Ownership Verified: Lunacy and Eternal Optimism part II - 2001 Disco 2 V8

Matt2000

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Finally got an MOT on it. Ordered a new part, contact the supplier a day later after they haven't despatched it to find that they hadn't even looked at my order. Find a place in Somerset that has the part second hand, get it overnighted to me, fit and get the re-test done. The bank holiday last week came to my rescue as it bought me another day for the re-test, you get 10 'work' days after the fail to get it done and that excludes bank holidays. :)

ABS lights remain off, the future is bright. Well, no... but you get the idea. :)
 

Matt2000

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As I think I've said previously, at this time of year I've had problems keeping the battery charged. I simply don't drive the thing enough to keep it topped up and by the weekend it's always dead. I would like to use a maintenance charger but the cable would have to cross a public path and that's a no-no.

I bought a solar panel in 2015 in an attempt to keep the battery in Keely topped up during that summer and it was two thirds of fuck all use so it was buried in storage. I dug it out the other week to test it and really couldn't get anything out of it, after looking at the numbers the 2.4W it claims to produce wouldn't be very good anyway so I got an 18W panel from Amazon along with an OBDII connector. My aim was to mount it in the sunroof but after doing so it barely produced 5V, it turns out that the sunroof is much more tinted than I thought and you can see from the inside. Now it sits in the rear side window and for the first week I was able to get in on Saturday and after a week of standing the voltage was over 11V, more than enough to start it up. We haven't really had any sun so I'm happy with that now, hopefully that will be maintained or improve over the coming weeks. :)
 

Matt2000

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The headlamp washer jets on Bugsy have succumbed to the cold after almost 17 years and have started to fall apart, so I've been trying to decide if I should replace them or just blank them off with grommets (which looks pretty good actually). This led to me finding a guide to the settings I can change in the Valeo BCU. I can simply deactivate the washers if I want to, remove the jets and blank them. I found that there is also a setting for daytime running lights.

I've always liked the idea of DRLs because people on the roads these days seem to be so dumb anything to make them notice you more is an improvement. I've considered fitting LED DRLs before but there isn't really anywhere to put them on a pre-facelift Disco 2 where they don't look stupid, so I've stuck with just turning the lights on manually every time. This is great for me because I now have proper DRLs without the tail or interior lights coming on. I found a third useful feature in the BCU, something called 'bathrobe mode'. It allows the car to be locked with a spare key (specifically the key, not the remote buttons) while the engine is running. Potentially handy when it's frosty and I actually need to drive it.

The solar panel is going strong, it doesn't seem to be able to charge the battery any higher than 11.6V at this time of year (it got to that voltage in a couple of days and was the same a week later) but that's more than enough to get it started.
 

Matt2000

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Slap my wrist, I've been using an automatic car wash. I'm not worried about scratches but after hanging on since I noticed the problem in January one of the headlamp washers was stolen by the rotating brushes, meaning I finally had to get replacements. £22 on eBay was a decent price but they come with new hoses and I can't use the old ones, so I'll have the get the wheel arch liners off. Rusty screw time!

Anyway the reason the washer came off was because the bumper is cracked, I'm not entirely sure why as the washers don't get knocked about but it happened none the less. I had tried superglue but that didn't work so I looked for a solution and came across a technique I hadn't see before in this video, using a soldering iron to melt the plastic and weld it back together. I'm up for trying that, so I did.

Driver's side before:



After:


Passenger side after (I actually did this first and didn't get a before pic):


The repair seems nice and strong and the best part is it will be covered by the washers. I also have some Gtechniq C4 permanent trim restorer, it seems like the perfect time to do it and have the bumper match the new parts. I might even remove the bumper to do it, depending on the work involved.
 
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loose_unit

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Matt2000;n3549387 said:
Slap my wrist, I've been using an automatic car wash. I'm not worried about scratches but after hanging on since I noticed the problem in January one of the headlamp washers was stolen by the rotating brushes, meaning I finally had to get replacements. £22 on eBay was a decent price but they come with new hoses and I can't use the old ones, so I'll have the get the wheel arch liners off. Rusty screw time!

Anyway the reason the washer came off was because the bumper is cracked, I'm not entirely sure why as the washers don't get knocked about but it happened none the less. I had tried superglue but that didn't work so I looked for a solution and came across a technique I hadn't see before in this video, using a soldering iron to melt the plastic and weld it back together. I'm up for trying that, so I did.

