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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all,

I've been researching P38s for quite some time and am getting ready to begin performing some test drives. I am limiting my search to the 2000-2002 range (Bosch electrics) and the 4.6HSE that have been converted to coil suspensions.

Based on my research, this is my checklist:

Initial Steps
Confirm keys, fobs, immobilizer/radio codes present
Confirm both key fobs work. Leave doors unlocked (check for locking issue)
Review Service Records
Suspension replacement parts - ball joints?
Brakes - when last serviced?
Coolant system maintenance/repairs
Check for cracked windscreen/glass
Open the hood
Radiator hoses - make sure they aren't too hard or cracked. Squeeze big hose and listen for gurgling/bubbles in radiator overflow tank
Release radiator overflow cap when cold. Should be little or no pressure release (indicates slipped liner)
Check oil level/quality. If it smells sweet (burnt antifreeze), head gaskets are leaking
Battery age/apparent condition
Fuse box under hood - check for burned smell
Transmission Fluid - check dipstick, should be red not burnt
Check belts for wear
Check tire tread depth & pressure
Check brake condition (rotors/pads)
Check for puddles (leaks) under truck
Inspect exhaust
Get in - hood still open
ABS Test - switch on, but don't start engine. ABS Pump should prime for 5-10 seconds.
Tap brake 4-5 times. ABS pump should reprime. If it primes every time, internal leak, $250 accumulator
Start engine - turn on AC then shut door
Look for exhaust smoke
Listen for knocking/whining/rattling from engine bay
Radiator hoses - make sure not too much pressure
Close hood
Open/close all doors
Test window switches for all doors
Do interior lights come on/off?
Check all seat belts work
Tailgate - check for water under main rubber seal; wave the tailgate up/down to listen for water sloshing
Tailgate - make sure latch works and glass stays up
Inspect spare tire wheel well for moisture
Get in - Electronics
Is AC blowing cold?
Switch to heat - confirm function (then back to AC)
Check all HVAC buttons L to R
No book or ! Icon on HVAC screen
Central locks work - switches on both sides.
Ensure all doors lock/unlock including tailgate
Radio - check all buttons left to right
Listen for blown speakers
Satnav and every other dash button
Check central window controls
Sunroof open/close; up/down
Seat adjustment
Side mirror adjustment
Memory should return them to normal
Passenger seat adjustment
Steering wheel adjustment
Check front footwells for water/coolant leaks
Sun visors
Horn
Wipers
Front
Rear
Front Sprayer
Rear Sprayer
Headlight - wiper & sprayer
Fuel release
Gas cap
Front exterior lights
Low beams
High beams
Fog lights
Turn Signals / Hazards
Side turn signals L/R
Rear exterior lights
Tail lights
Brake lights (3)
Turn Signals / Hazards
Fogs
License plate light
Get in for test drive
Turn on heated seats
Brakes - hold down with some force for 10 seconds. Make sure pedal height is maintained.
Parking brake - should hold stopped at 1200rpm
Gearbox
Shift back and forth between R & D - listen for clunk
Engage low range (and back)
3500-4500RPM in Neutral - check for engine vibrating
Setting off
Parking lot circle - L and R at full lock
Turning wheel - if not smooth, could be joints in collapsible steering column or power steering pump is low on oil or power steering belt is slipping
General Observations:
Should track straight
Vibrations/shimmy
Steering feel - should be somewhat precise (ball joints)
Acceleration - shifting smoothly through all gears
Hard start from stop - should show issues with slipping transfer case chain
Speed bumps - check for suspension noise and steering judder
Turn signals self cancel
Hard braking - shimmying/pulling
Sport mode
Seat heaters working?
Post-drive
Engine temperature
Smoke from exhaust
Check oil quantity
Re-start engine while hot

Please let me know if you have any items that you'd change or add to the list above. I'd like to test to confirm that power is going to both the front and back wheels, but I'm not sure how to do that without putting it up on jack stands - obviously not feasible in a parking lot. If I can find a dirt road, I figure I can step on it to see how it deals with the wheelspin, but if anyone else has any other suggestions, I'm all ears.

