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General Discovery Overland Modifications


Mark
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I and several other people are in the process of modifying our discoveries for overlanding type stuff. I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread where people can post up modifications and ideas they have used, as well as referencing some of the existing threads.

As a start, here are a few existing threads on or around the subject:

Disco 1:

Some General Discussion, with some good ideas.

Drawers in my disco

Disco On Board Air

Disco 2:

Twin Batteries

General:

Storage Discussions

I will attempt to add to this list and keep it relatively up to date, as well as adding smaller modifications as I make them. Bigger stuff I will probably do a seperate thread for, and link it here...

Cheers

Mark

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Just thought I would add a couple of pictures:

General layout at the back:

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The Zarges boxes, drawers etc all seem to work very well. There is a net in the ceiling of the car, just below the alpine light level, which works well in theory, but whilst the net is exactly the right size to fit there (came from a nissan x-trail) the netting section stretches which means it sags, rather defeating the object. I think I would like to use something that dosn't stretch (such as tripnet that I saw at billing) but it is kinda pricey...

The other little mod we did for this trip was to remove both back seats to give some extra room, and fit a false floor for the fridge to sit on:

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The worked brilliantly, and is just bolted through where the seat bolts through.

lastly a gratuitous picture of the car, next to Neptunes Staircase, just outside Fort William... :)

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Cheers

Mark

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Re your need for a side awning in another post.

If you have a roof rack fitted to your vehicle, buy a piece of straight aluminium channel as you would find on the side of a touring caravan - this is designed to take an awning. The piece of material with the round rubber insert that slides into the channel can be bought at any length.

If you know anybody who makes boat covers, repairs touring caravans, makes marquees or even repairs shoes they are likely to have an industrial sowing machine - Find yourself some good quality waterproof 'canvas' and have the awning insert sewn to your fabric. With this method you can have an awning any size you want and in a colour to match your vehicle.

For the other end (away from the vehicle) I had a loop sewn into the material down its full width. Into this I slid a length of thick walled three quarter inch aluminium pipe. The pipe is approx. two inches longer than the width of the awning. At about an inch in from each end I drilled a quarter inch hole in line with each other. I bought two tent poles. approx five feet tall with a six mm. pin sticking up from one end.

When we needed the awning it was simply a case of undoing the Velcro straps that kept the material rolled up against the side of the roof rack, taking the two tent poles (which were rolled up in the awning), pushing the pins through the holes in the alloy. pipe and looping two guy ropes around the pins and tensioning these to two tent pegs hammered in the ground.

I used a piece of plastic channel as an anchor point on the roof rack, but take my advice and get aluminium. After spending three days in torrential rain in Morocco with the awning as the only covered area for shelter aluminium will be stronger. To stop the awning sliding along the track simply drill a hole either end of the track and put in two small nuts and bolts as stop ends.

Not quite as fast to erect as the self supporting awnings, but no where near as heavy or as expensive. As for the cover over the rear door, just have two poles that slide out of the rear of the roof rack and put some material over these - tie the ends down to the sides of the vehicle.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Peter

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Peter,

Thanks, it does give me some ideas.

We have however, been trying to get some rail as you describe (called keder rail, as far as we can tell...) but have so far come up blank - if you know of anywhere that definitely sells it, that would really useful.

Cheers

Mark

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My main principle when traveling is "Travel light". So, rather than adding stuff to the vehicle, I'd prefer removing things from it. Not the case of removing here but I like to keep the vehicle as light as possible.

The only modification I made for using my 300tdi Discovery for overlanding is the possibility to sleep inside.

Other than that, a 800W inverter properly fused (connected where the heated screen would connect, same place and kind of fuse) and placed under a front seat is all I have.

I also need to sort out the awning thingy (but without a roof rack/bars, drilling the roof or any other permanent/unreversible modification). For the past two trips I used a Coleman Classic Awning which I used only a couple of times. I also have a large umbrella (mainly for the beach).

I don't need a fridge so no need for a 2nd battery. I use a normal coolbox placed between the center console and the rear seat and I use the duct in the center console that delivers air to the back to blow cold air from the AC in a cool bag for cold beverages during the day and for the evening.

I don't have proper pics for how I made the bed inside but I'll post a couple (courtesy of my better half) and a small description.

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1st picture

(under the bed):

- 2 trolers for clothing, specially bought to fit, behind them goes my laptop (+ other electronic stuff) case - easily accessible by folding the left rear seat a bit; I prefer trolers instead of boxes because they're more convenient for when I use hotels to sleep overnight.

- 4 boxes for food or anything related to eating; behind them is the toolbox, the awning (both can be accessed by folding the back of the right rear seat).