Driver's side before:


After:


Passenger side after (I actually did this first and didn't get a before pic):


The repair seems nice and strong and the best part is it will be covered by the washers. I also have some Gtechniq C4 permanent trim restorer, it seems like the perfect time to do it and have the bumper match the new parts. I might even remove the bumper to do it, depending on the work involved.
That is exactly how the fender on my VFR was welded back together, it seems to be a very good method!
 

Matt2000

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A couple of weeks on from getting the replacement washer jets for the bumper, I finally found the time to take it off. Getting it off wasn't too difficult apart from yet another stripped screw head that I had to drill out. Why they didn't use Torx I have no idea. With the bumper off I could repair some of the cracks on the bottom and replace a chunk of plastic that came off when I removed the inner shields using the same method as posted above. All of the black plastic was then cleaned and coated with Gtechniq C4. It's not bad if you ask me.



Having done all this and the back end of Mina the Smart I had used this much C4 coating:



I need some hose clip pliers and then I can fit the new washer jets before putting it back together. The jets may actually need a coating of C4 themselves as they now look a bit lighter than the bumper...
 
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Matt2000

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Today was a new experience, having one of my cars pass the MOT first time and with no advisories. That's never happened before. I had a bad section of the chassis replaced by a mobile welder last week and clearly that paid off. Here's to another year of V8 motoring. Now if I could just get that Smart sorted...
 
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Matt2000

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Looks like the old pictures need fixing on here, I'll get to it at some point.

Anyway, does anyone want spaghetti?



Steering wheel adapter and low-high line ( I think that's right) adapter because a new head unit is going in after getting fed up with the GROM unit (I swear that thing was draining my battery) and it has Apple Carplay so I can shout at the car like Michael Knight. I didn't realise until I tried this that the Discovery has a power amp under the passenger seat so the line adapter uses the pre-outs. It's an Alpine unit.

More pictures when I feel well enough to fit it. I still need to find a ground for those adapters, shouldn't be too difficult.
 
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Matt2000

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Fast forward a couple of weeks and I've finally got the head unit installed. After writing some of this out it's become apparent that this saga is too much for one post and besides, I haven't had a chance to get a proper photo of the 'finished' install yet so let's wind back the clock again to when I was originally planning which head unit to get:

I knew I wanted a touch screen with CarPlay but I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted. The three options I shortlisted were:

Pioneer flip out unit - slow and frankly dated now, but discrete and relatively simple to fit. Most expensive despite the wobbly resistive touch screen.


Alpine Halo9 monster, sticks out and uses a single DIN mounting so relatively easy to fit but I decided it was too big and would attract thieves. Glossy screen looks nice but the resolution is the same as the others and frankly not good enough for a screen this size.


The Alpine iLX-702D - single DIN with a 7" screen. Pretty discrete but would require creative fitting. Also the cheapest and with a capacitive touch screen.


So I got the 7" Alpine unit. I still stick by my decision that this was the best unit, however I have doubted the choice to get anything several times. Given a free choice I would've preferred the iLX-700 but it's 2DIN only and the reviews actually aren't that great. The iLX-702D has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, handy if I ever shuffle back to Android with my tail between my legs. It also has a DAB tuner and a GPS antenna that over-rides the phone GPS when using navigation apps.

The screen sits up from the 1DIN base, unlike the Sony units I looked at that were nice and very cheap but had the opposite and therefore were useless to me.


That's enough for part 1, in the next exciting episode I'll talk about mounting and how I cut a chunk out of my dashboard with a saw.
 

gt1750

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Love the thought you put into this, cardboard mock-ups and all :)
 

Matt2000

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Love the thought you put into this, cardboard mock-ups and all :)
I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's in :) I really like your cardboard mock-ups :-D
I'm glad you both like the planning. It was my project for the Christmas break but as you'll see I may not have planned as well as I could've done.

Episode 2 - The Midlands Dashboard Masacre.

I've finally got some photos together so I can start posting them and putting this story together.

First job when I get the new unit is to figure out how to mount it. You don't get a mounting cage with it so I initially looked at using a universal cage with the side locking arms. It quickly became apparent that this unit isn't designed to fit a 1DIN cage and is actually supposed to fit to pre-made brackets for your specific car, sold separately.

First problem: The unit doesn't sit in the cage properly as the back of the screen sits back further than the proposed front edge of the cage - where the metal case ends in the photo from the last post. I didn't want to mount the whole thing any further forward at the time but with hindsight that may have been a mistake. I had to trim the cage to fit around the screen, not really a big deal using aviation snips and some files.

