Project Defender part 5: Fitting the drivetrain


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Disco Td5 donor engine goes in : credit: © Trevor Cuthbert
Essential work is needed before installing the engine and transmission, as Trevor Cuthbert reports

Need to know:

Time: around 4 hours
Difficulty: 3 out of 5
Tools needed: Engine stand, engine crane, torque wrench, general workshop tools including socket set and spanners.
Parts & costs: Td5 Power Spec Complete Clutch Kit, £594, from LOF Clutches; clutch slave cylinder OEM, FTC5202, £38.34; gearbox mount, KQB100560, £8.60, from BLRC Ltd.
Work safely:
• Make sure raised vehicle or engine is stable before and during the work and that support and lifting equipment is suitably rated and in good order.
• Engines being worked on after removal from the vehicle should be safely supported and prevented from rolling or tipping, preferably using a purpose-made engine stand.
• Wear eye protection when cleaning, or underneath, dirty components.
• Wear protective gloves.
• Wear safety boots or shoes, given the weight of the engine units.
• Consider wearing a bump cap under an engine secured on a stand.
Contacts: LOF Clutches, 0116 442 2517,
BLRC Ltd, 02897 511763,

The story so far: After a customer bought the battered body sections from this 110 Td5 hardtop, Trevor ended up with the remains including the wrecked engine and gearbox, rolling chassis, bulkhead and one wing. This near basket case was assessed in the best manner possible at the time and a plan of attack formed. Since then, a new rolling chassis has been built up and an ex-Discovery 2 engine prepared. In this part, we’re loading up the powertrain. See also previous parts:
• Part 1: First assessment
• Part 2: Chassis and body
• Part 3: Bulkhead
• Part 4: Preparing the engine


The rolling chassis for the Defender 110 Td5 project is now ready to accept the replacement engine and transmission.

The Discovery 15P Td5 engine – which replaces the original damaged 10P Td5 Defender powerplant – has been fully prepared for use in the 110.

Primarily it needed the wiring harness from the Defender engine to be fitted, but the opportunity was taken to renew other important components, such as the water pump, oil pump sprocket bolt and rear main oil seal.

Now it is time to replace the dual-mass flywheel (DMF) and clutch system. The DMF had excessive play between the two masses and was at the end of its life, while the worn clutch was also due to be replaced. As soon as these are sorted, the transmission will be bolted onto the engine, before the whole assembly is lowered into the rolling chassis.


Fitting the new flywheel and clutch

A new OEM replacement dual-mass flywheel (DMF) in a Defender should be good for at least 100,000 miles in normal use. I’ve not been a fan of the early Single-Mass Flywheel (SMF) conversion kits that have been on the market which gave a poorer quality drive than the original factory-fitted equipment. However, I have had recent experience of the SMF kits offered by LOF Clutches which are well engineered and offer a drive that is exceptionally good – up there, in terms of quality, with the DMF system. This can be attributed, not only to a perfectly weighted SMF, but to design and the materials used in the clutch plate – the combination of friction material characteristics and the rating of the springs in the clutch plate.

The springs on the inner hub of the clutch plate cushion the clutch engagement and the DMF works as a torsional vibration damper to absorb fluctuations in the engine’s power delivery. The springs in the clutch are selected for optimal damping and smooth drive engagement for the Td5.

Everything you need: The clutch and flywheel kit from LOF Clutches is a well thought out and comprehensive package; no need to go looking for one forgotten part.

All ready: The Td5 engine has already been prepared for this stage of the job, with the spigot bush removed and a new rear main oil seal in place.

Straight and true: A new spigot bush is positioned perfectly straight in the crankshaft bore to avoid damage or jamming when it is tapped home using a soft-faced mallet.

Keep it spick and span: With the spigot bush in place, everything is wiped down to ensure there is no dirt or foreign material on any of the mating surfaces.

Correct orientation: The new flywheel is held loosely with three bolts, making sure that the locating dowel on the crankshaft is correctly located in the flywheel.

