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300 tdi or TD5 Defender Reliability


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As the title says which of the two would be most reliable/capable of towing up to the limit of 3.5 tons (land rover on trailer) this will be in a 110.This will may be three or four times a year, on a journey of maybe 400/500 miles, can both engines be improved to gain more torque to make towing easier. I know i could fit a variable turbo and inter cooler to a 300 and map and inter cool the td 5, has anyone got experience of using both engines in similar situations?.

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I'd go for the TD5 - because it's more-recent and so is more-likely to have ongoing 'vehicle-off-road' support from mainstream LR dealers.

Service either properly and they'll be reliable - but the 200/300 is fast becoming ancient-history for the dealerships. LR246721 wurble-brackets for the 200/300 are probably not held at your local LR dealer. The equivalent for the TD5 is more likely - though not guaranteed - to be in-stock.

OK, you might be able to source old 200/300 parts via Ebay etc - with sometimes-silly delivery schedules and you only get to realise it's Britpart stuff once it arrives: but that's not really good-enough for a vehicle that needs to earn its keep on a daily basis.

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Towed for many thousands with a td5 D2 with nothing apart from general wear and tear/service items. The in laws ran a 300tdi D1 commercial for years towing an Ifor cattle float, the only failure of note was a sheared pulley on the water pump that LR came good for (faulty batch iirc).

Different vehicle but almost the same powerplants you asked about.

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Both were good engines, but even the TD5 is now considered old, there are some parts that are obselete.I think sumps and front pulleys are now NLS. I did a quote today to replace a complete 15p TD5, along with new turbo,clutch and flywheel etc.Its alot of money, it needs to be a very tidy Defender to make that job worth doing

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Never thought about a puma engined 110, originally I was going to fit a M57 engine into a P38 to improve on the M51 engine and give more passenger comfort. The wider back doors are easier for my son to get in and out of. My thoughts on a 110 based vehicle Is to not have an overly complicated electronic vehicle.

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If you start increasing boost pressures or fuelling, then you are going to significantly reduce reliability. Discovery TD5s warp their manifolds and rip the studs out of the head far more than stock Defender engines, but once you start playing about with chipping or remapping, then there is always a price to be paid. Even VNTs running at the same maximum boost cause increased wear - by increasing low down torque while the oil pump rpm is low, the crank bearings take much more abuse. If you want reliability, then go for a standard engine and good quality fuel, coolant and oil.

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tacr2man, it was reading your posts about M57 into 110 csw that made me think about fitting one In P38, the upside Is that I have two P38 to play with the downside being the vehicle electrics. I also have two 110 csw but they both need a complete re build, so not a quick job. I might have to sell both csw and buy a running 110 to do a conversion on.

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There are however better TD5 manifolds that solve that issue, and they do burn significantly cleaner and can generate much better power.

But you're still putting more stress into the crank and more heat into the turbine, which reduces reliability. The only things you can mod to improve reliability or performance without reliability reduction are things like free flow intercoolers to reduce piston temperatures a little, silicone hoses and such. But I'd agree that a well sorted but standard TD5 gives markedly better performance (at slightly higher fuel consumption) than a Tdi, as long as the ECU is water proofed and the wiring to it kept clean of oil. Personally, I think if you need to significantly uprate the standard engine performance, you have the wrong vehicle in the first place. Defenders don't handle that well at high speed and shouldn't be treated like sports cars.

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I don't agree they are equally as reliable - there is much more to stop a TD5 running than a TDi, which doesn't have a crank sensor, MAF sensor, MAP sensor, airflow sensor or ECU, let alone the high pressure fuel pump. True that a defective sensor won't necessarily stop the engine but it may make it hard to drag a trailer uphill.

Lets not go into dual mass flywheels, leaking injector seals or oil filled looms either.

When they're running they are a decent engine and more powerful but if you get faults they can be a right pig and difficult to diagnose.