Second problem: The unit has nothing to pick up the little locking arms on the cage. Well shit, this stumped me for a while. There are recesses in the cast casing of the unit so I cut down the arms to fit, it kind of worked but I wasn't happy. It was either impossible to remove the unit or too easy, depending on the wind direction, what I had for lunch and the alignment of the stars. The whole thing was wobbly anyway because those universal cages aren't designed for anything heavy so I ditched it and went back to the cage that the factory radio fitted to.

This cage was plain but it did fit very solidly with two big sprung plates to clip behind the dashboard aperture. With the head unit in place it supported it much better. There was only one option for mounting, I had to do as Alpine intended and use screws, through the plain sides of the cage and into the sides of the radio, picking up the proper mounting holes. That's right - the radio is permanently fixed to the dashboard. I'm not going to go through all of the steps that are now required to remove it but it involves taking out lots of screws, the entire centre piece of the dash and then removing more parts to get access to the screws with a screwdriver. Should deter anyone trying to steal it. Even a saw wouldn't get it out easily. Two screws on each side of the head unit keep the angle fixed so it can't tilt within the cage. It sort of works.

Now, from my first photo with the cardboard 'scale' head unit you can see that I intended to mount it as low as possible, reducing the amount of screen sticking up out of the dash. This wasn't possible as there's a big metal bracket inside the dash that is a mounting point for the dash itself and acted as rear support for the factory radio. Removal would be destructive as it's permanently fixed in place and I would also lose two dash fixing points. I had to stick with the 'normal' mounting point, which is probably better for viewing the screen but it does sit further up that I would've liked.

I still wasn't finished with the mounting. Sliding it in at this point would just be met with a thud as the back of the screen hits the top rail of the plastic dash. No problem, out with the saw. This is one of the few original parts of Bugsy that I don't mind cutting up, it's a standard part that I could easily find on the bay of E. This is how much I had to cut out to get the thing to sit back into the dash:



This is clearly quite fugly, so over to the 3D printer to make a cover. More pissing around getting the angle right to follow the curve of the dash and this is the result:



Magnets hold the cover on as the back panel of the screen is steel. The magnets don't seem to affect the operation of the unit.

The thing was then sanded and painted, eventually with satin black paint after the Tamiya paint I tried just didn't work out too well. I wanted a colour match with the dark grey plastic but since the head unit and trim ring is black anyway I gave up. It isn't perfect but good enough for now.



Notice how I'm slowly revealing it. That's enough for now, the next episode will deal with the wiring. :D
 
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Matt2000

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This really makes me think more and more about getting a 3D printer to deal with little bits and pieces like this :)
There's more 3D printing to come in this project, so stay tuned!

They're fantastic machines for things like this, I highly recommend getting a cheapy one, if only to play with it and develop a new skill in 3D modelling.
 

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Looks like a great install! I put CarPlay in my Miata a while ago, and it's fantastic. Having the ability to have a GPS antenna that overrides the in-phone one is also mint. Mine's taped to the underside of the trunklid.

Showing a backup camera on there too?
 

Matt2000

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Showing a backup camera on there too?
Yeah it has a video input for a camera and a signal line for reverse to trigger the unit to display the video. The Alpine cameras are a little expensive and of course they use a proprietary connector so I need to look for an adapter to standard composite video, then I can use a cheaper one.
 

Matt2000

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Episode 3 - Spaghetti and Squash

In this episode I shall explain this pile of confusion (yes I've posted it before but I don't want to make you scroll up):



With the head unit now sitting properly in the dash, I could turn to the wiring. I was a little surprised at how many accessory cables came with the head unit, I certainly wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew. A glance at the picture in the episode 1 post shows how many sockets there are on the back, including HDMI, DAB, GPS and camera inputs. I do intend to fit a reversing camera but I'm leaving that for now.

Another feature that I was missing and that led me to buying this head unit is steering wheel controls. These finally return and are handled by a Connects2 adapter specifically for the D2, a nice and simple if a little bulky unit that you can see in the picture above. That unit also has a pass-through for the high-line audio signals to the speakers, this will become relevant later. It outputs to a 3.5mm jack that goes in the orange plug. The Connects2 adapter output cable is actually universal and will fit many different head units, you just have to snip one or more wires to make it compatible. Connects2 have a handy video explaining it here with our old pal Clarence.


