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Chassis and suspension refurb whilst replacing engine
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waterbuoy
 


Member Since: 26 Oct 2013
Location: Argyll
Posts: 2015

United Kingdom 2009 Discovery 3 TDV6 SE Auto Stornoway GreyDiscovery 3
Chassis and suspension refurb whilst replacing engine

Evening folks

Firstly, a warning. This post is very picture heavy (almost 50 images), and I'm not sure how quickly it will load as I don't know how to reduce the resolution of the images!

Backstory
We live on the coast in western Scotland. For the six 'middle' months of the year (you can't really call it summer) I work in and around our home on marine based businesses, lugging boats of varying sizes, dive gear etc from place to place. During the winter months I revert to my profession and we install and maintain cableways across rivers throughout the UK. These cableways are used to measure river flow, and are usually located in particularly wet and boggy fields. A couple of shots of a recent installation give you an idea of what the D3 gets up to:






Suffice to say the car works hard. I have weighed it a couple of times in the past year, both times at over 4 tonnes (plus trailer and steelwork etc), and typically cover 30-40k a year, mostly in the winter months. The car is very much a working tool, and has been kept fully maintained by LR main dealers throughout all of its life - at least until about four weeks ago when the crankshaft snapped whilst driving back north on the M74 (at speed).

This failure happened about 65k earlier than we had hoped for. We have already brought the vehicle's successor, a 62 D4 HSE, which my wife uses as her car. The intention was for her to use the D4 until the D3 reached 250k or so miles, then I would use the D4 and we would buy a replacement late D4 for SWMBO. However, at the time the engine failed there was still too much value in the vehicle for me to condemn it to a life of hard labour!

After a series of relatively quick and brief 'phone calls whilst sat on the hard shoulder the decision was taken to have the car recovered to Disco_Mikey's workshop in Dundee so he coule take a look at the car. This was eventually arranged with the RAC ( Rolling Eyes ) and the following day I travelled from west to east to discuss options with Mike.

I made what would, to most people, perhaps seem to be a surprising decision to replace the engine with a replacement supplied by JLR. My thinking was as follows:

1 Whilst the car had covered 180k miles, this was equivalent to just over 10p per mile in capital cost during the time that I had owned the vehicle (since about 30k). All the guys who work with me have said that it owes me nothing, so from a financial perspective I was starting with a clean sheet.
2 The vehicle has been very well maintained, ie I knew what I was putting my money into. The same could not be said for spending £8-10k on a second hand replacement vehicle.
3 The replacement (refurbished) engine supplied by JLR would cost around £4k plus fitting, and would come with an unlimited mileage 2-year warranty. Even if the car dies at the end of the 2 year period, that is still just 10p per mile in capital cost - much cheaper than buying a new car!
4 For the past 2 years I have had no warranty on the vehicle and yet my only costs have been routine servicing and brake pads/disks etc. About 12 months ago I had DM replace all the calipers and discs, but this was a precaution rather than a necessity. Mentally, I had stowed the £2k that the warranty would have cost me ready for a big bill.

Mike and I therefore decided that he would take a look at the car the following week (when we were to be away on holiday) and then report back as to what his thoughts were. It transpired that all he could find wrong with the car (initially) was a split CV gaiter, front pads, and a slightly soft rear upper bush. We therefore asked Mike to order up the new engine ready for my return from holiday in about ten days time.

Strip down
The new engine arrived earlier than anticipated (ie before we got back) so Mike started the job by moving the vehicle into the workshop and separating the body from the chassis.

Click image to enlarge
Old engine still within the engine bay but with electrics and plumbing disconnected, and battery boxes etc removed.


Click image to enlarge
Body trim removed ready for the separation.


Click image to enlarge
Body off the chassis, with old engine still in place.


We returned from holiday around this time and were able to have a chat with Mike. Apart from a pretty knac**red air reservoir he had found nothing else wrong with the car, and advised that apart from some minor rust the chassis and body were surprisingly good for a vehicle of this mileage.

