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P38A Questions for P38 Owners (especially V8 Petrols)

Discussion in 'Range Rover' started by Webley1991, Dec 24, 2019.

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  1. Webley1991

    Webley1991 Well-Known Member

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    I live in London and am currently looking at options for a vehicle to replace my current 1990s Honda daily car. I live just inside what will be the area covered by the 2021 Ultra low emissions zone expansion. I have a Series 3 Diesel Land Rover that I rebuilt myself as a hobby vehicle, but wouldn't rely on it for everyday use.

    I was surprised to find that the last of the P38 V8 Petrols (2001 and early '02) are apparently compliant with this zone. Petrol cars built after 2001 and Diesels after 2014 are currently compliant.

    It seems that they can be bought for around £4000. This seems significantly cheaper than the V8 Petrol Discovery 2s of similar age.

    I am almost 30 and have a clean driving license, so would hope that insurance wouldn't be too bad.

    What are they like for reliability? What are the common problems to look out for? As these vehicles are nearly 20 years old they will inevitably have parts which will have suffered wear and possible abuse or neglect. Are they known to suffer from electrical problems?

    What MPG do the petrols generally get on average? Obviously this will not be good compared to more modern cars.

    From what I can tell from searching online, they have a separate body and chassis with solid axles front and rear. Is that correct?

    As far as I can tell there are plenty of used spares around. I have been to the shows at Peterborough etc. looking for Series 3 parts and have seen a lot of stalls selling Range Rover spares.

    Thanks for any replies.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
  2. Datatek

    Datatek Well-Known Member

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  3. Datatek

    Datatek Well-Known Member

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    More a hobby than a daily driver. The V8 on LPG is fairly economical but the engine is prone to drop liners.
    The EAS is good if maintained, diagnostics are essential.
    Solid axes front and rear and a separate chassis. Never without niggles but my diesel has only needed recovery once in 10 years when the water pump failed.
    Parts are easily available and cheap.
    I would expect to be around 12mpg on the V8 in town on petrol and a price equivalent of around 20mpg on gas.
    You can find V8's for a good bit less than £4K after the winter hike disappears.
     
  4. Shippers

    Shippers Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised you are asking these questions after being a member for so long... P38s are notorious for electrical problems that can be hard to sort and frustrating...get a good one though v, nice...
     
  5. Webley1991

    Webley1991 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies.
    I have heard before that some simply replace the whole EAS system with coil springs. Do you mean that ideally I would need my own diagnostics machine to be able to maintain a P38? If so, roughly how much would a suitable unit cost?
    When used to dealing with a Series 3, the P38 is a world apart. I have never had any need to look at this section before.
     
    RangeRoller dt likes this.
  6. Shippers

    Shippers Well-Known Member

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    I suggest you do!...electrics can be the reason so many mechanical parts are for sale...I own a 98 project previous owner converted to coils.. just taken sagging headliner out and next thing is abs light on to sort... never mind the tailgate to fix... and the central locking or key fob...but I'm prepared to spend a lot of time on it... it only cost 300€ so no worries and will never be a daily driver...tread carefully they are great cars but can seriously give you problems...
     
  7. saxavordian

    saxavordian Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't you fall foul of the Triple Devils of London Europe. Mayor (son of a bus driver) Khant TFL any stray Extinct (Daddy and Mumsy own Berkshire)Rebellion. Not forgetting DAH DAH DAH Cyclists terrorist social club.
     
  8. Webley1991

    Webley1991 Well-Known Member

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    In a way it seems like sticking two fingers up at the system swapping a 1.6 litre 4 cylinder for a 4 Litre V8. The road tax on the P38 it is also only £25 per year more than a post 2001 1.6 Petrol.

    The only reason I stay in London is my job. There is nothing else I find positive about living here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
    Grrrrrr and Mark Piercy like this.
  9. Shippers

    Shippers Well-Known Member

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    That's got bugger all to do with the reliability of a P38 which is your original question...
     
  10. ukadamwest

    ukadamwest Well-Known Member

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    I have a P38 4.6 Bosch with BRC LPG.

    I've had it oh going on for 10 years, been a daily driver and second car, currently a third car to an L322 SC and a Cayenne S.

    its been reliable, parts are cheap, but you will need to spanner yourself and have a nanocom for diagnostics. the EAS is inherently simple. when I got mine the air springs were worn and replaced them arnott Gen 2. don't waste your time looking at one that has been castrated with coils. I overhauled the valve block and compressor (and have a spare but loaned it out more than it has been used) and never had a problem with it. rust wise, they are excellent. mine is a 2001 parked outside and shows signs of corrosion.. find another vehicle that has lived outside for 20 years and doesn't show rust !

    there will be [arts that need to replaced as expected with any used vehicle. but parts are cheap, electrical problems are mainly down to aged fuse boxes and people that have fannied about with electricals at some point.

    you will find some things a bit difficult to do on your own.. for example by radius arm bushes need doing. I have a bush puller, but will probably pulle the arms off take it to a garage and bung thema drink for pressing them out and new in with a 10 ton press. you can do underneath work quite easily without jacking it up by raising it on the EAS (with a stand for safety) ive even changed my front cats without jacking it.

    I love my L322 love the cayenne but the P38 4.6 is just a masterpiece and with the knowledge and experience of other LZers there is nothing that cant be done !
     
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  11. Webley1991

    Webley1991 Well-Known Member

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    That was a reply to saxavordian about the extra rules that drivers in this dump of a city have to put up with. I have now quoted his post.

    Thanks for the reply. What is the cost (and tax) at the pump on LPG compared to unleaded petrol? Does the yearly vehicle tax rate come down once it has been converted? I notice that there is a tax category for "alternative fuel" vehicles.

