Time flies when you’re having fun, but also goes slowly? No, that doesn’t make sense to me either. I guess what I’m saying is my trip in 2017 wherein I bought a 2001 Land Rover Discovery II from a shady dealer in downtown Sacramento, which is not a city I live in, and then drove it on a 1800 mile overlanding trip, fell in love, and mailed it home... well it feels like a lifetime ago.
As of writing my last post, I’d just finished re-assembling the Disco following a mild top end rebuild and then took it through the Oklahoma Adventure Trail.
The intervening year, I am happy to say, has been mostly trouble free.
I did some work on the parking brake, which was promptly undone by the cable stretching, and fixed an error I’d made on the diff locks, so those are working again.
I also installed new shocks and disconnectable sway bar links.
Took a trip with Brady’s ill fated Suzuki out to the Ouchita National Forest in which I gained some appreciation for having both good tire inflators and tire deflators.
Then in December we took the plunge to drive to Big Bend National Park in Texas. It was a long, fraught drive with heavy storms on the way in and freezing fog and one very drunk driver on the way back.
Still, this trip was a next level in off-roading difficulty for the old girl, and I am happy to say she did great! With the front sway bar disconnected the front stayed planted, almost distressingly so. I’ve never heard my springs unload before and that metallic twang certainly lets you know you’re getting to your limits.
Aside from a minor butt scoot on the step on Black Gap, the Disco did a great job on the trail. I’m really proud of it.
So... all sunshine and roses then?
Well no, of course not. Compared to the first year, there is nothing of note, but if we’re listing problems well...
So the “three amigos,” what Discovery owners call the traction control, ABS, and hill descent mode lights when they’re illuminated due to a problem with the ABS system, are back. I thought I’d killed them when I did the shuttle valves back in 2017, but a failing wheel sensor means they’re once again gracing me with their presence. This time all I’ll need to pull the wheel hub to get at and replace the non-replaceable sensor.
As I mentioned earlier, I did the parking brake and it ended up being a nightmare. The parking brake is attached to the rear prop shaft on its way out of the transfer case. Removing the rear drive shaft, and working on a drum brake upside down is... unfun. Then the cable stretched, so I get the privilege of re-doing it. Also it has been broken for so long I tend to leave it on... so that is fun too...
Also while doing the parking brake I had to take out the center console... again. The plastic is starting to crumble and as a result everything is mildly broken. Even the parking brake boot sticks out because the area around it is broken. Fantastic.
Also the clear coat on the roof is officially fucked. My body shop will re-paint it for $850, so that might be a birthday present to myself.
Also the transmission is beginning to show signs of needed service again. Nothing major, but a weird shift here and there and the filter getting near the 2yr/20k service mark means it is almost time to drop the pan again.
Overall I still really like the Discovery. It drives well enough, looks cool, carries my shit, and does great off-road.
Barring any major incident, the plan for the Disco over the next 12 months is to fix the ABS, again, get it a new set of tires, and replace the running boards with rock rails. Also probably paint the roof. Otherwise, I’ll keep fixing stuff when it breaks and keep driving the wheels off it.