Discovery TDi Towing

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 21:21
ThreadID: 14028 Views:3301 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
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I currently have a pop top caravan with an Aggregate of 1100kg. I am considering up dating to a full height caravan with a tare of 1300-1400kg and Aggregate of 1800-2000kg. I am concerned about the disco's (1997, Auto) lack of torque (260NM) in towing this weight. Turbo uprgrade kits are not available for the mechanical injection so the likes of Dtronic kits are not an option. Can any one provide details of how the disco is expected to do the job as described.
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Reply By: rickwagupatrol - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 21:31

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 21:31
hiya Ronswon.....
first things first......
what is the designated towing weight of the disco?
what is the designated towball weight for the disco?
has the disco had a hard life,,,maybe a tired motor?
is the suspension going to cope with the extra weight thrown at it?
answer these to start with and you are on the road to finding the answer to your question..
and dont forget,,, the age ole question,,,,how many more oil leaks are gunna appear on the disco????????????????? :) ( just joking) :)

AnswerID: 64511

Follow Up By: Ronswon - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:03

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:03
Thanks Rick.

I've had the disco for 2 years and its done everything I've asked of it in the West Aussie bush and on the beach. Got it at 70km and its in great shape. I don't have any concerns about the towing capacity as its rated for 3500kg and ball weight of up to 200kg. My concern is will it move down the highway at a reasonable speed or do I crawl around with a heavier van. I cruze comfortable at 95-100km now (speed limit). Had new OME nitroshocks installed about 6 weeks ago....excellent.
FollowupID: 325555

Follow Up By: rickwagupatrol - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:11

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:11
mate, i wouldnt worry about it to much. just remember that you will be more susceptible to the winds, especially cross winds.
we had a 22ft full size van behind the patrol, and we knew it was there,, just drove to suit the conditions. no real problem at all.
fuel consumption will obviosly increase, as will the tendance to get a bit of buffeting from passing traffic, but nothing drastic, and i'm sure the disco will cope admirably.......

FollowupID: 325559

Reply By: biscuits - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 21:46

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 21:46
Can't speak directly from the Discovery's point of view, but if its anything like my Patrol, I don't think it will be a big issue.

A mate of mine borrowed my 3.3L turbo diesel patrol (81kW & 258Nm?) to tow a 2 ton Range Rover on a (??200kg??) car trailer. While it was definitely no rocketship, he did say that he was suprised how well it did up some hills and such.

While the 2.5L landy TDi is similar in power to the SD33T, id expect it to be a little bit better being newer and having direct injection. Discos are rated up to 3500kg anyway I think from landrover specs. And besides, diesels love to lug.

Some modifications you might look at - a few extra psi of boost from the stock turbo (with injection re-tuned to suit i think). Also heard that a bigger and more free flowing mandrel bent exhaust provides definitely benefits low-down for turbo diesels.

Hope this helps,
AnswerID: 64521

Follow Up By: Ronswon - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:06

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:06

Thanks for the info, looks positive, I will investigate your suggestions.

FollowupID: 325556

Reply By: Martyn (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 21:55

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 21:55
As with the other comments, check things out, wind deflectors can help on a roof rack, also seeing it's an auto don't forget you may need a transmission oil cooler, if you have one you may need a bigger one. Engine cooling should be considered, I've fitted a bigger rad to my Rangie I only tow an off road camper trailer. Watch for oil leaks as mentioned and long range tanks for the fuel you'll need it.
Keep the shiny side up

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AnswerID: 64524

Follow Up By: Ronswon - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:12

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:12

Thanks for your input, hadn't considered long range tanks as I currently get 650k to a standard 89 ltr, worth considering. As for the radiator and larger oil cooler have to do some research on that one. My current disco temperature does not move regardless of outside temp or what I have towed with it.

FollowupID: 325560

Follow Up By: biscuits - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:28

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:28

Be careful with the accuracy of factory temp guages - I've just bought a aftermarket one (with actual degrees on it) to put on the patrol so that I have a little more information on whats going on other than just 'Hot' and 'Cold'. If I were towing a huge trailer in summer, I would definitely want to keep an eye on the exact temp in my radiator personally.

FollowupID: 325567

Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:39

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:39
Hi Ronswon,

I tow a ~1.6T van with my Patrol (420Nm with Dtronic) and previously with my 1HZ cruiser (272Nm). The cruiser towed the van very well, but you did have to use the gearbox on hills and into a strong headwind you were flat out in 4th at 80km/hr.

When I upgraded to the Patrol, it was a relevation to tow with power to spare. But the interesting this is, I actually found the cruiser more "relaxing" to tow !!! The cruiser was close to the slowest thing on the road and virtually never passed anything. With the Dtronic equipped Patrol, I easily sat on the speed limit regardless of hills or headwinds, but there were all these other dam vans sitting on 80-90 that I kept on overtaking. Or, if I couldn't overtake, I felt frustrated that they were going too slow. But as far as stability goes, both the cruiser and patrol didn't even feel like they had a van behind.

When on clear roads with no real traffic (ie. up North as opposed to down South in WA), the extra power of the Patrol enabled the cruise control to be left on in 5th whereas the cruiser needed to drop back to 4th on the hills. Plus I got 2-3l/100kms better economy with the Patrol while travelling faster.

I would expect the Disco to be a tad slower than the cruiser as you plan more weight with less power. But would I do it? Hmmm... after having the Patrol, it would be very hard to go back to the power of the cruiser. But when I didn't know any better, I was very happy with the cruiser's power.

Don't know if this helps, but thats my experience.



AnswerID: 64535

Follow Up By: Ronswon - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:50

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 22:50

Appreciate the words. My preference is to remain with the disco as long as it does the job, with only 100,000k's on the clock its barely run in.

FollowupID: 325572

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 23:03

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004 at 23:03
Hi Ron,

If you are happy with the Disco and don't mind not being the fastest on the road, then I'm sure the Disco is more than capable of towing the load. Just means not being the first up the top of the hill, and you won't get frustrated from slower drivers (you will be the slower driver!!!)


FollowupID: 325577

Follow Up By: Member - Alan- Wednesday, Jun 23, 2004 at 12:59

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2004 at 12:59
Ron, I towed a van approx. 1.5 tonne with a '96 auto Disco.all over WA and never had too many probs. keeping at between 90 to 100kph.
Never had a prob. with oil leaks apart from the rocker cover which didn't matter what I did, it leaked!
The standard oil cooler for the transmission seemed to work well and the needle never moved off its normal position.
I made sure the intercooler was clean inside as it gets some oil through from the valve thing which sits on the side of the rocker cover (L/H side when looking at the engine). I also re-routed the pipe which comes out of this valve so it went into the bottom of the air filter not into the feed to the turbo first. This stopped any oil mist from going to the intercooler but meant the air filter required an extra wash every now and again.
Fuel consumption suffered obviously when towing and you had to limit the ambitions when faced with long hills or overtaking road trains. Safer not to bother as they generally get along at around 100kph anyway so they don't hold anyone up except on hills.
It was a good vehicle as far as I was concerned.
FollowupID: 325628

Reply By: GUPatrol - Wednesday, Jun 23, 2004 at 15:57

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2004 at 15:57

A friend of mine tows a Roadstar 20ft full height caravan (about 2ton) with his 1997 TDI Discovery automatic, not a problem, he said it is no rocketship but holds on to the legal speed limits.
On some of the big hills such as some of the moutain passes, he goes to low range and takes it easy to give the torque converter a brake....

AnswerID: 64660

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