My very fave engine was a 2.8 Isuzu turbo intercooled I had in my old Rangie - very similar lump physically to the Tdi but the extra cc gave it a much nicer kick of torque - I guess the TGV would be similar, shame LR didn't do something similar.. anyway, I digress.. :)

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I ran a couple of 300 engined 110 vehicles and put over 300,000 on each of them.

I used them for everything and often hauled a fully overloaded trailer whilst the truck was similarly laden. whilst they were never going to set the world on fire they would each sit at 60MPH all day (in UK where that is the legal max for towing) on the continent they would happily sit at 70 all day whilst heavily laden and would tackle climbs that you don't typically find in UK. The hard top would return 36mpg when cruising at the aforementioned 70 whilst the CSW was marginally less at 33. The hardtop was doing around 20,000 miles a year whilst the CSW was doing somewhere around 35-40,000 a year. Some long trips were involved including a run to Lisbon and back, taking the scenic route on the way back via Verin, Spanish wine country and Andorra. The final day being Carcassone to Caen in 9 hours in atrocious weather. A run from Northampton to Clermont Ferrand with fully loaded truck and trailer (lots of free Oak logs)

Both were fitted with Eberspacher engine pre heaters, diesel filter heaters, larger intercoioler and silicon hoses. They were serviced regularly at 5000 mile intervals (just to keep the sums easy) always used Miller's fully synthetic oil. Gearbox and axle oils were changed every 10,000 miles. There were some minor mechanical failures, a vacuum pump, a drive member (rust) the P gasket and a couple of inlet manifold gaskets. The head gasket on each failed at around 200,000 miles and the radiator on one fell apart after 12 years.

Both were early enough to be devoid of EGR or any other form of electronic attachments.

As has been mentioned, the youngest UK market 300s are now 18 years old and the youngest TD5 approx 9.

I know from reading these forums that the TD5 whilst a good engine and more easily given additional power, seems to be plagued with numerous electrical problems and they aren't unknown for turbo failure either

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Bear in mind that most 300Tdis now are 18+ years and likely have 100k+ miles, so it won't perform near what it should when new. There's no chance mine on 170k could tow at 70mph and be happy. I can hardly drive that fast without a trailer :wacko:, even though similar to neil110 it used to tow trailers around the alps.

And it's not just the engine but all the ancilliaries may be worn at that mileage (turbo,injectors,head gasket,etc.), which will impact more on the reliability than the engine block or its design.

(Unless you're going to fit a recon engine and new parts)

Td5s seem to have more underlying problems that could crop up at any time (oil in loom, cracked head, crank bolt) so peace of mind isn't as good as the 300Tdi, but performance will be better.

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I don't agree they are equally as reliable - there is much more to stop a TD5 running than a TDi, which doesn't have a crank sensor, MAF sensor, MAP sensor, airflow sensor or ECU, let alone the high pressure fuel pump. True that a defective sensor won't necessarily stop the engine but it may make it hard to drag a trailer uphill.

Lets not go into dual mass flywheels, leaking injector seals or oil filled looms either.

When they're running they are a decent engine and more powerful but if you get faults they can be a right pig and difficult to diagnose.

My very fave engine was a 2.8 Isuzu turbo intercooled I had in my old Rangie - very similar lump physically to the Tdi but the extra cc gave it a much nicer kick of torque - I guess the TGV would be similar, shame LR didn't do something similar.. anyway, I digress.. :)

I think there is a slight problem here, the TD5 is misunderstood because people mostly can't be bothered to learn new things or are scared of change. The only sensor failure which will actually stop a TD5 is the crank sensor.They will even run,sometimes quite well with a dead fuel pump if the fuel system is in good health otherwise - pull the fuel pump relay to find out if yours is...

Most breakdowns on TDI's OR TD5's are down to a lack of mechanical understanding or sympathy. I have a great deal of respect for 200 and 300 TDI's, but they had their problems,head gaskets,crank keyways,P gaskets and clutch forks etc. I also did alot of miles using them.

But a TDI feels very old and clunky when you go back to them after a TD5,which with a few simple mods and care will be reliable and useful. But even the youngest TD5 is now 10 years old,scrap in Eurobox terms.

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