Discovery 3

Discovery 3

Postby A.J.M » Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:04 pm

A posting about the last 2 years of Disco ownership.

I've wanted a D3 since they came out in 2004, it had to be an HSE spec, with autobox and either in silver or black. However, a £41k pricetag when new meant a long wait for them to be used and for values to drop into a price i could afford.

This is how it started. Standard D3 tdv6 hse, Silver with black interior. just shy of 98k on the clock and just under 8 years old.
Had 3 previous owners, never off roaded in it's life or towed as it didn't have the towbar's or electrics in the back.
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All clean, shiny, no dents or scratches etc.

A basic plan for my ideas was formed, around building a replica of the G4 spec D3's but with my own twists and extra's.


It got used for some off road days and green road runs, finding the basics of Terrain response and what it could do on standard road tyres.
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However, road tyres do have their limits, it did get stuck a few times in mud and wintery conditions were not the best either.

One run could have ended badly, very badly.
I was car 25, out of 27, the hill going up was slippery, it had caught a few cars out but going down was to prove even worse.
One section was a long gradient with a wide gentle right turn at the bottom. By the time i got to it, the surface was very polished with the cars going before me. HDC was selected and i set off at a gentle walking pace, letting the car find it's own grip and control the braking.
About 1/3rd down, HDC slipped. Not just a small slip either. It lost it completely. Sh*t.

Options tried were to let HDC find it's feet. Candance braking to try and find some grip, speed up to try and let the wheels match the increasing downhill speeds and then good old both feet on the brake and try to push it through the bulkhead.

By sheer luck i managed to miss the large rocks and boulders and slid off the road into a gravel section of the ditch before coming to a rest.
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I had to stand on the center console to get out it was that far over. :lol:
It did drive out, about 250m down the ditch as there was no suitable place to get it up and out as it kept getting 2/3rds out before sliding back into the ditch.

A few weeks later. These arrived.
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Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac in 255/55/19 111S M+S spec. No more sliding around in mud and ice for me.
These tyres were designed to be good on road, in wet and dry conditions but also have good mud and winter capability.

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These got put to the test in the forests of Aberfoyle and across sites in the central belt of Scotland.
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Some frontal protection was added with a RLD sump guard, this has a built in hole at the front to allow easy access to the front recovery point.
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It's been through the tank trap at Cambusbarren Army off road centre as well... :lol:
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The 6 spoke HSE wheels had always been a bit rough, eventually they started to leak air and i fancied a change in wheel so i bought a set of 19 inch RRS V spoke alloys. After selling on the 7 tyres that also came with the deal and the 6 spokes i actually made a small profit from it. :lol:

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A rattle from the engine bay was identified to be a failing aux tensioner.
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Then in October last year, I along with a mate, entered Mud Master.
MM is a 2 day off road challenge involving map reading, time trials, RTV style courses orienteering stages.
You are not allowed to use sat navs, or phone maps. It's all done with OS maps and plotting courses.
There was 3 orienteering stages, 2 time trials and 9 RTV stages. These were laid out over the central belt with the start and finish of each day at Dumfermline Army base. We placed 23rd out of 70 cars and 19th in the standard class section.

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I think this picture sums up the weekend, that and showing we were the only D3 entered.
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However, off road use and general running was taking it's toll and at 9 years and 117k, i pulled the trigger and sunk just over £2000 into a serious overhaul of the brakes and suspension of the car.

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This picture shows most of the suspension parts.
2 RRS rear upper arms.
2 D3 rear lower arms.
2 D3 front upper arms.
4 arb bushes.
2 track rod ends.
All bolts, nuts, washes and fixings for the above.

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RRS 4 pot Brembo brakes.
Drilled and grooved front discs.
EPC Yellowstuff front pads.
Drilled and grooved rear disc's
EPC ultimate pads.
New EPB shoes kit.
You can see the size difference over the tdv6 standard disc's and pads vs the RRS disc's and pads.

