"Good value and reliable" or "steer clear"


Active Member
Hi Guys,

Looking to purchase a vehicle to be able to use at my place up in the mountains in Europe. What do you all think about this as an option?


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Standard Member
I had a 300 tdi for about 5 years and used it on and off road... ran like a dream and never had a problem, can't speak as to that individual one.


Active Member
It'll get you further up a mountain than any of the other pretenders to the 4x4 throne, but i'd still be very thorough.

Things to watch out for are -

> Corrosion on the chassis, both underneath and where it meets the body panels - these are aluminium but the chassis is steel.

> The gearbox should engage all gears smoothly if it's an auto, but as they get older first gear and reverse may make a bit of a clunk as they do so - this isn't anything to worry about. If a manual, make sure again that all gears will engage and that it doesn't jump out of gear when you lift off the throttle.

> The transfer gear lever that selects high and low ratio may be very stiff if it hasn't been used much, but this should respond to some lubrication on the linkage.

> If a model where you push the transfer lever to the left to engage the centre diff lock, make sure this works and lights the diff lock warning light on the dashboard. It should also go out when you disengage the lock - if it doesn't then there may be an air leak as the actuation mechanism is vacuum operated, however if driving on normal road surfaces is carried out with the diff locked then this can "wind up" the transmission to a certain extent - in this case the diff lock may not disengage immediately after it is de-selected but should do after a short period of driving.
The Range Rover from 1992-ish had a chain driven transfer box with a viscous coupling that automatically locked the centre diff when traction was lost - not sure if this was fitted to the Disco of that era, though. A glance at the top of the transfer lever will tell you, though as it will have markings to show it has to be moved to the left to engage the diff lock if it is a manual type.

> There will be oil leaks from the engine, as it's a Land Rover! As long as these aren't causing big puddles every time you park up then don't get too concerned about them - they all do it and it helps stop the frontal chassis area from corroding!!

> Check all electrics work, especially as it's an ES model with lots of toys. The window motors and door locks can be a bit temperamental, as can electric seats (if fitted) and also check the aircon works - it should be able to recreate an arctic blizzard inside the vehicle quite well and may need re-gassing if it's a bit feeble.

> Remember that any Land Rover should be bought on condition and service history rather than age and/or mileage. The 300TDi engine in this one should be good for 200-300k miles if it's looked after - Land Rovers are tough vehicles but a common misconception is that this means you can get away with not servicing them, which isn't true!

Finally, if all this hasn't put you off, i would still personally go for it, but consider haggling the price down a bit, scrutinise the service history thoroughly and maybe even pay for an independent inspection for peace of mind.



Active Member
colinwheeler said:
Great advise, thanks very much. One quick question...if I wanted something really "fire and forget" that I could leave up in the snow, forget the occasional service and generally abuse, what would you guys look at?

An old Series 3 Land Rover.

Slow, noisy, smelly and uncomfortable but pretty much indestructable.

My school had 4 as it used to run some quite major expeditions in the summer holidays. One of them was a 1972 series 3 which, when we finally got rid of it had nearly 300,000 on the clock and had been standing unused for 8 months. After scraping away the moss growing on it to open the door and fitting a new battery it started first time and still hit 70 on the motorway to its new owner (downhill, obviously.........:D ).
This was the same vehicle that snapped a rear driveshaft on the previous year's expedition to the Pyrenees, so the other one was disconnected, 4 wheel drive engaged and it completed the remaining 2000 miles of the trip with front wheel drive only! :eek:
I left school 11 years ago and i bet HWK 684L is still out there somewhere, rattling around!!


Well-known Member
colinwheeler said:
Great advise, thanks very much. One quick question...if I wanted something really "fire and forget" that I could leave up in the snow, forget the occasional service and generally abuse, what would you guys look at?

Anything Japanese.

Range rovers do have a poor reliability record.

