Matt’s 300 Tdi Discovery 1 - The Nigel 1.5


Hi everyone,

My name is Matt and I’ve mostly been a lurker here on expo since I found it when I was in high school in like 2008. This place has been Pretty pivotal for my self and thousands of others i’m sure in inspiring them to pursue adventure travel and long road trips into the unknown. I usually don’t post a whole lot on social media but I wanted to make this thread to sort of document the progress I’ve made on our quirky truck Nigel, and also serve as a way to keep track of maintenance and other modifications.

I guess I could start with a little bit about myself before I get into the truck though. I am 26, live just north of Seattle, Ive worked in the commercial fishing industry for the last 4 years and just switched over to the state ferry system as an Engineer. The last 4 years commercial fishing gave me the opportunity to really stretch my legs and go on all kinds of amazing adventures with my months off at a time. Most of these adventures where either in my built up xterra, or my klr 650, ranging from Prudhoe Bay to Cabo San Lucas. Somewhere in that time I acquired a 1997 Land Rover Discovery that Became Nigel.

When I was a kid we had a 96 discovery that we went on a road trip around all the western states in for 3 weeks, on top of that, Land Rover used to include promotional videos of the Camel Trophy with Leased and sold vehicles. I remember days where I would get “sick” and stay home all day mesmerized by all these awesome land rovers bombing through the jungles.

Fast forward 15 years, I found the Rover on some shaddy lot on a highway known for being a bad part of town and I sorta fell in love with it. When I got it it had the following already done to it:
- Terra Firma Shocks
- OME heavy duty springs
- Rear Long travel suspension (relocating cones, longer trailing arms, and terrafirma shock relocating brackets)
- steel wheels with Duratracs
- and it was pre-scratched and banged up
- some manga flow cut off exhaust

I drove it like that for about two years as a wheeler and using the nissan for long distance stuff.

Well fast forward to November 2017 and I decided that I was ready to make the transition from the boring anemic Nissan to life on the edge with the Land Rover being the sole vehicle for traveling and off-road use. I decided that a mechanically injected turbo diesel was the only way to make this feasible. So over months of planning, going from a 4bt to a 4bd, a nissan diesel, to land rovers own 300tdi and decided that was probably the best move to keep everything as simple and trouble free as possible. So I sold the Nissan and used the funds for a 300tdi diesel swap Global Land Rovers in the UK, all in all it was a good experience and ended up being about as cost effective as it could be all things considered. Any way, I’ll throw up some pictures, I don’t have many on my IPad (what i’m writing this on) but i’ll Try to add some more later.



I’ll carry on a little: As of 8/29/2018
- 167,xxx on the chassis, body, axles and steeering
- 125,xxx on the 300tdi, R380, and Lt230

Some of the modifications to the truck:
- Suspension: OME Heavy Duty Springs, Terra Firma Shocks, Rear long travel with adjustable links, spring relocating cones and TF shock relocating brackets, extended SS brake lines, no sway bars (that is changing)
- NATO Wheels and Duratracs (I’ll have to look at the tire size, but they are basically 31’s)
- Baja Racks full rack with a CVT Roof top tent (thats been from Prudhoe to Cabo), a CVT awning, rear ladder, high lift mount on the rack,
- Shitty custom bumpers and sliders
- ARB dual air compressor
- rear seats removed and platform made to load up and strap down gear
- 300Tdi swap + R380 5 speed: 5/30/2018 @ 122,xxx miles

New Timing belt kit, lift pump, vacuum pump, rear main seal, clutch kit, idler pulley bearing, injector washers, valve cover gasket, silicon hoses, new expansion tank (old one blew up on test run), new fuel filter, intake/exhaust mani gasket, valves adjusted, egr delete, straight pipe exhaust (need to finish with muffler), new fuel return lines

- Custom Car accident damage on the free way (more on that later)02ABA185-09CF-496E-A743-491EC8810DED.jpeg15CE3639-0AD1-4787-A629-65DB6F732113.jpeg0FB033ED-8927-4CCB-B85D-3E7DE2E1FD89.jpeg16F6B63E-BF79-4E61-BA1F-C857E15320A8.jpeg
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Basically, What’s going to happen this fall and winter is the truck is going under the knife again. About a month after I finished the swap I was on my way to work, driving the Rover because I couldn’t find my keys to the dd (doh!), and got in an accident on the interstate. Myself and another vehicle collided along side each other and me grinding him into the concrete median to avoid hitting a car in front of me. Long story short, it was my fault, no one got hurt, and it was a pretty loud and dramatic experience (also my first accident!). So. The chassis and everything mechanical is fine, the body is banged up pretty bad, It looks like someone took a hot knife through butter. I drove it home and have been driving it for the last month since all that happened, taking it on trips here and there to keep using it and shaking down the swap. So far Ive put over 3k miles on it with only a few problems.

