Need Advice!! Build or sell my '04 Range Rover w/ Low Miles...

John422

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Guys, so sorry for the long post....but would LOVE everyone's advice on this!

I'm looking for some candid advice on what to do with my 2004 Range Rover. I'm the second owner on the vehicle, picked it up with about 30k miles on it in 2007. Have had it ever since. It was a daily driver for a couple years and then became a second, and later a third vehicle. Its only got about 75k miles on it now, the vast majority of which were put on in the first decade of its life. It sits A LOT and for long periods of time.

Overall, its been pretty reliable, but it did have some issues last year with some sensors, and the A/C compressor went out as well. It also had one of the brake calipers seize up many years ago (but this could have been my fault). Possibly has some intermittent battery drain too? Battery seems to go flat sometimes after just a couple weeks of not being used, but a battery tender seems to be a decent solution. Other than that, no issues since acquiring the vehicle.

My internal conflict is really on what to do with this vehicle, and what to do for a utility vehicle overall? I have been looking at all sorts of various vehicles to replace it with, and can't find something that seems to really fit what I want/need, so I am debating on building her out a bit (if its even possible, more on that below, and I definitely need some advice on this)....OR if you guys know a better vehicle to fit what I'm looking for, then by all means, PLEASE let me know and share all your thoughts.

What I'm looking for in a vehicle (not in any particular order):

1.) Utilitarian size - the L322 RR seems to be the right size vehicle for me. Its small and nimble enough that I can still get it into tighter trails if I'm out hunting, or into a parking garage in the city if need be....yet, its large enough to fit a good amount of cargo if I'm running up to Home Depot, moving boxes to and from storage, or loading my dogs and gear up to head out to the sticks - and can still hold a couple of passengers if I want.

2.) Towing - don't do much towing these days, but occasionally I do need the ability to hook up a snowmobile trailer, fishing/ski boat, quads, etc. and pull them to various places. Usually only within 25 miles or so, but sometimes (albeit very rarely) it's as much as several hundred miles.

3.) Comfortable Ride - while this is subjective, I'm not looking to float like a boat, OR, to be beat up while riding down the highway. What I like about the RR is the ability to adjust the vehicle based on the Air Suspension (but also worried this may also be a detriment, because its one more thing to break - but more on that later).

4.) A vehicle that I don't care if it gets a few scuffs, scrapes and stains on it. Its a mental thing, I know, but sometimes if a vehicle is too new, or too nice, its tough to watch it get scraped up. I WANT it to be a vehicle that I'm not ****** off about when that happens. I want to be able to drive it through the brush and be happy about it, or throw a muddy dog in the back and not care too much.

5.) Safety - I don't need the absolute safest vehicle on the road, but I do like to be as safe as reasonably possible, especially if the kids are going to be in there too (some air bags are nice, etc). Some of the much older vehicles I've been considering/researching seem to fit a lot of my other criteria, such as the older Broncos and jeeps for example, except that when used around town or on the highway, they seem like a bit of a death trap. But maybe that thinking is off base?

6.) Versatility/Reliability/Maintenance - here's where it gets tricky for me. Mechanical systems seem to be more reliable than electronic systems (and cheaper to maintain), but electronic systems often times lead to more versatility - and versatility is a big factor in what I am looking for. That said, the newer vehicles seem to be so reliant on electronics that, at least to me, they're basically just a rolling computer, whereas the older vehicles, are so mechanical that they seem to be suited to only one task.

Finding the sweet spot between the two is the tough thing for me. Sometimes it seems like the 2000's vehicles are best for this? Any thoughts?

Another one of my main concerns here is reliability. In the past, I've had to replace some sensors on the RR, and the problem is that when one goes, it can disable the entire vehicle and leave you stranded. This doesn't seem to be a problem with a vehicle that is mostly mechanical. In fact, it happened to me last year when the "range sensor" went out and I had to get a tow. I need a vehicle that I can rely on to start up when I go out to the garage, and to get me in AND get me out of wherever I am going. Is this even going to be possible with an older RR? They are expensive to maintain, and generally considered to not be one of the more reliable vehicles out there. Also, as a vehicle ages you start getting into issues with electrical shorts, and hoses dry rotting, etc. But maybe there is any easy way to update all of this for better reliability that I don't know about?

