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Repairing A Discovery Boot Floor

Repairing A Discovery Boot Floor

Ok so this is my first attempt at one of these articles so please be gentle with me.:)

It started when I was driving my wife's nov '92 Disco TDi 200 one day and I have to hinge the back seats forward to get something in the boot. When I looked at the leading edge of the boot floor something caught my eye and to took a second or two to work out what it was - IT WAS THE ROAD!!!!

After tentatively lifting the carpet I found that there was NOTHING attaching the front of the floor to the rest of the vehicle.

Now, to understand the effect this had on me the reader needs to know the I CANNOT WELD, so when I read about a number of people fitting new floors to their Disco's, they just welded them in and Bob is your uncle. Unfortunately because of my lack of skill in this area, it took me a while to work out a method of doing the job to a viable standard, but with the skill-set that I currently have.

I also spoke to the local bodyshop who said that if I strip out all the old stuff, he could weld in the new floor for a cost of 600€ !!!

That was too much for me so I thought, ‘Well, it can't be that difficult can it ?’So I decided to have a really good look and see what's involved. Having stripped out the carpets and the rubber mat, this is what I found:

pic 1.jpg pic 2.jpg pic 3.jpg pic 4.jpg

OH MY LORD!!!!!

I particularly liked the access panels so thoughtfully provide by LR to gain access to suspension components, the fuel separator etc:

pic 5.jpg pic 6.jpg

So, my first thought was to order all the bits I thought would be neccesary from a supplier of panels.

As some of you may know I live in the middle of France so the supplier I chose was Paddock Spares, partly because I've used them before and found them excellent and partly because they will deliver up to 35kgs to my house for £5! So floor, 2 x crossmembers strong and 2 x crossmembers flat were ordered and subsequently delivered.

Great, so now I've got the parts, what am I going to do with them, because I'm going to have to do this myself. I thought about various different ways, looked in on the DIY shops for inspiration and eventually decided that what I needed to do, after stripping all the old floor and crossmembers, was to create a shelf that the floor could sit on and then pop-rivet the floor to the shelf.

So I cleared all the old stuff out and was left with this:

pic 7.jpg

I searched the DIY places and hit on the idea of using angle iron back-to-back to creat a sort of Z shape which would be the new shelf. I found some dexion-type racking uprights made from galvanised steel that I thought would work and would bolt together readily and the fixings that came with it looked good also. I then found some really good automotive mastic, Sikkens I think, that should provide a flexible but waterproof bed for the new material.

So, out with the angle grinder and strip out the remnants of the old shelf and back to 'reasonably' good metal and then gave all the old and new metal 2 coats of ‘Hammerite’.

Once everything was dry I had to work out how the new strong crossmembers were going to fit. Their position for and aft was fairly clear as they sit atop of rubber topped chassis supports:

pic 8.jpg

The placing of the flat crossmembers (which seem to me to do nothing much at all) were identified before removing the old floor and marked on the floor sides, so now we're ready to put things back together !!

The two new side pieces seemed to me to be crucial, as they will eventually support the new weight-bearing crossmembers so I took quite a long time in preparation before fitting these. When ready (they have already been painted twice) they were masticked up and then bolted into postion. I used lots of bolts in an attempt to ensure a strong result. A this stage we only have half the shelf ie the L in place see pic:

pic 9.jpg

After that, I cleaned up the chassis as best as I could and gave it a good slap of ‘Hammerite’ as I'm never going to be here again, hopefully !!

Then I tackled the front edge of the floor and created a shelf with a mixture of the dexion angle iron and some std angle iron of a smaller dimension. This was the only bit of welding on this job and done by a pal. The height of the second L that actually creates the shelf was a crucial issue and involved a lot of fitting of the weight-bearing crossmembers (WBCM) and measuring, comparing the height with the rear crossmember at the back of the car and the height of the WBCM and
the front of the floor, to get a line as level as possible. This is the result........

pic 10.jpg

Once the front and back levels had been established the side second L's (the shelf bit) were created again using plenty of automotive mastic and pop-riveted in place, every 3 inches from memory.

So now we have a shelf all the way around the floor, the next job was to install the WBCM. These were slid (with a little help from a medium-sized hammer) underneath the new shelf, atop the rubber covered chassis mounts and pop-riveted in place. I cut off the plate holding the brake line and bolted it to the new WBCM because I didn't want to disturb the rather cruddy-looking union. I was concerned about how secure these (WBCM) might be but was satisfied that the weight pressing down through the shelf, plus the eventual pop-rivets through the floor would secure everything satisfactorily.

The flat crossmembers were bolted through the new shelf.

So we now have the new shelf in place, all crossmembers in place, all double coats of Hammerite top and underneath, so now it's just the floor.

Or maybe not !! The seat belt anchors of course would not come undone. I tried everything to get these b*ggers undone but to no avail. Eventually we (me and my pal Keith) decided the best option was to cut through the captive nut underneath the floor plate and replace with a new nut. this worked well and allow us to install them into the new floor was fixed in place.

So, finally, the new floor double coated on both sides with the big H, was pop riveted in place, after being bedded on mastic all round. A final coat of metallic blue ‘Hammerite’, and the finished job looks like this........

pic 11.jpg

Lessons learned:

1. I wouldn't both with the Dexion angle iron again. By the time I'd cut and faffed about with it any galvy advantage had gone out the window.

2. Before fitting the new floor, check the fuel tank connections carefully. I didn't and 2 days after the glorious victory over the boot floor I found I had a leak which came from the tank sendor unions being corroded, so a new one had to be installed. It took the shine off the job in a big way, I'll tell you.

3. I'd get my pal to weld the second part of the shelf in all round. Once he was set up it only took a few minutes to do the front bit, so all around perhaps only an hour?

I KNOW it's not a professional job, but it looks good (ish), it's strong, and it passed it's Controle Technique (MOT) with flying colours.


My thanks go to my pal Keith for his support and unending confidence that "It'll be alright Dave!"
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