"Nanuuq" my Land Rover Discovery 2, ...forever a project!

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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

Haven't done a build thread on a forum in a loooong time, but here goes. I'll try to catch up the project to the current state. Back in late 2014, after more than a year long search I spotted an unmodified low-mile 2002 Land Rover Discovery 2 a few states away. I'd often pondered about a grandiose plan to build myself a do-anything offroader + home on wheels. And it seemed I finally found a platform to set the idea in motion!

~ Build breakdown & plans below ~

Here's a shot of it halfway built-up (lifted, camper, cargo, etc) bombing around the remote limestone plains of Drummond Island, over towards Canada, off the eastern shores of Michigan's Upper Peninsula:


And here it is in stock form! A clean slate to start with that I rescued from Chicago, only 70,000 unmodified miles & the most basic trim package I could find after over a year of hunting:


It's currently in full fledged build-mode to receive a big powertrain swap, from the classically unreliable little 4.0L Rover V8 (that produced at best 188HP / 250TQ / and 8-10MPG), to an upgraded turbo diesel Cummins 4-cylinder engine + 5-speed manual transmission + divorced transfer case (that I'm expecting to easily produce 225-250HP / 550-650TQ / and 20-25MPG)


UPGRADES:
Powerplant:

- Engine = Cummins 3.9L "mechanical" diesel 4-cylinder
- Mods = KDP fix, HD valve springs, 6BT oil filter plate & grid heater
- Boost = Super HX30W turbo on a cut 6BT manifold, stock injectors
- Injection = P-Pump with extra timing, ground fuel plate, 4k governor
- Fueling = Custom system, in-tank pump deleted, all stainless AN
Drivetrain:
- Transmission = Custom GM+Mopar NV4500 5-speed w/overdrive & big clutch set
- Transfer Case = Divorced all-wheel-drive Rover LT230 w/HD cross-pin & locking center diff
- Driveshafts = Custom length Tom Woods double-cardan long travel shafts
- Axles = Stock 1/2-ton Rover semi-floating 3rd-member solid axles
Suspension:
- Lift = Lucky8 4" suspension lift kit w/Terrafirma parts
- Wheels = Custom Trail Worthy Fab HMMWV double bead-locks
- Tires = Interco TrXus M/T in 35" tall x 12.5" wide
- Brakes = ABS delete w/ stainless steel AN hose
Exterior:
- Voyager full size roof-rack & rear hatch ladder
- Tactical Rovers front winch bumper
- 75mm Lucky8 Flexi fender flares
- Custom heavy duty hiem-joint & DOM tube steering links
- Land Cruiser FJ80 Steering Gear w/cooler & saginaw pump
- Custom "manual" Makrolon polycarbonate side windows
- Custom aluminum rear side-window access hatch
- Restored tubular steel tail-light guards
- Custom bush cables / limb risers
Electrics:
- Dual group34 Northstar batteries w/ manual override charging relay
- Full OEM electrical system delete & rewire (in process)
- Array of four 9" 225-watt LED high-mount offroad spot+flood lights
- Auxbeam LED headlight bulb upgrades
- CB radio with fiberglass antenna
Interior:
- Custom camper setup w/plentiful cabinet space & fold-out bed
- Wool insulation stuffed everywhere
- Custom window blackouts/insulation
- Saggy headliner stripped & coated with bedliner


PLANS:
~ Winch, or two of 'em!
~ Sliders: Custom build w/frame mounted legs + tree bars
~ Bumper: Tactical Rovers rear w/my own custom swing-out tire carrier
~ Axles: Ashcroft HD shafts, joints, & diffs ($$$$>) for the stock Rover axles, OR...
~ Axles: Build high-pinion full-floating Ford 9 axles ($$<) & dream about portals?
~ Lockers: Stuff whatever axles with both a True-Trac locker in front & Detroit out back
~ Tires: 37-39" so I can start utilizing more inexpensive military surplus bias-ply rubber
~ Steering: Custom mount a hydraulic assist-ram plumbed right into the steering gear
~ Suspension: My own planned custom 3-link front + 4-link rear, all DOM tube & heims
~ Springs: Up-rated to match loadout weight + bypass shocks w/king fox racerunner etc
~ Brakes: Custom mounted Range Rover Sport 6-pot & 4-pot non-float calipers w/stainless AN hoses
~ Tanks: For water & fuel, custom build to tuck between sliders & frame rails, both sides
~ Armor: Custom build skid 1/4" aluminum plates for trans+transfer case & fuel tank
~ Solar: Custom setup w/house battery mounted in the cabinets or undercarriage
~ Comms: Long range HAM + GMRS to extend the current CB radio setup
~ Seats: Mastercraft Sportsman pair up front only
~ Lighting: Exterior area/work

