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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:23 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:17 am
Posts: 2

3 main versions fitted to rover/mg cars dates and figures are from memory and may not be dead accurate feel free to correct

sdi/di First generation turbocharged and inter-cooled first debut in the 600 around 1995 also fitted to r200 r400 until 1999, 105bhp, (155ftlb iirc) injection pump basically similar to the mechanical units common at the time but with solenoids and an ecu providing the fuel and timing control instead of springs/cams/diaphragms and other clockwork devices

sd lower power version of the above without the intercooler and a mechanical injection pump a lower spec ecu was fitted which provided electronic timing control only. 85bhp fitted to lower spec r200 and r400 1996-1999.

1999-2005 the L series was standardized, turbocharged and intercooled with an updated turbocharger, new more advanced injection pump and ecu system at a higher pressure with two stage injectors. Power was 101bhp/177ftlb with a 115bhp map being offered later on.

several other vehicles used the l series freelander mk1's being the main one, European market honda civic's and accords also used it prior to honda developing its own diesel unit, not sure if these were sold in the uk.

A generally tough and reliable unit although vastly surpassed in technology by 2005. known for being a 'real diesel' in terms of noise vibration and harshness however also very economical and reliable. Many examples having clocked between 200k and 300k miles with only routine servicing and no major component failure.

Please feel free to add information on subjects such as tuning/common faults and fixes. The majority of people seem to find a forum when searching for information on a problem. lets build a resource here!

PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:13 am
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My Location: Southport, UK
My Car: Rover 75 CDTi
Things to check when you get your L Series home.

Right, as there seems to be a lot of scattered questions, bits of knowledge and information about, I thought it was time to make a thread with a definitive list of things to check, preventative maintenance etc. for diesel owners. Almost like a multi-point check-list for keeping your L series in good health!

Fixing a 'problem' before it occurs can save a lot of time, money and heartache later on during ownership!

Pictures to follow of the aforementioned things to watch out for.

1. Oil cooler feed pipe corrosion.

These pipes can be found running to and from the oil filter adapter, by the crackshaft pulley. You will probably notice that these are corroded if you have a ZR/ZS/25/45 - bad news for the oil inside them!

First job is to assess how badly gone they are. If you can see deep rutting in the pipe, can pull flakes off etc then it's probably time to be speaking to a supplier of new ones - thankfully these are still available. Call your local Xpart dealer for prices, they are about £60 the pair.

If they appear to only have surface rust, then you need to wire brush excess corrosion away, sand down to a smooth(ish) finish, then apply some Straight to Rust Hammerite or similar. Wait for it to dry, then apply a second coat.

2. Injector Leak-off pipes.

These are the small braided pipes that link all 4 injectors together; they return excess fuel back to the injector pump.

They deteriorate over time, and eventually you will notice fuel appearing around the injectors and on the head, be able to smell diesel in the cabin, and will also probably see vapour in front of the headlights when stationary on cold nights.

A very simple job to replace, however first of all I'd try the cheeky method - if you're a member of a breakdown service they will carry the hose with them. Giving them a quick call, or going over and talking to a driver if you see one will result in them replacing it free of charge.

Alternatively, it is available from most motor factors and spares shops. If in doubt, get it replaced!

3. Boost leaks.

The rubber hoses used for carrying boosted air deteriorate over time, eventually leading to a split pipe.

You will notice one, some or all of the following:

- Loss of power, particularly above 3000rpm
- Excessive smoke from exhaust
- 'Whooshing' or similar noise from the engine bay
- Components around the failure may have a light coating of oil, leaked from the hose (breather system pulls in oil vapour).

Always physically check the pipes on a new purchase, looking for the above. In in doubt, remove the jubilee clips securing the pipe, remove it, and inspect.

Leaks cause issues, as air going into the turbocharger is metered by the MAF after leaving the airbox. Both of the rubber hoses are after this point - so if you have a boost leak the engine will still think it is getting the full, compressed air charge that is in fact leaking out of the split hose!

The lower-than-metered air input into the engine causes overfuelling, creating lots of black smoke and also increasing combustion temperatures quite dramatically.

New hoses for the L series are still widely available from Xpart dealers, however the 25/ZR and 45/ZS use different lengths of hose. Dealer prices are usually between £30 and £50 per hose, new.

Alternatively, Roose Motorsport do Silicon hoses for the ZR/ZS/200/25/400/45, more information here: ... stcount=39

4. Wiring checks.

The 2 most common points of failure for wiring on the L series engines are the cable from the number 1 injector, and the main loom entering the pump itself.

To check the injector wiring, disconnect the cable from the pump and visually inspect it for breaks or chaffing. If a break is suspected, you can replace the wire by cutting it before the break, soldering a new section of cable in, and then reconnecting the new section to the plug. Make sure you insulate all joints well!

If the break is too close to the plug or injector to effectively repair, then a new injector is needed. Worthy of note - you cannot mix the injectors from a 200/400/600 and a ZR/ZS/25/45, the earlier injectors have a 200 bar opening pressure, and the later ones a 210 bar opening pressure. Mixing the two would cause rough running, misfires etc.

Visually inspect the wiring where it enters the pump for chaffing through, and if any damage has occurred, single out the damaged cable and insulate it separately. If the cable has serious damage, I'd recommend shaving off the rubber around the damage and dropping a blob of solder on the affected area.

Follow the pump loom back for about 20-30cm to check for any damage, although chaffing here is rare.

5. Turbocharger oil seals.

Simple checks - look for blue smoke on start-up, while driving gently and also when on boost.

The L series head very rarely leaks from valve stem oil seals, and as such and blue smoke is usually turbocharger related.

