Freelander 1's any good?

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  • Freelander 1's any good?
  • andyl

    After getting T-boned today by a driver not paying attention at a give way sign we now have the task of finding a replacement car for the OH.

    We had planned on a FL2 or Disco later in the year but could do with something cheap and capable of getting to the sheep for now so was thinking about a FL TD4. Any stories of impending doom and what to look for?

    Ps just as I was about to get out on my bike for the 1st time since breaking my wrist I’m now out of action again as my door took the brunt of the impact and hit my shoulder and elbow 👿


    No, not really…judging from the stories I’ve heard from owners they don’t get any more reliable with age.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    a friend had one, she was a little annoyed it didn’t come with a bag to put all the bits in when they fell off….


    bugger, what if we get one all the lose bits have already fallen off? Or do the bits falling off just get bigger and more important?

    I already knew about the TD4 injector stories.

    Any other suggestions for non-japanese box like 4x4s?

    Father has had one for a few years as a general run around work horse kinda of vehicle and apart from service parts it’s never missed a beat and runs sweat. Also mate has a commercial FL 1 and uses it daily delivering trailer loads of logs and also he hasn’t had any major issues. Suppose you get good ones and bad ones


    Some sort of Subaru wagon type thing??


    Oof…get well soon…

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    Any other suggestions for non-japanese box like 4x4s?

    Any reason to avoid the Japanese stuff? What are your actual needs for the car?

    Premier Icon nickjb

    We had a td4 that would regularly stop and refuse to go again. Turned out to be a dodgy connector in the engine bay. Just needed to wiggle it occasionally but it was a pain before we tracked it down. Eventually the viscous coupling seized and damaged the gearbox. Seized vcu is common but easy to check (now I know). Put it in reverse driving slowly then turn. If it slows significantly then the vcu is on the way out and may have caused other damage. The cheap fix is to remove the prop and run it 2wd so check that, too. Other than that it was a good drive, ok off road, great in snow, car like on the road. Also if you do get one avoid anything from freelander spares UK. Low quality parts with a worthless warranty.


    Had a Td4 sport for 7 years , 5 door and apart from a new clutch, tyres etc it never gave me any problems
    I did have it from 2 years old though so no impending issues when I bought it in 2005.
    I miss it and wished I had kept it

    Apart from the common issues above the interiors can look tatty with age, the window trims/seals on the outside can bubble as they are metal coated rubber,and the electric rear window/ door mechanism can give problems

    I would have another, my mums bloke runs two on his land- one not taxed or MOTd for moving straw animal feeds etc and a bit better one that he runs on the road.
    Here’s my old baby


    A mate of mine trials a landrover v8. His everyday 4×4 is a shogun.


    they do make a reliable freelander, you will find them for sale if you search for Rav4


    My son had two. Both cost him a fortune. Coupling on both and head on the petrol one. Seat material worn out as well strangely. Absolute disasters.


    I had a facelift model on a 56 plate for 100000 miles from new. The only problem i had was a replacement fuel pump (£200).

    I used an excellent independant landrover garage Yorkshire Landrover Services in York who really took great care after it.

    I found it a great bike carrier, got around 40mpg on a 60 mile commute and it came into its own during 3 snowy winters.

    I sold it for a Mondeo (new baby forced need for a family car), this was the worst decision I ever made. The Mondeo leaked water into the boot and required a new clutch and dual mass fly wheel at 30000 miles, costing me £800.

    Have said all of this bad ones are terrible and steer well clear of petrol ones, the later TDis had a BMW diesel engine which runs for ever.


    The 2.0 td 4 2005 onwards is the one to go for. Most other models seem to have issues. Check all windows esp tailgate one, and handbrake. Mines great, a very comfy car in hse trim starts and runs fine.

    Premier Icon Stoner

    I have a ’54 TD4 FL1 (or “1B” as I call it). There was a redesign in 03 I think that dealt with some of the more serious reliability issues in the 1A variant.

    We really like ours and have done 70,000 miles in it. I have had an issue with a leaking clutch master and the replacement wasnt any better. The third has been fine.

