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Old 18th-July-2010, 20:34
discopaul's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Chesterfield
Posts: 556
Default Best P38 to buy and what to look for

Hi all im looking for a P38. i have about 6-8k to spend on one but i have no idea what im looking for. all the ones i hva seen as of yet seem to be the 4.6, are these bad on fuel? and what are the things i should test and look for before buying
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Old 18th-July-2010, 21:10
tommo138's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: braintree, essex
Posts: 541
Default Re: Best P38 to buy and what to look for

i havent had any experience with the petrol models, got a 2.5dse, the petrols ive heard have overheating problems but the diesels are pretty gutless unless chipped, but in general check everything and i mean check everything TWICE! make sure everything works as it should inside, pay attention to the heater/aircon as this can be expensive to fix. the air suspension is the other key area.

it may be worth downloading RAVE(its the p38 workshop manual) to familiarise yourself with everything on them.

but make sure you check EVERYTHING works!!!!!!
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Old 18th-July-2010, 21:15
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Posts: 113
Default Re: Best P38 to buy and what to look for

look for a good independant range rover mechanic in your area
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Old 18th-July-2010, 21:39
wil2813's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: the bit inbetween j10-j11 m6,west mids.
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Default Re: Best P38 to buy and what to look for

hi just spend the 4k on one and keep the other 4k for repairs lol
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Old 18th-July-2010, 22:46
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: FK15 0NR, Dunblane, Scotland
Posts: 140
Default Re: Best P38 to buy and what to look for

Agree with Wil. Being serious tho if you have 8k why a P38 and not a newer L322 ? If you do want a P38 then Petrol either engine is roughly same on fuel consumption. Both if in good shape will push the car on well.

Things to watch out for ? How long have you got ?
  1. Air suspension; it's not that complex really but does seem to have a mind of its own
  2. Exhaust - ask when the front cat's were last renewed (see my posts)
  3. If LPG check the system and make sure it is multi point
  4. If LPG check the tank mount in the boot for it being properly installed
  5. Air Con; check it's cold and if somebody says "It just needs regassed" that means it is bust
  6. Cruise Control; fails regularly and many reasons from simple pipe replacement to dry joint in the electronics. Good luck with the latter
  7. Keys / remote locking; constant gripes about them not working correctly
  8. Seats; drivers side almost always worn but can be restored
  9. Seat Heating; usual driver side goes first. Either you will do this yourself, ignore it or get somebody to sort it for you

Apart from that they really are a breeze !!!
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Old 19th-July-2010, 07:39
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Wraysbury Nr Heathrow
Posts: 1,598
Default Re: Best P38 to buy and what to look for

I bought one 6 yrs ago for pennies knowing there was lots wrong and have spent around 6k and now have a decent motor that still trys to catch me out so yes buy a decent one for 3/4k plenty about and use the rest of the cash to put it right. I have a 4.6 with LPG I put the engine in myself and did the lpg conversion so I know what I have for my cash. works for me
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Old 19th-July-2010, 07:54
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Gosport Hants UK
Posts: 522
Default Re: Best P38 to buy and what to look for

Hi I bought a 1999 dt 3 weeks ago for 2650 plus my old 1995 Discovery in PX. I know the P38 I bought needed some maintenance but has been cared for with unmaked body and interior. In 4 months I looked at quite a few in the 3000 to 7000 price range. Nearly all needed tyres and new airsprings, some of the 6000 ones had many many faults. Newer and more expensive ones are not always the best. I saw some right old crap for top money. BEWARE!!!!

So far I have changed:-
All 4 air springs, 232 from island 4x4
All fluids
ABS accumulator
Two front door locks
Heater matrix O rings
4 new tyres
4 track rod ends
Altenator and aircon belts.
I have done all this myself but still spent over 1000!

All dealers lie and tell you any fault is minor!! Check ,check and take a friend to check. I would love to name and shame some of the cars I travelled many miles to see which were awful. try for a post 1999 model year onwards. Please feel free to ask any more?
Regards Dean

Last edited by dean68uk; 19th-July-2010 at 07:56.
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Old 19th-July-2010, 09:02
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 113
Default Re: Best P38 to buy and what to look for

avoid it! i wish we had. we've had a range rover 1998 4lt lpg for 2 yrs now and i'm constantly throwing money at it (which is common).
they're great when they're working, but something goes wrong every 3-4 wks. gonna get rid of it soon and get a bmw x5.
this week i've got central locking probs.
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Old 19th-July-2010, 09:03
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Location: Near Poitiers SW France
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Default Re: Best P38 to buy and what to look for

Go for a diesel, very economical, go well when chipped fewer head/headgasket and overheating problems, no slipped liners, boot not full of explosive gas cylinders.
In other respects they are just as troublesome as other models. Had mine for 18 months, I replaced the Airbags when I got it and I've had one height sensor give trouble plus a window regulator failed.
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Old 19th-July-2010, 16:29
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Porthcawl way, South Wales in case you didn't know ;-)
Posts: 264
Default Re: Best P38 to buy and what to look for

Hi, strong advice, go for one post '99 as TC was updated, plastic washers were replaced with metal ones, lots of things upgraded.

Other than that FULL SERVICE HISTORY is a must, look for last FULL service.

If there is a BOOK symbol on the Heating and Ventilation system (HEVAC) DO NOT BUY.

After 100,000 miles or the transfer box is recommended to be replaced, has this been done.

Bodywork as good as possible, and as others have mentioned don't use the full 8k for a car put aside 2 to 4 grand for replacements. For example, new transfer box 560 fitting two to three hours, there is your first 700 right away!

Get a good 4x4 mechanic with electrical knowledge to owe you 20+ favours, or learn to be a mechanic yourself as well.

Last edited by adamrharding; 19th-July-2010 at 16:33. Reason: Another thought
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