Home » My Land Rover Discovery Did What Land Rover Discoverys Do

My Land Rover Discovery Did What Land Rover Discoverys Do

Disco Broken 2
ADVERTISEMENT

Well, folks, it happened again. My Discovery stranded me. You all laughed at me last week and said, “the content will write itself if you have a Land Rover.” Here we are. That strategy has certainly worked for other individuals, cough cough Doug Demuro, and well, maybe it’ll work for me. Keep reading my stories and we shall see.

Disco Breakdown 1

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

This past Tuesday, while on a day off, my friends and I wanted to take a trip to visit an automotive museum. We decided on the Newport Car Museum in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. I live on Long Island, about 4 hours away. Before you jump to conclusions, no I absolutely did not take my Disco on the trip. I’m much smarter than that, I’d like to think. My friend drove us in his BMW X7, a much comfier and dare I say more reliable ride.

Anyway, before departing, I was meeting my friend at his house, about 25 minutes away from where I live. I elected to take my Disco. I figured she could use some love. She’d not been getting as much attention from me, as I was busy with class, midterms, family, and my two jobs. The vehicle drove beautifully to my friend’s house – suspiciously so. Hmmm.

I left the Disco in front of the house for the day, and we set sail to Newport. It was a fun trip. I saw a Porsche Carrera GT, BMW Isetta, blah blah blah. Cool cars, I guess.

ADVERTISEMENT

34df469a D1ca 4f53 A944 Ace9662a10f3

We got home around 8:30 PM, and I decided to leave a bit early from my friend’s house. I was exhausted; I had to do some writing for three papers due this upcoming Tuesday – well, I still have to, oops, so I decided to hit the road.

Good thing I did, rather than at 2 AM. Not even one exit after entering the highway I heard a loud pop, like a confetti popper thing people use on New Year’s Eve. Initially, I dismissed it as a pothole, as we have a lot of those in New York. Boy oh boy was I wrong. I suddenly lost all power steering and the battery light came on – not fun when you’re traveling 65MPH in a an old, tippy box!

Then my motor overheated. Of course it did, because it’s a 22-year-old Land Rover. For those unfamiliar with these Discos and the Rover 4.0 Bosch V8, overheating is the kiss of death. The most common outcome of an overheat is blown head gaskets. The Discovery 2’s complicated thermostat bypass loop does not help, often warping the gaskets. Additionally, Land Rover recommends the use of Dexcool coolant which corrodes aluminum parts, such as the block and heads. Not to mention, to comply with emission standards, the Discovery 2’s 4.0 runs significantly hotter than it did in the earlier Discovery 1 but did nothing to rectify that. Nice going, Land Rover.

The illuminated dashboard engine temperature red light, “Rudolph’s Nose,” was shining nice and bright at me. I pulled over. This can’t be good, I thought. I was right, it wasn’t!

ADVERTISEMENT

Disco Breakdown 3

I immediately turned the Disco off and opened the hood. It was an absolute disaster. There were pieces of broken belt, cracked fan blades, broken plastics, and coolant everywhere. It smelled horrendous. Hoses were flung around like pool noodles. It was also smoking like an Irish chimney. Ouch. I was stranded!
Ouch Uncool

Naturally I called Triple A who stated that my membership had expired two days ago. I was in disbelief; my card wasn’t automatically charged apparently?

While stuck on the side of the busiest highway on Long Island, at 10 PM, I had to dig my card out and read the number aloud in the dark to the melancholy Triple-A agent. But get this: Triple-A was unable to come to my location. Why? The parkway I was stuck on, for you Long Islanders, the Southern State, has low clearance overpasses deeming a Triple-A tow-truck ineligible for travel.

The agent said to me, essentially: “You’re on your kid. Crawl home if I care. Your fault for buying a Land Rover.” He didn’t say that, but he might as well have since my emotions were certainly messing with my coherence.

ADVERTISEMENT

He connected me to the highway department, and they showed up within 10 minutes and were a cheaper tow than I expected. Who needs Triple A?

Disco Breakdown 4

My Disco and I got towed home as I sat in the front seat with the tow-truck driver, who proceeded to list off all the other cars he had picked up that day. I had him dump the Land Rover in the street in front of my house. I immediately went to bed, after some expletives of course, and said something like, “I’ll deal with this sh*t in the morning.”

