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oscaryocho



Member Since: 08 Apr 2022
Location: Quimper
Posts: 18

France 2001 Defender 110 Td5 SW Chawton White
Hard to start Defender TD5
Hi everyone,

First of all, it's my first post on here so don't hesitate telling me if something's off or that I shouldn't do or say !

Now, for the matter : I own a land rover defender td5 from 2001 which has a problem when starting. After going through different diagnosis myself, I don't know what to do and I can't seem to find the origin of the problem.
I've bought the vehicle last year, almost a year ago exactly, really really good shape overall. i did a lot of modifications on it, on the outside as well as the inside. As a TD5 should be, it was starting good on first try when turning the key. It has worked fine for months and now, for 3 months I think it has been more and more difficult to start. At the beginning it was just a few seconds more to start and it has gotten worse these last few weeks. I've looked dozen of forums, threads, watched many videos, tutorials on youtube etc... without finding anything that has changed the behaviour of my defender.
The first thing I've checked was the crankshaft sensor, I've read that it could have an impact on the start of the engine since the ECU doesn't know anymore where the crankshaft is situated and so it doesn't inject the right amount of diesel in the cylinders when starting, resulting in a bad starting car.
After checking with the computer, everything works fine so I've come to the conclusion that the issue wasn't this sensor.
After that, I've checked all of the remaining sensors that were all sending me quite good values, at least it was coherent.
Once all of these possibilities were put aside, I've checked for any oil in the ECU, none was found. I've then checked the injectors harness under the hood and it came out that it was leaking oil in the connector so I've figured I would change the harness to be sure it wasn't causing any issue, plus it's never good to have a leaking connector so I've changed it. Nothing seems to have changed after that, it is still as hard as it was before.
Once again, I'm gutted because I haven't been able to figure out what was causing the issue. Another common cause for this issue can be gas pump related but in my case I'm almost 100% sure it cannot be the problem : in my opinion if the pump doesn't work properly, I would have some power loss here and there when driving but it is not the case so I'm pretty sure it's not a faulty pump.
After trying to understand the issue a little bit more by listening to the engine when starting, it almost sounds like it doesn't have enough fuel in it in order to start or like if it had too much air in comparaison and so it couldn't result in a big enough combustion to launch the engine.
I don't think it can be the starter since the battery is in good shape and the ignition sound is clearly audible.
So after searching for other issues air leak related on TD5's, I've read many threads where people were talking about the air bleed valve being a source of poor starting. I've ordered these two parts and installed them and, to my surprise it worked ! Well at least for a few hours before letting me down again like I didn't change anything. Oh and I forgot to mention this as well, I've change the fuel filter so it's brand new, it was one of the first thing I did.
So now I'm here, I've changed all of these parts without improving anything. I'm here in the hope someone had this issue in the past and if so, I'd be more than happy to hear from them/you !!

What is left for me to try is opening up the engine to remove the injectors, change the washers and the seals before putting them back in, in hope that it would change something. I'm not really a big fan of this idea and I would like to be sure there's nothing more to try before doing it.

I think it is necessary for me to explain my engine start routine : pretty much all the time I start the engine, I go through the following steps :
1 - insert the key
2 - turn it to the pre heat mode
3 - wait till the spring symbol disappears on my dashboard
4 - wait until I don't hear the fuel pump anymore
5 - turn on the key into ignition mode

Normally after all these steps the engine starts directly without cranking whatsoever. In my case it's random. Sometimes it will start directly, sometimes it will crank for 2-3 seconds, sometimes it will crank for 20 seconds before starting and sometimes I'll have to go through all of these steps again a few times before being able to start.
Today however, I'm just unable to start at all, it just won't start, I still have fuel in the tank, not a lot but I'm not in the orange zone yet, there's no reason why it wouldn't work in my opinion. It really sounds like the starter does its job but there's nothing to be "burnt" in the cylinders...

Since the gas price is really high around here at the moment, I haven't put more than half the capacity of the tank once in the last 2 months so I don't know if it would start better when fuel tank is full ! Last week however, I did put a little bit more than 40 L in and I've noticed the engine was starting way better for a couple of days, I don't know if it is related but I did see a change at this precise moment. So I'm wondering what would cause the engine to start better when fuel tank is more full ?

My main question remains the same after all, what else could cause this issue and how can I fix this ?
I love my car but I have to say, this kind of problem drives me mad...

I cannot wait to hear from you, have great day !

Best regards,

Oscar
Post #948630 8th Apr 2022 2:30pm
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karlp606



Member Since: 19 Aug 2021
Location: Hull
Posts: 293

United Kingdom 1997 Defender 90 300 Tdi CSW Firenze Red
Could be air in the fuel filter?
If you crack the nut on the fuel filter and see if any air/bubbles come out whilst turning the engine.
I had a similar issue with my 300tdi - turned out to be the fuel lifter pump - not enough fuel getting to the engine.
Also check starter as that maybe on its way out... - I think you test the voltage on the starter and see what its drawing to work out if its on its way out.

