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Hi,

I've made the decision to purchase a P38 Rover. I need a vehicle for light duty/driving around town and occasional heavy towing (5k lbs tops). I'm excited to give up looking at other makes/models and find the best example of one of these I can. I've spent quite a few hours studying the issues and pointers from rangerovers.net. I'm comfortable with evaluating most common issues and cars in general, but I still have two things I have not got a handle on:

1) What is the issue with the engines and head gaskets? Why do I see some that have been replaced, and so many with head gasket issues? Is it from (over)heating issues with the alloy block/head? I'd appreciate some tips on evaluating an engine and what to expect out of them in longevity if well maintained. If I purchase a 125k engine in good shape, what should I expect going forward? Oil consumption, wear, etc.?

2) Is towing 5k on mountain passes (occasionally) OK with the 4.0 engine? I won't be doing this but a few round trips a year. The 4.0 would be perfectly fine for me otherwise and for flat-land towing. I have used a '99 Land Cruiser (100 series) for this task for a few years and it has done marvelously; it's 4.7l engine is very comparable to the 4.6l Rover engine. I'm wondering if I must stick to the 4.6l or the 4.0l can do.

3) Any advantage to the 96 and later OBDII models when it comes to service/repair? Or getting a '99 for the Bosch and not GEMS system? I haven't found a lot of discussion of those issues, but perhaps that's because they aren't terribly important.

4) (ok, not an engine question) - Is there any way to evaluate for imminent BECM issues, or is that just a gremlin that rears up randomly? Or it rears up as a sequelae to another repair or issue?

I have to say one thing that made me comfortable buying one of these was all the rangerover.net pages already laying out common issues, solutions, etc. A nice owners' forum/pages.
 

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I own 99 4.0 Bosch, I would recommend a 4.6. I tow frequently but nothing over 2.5k. And I wouldnt tow that in mountainous terrain.
 

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Don't be scared of gems. In fact a lot less trouble with the head gasket/cylinder liner issue. Go for best maintained. And a 4.6....
 

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Note that you can chip a 4.0 up to ~4.6L performance depending on your fuel quality (that said, you can also chip a 4.6 for more awesomeness).
You can also get a mild cam to increase torque.

But yes, 4.6 is preferable.
 
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