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Trouble with McDonald remanufactured 2.5NA Diesel


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Hi -

Having a few issues with a newly purchased remanufactured 2.5NA stripped Diesel engine. Any suggestions welcome!

Following engine failure, I ordered a new (remanufactured) engine (stripped (sump to rockers), along with 4 injectors and a fuel injection pump, and set timing belt) from McDonald Land Rover Engines in oswentry. Collect it last week. While the service offered was quick and friendly, I'm disappointed by the engine finish - a few bolts on the flywheel housing missing, a missing starter bolt etc. I put the engine in the 110 today. I was unable to start it while stationary as I was having difficulty priming the fuel lines. A tow start did the job. It initially started which huge clouds of white smoke - presumably water in the exhuast etc (car stored in a humid-ish garage for 2 weeks stationary while swapping the engines).

It ran relatively well at tick over at a stand still, puffing white smoke for about 10 min. Later in the day, i took it for a drive. Covered 30 miles. Throughout the drive, and now at a standstill also, it billows black smoke. Not particularly thick, and cetainly not blue, but much more than i'd expect from an very worn or badly timed engine, let a long a brand new one. Along with the smoke, there seems to be an excessive metallic noise coming from the engine, which to my ear sounds like excessive tappet noise. Is this usual for a brand new engine? It also seems to lack power. at 35-40mph in 4th, i'm unable to accelerate further in any meaningful way.

Called McDonald who suggested checking the tappets and injectors. I checked the tappets this evening. Some are a little loose (no drag at all on the feeler blade (0.01 inch), others are a little stiff, (feeler blade needs to be wiggled and pushed in to fit). That is, they're not all the same, but i'm unsure if they're sufficiently off to be causing the (a) problem. I haven't yet swapped the injectors.

What could cause such problems if not the above? Could it have been badly timed? I understand black smoke is ofter badly burning or badly delivered fuel?

Any comments or suggestions welcome.

Thanks,

Martin.

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What's the noise like? From what you say it sounds like tappet issues. If it sounds like a Chieftan Tank on startup then the clearances might be worth double checking! The noise was HORRENDOUS on mine when I had similar problems. The N/A doesn't give much at the top end on a good day; I struggled to reach 35mph in *any* gear, let alone 4th!

Due to the engine's narrow upper-power band, I've found that acceleration in 4th is pretty optimistic unless you're doing at least 45-50 anyway (even then it helps to be going downhill, slipstreaming a milkfloat!)

Mind you, you could always just take it back and kick up a fuss!

Let us know how you get on, my truck's spent time with MacDonald's in the deep and distant past...

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White/grey smoke while the engine is cold is bad injector pump timing. If your tappets are now set correctly but you still have a tappety rattle, then it's possible that the cam/crank sprocket teeth are one tooth out. If the engine is genuinely remanufactured, then bolts missing is very poor quality.

Les.

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Had the injectors checked today. They were all over the place! 1 doesn't properly fit in the engine block (needed to be pulled out using a screwdriver underneath for leverage, and needed some sanding down to put back in again!), two had loose lower components - the lowest unscrewable section (unscrewable by hand!) - fuel leaked out everywhere when under pressure on the test bank. The last was giving out much more pressure than it should have done.

They were all fixed and returned to the engine, to little avail. It seems to be smoking slightly less (but still far to much). I'll take the timing cover off tomorrow and check the timing. Called Mcdonald. They suggested it could be the timing off due to our initial (very gentle) tow start which could have caused some belt slippage. Is this plausible? The tow was at slow speed, in 3rd, slowly eased in the clutch. I'd be more inclined to think it was never properly timed in the first place if we discover some timing issue.

After 30miles, oil is completely black. Is this normal with a new engine, or is this a sign of diesel leaking into the sump or so?

Les, i take it that retiming the engine if it proves necessary would sort your suggested sprocket issue?

Thanks for the help.

Martin.

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Timing between the cam and crank sprockets is critical - more than one tooth out can bend pushrods. Tow starting a vehicle won't cause any slippage as long as the belt is fitted correctly. Starter turns the crank, which turns the cam - towing still follows a very similar path, so there is no extra strain on any of the timing gear.