PS I had no power loss previously to the fuel lifter pump going, I originally thought the battery was on its way out until testing the above.
Post #948638 8th Apr 2022 3:31pm
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oscaryocho



Member Since: 08 Apr 2022
Location: Quimper
Posts: 18

France 2001 Defender 110 Td5 SW Chawton White
Thanks for your quick response mate !

It could well be air in the system, at least I think it could !
I've done what you said and there's no air bubbles coming out when undoing the nut and starting !
I remember a few weeks ago, when the fuel filter was changed and the air bleed valves were also changed, I could clearly hear some air being treated somewhere in the fuel filter head, unfortunately I havent been able to know exactly where this was coming from but I have a video of this issue if interested !
I'll have a check on the starter and on the fuel pump !

Thanks again !!
Post #948639 8th Apr 2022 3:36pm
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karlp606



Member Since: 19 Aug 2021
Location: Hull
Posts: 293

United Kingdom 1997 Defender 90 300 Tdi CSW Firenze Red
No probs - was there any fuel coming out the nut as the pressure should be pushing fuel through and any bubbles etc if there was air.

Im not sure if a td5 has a fuel lifter pump or if its just the fuel pump located under the rear load area.

Is the engine cranking as normal just not firing?
Post #948640 8th Apr 2022 3:40pm
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oscaryocho



Member Since: 08 Apr 2022
Location: Quimper
Posts: 18

France 2001 Defender 110 Td5 SW Chawton White
So yeah, no air bubbles coming out, directly some fuel !
I don't know to be honest and i've never heard of any such part on the fuel line but i'll do some research on this !

The engine is cranking fine, you can definitely feel it wants to start and it has the potential to but it's just like there was nothing to be burnt, like there was no fuel in the engine... It's just not firing but the cranking sounds good enough to me !
Post #948641 8th Apr 2022 3:43pm
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excossack



Member Since: 22 Feb 2012
Location: North West
Posts: 5129

United Kingdom 1999 Defender 110 Td5 SW Caledonian Blue
Td5 has an in-tank pump.
When my TD5 was a non starter or difficult to start, it turned out to be the starter motor
It would start with a tow start but not on the key. Starter sounded like it was spinning fast enough but wasn't.

Also battery voltage could be low? 1999 Defender TD5 110

Regards
John M0VAZ
Econet Station 48 no clock
Post #948642 8th Apr 2022 3:46pm
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karlp606



Member Since: 19 Aug 2021
Location: Hull
Posts: 293

United Kingdom 1997 Defender 90 300 Tdi CSW Firenze Red
Can you take the plenum off the engine and spray some easy start/brake cleaner in to see if that will fire it up?

Sounds like could be the starter - mine was cranking fine and I thought the same as you a fuel issue but turned out starter was dead.

Could try this also:

Try running the standard TD5 fuel-system-purge cycle a few times.

Turn ignition switch to position II

Pump throttle 5 times.

You should get the MIL light flashing and hear the fuel-pump running - it may cycle on and off for minutes or so.

If you hear any swishing/gurgling/whooshing noises that shows it's expelling 'trapped wind'.

Question is - how did the trapped wind get in there?
Post #948643 8th Apr 2022 3:48pm
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oscaryocho



Member Since: 08 Apr 2022
Location: Quimper
Posts: 18

France 2001 Defender 110 Td5 SW Chawton White
Thanks for your help @excossack, one of the first thing I've tried when the problem occurred was to try to jump start. Appart from rolling a few meters it didn't help in starting the engine unfortunately...
And about the battery, I've checked the values and they were all correct and coherent !
I had a battery related problem on my previous car (not a land rover) so I'm pretty familiar with this kind of issues haha. In that cas it seems good !!
Post #948644 8th Apr 2022 3:51pm
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excossack



Member Since: 22 Feb 2012
Location: North West
Posts: 5129

United Kingdom 1999 Defender 110 Td5 SW Caledonian Blue
You might need a bit more speed than human rolling speed. 2nd gear, clutch up and chug chug off she went. 1999 Defender TD5 110

Regards
John M0VAZ
Econet Station 48 no clock
Post #948646 8th Apr 2022 3:57pm
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oscaryocho



Member Since: 08 Apr 2022
Location: Quimper
Posts: 18

France 2001 Defender 110 Td5 SW Chawton White
Thanks Karl, I'll have a go on your first suggestion to see if it does anything !

