Land Rover Defender 2.5L Turbo Diesel Engine (19J) (1986–1990)

Land Rover’s global sales collapsed during the early 1980s. This was mainly due to foreign competition offering larger, more powerful, more comfortable vehicles. Land Rover suffered from poor build quality and materials during the 1970s and by 1983 the then-current Series III model was distinctly outdated, despite recent improvements. Land Rover decided to focus the sales of its Ninety/One Ten/127 range on the UK and Europe, for which it required a diesel engine with significantly better performance than the 68-horsepower 2.5-litre type then in production. Project Falcon was started in 1984 to develop a turbocharged version of this engine. The resulting engine was Land Rover’s first production turbodiesel and their first engine to be given a marketing name- the Diesel Turbo, a name given to differentiate it from the VM Motori-built turbodiesel then being used in the Range Rover, which was sold as the ‘Turbo D’. The Diesel Turbo, although essentially the same as the 2.5-litre diesel, had numerous additions and modifications to allow it to cope with the stresses of turbocharging. New pistons with Teflon-coated crowns and Nimonic steel exhaust valves were used to withstand higher combustion temperatures. The crankshaft was cross-drilled for improved strength and cooling. The block was modified to allow an oil feed/drain system to the turbocharger, and the cooling system was improved with an 8-bladed viscous fan and integral oil cooler. The engine was fitted with a high-capacity breather system to cope with the greater volumes of gas flow through the engine. Despite the inherent age of the design, it performed well in tests against its rivals and provided the vital blend of performance and economy the Land Rover had needed for many years. It was the first diesel model to match the petrol engine’s 4-ton towing limit and the first to be able to exceed the UK national speed limit of 70 mph (112 km/h). However, early engines suffered several failures. Most serious were failed main and big-end bearings and splits or cracks in the block. In 1988 a new block and an improved design of bearing and bearing cap was fitted which solved these issues. The engine’s higher internal temperatures meant that the cooling system also had to be maintained to a much higher standard than the earlier engines. Further changes were made in 1989, this time to the breather system to prevent oil being drawn into the air filter. Despite these issues, the Diesel Turbo was a strong seller. It was the standard engine for the UK and European markets and Land Rover’s sales increased after its introduction. Time has shown that these engines can turn in long service lives if maintained as required—like many early turbodiesels, a lack of maintenance causes failure.

Land Rover Defender 2.5L Turbo Diesel Engine (19J) (1986–1990)

Land Rover Defender 2.5L Turbo Diesel Engine (19J) (1986–1990)

  • Layout: 4-cylinder, in-line
  • Block/head: Cast iron/cast iron
  • Valves: OHV, belt-driven camshaft, push-rod operated
  • Capacity: 2,495 cc (152.3 cu in)
  • Bore × stroke: 90.47 mm × 97 mm (3.562 in × 3.819 in)
  • Compression ratio: 21:1
  • Fuel injection: Lucas-CAV DPS rotary pump and CAV Pintaux injectors
  • Induction: Garrett T2 turbocharger
  • Power: 85 hp (63 kW) @ 4,250 rpm
  • Torque: 150 lbf·ft (200 N·m) @ 1,800 rpm
  • Production: 1986–1989
  • Used in: Land Rover Ninety/One Ten/127 and Land Rover Llama prototype.