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Buying tips


Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2010
I've done a quick search of this forum and didn't come up with what I am looking for.

I want to go and take a look at a 96 100 auto this weekend. What are the things that I need to check, and HOW? While I know my way around a motorbike, I've never really worked on cars and know nothing about autos or diesels, so any detailed advice would be very much appreciated. The seller says he has all the MOT's but not the full service history. It has well under 100k miles so I assume everything should still be working.

My check list so far (I will add to this list as I learn more):
1) I spoke to Julian a week or two ago and mentioned checking the ATF fluid - how do I do that?
2) How/where do I check the power steering?
3) Julian also mentioned accelerating hard and then backing off to listen for/feel a vibration or whining noise to detect a potential problem with the transmission.
4) Where is it likely to have rust if there is any?
5) ???
One of the biggest things to look for on an early 100 series is the Gearbox, There is an issue with the fiber washer breaking down in the torque converter, then being pumped around the rest of the 'box creating issues as it goes.
The problem is you unfortunately can't see anything externally.
The two tests I know of are whilst slowing down it feels as if the auto box is holding on to too higher gear causing a shuddering feel a bit like forgetting to change down in a manual car whilst slowing, the other test is dropping the sump off the gearbox and checking the magnets for debris and the quality of the oil. Obviously the second test is pretty much impossible to do when checking a car out to buy it.
This problem can be fixed by getting the Torque converter reconditioned, costs about £250 ish. But it is a gearbox out job.
The only other caveat is that if it has been broken for a while, you would need to get the box reconditioned. A big job it is a very big box, this cost me about £1250 :o
The other big issue with the 100 series is the active height suspension system, you should find a 3 position switch next the gear selector that should move the car up and down to 3 ride heights. Check that it works.
To be honest if you have plans to use the truck for overland trips, you would be much better off removing this whole system and going back to a more simple set up of springs and dampers, budget about £700 ish for the Old Man Emu stuff if you want to fit it yourself. If you want to go for fancy stuff budget about £1500
Check list:
1) Check ATF fluid: it shouldn't smell like burnt toast
2) Check power steering fluid: it shouldn't have a burnt electrical smell or particles in it
3) Check transmission: accelerate (give it some berries) and then decelerate - there should be no whining sound or juddering
4) Look for rust: look at the rear underneath (evidence that it launched boats), also all door/bonnet/tailgate edges
5) Test AHS: the 3 position switch next to gear selector should move car up/down to 3 ride heights
6) ???
fridayman said:
I want to go and take a look at a 96 100 auto this weekend.

I am guessing this is a typo, I don't think 100s came out until 98.

Good point Ian, if its not a typo, my comments are only really applicable to a 100 series
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Hi all,

Reviving an older thread, sorry,

Can some one who knows the 100 series rather well.
I would like to know about the time that the fiber washer was discontinued with the torque converter.

Also I see much mention regarding the active ride heights, the spheres, the pumps, all the gubbins that can cause a problem.

However, I have took time to email random ebay sellers, regarding 1999 year through to 2003 years, asking if the truck is riding on spheres, or is it riding on springs.

Some have replied "spheres" some have replied "springs"
So some do come out the factory on springs.
Is it the leather seats VX which is on spheres, and the lower spec cloth seats GX on coils?

They all ride on springs. The AHC vehicles have skinny springs that do some of the work and the AHC does the rest. The AHC is implemented by having hydraulic rams in place of shock absorbers (they look like shockers though) which are connected to the remote sphere's which are the actual shockers, gas one side of the membrane, hydraulic fluid the other and ECU control of the aperture the fluid flows through into the 'sphere' to control the damping. The height is adjust by changing the pressure of the hydraulic fluid in the system. Take away the AHC and the skinny springs are not strong enough to support the truck on their own so they have to be changed for normal rate springs and the AHC 'rams' have to be replaced with conventional shocks.
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Thanks Jon,

More clearer now.