If you need timing info with regards to the timing belt, then thread here might help.

http://forums.lr4x4.com/index.php?showtopic=7880

Les.

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That would indeed be my preferred solution Mo, but I exported the engine to Belgium, so unless the engine needs to be completely replaced, it'll unfortunately be more 'economical' to try to fix it up as much as possible here rather than driving all the way there - though somehow i'm starting to think that that may indeed become the cheapest option soon. I'm very disappointed.

Cheers.

M

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Hi Martin,

First off, sorry to hear it but it sounds like they let someone getting work experience rebuild your engine.

If your not keen to ship it back I would get a mechanic or someone very knowledgable look over the engine thoroughly noting all the issues and rectifying them accordingly.

Finding loose bolts, tappets all over the place and a slipped timing belt, sorry to say it, but I wouldn't be happy with any of the engine.

For peace of mind I would have the sump off and check all the big end journals and main bearings are torqued up correctly as well. If any of these things follow suit with what you have found so far you will end up buying a new engine or a lot of expense repairing it.

Me personally I find the excuse of tow starting the engine slipping the timing belt complete cr*p, if this is the case you will probably find that the timing belt tension isn't correct thus confirming all of the above.

Sorry to express the above buddy but I would be seriously p**sed off if it was me.

As an extra keep a complete and accurate record of your findings and your communications (dates, times, e-mails, names of people you speak to etc) in case you want to take up the case for compensation etc.

Let us know how you get on.

Regards

Grant

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Hi

echo the above!, also engine oil will turn black within 30 miles in a normal engine, but should be cleaner in a rebuilt engine!!! if its been apart and cleaned properly the oil should stay syrup colour for a while...

sounds like its been cleaned up on the outside and sold on..

Mike

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Hello all

Thank for all your responses. have removed the timing cover and found the cam shaft to be 2 teeth slow (2 teeth behind the arrow marker when turning the wheel clockwise). The crank and fuel sprockets correctly align.

What next? I (perhaps slightly inappropriately) called Legs and Turner, but they were kind enough to take the time to confirm what you've all said - that a tow start could not possibly have caused a timing belt slip.

I called back with the news, but they're insistent that they've 'heard about two starts causing slip on new engines, because the tolerances are so small and everything is so tight, and because there's so much pressure on the cam the first time round', but that on 'old engines its ok'. Assuming that the belt could have slipped, would it then not be the case that the fuel wheel would be out by the same amount, since i suppose there's negligible resistance on it and it just would have been pulled along with the slipping belt, no?

Next step i suppose is to reset the timing, which i'll do now, and check how it runs. I take it the push rods are the weakest point, and would have suffered first if 2 teeth out is enough to cause damage?

This is so irritating. i should not have told mcdonald we tow started it, as i'm sure they're now going to stay stuck on this, but did to describe the situation as clearly and as honestly as possibly, absolutely convinced as you all are that a gentle 10mph tow start could not possibly cause the belt to slip!

Once it's properly timed, how do we check for potential damage? Would there by extra play on the tappets? If we take the rocker off and check the pushrods, and find no bent ones, can we be sure that no other damage has occurred?

How do i check if the tensioner was properly tensioned/torqued? I suppose the belt could have slipped if it wasn't tensioned properly.

Thanks you very much for the help.

martin.

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sounds like a load of bol**cks to me, never heard of a belt slipping cos of a tow start, plus surely its likely you would see damage to the teeth on the belt where it slipped? push rods are usually the weakest link, if they are straight and the claerances are set ok and it runs ok then its probably ok!

Either way its their fault if the timing was out, and still their fault if the tensioner was loose, i would get a letter off a qualified diesel engineer if i was you.

Mike

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Agreed. I think you have seen and done enough so at this stage so would hit them with a written report from an independent qualified engineer. If the report finds the engine was / is unfit for purpose then I would be asking the company in question to put matters right at no further cost to yourself with a reasonable period (say 14 days).

Send them a link to this thread too.

Why didn't you use Turners or LEGS in the 1st place?

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but they're insistent that they've 'heard about two starts causing slip on new engines

That's a lie. 'New' engines are tight only inasmuch as you should keep the revs down a bit for a couple or so hundred miles.

This is to protect the new pistons/rings/bore more than anything else.

