|And later I noticed a puddle of oil where the Range Rover had been
sitting! Knowing the Rover was still covered by the manufacturers
warranty at that time, I set up an appointment at my local dealership to
have them check out the leak. Even before I could get it to the dealership,
another problem appeared; this time with the Electronic Air Suspension.
This Range Rover was kneeling like a mexican low rider. After
examination, the service manager explained there is a leak at the oil pan
seal, as well as one of the ride height sensors was defective, resulting
in the EAS system failure. OK, so stuff happens...
When I get home, I notice the Rover is leaking oil again (still). This
time in a new position.
Thus begins my long and painful journey of enlightenment by Range Rover.
The dealership maintains a fleet of Toyota Corolla's for use
as loaner cars by folks like me who've brought in a Range Rover
for service work. Little did I know that over the next three years
I would get to know those Toyota's really really well. So much so,
that a couple of them had memorized the profile of my ass crack in the
drivers seat cushion. Looking kind of like that Klingon forehead
ridge regularly seen in the later Star Trek episodes.
BTW, the original manufacturers warranty is good
for 3 years or 42,000 miles. The dealership offered to sell me an extended
warranty good for another four years, or 100k miles; and was only available
while still under the mfg.'s warranty. Though the cost was a choking $3,900.00,
I jumped at the chance. It was a good thing I did too. The
rack rate for the repairs, since the extended warranty went into effect,
exceeded the original $3,900 in year 2000. The current total for service
work is now $7970.00. And I still have two more years on the extended warranty!
It didn't take me very long to realize that owning a Range Rover is
more than prestige. These overpriced vehicles break down frequently, and
require an extensive amount of time in the service bay on a too regular
basis. Approximately once per month (by my service records).
I "save up" problems so that I can have them all addressed during one
trip in for repair. On a number of occasions; I've even driven off the
dealer lot with a new, different problem surfacing!
And it wasn't very long before I realized that the purchase price was
only an indoctrination; Preparing you for the onslaught of service grief
in keeping it on the road.
For example: I'm not particularly good with names, but I do know all
of the service advisors names at the dealership, as well as a few others.
I have also learned which of the service advisors are dedicated
to the cause, and which advisors don't give a ratshit about your needs.
It was with great sadness when I was told that Mr. Dedicated service manager
was transferred to a MBZ dealership in S.D. California, while Mr. Ratshit
advisor was immediately promoted to Ratshit service manager.
Due to the extensive problem history with this Range Rover, we treat
it as a "local vehicle" only. Would you want to risk taking
it on a long distance trip with your family?
Recently, I gathered up all of the service history receipts from 08-99
to 05-02. No less than 26 trips to the dealership. Of those, I spent a
total of 87 days driving a Toyota Corolla loaner car during those
Lining up to bend over.
Well, those rocket scientists at Land Rover North America have mailed
their glossy magazine-style introduction of the new 2003 Range Rover.
Looks like the same shit in a similar sack.
Like, why waste paper and postage on somebody who already knows about
this complete piece of junk. It's much better spent on finding fresh
Not wanting to let a good deed go unpunished, I called the dealership
and asked for a demo :). I was then connected to a smart ass sales boy
named John. When I asked John about when I might be able to see this new
wonder of inbreeding between Ford and Land Rover, he stated that I would
have to lay down a $1,000.00 deposit just to be able to see it in May.
What?.. Yes, A number of "hopefuls" have given this dealership a 1k deposit
just to be placed first on the list for a reaming. They're lining up to
The weak points.
I have found over the last three years where the weak points of the
Range Rover are. Here's the list:
EAS Electronic Air Suspension.
This is one of the big selling features of the Range Rover. A dash
mounted control allows you to adjust the ride height of your rover, with
four different levels. The lowest being "squat" for loading purposes (or
challenging the mexicans at a stop light). Or the highest; to be used when
needing to ford a river when entering the mall parking lot.