The next morning I popped the hood and did some examining in the daylight. Thank you Mr. Sun for shining nice and bright onto my engine bay so I could see that a failed pulley wreaked havoc on the engine compartment. Yikes! There were no prior warning signs of this destruction. Believe me, I wouldn’t have driven it if so.

I called my mechanic, Bart at Independent MotorCar of Smithtown, NY, and he sent a tow truck to pick up my Disco. I watched as my Disco got loaded onto a flatbed for the 10th time since I took delivery of it in July 2022. Yikes!

ADVERTISEMENT

Disco Breakdown 5

A few hours later Bart called me up and listed off everything that was broken and needed repair. He sent me pictures and laughed with me about my license plate, CREAKY.

Here’s what the shop replaced: serpentine belt, belt tensioner, two pulleys, throttle body hoses, coolant tank cap, fan, and fan blades.

Between the two tows, the collection of OEM parts, 4.5 hours of labor, and my mental sanity, my Disco set me back about $1500. Not too bad for an old self-destructive Land Rover, but certainly not what a college kid wants to spend his work paychecks on. Disclaimer: I would have loved to have tackled the project myself and learned from experience, but it’s tough when I’m out of the house from 8 am-8 pm every day at school and work. If anything goes wrong over the summer, or I should say, WHEN something goes wrong, I will be sure to start a wrenching series. 

I picked up my Disco early Friday morning and parked it right in front of my house. That’s where it’ll rest indefinitely until I muster up the courage to drive it again. We’re in a fight right now; I’m mad at it. It’s scary driving a car that can blow up on you at any second!

ADVERTISEMENT

Disco Punished

So that was just another week of Land Rover ownership. What do you all think, should I sell it? Should I sell my Disco to another unassuming college kid or should I keep it around for a bit? You tell me. In the meantime, make me an offer. I’ll still want an NAS Land Rover Defender. Don’t we all…

 

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
87 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gee See
Gee See
11 months ago

If you are training to be a shop teacher, keep this car as a teaching aid? Better to have a car you know well, than have a rando car from students or parents. Though my friend had the unfortunate instance where the knuckleheads he was trying to teach tried to jump his shop car with reverse polarity. Oh and always not to get students crushed, apparently that is a bad thing.

Myk El
Myk El
11 months ago

I mean, technically it was going off-road when on the back of the flatbed.

VanGuy
VanGuy
11 months ago

I don’t have any input, except thanks to whoever did the “just sit there and think about what you did” graphic. Extremely relatable

JDE
JDE
11 months ago

Honestly if you are going to be a writer for this auto zine, you need to get back in that saddle sooner than later.

Dave M.
Dave M.
11 months ago

Dude, it you want a big, blocky vehicle capable of severe off-roading, just get a Land Cruiser or Trooper. Unless you enjoy the pain inflicted by a Land Rover product.

JDE
JDE
11 months ago
Reply to  Dave M.

I mean except all of the things that happened here can happen to any vehicle. He is probably lucky it did not damage the head gaskets like he said though.

Andrew Daisuke
Andrew Daisuke
11 months ago

When I was in college in the early 2000’s, I lived right by a used car lot. They had this really nice used Disco, must have been like 3-4 years old. I walked over after they were closed and looked at it, I mean, they’re beautiful cars right! I went home and did some internet searching on them, holy crap, I’m glad I did.

The first result said, “from the drivers seat you have a great field of view as you wait for the tow truck to come get you.” other gems include, “buy two so you can drive one while they other one is in the shop.”

The greatest trick Britain ever pulled was convincing people they could actually build things.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
11 months ago

Try to find a preventive maintenance that can be done before you drive her again. Feeling like you are in a better place will help you trust her.
My Toyota Caldina had been making a weird sound for a while – at first I thought it was the exhaust, then I was told that the issue was my alternator. I bought two replacements (one to match the existing, but the car had been fitted with the wrong kind when I got it) and we swapped them like four times. Eventually it was charging and driving well, but the sound was still there.
Finally had another mechanic identify the harmonic balancer (crankshaft pulley) and I bought a $240 replacement from Japan (rather than the $55 Chinese part I could get immediately) as I am a nerd and wanted a factory part. A week later, my mechanic mentioned to me that I shouldn’t be driving the car at all until it’s been fixed and NOW I SEE WHY. Part is arriving today and I cannot wait.