6. Cambelt changes.

There are 2 toothed drive belts in the L series diesel engine; one driving the camshaft from the crankshaft, and a second belt driving the fuel pump from the cambelt.

The earlier L series engines have a much longer interval between changes, owing to the use of a slightly different belt length and an automatic tensioner on the fuel pump drive belt.

Later L series engines use a manual tensioner for the pump drive belt, and a slightly shorter cambelt.

The earlier engines have a 7 Year / 84,000 mile interval.
The later engines have a 4 Year / 48,000 mile interval.

There is some controversy over the tensioner / idler assembly and the need to change it - both my local Xpart Service Centres said they hadn't ever needed to change a tensioner or idler due to play or wear.

In the end, I opted to order both, and when the time came to change the belts I checked both. On my 2003 ZS TD with 100k on the clock both were fine, with minimal play, although it has been known for tensioners to completely collapse in the past. I then returned the new unused tensioners.

If you are getting a garage to do the job, I advise you change both for piece of mind. If you are doing it yourself, check for play, signs of the bearings getting hot (discolouration) and bearing noise - they should be silent when spun freely.

7. Auxiliary Belt changes.

Quite easy to check due to the alternator being on top of the engine, this is something that can also be changed quickly and easily if needed.

Check for frayed edges, cracking and a glossy appearance on the non-grooved side of the belt - if you have any of the above it needs replacing.

Belts cost around £15 from most motor factors.

8. Poor starting issues.

As I'm sure you know, a diesel engine relies on glow plugs to aid combustion upon cold starting.

Glow plugs themselves are relatively hardy - they should only need to be changed if the car takes a good few cranks to start in the morning, and this gets noticeably worse in cold weather.

Another known issue with the electrical system on L series engined cars is that the glow plug relay itself can stick, causing the symptoms above when infact the plugs themselves are OK. One way to check if the plugs are getting power is to have the interior light in the On position and turn the key to Position II - this will turn the glow plugs on and you should see the light dim slightly. If it does not, it is likely the relay that is at fault.

Poor starting can also be caused by the fuel injector pump timing being slightly incorrect - this will be evident by the engine taking up to 60 seconds of cranking to start, and then it will more than likely start fine for the rest of the day until it has fully cooled. When viewing a car, check the engine is totally cold before starting.

It is advisable to refer to the Haynes manual for the correct re-timing procedure.

Starter motors are known to 'stick' on the L series engines - the Denso units used incorporate a solenoid-driven actuator that can 'gum up' over time due to ingress of dirt or corrosion. This is evident you hear a loud 'click' when turning the key but the car doesn't crank over.

Cleaning is simple - I will write a guide at some point. Garages diagnose the issue as needing a new motor, this is totally unnecessary.

9. MAF Sensor.

The older L series engines do not rely on the MAF sensor for anything other than EGR valve operation, however newer engines as fitted to the ZR/ZS/25/45 rely on it heavily for fuelling.

Diagnosing a faulty MAF sensor is realtively easy - for 'out of spec' sensors poor performance 'off the mark' up until ~2500rpm will be evident, then the engine will regain full power.
For sensors that have completely failed, are disconnected or have damaged wiring, the car will hit a 'brick wall' at 3500-4000rpm.
The wiring around the MAF sensor has been found to be chaffed in the past, although it isn't a very common issue.

Over time, MAF sensors can become 'out of spec', where the values the sensor gives to the ECU either gradually rise or fall over time. It is estimated that 75% of out of spec MAF sensors' outputs fall to values below what the ECU can effectively use, and 25% rise.

The most effective way to rectify a MAF issue is detailed here:

10. Routine servicing.

By nature, the L series engine is a solid and reliable unit. However, as with all engines, it is essential to make sure it has been serviced in accordance with manufacturer's specifications.

By the book, the L series engine has an interval of 12,000 miles, however to be on the safe side I would perform oil and filter changes every 8,000 to 10,000 miles. Any turbocharged engine is very sensitive to particles accumulating in the oil, as these can block oil feeds and cause bearing failure - £££!

For a diesel engine the L series does run fairly clean, after 10,000 miles the oil in my old 400 diesel wasn't totally black.

Air filters should be changed every 20,000 miles, although for piece of mind you may wish to do this sooner. Filters are cheap and plentiful.

I use a rule of thumb for the fuel filters - if it looks dirty or corroded on the outside, change it! New ones are £8 from eBay, so if you have any suspicions, swap it. Very simple job, undo the two hoses on the top of the unit, undo the 8mm bolt securing the filter, remove and replace.

Once the new filter is fitted, loosen the bleed screw, pump the hand primer until fuel starts to creep out around the screw, then tighten up and away you go!

If you buy any Rover with the L series engine and have little or no service history, I would advise doing ALL of the above.

Bent Con Rods from floodwater

It probably won't apply to most people, however it seems to crop up from time to time.
If you're finding the engine runs lumpy (3 cylinders) when cold but is OK when hot, you may have a bend 'rod.

The easiest way to troubleshoot is to try a set of other injectors; these are the other thing that'd cause it to run on 3 cylinders.

Usually an engine swap is the easiest way around a bent rod, the L series are getting cheap on eBay for a bare lump... as little as £50.

Rover 75 Connoisseur SE CDT - 2001
Owner and founder

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:44 pm
Posts: 5
My Location: Birmingham
My Car: Rover 45
The original L-series engines were developed as TCie and TCIm/TCie-m depending who you spoke to at the time (Turbo, Compression-Ignition Electronic and Mechanical) - I was in my apprenticeship working in the diesel engine development team when they fired one up for the first time. I was working on the (TUD3?) 1.4 pug engine in the Metro at the time.


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