Life at the end of the road

July 5, 2014

An amazing Discovery :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:43 pm

The demise of high ratio last month could may well be the best thing that’s happened to the ‘Old Girl’ since I saved her from a dubious car dealer some thirteen years ago. My woes in that department were sorted after much messing about, but their mention on here led to a phone call from a reader on Raasay and the offer of a 200TDi Discovery!

Now the 200TDi engine built by Land Rover is probably the best engine they’ve ever made and was fitted to the first Discovery’s when they came out in 1989 and then the Land Rover a year or so later. This replaced the worst engine they ever made, the 19J turbo diesel, that currently resides in the ‘Old Girl’.


200Tdi (Engine Code 11L, 12L and 13L)

In 1989 Land Rover had launched the Discovery its Range Rover-based family 4×4 that quickly became Europe’s top-selling 4×4.[58] One of the key reasons for its success was its ground-breaking turbodiesel engine. The 200Tdi was one of the first mass-produced small-capacity (i.e., not a lorry engine) direct-injection diesels,[59] with the attendant improvements in power and efficiency that system brings. Developed under the codename Gemini, the 200Tdi was planned from the start to be used on all Land Rover’s products.[12] For production reasons, it had to be machined on the existing machinery, so used the same block and crankshaft as the existing 2.5-litre diesel engines. It also used many ancillary parts used on the older engines.[60][61] However, it was a true break with the past. An aluminium alloy cylinder head reduced weight and noise, a new Bosch injection system gave improved running characteristics and better starting performance. An intercooler boosted power and efficiency further. Lessons learnt from the Diesel Turbo were included, such as the fitment of an inertial separator in the breather system to remove oil before crankcase gases were returned to the air intake. Initially turbocharged and naturally aspirated diesel versions and a carburettor-fed petrol version were to be produced. The direct-injection system meant that only machining of the injector sockets was needed to allow the fitment of spark plugs. However, the performance and economy of the turbodiesel version was such that the other variants were not produced.[12] The 200Tdi was launched in the Discovery in 1989. It was then fitted to the utility Land Rover (renamed the Defender) in late 1990.[62] For this application the engine was slightly de-tuned and, whilst in the Discovery the 200Tdi used all-new components, packaging restraints in the Defender meant that the 200Tdi in this role shared many exterior parts (such as the timing belt system and case) with the Diesel Turbo. Most obviously the turbocharger was retained in the Diesel Turbo’s high mounting position on top of the manifolds in the Defender, rather than being tucked under the manifolds in the original Discovery version.[63] In 1992 the engine was fitted to the Range Rover. Although the older petrol and naturally aspirated diesel units were theoretically still available, the 200Tdi had better performance and economy than any of them, and so dominated the sales figures.[64] It is still highly regarded by Land Rover enthusiasts and has established itself as a powerful and long-lived unit that with proper maintenance can exceed 300,000 miles of use.[63][65][66] The engine’s commonality with the older models makes it a popular choice for installation in older Land Rovers. This is done both in original form or with the turbo removed (when the engine becomes known to enthusiasts as a 200Di) in order to keep the power/torque output within the limits of a Series Land Rover’s gearbox and for greater ease of conversion. The turbocharged version may also be installed with or without the intercooler.

Despite the turbo the 19J still only manages a paltry 85HP compared to the 111HP of a Discovery 200TDi and whilst the TDi is ‘bombproof’ the 19J needs nursing to maintain any degree of reliability. Now the old TD in the Old Girl has certainly been well maintained with oil changes every 3000 miles but that 85HP does not endear her to other motorists when she’s pulling the Thomson.

To be honest her performance doesn’t particularly worry me, with ten forward gears she’ll climb any hill, just slowly. No what really concerns me is her abysmal fuel consumption, 25 MPG on a good day and 20 MPG when towing. The thing with the 200TDi is that it’ll return more like 30 and 25 whilst getting you there quicker and quieter.

The vehicle I was offered hadn’t run for 3 years and had been sat outside in all weathers, but when I went to look at the 1991 vehicle with 153K on the clock there was no sign of ‘heavy breathing’ or oil leaks. The tyres were a little soft, the clutch didn’t work and the fuel cap was missing (not good in a climate where the wind and rain come sideways) , but it was all there and looked promising.

