Land Rover Defender Blog

Our Land Rover Upgrades: Part 2

Round 2 of our Planned upgrades

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

August 24, 2011

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year


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Last week, we posted the list of upgrades and fixes we plan to make to our Defender, on the exterior and interior. However, because the list of mods we intend to make are quite extensive, we've split the post into two parts, with this post covering the mechanics.


We covered handling in the last post, as we want to make the Defender handling 'a-little' more taught. We're not expecting miracles, but new bushes will certainly help. Since posting, we've been looking into Polybushes and have found that many Land Rover owners prefer SuperPro bushes. SuperPro apparently have a lot more of a quality feel to them, and we've found that TD5 Alive stock them. It might be interesting if we could do a straight comparison, so we'll look into it in the future.


As daft as it seems, we want to try and use the best wherever we can. Hence, we'll be switching the oils to those from the Millers Oils brands. They are renowned world wide and used by racing teams, which is a great endorsement. Interestingly, Millers Oils are based about 10 minutes away from our office, so we're going to try arrange a video tour as part of an upcoming project we have in line for you guys. It's called 'Overdrive'.


The Land Rover isn't due a service for another 6,000 miles, but with the extra power and performance (and weight) we're throwing at it, it would be advisable to have the car serviced. As to whether we do this ourselves, as per Land Rover workshop specifications, or pay a local Land Rover workshop to carry a full service out, we're not sure. We also want to query 2 oil leaks, one from the engine and the other, from the gearbox. Yes, we know it's a Land Rover, but we're looking into whether it's possible to completely stop, or at very least, reduce the amount of oil that drips from the underside of this car. The servicing is right next to the suspension (from our previous post) in terms of it's priority. We might also give it a steam clean around this time.


After icicles formed on the radiator grill in winter, the intercooler and radiator have both suffered. The intercooler (which is a standard Land Rover part) has sagged due to ice expanding in the fins. The radiator too has shifted slightly and has sprung a leak. Fortunately, dropping some Radweld in has fixed the problem, but this too is high up on the list for replacing. With a genuine Land Rover item costing £225.00 plus delivery, we'll be using an OEM part (but not Britpart). We're going to team that with a performance intercooler, from TD5 Alive or Twisted Performance.


Fitting a sports exhaust and de-cat pipe to a TD5 can give great performance and a really awesome sounding beast! Again parts will be sourced from Twisted or TD5 Alive.

Check this video (showing just a de-cat and mid-box replacement)

Hybrid Turbo

In order to get real power from the TD5, fitting an uprated, or hybrid turbo is the way to go. Power outputs of 230bhp+ can be achieved using an item like the following from TD5 Alive.

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  1. Pete C says:

    Sounds a great plan to help the TD5 cope with the extra weight. However, if you plan to fit a VNT turbo, you will need an ECU remap to gain the power gains quoted. Will you be going with a Td5 alive remap or something else? My 90 Td5 has been remapped by JE Engineering, the stage 2 set up that gives around 200bhp with the uprated intercooler, K&N filter, EGR removal and mid-silencer replacement pipe. It is great fun having all that power, but the power band is quite rough up in the high revs, and doesn’t really benefit normal driving that much. So I would recommend a remap that gives a nice broad spread power delivery instead of all-out power.

    Also, do you plan to have a fully uprated exhaust system or just replace the mid-silecer and fit a de-cat pipe?

    Cheers, and keep up the good work!

    • Ben Gribbin Ben Gribbin says:

      Hey Pete,

      We totally forgot to add ecu re-mapping. We’re not quite sure who we’ll go with yet. We want to try find a company who’ll allow us to continue documenting the upgrades as part of a new YouTube series were planning, so this too has to factored in. Do you have any reccomendations for ecu mappers? With regards to the exhaust, we’ve got a sports exhaust on the list as well as the decat e.t.c.


      Ben (editor)

  2. Pete C says:

    Hey Ben,

    I would think Td5 Alive or Twisted Performance would be the best bet, because they’re the most well known and respected. However I have also read good reviews on Bell Auto Services too, so it all comes down to what they can offer to fit your requirements.


  3. Tod says:

    Hi Ben

    Great minds think alike. I’m having some superpro bushes fitted in a couple weeks. Hoping to tighten up the suspension a little. I am also having some terrafirma dampers and tubular shock towers put on.

  4. Gavin Earnshaw says:

    Hi Ben,
    just bought a full set of SuperPro bushes to fit to my V8 90. Over the years I’ve tried most of the other brands, starting with the original RH Engineering Polybushes. My 90 is currently eating the trailing arm “triangular” bushes for breakfast so going to give these a try after they were suggested by a clued up mate who had the same problem on his 90.
    Let you know.

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