How big is a Brembo calliper? This big.
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Car key, to Barr's finest to calliper.
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These were also painted in Subaru Blue Ridge pearl colour using proper calliper paint.

So, how do you bed in all those parts? Nice easy driving? Or go to the Lake District and drive green lanes?
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Next came yet another service, plus diff oil changes and installing the Terrafirma rock and tree sliders to replace the OEM side steps.
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However, this also showed an unexpected issue. My rear propshaft bearing had failed.
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A new one was ordered from Land Rover, however, there was a bit of a backlog on them so it took a few weeks to be back in stock and be sent out.
£300 for a new one.
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That was the end of issues and such till the summer, when i finally managed to get myself a Expedition roof rack for the car.
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That was a bit of a faff trying to get fitted as it came with none of the 6 mounting brackets needed to bolt to the roof.
So, i had them made up from drawings by guys in the SLROC and with some light tweaking they fitted and one rack was bolted on.
At the same time the car was booked in and given a Terraclean treatment.
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The car had about 125k on the clock and there has been improvements to pick up and mid range grunt so it's done something.

Step forward a month and ebay delivered a proper Prospeed rear ladder for the car. £210 brand new. Mine delivered for £102.
I did have some issues with fitting and after a few calls and emails Prospeed delivered another mounting kit for the ladder. I've had no issues with the ladder since.
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Next up was to fit some of the parts i've been gathering to add to the front end but also to lay the foundations for power gains in the future.
Remove the front end
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Add one Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth intercooler and 5 ply silicone hoses.
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Add Genuine LR winch version A bar and LR spotlights.
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You may be thinking, why an RS500 cooler instead of a proper D3 one. Well the answer is cost.
To get a proper upgraded cooler i would have to spend £550 on one from Alisport. The RS500 one, with hoses and adaptors was £155.99 and is larger in every way to the Alisport one. No brainer really.

I have also added to the lights with a 50 inch curved LED light bar. This is a 288W and 24,000 Lumems bar. It's bright. Very bright.
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It's currently fixed on temporary brackets to the front of the rack, joining to the car using the mount points for the front support bracket for the roof rack.
It can light up the road for roughly 250 metres, it has both spot for long range driving beam and flood to light up the sides of the road.

That brings it up to date really.

Next on the list is to address a few issues that will need attention now it's broken the 130k mileage figure.
Front lower wishbones need replacing as they are once again knocking over bumps.
It needs a rear calliper as one is starting to stick on. They are known for that to happen as they age and a replacement is £56 so not a big deal.
The rear 4 hub bushes also need changed. Again, wear and tear issues.

The 2 large ones are injectors and the torque convertor.
It has a starting issue that is believed to be a weeping injector leaking fuel into the cylinder and causing poor starting. Currently pricing up quotes for a refurb of injectors as to buy replacements is £200+ each.
The TC has a low speed judder issue going up some hills, i can work the throttle to make it stop but it will only get worse as it ages. The oils been changed but the damage is done. It won't pack in on me so i can run it till i save up to either refurbish it or replace it. A new one is £1500 though which is a large bill to be hit with.

It also needs the tyres replaced by Easter time, the Dura's have done 28k in under 2 years so have done well. Will be replacing them with another set of Dura's as i'm very happy with their performance on the car.
They will go on these.
A set of Gloss back, 6 spoke HSE wheels.
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Possible mods when cash allows are as follows.
Safari Snorkel for the car. You can get cheap copies but the best is still made by Safari themselves.
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3 way 2 inch height rod kit. This will come from a company in Australia.
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A 2nd battery and split charge system. Fairly easy to do as the space is there under the bonnet and is quite a popular mod to do as D3's are heavy on the battery and alternators for power. A lot of warning signs, faults on dashes etc can be traced back to a dying battery or alternator and this mod will help keep the electrical supply at it's best.

Kaymar swingaway rear bumper.
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This moves the spare from under the car and onto a custom rear bumper with better access, it also comes with build in mounts for the reverse sensors, and extra lights for brake lights, indicators and also reverse lights.