- the coolbox (not shown) goes between the rear of the center console and the back seat (not much use if you must have 3 passengers in the back - not my case);

(over the bed):

- 2 self inflatable mattresses 198x63x10 cm, 1 normal bed sheet, 2 sleeping bags (and 2 pillows - not shown - 'cause I can't sleep without one).

2nd picture

- as can be seen in the 1st pic also, I used a different approach on the front seats; instead of adjusting them forward I prefered to adjust them so that they lean on the back seats (semi folded) and remove the headrests (for the night)

- the advantages of this approach is that you can have a longer bed, have the back of the front seat providing additional support for the bed and clear the space between the bed and the dash for additional storage overnight or access in/out (after building the bed I found out that is much easier to get in by using the front passenger door than the rear door (tailgate); in fact both rear doors can be used as well (not as easy to get out than to get in though)

3rd picture is shot through the right front door

- it shows how the front part of the bed is supported: 2 adjustable straps that go over the seat belt top anchor bracket and a 30x30x3mm aluminum square tube.

- the straps can be adjusted so that the bed (ar at least 2/3 of it) can be tilted a bit sideways/front/back to compensate when the ground isn't exactly level.

Some more info:

- the material used for the bed: 15 mm birch plywood sheet, painted all over, carpeted both sides (all 3 parts came from one 2.5x1.25 plywood sheet)

- the bed has 3 parts: the rear part (roughly in place of the standard flexible load cover) and 2 front parts almost identical in size with the rear one (aprox 125x66 cm each), completely independent of each other (not hinged or anything); all 3 parts can be used on both sides (useful if one side gets too dirty or stained during a journey or if the plywood deforms in time).

- to compose the bed, the front parts are placed perpendicular to the rear part without using any bolts or similar so I get a 190 cm long bed (I'm 6 feet 1 and it's perfect - it can be done longer if required - about 15 cm on driver side and a lot more on passenger side)

- I can use only 1 front part to make only a 1 person bed (for when I go alone somewhere) so the driver seat doesn't need to be folded (same with the corresponding rear seat) and the vehicle can be driven/used with the bed in place.

- the rear part can stay in place for normal everyday use, it's hinged at the side along the rear seats so it can be converted to a load/dog guard (no rear view through the interior mirror though).

- all this arrangement has almost no interference with the interior of the vehicle with the exception of 2 holes drilled in the tailgate's frame for 2 bolts holding the lateral supports for the rear part.

- since all 3 parts are stored on top of each other I have a very solid platform to store the rest of gear: chairs, table, sleeping bags, mattresses, a tent, a 6x4m ground sheet, a plastic box with all kind of things etc (everything is kept in place with 1 or 2 bungee cords, depending on the load.

If someone's interested I can shoot some proper pics with details, closeups and take more accurate measurements (I didn't have plans, did everything on top of my head on the spot). I started from the layout I imagined and from the key element of exactly 40 cm of clearance below the rear part of the bed for the luggage.

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This is the start of my Disco load space solution;

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The two clear plastic boxes are 'really useful boxes' one has my tool/trolley jack in it, and the other has all our food/ cooking gear.

I fit my coolbox/fridge above on the right hand side, with a stack of 3 wolff boxes in the middle, this leave a tall gap on one side where we can stand camping chairs/table/ babies high-chair..

I've just come back from 2 weeks touring france/ northern spain, and it all worked really well

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My Storage.

(Excuse quality as my phone camera is rubbish.)

A couple of pieces of left over kitchen work top. :rolleyes:

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Screwed on to battons of wood that are bolted to the floor via the holes for the back seats.

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Which leaves a nice load of room for any kind of slim boxes. (about 9 inches max height)

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I use the bottom space for heavy things , tools, and cooking utensils, food. Whilst using the top for clothes and other light things.

For cooking on I use a fold down table attached to the back door. The bungie cord stops vibrations when folded up.

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I bought three extandable washing poles from B&Q to use as supports, some tent guy lines and a plastic ground sheet.

Cut the sheet to size and put some eyelets on it. I had to double over the edges to make the eyelets strong enought to take the strain without ripping.

Attached one side to the roof rack with wireties.

To store it away I place the poles inside the ground sheet and roll it up tightly. Using Velcro strips hold it to the side of the roof rack.

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The sheet does flap a bit in the wind when in use and i reckon i will need to change it for a heavier canvas sheet with brass eyelets. But it does work very well indeed. (especially on rainy days).

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Peter,

Thanks, it does give me some ideas.

We have however, been trying to get some rail as you describe (called keder rail, as far as we can tell...) but have so far come up blank - if you know of anywhere that definitely sells it, that would really useful.

Cheers

Mark

I had no idea what it was called - managed to get mine locally from a man who makes covers for boats. Try a caravan repair shop/dealer or try google.

