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Sunday 30 September 2018

Making the D4 ours

This was the first weekend owning Baby, our Discovery 4, that I've had a chance to start making it my own.

I cut the load area mat so that the securing eyes and seat belts could protrude through.

I fitted foam in the rear load area side storage bins so that my tools don't rattle against the outer skin. This was prompted because I have replaced the scissor jack with a bottle jack and it fits better in the larger passenger side bin rather than the drivers side.

I have replaced the locking wheel nuts. According to various Discovery 3 and 4 forums, the locking wheel nuts corrode and get thoroughly stuck on the wheels. This prompted me to look at mine and sure enough the originals were very rusty.

As I have done with all of our Land Rover Discoveries, I spent a lot of time measuring and working out how I could attach heavy duty recovery points for off-roading.

I have read that many people are comfortable using the tow bar at the back and the built-in front tow point for off-road recovery. They are not designed for that and I am not confident they are strong enough for some of the things, I have seen, that were necessary to get a car unstuck.

As usual with Land Rovers, there are a few suitable holes in the rear of the chassis. The best being those used for the tow bar mounting arms.

Discovery 4 (2011) rear chassis

Defender (1998) jate ring with shackles attached

The Discovery 4 chassis is nearly 100mm wide but the standard jate ring used for a Defender chassis is only about 85mm [measurement to be confirmed].

For the rear, I therefore designed a suitable 'U' type jate ring and the necessary fixings based on how the tow bars fit.

The front is more difficult. I took the front plastic trim off the bumper to reveal the towing eye. It's stronger than most but still not sufficient, in my opinion, for the sort of recovery I am expecting to need. I'd prefer a two point mounting to attach a bridle.

It took a while before I spotted the possibility at the front but have now managed to find suitable fixing points under the suspension arms.

The recovery eyes will be a little further under the car than I would have liked but they were the best I could find. As long as the bridle is attached before it's needed there should be no problem with this location.

Failing that there are other options on the same bar as the factory fitted eye but I was not so keen on that location.

The next job was to spray the inside of the chassis with Dinitrol cavity wax. I've done this on several cars now in the hope it prolongs the life of the car. It's fairly easy with a Schutz underseal gun on a compressor. Using a long flexible nozzle allowed me to get inside the chassis using existing holes at various points along the chassis. There were enough large holes to get everywhere.

At some point the outside of the chassis needs tidying up. I think I would prefer to paint it, similar to the original treatment, rather than a messy underseal that is difficult to clean and hides all sorts of sins. That's a job for another day or perhaps for someone else.

Discovery 4 (2011) tyre pressures

The last job of the first day, before it got dark, was to check all the tyre pressures.

Day two I modified the bottle jack to have a locating pin to fit in to the chassis or suspension arm receiving hole.

The original scissor jack comes with a 12mm diameter pin attached to the lifting plate.

I used an M6 bolt and some washers and tapped the end of the bottle jack to fit this in to.

There's a reason I don't cut threads myself very often. I'm not very good at getting them started. I must buy or make a jig to help with this and probably some better quality taps. In the mean time I used my drill press to get the thread started. It worked quite well but I could have done with three or four arms at one point!

I can probably improve the jack by adding a larger top plate but what I've done should be more than adequate to change a wheel at the side of the road in the unlikely event that the AA are too busy :-)

Last job was to make up a spare bulb kit. I don't like the off the shelf sets. There's no telling what quality the individual lamps are. I prefer to know what I'm getting and make up my own box.


Saturday 29 September 2018

Canon DSLR hot-shoe cover

I attempted to make a cover for the hot-shoe of my Canon camera. I'm not sure there's a good reason for having a cover on the flash hot-shoe. I've had cameras for years without any form of cover and they always work when I attach a flash.

There's just something about the exposed contacts, getting dirty, that makes me want to cover them.
Perhaps they just look tidier.

I have modified a cover so that it does not stop the built in flash working, however, I've been using it for less than a week and unfortunately I keep knocking it out. Being held on only one side, the slightest brush past is enough to dislodge it.

I'm going to put this down as a fail and leave this note to help other who may have the same idea.

Small plastic covers are available in multi-packs on e-bay for next to nothing. The trouble is that my Canon 750D has a micro-switch that stops the internal flash popping up, if something is in the hot-shoe slot.

