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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hard to belive but my 24 day trip through the Western US has amounted to 9828 kilometers/6106 miles. I have never driven that far in one trip before. The old P38 was solid the whole way not counting my broken air spring on the Colorado off-road trail. My SAI is acting up again and triggering the SES light but that has no effect on running. Over the whole distance I averaged 18.67 Imp mpg, 15.546 US mpg, 6.6 km/L. Used about 4 litres of oil.
$2473 Cdn for all that gas.
My only complaints are not enough power for those long mountain climbs and a cooling system that causes me to worry too much. I could see temperature going up 30F on the climbs. Usually topped out at 205F on my Autometer Guage which has the sensor in the lower radiator hose. Turned off the AC many times to aid the cooling. There should be a "how to" on improving the P38 cooling. Couple of photos: Carlsbad Caverns, North Rim of Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon.
 

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I did 3,400 miles to southern Spain and back last week and coming back was towing a 1990 Range Rover Classic on a trailer. As Europe is currently suffering a heatwave, ambient temperature was up to 34-36 C (93-97F) but the car was running at its usual 85C (185F). Going uphill at around 2,000 rpm, even with almost 3 tonnes hanging off the back, it would rise to about 89C (192F) but if I used Sport mode and made it kick down a gear so the engine was spinning at around 2,700-3,000 rpm, it would immediately drop back down to 85C. No way was I going to turn the AC off in those temperatures (missus would have killed me) so it was running flat out all the time. Totally standard except for a Direnza alloy radiator with 50% extra capacity.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Where can I get one of those radiators? Mine would never run that cool unless looking along on the level. I chemical cleaned and multi-flushed my cooling system 2 years ago so I think it is about as good as it gets (fan clutch seems OK).
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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I've been thinking about the failure mode on your air spring. Given there is little or no weight on the bottom clip, I think most likely the spring probably blew from a manufacturing defect, and the weight of the car on the twisted spring caused the pin to shear.
I think you must have a problem in your cooling system somewhere. I did a trip across the Simpson desert a few years ago, 40 degree heat and 500 ks up and down sandhills in low range with air con on and the gauge never moved. The radiator was probably partially blocked, as when I fitted a new radiator some time later, I realised the thermostat wasn't working because the temperature dropped to the bottom of the gauge when going down Bulli pass. These cars are rated to tow 3.5 tonnes and have a radiator that could be in a truck.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've been thinking about the failure mode on your air spring. Given there is little or no weight on the bottom clip, I think most likely the spring probably blew from a manufacturing defect, and the weight of the car on the twisted spring caused the pin to shear.
I think you must have a problem in your cooling system somewhere. I did a trip across the Simpson desert a few years ago, 40 degree heat and 500 ks up and down sandhills in low range with air con on and the gauge never moved. The radiator was probably partially blocked, as when I fitted a new radiator some time later, I realised the thermostat wasn't working because the temperature dropped to the bottom of the gauge when going down Bulli pass. These cars are rated to tow 3.5 tonnes and have a radiator that could be in a truck.
The stock gauge in the dash never moves. Usless for monitoring engine temperature until its too late. I have a radiator from a parts car that is almost new so I might swap that in along with a new heavy duty fan clutch.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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glad you enjoyed the trip. sounds like a lot fun and the P38 is my favorite Rover to road trip in.

gives me some confidence for the little jaunt of 800 miles i have coming up.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It is a comfortable car to drive. Seats are good but the leather can get a bit sweaty. More power would be nice but it is better than the 850cc Mini I once drove through the Rockies. Now that was slow going uphill 😝.
If the Service Engine Soon message comes up it will probably be the SAI system so don't get too concerned. I have had it come on 3 times. First time a plastic pipe had cracked at a 90 degree bend. Second time the blower was seized due to water ingress. I have not yet investigated the cause of my current fault.
Good luck with your trip. I did enjoy my sight seeing and camping.
 

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I replaced all four coolers up front... A/C condenser, trans oil, engine oil, and radiator as soon as I bought one. 183 deg is normal. I've seen it get to 198 on a 90 deg day while sitting at idle, but that is as high as I have ever seen it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I replaced all four coolers up front... A/C condenser, trans oil, engine oil, and radiator as soon as I bought one. 183 deg is normal. I've seen it get to 198 on a 90 deg day while sitting at idle, but that is as high as I have ever seen it.
Did you replace with stock parts? No upgrades?
How are you monitoring the engine temp?
 

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1999 4.6 HSE
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Respect and congrats on taking the 38 all the way down to NorZo! North Rim is so much quieter than its southern neighbor. Given the elevation and air density change, the fact that you barely overheated is proof you've got one of the better examples.
 

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2002 Range Rover 4.6HSE
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205F is not exactly "overheating." I would not be concerned about that at all. Sounds like a good trip.
 

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Agreed, it's only 96C, as the system is pressurized you only need to worry when it gets over around 110C or 230F.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was just being very cautious with the engine temperature. I didn't want to blow the head gaskets 2,000 miles from home and pay a garage $2k to do a job I could do myself. I mean, how much excess heat can these heads take?
I did figure that as long as I stayed below 210 I was OK so I took steps to ensure that. I was a bit surprised to see the the car would run cooler if I slowed down, say from 70 to 60. I would have thought the extra 10mph of air flow would take care of additional heat generation but seems not. The cooling system can't make use of the extra airflow.
It was a bit of a gamble taking an old car on a long trip but it has been pretty reliable during my ownership and I have replaced stuff most likely to die like the fuel pump and water pump. Installing rebuilt driveshafts soon.
 

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A lot. An overheat is only caused by one of two things, a lack of coolant or a lack of flow. A lack of coolant can happen if it gets too hot so pressure rises too high, the coolant starts to be spat out the pressure cap then it gets even hotter still. That is when you are likely to damage the heads or gaskets when the top of the engine doesn't have any coolant in it, just air (or steam). A lack of flow would be down to a water pump not doing its job or a clogged radiator so the heat cannot be moved away from the engine fast enough.

Mine stays at much the same temperature all the time irrespective of speed, although dropping it down a gear and getting the revs up higher made it run cooler due to increased flow.
 

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P38A 2001 Y reg Vogue 4.6 V8
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Where can I get one of those radiators? Mine would never run that cool unless looking along on the level. I chemical cleaned and multi-flushed my cooling system 2 years ago so I think it is about as good as it gets (fan clutch seems OK).
That cleaned the inside of the cooling system but what about the outside? The accumulated road muck is probably clogging the radiator impeding airflow. A decent radiator is cheap enough to buy. It could be considered due for replacement after over twenty years of use.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Have you considered getting a new one? They don't cost much plus the plastic top gets brittle with age and can blow apart.
 

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Direnza no longer list the alloy radiator I have in mine (only listing one for the diesel now), however, the very same GEMS alloy radiator is being sold here 55mm High Flow Radiator - Range Rover P38 4.0 / 4.6 V8 94-99 . It seems nobody does one for the Thor though, although the only difference is the position of the top stub so it wouldn't take much to modify one if you are handy with a TIG welder.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My radiators all have the inlet and outlet on the same side, the right side as seen from inside the car. There are a ton of these radiators on eBay with the inlet/outlet on opposite sides. I thought they were for diesels.
There was one aftermarket radiator from China on eBay with the ports in the correct place but a guy that bought one said it started leaking after 6 months.
 
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