Rubber inflatable bags are used at the four corners of the vehicle
instead of the customary springs. A tiny electric compressor under the
hood grunts away constantly to maintain a level vehicle height while driving
Adjacent to the bags, a potentiometer is mounted at each wheel to indicate
to the computer what the vehicle height is. Of course Land Rover didn't
bother to use a quality (or even a sealed) potentiometer. When these fail
(as four of mine have), the AES system shuts down completely, and promptly
drops to the axles. Just call me Raul...
These rubber inflatable bags also develop leaks on a regular basis.
Always with the same result noted above. During the last three years; six
rubber bags have been replaced. Outside of the warranty these would have
cost $500.00 each, excluding the labor to install them.
The suspension compressor... Did I mention that little "chinese prison
labor made" compressor used for the air suspension? This poor little
thing is so overworked, it rarely shuts off while driving. The bushings
supporting it have been replaced twice. And you know it when they go bad:
the under hood growl is attention getting.
Ahhh, the British. You've all heard those jokes about Lucas refrigerators,
right? The A/C blows hot air while sitting at an intersection
on any toasty day in Arizona. It does work well when the outside temperature
is under 85 degrees F though. You would think they'd test their A/C system
in a hostile climate (read scorching hot). Nope. It's Butt Gravy time whenever
it heats up here in the desert. The A/C compressor has failed twice, and
the dash console once. All were during the summer heat.
This vehicle will rival the Exxon Valdez for loss of oil.
Five combined trips to the dealership to have oil leaks resolved. Only
in the last six months have they gotten it to stop leaking for a short
period. I finally resorted to placing a big pan beneath it in the garage.
There was a side benefit though: the oil pool would trap the flying/crawling
insects from coming into our home. Like a little version of the LaBrea
Tar Pit :)
The rover required replacement of the upper and lower ball joints at
40k miles. Even the dealer admitted that these are a weak point in this
vehicle; typically only good for 30k miles. Evidently they are underrated
for it's 5,600 lbs displacement. Now at 65k miles on the odo, the steering
is becoming difficult to keep it in the lane (just like it was before).
Four trips to the dealership to address overheating problems. One of
the Rover's six recalls required replacement of all of the coolant
hoses twice. Evidently the original hoses could burst, and cause injury
to the owner. The second retrofit had the same problem, and were again
recalled. Well, since the third entire hose change out, it has been overheating
at intersections on any hot day. Like burying the temperature gauge needle
In case you didn't know it: The engine used in the Range Rover is an
aluminum V8 design, purchased from Buick (GM) way back in 1963. Little
has changed in the design, aside from adding fuel injection and nearly
three tons of Land Rover. This was a poorly designed engine, and
was quickly discontinued by GM. The steel cylinder sleeves would move in
the aluminum block because of dissimilar coefficients of expansion
from the metals, and usually died from blown head gaskets. How do I know
about that? I owned one of those Buicks in my youthful days :(
Land Rover describes the same engine failure as the ability to "slip
a sleeve". Meaning that compression gasses can be lost into the water jacket,
creating a vapor lock in the cooling system. This sort of failure is catastrophic,
and elusive to pin down. The only resolve is to replace the engine. One
obvious symptom is swollen hoses, and coolant hemorrhaging from the clamp
points. Mine had both showing. The dealer has repeatedly tried to avoid
replacing the engine by instituting a number of poorly conceived fixes,
and then giving it back to me; only to have it overheat again. The same
company who issued the warranty also owns the Land Rover dealership. United
Same bullshit design problem, different century.
The smaller stuff.
There have been a generous number of non recurring problems that I
won't list. They can be reviewed from the service history link.
Because of my extensive use of Toyota Corolla's as a service loaner
car; I recommend you purchase five of them in place of buying one new Range
The warranty expired in August 2003, and the Rover expired three months
I had it repaired, and promptly placed it up for sale. It was
quickly sold to an Italian gentleman who believed Fiat cars were well engineered.
The oil stains in my driveway are a recurring reminder of my mistake.
I now drive a small electric powered truck. No gasoline or oil needed.