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Projects and Restorations Building a car from scratch, restoring your pride and joy, building a track car, or starting a long term project? This is your place to document it.

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Old 04-12-2017, 07:38 PM   #1
jbenekeorr
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1998 Land Rover Discovery

Hi all,

I have decided to start a thread to document progress on my Discovery. I had a thread a few years ago on a Land Rover forum, however I wasn't great at updating it - so it gradually died off.


I realise it's not a new or fancy car, but people seem to really like following the progress of something cheap, old and quirky. So if that's your thing ... read on!




Some of you may be familiar with my MINI JCW resurrection thread I also have on DW.
Now that the MINI is largely fixed, I have missed being able to keep people up to date with what's going on. I got a really good response from the MINI thread, and people seem to like my rambling writing style!

As I will be covering nearly 4 years of ownership, I have separated it into months. I'll be posting it all over the next few days. After that, I'll keep the thread updated with future developments on the car.


I think I need to make it clear that my level of attention to detail is dwarfed by that shown in ACPRC's Project Gunbus thread on his Discovery. I have followed that with great interest for some time now - I have even seen his car in person and it makes mine look like scrap!!

The next disclaimer is that some of my DIY solutions are less than professional. This car has been a base for me to try things out and practice, and many were done 3 years ago.


I had been green-laning with my family in my Dad's 1998 Defender 110 for years and was ready to get my own Land Rover to join in the fun. My usual taste in modifying cars is to stick with OEM looking parts, I like my car to look roughly as the manufacturer intended it. For that reason, I will not be fitting gigantic wheels with mud-terrain tyres or chopping the front bumper off!




February 2014 -


My budget was £2,000 - which (as some of you may know) will not get you very far if searching for a Defender. I was only interested in something bearing the green oval badge, so I began to look at the Discovery 1. At the time, £2,000 would buy you a late Discovery 1 (values have since begun to creep up slightly). I found that the market for this sort of vehicle works slightly differently to most normal cars - the price would usually be dictated by spec, mileage, year and condition. However, the price of a Discovery seemed to be determined almost entirely upon condition - mileage and spec are nearly irrelevant.


I was nearing the end of my 12 month 'probation' period at my first job since leaving education, and was due to be paid my contract completion bonus. What better to mark this occasion than blowing it all on a car?! I began my search for a Discovery. At the time, I had a MK5 Golf GTI as my main car. The Land Rover would be used for green-laning and trips to the tip - however I was only interested in a car which was in really good condition. Almost all of them have between 120k and 200k miles on. I had spent a lot of time learning everything there was to know about the Discovery, to help try and buy a decent one.


I was initially in the market for one in Epsom Green (my favourite colour) and it had to be a 300TDI manual - the reasons being that the V8 sounds beautiful but returns VERY poor fuel economy, and I had driven a 300TDI auto - which I felt sapped too much of what little power the 300TDI has to offer. I also wasn't interested in the commercial model (with no rear windows or seats). Many people prefer these as they aren't fitted with sunroofs which leak like a sieve - however I wanted some luxury!


I viewed several which were all dogs. The Discovery is notorious for body rust - it just isn't made like a modern car, and most are abused. The sills, rear arches, boot floors and inner front arches rust. As even the latest Discovery 1 was 15 years old by this point, almost all cars will have either been welded - or need welding. Weirdly, the chassis itself isn't often a problem area!


The 300TDI engine is very well regarded by Land Rover types due to its simplicity and near bulletproof reliability. Anyone not of the Land Rover persuasion would probably (and quite rightly) think it's loud and slow ... which it is! But that adds to the charm of it etc etc etc...

For some reason, the entire Discovery population seems to be situated in the West Midlands (around 50 miles from me), so one weekend - I went to view several with my Dad. The first was an Epsom Green 'Safari' model with 150,000 miles which looked great in the pictures, however turned out to be smelly and rusty in all the wrong places! I viewed a few more which were just as bad.

Feeling rather dejected, I checked eBay one last time to see if there was anything local worth looking at. I found a 1998 model in Rioja Red (a colour I had previously ignored) but figured that we might as well view, as we were in the area.
It was being sold by a small-time used car dealer operating from his home - he had about 5 vehicles for sale, but rather reassuringly the car he was using to run around in was the Discovery. As soon as we arrived, you could tell that it was an absolute night and day difference in condition to the others we had viewed. There was virtually no rust, and no evidence of repairs. After a test drive and thorough inspection, we settled on £1,800 and shook hands. I returned the next morning with cash and insurance.















1998 - Last year of production

300TDI - 2.5 Turbo Diesel

GS - Mid spec model with twin sunroofs, running boards, alloys, air conditioning etc

I bought it with around 129,500 miles.

It had 3 previous owners - First owned by British Telecom (company car I guess), then a second owner for a couple of years, and finally it was owned for the remaining 9 years by a man who traded it in. It has service history from new up until 106,000 miles. It obviously had never been off road!



It drove brilliantly on the trip home. You definitely have to adjust to driving a car of this size, with this little acceleration! I had also never driven a car without stability control, air bags or anti-lock brakes! I drove it to work daily for the first week, it was just brilliant!





