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Sahara Travel ForumTopics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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I have read that in Oz a popular replacement for the Tdi engine is a Mazda or Isuzu. I have a '96 Discovery manual with a 300 Tdi engine. Recently, after a long session of dune bashing I became disappointed with the engine's performance and reliability. I need a lump that has more power (withing the reasonable limits of the LR drivetrain) and has a better reliability record. Any suggestions, please, as well as reflections on the use of non-standard engines for overlanding?
Have you considered beefing up your existing lump? I know someone who has transformed his 300TDi by fitting a Twisted Animations intercooler. This is a straight forward replacement rather than the much bigger unit that some other outfits produce. He is now going to fit the rest of their gear. Go to http://www.yorkshire4x4.co.uk/performance.html to find out more.
Also, more power may not be the entire answer to your problem. A standard Disco is fitted with either 205R16 or 235/70R16 tyres giving a rolling circumpherence when correctly inflated of 231cm (approx) compared to the 253cm (approx) achieved by the 235/85R16s fitted to 110s or the 252cm of a 750R16. This means that the Disco is digging its way into the sand much more than the 110s and TLCs.
I've been researching this for a while now and am fairly confident that it should be relatively straight forward to fit my Disco with 235/85s. This would increase the overall wheel diameter by approx 2.38 inches. The Kalahari Disco produced by Safari Gard is increased by a massive 3.76 inches if my calculations are correct. See details here: http://www.safarigard.com/Stage4.htm.
I've been thrugh this before, bigger tyres, Twisted Animations intercooler, etc. Still, the disco cant't go over soft sand in high range due to lack of oomph. BTW, bigger tyres reduce torque at the wheels.
I took a LR 130 ex-utility on my London to CT trip.It had an Isuzu 2.8TDi, which was professionally fitted by an outfit in Gloucestershire. It was mated to a Range Rover 4 speed manual Gearbox and proved quite economical, with plenty of pull and never let us down.
However, I would think about the availability of spare parts etc before going ahead - I don't think I would risk it again.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ChrisC: However, I would think about the availability of spare parts etc before going ahead - I don't think I would risk it again
I'm not sure if I understand correctly. Is availability of spares for the Isuzu engine a problem, or are you talking about the 300 Tdi? My impression is that in most places in Africa Isuzu is a common thing while anything built after Landrover Series III is pretty rare. What else makes sense then, a Toyota?
"I became disappointed with the engine's performance and reliability"
I am intrigued to know what your reliability problems were. I have the same Discovery as you and use it for much the same off-road challenges.
I am personally against making up a bastard machine with a transplant engine – I would prefer to buy a different car if the present one isn’t powerful enough, rather than altering the torque, weight distribution and balance of the original specification.
You want to go dune bashing in top gear?
Doubtless your over-sized wheels are increasing the radius, increasing power demand per engine revs, and reducing the torque as a result. The Discovery develops power in a fairly small rpm band and to change one specification probably creates gaps at another point.
Having so said, big is beautiful and I would be pleased to know what you decide – keep in contact.
‘Tis the season of goodwill – again – and I have sent all my readers a CHRISTMAS CARD on my website.
Check it out... it will make you laugh!
I have also written a short Morocco diary which is on the travel page.
More pictures will follow after the Turkey- and-Plum-Pudding festival…
Best regards Kitmax
I guess you've been through the usual performance boosting operations of the 300 tdi, removing the EGR and the fuel catalyst - both operations together would give you an extra 20bhp or so... =) There's also the possibility to turn up the turbo preassure some, w/ 10-15bhp or so, w/o worriyng to much about wrecking the turbo... ;^)
I run a -95 Disco 300Tdi (tweaked 20+bhp)nowadays but wouldn't wanna take that to africa though, would prefer a TLC 60- or 75-series for that, the 300Tdi is to sluggish, especially w/ the auto transmission like I have... =(
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by kitmax:
I am intrigued to know what your reliability problems were. I have the same Discovery as you and use it for much the same off-road challenges.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
In my case the problem was the turbo, It had failed a few months before the trip and was later reconditioned. In Africa, it worked fine for most of the time but just before the end the bearings went and the turbo had to be bypassed.The lack of power did not prevent me from reaching Tunis, but it was not quite how I envisaged the end the trip.
