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Fluid level checks Land Rover Defender 1983 - 2007 Diesel 2.5 300TDi

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Land Rover Defender 1983 - 2007  | 2.5 300TDi Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1

Engine oil level

1 Modern engines place great demands on their oil. It is very important that the correct oil for your vehicle is used.
Engine oil grade:
  Non-TD5 models Multigrade engine oil, viscosity SAE 5W/30 to 25W/50, to RES.22.OL.PD-2, CCMC PD-2 or better
  TD5 models Multigrade engine oil, viscosity SAE 5W/40 or 5W50, to ACEA A1, B1

Vehicle care

2 The engine oil level is checked with a dipstick which extends through a tube and into the sump at the bottom of the engine. The dipstick is located on the left-hand side of the engine on non-TD5 models, and on the right-hand side on TD5 engines (see illustrations) .
Engine oil level dipstick location (arrowed) – 19J engine
Engine oil level dipstick location (arrowed) – TD5 engine
3 The oil level should be checked with the vehicle standing on level ground. Check the oil level before it is driven, or wait at least 5 minutes after the engine has been switched off.
HINT: If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components and oil galleries, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick
4 Withdraw the dipstick from the tube, and wipe all the oil from the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick back into the tube as far as it will go, then withdraw it once more. Check that the oil level is between the lower and upper marks/notches on the dipstick (see illustration). Take the appropriate action as follows, according to the reading on the dipstick
Dipstick markings – 200 TDi engine
5 Warning: The oil level should never be above the upper mark on the dipstick, as engine damage may be caused.
    Non-TD5 engine models
    1. If the oil level is between the N mark and the H mark, do not add any oil.
    2. If the oil level is between the L and the N marks, add 1.0 litre of the correct type and grade of oil.
    3. If the oil level is below the L mark, add 1.0 litre of oil, then wait for five minutes, and recheck the level on the dipstick. Add further oil as necessary to bring the level between the N and H marks, but do not overfill.
    TD5 engine models
    1. If the oil level is nearer the upper mark than the lower mark take no action.
    2. If the oil level is nearer, or below, the lower mark, add oil to bring the level to the upper mark.
    3. The amount of oil needed to raise the level from the lower mark to the upper mark is 1.0 litre.
6 To top-up the oil level, remove the oil filler cap from the valve cover, and add fresh oil as required (see illustrations) .
Topping-up the engine oil level – non-TD5 engines
On TD5 engines, lift the flap, then undo the filler cap
7 If the level is allowed to fall below the lower mark/notch, oil starvation may result, which could lead to severe engine damage. If the engine is overfilled by adding too much oil, this may result in oil leaks or oil seal failures.
8 An oil can spout or funnel may help to reduce spillage when adding oil to the engine. Always use the correct grade and type of oil. If you need to renew the oil and filter, click below
- Close + Open

Engine oil and filter change

HINT: Frequent oil and filter changes are the most important preventative maintenance procedures that can be undertaken by the DIY owner. As engine oil ages, it becomes diluted and contaminated, which leads to premature engine wear.
1 Before starting this procedure, gather together all the necessary tools and materials. Also make sure that you have plenty of clean rags and newspapers handy, to mop-up any spills. Ideally, the engine oil should be warm, as it will drain better, and more built-up sludge will be removed with it. Take care, however, not to touch the exhaust or any other hot parts of the engine when working under the vehicle. To avoid any possibility of scalding, and to protect yourself from possible skin irritants and other harmful contaminants in used engine oils, it is advisable to wear rubber gloves when carrying out this work.

