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Thread: Opinions on the LR3

  1. #1
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    Default Opinions on the LR3

    Browsing Craigslist during the last couple of weeks and I've come across a few LR3's with 20-30K on the clock selling for $20-25K. The electrics have been enough to scare me from newer Landies, but these seem awfully tempting.

    My primary use would be as an overland travel vehicle, Newfoundland, James Bay, Alaska, Baja, Central America etc.

    Thoughts, experience, informed opinions?

    Jim
    Crisco: F650 Dakar, Fat in the can
    Trixie: Norton 850 Commando

    I got these lines in my face trying to straighten out the wrinkles in my life
    Women and cats will do as they please. Men and dogs just need to get used to it
    There is always a moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in
    At its core, adventure is the willingness to commit to an uncertain outcome with and open heart and mind

  2. #2
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    30,000 foot view: Solid vehicle, very capable and if kept to a very regular maintenance schedule it is reliable. But before you go any further, make sure you look at the fuel economy ratings. It's a very thirsty truck and as a result the market value has taken a tumble.

    Pete
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    Pete Hartl - VE6PGH - 0VRLAND


    EXPEDITION = (Encounters + Adventures + Experiences) x YOU

  3. #3
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    Last year an Australian Off road magazine did extensive testing of stock SUV's in the outback.

    The LR3 received top marks until the computer malfunctioned. Even with a team of technicians and satellite phone connection to Land Rover Australia they couldn't get the vehicle to run.

    They abandoned it in the outback.

    Now Iím sure the same thing could happen to any new vehicle, this example just happened to occur in a well covered expedition.

  4. #4
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    FWIW, that Australian test is the ONLY reported test of an LR3 completely failing. There are however, many examples of the LR3 (Discovery 3) defaulting to Limp Home Mode due to sensor failure, air suspension compressor failure, a fault in the fiber optic backbone connectors, or some other related glitch. In those cases, the LR3 ALWAYS made it home....slowly.

    The LR3 is a popular platform for the annual Morocco Challenge (a bit like the Dakar Rally) for many folks from www.disco3.co.uk forum. They have never had any unrecoverable faults, but they do bring the Land Rover T4 testbook computer along with to reset any issues that might pop-up.

    If you are serious about building a rig for serious overlanding, you might consider the coil sprung version of the LR3. They are rare in the US. Only 27 that I know of. I have one. It has its limitations, but it is rock solid mechanically and does not have the same electronic vulnerabilities. I would be very confident taking an coil sprung LR3 around the world, but I would recommend spending some money on upgrading the suspension first. The coiler has limited articulation, and desperately needs to be lifted from stock height. I currently am running a 65mm spring lift and it's MUCH better than when stock.

    There are ample skid plates available, there are several mfr's of rock sliders now, and you can get a somewhat ungainly steel front bumper from ARB, and steel rear bumper with swing away tire and jerry can holders from Kaymar. You can also get a LongRanger extended gas tank (for 42 gallons total) and there are several rear cargo storage drawer system available.

    Storage space is ample, and the driving position is excellent. The interior is exceptionally well done and very comfortable.

    I love my LR3.

    "Occupy National Parks!" - gabepari
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwoods
    FWIW, that Australian test is the ONLY reported test of an LR3 completely failing. There are however, many examples of the LR3 (Discovery 3) defaulting to Limp Home Mode due to sensor failure, air suspension compressor failure, a fault in the fiber optic backbone connectors, or some other related glitch. In those cases, the LR3 ALWAYS made it home....slowly.
    And on that note, it still failed due to a computer malfunction. A 'Limp Mode' is great if you're a couple miles from the trailhead where a tow home or spare parts can be sourced, but not so good when you're overlanding and possibly too far out for real help. And let's keep in mind, these guys were professionals, linked via satellite to professionals, and they still couldn't get it moving. Yes, I suppose in the end you could buy a T4 testbook to toss in the glove box but then who has $12,000 laying around for one of those?

    For an overland vehicle there are just too many things reliant upon computers to make me feel confident and computers are pretty tough to trouble-shoot on the fly. It's one thing for the air conditioner or the rear defroster to not work because of a computer failure ... it's another thing entirely for the vehicle to be immobilized because of a computer failure.

    Those LR3s are priced to move at this point and my wife and I are seriously looking trading in her RR for one in the near future. Very nice trucks and extremely capable. Honestly though, looking at a coil-sprung LR3 would make the low price fade fast as it can't be cheap to swap that suspension out for coils, but who knows? I'm not sure if it was a factory option or not (not that I've heard of anyway).

