I'll have some off - 1990 Land Rover Discovery Bobtail

Matt2000

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Yesterday I did a winching course run jointly by Land Rover Experience and a local firm that owns the franchise. I already knew a lot of the theory associated with it but wanted to get some practical experience and I learnt a lot of things that were on the agenda for the course.

I also learnt one thing that wasn't: When you have bonnet pins, don't drive away without locking them. I've never had a bonnet fly up on me before, luckily I was able to pull over and the roll cage protected the windscreen but there was some damage to the bonnet...

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It folded back against the cage and bent, seemed to bend the hinges too but I'm still not really sure how. Amazingly the bonnet pins still lined up. Sorry about the potato photos, it started raining so I rushed.





It's been raining on and off today so I haven't properly investigated but I'll either transfer the hinges from Keely or the entire bonnet. Along with the back door I plan to swap I'll have decided the future colour scheme of black and metallic grey. :lol: Regardless I will then fit some aero hinges and paint them a bright colour, the flipped up levers of those should act as a very obvious visual indicator that it isn't closed so it won't happen again...
 

lip

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Bloody hell! - There I go away from the forum for a bit to give myself some rest from all your Land-Rover insanity, only to discover on my return that you went even more loopy by buying yet another Blighty box?! One that has ballons as wheels, the cozyness of a damp army shed, the switchgear of a missile silo and the overall looks of a steel container after a runaway train has sheared the rear half of it clean off!? - Are you actually that mad?! YOU. ACTUALLY. THAT. MAD?!

...

Yes you are. :D
 
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Matt2000

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After bending the bonnet the pins have been a real pain to close properly, not aided by the fact that they're rusty or that the fixed post is right at the end of its adjustment. I was going to replace them anyway so splashed out a bit more and got some Aerocatch flush bonnet catches.



They kill lots of birds with one stone as they are recessed so the post doesn't need to adjusted so far out, they are lockable so I've got something resembling security on the bonnet and they have a much nicer action for opening and closing.

I got the first one kind of half arsed fitted to Bob this afternoon. Incoming potato photos.




I can't put the other three bolts in yet as the second layer of metal is profiled. This is only an experiment as I intend to swap this for the bonnet from Keely shortly. I've already marked up the cuts I need to make. I'm also going to paint the tabs bright yellow so I can see if I've left it open.

Gearbox swap is looking more likely too, I took the selector stick out to look for wear and swap a plastic part over from Keely, little difference and it's still like stirring rocks. I could change the oil but by the time I've paid for the oil I could've bought the jack adaptor to take both gearboxes out...

Rolled Raptor liner is likely to happen to the outside, the bonnet from Keely needs painting as does the door so that's a good option, I can also do the arches on Bugsy which still let it down.
 
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Matt2000

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Swapped the bonnet hinges from Keely today as a first step to making it look normal again, after fitting those to Keely the back of that bonnet now sits up about 3cm. Straightening the bonnet came after with the use of a lump of wood, a hammer and my body weight. It's now pretty good and you'd hardly know anything had happened.
 

Matt2000

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Both bonnet catches now fitted and the inner skin cut for the blacking plate. Looks jolly nice if you ask me, the tabs will be painted yellow soon.

 

Matt2000

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How to change a Land Rover gearbox in around 47 easy steps

This covers the upgrade from LT77 to R380, essentially a straight swap but there's more to it than that. I'm not completely done so will write up to the point I have reached.

Preparing the replacement


  1. Have a spare Land Rover with R380 gearbox fitted.
  2. Remove said gearbox from donor vehicle using a crane, dump it in the back.
  3. Prepare the donor 'box by removing the following:
    • Clutch slave cylinder with the rounded bolt
    • Handbrake drum
    • Electronic speedo transducer
Out with the old



