Range-Rover Experiences

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Sir,

Just having read Motor Sport for August, I was most interested to read your article on the Range-Rover, which I concur with. I would agree with you, the Range-Rover is certainly one of the better products designed by British Leyland for many years, and should have been a world beater. If it is not I can think of two basic reasons why it is not. First of all, the astronomical price to-day in relation to when I purchased my own new in 1972; without the extras such as sun roof which I added at the time, it cost £2,200 on the road. I still own this Range-Rover some 24,500 miles later and I feel I would like to recount my own experiences with this vehicle.

On delivery from my local Range-Rover dealers they did say that they felt the vehicle was a.little bit tight, and would need careful running-in. In view of this I drove it very carefully and found it was in fact very sluggish with no real pull or performance at all. After about the first 300 miles when going down the Brighton road one day, my young daughter overtook me in her Fiat 500 with great glee and I felt the time had come to investigate why the vehicle would not pull. I found that British Leyland had not coupled up the second carburetter. Haying coupled up the second carburetter the vehicle behaved very well indeed, and in fact it behaved almost without fault until the first 7,000 or so miles When it was apparent the synchro mesh was gradually disappearing on the third gear. Eventually on odd occasions coming on and off load it would jump out of third gear. ‘I’his matter was taken up directly with British Leyland, who in the end had my local dealer replace the necessary Parts in the gear-box, but at the time they declined to replace the whole gear-box. By about 14,000 miles, this is approximately eighteen months later, the gear-box was just as bad again. In correspondence with British Leyland I insisted that the gear-box be replaced rather than repaired, and this was done at this mileage, and the gear-box, in fairness to date has not lost its synchromesh on third or jumped out of gear, but Is very clonky and from drive to over-run one gets some rather alarming clunks, but fortunately nothing detrimental has happened.

Shortly after this mileage various things started to fall off, roughly speaking at the period of 2 1/2 to three years of ownership. This started with the radiator depositing most of its water on the road. Which when taken to the radiator specialists they informed me that not enough metal had been left on the turnover on the tank; and they had to completely re-make this satisfactorily. The right angle speedo drive on the back of the speedometer went at just before 21,000 miles. But the final incident was that from approximately 18,000 miles onwards the vehicle was misbehaving, erratic in its firing, erratic in its performance. Various “experts” diagnosed everything from distributor cap, condenser and other electrical faults onwards. In the end I returned the vehicle to my local Range-Rover dealer who supplied the vehicle in 1972. I had in fact diagnosed a cylinder head gasket gone, but he cheered me up in informing me that the camshaft had lost its hardening and two of the cams (on the two cylinders I had suggested the gasket had gone between) were virtually round. The only alternative was to replace the camshaft and evidently Rover’s instructions on their service sheets on such matters are, that also the cam followers, push rods, rocker gear and rocker shaft, should always be replaced at the same time. I ended up with a bill for £227 replacement of the camshaft on a vehicle that at that time had covered 22,400 miles from brand new (plus a possible 100 when the right angle speedo drive was out of action). The vehicle I may say after this administration behaved beautifully.

I took the matter up with Rover on very strong terms and they pointed out that the guarantee had expired, they would be sympathetic, but there was no other action they would contemplate taking. Is it unreasonable for one to expect a camshaft to last more than this mileage? I would have thought that a motor manufacturer had an obligation to supply a vehicle with its major components that would last a longer period than such mileage.

I hope my case is only an isolated one, as I basically still agree that this is a first class vehicle, but dear! I wish Rover could have made it properly in the first place.

Hassocks, Sussex D. R. GROSSMARK