Welcome to
Range Rover
The web page dedicated to exposing the truth about the Range Rover ownership experience

Background: Summer of 99
It all started innocently enough with a visit to the local Land Rover Dealer. I began by carefully looking over the bright and gleaming new Range Rovers.

Now... we're not talking about a vehicle for the "financially challenged" The base model Range Rover started out at a sizable $63,000.00 and that excluded any optional features, add-ons, license and tax. Sheesh.

Who could resist those smartly dressed salespeople wearing khaki's and golf shirts? Hey! I just couldn't. I was ready to plunk down the checkbook.
Unfortunately they were out of stock, and I would have to wait for another five weeks to purchase the model that I was really wanted to buy. -Wow, that leather interior sure smelled great, and the names they give to their interior/exterior colors surely evoke thoughts of nobility and royalty...
Hey!, maybe I could buy a nice previously owned Range Rover for less $$$

I found a slightly used 97 Range Rover, with 28,000 miles on the odo. This Range Rover was dealer serviced, and no problem history had showed up in their national service computer. And it was priced at 20k less than new. The bad part was that I had to go to Florida to pick it up (I live in the Arizona desert).  Road trip!

Interestingly, this was a factory custom vehicle from Land Rover. The original buyer had waited many months to receive it. I wondered why he was selling it?
It was loaded, and had a one-off green accent leather interior. Even the extensive burl wood paneling had been tinted green. I like green, so it appealed to me.
I flew down to look it over, and did the usual detailed inspection regimen.  Everything appeared ok.  Then I drove it back cross-country. Three days, and three thousand miles later; I rolled into our driveway.

the green beast
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!

The Prestige.
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 service periods.

Lining up to bend over.
Well, those rocket scientists at Land Rover North America have mailed me 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 victims.
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 bend over!

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 along. 
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.

Climate Control.
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.

Oil leaks.
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 :)

Ball Joints.
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 type overheating.
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 Automotive Group.
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 Rover.

The warranty expired in August 2003, and the Rover expired three months later.
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.