Land Rover Disco Floor
Back in the traction engine rally days, I needed a vehicle capable of pulling a trailer with a half-size traction engine, water, coal and tools in it plus have enough rear space for a canopy/gazeebo, tent, sleeping bags, food etc if the rally had camping and we were doing more than one day.
It needed something sensible and a Land Rover Discovery fitted the bill. I was used to Landys as I had previously owned a Series 3 LWB station wagon and before that a Series 3 LWB ex-military with full canvas tilt in proper olive drab colours – beautiful vehicles and I miss them now.
I found a 2nd-hand Landy – a Discovery 300Tdi, at good money and fully expected to do some work on it as any Land Rover owner will know. Oddly it all seemed pretty good, a bit low on power but that was fixed with a replacement turbo from eBay and a full service.
The roof leaked as usual, common on a Disco, plus I found the rear floor to be rotten when I stuck my knee through it! This needed sorting. Luckily it’s not too bad a job on these.
The Rot, Lots of it!
Out with the angle-grinder and cutting discs. Cutting the old floor out was hard work and it’s sharp, very sharp. A while later and we were getting somewhere.
After finally getting the floor out, I could survey the damage. The cross-bars were rotted out, the chassis pads were missing or rotted away, but luckily the chassis was good and solid.
The parts were ordered, I went for Z-strip to create a new lip to hold the floor panel. The Z-strip was welded into a frame and the new cross-member floor supports were also welded on.
I spoke to an MOT tester friend and it seemed the repair frame and floor panel could be fixed by rivets and sika-flex adhesive. Rivets were spaced at 40mm intervals so it needed a lot of them. The brake line support was welded on to the new cross member. The whole of rear chassis was then cleaned, primed and painted with Hammerite smooth paint.
New rubber support pads were glued in before the floor was fitted.
The new panel riveted in, two rivets hold the floor down at the rear seatbelt points – these are bolted to the chassis not the floor.
The Finished Result
To finish up, it was all given a coat of Hammerite Black smooth paint. It felt solid, was a whole lot quieter when driving and the whole job took only two weekends.
The rear water leak was a problem though. In the end it was discovered that it’s a known issue and there was a service bulletin on it.
Along the rear gutter, near the back on each side under the clip on plastic gutter trim, there is a joint in the panels, this joint is taped over – yes they used a bit of tape! This tape fails and the plastic trim made the water in the gutter wick up and over the top of the gutter then into the failed tape joint. From then on the water runs down inside the rear quarter panels and out onto the rear floor area.
The tape was removed and the joints sealed with sika-flex. The rear windows can also leak and flood the floor. The front sunroof is also a known water leak area and needs the whole sunroof and frame taking out to re-seal.
After all the fixes, the Discovery proved a very worthy tow vehicle, the grunt in the 300Tdi engine meant you could hardly tell there was a very heavy trailer behind and it still returned around 25-30mpg.
When I gave up the traction engine scene, the Disco was no longer economically viable as a daily driver so it was sold on to local buyer who wanted to do some green-lane driving.