Land Rover Discovery L318 is like Twitter or non-alcoholic water, it never really caught on in the balkans. And Land Rover Discovery L318 owners are so well informed and knowledgeable about this car that this review is more useless than fireresistant swimmingtrunks. Let’s see what came out of this review.
I say you have to be very knowledgeable when you have a Land Rover Discovery L318 because all that metal-eating, sand-paper-for-toilet-paper using, hairy chested looks and all those off-road skills come with a price, namely the legendary Land Rover reliability. You can rely on the Land Rover Discovery L318 as much as you can rely on an wellied pub manager. An old ...car I guess, which uses technology from the 70s and which unfortunately did not receive anything from BMW, and the engines are still all Rover and no glory.
For a long time, many people laughed at communist and korean cars for their build quality, but if you look at what we were “building” in the 70s and up to 2000, you’ll laugh your buttocks off and you’ll realize that we weren’t really the Angus Young of the automotive industry. As there are children convencieved during drunk sprees, like 90% of Metin2 fanbase, Land Rover Discovery L318 was most likely conceived in between 2 bottles of Double Diamond and a shelf of White Russian.
Then why buy such a “car”?
Because all the issues, all the shortcomings, all the shoddy build quality is nothing compared to how an exceptional car it is for off-roading. You won’t find this car on regular car ads websites and you won’t find it at shady car parks or private sellers. You will only find it at your local forest ranger or at some off-road enthusiasts’ backyard, for astronomical prices. And if you want to have a small taste of reliability you have to ignore the 2.5 diesel and go up to the next engine, i.e. a 4.0 V8 petrol which is only marginally more reliable. If this car were a Pokemon it would be Snorlax. It is very difficult to start and keep a Land Rover Discovery L318 running, but when it does get up and move, in those moments you have an off-road monster.
Land Rover Discovery L318 Engines
- 4.0 Rover V8 of 190 horsepower – Affectionately called the “Thor”, this engine has nothing to do neither with electricity nor the god of thunder. Essentially the same engine as the 4.6 and which somehow has worse fuel economy than the 4.6 variant.
- 4.6 Rover V8 of 225 horsepower – Normally you’d find it dragging itself and the body of the Range Rover, but probably somewhere in a forest there is a Land Rover Discovery L318 with this engine. In regards to the common issues we will talk later because there is a lot to talk about and my throat is dry. I just have to look at a picture of Nigel Farage for my throat to recover and fill up again with saliva. The 4.6 engine instead gets a more muscular differential and a more resistant box.
2.5 TD5 16P of 136 horsepower – This is not the BMW engine. This is not the BMW engine. This is NOT THE BMW ENGINE. In fact, when BMW came about with their own engines, the TD5 was the only Rover engine that survived for a few more years. The Euro 2 engines are as good as a beer spilled on the floor, and the Euro 3 ones are decent. Occasional issues with the double mass flywheel (many people installed a single mass flywheel but that flywheel has a shorter life expectancy and is much more vibraty), injector seals, pressure regulators, oil pump and the timing chain, but it turned out to be a fairly reliable engine, at least in the post-2002 version.
Land Rover Discovery L318 Common Issues
- Take a deep breath and here we go. For the petrol engines there were the following issues. The walls of the engine block are thinner than the patience of a delivery driver through rush hour traffic, so they tend to heat up and crack. You will see billions of cracked engine blocks, a statistic that only Baby Shark and it’s fans can achieve. This means that you have to keep an constant eye on the coolant level because otherwise you will end up with a cracked engine block, a toast cylinder head gasket and all the bad things under the sun. If you take note of the coolant level every 15 minutes and fill it up constantly, you will not have these issues and the engine stays fairly reliable. The second major issue is with the power supply management system and especially the O2 sensors. O2 sensors which are as proeficient at reading and processing data as Lester Green and for this reason the engine will never be fueled correctly, either it will inject too much fuel or too little. The problem is that you cannot drive at a constant cruising speed because the engine will not know how much petrol to deliver. If the fuel pump sends too little petrol, then the engine no longer cools properly and you end up as in the first situation. If you use it only under high stress aka off-road, then you will have a galactic fuel economy but at least the engine will be properly cooled by the petrol. So you can imagine that this is a slightly taller 330i and needs to be revved accordingly.
- Another biggie for the Land Rover Discovery L318….any Land Rover from this period actually is that all the electronics are crammed under the same ECU that manages everything, there are no modules and sensors for sensors like for example in VW. If a lightbulb has burned out, you may have to replace the entire ECU.
- The ACE system is a rudimentary electronic anti-roll control system. Unfortunately, both the pump and the ACE pipes tend to rust / break and in more serious cases the entire chassis must be replaced. It’s good that the Land Rover Discovery L318 has two chassis, but still not a very encouraging prospect.
- And since we were talking about chassis, the rear part of the chassis wasn’t properly waterproofed because both the assembly guy and the quality control guy got plastered. Thus water collects there and where water collects rust also collects and look how you have to buy another chassis.
- Most second generation Land Rover Discovery come with air suspension and we also know that they are not the most durable. Fortunately, on the other hand air suspension repairs and refurbishing have become much more affordable for all types of cars, so at least here you have some degree of hope.
- Radiators lose fluid faster than I lost fluid when I left the Wellington after drinking 8 BFGs. I don’t regret anything and you have an extra reason to keep your eyes on the coolant level.
- For those rich snobs who paid good money on a model with sunshine roof then prepare some more money because otherwise they will be flooded every time it rains.
Land Rover Discovery L318 Verdict
As an fine gentleman once said on the forum: It’s not a car for people with deep pockets and short hands. They were so bad in terms of reliability that today they are a rare presence on the streets of Europe, not just in Blighty. But if you have the necessary funds, a Land Rover Discovery remains a rough terrain monster that is top every time it is working. Like once every 3-4 months.
Which engines do I recommend? For diesel it’s obviously going to be the 2.5 TD5 engine, but only the Euro 3 version. As for petrol power the 4.0 V8 is more reliable but thirstier. But given how much petrol these engines chugg down, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a 4.0 or a 4.6.