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An Introduction to the Td5

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Ok this might already exist, but I wrote it so I figured it shouldn't go to waste.... this one's for the newbie:

Td5 Buyers Guide

There is always a lot of skepticism when a new engine comes into the fold, because the answers to the important questions about reliability, ongoing performance and lifespan just aren't available. Ok so the Td5 isn't a new engine anymore, but in a sense it's come into it's prime for the LR enthusiast, because it's been with us long enough to have proven itself, both in longevity and as an engine that can be modified to produce not inconsiderable power gains.

With that said, the following is a buyers guide, or rather a buyers be ware, because the Td5 while not in the strict sense a modern diesel anymore, has some of the attributes that are turning the fair weather diesel converts of the past 10 years, back to petrol. I have two Td5's, both are the earlier, teething, 10P engines. One has been almost rule breaking in it's ultra reliability and is the reason I love the Td5, but the other, which I got more recently, has shown nearly all the worst problems the Td5 can bring, and has left me quite sour of late. If I'm biased as I write this, it's as someone who isn't feeling any love for the Td5, so I hope this gives anyone who is considering a Td5 vehicle a good overview of the engine. This may be surplus to requirements, but on a personal level maybe it's a bit of a cathartic rant.

Disclaimer: Most of this is from personal experience, but some tidbits of information I'm taking on faith from others. Also this is not an exhaustive evaluation, it's full of holes and is just the stuff that comes to mind as I write. I welcome any contradiction or suggestions for inclusion.

Firstly lets tackle some myths:

1. The Td5 is not a BMW engine. It is the last engine designed by Land Rover, and was in an advanced stage of development when BMW came to own LR. If you're a purist, it's the most modern all LR engine made.

2. The Td5 was a new engine design. It may have been loosely based on the L-Series 4 cylinder engine's bottom end, but is technically not a modified version of that power plant.

3. The Td5's engine management system and especially ECU is not unreliable and in fact has proven itself to be possibly the most reliable system on the engine.

4. The Td5 can be rebuilt. (search for 'Petes' posts on the AULRO forums.)

5. The Td5 cylinder head can be skimmed. It has a hardened face, but will put up with up to (and some say over) 8 thousandths of an inch being skimmed from it.

6. The British M.O.D. did not decide against the Td5 in it's army vehicles because of unreliability, it opted for the 300Tdi because it deemed it's electrics were more easily managed in the field. As stated, Td5 electrics are extremely reliable, and a range of plug-in diagnostic management tools are available to the civilian owner. Hawkeye, Nanocom etc. Regardless, life without a diagnostic tool is not difficult.

Model Variations:

'99 - '01 Engine Prefix 10P

1. These engines meet EU2 Emission standards with a basic exhaust gas recirculation system (EGR). in fact Land Rover over estimated the then forthcoming EU standard whilst in development and so overshot with the system's efficiency. Thus an EGR blanking kit may be fitted to the engine to prolong it's life, whilst still allowing emissions to be within roadworthiness test requirements.

2. Fuel is fed to a returned from the injectors internally in the cylinder head via the fuel pressure regulator.

3. Early ECU's are not flash programmable.

'01 -'04 Engine Prefix 15P or 16P

1. EGR system meets EU3 standard and incorporates a cooling device

2. External fuel return to FPR via pipe on outside of cylinder head.

3. ECU flash programmable

Known Faults:

1. Fuel Pressure Regulator. Early ones leak, profusely. Updated versions are available. Some say they leak regardless… eventually.

2. Head Gasket Failure. Early cars had cylinder head location dowels made of plastic and weren't up to the job, allowing the head to wander and undermine the head gasket. Replacement dowels in steel are available. Otherwise the cooling system is, for want of a better description, suitably over engineered.

3. The Oil Pump Bolt on early engines was not properly thread locked and can unwind over time. If left unchecked it has been known to fall out effectively destroying the engine. Some late engines reportedly also missing adequate thread lock. Check at earliest convenience. The oil pump itself has proven reliable.

4. General leaks. It's a Land Rover, it leaks. You may choose to view leaks as built in continuous chassis protection, or you are free to pursue leaks with vengeance and resolve. It's debatable whether it is possible to seal a Td5 engine long term.

5. Abrasion. Various system are in close contact on the Td5 engine. From first hand experience I know that the earth wire from the oil pressure sender can be severed, with no noticeable symptoms from the dashboard light. Likewise the protective sheathing on the wires running across the front of the engine to the various sensors can become brittle and fall away, leaving the wires vulnerable. I found an ambient air pressure sensor wire severed on one of my cars. Also power steering pipes can wear through to the point of leaking.

6. Early cracked cylinder heads. Turner Engineering offer higher quality replacements.

Problems Due to Age/Wear:

1. Dual Mass flywheel. Borne out of the quest for more refinement, many modern diesels have and exhibit a worn out flywheel at certain mileage. It's the nature of the beast. Rakeway do a solid flywheel replacement as do Britpart. Approx. £800 and £350 respectively. Some loss of refinement will be experienced as 'chatter' through the gearbox at idle.