The micro-switch is only on one side so my simple solution was to remove enough of the plastic on that side to prevent the switch being depressed.

Sadly it is not secure enough, so this idea has been abandoned.


Thursday 20 September 2018

Fusion 360 nuts and bolts

I have noticed a few posts recently on Facebook about drawing threads for nuts and bolts and the like. The easiest or best methods, to use for nuts and bolts and other threaded fixings, are not obvious from just looking at the Fusion 360 menus.

Creating threads is possible to do using the options in Fusion 360 but the method needs a little guidance and most people initially end up with cosmetic only threads rather than fully constructed models.

If you want to know how to create modelled threads from the 'Create' 'Thread...' option I suggest you read the tutorial I have linked to here:

There is also an add-in thread creation tool but, even more so than the above option, you need to know all the thread characteristics. Neither result is ideal and there is, in my opinion, a much better solution, that is very quick.

Off-the-shelf, Nuts, Bolts and Fixings

The following is useful if you want to include standard fixings, or slight variations of such, in to your designs. In my case, I usually want a commonly available bolt, such as recently an M6 bolt or a 1/4"-20 threaded screw. The simplest and probably the best way to do that is to take advantage of the McMaster-Carr parts catalogue included within Fusion 360.

It is on the 'Insert' menu, select 'Insert McMaster-Carr Component...'

Within the catalogue pop-up, navigate to the exact part you want and open up the individual 'Product Detail' page. On nearly all the parts pages there is a section showing the design drawing for the component along with a file type drop down and a 'Save' button.

Select the file type of 'STEP' and press save.
That will import the model in to your Fusion 360 design, as a fully modelled component.

Those I have used, so far, have all been beautifully detailed and precise models. Not only that but you know the component is available in the real world.

If I want something not in the catalogue I usually start with something close, say threaded bar, and then combine my requirements with that starting point.

I have found this works very well.


I have compiled a short list of where else to look for components, especially larger parts, such as motors and linear rails.


Wednesday 19 September 2018

Land Rover Misfuel reset tool

Land Rover have included a flap in to the fuel filler pipe of many of their models to reduce the chance of accidentally putting the wrong fuel in the car.

It is activated by the wrong size nozzle from a fuel pump or sometimes from the spout of a fuel can.

The first time I filled up 'Baby', our 2011 Discovery 4, I could see the yellow flap in the pipe and it was very slow going getting any Diesel in.

I now know that is the misfuel device having been activated at some previous time.

Having looked it up in the manual, there should have been a reset tool somewhere in the car. I've looked and I cannot find it.

They are fairly low cost and I've ordered a replacement from ebay. However, looking at the photographs, I thought I could easily make one.

10 minutes in the shed, with all measurements by eye, and I have a tool that just about worked first time. 2 minutes minor adjustment and the tool works perfectly. It does not have the stop to help align the prongs but knowing what I was looking for it was easy to align by sight.

My original version is made from 1.2mm mild steel, cut to 25mm wide, about 250mm long, bent in a 'U' shape at one end with two upward facing prongs about 10mm apart just short of that end.

Having made this, I think there are plenty of other ways this could be done. It could be as simple as  15mm copper water pipe with an end crushed flat and the prongs cut to size and bent up from that. I would need to be careful not to drop that in the tank though. The version made from flat steel and then bent, is my preference.



The disadvantage of the one I have made is that the tool could, just about, be accidentally dropped down the filler tube in to the tank.

If I was making it again, I would make it a few millimetres wider so it would not be able to be dropped through the fuel spout at any angle.

Diesel fuel nozzles have a diameter of 23.8mm (unverified) and the tube in the Discovery 4 tank is about 25mm diameter. The tool needs to be wider than that to avoid it being able to be dropped in to the tank but must be less than 40mm which is the width of the outer tube thread size.

Updated design

Having now received the plastic version, I would suggest using a width of 32mm for the steel strip before bending.


Tuesday 18 September 2018

New car

Our newer car arrived yesterday. A Land Rover Discovery 4. This replaces Junior so has been given the name Baby.

It's very big. It's an automatic. All things I will need to get used to.

It's got so many buttons inside that I am having to read the manual to find out what some of them do!


Useful links when buying a car:
Is it taxed?
MOT history
Is it insured?