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Start with elring gaskets if you can get them. Some of the best in the business. Be very meticulous on reassembly. "You only have one job". You only have one chance. There WILL be more parts needed than you think. Some will break (small bits) from age. Replace anything that is suspicious or will require the heads or intake to be removed, to replace later. With the labor and $ required, plan on keeping the truck for a while.Replace all cooling hoses that you haven't already. One blown hose and you could risk overheating the motor, and will be in the same situation your in now. Once you have decided to do the HG, your in it to the end financially. It would be costly to turn back in the middle. You will have the piece of mind with a reliable motor. Can't remember if Land Rover had cured timing tensioner issue for MY 12. If not, you have lucked out at 138k, and should look into it while in there. Can't remember if front timing cover has to come off on the 5.0 for just the heads, if so the H balance wheel is a bitch without the tool. Torquing the heads WILL hurt the next day.Wrenchmonger would know. And please get the heads checked and cleaned up by a reputable shop.
 

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1995 p38a
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Start with elring gaskets if you can get them. Some of the best in the business. Be very meticulous on reassembly. "You only have one job". You only have one chance. There WILL be more parts needed than you think. Some will break (small bits) from age. Replace anything that is suspicious or will require the heads or intake to be removed, to replace later. With the labor and $ required, plan on keeping the truck for a while.Replace all cooling hoses that you haven't already. One blown hose and you could risk overheating the motor, and will be in the same situation your in now. Once you have decided to do the HG, your in it to the end financially. It would be costly to turn back in the middle. You will have the piece of mind with a reliable motor. Can't remember if Land Rover had cured timing tensioner issue for MY 12. If not, you have lucked out at 138k, and should look into it while in there. Can't remember if front timing cover has to come off on the 5.0 for just the heads, if so the H balance wheel is a bitch without the tool. Torquing the heads WILL hurt the next day.Wrenchmonger would know. And please get the heads checked and cleaned up by a reputable shop.
I havent tried those yet. I had the luxury of being at the dealer for a long while. So I'm partial to land rover OEM but I'd love for ARP to make a head stud kit so we don't have to use those dreaded stretch bolts.
 

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1995 p38a
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With that experience...do you recommend any "upgraded" parts to diminish the chance of yet another hg failure (like better head bolts/studs, different head gaskets perhaps)? The OP has an N/A 5.0L, so is it correct to assume that supercharged engines are even more prone to the failure due to the increased pressure in the combustion chamber?
Unfortunately I haven't done anything other than use OEM land rover gaskets. But if a head stud upgrade ever comes out, get that. And to be honest the failure rate I have seen between NA and SC cars isn't far from one another. The biggest culprit I see in these motors is how tight the tolerances are. But being a heavy line guy certified from ford and land rover, I learned something from the ford classes they didn't teach at rover, whatever the spec for measuring the tolerances in the head, apply that to the blocks. So there is a spec for overall warpage, but that's really not as critical as another measurement. Which is a 25mm square area. And with this motor being an open deck block it's critical that the tops of the cylinder bores are perfect. I'm talking they need to have no warpage. The spec is 0.0015 inches. Now with that being said, I have seen alot of engines go both ways, it's a 50/50 shot when I'm measuring them if it's in spec or not. If the vehicle is having repeated headgasket failures this is why. They never really checked the block. With the Multi Layer Steel head gasket and the open deck block it's so critical it is absolutely perfect.

Not to cast shade on anybody, but most dealer techs are bumper to bumper guys. I was lucky that the dealer I was at was very big and I came from a heavy line background so they put me to work doing just that. Timing jobs, engine replacements and head jobs were pretty much all I did there. And it's hard to find that at some dealers.

All of that bring said, don't let me put you off from fixing your vehicle. Just find a reputable shop that can handle the job. It's an expensive job and alot of European shops will be eager to get that work and say they can do it. Bring it to a rover shop for this one. One with a good name. Because if something goes wrong or sideways with it, I know I would want to be confident they can figure out the issue and get it fixed correctly.
 

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2010-2012 Range Rover MkIII / L322
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But being a heavy line guy certified from ford and land rover,
Aha! Bleed Ford blue :).