Sgtyukon
Sgtyukon
11 months ago

If these articles about how unreliable your Disco is compensate you enough to pay for the repairs, keep it. Otherwise, Google “sunk cost syndrome.” That will tell you what to do.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
11 months ago

I hear your pain and agree with who needs AAA. After having them for 11 years, I called one in the middle of day and was told “We won’t help you”. Called a few weeks later for a battery replacement “We won’t help you” In both cases I was in a city with a AAA depot, in a large parking lot, with no obstructions.

Cancelled the membership as they wanted the money but not to give me services I signed up for. Now I use apps like Blink when I need a tow or arrange it via the garage it is going to. They had the nerve to call back and say “While we can’t help you, thinking of the 5% off hotel rooms”. The only stayed a few times in a hotel on my dime ,the others were business trips. I politely asked them to go fornicate themselves.

Dingus
Dingus
11 months ago
Reply to  Arrest-me Red

AAA is such a waste anymore, it has become obsolete. Unless you are very old and can’t change a tire yourself or you’re just entirely devoid of any automotive knowledge, there is really no reason to keep it.
When it comes to towing, they rarely every operate their own trucks, they usually just call a local towing company on your behalf. However, since they will often pay less than the towing company’s customer-pay rate, the tow driver won’t exactly put you at the top of the priority list if they have other people waiting to pay full price. That’s why you hear stories about people waiting hours for AAA.
I have towing reimbursement through my auto insurance so I can just use an app or call a few places to see who is available immediately. At most I’ve had to wait about 30 min for a flatbed to come get me. I pay with a credit card up front, submit to my insurance (basically email them a picture of the receipt) and I get refunded within a day or two. I think I pay about $30 a year for tow reimbursement (only available for cars with comp/coll however).

Dave M.
Dave M.
11 months ago
Reply to  Arrest-me Red

Chances are your car insurance company provides this service. Mine has been great.

Thebloody_shitposter
Thebloody_shitposter
11 months ago

Sounds like your serpentine belt failed and took a bunch of stuff with it when it was slapping around the engine. You seem to have a bunch of deferred maintenance on that Disco that is going to end up costing you a shit tonne more than if you just did the maintenance when you are supposed to. Replacing the belts and hoses when you bought the truck would have cost you around $600 in parts and labor, hell of a lot cheaper than $1500 and a possibly warped motor.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
11 months ago

Laughs in reliable L320 SDV6.

Sarah Bell
Sarah Bell
11 months ago

Here’s an exercise- go to some mundane place, say the grocery store- and ask ten random people who AREN’T members of this site whether you should get rid of a used car that’s had to be towed ten times in less than a year.
Only you can really decide for yourself if the car is worth the suffering, but I would have ditched that turkey five tows ago.

Ok_Im_here
Ok_Im_here
11 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Bell

Yeah, I would’ve been out at about the 2nd tow…. maybe the 3rd or 4th if it was a collector’s car or hobby.

Petter hjalmarsson
Petter hjalmarsson
11 months ago

I would sell it, when a car breaks your heart so many times in just a few months the love is gone. I understand that you loved your disco. I loved my disco1 too but having a car that will turn on you every time it feels for it drains you.

I managed 3-4 years IIRC and the feeling of relief when I sold it matched the feel of joy I felt when I bought it.

I enjoy the more “lagom” amount of grief that old SAAB’s and old French cars give me, and they at least limps home instead of needing a tow.

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
11 months ago

Man, somehow I had a pretty good experience with both of my L322 Range Rovers… one was a 2004 and the other was a 2003. I paid $3000 for the first one and $800 for the second one, and while I had to do some work to both of them, I did it all myself so I didn’t spend very much doing it. The BMW-engined Range Rovers are fairly reliable, as the M62tu is a far superior engine to the crappy old Rover V8. I never had to get either Range Rover towed, and I put a ton of miles on both of them, both on the road and off-road.

Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
11 months ago

I’m sincerely sorry for the pain this Land Rover is putting you through. Ten tows in less than a year? I would turn into Basil Fawlty, thrashing it with a large plant. Even as a project, that’s too much to bear. Good luck.

