Turbo out – 200di

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.

Depping with The Motives, this time at Arkwright's Club, Norwich
Depping with The Motives, this time at Arkwright’s Club, Norwich

Last Sunday I grabbed an hour of dry weather and managed to get something done, so although rather sparse, here we go…

Turbo removal?

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.

Exhaust Manifold

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.

Inlet manifold
Inlet manifold
Exhaust manifold
Exhaust manifold
Exhaust manifold, turbo assy, front pipe
Exhaust manifold, turbo assy, front pipe
Exhaust hole
Exhaust hole
Head and block, easy access to the starter
Head and block, easy access to the starter

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.



  1. LOL, my mind swapped back and forth between fitting the turbo and not on my 200TDi, in the end I thought I’d go for the non turbo option. However before I’ve even got the damn thing fitted to the 88″ I’ve changed my mind entirely! After getting fed up of the noise of a 2.25 diesel which is actually still quieter than a 200Di I am now thinking about putting a 2.25 petrol back in my 88″ – I’d like to be able to listen to my stereo 🙂 You see the advantage of doing a rolling refurbishment is that the vehicle is not off the road long enough to keep changing your mind, whereas on a 5 year rebuild like mine I have too much time to sit and contemplate things….. 😉


    • 🙂 Believe me Ian, I spend plenty of time contemplating! You did some fantastic work on that engine and I’ve read your pages many times while ‘contemplating’. I love the 2.25 petrol engine though and spent many years maintaining them and they never failed to get me home, only the MPG puts me off. Mind you, I’ve never had a stereo loud enough for actual driving in any series vehicle! Happy Christmas to you and family, Nigel.


      • Thanks Nigel. I have never owned a 2.25 petrol despite owning Series for 30 years now. All mine have been either 2.25 diesels or V8 petrols. We got a 2.25 5MB petrol ‘free’ with Bonnie the Series One and I’m tempted to fit that to Ciggy but I know nothing really about setting up carbs (seems like a black art to me) so that is the only thing concerning me. I did hear a 2.25 petrol running a few years ago that had been setup by a guy who knew them inside out and it was whisper quiet. So tempting to pay a little more on fuel and save my hearing 😉

        Thing is we have several vehicles, the little Corsa for my commutes is pretty economical and my wifes family workhorse 109″ is diesel and normally gets 25-30mpg so I guess it is not so critical to have an economical engine in Ciggy as her annual mileage will be very low. For a few K miles year I don’t think the petrol will be an issue? if I rebuilt the engine so it was like new and got the carb refurbished and well setup what do you reckon the mpg would be like on mostly empty rural roads and motorway? 18mpg?

        Anyway, best wishes for Christmas and New Year from all in Mudville 🙂


  2. Thanks Ian. You’ve got a vehicle for every need, and Ciggy (your baby) must have whatever gives you the most enjoyment. Unfortunately I only have space for one vehicle so there’s nothing practical about me having a Landy. I do still have my Ford Fusion but it’s parked on some rough ground over the road and it will have to go as soon as I’m confident that Dilly is reliable. Luckily I work at home now so really only need it for shopping and getting to gigs.

    I think you’re close with your mpg guess, but Ciggy might do a little better. I used to get nearer 22mpg in my Lightweight with 3.54 diffs, Turner head and Weber carb with ‘road’ tyres (I forget the size). I was doing 40 miles a day then on reasonably decent roads (no motorways here!). Although I never properly measured it for the 109 I had previously, that was considerably more thirsty as you’d expect, but how I wish I could go back in time and not have sold her, she was brilliant in every other way and so useful.

    Have fun, all the best, Nigel


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