That's actually why I was asking. My first car was a thunderbird super coupe. I've owned them for over 20 yrs and bad head gaskets are a very common occurrence. For the birds, ARP head studs are an essential replacement to the factory torque-to-yield bolts, and "regular" gaskets are preferred over multi-layer gaskets unless you're able to fully prep the block and head surfaces to be perfectly flat. If the mating surfaces are not perfectly flat, the multi-layer gaskets will leak under boost. If memory serves, in one of the videos you did for the 5.0L, I saw the head gaskets and they appear to be multi-layer.

I wonder what it would take to get ARP to make a set of head studs for the JLR 5.0L. Or...maybe some digging is in order. The JLR 5.0L has Ford DNA...so maybe there's existing ARP hardware for Ford engines that can be used. Hhhmmmmmm....
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
Thank you for taking the time to spell-out the facts, especially with your experienced knowledge, and that of Anvil Rob and Wrenchmonger; I really appreciate you guys with your patience instead of just shaking your head & leaving me wandering aimlessly in hope of a lesser gremlin.
As you guys already know, my path forward will have to be top-end tear-down & rebuild, along with the chain guides while in there. The question I need to answer now is where & when.
Fortunately it's at a point where it wouldn't be noticeable if I weren't looking so closely.

Stop buying parts as stated.
I would replace my cooling system hoses & pump at this age regardless of this problem - I'm paranoid of cooling system failure and the effects of these engines. I figure hoses every 5-8 years, and since I had a pump bearing fail on my 2003 RR once, a pump & thermostat are easy & cheap enough to replace periodically too. Not to mention coolant R&R every 2 years more or less.

The heads may not leak enough at cooler temps and it's hard to test with cap off and get it up to operating temp without it boiling over, as there is no longer a pressure sealed system to keep boiling temps down. High end HC testers test in PPM and can detect much better. The engine can idle all day long and not show HC's. But put a load on it, and that's a different story. (highway speeds)

3 When they looked at the cylinders with a borescope they should have determined head gasket right away, as the cylinder would be washed/steam cleaned and obvious.

5 The dealer found coolant in the cylinder. There should never be coolant in a cylinder.
I should have noted in my OP that the dealership mechanic was vague and assumed what they saw was a minuscule amount of coolant (nothing pooled, just residual dampness), and the indy shop couldn't identify anything in the cylinders, or that any piston/Combustion chamber was steam cleaned. The dealership seemed to make their recommendation from experience. This is the same dealership that prescribed complete replacement of the transmission & transfer case when I took it in last year, and they did nothing more than put it in gear and listen to it. They knew what was wrong from experience and prescribed complete replacement from that without one look. They knew what the failure was, but I didn't want to replace the whole transmission & transfer case.

My cooling system hasn't boiled over at all, including when I've run it in the driveway on 90+ degree day without the cap on for almost an hour. The temp does get to 190 as designed, and the coolant level rises in the tank a few winches, but no boiling, no bubbling.

Just make sure you go back to the original spec reservoir cap (30 psi).
What would the effect be of running it with the 16 PSI cap instead of the 30 PSI cap? I ran it around town for a few miles & hour yesterday, and checked the hose when I got home, where it felt like more expected pressure. then this morning I went out & check for pressure, and it seemed to have returned to ambient pressure as it should after cooling, with no coolant loss.
This engine (thermostat) runs much cooler than my 2003 by design, and has no problem maintaining the 190 degrees (the BMW-design 2003 thermostat runs at about 212 if I remember correctly).
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
Thanks for backing me up on this. Also I'm not just a p38 owner, I also work on these trucks for a living. Lol
Would you recommend I trust my Orlando LR dealership to do the work? Being in Florida & a pro with these, do you have any suggestions of reasonably reputable LR mechanics in central Florida?
And if bank 2 (left) doesn't appear to have any problems and that's confirmed by dealership, since dealership prices are a bit dear, is it insane to consider having the dealership work on only the failing bank-1 (right) and leave bank-2 alone?
Del Ray is a bit south of me, or I might bring it in to your dealership to have it done.

