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Should I purchase an 88 that needs help...

3018 Views 17 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Alaska-RRC
Hey Folks-

I am up in the great state of Alaska, and could purchase a 1988 Range Rover. The previous owner is clueless of the maintenance records so I start from scratch.

Range Rovers are a new breed to me. I can buy this one for 500 bucks. Great shape exterior, interior will need a few pieces, and engine is in need of help, hopefully some of yours.

I was able to start it after over 6 months of sitting in winter. It idles ok, and by that I mean, it runs at the right RPM (750), but surges up and down a few 100. However, when I put my foot on the gas, it really wants to die and then I need to "message" the pedal to keep it running. It really sounds "bogged" down. After I take my foot off the gas, it will die completely, or I can again message it to keep it running. This cycle will continue as long as I can keep it going. If I "floor" it, it will rev up to say 1500 RPM and sound very "bogged" down. If the engine dies completely, I can start it immediatly and have it idling without hesitation.

Can someone lead me to a direction of where to start, or should I pass it up. I am rather mechanically inclined but don't know RR's. I was thinking, fuel filter...maybe plugs, cap, and rotor, air filter, possibly a fuel or injector cleaner? Or is this more of an electrical issue? New injectors?

Any help would be great!

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Hey welcome, what part of AK?

try checking the following:

look & listen for vac leaks, intake restrictions, or a cracked intake boot letting un-metered air into the mix.
Air & Fuel Filters
Clean & lube stepper motor on the back of the intake.
check engine coolant temp sensor.
Plugs wires cap & rotor
fuel pressure
voltage to fuel pump
check timing
Ignition module

without looking at it I'm totally just guessing.. :)
& i'm no expert.

Download the Rave manual Here:
http://www.green-oval.com/joomla/index. ... &Itemid=29

& Before you buy a total POS, check out some of the other cheap rovers for sale locally.



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If you replace the distributor cap and rotor arm, ONLY use genuine items. The Rover V8 has great problems if you use pattern parts here and will cause more headaches for you. Might be worth sticking some fresh fuel in too in case that helps

Also, before you take the plunge, take a good look at the rear cross member (it's behind the fender where the tailgate mounts), sills, front inner wings, rear wheel arches where the seat belts mount. These are all well know rust spots, but can be fixed relatively easilly and it would be useful to, at least, know what you're letting yourself in for.

It's also worth a look at the front footwell carpets. If they're damp with coolant, then the heater matrix needs replacing which means that most of the dash and interior surrounding needs to come out.

At the end of the day, the Rangie is an awesome motor on and off road. I've had mine for 10 years now and wouldn't give it up for anything
Rainbird said:
...At the end of the day, the Rangie is an awesome motor on and off road. I've had mine for 10 years now and wouldn't give it up for anything

Not even for.......................... (in Dr. Evil's voice) One Million Dollars? Muah ha ha ha

Could it be the O2 sensors?

I tried the fuel filter, that didnt change anything. I am trying the cap, plugs, rotor next. The guy at NAPA said it sounds like O2 sensor.

Any others have suggestions?


I am in Anchorage...not many parts up here for these range rovers...
check engine light on?

I've had some luck finding parts at Fat's auto parts on International, when shucks and napa had nothing.

I also order stuff from http://www.atlanticbritish.com -Shipping is usually cheaper if you ask for USPS priority.
Yeah, FATS was suggested to me today too. No check engine light on, but then again, I don't know if that even works. Is there an OBD on an 88? I have downloaded the RAVE and it seems to show alot and help immensley, but I went to look for the "black box, sticker attached, and red analog display" under the passenger seat and found nothing.

How involved is checking the stepper motor.

I took one plug out just now, and the plug looks ok. The gap was at .50 and should be .35...hoping that its miss-firing because of that gap. That would be a nice easy fix.

Thanks for the patience.
The Stepper motor is easy, it just unbolts from the back of the intake.
Clean & lube the plunger & make sure the hole in the intake where you took it out isn't plugged up.

check that the PCV vent on the back of the drivers side valve cover isn't plugged.
poke a wire through the small hole & change out the foam piece if it's dried out.

Clean out the breather on the front of the passenger side valve cover.
and make sure the pastic T-piece that hose leads to is un-clogged as well.
I'm not sure about the OBD,
I've been meaning to look into that..
-I have a CEL on my 89 that I think is o2 sensor related,
but my Rover still runs pretty good,
I might be coming to the realization that it is the head gasket...The symptoms I describe are head gasket related too?
Not sure if those symptoms sound head gasket related..
How does the oil look?, is it milky.
any coolant in the oil, or oil in the coolant?

Maybe I could stop by and check it out this weekend?
I'd be glad to help get another Classic back on the road.
These cars are difficult to diagnose with no prior service history.Start with the basics and work your way up to head gasket.It will run and accelerate without o2 sensors connected. The rave manual is for 95 model year,many changes were made since 88,the diagnostic display was not available until 92,but it is still good for mechanical reference.There in no diagnostic port on any of the classics.The stepper motor wont prevent acceleration but pcv system will,as will bad plugs and bad wires,also distributor cap and rotor,and coil will also cause this problem.Study rave manual sections on troubleshooting ignition, and fuel injection systems.
Well...I have changed the following -

fuel filter
coolant sensor
stepper moter (air by-pass)

I have a fuel pump coming on Tuesday. I will also be getting a coil, and wires off the internet. No one around has them here.

As I replaced plugs, they all looked ok. They have not been changed for quite some time. All gaps were .45+...Oil looked pretty good during changing, coolant seems ok. After changing all the said items, it seems to run (idle) better, I just can't get it to accelerate over 10 MPH.

Alaska-RRC, if you are around this weekend, that would fantastic if you would poke your head under the hood. Maybe your 5 minutes will find something I can't see...I can be reached at 907-three one seven - five six seven seven.
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Ya I'm not doing anything today, I could probably stop by.
called & left a message with my #,
I went and looked at Knie0012's 88. We tried to troubleshoot a few things..
Made sure the TPS was good, cleared out the breather,.. and got the Tach working.
but same as before, it would run good at idle and bog down above 1500rpm.
you could really hear it bog through the intake.
could this be a bad coil, or fuel pump?

We were going to try the coil out of my 89,
but the fuel return line on the halfway lowered gas tank of the 88 ripped and caused a fuel leak,
that put a damper on that plan.
When I checked the TPS on the 88 It swept evenly from .36 to 4.6 volts.

When I checked the TPS on my 89, it swept from .51 to 4.60 but dropped to 0.23 for a second between 3.60 and 4.0
does this mean my TPS is bad?

Are the TPS specs different between 88 and 89?
my 89 TPS dosn't have ovalized holes, like the 88,
you can't turn it to adjust the voltage down to .29 - .36 on the low end.
Is there a throttle stop screw to adjust it?
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