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Diesel or Petrol

Discussion in 'Series Land Rovers' started by Stevo101, Feb 3, 2010.

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  1. Stevo101

    Stevo101 New Member

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    Hi Everyone, I am new on here and would like to introduce myself to the world of LR!

    Having given up bikes after 12 years I am looking for something to 'tinker' with to fill my spare time. I know LR would fill that gap and then some! :)

    I have a budget of 2k and looking for a SIII. It will be a weekend toy and occasional trip to work which is only a few miles away. Maybe even a road trip when I get to know it a bit better. ;)

    However the problem I am facing at the mo is diesel or petrol.

    There seem to be many trains of thought on economy, rebuilds, conversions etc.

    What would be the expected mpg for each?
    What mileage do the engines need rebuilding? (and how can you tell)
    Cost of engine rebuilds?
    Pro's and Con's on each please?

    Anything else I should know?

    I have searched endlessly on here and either I am using the wrong search words or there isnt anything on here covering the points!

    Your help would be great as I am desperate to get my 'Layla' but willing to wait for the right one! :D
     
  2. RobertP

    RobertP Active Member

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    Location:
    Crewe, Cheshire, opposite the Bentley factory.
    I have had three diesels, and now have a 2 1/4 petrol (88" 1974). The last diesel (standard Landrover 2 1/4) was always right on the emissions limit at the mot. I only blagged it through because it was built before 1979. This gives you the advantage of a visual check for smoke, not a pipe up the rear (ouch). I started with diesels 30 years ago because they gave better mpg (true still), were less affected by damp weather (also true), and diesel fuel was a lot cheaper (definitely not true). The 2 1/4 petrol gives better performance than the equivalent diesel, and a higher top speed. I get about 17-19 mpg, and with the last diesel (88" ex-mod) I probably got about 22-23.
    I don't know what your priorities are, but I hope this helps. :)
     
  3. Stevo101

    Stevo101 New Member

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    Hi RobertP thanks for you post. Its good to hear from someone who has had both, I'm sure some of the others will be along later to depart some of their hard earned knowledge. Hopefully then I will be able to make an educated purchase! (not just the first nice green one I see LOL)
     
  4. steve2286w

    steve2286w Well-Known Member

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    I have the original diesel fitted, it chugs slowly up hills, and even on the flat, with the overdrive 50mph comfortable, 60mph getting too noisy, starts on the button even this weather, probably less tinkering required than petrol reasonable mpg, much better than petrol perhaps an extra 10mpg
    .
    If youre happy plodding along should last a long time
    this ones probably done 130,000 would guess the petrol equally long lived
     
  5. 90truckcab

    90truckcab Well-Known Member

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    petrol for a proper series :)

    but the diesels have stood the test fer years
     
  6. StuntmanAd

    StuntmanAd New Member

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    I may be tempted to sell my Series 3. Its green swb and a diesel. Was a petrol but I found it too thirsty for my liking so got hold of a Pug 2.3 diesel engine off ebay and fitted that. Similar performance to the petrol engine but harder wearing and cheaper to run, win win.

    4 recent mud tyres, 12 months MOT, solid chassis and bulkhead, tax until end of April, FW frount hubs, somebodys done away with the front seats and just put in a 2 lumps of foam for the front seat. I find it quite comfortable, few scratches and scrapes but then it is a 30 year old tractor in disguise lol

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Oh and it no longer has that wonky front bumper

    PM me, you'd have change from your 2k ;)
     
  7. Stevo101

    Stevo101 New Member

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    It seems a few options are open to me then. It seems quite popular for engine changes. I do feel as though I wish to stay with the Land Rover engines but leaving the door open to ideas.

