2.5NA vs. 200/300Tdi - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old July 21st, 2017, 04:27 AM
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David Coker
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2.5NA vs. 200/300Tdi

I am 100% positive that this is about the deadest horse on this forum, but, my curiosity is piqued...

So as I wind down the mechanical portion of my restoration, and after troubleshooting numerous issues while learning all about defender diesels for the first time in my life, I finally have had some spare time to lurk the forum for entertainment instead of troubleshooting and repairs. I have some background and some questions:

1. My Defender is a 2.5NA...darn near bone stock military.

2. My truck's powerplant gets bashed, in one form or another, in nearly every thread I've ever started on this forum. I mean, I post an inquiry about LT77 transmission rattle troubleshooting and somehow, the thread goes to "pull that lump of sh*t out and drop in a 200/300 Tdi!"

3. So I started lurking threads about 200/300 Tdi performance.

4. I see folks posting, proudly I might add, that their 200 Tdi can "cruise at 70mph no sweat".

5. My 2.5NA cruises on the freeway at a steady 70mph just fine, with occasional downshifts if there is a relatively large uphill portion or similar...then I have to drop to 60-65. That's summer speeds; winter speeds hit 75mph in the cooler air...in winter it pulls like an entirely different engine, but keep in mind that Texas gets HOT...like unbelievably, totally, mothernucking HOT!

6. Then I find posts where folks claim their 2.5NA can't go more than 20mph up a hill...in England...which has weather that is basically the opposite of Texas. I have not had any issues even remotely like that.

7. WTF? If my 2.5NA cruises in weather befitting the inner ring of the 7th circle at darn near what folks are getting from their 200/300Tdi conversions, then why do so many folks trash talk the 2.5NA?

8. Is this a tuning/timing issue? Is my 2.5NA just tuned/timed better than most? Are the 200/300Tdi posters just running poorly tuned/timed 200/300Tdis?

I guess what I'm wondering is is this: What exactly is so bad about having a naturally aspirated diesel engine with 67bhp? What exactly is so good about the Tdi? From what I'm reading, the performance gain may look good on paper and be more related to torque capability, but practically speaking, might not be worth the time, money, or trouble. I'm just rambling, feel free to post candidly....hence why I posted in this forum as opposed to the others.

Dave
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  #2  
Old July 21st, 2017, 04:58 AM
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I have a 2.5NA and Im very proud of it !!! 90-95 km/h in highway (in summer time) is a very comfortable speed ! if I need to get any faster, I take my everyday car for that !

Personally I dont like the turbo wistle sound so Im just good with the NA engine !
Turns like a clock, very good for town as it gets up quickly to 60-65 km/h so in trafic it's just good as any other car !
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  #3  
Old July 21st, 2017, 05:32 AM
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There is nothing wrong with a good running 2.5NA. but a good running 200/300 is hard to beat. All engines have limitations and you have reached it with your 2.5 NA. Just the gear wine alone at highway speed makes it hard to talk. The 200/300 runs so much cooler and therefore the whole truck is cooler. The best mpg I got with the NA was 21, I get around 23 with my 200. I have gotten as good as 27. The deal is this, it is a much more pleasant vehicle to drive when you do a swap to a 200/300 and the matched proper gearing. If my wife could see the difference and gave me the go a head to spent the money on a swap then when you guys ride in one you will see it too. Now to poke a little fun, enjoy your NA's as I drive by up a hill fully loaded and roll coal in your face. Lol. Just sayin.
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Old July 21st, 2017, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coker View Post
I am 100% positive that this is about the deadest horse on this forum, but, my curiosity is piqued...

1. My Defender is a 2.5NA...darn near bone stock military.

4. I see folks posting, proudly I might add, that their 200 Tdi can "cruise at 70mph no sweat".

5. My 2.5NA cruises on the freeway at a steady 70mph just fine, with occasional downshifts if there is a relatively large uphill portion or similar...then I have to drop to 60-65. That's summer speeds; winter speeds hit 75mph in the cooler air...
Dave
Every now and then you find an exception to the 2.5 low performance rule.
It just seems like there is some engine that is set up to produce a little more power.
Keep in mind your "bone stock" configuration uses a 1.6 Transfer case compared to the "taller" gears with the other engines.
If the 2.5 is good for you no need to change it.
Have you verified the speed with an accurate electronic device based on GPS and AVL?

