2003 Discovery Build

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disco_unchained

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279
Burlingame, CA, USA
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13908

My first disco, my first build, many other firsts to come.

Found an ‘03 in good shape in Chicago and had it shipped out to Cali:

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Immediately ran out of gas on the 101 next to SFO while driving it home from where I met the transportation company, discovering that the fuel gauge wasn’t working:

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I’d had a new battery put into it before it was shipped to me, which I realize, along with shipping, caused several electrical mishaps and caused it not to pass smog inspection a few times until it had gone through several drive cycles:

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Finally got it street legal after some fun drives down highway 1 and side roads, coasting to stops and such to complete the drive cycle. Luckily we have good scenery around here:

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Then started the buildout (and the circus music).

Started with new brakes and pads courtesy of Atlantic British:

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Then went for the two inch terrafirma medium duty lift kit (shocks, springs, shock towers):

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Added a terrafirma steering damper and swapped out the front drive shaft for a ton Woods (courtesy of Steve at Lucky8 - who I’m sure is sick of hearing from me by now):

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Then moved on to new steel bumpers. This is where the real cussing started. Got a britpart rear bumper and terrafirma front bumper from Lucky8. Rear bumper went on without a hitch(literally - had to remove it to get it on), but the front terrafirma winch bumper was a MF’er. After several attempts in the garage with the father in law, including getting (I think) inadvertently clocked in the head with a tire iron as a makeshift prybar, I gave up and had to take it to a body shop.

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Body shop ended up having to do 4 hours worth of work to get it mounted, which around here = $400 at a discount. Super frustrating. They had to cut off a few of the terrafirma brackets to make it fit and it still doesn’t mount flush. Anyone had any luck getting any help from terrafirma directly? Lucky8 is looking into it as well.

View attachment 76042

All in all, not terrible, but for $700, I’d rather it be snug and not have to have $400 in aftermarket subtractions to fit.

Alas, onwards. It’s starting to come together:

View attachment 76043

Next up this weekend:

Cooper STT Pros with black steel 16” rims
Baja rack install
KC lights on the Baja rack
 
Last edited:
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Overland_Mitsu

Rank IV

Advocate II

1,220
Bellingham
Awesome mate! Love the Disco’s. Looking forward to seeing the new wheels and tires. I’m thinking about getting a set of Coopers STT Pro’s next too.
 

4wheelspulling

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Seamanrob,
You have one sweet Disco, there! I do like the look with the new lift and front bumper. Did your Disco come locked? At least the rear and center differential is nice, and saves some big money! Vance.
 

disco_unchained

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279
Burlingame, CA, USA
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13908

Seamanrob,
You have one sweet Disco, there! I do like the look with the new lift and front bumper. Did your Disco come locked? At least the rear and center differential is nice, and saves some big money! Vance.
Thank you! It doesn’t have the CDL, unfortunately, as it’s that weird in between 2003 year that relied on traction control, as far as I can figure out. Was hoping to find some advice about that on here - you have experience retrofitting the cdl or adding a rear air locker by chance?
 

Tinker

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You seem pretty handy with a wrench, so swapping your non-locking LT230 transfer box for one with the CDL internals shouldn't be too hard of a job. The boxes themselves aren't costly, & from what I've seen run ~$100 locally & ~$300 from ebay. Problem is when you get to the dual-cables & the shifter handle assembly itself... they can go for $300-500 online! I think Rover parts sellers online got wise that many Disco's actually have the CDL bits under there & just need a cable + shifter set, so the price was driven to the moon. Lame. BUT... you can get them dirt cheap (if not free as included with the transfer box) if you source it local from salvage yards, or even cheaper from "pull-a-part" type yards.
 
