Thinking about buying a '97 Rangie

Toasty

Expedition Leader
#1
These things don't seem to be getting much love, i found one that really deserves a second chance. Are they worth fixing up to resell? I rehab Mitsu 4x4's typically and some Landcruisers but lately I've been looking at Landys and a few other bastards of offroad goodness to broaden my horizons. I know with my Monteros there are a few nobody wants.

A neighbor has a complete truck in running driving condition with 130k, is that a lot of miles for a Landrover? It's a pretty nice truck but i can't get why he hates it, it's probably just that he's an idiot and it's little problems are a huge inconvenience.

What should i look for as far as problems? Things to test? Options i would want?
 
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#2
Fixing one up if done right (IE factory) can net money. They are being sold more and more as classics and for classic prices.

130k is pretty good for one of those. Have seen them get to 250k+ frequently.

Problems wise lots of possibilities, just find an independent LR shop or even a dealer to do an inspection to tell you what to look for. The reason your neighbor may hate his is living with one of those is several small issues that constantly stack on one another to make things worse and worse, and even a well maintained one has an issue or two.
 
#3
Aah the P38..it has always been the unloved child of the RR generations. I like them though. To me they are a good balance of having enough creature comforts and at the same time having that classic lines. I am in my second one. The first one I had was a Holland and Holland and in the three years I owned it only the alternator went out..otherwise it worked perfectly fine. I owned it from 125K mikes to 140K miles. I was daft idiot to sell it because I had trouble keeping two cars in the city.

I bought another one within a year of selling the H&H because I missed it. This is the one I currently have. It's a 2001 30th Anniversary edition. It hasn't been as trouble free as the H&H. I got it at 115K miles and I have about 138K miles on the odo now. Issues I have faced are

- the air suspension system went bad so I switched it to coilovers
- the radiator was leaking so I bought a new one
- the LCD readouts inside the cabin have started fading out
- small electrical niggles like mirrors dip down but don't come back to the same position, the clock can't be set etc.

All in all my second one took me a bit of money to get dialled in right but now it's a great DD and I'd have to sell it.

All in all I would say that they are really nice trucks but they can get cost pohibitive if you are not wrenching your self. Most importantly check for issues in the cooling system and if there are signs of head gasket slippage.

Good luck!!

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Toasty

Expedition Leader
#4
Thanks for the replies!
Head gasket seepage, I'll watch for that and the air ride suspension (I hate air ride) I'll go dig into it a bit and do the usual driving tests to see if it heats up or does any weird stuff. It seems to be too nice of a truck for the money which is why i'm even hesitant. I usually buy just about any $1000 4x4 and go to town on it but i haven't ventured out of Japanese vehicles yet either. I've always been taught if something seems too good to be true it probably is, on the other hand there was a time when i could buy very nice Monteros for almost no money.

I see i can get OME springs so that solves the air ride issue, and i don't think a purest LR guy would mind quality aftermarket or is the air ride a beloved thing with these? I use genuine parts except suspension, things i make myself or quality aftermarket when OEM parts have been discontinued.

My plan would be to go through all services and get the mechanical side up to date and functioning proper, then rebuild the suspension and steering, new tires, rebuild the brakes. Then remove the interior, clean, repair/replace, Noico, reassemble and install new speakers. Are the stock stereos good? I like to keep stock stereos when i can because they always look the best.
 
#5
So I don't know how much you are getting this truck for but ask for detailed records of what has been done to it if possible. I change oil every 3-4K miles and do a basic check up. They are notoriously sensitive to regular service and oil changes. To give you a sense for pricing I bought my first P38 for $6500 but it was enthusiast maintained and my experience reflected in that. The second one I got for $4K and I have dumped ~$3K in it. So there you go..

The air suspension system is actually quite simple if you can wrench it..I changed it to could because I sometimes take it to off road trails and I didn't want the compressor crapping out in the woods. But if you keep it the air suspension rides remarkably well. Some purists will be mad for changing it to coils but if you save all the parts it can be put back with little effort.

The stock sound system is crap. I know some people replace it with good speakers and use a Bluetooth hidden unit to keep the looks stock. YouTube search for "P38" "Focal" a guy did this conversion and it sounds fabulous.

Three other things I forgot to mention.

1. Look for rust at connection points like rear tailgate etc. The body is aluminum but the connection points can rust and that is an expensive fix
2. If you switch to coils then take the opportunity to switch to tires with meatier side profiles. It really improves the stance and handling. I don't remember the exact sizes but I out 30.5" Nitto terras and I have a good handling low NVH ride and the gas mileage hasn't suffered. I get 13 mpg avg and I regularly do 75+ mph on interstates. The added benefit is that the speedo error gets corrected.
3. Check if the cruise control works. It's a vacuum based system which craps out. Of the 7 or so P38s I have driven only one, my current RR, works.