I have driven 2.25 and 2.5 diesels as a daily driver and was never happy with the slow acceleration.
Once in a 2.5 powered LR, pulled out on the highway and a car 5 miles back almost ran into the back of me.
The average drivers will get impatient with the slow acceleration, go around you and once you catch up are in front and block you.
In this scenario, you haven't the acceleration to pass, so you are stuck behind them.

I currently commute in a 110 with an Iveco 2.8TDI engine (same engine from the Santana PS-10).
Even pulling A/C can go easily over 85MPH.
The acceleration is better than most Rover TDIs and I still get people darting in front of me while accelerating up to 65-70.
The difference is I can get by them afterwards.
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  #5  
Old July 21st, 2017, 08:13 AM
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The Defender not only has a manly name, it has a manly look. Broad shoulders, strong glutes and quads, a square jaw and a stern look. Then it opens its mouth and it has a squeaky voice.

Today people are used to power, comfort and quiet. The Defender has none of these in stock form and the delta creates a longing resulting in the new global norm of using a myriad of social media and specialized forums to complain about, well, everything.

The 2.5na is fine for its intended purpose, but we now have much bigger aspirations. Couple that with the desirability of the Defender, an emerging array of engine upgrade options and the pride of ownership and we have an ongoing dialogue of "under powered", "slow", "smoky and stinky", "poor gas mileage", etc. Also, don't underestimate the male tactic of using these streams of reasoning to both convince ourselves of the desperate need for more power and to open up the purse strings controlled by the better half to invest in some Tim the Tool man power upgrades.

It is all part of the dance of the dedicated Defender devotee.
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  #6  
Old July 21st, 2017, 09:08 AM
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I've owned both. My 110 came with a low mileage NA which I was just getting used to at about the time she gave up the ghost. She would cruise a little north of 65 but loud and not comfortable for any real length of time, especially with others in the truck but at 55 she was fairly civil. I believed what I read and decided to go through the whole 200 swap experience. The difference in performance is there, no doubt, but for what I use my 110 for and for what it truly costs to do it right, I wouldn't do it again. Partly because I admire clean all original trucks which I now miss.
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  #7  
Old July 21st, 2017, 09:08 AM
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A 2.5 with 1.6 tcase might attain 70mph. Attaining and cruising are completely different terms.
A 2.5 is 68 hp and doesnt do high rpm well. Because it has no hp or torque, the factory used 1.66 transfercases.

The tdi's are appx 110 hp and use a 1.4 tcase that is 15% taller gearing.

That breaks out to 42 hp more and 15% taller gearing. The difference is a quantum leap.
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  #8  
Old July 21st, 2017, 09:55 AM
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Been driving these antiquated beast the last 25+ years- many NAS as well as ROW trucks, SBC, Isuzu swaps, etc. In fact driven coast to coast numerous times in petrol NAS, 2.5 NAD and Tdi's. Bottom line, they all 'work', and it is absolutely the end user's needs/expectations/budget that sets the bar for acceptable use/performance.
I now drive a Tithonus with 2.5NAD and 35's- hurts the already poor acceleration, but a tad more speed on the flats- which is where we live, the Piedmont of NC, at or near Sea Level. A solid 60 is doable to Uwharrie an hour away. Would I take it to the coast 3 hours away- not these days. We live in a very rural farming community, so as long as I can overtake a tractor, I'm good. Not always easy as most these tractors are 100+HP!!
However, comparing a drive cross country over the Rockies- you would kill for the Tdi!! The NAD at elevation is laughable, or cryable pending your perspective. And I would take the Tdi over the petrol for the Rockies!
I guess the comedy is as Mark illustrates above- I have a brand new 200/300 hybrid with a 1.4 ready to go in, but cannot seem to get excited to begin the install. Why? She works as is for me as I am using it. The big question is, will I use it on longer trips with the Tdi once done? I seriously doubt it given my age and orthopedic issues- likely in no small amount partially due to the above use of Defenders in the first place ;-0