Engine oil

2 Access to the underside of the vehicle will be greatly improved if it can be raised on a lift, driven onto ramps, or jacked up and supported on axle stands. Whichever method is chosen, make sure that the vehicle remains as level as possible, to enable the oil to drain fully.
3 Lift the flap in the engine cover, and unscrew the oil filler cap from the valve cover. Position a suitable container beneath the sump.
4 Clean the drain plug and the area around it, then slacken it using a suitable socket or spanner (see illustration) . If possible, try to keep the plug pressed into the sump while unscrewing it by hand the last couple of turns. As the plug releases from the threads, move it away sharply, so that the stream of oil issuing from the sump runs into the container, not up your sleeve!
Undo the sump drain plug (arrowed) – TD5 engine
5 Allow some time for the old oil to drain, noting that it may be necessary to reposition the container as the oil flow slows to a trickle.
6 After all the oil has drained, wipe off the drain plug with a clean rag, and discard the sealing washer – a new sealing washer must be fitted. Clean the area around the drain plug opening, then refit and tighten the plug (with the new sealing washer) to 23 Nm (17 Ibf ft) (see illustration) .
Renew the sump plug sealing washer
7 Remove the old oil and all tools from under the vehicle, then (if applicable) lower the vehicle to the ground.
8 Fill the engine with the specified quantity and grade of oil. Pour the oil in slowly, otherwise it may overflow from the top of the valve cover. Check that the oil level is up to the correct level on the dipstick, then refit and tighten the oil filler cap.
Engine oil quantity 8.0 litres
Engine oil grade Multigrade engine oil, viscosity SAE 5W/40 or 5W50, to ACEA A1, B1
9 Run the engine for a few minutes, and check that there are no leaks around the sump drain plug.
10 Switch off the engine, and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle in the sump once more. With the new oil circulated and the filter now completely full, recheck the level on the dipstick, and add more oil if necessary.

Centrifugal filter

11 On TD5 engines, a centrifugal oil cleaner is fitted on the left-hand side of the engine block. Oil enters the centrifuge from the side under pressure, and spins the rotor within at up to 15 000 rpm. Any dirt/particles within the oil are captured on the inner surface of the rotor as the oil is thrown outwards, forming a sludge inside the rotor. The rotor is able to trap very fine impurities that would normally pass through a paper element type filter.
12 Undo the two bolts and remove the centrifuge cover (see illustration) . Discard the cover O-ring seal – a new one must be fitted.
Remove the oil centrifuge cover bolts
13 Lift out the rotor and discard it - a new one must be fitted (see illustration) .
Lift the centrifuge rotor from the housing
14 Use a rag to clean the centrifuge body and cover.
15 Fit the new rotor into the body, then refit the cover with a new O-ring seal (see illustration) . Tighten the cover bolts securely.
Renew the filter cover O-ring seal

Oil filter cartridge

16 Ensure the exhaust pipe is cooled before attempting this procedure.
17 Clean the area around the filter housing, and place a container beneath the filter.
18 Using an oil filter removal tool if necessary, slacken the filter initially (see illustrations) . Loosely wrap some rags around the oil filter, then unscrew it. Remove the oil filter from the engine compartment, and empty the oil into the container used to drain the sump.
The oil filter cartridge is located on the left-hand side of the engine, just in front of the exhaust pipe.
Slacken the filter using a strap wrench or filter removal tool. The filter can be extremely tight!
19 Use a clean rag to remove all oil, dirt and sludge from the filter sealing area on the engine. Check the old filter, to make sure that the rubber sealing ring hasn’t stuck to the engine. If it has, carefully remove it.
20 Apply a light coating of clean oil to the sealing ring on the new filter, then screw it into position on the engine (see illustration) . Tighten the filter firmly by hand only – do not use any tools. Wipe clean the exterior of the oil filter.
Apply a little clean engine oil to the filter sealing ring
- Close + Open

Engine oil and filter change

HINT: Frequent oil and filter changes are the most important preventative maintenance procedures that can be undertaken by the DIY owner. As engine oil ages, it becomes diluted and contaminated, which leads to premature engine wear.
1 Before starting this procedure, gather together all the necessary tools and materials. Also make sure that you have plenty of clean rags and newspapers handy, to mop-up any spills. Ideally, the engine oil should be warm, as it will drain better, and more built-up sludge will be removed with it. Take care, however, not to touch the exhaust or any other hot parts of the engine when working under the vehicle. To avoid any possibility of scalding, and to protect yourself from possible skin irritants and other harmful contaminants in used engine oils, it is advisable to wear rubber gloves when carrying out this work.

