Powerstroke Long Term Test

A log of my experiences with the 2.8 TGV engine in daily use.

4000 miles : Not a great deal to report really... Performance continues to improve little by little. Reliability has been 100%, only a leaky fuel filter has caused any problems. Fuel economy is currently around 25-26mpg though I am uncertain why it appears to have got worse - it may be due to the increase in power output as the engine loosens up, or my increased use of the available power (thats where my bet lies!) or simply due to 'winter blend' diesel.

20000 miles : Less than 12 months in, another 20K on the clock :-) Engine performance still never fails to impress. Reliability (engine) = 100%. Reliability (vehicle) <100%. On a recent run to Eastnor Castle, the GKN overdrive started slipping badly. After an oil change failed to rectifiy the problem, the O/D was removed and the transfer box replaced with a 1.2 ratio unit from a Range Rover. The truck now revs a little higher (~2700 at 70mph) but the taller gearing throughout the range only improves the driveability (except when towing!). Hauling a broken down Disovery on a towrope the other day I was suprised how much effort it took to get it moving from a standstill presumably due to the taller 1st gear.

25000(?) miles : My Powerstroke ate my Gearbox! - For a few days I'd been driving around with a clutch judder that I thought was a failing UJ. 'OK, be gentle, fix it at the weekend' thought I. Pulling away from traffic lights in the city, there was one almighty BANG! and a complete loss of drive. Hmm, bit more serious than a UJ I reckon! A few moments playing with transfer box and difflock is enough to prove the failure is serious, and a flatbed taxi is called. After a few beers and a long sleep, I peered in through the PTO cover to find the output shaft of the R380 spinning lazily despite the idling engine and the selection of 4th gear. It appears, from a conversation with David Ashcroft, that the output shaft has snapped just inside the casing. The combined efforts of Pete at Stunning Services and Ashcroft Transmissions, (and my credit card company) now see me back on the road with an 'L' suffix R380 (last and apparently strongest version) to replace my early and weaker version. Hopefully this will be enough to stand the Powerstroke attack long term, as the only other cost effective alternative is to fit one of those nasty automagic gearboxes that feels like it's full of porridge ;-) I'm not precisely certain of the mileage when this occurred, but it would have had to be around 25k miles.

30000 miles : Catastrophic clutch failure. - After 14 months and about 30k miles, I began to experience severe clutch judder. Initial investigations showed no obvious external cause, but the situation improved a little with replacement engine mounts (one was very soft), gearbox mounts (had spares sat in the workshop) and clutch slave cylinder (leaking). Then, while at an off-road weekend with Shire Land Rover Club, I found I was suddenly unable to select any gears. Since I was stuck on a long steep slope at the time, this was a bit inconvenient. Ideally I wanted Low 2nd to attempt to clear the incline using the combo of rear locker and brand new 33" BFGs, but I needed Low 1st for a winch assisted drive if I failed. Not a good place to be stopping the engine while worrying about slipping back down the scree. (In the event I failed the drive in 1-Lo, and probably would have in 2-Lo as well, given that three other vehicles failed the climb also!)

Initially it seemed likely that either the release bearing carrier had melted, or the release arm had collapsed. Both of these are fairly common failures, and the reason why I fitted both new when I replaced the engine. When the ever helpful Pete at Stunning Services got the gearbox out however, he found the centre of the clutch plate had broken apart :-( This is apparently common for the 300tdi Heavy Duty clutch fitted to some HiCap models. When I spoke to Motor and Diesel, they offered a further uprated clutch plate (at I may say, a seriously upgraded price), which I purchased on the basis that clutch failure is a major PITA (relatively minor component, but major work to replace and failure can immobilise vehicle)

70000 miles : Well that went by quickly! The TGV engine continues to impress, and has given very little trouble. The timing belt change was duly carried out, using normal 300tdi parts. Another gearbox failure about 10000 miles ago, R380 was still working perfectly but making some appalling noises in low gears. A gradual drop in performance was traced to a failing lift pump. This was replaced with a 300tdi part, but this seemed to struggle at high rpm and gradually became weaker. Finally when the Ibex struggled to maintain motorway speeds, a Facet electric fuel pump was fitted as a lift pump. This seems to have solved the problem.

120000 miles : It's been a while since I had anything to add to this list. The Powerstroke continues onwards, mostly without any events of note. My annual mileage has dropped drastically (was well over 30k/year, now below 15k/year) and besides regular oil changes there have been no issue of note up to now. However...