The Vogue’s Tale
Last summer I got a call from my brother asking for a small favour. He was away but he asked if I could go round to his house and take his son’s Range Rover to our local garage, it was making some noises and wanted investigation. Happy to help I went and got the key and started the RR and was concerned at the racket the engine made, it didn’t sound very healthy. I drove, carefully, the 3 miles to the garage and sought out Wayne, one of the guys working there.
He took one quick listen and proffered his advice: do not drive this vehicle anywhere except back home and seek Land Rover help, the engine is at the point of failure. I started the return journey very gingerly, it never made it. With a resounding crunch and mechanical grinding noises the car came to a halt about halfway back to his house. I rang my brother whose immediate response was “You were the last to drive it”!
Fortunately he is a member of the AA and they were fairly quick to respond. Chatting to the recovery driver he opined “it’s a Land Rover, it’s only a matter of time!”. He thought that the engine had seized and that it was perfectly normal for this type of engine with over 40,000 miles.
The Discovery’s Tale
There were 5 of us and a dog standing in a rather desultory fashion just off the hard shoulder of the A1M about 300 metres from the A19 junction. A black Land Rover Discovery 4 was immobile on the shoulder, hazard warning lights on, at least they still worked! It was just after Christmas and we were on our way to Scotland to visit my sister and as there were quite a few of us plus dog it made sense to go in the Disco.
A little jolt, like we had just run over a small pothole, and number 2 son, who was driving said “I’ve lost power”. That was it, no drama, no crisis, no cacophony, just a slow coast to the side of the road. Lots of lights on the dashboard but nothing, not even a click, when trying to restart. Fortunately the AA came to the rescue, arriving within 30 minutes and Rob, the operative came up with “It’s a Land Rover, it’s only a matter of time”.
The friendly AA man took all of us back home and took the stricken Disco to a garage near Bradford, one it had been to before. We restarted our journey in my Mercedes, a little cramped maybe, but perhaps a little more reliable.
It seems that the Discovery’s engine has seized, apparently a very common occurrence with the 3 litre diesel engine, with possibly a snapped crankshaft. The cost to replace or repair is more than the car is worth, Land Rover prices have crashed since newspaper reports of how easy Range Rovers can be stolen. Number 2 son is still deciding how best to proceed.
The moral of the story is don’t buy a used Land Rover, both recovery drivers told me that Land Rovers were their most frequent call out. The crankshaft snapping is a consequence of the shell bearings slipping, subsequent oil starvation on the ‘big end’, total engine failure.