This Land Rover Discovery has cracked a million kilometres

The million-kilometre Land Rover Discovery
The million-kilometre Land Rover Discovery

A million kilometres. It’s the holy grail of diesel longevity, the ultimate in pub bragging rights. Many talk about it, but few engines properly get there without major work in the meantime. Some might find it surprising, but one of the first that has come across our desk is not a GQ Patrol or 80 Series LandCruiser, but rather the butt of many reliability-centric jokes, Land Rover.

It’s a 2004 Land Rover Discovery II, which uses the 2.5 litre, five-cylinder turbodiesel TD5. It makes 101kW @ 4,200rpm and 300Nm @ 1,950rpm. The Td5 is not common rail, nor is it a straight mechanical setup.It uses ‘unit’ injectors, which integrate an injector pump and high-pressure fuel reservoir into the injector itself, which is controlled by both camshaft and computer. This means it’s a good candidate for chip or remap tuning, but the injectors are also horridly expensive (a quick google found them for $1,600). Thank the heavens they aren’t problematic …

In that million kilometres, which is equivalent to driving to the moon and back 1.3 times, the Disco has been through two gearboxes (automatic) and I’m sure plenty of other little bits and bobs, but the head and block haven’t been touched.

A million kilometres racked up on a 4WD. Impressive stuff.
A million kilometres racked up on a 4WD. Impressive stuff.


The majority of the kays have been racked up between the Southern Highlands and Sydney, for Harry the owner’s commute, which is around 115km per leg. But that’s not all: an old Qantas pilot who did plenty of domestic legs, he used the Disco to travel down memory lane.

“I used to fly around in the bush, so when I got the Discovery I went back to see all the old places I used to fly. It’s like a comfy slipper or a well-worn boot. It’s been around Australia three of four times too… up to Darwin, around the Kimberley, down through Alice Springs.”

The engine in question, looking surprisingly clean after cracking seven digits worth of kilometres.
The engine in question, looking surprisingly clean after cracking seven digits worth of kilometres.

What’s the key? Regular servicing by someone to really knows what they’re working on. And that doesn’t just mean a dealership, either. Look for somewhere with experience and specialisation in your make and model. In this case, it’s a workshop called Roving Mechanical in Peakhurst, Sydney.

And the million-kilometre question: What happens when you get to 999,999 on the odometer? Does it go back around to zero? Nope, it just stops. You’ve only got the trip meter to keep measuring after that point.

It looks like he's been through a couple of elbows as well as gearboxes
It looks like he’s been through a couple of elbows as well as gearboxes …

This is particularly interesting for myself, because I’ve got the same motor under the bonnet of my Defender. It’s up to 260,000 kilometres, but has had a pretty hard life as long as I have known it. Fingers crossed, I get a bit closer to that holy grail figure myself.

Do you know of any million-kilometre 4WDs without major mechanical work done? Send us an email!

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  • I have 2008 Disco 3 that we love. Due to having many health problems and needing a step to get into my hubby’s DMax ( which we also love) I find the access lowering of the Disco to be wonderful. Finally we have have found an honest mechanic, who has worked on them for years, and knows his stuff.

  • I had a land cruiser with 650000kms on it when i sold it and it was as solid as the day it was sold new. it did mostly highway miles. The ever reliable 1HZ engine was still running strong and never used any oil between changes. it was a great vehicle but due to issues with my back i couldn’t climb into it with a 2″ lift so i had to trade down to a (dare i say it) Pajero 2002. the cruiser was one of the best vehicles i have owned. I also had a 4.5L one to but only for a year as the fuel costs were sending me broke.

  • Have a GU nissan patrol 1988 model that has clocked up around 900k on a 4.2 petrol carby model and has not been touched apart from pumps,alternators,starter moters etc.
    I agree in good maintenence as I have done it all myself using only penrite oils and good quality addidives. I have never let a ‘mechanic’ near my car as i have seen more failures and ripoffs through so called reputable people that I tend not to trust them. Sorry, thats my opinion and will stick with it. Any way good maintenance is the key to longivity .

  • My Disco TD5 Auto got to 300K, blew a heater hose and the head gasket blew. It got real hot and seized. It was towed home and left on the front lawn for a week and miraculously started 1st time. I had the head gasket replaced and sold it. The new owner is on his second lap of Oz and I am still dirty I sold it.

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