A remanufactured engine should need no adjustment at all after fitting - the belt tension is the same regardless, so it's no more likely to slip than at any other time. If the belt was 2-teeth out when you checked it, then some idiot didn't fit the belt correctly in the first place - either setting up the timing or the belt tension. It seems to me that you are stuck between a rock and a hard place - at least we are aware of this company's reputation now. I know it's a hard decision to make, but your best option is to put everything right yourself.

In my eyes a remanufactured engine would have been completely dismantled, re-bore, new pistons/rings/gudgeon pins, Crank journals measured and a re-grind if necessary, new main and big-end shells, all gaskets and seals, engine so clean inside and out that you could eat your dinner off it. It sounds to me from your posts that they chucked an old engine in the box and sent it to you. Sorry to say it, but you have been right royally ripped-off my friend.

Les. :(

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Thanks for the responses. Between a rock and a hard place sums it up best!

I'd never worked with either Legs, Turner or McDonald, so choosing one was a bit hit and miss. Turner were expensive - 1800 for a stripped engine. Both legs and mcD offered a stripped for 1300. I spoke to them all, and all were extremely friendly and sounded very professional. After a long conversation with Mark, the head engine engineer at McDonald, we agreed on a 10% discount on the stripped engine, and he'd prepare it with a new injection pump and injectors. Our current injection pump had done 280000km, and a new one in the UK cost as much as having the old one revised, so the deal sounded like a reasonable deal. Total purchase cost came to 1600.

We collected the engine ourselves, and all seemed well. Asked McDonald many questions and they were happy to answer them. At the time we unfortunately didn't notice the missing exhuast manifold bolts and starter bolt, but then we weren't really looking for missing components on a new engine!

We swapped the sump out for a version with an breather hose, and at the time, the big end looked clean and new, as did the pushrods etc. We were filled with confidence while putting it in! It's a shame it didn't work quite so simply!

We reset the timing this evening, but ran out of time to fire it up. Tomorrow we'll know if it has helped. The belt looks perfect, no sign of slippage or wear etc Mark. The tension seemed completely normal too. I do just think as you all say, things got timed up inappropriately at the start.

Assuming things run fine tomorrow, is it worthwhile removing the rocker assembly and checking the pushrods, or if everything seems normal, may we (or they!) have gotten away with murder? We're taking the engine on a 15,000mile overland trip, so things do need to be in order!

I spoke to Acer (gentleman at McD who put our engine together. Mark, head engineer, comes back on Monday) many times today - friendly, but completely unwilling to look past the fact that the slippage is due to the tow. I find this so irritating. I'm annoyed at myself for having mentioned the tow, but then I was just trying to describe the situation as clearly and as honestly as possible to them with the aim of finding a suitable solution. Mistakes happen - what i find most unprofessional is their unwillingness to even momentarily consider that fact that just perhaps, a mistake at manufacturing was made. An apology, an offer of some solutions and some new pushrods if necessary for example, would have cost them nothing, and while it would not have prevented us wasting a huge amount of time and money on this affair, it would at least have been courteous and professional. Instead, they know that we're abroad and that a trip back up to the UK is far less economical than having it sorted here, and if things do subsequently go wrong, i'm likely to get the response that because i inspected the engine following the troubles myself, rather than returning it to base, our warranty is void! In hindsight, I would have happily forgone my 10%, or paid the extra 500pounds at Turner's! But then we all know what they say about hindsight...

I'm very very grateful for all of your comments. I'll keep you posted on how we get on and what they say. Do let me know if anything else comes to mind.

Best wishes,

Martin.

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Sounds very much a "we have your money sir now go away" type mechants - one to note to aviod.

I would strongly suggest you get legal with them, if you paid by credit card then get them involved, and yes as others have said put this on absolutely loads of LR websites, others may save themselves the **** your going through, and seriously bad publicity even the hardened cowboys tend to fear, as they should

Dreadfull, get legal ........quickly

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that business about the tow-starting is bulls**t, I have never heard of it happening, it sounds like them latching on to an idea which may shift the blame your way.

As the others have said, post this on all the landrover forums, write to all the Mags, and make sure everyone gets to know about it.

I'd get legal with them now, get an engineers report on the engine, and try to reclaim some of your costs...

