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Land Rover Valve Jobs   -   2003/12/02Viewed 217 times this month, last update: 2005/01/20

My Land Rover Discovery Series II is now 70,000 miles old. At 18,000 miles, it had a full valve job, under warranty.
At 28,000 miles, the engine developed a head-gasket leak, so, under warranty, Land Rover of Mission Viejo replaced the entire engine block.
Now, 40,000 miles later, after only Chevron 91 octane, and regular cleaning by fuel additives, my disco needs a valve job again. The exhaust valve for cylinder #4 is sticking, pretty badly, and causing a very rough idle, and loss of fuel [Land Rover Milage//mileage]. LRMV gave me the option of trying a more powerful cleaning solution, which may have staved off the dreaded valve job. $400 later, it's no better.
This is a pretty common problem for late-model Land Rovers. I've heard the problem can be traced to excessively tight tolerances in the valve guides. A note of warning for other Land Rover owners: Fuel additives, high-octane, driving like you stole it, and fuel additives.
LRMV wants $2300 for the job, my trusty grease monkey Solihull's 4x4 wants $1700, and I've found one place for as low as $1500. As low as $1500, sounds pretty damn funny huh?

Well, this is the cost of a Land Rover. One doesn't buy a Land Rover is one is trying to save money. At least the DMV gave me a $300 discount on my registration this year. Don't ask me why, and I'm not asking either.

Update 2003/12/10:
I'm thinking about doing the majority of the valve job myself, specifically: removing the heads myself , and sending them out for the valve work. It's possible this could save me upwards of $1000, just doing this labor myself. I've read through the entire process in my shop manual, removing the fan, serp. belt, pulleys, alternator, throttle cables, vacuum lines (all of which I've done before), A/C compressor, intake plenum, intake gasket, intake manifold, intake manifold gasket, rocker covers, rocker cover gaskets, rocker bars, push-rods, and finally the head gaskets.
It all seems pretty straight forward, but I'm sure there are many pitfalls. Maybe if I could convince someone to help me with it...

Update 2004/01/01:
Well, the valves are fine. Almost perfect. However, some holes/cracks in the cylinder liner of cylinder #4 gave developed, letting coolant in (for rough starts and rough idles) and exhaust gases out (into the coolant/oil) causing an overpressurized coolant system, and contamination of the crank-case oil.
This is actually the second time this has happened to my truck. The first engine lasted 28,000 miles, and was replaced under warrantee. The second engine lasted about 40,000 miles. Same problem, coolant leaking past the cylinder liners.
The result? Instead of a $1500 valve job, I get to spend more than twice that for a new engine block. Weee!!! At least now I know my regimine of high-grade (Chevron 91 octane) gas and regular fuel treatment is keeping the valves clean.
Hopefully, Land Rover has fixed this problem in the two years since my last engine was built. My mechanic (Brittish 4x4 in Mission Viejo, Ca) thinks the problem is due to bad casting and thin portions of the block allowing the coolant to leak past the somewhat porrous aluminium block material, and come in contact with the steel cylinder liners, causing corrosion.

Click Here to view the first 333 comments to this article!

Jeff (2010-01-01): I was helping a friend with his 1997 Range Rover SE/4.0
and we got ourselves confused about which hose goes where on the Air Intake Plenum Chamber. There is a short fat hose and a far longer, skinny hose that both have coolant in them. Any help would be greatly appreciated. It has 158K miles on it! Fascinating, lively discussion here! Thanks.

Erik (2010-01-02): Jeff, I don't know of those hoses specifically, but Land Rovers Only.com and Discoweb.org are good places to ask.

c los (2010-01-29): i have a 2000 lr discovery 2 with 157000 miles.
i notice a burning smell everytime i would stop my truck,
so i open the hood and notice a drip of green coolant coming from behind the engine and making it's way to the exhaust pipe. where it would burn up.. i tried to find a hose, but nothing around.. help

Teresa (2010-02-23): My 02 Discovery is sitting in the shop right now in Laguna Niguel with a $2100 valve gasket leak. Apparently it has multiple leaks. It has about 73,000 miles and I bought it 30 days ago! Oh what fun! At least we had a great time up in Big Bear with it two weeks ago!

