So after Oman and testing the Ford Escape in an offroad environment the impetus for buying a Land Rover has increased. The lack of difflock on the Ford is a serious issue that holds back its ability, and this is compounded by poor clearance underneath.
The ideal solution of course for me is a Defender – and it shows how much I have taken their capability for granted when I swap from my various Land Rovers to something that isn’t one. Defenders in the UAE however are premium prices – they fit alongside the brand image that Jaguar Land Rover is cultivating – expensive vehicles that are as much about ‘being seen in’ as about their ability. So, as I’m unwilling to sell either Disco 2 or Defender in the UK to fund a larger budget, I’m looking at Discoveries here in the UAE. Disco 1s are few and far between in decent condition. I missed one a few months ago. Disco 2s are starting to show their age, at around 15 years old they are seldom in perfect order. I’m looking at 2 Disco 2s at the moment, but here it seems most Disco 2s have the ‘Three Amigos’ fault – the three lights that warn of malfunctioning Traction Control, Antilock brakes and Hill Descent Control all being lit. This is an expensive fix, and one that is evidently beyond local Land Rover garages as an Autologic computer test system is needed to analyse the problem – instead a bypass kit is available for UAE vehicles.
What makes matters more complicated is that, to enable resale at a decent price, many local owners colour in or black out the bulbs of the dash warning lights of the Three Amigos so that, even though they are lit, a driver can’t see them (and nor can a potential buyer). Obviously this makes the car a lot less safe and a lot less able offroad!
I’m currently looking at two Disco 2s, both in Dubai. One seems not to have the Three Amigos lit. The other has, but has been rebuilt by a Brit and a lot of the mechanical parts are new. It’s also a G4 Challenge version, which means its got a hoofing great 4.6 litre v8. However the Traction Control doesn’t work and it hasn’t got a difflock, which doesn’t move me much further forward than the Ford – the Disco will have decent ground clearance and a high-low range transfer box (the Ford lacks these) but the scenario that the Escape couldn’t cope with in Oman – large smooth riverbed boulders – would also fox this particular Disco.
Equally many Disco 2s were built with a difflock which was never connected…. maybe this one has one….. argh.