So, in the end, I find myself somewhat in the same position as the OP. I am about to do a swap because I always have, yet the old girl is awesome as is for the duties I ask of her. Would the Tdi be better? Sure, and I may actually take her into Charlotte once the temp gets back down under 100, but 'can' as is...
Nice to see a thread on the subject being done with a little thought instead of knee jerk 'bigger is better' mentality!
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  #9  
Old July 21st, 2017, 10:36 AM
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I peronally don't see any issue with the original 2.5NAD.

If it works, then fantastic. If it doesn't work, then less fantastic.

I think most people's negative comments has to do with replacing a bad 2.5NAD. Instead of replacing a bad 2.5NAD with a good 2.5NAD, it makes more sense (in most cases) to upgrade the engine to a newer one.

That said, in certain cases, it makes sense to replace like for like (for example, if you could find a 2.5NAD locally for a very good price.)
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  #10  
Old July 21st, 2017, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Douglas View Post
A 2.5 with 1.6 tcase might attain 70mph. Attaining and cruising are completely different terms.
A 2.5 is 68 hp and doesnt do high rpm well. Because it has no hp or torque, the factory used 1.66 transfercases.

The tdi's are appx 110 hp and use a 1.4 tcase that is 15% taller gearing.

That breaks out to 42 hp more and 15% taller gearing. The difference is a quantum leap.
Quoted for truth.

I didn't hate the 2.5na in my 110 and still run one in a Series 1, but the 200tdi is so much better. Especially at higher altitudes. While the 2.5na is good for 68 horsepower at sea level, at the Eisenhower tunnel on I-70 that drops to about 45 horsepower.

The Tdi starts much easier in colder temps and is more fuel efficient as well.

It's just a far better engine. Whether it's worth the cost of the conversion is up to the individual.
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  #11  
Old July 21st, 2017, 11:51 AM
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David Coker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
I think most people's negative comments has to do with replacing a bad 2.5NAD. Instead of replacing a bad 2.5NAD with a good 2.5NAD, it makes more sense (in most cases) to upgrade the engine to a newer one.
Okay...now that actually makes some sense and explains things a bit. Yes, if my 2.5NA long block sh*t the bed, then instead of dropping in another 2.5NA, I'd seriously consider an upgrade if it means better performance and fuel consumption since I've given up on building a "concourse" restoration (too much frankensteining by MoD and certain parts no longer being available from LR).

As I think about your theory more, it makes even more sense, since most 2.5NAs being dumped on the market appear to be mostly ex-MoD, that means by the time the driver gets the truck, its probably been sitting on various staging lots for a 5-10 years and the consumables haven't been maintained properly with service intervals a crap shoot...so you end up with a poorly tuned and unmaintained engine that would require performing every service at once to get running properly. Also, I don't want to even think about what condition their injection pumps are in. So it would be very tempting when everyone says "Why bother? Just drop a Tdi in it instead!"
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  #12  
Old July 21st, 2017, 12:30 PM
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To add to Post 4: The 2.5 N/A is indirect injection while the TDI is Turbo Diesel Injection a technically more advanced and efficient design.
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  #13  
Old July 21st, 2017, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Factoid View Post
The Defender not only has a manly name, it has a manly look. Broad shoulders, strong glutes and quads, a square jaw and a stern look. Then it opens its mouth and it has a squeaky voice.

Today people are used to power, comfort and quiet. The Defender has none of these in stock form and the delta creates a longing resulting in the new global norm of using a myriad of social media and specialized forums to complain about, well, everything.

The 2.5na is fine for its intended purpose, but we now have much bigger aspirations. Couple that with the desirability of the Defender, an emerging array of engine upgrade options and the pride of ownership and we have an ongoing dialogue of "under powered", "slow", "smoky and stinky", "poor gas mileage", etc. Also, don't underestimate the male tactic of using these streams of reasoning to both convince ourselves of the desperate need for more power and to open up the purse strings controlled by the better half to invest in some Tim the Tool man power upgrades.

