1997 Land Rover Discovery XD - Build/Restoration Thread

#1
Hey all, I've been on here for a while, but never really shown my rig. It's not a full fledged "expedition" vehicle, but I'm trying to find the right balance between equipped and family capable. I'm about 60% there, but it feels like I'm always adding something new to my list of desired add-ons. Here's a brief history of my time of ownership, and some pics to share.

About three years ago, I was searching for a new Rover to replace my 1994 RRC LWB that had lost oil pressure. I was at an indoor archery facility with my son, we took a break to get some lunch when I saw this yellow XD from across the parking lot, I had to see it up close. I took a look at it, and while it was missing the roof rack, ladder, and XD seat covers, I thought it was awesome. The fact that it had the jump seats in the back blew me away (I have four kids) and on a whim, I put my phone number in the window (it was not for sale). Three days later the owner called and said it was good timing as they were starting to shop for a new car. She gave me some details and said I would get first dibs when they found a replacement. Neither of us were in a rush, so it worked out great.



About three months later, she gave me a call, and said that she had found a replacement (a hummer of all things!) and asked if I was still interested. I said I was, but wanted to know the price. Without completely giving it away, I could not believe how low she was asking, she said she'd rather it go to a Rover fan and since it saved her the hassle of listing it, she was willing to let it go for less than it was worth. I test drove it, couldn't believe how good of shape it was in at 113,000 miles and no kids. It had been in an accident early on, but was 10 years in her possession and well taken care of.

I immediately began to research the options for finding the rack, ladder, and all other XD parts that were missing. Shortly after taking ownership, I hit a deer at 50MPH on the highway. I couldn't believe it, I grew up in the country, and never hit a deer, and this was less than 10 miles from a major city.



She sat for a few months until we sourced a parts rig with a flat black paint job, clean bumper (with a weird winch plate) and a few other needed parts, including a ladder.



I went for a while like this, not thrilled about how it looked, but at least it was back on the road, and as my wife pointed out, it had character. It was actually featured on a website that critiques cars spotted around town, and I came across it randomly while searching for XD parts. Amazingly, people spoke like they were experts and said it wasn't a real XD because of some parts I had added for my family (side steps and a rear step for access), but it provided a good laugh.

http://www.curbsideclassic.com/slideshow/curbside-capsule-land-rover-discovery-v8i-silly-or-serious/

Not too long after, we bought a white donor Discovery that had a brush bar, rook rack and some lights. Granted, it wasn't the low SD rack, but beggars can't be choosers, and we fixed the water pump and sold the white one shortly after.



A DiscoWeb forum member sold me some XD parts, the LR fog lights, XD seat covers, and XD spare tire cover, it was a happy day! It was finally starting to look like a proper XD, although there were still several bits that needed replacing or repair.







Shortly after the above snow fun, the transfer case started to whine. Fortunately, Will Tillery hooked me up with a replacement T-case, and after sitting for too long in my dad's barn, she was back on the road.



While she's not a fully kitted out expedition vehicle, she's a great rig for exploring, camping, and generally having some fun in the woods near home. Someday, I hope to take her on a proper overland trip, most likely to Alaska, but for now she's a great weekend rig, and I continue to enjoy the process of fixing and adding some new item that we "need". I've got a Warn XD9000 winch to install, need new springs, and would love to add a snorkel someday. :snorkel:


My best friend (in the yellow) and I after a day of exploring.






"She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts!"







And, lastly here's a little video I made of my morning out in the woods doing a bit of exploring with my dog, Chester.

https://youtu.be/ptMgyAxOWn4

Thanks for reading, I'll be updating as they come.

Joey
 

I Leak Oil

Expedition Leader
#3
Never been a fan of sticker package type vehicles but I've always like the XD for some reason. I sold my D1 12 years ago when my kids were super young because it just wasn't the right vehicle for the time. Now I really miss it and the only ones I see around here are rusty pieces of crap.
Nice job on it, enjoy it!
 
#6
Very glad to see this resurrection, and to have played a small part-I almost regret grabbing that rust bucket XD solely for the low rack for Coyote...almost! (If I ever sell it, you get dibs-but I gotta tell you, its never getting sold!)

Any thoughts to fixing the hood? I would think that a wrap may be feasible to give you yellow back on the lower portions and leave the flat behind as the hood blackout.
r-
Ray
 
#7
Ray, that's so funny! I was just looking at your build thread a few weeks ago, not realizing it was you! Your trucks are on my build inspiration list, tastefully done, and true to the discovery platform.

The low rack is definitely on my wish list...

Also, you're tailgate modification is sweet. I'm going to be doing something similar soon, as I just fixed the back door latch and have the trim pulled off. I might as well make that cooking spot we've always wanted. Any tips?
 
#8
Not the most exciting update, but after 4 years of ownership, I finally have a working tailgate latch. I always had to use a key to hold up the lock and open the door, not optimal with kids getting in and out, or loading up camping gear, groceries or whatever. I decided to dive in, and took apart the tailgate trim, ordered springs from ebay, and got every bit of instruction from the web that I could. Overall, it was a challenging puzzle, but not too bad.



The picture of the before, which was very helpful when troubleshooting later. I also think that my yellow paint helps make things easier to see, most pics I've seen are black or dark green trucks, which is hard to decipher.



Most every picture of the mechanism shows it from the front, but the spring I replaced is located on the back:



It fit into the two holes visible here, a lot of pinching and pushing and the spring finally popped into place.



