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Top two secrets (that aren't really secrets) to keep your Discovery I and Discovery II running

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

Over the Years, I've owned a few Land Rover Discoveries. When I was in high school I

remember reading articles and seeing incredible pictures of the Land Rover vehicles participating in the Camel Trophy Races.

It was then that I knew I wanted a vehicle like that. It was a dream of mine to do what they did on those expeditions, the experiences that they had and the capabilities of those vehicles amazed me.

A few years after I had been married, my wife and I were looking for a larger vehicle to replace her Saturn, she wanted something larger, that would feel safer to transport our son, and give us room to grow. When we came across a 1996 Land Rover Discovery I SE7, we both were excited and my dreams of expeditions like those of the Camel trophy started running through my head. That became my wife's daily driver, and we owned it up until about a year ago. (although I killed the engine a few years prior to that) In any case, my grand plan was to keep that SE7, find a used engine and swap it in, and build it up as a serious off-roading machine. Not long after that engine went out did I start looking for some options, when I came across a 1996 Discovery I SE that had a solid engine and transmission, but was a bit rough around the edges, that was perfect, since I only wanted it for the engine, I ended up paying about $800 for that, and I drove it for about a year, as I soon realized I was a bit naïve to think I had time to swap an engine between work, kids school and sport activities. Long story short, currently we are on our 4th discovery, two of which had engines that died, and probably could have been avoided knowing what I know now. So here is my advice on what I feel are the top two things to ensure longevity of your engine :

  1. Cooling System - Keep your cooling system running properly and avoid overheating, if you start to overheat, stop your vehicle immediately and don't drive it until you get it fixed. There are a number of things that can cause overheating, and most of the time, preventative maintenance can prevent it from ever happening. Replace hoses, thermostat, water pump, and flush coolant according to recommended maintenance schedule, On Discovery 2, the temperature guage isn't very helpful, it doesn't really move until you are well on your way to overheating, I recommend a simple guage to monitor actual engine coolant temperature. The easy way to do that is with a guage that plugs into the OBD2 port such as the Acecar F8 guage. Being able to monitor your temperature and shut things down before you overheat can save you in the long run, overheating can lead to blown head gaskets, blown bearings, seizing pistons and more.

  2. Oil Pressure- Make sure to use the proper viscosity oil and don't mess around if you see an oil pressure light come on. If you do get an Oil pressure light, Turn the engine off immediately. I've done a lot of research, learned some things the hard way, and based on that, when someone asks what oil should they use? What I recommend for your Discovery 1, and Discovery 2 4.0L or 4.6L engine is a good DIESEL oil such as 15w40 Rotella T Synthetic Blend. If you live somewhere cold enough where you need something that will protect below -15°C (5°F) , then you could use 5w40 Rotella T6 Full Synthetic which will protect down to -34°C (-29°F). I also recommend upgrading your oil filter and using either the Mann w 950/4, K&N HP-3001 , or Purolator L40316, which is made by Mann, and is the same as the 950/4. This not only gives you better oil pressure and filtering, but also gives you a little more oil capacity which isn't a bad thing, just keep that in mind when changing your oil and make sure you to check your oil level. If you want to keep an eye on your pressure and don't want to have to pull one of the plugs in the block, an easy addition is to add a Glowshift oil filter sandwich plate so you can add a pressure sensor.

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