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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #1
After five years ownership I no longer need my lovely P38 and wish to sell. However, it is overheating perhaps due to suspect head gasket. This could be a £1500+ repair. Now the MOT is overdue. Do I try to get an MOT (with the overheating unfixed) or sell as is, possibly as a write-off? The car owes me nothing but I'd like to see it stay on the road, as a grand piece of 20th Century engineering. It's resale value is less than the upcoming repair cost but that's been true for most repairs since I bought it; it continues to be a good car. I've spent about £1000 each year on repairs which is not unreasonable and likely to continue indefinitely.

See my five years of repairs experience at https://www.rangerovers.net/showcase/jub.6721/

Any suggestions?
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Bottom line is that with a new car you pay depreciation, with an old car you pay maintenance and in-between you pay some of both. You are swopping money for miles in the style to which you wish to be accustomed.

When it come to serious spending on a near worthless in resale value car the $64,000 question is how many miles do you get for your money and how reliable is it going to be. My view is that it costs about £6,000 to put the clock back around 100,000 miles on a sound, but leggy, P38 if you can do the grunt work. Spend it in a lump or well chosen large lumps, so its sorted and go back to normal services (+ one other thing) at 6,000 mile intervals. Pretty much like any lower mileage used car off the dealer selected line really. Big mistake is to attempt to fix it as you go as its so easy to end up in "something needs to be done every month" territory and its not reliable. P38 is one of the cars where you can do that and not get ambushed by something really expensive or really unobtainium.

100,000 miles for £6,000. I'll take that.

Clive
 

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Something else the new site seems to have screwed up is that we can't see what repairs you have done over the last 5 years, however, as you are talking £ I assume in the UK. Do you do the work yourself or have to pay someone else to do it for you? The overheating may be due to a head gasket, but equally it could be a failing water pump or clogged radiator. None of which are difficult or expensive. I recently sold one of mine, mechanically sorted but with no MoT due to a cracked windscreen, and that went for £400. had I been able to get a replacement windscreen fitted and put an MoT on it, I'd probably have been looking at another grand on top. So it's up to you, fix it, MoT it then use it or sell it, or take a much lower price by selling it as it is.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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1500 for new head gaskets is a bit steep, find someone who does it for a reasonable price.
I usually charge $250 (labour only) for a V or boxer engine to do the head gaskets
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Big mistake is to attempt to fix it as you go as its so easy to end up in "something needs to be done every month" territory and its not reliable.
This is where I am with mine. A host of issues that I've known about for a while and bought a pile of parts that have sat in the shed while I wait for some time to fix them. The list got longer, the pile got bigger and nothing seemed to actually get fitted.

Running it as a daily driver and making repairs along the way was OK to start with but then a baby came along, weekends started disappearing, it was increasingly important that the car was in a running state etc. Having the car off the road for a partially completed repair became a situation I couldn't have.

Then, something big came along (low oil pressure, cause unknown as yet) and it's now just too much. I've taken the car off the road and bought something new with a warranty that I no longer have to worry about. It WILL work and if it doesn't it goes somewhere else to be fixed and I get a replacement car to stay mobile.

While the car is off the road it'll be much easier to work on it in small doses as and when I get time. If the repair isn't complete by the end of Sunday then who cares? It can sit in pieces until I get a few more minutes. The list of jobs will decrease without new ones being added as the miles aren't creeping up. At the end, hopefully, I'll have pretty well sorted car! I've now got three and half years in which to sort my fix list!

So, I guess that's my suggestion to the question. If you like the car and are able to do the work yourself (ie: have the space, time and equipment) take it off the road, sort the repairs and find something else to pootle around in in the meantime. Not necessarily something brand new but there ARE other cars out there that will do the job and not need as many repairs as a Range Rover. Ok, they might not be as fancy, big or comfortable but if it's just temporary then it should be OK?
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the comments. Sorry you couldn't see the history which seems to have been deleted! I had a backup so have recreated a Showcase at:

https://www.rangerovers.net/showcase/jub.23107/

If this doesn't work again, here's a summary (not including regular servicing, tyres or battery):

June 2014. £20 Door latch new cable.
Aug 2014. £50 Radio cable and code.
October 2014. £800 New clutch fork
October 2014. £600 New DM Flywheel
October 2014. £600 Recon transfer case
July 2015. £30 New fan belt.
July 2015. £300 No2 universal joint (numbered 1-4 from front on car)
July 2015. £200 New rear discs
July 2015. £200 RH rear caliper.
July2015. £200 New switch panel.
2017. £230 RF Unit
2018. £450 Gear selector
2018. £1100 Clutch
2018. £600 Water pump and radiator

Total £5380 Repairs 2014-2019 (£1,076 per year)

As said I have to sell the car and perhaps am being sentimental but don't want to see it crushed just yet.