ALSO:
I do have a borescope and have looked in the cylinders. The most interesting thing I've seen in there is the shape of the piston domes. Interesting. Doesn't really look steam cleaned though. I can see a little silver on parts of the domes, but not much to speak of.
I have had the intake cleaned (with fluid through the intake, not nut shell blasting), so there isn't much carbon build-up on the intakes or combustion chambers. I guess that cleans valve stems mostly, but cylinders too.
 

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Would you recommend I trust my Orlando LR dealership to do the work? Being in Florida & a pro with these, do you have any suggestions of reasonably reputable LR mechanics in central Florida?
And if bank 2 (left) doesn't appear to have any problems and that's confirmed by dealership, since dealership prices are a bit dear, is it insane to consider having the dealership work on only the failing bank-1 (right) and leave bank-2 alone?
Del Ray is a bit south of me, or I might bring it in to your dealership to have it done.
I don't have any personal experiences with the Orlando dealer unfortunately. And I left the dealership life a couple years ago to work for an independent shop where I am their rover tech. Keeps me busy lol

The only experience involving the Orlando rover dealership was that one of our customers had their engine blow up and he got it towed from their dealership to ours because he liked our dealer or service advisor more. So I don't have anything to say about their skills or talents unfortunately. But I have never heard anything negative. Feel then out with diag and see what they say.
Thank you for taking the time to spell-out the facts, especially with your experienced knowledge, and that of Anvil Rob and Wrenchmonger; I really appreciate you guys with your patience instead of just shaking your head & leaving me wandering aimlessly in hope of a lesser gremlin.
As you guys already know, my path forward will have to be top-end tear-down & rebuild, along with the chain guides while in there. The question I need to answer now is where & when.
Fortunately it's at a point where it wouldn't be noticeable if I weren't looking so closely.


I would replace my cooling system hoses & pump at this age regardless of this problem - I'm paranoid of cooling system failure and the effects of these engines. I figure hoses every 5-8 years, and since I had a pump bearing fail on my 2003 RR once, a pump & thermostat are easy & cheap enough to replace periodically too. Not to mention coolant R&R every 2 years more or less.


I should have noted in my OP that the dealership mechanic was vague and assumed what they saw was a minuscule amount of coolant (nothing pooled, just residual dampness), and the indy shop couldn't identify anything in the cylinders, or that any piston/Combustion chamber was steam cleaned. The dealership seemed to make their recommendation from experience. This is the same dealership that prescribed complete replacement of the transmission & transfer case when I took it in last year, and they did nothing more than put it in gear and listen to it. They knew what was wrong from experience and prescribed complete replacement from that without one look. They knew what the failure was, but I didn't want to replace the whole transmission & transfer case.

My cooling system hasn't boiled over at all, including when I've run it in the driveway on 90+ degree day without the cap on for almost an hour. The temp does get to 190 as designed, and the coolant level rises in the tank a few winches, but no boiling, no bubbling.


What would the effect be of running it with the 16 PSI cap instead of the 30 PSI cap? I ran it around town for a few miles & hour yesterday, and checked the hose when I got home, where it felt like more expected pressure. then this morning I went out & check for pressure, and it seemed to have returned to ambient pressure as it should after cooling, with no coolant loss.
This engine (thermostat) runs much cooler than my 2003 by design, and has no problem maintaining the 190 degrees (the BMW-design 2003 thermostat runs at about 212 if I remember correctly).
I just have to use this one as an example for you. There was a car that came in once, it just ran slightly rough at idle. I checked the fuel trims and they read -12 to --15 percent at idle, not good and not horrible. It wasn't enough to throw a check engine light but cause a slight miss. Using that I narrowed it down to bank 2. The coolant was low but not emptying. And it didn't overheat and never overheated in its life. And I pulled all the spark plugs and used a borescopes and low and behold cylinder 6 was super clean and also had drops of coolant in it. With these motors it can happen without any other normal symptoms you'd expect of a headgasket.
 

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Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
...it just ran slightly rough at idle. I checked the fuel trims and they read -12 to --15 percent at idle, not good and not horrible...
I just checked my STFT and LTFT, with the STFT dancing about 1.5 at both B1 and B2, and LTFT reading 8.5 also both B1 and B2.
The O2 sensors are reading (s1) between between 0.0 and 0.05 at both B1 & B2, and the S2s are both reading between -1.5 and 1.5.
This is at temperature, since I just drove around for about 45 minutes at speeds up to 70, and ambient air as high as 95F.
And as always, the ECT sticks pretty solid between 188 & 190 F.

