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Member Since: 20 Oct 2016
Location: Basingstoke
Posts: 197

United Kingdom 1986 Defender 90 200 Tdi ST Caledonian Blue
The TD5 110 fuel tank sender and pump unit peril

Disclaimer: This may be more rant than looking for a resolution.

My recently bought 110 had a slight issue that needed looking at - a fuel gauge that reads at 1/2 when it's empty. And full when full. Basically half resolution. So I peeled back the carpet in the boot and found that the magic inspection hatch had already been made. Perfect. So I ordered and received a Bearmach in tank sender and pump for a 110 TD5. My suspicion was that the previous owner had installed a new pump but put the one in with either a 90 or DiscoII sender so it was reading wrongly.

Peril #1 - The inspection hatch was a thin piece of metal sheet. It was attached with a paste that must have been HD marine, it was like concrete. Chisel, hammer and she's away.

Now it all went quite well. Cleaned it all up, airline everything clean, ready to go. Disconnect loom and the 4 fuel lines very easily and hammer the lock ring around. It pops up, the unit came out cleanly and in a plastic tub she goes. I line up the new sender which I check is the same dimensions and looks basically identical. I cleaned up the lock ring and apply the seal into the fuel tank. I drop the new sender in, bit tight, but it goes in. At this point it becomes bleak as the unit will just not go far enough down into the tank to allow the lock ring to drop in. Of course now begins:

Peril #2 - I'm now covered in diesel. I've lifted the new sender back out so I can put something clean, like a ruler, into the tank to get a feel for what the sender is going to be resting on. It's full of diesel and it goes everywhere really. It's so highly sprung I can't push it down any more. I check around the plastic ring that the lock ring goes onto and it's slightly spun on the tank. So I manage to tap that around and line it up. I try again with the sender. No deal. I call a mate to come over and push the unit down for me. At length using a blunt instrument I can tap the sender down with a hammer and get it to sit a lot nearer where it needs to be. I apply the lock ring and get it to catch. I spin it around a few times. I notice that its going into the thread on a slight angle, but at this point I've had a lot of problems getting to this stage so press on, hoping it suddenly pings in straight. It doesn't! Either way we get it tight and decide to test the system. So we hook up the fuel lines, loom and give it all a wipe down. We begin the priming process and it clears a bit of air. The car starts first time. Great! Except we have a bit of weeping.

Peril #3 - We decide to pop the sender back out as clearly the lock ring sitting on an angle is causing a leak around the tank seal. Ok, so we remove the fuel lines. Engine return line (black) comes out with an 0 ring on it. This is concerning.

Peril #4 - LONG, LONG story short, we get the unit back out, back in, we are now struggling to get it to line up at all but at length we get the lock ring on. It is still on an angle. Admitting some kind of defeat we screw it up anyway as I have a backup plan for in the week. We now try and attach the fuel lines. Of course we have to pull out the O Rings from the black line 4. Again condensed story, we pull them out with a hook tool, arrange them in what the only logical order is, and we can't get it all to seat, the O rings are compressing so much that the fuel line clip won't seal. In the end we get it in but the outer O ring splits and pops off the end of the fuel line as it clips in. GREAT.

It's now dark outside, super cold and we are just working with LED site lights. It all fires up and has minimal weepage.

The car is already booked in for a remap and an engine oil leak that I can't determine the source of, this week anyway. So I have added fixing this to the job. I expect they'll rip it out, change the plastic ring on the tank, put in a whole new pump assembly and be done with it.

I don't particularly have a question apart from... "What went so bloody wrong!?!?" I watched youtube videos, LR guides, everyone else just had the unit pop straight in and the lock ring goes on almost automatically as it drops on... what could be wrong here?

I think I'm still sore, because I'm still sore. My hands are gashed up (the previous owner who must have cut the port hole left it sharp and I caught it more times than I remember) and I have never been splashed up with so much diesel from that bloody pump going in and out so many times. We know this in our household now as 'Dieselgate'

There she is, my friend:

Click image to enlarge

Post #753039 22nd Jan 2019 9:42am
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Member Since: 19 Feb 2016
Location: Fife
Posts: 405

Scotland 2015 Defender 90 Puma 2.2 Landmark LE Corris Grey

No extra charge for a rant Whistle much cheaper than professional therapy.
Does your fuel gauge work correctly now?

Post #753045 22nd Jan 2019 10:02am
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Member Since: 20 Oct 2016
Location: Basingstoke
Posts: 197

United Kingdom 1986 Defender 90 200 Tdi ST Caledonian Blue

HAHA. Yeah I forgot to mention that. Yes, I think it does... it's sitting lower than it was before... and I don't think I lost a half tank of diesel in the process so I believe the new sender is spot on... apart from that its leaking slowly *pump runs and you hair an air screech every time you turn it on*

I'm not going to be using it apart from drive it to the workshop... I don't want that return feed disconnecting and spraying everything!

Post #753046 22nd Jan 2019 10:07am
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Member Since: 17 Aug 2015
Location: Liverpool
Posts: 607

United Kingdom 2003 Defender 90 Td5 HT Alpine White

I have a 90 that reads empty when I dont think it is.... but having swapped 3 bloody fuel pumps over the years its staying in.

I've found the pump doesn't always sit bang on facing forward. Sometimes depending on the pump it's a slight a goe off.
I've also found having the tank seal on the pump and then pushing it into the tank before pushing down on the pump stops the issue you describe with the pump not wanting to go in its spring loaded and pushed against the bottom of the tank back at you 2014 - current ..... 2003 defender td5 90 (my car)
2009 - current .... 2005 zx10r

Post #753054 22nd Jan 2019 10:35am
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Member Since: 31 Jul 2018
Location: Nr Cambridge
Posts: 5

United Kingdom 2011 Defender 110 Puma 2.4 XS CSW Galway Green

I don´t know if it helps, but from experience changing pumps in a Discovery 2, when you take the sender out the seal is nicely held in place at the top of the tank, and if you look at the seal in profile it looks like it should clip in place. This is a Land Rover lie designed to confuse any normal person. The seal needs to be loose around the sender and it compresses up and seals - with the seal clipped in place on the tank you can´t get it to compress and seal, or get the lock ring to go on square.

EDIT - 1 minute too slow with my typing

Post #753551 24th Jan 2019 10:36am
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