Refurbishing a cheap Disco 1

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systemdelete

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

IMG_1057.JPGIMG_1058.JPG

Found a ‘99 Disco 1 on Craigslist, listed cheap and clearly needing attention.

Brought it home and began making parts lists.

The theme of this truck to date seems to have been deferred maintenance.

Suspension-
Needed new bushings EVERYWHERE. The panhard bar could be clicked back and forth by hand. Upon wiggling the steering wheel the entire axle moves left to right as the radius arms are also toasted. The trackbar ends were shot, as were the upper ball joints locating the rear axle. I’m guessing it will need shocks as well but it’s far to early to evaluate that with all the shakes it had on the drive home.

Brakes-
Lots of new parts here on inspection, but the pedal requires a double pump to get a positive stop. I’ll start with a good bleed of those when I do my first fluid changes.


Engine-
Leaking(what Land Rover isn’t?) from all over. Upon pulling codes I got a list related to rear O2 sensors. So I went to inspect them. I found the “Y” pipe loose and spewing hot exhaust at the O2 wiring. It had completely destroyed one of the connectors and several inches of harness. Have to get that fixed up before it can pass emissions. It should help fuel economy as well as it looks like the fuel system hasn’t hit closed loop operation in some time estimating by the freeze frame data. Otherwise evaluation will have to wait until the exhaust is fixed up.

Body- the sheet metal is actually in decent shape, very much free of rust, but obviously has been out in the sun for a while. The rear static windows all need new seals. The sunroofs are inoperable, and appear to have leaked in the past. Those will need to be welded up. The factory roof rails also need to be pulled, though those holes will come in handy for antennae and electrical wires for the rack. The driver’s side mirror appears to have been torn off by an angry gorilla.

Interior- the radio presents a “code” message, 3 of 4 power windows are inoperable, the driver’s seat back won’t move, and it appears the passenger’s side switches have been flipped to this side. Leather is all thrashed and split. Carpets are dirty and smell of mildew. There was a free cassette tape in the center console. Headliner is gone, not fallen/hanging down, it’s gone but there are some pretty stickers on the underside of the roof?


Tires- mismatched, but okay size and shape. My problem is that that they are a big “?”. Have they been driven low and damaged internally? Are they out of round from the weight of the vehicle sitting on them flat? I’ve ordered a new set before I passed go. Don’t want to bolt a slew of new suspension on only to wonder if tires are introducing shake/shimmy.

Driveline-
No maintenance records means I’ll inspect the axles throughly at fluid change. I’ll pull and replace all the u-joints in the driveshafts. Transmission is in a standard failed state for a 4hp22, a reversed sprag clutch has sidelined first gear now assessable only by using the “1” selector location. Transfer case lever moves freely on the lift, it’s leaking but what isn’t.


Electrics-
Began with a light check, bumper brake lights inoperable, no marker lights, turn signals iffy. No license plate lights. 12v outlet works, a/c controls work, interior lights(where equipped) are functional. Alternator is charging and a new(cheap) battery has just been fitted apparently. Unfortunately it’s not tied down. :/

Summary-
While this truck has been driven and not maintained there’s one thing I haven’t found nearly any of. . . RUST! The frame and chassis is essentially rust free, making it a great candidate to bolt a pile of new bits too!

Budget to date-$1k includes purchase, tax, and transfer of tags.
 

systemdelete

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

The startling thing as I inspect this vehicle is the realization of the serious handicap not having any records is. No owners manual, no receipts, no logs. With the driveshafts for example they “could” have been rebuilt 12k ago. That “could” have been done with great components, or cheap ones. I’ll be rebuilding both for my piece of mind.

The goal of the build is to get this Disco whipped back to a reasonable level of reliability. To keep it close to stock so it excels in light snow, and long inclement highway trips. It will be “at the ready” to get me wherever/whenever.
 

Pathfinder I

My initial reaction was not positive until I saw how much you spent on it. That’s a GREAT deal, imo, and the bonus is by the end of your project, you’ll know nearly ever inch of your rig. That knowledge is worth it’s weight in gold for a backcountry rig.

I’ll keep an eye on this thread. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it.


Edit: To clarify, when I said my initial reaction was not positive, what I meant was “Wow, that seems like a lot of work!”. I absolutley applaud your approach to giving this old Disco life — there’s nothing not positive about that!
 