Fresh stretch bolts: The remaining new bolts, supplied with the clutch kit, are fitted in place and all eight are tightened as far as possible by hand.

Special sequence: Using a torque wrench, the new flywheel bolts are tightened to 40Nm. Following this, each bolt is tightened through a further 90 degrees.

Needs to be spotless: The new flywheel is now degreased by spraying it with a quality brake cleaner and wiping it down thoroughly with a clean rag or blue roll tissue.

Clutch fits one way: An old cut-off gearbox input shaft is used as a clutch alignment tool, ensuring the clutch plate sits concentrically for the gearbox shaft to pass through.

Same again: The clutch cover (pressure plate) is degreased, as per the flywheel. New cap head screws (tightened using an Allen key socket wrench) are supplied in the kit.

Carefully and evenly: The clutch pressure plate is fitted over the positioning dowels and the cap head screws are tightened gradually and evenly to the correct torque of 34Nm.

Comes out smoothly: Having aligned and tightened the clutch cover plate correctly, the clutch alignment tool is now easily withdrawn and we’re ready for the transmission to be fitted.


Getting the transmission ready

Included in the clutch kit is a new clutch fork, operating rod, clips and nylon bushing. As it is expected that the new clutch and flywheel will last for a fair amount of time, it is important that the associated operating mechanism is equal to the job, so starting off with brand new parts makes a lot of sense.

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This is also a very good time to deal with any other issues relating to the transmission. In this case, there is an oil leak to sort, and a broken rubber mount which cushions the gearbox from the chassis at the attachment point.

Robust cast fork: The Td5 clutch fork is stronger than earlier Tdi types. Here, the white bush is being fitted and will be given a dab of the supplied grease.

Slave cylinder rod: The clutch rod is fitted to the fork with grease between. The clip holding the rod to the fork seems much more robust than the standard plastic clip.

Operating mechanism: The clutch fork is fitted in place within the gearbox bellhousing. Another strong clip has been supplied to attach the clutch release bearing to the fork.

8mm ratchet spanner here: The Td5 clutch fork is fixed to the swivel point in the bell hosing by a clip that is held in place by an M6 grub screw.

Oil seal: There was an oil leak between the gearbox and transfer ’box, so they were split after removal to fit a new oil seal – old seal being levered out here.

Knock in the new: The new transfer ’box oil seal is tapped into position using a soft hammer, making sure it is fitted true and flush with the mating surface.


Assembling the powertrain into the chassis

Bring them together: The R380 gearbox is propped on a movable trolley and the LT230 transfer box is brought into position so that the two can be properly aligned.

Mind the seal! A locating stud on the R380 gearbox helps with the alignment, but it is crucial that no strain is placed on the new oil seal, or it will all have been in vain.

Bad rubber removed: The opportunity was taken to replace a broken R380 gearbox to chassis mount, with a new one. Here the mounting plate is being bolted back on.

Reuniting: The transmission, suspended from the engine crane, is eased towards the Td5 engine, in order to mate the two together again.

Bolting together: When the bellhousing has been successfully located to the back of the engine, taking care not to foul the new clutch, the bolts are fitted and tightened.

Three lifting points: The engine and transmission assembly is correctly balanced on the engine crane, and is raised so that the chassis can be rolled under.

Safety first: The raised load is not moved – rather, the chassis is rolled under it, then the engine and transmission are lowered and their mounts bolted into the chassis.

Slave cylinder: A new OEM clutch slave cylinder is fitted to the bellhousing and piped in at this stage, while access is perfectly clear with no bodywork in the way.

Spot the catch: You may have spotted – the gear lever is not correct for a Defender. In the near future we shall be showing how to convert this to Defender configuration.


Next time:  With the engine and transmission in place in the 110’s rolling chassis, we are in a position to fit the bulkhead. As previously seen, the original bulkhead has multiple rust issues. However, rather than fitting an aftermarket bulkhead – available from a number of manufacturing outfits that have been popping up – it has been decided to repair the original. There are some excellent repair panels available to deal with every type of rust issue found on Defender bulkheads. It will be challenging, but also satisfying to save the original major component.


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