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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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The following pertains to a 4.6 GEMS. FYI, this engine has never overheated, to the best of my knowledge... I've had it for eight years and 70,000 miles (it currently has 125k miles).

After several years of cooling system pressure, startup misfires on cylinder #4 (which eventually began throwing codes all the time), slow loss of coolant (but no visible leaks), and slow loss of oil, I pulled both heads and gave them to the machine shop. The head gaskets show no sign of erosion. The heads test OK, but there's indications of water ingress in cylinder #4 (no surprise there). The engine has never had a tapping sound and the liner doesn't seem to have shifted... but it could be a crack behind the liner, I'm guessing.

There's a ton of posts about this very situation... but in a way, all the info out there becomes confusing. What are my options?

If I remove the block and send it out to be re-sleeved with flanged liners (top-hat liners) is this a good idea? Say there is a crack behind the liner... does the flanged-sleeve solution work in this case? Has anyone with a flanged-sleeve block experienced leaks?

What exactly is the point of pressure testing the block (cooling system)? I mean, I obviously understand what the test will do. But what do I do with that info? In all of the videos I've seen of this procedure (Robison, etc) they find a leak at the sleeve to block. Does this mean the block is OK to use for a flanged re-sleeve or not?

If a block can be re-sleeved for between $1500 and $2000, how much more would it need in bottom end work to do it right?

Does it make more sense to just purchase AB's remanufactured short block for $5k? Anyother similar options for less?

Take my chances with a used engine from a recycler/yard and use my existing heads? I think there's a local '98 engine being listed at $750, but I have no idea of the condition. (car-part.com)

The tricky part is that the more you read about the potential failures of these engines the more you think that ALL the engine out there will do it. Is block failure really that common or is part of this "internet frenzy"... or when good info goes viral in a bad way?

Realistically, I don't think I'll hold onto my current rig for too much longer. It's been very good to me, but I think I'd like to try an L322 at some point coming up. And, while I know that money put into a car doesn't translate into actual worth, but if I put $5k+ more into the rig, I'd like to see at least some of that in resale... After all, it wouldn't make much sense to throw $5k+ at the car if it's only worth $8k... but possible worth it if a "new" motor (and I mean like the AB short block, or a solid re-sleeve and rebuild) bumped it to $11k.

Opinions?
 

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I don't think the cracked block is as common as the internet would have us believe. I would think if your motor has covered that amount of miles without issue, it's not going to have that problem. In saying that though, a rebuilt short from a reputable dealer like AB will be fine. With buying one from a wreckers, I would stipulate that you are to get a written gaurentee that the motor doesn't suffer from those things - then have it checked.

From what i've been told; when casting the early p38ish age motors the cast could shift within the mould, sometimes creating very thin walls in some motors. Later in the p38 series LR tightened up their build quality, and overheating only compounded these problems.

Regarding the info form pressure testing the block; it will tell you if you've got a cracked block or not. I've read some of the UK businesses will put stepped liners into a cracked block - but as an owner, I wouldn't feel comfortable with this; but then again, there are plenty of wetliner motors getting around.

If I was to buy a car with a rebuilt motor, i'd want to know where the parts come from and who did the work and what was done before i'd fork out an extra 5k.
 
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