    There does not seem to be much in it on purchase prices these days so I'm thinking diesel anyone going to give me any hard facts why not?? :)
     
  8. Charlieccu

    Charlieccu New Member

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    Depending on your priorities, diesel will be better for wading, petrol can be converted to LPG. Both lumps are unstressed and pretty bulletproof. The later 5 bearing engine is stronger. I have a petrol 2.25 and it returns around 20-23 with overdrive and FWH. Economy would be slightly better if it wasn't on aggressive mud tyres (rather slippy on wet roads). The way I look at it is that my daily drive only does 30mpg so it's not that much more expensive and it's 'smiles per gallon'!!
    I have found that:
    1) However hard you look you will find more problems once you've bought it! (parts are cheap but bills mount up if you buy lots of them!!)
    2) Galvanised chassis are great! Whatever you do after that will last for years (though stonechips etc will eventually chip through to steel, mine was fitted 12yrs ago and I found a rusty outrigger)
    3) Halford professional tool kit is essential (try 120 piece set...half price at moment!)
    4) Get a rechargeable LED worklamp..it saves hours!!!
    5) Galvanising steel parts is only slightly more costly than painting!!
    Thats the key points from a newbie with 6 months experience!!
     
  9. fenby1976

    fenby1976 New Member

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    If your not going to do much mileage then I suppose fuel consumption is not such a big issue for you. The 2 1/4 petrol engines are more robust, run nicer and are more powerful than the 2 1/4 diesels. Diesel engines can be expensive to fix if you get problems with the fuel injection system, but on the plus side they are better for wading if you get into greenlaning or offroading. If I was spending 2K I would be looking at IIA Land-Rovers too - They are more basic but are better made in a couple of areas. The SIII dashboard is a flimsy piece of **** as is the radiator grille - none of that nonsense with the IIA its all good solid metal. Doing a 200Tdi conversion will be well worthwile and provide hours of entertainment potching in the shed.
     
  10. Leon.

    Leon. Active Member

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    got to agree with 90 truck cab. petrol for the authentic series feel. however the diesel has its plus points. i know this may not help but i went the petrel route and dont regret it. plus i understand petrol moor.
     
  11. dr pepper

    dr pepper New Member

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    If you can bash a petty then you can bash a diesel, theres no magic bits on the old leyland engine.
     
  12. Stevo101

    Stevo101 New Member

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    Great news. I hadn't really thought about a IIa to be fair. The odd bit of green lanes does sound good fun and I'm sure that would be something I would like to have a look at, why is the diesel better for the wading then?
     
  13. Mseries3

    Mseries3 Well-Known Member

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    A Diesel needs no electric to run. It will contiune to run aslong as it has fuel and air.

    A Petrol needs a spark to ignite the fuel. Electric + Water = Potental problems unless you do some water proofing (Big tub of Vaserline and some Condoms... The shop assistant might look at you a bit werid :D)
     
  14. Stevo101

    Stevo101 New Member

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    Good point well presented. Ive got a few strange loks down there already it would only confirm their thoughts! :)

    Right a diesel 88 SIII it is then....any one got one they don't want LOL!!!
     
  15. Sirus

    Sirus Your all Banned except me

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    Isn't the series diesel as slow as fook??? get yourself a petrol. just dodge the puddles or carry lots of wd40
     
  16. Langers

    Langers Well-Known Member

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    I see there's talk of "proper engines" on here, but no mention of the V8? Seems funny to me... You might be able to find a V8 converted Series, but more likely would be a Stage 1 V8 - though that's likely to stretch your budget more.

    MPG-wise, the 3.5 V8 will do about 16-17 mpg in a Series - not much less than the smaller Petrol but with hugely improved performance. And let's not forget the sound!
     
  17. Series71

    Series71 Space man

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    gotta agree me series 2 1/4 petrol sups like an alky at a brewery.Put a v8 in it i will one day !
     
  18. Stevo101

    Stevo101 New Member

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  19. Langers

    Langers Well-Known Member

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    "Diesel is rather stale hence the smoke on start up,"

    Can diesel even go stale?? :confused:
     
  20. Teflon

    Teflon New Member

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    Buying a Series, you got bigga things to worry about than what engine is in it!

