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Buying a Series III Land Rover - Buyer's Guide

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The Land Rover Series 3 bodywork is aluminium but you need to check for corrosion wherever the aluminium is in contact with the chassis or bulkhead. Doors and windows at the bottom tend to rust, also the lower area and around the door hinges. If the bulkhead is badly rusted then the body will probably need to be removed to repair/replace it.
Maybe non Land Rover seats have been fitted. Check that they and the seat belts are secure.
Look for areas of the chassis where rust damage has been repaired or replaced. Check the rear cross-member, outriggers and above the bump stops (subject to stress). Feel the top of the box sections for corrosion and weakness. If rust is extensive, don't buy unless the cost of repair is allowed for in the selling price.
Test the 4WD is working and to see if a non-standard Land Rover differential has been fitted in the rear axle to improve fuel economy.
A Land Rover engine should give good service above 100,000 miles. Listen for even running and for knocking. Occasional blue smoke may be due to leaking valve stem oil seals but continuous blue smoke could be worn piston rings and bores.
Test drive the gearbox, including the low ratio gears. Listen for unusual sounds as you drive in each gear. Check the gear selectability. The SIII gearbox is not as strong as the SII. 1st and 2nd gear often show wear and can jump out of gear as they get older. On test driving the Land Rover, press the accelerator and release it in each gear to check if the gear jumps out.
Look for broken or damaged springs. Individual leaves should be a uniform thickness throughout. The Land Rover should sit level. Look around the spring mountings for cracks or repairs - rusting in this area is dangerous.
A small amount of steering wheel freeplay is OK but if excessive then major steering component replacement may be necessary.
Check for movement in the propshafts. It could be a worn universal joint or the differential needs replacing. Maximum turn allowable is 1/4.

For more details on the points to check, visit the series123.com Series 3 Land Rover buyer's guide.

Series III Land Rover

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