    My mum has bought an almost identical car.

    Things to look out for are clunking on full lock turns or lock reversing. It is indicative of worn prop bearings which may itself indicate shot viscous coupling unit. I have actually taken the rear drive out of mine. I replaced the bearings but didnt bother returning the rear drive assembly to the car because it drove so much better without it 🙂 Front WD with AT2 tyres on gives plenty of traction.

    The viscous coupling unit which delivers the rear wheel drive is a flawed design IMO so you will often find examples with them removed. They do cost a bit to replace, but nothing to remove if shot.

    Overall, I really like ours. It drives very well. I can count on it in reasonably poor road conditions but I am building the defender up so as to do all the off road stuff in future. It hasnt been particularly unreliable. Weve had opportunities to replace it, but like it enough to keep it.

    Premier Icon nuke

    We got a 06 TD4 last year at just under 70k. Nothing major yet but its always at the back of my mind given their reputation. Seal on diff weeps slightly, clutch master & slave cylinder needed replacing, couple of other minor electrical (Rev counter sometimes runs about 700rpm higher or lower than actual) and the glass has fine scratches on all of the windows due to the tight seals (Checked on other FL1 and it seems quite common).

    Transmission seemes the important concern (IRD, VCU etc). We put 4 new tyres on which made a big difference to handling and road noise and, as I understand it, having the same tyres with similar wear is important for not causing transmission wear.

    70k has passed so thoughts are turning to whether to replace the VCU: our VCU seems fine when completing the test described above but we’re debating whether to get it replaced anyway (Any opinions on this welcome!)

    Oh yeah and whilst we’re on the subject, how do owners carry bikes on theirs: plenty of options as we could fit a bike carrier to the towbar , roof bars or spare tyres but which is simplest/quickest?


    I was thinking something like a late pre-facelift (like the Kalahari above) or a facelift.

    Reason for not wanting a Japanese box is a vanity thing and you can see her point as a nicely kept freelander still looks good these days. A FL2 would be nice but that will have to wait until we have recovered from all the moving and renovation costs we’ve just had.

    Main use will be commuting 50 miles to work and back once a week (she stays over as does out of ours cover), maybe another 60 miles at a weekend as she has locum work and then the rest of the time be used to go down the lanes here to get to the sheep, pull a small livestock trailer, shift hay bales. So not high road miles and not heavy enough farm work to justify the expense of a dedicated scruffy 4×4.

    I had seen a 2wd FL and wondered how that was the case. I guess it’s a bit like the Volvo coupling that used to go on the 4wd 850 models due to a slight mismatch in F/R tyre diameter.

    Subarus – I really like them, have to try and convince her (dead set against as her mum who she hates had a WRX)


    Buying a FL1 is fine, as long as you follow the rules, namely:

    1) it must be cheap (so cheap, that if it breaks, you can just scrap it without due remorse)

    2) You must be able to deal with the occasional hiccup. Generally speaking, they kinda keep moving, but occasionally, dodgy wiring, or some left over BL “tic” in the system means they stop and take a rest sometimes, often to burst back into life later! If it’s your only car, then that could be annoying!

    3)don’t spend any money on it (see 1) just the min servicing and looking after it.

    If you do that, and buy one with open eyes, then you actually get quite a capable car for your money i think!

    A cherokee is a good option but cost more, and uses more fuel, and any 4×4 Jap thing will cost a LOT more because they work.

    Housemate had a BMW TD4 one upto 70,000 miles with no problems, and he properly ragged it, there was a pavement/kerb at the end of our street and some massive speedbumps (almost a foot tall) all of which he’d hit at foll pelt and just jump over.

    He’d chipped it and done some work on the brakes/suspension too so he drove it like a scaled up kids TONKA toy.

    Very irresponsible, but quite fun 😀

    Why “non Japanese”?
    If you want a cheap 4×4 that works and is reliable then a Japanese one is your only choice.