My dad always taught me to be organized, I didn't want to lose a screw, so the old cardboard method really helped.

After a few hours, and a couple of missteps, it was a success, a working door!

Now, on to the camping/cooking shelf...
 
#9
Ray, that's so funny! I was just looking at your build thread a few weeks ago, not realizing it was you! Your trucks are on my build inspiration list, tastefully done, and true to the discovery platform.

The low rack is definitely on my wish list...

Also, you're tailgate modification is sweet. I'm going to be doing something similar soon, as I just fixed the back door latch and have the trim pulled off. I might as well make that cooking spot we've always wanted. Any tips?
Appreciate the comments on Coyote, she has been a journey. As far as the rear tailgate goes-the simplest way would be to buy the metal precut (i.e. Colombia Overland I think) but I rather enjoyed the process of taking a piece of diamond plate and doing it myself. If I were doing it again today I'd still go that way-I'd just be smarter about the tools (i.e. use a grinder to do most of the rough work and a flap wheel for finishing, I think when I did it in 07 I was using a jig saw with metal blades!). I'd also probably re-considered the pit posse folding table though it has served its purpose well-it is starting to be a bit worn. Then again it has been on there nine years so I guess that's fair. The springtail MPAC molle panel has been excellent.

Oh, don't mount your bottle opener where you'd have to open the table to effectively open bottles...pro tip there, I've just been too lazy to unbolt everything and move it around!
r-
Ray
 
#10
I have a clean low SD rack. I'm only 2500 miles away, though.

I may be driving the truck out to Utah sometime in 2017. We could meet up and make the swap.
 
#11
I have a clean low SD rack. I'm only 2500 miles away, though.

I may be driving the truck out to Utah sometime in 2017. We could meet up and make the swap.
Stu, if you're talking a straight swap for my high SD rack, I would gladly make the drive to Utah! I've got another PCRC member trying to get me to go to Moab...
 
#12
Any thoughts to fixing the hood? I would think that a wrap may be feasible to give you yellow back on the lower portions and leave the flat behind as the hood blackout.
r-
Ray
Ray, I have another perfect hood from the winch donor truck. It was originally green, but the previous owner stripped it because of fade. I was thinking about just matching the paint and rattle canning it, then adding a black out. Or, possibly painting it all flat black (with higher quality than the current) and then painting just the portion in yellow that needs it. Not sure if this will give the best quality finish, but it's more in my budget!

I've grown kind of fond of the current hood, as rough as it is, so I might try to redo the decals to match it.
 
#13
Ray, I have another perfect hood from the winch donor truck. It was originally green, but the previous owner stripped it because of fade. I was thinking about just matching the paint and rattle canning it, then adding a black out. Or, possibly painting it all flat black (with higher quality than the current) and then painting just the portion in yellow that needs it. Not sure if this will give the best quality finish, but it's more in my budget!

I've grown kind of fond of the current hood, as rough as it is, so I might try to redo the decals to match it.
If I could find a way to get you the faded XD hood off the parts truck in Virginia I would just give it to you, but I think even free shipping may be prohibitive.
 
#15
1997 Land Rover Swag

Not much has been done on the XD in the past few weeks, but I have a new set of springs on the way, and everything I need to put the Warn XD9000i winch on, hopefully next Saturday!

Since there hasn't been much else to add, I thought I'd share the other portion of my obsession. Since owning the XD, I've really come to love the Discovery platform, and I've slowly but surely built up a collection of literature, paper work, advertisements, and brochures from 1997 (or very close to). Anything you would have gotten at the dealership if you were shopping for a 1997 Land Rover Discovery. So, here is what I've collected so far:

1996 & 1997 Discovery Booklet, the 1996 is common on eBay, but I've only seen the 1997 listed twice
1997 Discovery Print Ads (4) from magazines of the era (1 was framed as a gift from my wife)
1997 LR Product Lineup Brochure
1997 LR Guide to SUVs (comparing all other brands and their features)
1997 LR Off-Road Driving - some great tips!
1997 LR Disco Quick Reference Guide
1997 LR Press release sheets for auto show distribution, black and white
1996/7 LR "Words of Discovery" which is basically some press quotes about how great the disco is
1997 LR XD Press release, black and white
1997 LR Discovery XD 35mm slides for auto shows
1998 Discovery Lease sheet (from my local dealership, would love to find a 1997 version!)
1997 Disco SD window sticker (the XD version from LR PDX is my holy grail)
1997 Land Rover Discovery Video Companion on VHS, which hits my AV nerd and LR nerd buttons!
1997 Land Rover Adventures Volumn IV VHS, featuring the 1996 Camel Trophy, and the Trek event highlights (which the XD is based on)
1997 A Royal Welcome - full set of vehicle inspection documentation from 1997, one of the parts trucks I bought was full of it, I love it and all the detail it shows
2000 LR letter explaining new BMW ownership
1995 (?) Land Rover Picnic basket, plates, and coffee mugs - I believe this is for the "new" Range Rover P38, but it holds everything nicely
And, of course, the owner's manual (2 actually) with all the bits of info inside.

Various Dealership items:


Land Rover XD brochure, auto show slides, and press release:


Print Ads:


New owner paperwork:


Picnic basket & mug, lease sheet, various brochures:


That's all for reading, I love all the documentation, and bringing the history of the Disco to life, especially the hard to find XD items (of which there are few) and it's a blast reading the LR marketing speak for all the capabilities.
 
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