Sunday, 24 July 2016

Time for a replacement car...

Well, it's that time again...

The Ford Mondeo I got a little under a year ago was a stop-gap measure to give me breathing room to keep me on the road; it's been a champ, and done exactly that. It's the second of these cars I've owned, and while some curse them, it is, to me, one of the few wagons that Ford got right, straight out of the gate. It's not let me down once, and I put cars to hard use, trust me.

So, time to get a replacement wagon as, sadly, this one's now on it's last legs.

I also own, as some of you might know, a Series 3 (Siii) Land Rover, a former military one, no less. Unfortunately, I haven't really got the skill set to keep that one on the road, so that's going too. It's already sparked interest from a couple of enthusiasts (both known to me), so it'll get a new lease of life with either of them, whoever makes the best offer ;)

To replace both of these wagons, I need a bit of a combination. It's got to have four-wheel drive (4WD) capability, it's got to have the load-carrying capability of the Siii, the ease of use of the Ford, be able to take a few additions/modifications, and above all, be comfortable for long drives (say, to France and back).

After a lot of chat with friends and those much more knowledgeable in mechanical issues than I am (remember: I'm an electronics nut, not a mechanical nut), the conclusion is that I need a Land Rover Discovery Mk 2.

Yes, there are more reliable off-road-capable cars from other manufacturers, but I like the Land Rover marque, so there ;)

But why a "Disco" Mk 2? It is, basically, the same as a Mark 1, but with a little bit of refinement; most of the issues of the Mk 1 were already ironed out, and the Mk 2 took all of these improvements, and added a few more features here and there. The result is a slightly better wagon in many respects, not the least of which of the TD5 engine, a five-cylinder 2.5 Turbo Diesel, that's apparently miles more reliable than earlier engines in the Mk 1.

Add to this that it can be easily upgraded/modified for off-road use, and the parts and accessories for it are plentiful and, in the main, relatively cheap, when compared to similar products for other makes and marques.

So, what do I plan on doing to my new wagon, once I get my mitts on it? Well, here's a non-exhaustive list...

  • Phone mounting:
    (easy, not difficult at all, already have the suction mount for the windscreen)
  • Additional 12 Vdc accessory outlets cab and load space:
    Easy, socket extenders for both.
  • Additional Security:
    Thatcham Steering wheel lock (Disklok) (via
  • Radio Fit:
    Quad-band Amateur Radio transceiver + quad-band antenna, PBR set and antenna (VHF-UHF), poss CB as well (to be decided)
  • Dashcam:
    DDPai M6+ GPS, WiFi, Magnetic Mount (Techmoan recommended best cam)
  • New Tyres:
    To be all-terrain-capable, not yet specified/sourced
  • Light guards for front and rear:
    Not yet sourced
  • Snorkel (for deeper water wading):
    To be sourced
  • Front bumper and winch kit:
    One of the units from Extreme 4x4
  • Strobes/beacons (Yellow):
    To be decided/sourced
  • Tree guards:
    To be decided/sourced
  • Roll bars:
    To be decided/sourced
  • Sump, differential, tank, and other under-body shields/guards
    To be specified/sourced
And the chances are good that I'll add other bits and bobs to the mix, over time, too ;)

The great thing here is that most of these don't need to be added immediately; they can be added in piecemeal fashion, allowing me to spread the cost of obtaining and fitting them over time, which is nice.

In terms of additional specifications for the Disco, I'm looking at the five-seat version, the one without the extra fold-down seats in the load space, as the 5-seat ones come with two very handy light storage bins, which I've already got ideas for ;) Also, the five-seat versions omit the self-levelling air suspension system, which can, in some cases, cause problems. The less to go wrong, the better, after all ;)

I've already identified three Discos that I like the look of (one belongs to a mate, and is tentatively on the market), and I'm going to be looking at the others over the next week or two; there are others, of course, but not as nearby to me.

I'll keep you all posted on how the search progresses :)