This came as a very pleasant surprise. Traditionally, I used to get through Defender rear cross members in about three years, and was often accused of using my cars to launch submarines. Mike assured me that it was worth putting some time into, so I started researching chassis protection systems etc. It became apparent that whilst Buzzweld might be the 'best' system available, Dinitrol was perhaps more user friendly and, more importantly, could be obtained more quickly. The decision was therefore taken to go with Dinitrol, and for me to do the work myself.

Decisions, decisions....
I arrived in Dundee late on the Monday to be met with this:


By now Mike had removed the original engine, which was in the wooden crate (rhs of image) awaiting uplift by JLR. He had started to transfer the ancilliaries onto the new engine, now hidden under the cardboard protection. We took a look around the car, with Mike proudly showing me the old air reservoir which had completely rotted through the forward mounting bracket:



Apart from this all seemed to be good, certainly much better than I had hoped for.

A detailed and frank discussion then followed about what could be usefully done by Mike whilst the body was off, the focus being on what would bring the maximum benefit in terms of time spent now vs with the body on. I also had a finite budget that we had to work within! We agreed on the following (all precautionary):

1 Replace all the upper wish bones (the rears had been replaced once, but the front were original. All the lowers had been replaced at least twice)
2 Replace all the struts/air bags (they were all original)
3 Replace the rear brake pipes. These had previously been patched by the LR main dealer, but were already looking poor.
4 Replace the flexi pipes at the front of the car.
5 All fluids to be changed, ie gearbox, diffs, etc.

We sorted out a schedule to ensure we could both work around each other, and also to ensure that Mike could keep working on other cars too. Work began in earnest the following morning.

Chassis and bodywork
The front of the vehicle seemed to be in pretty good nick to be honest, with localised rust visible around the welds on the suspension turrets and chassis rails:

N/S/F suspension turret

O/S/F suspension turret

Chassis rails
 Currently 2009 Disco 3 SE and 2013 MY D4 HSE
Previously:
TD5 Defender 110 CSW (230k miles)
300TDi Disco 1 (289k)
4 RR Classics (300-350k each, 2 manual, 2 auto)
110 V8 CSW (220k)
S3 109 hi cap pickup (ex RN)
S2A 88 Safari SW with lpg conversion (bloody lethal) 


Last edited by waterbuoy on 4th Nov 2017 10:15 am. Edited 2 times in total 
Post #18754063rd Nov 2017 8:12 pm
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waterbuoy
 


Member Since: 26 Oct 2013
Location: Argyll
Posts: 2015

United Kingdom 2009 Discovery 3 TDV6 SE Auto Stornoway GreyDiscovery 3

Sorry -pressed 'submit' rather than 'preview' Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes - more to follow but please be patient! Razz
 Currently 2009 Disco 3 SE and 2013 MY D4 HSE
Previously:
TD5 Defender 110 CSW (230k miles)
300TDi Disco 1 (289k)
4 RR Classics (300-350k each, 2 manual, 2 auto)
110 V8 CSW (220k)
S3 109 hi cap pickup (ex RN)
S2A 88 Safari SW with lpg conversion (bloody lethal) 
 
Post #18754073rd Nov 2017 8:14 pm
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MarkOne
 


Member Since: 23 Jul 2011
Location: County Antrim
Posts: 3264

Scotland 2014 Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 HSE Lux Auto Corris GreyDiscovery 4

Following this Thumbs Up
  
Post #18754083rd Nov 2017 8:19 pm
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ClassikFan
 


Member Since: 02 Nov 2016
Location: Surrey
Posts: 480

United Kingdom 2008 Discovery 3 TDV6 SE Auto Stornoway GreyDiscovery 3

great post, looking forward to part 2.
  
Post #18754133rd Nov 2017 8:30 pm
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df_tom
 


Member Since: 09 Mar 2017
Location: Stuttgart
Posts: 72

Germany 2007 Discovery 3 TDV6 S Auto Zermatt SilverDiscovery 3

Awesome! One has got to love your reasoning for doing this.