2. Oil in the electrics. The terminal on the injector loom on early versions allows oil to seep through the contacts and the plug into the main loom. It can get as far as the ECU under the driver seat in a Defender and can cause running problems. Updated injector looms are available. Some say they leak regardless. Some engine run fine with wiring full of oil, others misfire and or are down on power.

3. Crank shaft pulley. The crank pulley is also a dual mass affair, bonded together by a thick piece of rubber. Often misdiagnosed as a squeaky bearing in the serpentine belt tensioner, the momentary chatter heard when some Td5's are switched off is actually this rubber in the pulley beginning to let go. Do not buy anything but a genuine replacement, the quality of aftermarket ones is hit and miss.

4. Oil Cooler. These tend to wear out, some quicker than others depending on factors such as attentive coolant maintenance, water quality, oil quality and fuel quality. Symptoms are oil in coolant. Aftermarket replacement kits are available at roughly £160.

5. Injector Seals. The washers and o-rings on the injectors will begin to wear out, allowing combustion gases to enter the fuel system and in extreme cases, allowing fuel to enter the oil ways. This presents itself as a rising level in the sump. Some extreme cases have been reported with engines 'running on'. Symptoms are a black haze all over the fuel pump, and the momentary gurgle and whine from the fuel pump when the ignition is first switched on.

6. Turbo Waste Gates tend to stick causing jack rabbiting or inducing limp mode when high revs are applied. Freeing is a simple job. Waste gate must be loose to the touch.

7. The coolant elbow at the front of the cylinder head (where the temp sensor is mounted) corrodes under the flexible hose, causing coolant loss that can go unnoticed.

8. Mass Air Flow sensor can die, causing loss of power.

9. The water pump has a respectable lifespan as far as I know. The genuine replacement article can be three times the price of an aftermarket version. The Quinton Hazell aftermarket version is reputed to be a long lived replacement item (contrary to many people's view of QH). Problem is QH were bought by another company and everything seems to be in flux. At time of writing I've been told (by two different suppliers) that the QH part is not available in the UK or Ireland and it will be 6-8 weeks before it MIGHT be again. I've bought a 'Graf' pump and will report back if I've any issues. (it's worth noting that I didn't like the feel of the Graf seal kit that came with the pump so I've spent €11 on the genuine seal kit from LR.)

My personal suggestion - if you plan to buy a Td5 vehicle the chances are it'll have passed the 100k mile mark. Expect to eventually encounter some or all of the above problems. Some are just the way it is, wear and tear take their toll on any engine. Others are the luck of the draw. These problems can be chronic, I've had most of them, but conversely found my cylinders, pistons and bottom end to be in fantastic condition. But I recommend only buying a car with a comprehensively quantifiable history of upkeep. As with any vehicle, unless you know the car prior to buying, a bargain is rarely a bargain. Spend as much as you can on the best example you can find.

As a parting shot I'll say this: right now I hate the Discovery Series 2 I'm trying to coax back to life, and in equal measure the dickhead who neglected it before I got it. I bought it out of necessity, the price was right, and in the end if I'm honest, it was a lemon. BUT! Sometime in the not too distant future, I'll have eventually rectified all the above problems, and replaced most of the ancillaries on this particular Td5. At that point, there isn't another engine I'd rather have under the bonnet, not when real life chips are on the table. Some people are driving around in Td5 vehicles unaware that there are a raft of problems plaguing them, the engine has a huge capacity to put up with a lot of problems and keep going. It is a good engine, it can be a reliable engine, but I think most importantly, it's not a difficult engine to get to know and deal with. When it arrived first many DIY maintenance folk were intimidated by it. No need to be. Just make sure everything is in order… before you own, and while you do.

George.

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I'd add power steering pump and steering box to your list of faults.

I've got a 2001 Discovery TD5 that i've owned from new that has been fantastic and a 2003 110 TD5 that i bought that has had every fault you list and then some.

Biggest let down with my Discovery is that it will need a new chassis sometime soon. Definitely my favourite Land Rover engine though :)

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I, for one, appreciate this information. The one time I bought a fairly new Land Rover I got stung badly, so I live near the bottom of the heap where there is less to lose! As a result, the TD5 is just starting to come into the realm of affordability for me. However, I only know one person who has owned one and objective opinions have been rare. It's always been an engine which appeals to me and it's nice to know the problems are more typically British than "modern". Thanks.

Don

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I don't think that reply is in any way helpful.

Overall a very balanced review of a potent powerpack which has proved itself over the years. I agree that regular servicing is absolutely essential, but hey, why would you scrimp on this and expect a motor to last??

