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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #1
I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I need to do some work on this engine, but not sure where to get started. Is there a way to tell between bad head gaskets or slipped liners without tearing it apart first? I don't have a lot of time generally to get it the work finished and knowing if a full rebuild is necessary prior to pulling it off the road would help.

Compression test, engine ran up to temp and throttle body open:

Right bank (as viewed), front to rear: 93/80/115/110

Left bank (as viewed), front to rear: 95/102/111/104

The engine starts first try, every time, doesn't burn oil or coolant, gets about 13.5 mpg around town and has handled plenty of offroad work where a weak engine should falter. Sparkplugs look pretty decent too, no crusty oil burning signs or steam cleaned by coolant. Fairly uniform wear on all eight.

I have had a coolant leak for quite some time where the upper hose connects to the radiator, but assumed it was just a poor fitting connection. Coolant required topping off about twice a month but exhaust wasn't smoky or steamy.

I did a test this afternoon for exhaust gases in the coolant and it was a very positive reading, no uncertainty about it.

 

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Unfortunately there is no easy way to check for a dropped liner. Fortunately they are rare. Take an afternoon and pull the heads and feel the liner edges. Pay close attention to that #3 cylinder and the near by coolant passages. You most likely have the very beginning of a head gasket issue.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Yours is a 91 right? I think the slipped liner issue is more common with the later engines like the 4.6 litre. The variation in compression readings seems a bit wide to me. is it rings or valves?

It doesn't sound like you have an immediate problem - you could just wait for it to get worse (if ever) unless you are keen to get out the spanners.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #4
Yep, 91. It's reassuring to hear that the liners are less of an issue than the internet has led me to believe. It isn't an immediate problem, but since the truck is my daily driver I don't really want to wait until it fails completely and be in a tight spot. The compression readings still bother me, but I haven't found another tester to do it again with. I'm considering dropping it off at a shop for a full test and leakdown test before doing any work myself.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #5
I found a local guy selling a "great running" 4.2l with transmission and transfer case for $200. Would this be worth picking up, rebuilding in the garage in my spare time and eventually swapping out with the 3.9?
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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I found a local guy selling a "great running" 4.2l with transmission and transfer case for $200. Would this be worth picking up, rebuilding in the garage in my spare time and eventually swapping out with the 3.9?
Yes, especially at that price.

I'd be very suspicious of the compression readings you've got as they seem ridiculously low. If it was rings then I'd expect it to be burning oil so could be valves but with that amount of lost compression I wouldn't expect it to run very well either. The fact that it runs OK says that the readings are wrong. A friend rebuilt an engine (not a LR one) and couldn't get it to run right. His compression readings were much like yours but when we checked it with my tester it showed 150-160 psi on each cylinder. The non return valve in his was sticking so the needle was dropping back and his poor running was caused by something completely different.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #7
What is needed to swap between a 3.9 and a serpentine 95 4.2l? Some of what I've read says it's a straight swap after changing out the accessories for V drive, others say the crank is a different length, oil pump and distributor drives are different. The engine I have available is a 95.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
When replacing the head gaskets on my current 3.9 engine, should the heads be sent out to be resurfaced? I'm going to be doing it on a short schedule so if that's the best way to do it I'm looking at buying rebuilt heads ahead of time since I won't be able to leave the truck taken apart for long enough to send out the ones mounted right now.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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The valve guides seem to wear a bit, or else the seals on the inlet valves aren't so good. Getting the head shaved shouldn't be more than a day at the engineers, but if you got rebuilt heads you would expect new guides, seals, valve grind.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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I found a local guy selling a "great running" 4.2l with transmission and transfer case for $200. Would this be worth picking up, rebuilding in the garage in my spare time and eventually swapping out with the 3.9?
I would jump on this. For $200, it sounds like you're getting quite a bit. A running engine alone, can be over $1k. Unless you don't have storage space, you can't really go wrong for that little money.

