Help me pick a D1


Hi guys.
I'm a Discovery newbie and I'm looking to buy my first Disco.....
I would like to first mention that I'm aware of the reputation of the trucks...... and I'm very aware of the added preventive maintenance I will be needing to do .... I am at peace with the fact I will probably be spending a fair amount of time wrenching through the ownership of a Disco..... I had an Isuzu , given Toyota and Nissan a chance and although these are all great brands there's something special about a Disco to me......
Anyways , this truck will be my daily driver (but not the only vehicle for me to depend on) , my family vacation rig and in due time I would love to go out and hit some trails with it. I've been working on sport and vintage cars since middle school but I'm new to the offroad/ExPo lifestyle , and since I'm moving to Colorado next year what better time to embrace it ? A stock truck is perfectly fine. I do not need to mod it at all until I move to Colorado...and even then I hear a fairly stock Disco can get you pretty damn far so right no I'm trying to find the best possible starting platform.
I've looked at 6 Different truck in the past two months. My budget is roughly $3000 for a stock , well maintained Disco.
Here are three that I would consider buying and are available to me now , but your love some expert advice as to which one would be best for me.

Truck 1) $3000 , Dark Blue 1997 SE7 , 134K miles ,extremely well taken cared of by an enthusiast . Clean inside , everything works (sunroof and PW too). Replaced the head gasket 3k miles ago , paint slightly faded but not terrible , no check engine or ABS lights , no leaks! ..... but this truck comes with a story. The night I looked at it I drove it and though it was great. Drove super smooth and quiet and everything worked great. I liked it so much I bought it. 5 minutes from this guys house I stopped at a Sonic to eat some dinner and as I was about to leave the truck sputtered and died. I could not get it to start the first few tries but then it started. It ran very rough and had no acceleration at all... basicly I was only able to put it in drive and let the idle drive the truck down the road at 2-3mph. It felt like the truck had run out of gas. Thinking (or hoping) the gas gauge was not working correctly I nursed it to the gas station and proceeded to put some gas in it. After this it did the same exact thing.... The guy was nice enough that we took his truck back to his house and he gave me my money back. Real stand up guy. I told him to find out what was wrong with it and to let me know because prior to this the truck drove awesome.... this happened last Friday and he's had as little time to work on it. He says the is no fuel pressure at all so our guess is either a fuel pump or FPR. He has a Rave manual and knows how to work on his vehicles so I should know in the next day or two whats wrong. I am still considering buying this truck if it is indeed something minor like a fuel pump just because it is the best driving Disco I had driven by far.

Truck 2) $3000 , Anthracite 97 SE7 , 142K miles on body , in the last 5K miles it has had a (used but gone through by a local shop) engine and tranny with unknown miles. The good.... cool color , everything inside the truck works (except for the sunroofs) , ice cold AC , OME 2.5 inch coils , new rancho shocks , new 32 inch A/T , new flowmaster exhaust ..... The bad...... This "new" engine leaks oil from the pan , power steering pump and has an annoying alternator whine that you can hear inside the truck and under the hood. The ABS light is on (hes not sure why but the truck does stop good) , there is a yellow light on the top right hand side corner of the instrument cluster that looks like a driveline.... he says that when they put the new tranny and motor in they either disconnected or broke a sensor on top of the transfer case and that light has been on since. I tested the transfer case and it does work but still that light bothers me... Check engine light is on , according to the owner its because of two failed O2 sensors (scanned at Autozone) but he has not had the time to replace them.....
The truck actually runs and drives pretty smoothly and feels good but the instrument cluster lit up like a Christmas tree and everything leaking underneath makes me very insecure (the lights more then the leaks) Overall the truck is modded real nicely but I feel the truck itself is not as well taken cared for as it should be.

Truck 3) $2100 , Black 99 (D1) SD , 128K miles , The good.... drives real smooth and everything works great mechanically , body and paint are in awesome shape , no leaks anywhere , no light on the dash at all , he daily drives the truck 60 miles everyday ( i can attest to this )..... The bad .... there is an exhaust leak somewhere at the front of the motor. You can hear it "put-put" but not very loudly. There is a bit of white smoke coming from the rear exhaust and I'm not sure if the exhaust leak could be contributing to this. Needs two new tires , driver seat controls don't work , front passenger power window does not work , The Ac needs recharged because he recently replaced a leaky hose and did not get around to charge it full. He says before I buy it he will for sure recharge the AC. This is kind of a silly thing but not necessarily a negative but this truck does not have the rear AC controls and no sunroofs either...these are minor things but they are part of what makes the Discovery so appealing to me. This truck runs and drives real well and for the price I can fix all the minor things. What holds me back on this truck mostly is the fact that it's not as well optioned as the SE7.

If you have read this far. Thank you!
What truck do you guys think I should buy out of these three ?