Thanks for the replies!
Head gasket seepage, I'll watch for that and the air ride suspension (I hate air ride) I'll go dig into it a bit and do the usual driving tests to see if it heats up or does any weird stuff. It seems to be too nice of a truck for the money which is why i'm even hesitant. I usually buy just about any $1000 4x4 and go to town on it but i haven't ventured out of Japanese vehicles yet either. I've always been taught if something seems too good to be true it probably is, on the other hand there was a time when i could buy very nice Monteros for almost no money.

I see i can get OME springs so that solves the air ride issue, and i don't think a purest LR guy would mind quality aftermarket or is the air ride a beloved thing with these? I use genuine parts except suspension, things i make myself or quality aftermarket when OEM parts have been discontinued.

My plan would be to go through all services and get the mechanical side up to date and functioning proper, then rebuild the suspension and steering, new tires, rebuild the brakes. Then remove the interior, clean, repair/replace, Noico, reassemble and install new speakers. Are the stock stereos good? I like to keep stock stereos when i can because they always look the best.


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Toasty

Expedition Leader
#6
It's $800, I'm pretty sure this guy barely changes the oil, I'll check for the rust I'm in Az and we really don't have rust but i've seen a few trucks come from up north or other states hiding rust. I run 265/70R17 Nitto Terra's on my '05 Montero and have been pretty happy with them i'd probably go with them on this. I'd keep the air ride too, I plan to wheel the truck a little while i'm at it because that's the fun part.
 

Toasty

Expedition Leader
#7
For what it's worth i buy a lot of basket cases and neglected vehicles to fix mostly for fun, I find real satisfaction making old machines run forever. I also used to design automotive parts and I am a welder fabricator for a living so it kind of all just falls together being a 4wheeling enthusiast. I've actually never seen a Rangie offroad before so it would be a treat for me, I've seen 1 Defender 90 and 1 Disco I out on the trails ever.
 

bri

Adventurer
#8
Becareful with neglected Range Rovers. I have had my H&H P38 for over ten years. On average it is about $1,000/yr to maintain well. This is shop prices + shop parts. I am likely down to little leaks that would cost a minor fortune to fix. It had head gasket done when I got it and an engine rebuild I think. Very well maintained and still not cheap to maintain. Some parts are getting hard to find and expensive.

It is an awesome ride. As far as what to look for, I would pay to have it looked at. But look at air suspension, oil and coolant leaks (look everywhere). The 4.6 models tend to be more reliable, I think. The air suspension maybe cracked if original. Get the Arnott bags. Replace the battery regularly. Duralast has worked well for me. DieHard was crap. The batteries are pricey. I think that the 96 and 97 were part of the reason for P38 bad rap.
 
#9
I've had two. One was a basket case that went into superlock within a week of buying it, and I could never get it going again. That was a PITA and the guy who took it off my hands basically had to drop the driveshafts just to get it out of the driveway. I thought I knew what I was getting into (one owner, '00 with 100k, 4.0 (4.6 have a much higher fail rate due to liners), no bells & whistles.....always serviced at local RR stealership....but it just wasn't meant to be). The headache of EAS + door locks + BECM superlock = constant frustration + there was a tick-tick in the engine that just didn't seem promising. Then I spent time doing research, talked to local Indy's, and found a unicorn here in the classifieds: '96 with 47k, Willow Green, already built/lifted (done right with Lucky8 lift + Tom Woods shafts etc). New BECM, that was unlocked so no fob issues (no remote either but small price to pay for zero lockout issues).

Purists will preach keeping EAS. The ride is somewhat smoother with it. And exponentially more headaches--rover.net forums on the P38 are about 50-70% EAS issues, with key fobs + door latches + overheating issues the remainder (well aside from ever fun minor gremlins).

I love mine. The greenhouse is superb. I had a built 100 series before, and I like my P38 more (though it is nowhere near as dependable). They are cheap cheap cheap.....but they can be really expensive unless you have the time + some wrench skills to figure them out. If you are clueless about how to read an electrical diagram, I wouldn't recommend it--though it is a relatively ez learning experience once you figure out the wiring codes. Something small will usually be wrong with it. Something will just not work and then fix itself. Parts are everywhere as junkyards usually have 1-3 of them. And the chassis is pretty bombproof---I can see these becoming more popular for engine swaps as the 4.6s grenade. Everything that could go wrong with them is well documented, and most have pretty ez fixes (well aside from superlock). There are a LOT of these out there with 150-250k miles. And a lot for sale cheap with 100-110k---which is when owner 2-4 usually gives up due to EAS, head gaskets, electrical gremlins, superlock.....
 
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