Land Rover Discovery 3 Update

At least I didn’t buy an Audi Q5

After all the rubbish I get from drivers of mostly Japanese cars, all the jibes about my car’s reliability resembling a long and winding dog turd, all the should-have-known-better’s and I-told-you-so’s, it takes a bloody non-Land Rover Discovery 3 part to almost kill my Disco. The German made and globally praised ZF 6 speed automatic gearbox.

Its death throes were easy to tell, as it slipped in second up the steep driveway out of our apartment complex, resulting in an embarrassing reverse down hill to start again. Much like a retreating turtle-head you could say. If it wasn’t for the low range box, and that I could at least lock it in first, I would have been royally buggered. Worse still, I would have been at the mercy of my neighbours’ snickering as they passed me in their reliable Subaru’s and Toyota Echo’s, there was even a Holden Barina. A Barina I tell you, a 1990’s model to boot! Oh the humanity.

At least it got us through Christmas and returned us from a family camping trip.

Nonetheless, the question of whether it was worth fixing or that it was time to bite the bullet and call it a day, did raise its head. My Disco’s value, given it has almost 300k on the clock, would barely scratch 20 grand if I was lucky. So the cost of a replacement transmission, or a rebuild at around $7k, was a conundrum indeed.

That was the situation I was posed with a little over a month ago and after consideration (and much persuasion of the wife), we decided that it was indeed worth repairing. You see, it’s not my style to offload such trouble, whether in part exchange or at an auction house, so I had to do something to recoup any part of my investment. A lengthy search around wreckers yards yielded just one suitable used replacement, but it was a thousand kay’s away and would cost $3,500. Even though it came with a 6-month warranty, I would then most likely have to replace the transmission pump at around $1500, and have it all put together for another $1200-1500. When you also consider that it is best to use a part that is already married to my car, rather than something that isn’t and would possibly cause more woes, $7k for a rebuild began to look a lot more attractive. I even found a specialist who would save me a further $500 (CATS of Rosebery), and that was a figure I was not going to sniff at.

Thankful for small mercies? Too bloody right

So it took a week and my Disco is back on the road and seemingly stronger than ever. It now takes the ascent out of the driveway with aplomb, and that smugness of being able to tackle tough (albeit urban) terrain has returned.

So why the comment about Audi Q5’s? Well, apparently, had its DSG 4×4 ZF box gone similarly haywire, something that is beginning to happen at an alarming rate according to my transmission guy, it would cost me somewhere between $20-25k, not the paltry $6.5k I paid. Audi had hoped that an after-market would have arisen since 2009, but as the box is a sealed unit for life, nobody wants to touch it.

land rover discovery 3


Now that’s expensive

Give us an expensive break

Finally commentators are waking up to the ridiculous over payments Australians make every year for second-hand cars. You may have noticed that over the last 18 months I have raised the spectre of just how much the Australian market is being ripped off and has been for many years. They are bloody expensive, people.

Though it has slipped of late, the Aussie dollar has been on par, or close to it, with the USD for years now but we have seen no realignment at all. Fives years ago the European manufacturers suggested that they would alter their pricing for new cars given time, but it seems there is no respite in sight. Australians have been happy to pay twice as much for their luxury import than their counterparts in the UK, and even more so than those in the States. As with the price of housing in Sydney, it’s all about supply and demand I guess. And so the knock on effect is that second-hand prices remain artificially high compared with other Western nations.

I was never too sure where Michael Pascoe stood on this previously, as I have often found myself in disagreement with him. I assume then that he must have been out shopping for a new or used Euro barge recently, as I don’t remember it bothering him before. Nonetheless, on this I feel he has it spot on. The Government can help with a reassessment of the luxury car tax, considering we will soon be a redundant car making country, but that is only 33% of the problem over 60 odd grand (or 75 grand for something deemed more fuel-efficient). The rest of the gouging stands firmly at the manufacturers door.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that buyers of new cars hardly want to see  their pride and joy’s worth cut in half over night, but surely something has to give? Maybe we should boycott buying new for a while and see what happens. Either that or allow those enterprising enough to go and buy second-hand overseas and make it a little easier for them to bring it in to the country.

To read what Michael Pascoe had to say, visit: and let’s get a few more famous commentators to join in.