[ 11/30/17 edits: Updated most images to my imgur source ]
[ 6/30/18 edit: Added recent photo of the powertrain swap ]
[ 7/30/18 edit: Added build list & plans ]
[ 6/17/19 edit: Updated lists ]
[ 4/17/20 edit: Updated photo ]


cont...

⇝ Land Rover Disco 2 ~ Lifted, Camper, Cummins Diesel & 5speed ⇜
⇝ 4BT thread: (LINK) ~ Video of builds, travel, racing, etc: (LINK)
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

Year & a half later, after wrapping up other vehicle projects I was able to focus on the truck full force. First off was tackling all the leaks. And this was my first introduction to the old adage "I fear that if for some reason it ever stops leaking... that it's out of oil!". With previous research I was already familiar with this generation of Land Rover engine's lack of reliability, but it was worth an attempt to dig in. If for nothing more than getting a feel for how much life it had left in it.

Well then... guess that explains the coolant leak/burn around the intake:


Cylinders & liners look decent, & this should sort out oil leaks aside from the rear main leak:


With the help of a friend we machined plugs to delete the EGT system, yanked out all the other emissions systems as well, part of an effort to simplify everything I can get my hands on:


cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

With major maintenance all over the truck out of the way... time to start upgrades! Suspension lift kit from Lucky8 was up first. And I sure was glad I did so, never would've expected to find what I found under there.

Lots of parts!


Uhhhh... I know some Discovery's come with a fancy self leveling suspension, but a 2-piece coil spring? I think not, glad I'm replacing these:


Kit's going in pretty quick, but another issue spotted, yikes... no clue how that didn't make even a squeak! The timing of this install couldn't have been better, thankfully the kit includes an upgraded front driveshaft to replace this mess:


Done!


Hmmm... so wheels & tires might be in order sooner than later.


cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

The added height was really putting emphasis on the weak steering damper, & as so often happens, got carried away & decided to upgrade the whole steering system. Ordered up a mess of custom components to cut to size & weld up to replace the stock parts.

Had to get my hands on a big drill bit specifically for gray iron, to clean out the tapered tie-rod hole in the knuckle. Then a full set of left & right hand thread high-misalignment heim joints with heavy duty 3/4" bolts to replace the tiny tie-rods:


Cut some 1/4" wall DOM tubing to length, welded up the inserts, & came up with a trick tube clamp for the new damper mount:


All powdercoated up & hardware laid out beside the stock bits:


Turned out great! Rear link:


The difference in steering feel is just what I hoped for, from a squishy oem part that felt like a piece of sloppy old farm equipment to a precise & strong steering that can be adjusted & serviced on the trail. Front link & damper:


cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

I quickly found myself needing more hauling capability from it & tore out the rear seats altogether. Good grief they were heavy! Honestly though, even that wasn't enough, maybe it was time to get a roof rack so that I might save my interior from all the creatures you come across when trying to something like this...

Almost got the whole cord of firewood in there, just a couple logs short hahaha!


cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

Right around the same time I decided to go forward with an idea I was contemplating after a hilarious failure of the drivers front window. Picture this: tapping the window-down button very briefly as the window instantly free falls after a loud snap & crashes right into the very bottom of the door followed by the metallic clanging of all the window mechanism parts piling up around it. I had to pull over, more to stop swerving as I laughed then to deal with the window.

My idea with the truck as a whole is to simplify to the extreme, so power windows are out & I'm adopting a race car inspired manual window setup. Had some worry that the winter would put a real beating on these new window prototypes, but they held up perfect!