One of the reasons for the failure was the fact that most of the time the engine had to work really hard. Where the Landcruisers had enough power to climb the dunes in high range, only changing down to first or second to pick up speed, They had enough power to build up speed and use the momentum, I had to start the run-up in low range to prevent the engine from stalling and rev it high to carry on. No wonder that after a few days of such inspired driving something had to give.
I admit the turbo was past its prime, but reliability aside the Discovery 2.5 Tdi engine is, in my opinion, a liability when it comes to desert driving. I share your reservations about the mix and match approach. On the other hand, if it weren't for the engine the Discovery would be a fine vehicle. I have put a lot of money and effort into making it a true overlanding transport.Switching to a Landcruiser now would require me to learn a whole new bag of tricks, and a considerable investment to recreate the solutions tested in the Discovery. I'd also cut myself off the supply of spares and accessories availbale in the UK, Engine swap has potential pitfalls, but would enable me to get the best of both worlds. It is all down to the cost of such conversions. If it could be done at a reasonable price but without compromising quality, I think it woud be worth trying. The problem is I have not yet found any one who could do it on these terms.
There are two problems fitting a Japanese diesel into a Disco; size and weight. You could just about squeeze in a six cylinder engine, but it would take a lot of major surgery.
Your best bet would be the four cylinder Mazda engine. It will fit and delivers a lot more poke, but . . . it is heavy. I don’t know if it would take you over the front axle’s maximum loading of 1,200kg. To do the job properly would cost in the order of six and a half grand. Try contacting John Bowden of Gumtree 4x4 on 01444-241457.
Alternatively, if you want to stay with the Disco you could convert it to a V8. This would lighten the vehicle and deliver more power (and be reliable), but your fuel costs will go up of course.
One other possible option would be to fit a serious chip upgrade with a switch, so that you can do most of your driving on the normal chip and only use the meaty one when you need the welly. Otherwise your reliability will degrade considerably.
The sad fact is that under most circumstances the TLC outperforms the Disco. The TLCs have six cylinders with more cubic capacity, and a chassis built to carry it. If you want to keep up with a TLC then you’ll have to buy a TLC.
But when it comes to axle articulation, then all modern Landies win. So on the hard piste from Hirhafok to Assekrem a Disco is best. (Just thought I’d mention that in case you-know-who gets the wrong idea.)
Location: Leicestershire,UK, or in my Iveco Daily 4x4
Well I can probabily claim the heavyiest vehicle totting a 300Tdi engine.
In Libya my 300 Tdi pulled my 101 Ambi around and over anything I asked it for - that included a fair bit of dune bashing
OK so the gearing of a 101 helps but I did it in low box 3rd alot of the time
Now mine does have a larger intercooler on it - although probabily not as big as some of the fern/allard creations (but it will have soon as it gets its allisport intercooler). The twisted animations intercooler is small compared to these.
As for other engines, Isuzzu seems to be used around a fair bit of Africa (east/south especally) but Mazda - can't remember seeing any so for Spares I'd go for Isuzzu or Nissan or the mighty Toyota.
Talking with people in South africa they had alot if respect for the 300Tdi bein used in fairly wild places and racking up impressive km's.
For ease of fixing and spares its always better to stick with the manufacturers engine for the vehicle. You can get alot more out of the 300Tdi
In Northeren Spain all the old [and new]Santana/Land-Rovers are still running on Iveco's, the range of modern Iveco engines is impressive, [Iveco engines never stop]. that's why nobody talk's about them.
I drive a '95 disco as well ; a great car.
The problem is, people want always more and more. I started with a series III '88 2.3 NA diesel engine witch had al lot less power then the 300tdi but nevertheless in '83 they managed to drive the Camel Trophy with these vehicles!!!
Driving is more then to floor the throttle and hoping you reach the top of that dune.
Indeed the disco is a heavy car and fully loaded not as fast as other brands, especially with the automatic gearbox. Driving style and experience should compensate for that.
The 300tdi should reach 350.000 kms without big problems. Problems with the turbo occur when you switch the engine off immediatly after having driven it at high engine-speeds. You should leave the engine idle for a few minutes before switching off.
A very powerful engine is the 6,2 or 6,5 V8 diesel (or turbo diesel) from GMC. A heavy engine but with loads of torque. Should fit in.
I'd go with a bigger turbo and intercooler. I've seen 300 tdi racers beat 4.6 V8's!!. Like someone said earlier, the TLC's are very powerful, but the Land Rovers have very good articulation (and a bit more character!!). Get one of these babies breathing fire, and your laughing! Matt Savage. www.mattsavage.co.uk
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