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Land Rover Repair/1998 Discovery oddity



My low mileage '98 Discovery has an odd thing that finally bugs me enough to ask about. My Disco has a sloshing, water sound coming from behind the dash. I know what is back there, but I have never heard this on any other vehicle. Seriously, if I didn't know better, I'd think there is a fish tank back there. I know the heater core and lines through the firewall are in there, and I do all my own work, but I have no other problems as in, no major fluid loss, no overheating, no CEL, passed local yearly inspection just two weeks ago, actually. Are you familiar with this? Is it just a nuisance, or sign of trouble?


ANSWER: The sloshing is characteristic of low coolant level, or aerated coolant from a head gasket or block failure.  Very distinctive and specific to Discovery

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thanks. I should have checked before I asked - my Disco kinda punked me here. I went and checked after reading your answer Thursday night and found my coolant nearly two inches low. There were streaks all over the tank as if it had blown out from the cap, and a small puddle on top of the water pump - under the top hose to stat fitting. It has been exactly two weeks since I did my quarterly oil change, etc and all was fine that evening. I usually check my fluids weekly to bi-weekly. In these past two weeks, since I can last say I checked my coolant, there have been no over-heating events, or really anything out of the ordinary other than one thing. One day on a steep freeway ascent, I tipped in the throttle to try to induce a kickdown, as my speed was falling below speed limit, and when it did, it went all the way up to 5k+ RPM. I immediately backed off, but could that have been the event? Otherwise, why does coolant want out of my engine so badly, even though no overheating, coolant in oil, etc? It has otherwise run just fine since then, maybe 3-4 days ago.

Thanks again,

Your first step is to pressure test the cooling system; to see if you have leaks.  It certainly sounds like you have some points of leakage, and that is a very likely explanation for your trouble.  That may well be all there is to the story.   If you fix the leaks, and the system continues to spring leaks, you need to look to see if you are building excessive pressure.  If you are that is a sign that combustion gases are pressurizing the cooling system and causing the failures.   I've written about that on the Robison Service blog.

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John Elder Robison


I own J E Robison Service in Springfield, MA. We are Bosch Car Service for Land Rover, BMW, Mercedes, and other European lines. I can answer most questions about Land Rover service or repair. I'm known as a car enthusiast, machine aficianado, photographer, writer, and speaker. I've been around Land Rovers and British cars most of my life. Visit me at my car business, or my author website, Check out my autism and writing blog at or my photos on John Elder Robison


I have been a Land Rover service manager since Land Rover returned to North America in 1987. My company is a four-star Bosch Car Service facility, known nationwide for Land Rover service, overhaul, customization, and restoration. In addition to Land Rover our company services BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls_Royce, and Bentley motorcars. We have factory-plus-level service capability for all makes. Visit my company online at > service > land rover Also visit my blog at


In the Land Rover world, my writing can be found in various print magazines and online at robisonservice.blogspot,com. In the wider publishing world, my work is published by 20 publishers in over 50 countries. Mt books Look Me in the Eye, Be Different and Raising Cubby have made US and international bestseller lists.

I am ASE certified, Bosch Trained, and trained by Omnitec/T4 and Autologic on their Land Rover test systems.

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