Had to get creative to get the whole sheet of Makrolon home (super tough plastic to replace the glass).


Here's a quick clip of the final product:


cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

I was chomping at the bit to get the wheel & tire upgrade going, but it was becoming quite clear that 35" tires were going to be trouble if I didn't create clearance first. When the flexi flares arrived I did my best to not have a panic attack at the idea of taking an angle grinder to all 4 corners of my beloved truck. Didn't help that the instructions basically said "Check package contents & install flares", which I have to admit didn't inspire much confidence. When I took to the internet for guidance I found a whole lot of nothing, save for a blurry photo filled forum thread on expedition portal for the 1st generation Discovery. It's not very often you run into this problem these days so it seemed appropriate to dive head first into the project & have a go at making an instructional video on the install as I worked through it.

So here it is, my first attempt at an entertaining install video:

cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

Now with the truck clearanced for larger tires it seemed time to get new shoes mounted up.

I think the Fedex delivery guy thinks I'm trying to kill him... these things were 65lbs a piece! They're military humvee 2pc double beadlock wheels custom made up to fit the Rover boltpattern from Trail Worthy Fab:


What! Isn't this what you're supposed to do with you're living room, store tires?


Much better!


And here's a quick video I made of the install:

cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

Lighting upgrades! Even after replacing the weak headlamps with high power led's it was apparent that big auxiliary lamps would be really useful given how often I was wheeling at night. So I found a deal on a set 9" round 225watt "Aosi" led pods, which were surprisingly powerful! They draw around 50 amps too, so some proper wiring was required for the power draw I calculated.

They seemed WAY too big:


But looked right at home once I installed them up on the voyager rack:


cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

And the new Tactical Rovers bumper arrived, happy to finally have protection for the front after a bunch of close calls with deer. Those dopey forest horses are thick as mosquitoes in my area. Also gave me a chance to install bush-cables to hopefully save my windshield after the last one was cracked up.

Check out this 2-minute video I slapped together as I installed it:

An odd thing I hadn't expected was having to replace the windshield washer bottle that hangs well down into the bumper. My solution was an aftermarket coolant overflow reservoir mated up to my stock washer pump:


And the final product:


cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

So as it turns out, replacing the stock 29" tires with 35's will render the original rear tire-carrier useless. I'm still undecided on my design for a custom steel plate rear bumper & a dual swing-out, for the time being I'll bust out the grinder & welder to make the stock carrier get me by for now.

Unbolted, cut in half, cleaned up, with the rise it needs to clear the bigger rubber:


Plates & bracing added before welding. The hitch pin allows me to add a lock, as well as helping me to line up the 135lb wheel & tire combo:


Welded, painted, mounted!


cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

Great rig. Have you been out with Michigan Overland? Your Disco looks like one in some of their trail rides.
I have! And it was good fun, looking forward to another group trip once I sort out this next huge task on the truck.
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

Now for a big step. Building one of the major features I wanted for this truck from the get go: A mini home on wheels! Most everything a basic RV would be equipped with, including a fold out bed, were my minimum goals. I knew it would be a daunting project for a first iteration prototype, but it's an important step in the build I'd always dreamed of.

First step, tearing out the rear of the cabin:


Making a mess of measurements, transcribing it all into AutoCAD, & fiddling around with a heap of possible combinations for the small space I'm working with:


Construction begins! Menu consists of marine grade plywood, decking screws, & a poor old jigsaw that I really put thru it's paces:


cont...
 
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Tinker

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,357
West Michigan
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Klemish
Member #

5606

...with the fold-out bed side of the install constructed, it was onto the cabinet side:


So many screws! My drill had quite a workout:


Before building the upper half of the cabinet, it seemed like the right time to drop the headliner & stuff it with my insulation of choice for this part of the project. Sheep's wool batts. Loads of reasons I chose this material: Natural without any worry of outgassing chemicals, flame retardant, mildew/mold resistant, no odors, lightweight, etc. Have a look:


Now onto the upper half:


Doors, drawers, hinges & handles:


cont...
 
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