Thanks!
 

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No need to check all the lights are working, the dash will tell you if you have any blown bulbs. Check the suspension works as it should and it hasn't been converted to coil springs. Drive one on coils and one on EAS and you'll realise why coils are a bad idea.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Pretty good list. I would also maybe add the following:
Hard stop from say 40mph, Should give a good idea of brakes, and also ABS.
Open oil fill cap while running, place a hand on top, make sure there is no blowby pressure.
Pulling codes with a nanocom can help with finding anything that is starting to have issues. It can also tell if codes were recently cleared by noticing that the emissions drive cycle hasn't completed.
I would say add an inspection to the underside. Look at tie rod ends, ball joints, steering link, drag link, exhaust piping, mufflers for rust, body mounts, axle shaft boots, etc.
Test heated windshield and back window. Turn on your headlights and you should see them dim slightly when you turn on. Or throw an amp clamp around the battery cables
I would also throw a multimeter on to the battery to make sure the alternator is working correctly and that you have sufficient voltage.

That's about it from the top of my head.
 

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Looks pretty comprehensive to me. With model years you're looking at, you can't check the transmission oil. If you open the fill plug when cold, fluid will, in fact, spill out.

Overall, look for any hacks that may have been done to the car, inside and outside.

Also, EAS is the best feature of the vehicle. You shouldn't be afraid to have it.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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But on a serious note, take her for a drive and see if everything works.

In my opinion the P38 is a car for people who are capable of fixing it themselves, because if you have to pay someone it can get expensive.

If you can fix stuff yourself, you have the tools, you know where to source parts from, then it's ok.
 

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Good list, I didn't do any of that when I got mine, and it's taken me a year to clear the list of problems I inherited.

For tires, check depth and pressure (you have) but also wear ie is it even across the width of the tire or is the wear to one side or the other? If not then you may have toe issues. Is the tie rod frozen up (ie adjuster fully corroded) ? That wd make life hard to adjust the toe, and probably mean replacing the whole rod, with TREs.
Check the radius arms front and back, if the bushes are coloured (ie polybushes) and not stock black rubber bushes, you will more than likely have steering issues at speed.
Drive the car at 50-70 mph and hit some bumps/ ruts as you go (easy to find on English roads, may be harder in the US ?). This will typically trigger death wobble if the car is prone to it (if it happens brake to decelerate immediately - you can't "drive through" it).
Check the chassis / bodywork for rust - difficult to reverse bodywork damage. Especially take a while to poke around the rear bumper (get under with a torch and try and see how badly corroded the mountings are) mine was hanging on by a thread....
Can't remember if you checked the carpets for damp on your list? either o rings or air filter housing leaks.
Check the colour of the coolant - if it's not red (in the UK) I wd worry (may differ by territory, no idea).
Cd be worth doing a test on the coolant, to see if there are any exhaust gases in there?

This is more invasive, but pull the spark plugs and inspect them...

You'll be there for a good few hours with all of this
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all. I've updated my list with these suggestions.

Any recommendations for the following:
1. How to test 4wd besides finding a dirt road? Seems like everything is a common problem, but is this something to worry about?
2. Anything else to look for on the undercarriage? I'll check the bushes and if possible, I'll jack up the truck to check for play in one of the steering components... but that might be overkill. Not sure how often the steering components need to be replaced in these.
 

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As they are permanent 4WD, as long as both propshafts are fitted, it is running in 4WD. Try pulling away with the steering on full lock one way or the other. If it feels like the front end is trying to hop sideways, the viscous coupling in the transfer case is seized, usually caused by running in 2WD with one propshaft removed.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Thanks all. I've updated my list with these suggestions.

Any recommendations for the following:
1. How to test 4wd besides finding a dirt road? Seems like everything is a common problem, but is this something to worry about?
2. Anything else to look for on the undercarriage? I'll check the bushes and if possible, I'll jack up the truck to check for play in one of the steering components... but that might be overkill. Not sure how often the steering components need to be replaced in these.
Jack one front wheel off the ground (in N with park brake applied), and try to rotate it.
This should be possible, but with a lot of resistance
 
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