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  1. #1
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    Default Buying and running a Disco II (Td5)

    So I have decided to sell the Discovery II and move onto another 4x4 after 3 good years, but I thought, why not write down my experiences for future reference or for anyone else that may be considering going down a similar route.

    When buying the Landy I went through about every question that most people would:

    Petrol or diesel?

    I went for the Td5 diesel. My main reason for this as with many other people is fuel consumption. In hindsight, I only managed to get around 8.5km/l on the open road and less than 7 km/l in town. This means that the difference between the V8 and the Td5 is not as much as you would think. Many people say that they have recorded figures of 10km/l with the Td5, but with my careful driving style and keeping to between 110km/hr and 120km/hr I never managed to get more than 9. The manual should give you slightly better.
    The V8 is cheaper to repair and less can go wrong there, so think carefully about your reasons for wanting to get the Td5.
    It is a superb crawler in rocky situations though!

    Automatic or manual?
    Here I went for the auto. Primarily because the general opinion seems to be that an auto is better for off road – I agree now. I also managed to get a good deal on one and nowadays, the gap between auto and manual prices are small if not negligible. The auto box is good, but on older cars you will have to watch out for the position switch fault (M&S) lights coming on and also the fact that the oil filter in the box needs to be changed. Some people miss that.
    Checking the oil level in the gearbox and topping it up can be a pain in the butt!
    My auto was smooth and I enjoyed it. It certainly was great off road.
    I didn’t regret going for the auto for one minute.
    Manual should give better fuel consumption.

    Which year model?
    The discovery II was in production from 1999 to 2005, with a pretty major facelift in late 2002 – the headlights are the giveaway. Mine was a 2002 model, just pre facelift.
    I would say, these days try to get a 2003 – 05 model if you can afford it. There were apparently many issues sorted out after the facelift.
    The whole debacle with the centre diff lock (CDL) is much talked about and a simple search on the forum will reveal many threads. Enough to say that 99 until the facelift didn’t have CDL (although 99, 00 and early 01 models have the mechanical bits – you just need to add the lever) – confusing I know. I had the one model with nothing at all, so it cost me in the region of R7k to have it fitted. DO IT – big difference. You should be able to get away cheaper these days.
    Traction control is amazing in the rocky uneven stuff, but in sand you want to be able to switch it off and lock the centre diff.

    What different models do you get and what are the key differences?
    ES – top of the range
    Electric sunroofs
    Full leather seats
    All of what the XS and GS have.

    XS – mid range
    Cruise control – Wonderful to have.
    Self leveling Suspension (Air suspension)
    CD
    Semi leather
    Dual airbags
    Manual sunroofs

    GS – bottom of the range
    Single airbag
    Coil suspension
    Drivers airbag only

    What about a warranty?
    I went without one and this proved to be a good move, although it is totally up to you. There are plenty of posts about motorite etc. The best one I have seen is Hollard, but I have no experience with them, so do your own homework there.

    What must I check when buying?
    YOU MUST HOOK IT UP TO A DIAGNOSIS COMPUTER. Some of the independent guys will charge you a few bucks to look the whole vehicle over for you including the diagnosis – it is well worth it. Some of them might even do it for free (Typical Landy people!)
    Seriously, buying one without doing this is like doing bungee jump without watching the guy tie the rope around your ankles – not a good idea. The diagnosis will tell you what active alarms there are as well as previous alarms. You will not necessarily pick up all faults when you test drive it, but the computer will assist.

    Make sure they or you check for:
    Faults with the ABS system (3 amigos as it has come to be known).
    Brake discs and pads – expensive to replace and the disco II is heavy so it eats these up.
    If you get a model with air suspension, check if the bags have been changed or if they are leaking. These are expensive to replace. I have read that they last around 150 000km. Mine went at 130 000km.
    The Td5 suffers from a well known problem where the oil from the engine harness works it’s way into the ECU (Engine control unit). The harness needs to be replaced – check that this has been done.
    Take it for a drive on a rough surface and listen for rattles – these can drive you mad!
    Coolant hoses should be changed around every 100 000km. Don’t run these to failure, it can cost you your engine.
    Make sure you get the lock nut key for removing the wheels – silly I know, but trust me on this one – make sure you have it.
    Check all the standard stuff – accidents, full service history etc.
    Don’t necessarily blindly look for service history with the agents. There are independent people out there that knock the socks off the land rover dealers. Some of them know the Disco II inside out. There are also the not so good ones, so check the forum and see who is recommended. I made use of Landyonline.co.za and was very happy with them. Also British 4x4 did a good job for me, but they were a bit more pricy.

