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onions
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Since (touch wood) everything seems to be going OK mechanically with the Disco at the minute I have a bit of spare cash to invest in adding some off-road protection/modifications to it. At the moment the additions it has are (in no particular order):

1 – Front diff guard

… and that’s it; an otherwise completely standard 98 Disco apart from a set of AT tyres.

The Disco gets used as my day-to-day transport, but when it comes to off-roading at playdays I’m not shy of bashing it about if necessary/fun. I have done a little bit of looking into the pricing and practicalities of some of the following items, but I would appreciate any feedback on:

1 – The order I should be getting these things in.

2 – Places you have bought these things and what the items and the service were like.

3 – How much I should be paying for any of them (i.e. the cheapest without compromising on quality).

So – again in no particular order – what do you think about:

1 – A heavy-duty or tubular front bumper (not considering a winch bumper at the minute because that takes me down the road of getting a winch etc… I’m open to persuasion on just cutting the valance off the factory-fit bumper to improve entry angle - anyone done it?).

2 – Replacement rear bumper with jacking points (my bumper has started to droop at one end , and those end-caps won’t last forever).

3 – Tank guard (as soon as I remove my tow-bar I’m opening up my tank to a fair bit of abuse. Any thought on a tank guard with a removable towing hitch?).

4 – Rock Sliders/Jackable Sills (apart from the obvious use, people seem to think that the flimsy plastic sill which is there at the moment is strong enough to use as a step).

5 – QT rear slider/diff guard.

6 – Steering guard (for all the newly exposed bits and bobs).

7 – +1” New springs/shocks to carry all this extra weight!

I can probably muster up the cash to do this all at once if I’m careful; so, go on, spend my cash for me.

I realise that is a lot to take in and reply to, but any nuggets of info are appreciated.

Cheers

onions

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in the past i run a stock front bumper with the valance removed, you just need to trim the end caps to match. if your considering a winch in the future i'd go this way or you'll end up buying two HD bumpers.

get something like the dave bowyer 'jackmates' they are a combined recovery point & hi-lift jack point that bolts up just under the bumper, about £60 from memory. ive got a feeling the ones i had came from mill-services.

+1" springs, probably the easiest way is HD springs then. im told this is roughly the lift they will give, i intend to get some at somepoint as my disco is an overweight lardy arse heap.

tankguard YES ive lost about 2gallon capacity on my tank from landing on it. ive still got my towhitch but it is cut down. i now only have the top pair of holes on the back plate, took about 5" off the plate & moved the bars to the chassis up.

rocksliders are a godsend, just find some that stick out far enough to protect the body all the way up. mine were made by a mate who said he hated doing it as disco sills arent straight.

rear bumper, yeah i need one too. getting bored of 'adjusting' my bumper back down so i can open the boot after playing.

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I would agree with Andy generally, but here are my opinions, vaguley in order of preference;

Mod the front Bumper untill you get a winch, when you should get the bumper to fit the winch - I didn't and whist I ended up with a decent result, it was a PITA to do!

Rocksliders are definatly worthwhile - can't suggest where to get them though, I am in the process of making my own... I think discoparts do some reasonable ones.

Rear bumper - defiantly next on my list - again I think I am going to get a discoparts one as it attaches with more than just the two bolts the standard one uses and allows attachement of a decent rear recovery point. I spoke to them, and am planning to get one at billing to save on the postage. I think they are doing a show price too - worth emailing before hand to get your order in though.

I have QT slider diff guards, but havn't used the truck in anger since I fitted them. They are not silly expensive (although if you get the eBlag copies they are chaeper still - can't vouch for the quality though)

Steering protection is a good idea - I have a bent track rod at the moment! Relocating the steering damper to the front arm (a la defender) would also stop the squished damper problem that I have. There are various schools of thought - uprated bars or big protection plates. I am undecided...

A Tank guard is also on my list. The southdown one with the removabble tow hitch I feel is the best choice around at the moment, but it is quite pricey...(~£350 i seem to remember).

Springs and shocks - I went the cheap option of using RR HD (red/White) springs all round. I would say there are better setups out there, as they are really too tall for the front, and to nearly tall enough on the back. I added 2" spacers and 2" dropped shock mounts on the back to bring it up to the same level as the front. I am running standard length (koni - so not that cheap) shocks, and am fairly pleased with it so far. I think I need to drop the front shock mounts a bit though... My setup was a cheap(ish) setup using what I had. If I was going to spend money I would probably go for an old man emu setup, probably with 2" lift.

I notice you have ATs - is a set of MTs not on your list? I would have thought that would make more difference to off-road ability than anything else, and was certianly the first thing I did on mine (apart form welding the sills and floor back together :( )

Cheers

Mark

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Yeah. The ATs are my compromise between the stacks of motorway miles I put in and the expense/hassle of running/storing 2 sets of tyres. At the minute I've not been seriously stuck with the ATs, but I'm sure that'll change once the truck is kitted up and I feel even more adventurous.

Cheers for your thoughts chaps. Keep 'em coming.

