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1997 Defender 300 TDI – help needed!

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Hello to everyone.

I own a 2.5 litre 300 TDI Defender 110 Hardtop from 1997.

I have several questions about the following issue:

Let's suppose that while driving offroad in the wild bush the engine runs completely out of fuel and the fuel tank is completely dry (in other words the engine stops running because of lack of fuel and the whole fuel system is dry).

1) What should I do in this case?

2) Is there any danger of damaging the engine?

3) After refueling with diesel, it is possible and if yes how can I restart the engine, without damaging it?

4) Is there any need to bleed the fuel system (dry pipelines, pumps, etc.), in order to eliminate the air, that was probably sucked from the working pumps? How can I do this?

5) Are there any exact points or orifices for bleeding, through which the air can get out, after removing their plugs (for example on the injector pump, fuel filter, etc.)?


The reason why I ask you such questions are:

A) I often travel alone overlanding. I want to be fully prepared and know what exactly to do if such a thing happens to me when I am all alone in the wildness, and there is no help avaiable .

B) I friend of mine owned a Td5 Defender, and now owns a 2012 MY Defender. He said that in both owner manuals it is written that the fuel tank must not be left dry in order not to block or damage the engine, and yet if this happens, that there is a special procedure to be followed by the owner, after refueling, that will help him to restart the engine successfully.

I would really appreciate if all of you who have a lot more knowledge in Land Rovers than me share information or their personal experience with this issue.  Thank you in advance for your kind help.


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You won’t damage anything, and if you have a big enough battery and cranked the engine over for 20 seconds at a time two or three times, with a similar rest gap, and then left a few minutes before repeating, then you should be able to purge the system without hand bleeding, but you will use a lot of battery power and run the risk of overheating the starter motor, so it’s best to prime it by hand using the small lever on the bottom of the lift pump.  It may run rough for a few moments while the system finishes purging all the air,  it it will clear itself.

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As above ^^^^.... i too have run out of Diesel, just fill up from the can turn the key and off you go!

It's one of the 300Tdi's trates, after running out of fuel ans refilling it starts up as a PETROL engine without the need to purge!.... But also has the ability to be purged, iirc you loosen off a valve on the fuel filter and pump the arm on the lift pump untill you have a steady trickle of fuel from the filter valve, then close/tighten up the valve!?!

Me i just start it as normal it has always fired up 1st. Time with no issues

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If you're overlanding on road, off road, know your range, under estimate it,  plan your fuel stops and have more than you need plus a little in reserve.  Never run out of fuel! And remember if you ever do mess up, a tdi will run on cooking oil. 

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Don’t put cooking oil in the Tdi, even diluted! Many of us tried it and the pumps suffered mild damage as a result.  Mine would hunt rpm slightly at mid revs, giving a gentle surging effect that was annoying.  It ran, but wasn’t right again until I had the pump rebuilt.  The story that Tdis are strong enough to run on vegoil without any modifications is a myth - it’ll run, but the coke and gunge build up is significant in exhaust system and the pumps don’t do well unless the oil is preheated to thin it or they are rebuilt with some heavy duty replacement parts and vegoil tolerant seals.  Speak to DeiselBob tuning and they’ll tell you the same.  You should also slightly advance the fuel timing for running on vegoil.

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Full time as a daily fuel I agree, but if you're in the bush,  out of fuel and have 2 litres of sunflower oil in the cooking box,  which will dilute in the 8 or so litres of diesel lying on the bottom of the tank, it won't do any harm and knocks 15 miles off your long walk with a can..

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Just keep looking back as you make the 15 mile walk to civilisation and if you see 1 or more LIONS!?! I'm pretty sure the 15 miles will seem like 15 YARDS!!! 🤣🤣

Edited by Mutley
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