View Full Version : V8 Discovery Buying Advice

David Mallalieu
13-01-2010, 09:54 PM
Hi All,

So, you get the introductions thread, and it is immediately followed by questions!

I have been searching for a while now for a nice V8 disco with decent off road modifications. The car will serve as a touring vehicle for the family, a towing vehicle for my track cars, and as a 4x4 response vehicle once I am of a sufficient standard to be of use.

Now, I have trawled the net for advice, and have a good long list, most of which the buyer has already answered very comprehensively. I understand the inherent rust issues, and the porous nature of the engine block (3.9EFi). The truck is converted to LPG already, so that is good news.

Really looking for some additional points / assistance from anyone with the knowledge and time to share. As I said, looking at the truck on Friday evening, so if you could get back to me in the meantime I would be very appreciative.

Looking forward to pestering you with some more questions in the very near future no doubt,

David (aka FUBES)

13-01-2010, 10:24 PM
Sorry 'bout this but someone has to say it ;)

The best off road mod for a V8 Disco is to swap it for a Diesel one :mrgreen:

Russ laye
13-01-2010, 10:36 PM
Sorry 'bout this but someone has to say it ;)

The best off road mod for a V8 Disco is to swap it for a Diesel one :mrgreen:

Or a Jeep :lol: :lol:

Phil Griffith
13-01-2010, 11:28 PM

Great vehicle if you can live with the 17mpg, great noise ;)

Engine & gearbox (auto a must) rock solid, think the problems started with the P38. Oil has to be changed regular though. Both good for 160k plus.

Electronics a nightmare, although not too many ecu's. Remove the spider from the alarm, behind radio. Waterproof the leads and dizzy, else be prepared to be sat motionless in lots of puddles.

Watch rust in rear body mounts behind rear bumper, front of rear wings, take carpet up in boot and check all boot floor, and the middle of the front wings, on the edge of the rubber splash guards.

Can be a pig to tune, usually shows if lumpy from cold. Missfires can be a nightmare.

Go for an ES. Front seats uncomfortable, but RR ones can be fitted. Sunroofs can leak, check carpets are dry.

Go for a good body with FSH under 100k for under £2k - you will have to search. Find an owner who knows about them. Off-road mods great if you can get them, but a road only vehicle will be in better condition.

Diesel sensible choice, but the V8 is so much fun. Immensly capable off-road, massive reserves of power. Buy & enjoy.

Just watch the gas conversions, will dry the valves, need added lubrication.

14-01-2010, 12:06 AM
Posted this a few hours ago but it seems to have disappeared.

Could we have more info.


Type of LPG system?

These all make a big difference, I've been through a few of these, loved them all, had problems, but none caused by the LPG.

Still trying to sort the one on the drive.

Electronic nightmares are normally down to ignition, always fitted Mallory Distributors and Magnecor leads to mine and never had a hiccup even with water over the bonnet.

Running on LPG needs the ignition timing looked at, because of the octane rating of LPG the ignition timing needs to be set differently if using LPG as main fuel see Ignition (http://www.v8engines.com/electrics-1.htm#Upgrading), this is why some burn out valves, not down to lack of lubrication, early 3.5 V8 valve seats weren't up to spec for LPG but all later rover V8's are.

With the correct settings and a good LPG system I personally think they run better, the problem most of them are poor installations and not set up properly.

Just waiting for a reply from Avo now, and probably a lot of contradiction from else where !! :lol:

David Mallalieu
14-01-2010, 12:28 AM
Many thanks for the responses guys.

The car is far from standard, but has not been seriously off road (allegedly) .

It has a 2" lift with Procomp Shocks and Springs. Geometry has been adjusted to suit.Camber arms swapped for appropriate length ones.

The car has full history (125K miles), with a lot of money recently spent on the expedition conversion (it was a standard road vehicle until summer 2008 where it received the upgrades ahead of a road trip around the Nordics). These include:

LPG converted with twin under-sill tanks (2 x 30ltr)

Hannibal Roof Tent c/w extended flysheet

Hannibal Awning

Alloy Roof Rack/Ladder & Brush-guards

Super-winch & Cheviot 4x4 bumper

2Ē lift & up-rated suspension

Onboard Air

Onboard Water Tank

6 x lightforce spots + rear work lights

Twin batteries/Solar Panel/Trickle Charger

245/70/16 BFG All terrains

ARB Wheelarch Extensions

CB Radio

Diff protectors, sump guard, LPG tank guards

Interior Racking/Cargo nets/Storage/Tie Downs

Safari Snorkel

Through body S/S Exhaust

3 x Jerry-can holder + cans (2 steel, 1 plastic)

In addition to this there is an engine powered on-board air compressor, 60L water tank, split charge battery system with solar panel conditioner, recent brake overhaul and transmission fluid flush, etc etc etc. The seller has had the car for 9years, but as he is no longer travelling with the family has decided to let the truck go. Tyres are virtually brand new, and it seems to have all the right bits and pieces.