Engine oil

2 Access to the underside of the vehicle will be greatly improved if it can be raised on a lift, driven onto ramps, or jacked up and supported on axle stands. Whichever method is chosen, make sure that the vehicle remains as level as possible, to enable the oil to drain fully.
3 Lift the flap in the engine cover, and unscrew the oil filler cap from the valve cover. Position a suitable container beneath the sump.
4 Clean the drain plug and the area around it, then slacken it using a suitable socket or spanner (see illustration) . If possible, try to keep the plug pressed into the sump while unscrewing it by hand the last couple of turns. As the plug releases from the threads, move it away sharply, so that the stream of oil issuing from the sump runs into the container, not up your sleeve!
Undo the sump drain plug (arrowed) – TD5 engine
5 Allow some time for the old oil to drain, noting that it may be necessary to reposition the container as the oil flow slows to a trickle.
6 After all the oil has drained, wipe off the drain plug with a clean rag, and discard the sealing washer – a new sealing washer must be fitted. Clean the area around the drain plug opening, then refit and tighten the plug (with the new sealing washer) to 23 Nm (17 Ibf ft) (see illustration) .
Renew the sump plug sealing washer
7 Remove the old oil and all tools from under the vehicle, then (if applicable) lower the vehicle to the ground.
8 Fill the engine with the specified quantity and grade of oil. Pour the oil in slowly, otherwise it may overflow from the top of the valve cover. Check that the oil level is up to the correct level on the dipstick, then refit and tighten the oil filler cap.
Engine oil quantity 8.0 litres
Engine oil grade Multigrade engine oil, viscosity SAE 5W/40 or 5W50, to ACEA A1, B1
9 Run the engine for a few minutes, and check that there are no leaks around the sump drain plug.
10 Switch off the engine, and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle in the sump once more. With the new oil circulated and the filter now completely full, recheck the level on the dipstick, and add more oil if necessary.

Centrifugal filter

11 On TD5 engines, a centrifugal oil cleaner is fitted on the left-hand side of the engine block. Oil enters the centrifuge from the side under pressure, and spins the rotor within at up to 15 000 rpm. Any dirt/particles within the oil are captured on the inner surface of the rotor as the oil is thrown outwards, forming a sludge inside the rotor. The rotor is able to trap very fine impurities that would normally pass through a paper element type filter.
12 Undo the two bolts and remove the centrifuge cover (see illustration) . Discard the cover O-ring seal – a new one must be fitted.
Remove the oil centrifuge cover bolts
13 Lift out the rotor and discard it - a new one must be fitted (see illustration) .
Lift the centrifuge rotor from the housing
14 Use a rag to clean the centrifuge body and cover.
15 Fit the new rotor into the body, then refit the cover with a new O-ring seal (see illustration) . Tighten the cover bolts securely.
Renew the filter cover O-ring seal

Oil filter cartridge

16 Ensure the exhaust pipe is cooled before attempting this procedure.
17 Clean the area around the filter housing, and place a container beneath the filter.
18 Using an oil filter removal tool if necessary, slacken the filter initially (see illustrations) . Loosely wrap some rags around the oil filter, then unscrew it. Remove the oil filter from the engine compartment, and empty the oil into the container used to drain the sump.
The oil filter cartridge is located on the left-hand side of the engine, just in front of the exhaust pipe.
Slacken the filter using a strap wrench or filter removal tool. The filter can be extremely tight!
19 Use a clean rag to remove all oil, dirt and sludge from the filter sealing area on the engine. Check the old filter, to make sure that the rubber sealing ring hasn’t stuck to the engine. If it has, carefully remove it.
20 Apply a light coating of clean oil to the sealing ring on the new filter, then screw it into position on the engine (see illustration) . Tighten the filter firmly by hand only – do not use any tools. Wipe clean the exterior of the oil filter.
Apply a little clean engine oil to the filter sealing ring

Coolant level

Warning: DO NOT attempt to remove the expansion tank pressure cap when the engine is hot, as there is a very great risk of scalding. Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin, or with the painted surfaces of the vehicle. Rinse off spills immediately with plenty of water. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container, or in a puddle on the floor. Children and pets are attracted by its sweet smell, but antifreeze can be fatal if ingested.

