1997 Range Rover?

I've always wanted a Ranger Rover and have found a ,97 with 70K miles. Other than a small dent it looks nearly new. The interior really does look new.

Is this a good year for a 'Rover? Any pitfalls inherent in that year? I would provide more information, but I just saw it at a local car lot so that's all I know until I call them tomorrow.
 

paachi

New member
That seems like it's a RR P38 series. Please do your research on these models. They have their fair share of issues but if you are handy with a wrench it's pretty easy to maintain. I have one from 2001 and I adore it. It generally was a good car with 110K miles on it when I got. Now it has 145K miles. It's my daily driver, long distance tourer and semi trails vehicle.

A couple of points to check.

1. Is it a 4.0 or 4.6 engine? I think the 4.6 was available in this year for special editions only. The 4.6 has good grunt and with a Borla exhaust sounds nice
2. I think they had Lucas electrics for 1997 (later Bosch if I am not mistaken). Lucas can be a bit temperamental but still serviceable
3. The air suspension was a nascent design on these vehicles and it craps out quite a bit. I kept fixing mine for a while and then gave up and switched to coils. The ride is a tad harsher but infinitely more reliable
4. Definitely check engine temperatures and head gasket slippage. They are generally good but some instances have head gasket slippage due to high temp conditions
5. Rust is not a major issue on them but do check key points like tailgate etc.
6. Cruise control is something that craps out too. I have owned three of these including my current one and only in my current one the cruise control works
7. Check the radiator for leaks etc. I have some examples where the radiator is leaking/ dripping coolant and that then results in poor engine cooling
8. Finally, check the interior headliner for sagging. It's a bit of a pricey fix. All LRs have this issue till the L322 versions came out in 2003

That's all the major stuff. Hope I didn't scare you from the vehicle. It's a great car. Command driving position and an engine which will comfortably cruise at 80 mph all day and return 13-13.5 mpg. It was the last of the RRs to have solid axles front and back and it performs well on trails.


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Colin Hughes

Explorer
Pretty much what's been said above. I had a 97 with a 4.0 Gems engine. It was good and returned relatively good fuel economy. From what I understand there were less issues with the Gems than the Bosch engines and the 4.0 was less likely to have head gasket issues than the 4.6. My air suspension system did not leak but the compressor got weak and would throw codes and drop the truck to the bumpstops. I installed a by-pass kit with four air valves, disconnected the valve block and compressor and topped the air up a tiny bit every other week. I did have to deal with some of the issues these trucks have - replaced the heater O-rings (be sure to check coolant isn't leaking into the passenger footwell), replaced both door lock mechanisms, etc but we did a fair amount of long distance traveling in it and it was a very comfortable ride. Mine had 340,000 kms (about 200k miles) on it when I sold it. It left me stranded twice, the first time when it dropped to the bumpstops (I bought a tool to reset the ECU and this never concerned me again) and once at just over 300,000 kms when the water pump failed (something I should have replaced as basic maintenance long before that).
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
P38s have a bad reputation. But if its been taken care of and you will continue to take care of it, then it'll be a good car.

However, for giggles, go look into 07-09 Range Rovers. Surprisingly, they have very good reliability. Not as classic as a P38, but a far superior vehicle
 
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