It generally runs smoothly without missing, but never as smooth as the 4.4L M62 in my 2003. As old as that one is, it's usually still hard to tell the engines running.

I pulled all the spark plugs and used a borescopes and low and behold cylinder 6 was super clean and also had drops of coolant in it. With these motors it can happen without any other normal symptoms you'd expect of a headgasket.
I'll take a look at them again, but as I recall none of them were exactly clean. Just some spots that weren't completely black, with some slight silver visible on top of the piston and I could see the concentric rings on top of the pistons. That was shortly after applying CRC GDI intake valve cleaner though, but I've put a few miles on it since then.

I'm just surprised that it can have a blown head gasket that's so particular. I've only seen cases where they leave no doubt that there's a leak between cylinder & coolant system, as with the GM 4L North Star.
 

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I just checked my STFT and LTFT, with the STFT dancing about 1.5 at both B1 and B2, and LTFT reading 8.5 also both B1 and B2.
The O2 sensors are reading (s1) between between 0.0 and 0.05 at both B1 & B2, and the S2s are both reading between -1.5 and 1.5.
This is at temperature, since I just drove around for about 45 minutes at speeds up to 70, and ambient air as high as 95F.
And as always, the ECT sticks pretty solid between 188 & 190 F.

It generally runs smoothly without missing, but never as smooth as the 4.4L M62 in my 2003. As old as that one is, it's usually still hard to tell the engines running.


I'll take a look at them again, but as I recall none of them were exactly clean. Just some spots that weren't completely black, with some slight silver visible on top of the piston and I could see the concentric rings on top of the pistons. That was shortly after applying CRC GDI intake valve cleaner though, but I've put a few miles on it since then.

I'm just surprised that it can have a blown head gasket that's so particular. I've only seen cases where they leave no doubt that there's a leak between cylinder & coolant system, as with the GM 4L North Star.
Yea, I know I'm dropping into the conversation a bit late, but did you perform a coolant pressure test? And also have you inspected the front and rear coolant pipes? The cross pipe between the heads and the front outlet pipes for leakage? Specifically any crustyness?

If your readings were in the positive numbers then it's not indicating a headgasket seepage. But the seepage usually is more pronounced when cold instead of hot. Does it run a little rough when cold?

These motors should run perfectly smooth at all rpm. One way I like to test it is, start it cold, let it idle out it in gear with the parking break on and open a door all the way, the door shouldn't have any visible vibrations to it.

There is a hose that runs under the intake manifold/supercharger that goes from the throttle body to the rear crossover pipe, could be an issue.

At what rate does it consume coolant?
 

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Have you put an actual pressure gauge on your cooling system to observe the coolant pressure? These trucks can run all the way up to 30psi pressure and any weak point will be where it goes. 30psi might not sound like alot but over the surface of the engine cooling system it's quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Yea, I know I'm dropping into the conversation a bit late, but did you perform a coolant pressure test?
I have not checked coolant system pressure test, but pulled a full vacuum, that I thought would help since it's air getting into the system & not coolant getting out.
It doesn't run rough at all, except it does seem to have a very slight (barely noticeable) momentary roughness when it passes through about 1800 RPM. But as I described, these engines as smooth as they are don't compare to the M62.

I pulled the intake manifold months ago to look for problems with the variable intake runner control & got pretty familiar with that system. While I had the manifold off I replaced that coolant hose - the one that was in there had a splice in the middle for some reason.
While I had the manifold off I also gave those pipes a look and didn't see anything suspicious.
It's not using any coolant now that I notice. Previously it would leak a little from the bypass port on the front of the coolant pump around the sleeve when the pressure would build-up, but I've replaced the pump with that sleeve.
I have wondered about the swirl pot in the back, but that wouldn't add pressure into the system.

I wish it weren't the head gasket problem that you guys have identified, and I've kept my fingers crossed that someone had some little-known but simpler source, but no such luck.
 