This is where I start juggling between going more mechanical (vs electronic) or just saying screw it and going to a newer vehicle all together. One of my main problems with some of these computer systems though, is that they never seem to work quite as well as "the real thing." For example, I have had several different Yukon Denali's over the years and in (I think) 2007 they switched to an AWD system with a special traction system that was supposed to be just as good as a true 4WD system - it most certainly was not, and it got me stuck several times. At the time, I never even thought to check if they had changed that sort of thing before I got the vehicle (it was new at the time). Plus, with as little as I use the utility vehicle these days, getting a newer (2018+) vehicle just seems ridiculous because it will probably only get a couple thousand miles put on it per year...I'll just be paying depreciation to have it sit in the garage.

Its all a tough balance for me. Any advice?

7.) Off-Road Ability - this is an area where I get real confused, and I have heard mixed reports...can the 2004 L322 Range Rover be outfitted with selectable diff lockers? Ideally, front, center, and rear? I don't go off-road a lot, but I have managed to get the Rover stuck a couple of times....the difference was the lack of diff lockers. If it can't be done on the 2004, then I might need to look at other models. ALL YOUR INSIGHT HERE WILL HELP.

If I was to keep it, I am thinking I would build it out like the G4 Challenge model but add three diff lockers - front, center, and rear. My suspicion is that is not going to be possible though.

Other vehicles I'm considering (not in any order):

1.) Mid generation - Mercedez G500/550. Concerns are price, these just seem very expensive for even the older models, and small on cargo room. I am thinking they might just be too small in the cargo department to meet my needs? These come standard with my diff lockers. =)

2.) Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (Rubicon?) - Safety is a concern here. My understanding is that they don't perform well safety wise? I am also thinking that similar to the G550, that they might be too small in the cargo department to meet my needs. And finally, I'm wondering if they might not be capable enough around town/city when the need arises? Also, there seem to be a lot of them around here. Not that that is a huge issue, but it is nice to be a little different.

3.) Tahoe/Yukon - I have had a number of these over the years, and each year they seem to take out some of the ruggedness of the vehicles. I had a 2001 that performed quite well off-road, much better than the RR in some respects, had plenty of cargo area, was a decent towing vehicle, was decent on the highway, but was tough around town/city when that came up. Have thought about going back to an early 2000's model and building it out, but sometimes they just look....dated? Considering a brand new(ish) one, and would very seriously consider it if I thought I would get the performance out of it that I want, but it is going to sit a lot, and I fear that its just not going to perform as well as I would hope. Sadly, these new models all seem to be more car than truck. Any thoughts on this?

4.) Ford Excursion - these seem to fit the bill in a lot of ways, but I think they will be too big for my needs.

5.) Expedition/Explorer - thought these could possibly work, but it seems that they have removed too much of the ruggedness? Also, I'm just not sure I like them?

6.) Land Rover Discovery (or other models???) - I am pretty out of my depth on this one, but I am thinking that one of these might be able to work as well, or may even be a better choice than the '04 RR? Any thoughts are very much appreciated. I just don't know what I don't know and I am trying to learn. Mostly, its the mechanicals and technicals that screw me up. Heck, sometimes I even get confused with the different model names from different continents. Is the Disco the same as an LR3 etc? What is going to accomplish my goals? What is going to be reliable? Let me beat on it a little bit? I read an interesting post earlier about the lack of ability of the RR to engaging in water fording, and that they can't even be modified to increase that performance. How does one get all this info before they make a 10+ year decision? Haha.

7.) Pickups (F150? Raptor?) - Sometimes I want to make these work, but even with a bed liner and cap, I think it might be too hard to access the cargo area without the side doors? Also, not sure if I love the look of the bed cap, but it could be workable?

8.) HumVee - too big

9.) New Land Rover Defender? New Bronco? New Tahoe or Yukon?