More often than not, people go for a new car / phone /thingamajic, although the old one is just fine or even better after being subject to some good old tlc.

Good on you to getting this job done.

Make sure you get the chassis and also all the hollows in the body protected/conserved proper, and you'll have a lot of life still in't truck.

Consider fitting new seat cushions. A little readjstment to the backside accelerometer unit won't hurt too much in the budget, but will go miles for your back. It's your workplace, after all. You spend more time in that seat than with your swmbo.
  
Post #18754153rd Nov 2017 8:34 pm
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waterbuoy
 


Member Since: 26 Oct 2013
Location: Argyll
Posts: 2015

United Kingdom 2009 Discovery 3 TDV6 SE Auto Stornoway GreyDiscovery 3

Right, on with the story......

Whilst the front of the vehicle/chassis did not look too bad, the same could not be said for the rear end (isn't that the case of some people too!):



In particular, there appeared to be significant rust immediately behind the rearmost exhaust mounts (on both chassis rails- in fact rust patterns were pretty symmetrical along the whole length of the chassis):



There was also rust where many of the chassis brackets and cross members were welded to the main chassis:



But not all was bad - central sections were filthy but sound:




The decision was therefore taken to treat the whole chassis, or at least the top and sides. Time constraints meant that we couldn't be moving the chassis up and down whilst Mike was working on the car so I decided not to do the lower face - I can do that myself later.

The whole chassis was brushed down to remove the thick crud of mud (about 30kg came off just the rear end) before cleaning with soapy water, taking back to sound material with wire brushes/sanders/flappy discs etc, then cleaning again before a final wipe down with thinners:



The chassis was then treated with the Dinitrol RC900 rust converter to (hopefully) prevent the rust reappearing. I was sceptival about this stuff but found that if it was/is applied in a series of thin spray coats then it is very impressive:











Once this had dried (24 hrs required - thanks Mike for your patience!) the chassis was painted with the Dinitrol 4941 chassis protector (a bitumin based product). I applied this by brush. It is very thick, reassuringly so, and sticks like sh*t to a blanket. To make it workable I poured about 2" into a paint kettle that was itself sitting in another paint kettle which had its base filled with warm water. (before decanting I also stood the cans in very hot water for as long as possible).






The previously mentioned 'significant' rust adjacent to the rearmost exhause brackets came good and looked so much better than before:



At this stage Mike was able to recommence the mechanical side of things whilst I literally worked at a higher level sorting out the body which was balanced above our heads.

The front and central sections of the body were in really good condition, with very minor rust visible inside the sill rails:







Sadly the same could not be said for the rear end which, on first appearances, appeared to be poor:



However, another (very) late night with the grinder etc and it came good. Most of the rust was very light and superficial, although the welds were beginning to show deeper rust in places. The rearmost body sections were therefore treated with the RC900 and 9491, after which things looked much better:





Apologies again. SWMBO is out for the evening so I have to do bath, bed and story for our wee man whilst the rest of the pictures (hopefully) upload. Back later....
 Currently 2009 Disco 3 SE and 2013 MY D4 HSE
Previously:
TD5 Defender 110 CSW (230k miles)
300TDi Disco 1 (289k)
4 RR Classics (300-350k each, 2 manual, 2 auto)
110 V8 CSW (220k)
S3 109 hi cap pickup (ex RN)
S2A 88 Safari SW with lpg conversion (bloody lethal) 


Last edited by waterbuoy on 3rd Nov 2017 10:30 pm. Edited 1 time in total 
Post #18754173rd Nov 2017 8:40 pm
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Ray Clayton
 


Member Since: 15 Aug 2014
Location: Ilkeston. Derbyshire
Posts: 164

England 2008 Discovery 3 TDV6 SE Auto Buckingham BlueDiscovery 3

Great post.
Looking forward to more.