Vehicle care

9 All vehicles covered by this manual have a pressurised cooling system. An expansion tank is located on the right-hand side of the engine compartment. The expansion tank has a continual flow of coolant passing through it, in order to purge air from the cooling system.
10 The coolant level in the expansion tank should be checked regularly, and the level should always be checked with the engine cold.
11 Wait until the engine is cold, then slowly unscrew the pressure cap on the expansion tank. Allow any remaining pressure to escape, then fully unscrew the cap.
12 With the engine cold, the expansion tank should be approximately half-full, ie, so that the coolant level is up to the ridge cast into the front edge of the tank. On later models, there may also be an indicator inside the tank (see illustration) . On TD5 models the cold level is indicated on the side of the expansion tank (see illustration) .
On TD5 models, the coolant level is visible through the expansion tank
The expansion tank should be approximately half-full, so that the level is up to the ridge (1) on the front of thetank. On later models, a level indicator (2) may also be visible through the tank filler neck
13 If topping-up is necessary, add a mixture of water and antifreeze through the expansion tank filler neck until the coolant level is correct (see illustration) . Refit and tighten the pressure cap.
Topping-up the cooling system
Warning: TD5 vehicles must only be filled with antifreeze with OATS (Organic Acid Technology) corrosion inhibitors. DO NOT mix this with any other type of antifreeze.
14 With a sealed cooling system, the addition of coolant should only be necessary at very infrequent intervals. If frequent topping-up is required, it is likely there is a leak in the system. Check the radiator, all hoses and joint faces for any sign of staining or actual wetness, and rectify as necessary. Coolant leaks usually show up as a white or antifreeze-coloured stain in the area of the leak. If no leaks can be found, it is advisable to have the pressure cap and the entire system pressure-tested by a dealer or suitably-equipped garage, as this will often show up a small leak not previously visible. Should you need to replace the coolant, click below
- Close + Open

Coolant replacement

Warning: Wait until the engine is cold before starting this procedure. Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin, or with the painted surfaces of the vehicle. Rinse off spills immediately with plenty of water. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container, or in a puddle in the driveway or garage floor. Children and pets are attracted by its sweet smell, but antifreeze is fatal if ingested. Refer to the ‘Antifreeze mixture’ sub-Section below before proceeding.

Cooling system draining

1 To drain the cooling system, first cover the expansion tank cap with a wad of rag, and slowly turn the cap anti-clockwise to relieve the pressure in the cooling system (a hissing sound will normally be heard). Wait until any pressure remaining in the system is released, then continue to turn the cap until it can be removed.
2 Position a suitable container beneath the radiator. On early models (where a drain screw is fitted to the bottom, left-hand corner of radiator) unscrew the drain screw and washer, and allow the coolant to drain into the container. On later models (were no drain screw is fitted), release the hose clip, and ease the hose from the radiator stub. If the hose joint has not been disturbed for some time, it will be necessary to carefully manipulate the hose to break the joint. Allow the coolant to drain into the container. On TD5 models, slacken the clips and disconnect the lower hose from the thermostat.
3 To fully drain the system, on non-TD5 engines, also slacken and remove the coolant drain plug from the left-hand side of the cylinder block, and allow any residual coolant to drain from the block. On TD5 engines, there is a drain plug fitted to the right-hand side of the block (see illustration) , but the alternator must be removed before access can be gained. When the flow of coolant has stopped, wipe clean the threads of the drain plug and block. Where the plug was fitted with a sealing washer, fit a new sealing washer. Where no washer was fitted, apply a smear of suitable sealant to the drain plug threads. Refit the drain plug to the block, and tighten it securely.
On TD5 engines, the cylinder block drain plug (arrowed) can only be accessed after removal of the alternator
4 If the coolant has been drained for a reason other than renewal, then provided it is clean and less than two years old, it can be re-used.