  1. Start removing the gearbox in the main vehicle by removing the centre console. The lid will fall off the cubby box as the hinges are broken and will scatter change around the place. store screws neatly before moving them and mixing them up. Lose them entirely for extra points
  2. Remove rubber cover from transmission tunnel. If the previous owner was kind he will have fitted rivet nuts making this surprisingly easy, otherwise it'll be riveted so get a drill and cancel any plans for the afternoon.
  3. Remove the gear stick assembly, watch out for the big springs. You don't give a shit about this old gearbox so don't cover the hole but it was covered on the donor gearbox that you removed previously.
  4. Remove transfer box lever couplings to centre diff lock and hi/lo range. Mark the position of the splined hi/lo coupling even though you know that you're using a different gearbox that won't have the corresponding marking...
  5. Remove transfer box lever assembly. There are two different sizes of bolts so don't mix them up. For some reason mine were incredibly tight. There may be some remnants of a gasket but it'll tear so put a new one on the shopping list.
  6. Remove wiring and breather pipes from the gearbox, this varies in difficulty depending on position of pipes and wires.
  7. At this point you'll have a bad back from assuming the position of a dead body in the drivers seat for hours so have a break.
  8. Now there's nothing from above stopping the gearbox from dropping it's time to get underneath. Start off by removing the propshafts. They're 3/8 UNF nuts and bolts for some reason so get out the special propshaft tool (you do have one, right?) and a 14mm spanner. Don't hit yourself on the head, easier said than done unfortunately.
  9. Remove the clutch slave cylinder, don't fuck it up this time like you did before and use a proper 6-sided impact socket. Get some brown goo dripped on you, ignore where it may have come from because you don't want to know.
  10. Support the back end of the gearbox with a bottle jack. if the vehicle is on ramps the chances are the jack won't go high enough to reach it so use a cut off from a Christmas tree trunk to boost it up.
  11. Remove the bolts attaching the gearbox mounts to the removable crossmember.
  12. Remove the crossmember. There are 12 bolts with nuts, they will all be rusty so should be replaced. You won't be able to replace one of the M10x100mm bolts though because for some reason it seems to have been fitted before the outrigger was welded on and doesn't come out. Use a hammer and punch to get it far enough out of the way.
  13. Slacken off all of the bolts and nuts from the bellhousing, the ones you can reach anyway. They're understandably tight and need a breaker bar (an old torque wrench makes a great ratcheting breaker bar).
  14. Remove front exhaust section after realising that you will get better access to remove the bellhousing bolts and it needs to be out of the way to drop the gearbox anyway.
  15. Finish slackening off the bolts you can get to.
  16. Drop the gearbox down far enough to remove the speedo drive cable and handbrake assembly. Tuck the drive cables out of the way.
  17. Drop it completely and let it tilt the engine back. Ignore unsettling noises, you'll find out what they were.
  18. Place bottle jack under crankshaft pulley of engine and jack up to support the engine at the same angle once the gearbox is removed. This is to make clutch removal and fitting... possible.
  19. Use every extension bar you have to reach the top bolts of the bellhousing. You could probably get to these from below if you're brave or through the hole in the transmission tunnel. Because the retaining ball bearing is missing from one of your extension bars you keep loosing anything attached to it on the floor or stuck on the nut head.
  20. You're ready to strap up the 'box for its journey downward. Because you can't get a crane to the place you're working at you need to get some big towing straps, throw them over the top, loop them round and join them. You have a roll cage on the roof to take the weight so it's no problem. If you don't have a roll cage don't do this...
  21. Attach a bow shackle in the middle and hang your chain hoist.
  22. Place car creeper under to drop gearbox on to.
  23. Put a strap around the gearbox and attach to the hoist. Lift up enough to take the pressure off the studs and wiggle free. The input shaft of the gearbox will be the last bit to let go, then you find out your position of the straps was awful and the old 'box flops over. Oh well, it's still on the creeper.
  24. Wheel around to swap with new 'box. Swap over speedo drive gear.
  25. Remove old clutch pressure plate. Some idiot designed the cover so it's impossible to get any substantial socket in there so grit your teeth and use a long 12-sided chrome socket with an impact gun, prepare yourself for rounding bolts. Fortunately this didn't happen.
  26. Fit replacement clutch friction plate and pressure plate using alignment tool. you did buy an alignment tool, right? You're ready for the new gearbox.
In with the new(er)