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If the timing mark on the cam sprocket was 2-teeth above the arrow on the rear of the timing case then the cam timing was advanced - causing soft compression and thus the white smoke. I suggest you just start the engine once the timing is set correctly. You may however still get white smoke on start-up and until the engine warms up - this may be a different issue associated with fine tuning the pump timing. If you want to check the pushrods, then the rocker assembly will have to be removed and the rods rolled on a flat surface in order to detect any distortion. Keep the rods in the order you remove them to save having to re-set the tappet gaps.

Les.

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Good morning Les -

The timing on the cam was two teeth behind (below the arrow) - that is, having removed the belt, the cam sprocket needed to be turned clockwise two teeth.

The white smoke no longer appears - only during the very first 10-15min stationary run. The last 20 miles were consistently black. Would those symptoms fit the retarded timing?

Will turn the engine on soon, and get back to you.

Cheers,

Martin.

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When i was in the trade i supplied a bare 2.25 diesel to a local agricultural engineering co to put in an 88 belonging to one of their customers, the customer refused to accept the vehicle as when it was delivered back(by driving) it was belching black smoke and running rough. The ag eng's sent the vehicle to us saying that it was our engine and workmanship at fault. Investigation revealed massive crankcase breathing that was preventing the oil from the rockers draining back to the sump so filling the rocker cover up till the oil flowed(blasted) with the gas from the breather into the inlet manifold, they were lucky that it did not run away. It turned out that the bores were distorted as with the sump off and hand turning the engine on the starting handle with the vehicle on the 4 post ramp the compression(blow by) was perfectly lacking and when i eased the weight off the starting handle there was a loud woosh and the handle vertually went round on its own weight. The workshop that did the reboring and crank grinding agreed with us that the distorted bores were not down to us and that the engine had been overheated.

It transpired that the ag eng's had done this job as a time filler job for whoever in the workshop was at a loose end for work over a period of about 3 weeks, it had been run with no water by one of them!! Replacing the block with another that was at the same oversize and it is still running to this day with no issues to my knowledge.

But in the case of this 2.5 and its belt i would agree that it was timed wrong in the first place and it probably has not bent the pushrods as my 2.5 was running with the cam timing out by 2 teeth but it was down on power, it had been a swine to time up when i built the engine 3 years before the belt snapped! New belt/pushrods, retimed and its a different engine now, it goes.

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The suppling dealer should make good their work if there is an issue,

trying to blame a tow start is just passing the buck.

hopefully they'll sort out the engine and prove to be a decent parts supplier.

decent companies are out there just look at Ashcrofts/X-eng/OEC/Southdown.

then there are the other end of the scale:

Scrapiron

lets hope your supplier is nearer the first two and a long way from the last.

Why not send them an email with a link to this website so they can see what experienced L/R owners/engineers think to.

if they are a reputable company they'll help sort the problem rather than pass the buck I'm sure.

if you are to blame for anything I hope they'll help sort it out to.

Here's hoping

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Hello all -

Finally some good news! Having found the timing to be two teeth slow on the cam yesterday, we timed the engine up and drove 80miles without a hiccup. The smoke has vanished, the 'power' is back, and the engine seems to be running normally (and comparatively silently) - at least in as far as I can tell. There's no unexpected rattle etc. If damage has occured, is it likely to show up later on if it hasn't done so already? Or if as the engine seems to be running fine now, maybe two teeth out wasn't enough to harm it?

Still have been unable to get the injectors to work properly however. They were calibrated, but 3 are still leaking. They seem to be leaking from around the copper ring half way up the injector. Can the top part be tightened, or would this de-calibrate them? Do you suggest sending them back and asking for new ones, or should tightening them up clear up any trouble? I don't really want to be sent a new set which may then need re-calibrating, again at my cost.

On monday, I shall call McDonald back and hopefully speak to Mark to see what he has to say. I will certainly mention your views and support. I hardly expect he'll offer to cover the 100-odd pounds i've spent so far on screws, seals and garage bills to get the engine sorted to spec, but an apology perhaps would be a good start!

Once again, thank you all for your thoughts, help and support. Hopefully the word will spread and others will consequently avoid our misfortune - it would be the only good thing to have come from this!

Best wishes,

Martin.

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