Last edited:

systemdelete

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

First part showed up and was promptly installed. A new Multi switch(turn signal switch) fixed the marker lights, turn signals, bumper lights and license plate lights. Now to wait until dark and inspect each bulb’s function closer.IMG_1074.JPG

USPS wasn’t far behind with the next batch. This included a wrecking yard mirror assembly, hood pins as used on the camel trophy builds, and that critical exhaust sealing ring that was absent from the system!
View attachment 118028
 
Last edited:

kilby

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Contributor II

271
Morrison, CO USA
First Name
Joel
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Kilby
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People who don't fix sunroofs don't rebuild axles either. I'd just replace oil and see how it does.

I couldn't have resisted a $1k D1. Nice score!!! I currently daily drive a 97 D1 that I got for $1400 4 years ago, and it's been one of my favorite project rigs. Great trucks!!
 

systemdelete

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

IMG_1079.JPG

Got the O2 wiring all fixed up this morning, cleared the codes and drove it to the county clerk for registration and title. Also pictured the “free cassette tape” that came with the truck!

IMG_0002.JPG

Hood pins are marvelous. I thought they might get annoying with sunlight glinting off them when I was installing them, but the slope of the hood there at the end means you actually can’t see them from the driver’s seat. Next stop, the local discount tire.
 

Lanlubber

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

2,327
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
View attachment 117744View attachment 117743

Found a ‘99 Disco 1 on Craigslist, listed cheap and clearly needing attention.

Brought it home and began making parts lists.

The theme of this truck to date seems to have been deferred maintenance.

Suspension-
Needed new bushings EVERYWHERE. The panhard bar could be clicked back and forth by hand. Upon wiggling the steering wheel the entire axle moves left to right as the radius arms are also toasted. The trackbar ends were shot, as were the upper ball joints locating the rear axle. I’m guessing it will need shocks as well but it’s far to early to evaluate that with all the shakes it had on the drive home.

Brakes-
Lots of new parts here on inspection, but the pedal requires a double pump to get a positive stop. I’ll start with a good bleed of those when I do my first fluid changes.


Engine-
Leaking(what Land Rover isn’t?) from all over. Upon pulling codes I got a list related to rear O2 sensors. So I went to inspect them. I found the “Y” pipe loose and spewing hot exhaust at the O2 wiring. It had completely destroyed one of the connectors and several inches of harness. Have to get that fixed up before it can pass emissions. It should help fuel economy as well as it looks like the fuel system hasn’t hit closed loop operation in some time estimating by the freeze frame data. Otherwise evaluation will have to wait until the exhaust is fixed up.

Body- the sheet metal is actually in decent shape, very much free of rust, but obviously has been out in the sun for a while. The rear static windows all need new seals. The sunroofs are inoperable, and appear to have leaked in the past. Those will need to be welded up. The factory roof rails also need to be pulled, though those holes will come in handy for antennae and electrical wires for the rack. The driver’s side mirror appears to have been torn off by an angry gorilla.

Interior- the radio presents a “code” message, 3 of 4 power windows are inoperable, the driver’s seat back won’t move, and it appears the passenger’s side switches have been flipped to this side. Leather is all thrashed and split. Carpets are dirty and smell of mildew. There was a free cassette tape in the center console. Headliner is gone, not fallen/hanging down, it’s gone but there are some pretty stickers on the underside of the roof?


Tires- mismatched, but okay size and shape. My problem is that that they are a big “?”. Have they been driven low and damaged internally? Are they out of round from the weight of the vehicle sitting on them flat? I’ve ordered a new set before I passed go. Don’t want to bolt a slew of new suspension on only to wonder if tires are introducing shake/shimmy.

Driveline-
No maintenance records means I’ll inspect the axles throughly at fluid change. I’ll pull and replace all the u-joints in the driveshafts. Transmission is in a standard failed state for a 4hp22, a reversed sprag clutch has sidelined first gear now assessable only by using the “1” selector location. Transfer case lever moves freely on the lift, it’s leaking but what isn’t.


Electrics-
Began with a light check, bumper brake lights inoperable, no marker lights, turn signals iffy. No license plate lights. 12v outlet works, a/c controls work, interior lights(where equipped) are functional. Alternator is charging and a new(cheap) battery has just been fitted apparently. Unfortunately it’s not tied down. :/

Summary-
While this truck has been driven and not maintained there’s one thing I haven’t found nearly any of. . . RUST! The frame and chassis is essentially rust free, making it a great candidate to bolt a pile of new bits too!

