Land Rover Discovery 300tdi: An off-road conversion - Part 2
By Xavier Gosselin
9th Sep 2009
Despite the large amount of aluminium in a Land Rover, rust is one of the key problems for any vehicle of this age. I have always tried to keep the chassis and any other panels as clean as possible and avoided the build up of mud that create rust area by keeping the moist.
But after 10 years of use, something had to be done. If you have the budget, the best thing to do is to give it to a specialist company that would ensure that everything is properly rust-proofed. They tend to use either Waxoil of Dinitrol treatment. But if you do not have the budget, but have a bit of time, you can actually do a good job yourself.
I got myself a bunch of Dinitrol (www.dinitrol.co.uk) based spray cans for different parts of the vehicles. I chose Dinitrol based on its good reviews and to make a change. In addition, Dinitrol is a wax that dries instead of being an oily substance.
The key to a good application of the treatment is to work on a clean surface. I did spend a lot of time with my pressure washer making sure that all the mud and dirt was out, then I gave the chassis a bit of wire brushing, finally I water hosed it again to get rid of the loose bits.
Application of the products was then just a matter of doing it slowly, ensuring that the hidden corners have been covered and just trying top make a good job.
I can say that it is hard work, give me the money and I’ll let a professional do it. But I believe the result is not that bad.
One of the main area of concern was the boot floor. I was a bit nervous when I lifted the carpet, but ended up happily surprised. Surface rust had appeared but nothing serious. Wire brush (heavy handed), Dinitrol Rust Converter and two coats of paint did the trick.
I wanted to make two major changes in the interior. First of all, replacing the standards seats by some bucket ones. I did a bit of search on eBay and after 2 months I managed to put my hands on a pair of Corbeau fixed back bucket seats for the back and a set of reclining Cobra sports seats at the front. I would recommend that you do not jump on the first item you see when you go on eBay. There are always a lot of bargains to be found. Do a bit of research before anything.
The front seats have been attached to the original runner by create a intermediate subframe using some 20x20mm box section and a bit of welding (I was helped on that one, see later on about “external help”)
I also wanted to move the spare wheels from the rear door to the boot and make some compartments to store things. I used some exterior-grade plywood to make the “shelving”. You can buy that sort of wood anywhere. I got mine from Darby’s DIY (www.darbysdiy.co.uk) after finding them on eBay (again…). Online shopping meant the ordering process was extremely easy and the delivery very fast.
I gave the plywood a coat of exterior paint to protect it long term.
It gave me a support base for the rear bucket seats , a “box” for the spare wheel, over which I attached an old tool box that I use to keep my shackles, ropes, etc
It also gave me a slot to put the ARB compressor and another one to put my tool box.
With that in place, I end up with a tidy boot that also makes the interior safer for the occupant by preventing things to fly around when off-roading.
Switches and Gauges
More accessories and other bits to look after in the engine usually means more switches and gauges to fit in a dashboard that was clearly not designed for that.
I decided to use the MudPod from Mud stuff (www.mudstuff.co.uk) which was originally designed for the Defender dashboard. But I worked out that the space on top of the Discovery one (where you have the long "coin tray") has the right size.
Just remove the rubber tray, drill a large hole to access the space where the radio sits and bolt the MudPod in place. All the wide that be run under the dash and reach the Pod without any problem.
The pod is now the home for an accessories socket, my voltmeter, the ARB switches, the winch switches (in/ou and cut-out), rear worklamp and a master cut-out switch for all of that.
As the engine is tweaked, I like to know ho it runs, especially the new turbo. I ordered a turbo boost gauge from Autodials (www.autodials.co.uk). The kit came with a single mounting pod, all the wiring and sender, and a T-piece with reducer. Regarding this part, you wil need to now that the air pressure that you try to measure has a "pulse" due to the way the turbo pushes the air. This pulse usually creates a very unpleasant ticking noise in boost gauges. This reducer prevents this problem.
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