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Land Rover Repair/1997 Land Rover Automatic Transmission Bucking


2 Part question- I bought a used 1997 Discovery
VIN: SALJY124XVA555129 without a higher speed road test because of where we are located. High mileage 215K in great condition- Engine runs perfectly. At around 30 MPH especially when slowing down the transmission kind of "bucks" for a bit. I all finally got it out on the highway and count (by ear) 3 gears engaging- I think there's a 4th that's supposed to be there-but I'm honestly not sure-

I was thinking some type of transmission issue, differential issue, linkage issue maybe even u-joint but if in fact I am "missing" a 4th gear- wow!..and I don't no where to start to diagnose. Can get a used transmission (if you think that's the cause) but can't find anywhere to decode the VIN to ensure that I am getting the right one-

Any thought/experience with this is a help-


1996-7-8 Discovery models all share the same transmission.   Here is what I suggest if you thing you are "missing" a gear:

Get the truck rolling along at 40mph in drive.  Shift back one gear.  Does it shift?  Let the truck slow as you pull the lever back a gear at a time.   That will tell you if top gear is missing.

Remember that a car that makes three gear changes has four speeds.  Start in 1 > shift to 2 > shift to 3 > shift to 4

The bucking may be normal; it may also come from wear in the driveline, axles, differentials, etc.  No way to tell without looking

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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.

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