  1. Roll new 'box in on the creeper and strap up for lifting. Do it a bit better this time and test it so the bellhousing tilts slightly upwards.
  2. Lift the box and swing it to engage the input shaft with the clutch friction plate. Wiggle it to seat it on the studs.
  3. While holding it in place with your knees, place as many nuts and bolts in as you can to stop it from falling off again. Tighten these up so you can add more until they're all on. The bottom bolts must be used from the old gearbox because they are much longer and go in to the engine instead of the flywheel housing as on the 300tdi.
  4. Remove the straps.
  5. Now all the weight is on the back of the engine again, remove the bottle jack from under the engine.
  6. Support the back of the gearbox with the bottle jack again, lift it up to fit the crossmember.
  7. Fit the crossmember for this gearbox, in this case it's different to the one removed so it'll have different bolt positions but surprisingly the holes will be there. Tap in to place with a hammer and add bolts when possible until they're all in.
  8. Drop gearbox down on to crossmember so the studs on the rubber mounts go through the holes. You shouldn't need to do any fiddling here but it depends on how lucky you are.
  9. Find the nyloc nuts and put them on.
  10. Remove the bottle jack again, you won't be needing this any more.
  11. Fit the speedo cable and reassemble the handbrake assembly.
  12. Go to fit the clutch slave cylinder but realise that you don't have the bolts so pull it back off, have it pull the operating rod out from the inside of the gearbox.
  13. Now the operating rod must be put back in through the slave cylinder hole and a plastic clip pressed in to a slot in the clutch fork. The original is broken so you need to get the other from the old gearbox and then struggle for an hour to re-fit it. Finally get there using a long socket, a cable tie and a mirror to allow you to see inside.
  14. Fit slave cylinder, which will add insult to injury while pissing more brown goo on you...
  15. Time to test the clutch. Fit the main gear stick and check with the engine running and in gear, this will work but will show up a massive fuel leak from the engine bay. Remember those horrible noises from earlier? A pipe will have popped out from its compression fitting, add it to the shopping list and get used to the smell of diesel for a while.
  16. Fit front section of the exhaust.
  17. Fit the propshafts. Try not to hit self again, fail more regularly this time because you're tired.
  18. Find that gasket you bought to replace the broken one (you did buy it, right?) and re-fit the transfer lever housing on the top of the gearbox. Guess the alignment of the couplings for now.
That's as far as I have been able to get for now, I still need to sort out the alignment of the couplings, the reverse light wiring, the main gear stick springs and that damn fuel leak before I can put the centre console back and call it done. It's pretty damn close though...
 
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KaJuN

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This Disco makes the Series seem like a very sensible purchase. :lol:
 

Matt2000

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This Disco makes the Series seem like a very sensible purchase. :lol:
Well as you know Land Rovers are a slippery slope and I seem to be going down it on a skateboard with three wheels. This is my fourth. :lol:
 

Spectre

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Hm, what does the LR factory service manual say about replacing the gearbox? I remember that when Jaguar used the R380 the procedure was more than a little bit of a clusterf**k because the thing has that odd bellhousing (among other things that lead to misery).

Also, how the hell was the LT77 still being installed in 1990? Jaguar had found the LT77 seriously wanting in real-world heavy vehicles after the thing first appeared in the XJ6 4.2 Series III back in 1978. It drove like a worn out farm truck and couldn't take the power of the 3.4 or the 4.2; as such it was quickly replaced by the R380 in the 82.5 QC housecleaning, which while more than a bit agricultural didn't have a nasty habit of exploding behind every then-current displacement of the XK engine. I've just read that LR used the LT77 as late as 1994 - jeez. I don't even want to think about how many just grenaded behind the Rover V8s on offer, let alone the turbodiesels.

You should take your dead LT77, go find whoever made the decision to continue using it and heave the thing through their front window or through their gravestone, which ever applies.

[video=youtube;3QjTIm-vSKg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QjTIm-vSKg[/video]
 
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Matt2000

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I didn't realise that the gearboxes were so old, I'm hardly surprised though. LT77s were suffix D to H apparently and have known wear issues, R380s were suffix J to L and were used right up to 2007 when they stopped making the Td5 Defender. I can't really imagine either in a normal car, not surprised at all that it felt like an old truck.

This R380 has always felt pretty nice but that's by LR standards of course, it can be improved with one of the Slickshift kits made by UK firm Synchro Gearboxes.


Edit: I've done a bit of digging. I already knew that the Stage 1 V8s were fitted with the LT85 4-speed as this was considered stronger for the V8 power but this was later dropped for the LT77. Someone must've thought it could handle the power, probably only as part of a penny-pinching exercise though.
 
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Matt2000

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Installed the replacement power steering box today, by that I mean the one from Keely as I suspected Bob's was worn out. As I was removing the old one I noticed that one of the UJs on the shaft connecting the steering column to the PAS box was worn, so the shaft was transferred too. No more slack in the steering!

As a side note those steering boxes are damn heavy, especially when you're laying on your side trying to life it in to position...

Test drive tomorrow, hopefully the terrifying wobble has gone.
 

Der Stig

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Thanks for keeping me entertained with your slow descent into madness succumbing to the LR insanity :D

Best of luck on the last bits. I expect to see this wheeling in the hills of Nurburg this August!
 