Turkina
Turkina
11 months ago

Yep, I think there are certain towers that are called to tow on the parkways, I think Bangs Towing is one of them. Otherwise the rigs have gotten too big for parkways, especially with the need for flatbeds.

I feel bad for you, driving a Discovery on Long Island. I feel bad for me, having to exist on Long Island. It is sadness for cars, except for when you can do an Ocean Parkway run with light traffic.

SarlaccRoadster
SarlaccRoadster
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob Spiteri

If/when you find out your heads are warped, you can only blame yourself.

You hear a loud ‘pop’, your power steering is gone and the charging light comes on, that’s clearly the serpentine belt gone; even if you write for a bakery blog and you don’t know that, YOU STOP IMMEDIATELY and take a look under the hood.

If you decide to wait for the engine to overheat before you stop, then you’re just one step away from someone who drives with the oil pressure light on or steam bellowing out until the engine seizes.

As an aside I like how you got to know everything about all the towing companies around Long Island, I guess that’s the one major perk of the Land Rover ownership 🙂

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
11 months ago

I’ve had situations where the car temp starts to go up and I can’t pull over immediately so I turn on the heat to pull all the heat out of the engine. I only remember this because of the movie Speed Zone with John Candy. :/

Phuzz
Phuzz
11 months ago
Reply to  M0L0TOV

My old Peugeot would overheat on really hot days when you were stuck in slow traffic. The only solution was to put the heater on full, and hope the added cooling was enough to keep the engine going before you cooked yourself.

The heater core is effectively a second (small) radiator, and that extra 5-10% of cooling capacity was enough.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
11 months ago

Old car lyfe, yo. If you’re not made of cash, the obvious answer is to wrench on it yourself. Parts aren’t as pricey as labor (at least with old Porsches), and it’s fun digging into ’em. Eventually, you find all the stuff that’s old or that the previous owner borked, and a steady stream of things only you could’ve borked go into the car.

It doesn’t sound like you’ve got time for that at the moment, and unless you’ve also got space for a boring, reliable daily in addition to the Landie, it might be time to trade it off for a car that just…works. That’s the boring answer, I know, but there’s no shame in enjoying driving over wrenching, and there’s plenty of more reliable cars out there that are still fun as hell to drive.

Evan Mackay
Evan Mackay
11 months ago

I uhh… yeah I got nothing. Given the relatively helpful responses to your initial article paired with what seems to be repeating disaster, I think it might be time to let this one go. They’re fantastic vehicles, but do require maintenance and upkeep to remain reliable, which can be expensive if you’re not doing it yourself.

B3n
B3n
11 months ago

I always wanted to diesel-swap one of these.
A few years ago I borrowed a TD5 manual from a friend, it was a fantastic 4×4, it truly feels unstoppable off road.
It had a “few” issues, a bearing in the transmission failed catastrophically so we had to swap the entire unit. Then the air suspension failed, so we coil swapped it.
The instrument cluster was always lit up like a Christmas tree.
And it also lost the front driveshaft once.

JDE
JDE
11 months ago
Reply to  B3n

I suspect in the area he is in he can probably spit and hit a rusted GMT800 with no brakes, but a decent running pre-2006 5.3 GM truck to steel a cheap and reliable drivetrain to swap.. https://www.alternativeconversion.com/product-page/copy-of-discovery-2-ls-swap-standard-kit

Phuzz
Phuzz
11 months ago
Reply to  B3n

My brother has a TD5 in his Defender. Most of the time it chugs along like a bus, but if you put your foot down and the turbo starts to spool up, it’ll accelerate up the steepest hill. It will drink diesel like it’s going out of fashion at the same time, but it feels like you could drive up a shear cliff.

Gee See
Gee See
11 months ago

I think the question comes down to, do you have the space / resource to have storage (or better access to a suitable lift) to keep this car going? One can never have enough time, so that’s not a consideration. I subscribe to Jay Leno’s theory that ICE will be relegated to weekend / specialized use. The Discovery looks like to be in pretty good physical shape. If you live in a place with space and you have a daily driver, I dont’ see why not to keep the car. What is the limit for “vintage” plating in your state?

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob Spiteri

They ought to have model specific vintage plate requirements. I have vintage plates on a 93 Honda and a 96 Toyota, and it feels like I am cheating somehow. 15 years should really be enough for British cars.

87
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x