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MattBos

Defender Engine Replacement

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Hi all, firstly I would like to say hi as this is my 1st post as this forum was recommended by a friend. I have owned a 1989 defender for the past six months that has the original 2.5td engine fitted. The head gasket now needs replacing therefore I thought it best to look at replacing the engine as the current one is a little sluggish.

My question is what would be the best replacement? I have been advised the 200tdi or 300tdi is the most common replacement. However which is best in terms of simplicity? And would I need to replace the gearbox if I was to switch to either of these? 

Many thanks in advance.

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Bonjour - welcome to the madhouse.

IF you decide to replace the 2.5 Diesel Turbo, an engine not as bad as many claim it to be, the 200 Tdi is an easy swop but are getting a bit hard to find. 300 Tdi is easier found but needs more work for the swop.

Bon Courage !

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It's mainly the top speed that is the issue and at the minute it's been in the garage for repairs more than it's on the road. I realise top speed isn't going to be greatly improved however 5mph on the motorway make a big difference! Maybe the 200tdi is the way to go. Would a new gearbox be required if I went for the 300tdi? Also the discovery engines seem a lot easier found. Would there be much work involved in putting a disco engine in. Obv the mounts will need adjusting by much else? Many Thanks Matt 

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Hi, and welcome to the madhouse. the 300 is different, but you can use the turbodiesel bellhouse to make it fit to your box. It does not solve the problem of the engine mounts, which are different and in a different postion. Also, exhaust is different as is turbo inlet and several other things. A 200 tdi is by far the easiest and will fit with all standard land rover parts. But try to find a good one is very difficult these days, or get a rebuild one. Top speed will be a bit better, and you can vary transfer case ratios to improve it further still.

 

Daan

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A disco 200tdi needs td engine mounts (they bolt straight on). The flywheel housing needs some studs moving and 4 holes countersinking and bolts fitting. You need the radiator intercooler and frame from the disco but you either mod the mounts at the top or the ones at the bottom. I would recommend getting the glyn lewis exhaust down pipe (A must) and they do intake and water pipe kits (you can sort these yourself though). It is possible to retain the viscous fan but you must have a 4 bolt steering box and you need a td cowl fitted upside down. Most just go electric fan.2008_10120169.JPG.88445454a43007f55e7f729c14ebc680.JPG

Mid conversion in our 90.

IMAG1428.jpg.78461f530e0b31c3c5791f49eb35d3c0.jpg

Disco 200tdi all fitted in the 90.

IMAG1429.jpg.d76d717e2e331226709888c6918d3577.jpg

Disco 200tdi engine in our 110 electric fan this time though. It's not a hard job but does require a little thought. I would buy a complete disco to get most of the parts you need.

Mike

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Mike do you mean Steve Parker, not Gwyn Lewis for the downpipe?

I have the mild steel Steve Parker version but I would recommend spending the extra for the stainless version as mine is going rusty already, after 2years ish

 

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Sorry yes it's steve Parker exhaust and conversion kits it was late. My down pipe is mild steel and has lasted 9 years so far but I agree I would go stainless if I did it again 

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I've had two Steve Parker kits for my 109.  The mid and rear sections are low quality off-the shelf parts, only the front sections were made by them.  Neither fits correctly.  As for service, they can't even spell it.  I urge everybody to avoid them - I consider them rogue traders.

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To provide a little balance to snaggers experience above, I only bought the downpipe (the part they make), and the service was unremarkable - the part arrived on time, nothing more nothing less

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I'm with lewis the down pipe is fine mine turned up no problem but that was 9 years ago. The second one wasn't bought by me but fits and works fine. For down pipe I don't think you have much option.

Mike

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There is an alternative I’ve seen on eBay before, but it’s a vile looking cut and shut job

If I ever run out of other jobs to do on my 90 I’d like to remake the downpipe out of stainless, but only because I can

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Welcome!

Just to throw the cat among the pigeons:

  • What do you actually us the vehicle for?
  • How many miles do you do?
  • How much are you looking to spend?
  • Are you doing the work yourself?
  • How fast do you want to go?

Good 200TDi's are getting rarer than rocking horse poo, and they're ALL decades old now. 300's are easier to find but not a million miles different in performance terms etc.

There are crusty TD5 Discovery2's for very little money out there, the MPG sucks and there's wires to connect but they are a load more modern and I hear they tune up very nicely.

Or there's V8 D2's and P38's out there, again for very little money, which would definitely solve the slowness but would be a more involved conversion.

All those engines have been fitted to Defenders as standard so it can be done reasonably parts-bin.