After parking it up for the weekend, I encountered my first issue - the battery was flat. I checked for parasitic draw, but found nothing - so I just ordered a replacement battery as the original was a complete unknown. Problem solved ... until I didn't drive it for 24 hours - the new battery was dead too.

After endless googling, I found someone saying that it could be down to interference with the central locking system - it seemed like a long shot, but I tried turning off my little weather station which had its outside thermometer a few feet from where the car was parked. I turned that off and never had a problem again!!! I checked and the weather station operated on the same MHZ frequency as the central locking. How ridiculous!




March 2014 -


I wasted no time in getting some preventative maintenance done -

Cam belt, aux belt, tensioners, water pump, alternator were all replaced

Oils (including gearbox, transfer box and diffs), fluids and filters changed

Brass radiator bleed screws installed - the original plastic items tend to snap off or come out of their own accord!

Rear a-frame ball joint

Prop shaft doughnut - this reduces driveline vibration, however if it breaks you can end up with a prop shaft trying to come through the floor!



Now that the mechanical bits were done, I started on making it look nice ... and naturally, I had to go all 'Detailing World' on it. Bearing in mind that I bought this car to off road!!

I gave it a full machine polish. The paint (as you can probably see in the above pictures) was in nice condition, but had become a weird salmon colour.

The paint isn't that hard, so with a medium pad/polish combo, it came up beautifully - the Rioja Red colour I had previously been indifferent to suddenly looked brilliant - a really deep rich metallic red colour.
One thing I did realise - it takes AGES to polish a car of this size!!!



I don't know why the fit of the front door looks weird in this picture - it doesn't really!

















You might have noticed the gear gaiters were ripped which spoiled an otherwise decent interior. I bought a kit off eBay to replace them which was very inexpensive.


A few other bits:

Tailored carpet mats and rubber boot liner

Replaced tatty sun visor with duct tape on

Shampooed the rather grubby interior and carpets

Wind deflectors

Aero-twin wipers (so that they actually clear the windscreen!)























Once I'd got it clean, it was time to get it dirty! I took it on its first green-laning trip with my Dad's Defender.











Hope you've enjoyed reading - or just looking at the pictures.

Plenty more to come soon
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:48 PM   #2
DLGWRX02
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Doesn’t matter if it’s a £50 banger, or a £100,000 sports car. I love reading threads like this. Keep em coming.
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:50 PM   #3
Andyblue
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Excellent, looks like you managed to get a great, well cared for disco, sister in law had one and apart from poor fuel economy, loved it.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:00 PM   #4
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Looks lovely
Makes me miss our 3 door 300 tdi
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:12 PM   #5
dchapman88
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Loved your mini thread, and this one looks like it's gonna be well worth keeping up with

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Old 04-12-2017, 08:56 PM   #6
weedougall78
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Looks cracking, great work!
I do like long threads with pics, the longer the better
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLGWRX02 View Post
Doesn’t matter if it’s a £50 banger, or a £100,000 sports car. I love reading threads like this. Keep em coming.
Ditto, and tbf I prefer the more 'relatable' cars.
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:47 PM   #8
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I think these are the last of the proper Discos, my grandad had one in the same colour before upgrading to a Disco 3. He always had niggling faults and said it was never in the same league as a workhorse. That said, he did like how much quieter the TDV6 was.

Sure looks tidy inside now.

Treat it to some Bilt Hamber Dynax, especially if off-roading.
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:05 PM   #9
JR1982
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Looking forward to this, as I have a bit of an obsession with the green oval. Unfortunately what remains of mine currently lives in the garden, although I do have plans on a replacement as soon as money allows.
The last photo of the the ford looks very familiar to me, I may just be a coincidence but it looks like a green lane known as Scarborough lane in between theddingworth and lubenham just off the A4304 which leads to marston trussel.
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:15 PM   #10
jbenekeorr
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Thanks for all the comments already! I’m working on the next entry.


Quote:
Originally Posted by c87reed View Post
I think these are the last of the proper Discos, my grandad had one in the same colour before upgrading to a Disco 3. He always had niggling faults and said it was never in the same league as a workhorse. That said, he did like how much quieter the TDV6 was.

Sure looks tidy inside now.

Treat it to some Bilt Hamber Dynax, especially if off-roading.
I can agree with that, I’m usually one for modern technology and gadgets - but with Land Rover’s track record .. complicated things just break! I have been very close to buying a D3, but the repeated horror stories I keep hearing of people spending thousands of pounds just puts me off. Lovely cars though, I still might go nuts and buy one some day!


Quote:
Originally Posted by JR1982 View Post
Looking forward to this, as I have a bit of an obsession with the green oval. Unfortunately what remains of mine currently lives in the garden, although I do have plans on a replacement as soon as money allows.
The last photo of the the ford looks very familiar to me, I may just be a coincidence but it looks like a green lane known as Scarborough lane in between theddingworth and lubenham just off the A4304 which leads to marston trussel.
Quite right about the green lane! We’ve been down it a few times.

When you say ‘what remains of’ your Land Rover - it looks quite complete in your profile picture!?!?
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