Colin Hughes

#1, wait until you know what's wrong before pulling the trigger. #2, doesn't appear to have been maintained very well, #3, white smoke could mean head gaskets gone. Don't settle, look around. Contact Will Tillery (, he parts out Land Rovers but often has decent ones for sale too. Check out Discoweb for sale section, there are couple of nice ones listed there right now. The most important thing with Land Rovers is changing the oil every 5000 kms religiously. My first D1 had 440,000 kms on it when I passed it on to the next owner and it never had to have head gaskets done.


Thanks for the thoughs guys.

Well truck #2 I had pretty much eliminated in my guys confirmed it.
I think I'm going to wait on #1 to be fixed. It drives like a brand new truck.... I just hope the only thing wrong with it at this point is the fuel filter and/ or pump. No biggie.
The simple 99 SD felt nice as well and the price is great. I can get past the simplicity of the truck and if the AC gets recharged It will appeal to me (and my family) much more. The white smoke could be a concern.


I'm with everyone else, truck 1. The fact that he took the truck back mens you can trust him, and in turn the truck's history.


Truck #1 could also have a bad stepper motor. Easy fix.
Doesnt a bad stepper motor usually just effect your idle? The night I had the problem I couldn't even step on the gas 10% without it dying on me.
On a side note LtFuzz , your D1 is a true badass and an inspiration.

Seems like if #1 turn out good I will go with it!
I was fairly certain i wanted to anyways. The owner is a real good guy too so he and the truck deserve a chance.
Hopefully in a few days I can start a new thread called " Just got mu first D1! "


Fuel pressure is also very easy to check... I think it's supposed to be between 30-34? Is that right?


Not to be followed by a "D1 For Sale" thread, right?
haha. Sure hope not.
I used to own a couple rotary powered cars and I'm currently into aircooled Karmann Ghias. I just sold my "tempermental until i got it running good" BMW 635CSi and i work at a classic Italian car restoration shop..... so turning wrenches on less then reliable machines is something I'm used to. The rover does not scare me. I just want to start out with the best possible truck for the money. :)
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haha. I just want to start out with the best possible truck for the money. :)

Some times you just have to scratch that itch..............
....but why would you want a Disco, when you have so many better, cheaper and more reliable trucks to play with.

I'm currently cutting up my old D1 due to the terminal rot and tired mechanicals not to mention the woeful electrics.
I got it cheap and it's cost me plenty ever since, in time and money.

Over here in the U.K. discos are the poor relative to the defenders, just a little more comfortable.


First let me welcome a soon to be coloradoan! ;)

I would definitely stick with #1, sounds like a fuel pump. Pretty easy fix, and you will know you are good to go!
I know I have a 95 but here is a list of everything I have done since buying and wheeling it:

THE LIST (since January 2009):
Added rear brake pad securing pins (yes they were missing)
Replaced left rear inner axle seal
Repacked both rear wheel bearings
Replaced right rear window regulator
Replaced windshield twice (get the windshield coverage on insurance)
Replaced the head gaskets
Replaced the battery
Replaced the alternator twice
Replaced the spark plug wires twice
Replaced the spark plugs twice
Replaced the distributor cap twice
Replaced the distributor rotor twice
Replaced the air filter
Replaced the fuel filter
Replaced the cam, tappets and timing chain
Replaced the serpentine belt twice
Replaced the water pump
Replaced both front wheel bearings
Replaced high pressure power steering line (blew on the trail)
Replaced the kickdown cable
Performed fluid and filter change on the transmission twice
Replaced differential oil on all 3 differentials twice
Replaced 3rd member due to a rotoflex conversion I botched
Added 2" Terra Firma big bore expedition lift (more like 5")
Added Terra Firma steering damper
Replaced front driveshaft with double cardan shaft due to lift
Added 31" BF Goodrich MT KM2 (get the warranty from discount tire)
Replaced all my front tie rod and steering ends
Replaced exhaust y pipe gaskets
Added 67" trail gear rock sliders (you will want rock sliders)
Added heavy duty Ram Xmount for iPad navigation
Removed, stripped and painted roof rack
Added CVT roof top tent and awning
Added 60" Hi lift Jack
Added 2 Hella 550 driving lights
Added ARB tire repair kit
Added staun tire deflators (not impressed, hard to dial in)
Added Bonaire high volume pump
Added hi lift winch kit*
Added CB with 5' fire stick
Replaced digital clock

Despite all that I still love her, She has never left me stranded on the trail. At a gas station once (new alternator fried but covered under warranty).

As she sits today:
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Colin Hughes

Brad, that's all just preventive maintenance :) never had to replace the vacuum advance? On my 95 it went twice, both times I discovered it was toast while on a tough trail, not great happening there. Truck ones issue could be just a faulty plug too. I remember a customer forcing us to replace his fuel pump when it was just the connector at the rear drivers side tire that had become corroded. Kept his pump as a spare because we knew there was nothing wrong with it.
My old 95 started life as a five speed and when 5th exploded, with an almost new zf in the shop, it became an automatic. The most interesting thing was we left the ecu and trans ecu alone, those for the 5 speed and the truck got very good mileage, better than the other autos.
After a p38 and d2, I'm back to a 97 d1 diesel and loving it. Whatever you decide, you will enjoy it.