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300 Tdi cambelt change - timing issues SOS!!!


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We have a 300Tdi Disco. We decided since the vehicle was at 145,000 and there was no evidence that the cambelt had ever been changed, that we had better change it!

My partner got onto the job, locked at the timing in place etc.....well at least he thought he had!! Apparently he had forgotten to lock the flywheel in place (blame it on a long day and the cold!!). Replaced all the belts and parts and put the thing back together, and guess what, the vehicle would not start!!

Realising his mistake, he decided to start over. Took it all apart, set the timing again, including the flywheel using a homemade locking tool (drill bit welded through plug) and tried it all out again. This time the vehicle started but ran very badly and poured out blue smoke.

He assumed that something must still be out of place, as the engine ran beautifully before! He assumed that the flywheel must be 180 degrees out. So he reset the timing using the second notch on the flywheel by turning the cam 360 degrees. This time it tried to start but wouldn't, more blue smoke.

Every time he has taken it apart, to try again the timing settings are slightly out from where he set them.

To be perfectly honest, we are lost now! SOS!!! He has always struggled with diesel timing a bit, being more of a "petrol V8" kinda guy! But it's just not practical to have a V8 disco for everyday driving and this is something we have to fix now.

Anybody got a clue what we have done wrong, or how on earth to try and fix this!?!

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How is he going about the timing of the 3 pulleys? I usually lock the flywheel but i have done them using just the pointer on the crank in the timing housing with success.

If you ensure the cam pulley is aligned with its pointer (and make sure it is, use a mirror to look straight at it, its easy to get it wrong when youre looking down at it)

Then ensure the crank is aligned so that the small arrow cast into the timing chest is pointing at the keyway on the crank.

Loosen the 3 bolts holding the pulley to the injector pump (dont remove) and insert a 9.5mm drill through the pulley into the timing chest to lock it's timing.

Fit the belt, trying as best you can to get the injector pump pulley somewhere around the middle of its range of movement (when you tension the belt it will move)

Fit the tensioner and tension the belt.

Tighten the 3 bolts on the injector pump, remove the pins and turn it over 2 revolutions of the crank, align the crank with its pointer and check that the 9.5mm drill will slot in the injector pump, if not you need to loosen the 3 bolts and tweak the pump. Then do 2 cranks and check again.

If that doesn't work you have issues elsewhere. Are you sure you havent tried to start it with the timing wrong to the point that the pistons have hit the valves? If so, you'll probably need to replace some push rods...

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My advice, go back to the start, and this is best done with the radiator out and grille removed for better observation and access.

1.) Turn the engine over until it is at TDC. (this is best done with the No.1 injector removed and a thick Phillip's screwdriver inserted to give you some idea of the piston


2.) Engage the flywheel locking pin.

3.) Remove the harmonic balancer. The crankshaft woodruff keyway should be vertical (on top) and in line with the cast arrow on the inner face of the timing cover.

If its not you are 180 degrees out.

4.) Remove the timing belt cover, use a stiff piece of cardboard the shape of the cover so you don't get the bolt locations wrong when refitting.

5.) Use your 9.5mm drill to lock the FIP into position, ensure that the drill goes right into the housing.

6.) Remove the timing belt.

7.) Ensure that the camshaft is in correct alignment with the etched mark on the camshaft pulley in line with the cast "arrow" on the inner face of the timing belt

housing.This "arrow" forms part of one of the outer cover fixing bolt locations/threads. If you didn't know it was an "arrow" you could easily miss seeing it.

8.) Replace the timing belt, remove the 9.5mm drill, it should slide out easily, if its tight, loosen the three pulley retaining screws and allow the pump to move so that the

9.5mm drill is an easy fit. Retighten the three screws,

9.) Correctly torque up the idler adjustment tensioner. (14 - 16 nm) Check that with the FIP locking pin removed and the timing belt fitted and the idler correctly torqued

up that the camshaft location mark is still in alignment with the "arrow"

10.) Refit the outer cover, the harmonic balancer, crankshaft bolt, radiator and grille, REMOVE the flywheel locking pin.

11.) Fill the cooling system with coolant, start the engine.

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If you ran your engine with the crank 180 degrees out then I agree with Dave, you have a 90% chance of having damaged or bent the push rods.

To check this remove the tappet cover and inspect them by removing the rocker shaft. If they are bent you will also need to remove the head and check the camshaft followers in case these also have been damaged as they have a bronze cup that the pushrod sits into. At the same time while the head is off check that no pistons have been damaged.

If the pistons and cam followers are okay(if these are damaged replace the damaged ones) fit a new composite gasket, these come with holes stamped in the RH side, replace it with a similar holed gasket. Torque up the bolts head correctly with a dial torque gauge for the last set of turns and fit the new pushrods, then refit the rocker-shaft after checking that it hasn't been bent -- also and it's best at this stage to fit new valve head cups (obtain these from Turner Engineering - I advise you not to use the "soft" LR parts) set your tappet gaps 0.02mm and you should have no more problems.

Put it all down to a bad learning experience :blush: and obtain a DVD / CD of the Land Rover manual RAVE.

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