It is all part of the dance of the dedicated Defender devotee.
Mark, I couldn't disagree more with your statement, I have had an 88 Series IIa with a 2.25 L gasser and both a 90 and a 110 with the 2.5 n/a and that 2.25 gas motor was a hell of a lot better than the 2.5na. The reason I swapped out my 2.5na for a 200Tdi was safety first and foremost. My 110 was unable keep up with highway traffic bone stock, empty with a tail wind.

On my trips up to MAR and Uwharrie from Florida with bigger tires an ARB bumper, winch, cooler, tools, gear, etc. etc. I was unable to maintain close to the speed limit on I-95 much less the speed traffic is actually moving. We are talking 10 to 20 mph UNDER the speed limit. That sir is DANGEROUS to both me and others on the interstate. It has absolutely nothing to do with "the male tactic of using these streams of reasoning to both convince ourselves of the desperate need for more power and to open up the purse strings controlled by the better half to invest in some Tim the Tool man power upgrades." Even on trips around town and loading the kids up to go to the beach frustrated drivers were constantly making unsafe passes because my truck was soooo fuuuucking slooooow.

The 2.5 na was rated at 68 hp when NEW!!! There is no way these tired old shitty ass motors are making 68hp any longer - no way! But hay, if you enjoy driving around in a dangerously slow and under powered vehicle who am I to judge, right? I mean some guys get off by getting their balls kicked by fat chicks - it ain't for me - but again, who am I to judge?
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  #14  
Old July 21st, 2017, 03:34 PM
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David Coker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddymow View Post
We are talking 10 to 20 mph UNDER the speed limit. ... Even on trips around town and loading the kids up to go to the beach frustrated drivers were constantly making unsafe passes because my truck was soooo fuuuucking slooooow.
I don't know what the weight/drag differences between a 90 and a 110 are, but I haven't had anything even close to that experience once I'm up to speed. Is there enough of a weight difference to impact performance that much?

Now, I will admit that it takes me a looonnnggg time to get up to 70mph, but I get there. Yes, I do get passed, but I have yet to experience going so slow as to feel like I'm in danger, or that I am a danger to others. In Texas, hardly ANYONE goes the actual speed limit....if its posted at 65mph, Texans go 85mph, if its posted 75mph, Texans go 95mph. Our state is simply too large, and our troopers spread too thin to police highway speeders consistently outside of the metro areas, and inside of the metro areas, the State Patrol/Rangers/DPS usually let the local yocals do the "revenueing".

Someone else posted that angry drivers could "trap" you behind them...honestly, I don't think I've ever experienced that, at least not in Texas. Of course, most of us carry firearms in our glove boxes and damn near all Texas women carry a pistol in their purse most times, and definitely when on an extended trip. Yeah, that's a bit of an exaggeration...but not much of one. Car jackers and east coast asshole drivers beware...you pull that "brake check" crap on a rural road in Texas and don't be surprised if you're buying yourself a new rear window, along with a fresh pair of underwear, the next day.

Just for shits and giggles...

If you tell a Texan not to smoke, he'll smoke.
If you tell a Texan not to drink, he'll drink.
If you tell a Texan not to drink and drive, he'll go buy a 22 ounce "roadie" at the local drive through beer barn.
If you tell a Texan someone is stealing his neighbor's TV, he'll walk outside and shoot the thieves right where they stand in broad daylight and the local District Attorney won't prosecute. True story...go google "Texas Castle Doctrine" and see if you can find about the old guy in Houston or aroundabouts who killed a couple of assholes who were robbing his neighbors house as they crossed the lawn with his neighbor's stuff.
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  #15  
Old July 21st, 2017, 03:53 PM
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I also read where Texans are allowed to shoot people who drive trucks with motors that make less than 100 hp.
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Old July 21st, 2017, 03:54 PM
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I think its important to realize we all use our toys for different reasons and in different settings. We put things in and pull things out for different reasons too. (i'm talking about trucks) and it's very interesting to see why some re-powered and others remain. I absolutely love driving the 2.5NA around my small seaside town in New England and back roads in Vermont. Sometimes i don't even use 2nd gear in town just because. It's just plain fun in the proper setting, which may not include I95 especially near Boston.