Cooling system flushing

5 If coolant renewal has been neglected, or if the antifreeze mixture has become diluted, then in time, the cooling system may gradually lose efficiency, as the coolant passages become restricted due to rust, scale deposits, and other sediment. The cooling system efficiency can be restored by flushing the system clean.
6 The radiator should be flushed independently of the engine, to avoid unnecessary contamination.
7 To flush the radiator, disconnect the top hose at the radiator, then insert a garden hose into the radiator top inlet. Direct a flow of clean water through the radiator, and continue flushing until clean water emerges from the radiator bottom outlet (the bottom radiator hose should have been disconnected to drain the system). If after a reasonable period, the water still does not run clear, the radiator can be flushed with a good proprietary cleaning agent. It is important that the cleaning agent manufacturer’s instructions are followed carefully. If the contamination is particularly bad, insert the hose in the radiator bottom outlet, and flush the radiator in reverse (reverse-flushing).
8 Remove the thermostat, then temporarily refit the thermostat cover.
10 On completion of flushing, refit the thermostat, and reconnect the hoses.
17 Top-up the expansion tank to the correct level, then refit the expansion tank cap. On TD5 models, also refit the intercooler hose.
9 With the radiator top and bottom hoses disconnected from the radiator, insert a hose into the radiator bottom hose. Direct a clean flow of water through the engine, and continue flushing until clean water emerges from the radiator top hose.

Cooling system filling

11 Before attempting to fill the cooling system, make sure that all hoses and clips are in good condition, and that the clips are tight. Note that an antifreeze mixture must be used all year round, to prevent corrosion of the alloy engine components.
12 On early models, refit the drain plug and sealing washer to the radiator, and tighten it securely. On later models, reconnect the bottom hose, and securely tighten its retaining clip.
13 On 300 TDi engines, unscrew the filler cap from the top of the thermostat housing, and recover the sealing ring (see illustration) . On earlier models, unscrew the filler cap (where fitted) from the top of the radiator. Recover the cap sealing ring (where fitted); renew it if it shows signs of damage or deterioration. On TD5 models, slacken the bleed screw in the radiator top hose and fuel cooler hose (see illustrations) .
On 300 TDi engines, the filler cap (arrowed) is situated on the top of the thermostat housing
On TD5 engines, open the bleed screw in the radiator top hose (arrowed) . . .
. . . and in the fuel cooler hose on the right-hand side of the engine (arrowed)
14 Set the cabin heater controls to maximum heat.
15 Fill the system by slowly pouring the coolant into the filler hole or, where no filler hole is fitted, into the expansion tank (as applicable) to prevent airlocks from forming.
Coolant quantity:
  10J and 12J engines 10.8 litres
  19J, 200 TDi and 300 TDi engines 11.1 litres
  TD5 engines 13.0 litres
Anti-freeze type:
  All except TD5 engines Ethylene glycol-based antifreeze
  TD5 engines Ethylene glycol-based antifreeze with OAT (Organic Acid Technology) corrosion inhibitors
16 When coolant free of air bubbles emerges from the filler (where fitted), refit the seal and filler cap, and tighten it securely. On TD5 models, when air-free coolant emerges, tighten the bleed screw in the radiator top hose and fuel cooler hose.
18 Start the engine, run it until it reaches normal operating temperature, then stop the engine and allow it to cool.
19 Check for leaks, particularly around disturbed components. Check the coolant level in the expansion tank, and top-up if necessary. Note that the system must be cold before an accurate level is indicated in the expansion tank. If the expansion tank cap is removed while the engine is still warm, cover the cap with a thick cloth. Unscrew the cap slowly, to gradually relieve the system pressure (a hissing sound will normally be heard). Wait until any pressure remaining in the system is released, then continue to turn the cap until it can be removed.