Thumbs Up
 Regards
Ray
____________________________________________________
2008 Discovery 3 SE
7 Seater
Buckingham Blue 
 
Post #18754183rd Nov 2017 8:40 pm
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Iguana
Cuckoo 


Member Since: 14 Oct 2013
Location: Rainy Weston-Super-Mud
Posts: 7098

Wales 2015 Discovery 4 TDV6 HSE Lux Auto Santorini BlackDiscovery 4

Cracking post, nice pause also, I can now get another glass of red Thumbs Up
 Ieuan

- 2015 HSE Lux - Added Prospeed Rock Sliders
- BT IID TOOL
- Ausie Camping Trailer
- Gone but not forgotten: MY08 Disco 3 SE manual in Buck Blue 
 
Post #18754193rd Nov 2017 8:55 pm
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sputnixb51
 


Member Since: 23 Apr 2013
Location: Morayshire
Posts: 686

Scotland 2006 Discovery 3 TDV6 SE Auto Zermatt SilverDiscovery 3

Really interesting thank you and Disco Mikey for this thread. Good luck with the rest and the new engine on into the future.
  
Post #18754203rd Nov 2017 9:00 pm
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kajtzu
 


Member Since: 10 Aug 2017
Location: Helsinki
Posts: 243

Finland 2005 Discovery 3 4.4 V8 HSE Auto Cairns BlueDiscovery 3

Excellent writeup! Bow down
  
Post #18754243rd Nov 2017 9:10 pm
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waterbuoy
 


Member Since: 26 Oct 2013
Location: Argyll
Posts: 2015

United Kingdom 2009 Discovery 3 TDV6 SE Auto Stornoway GreyDiscovery 3

Right, where was I?

Mechanicals
OK, by early Thursday I had finished on the chassis and body, but Mike was still plugging on with the mechanicals. All the parts which Mike does not carry in stock had arrived overnight, and there were lots of boxes of shiny parts cluttering up his workshop. He set too and, in less than a couple of hours, had replaced all four upper wishbones and the four struts Shocked Shocked The only change I made to OE spec was to replace the rear uppers with new LR ones from a Disco Sport. Mike recommended these due to teh loads that I carry most of the time.

Watching him at work made me (a) realise just how clumsy I am, and (b) made me feel sorry for the peeps who have spent weekends on their backs trying to do this on their driveway. Certainly the best two hours time I have paid someone for (well, nearly Whistle Whistle )! I think that Mike was also surprised at how well it went, commenting that the main dealers had used copper grease in the right places on the rear upper arms etc.



Rear axles (note rubber glove over fuel tank filler to prevent crud from getting in)




O/S/F


N/S/F

Air reservoir was replaced (I managed some of this myself, and had treated it with the Dinitrol the previous day Very Happy Very Happy )

Old and new

By now Mike had stripped the old engine of all the required parts and it was packed away inside the packing crate:





The new (refurbished) engine from LR:

Click image to enlarge



'We' then offered the engine up to the chassis, trying our hardest NOT to scratch the new paintwork, and bolted it down to the engine mounts. I was surprised at just how tight a fit it was between the chassis rails and suspension turrets, but Mike assured me this was nothing compared to when the body would be lowered!







Once the engine was in position Mike then disappeared for what looked like a rest, although in reality he was attaching the engine to the gearbox. (Thankfully, when the crankshaft and the engine locked up I felt it going through the throttle and knocked the gearbox into neutral PDQ). Mike was also able to confirm that the original crankshaft had definitely snapped as, when disconnecting the original engine from the gearbox, he noticed that whilst he could turn the front of the crankshaft nothing happened at the rear of the engine when he did this!




Once he had his 'rest' Mike then set about replacing the rear brake pipes, running new pipes through from the engine bay to the rear wheels in what seemed like a matter of minutes.



Finally, we were ready to put it all together again:





At this point I became even more of a 'guiding idiot', standing back as Mike was clearly in the case. (In my humble defence I did notice that the lift was not lowering horizontally and, after finding the instruction manual buried in the back of the workshop, was able to adjust the cables to level things up (sort of) whilst Mike worked at the car.)





