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1996 Disco 1 Manual Trasmission Swap

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Hi All,

Although I've been following this forum for some time now, this is my first post here. :)

I bought a 1996 Disco 1 with a busted engine and a ruined BMW auto box. I rebuilt the engine and overhauled the Bosch VE pump. But that have not given me the engine output i desired(acceleration & torque) and I am now considering a gearbox replacement. And heres my problem. Should I get a fully overhauled ZF auto box (cheaper option) or go for a full manual conversion (expensinve option, but will pay for it self in the long run through better fuel consumption) with a used R380 manual gear box which I dont know in which condition it is, wear & tear wise.

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A little help guys...I'm from Sri Lanka and planning on bringing down everything from UK...so costs really matters...and Im doing everything on a really small budget. I'm really depending on this forum coz I neither have your experice nor your technical know how.(this is my first car and my first land rover)..

Thanks in advance.

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In my opinion the manual is better all round with good acceleration but the auto box is a better drive. MPG is better on a manual.

However, I don't think this is your problem. I don't think replacing the gearbox to give you more power is the right option. You have to bear in mind that a Discovery is a very heavy beast and is never going to win any speed records. You could try tweaking the pump a little to give you a little more grunt though, this made a huge difference on my old 90 and on my current Discovery.

Increasing engine power is going to be better than replacing the gearbox, unless your gearbox is knackered.

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Thanks Tetsu0san. My gearbox is well knackered. So anyway I will have to replace it. I'm thinking of getting an ZF auto box from Ashcroft transmissions in UK. At the moment it looks like the best option, rather than going for a major modification.

I overhauled the engine recently and I don't think it has even 50 miles on it after the overhaul. So should i mess with the pump this early?

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What overhaul did you do? If it's a complete engine rebuild then you should break the engine in gently, but tweaking the pump won't make any difference to this process. But you won't be able to 'put yer foot down' until the engine is broken in.

I would have a go and make just minor adjustments on the pump and see how it goes. As long as you make notes on what you do, and mark the bits in there original position then you can always go back if you want. If you over tweak the pump there can be some undesirable effects but if you take your time you can get it running very nicely.

You should notice a difference in overall torque and this means you can lay off the throttle a little, not change gear going up hills etc. But remember that a Discovery is (I think) the heaviest Land Rover at that age. Heavier than a Defender 90 and 110 and heavier than a Range Rover.

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Yes it was a complete re-build. I'll try adjusting the pump. Thanks Tetsu0san.

BTW any of you who have a ZF gearbox in your Disco 1, ever wished you had a manual installed instead of your ZF. If so why?

Just trying to make sure that i made the right decision here by going for a rebuild auto gear box.

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We have a 300tdi with the ZF box, and I prefer it to the manual. The acceleration is worse than the manual, but it is a relaxing vehicle to drive.

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This fact that has been mentioned in the LR forums by D1 tdi owners, that the auto box is not a good match to the diesel engine and the manual box is better, even LR thought that by giving the 300 EDC would help out... so unless u prefer a lazy drive etc etc go for manual and if you don't do "lazy" get a different engine. :)

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I'm going to put in a vote for the auto in a 300TDI. I'm still using mine as a work truck with 195,000m on the clock,engine and box still going VERY well and working hard on a daily basis

But that's a single example - which I don't normally use as its personal so not indicative of them as a breed.So from a Land Rover independants point of view - I would still say the same thing,even the 96 on models with EDC have been a pleasure to service,esp compared to later rubbish like D3's/RR Sports.So reliability has been very good,only once having to fit an exchange box to one that belonged to a company with multiple uncaring drivers who admitted to abusing it.... The EDC is no problem either,generally very reliable ,but with very accurate fault codes if there is a problem.

As for the box not being suited to the engine,well that's just rubbish,if the kickdown cable is properly adjusted they drive very well,I don't see many of them any more as rust and off roaders have removed many from the road,but this week I've had one in for service and MOT.Its totally original with EGR and exhaust filter still fitted.When I test drove it I was reminded how well they will go,just as good as a manual,in most cases far better,even off road when towing.

They have only two disadvantages,poorer fuel consumption and that the torque converter doesn't lock up until 52mph,which is annoying in 50mph speed limits.(300 TDI max torque is at about 1800rpm,so they are more than capable of hanging on)

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