Budget to date-$1k includes purchase, tax, and transfer of tags.
I started a thread today for people needing the plastic window rollers that fix the windows on Discoveries. Look in the forum for my thread if your interested and check utube for LRD's window fix.
 

EXPO_D1

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Contributor III

1,097
Bakersfield, CA, USA
First Name
James
Last Name
C
Member #

17468

View attachment 118094

Got the O2 wiring all fixed up this morning, cleared the codes and drove it to the county clerk for registration and title. Also pictured the “free cassette tape” that came with the truck!

View attachment 118093

Hood pins are marvelous. I thought they might get annoying with sunlight glinting off them when I was installing them, but the slope of the hood there at the end means you actually can’t see them from the driver’s seat. Next stop, the local discount tire.
I dig the hood pins
 

Lanlubber

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

2,327
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
225/75r16 trying to approximate the 7x16 or 7.5x16 Michelin xcl the earlier d1 camel trophy trucks ran, but wanting a more modern compound for on road manners.
It looks very good in your pictures.
My only goal was to get mine a bit higher and wider track. I don't know if it was the best or right way to do it but I hope it is. Mine came with 255/70r/16's and looked okay. I'm just hoping I did the right thing ! Thanks for your post.
 
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Lanlubber

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

2,327
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
View attachment 118094

Got the O2 wiring all fixed up this morning, cleared the codes and drove it to the county clerk for registration and title. Also pictured the “free cassette tape” that came with the truck!

View attachment 118093

Hood pins are marvelous. I thought they might get annoying with sunlight glinting off them when I was installing them, but the slope of the hood there at the end means you actually can’t see them from the driver’s seat. Next stop, the local discount tire.
I like the hood pins, was there a reason you put them on ? I recently replaced my hood cable, fairly costly to do. I had considered the pins and wish I had done the same now after the time and expense of the cable.
 
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Lanlubber

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

2,327
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
I started a thread today for people needing the plastic window rollers that fix the windows on Discoveries. Look in the forum for my thread if your interested and check utube for LRD's window fix.
How do you clear the codes ? Dumbo asking .
 
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systemdelete

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

I like the hood pins, was there a reason you put them on ? I recently replaced my hood cable, fairly costly to do. I had considered the pins and wish I had done the same now after the time and expense of the cable.
I needed the cable and the release mechanism to return stock function, both those bits are unreliable and expensive for what they are IMO.

They hit on several key points for my build. Simple, cost effective, reliable.

I used the same ones that were used on the camel trophy D1s l figured if they worked for them they’d be fine for me.
 

systemdelete

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

It looks very good in your pictures.
My only goal was to get mine a bit higher and wider track. I don't know if it was the best or right way to do it but I hope it is. Mine came with 255/70r/16's and looked okay. I'm just hoping I did the right thing ! Thanks for your post.
You really need to build the vehicle to what you plan to encounter.

Land Rover sent very lightly modified D1s to all corners of several continents during the Camel Trophy events, so I borrowed their formula. I won’t be pushing mine nearly that hard, but it needs to be able to handle my trips.

Road manners matter on long highway trips make the drives much easier. And fitting in most parking garages locally makes it more viable day to day.

I try and keep drivelines and suspension components relatively close to stock. It reduces maintenance, and improves reliability in my experience.

If I change springs it will likely just be heavier duty springs of stock height with shocks valved to match.

While I’m not the biggest fan of poly bushings, they play much nicer with my plans for an undercoat annually with fluid film to prolong the frame’s life and they typically increase the maintenance interval on the radius arms and pan-hard bar.
 

Lanlubber

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

2,327
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
You really need to build the vehicle to what you plan to encounter.

Land Rover sent very lightly modified D1s to all corners of several continents during the Camel Trophy events, so I borrowed their formula. I won’t be pushing mine nearly that hard, but it needs to be able to handle my trips.

Road manners matter on long highway trips make the drives much easier. And fitting in most parking garages locally makes it more viable day to day.

I try and keep drivelines and suspension components relatively close to stock. It reduces maintenance, and improves reliability in my experience.

If I change springs it will likely just be heavier duty springs of stock height with shocks valved to match.

While I’m not the biggest fan of poly bushings, they play much nicer with my plans for an undercoat annually with fluid film to prolong the frame’s life and they typically increase the maintenance interval on the radius arms and pan-hard bar.
My goal is variable. I want it built to do anything I choose to do when the challenge is presented and within the natural limits of my rig. I know it's not a tank or amphibian !