    Premier Icon mountainman

    Petrol 1.8 are just a time bomb regards the head,had a 2005 model and still the head cooked twice.
    VCU units as above ,and if not caught final drive fail.

    Ended up selling our for spares repairs as all above went and lost shed loads of money.

    Meanwhile my s11 disco V8 was superb with gas conv done and the wife tryed to nick it several times n leave me the freeloader.(not amused)



    Get a Freelander and report back quarterly … 😀


    The Freelander is a nice looking 4×4.

    Buy a Rav4.


    Sorry to hear about your shoulder and elbow keeping you off your bike :
    I have a 2000 (2001 YM) Td4 with 112k up (so low mileage!), I’ve had it for almost 9 years, the most serious item replaced so far is the VCU @ £300 fitted, also had a camshaft sensor in 2012 @ £65, everything else has been the normal consumables, tyres, brake pads, wiper blades, bulbs, oil, filters etc.
    I have a good local independent LR and 4×4 specialist that does the jobs I can’t or don’t want to do.
    This year it will get new discs & pads along a set of almost new sport suspension struts that I got from ebay for £50.
    It is a second car so doesn’t get used everyday, it tows a car trailer very well and is superb off road with the right tyres.
    This time of year gets move use due to it’s all weather capability, my neighbors are very envious as it gets in and out out of our close when no one else can.
    It returns about 400 miles per 13 gallon tank, would be better but I have a roof rack and quite aggressive mud & snow tyres fitted, fuel it on good diesel with 250ml of two stroke plus 50ml of Millers diesel treatment per tank full.
    No it isn’t perfect, but I don’t expect that from a 13 1/2 year old vehicle, yes I would get a another one (Td4), but an auto this time.
    I know some one who went from a Freelander to new a Jeep and regretted it, she should have stuck to the green oval.
    Hope this helps you.

    Frankly I’d take a Honda CRV or Rav4 over a freelander but it’s not my money.

    Premier Icon JAG

    I’ve got an ’04 Freelander 1 with the Td4 engine, Auto gearbox and 95k on the clock.

    In the last year I’ve replaced the VCU and rear Diff’ mount plus some brake pads.

    It’s nice on road and the interior is black leather and very tidy. It does go off-road occasionally and has been wading this week as we have had some flooding locally.

    I love it and would replace it with another if it ever got written-off in an accident.


    Had a 2001 petrol a few years ago, full leather, lovely car, spanked a whole op tour bonus on it after failing to take advice about the petrol engine and lo and behold the head cooked. A 500 quid k reg disco however went for years, a complete mess but I loved that car.

    Premier Icon hot_fiat

    Mate of mine ran 17 in a fleet. They ate 14 gearboxes over three years. There were plenty of other issues: dealers, electrics, random engine failures, but that should be enough to go on.

    b r

    the later TDis had a BMW diesel engine which runs for ever.

    Except the injectors and various ancilories…

    We recently swapped my wifes old TD4 for a new one. 107k in 7 years from new; two sets of injectors and few other bits and pieces – nothing really serious except that the torque-convertor was dying, which is why we got rid. Everything else worked, although watch for water-ingress into the boot secret-space. And was only on its second set of tyres. 30mpg if it matters.

    They’re a great vehicle that just does, and a real ‘all-weather’ car.

    Now replaced with an SD4 version; totally different, feels more like a luxury car and quick too – even as an auto.


    For your interest mine gets a real world 38mpg and I use Thule bars and 591 fir the bikes, super faff free bonuses


    Dan – that’s not too bad. Can certainly live with that.

    Saw a 2004 TD4 HSE today at a local garage. Few marks inside and out and parcel shelf annoyingly missing. Quite a cloud of grey smoke on startup (more than I am used to with peugeot HDI engines with more mileage).

    One worrying thing is it’s an Auto.

    What is best? Auto or manual? I would normally lean towards a manual but wondering if the Autos are less likely to have knackered clutches etc. This one had no tow bar.


    My wife had one from new. It was fun and lovely. Then, on a motorway, it punched a hole in its own engine. She still speaks fondly of it!

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