised it with "misfire", so I got a good condition genuine Autobiography with LPG for £800. The real issue was actually leaky core plugs.

    Proper engine rebuild still in progress, but it's looking good after all new core plugs, head & block skimmed, everything cleaned as it goes together.

  13. #11
    JUNIOR ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Quote Originally Posted by WaltNYC View Post
    It is sorta funny....from what I can tell, a 4.6 Bosch P38 is basically the same truck as a 4.6 DII. Same axels, ABS, engine. Xfer case is different, EAS, and fancier electronics.
    So the same engine and axles make it basically the same? Drive the two, not very similar at all.
    '99 Range Rover HSE
    '02 Audi S6

  14. #12
    JUNIOR ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Biggest difference is the EAS on a P38 but air assisted springs on a Disco. Similar but very different and the P38 ride and articulation off road is what sets it apart.
    97 4.0SE
    98 4.0 Police spec
    and a number of others I maintain for the owners.

  15. #13
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Quote Originally Posted by NorCal RR View Post
    So the same engine and axles make it basically the same? Drive the two, not very similar at all.
    From a wrenching perspective, yeah.

    I'm not saying they are equivalent trucks. I mean no offense. Simply that they share many mechanicals which I view as a positive for me, a guy that knows Discos fairly well.

  16. #14
    NEWBIE
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    I have had several P38s and agree that they represent value. Having said that, the only P38 that will likely ever have any "collector value" are the Holland and Holland variants owing to their spectacular interiors (I have owned

    2). Things I believe ALL P38s will have issues with are 1) head gaskets which is well known issue along with liners. Also block porosity as the dies were pretty much shot by the time they were done using them. One P38 I owned needed new gaskets @ 5K miles! IF the head gaskets have been replaced properly that's a good sign as the blocks will have heat cycled a bunch of times and may be more stable. 2) melted/distorted main fuse box. Not the end of the world. Check and replace FIRST before you have a lot of electrical problems.

    3) HVAC damper motors. A weak spot. If they are not broken now at some point they will be. Real bear to change, but there are tips on the forum to minimize hours needed.

    4) LCD HVAC screen. Repair/exchange units available. Not a big deal 4) heater O-rings. Not a huge deal, but go bad.

    5) Power lock mechanisms that will automatically trip the alarm. Not a horrible job to replace

    6) suspension bushing wear: normal as on all Rovers

    7) air suspension: replacing with Bilsteins and coils is not a big deal.

    Coil packs fail but again, not impossible to replace, but not a lot of fun either.

    Get the later 4.6L Thor Bosch engine. One of the best features of the P38s I've found is the bodies do not seem to have any corrosion issues. If this was the case on my RRC's, life would be much easier. Like any Rover, buy the best you can afford and "overpay" for the right car as it will prove the cheapest in the long run.
    Last edited by RRToadHall; Today at 08:09 AM.

  17. #15
    JUNIOR ROVER
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    Re: The siren's song is calling

    Quote Originally Posted by WaltNYC View Post
    From a wrenching perspective, yeah.
    I'm not saying they are equivalent trucks. I mean no offense. Simply that they share many mechanicals which I view as a positive for me, a guy that knows Discos fairly well.
    No offense taken I just think they are very different. I'm larger than average and find DII to be really small feeling. The insides are really different and the feel going down the road is very different. Classics have the same basic engine and axles and feel different again.
    '99 Range Rover HSE
    '02 Audi S6

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