    Inside they are amazing, nice touches everywhere you look and a cock-pit view much like that of their previous editions. Spectacular Land Rover all the way, but not something I'd venture off the beaten path alone in ... yet.

    Guys are doing neat things to those trucks all the time and only time will tell.

  6. #6
    I've only driven one once at the Land Rover Experience and it was highly capable. Comfortable inside and borderline luxury, think entry level Lexus, a far cry from the MKIII.

    I personally wouldn't drive it farther than I am willing to walk from the nearest pavement without an additional vehicle.
    "What you don't know gets carried on your back." Maasai Proverb
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  7. #7
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    My 2006 LR3 got me through everything I asked it to, Moab and Mojave are a couple of well know places. I drove it through and over all kinds of terrain and it never failed me. But... I was never comfortable with it for fear of a failure of the air suspension and being stuck in limp mode for miles to get back to pavement. limp mode and the over sized tires I ran would not be very compatible. I never feared a general electronics failure as they would be very rare, but suspension faults are very common and not something to take lightly. Sure on the pavement near the mall it is no big deal, but off road the suspension worry along with some other mechanical issues was enoug for me to sell it and move on. The Air suspension on the LR3 is amazing, but a rare coil model would be the way to go if you wanted to use an LR3 for true expedition use.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by superpowerdave
    And on that note, it still failed due to a computer malfunction.
    Yes, but nwoods' point is that complete failure is a very rare occurrence, which is germane to whether the vehicle is suitable for expedition use.

    I'm not a great fan of computerised vehicles, but let's not overstate things. Is a fried computer worse than a cracked cylinder head or a broken crankshaft? These things happen too (rarely), and you're pretty screwed until you find the spares and facilities you need to have them fixed. At least the electronics often have a "limp home" mode, or can be rectified remotely.
    Michael & Sandy Groves
    "We're all going to die, it's the living that counts."

  9. #9
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    On my last weekend trip, two vehicles went into "limp home mode". They were both older Jeeps with wet distributors.

    That being said, I wouldn't buy an LR3 even for a daily driver, because I think they crossed the line on electronic complexity. I don't want to own a vehicle that I can't fix myself because I can't afford to pay mechanics. And this isn't just Land Rovers. There are a lot of high end cars out there that can no longer be fixed by weekend mechanics. I think a lot of them will be sent to the scrapper soon as the first leases are up. I saw a 2004 Jaguar XKR for A$38k that had me salivating... but you just can't fix them yourself. And even though it's gone from $120k to $38k in 4 short years, I also know it will drop to $10k in another 2.

    Frankly, I think the government needs to pass a revised OBD law that encompasses body functions. A law that will make all computers servicable by a common system. Otherwise, all cars will be sent to the scrapper before they're 10 years old. The car manufacturers are creating these systems specifically so that they can get the repair business in their shops. They sell cars at a loss and make money on after sales service. And who can afford to pay their prices? Rich people don't want to drive used cars, and poor people can't afford to fix them, so...

    My D2 is a little further than I had even wanted to go. I didn't know the ECU and the BCU were "married" when I bought it. But, it still hasn't given me any problems. But I'm stuck with that now and hopefully it doesn't cause any problems. AFAIK, the only real vulnerability is the ignition system, the key code goes through the BCU before the ECU. When it goes to the ECU directly, the BCU could be totally gone and the ECU shouldn't care. But that's not what they did.

  10. #10
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    Default OBD ll

    Quote Originally Posted by R_Lefebvre
    Frankly, I think the government needs to pass a revised OBD law that encompasses body functions. A law that will make all computers servicable by a common system. Otherwise, all cars will be sent to the scrapper before they're 10 years old. The car manufacturers are creating these systems specifically so that they can get the repair business in their shops.
    +1. The late Sen. Paul Wellstone was Washington's greatest proponent of extending common access to automotive computing systems, but pretty much the effort petered out with his death.

    Thanks for the input.

    Jim
    Crisco: F650 Dakar, Fat in the can
    Trixie: Norton 850 Commando

    I got these lines in my face trying to straighten out the wrinkles in my life
    Women and cats will do as they please. Men and dogs just need to get used to it
    There is always a moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in
    At its core, adventure is the willingness to commit to an uncertain outcome with and open heart and mind

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