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SD1 Diesel, talk to me....


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I love a V8 SD1, a fella at work has a brown 2.6......I constantly remind him it's a lesser car...... He loves people asking him if it's a V8,honest!

 

So,today I've discovered a Turbo diesel SD1, never heard or seen of one before and there is a risk this one might end up going the way of so many others.

 

Anyone has any experience of them? I assume it's a Land Rover diesel engine?

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I love a V8 SD1, a fella at work has a brown 2.6......I constantly remind him it's a lesser car...... He loves people asking him if it's a V8,honest!

So,today I've discovered a Turbo diesel SD1, never heard or seen of one before and there is a risk this one might end up going the way of so many others.

Anyone has any experience of them? I assume it's a Land Rover diesel engine?

It's only a Land Rover engine in so far as it was used in Range Rovers at the time. It's a VM 4 cylinder engine and with 90 bhp or so was one of the fastest diesels of its day. There were never many sold in this country and only a handful survive ( HML? Says 4 taxed 22 SORN)

It is the only variant of SD1 I've never driven (apart from a Standard 2000, obvs) and seems pretty likely to remain that way.

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A farmer local to me had one from new, a 1983 Y-reg, it was quite a clattery old Hector and was a bit smoky when he put the foot down but he kept it for a few years. (Wonder why a faaaaarmer would buy a diesel car, eh!). Around the time when the SD1s were newly revised with different shape rear windows, more shiny bling, etc. I remember it sounding a bit wheezy and low-geared.

I think they were all manual transmission. A local taxi firm had a couple of SD1 TDs for a short time too.

 

Faaarmer replaced his one with a new Citroen CX TD estate on a E-reg (yaaaaaay :-)). Fantastic spaceship of a thing.

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I love the SD1 and have owned many and driven more, all varieties from 2000 to Vittesse. The only one I would not keep these days is the diesel, and I am a diesel fan! The engine is noisy, unrefined and not great on fuel. They also have a habit of exploding for no apparent reason (this is why there are so few VM engined Range Rovers about as well). If you want it as a curiosity, fine. If for any other reason, by a 6 or 8 cyls one, the 2000 is awful, but still better than the derv.

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I scrapped a 2400SD for its engine and gearbox to put into a P6 (I was a young and foolish fellow, nowadays, I’ve just got older). As I found out, the VM engine used was ungainly, hideously heavy and not that powerful for its size. IIRC the 2400SD used the rear axle ratio of the 2000 so was woefully under geared yet it still managed to be the fastest diesel available for a short time until the wonderfully named Citroen CX25DTR TURBO 2 came out.

 

Would I have one? As a curiosity, yes but in engineering terms, it really was from a different time - when the Citroen BX and Peugeot 405 turbo diesels came along a few years later, they made the SD1 diesel (and the CX to an extent) feel it came from a completely different era.

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If you really wanted a diesel SD1, couldn't you put an L series into a 2000 without too much trouble? Would make a good daily! (Without too much trouble to someone with such skills, I'm definitely not putting myself forward to do it!)

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The VM diesel was canted over to fit its towering height under the low slung bonnet in the SD1. I’m not sure that you’d have to do the same with the L series. To fit it into a 2000 would produce a noisy beast, due to the low gearing. It’d be a better fit into a 2600 to make a heavy oiled daily capable of getting you somewhere.

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Pure Autoshite I would have thought.

This. It was a pioneering turbodiesel when it came out in late 1982. Diesel was mainly a Peugeot and Mercedes thing back then; the only Granada diesel at the time was the special order taxi version with wipe clean seats. There was no UK diesel Passat, Carlton, Senator or any shape of BMW.

 

Peugeot would do you an oil-burning 505 or 604, Renault a 20, Audi a 100 and Mercedes a W123, but the Rover 2400SD Turbo was considerably faster and more economical than any of these normally aspirated cars.

 

Of course the technology moved on fairly quickly from there, and the SD1 underpinnings were 10 years old by the time the 800 replaced it in 1986.

 

By modern standards, even by early 90s standards, it’s a clattery and slow old thing; I had a Land Rover Ninety with the 2.5litre version of the same* engine and however hard I squint I struggle to imagine it being a happy replacement for the V8 in my SD1.