Will D. (2010-03-04): I just bought a 2003 Disco II - thi sis not encouraging. Found out the valvel gasket needs replacing, in addition to the ABS and some other gaskets. I have wanted one for a long time. I hope it was'nt a bad decision.

Patty (2010-05-10): i have a 1996 Range Rover that I was first told need a head gasket. Now I have been told that all I need is a valve job. Personally I just want to sell the vehicle for 3000.00 or best offer. If anyone knows of someone that would like to buy this awesome vehicle and believe me it has a new green paint job brand new michelins new radio it is sharp but I think I would rather sell it than to pay more to get it fixed. Any help you all???

Patty (2010-05-10): I forgot to put my email. It is booboo426@gmail.com Thanks Any help would be appreciated

jfall (2010-07-26): Update to the post I made on: jfall (2009-05-16):
The 1997 Land Rover Discovery I is still running after replacing the head gaskets and putting Barr's leaks in the cooling system. Just turned over 150K on the truck now.
Oil is getting really dark after only 1,500 miles now and not too happy about that. Not losing any antifreeze.
I did put up a lot of pictures and a blog. My website is up at times and down at others. But, here is a link to the blog to help anyone fixing a Discovery I with a 4.0 engine.
I am glad Erik's land rover is still going too!

ReasonableOne (2010-09-28): Just finished the "job" on my 2004 Disco. I went the DIY route, but I am more than an advanced shade try mechanic. The only caution I would offer is make sure you have the right tools, or you'll do more damage than fixing. You'll need a good 1/2 inch drive, 12 point metric and inch tool set, and a torque wrench. Except for the 36mm fan clutch wrench, and a 9mm hex socket, no other specialty tools are required..parts will run about $350-$400 for new plugs, wires, a full gasket set, including intake plenum, and a new thermostat. Farming out the heads will run you another $400 or so.. Good Luck, mine took about a week working part time on it.

Joe (2010-11-06): I have a 2000 Disco II that I purchased new (so it's a one-owner). We have put all 127K miles on it. Maintained at LR Tampa for a long while. Now just have oil done at local quickie-lube joint. Runs great; valves have a metallic, ticking sound now-a-days - it that a sign that it needs a valve job?

Erik (2010-11-08): A little ticking could mean a lot of things, most of them not too bad, or immediate, in my opinion. If you're worried about it, take it to your mechanic and have them take a listen. It could be an exhaust leak, noisy SAI valves, or worn lifters.

Zim (2011-04-19): I bought a 2000 Land Rover Discovery 2 weeks ago... Ran fine for a while, but then it started overheating...
Finally found out that Cylinder 8 is leaking into the cooland system (leak down test)... Im not sure if its a cracked cylinder, a head gasket, or the liners (yes, the truck overheated quite a number of times before I stopped it once and for all)... Any advice before I start taking the engine apart? Someone here posted a link that said if the liners were overheated, the gaskets on them become damaged, and that can only be fixed by changing the whole engine... I hope that isnt the case.


Erik (2011-04-19): Chances are, it's just the head gasket. If it was a cracked or porous cylinder liner, it probably wouldn't have lasted 10 years. Good luck Zim!

KnightOwl (2011-09-13): Great "heads-up" reading so I know what to expect of My 2000 LR Disco. 103000 miles to date after buying it used for $8K and only putting new tires and pressure plate in so far. I located a salvage yard that seems to get quit a few of this year model in and have bought seats, brake disks, pads, shifter, and many other parts for a tenth of dealer prices and will continue to do whatever maintenance I can do myself. This production year pretty much BMW underneath and as with all German cars, you get to pay for them twice if you don't at least try to learn to maintain them. Mine was out of warranty when I bought it so that has been my attitude from the start. There is an entire shop manual on the web (over 800 pages) ... a great learning resource.

Erik (2011-09-16): Great buy KnightOwl! If the engine's got 100k miles on it, I doubt you're going to have trouble with a porous block. I'd guess next on your list are going to be: Engine mounts, idler pulley, alternator, maybe radiator. Make sure you did a full fluid flush after receiving it from the last owner. It's probably over-due for transmission fluid.