Matt2000

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Best of luck on the last bits. I expect to see this wheeling in the hills of Nurburg this August!
Thanks, can I borrow your teleport device? It's the only way it'll get there as the death wobble is very much still with me. :p
 

Spectre

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So what all have you done to try to kill the death wobble?
 

CrzRsn

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Proper steering geometry is the cure! My Jeep exhibited really bad death wobble because the GDPO bubba'ed it when lifting and used all existing hardware. As a result, the front axle was in the wrong place and all the steering link angles were wrong. I bought an adjustable track bar and adjustable control arms and had them properly set by a offroad specialty shop that does nothing by offroad 4x4s and voila, my Jeep will do 75mph all day every day no problem. I even once hit 80mph, but that becomes terrifying for a totally different reason.

Go through every bit of your front end. Maybe you'll find a point where something was taken and drilled back into the wrong spot instead of relocating it properly.
 
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Matt2000

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So what all have you done to try to kill the death wobble?
As part of the gearbox change I swapped the propshafts with known good ones to take away the chance that they were imbalanced, I have since removed the housing from the disc handbrake to ensure that wasn't causing it. The power steering box has been changed along with the coupling shaft (the old one had play in the UJs), with that the drag link was changed with different ball joints. These are all parts that were previously on Keely with no issues.

I've checked for bearing play on all four wheels and swivel play on the front two, I didn't find anything out of the ordinary. The wobble is intermittent over 40mph and varies in amplitude, if it isn't wobbling there is no effect under braking so no warped discs and braking doesn't stop the wobble so no loose bolts on the disc. All drive flanges are tight.

Suspension arm bushes are fine, damper bushes are worn all around but not terrible. Currently suspecting that the wheels are just somehow out of balance now (the issue didn't occur with the big 285/75R16 tyres on as bought) or the LSDs in the axles are causing it. You can pretty much guarantee to trigger it by accelerating down a hill.

Proper steering geometry is the cure! My Jeep exhibited really bad death wobble because the GDPO bubba'ed it when lifting and used all existing hardware. As a result, the front axle was in the wrong place and all the steering link angles were wrong. I bought an adjustable track bar and adjustable control arms and had them properly set by a offroad specialty shop that does nothing by offroad 4x4s and voila, my Jeep will do 75mph all day every day no problem. I even once hit 80mph, but that becomes terrifying for a totally different reason.

Go through every bit of your front end. Maybe you'll find a point where something was taken and drilled back into the wrong spot instead of relocating it properly.
It already has the castor correction parts to counter the lift, I had the same on Keely so am very familiar with them and didn't experience issues with that truck. Polybushes are all good too. The steering being out of whack is a possibility, it's missing the steering damper as I still need to get a bracket to re-fit it but I really didn't feel much with the big tyres, maybe the width and friction on the road just eliminated the wobble before it happened. I guess excessive toe in or out mixed with the lift could be a recipe for disaster. Will investigate.

Thanks both. :)
 

Spectre

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As part of the gearbox change I swapped the propshafts with known good ones to take away the chance that they were imbalanced, I have since removed the housing from the disc handbrake to ensure that wasn't causing it. The power steering box has been changed along with the coupling shaft (the old one had play in the UJs), with that the drag link was changed with different ball joints. These are all parts that were previously on Keely with no issues.

I've checked for bearing play on all four wheels and swivel play on the front two, I didn't find anything out of the ordinary. The wobble is intermittent over 40mph and varies in amplitude, if it isn't wobbling there is no effect under braking so no warped discs and braking doesn't stop the wobble so no loose bolts on the disc. All drive flanges are tight.
The US experience is that most of the time when a Disco starts having death wobble and it isn't alignment or wheel/tire balance/belt shift related, it's the swivel pins. The swivel pins don't 'seem' to be bad and pass a shake or pry test. However, that turns out to be a false sense of security. Usually the swivel pins are indeed worn out; this only comes to light when you take the suspension down to the point where you can check the swivel pin preload. This requires a special tool on the ABS trucks and a spring scale on the non-ABS trucks. You will likely find the preload is near zero, indicating that they're worn out (because nobody ever adjusts them like they're supposed to be and by the time you get to them they're beyond the point of adjustability) and you'll need to rebuild/replace the pins.

At least you don't have the known issues of the old Ford truck steering linkage standing wave death wobble. :p You can replace all the parts on some older Ford trucks and have everything aligned to spec - but hit the right/wrong patch of road and you'll get death wobble.
 
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