Peter

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  • 1 month later...

Right. I have finally managed to get a few evenings down the shed and build the internal storage/bed setup for the Disco. Not quite finiashed yet as I aim to add a 'wardrobe' on the one side which will house a stove and water container. The whole lot is made to be modular and removable by undoing a couple of tech-screws. Construction is mainly using 3mm 1cm angle and flat to form a lightweight frame with 1cm waterproof anti-slip birch-ply fill (job lot of offcuts from Ebay!). Pictures are worth a thousand words so here goes.

Key to it all are the lockers that fit in the rear seat footwells (this being a commercial there are no rear seats and has a nice steel floor extension there to bolt is all too!)

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The lids on the lockers, when upright, form the supports for the bed, more of which later.

The first storage box

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Bolted in place

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2nd storage box

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Bolted in place

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Then I used 4 wolf boxed from OEC

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which cn be used as a table for when its really wet outside

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and when flat on the floor form the basis of the bed

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I will get some 2" foam to make up matresses to suit..

The bulkhead seen in the previous shot is used as a forward extension to the bed to make it 6'4" long in total. It rests on the lids of the footwell lockers and the fridge (which sit between the lockers)

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Heres a pic of the bed fully madeup

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And if anyone noticed the saggy headliner that has now been cured by fitting an overhead storage locker as seen here

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Now just remains to build the right-hand vertical locker, fill the sides of the bulkhead in, and to wire in the invertor and additional power points. More pics as and when

Mark

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Here's what I did to the back of mine, built it out of ply and it bolts down to the seat belt mounts. There's a speaker either end & room for an amp in the middle. One slide out tub is for tools and the other for cooking gear etc. In front of the fridge is a 95 amp/hr sealed battery hooked up to another two under the bonnet.

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No credit to me but rather to my mate Andy. He modified a 200tdi (5-door) for his 1999-2000 overland trip . See link: Hujambo

Images I took a few years ago only show the back as he had taken the roofrack off. The one good feature on the roof was the access into the tent via the front sunroof.

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That's an Eva-cool. probably the same. They're built up in Queensland somewhere & are really just an esky with a Danfoss motor on one end. Works well though, I had it on for nearly 3 weeks last trip and never missed a beat.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

Hi Mike

Commercials don't come with the seats in the rear as standard but al the mounting points are there so it is a simple job to fit one (or 2) from a 7 seat disco. They can be had for a few pounds these days as loads are available. Sorry I didn't reply to your measurement request. Slipped my mind. Anyway. With the bulkhead in place the rear load bed is 143cm long. Removing the bulkhead gives another 25cms or so at floor level with the seats still down. This increases considerable if the seats are tilted forward. I will get some pics up of m y new cupbaord to the right of the "table" when I remember to take the camera out!

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Naks,

that looks kinda good. Is it a commercially available system, or one you have built yourself? Got any more close ups of the drawers and how the tank is included?

Cheers

Mark

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Hi Mike

Commercials don't come with the seats in the rear as standard but al the mounting points are there so it is a simple job to fit one (or 2) from a 7 seat disco. They can be had for a few pounds these days as loads are available. Sorry I didn't reply to your measurement request. Slipped my mind. Anyway. With the bulkhead in place the rear load bed is 143cm long. Removing the bulkhead gives another 25cms or so at floor level with the seats still down. This increases considerable if the seats are tilted forward. I will get some pics up of m y new cupbaord to the right of the "table" when I remember to take the camera out!

Thanks for that. A couple of inches too short for me if the seats aren't tilted, but it looks as if I could fit in with the seats moved, which is handy. I've slept in the back of a Maestro van (with bulkhead) quite a few times, so I expect the Discovery would be a lot more comfortable!

I like your system with the way the boxes combine in different ways. I was thinking about the possibility of a removable slot-in unit to go along one side wall, which would contain storage and other camping-related facilities.

Mike

:)

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im watching this thread with great interest, ive juststarted on the girlfriends 300tdi hoping to travel down to the south of france

i bought it standard its a 300tdi es

so far ive fitted tdi clear repeaters, td5 headlights, hid headlight conversion, discovery bullbar, monroe shocks all round soon to fit 1"lift bearmach hd springs for when the roof rack and roof tent go on

ive fitted insa turbo saharas on but need to pop some spacers on it

next up, safari snorkel, 1" bearmach lift, 30mm wheel spacers, scorpion ally roof rack and hannibal roof tent

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that looks kinda good. Is it a commercially available system, or one you have built yourself? Got any more close ups of the drawers and how the tank is included?

Mark, the previous owner got that made. It is a commercial one, although lots of guys here in SA build their own. I will take some close-up shots during this weekend and post them here.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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