Apologies for the lack of activity on my blog, this is because, nothing has happened! I’ve had recurring man-flu since receiving the flu-jab in October, and lots of gigs, due in part to someone else’s misfortune. I have been depping mostly for Kenny and The Motives while their regular bass player recovers from illness. Although I hope he gets well soon, for me, the extra dosh has been a bonus and the Land Rover fund has had a welcome boost. The weather has been unusually mild for the time of year but quite wet to be out on the drive.
Last Sunday I grabbed an hour of dry weather and managed to get something done, so although rather sparse, here we go…
Before acquiring this vehicle I read up a little on the various forums about 200tdi conversions, and the sometimes fanatical rants of those for or against the simpler 200di (naturally aspirated) option. Being a complete newcomer to diesel, and anything newer than the 2¼ series petrol engine, it all seemed a bit daunting. I read the excellent pages on the Glencoyne web site. These articles are written and illustrated so well, a perfect example of how to convey all the information you need without waffle, a skill that I sadly lack! Without prior knowledge or prejudice, all of Richard’s theories and post-conversion reports seem to make perfect sense to me especially the argument of the turbo’d engine overpowering the elderly series transmission.
Whilst checking the vehicle for MOT jobs I found a couple of holes in the front custom fabricated pipe (the rear sections are worse, but a trivial job). For those that can weld, repairing the front pipe would take half an hour maybe, but for me it’s more money and not having control over another part of the vehicle.
Having the turbo in the way of otherwise simple maintenance is not to be under-estimated. It really annoys me that to get to the starter motor, the manifolds and front pipe have to be dropped, the alternator cannot be removed without having the radiator out (I could fix this), the missing section from the inner wing causes the whole thing to flap about and the list goes on. I suspect that with a modern vehicle these problems surface every day but for me, part of the joy of owning these old vehicles is their simplicity. One of my favourite quotes is from my all time design hero, who got it right, first time and every time with the Stratocaster, the Telecaster, the Jazz Bass, the Precision…
“A Quality Instrument is Easily Repaired ” Leo Fender
So, whatever the rants on the forums, I will find out which arrangement suits ME, I will be removing the turbo and try the vehicle as a naturally aspirated ‘200di’ and hopefully get it through the MOT as such. I really hope it works for me but if it doesn’t, I will just get a new front pipe fabricated and reinstate it. There are no motorways in Norfolk, and very few hills, I don’t compete off-road or tow trailers so I suspect it will suit me just fine.
This is the only significant outlay for my experiment and I acquired one for a 2.5 n/a engine (ERC9688) from The Xmod for a bit more than I wanted to pay (£79.99 + delivery + vat) and it was their last one. This will need some alteration to get it to fit, and I’ll need to make up some securing clamps from a bit of steel angle (the ‘Glencoyne method‘). These manifolds and similar are now in short supply. I missed out on buying 20 of them a few months ago, they went for about £650, how I wish I’d bid a little more.
I’ve also bought a new exhaust, so if the weather allows I’ll get on with putting it all back together.
The fabricated pipe has a right angle bend very close to the turbo flange and it was impossible to undo the ‘inside’ nut working under the vehicle, despite soaking it for days with Plus Gas. So I split the exhaust joint under the passenger seat and wondered if I could withdraw it as one unit.
Reaching down over the wing, it felt quite heavy, and just as it slipped off the last of the manifold studs I heard my very fit neighbour shout ‘hello Nigel’ as she walked past with her dog. Normally I would drop everything and try to look my best but I concentrated on the job in hand and managed to take the strain. I issued a triumphant grunt and it came out in one go. Typical, what must she think?
My loss of pride was soon forgotten as I lay the assembly on the path, pleased to have got it out. The stubborn nut came off easily and I inspected the rusty hulk. I know nothing about turbos but I doubt the sticky black sludge inside is a good sign although the turbine seems to spin freely with no discernible play.
So the next tasks are to fit blanking plugs to the oil feed and return, degrease and possibly paint the accessible section of the block, make up some clamps to secure the exhaust manifold and plan the simplified plumbing.
The dipstick tube has some tight curves to allow it to be routed up to the inlet manifold to which it’s anchored. If it’s not too expensive I will replace it with one from a Defender. I understand that these are shorter, straighter and more robust so they don’t need anchoring at the top. Currently I have to thread the dipstick into the tube and twist it to check the oil.
The forecast for this weekend looks very promising, maybe even reaching 15°, amazing for the week up to Christmas, so I hope to get outside between gigs!
Thanks for reading.