For me as personal preference, I think there is also importance to the 2.5NA as original to the ex-MOD's heritage and specific to the military lineage as a period piece. I think there are many valid reasons to keep a 2.5NA in there..and again, its fun stuff. If I wanna scream on the interstate I’ll motor in my gnarly 182bhp D90 V8…haha.

I will say for sefety sake, I did put reflector tape on the bumperetts shown so i don't get rear-ended by granny but again, town speed limits here are 25mph and from one town to another is 35-40mph when things really get screaming. Guess i'm getting old. (disclaimer: i think Raub's truck is boss)
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  #17  
Old July 21st, 2017, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddymow View Post
I also read where Texans are allowed to shoot people who drive trucks with motors that make less than 100 hp.

lol...touche...touche...

Actually, you're close, we're allowed to shoot people who drive CARS with motors that make less than 100hp. Trucks and tractors are held to the same standard of holiness as the spear of destiny in Texas.
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  #18  
Old July 21st, 2017, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coker View Post
What exactly is so bad about having a naturally aspirated diesel engine with 67bhp?
Having 67bhp. Less then a Smart car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coker View Post
What exactly is so good about the Tdi?
Having more then 67bhp. That being said 2/300 are still slow.
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  #19  
Old July 21st, 2017, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddymow View Post
Mark, I couldn't disagree more with your statement, I have had an 88 Series IIa with a 2.25 L gasser and both a 90 and a 110 with the 2.5 n/a and that 2.25 gas motor was a hell of a lot better than the 2.5na. The reason I swapped out my 2.5na for a 200Tdi was safety first and foremost. My 110 was unable keep up with highway traffic bone stock, empty with a tail wind.

On my trips up to MAR and Uwharrie from Florida with bigger tires an ARB bumper, winch, cooler, tools, gear, etc. etc. I was unable to maintain close to the speed limit on I-95 much less the speed traffic is actually moving. We are talking 10 to 20 mph UNDER the speed limit. That sir is DANGEROUS to both me and others on the interstate. It has absolutely nothing to do with "the male tactic of using these streams of reasoning to both convince ourselves of the desperate need for more power and to open up the purse strings controlled by the better half to invest in some Tim the Tool man power upgrades." Even on trips around town and loading the kids up to go to the beach frustrated drivers were constantly making unsafe passes because my truck was soooo fuuuucking slooooow.

The 2.5 na was rated at 68 hp when NEW!!! There is no way these tired old shitty ass motors are making 68hp any longer - no way! But hay, if you enjoy driving around in a dangerously slow and under powered vehicle who am I to judge, right? I mean some guys get off by getting their balls kicked by fat chicks - it ain't for me - but again, who am I to judge?
Daddy, I don't know what part you disagree with, but you made my point. As I said, intended purpose. The Defender was never intended to keep up with traffic on 95. I currently have three:

1976 Series III originally with a 2.25na diesel, now a 300tdi
1987 90 originally with a 2.5na diesel, now a V8
1988 90 currently with a 2.5td, soon an LS3

Clearly, I'm aligned with you so what do you disagree with?

BTW, I shot three jeep drivers just last week for driving under the speed limit.
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1988 Defender 90 LHD "Vizzini" (speed demon from Sicily)
1987 Defender 90 MOD LHD "fezzik" (giant rock thrower)
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1975 Porsche 911 hot rod
1964 Porsche (Beck) 904
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  #20  
Old July 21st, 2017, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coker View Post
Someone else posted that angry drivers could "trap" you behind them...honestly, I don't think I've ever experienced that, at least not in Texas.
I think that comment relates to people that pass you because you're very slow to accelerate, then they want to drive 60 mph and your truck can do 70 mph balls out. But you don't have the reserve capacity to make the pass, so you have no choice but to drive behind them at 60 mph.

This I have experienced many times over the years.
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