Barry

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Better the devil you know. The 300tdi also has its faults, but you can put measures in place to reduce the risk. Its still a good engine

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I don't think that reply is in any way helpful.

Mine? Wasn't meant to be helpfull, just to summarize what was said :)

I'm happy to know that my engine has only got 2 possible issues, the first is the most catastrophic but luckily the rarest problem which is a cracked precup dropping into the cylinder (what happens on 2.5NA as well). The second is that the valve rockers wear out where they touch the valve stem making it difficult to adjust valves and ends up in a bit of a rattly engine. Luckily it will age well despite that. Overall a truly reliable engine unlike any of LR's ofference

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When you have a thread listing common faults and fixes it will always make an engine look carp, thing is no-one ever reports when it has been ultra reliable for over 200K.

And those toy engines drop the big end shells with euro oils too.

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Especially with a list being that long.

That's the 1HDT you're talking about, not the good old 3B. (the 13BT is better actually as it is direct injection so no precup issues, truly trouble free)

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The list isn't that long, you can probably make a similarly sized list (with a lot of the same issues) about a 300TDi...

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Just goes to show how different people interpret the same thing!

For the record, I wouldn't have Td5's if I didn't have a hell of a lot of respect for the engine.

Regarding the 3B, no argument there, but then we're talking about a comparatively big displacement normally aspirated diesel putting out a very unstressed 90hp from sheer displacement. I'm sure you're very happy ToyRover, especially that you've put a turbo on it. But in standard guise it's slow and noisy and I bet it weighs a good hundred kg's more than a Td5. A 3B will suffer just the same if neglected, the difference is that there's less to go wrong.

The only really important list above is the Known Faults. There are 6 items on that list, all bar one of which can be eliminated by preempting them. Granted, we the consumer shouldn't have to, but imho if something's too easy it's a bit... meh. Like the Toyota

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Because of the large displacement they have lots of off-idle torque which is very nice. In standard form it is noisy and it is indeed very slow. With a turbo it is still noisy, but way more fun to drive and far from slow. They weight I'm not too concerned about. One big drawback is fuel compsumption, which resembles a teenage binge drinker.

Anyway, to each their own I suppose :).

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:)

Believe me mate, I wish I was into Toyotas! (have always loved the look of the old swb FJ40's, and the 60's too, and in fact, I kinda like that homage to the 40 they brought out there a while back in the brash colours)

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I love the old LandCruisers, such a shame they're so ridiculously expensive, rusty and road tax here is insanely high for the heavy diesels :unsure:

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Great post! I love my Td5 - completely cured my previous liking for V8's!

Si

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I'm with Si on this one.

I really appreciate this post. As an owner of a TD5 it gives me a good sense of additional things to look out for. I am very happy with the engine and the beast it is attached to.

Agree with you wholeheartedly on the MAF. It seems to need replacing every few years! Not quite a service item, but not far off.

Martin

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Thanks for taking the time to write up, at least the faults are known and can be dealt with. As the supply old aging 200 and 300 tdi's dry up it's goo to know there is some diy options.

the tdv6 and tdv8 just need some aftermarket afforable ecu's.

Pete

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I’m just buying a defender 2001 TD5 . Read a couple of threads re the 10 P Engine with 130k Miles which I just  found is fitted to it .... I’m now thinking of cancelling it , I’m now worried that I’m buying a bag of expensive trouble .....

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If you are buying a 2001 car and you aren't already LR orientated then the key thing is (!) service history............... check out the record first, it may have had these problems already and had them attended to in which case it could be a decent buy, by 2001 many of the issues were known and being attended to. If it has a local independant garage on the service history maybe make a call or pay a visit and see if the mechanic remembers the vehicle. I wouldn't reject it just on the basis of this thread, I had one (2000) for nearly 15 years and although it had a few of the issues mentioned here all of them were DIY fixes and there are some excellent sites/threads dealing with all of the usual stuff. I remember my Td5 very fondly and I would have another very readily , in fact the current P38 with its BMW M51 engine (widely reknowned as a good unit) gives me cause for grief than the Td5 ever did. At the end of the day buying any vehicle has a degree of risk or luck wrapped up in it and I don't see the Td5's as below average at all.

 

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On the other side of the scale, if you have some doubts and unknowns - factor it into the price so if it does have the problem you have the funds to fix it.

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Ha! Haven't seen this one in years. Just a follow up - I did coax that DII back into service that summer and it was great. In fact it still is... despite the fact I put the thermostat back in the wrong way round, and then travelled to the UK and across the scenic route through Wales to Shrewsbury with a trailer to collect my Lotus. On a very very warm weekend.

I had spent not an inconsiderable amount of money doing the head gasket job myself, and made a big effort to do it right. That one little mistake blew it again basically straight away. It never missed a beat though and is still running fine, I use it to mow a field with a gang mower. It just pressurises the cooling system if I give it high revs. Can't bring myself to sell it, love it too much.

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