I played around with the idea of chopping the back off and making it like a tray back or a Ute with a custom bed and all that but that seems like it would better suit a D2 or something that isn’t as rare around here. So I started looking on craigslist and every other ad site to try to find a new disco that I could pull the body off and stick it back on my chassis. I ended up finding the perfect one and jumped on it. It’s 1995 Coniston green Discovery that is very clean, no sunroofs, mechanical seats, and low miles (120k, pretty close to the engine and tranny), and it doesn’t run so I don’t feel bad about tearing apart a solid D1. Plus it will be nice to have an extra set of pretty much everything to pick from as parts wear out.

Any way, Thanks for checking out my build so far. Next on the list of things to do is:
- Install a 10,000 winch, looking at a warn VR or something of the sort.
- prepping the new body to drop on the chassis
- keep maintaining and using the truck as it is until fall rolls around.

We’ve got many more long range trips planned, including finishing the Pan-Am in 3 years with this truck, so this build is definitely one for the long run.
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9/7/2018: Labor Day weekend

This last weekend we packed everything up into the Rover and set out to do the southern half of the WABDR. The truck performed flawlessly! Friday morning we headed out to Ellensburg, aired down the tires to 20psi, and started heading south. We stopped for a brief hike and to check out some views and then carried on until about 8 o’clock ending up somewhere fairly close to Lake Rimrock. We set up camp for the night, Piper cooked us up some Brats while I checked over the truck to look for any anomalies, and after that went to bed tired and dirty from the days worth of dust.
We ended up sleeping in a little, It seems like that always happens in the roof top tent, and started getting things squared away to take off for another full day of driving. I was making my round around the engine bay and noticed a wet spot under the truck and found a loose clamp coming off the radiator, so I grabbed the 10mm and checked all of them, finding about 3 hose clamps that worked themselves loose. Other then that I noticed the oil pressure switch wire had broken off its clip so I reattached that and we were all ready to go.

Mean while, Piper was cooking breakfast, and the night before we had noticed about 8 wasp traps hanging in the trees. We didn’t think much of them until the bacon started sizzling and then next thing we knew there were probably 50 of them flying around trying to eat everything they could. I quickly packed up camp while she valiantly whipped up breakfast sandwiches and we shoved off eating on the trail.

After heading down the trail for about 5 minutes it ended up being washed out so we turned around to find an alternate route and made it out to Rimrock lake where we hung out for a couple hours to soak up the sun and take a dip. Then we aired up to head over White Pass to Packwood. By this time we had done somewhere around 100 miles off road and I noticed a little vibration so once we got to Packwood I hopped out and took a look, it felt like the front drive shaft’s U joints were a little worn but nothing else noticeable, so we carried on and hit the trail again after airing back down. We carried on for anything few hours until we found a nice spot in the woods in between my Ranier and Adams and had a nice night hanging out and sitting in our filth.

The next morning was COLD, it must’ve gotten into the 40’s! The Land Rover had a tough time starting because I still haven’t wired up the glow plugs so it cranked over a few times before choking to life, since I’ve only had this swap in the warm weather of spring and summer the Glow plugs has been on the shrinking list of things to do, quickly rising to the top. We had a good breakfast and hit the road for another full day of adventure to Stevenson, and then ultimately all the way back to Everett, which is north of Seattle. The series of trails was fun but got difficult to navigate and we ended up making every wrong turn but they all ended up taking us to where we needed to.

Once we got home we left everything in place until morning, Piper cleaned the inside of all the dust and I gave it a good wash and started doing some maintenance.
Today I took the truck into a shop to have them finish up the exhaust: installing a flew pipe on the DP and fitting the muffler etc etc because I can’t weld yet and want it done right.


—— Service Notes—— 9/7/2018 - 125,600 miles
- Engine oil and filter change: Baldwin B2 and Rotella 15w-40
- Changed T-Case oil
- greased both Drive shafts and rear heim joints
- checked rear wheel bearings, grease and torque ok
- Made up the EGT set up, just have to mount it

Still has slight vibration, try replacing front drive shaft with spare

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Unless the original body is very bad underneath , that would be a easy repair, the rear quarter is only screwed and bonded on , comes off in 30mins if the weather is warm and glue/sealant is bit more flexible.
Just push the glass out , remove the lamp cluster ,door moulding trim, spin the screws out , a little prying and it’s off


That was my original plan, I had found another Disco 1 locally that was the same color etc but the guy wouldn’t get back to me. Plus, this truck was used as a wheeler for a long time before I got it and the body really shows the wear from being beaten up, the core support is cracked, the other side is banged up, most of the electronics have failed and keep failing. Besides, I found the cream of the crop parts truck. It should be a simple swap to a body with less mileage, no sunroofs, sort of rare color, and less electronics. Plus it was dirt cheap. Now i’m just trying to figure out how I am going to do the body swap logistically. It’d be ideal to have two lifts and an afternoon, drive one and tow the other, have them mostly ready to separate, and a 6 pack of beer...

Not much new to report on it, have been busy with work and getting the house ready for winter. I’m having the exhaust finished by a local shop and ready to take the tent off for the winter and go out to some of my favorite back country to watch Fall happen.

And here is my egt set-up waiting to go in the truck413FB2EF-7226-4524-9001-C548FE59FFCB.jpeg56F4776B-5FB9-4099-8900-C6591F672832.jpeg