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Thread: Overland Journal Project Land Rover Discovery 4 (LR4)

  1. #1
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    Default Overland Journal Project Land Rover Discovery 4 (LR4)

    Update: Current Image


    As many of you know, the Overland Journal staff really likes Land Rovers, especially the solid-axle, coil-sprung variety. Our personal vehicles include a 1991 RRC, 1995 DI (5-speed), Defender 110, DII, Series IIa, etc. We have all seen Land Rover take a completely different approach to vehicle design and systems since those classic, Camel Trophy era machines. I had all but discounted the new offerings, but my opinion on the newer Land Rovers changed when I purchased a Range Rover MKIII for my wife (Stephanie is the designer of Overland Journal) and then subsequently took a month-long trip in Australia with a Discovery 3 (LR3).


    From our trip into the outback of Australia. We drove thousands of miles in a well-used LR3 from ARB and had no issues, not even a flat.

    Reliability was improving rapidly for Land Rover, and these trucks were actually outperforming earlier models in certain conditions (especially cross-axle terrain). The final "aha" moment came during a chat with Ray Dinardi, General Manager of Land Rover Las Vegas. He was showing me his collection of classic BMW motorcycles and indicated that the area he was storing all these cool bikes used to be LR service bays. He said that in 2006, they had 25 technicians and worked 7 days a week on warranty work and repairs. The quality of the new Land Rovers has increased so significantly that he now employes only six technicians. This is big news - modern Land Rovers seem to be pretty reliable.

    I really enjoy Stephanie's MKIII Range Rover, so when I started considering what my next vehicle would be, I reviewed the available offerings. We had bought a JK Wrangler Rubicon (and drove it all the way to Panama), and of course I love my Discovery I, but it is becoming more of an office decoration than daily driver. It is also important that we test new products and new vehicles, so I decided to dip my toe into the dark and foreboding pool of modern overland vehicles. We considered several modern platforms, but none seemed interesting. We had been modifying and working with Jeep Rubicons for several years, so it was time to change it up.

    We obtained a 2012 LR4 for testing and put it through the paces. I really liked it.


    With the successful test, the decision was made to build a modern Land Rover into a serious exploration vehicle. It is surprising how many products are available for the LR4, so we made a list of solutions that would address concerns with the stock vehicle for long-distance remote travel. Land Rover provided a 2012 LR4 for the project and we wasted no time cutting plastic. The goal was to have the LR4 mostly finished by SEMA.

    It is silver with a tan interior




    Land Rover just took a similar vehicle (although diesel) half-way around the world. I know a few of the drivers from that trip and they told me the trucks did great - no major issues. Land Rover Millionth Discovery Expedition. I respect that Land Rover still supports significant overland expeditions like this.




    More details on planned modifications and progress later today. We also look forward to learning from those who have already modified LR3s and LR4s. Post up your impressions and ideas.

    Let's get started
    Last edited by Scott Brady; 09-26-2013 at 06:53 PM.
    Scott Brady
    Overland Journal
    D1 | LJ78 | LR4 | MKIII | J8 | G-Wagen | Range Rover Classic | TE630

  2. #2
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    Already rocking the ARB bumper?

  3. #3
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    Vermont, United States
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    Awesome! I drove the LR4 several months ago and fell in love with it. It was FAR more capable than my modified DII. Can't wait to see the progression of your LR4.

  4. #4
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    What are our initial plans?

    Protection: This truck needs protection to save the expensive sheetmetal.
    1. ARB Front Bumper
    2. Kaymar Rear Bumper
    3. Aluminum Rocker Protection
    4. Skid Plates for soft bits underneath

    Ground Clearance:
    1. Johnson Rods for 2.5" 'lift'. You basically gain 'normal mode' ride height clearance by stealing extension travel.
    2. Taller tires. 32.5" diameter to start. 33.5" on 18s to follow.

