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Premium Member
1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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788 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This forum has been a godsend during my 6 years of daily driving my P38, which I began restoring since day 1. Bought it with 86k miles from the second owner, currently at 126k.

Unfortunately, I had my first mechanical problem in 6 years and, as it turns out, quite a catastrophic one. I’d been smelling coolant on my short drive to work for a couple weeks, couldn’t find anything obviously wrong, and no coolant loss. Weather had been cool and never had a problem with overheating so figured I’d explore further during my next service.

Had a real hot day last week. Temp gauged suddenly spiked into the red. Immediately pulled over. Coolant was bursting out of one of the lines. Let it cool, limped it home.

Replaced the coolant lines and just got the news that it’s likely a cracked block because of how fast the cooling system is pressurizing. Now it overheats after just a short drive.

I feel like I just euthanized my family dog. It’s way too nice of an example to move on from, but not about to drop another $10k on it.

I’ve placed it in storage til i figure out a plan.

If anyone comes across a real good motor give me a shout!

Thanks to everyone on here who made the last 6 years of happy motoring possible.
 

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165 Posts
Cracked block you should have very hard hoses if you try to squeeze them - have you checked this? As a last gasp some people have used steel seal on cracked heads and blocks - never used it myself but I’ve heard good things. Good luck.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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1,422 Posts
First, Don't panic.

Just because it overheated does not mean cracked block. These things get mis diagnosed way too often.
Are you completely SURE that you refilled and bled the system THOROUGHLY?
If there is an air lock at the top end, it will seem all is well, and when it heats up a bit it will burble, spurt, spit, and steam to beat the band!
Let it cool down, top off the coolant tank, start the engine. You will see LOTS of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the tank from the intake heater plate return pipe.
Keep on topping up as engine heats up. It May suddenly pressurize and spew a lot of water out. Turn off engine, top up, repeat until you see a nice stream of coolant from the pipe that comes from the top of the radiator. Check for this stream at about 2000 rpm. You can just push the throttle right at the cable.
These things will fill and act fine sometimes, then suddenly overheat and vomit a lot of coolant suddenly. Bleed Bleed and bleed again.
If you still think it is exhaust gas, get a test kit from the parts store that looks for hydrocarbons in the coolant.
I would hazard to say that 9 out of 10 mis diagnosed blown gaskets or cracked blocks are just down to the fact that sometimes these things are right PIGS to bleed.

Oh, this happened to me last week on the Borrego. All perfect now.
 

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I'm with Bolt on this, chances are you didn't bleed all the air out of the cooling system. I bought my car with a blown head gasket, did the gasket, took it for a run and it pressurised and blew all the coolant out within 2 miles purely because I had rushed the refilling and hadn't bothered to bleed it. If all you did was fill the reservoir, you've probably get less than 2/3rds the full amount in. Now I always fill with the bleed pipe disconnected from the top of the radiator, when coolant starts to come out of there, reconnect the hose and make sure it is coming out into the header tank if you squeeze the top hose, then proceed with the proper bleeding procedure as Bolt has explained.

Blocks don't just crack because they can, blocks crack if the get extremely hot when the engine is run with no coolant. As long as you didn't drive it dry, then there shouldn't be a problem. Although it did give you warning, you should have investigated the coolant smell as soon as you noticed it.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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485 Posts
if you let it cool down and drove it home I doubt that its cracked anything , most likely a head gasket , even a thermostat , its just how it happens ?don't assume anything. if it pulled a sleeve it would have been a catastrophic explosion.
 

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FOUNDING MEMBER
1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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485 Posts
As stated above it is unlikely to be a cracked block. More likely a head gasket gone if, after bleeding the cooling system as advised, it is still over pressuring quickly.
 

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Premium Member
1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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788 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks!

I will definitely try the procedure that Bolt listed this weekend, and report back. I received the cracked block diagnosis from a reputable Land Rover indy shop, but I have hope they are wrong!
 

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It's an old wives tale made worse by the fact that one of the most well known Land Rover specialists in the UK will tell you that every Land Rover V8 engine will crack the block or slip a liner at some point. This is mostly because they had some very expensive blocks made and created the market for them by convincing everyone that they really did need one.
 

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2006-2009 Range Rover MkIII / L322
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177 Posts
I know that same awful gut feeling. My son cooked the "hand me down" P38 when the idler bearing went bad. To this day I don't know how long he drove it cooking. We replaced fixed the idler, vac filled it and it ran around town all day with no problems, until I got it up to speed, and it puked coolant. Checked the entitre cooling system, Checked for hydrocarbons, vac'ed it again and it puked. Everyone said it was air in the system, or done for it. Not wanting to give up on a Rover, I rebuilt the heads, verified entire cooling system, fixed front cover oil leak, and all other small issues while I was in there. I figured it was worth the small parts investment, and all my free labor before writing it off. It was a crap shoot. I might just find out in the end that it had a slipped cylinder or cracked block, and wasted a lot of time, but worth the gamble.

I am proud to say that it runs better than ever. It was the best fathers day gift EVER when I fired it up for the first time on fathers day. It was a lot of work, as I had to clean 188k miles of grease, oil, and road gunk as I went along. That was the worst part, all along wondering if it was for nothing. It was fun putting it back together, as it felt like all new clean parts.
I sort of went overboard with replacing parts as needed while I was in there (not necessary for just a head gasket job). You could sort of say I was "all in" and went for broke. If it ran, I was was golden. If it didnt I would be pissed, more so my wife would be really pissed at me.
Don't give up the ghost on her yet. Not all 4.0/4.6's blow up easily as noted by some.
Now if I could only fix the right blower motor.
Mark
 
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