BTW, how's the radiator? Make sure that's in good condition.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #11
Unfortunately I waited too long to contact the guy with that engine. I put it off fkr a few days until I would have time to sit down and talk for a bit on the phone and it was gone.

The radiator is good as far as I know. I've never had any overheating issues, even sitting idle with the AC and outside temps around 100°. I have thought about pulling it when I do the head work and taking it to a shop to be professionally cleaned out as a precaution.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Given the age of the truck, I'd highly recommend pulling the radiator and give it a thorough exam, unless you've done this recently. My '95 RRC, which had been sitting on my driveway for the past 10 years, was very clogged, but it was rodded and now it's as good as new.
 

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was very clogged, but it was rodded and now it's as good as new.
my 93 was running a little warm and had the same problem.

however, when I compared the price to rehabing the existing one or buying a brandy new one, the price difference wasn't that much so ended up buying the new one.

just a suggestion to check.
 

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The radiator is good as far as I know. I've never had any overheating issues, even sitting idle with the AC and outside temps around 100°. I have thought about pulling it when I do the head work and taking it to a shop to be professionally cleaned out as a precaution.
Will Tillery was running a head gasket kit special this month...

"all the bolts, all the gaskets, remachined heads with new valve seals.... ready to go!

THIS IS THE TOP OF THE LINE OEM ELRING GASKET.. not the cheapo ones out there.

BEST OF ALL!

no messy CORES

GEMS AND 14CUX 520.00 delivered.
BOSCH SEC AND NON SEC AIR 533.00 DELIVERED.
"

Will Tillery
540-462-7353


.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #15
I'll give him a call tomorrow about that. It's a good deal, priced at other places it was about $700 for heads/gaskets/etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I ordered the head kit from Will Tillery, nice and easy guy to deal with. I've also ordered new Ford injectors to freshen up the fuel system and considering a Pertronix distributor to do the same for the ignition side.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I finally was able to start tearing the engine down. It had been getting progressively worse with coolant consumption and the oil cap was starting to show the milky goo we all love. Inside of the valve covers was nasty with splattered oil/coolant goo, but the actual valve train, rockers and cam were not covered by it. The can is definitely worn but that's a project for another time.

I've only pulled off the drivers side head so far and the gasket was the original thin metal style and not in the best shape. All cylinders showed some signs of coolant having been in them and carbon build up. Cylinder 5 looks like the liner might have slipped some, there is a slight edge I can catch a nail on that isn't present on the other three.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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My #5 had slipped as well, though we couldn't really tell at first. We rebuilt the top half, new gaskets, machined the heads, etc. Initially, everything seemed fine, I even drove the RRC as my DD for almost a year, including a cross country road trip from the east coast to Moab and back! Then it started overheating again, this time, it was clear the #5 had slipped, and I decided I wanted to change my DD. I ended up with a 4-door sedan with a V-6, but I got up to 35 mpg, and my Rangie hibernated on my driveway for ~ 10 years until this past August.

It looks like this threads been dormant, are you going to rebuild with tophat sleeves?
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #19
I wish I were rebuilding with top hats and a full refresh. Unfortunately I don't have the time to do it myself or the money to pay someone else right now. I had to wait until now to have enough time off work to get it done since it's my DD. I'm just putting on remachined heads, new gaskets and some various maintenance bits. One day I would like to swap the 3.9 out for a good diesel but who knows if that will happen. As long as I can get some good miles out of this work I'll be happy. Hopefully will have it all put back together by Sunday afternoon to go out on a hunting trip.

I pulled the right side head off and am calling it done for tonight. I'll be taking a bunch of parts to the parts washer tomorrow morning to get clean, maybe sandblast and ceramic heat coat the exhaust manifolds since they're off, and start cleaning up the piston heads and head surfaces. If all goes well I will have the new heads on tomorrow and start getting everything back together.
 
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