    Recovery:
    1. Front and rear recovery points
    2. Warn 9.5 winch with synthetic line

    Loading and Lashing:
    1. Custom drawer system for sleeping and equipment storage
    2. Lashing points
    3. Aluminum roof rack

    Additional Items:
    1. 50L Fridge (of course, and the fridge in the arm rest just isn't big enough for a few pounds of Ribeyes)
    2. HID lights
    3. Comprehensive recovery and tool kit
    4. Full compliment of support equipment (we have learned a lot about what works from our round-the-world trip).
    5. Seat covers
    6. Navigation
    7. 2M radio
    8. Possibly an awning

    We are also going to test out a few other projects, including fitting factory LR 18" wheels and constructing a polyurethane emergency 'lift kit' that we can install easily in the field should the air suspension fail or fault.

    The most important decision is where we are going to take it first. I am thinking Southern Utah in December to stretch its legs a bit.
    Scott Brady
    Overland Journal
    D1 | LJ78 | LR4 | MKIII | J8 | G-Wagen | Range Rover Classic | TE630

  5. #5
    Sub'd
    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Thomas Jefferson

  6. #6
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    Aug 2009
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    Awesome! I'm also a fan of newer Land Rovers and have been contemplating adding a LR3 to the stable. Looking forward to seeing the progress.

    95 Defender 90 SW

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dmarchand View Post
    Already rocking the ARB bumper?
    Yes, and it completely changes the look of the vehicle. It is surprising how much armor is available for the LR4/LR4.
    Scott Brady
    Overland Journal
    D1 | LJ78 | LR4 | MKIII | J8 | G-Wagen | Range Rover Classic | TE630

  8. #8
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    Jun 2005
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    The SEMA prep started late last week. The ARB bumper went on first, along with the Kaymar rear with a single swing out for the spare tire.


    Why an ARB bumper on the LR4?

    The most important reason is vanity. I like the way an ARB bumper looks on a vehicle and the ARB completely changes the spirit of the LR4. Of course there are many important functional benefits to bumper, primary of which is the fitment of a self-recovery winch. We can also install aux. lights on the bumper. By design, the ARB bull bar is designed to survive most animal strikes, preventing the radiator and other critical systems from being disabled. We do have elk and deer in Arizona, so this is a welcome attribute.

    The bumper was pretty easy to install overall, the majority of the work done by Land Rover Las Vegas. The winch is a really tight fit and needed some trimming of the plastic air dam. You also need to cut the factory fender flare (scary). Measure about 10 times, then cut.

    More pictures coming from Matt, who had the terrible job of driving the LR4 to Las Vegas and basically gambling and drinking for a few days while LRLV did the heavy lifting. Hopefully he will share his bribery story. A few pictures Matt took when not on the strip.
    Scott Brady
    Overland Journal
    D1 | LJ78 | LR4 | MKIII | J8 | G-Wagen | Range Rover Classic | TE630

  9. #9
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    Oct 2010
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
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    638
    I love how the nay-sayers constantly point to the "new Land Rover corporate culture" and how it doesn't respect its heritage or its enthusiasts...

    ...yet how many vehicles has Land Rover donated to Overland Journal alone? And let's face it, while OJ certainly has risen to the top of a niche, it's still a small niche. We're not talking 4Wheeler circulation here.

    Bravo, LR.

    And sort of bitter-sweet on going from 25 techs to 6. Good that the vehicles are more reliable, but I also read that as 19 poor blokes getting laid off. I hope they were able to find work as LR techs elsewhere.
    2006 LR3
    2006 KTM Adventure 950

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LtFuzz View Post
    I love how the nay-sayers constantly point to the "new Land Rover corporate culture" and how it doesn't respect its heritage or its enthusiasts...
    I am going to wait until we see the new Defender before I make a final judgement on the new LR corp. culture.
    Scott Brady
    Overland Journal
    D1 | LJ78 | LR4 | MKIII | J8 | G-Wagen | Range Rover Classic | TE630

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