Antifreeze mixture

20 Always use an ethylene-glycol based antifreeze which is suitable for use in mixed-metal cooling systems. Note: On TD5 models, only antifreeze with OAT (Organic Acid Technology) corrosion inhibitors must be used. Do not mix this with any other type of antifreeze.
21 Before adding antifreeze, the cooling system should be completely drained, preferably flushed, and all hoses and clips checked for condition and security.
22 After filling with antifreeze, a label should be attached to the radiator or expansion tank, stating the type and concentration of antifreeze used, and the date installed. Any subsequent topping-up should be made with the same type and concentration of antifreeze.
23 Do not use engine antifreeze in the windscreen/tailgate washer system, as it will cause damage to the vehicle paintwork. A screenwash should be added to the washer system, in the quantities recommended on the bottle.

Brake fluid level

Warning: Hydraulic fluid is poisonous; wash off immediately and thoroughly in the case of skin contact, and seek immediate medical advice if any fluid is swallowed, or gets into the eyes. Certain types of hydraulic fluid are inflammable, and may ignite when allowed into contact with hot components. When servicing any hydraulic system, it is safest to assume that the fluid IS inflammable, and to take precautions against the risk of fire as though it is petrol that is being handled. Finally, it is hygroscopic (it absorbs moisture from the air) – old fluid may be contaminated, and unfit for further use. When topping-up or renewing the fluid, always use DOT 4 fluid, and ensure that it comes from a freshly-opened, previously-sealed container.

Power steering fluid level

15 The power steering fluid level is checked with a dipstick attached to the reservoir filler cap.
16 The fluid level should be checked with the engine stopped, and the front wheels set in the straight-ahead position.
17 Unscrew the filler cap from the top of the reservoir, and wipe all fluid from the cap dipstick with a clean rag. Refit the filler cap, then remove it again. Note the fluid level on the dipstick (see illustration) . When the engine is cold, the fluid level should be between the upper and lower marks on the dipstick. When the engine is at normal operating temperature, the fluid level should be up to the upper mark on the dipstick. Note: Do not start the engine if the fluid level is below the minimum mark, as serious damage could be caused to the power steering pump.
Power steering fluid level dipstick maximum (1) and minimum (2) markings
18 If necessary, top-up with the specified type of fluid, then refit the filler cap securely (see illustration) .
Topping-up the power steering fluid level
Power steering fluid Dexron IID type automatic transmission fluid (ATF)
19 If frequent topping-up of the system proves to be necessary, this indicates that there is a leak in the hydraulic system, which should be traced and rectified without delay.

Washer fluid level

20 The windscreen/tailgate/headlight washer fluid reservoir is located at the left-hand front corner of the engine compartment. On models with headlight washers, an additional reservoir may also be fitted in the left-hand rear corner of the engine compartment.
Caution: On no account use coolant antifreeze in the washer system – this could discolour or damage paintwork
21 Check that the fluid level is within approximately 25.0 mm of the bottom of the filler neck, and top-up if necessary. When topping-up the reservoir, a screenwash additive should be added in the quantities recommended on the bottle. It could also be time to replace the wiper blades. For details, click below
- Close + Open

Wiper blade replacement

1 Check the condition of the wiper blades. If they are cracked, or show any signs of deterioration, or if they fail to clean the glass effectively, renew the blades.
HINT: Ideally, the wiper blades should be renewed annually as a matter of course.
2 To remove a wiper blade, pull the arm away from the glass until it locks. Swivel the blade through 90º, then squeeze the locking clip, and detach the blade from the arm. When fitting the new blade, make sure that the blade locks securely into the arm, and that the blade is orientated correctly.
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