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

Matt2000

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After fitting the panel last week I made a temporary connection to the batteries through the always-live cigarette lighter socket, I bought a cable in the week though and today I sorted it properly. The cable is a 2.5m CTEK extension so it has the correct connector on the end.

Waterproof CTEK connectors connected. I wanted to keep the option to plug in a mains charger. There was a factory plug on the bulkhead that I replaced with a rubber grommet and fed the cable through. Heat shrink makes the 2 core cable round so it seals... hopefully.


Cable goes up the A-pillar and to the controller, this is neater than this bundle of cables has ever been.


Controller is stuck to the roof, so far it hasn't fallen off due to heat. Screw terminals make fitting the cables much easier. I will be 3D printing some caps for those screws so nobody cuts themselves on them.


Voltages are great, seems to be better than I get with the 20W charger despite having two batteries to charge.
 

Matt2000

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I made and added the 3D printed caps, along with a cable clip thingy to stop the panel cable ever getting cut on the metal. Now I won't cut myself if I wave my arms around, I'm prone to cutting my hands as it is without adding extra sharp things.

 

Matt2000

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Third and finally, some updates to the bobtail. For years now, I've had some occasional strangeness with starting. Sometimes it would seem like no power is getting to the motor. In the past it could've been bad batteries but it would sometimes struggle to turn the starter one moment and be perfectly fine the next. The escalated to me just getting a click when holding the key in the starter position and having to back off slightly for it to make contact and start.

This escalated further still when I wet-vacced the seats (picture at the end) and opened the front electric windows, when I went to close the windows the ignition switch fell apart and I really struggled to get a connection. Eventually I was able to close the windows but not start the engine. Time for a new ignition switch. When I got the replacement steering column it had come with another ignition switch, I didn't use it though because my existing one had some wires spliced into it. I knew from testing that the engine wouldn't start without those wires so they were important. I just used the existing ignition switch and didn't worry about it. Well, now was the time to worry about it.

The replacement switch arrived and I could test it out, as expected everything worked perfectly with the new switch, apart from starting. The old switch wiring had these two wires spliced in, one blue and one purple.



I quickly identified that there was no alarm or immobiliser fitted any more and that the connections must be to the fuel stop solenoid, there's literally nothing else stopping these simple old engines from running. There should be one white wire going to the solenoid but I a complete mix again. The black goes to the solenoid itself and I then have a blue and filthy purple.



Very confusing. So I chopped the wires inside and unplugged them at the solenoid, I then confirmed that the blue is the same wire. Nice, I can easily fix the power to the solenoid. I've now done this but I'm not showing it, all I will say is that it doesn't involve a wire spliced into the ignition line before the first plug. I had the idea to add a hidden kill switch too so I may have done that. :shifty:

Effectively the problem is now fixed, but what about that purple wire? Well, the one at the solenoid and the one in the cab weren't the same wire! The one in the cab goes to this redundant connector that I've always wondered about but have never touched.



Looks like it did once have an alarm, some older aftermarket alarms are shown with this type of block connector. That probably explains why the stop solenoid isn't wired as it would be from the factory as it would be cut and controlled by the alarm for security porpoises. Along with the purple wire there are also yellow wires going to the back of the indicator switches, probably to make the indicators flash when the alarm is armed. I'll rip it all out one day.

Anyway, the purple wire from the stop solenoid goes to this thing.



It's another curiosity that I haven't dared touch in 5 years. There was no obvious way inside so I pulled on it and it was held together with hot glue. It's a relay, but I have no idea what for. If anyone can identify the make or model of this thing I would be interested as there are no markings.




There are 5 wires, one purple that picked up +12V from the stop solenoid feed, a blue that went nowhere and appeared to be a different blue to the feed to the solenoid, and red and black that went to the main battery and a single green that became red and went to the positive of the aux battery. Not sure if it's normally open or normally closed, not tried that yet. Something was definitely connecting the two batteries together with the ignition off, maybe it was this.

Well it isn't any more as I shorted it with snips as I tried to remove the glue and a trace blew off the circuit board. I'll soon know if the main battery now gets charged from the solar panel but the aux does not, in which case maybe I can get a better replacement and re-add it. There's a big voltage sensitive relay for sharing charge once the engine is running, the solar panel never gets the charge high enough for this to kick in.

Here's the bundle of surplus or old wiring I've removed. Both old ignition switches were junk to be honest, they're held together with crimp tabs and once they've come loose there's no way to crimp them back together.



Finally, yes I cleaned the seats while I was doing the ones in the Freelander, these came up really well despite the covers being a bit baggy from degradation of the foam inside. They're still more comfortable than any of the seats I had in Keely and... well... they're frigging blue! They make the rest of the interior look filthy now, which it is. I don't care for the most part but I might try and clean that cubby box because it's nasty.

