Service a Discovery 2 Td5


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Our guide to servicing a D2 Td5 – Part of our engine basics series : credit: © Alisdair Cusick
Alisdair Cusick shows how to give your D2 a detailed service and a thorough check-over

Need to know

Time: 4 hours.
Discovery 2.
Tools needed: Socket set, spanners, filter straps, screwdriver, seal pick, brake fluid tester, coolant tester, rags, torch, water pump pliers, cable ties, grease gun, pry bar, brush and anti-seize paste and lubricants.
Parts used: Britpart service kit with engine oil DA6004COM, from £57.
Work safely:
Wear eye protection when working under a vehicle.
• Always support a vehicle on suitably rated stands, never rely on a jack.
• Use the right tool for the right job.
• If in doubt, get a professional.
Thanks to: Britpart and Steve Grant for their help with this feature.

Service attention is a vital part of maintaining the mechanical health of any Land Rover. On top of the by-the-book fluid swaps and filter changes, time spent around the car allows an opportunity to look closely at the vehicle, check the general health of the car and nip any potential issues in the bud.

Service intervals and procedures as specified by the workshop manuals were always written for new vehicles. Discovery 2s are old cars now, and age-related issues develop that weren’t necessarily taken into account when the manuals were created. Time servicing your user-friendly Discovery 2 allows a chance to check for such problems arising with age, and an opportunity to fix any issues, keeping the car in top form despite its age.

With the help of Britpart’s Steve Grant, we’ll walk you around what goes into servicing a Td5 Disco 2 but also, crucially, what else to keep an eye on now the vehicles are ageing.

Before we start, let’s consider the basics. Always follow a model-specific workshop manual when servicing a Land Rover. More importantly, understand not just the processes, but the reasons for doing a task. Only by understanding what something does can you identify if it isn’t working as intended. Be confident in your abilities and have the right tools to do the right job.

That said, the first job is to drive the car. Does it brake, steer, run and drive as you would expect? Are there any strange vibrations, noises, suspension knocks, and so on? Drive it in low-range, too. Note anything of concern for investigation later, whether you’re doing the work or a garage is doing it on your behalf.

Service approach

We start under the bonnet where there are a number of filters to change, along with the engine oil, which is usually drained first. Note that the engine should be warm to help drain the oil. Whilst the oil is left to drain in a suitably-sized container, there’s time to attend to the other tasks. Today, we do the under-bonnet tasks first to get them out of the way. The main thing ,though is to have a routine so you know what has been done – then stick to it.

Fluids have differing service intervals. For instance, engine oil is every 12,000 miles, gearbox fluids 24,000, coolant 36,000 and axles are 96,000, unless triggering the ‘arduous use’ schedule where intervals are reduced because of expected increased contamination.

The engine oil’s centrifugal filter is changed at 12,000 miles, but the full-flow filter is at 36,000. Obviously, you could do the two together at a 12,000 interval if you wished, and many owners do.


The basics

What do we need? Britpart’s engine service kit comprises two oil filters, air filter, fuel filter, engine oil and sump washer. Note we’ll need different oil for the gearboxes and axles.

Breathe easily: First Steve changes the air filter. The housing simply clips apart to allow access. Note the colour of the old one – this is well due a change.

Extra care: With the filter removed, clean out the housing with a vacuum. Look too for any evidence of water ingress and inspect the ambient air sensor for damage.

Oil filters next: The Td5 uses two oil filters. To get at the centrifugal filter, first undo the rocker breather. Block the resulting hole with paper (blue) to prevent anything dropping in.

Get at it: Unbolt the filter cover, being aware the threads can damage easily on the two fixings, so take care. With the cover off, simply lift out the small filter.

Centrifugal what? It filters a small amount of oil through two angled holes on the base. This spins the filter on its bronze bush, throwing fine particles to the filter case.

We did tell you: The filter is replaced, the cover cleaned and a new O-ring is fitted. Note the differing bolts – someone’s struggled before. Be aware of thread damage.

Other filter: The full-flow filter is changed next. Steve uses a filter strap to first loosen the filter, then spins it off by hand and lifts it out, upwards.

Prepare the new: Lubricate the rubber seal on the new filter with clean engine oil, then refit, tightening by hand. Refit the rocker breather removed to access the centrifugal filter.

Drain the oil: Using a suitably large container, remove the drain plug taking care with hot fluid, and allow sufficient time for the sump to drain. Tea break for us.

Clean parts matter: Clean the drain plug and renew the sealing washer, which is often overlooked. Don’t be impatient if still waiting for the oil to drain fully.

Vital sequence: Get this sequence right. First, refit the drain plug, then refill the engine with oil.
A Td5 needs 8.2 litres when changing both centrifugal and full-flow filters.

High level? Check the dipstick, and it may well read over the ‘FULL’ mark. Start the engine, run for a minute or two then recheck. The level will drop.

Back of the car: Under the offside wheelarch is the fuel filter. Drain the sediment into a container until diesel flows. It can be common for the sensor lead to be disconnected.