With a bit of work using a sizeable pinch bar Mike managed to line up the ten mounting bushes with the holes in the bodywork and reattached the chassis to the body. This literally took a matter of minutes with the impact driver, and made me realise that our cars are not really that far from a Defender after all.





Click image to enlarge



The final result of our labours:



Mike then lowered the car and connected up the key electrical and plumbing elements so that he could turn over the engine before I headed back to Argyll. Key in ignition and, guess what?....
Flat Battery Rolling with laughter

Well, not quite, but certainly less than healthy (thanks Mr RAC Rolling Eyes ). The engine turned over very slowly before springing into life with a resounding and reassuring familiarity. Suffice to say we were both rather Very Happy Very Happy at that point in time. Even better: despite the major surgery that had been carried out, only one warning light was showing (engine management because one of the sensors had not yet been connected up).

One issue that is worth mentioning for others who might decide to install a JLR supplied engine is that the engine came filled with what was best described as a 'slippery' fluid inside it, but which did not feel like engine oil (at least of the correct grade). Neither the engine manufacturer or the LR dealership could confirm what the fluid was - our suspicion was that it was a 'running in' fluid used by the manufacturer when test-running the engine before shipment. We therefore agreed that Mike would drain and replace the fluid and filter - a wise decision as it turned out. Not sure exactly what this is/was but I'm glad I didn't try to get home with it in the engine!:

Click image to enlarge



As it was now early evening, and home was almost 4 hrs away for me (in a tiny hire car Rolling Eyes with a 1200cc engine) I left Mike to it and headed west. He put the rest of the car back together on the Friday, changing the gearbox and diff oils also, and I returned on Saturday to collect the finished article. Two days later it was back to work, visiting sites on the west side of Mull:






Early thoughts and reflections
Five days and just over 600 miles later I am still grinning like a Cheshire Cat. Although I had to take my wife's D4 to Edinburgh yesterday, returning via Stirling and a quick run up to Mike in Dundee for some minor work to be done, I was still glad to get back into the D3 today. The handling has been completely transformed and the premagrin has been restored. The roll when cornering has all but gone, even on the mud terrain tyres I am running for work just now, and it just feels so much more 'planted' on the road.

Thus far I have not taken the engine over 2,400rpm. Yes, it feels tight - much tighter than the original had become, but the power and speed is definitely there and it is even smoother than before (I had had a new gearbox at c.80k). Time will tell but at this moment I am very happy.

Someone is bound to ask about the cost. My bill, including all parts, fluids and gaskets etc, the Dinitrol Mike's labour and good company for the time I was there, came in at just over £8,500 including VAT. I also had three nights in the delights of a Travelodge and Premier Inn, and spent three long days on the chassis and bodywork myself. I am able to recover the VAT, meaning that the cost to me was just over £7k which I consider to be money well spent, not least because the majority of this was in the parts. Better to replace now and to get the best out of the car myself than to have to replace in installments over the coming years, with much higher labour bills due to time taken etc etc.

I am aware that however hard I tried my endeavours with the Dinitrol will not be able to replicate the original factory finish. However, I think that the worst of the rust will have definitely been checked and, if nothing else, the car is now somewhat lighter. This is the crud that came off just one of the cross-members (in places it was more than 30mm thick on the upper face of the steelwork Embarassed )




One thought that did regularly cross my mind whilst working on the vehicle is that despite what can at times be a questionable reputation, they are remarkably simple vehicles. Yes, they have lots of systems, but each system is relatively straightforward in itself. I don't think it will be long before people start chassis up rebuilds like they do with the Defenders. This was certainly not that, but is at least an illustration of what can be done in a relatively short period of time.


