Land Rover Discovery: Art and Parts Mix - Blackbourn 467

By: Rob Blackbourn

landrover discovery landrover discovery

Discovery by name and as it turns out, maintenance too

I reckon I cope pretty well with most of the important challenges that I come up against. Once I get a handle on a problem and put my plan of attack together, I just try to get on with it. I don’t always win, but my batting average is respectable enough, and I usually don’t get grumpy over stuff. However, I am inclined to become Captain Cranky when simple little everyday things unexpectedly give me the runaround. You know, like when you put the right coins in the vending machine and you key in ‘B-6’ for a Cherry Ripe, and nothing happens, or worse, it spits out a bag of Twisties...

Or like when you decide to do something simple and basic on your car, say an oil change, and it turns out to be way harder than you expect, while taking heaps longer... And you don’t even end up with a bag of Twisties!


Having started my backyard-mechanic apprenticeship way back in my primary school days, mastering simple stuff like oil changes came early and easily to me. By the age of 14 I was doing most of the basic stuff for dad on the family fleet and made some pocket money doing routine maintenance and minor tune-ups on neighbours’ and rellies’ cars.

So when it came time a few weeks back to do an oil change on my Land Rover Discovery, a task that I’ve carried out probably hundreds of times on numerous vehicles over the decades, I expected to knock it off in an hour or so.

Regarding the Discovery, regular readers might recall I bought it, a Disco II TD5 diesel, from a mate early last year when Covid stymied our plans to visit family members based overseas. The revised plan was for a lap of Oz in the Disco to keep us happily occupied until we were free to fly to Europe. Then the interstate travel restrictions kicked in...


So that's where it's hiding

So now, touch wood, we’re again planning some Disco-style outback exploration prior to doing the overseas family catch-up later in the year. And the first of the recent Disco preparation jobs was an oil change.

First the oil-collection pan overflowed on the concrete–only because the last bloke on the job overfilled the Discovery by a litre. After the cleanup it was time to locate the filter. "Too easy," I hear you say, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t spot it from under the bonnet and wriggling under the Disco didn’t help – you couldn’t see anything above the densely packed area alongside the motor. So to YouTube...

Seeing where the bloke was working, I nutted out roughly the coordinates of the filter’s location. Latitude: Just below the turbocharger intake-duct. Longitude: just in front of the exhaust pipe. And plainly put: basically up behind the turbocharger itself. To be fair, only about the bottom 25mm of the filter canister peeps down below the turbo – and this filter’s black canister made spotting it harder. Although an oil return from the turbo partially blocked access to the canister I got a strap wrench on it and managed to remove the thing. A side-benefit of taking a while to locate the filter was that the turbo was no longer at flesh-searing temperatures.


The centrifugal filter's easy to find

Fitting the replacement filter (an easier-to-see-next-time grey example) also took a while because you have to work totally blind while trying to align it to get it started on the thread using only one hand. But I got there, just in time for the arrival of my better-half carrying beers.

She could see from the kitchen window that the job was taking a while and I wasn’t smiling much.

Although access to the centrifugal oil-filter isn’t great it was easily located. Apart from ensuring you don’t strip the threads in the alloy filter body when refitting the lid, it’s no real challenge.

Numerous complaints on the web about TD5 diesel maintenance suggest I wasn’t alone in having the filter issue. One bloke reckoned Land Rover’s engine designers were having a laugh when deciding where to hide the filter. The winning suggestion was: Let’s tuck it up behind the turbo.

Anyway with the oil change done and dusted, any minor challenges like replacing transfer-case bearings beside the Oodnadatta Track will be a piece of piss. I might pack a few Cherry Ripes though...


From Unique Cars #467, Jun/Jul 2022

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