I have thought about this post for a while. It’s no secret that Land Rovers have steadily lost some of the overland expedition market especially in Africa, to Toyota. Land Cruisers hold their value like a vault while Range Rovers plummet. Why?
Well when your Range Rover is sitting in pieces in your garage for months as you try to retime it you realize the answer. It’s the reliability. There is a real issue with Land Rover reliability. I am advocating that Land Rover take a page out of the playbook of Lotus and consider using Toyota engines.
Engineering engines has to be expensive, paying for ZF drive train parts, has to be expensive, warranty payments to dealers have to be expensive, court settlements (of which several owners have contacted me about successful litigation) has to be expensive for Land Rover, all while they lose some of their core demographics.
Toyota engines were once under powered and un-refined. However, that’s just not the case anymore. The 5.7L and 5.0L V8s are quite fun, and there are some nice V6 options as well. These engines are rock solid. The running gear is bomb proof. They are nice engines that are smooth and produce prodigious amounts of power for years. While utilizing BMW engines didn’t work for Land Rover, there is quite a big difference between Toyota and BMW engine philosophy with Toyota engineer teams spending hours to refine and build incredibly reliable engines.
Land Rover should seriously consider dropping the Jaguar engines and utilizing Toyota engines because their mission vision values and goals in part rely on reliability. You just can’t take a Land Rover into the jungle or off the beaten path very far without a group of vehicles because there is a too high of a chance it will break down.
While I’ve driven across country in Range Rovers more times than I’d like to admit, there is a bit of a chance of catastrophic failure. While my Range Rovers have always broken down near home, it is time that Land Rover seriously consider reliability especially with their new Defenders.
By using Toyota engines, Land Rover could focus on building the pinnacle of offroader once again, and realize lower warranty and engineering costs, and win back some of the overland market. While it may seem like Land Rover is eyeing a different market now, form over function buyers will always respect performance and reliability, as well as usage in extreme scenarios.
Just imagine waking up and knowing your Land Rover will start and run fine wherever you find yourself looking at the sunrise. Personally, I do not want to have the option of owning a car I love that doesn’t work, or a car I don’t love that always works. I think improving reliability by using Toyota engines is important to Land Rover, perhaps more than Jaguar, because Land Rovers are designed and marketed to be taken off of the beaten path.
In my early 20s I had a great job interview. The economy was shitty so I was looking forward to going to it. I had a Range Rover p38a on 33″ BFG AT tires, which were great offroad but I had a slow leak from slamming one of the rims into a rock.
On my way to the job interview my bad tire/wheel lost its air. So I changed it BUT I had only 4 33″ tires, the other was the standard 28.x” size tire. I thought it would be fine…. It was not.
The car was underivable, I had to drive to a tire shop that was close and just have them repair the 33″ tire because the car was completely unstable and unhappy with different size tires. The computers were having a fit, the center locker was having a fit, the differentials were upset. It was not good.
are such a small thing, but this post can really apply to many small things.
Wiper Blades are one of those items where you have a huge option in price variance, according to consumer reports, the cheapest perform as well as the most expensive as long as they are changed often. I find blades (vs traditional wipers) work a bit better on the L322 at high speeds as the wipers tend to lift at about 80mph. ( While 80MPH is illegal on much of the east coast, it is the speed limit throughout much of the desert and west. )
I would go to RockAuto.com and pick up about 4 full sets of blades on sale for my L322. They cost about $5 each and are easy to replace. And I would replace them every six months to a year to keep that streak free shine.
I am stickler for a clean windshield, so cleaning your windshield off at each gas stop will help the blades work better by ensuring good content. I lift the blades up so debris falls off the blades.
Getting blades or windshield wipers replaced by a dealer can cost a lot whether you drive a P38a or L405 getting blades at rock auto and changing them out yourself makes a lot of sense. I also want to disclose this is not a sponsored post, rock auto does have great prices on wiper blades, and brakes.
Brakes are another thing where keeping on top of your pads will make a big difference down the line. I would replace your brake pads every 2 years or earlier. Get cheap pads from rock auto and just replace them. Pads are so easy to replace it’s important to stay on-top of them because the rotors on the Rover are a bit more difficult, especially the rears which have the parking drum built in.
If your truck has clunks it can be due to a few things but often it is the ball joints and just tightening the roll bars. ball joints do go quite often on a rover. This is another item where rock auto is great. Picking up bump stops get all of them at once, switch out each link per side at the same time on a rack, you’ll be good to go and out the door with 1k more dollars in your pocket than a dealer.
The Range Rover has always featured innovated 4 wheel drive systems but there are many versions of these drive systems, in addition to the host of other Land Rover off road technology.
The first thing to note is that 2wd needs 1 open differential to ensure power is delivered smoothly around corners. This also means that if one of those wheels has no traction the open differential sends all of the power to the wheel with the most slip!
An all wheel drive system adds two more open differentials, one in the center between the fore and aft and two open differentials on each axel. In this system again the power will go to the wheel with the most slip. So basically if one wheel has no traction you still aren’t moving by positive power train action.
A permanent 4wd system like those employed on range rovers provide a viscous coupling in the p38a, a torsen in the 2003-2005 Range Rover, and electronic locking in the 2006-on. The point of the (partially) locked center differential is that some power will be sent to the opposing axel so if one wheel has no traction you will still be able to move. Or if both front or both rear wheels have no or limited traction you will be able to move forward, unless truly no traction is provided and then you would need a locker, or an electronic locker.
A main difference between the h1 and the hmmvee is the differentials in the H1 are torsens and the hmmvee had lockers. The G500 also has 3 lockers.
A 4wd system implies a true center locking center differential and a low range, although new gearing and gearboxes have made some off-roading available without low range.
Mid-September I attempted to run Yankee Hill but ended up taking Miners Gulch which was also fun. I picked up the trail near Central City, Colorado. Central City is an old mine supply town and is full of a beautifully preserved buildings many of which are either owned by the city or casinos. Unlike many casino cities including Las Vegas and nearby Blackhawk, Colorado Central city is a town you have to see during the day.
Nevadaville and many ghost mines are close to Central City and Blackhawk, you can see very old Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemeteries close to where the trail pickup is.
I’ll post more pictures soon from this outing. Check out switzerland trail run.
So you just got a new truck or you just moved to Colorado and you want to know the next steps in off roading and enjoying the Land Rover Lifestyle?
Please familiarize yourself with the vehicle, including the X angle and the four corners. Most notably the rear wheels track tighter than the center wheels so typically you can start steering past an object when you see it in your rear view mirror, however your truck may be different. Make sure you are able to reverse a great distance and with curves. I’d also recommend that you are confident in operating the Electronic Air Suspension, Low Range, DSC off, HDC on, Terrain Response, or locker controls if so equipped. The P38a is tricky because essentially the center differential is actuated by slip.
You may want to watch this series of Land Rover offroad instructional videos on youtube. These are fantastic resource that used to be difficult to view. If you have a similar vehicle you may want to browse our Off Road Trail Reports for inspiration of travel locations and their challenges of traversing.
Check out stay the trail if you are in Colorado, they have great information about the trails available, rules, and most importantly links to seasonal closure status.
You may want to run a few trails in tandem with a group such as traildamage.com or Solihull Society which hosts the national Land Rover Rally. Running with a group is much safer and provides a greater degree of enjoyment in many cases allowing more difficult, remote terrain to be tackled safer than if you were to ride with just one vehicle.