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I have not checked coolant system pressure test, but pulled a full vacuum, that I thought would help since it's air getting into the system & not coolant getting out.
It doesn't run rough at all, except it does seem to have a very slight (barely noticeable) momentary roughness when it passes through about 1800 RPM. But as I described, these engines as smooth as they are don't compare to the M62.

I pulled the intake manifold months ago to look for problems with the variable intake runner control & got pretty familiar with that system. While I had the manifold off I replaced that coolant hose - the one that was in there had a splice in the middle for some reason.
While I had the manifold off I also gave those pipes a look and didn't see anything suspicious.
It's not using any coolant now that I notice. Previously it would leak a little from the bypass port on the front of the coolant pump around the sleeve when the pressure would build-up, but I've replaced the pump with that sleeve.
I have wondered about the swirl pot in the back, but that wouldn't add pressure into the system.

I wish it weren't the head gasket problem that you guys have identified, and I've kept my fingers crossed that someone had some little-known but simpler source, but no such luck.
Well... Hold on, you're not using any coolant anymore? If the coolant consumption is now gone... It was the port on your pump. I'm sorry I was under the impression this problem is still happening. If it's no longer losing coolant then you're good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
If it's no longer losing coolant then you're good to go.
I wish it were the answer, but what I'm looking for is the pressure going into my cooling system, not coolant coming out.
 

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Well there's only two things wig enough pressure to put stuff into the cooling system. And since you're not complaining about oil in your coolant. Then it's combustion gases. Or you never bled all the air out if the system.
 

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Or you never bled all the air out if the system
you're not using any coolant anymore?
On my p38 I had multiple problems. 1st we thought it was the pump, nope new pump no change. Then maybe the thermostat as bottom hose was not hot, nope checked on the stove in water, opening correctly but threw new one in. Then cap, nope. Radiator clogged, nope. Ensured it was totally bleed of air (so I thought), AND LINE FROM RAD TO RESERVOIR WAS FREE OF COOLANT. I don't know if L322 has the same small line from rad to res. Then we checked to see if fitting was blocked on res that small line connects. Bingo. The line was not blocked but the draw tube in the res was cracked, not submerge and air pressure was going back into the top of the rad pressurising it, keeping the coolant from circulating thru thru the rad creating back pressure. Water pumps really don't pump, they circulate fluid within the motor.This explained why the bottom hose was still cold at operating temp, top of rad was hot and top hose was cooking This one draw tube thru the balance of the whole system off. Could not get the air out of the top of the rad, top of motor, heating system ect. This system is designed to put any residual air via a submerged tube into the reservoir from the top of the rad, and draw coolant back in the system when it cools. When there is air in cooling systems in modern cars, bad things happen. My vac filler would hold vac but I alway had a void in the upper part of the motor. Hot air expands way more than fluid, and would balloon the top hose and pressurize the system more than 30 PSI, also causing the cap to bleed off. Prior to the find we tried everything including raising the res while filling. We could not figure out how air was getting into the system. That's because we did not get it out while filling it. Even with the vac filler, which worked flawlessly for years on this truck. The HG leak was small enough not to effect it with the cap off, as HC's would vent off. But the cooling system would not work correctly (thermostat would never open) and the air in the system was wreaking havoc. If the L322 cooling system works on the same principal, which most modern closed systems do, you may want to step back and look at this differently than HG issue. If it's not the same than I've' wasted everyone's time reading this. A P38 is the hardest cooling system to bleed in the world, but most modern systems really are a pain without a vac bleeder. My case was not that the vac bleeder failed me, but the operator failed.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Any updates?
Nothing really, been running it normally since post above when I put the 16 PSI cap on the surge tank.
It's been running fine and not nearly as much residual pressure in the coolant system after cool-down.
With the OE 30 PSI cap on, I'd open the cap after a bit of spirited driving on a hot day to relieve the pressure, but with the 16 PSI cap, if I do open the cap after it cools, and after a couple days of normal use, a small amount of pressure will escape, but nothing remarkable, and no where near the pressure w/ the 30 PSI cap.
ECT temps are, well perfect, and the engine runs great (not quite as smooth & quite as the M62, but an AJ133 is NOT an M62)
I know I need to replace a head gasket, and I will along with checking/replacing timing chain guides. But as it is, there is currently no trace of a problem unless I look closer than typical.
 
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