@Rutland, I think you have the right idea; it can sit on my front lawn for quite a while as it's drivable to move around. I'll advertise it as is and look for a buyer who wants to do the head gasket themselves. If they do it'll be a bargain.

Then I may be able to fix the overheating and then get MOT to sell in running order even with a suspect head gasket.

@RichardG, as you'll see from the history if it ever appears, I have had the radiator and water pump fixed. I appreciate your comments on the value of getting a car repaired before selling it. And @Reinhound, I agree £1500 seems excessive. Another local mechanic seemed to think it fair given the uncertainties of opening up such an old engine. Any further thoughts on ways to do this more cheaply would be welcome.

The overheating is strange. Rangers of Guildford think it's the head gasket but I'm not convinced of their reasoning. With the radiator cap on pressure builds and very quickly shows severe overheating even though the engine is cool to the touch. I understand that a blown gasket might pressurise the cooling system. Does it then overheat the water before the engine heats up? What do you and others think? With cap off the temp stays steady on the guage until the water boils and bubbles away. With constant topping up it doesn't overheat. I accept the gasket may be blown but this may have been the case for months; there is no oil in the water. I'm wondering if the overheating is something else, perhaps as simple as a faulty temperature sensor.

Am I clutching at straws?
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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There are different scenarios for blown gasket. Sometimes coolant leaks into oil, which is rare but not unheard of with Rover V8. Other times exhaust gases escape into the cooling system, which is more common with Rover v8. if you have a hot bubble of exhaust gas in our coolant, the temp sensor may show severe overheating. Rover v8 engines don't like overheating. The aluminum blocks on these engines are known to sometimes develop cracks, making repairs entirely infeasible. The torque-to-yield head bolts contribute to the problem. Unless you use studs, there is a finite number of times you can do head gaskets on a Rover V8 until the block cracks. And that finite number, while varies from engine to engine, isn't big.

IMHO any P38 Land Rover is only worth keeping if you have time and skills to repair it yourself. The lion share of your expenses are labor, not parts. Looks like you had the transfer case out of the truck three times and the transmission at least twice. It's a fair amount of work that adds up quickly. Unless you have the time and enjoy turning rusty bolts, you are just throwing good money after bad.
 

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Personally having gone through the same exact pain in 2013 chucked £600 at it still overheated and sold it for spares for £485. Hindsight wonderful but in my case I now wish I’d paid a garage to source and install a replacement motor and hope nowt else big would have gone wrong. Then again her replacement cost mE £1850 and nothing big has yet gone wrong, yes cruise yes locking out the becm yes door locks but no biggies
 

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Having looked through that list, a couple of things spring to mind, you've got a manual gearbox, so is it petrol or diesel, and you're obviously not doing the work yourself. Having to pay someone else just means you are going to be spending more and more money on it. For example, rear discs are £60 a pair for decent, not Britpart ones and a rear caliper is the same price so to be charged £400 for £120 worth of parts and what is no more than a couple hours work (it probably takes longer to jack it up and take the wheels off than it does to change the discs and caliper) means it is costing you much more than it could.
 

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I'd maybe try and drain the coolant system, and flush it, and fill it with some fresh coolant just in case there was some gunk in there. I had an overheat after my second thermostat (thank the PO for that, installed in the nose on the V8s inlet manifold) got blocked by gunk. I removed the extra thermostat, replaced the coolant and job done (until the next thing went wrong !!). Make sure the air is bled out of it before replacing the cap - the coolant needs to wee out of the return pipe from the radiator when you manually rev the engine.
If you have to do the head gaskets yourself there's a place near Heathrow (since you mention Guildford) who can skim the heads, and remove/ helicoil broken bolts, but I wouldn't open it until you're really sure it's the HGs. HGs would cost c. £4-500 DIY for both banks, less if nothing breaks/ nothing needs skimming, it's quite therapeutic. If you are petrol, what do your spark plugs tell you about the state of the engine?
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all. It's a BMW Diesel btw but your comments re V8 are applicable here. The hot bubble theory does explain the situation so I guess Guildford Rangers are right about the HG. Really good point about the labour. In the days when I had time to play I could do all this for a fraction of the professional cost. It you're lucky you can have time or money but it's hard to have both!

I'll keep the car without MOT for a couple of months while casting about for help on a repair.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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A simple compression test will tell you whether or not you have blown a head gasket. Dont know what there is all this guessing.
 

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A compression test on a diesel is far from simple.....
 
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