Eventually it will get the full underbody protection protection plating from Prospeed. This will cost, but it gives full plating from the front bumper to past the rear diff and protects all the transmission, engine and fuel tank.
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I will in time also add a proper winch system to the front and fit ARB air locking diffs, these however are expensive and way down the list for wants/needs.. :mrgreen:


The best figure i have with this car is that in 32k of use, it has used 5,786 litres of fuel and has returned an average of 23.49MPG. Thank god for fuel expenses.
I have tallied up the costs for repairs and mods, then went into a corner of the room and cried a lot.. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby Andrew[MG] » Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:51 pm

Brilliant post and I can confirm that the ladder works well :-)

Is there a missing PIC comparing the old and new brakes?
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby Nera » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:31 pm

Excellent post. Great to see someone doing some proper off road driving in them, and great mud splattered pics :D

I WANT A DEFENDER NOW EVEN MORE THAN BEFORE!!!!
Last edited by Nera on Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby A.J.M » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:32 pm

Andrew. No picture is missing.
D3's use same size disc's all round so the comparison picture shows what would have been on the front vs what actually is on the front.

Sadly, the 2 tiny pictures, should have been videos of it climbing hills and driving through mud etc.

Forgot to add, if i can find a set of MY09 Black HSE RRS front seats then i will swap them in and replace the front's. However, trying to find a set that isn't in a mess or silly money is proving hard.

The good thing about LR's is you can swap in/out parts. So i can fit a cubby box fridge, D4 Bluetooth system for hands free calls and i can retrofit a D4 heated steering wheel as well. It's all just waiting on the right parts for the right price. :mrgreen:

It's mostly done for mechanical issues so can start the proper mods later next year. Long term project really.
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby mpjg » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:30 pm

wow what a lot of effort and work you have put into it, and it looks like it paid off. I thought I recognised some on the pictures then saw the pistonheads logo and it clicked
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby Angelus » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:32 pm

Great post, I enjoyed that. :D
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby EcurieArgyll » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:43 pm

Serious stuff. Great post. Thanks
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby m1key » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:56 pm

Agree, great post and a good read.
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby Dominic » Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:57 pm

Great post! Thanks for sharing.

I had an old disco as an off road project a few years ago. Was great fun, and amazingly capable off road. Also turned into a money pit (too old and rusty), so sold it and the parts. Would love to have another project with something newer like yours. 8-)
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby A.J.M » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:14 pm

Small update to this.

Over the last few weeks, it's gained a replacement front windscreen, the old one had a crack which split with the frosty mornings so it had to go.
The auto lights and rain sensor still work and all the heated elements work again so a good result.

It also gained a new battery, i thought this would help the starting and it's been flashing up warning lights and faults on start up.
Saying "engine system fault, special programs off, transmission faults etc"
One new battery was bought through the Disco3 forum for £80 delivered. I found out that the Land Rover one i removed had a build date stamped on the Nev terminal. It was 10, 08 so the battery was made in March 08, so it's been in the car for over 6 1/2 years. Not bad.

The biggest developments are to the TC issue.
I have been in discussions with Bristol Transmissions about the TC and the judder fault.
The judder is due to a break down of the clutch plates inside the TC and will only get worse.

So, a replacement with upgraded clutches is £486, it will also need 2 days of labour, new gearbox oil and filter done as well. So all in, just under £1200 for it inc vat. I would have to drive down to Bristol to get it done though.

HOWEVER, that price could get a lot higher... :roll:
LR and many other makers, have run a radiator which deals with both engine coolant and autobox oil in one. The concern is that the rad walls to sperate those two can go porous over time. Coolant and water in the autobox oil is bad news. Very bad news as it produces Glycol.
Glycol in the autobox means the full autobox AND tc have to be changed plus the rad and lines. Which would leave a bill over £2500 for a recon one or £2800 for a new one, plus lines and rad.

It's rare to happen, but it is known about and BT test every job to see if Glycol is present so they can work on the car properly.