    Once I have it what must I do?
    FIT AN EMS system if there isn’t one already – http://www.madman.co.za/landroverkits.htm
    Fit an EGT (Exhaust gas temperature) gauge if you have a td5.
    Consider getting a nanocom if you are going to do the maintenance yourself. http://web.nanocom.it/default_i.cfm
    Get hold of a RAVE cd. It contains all the manuals for the discovery including repairs and electrical diagrams. It is freely available on the net for download, or ask one of the other guys on the forum to send you a CD in exchange for beer! - http://www.lrrforums.com/showthread.php?t=7080
    Change all the oils (Gearbox, engine, diffs) and change the coolant. I just do it for piece of mind. Also the oil filter obviously and maybe also the fuel filter and air filter.

    The Discovery II is an excellent vehicle when properly maintained and when you know its limitations. The td5 is slightly underpowered for the huge body in my opinion, so don’t get it if you want a racer. The V8 is a lovely beast – you can do a search about V8 vs Td5 on the forum – also been discussed many times.

    In sand – steep dunes, it is not going to be the first to the top and sometimes it won’t even make it to the top. I am not a great 4x4 driver, so I am sure it is capable of much more than I achieved, but if like me your are a novice, don’t expect miracles. As I learned how to drive it over the 3 years, I got better, but still not Sarel v.d. Merwe! Get the V8 if this is your primary goal.

    On rocky, uneven trails requiring slow going, the td5 is the bees knees. She crawls slowly and even borders on comfortable!

    Look after her – let her idle after long trips (or even short ones). An EGT will help you to see when the engine is cool enough so as not to damage the turbo. Don’t put your foot flat for long periods and stress her out!

    I loved mine and will be sad to let her go.

    That’s about all I can think of now. I am sure I have left plenty out, but then you get to learn something on your own! And the other more knowledgeable guys on the forum can add to this if they feel like it.


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  3. #2
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    Default

    Great write-up Craig!

    Jacques Le Roux
    Land Rover Defender 130 TD5

    Previous: '79 L/C FJ45 (P/U), '85 L/C 80 (SW), '93 Disco (I), '98 RR HSE, '01 110 (P/U)

  4. #3
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    Thanks for all the effort, This will help allot of people, wish this was available in one right up a couple of months ago :-) this is why I went for the auto V8...And also did a full major service 2 days after delivery, regardless of what the service record said...and I am smiling ever since, must say after I replaced the Idle control valve my Fuel consumption went down to 5,9 to 6.1 in town, haven’t been doing open road trips yet, but I'm curious, thought the fuel gauge was bust :-)

  5. #4
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    Superb stuff. Thanks for the info
    It will definitely come in handy as Mrs wants a D2


  6. #5
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    No problem - here comes part 2

    Servicing
    You get 3 types of people that buy a disco II.

    Firstly you get the – “I know very little about the mechanical side of things and don’t want to get my hands dirty” people. For them, I suggest that you make friends with your local independent Land Rover garage very quickly.

    Then you get the – “I know enough to change my oil and filters people”. For them, you are going to be able to do a lot on your td5. I started out only changing oil and filters, but ended up changing my own air suspension to coils (not difficult I know).

    Then you get the – “Nobody is touching my landy except me” people. This I imagine is the best way to go. You get to know your vehicle inside out and you will be a lot more confident in using it in the long run.

    For the second and third category of people, the forum is a wealth of information and often points you in the right direction. I cannot tell you how much money I have been saved by people on this forum and others. This forum- http://forum.landrovernet.com/forumdisplay.php?f=70 – is also brilliant and these guys know their stuff! It is in the UK.

    For the first category of people, the forums will help you to not get ripped off.

    Oil changes cost around R800 if you do it yourself. I am not sure what the LR agents charge. The benefit of doing oil changes yourself is that you can do it more often. The service intervals on the Td5 are 20 000km, which in my opinion is way too long. I was changing oil every 7500 to 10 000km.