Twist off: Remove the filter using a filter strap. It will contain diesel, but don’t be tempted to tip that fuel in the tank – the filter may have grit inside.

Good practice: Steve lubricates the filter’s rubber seal with rubber lube to prevent tearing, then refits the filter, twisting on by hand. Refit the sensor, if the filter permits.

Air doesn’t combust: The fuel system needs bleeding to remove air, which the vehicle does when ‘told’ to: ignition on, then pump the accelerator five times. The system self-primes over a couple of minutes.

That is the basic service tasks done. On top of this, different mileage intervals mean changing the coolant, brake fluid or transmission oils. We’re not changing these today, but will check them, none the less. Note that if you’ve recently had to flush the complete brake system after changing brake components, the two-year interval for brake fluid starts from that point.


Checks and levels

Brake fluid: Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water with age. Steve measures water content. Ours is fine, but if in doubt, always flush the system with fresh fluid.

Coolant, too: The coolant concentration is measured with a tester. Coolant loses corrosion protection with time, so should be changed as prescribed in the service schedule.

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ACE job: Whilst we’re there, check the level in the ACE fluid reservoir. The MoT tester’s trick of a torch behind the bowl helps confirm the level. Top up if needed.

At the other end: The ACE system has a small filter, housed in the valve block, on the offside chassis rail. Steve threads an M6 bolt in the filter to remove and refit.

Axles next: We check axle fluids next. Commonly, the plastic filler plug is rounded off, as here. A pair of water pump pliers, the correct way around, gets it moving.

Level: With the correct level, fluid should dribble from the filler hole. Confirm level using a cable tie as a makeshift dipstick. Top up if needed. Warm fluid helps.

Repeat for gearbox: The gearbox level is accessed from a filler on the front of the pan. We top up this automatic gearbox with Dexron III until it dribbles from the filler hole.

Transfer box: The transfer box filler is on the rear, by the handbrake drum. A cable tie dipstick does the job again. If changing fluids, always undo the filler first.

That deals with all the consumables covered on a service. The car now has clean oil, fresh filters, and we’ve confirmed levels and condition of those fluids that we’ve not refreshed at this time. Next, we move around the vehicle to inspect the other items on the service list.


Routine inspections

Quick shot: Check the propshaft joints for wear or play by twisting with your hand. Using a grease gun, grease the nipples on the propshaft joints until you feel resistance.

Assess brakes: Inspect all four brakes. Pads (screwdriver tip) for remaining thickness; discs (finger) for lipping, disc thickness and uneven wear patterns (seized slide bolts).

Grip safely: While the wheels are off, check that the tread depths are sufficient and wearing evenly across the tyre, and check both sidewalls for cuts and bulges.

Small things matter: Inspect rubber knuckles on height sensor joints for cracking and replace if in doubt. This is a typical age-related issue that may not present in service schedules.

Best practice: Before replacing wheels, brush anti-seize compound on the wheel hub. This prevents the alloy wheel sticking to the hub over time. All these little things add up.

Age concern: Inspect the CV joint gaiters at the front. Any sign of splitting or perishing is an MoT fail. Rubber components inevitably have a life of around ten years or so.

Brake pipes: With that in mind, inspect all brake hoses for signs of perishing, splitting or bulges. Any signs of leakage (also felt at the pedal) need to be repaired immediately.

Suspended properly: Using a pry bar, push each suspension bush in turn. There should only be a little resistance. Any major movement, or obvious splitting or distorting is bad news.

Case in point: Compare these two rear trailing arm bushes. The top pic is correct, but the bottom bush has migrated out of the arm boss and needs investigation.

Drop-links: Multi-link suspension is well and good, but needs every link in good order to function correctly. Check for play in anti-roll bar drop-link joints, too.

Steering playtime: Check for the condition and play in all steering and suspension joints and components, and tighten any links that need nipping up. Do any bushes look suspect?

Steering box: Look closely at the steering box for signs of leakage. Typically, that presents as fluid on this joint. It’s an MoT fail, so don’t put up with a leak.

Corrosion problems: Inspect all ACE pipes for signs of corrosion. These are typical of an ageing Discovery 2. If yours are good, a smear of grease is all you need.

Exhausted: Inspect the exhaust front to back for signs of leaking. There’s the slightest hint of a blow starting on this joint. Okay for now, but won’t last forever.

Light work: Check all lighting. Remember the small ones such as number plates and any auxiliary-wired lighting, too. Odd brake light/indicator functioning is typically earth issues.

Take a seat: Check all seat belts for fraying, correct buckle function, and seat fixings. Check driver’s electric seat fore-aft movement – an MoT fail if it doesn’t move.

That is broadly all the items checked during a service. The car has had a good look over, and hopefully given a relatively clean bill of health. Knowing how this vehicle ages, LRM has a few other nooks and crannies to check for typical Discovery 2 issues.


See more service guides in our Technical section here.


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