I'd rather go for a Nissan Patrol, Mitsubishi Shogun, Toyota Landcruiser or Isuzu Trooper.

These are all proper off roaders and easily as capable as the Discovery getting you up high mountain passes in snow and the like.

I'd guess the Trooper is likely to be cheapest as it's been the least popular.

But always go for a diesel, unless you have shares in BP. :D


Active Member
Yup and especially diesel as it is cheaper in the Poland where the property is.

Okay, but you have made a list of about 4 or 5 options there of which I know nothing about. I want something with the most space possible while still being able to have working aircon and leather upholstry. Any ideas which one of these makes I should look at?


Well-known Member
I'd look at all of them. They are all pretty much of a muchness at that sort of price. I'd go for whichever gives you the latest model at the lowest price and mileage. Good ol Autotrader should be your best starting point to judge bang per buck.

Another issue to possibly consider is the availability of servicing and parts in the region you are going to. They are still big complex machines that a local garage might struggle to service. You wouldn't want a 500 mile round trip in the middle of your holiday (I'm assuming the car is going to be left there). That may rule out the Isuzu as it's a smaller maker than the others.

The Toyota is likely to be dearest as these were the most desireable of them. And for the same money the Toyota is going to be 5-6 years older than some of the others.

There seem to be more Shoguns out there than all the others combined - which gives you a lot more to choose from. And prces seem comparable to the Nissan and Trooper.


Staff member
There was a report done by Clarkson on Top Gear, where they visited the Australian Outback to discover why 90+% of the vehicles there are Toyotas, Landcruiser mainly.

They took three Discoveries on the trip for the crew.

Summary judgement: when the nearest repair shop is 300 miles away, you want something that doesn't need to go there very often. Hence Toyota.

Footnote: All three Discoveries broke down at least once during filming.

Deleted member 27989

That particular Discovery seems excessively priced....But it depends on what budget you had in mind....

I would definitely look for a left hand drive model...It's probably cheaper to buy one in the UK as nobody likes them...But having experienced it, it is not much fun to be at the wrong angle when negotiating corners especially on a small mountain pass....

I used to love my Nissan Patrol which is in Australia the second used vehicle after the Toyota...However they are massive vehicles which is nice in the outback...And nice for the United Nations who use them....But I found it a bit big taking it up the Alps & to Andorra...Though it was definitely a driver and not a car issue...

Buying a secondhand 4x4, the diesel models hold their value best for obvious reasons...To me it doesn't sound like you are going to do big mileage in one, so I would seriously consider petrol models as well...The price difference should keep you driving for a long time.....

Also the repairshop story is very true, and if you are after a leave and forget model...I would put the following on the list as well....

Lada Niva - Don't laugh it is very competent
Suziki Vitara
Daihatsu Fourtrack
Fiat Panda 4x4

Sure they all have relative small engines, but the torque and gearing is setup just right for what they need to do....

Or what about a pickup truck? You can lease a brand new Mitsubishi for £165...Just to provide a wildcard option!

Or as another alternative, go to one of the mainland european ex-army auctions....Very interesting selection of specialist 4x4 vehicles that are locally supported and probably Mercedes based....Holland for example uses (well when I was there) Mercedes G wagons....


Active Member
Thanks again guys, some great advice here.

The G Series Mercs are definitly an option as I believe they are very reliable. As for the other suggestions, I loved the Vitara when I drove it in Iceland on some very tough terrain but they are too small. I need to cart a lot around and also want to be able to ferry 7 people around. I don't mind LHD or RHD as I am equally as comfortable in either, the only problem being it is more challenging to overtake when you have the wrong side for the country you are in.

I think at this stage the four shortlist options are:

Land Cruiser or Amazon
G Series

Basically I will try and drive each as personal preference is still going to come into it.

Deleted member 27989

If seven seats is important....I would recommend to include the Nissan Patrol...Highly competend vehicle, and very reliable.....

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