    I get my spares from Cross Country Spares in JHB – Robbie (011 907 4073) – brilliant service and good prices.

    Driving
    The Td5 has turbo lag. Wait, let me rephrase that. The td5 has TURBO LAG! If you are going to the td5 from a small petrol car of anything with decent acceleration, be careful when you cross your first street with the Td5. Don’t take a gap!

    Most guys that have gone for ECU remap say it improves the lag – I never went this route, so I cannot comment. In the long run, you do get used to it and change your driving style accordingly.

    On the open road, the td5 is just fine. Cruises very well and the cruise control works well too.

    Oh yes, just a note here. If and when you change the windscreen on your td5 make sure it is done by someone that has done a disco II before. I had my windscreen changed 3 times before they fitted it properly! The wind noise can drive you insane.

    On dirt roads, the disco II is amazingly stable. Don’t go rally driving now, but with the permanent 4 wheel drive and CDL locked, she does sit tight.

    On a corrugated dirt road, she rattles like a 1969 series II land rover! Get used to it.

    The discovery tows very well. I did almost all my long distance driving with a full Venter trailer behind me (luggage, not 4x4 trailer) and you don’t even know it is there.

    General
    The paint work is well done, no complaints there. After 7 years, she still looks very good.
    The black bits over the wheel arches as well as the bumpers and steps at the doors fade quite badly. Nothing that a bit of tyre polish can’t sort out though.
    On the build quality, the only real complaints I have are on the door rubber seals. They are flimsy and let in small amounts of dust. Just enough to create the odd squeak here and there.

    The rear door squeaks. The heavy spare wheel on mounted on the door probably doesn’t help this situation at all. The rear door is the source of most dust sucked into the cab. I suppose you could try to replace this rubber or upgrade or something along those lines.

    The mechanisms that lock the rear seats down on mine are rubbish. The whole design is poor in my opinion. I imagine that most people just remove the seats, as only small kids and vertically challenged people can make use of them.

    My sunroofs have not leaked at all, something which I have heard happens to other guys.

    The seats are good quality and have stood up to a good beating in the 3 years I have used her. The kids have also done their fair share in testing them!

    The bumper fog lights on mine are both out. They were full of water when I bought her – must have missed that. I just removed them - they are really only there to look good. They offer little in the way of extra light. Some guys to a bumper cut-a-way which I think looks great – this also removes the fog lights.

    I fitted the xenon globes to the headlights – a cheap and well worth it upgrade.

    Extras
    The list of extras available for the disco II is mind boggling. Also your bank balance is in danger as soon as you start kitting her out!

    The only thing that I added was a full length roof rack from front runner. A good sturdy product. I picked mine up for R4000 on the forum, so keep your eyes open for good deals.

    I would have loved to have upgraded the suspension to Iron man or similar as the back of the heavy disco feels ‘soggy’ – even with the sir suspension and after I fitted brand new shocks. If you are converting from the air suspension to coils, I would say don’t even consider going to OEM coils and shocks. The price difference is minimal and I would imagine the benefit is big. Removing the air suspension also gives piece of mind on longer trips into the wilderness!

    The disco has a 12v plug in the rear as standard – nice feature for fridges or kids DVD players!

    I have lovely LR spot lights on the Landy – a must have if you live in the SA and do any night time driving. They were fitted when I bought her, so I have no idea what the cost is, but they are very good.

    The fuel tank is huge at 95 litres, so a long range fuel tank is not necessary unless you plan to go long distances or rough terrain without fuel stops.

    Snorkel – nice to have.

    Drawer system – some of the guys on the forum have made their own. I saw Chris’ (Camelman) and it is a lovely solution and probably something anyone with decent DIY skills can attempt at home. Ask them to share their plans with you – I am sure they will be more than happy to.

  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Craigb For This Useful Post:


  8. #6
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    Thanks!! Very informative, since you know I am in the market for one.

  9. #7
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    Excellent write-up, Craig! If you keep any spares or accessories, I might be interested. Will drop in when I go to Kathu again, probably early October.
    camelman
    '04 Discovery II Td5 GS (using 2SO)
    '95 Discovery I V8i Auto (Now sadly sold, with fond memories)
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift, that's why its called "present".