    As for tools like presses etc. I have access to a 40 ton press as well as other useful kit like oxy acetylene through work.

    How do the L322 and Cayenne compare to the P38 offroad? From what I understand, the P38 is a more solidly built machine having a chassis and solid axles.

    You are correct about the value of having this forum for support. Finding obscure information on problems with other older cars such as the Honda I have now can be very difficult.
     
  12. ukadamwest

    ukadamwest Well-Known Member

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    annual tax doesn't change being on LPG. as it was 1st registered prior to april 2001 it is on the reduced tax band. on LPG give or take it gives the same MPG as fuel, however LPG is half the pump price so at 20 MPG give or take that's about 40 MPG cost in motoring.

    the L322 I haven't had off road, neither the cayenne, however out in rural surrey when it snows we would be house bound with the the 2 P38's in the family. the cayenne is not as sure footed as the P38 in deep snow (deep for UK, we had a foot of it earlier in the year and in steep hills, on unlit roads with no pavement and poor access (impassable for high vans in our roads) the cayenne was not particularly good. but remember the cayenne is an SUV not perm 4x4 and not as weighty. the P38 is very sure footed in the same conditions. I have light green laned the P38 as I don't want it beaten up and basically you have to be bit of a muppet to get one stuck by driving outside of your own abilities. you can tow good weight with them. like another P38 on a tilt and slide trailer.

    if you have access to tools and workshop space, with proper dignostics you'd really be hard pushed to find anything else as capable and with a chassis the thing is strong. I know if my wife and toddler got hit in it, they would be walking away.
     
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  13. RangeRoller dt

    RangeRoller dt Well-Known Member

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    You’re onto something. Yes you are correct in your assumptions.
    Coils are easy, EAS is too once you get your head around it but can be a faff. You’ll get plenty of help here so that won’t be an issue for you.
    Put likely repairs into budget as mint one is probably a lie.

    4.0 isn’t so bad. You’ll want to consider a Gems or Thor unit.
     
  14. Shippers

    Shippers Well-Known Member

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    It maybe be a daily driver but that's some back up you've got... which one gets the least use and why?...
     
  15. Datatek

    Datatek Well-Known Member

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    Coils not a good idea IMO, the EAS is very good with a bit of maintenance. Keep the interior dry with the aircon, fix the heater O rings if they are leaking and leaks from the scuttle et and the electronics are pretty good.
    Diagnostics are essential, at the very least the free EAS software, preferably a Nanocom covering all the systems, cost over £400 but it will soon pay for itself.
    As I said, mine has only let me down once in over 10 years. At this moment it has a leaking FIP that needs doing so never without a little problem to fix.
     
  16. ukadamwest

    ukadamwest Well-Known Member

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    the wife also has her MX5 but that is in for sills and front chassis rails.

    I kind of cycle them around for use. at the moment the P38 is getting minor use because I need to do the radius arm bushes. a bit of wheel shake when hitting a bump in the road. the L322 needs the rear off side wheel arch redoing and I want to sort out the dvd stacker. so that will get some down time, the cayenne has been reliable as anything but at the moment the onboard nav has decided not to read the nav disk. maybe the lens needs a clean or the dension Bluetooth module is causing issue, so that will get down time. they are all taxed and insured. if we get a dump of snow the cayenne will stay in the drive and the P38 get its turn. it kind of depends on use for the week. the L322 and the cayenne are great motorway cars and the L322 has room galore if going away for a day or so with the little one. the P38 is solid sat nav disks are up to date, everything works, bar the AC needs a charge, the radius arms need a change and the steering lock needs a squirt of contact clean.

    I like to keep them all in full working order hence they cycle around and I work away a couple of days a week, so if I need to do something, by the time ordered parts have arrived and the weekend rolls around to do the work, really that's close to two weeks.

    what with both the mrs and I working and a toddler and living in a semi rural area, public transport is not an option and so a back up vehicle is needed.
     
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  17. ukadamwest

    ukadamwest Well-Known Member

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    gems or thor are the only options.

    go Thor if you can
     
  18. biketeacherdave

    biketeacherdave Well-Known Member

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    I'm still running my p38 but less than 500 miles in it this year my l322 and the wifes d3 have so far proved very reliable as has my p38.
    Iv been looking back at my old posts about it and once I sorted out the common issues it's been pretty much faultless.
    Even did an android install after dsp amp failure which almost looks factory. Gonna run it for january just because..
     
  19. DanClarke

    DanClarke Well-Known Member

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    I've only had 2 P38's both 4.6 Thor versions.
    The first had initial teething problems post-purchase (dealer rectified) and a boil-over issue that bars-leaks finally resolved for me and it did over 60,000 miles on Petrol/LPG with no major issues while in my keeping.
    The current one has had a serious water-ingress issue (badly fitted screen) that is now fixed, and needed an ABS sensor but otherwise has given no trouble. Yet.
    The P38's seem fairly good corrosion wise as said above. I'm happy not to have all the extra toys of the more modern versions. I like the relative simplicity of the P38. :D
     
  20. Webley1991

    Webley1991 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the further replies.

    From reading online, the BMW sourced Thor ECU replaced the Lucas GEMS in 1999. As 2001 and 2002 models are the only types compliant with the ULEZ, this would appear to include only Thor types.

    Are either of the 4.0 or 4.6 engines considered to be a better option for any reason?

    I have read that there were some lower spec models fitted with coil springs from the factory. Is this true, and were they ever sold on the UK market?

    Roughly how much does installing an LPG conversion cost?
     
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