Disco Mikey
I cannot possibly finish this post without passing on my enormous thanks to Disco_Mikey, aka Mike Park of MMP Landrover. His knowledge of these vehicles is phenomenal, and his willingness to take on seemingly unfathomable tasks is a credit to him. Bow down Bow down Bow down

In the short time that I was with him he was working on three separate engine replacements, most of which involved using second hand Jag engines in order that people can keep their cars on the road for a sensible amount of money. A failed oil pump or crank shaft is only the end of the engine - the cars can live on, provided they have been well maintained and looked after.

(Mike also supplied six of the photos in this thread)

I suspect the time will come when people become more experienced at taking the body off the D3s. Thus far it seems that efforts have concentrated on what can be done with the engine in situ. Hopefully this post will help to demonstrate that, in some cases, it can be more effective or efficient to lift the body so it is possible to have a 'good go' at what lies underneath.

That is me for now - SWMBO is due back soon so I had better pretend that I've been working! Whistle
 Currently 2009 Disco 3 SE and 2013 MY D4 HSE
Previously:
TD5 Defender 110 CSW (230k miles)
300TDi Disco 1 (289k)
4 RR Classics (300-350k each, 2 manual, 2 auto)
110 V8 CSW (220k)
S3 109 hi cap pickup (ex RN)
S2A 88 Safari SW with lpg conversion (bloody lethal) 
 
Post #18754383rd Nov 2017 10:01 pm
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Iceman08
 


Member Since: 22 Sep 2014
Location: Hereford
Posts: 1951

United Kingdom 2006 Discovery 3 TDV6 SE Auto Java BlackDiscovery 3

Great thread and really good to see a D3 returned back to the line of duty Bow down

I must say........I'm slightly envious of your new air struts though!! Mr. Green
   
Post #18754413rd Nov 2017 10:22 pm
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Simon Rivers
 


Member Since: 20 Aug 2017
Location: Lincoln
Posts: 12

United Kingdom 2005 Discovery 3 TDV6 HSE Auto Tonga GreenDiscovery 3

Excellent and interesting post. A taste of what might lie ahead for a lot of us...?
  
Post #18754463rd Nov 2017 10:32 pm
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waterbuoy
 


Member Since: 26 Oct 2013
Location: Argyll
Posts: 2015

United Kingdom 2009 Discovery 3 TDV6 SE Auto Stornoway GreyDiscovery 3

Thanks Iceman - I am sure that the struts are responsible for the majority of the improvement in the handling. OE spec Dunlop ones were fitted, and were surprisingly cheap (I thought) for what they are. The old ones were still working but pretty shot:

 Currently 2009 Disco 3 SE and 2013 MY D4 HSE
Previously:
TD5 Defender 110 CSW (230k miles)
300TDi Disco 1 (289k)
4 RR Classics (300-350k each, 2 manual, 2 auto)
110 V8 CSW (220k)
S3 109 hi cap pickup (ex RN)
S2A 88 Safari SW with lpg conversion (bloody lethal) 
 
Post #18754493rd Nov 2017 10:34 pm
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Dan_NL
 


Member Since: 19 Sep 2010
Location: Home again... ..at last.
Posts: 542

Netherlands 2006 Discovery 3 TDV6 HSE Auto Vienna GreenDiscovery 3

@ Waterbuoy. Perfect post and write up, congrats with that. Thumbs Up

But if you look at the financial side of it, do you have a clue on what it cost in parts purchased and time spent ? Question

Knowing that in the UK the newprice of the D3/D4/D5 is a fraction of what they cost in our tiny overtaxed kingdom of tree huggers : is it a wise plot ? Cactus Cactus Cactus

It is an epic job I afterall... Shocked
 VIN A146A395xxx 300.000+ Km's. DEFA heater 702. LR_V8 -frontdiscs
Vredestein Quatrac 5 . LED-style taillights. Clock-on-dash, 3-flash, remapped, BT-update, 4x4 info on, off-road NAV, dashcam.
AB-flushed .
& 2011 MiTo 1.4T 135hp Centenario Blue Monte Carlo 
 
Post #18754533rd Nov 2017 10:46 pm
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