  10. #8
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    Nice acurate write up Craig. I recall that you had most of the issues that plague the D2. I don't see anything though about the rear door lock failing to open. And the central locking actuators that stop working. Maybe you were just lucky. I've had this issue on all my D2's. Oh and then there is also the front drive shaft that you had replaced at British 4x4 at about R3k?
    No longer active

  11. #9
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    100% - I had the front prop shaft replaced at British 4x4 for that cost.

    My rear door lock is still fine, just the right rear passenger door that won't open with the central locking. That is going to be fixed next week, so I will feedback on the costs and solution. As far as I can see on the forums it is a spring that needs to be replaced.

    I did remove the lock and inspect but didn't see the problem.

  12. #10
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    nice write up!

    i must say that I have not heard one rattle in my Disco 2, not ever (my wife's merc rattles more on the highway, really!), not even on the worst roads you can imagine. No rattles either before or after the OME suspension upgrade.
    Toyota Prado 4.0l Petrol
    OME Suspension
    B'rakhah Ingonyama Offroad Camper

    Previously2002 Disco TD5

  13. #11
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    My D2 doesn't rattle either, in spite of long distances on BAD roads. Having all the door locks working too is a wonderful experience after my Disco 1, which had endless problems with door locks.
    camelman
    '04 Discovery II Td5 GS (using 2SO)
    '95 Discovery I V8i Auto (Now sadly sold, with fond memories)
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift, that's why its called "present".

  14. #12
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    Hi guys,

    Maybe a suggestion - when you post a reply with info, please post your year model (facelift or not) and also how many km you have. It might help prospective owners even more.

  15. #13
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    I Have A 2002 Pre Facelift Discovery TD5 Manual With Over 222000Km Did 80000Km Of That Since June Last Year, First Big Break Was The Front Diff Pin (Dont Exactly What The Name) Broke. Second The People Who Replaced The Diff (Very Well Known Company) Swithced My Propshaft So I Had To Replace That(Lesson Learned Please Make Sure You Know Your Vehicle And In What State Certain Componants Is, You Will Get Ripped Of). Third Break Was The Fuel Return Hose Chaffed Through Above The Crossbeam In Front Of The Fuel Tank(A Real Pain To Get To). Fourth Was The Fuel Pressure Regulator That Started Leaking(Not Noticable Untill You Go And Do Inspection). The Front Prop Went For The Second Time Because The First Universals The The Propshaft Place That Fixed The First Prop Used Cheap Universals. In All Of That I Drive My Car Very Hard And I Travel Alot Do Alot of Offroading. And Use It To Drive From Centurion To Germiston Everyday. So In 80000Km I'm Very Impressed Taking The Car Has Already Done Over 200000KM.
    Regards

  16. #14
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    Well done!!
    I had a 2001 pre facelift Td5 XS auto.
    I must say it did rattle, or shall I say the dash hopped, when driving on dirt roads but got used to it very quickly. A little rubber thingie at the rear door lock, was squeeking badly and I never got it right. Gets quite irritating after a while. My rear door lock, central locking and air suspension never failed me at all. I drove the bags till 160 000 km + without a problem, only the button broke.
    Be sure to check the condition of your ignition lock. Mine completely locked up with both keys leaving us stranded. As Craig said, the extra seats are no good. The backrests didn't move at all in mine... I then broke it completely...
    Otherwise; what a wonderful car!!!

    P.S I got about 10.2 km/l overall average
    2006 Disco 3 V8 HSE
    2005 BMW 320i

  17. #15
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    Mine is a 2004 facelift Td5 GS. I've done just over 30,000km in it, mostly offroad and overlanding stuff, and it now has 122,000km.

    Serviced every 10,000km, with the following replaced/fixed:
    - Driver door window actuater replaced 3 times (under warranty)
    - 1xInjector replaced under warranty
    - Fanbelt tensioner and belt replaced at last service
    - OME shocks8) fitted, very expensive for the D2. Only the offroad stuff avaiable for the D2, the other makes don't make it anymore.

    The car gives me excellent service and fuel consumption loaded with roofrack and RTT is 9-10km/l.

