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Defenders, steering box, half-shafts, 1999+/-

Late 1999, recall to replace (in au) leaking steering boxes on 300 Tdi's.

1999+/-: Some cases of late 1990s Defenders, particularly 130s, breaking rear Salisbury half-shafts (supposed to be nearly indestructible). Land Rover have replaced some half shafts.

Defenders, rear hub bearings & oil seals

Land Rover hub oil seals used to leak frequently, often caused by the axle breathers getting blocked, and putting oil onto the rear brakes (not good). About the 1980s, they started using double lipped oil seals which are better, although harder to fit correctly. At some time in the 1990s(?) an oil seal was installed to run on the rear half shaft, thus separating the diff' (oil lubricated) from the hub (now grease lubricated). This pretty much stopped rear hub oil leaks. Unfortunately, water could sometimes still get into the rear hub, e.g. on deep water crossings, where it only had grease to contend with. Result: Early rear wheel bearing failure unless the rear hubs are checked regularly after wading. Some owners, prefering to risk an oil leak over a bearing failure, have gone so far as to remove the internal oil seal, although regular checks for water ingress would do as well.

200 - 300 Series Tdi Diesel Timing Belt Failures.

There were several reports of timing belts failing prematurely on the 200-series Tdi diesel engines (Discovery and Defender). Unfortunately this causes the pistons to hit the valves and can result in extensive and expensive engine damage. It is recommended that the belt be changed on time at the recommended intervals or early, particularly with the 200-series motor.

Some failures are due to driver error when water and/or mud enters through the housing drain-hole if the drain-plug is not fitted before wading.

The 300-series engine has a larger timing belt but on some early 300 Tdi models there was a problem with the injector mount alignment, resulting in excessive wear of the belt and failure at about 30,000km as described in LR technical bulletin 12/13/96/EN.

It is recommended that the manufacturer's instructions are followed very carefully when replacing timing belts particularly with torquing the bolts on the cover and auxiliary fittings (see below). The crankshaft oil seals should also be checked for leaks.

Land Rover Tdi Head Gasket

1997: I recently blew the head gasket on my Land Rover 200 Tdi and it was only luck that saved the engine. The oil warning light did not activate and I am told that by the time the light does activate the damage is done.
I have replaced the non adjustable oil pressure switch with an adjustable one and connected a buzzer. Land Rover Australia are unable to tell me what the standard switch is set at and indeed what is the recommended minimum oil pressure.
- Scott Learmont

[This the 2nd in one week. Timing belts we knew could be a problem; are there more head-cases out there? The main danger from a head-gasket failure is loss of cooling water, overheating and a warped head. The start of a problem can sometimes be detected by regular water (and oil) checks, bubbles in the radiator water with engine running (but don't open a hot cooling system!). A slow failure can also put water in the oil, destroy the oil's properties and cause various damage.]

Thanks for your comments. In my case the gasket blew at 135,000km; a film of oil was spewed over the engine bay. Oil is changed every 5000km and water levels checked regularly. The mechanic who pulled the head off said that the gasket had gone at the back of the head, he thought that two head bolts were not fully tensioned, the head had never been off.
Interesting about the timing belts, I had mine done at 90,000km and it looked fine. I intend to do it again at 180,000km. A couple of club members (LROCS) have commented about how their belts have showed deterioration, one bloke saying his had 1/2 inch chewed off the width. As far as I know, no member has had a belt break. Members were also advised that it was important that the air-conditioning compressor was unbolted for the belt replacement process and was not re-attached until the very last, if it was it may cause the belt to loose alignment.

[In another head-gasket case, engine oil was drawn into the cylinders; the engine started dieseling on this oil and ran up to 7000r - scary.]

LT230 Transfer Case Wear

LT230 transfer cases: early units suffered wear on the gearbox output-shaft and transfer-case input-gear. The symptoms are clunks, i.e. backlash, in the transmission especially at low speed in low gears. The fix was to fit a splash ring (bulletin H415) to the shaft which improved lubrication of the splines. Transfer cases with this modification should have a prominent paint mark on their rear cover plate. (At least one Land Rover club member effected an alternative cure in the shape of a small piece of sheet metal arranged to feed extra oil onto the same location.) The matter is discussed in Land Rover bulletin "37/20/96" covering Discovery LJ 178205, Discovery LJ 506525 and Defender LD 976480 and later, Should the shaft and gear fail, the bill for a replacement and for reconditioning the transfer case may be 1000; make sure the later shaft and gear are used. From the introduction of suffix F, transfer box numbers 28D 460996 F Discovery, and 22D 461124 F Defender, the LT230 transfer boxes have had longer splines and cross-drilled oil feed holes thus solving the problem.

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