026 027 029

My ‘back to back’ managed to find me a serviceable battery and I cut a couple of holes in the bell housing to check why the clutch wasn’t working as the pedal was stuck down. These gearboxes are prone to wearing a hole in the clutch release fork so I checked that out first. As it turned out it was a seized master cylinder and the ‘devils own’ job to sort out but I managed to get it working (of a fashion). Rather than risk dragging water through the fuel system I fitted a gallon can where the second battery would normally reside and piped that up to the fuel pump.

I bled the fuel system connected a 12v booster pack to the battery, turned the ignition on, let the glow plugs warm and flicked the starter. No sooner had the long dormant engine turned than she fired up, sweet as a nut and with no smoke. I was flabbergasted, no cranking for ages, no misfire, no blue haze from the exhaust, just a slight squeak from the fan belt and a rattle from the alternator!!!!



We were in Arnish around an hour later, I was well chuffed Smile

It’s not a straight swap for the old 19J, the Discovery’s side mounted turbo requires a special exhaust pipe making up and some creative work on the intercooler pipework, radiator and hoses. However it’s a popular and well documented conversion and I now have a great shed to do it in Smile

There’s acres of stuff on the internet about it, and for the less confident many of the parts can be bought from specialists like

Steve Parker in Rochdale and

Modifying a Pioner Maxi

There was much, much more Land Rover related shenanigans but I’ll spare you that and the Warn winch overhaul for now.

Anyone whose been following my wittering for long will know of my fondness for the indestructible Pioner Maxi, that plastic ‘rock proof’ boat from Norway. Well, I found out last winter that it wasn’t quite indestructible, but to be honest the circumstances were exceptional and had the boat not been securely fastened to Scotland at one end I’m sure it would have been fine. Anyway, said craft was replaced by another but this one was an earlier model without the bung in the transom to let out the water.

The newer version has the cutaway for the transom much further back so the bung goes right through it, however that’s not possible with the older Pioner as it’s about a 300mm of a void. To get around this I made a hole in the hull at the stern large enough to get my arm through,

003 004 006 007 008

then I drilled a hole behind the seat plus one in the transom that roughly lined up with it. Once the holes were bored I fitted two ‘skin fittings’ and connected them with some nylon hose and stainless Jubilee clips.


That done I fitted a waterproof inspection hatch to the hole I’d made by drilling, sawing and filing Smile

Getting ready to go

I guess it was Friday that my son and I went to collect the ‘Disco’ and I don’t think it stopped raining all through Thursday night. The mini drought had most definitely ended, water was flowing back into our tanks and all the water buts were full.


This torrent had been just a trickle the day before and we had started producing ‘hydro electricity’ from our burn for the first time in weeks. The afternoon was bonny enough, the evening spectacular and today lovely.


So, with the fields all nicely dried out I set about cutting bedding for the pigs



and for the trailer that would be taking the piglets away on Monday.

We’d weaned the 17 piglets on Wednesday and already, both they and their mothers had lost interest in each other,



Ellie was basking in the sun


and the wains were sheltering in the barn. They’ve been sleeping in here since they were weaned, but in two very distinct groups, the ‘spotties’ in the corner and the ‘Tammies’ by  the door. Today was the first time I’ve seen them ‘mixed up’ Smile 

Two awards!

Apart from being glued to the laptop scouring the internet for info on converting Discovery engines into Defenders ( I friggin hate that name) I’ve been busy at work aboard the good ship Hallaig. Our fine hybrid vessel left Ferguson’s shipyard in somewhat of a hurry last year and both shifts have been making the best of the good weather in making good the shipyards failings in the painting department Sad smile We aim to make the Hallaig the ‘pride of the fleet’ as she’s just won two prestigious awards!

 cmal award

‘The most innovative transport project of the year’

Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards 2014 copy

and ‘The Electric and Hybrid propulsion system of the year’

Our fine new ship may have got off to a shaky start, arriving as she did just prior to the wettest and windiest winter in almost twenty years but she’s proving her worth now. She can shift twice the number of cars cars quicker, quieter and cleaner than the good old Striven and for considerably less fuel. Sure there have been a few snags but the good old Striven came down the slipway at Dunston’s about the same time my ‘Old Girl’ rolled out of Load Lane in May 1986. Much as I love her, would I rather be driving and paying the fuel bills of her or a new TDci ? what do you think.