 

But for a while when it was new, the 2400SD was a bold move and a contender for class leader. It’s the least loved engine in a car unfairly scorned by blokes in the pub, and worth preserving just for that.

 

 

* Edit: not the same engine after all, see below. But the point still stands.

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Completely at odds with the rest of the range.

 

What's the point when you can buy a petrol six or eight?

 

Heavy, not that economical or quick, two batteries.

 

It's a no from me - and I have had four SD1's.

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The 2.5 diesel fitted to a 90 is Land Rover's own.

[Goes away and checks]

 

So it is. I always assumed it was the same as the VM Turbo D in the contemporary Range Rover. Well well, every day’s a school day.

 

All the more reason to want an SDTurbo then.

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Completely at odds with the rest of the range.

 

What's the point when you can buy a petrol six or eight?

 

Heavy, not that economical or quick, two batteries.

 

It's a no from me - and I have had four SD1's.

There wasn't much point except that diesel fuel was significantly cheaper than petrol in some markets.
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If you wanted to compete in Europe at that time, you needed a diesel in the range. As Skizzer said, most European manufacturers hard at least one diesel engined car in that market. The SD1 was the ideal candidate as it was big enough to shoehorn a proprietary Diesel engine in relatively easily due to its simple mechanical layout and the car itself was fairly well regarded in Europe (even if this didn’t translate into huge sales). The diesel SD1 was a completely logical step to increase export sales. That it sold relatively badly in the home market only shows how out of step with Europe our preferences were.

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I also found the R18 diesel I had really almost van like, but it felt like it would just keep going on and on.

 

I've seen an SD1 Diesel in Italy, which was probably a reasonable market for them. I've also seen old Rekords with diesel engines, with their very obvious bonnet humps.

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If you wanted to compete in Europe at that time, you needed a diesel in the range. As Skizzer said, most European manufacturers hard at least one diesel engined car in that market. The SD1 was the ideal candidate as it was big enough to shoehorn a proprietary Diesel engine in relatively easily due to its simple mechanical layout and the car itself was fairly well regarded in Europe (even if this didn’t translate into huge sales). The diesel SD1 was a completely logical step to increase export sales. That it sold relatively badly in the home market only shows how out of step with Europe our preferences were.

My German friend said it might take the UK 150 years at the current rate of progress to catch up with continental Europe, she's not far wrong.

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I loved my 825Ds - best 2wd tow cars I've ever owned.  Yes they're a bit growly and the power delivery is a bit all or nothing, but they pull like a train and are decent enough on fuel.

 

I've only ever experienced the 2.4 version in a Range Rover, in which it was adequate when on boost but hopeless off it.  I'd imagine it would cope rather better in the lighter SD1, although the low axle ratio sounds like it could be an annoyance - they are not a quiet engine at high revs.

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Buy it. Dont worry diesel vehicles area whole lot of fun. The new ones will be legislated off the road but older ones will probably have 'grandfather' rights. I run my stuff on cooking oil at 80p a litre. Fuel crisis or fuel  shortage never a worry. You even grow your own fuel come armaggedon. I like being independent its a good feeling.

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The VM diesel a had a good rep in boats and as water pump engines and for cars in Spain, Italy and France. But a rotten one in the UK car trade, I think it was mainly lack of experience of an unusual (for a car) engine.

 

A little like the XUD, leaks aren't well-tolerated - it's worth raising the expansion bottle up a bit in a RR, could well be the case in an SD1 also.

 

They're simple, strong and very tuneable - over a third of a million km is common place in Europe. Head gaskets must be all done together, new bolts used and retorqued after 600 and 1000 miles as necessary. They don't like being switched off while stinking hot, either - should be common practice not to but people do.

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The 2400 VM was indeed used in Alfas - when the water pump went on my Range Rover and a replacement was 250 quid, I ordered a pump for a diesel Alfa 90 which went straight on - only difference was the pulley sat further back so it lined up (ish) with the PAS belt rather than the alternator belt, but other than that it was identical.

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