This is where the next challenge comes in. When I connected it up to test it, it quickly became apparent that it was too loud. I soon discovered that the Disco has a power amp under the passenger seat and using the already amplified (high-line) signal from the head unit wasn't going to work if I wanted to keep my hearing. Two weeks, some farting around and a missing parcel later I get my hands on the two black adapters you see in that picture above. These convert the low-line pre-out signal from the head unit to high-line to connect to the power amp using normal speaker wires. They have their own ground which I ran to the frame of the glove box with a ring terminal. I tried to ignore the fact that the D2 has bare metal visible behind the dash, surprisingly it isn't rusty. The kit came was two of the adapters and a 10-pin ISO plug that was originally intended for a Range Rover P38A (same era as Bugsy) but I used after removing the pass-through wires from the Connects2 unit I could fit these pre-terminated cables in that socket and plug in as normal, then connect the phono plugs.

With those challenges out of the way I tested it again and at first I had somehow wired the speakers wrong, don't ask how. A quick re-wire had sound coming out of the correct speakers and everything seemed fine, I'll come back to that again later. Next, I needed a USB cable. I had already decided that I was going to keep the phone in the cubby box while it was connected up, this is wired CarPlay after all. Wireless would be nice but I'd still need to charge the phone. With my phone I use a magnetic quick-release USB cable, which consists of a little stub connector that goes into the lightning port on the phone (keeping it free from dirt and ensuring the lightning port isn't damaged) and then attaches to the end of the cable with mysterious forces. I wanted that in the car so with the centre console trim removed I ran a cable tie up and into the main dash area. I didn't want to remove the main centre console and deal with the all of the wiring so this was lucky. My luck continued as I taped the USB cable to the cable tie and pulled it back through a gap that was just big enough. The cable was then run alongside the shifter and up into the cubby box through a hole I had drilled. I thought the USB cable would be long enough but it turned out that it wasn't, I needed to use the extension cable that was supplied with the head unit. More cables!

That's essentially all of the cables, they then all had to fit in the dash. It was a tight fit but they're all in there, with some careful routing of the USB extension and line adapters behind the metal bracket to help keep them out of the way. The most important thing was to keep the fan clear of obstructions and having stuck my hand in through the hole the climate control module sits in I think it's good enough.

In the next episode I put everything back together, including fitting the custom cubby tray.
 
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Matt2000

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Episode 4 - Light at the end of the Tunnel

It's often said that reassembly is the reverse of disassembly, but that assumes that you remember how everything came apart after a month. After cramming all the cables in I added a few screws just to stop the dash hanging off and inviting thieves but now I could add the rest and plug in the clock and the switch pack. Before fitting the climate control (CC) module, the final trim piece was added below the head unit. It turns out that I don't have a picture of it other than when it's complete but you aren't missing anything, it's just a cuboid that sits below the screen and adds extra support, while covering the two mounting screws. It also adds security because it can only be removed by popping out the CC module first. Once that was in place the CC module went in and the dash was looking normal again.

I had to unclip a couple of cables from my previous 3D printed dashcam screen/accessory splitter holder as they weren't needed any more and then that was screwed back in place.

While it was out I gave the centre console wood trim a polish. You may be surprised to know that it is actually wood under the veneer, maybe MDF but that's still kinda wood. Land Rover simply glued and screwed it to the plastic plate that would originally be the electric windows/seats trim panel, very British men-in-sheds style. It then just replaces the rubber mat that would usually sit around the shifters. As much as I generally dislike wood trim I've grown to like this part and managed to remove some of the scratches while generally making it look better. That goes in easily and finally the shifters can go back.

While all of this was going on I had been working on the tray for the cubby box. I wanted something that would hold the phone secure so it wasn't bounced around, Land Rover did make an add-on for the top of the cubby box but they're not readily available, are quite expensive and I'm not sure I like the way they look (Image borrowed from British Parts):



I'll keep an eye out for one for sale and may reconsider. Anyway instead of this I designed my own tray to be 3D printed. The size of the tray was much larger than my printer can handle, so I split it in half to be glued together later on. These are the first parts of the print:



The test fit was a success!



Now I needed a part to hold the cable, so that was designed and printed as two parts. It took a few attempts to get the shape right:



This is how it all goes together:



3D printed plastic is all good but it doesn't look very professional, does it? Enter the DIY flocking kit from eBay, originally designed to cover a dashboard, racing car style. The parts were glued together and a reinforcing piece was added underneath, then the whole thing was covered in the supplied resin and the flocking fibres blown on. It's the first time I've ever done this and the finish isn't amazing, there were quite a few clumps that I had to remove; Probably due to how cold it was when I applied the fibres. I may go back and touch it up but it's fine for now.

With the cable inserted and the top part hot-glued on (I may need to dismantle it so no permanent fixing), this is what it looks like:



Thankfully nobody will have to see it, the phone is a snug fit and the magnetic connector stays in place. With this in place I was almost home and dry, I just had to test it! Stay tuned for the next episode.
 
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