    For £2k you are nudging 90 territory, but if you want a propper landy, and one you can more easily live with, dont go there, you'll get more for your money with a leafer.

    And as you are at the top of the market, go for a Tax Exempt SII.

    They hold thier value better, and you dont have to pay road tax on them, provided they are GENUINELY 'standard'....ish!

    By now, most will have been rebuilt maybe a couple of times, probably using mainly more available SIII parts.

    Should have gear-box with syncromesh only on 2nd 3rd & 4th, rover axles both ends (if 109) metal dash and radiator grill, and then numerouse 'deatial' differences, like non servo, and if an 88" probably single circuit brakes.

    For your money, you want one that has been rebuilt on a NEW galvanised chassis.... check for reciepts, or look for makers plate. You can get an old chassis zinc dipped, to hide a multitude of sins.

    Next up, look for one that has reciepts for LOTS of mechanical parts, including chrome swivils for the front axle, as well as the steering ball-joints. A new or reconditioned steering box would be good as well, but more importantly a steering relay.

    Inspect the paperwork as hard as the car.

    Shiney paint means bog all on a Landy, and the headline stuff like 'parabolic springs', nice tyres, seats, cubby-boxes, over drive units, electric radiator fans and stuff are all pretty easy stuff.

    The real MEAT in a Landy is the transmission, with the transfer box on the back of the gear-box, that gives it four wheel drive.

    If some-one has gone to the effort of doing a full rebuild on a new chassis, then they REALLY ought to have thought about that.

    Its right in the middle of the car, and a pig to get out if it goes wrong, and they frequently do when old or abused. So if you have stripped a car to the bones, you WOULD think it a good idea to get a 'good' reconditioned gear-box, OR recondition it yourself..... Many dont, they chuck the tired original back on without even changing the oil!

    Reason is that a Series box is about £500 to recon properly with new syncro cones, bearings and seals and stuff, book suggests a lot of specialist tools, and fiddly assemblies that put a lot of ameteur spanner jokeys off. While the alternative, a good reconditioned unit, is about £500, more for an ashcroft 'Remanufactured' unit; that would be about a grand, as much as the chassis cost (though that is a simple steel fabricated structure without any moving parts, so you tell me which is better to chuck your money at?)

    So, if you are looking at a restored vehicle, with Galv'd chassis (and you should be for your budget) ask lots of awkward questions about that transmission...... it SHOULD be 'done' and something you wont have to take the whole car to bits to ever have a look at.... or YOU might as well do the full resto yourself, so why pay some-one top dollar for it, you might as well start with a scrapper and do it all the way YOU want it done to begin with!

    As said, engines are simple slot in replacement jobs compared to anything else on the car, like steering and transmission, you can 'live' with almost anything tha might be there, and replace to suit your preference later.
    BUT for your money, I'd be dissinclined to look at non-standard engined cars, though a 'well done' 3.5 Carbed V8 might be worth a look.

    As said, ALL the standard engines are thirsty, V8 is hardly any more so.
    Diesels, are gutless, VERY gutless.... they have about 60bhp and are hauling best part of two ton about.
    Petrols aren't much better, they have about 70bhp, and can just about be tortured into doing 70mph!

    Diesels AREN'T as imperviouse to water or wading as people suggest, they dont have ignitions to get shorted by water, but they still have an alternator up top, and a starter down below, they DO get drowned, as I learned the hard way!

    (Picture wading through a deep ford, engine chugging along nicely, driving eighty miles home, but stopping for a pint of milk at a petrol station, only to discover that the starter solenoid has shorted.... OK..... so squib that with WD40..... but then theres no power to turn the starter 'cos the alternator got drowned and hasn't been charging the battery for the last three hours..... yes 3hr to do 80 miles..... a Deiesel WILL do about 60mph if your ears can take the tappet clatter, but the acceleration is glacial, and you wont hold a very high average road speed!)