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disco_unchained

Rank II
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Traveler II

279
Burlingame, CA, USA
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You seem pretty handy with a wrench, so swapping your non-locking LT230 transfer box for one with the CDL internals shouldn't be too hard of a job. The boxes themselves aren't costly, & from what I've seen run ~$100 locally & ~$300 from ebay. Problem is when you get to the dual-cables & the shifter handle assembly itself... they can go for $300-500 online! I think Rover parts sellers online got wise that many Disco's actually have the CDL bits under there & just need a cable + shifter set, so the price was driven to the moon. Lame. BUT... you can get them dirt cheap (if not free as included with the transfer box) if you source it local from salvage yards, or even cheaper from "pull-a-part" type yards.
Awesome advice - thank you, Tinker! I’ll get on the craigslist and see if I can’t find something around the area. Already see some in Sacramento if I can get up there once these fires calm down.
 

4wheelspulling

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Chelan, WA.
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Thank you! It doesn’t have the CDL, unfortunately, as it’s that weird in between 2003 year that relied on traction control, as far as I can figure out. Was hoping to find some advice about that on here - you have experience retrofitting the cdl or adding a rear air locker by chance?
Seamanrob
Awesome advice - thank you, Tinker! I’ll get on the craigslist and see if I can’t find something around the area. Already see some in Sacramento if I can get up there once these fires calm down.
Seamanrob,
Glad you got some good advice from Tinker! I did not have a good answer for you; that’s what I love about our site! Vance.
 

Upliftphotography

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Seamanrob

Seamanrob,
Glad you got some good advice from Tinker! I did not have a good answer for you; that’s what I love about our site! Vance.
Thank you! It doesn’t have the CDL, unfortunately, as it’s that weird in between 2003 year that relied on traction control, as far as I can figure out. Was hoping to find some advice about that on here - you have experience retrofitting the cdl or adding a rear air locker by chance?
Its available at: https://www.lucky8llc.com/products/ashcroft-discovery-ii-cdl-kit
 

disco_unchained

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Burlingame, CA, USA
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disco_unchained

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Hafaday

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Richmond, VA.
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Thank you! I gotta get the front output housing and then I’ll grab this if u can’t find it at a salvage yard.
All yours, man.

I got lucky with my 01 D2.. the transfer case was already in from the factory, just had to get the proper shifter for the CDL.
 

RyuKyuRvr

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Thank you! It doesn’t have the CDL, unfortunately, as it’s that weird in between 2003 year that relied on traction control, as far as I can figure out. Was hoping to find some advice about that on here - you have experience retrofitting the cdl or adding a rear air locker by chance?
I swapped out my 2002 transfer for a 1999 model so I could install the center diff lock, just needed the actuated handles as parts we inside the transfer case. I also added a true trac into the rear diff which makes the traction control work less hard and made it a more trail-able truck. Had to use OME springs and Fox shocks because I destroyed the terrafirma shocks regularly and found for the mountain road hard washboards the Fox shocks took the punishment better and can get at least 2 years out of them. You didn’t say whether it was a 4.6 or 4.0 liter engine, I’m curious to see what your using. Are you adding a winch, if so what’s your choice?
 

disco_unchained

Rank II
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Traveler II

279
Burlingame, CA, USA
Member #

13908

I swapped out my 2002 transfer for a 1999 model so I could install the center diff lock, just needed the actuated handles as parts we inside the transfer case. I also added a true trac into the rear diff which makes the traction control work less hard and made it a more trail-able truck. Had to use OME springs and Fox shocks because I destroyed the terrafirma shocks regularly and found for the mountain road hard washboards the Fox shocks took the punishment better and can get at least 2 years out of them. You didn’t say whether it was a 4.6 or 4.0 liter engine, I’m curious to see what your using. Are you adding a winch, if so what’s your choice?
I’ve got the 4.6. Unsure on the winch. Actually going tomorrow to check a few out. Looking at a smittybilt x20 and superwinch tomorrow. Any recommendations?
 

RyuKyuRvr

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I’ve got the 4.6. Unsure on the winch. Actually going tomorrow to check a few out. Looking at a smittybilt x20 and superwinch tomorrow. Any recommendations?
I have a British built Venom tube bumper on my D2 and am using a Harbor Freight 9500 pound winch since I use it for log dragging and vehicle recovery and I’ve kept the wire cable but replaced it with 150ft as appears to the shorter stock wrap. Your lucky the 4.6 is a better engine then the 4.0 which has a lot of overheating issues. Good job on finding a good usable Rover