 

Matt2000

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That's an ATX connector. That's definitely an ATX 24 pin connector. Like on a PC power supply. You know.. you definitely know.. I've checked the keying of the 24 pins, definitely ATX24.
It definitely is. :p

I'd be surprised if I hadn't already seen a similar connector being used on some car audio stuff. I had GROM kit in Bugsy. Terrible choice for something that might get wet like an alarm box and the cables came uncrimped on the adapter I still have.

1655589196800.png
1655589232180.png


Doesn't take long to find an aftermarket alarm that has the same connector

1655589446240.png

I hate those stupid connectors, after all these years they still have sharp corners and the little release latch thing is usually hard to use. They don't always go in straight and the pins get bent or pushed out. We can do better.
 

Matt2000

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EyeMWing

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It definitely is. :p

I'd be surprised if I hadn't already seen a similar connector being used on some car audio stuff. I had GROM kit in Bugsy. Terrible choice for something that might get wet like an alarm box and the cables came uncrimped on the adapter I still have.
Poor choice of connector for wet conditions, but DEFINITELY the right choice of connector for being extremely cheap. I don't think I know of any other connector family that is as inexpensive for that pin count that still has keying and locking.
 

Matt2000

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Had some welding done this week before the MOT, hopefully it should go through as not much else has happened this year. Took it out for a drive today and stopped to get some photos, this was just before I came across some deep water holes on the lane that plastered the truck with shite.

Looking pretty good I think, the Raptor coating I applied last year appears to be holding up fine.



 

Matt2000

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The truck somehow passed the MOT with no advisories, clearly the welding was good enough to satisfy the test criteria. I only managed to put 333 miles on it in the last year, no doubt that was affected by the issues with the wheel bearing and broken bolt last November.

Time to start planning winter projects though and it's going to be electrical this year. When I first planned the aluminium dashboard plate, I left space for a pair of big isolators for the winches. Well I finally bought the things (at a good price) and here they are with a Sharpie for scale.



They have rather massive 12mm studs on the back and can handle 550A for an hour, with a 2500A surge. More than enough for the winches. The one on the left in the photo has a piece of styrene screwed to it, cut out to test and adjust my measurements.

I'll need to sort out cables, those are going to be expensive as I need at least 70mm2 cable to carry the current. The plan is to tag off the existing isolators to save replacing all of the wiring and then the power can be switched on inside or under the bonnet. Not sure how I'll run the cables through the bulkhead, if I could find a 4-way grommet that would be nice.

Second project will be adding new 12V sockets with switched power. I was quite annoyed on Saturday when I realised that my dashcam wasn't running, it has a 12V plug but the sockets are permanently live so I plug it in and unplug it... or more likely forget to do that. I already have the switch for the voltmeters so I'll use that to switch another 30A relay feeding a pair of sockets.

This is the updated drawing for drilling and cutting holes, the new 12V sockets are red and the isolators are the big fuck off things below. Having this apart will also be a good time to re-sand the aluminium and get all of the crap off it.

Bob%20dash%20Oct%2022%20Update.jpg


Finally I want a way to trigger the electric fan manually, mainly so I can make sure it's working. I don't want to run cables out to the sensor and risk a permanent short out there somewhere, so I just want a way to manually switch the relay that's in front of me on the dash. My first idea was to try and use a clicky pen mechanism to just push the contacts closed inside the relay, so far I can't make that work but I have other ideas I'm going to experiment with.
 

Matt2000

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So I'm not clogging up the Jeep thread any more I'll start things off in here. I like the idea of this under-bonnet lamp so much that I want the same on the bobtail.

1666962664581.png


The only snag is they never sold trucks with these in the UK and the import prices are quite high. So I've been looking for alternatives. Lawn mower recoils are everywhere but the springs in those are probably a bit strong for electric cable, I did find this though.

1666962696485.png


A 3M auto-recoil reel, £10 on eBay. It's yellow but I've always wanted another go at dyeing plastic with Rit dye. I can just chop off the end to attach a 12V lamp of some kind, I have some left over Series III/Defender sidelights that could take a magnet on the back. I have lots of SAE connectors left over from my solar panel kits that I could use with that to make an SAE to 12V male cigarette lighter adapter if I don't already have one.
 
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Matt2000

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Despite not having the fat battery cables I'll need to link the new isolators to the aux battery, I couldn't wait to put the isolators in to see what they look like. It actually took a while to remove because there are so many connectors.

The last time it will be seen looking exactly like this. I'm also going to clean up the finish on the aluminium.


Template stuck on, hole positions centre punched and pilot drilled. Time to cut out the big 3.5"/89mm holes with a holesaw.


My bench drill just had enough power to drill the holes, they were quite rough but cleaned up well. Screwed on here without the back covers as the machine screws I have aren't long enough. Fortunately they have moulded recesses for capturing nuts on the main body as well as on the back covers. May keep them like this.


Test fitted with the centre console. Good clearance above but they could be a little higher, I hadn't originally accounted for the rubber mat. While the isolators are above the console fixing screws they actually don't get in the way, nor will the right isolator stop me putting my phone down beisde the hi/lo lever.


