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300Tdi Cam (Timing) Belt VIN ranges etc

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All early 300Tdi engines suffer from a problem with cambelt (timing belt) failure. This is due to some sort of misalignment in the pulleys and it can be corrected by one of two modification kits which were produced by Land Rover in 1997/98 – which kit you need depends on the vehicle age.

Full details for fitting the kits can be found in a Land Rover Technical Bulletin, number 0008, dated 25 March 1998. If attempting to fit a kit yourself you should read this bulletin first as it contains important fitting information particularly for the option 2 kit which requires some modification to the timing case behind one of the new pulleys. The bulletin is available from RAVE CD’s or via the GTR online technical resource at www.landrovertechinfo.com which is a subcription service.

The general rule of thumb is that any engine up to some time in 1997 may suffer the problem, and that early engines (1994, 95, and 96) will require the “big kit” (option 1), while later affected engines (late 1996 and 1997) will require the “little kit” (option 2).

All VIN numbers referred to in this post are the last eight digits of the full 17 digit vehicle VIN number, e.g. for SALLDHMF7MA123456 the number you will require is MA123456. VIN details can be found on the VIN plate of the vehicle, usually on a plate inside the windscreen, and stamped into the chassis near the steering box.

The cut off point for affected vehicles is:

Discovery – WA748935

Defender – VA129096

RR Classic – MA664120 (after this the 300Tdi Range Rover was discontinued)

After that point the modification was factory fitted to all vehicles and later 300Tdis do not have cambelt problems. The 300Tdi engines remained in production until late 2006 for some export markets with no sign of any cambelt issues.

Parts Information

Kit No 1 is “STC4095K Timing belt repair kit - Option 1” and contains a replacement timing cover, timing belt, crankshaft gear, tensioner, idler, injector pump bracket, side cover, gaskets, dowels and fasteners.

Kit No 2 is “STC4096K Timing belt repair kit - Option 2” and contains just the timing belt, crankshaft gear, tensioner, idler, gaskets and fasteners.

STC4095K – Kit No 1 – is fitted to vehicles in the following VIN ranges:

Discovery: MA081991 (start of 300Tdi production) to TA200000

MA500000 to VA542370

TA700000 to VA711273

Defender: MA939976 (start of 300Tdi production) to VA101256

RR Classic: MA647645 to MA664120

STC4096K – Kit No 2 – is fitted to vehicles in the following VIN ranges:

Discovery VA542371 to VA 558898

VA711274 to WA748935

Defender VA101257 to VA129096

RR Classic Not applicable – RR Classic was out of production by this time

According to the bulletin, when fitting Option 2, an ERR7143 Seal Crankshaft Front should be fitted to vehicles in the following VIN ranges:

Discovery VA548520 to VA558898

VA716697 to WA748935

Defender VA107351 to VA129096

RR Classic Not applicable – RRC out of production

The last information I had suggested that Land Rover no longer supplied the kits as a Genuine Part but I know that as at early 2007, they were still available from Bearmach in the UK under the same part numbers. They may also be available from some other suppliers. I can also say from just having looked at one today that the Bearmach kit comes with a cast crankshaft pulley which is a better and stronger arrangement than the pulley supplied by Land Rover in the original kits – the original type had the lip spot-welded onto the front of the pulley which was prone to failure on occasions.

Checking a vehicle

You can tell whether a vehicle has been modified by checking the crankshaft pulley. If the crank pulley is plain (no lip to retain the belt on the front or rear of the pulley) then it is original and needs modification. If the crank pulley has a lip on it, then some sort of modification has already been done. Likewise, on an unmodified vehicle the idler pulley will have a lip on each side, this is replaced by a plain idler pulley in the kits.

Vehicles with the modification fitted under warranty by Land Rover should have a dab of yellow paint on the timing case at least 2cm square, just under and to the right of where the aircon compressor is (or would be) fitted.

You can check a vehicle for belt wear using a bit of wire, a thin brazing rod is ideal, or any stiff thin wire, an old wire coat hanger is another option. Bend a hook into the end about 0.5 cm long, and with the engine switched off (!) poke the wire up through the drain hole in the bottom of the timing case. Shove it up as far as you can, have a good scratch around and pull it out, and do this a couple more times. If the hook has a black sooty looking fluff on the end, you have belt alignment problems. If there is a tiny bit, it is probably not too urgent – you will get a double handful of the stuff out before the belt goes ping. If you are pulling loads of it out, get it looked at asap!

Belt failure is not a catastrophic problem as it normally only bends pushrods and snaps 1 or 2 rockers but it usually happens at the most inconvenient moment. Prevention is better than cure – check it and fix it!

Don’t forget the service life of the belt is 5 years regardless of mileage, so change it according to the schedule, it will perish and eventually snap. Some people suggest that the belt is an inherent weakness; if serviced properly, there is nothing wrong with it and in fact it is a lot better than some of the “miracle cures” that are advertised to end all your belt bother.

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  • 1 month later...

Bloody typical Land Rover to use UK vin numbers for something that is connected to the date of manufacture of the ENGINE. My vin number is AADD1WT1BRB811532. Engine no is S18L00212A. But I worked out long ago that I should have had kit 1. The LR stealer fitted kit 2 because that was cheaper, of course. I only paid for the belt, though, not the whole kit. It's a pity they mistimed the engine one tooth out on the camshaft. I fixed that myself later and have done all my own belt changes since. (3 so far, one coming up soon).

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