Your Land Rovers

Dis­cov­ery 1 and ex-mod De­fender 90

LRO (UK) - - Contents -

It was my dad who first saw this Dis­cov­ery 1 ad­ver­tised in a lo­cal pa­per. The de­scrip­tion ex­plained the ve­hi­cle had cov­ered only 90,000 miles from new and had just ben­e­fited from a com­pre­hen­sive ser­vice, in­clud­ing new brakes and tyres.

The orig­i­nal rea­son for new wheels was a driv­ing trip to Italy my brother and I were plan­ning. We thought a Dis­cov­ery 1 would be bet­ter than our cur­rent Range Rover Clas­sic, be­cause its in­te­rior space could be used more ef­fec­tively on an ex­pe­di­tion.

Any­way, the ask­ing price of the Disco seemed rather high (it was be­ing sold by one of those ‘we buy any cars’ places) but be­cause it was lo­cal to me, I thought it was worth a closer look.

At first glance, it looked to be in very good con­di­tion, wear­ing its

Ep­som Green paint fairly well. But from my ex­pe­ri­ence with Land Rovers this can be mis­lead­ing – the phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’ comes to mind.

The in­te­rior was ab­so­lutely im­mac­u­late and, be­ing the posher Gs-spec, it had the added at­trac­tion of lovely half-leather seats in great con­di­tion.

Ex­haust­ing work

I opened the bon­net and was pre­sented with the iconic 3.9-litre, fuel-in­jected V8 Rover en­gine. It looked im­pres­sively clean, with only a lit­tle oil weep­ing from both rocker cover gas­kets and the oil fil­ter. I fired it up and it was im­me­di­ately clear that the mid-ex­haust si­lencer had been re­moved, along with both cat­alytic con­vert­ers – it was sooo loud! I have no idea how it got through an MOT with the cats miss­ing, but that’s an­other story.

Af­ter a few min­utes the en­gine set­tled down to a nice idle speed, with no smoke com­ing from the ex­haust; and the ini­tial test­drive passed off with­out drama. The next place I checked was un­der­neath, in­ves­ti­gat­ing all the usual Disco weak points, in­clud­ing the sus­pen­sion com­po­nents.

The only area that caused me a bit of con­cern was the rear cross­mem­ber – re­plac­ing one is a very in­volved job, as any­one who’s ever at­tempted it will know only too well.

This Disco had ob­vi­ously seen bet­ter days; and I gen­er­ally work on the as­sump­tion that if the cross­mem­ber is rot­ten then the boot floor and cross braces will also be in the same con­di­tion. In a way, this played in my favour be­cause I knew I could use th­ese points as bar­gain­ing chips.

Af­ter some se­ri­ous ne­go­ti­a­tion I man­aged to get the Dis­cov­ery for £1100 – con­sid­er­ing it was ini­tially up for £2500, I thought I didn’t do too badly!

Af­ter we got the ve­hi­cle back we wasted no time in putting it on the lift and giv­ing it a thor­ough check. We es­ti­mated it would need an­other £800 spent on it to get it into a con­di­tion where we would be happy to take it on long-dis­tance trips, and to press it into reg­u­lar horse­box­tow­ing

du­ties. The sin­gle-point LPG sys­tem would help keep fuel costs man­age­able.

Parts re­placed in­cluded the ex­haust sys­tem, front in­ner wings, rear in­ner whee­larches, brake pipes, rear cross­mem­ber, oil cooler, ra­di­a­tor, all bushes, four shock ab­sorbers and the boot floor, in­clud­ing cross braces. We also gave it an en­gine ser­vice and a full fluid change, adding Evans wa­ter­less coolant. Quite a list.

As with all of the Land Rovers we buy, we like to give them a thor­ough test-drive to make sure that ev­ery­thing is work­ing as it should, re­place any parts where needed, check any­thing we’ve missed on the first in­spec­tion and en­sure the work com­pleted is do­ing its job.

This par­tic­u­lar Dis­cov­ery, how­ever, gave us some headaches while try­ing to track down and rec­tify a par­tic­u­lar fault. The ve­hi­cle would start ab­so­lutely fine whether hot or cold, but af­ter about 20 min­utes the en­gine would just stop with­out any warn­ing. It was like some­one had turned the key off, it was that grace­ful.

It turned out to be a break in the ig­ni­tion-to-coil wire, with the wire break­ing down when hot. Af­ter this was re­placed with new ca­bling the fault has never re­turned. This is one fix I cer­tainly won’t for­get in a hurry be­cause I had to be towed back home!

There are still a few jobs to do in­clud­ing fit­ting new stan­dard­size tyres. In the end my brother and I didn’t take it to Italy (we took our Range Rover Clas­sic as it’s more at home in the Alps and its fit­ted roof rack en­abled us to ac­com­mo­date the roof tent), but I will be tak­ing the Disco around Scot­land af­ter which it’ll be put up for sale.

I’ll be sad to see it go be­cause it’s a good, hon­est ve­hi­cle.

‘Af­ter se­ri­ous ne­go­ti­a­tion I got it for £1100. It was up for £2500 so I thought I didn’t do too badly’

DIS­COV­ERY 1

Half-leather in­te­rior was in great shape

NAME: David Tyler LO­CA­TION: Northum­ber­land VE­HI­CLE: Dis­cov­ery 1 V8i YEAR: 1999 FIRST LAND ROVER: 1993 200Tdi Dis­cov­ery 1 OTHER LAND ROVERS:1972 2dr Range Rover, 1994 Range Rover OTHER HOBBIES: Of­froad ad­ven­tures

AF­TER

BE­FORE

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