    There is a lot of knowledge now surfacing about Td5's, which is more comforting than a few years ago.
    camelman
    '04 Discovery II Td5 GS (using 2SO)
    '95 Discovery I V8i Auto (Now sadly sold, with fond memories)
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift, that's why its called "present".

  18. #16
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    I have a late 2003 model, facelift V8 GS auto

    I have only done 5000km's but in less than 2 months - total mileage is 75000km

    Only minor issues thus far (most fixed with duct tape which should be in any landy anyway):
    - Driver window actuater replaced
    - Refitted the windscreen which came loose on a trip to Lesotho
    - and have the electronic fault on the gearbox that is reset by restarting

    But evertime I leave home for work in Jhb it feels like I am going on holiday

  19. #17
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    Thanks for the writeup..... it makes me feel more positive about my dream to own a Landy.

  20. #18
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    I have a 2002 TD5 (facelift), manual, GS, which i have owned since new, 155,000km to date:

    - front propshaft (R4k for recon one)
    - clutch and flywheel (R13k for both, new flywheel cost R6,5k!)
    - downpipe exhaust (R1k, 2nd hand)
    - brake disks (front and rear R3,5k)
    - window mechanism/motor (warranty, fix self)
    - fix oil seals (R2,5k)
    - rubber coupling at back of propshaft (R500)
    - new suspension at 130,000km (R4k, got a slightly used OME suspension)

    Most of the above repairs where after the car was 5 years old! Amazing I think.

    never had a breakdown except when electronics got wet and I had to wait for it to dry; I have since learned where and how to dry it should it happen again
    Last edited by eduard4455; 2009/08/29 at 08:48 AM. Reason: forgot
    Toyota Prado 4.0l Petrol
    OME Suspension
    B'rakhah Ingonyama Offroad Camper

    Previously2002 Disco TD5

  21. #19
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    I have a 2004 Disco TD5 XS, Auto which I purchased November 2008 with exactly 100k km on the odo. I had the vehicle inspected by Landyonline as a condition of sale. I've since put another 10k km on it and every one of them have been fantastic.

    Fuel consumtion. Worst case 13.5l/100km (Urban). Best case 10.4l/100km Extra urban but towing a trailer full of dive gear.

    I currently only have two issues with it:

    1. The air suspension lets itself down if the underneath of the car gets wet or I drop something heavy in the back. This only happens sometimes. I can't find any leaks. It also stays inflated for weeks at a time while standing in the driveway between drives.

    2. It has developed quite a serious oil leak. Can quite work out where it's coming from. Somewhere close to the oil filter from what I can see. Will get that sorted out when it goes for its lube service next month. Hope it's not too serious.

    I'm really loving this car. My first 4x4. A lot of thought went into it.

    Nice write up Craig.

  22. #20
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    Default Disco II V8 ES

    I have a 2004 facelifted ES V8. i got it with 70 000km's and have taken it to 130 000km's. In the year and a half I have owned it.

    My wife has the joy of using it daily. Mainly as we can duck the traffic through the bush on the school run. This turns a 90 min round trip into a 10 minute round trip. I get the weekends.( feel like a divorced parent here)

    I have cut out the cats. They were clogged and seriously affected the performance and fuel consumption. I think the person who had the car before me ran out of fuel a few times. It also reduces the fire hazard.

    I have changed the air springs for Ironman coils. They transformed the ride. I now want to do Ironman all round including the shocks.

    I have one irratating squeak from the left of the dashboard. It sounds like a loose screw. Oneday I'll udo that side and look for it.

    I have a front runner roofrack. And I have changed the rims to 16". I now have cheaper and better off-road BF Goodrich All terrains with a 245/70 profile. Anothr great move that has greatly improved the ability and comfort of the vehicle.

    The guy who looks after my Landy has recommended a prop shaft upgrade on the front prop shaft. He has shown me that the oridinals don't have grease nipples fitted. By adding these you can avoid the problem. He has recommeded that you don't wait for the prop shaft to fail as this generally is catastrophic requiring a replacement.

    I use Rob from REM Landy for my Land Rover. When i lived in Cape Town it was LRO. Both have the equipment and the knowledge and offer good suport. I find Rob is more personal in his approach and happy to share his years of experience.

    lastly the car is called Alex because it has a fine roar.

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