Next up is to buy the 12V sockets and drill the holes in the removable panel, then wire up the relay. You can't quite see it but there's a spare spot on the far left of the relay holder and I have spare relays.

I'm looking to go for a brushed finish on the metal this time, manually done with a green abrasive pad. I may change my mind, I still have the abrasive pads for my random sander that I used for the original satin finish. Need to get those scratches out first. Then I have some clear coat coming to protect it, I never did that before and it got dirty.

While disconnecting the batteries I removed the old negative terminal from the aux battery, only noticed this last week while removing it for the mobile welder. Replacement was ordered with the isolators so that's fitted now.


Finally I finished my experimental bypass relay switch for the fan, I had determined the positive to the switched side and the positive on the coil side so I could join them, they share a common ground so this should work fine. It'll back feed to the dash switch and thermostatic switch but the circuit will be open at one of those two so nothing will happen. I won't be able to fit the relay box cover with this abomination on the top but that's fine for now.

 
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Matt2000

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Another week, another even more updates and maybe even completion of some kind.

After cutting the big holes for the isolators, the next thing was to sort the mounting of the fire safety stick. For those who don't know about it, it's basically a flare that shoots inert gas out of the end to put out fires.

It only came with one mount, I had previously used a bit of foam to stop it from rattling but I never liked that idea and had to remove it when I cleaned up the metal. I 3D printed a replica from PETG, which despite having all the same measurements came out slightly smaller. :unsure:



Fitted with proper nuts and bolts this time rather than sheet metal screws


My big red stick in place


With that done, I had to wait a bit for my 12V sockets to arrive. When they did I could mark the holes and get to drilling. I only had a spade bit in 28mm so it was fairly tough going, my little bench drill did the job though. Project Farm had annular cutters on his latest video, one of those would've been nice.


The holes were fine after a little clean up.


Both mounted in the holes.


Wiring made up to put both sockets in parallel.


Both plates got a coat of clear lacquer on Saturday, not ideal weather but it worked OK. At least they don't get covered in fingerprints just from being touched.


Labels re-applied and everything re-fiotted.


Time to deal with some of this spaghetti. The loom for the sockets went through a spare spot in the relay holder, which has a yellow relay installed in this picture but I swapped back to a black one. The relay is triggered by the same circuit that feeds the main battery voltmeter, so it comes on with the ignition or permanently depending on the switch position. It does kind of make sense in here.


Fully re-installed with enough time to go out for a drive. 3 coats of lacquer might not have been enough as it has already peeled in a few places, oh well. Fan label is also correct now


After all that work, it turns out that the 12V plug used to power the dashcam is actually faulty rather than the old sockets. It has some rust spots that I've filed off, if that doesn't work I'll fit a new plug. I was able to get it in a sweet spot to record the big puddles on some of the roads after heavy rain and it's nice to know I can leave the camera plugged in without flattening the battery.


Oh yes, and the little modified relay I made to manually turn the electric radiator fan on works very well.
 
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Matt2000

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That looks great! Nice work! This really makes me want a proper off-roader more… I really want that „go anywhere“ feeling 😊
The Jeep you posted on Telegram is definitely closer than any of the Japanese SUVs, you could probably find a cheap Disco but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. While I was driving the lane in the video I did wonder how far the Bora would get. :p
 

loose_unit

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The Jeep you posted on Telegram is definitely closer than any of the Japanese SUVs, you could probably find a cheap Disco but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. While I was driving the lane in the video I did wonder how far the Bora would get. :p
You're saying a Y61 Patrol is not a proper off-roader? :-D

The Jeeps are just cheap :p
 

Matt2000

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You're saying a Y61 Patrol is not a proper off-roader? :-D
With work, there's too much plastic in standard form and not enough clearance for the wheels to move. :razz:
 

loose_unit

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With work, there's too much plastic in standard form and not enough clearance for the wheels to move. :razz:

Something along the lines of this:
1667982877129.png
 

Matt2000

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Much better. The way I look at things now is this: If I were to drive it around a woodland all day, am I likely to cause a huge dent or rip bits off? I did that quite a lot with my first Disco. Didn't have plastic wheel arch flares but it had tree-finder front wings and vulnerable lights.

The external cage on the bobtail is less about rollover protection and more about withstanding damage. Crawlerer79 has 'retired' his V8 Disco because the front got smashed up in a winch competition, a real shame and something that more armour could've probably prevented.

 

loose_unit

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Much better. The way I look at things now is this: If I were to drive it around a woodland all day, am I likely to cause a huge dent or rip bits off? I did that quite a lot with my first Disco. Didn't have plastic wheel arch flares but it had tree-finder front wings and vulnerable lights.

The external cage on the bobtail is less about rollover protection and more about withstanding damage. Crawlerer79 has 'retired' his V8 Disco because the front got smashed up in a winch competition, a real shame and something that more armour could've probably prevented.

Yeah, I get it, a full cage is really key when doing tough offroad stuff - I want to build it primarily for overlanding and a bit of offroad ... Anyway, house was just acquired so I will need to organise stuff for that before buying another toy :D
 
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