It was in May 2001 that I bought my Discovery, an ex- Land Rover management vehicle with about 45,000 miles on the clock. I figured that even though the mileage was high for the year, Land Rover would have maintained it properly since it was new in December 1999.
Warranty covered the first three years, but there were no major problems anyway. With the warranty expired, I felt free to begin making modifications, and have added several over the years. Rear parking sensors help to cope with an awkward angle when reversing out of the garage. Side steps were needed so Mrs Taylor could reach our roof tent to help me open and close it. An auxiliary battery powers the fridge when camping – and the kids’ electronic toys when not.
From the Land Rover accessories list came picnic tables, again very useful for our two boys. I’ve added an extended cubby box lid to give me somewhere to keep and charge my mobile phone. But probably the most fun comes from the combination of a Van Aaken chip for the Td5 engine and a Twisted Performance stainless steel sports exhaust.
Between them, they give me 173bhp on the dynamometer, with a very satisfying increase in mid-range acceleration and some lovely noises under power.
The first real negative came in 2004, at 90,000 miles, when oil found its way up the injector harness – a classic Td5 problem. The next big issue came at 125,000 miles, when the autobox started slipping. An Ashcroft reconditioned item did the trick.
After that came a seized ignition switch – which happened right outside the MoT station! Two ABS sensors have gone AWOL, and one air spring has been replaced twice, the second occasion associated with a failed height sensor. The air compressor failed at 165k miles, but the really big bill came in 2012 when the ACE pipes started leaking at 175k miles – about £1900. Ouch!
So my Discovery has been getting more expensive to maintain over the past three or four years. However, buying a decent replacement would cost me at least £5000 a year over several years. Even if it saved me £1000 a year in fuel costs, it would still demand £4000 of my hard-earned money.
So until the Discovery starts costing that much a year in maintenance, it’s staying.
Besides, we all love it.
Problems? Only these!
● 90,000: oil in injector harness; broken door stay
● 106,000: broken seat mechanism bush
● 115,500: aircon leak
● 119,000: noisy hub bearing
● 125,000: slipping autobox
● 137,500: ignition switch failure
● 144,500: ABS sensor, heater fan and door stay fail
● 148,000: ABS sensor fails; leaks in air spring and rad; worn anti-roll bar bushes
● 164,500: air spring compressor fails
● 175,000: leak in ACE pipes; air spring (again), height sensor and intercooler all fail
● 193,000: worn steering drag link UJs; fuel gauge sender fails