Easy way of doing it, here is the link to the advert:

Land Rover Discovery '97 (http://web.mac.com/v3rnd/Disco/Photos.html)

Now don't no body go stealing it from me lol.

Having spoken to the guy he is open to negotiation, so needless to say there will be some haggling involved.

Comments on a postcard please.........

and yeah, I can live with 17Mpg, but this will be a weekend toy for pleasure and functional use, I have a dreaded Volvo company Derv for daily........


14-01-2010, 01:20 AM
17mpg...you'll be lucky!! My RRC is LPG converted and has been a nightmare! They are fickle things. An A&R Ignition Amp will help with the timing. It will allow upto +13 degrees of advance by retarding the spark on petrol over about 1200rpm. Getting it balanced canbe serious fun(note sarcasm) even with the laptop linked up. The LPG was fine until th engine was swapped. And still didn't like the third engine. Still....getting there slowly but what fun!! Good luck.

mark avo
14-01-2010, 08:00 AM
I have a 92 3.9 RR 210k miles so bout the same spec as the disco engine wise.

Your biggest enemies will be rust & head gaskets (or maybe block issues)

Rust is easy to see. To check the head gaskets, borrow (or buy) a sniffer. Basically a tube that fits on top of the header tank containing a checmical. You put it on, run the engine for 10 mins, the gasses in the coolant bubble the the chemical & change colour if its buggered.

Your LPG tanks sound a little small, range will be limited.

As for all the ignition stuff, mine has none of the advance altering stuff & runs very well on petrol & gas (crap old single point system)

Gas is very hit & miss, if the system is right then it's great, if it's wrong then it will be a pain. Plugs make a big difference

14-01-2010, 08:17 AM
Sorry 'bout this but someone has to say it ;)

The best off road mod for a V8 Disco is to swap it for a Diesel one :mrgreen:

I'd have to strongly agree. Not only does a diesel have oodles more low rev grunt, if you do some serious damage you don't have the additional worry of fire, and no ignition circuits is one less reason for the chance of the engine stopping when wading.

And in an emergency you can run it on chip fat or olive oil. :D :lol:

(until the price went above that of diesel, I used rapeseed oil in my Paj - it smelt lovely in a convoy, I'd be asked where the chippie was :D )

mark avo
14-01-2010, 08:23 AM
Oh good , a devils fuel V Gods own finest petrol thread -

Sorry, but they day you can get an Oil burner to Go as well as my V8 & make such pretty noises then I may be converted, untill then you can all go & make black smoke over in a corner. I may just be tempted by a TDV8, but a 4 pot oil burner - never.

14-01-2010, 09:02 AM
And in an emergency you can run it on chip fat or olive oil. :D :lol:

I must have been having an emergency for ages ;)

I've only switched back to diesel for the last couple of weeks so I can keep the tank full just in case - easier to get hold of.

Normally I use bio, but then can only fill up Saturday mornings if the place decides to be open !!!!

14-01-2010, 09:20 AM
Sounds like a great motor for what you plan. My only reservation is the V8. I love LR V8's but for what you're planning I would still prefer a diesel

Phil Griffith
14-01-2010, 11:00 AM
Just have to pick up on one point, the low down grunt of the diesel ;)

I have run both at the same time, and tried them over the same terrain back to back.

The diesel has no reserves, although it keeps slogging, but will eventually run out of steam. You also tend to use full throttle most of the time.

The V8 potters around on tickover (I know the diesel will do the same :| ), but when you want more power, you just dip the pedal, it never runs out.

Given the same hill that a diesel stalls on, you need to throttle off at the apex with the V8 to stop lift off :shock:

Pete Chambers
14-01-2010, 10:24 PM
Alasdair, your oil burner is a bmw engine, the 200/300 tdi in the disco is crap, thats all there is to it. V8's are ok in water as long as you have good leads and work the dizzy properly, there is two drain holes in the bottom yu need to block one then ue one to suck air through into the brake vacum hose via a new intake breathe hole in the side of dizzy from airbox, seal the cap with silicone, it'll be ok as you wont need to keep removing to spray with WD40 once done properly, my V8 was fine submerged, to the point that my airbags were soaked lol. but 17 mpg?? not if you have decent off road rubber, running the simex i had on mine it did 7Mpg, and even on a decent run it only did 9 :o . If you want great noise plus power, look at fitting subaru legacy 2.5 twin turbo motor at 285 bhp, or convert that to lpg too which will give circa350bhp properly set up, or 450 bhp set up for E85 ;) I'm looking at putting one into a suzuki SJ soft top. 450 bhp in a car weighing a ton ready to go with winch etc, thats gonna be a scream, in more ways than one lol

David Mallalieu
16-01-2010, 01:09 PM
Well, I took the plunge.