Overall, I am looking for a vehicle that gets the job(s) done, is reliable in doing so, won't be in the shop every other month, and that I can keep for another 10+ years. It's just too much of a hassle buying/selling/trading vehicles all the time. Oh, and something that looks kinda cool while doing it! Haha. Not something that just looks like an old vehicle....which is sorta how I feel about the mid-2000's GMC/Chevy's. Not old enough to be classic, but too old to look good, and perhaps too many of them on the road?? But maybe I could do more work to them to get the performance and look that I want and then I wouldn't feel that way? Not sure.

Ok, thats it for now I think! Sorry for the long post. PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO ASK ME ANY QUESTIONS.

I really value what advice you guys might be able to offer! So thank you in advance!!
 

joey

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Wow lots of data and questions. This is my opinion -

1.) Utilitarian size - Many vehicles fit this role, some better than others as you mention

2.) Towing - Something small could be towed with a VW Golf - Keep in mind tongue weight and gross weight when looking at a real towing vehicle and if a hitch can be mounted.

3.) Comfortable Ride - Again lots of vehicles can fit this if you are only using a few thousand miles a year.

4.) A vehicle that I don't care if it gets a few scuffs, scrapes and stains on it. - I prefer 8-15 year old vehicles, best bang for buck and usually doesn't require much to make it drivable.

5.) Safety - This is always important, but most newer vehicles i.e. newer than 1990 are pretty safe.

6.) Versatility/Reliability/Maintenance - This is highly subjective, all vehicle manufactures have forums full of issues and reliability issues.

7.) Off-Road Ability - Out of Box in not stupid money category, very few fit this factory. Jeeps will need a lift and tires in most cases, rovers - tires, Merc - expensive but G-Wagon has 3 lockers from the factory, so tires

Other vehicles I'm considering (not in any order):

1.) Mid generation - Mercedes G500/550. - I think are over priced for what you are looking for, unless you plan to drive it a lot more.

2.) Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (Rubicon?) - Safety is a concern here. - Unsafe period. Front end crash would be a zero if allowed.

3.) Tahoe/Yukon - Not the best off road, but would fit everything else if you can find a good one used.

4.) Ford Excursion - Too big for off road and if 5.4 liter run.

5.) Expedition/Explorer - if 4.0 liter run

6.) Land Rover Discovery (or other models???) - LR4 would do all you want with tires. Remember lockers will just get you stuck farther from a tow.

7.) Pickups (F150? Raptor?) - If you get 4 door, maybe. Just avoid 5.4 liter

8.) HumVee - too big (and 1 wheel drive unless you upgrade, slow, not comfortable)

9.) New Land Rover Defender? New Bronco? New Tahoe or Yukon? - I wouldn't buy anything new unless it will be your daily


I would look at a nicely used LR4, probably best bang for your buck and will give you Rover comfort and still do everything else you want.
 

Bowman

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I agree with the LR4 choice. Just make sure the service has been done on the LR4, like timing chain etc.
 

portlandlife

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LR4 is a good choice with tires. I had a '10 Range Rover HSE with the same NA 5.0L but sold it cause of the dreadful timing chain issue and all the electronics that can cause issues in these older vehicles. I picked up an LR3 SE with the 4.4L as my 3rd vehicle with 90k miles cause of it's mechanical reliability. If it sits for a while, it still starts right up whereas the Range Rover I would keep on a trickle charger because low voltage causes funky problems. I've updated it with CarPlay, roof rack, ladder, rear view camera (will be adding a front camera), and just bought a winch and a hidden winch mount. It also has All Terrains. It's solid. I have the electronic rear locker on mine. I like to off-road as often as i can which is only a few times a year; it's hard to find the time. So an LR3 could be another option. If I were you, I would consider changing out all known potential problem components (alternator, starter, cooling system, control arms, etc), add a winch, and keep it. Comfortable, 7k lb towing capacity, good looking vehicle, and you know its history which is a huge plus.
 

jkline398

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I also recommend Disco (LR3 or LR4) remember to look for HD package (locking rear, rear diff will have a wire running into it).

2014+ you can ditch the legendary timing chain issue of all jaguar V8's in history (you think they would have learned eventually?) and get a supercharged Ford V6 motor in it that has a few specific issues to look for that are minor but a pain to get to.

In 2014+ look for the highway/mountain symbol on the right side of terrain selection module.

Screenshot_20220717-171602_Gallery.jpg
 

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