  1. Once again, great blog glad your back keeping us enthralled in your day to day challenges. 👍

    Comment by Polite Scouser — July 5, 2014 @ 11:26 pm

  2. When you get round to swapping the 200 into the old girl – take out the Disco tranny box as well – it will transform the old girl. Also check out an ebay seller named debrad65 – they do some very fine complete kits, including for the intercooler – that’s who I have used for mine as I’m not impressed with the quality of the SP ones. Rakeway do a billet turned clutch bearing carrier for not very much, no more melted plastic ones – – good luck but you’ll be wishing you had more long straight roads over there when the 200 and the tranny box are in

    Comment by Sean — July 6, 2014 @ 1:04 am

    • Morning Sean,

      the 1.22:1 is way too tall for my 33×15.50×15 tyres. I may use the Disco transfer box right enough as it’s ‘oil free’ and real quiet but I’d put a 1.44:1 cluster in it. I did consider leaving it alone but after driving the Disco ten miles (and bear in mind it’s lighter than the 110 with smaller wheels) and only getting into 4th a handful of times I’m not going to bother.

      Cheers, for the links, I’ve already looked at Debrad’s kit so am pleased to hear it’s better than Steve’s as it’s much cheaper.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 6, 2014 @ 6:56 am

      • ah yes I’d forgotten you have daft tyres on the 110 – I’m surprised you didn’t manage to hit forth often during your short drive in the rust bucket, my 89 110 manages to cruse up hill down dale all day in 5th ! albeit on 750s – check that engine

        Comment by Sean — July 7, 2014 @ 9:03 am

  3. is the chassis shot on the disco? if not why not just use the disco and sell the OG? The disco is a much nicer place to be, I have had loads of them!!!

    Comment by v8mbo — July 6, 2014 @ 11:35 am

    • That kit will be for a Defender engine with the high turbo, timing chest and water pump so not really a great deal of use to anyone really Robin. As for using the Disco, I wouldn’t be seen dead in one, fine for round the toon and the odd bit of mud and snow. Hardly conducive to hosing the hen and pig pooh from Terrance Conran’s insipid blue brush velour interior though.


      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 6, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

  4. Glad to see you back Paul, good luck with the disco:) Alex & Lesley

    Comment by Alex — July 6, 2014 @ 6:56 pm

  5. just traded my td5… the engine on that was a dream.. it was remapped and power was boundless.. pity the chassis was looking a bit ropey.. its been replaced by a discovery 4 commercial with 29k miles on the clock.

    a road trip is starting this week and hopefully i’m ending up traversing the shipping lane aboard the MV Hallaig…. with a bottle of either “the waxed bat” or “black stump”

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — July 6, 2014 @ 9:09 pm

  6. Paul, I don’t anything about landrovers or indeed pigs, but I am glad to see you back, you have now got my first thing in the morning reading routine re-established, best regards,
    Davie, Glasgow

    Comment by davieT — July 7, 2014 @ 8:48 am

  7. Paul,
    Have you ever seen these – electric quads, would probably make a lot of sense for you when the old chinese quad finally dies.

    Comment by Kev — July 8, 2014 @ 9:49 pm

  8. The squeak from the fan belt will be the idler wheel as they are well known for squeaking. Just oil once in a while. Mouse stays away.

    Comment by Lynn, The mad lass up north — July 9, 2014 @ 6:57 pm

    • Hello and welcome ‘mad Lynn oop north’, that’ll be the 300TDi with and idler and mouse, the 200 hasn’t got one 🙂 I think it was just rust on the pulleys right enough, it’s fine now. More Disco shenanigans on the way 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 9, 2014 @ 10:27 pm

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