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  #1  
Old March 5th, 2012, 10:18 AM
neduro
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Ned Suesse
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To TDI or not to TDI, that is the question

Hello all-

Long time fan of Land Rovers, but a new member here. I'm an active off road adventurer (on 2 wheels) looking to make the transition to 4 at least part of the time, so that I can hike and mtb and camp in some of the places that I've been zooming by for years. First trips I plan will be in Utah, Nevada, and Baja.

A good friend from racing is british, so he's helped me procure a 1987 D90 in the UK that has done only 57k miles. Right now, it has a 9.35 compression 3.5 V8 with FI, the entire truck was prepped for a RTW trip that never happened. The chassis is very nice and clean and has been entirely gone through with bushings, etc. My friend has been driving it for a month or so, only issue revealed is a minor oil leak that I can have easily sorted out. In addition, the rear crossmember has some rot, otherwise, it gets a clean bill of health. I'm planning to work with Doug Crowther of Dividing Creek Imports to bring the truck in a container.

My question is, should I make the truck a TDI in the UK? I'm sold on the advantages of diesel in both efficiency and performance, but I'm worried about the complexity and cost of doing it long range and not really knowing what I will wind up with. Alternatively, I can source an engine/ transmission/ transfer box/ etc there, put them in the container with the truck, and do the conversion myself here, except I'm worried that the time I need for that project will be exactly the time I had to go use the silly thing, and I'll wind up being a garage explorer instead of a backroads one.

What say the crowd? Thanks for your help in advance.
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  #2  
Old March 5th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neduro View Post
My question is, should I make the truck a TDI in the UK?
If you have the chance, why not?
As long as you choose a reliable company for the job.

Or, bring the truck home and send it to Keith for the conversion.
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  #3  
Old March 5th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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If you get the diesel get the 300 Tdi or the 2.8. The 2.8 has more power. Parts are not to hard to come by for the diesels but some may have to come from the UK. It is hard to find a diesel tech for the LR diesel, however they are easy to work on. The diesels were preferred since they can do better in adverse conditions and questionable fuel quality. The V-8 can be easier to source parts and can be made to have more HP. The gas motors might do better on the highway in the mountains. Off road I prefer the diesel. As far as here or the UK it depends upon who does the conversions. I have seen some really bad ones and then some really good ones. Just depends on who is doing the work.
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  #4  
Old March 5th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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I've heard importation needs to have the original engine. Perhaps Doug can chime in here. If so, import the diesel as parts along with the vehicle, and have the conversion done here.
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  #5  
Old March 5th, 2012, 11:03 AM
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J. Michael McCaig
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If the V8 has only done 57k miles, I'd run it the way it is and have fun with it. Go ahead and import the parts to do the conversion later if you want.
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  #6  
Old March 5th, 2012, 11:46 AM
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Have them throw a Tdi in the back of the truck as parts, ship in a container, and declare the extra goodies. Then you'll have a solid Tdi waiting for when you decide to do a swap later.

But on fuel mileage and simplicity alone I'd recommend a Tdi. Was wheeling at Rausch couple weeks ago, those with V8's blew through like 1/2 tank of gas just idling along the trail all weekend. The Tdi guys barely moved the needle.
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  #7  
Old March 5th, 2012, 11:54 AM
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Mike Simpson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neduro View Post
My question is, should I make the truck a TDI in the UK? I'm sold on the advantages of diesel in both efficiency and performance, but I'm worried about the complexity and cost of doing it long range and not really knowing what I will wind up with. Alternatively, I can source an engine/ transmission/ transfer box/ etc there, put them in the container with the truck, and do the conversion myself here, except I'm worried that the time I need for that project will be exactly the time I had to go use the silly thing, and I'll wind up being a garage explorer instead of a backroads one.

What say the crowd? Thanks for your help in advance.
I went through this same dilemma last year, but my decision was made for me when PA Blanchard advised that they wouldn't do the engine swap for me. I then decided to ship the truck and several engines, some of which I sold to help subsidize the cost of shipping the container.

In order to qualify for the 21 year EPA exemption for legal import, a motor vehicle is supposed to have its original engine (or exact replacement). I don't think that is enforced rigorously, but Doug would know.

Then you have the issue that will arise when you get the truck to CO and you want to register it. The V5C says it's gasoline powered and the State of CO will insist on an emissions test. You may know that we used to have a rolling 25 year "collector vehicle" plate program, but the Ritter administration nixed that and now anything newer than 1975 must pass emissions annually if you live in the program area. There is probably a way to do a diesel swap and have that reflected on the registration, but I don't know how to do it (my truck was built as a 2.5NA diesel).