Took it down for MOT today, passed without incident (only issue was a rear bulb had failed since last night!).

So, this is what I got:



Managed to beat him down on price as well, so all good.

Looking forward to dragging her out to meet the local Gloucester / Worcester team on Tuesday evening!


jason naylor
16-01-2010, 01:19 PM
ditch the v8 idea, your're an offroader, why petrol?? get a diseasel.!!

Jamie Owens
16-01-2010, 05:19 PM
While we are on the subject of Diesel V's Petrol can anyone honestly tell me what sort of fuel consumption people get from their 300TDi Automatics?

I have a V8 Petrol at the moment and was wondering what the comparison would be regarding MPG!

16-01-2010, 08:34 PM
While we are on the subject of Diesel V's Petrol can anyone honestly tell me what sort of fuel consumption people get from their 300TDi Automatics?

I have a V8 Petrol at the moment and was wondering what the comparison would be regarding MPG!

I CAN get towards 30mpg, but usually nearer 20-25 due to my lead foot and tendency to do hills and dual carriageways full throttle¬* http://www.4x4response.info/forum/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/icon_mrgreen.gif

Of course, as I try use Bio most of the time, I don't worry too much. ¬*It's 92ppl and it means I have a negative carbon footprint (all recycled fuel)

Phil Griffith
16-01-2010, 11:43 PM
Disco 300Tdi Auto EDC will give you 26mpg overall.

Had several over several thousand miles, and you can get more or less, but that will be a fair average.

Most are EDC with electronic fuel control, it does cause problems, but is the one to go for, as it makes the auto quicker than the manual - not that you'd notice http://www.4x4response.info/forum/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif

(However, should you be going overland, then the mechanical pump is preferred, as more reliable, but very small production window around 94-95, and some very late 200Tdi's)

mark avo
17-01-2010, 08:39 AM
While we are on the subject of Diesel V's Petrol can anyone honestly tell me what sort of fuel consumption people get from their 300TDi Automatics?

I have a V8 Petrol at the moment and was wondering what the comparison would be regarding MPG!

20-25 mpg is about your lot.

With auto that will suffer badly on short trips/lanes etc etc as the engine has to work quite hard to stir the auto. 20 would be about your lot in lanes/c roads

jason naylor
17-01-2010, 10:29 AM
well my 2.5 deseasel paj is knocking out 26mpg on average over two trips, one on full tank, filled after shout and sums done, then full tank, ran over two days doing shouts in reading and sums done when fuel light came on. day one 25.63 day three 26.64, so 26mpg on average, this was taken doing A roads and motorways then urban driving before A roads and motorway back home. average speed on motorway 70ish.

quite pleased with that. my old maverick only did 16-18

alisdair, what are the p38s like, thinking of changing up to one nearer end of this year when saved up.

defo a diesel. 2.5 DSE preferably, want a full spec leather etc

jason naylor
17-01-2010, 02:54 PM
Jason - they are good and bad http://www.4x4response.info/forum/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif

Much better in handling terms than the classic before (I had a couple of those), but not as good as the new ones.

I chose to go for leather / but not all the toys - so got a DSE, not a DHSE.

Later ones tend to be better than older ones, so buy as new as you can.

Engine is rock solid - but very very sluggish - 136 BHP as standard, 0-60 in a couple of weeks (13.5)

I took mine to JE Engineering in Coventry where I spent £1k on chip and new inter-cooler - has transformed the car - you can do a chip remapping from a number of firms for 200-300

They do have several areas of issues:

Air-con - blender motors (c. £600)

Main computer (£800 recon / £1200 new)

Air Suspension (any price up to £2K) - many people put them onto coils - c. £400 - £600.

Generally - I like them - depends how much you have to spend as the new ones are now down as low as £8 - £10k, though you are prob. still better off buying a £14 - £20k one, so quite pricey for the post 2004 ones which apparently are better.

come and have a look if you want...



might take you up on that one day, looking hopefully to spend around 4/5k on one.