Or to put it another way, "you know it makes sense!"  :P

IMG_2989.JPG

 

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I keep hearing that 200tdi’s are hard to buy, but there’s loads of crusty discos knocking around still, whether the engines are good or not is another matter though. Any Land Rover tdi is old now, as are V8’s, but it doesn’t seem to make them any less reliable 

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1 hour ago, Lewis said:

There is an alternative I’ve seen on eBay before, but it’s a vile looking cut and shut job

If I ever run out of other jobs to do on my 90 I’d like to remake the downpipe out of stainless, but only because I can

Careful you might get some orders. There was someone on here that made their own out of stainless and it was beautiful.:wub:

I bought a 200tdi disco for £500 recently 157k and doesn't smoke (yet) I had to free off the boost pin. 

Mike

Edited by miketomcat

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On 14/04/2018 at 9:08 PM, MattBos said:

It's mainly the top speed that is the issue and at the minute it's been in the garage for repairs more than it's on the road. I realise top speed isn't going to be greatly improved however 5mph on the motorway make a big difference! Maybe the 200tdi is the way to go. Would a new gearbox be required if I went for the 300tdi? Also the discovery engines seem a lot easier found. Would there be much work involved in putting a disco engine in. Obv the mounts will need adjusting by much else? Many Thanks Matt 

What is your budget and intended use? And will you be doing the work?

To be fair the old 2.5TD really isn’t a bad engine and should cruise at 60-65mph all day long. Running 5mph quicker really will make sod all difference to journey times. 

Tdi engines are more powerful and will cruise at the same sort of speeds happily and hold better on hills. But stock gearing means it’ll be the same rpm. So you are unlikely to actually be traveling any quicker. The Tdi engines are more powerful and pretty good on fuel too. But are less refined and more nosy than the older TD. 

The 200 isn’t he was easiest swap. In fact it’s about as easy as engine swaps get tbh. But be warned. It will still take many hours and probably more money than you think it will. And despite loads of people having done this (we’ve done two. One in a 90 and one in an 88). There will always be things to fabricate and solve, even above and beyond the various adaption kits you can buy. 

The 200Tdi might be older than the 300tdi. But I don’t really think they are much if any harder to find in the U.K.  there are still friggin loads of them. And the 300 is hardly any younger. 

A 300Tdi makes identical power to a 200 as well. It does run a serp belt. But pretty much all the changes between the two engines were to make the 300 cheaper to produce. The 300 however is a reasonable chunk more effort to fit. 

Td5’s are very good engines. But will be a step up in price to use. The mechanical fitment is no more complex than the 300. But comes with a host of electronics that will need installing. 

V8’s another good choice. Can go carb or efi. Again similar work to a 300 to fit. 

And lastly the 2.0 litre Mpi engine. As used in the Discovery. The engine is also found in many Rover cars. 2.0 litre petrol 16v. Nice engine and faster and more powerful than a Tdi. Although being non turbo and higher revving is more suited to road use than off road or towing when compared to a V8 or diesel turbo. 

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I put a Disco 200 tdi into my lightweight and fitted 300 tdi exhaust manifold as trenchant goes straight down with only minor adjustments around the engine mount seems to be ok has been on several years now with no issues

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Here is the problem.  If you go and find a used, 20+ year old engine, you will be no further ahead and probably further behind.  Either rebuild what you have and get it properly tuned up.  You should be good for 75 mph.  Or plan to get a fully rebuilt TDI with rebuilt injection system, and rebuilt gearbox and install that.  You can then get to 80 mph but it will cost you two to three times the cost. 

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On 25/04/2018 at 9:43 PM, Red90 said:

Here is the problem.  If you go and find a used, 20+ year old engine, you will be no further ahead and probably further behind.  Either rebuild what you have and get it properly tuned up.  You should be good for 75 mph.  Or plan to get a fully rebuilt TDI with rebuilt injection system, and rebuilt gearbox and install that.  You can then get to 80 mph but it will cost you two to three times the cost. 

Can't say I agree with this. There are plenty of perfectly fine usable used engines. In fact almost all used cars have used engines in them. And you don't have to rebuild a used car to make it usable.

Yes you may take a chance and might need some luck. But the reality is, not everyone is out to get you or trying to flog a dud. We've bought 3 used 200Tdi's and a couple of RV8's. So far all have been perfectly fine and not required rebuilding at all.

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Fitting a 20 year old engine with unknown service history, unknown mileage, unknown number of owners is a complete gamble. You might be lucky and get one in good order that lasts a few years with no problems or you might get something in need of some involved attention up to a full rebuild with new cylinder head and pistons. 

Personally I agree with Red90 and I would always rebuild an engine as old as a Tdi before fitting it if you want trouble free reliability. I wonder how many people have removed a sound pre-tdi era engine and slapped in a worn out Tdi in want of a rebuild fooling themselves that they have just upgraded their Land Rover in terms of reliability.

 

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