While in Death Valley on the Defense Mine trail, my P38 made it up while two lightly modified LR3s had to turn around. I think the main issue was due to clearance and that one owner didn't want to push the LR3 too much. One of the LR3s had springs, so couldn't raise up any higher. Another more modified LR3 made it no problem. My sliders and skid plates were put to the test and got a few scrapes. I actually got perched on my rear diff when some rocks shifted, but I was able to get out with some rock stacking. If I had a rear diff guard, I would have slid off it. We are looking at making one now.
As I mentioned, I see the EAS as an asset as you have the ability to raise and lower the vehicle with the push of a button. Since I still drive mine on the roads most of the time and the air springs give it a much better ride than coils. With the Gen III air springs, you can add more 2 inches of travel by just adjusting the settings of the bags. With the free software available now, you can adjust the computer anytime. In the past, if your EAS system had issues, replacing air springs were $600 a piece, a valve block $2k and the compressor $1500. Now, air springs are $100-200 each, rebuild kit for valve block $60 and compressor rebuild $60. Change out the o-rings and you have a brand-new system. It is not complicated and field serviceable. Changing an air spring can be a 15 minute job if you know what you are doing.
As far as the engine, I don't know why it gets a bad rap, it is the same engine in the disco, exactly.
The other issues that people complain about is the BECM or the do-everything-computer. It controls all the wiring for things like lights, signals, etc. If that goes bad, it can give you weird electrical gremlins. I don't hear issue with the later models.
Some quick buying advice:
Go with the newest model you can get, 1999 or newer. They went with the Bosch engine management (from BMW) which generally runs better.
1999 and newer has 4 wheel traction control, and the traction control is very good.
I prefer the SE over the HSE models as they had 16inch wheels rather that 18s and no navigation. The navigation and nav screen suck. There are more tire choices with 16s than 18s.
Most of the big electrical gremlins were worked out in the newer models.
Be sure the previous owner has maintenance records. Maintenance is essential to any rover.
Also, you will need to be handy yourself and be able to fix the little things yourself. This goes with any older rover purchase. If you need to take it to the dealer or a mechanic for everything, you will pay more than the truck is worth trying to fix everything. There is a wealth of knowledge out there. Read and get your hands dirty.
Last edited by spikemd; 08-27-2011 at 05:24 PM.
2001 Range Rover 4.6L SE (SD rack, ladder, Warn xd9000ce, steering guard, axle guard, diff guard, sliders, coils, 33in KM2s... no chrome)
2003 4Runner 4.7L V8 (wife's)
1985 E30S52 (1985 318i w/ 1998 M3 drivetrain, OBDI and 5-lug conversion)
Far better it is to dare mighty things...even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. - theodore roosevelt