Now for the second idea, it's funny cause I did it like 30 minutes ago. As I said in the first post the vehicle wasn't starting at all so I wrote this post. In between I came across the comment of someone with the pseudo of "Tom Mepham" on another forum who was explaining there could be some air in the system and purging it was doable with the 5 press on the accelerator pedal. I had already gone through this procedure in the past hen changing the fuel filter and valves but I didn't think about doing it today.
So I did it 30 minutes ago and the engine has started after 20 seconds of cranking, no such swishing/gurgling/whooshing noises as you mentioned but it did something weird ; after starting it ran smoothly (btw I wasn't moving), and about 15 seconds running, it misfired and got back to normal which as really weird !

So I don't know if this can help in any way since it was the first time it did something like this...
Post #948647 8th Apr 2022 3:59pm
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landy andy



Member Since: 15 Feb 2009
Location: Ware, Herts
Posts: 4946

2006 Defender 110 Td5 USW Zermatt Silver
When you go to start your engine for the first time in the day run the pump bleed procedure and listen to the noises. If noisy you have air in system, and I would swap all injector seals, easy and cheap job. From reading it could well be a lazy fuel pump, but that is hard to diagnose properly until you swap and see if there is an immediate improvement.
Post #948815 9th Apr 2022 8:37pm
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oscaryocho



Member Since: 08 Apr 2022
Location: Quimper
Posts: 18

France 2001 Defender 110 Td5 SW Chawton White
Hi andy, thanks for your comment !

So I've ran the bleed procedure 2 times this weekend and I had already done that on friday last week. There's no bizarre sound coming out of the pump nor the fuel filter head. It did it when I changed the valves and when I changed the fuel filter but it didn't make any weird noise these times !

Maybe this question will be dumb but, if the pump is lazy, wouldn't I have some loss of power sometimes when driving ?
Post #948958 11th Apr 2022 8:12am
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landy andy



Member Since: 15 Feb 2009
Location: Ware, Herts
Posts: 4946

2006 Defender 110 Td5 USW Zermatt Silver
Yes if the pump is lazy you wouldn’t get full power and possibly be worse the less fuel in the tank. When you swap filter and rum prime procedure you should get loads of odd weird noises, if you are not I’d be looking at your pump.
Post #949068 11th Apr 2022 9:49pm
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oscaryocho



Member Since: 08 Apr 2022
Location: Quimper
Posts: 18

France 2001 Defender 110 Td5 SW Chawton White
So I've ran a few tests to be sure I didn't have any power loss at any time ; first when driving, I've pushed the 2nd gear, the 3rd, the 4th and the fifth to the maximum speed, full throttle without seeing any lack of power at anytime. In my opinion the pump works fine, at least when the engine is rolling.

When I changed my fuel filter 2 weeks ago, when starting the fuel pump and initiated the purge with the 5 press on throttle, it made some gurgling noises for at least 2-3 minutes and then came back to normal.

Another clue I would like to get more informations on is the injectors ; in my opinion the problem comes from the fuel line and not the engine but I could be mistaking... From what I understood, the washers and O rings can deteriorate after a while and needs to be changed. If so, wouldn't I have some smoke coming out of the exhaust ?

To me it doesn't sound like it could come from the fuel filter head, nor the fuel filter itself, the pump sounds good to me but it could be on its way out, the injectors harness is brand new, no oil leak in the ECU.

When starting the engine this morning I still had some issues : it didn't start first try despite starter working fine. When it finally started it struggled for 2-3 seconds to keep itself working, like there was not enough fuel arriving in the engine.
Post #949097 12th Apr 2022 8:23am
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oscaryocho



Member Since: 08 Apr 2022
Location: Quimper
Posts: 18

France 2001 Defender 110 Td5 SW Chawton White
Hi guys, I figured I'd post an update on how things are going, I didn't have the time to do anything from my last post and some things happened.

First thing, It took me 20 minutes to start the car on Friday evening, it was pretty hot and sunny which usually "helps" to start but not in this case. Later in the evening, same problem, impossible to start for 10-15min, starter firing but nothing happening like there's nothing to burn.

On Saturday, the next day, I was driving and down shifting before a bump and just before hitting the bump, the engine mysteriously stops working properly and runs really slow for 2-3 seconds, barely staying on, like there's no gas flow to the engine (at this point the gas tank is in the orange zone).
Same thing in the evening with a similar scenario.
I thought it could be the fuel getting to the corner of the tank and leaving the pump dry, with nothing to pump but I wasn't sure.

Then on Monday, same issue again but this time my tank was half full so my hypothesis was kinda dead.

What I think could be the issue is the fuel pump filter partially obstructed and it would also explain the hard start with a lack of fuel flowing to the engine.

It's only an hypothesis and after all, I don't really know much about mechanics so every bit of answer is appreciated !!

Also, in the meantime, I've bought injector washers and seals which i planned to change before having this issue but I'm considering trying to clean/replacing the fuel pump before changing those.

Finally, if anyone has already removed the fuel pump from the tank without the tool which you can plug to your socket wrench, I'd be more than happy to hear from you on how you did it !

Thanks everyone !
Post #949926 20th Apr 2022 2:17pm
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