More tunes, less rust


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Greg poses with his beloved Pennine Grey Defender : credit: © Alisdair Cusick
Greg updates us on his Discovery Sport and Defender 90

All my driving life, I have used a Land Rover as my daily driver, except for a brief period last year. Although this was fleeting before I returned to the green oval (can I still refer to the green oval with JLRs recent branding changes?), I did discover the advantages of having Apple CarPlay, for using Spotify, WhatsApp and various mapping apps whilst driving.

I now run a 2015 Discovery Sport and was investigating my options to retrofit Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, as this didn’t become a factory fitment until the late 2019 facelift. A manufacturer called IDCore came to my rescue, with a unit it offers for earlier Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque models.

This consists of a new module and harness that fits behind the dash. This plugs into the existing entertainment unit. All the original functionality of the factory fit unit remains, but using a long press of the home button, you can toggle between the factory system and the new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto system. This supports wireless Apple CarPlay connection, as well as wired connection, using a normal USB plug.

Factory unit now has smartphone functionality

After six months of using the system, I find it to be excellent. The software seems stable and reliable, although it can struggle to connect wirelessly if two of you get in the car both with CarPlay enabled on your phone – it doesn’t know which one to connect to. The only other limitation is that it uses the auxiliary audio input, so navigation directions can’t be heard if the radio audio is on. It’s possible to get around this by using one of the many radio apps available on CarPlay.

IDCore offers solutions for Freelander 2, Range Rover Evoque Gen 1, Discovery Sport (up to 2019), Discovery 3 and 4, Range Rover Sport Gen 1 and 2, as well as Range Rover L322 and L405.

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Meanwhile, rather less technology has been needed on my Pennine Grey 90 Tdi. Unbelievably, it’s been five years since I bought back the little grey 90 that I took my driving test in back in the 1990s. One of the first things I did was to replace the timing belt, so, as prevention is better than cure, I’ve just replaced this again – five years on. It’s just not worth taking a risk on timing belts, especially when it’s not a ‘safe engine’ if it fails.

I also bit the bullet and asked Greg at Town and Country to rebuild the front axle swivels. These did have free play in them when I bought the 90, but with some shimming adjustment, I managed to reduce this. However, in recent times, the free play has returned, plus the nearside sprouted a not inconsiderable leak, so it was time to address the issue properly. Whilst working on the front axle a new pair of brake discs went on, as it’s not a five-minute job to do these, as it’s on a Discovery…

As I was on a maintenance roll with the 90, I had a couple of dirty weekends jet washing the chassis and flushing through the main rails to ensure all dirt and debris was removed. I then let it dry for a week, including some warm weather drives to dry out the cavities as best I could. I used Buzzweld products in the cavities of the main rails and crossmembers and topped up the coating in any areas showing deterioration on the exterior of the chassis with Buzzweld WAR. This went on really nicely and covered well, so I’m hoping it’ll be a little while before I have to crawl around on my back doing that again.

1991 Defender 90 Tdi
Power: 107bhp
Torque: 188lb-ft
MPG: 29

2015 Discovery Sport SE Tech 2.2
Power: 187bhp
Torque: 309lb-ft
MPG: 38


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