Metal Fatigues, rusts, and falls apart with time. Even "stainless steel" eventually succumbs to oxidation. The exhaust on any vehicle gets exposed to the worst of the lot. Vibration, expansion and contraction from heat, exposure to the elements, and exposure to debris on the road. Eventually the system on my Rover failed, breaking a weld just after the muffler (thankfully, so it did not get any louder) and needed to be replaced.
Land Rovers are not known for the great economy, with full time four wheel drive, the aerodynamics of a small garden shed, heavy weight, and a largish V8 engine, they simply cannot compete with a Prius in terms of economical use. Combine all that with it's need for premium fuel, and you can see why I want to do what I can to increase how many miles I can go in a gallon.
I also had a bad catalyst and she needed new Oxygen Sensors. Before everything was replaced, I was getting a dismal 9 miles to the gallon and leaving a cloud of unburnt hydrocarbons in the form of a cloud of soot from every stop. Replacing everything from the Manifolds back with a Stainless Steel Magnaflow system did wonders. Now She is up to almost 16mpg with a slightly throatier sound.
As the Disco is used an expeditionary vehicle, a tow pig, and as my daily driver, being safe on the road and off is often a case of being able to stop quickly, controllably, and often. The stock brakes on the LandRover are a decent size, but at almost 100,000 miles, getting old and worn out. Replacement was a no brainer, only the best.
Rotors take all the heat in stopping. That is one of their primary jobs, to be a heat sink so that the pads do not get too hot to do their job. Yes, the pads do squeeze them, so they are also a friction surface, but nothing like the pads.
Slotted Rotors dissipate heat better and keep the pads clear of built up brake dust and heated gases
The Pads are the part that squeeze against the rotor and cause all that heat. They are a high friction medium that must work in rain, sleet, snow, underwater, and even in the dry. The higher the friction, the faster you stop, the faster they wear away, and the faster the rotor is reduced so worn out scrap. It's a real balancing act.
Not easily seen, the flexible lines that transport the brake fluid to the brakes have a terrible life. Not only do they have to survive with a caustic liquid inside (never drip some brake fluid on paint) but they have to deal with the movement of the suspension and all the dirt from being beneath the truck. You should replace these every 2 years due to internal rot.
The braided lines swell less, expand less under pressure, and put up with flying debris better than the stock rubber lines.
And of course nothing goes according to plan. One rotor was completely rusted to the hub. No amount of heat, banging, or pressure would remove it. I quite literally had to cut it free with an angle grinder. That's an hour of my life I will never get back.
Not all upgrades are purely functional. The Original wheel on my Disco worked perfectly fine and was not in all that bad a shape. The leather had seen better days, and the top of the rim saw the padding break free of the internal structure so you could "roll" it with your hands, but it still looked decent enough and worked fine.
The new cover was made by a firm in Poland. It is black leather with black Alcantara on the top and bottom for looks and feel. This suede like material is sun fade free and is nice to grab on a cold winter day as it does not instantly freeze your fingers like the smoother leather does. I also used this time to replace the clock spring mechanism, which brought my horn, radio controls, and cruise control back to life.
Twice now my Discovery has been lightly rear ended. The first by a mustang that destroyed the corner of the bumper and the reversing/rear fog light. The second time, in a bank parking lot when a lady backed into me as I was already backing out, destroyed that same light and misaligning the new bumper.
Replacement the first time was with a used Land Rover bumper, the second time, for not much more money, saw a welded steel expedition bumper replacing the damaged OE part. I feel sorry for the next person who rear ends my Disco.
Pardon the lack of Grill, I had it out to replace the headlights.
When I got my disco, it looked pretty good for a 10 year old truck. The paint shone, the lights were clear, and everything worked. It did not take long for the paint to get weird on the hood (it is aluminum) and the headlights to get cloudy. The kits to repolish the lights only prolonged the agony, so I found myself replacing them with a set from Europe.
While technically not legal here in the US due to clear parking light, the light out of these was an amazing upgrade. Where the old lights threw light everywhere, these lights put it all down on the road with a distinct cut off line much like the projector lamps on new cars today. They also look good being completely clear and without hazing. If you decide to get a set, remember that Discoverys are English and lights from there will be Right Hand Drive, you need to get Left Hand Drive lights from the rest of Europe. Mine came from Germany
Even with the new engine in place, along with an all new cooling system, I still had some issues and bugs to take care of. One of them was the builder of the engine never cleaned the sludge out of the cooling system from when the block was dunked and cleaned. This resulted in my brand new radiator getting clogged, my water pump getting ruined, and my having to install this, a filter for the cooling system.
To clean the system I took a five gallon bucket and put a sump pump in it, I then hooked it to the radiator hoses and "backflushed" the entire cooling system for 5 minutes. The gunk that came out turned the water in the bucket black. A cut up stocking was placed over the outflow from the engine and gobs of nasty gunk was caught. Now she runs like a top!
My Discovery was one of the last ones built with the Rover v8. The 4.6 litre engine is a decent size, makes good power and excellent torque, but is a time bomb. Due to engineering short comings, lack of money on Rover's part (they were about broke) and little care in assembly, ALL the 4.6s have short lives. Mine succumbed at 85,000 miles to a dropped liner, killing the engine in a rather dramatic display of steam out the tailpipe on a cold snowy day. It took 15 gallons of water to make it home the last 5 miles to park her till a replacement could be sourced and affixed.
The Pain did not end there. I bought a newly rebuilt engine from Atlantic British, this engine fixes all the problems the 4.6 is known for and is nearly bulletproof. It's a good engine. It was the rip off I was subjected to by the mechanic who did all the work. Book time to remove and replace the engine on my Disco is 15 hours. He charged me 40 and took THREE MONTHS to get the job done. This was not some fly by night guy either, he is a well established foreign car shop here in South Jersey.
Aside from a brand new starter and Battery not a week after I brought the Disco home, upgrading the steering was the first things I did to my Rover. The Drag Link, Tie Rods, and Tie Rod ends were all done at the same time this was installed. Aside from being physically larger, the OME stabiliser replaced the completely worn out stock one, which was probably original at 80,000 miles
I brought home my Disco over 4 years ago when I bought my SeaSprite 23. I needed a vehicle that was not a pickup for both towing and daily driving duties. The fact that I did not want an American SUV led me to either a BMW X5 or a Land Rover. I could not afford the 5er, so this lovely red Disco it was.