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i removed the front valance from my 300Tdi disco, then trimed the end caps with a saw to match, only takes about half an hour and makes the front end a lot more suited to off roading...

next I bought a used (but imaculate) steering guard from the LRO web classifieds, i paid £45 and it has two recovery points and two high lidt jack tubes built in....

I removed the side steps, and got £72 for them on ebay, i will go for rock sliders at some point but i'm more interested in building an expedition truck that a play day toy (am off to the Sahara next month)

i like the tank guards but too spendy for me.... but i do want to do something about my plough/ drop hitch... but i have four dixon bate sliders, one with a vice on it, so want to continue using them....

i'd go for heavy duty track rods instead of a track rod protector plate, i bent both the track rod and drag link on my Defender by whacking a tree stump with the tyre, the rods didn't touch anything.... Paddocks do a pair of bars for about £85... wise investment, i'll be doing it soon...

rear diff guard is also on my list.....

i'd keep an eye on the classifieds on here, LRO and mud club, all this stuff comes up from time to time, i've not bought anything new except our roof tent, some people buy things, don't fit them, leave them in the shed then sell them for half what they paid for them.... if you do this your money will go a bit further...

don't forget if you lift the suspension more than around 1" - 1.5" you might need castor correction arms, cranked rear arms, double cardan prop... a proper 2" - 3" suspension lift on a Disco costs the best part of a grand to sort out...... i'm going to do something with my suspension, but cant realy decide what... don't want to lift it as am running 205/ 80 R16 tyres (roller skate wheels, but cheep and good for overlanding) so might just go down the standard ride height but heavier duty route, or use +1" spring spacers.......

m@tt. :)

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ive got a 2" lift on my disco & tbh after a week or so you dont notice the effect that changing the castor has on the steering. planning to shove HD springs under it at some point (currently 2" spacers) so i'll end up about 3" over stock. im not expecting to change the arms etc.

im planning HD steering rods rather than a guard too - why jack the car up just to bolt on things that hang down further? besides ive seen a car VERY stuck when the steering guard slid over a tree stump that then fitted in the gap between the guard & the axle. took a lot of jacking etc to pull it off there.

onions, how old is your disco? the early ones like mine have (mine had) very thin rear radius arms that seem to be made of maccyD's drinking straws. i bent both when failing a hill & had 3" difference in the wheelbase side to side - made driving home fun. the 300tdi discos have a lot stronger arms that fit straight in.

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It's a very late (98) 300tdi, but I'll probably take your advice on the HD track rods anyway.

I'm going to look for an old 2nd hand front bumper to practice my cutting on - that way I can do the job with the part off the car and I'm not stuck with a big mess if I go wrong.

Anyone who happens to have any of the bits I'm looking for - just let me know. I'm going to Billing so I'm happy to meet up and do business if anyone has any spare bits.

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Onions, you don't need to look for an old bumper to practice cutting on... the centre valance unscrews, it has about five screws across the top... the corners just need to be sawn along the mould line, its easy to follow and obvious when you look at it, as its the natural place to cut it, i did mine on the truck.... :)

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you wont need the thicker radius arms as yours is a 300tdi. they upgraded them when they went to the 300.

freeagent speaks the truth, the valance unbolts & you just trim the endcaps. i did mine in place with an agle grinder, took a few mins at most. doesnt have to be perfect as the way it curves under hides imperfections anyway.

if you want a really useless bit of information, the corner of the stock bumper can be cut down to make a neat mounting bracket for a cutoff switch for a winch. i did this as it saved buying metal & it bolts up nicley to the expansion tank mounts.

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Hi Onions,

It might be worth having a look here for some ideas.

Darren (website owner) had got a Southdown tank guard and Discoparts rock/tree sliders and very impressed with both.

Also very helpful if you have any questions.

Currently I'm saving up for rock sliders and a tank guard, and am running Bilstein shocks and HD springs all round from Famous Four. Also have a steering guard with built in recovery and jack points from 4x4 Partsmaster but don't think they do these themselves anymore. I've removed the front valance and trimmed the end caps - nice easy job and does make a big difference.

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ive got a feeling i saw steering guards with jacking points on paddocks when i was looking about £75ish from memory.

yeah, thats the one i've got, they are a little more than that now, but as said earlier, i got mine for £45 second hand, i know its not a big difference, but it bought the diff guard....

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I just bought a 94 disco, which had a 2inch lift, southdown front guard, southdown snorkel, soudown tank guard/rear tow 33inch BFG MTs

Although the rust worms are at home I plan to keep her for a few years until she finally rusts (believe me she wont last much longer), inner wings, rear body mounts, and rear wing seatbelt mounts etc.

I went to first four off road http://www.firstfouroffroad.co.uk/ and said that my budget was around a grand, came back with a front winch & bumper, rear winch, although this was to include rock sliders, my motor has devon 4x4 wheel arches on so the std rock slider wont fit. Richard @ Mill Services has made a set up for me to fit.

My advice: (for what its worth) is to go to a single supplier and get their advice for all you want, they might offer you a discount, if you buy it all from them.

I like discos, but their complexity is baffiling compared to my 90 which has sliding windows, manual locking, and the like, but it looks the business.

Give Peter @ first four a ring... he has a disco so knows what he is at...

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