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Fluid level checks Land Rover Defender 1983 - 2007 Diesel 2.5 TD5

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Land Rover Defender 1983 - 2007  | 2.5 TD5 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

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

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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