Will be getting the oil tested to see if it has Glycol present. Regards of the results, it's getting a oil cooler and lines made up to stop the Glycol issue ever happening.

I've also priced up the replacement front arms, genuine LR arms, and hub bushes.

These will get sorted once Christmas and the new year are out the way.


Also, if anyone knows a decent place to check injector's then let me know, i've spoke to a couple who think the start issue is either down to low pressure on start up, dirty injectors or the returns are leaking. Regardless, the 6 will need attention at some point next year as well. Joy. :lol:
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby scotty_d » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:03 am

Excellent thread, nice to see how the disco has evolved since in your ownership. I have a FL2 as a daily and it to suffered from a few electrical issues, I traced it back to poor earths, I added a new earth strap and it seems to be OK for now.

As for your injectors, I can highly recommend this chap in Paisley he has done a few sets for me over the years.
http://www.asnu.com/centers/scotland.htm
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby A.J.M » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:43 pm

Small update for the car.
I'll let a few of the pictures do the talking.
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Got 5 new Goodyear Duratrac tyres fitted last week. Cost per tyre for a 255/55/19 tyre? £122.55 each. First time I bought these they were £198 each. Small difference in price.
I got 5 alloys, 4 of which were boxed to protect them, and 3 tyres in the car. The other 2 went on the roof rack.

Have black centre caps fitted and 20 new wheel nuts are ordered to replace the current lot as they are looking a bit rubbish.
I got just over 33k out of the old tyres, which considering the pictures above showing the abuse they have been given is pretty good.

Car is booked to get the following changed this month as well.
Rear hub bushes x4.
RRS front lower arms.
Steering inner arms.

Then it's onto a "Hunter" alignment machine to get it all set up properly.

I've also destickered the car as well.
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby A.J.M » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:59 pm

Small MOT update and some new gifts bought.

So, the mot is near and it's finally time to fit all the bits i've been buying and storing ready for it.
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We have the following.
2x RRS front lower arms. These have a larger ball joint and also better bushes.
4x rear hub bushes. Forgot to change these when i spent the 2 grand on suspension so it's time to sort them
1x drop link. For some reason, the front right one has failed again so getting it changed.
2x inner steering arms.

Bolts and fixings just in case any don't want to come out, even though all the bolts needed to be removed have been copper slipped in the last 2 years.

Then it's a 4 wheel alignment and then mot.

Also, due to spotting a possible bargain.

I have bought the following.
1 Mantec winch version sump guard. These are the guards fitted to the 06 and 09 G4 Discovery 3's so decent bit's of kit.
1 external winch mount.

This is the winch mount, with a Warn winch fitted. This D3 is also wearing the A bar and spot's i have fitted to mine. So it's a decent comparison and shows how the mount will sit. I will have to cut the bumper and also remove 2 inner parking sensors and also disable the front system.
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This is the sump guard, with extra slots for the winch mount. Picture is of the 06 G4 competition in Bolivia. Yes, i've done worse off roading before anyone says... ;)
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The beauty of this was that i sold the RLD guard for what i paid for it 2 years ago. I also sold the very well used old RRS wheels off so this upgrade is costing a whole £65.. :mrgreen:

Mount will go in the loft till i can find a decent winch for the D3. It's heavy and so needs a 9500 winch at minimum. I'm going to go for a 12,000 one for true peace of mind. However, that will be expensive so it's for a future date.

Car is booked into Bristol Transmissions to get the torque convertor changed at the end of June, will likely need a new mechatronic unit but i will see what needs done when they open it up and test it all.
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby EcurieArgyll » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:24 pm

Superb thread.

I guess you've bonded with the car then?!?!?

Looking forward to the next update.....and no you still can't have the light clusters off mine
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Re: Discovery 3

Postby m1key » Sun May 03, 2015 4:27 pm

Turning into a real project this, I guess it's a keeper then?
We're still planning on getting a Defender at some point - don't know when though!
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