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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.