    Diesels are pretty robust though.... they dont really make enough power to do themselves any seriouse harm, but they do wear, and as they wear they get smokey, and start drinking thier sump oil, thats dragged down the valve guides or past the piston rings, and it burns better than the poorly atomised diesel sprayed by crackered injectors!

    Reconditioning a Diesel is a VERY expensive job. A set of injectors, the starting point is about £100, then having the diesel distributor, (injection unit / metering pump, by whatever name you preffer) reconditioned properly is about £250 ish.

    Diesel head, will need the normal reconditioning ops of having the valve guides replaced, the valves and seats ground, but also the hot-spots replaced, and if they need to be skimmed, then the combustion chamber volumes need to be re-balenced.

    They are a LOT more expensive to recondition than a petrol engine.

    On a Petrol, you can buy a brand new Zenith Carb for about £100ish, and an upgraded electronic lucas distributor for about £70........

    You can add to that a Turner stage 1 or 2 'unleaded' cylinder head, for a small power boost for about the cost of a Diesel head 'done'.

    All up, completely rebuilding a petrol engine, expect to spend around a grand on parts and specialist services, plus your time & effort. Add about 30-40% to do a diesel.

    For comparison, you can recon a V8 for pretty similar money, mainly becouse the parts for teh V8 are more available, and sold in higher volume, so often a tad cheaper, even though you need a few more of them in some areas (like piston rings!)

    So, for Money, I'd not be bothered about engine. For week-end play-thing, who cares? As long as it has one, and the previouse owners haven't buggered it about trying to make it fit.

    If it had a V8 conversion, that would be good, becouse otehrwise I'd leave the engine it had in there until I decided I couldn't live with it, or it went pop on me, and do a V8 job myself. But if pre-converted, it would have to be neatly done, AND have the engine backed by a reconditioned gear-box, AND have the servo-assisted duel curcuit brakes from a later SIII 109 fitted.

    If not V8'd, then I'd still apreciate the 109 brakes if there, but no great shakes if not, just something I'd do as I went along, waiting for the engine to give up on me!

    whether there or not though, I'd be scouring the small adds on the boards for a 'take out' 3.5 carb v8, thats a bit tired and going cheap, if not 'dead'. That motor I'd fully recon for fit, when the one fitted died, but it IS a thousand pound job, but one that is OH-SO satisfying to do, and a fully recconed v8 is just so 'crisp' it makes most feel like they are providing thier power through a jelly fly-wheel!

    Might be tempted to gas it, too, but then as a low mile 'occassional' car, probably not worth the hassle. and a well fettled V8 CAN do as well on MPG as an average four pot.

    But if that's not to your taste, then 2.25 petrol.

    You can do some silly stuff to them, and chucking lots of money at Roland at ACR in Wrexham, you can get a 2.8l 4-pot that makes more power than many v8's..... and (drinks as much fuel!), but still looks like it grew in the engine bay!

    Left alone, reconditioned, or played with, the four pot is an 'OK' engine, and it does give a different kind of grin factor, having something that is 40+ years old and just like the pictures in the antiqated books!

    But, you have to remember that it IS a 'vintage' car! The leaf sprung landies design owes more to the age of steam than it does the space age, and its basic design is that of a 1930's vehicle, and one adapted to be part tractor, part lorry, part car.

    FACT that we can even envissage using an old Landy as an every-day car, or expect to drive it in modern traffic at ALL, is testimony to how good it was when it was first built, but it AINT no Nissan Micra!

    They come from an age when the driver was expected to do such stuff as adjusting the brakes, tappets, timing, and carburettor in the weekly maintenence, rather than just filling it with fuel, and checking the tyres now and again! They are maintenence demanding.

    But as a 'play-time' car, that can be part of thier charm.

    Anyway, bottom line, worry about getting as good a motor as you can for your money; chassis, transmission, steering & brakes up top of the list; as said, scrutinise the paperwork, and worry about what engine it has or what colour it is, or whether the scratch in the rear tub will polish out last.
     
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