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Unstable Disco


mitch
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I am new to Land Rovers, (and off roading), and have recently brought a 1998 Land Rover Discovery. I have to say that I drive it quite slowly, when compared to other cars, because it feels “unstable”. Having said that I have had no problems with it. Today my wife took it out for the first time and was going down a dead straight road at 50 mph when she said the steering went light and the car started to swerve across the road, she tried to correct it and it then started going all over the place. She ended up ploughing into a field on the opposite side of the road. She has been driving for 20 years and this is her first accident.

I checked the car out, drove it back home from the field and everything feels “normal”, tyres are OK, (Colway C trax MT), track rod ends seem ok, rest of steering feels OK, body roll feels quite a lot but I thought that was normal for a Land Rover.

Any ideas what might have caused this? Anything that may be worn that I should be checking?

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Doesn't sound right, not that I can suggest a lot but my discovery used to fly down the lanes at 70ish without feeling dangerous, I did tend to slow down more for the bends than I do in the car but not a lot different.

The MT tyres won't help the situation (well not until you've gone into the field!)

Any oil/diesel on the road?

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have a look at the bushes on the front radius arms, panhard rod, rear trailing arms. have a good look at the upper link bushes on the radius arms and trailing arms.

I had the upper link bushes fail on my trailing arms, whish in effect gave me rear wheel steering, not funny at 50mph and the rear of the disco is doing its own thing

Russ

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You sure need to check it out, I have a Disco2 and can tell you its very stable on and off the road. If it feels unstable then I would say something is wrong, if you don't know what to look for I would suggest you get someone who understands 4x4's to take a look.

With all 4x4's you have a higher centre of gravity and that means the car has a more of a rolling effect on corners. You would be amased at the amount of people that expect a Landrover ( or any other big 4x4) to act just like a car on the road.

Just remember you are not driving a car, really its a truck, so everything you do requires a little more time- I tend to double the gap between me and the car in frount (thats about 2 car lengths per 10 mph). I carry a lot of weight and 3+ tons of Landrover take a lot of stopping.

I hope you find out the problem and glad to hear that your wife is fine, am sure you will love the Landrover once you find what this problem is, sorry I can't be any more help...

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have a look at the bushes on the front radius arms, panhard rod, rear trailing arms. have a good look at the upper link bushes on the radius arms and trailing arms.

I had the upper link bushes fail on my trailing arms, whish in effect gave me rear wheel steering, not funny at 50mph and the rear of the disco is doing its own thing

Russ

i agree with russ if like you say what you have checked out is ok, i would go for rear first, they usually split, some slight perishing would be normal i'd say but anyform of crack/split and or gaping where the bush has been squashed over the mialage then just replace em 20 quid a pair and not a hard job to do!

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I agree with Russ.

It's possible that the worn radius arm bushes introduced some wander into the driving and she over compensated when she felt something was not right on the bend.

Was the vehicle service prior to the accident? May be a bolt was left loose in the steering assembly somewhere?

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Check out the above, plus the shock absorbers. If one or more are defective the handling will be strange.

I would also consider having the vehicle checked to ensure there is no chassis damage (accident prior to your purchase?) & that everything is where it should be.

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Had a good look at the radius arms, panhard rod, rear trailing arms and everything looked very solid with none of the bushes looking tired. Still not convinced about the shock absorbers, (and may be the springs), the whole car seems very very "soft". I think I am going to change them anyway. The other thing I did notice was that the Front drag Link is bent, (I think that's what its called, its the link right at the front of the car). Should this be dead straight? Strangley the way its bent must have occured when the car was going backwards, (ie its bent towards the front of the car not towards the back).

Mitch

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I've had the same problem with a disco - not a very pleasant experience when it happens, with the back end stepping out and sending you in a different direction like its on castors :blink:

What I noticed was it tended to happen on roads which had rutted lightly and the wide road tyres started tracking in the ruts, finally flinging you off to one side.

Hasn't happened again since I changed a worn rear wheel bearing and put new shocks and springs on (old ones were pretty worn and I suspect were affecting handling quite badly)

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I've had the same problem with a disco - not a very pleasant experience when it happens, with the back end stepping out and sending you in a different direction like its on castors :blink:

What I noticed was it tended to happen on roads which had rutted lightly and the wide road tyres started tracking in the ruts, finally flinging you off to one side.

Hasn't happened again since I changed a worn rear wheel bearing and put new shocks and springs on (old ones were pretty worn and I suspect were affecting handling quite badly)

i also noticed this while driving on the A1 a few weeks back - the ruts on the inside lane caused by the lorries seemed to catch the disco out a lot more than it does my transit connect or evo. i guess its because of the wider track, but it wasnt very pleasant to have to keep battling it - so i became a "middle lane hogger" :(

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My disco has the bent drag link also, its original on mine but someone on this forum did once point it out as a problem. Is the bend quite symmetrical and just to the left of the diff looking at it from the front?

Worn front suspension components including panhard rod bushes can induce an unstable feeling, I've got to say, mine sometimes feels on the edge of control on fast A/B roads. Bump steer can also be an issue, swivel pre-loads can be altered for a more predictable ride. I need to do both these jobs on mine and have a set of polybushes in the garage waiting to go on for just this reason.

Stu.

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  • 12 years later...
On 7/2/2008 at 2:57 PM, J@mes said:

i also noticed this while driving on the A1 a few weeks back - the ruts on the inside lane caused by the lorries seemed to catch the disco out a lot more than it does my transit connect or evo. i guess its because of the wider track, but it wasnt very pleasant to have to keep battling it - so i became a "middle lane hogger" :(

Any feedback on this one? I'm having the same issue on my Disco 2

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22 hours ago, ThomasS said:

Any feedback on this one? I'm having the same issue on my Disco 2

Do you have wider offset wheel on the vehicle?

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Have you gone through all the checks advised to the original poster ?
Are your tyres all the same make & spec ?
Are your tyres road tyres or more extreme off-road tyres ?

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