Buyers Guide to:
Range Rover Vogue SE
1988 to 1996
The Range Rover Register
Paul Rutter Land Rover
It’s amazing to think that the legendary Range Rover is more than forty years old. Overseen by engineering supremo, Charles Spencer King, it was launched in September 1970 as a more comfortable alternative to the Land Rover. It was still very much a utility vehicle, though, with a cabin that could be hosed out - the wood and leather luxury would come later. A four-door model was added in 1981, but all Rangies benefitted from the wonderful Buick-derived 3.5-litre V8 engine that in early carburettored form produced a useful 135bhp. By 1984, the engine was fitted with Lucas fuel injection, improving efficiency and boosting power to 155bhp, and four years later saw the arrival of the Vogue SE. Leather trim, a standard automatic gearbox, and plenty of toys made this a properly luxurious 4x4 that could still tackle the roughest terrain. Production ended in 1996 when it was replaced by the re-styled P38 model.
- Rear wheel arches
- Lower tailgate section
- The aluminium panels for dents. They don’t rust, but galvanic corrosion can occur where they meet steel sections. Big panel gaps are normal
- The tailgate. The lower section is steel and is a common rot-spot, but check around the upper frame, too. Second-hand replacements are normally the best bet if you can find a good one
- For corrosion in the chassis legs and rear cross-member – look for evidence of previous welding/patches. Off-road damage could have allowed rust to take hold, and it also attacks the fuel tank, oor pan, inner wings, and front bulkhead with expensive consequences
- That the V8 engine has been maintained properly. Oil leaks are common, but regular oil and lter changes are vital to prevent camshaft wear and sludging of the hydraulic tappets.
- The cooling system for leaks as overheating will quickly lead to head gasket failure. And proper coolant strength is crucial to prevent corrosion within the alloy engine
- That the engine runs smoothly. Lack of power or hesitation could be down to fuel injection problems which will require specialist diagnosis and repair
- Whether LPG conversions have been carried out properly. There should be a certi cate to prove it
- For oil leaks from the transmission, transfer box, and differentials. It’s a very common problem, although both the manual and ZF 4-speed automatic gearboxes are robust unless abused. Clunks and groans from the driveline signify problems which can be costly to rectify
- For worn suspension bushes and corrosion around the mounting points. Tired springs and dampers will cause a particularly wallowy ride, and parts may have been damaged by clumsy off-roading
- The brakes for wear and lack of maintenance, and for hydraulic uid leaks from the power steering pump and pipework
- The condition of the interior. A sagging headlining is common while refurbishing damaged or worn leather and wood trim will
- be expensive. Check for damp carpets, too, as water leaks aren’t uncommon – they are usually caused by perished door seals, blocked sunroof drain holes, or a leaking windscreen surround
- That everything works. There is plenty of luxury kit from air-conditioning to electric seats, and getting it going again will cost plenty. A previous owner may have ignored failed items
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