Marsha (2011-12-29): I have a 2002 LR Discovery I'm trying to get some repairs done. It has coolant and oil leak, it overheats and makes a horrible sound when I press the gas. A mechanic said he would charge 2k to fix. Is this a fair price or am I being cheated. Can I find a cheaper price, please reply ASAP. Thanks for your help. Marsha

Frank (2012-01-02): I have been working on cars for over 25 years and in saying that the last 5 have turned that passion into a bordering hate. It all started at the time we purchased a 92 landrover disco, 3.5 litre guttless piece of shit. We have seriously rebuilt the thing and have kept all oils, lubricants, etc, fresh at more than decent intervals. Now, spending well over 8 grand on it, resale value, $1500 NOT POUNDS BUT DOLLARS and the thing is just starting to overheat giving us new peoblems. I WILL NEVER, EVER recommend this make, brand, what ever you want to call it (I DID NOT KNOW THAT ANYONE COULD BRAND A PIECE OF SHIT AND MAKE BIG MONEY ON IT, I AM SPEWING ABOUT ALL OF THE ONES I HAVE FLUSHED AWAY OVER THE YEARS, I COULD HAVE RETIRED AT 30!!!), these manufacturers are ROGUES OF THE WORST KIND!!! The english DO NOT KNOW how to build a middle class car, i can go on for days but nomatter how long i go on, i will never be ablt to express the hate i have for it, it has taken a love of my life and turned it into a burden (working on cars). STAY AWAY FROM THESE PIECES OF SHIT!!!

Gene (2012-03-10): To FRANK: You are COMPLETELY RIGHT ABOUT ROVERS! I have owned 5 of them (3.9, 4.2 LWB, 2 X 4.6 and now a 2003 HSE) and the ONLY ONE that was even CLOSE to reliable was the 2003 Range Rover, which as we know is really a re-badged BMW!!! I restore cars for a hobby and I can honestly say that my 1950's Cadillacs were INFINITELY more reliable than ANY Rover I ever had (except the 2003 HSE which again, is really a BMW. YES, I LOVE THESE CARS AND YES, THEY ARE TOTAL PIECES OF SHIT!!!!! I am a GREAT amatuer mechanic and have shown and won awards at major Concours d'Elegance. I KNOW CARS. In terms of reliability and durability, the Rovers ARE TOTAL PIECES OF SHIT!!!!!

Dean (2012-09-03): Love all the info from this page, I to have been wrenching for 27+ yrs and I recently repaired a 2003 4.6l disII for a head gasket leak as I thought, it can to me with an axpantion tank leak and rough idle at start up, cumbustion test showed exhaust in the cooling system at 102k miles i elected to do a complete valve job, new hose's, t-stat, w-pump, wires and plugs all LR parts. I drove it for 105 miles before releasing it to cust and they drove it for 250 miles and check engine light on cylinder 6 miss fire, I found wetness in the cylinder intermittantly, so I have put some GM cooling system seal tabs and after 110 miles no miss fire. Weather it was there before or after the valve job any other LR that come in will get a notice to customer if in dought about the leak replace the entire power plant or be warned about have to tear the engine apart and spend more than the original estimate.

Tom (2013-08-09): I have disco 2 ,one owner since year 2000,that is 13 years in this time never had any problems with a car,only changed air suspension rear bags
Last year. When car was on warranty I did not agree to dealer junior mechanic to experiment and stuffed my car . There was lot of leaks they said, water pump need replacing etc.
I never replaced apart from oil and brake pads anything , and stayed away from service, when they do unnecessary corrections just to have some work done so they can make money.if nothing is broken do not open and service parts. I had the same problem with my Ford, when always after service more problems where created, I have never taken car to a dealer , and had it for 16 years with no problems at all, till my wife smushed it on brick wall.
My Land rover disco 2000 model is still in top condition , but only because I did not allow apprentice mechanic to fiddle with it.
Do only main things , and do not believe mechanics watch the closely what they doing. Diving to a dealer , he will make sure that you will keep coming,
I am not very good customer , they not making money on people like me.

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