Bottom line is I'd stick with the V8 or find another truck to import. Oh, and let me know if you have extra room in your container.....
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  #8  
Old March 5th, 2012, 12:08 PM
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Ed
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Probably best to ask someone in the UK like mikeslandrover or gren about this. There are trusted shops that can bang out a tdi conversion in a weekend, and they do it the "right way" and have access to the tons of odd parts that a shop in the US couldn't dream of getting.

Why not install a 3.0 TD6 engine?
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  #9  
Old March 6th, 2012, 10:53 AM
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Andrew
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I had a 300tdi thrown in over in England and then shipped here. When we sent it over in the container we had the understanding that nothing else but the car was to be shipped, meaning no other parts in the container. The work we had done was through liveridge, full restoration of the 90. I know they have the expertise of putting a 300tdi in, and they have shipped defenders all around the world so if you had any questions on that I'd ask them. But right now they have a 1 year waiting list.

Also we called customs here in Chicago 2 weeks before arrival and the guy we were put in touch with knew all about defenders. He said that as long as the defender was being brought in for personal use, and not to be sold off they do the regular inspection and let it through. If lots of defenders were coming through to the same person they would get suspicious and start nailing you.

Talking to Chris at liveridge one guy over here had customs drain all fluids from his defender and when he went to start it up it sounded terrible. Customs never told him that they had drained anything, they can go through and do anything they want, now that said my defender never even had the container opened until we picked it up so it just depends on who is working, or if its close to lunch to see how hard they inspect it.

Also heard that certain rover restoration companies on the east coast are trying to get customs to step up there game and not let so many 300tdi trucks through, seeing it takes away from their business. but that's what I had heard when talking to people about bringing the 90 300tdi over. If you are worried about customs getting you for the 300tdi I wouldn't. As long as everything else is stock you should be fine.
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  #10  
Old March 6th, 2012, 11:05 AM
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As a reminder, you can't put anything in the back of the truck if it's ro-ro - you'll have to go container.

Also remember that there are a lot of little knick-knacks and parts involved in the conversion that are dirt cheap or free in the UK but very difficult to find here.
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  #11  
Old March 6th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Dave Lucas
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If it is running good and solid I would just drive it as is and have fun with it. Cost of the new motor will eat away any $$ saved on fuel.

If you want to swap it just to swap it I would decode the VIN and see what motor was installed from the factory as it might complicate things if selling in some states.

You will be happy using Doug, he was great to deal with
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  #12  
Old March 6th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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As the owner of a ROW 300TDI 110, I can hardly understand the fascination with this little engine. Yes, it is all right, I don't hate it or anything, but I'd prefer a V8 in a heartbeat.
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  #13  
Old March 6th, 2012, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santiago Montenegr View Post
As the owner of a ROW 300TDI 110, I can hardly understand the fascination with this little engine. Yes, it is all right, I don't hate it or anything, but I'd prefer a V8 in a heartbeat.
but your gas is cheaper than water ...
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  #14  
Old March 6th, 2012, 02:50 PM
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Yes, that is true.
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  #15  
Old March 6th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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I kind of like the 190 ft-lbs of torque at 1800rpm. Useful off road.

It's noisy as balls, though
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  #16  
Old March 6th, 2012, 03:47 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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You must like to hang out at gas stations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santiago Montenegr
As the owner of a ROW 300TDI 110, I can hardly understand the fascination with this little engine. Yes, it is all right, I don't hate it or anything, but I'd prefer a V8 in a heartbeat.
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  #17  
Old March 6th, 2012, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
I kind of like the 190 ft-lbs of torque at 1800rpm. Useful off road.

It's noisy as balls, though
What he said! Well, the first part anyways.

Ed, I'm telling you a little soundproofing may help. Tdi's love to get that noise bouncing off the hood, which comes back down through the bulkhead and into the cabin. Some absorbing material fit to the hood would serve you well, and then lay down that 1/2" closed cell stuff cut to fit under the interior.

I opted not to "adhere" anything to the bulkhead/floor/etc so I could still have easy access, but did line in with the aforementioned. I'll take you for a spin in mine for comparison next time we cross paths (which, I aim to have mine on the road for Galpins this weekend actually if you'll be there).
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  #18  
Old March 7th, 2012, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
I kind of like the 190 ft-lbs of torque at 1800rpm. Useful off road.

Me too. I also hate the +/-0 ft-lbs @1200 rpm. Not so useful in the slopes.
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  #19  
Old March 7th, 2012, 07:28 AM
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Chris
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Leave it as is. Btw which gearbox does it have?
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  #20  
Old March 7th, 2012, 09:27 AM
Oliver Whiting
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Leave it alone and drive it the way it is.
Diesels are fine, though I have never had a problem with the v8's and the v8 has more power than the diesel.
The swap is usually not cost effective unless you drive a lot of miles and gas is still cheaper here than diesel.
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