Member Since: 11 Nov 2013
Discovery 3 2.7 Heavy Towing, 3t Caravan
Beware the below is quite long write-up concerning towing heavy with the 2.7 D3 meaning a 3t van full size and 4 persons going around Australia. Many points will be irrelevant for lighter set-ups. It’s intended to be an initial reference for those planning to tow heavy over extended periods. I blew an engine so after that I monitored via Bluetooth many of the sensors and also installed an EGT gauge to prevent it happening again and suffered quite a few other issues that others may encounter.
Towbar 350/3500kg – Mitchell Bros. https://www.mitchhitch.com.au/products/mitch-hitch
Steel Gearbox Sump (auto) – larger volume and larger/more efficient thermal mass to increase heat dissipation and reduce gearbox temp
Performance Mapping – get recognised mapping BAS or Roo Systems
Radiator less than 8 years or 160k – don’t tow heavy with inefficient cooling
Intercooler less than 8 years or 160k– don’t tow heavy with inefficient cooling
Alternator less than 8 years or 140k – don’t be stuck somewhere with a dud alt. or worse a bad diagnosis by non LR mechanic
Turbo hoses less than 5 years or 80k – go silicon for large & medium - get rid of the problem (take used as spares)
Torque converter – tow your van pre-trip hard for an hour – gearbox temps should stay below 105c
Coolant Outlet - (new, replace pre-trip) – this part is susceptible to failure and in turn an engine killer through age and excessive heat (there is a billet aluminium one but it is $500). Some indýs recommend to replace with belts at 160k.
Radiator fins (as standard – plastic bits secured either side of rad which concentrate air through rad. (the ones certain mech’s take off and don’t re-secure) ensure still in place – aids cooling massively
Front diff breather fitting – decays and clogs up (replace – warning LR are on to this one – they have revised the design and sell it at an exorbitant price. My mech found one on fleabay which costs a fraction of the price…. I believe it’s a generic one.
Bullbar – restricts cooling, increases chance of drive-away roo encounter
EGT gauge – If you don’t go Bluetooth diagnostics get one
Bluetooth diagnostics (for IPad/tablet) monitor Boost, temps and T/C lock-up (I used IID)
Consider diffs, gear and transfer boxes
EPB clean/adjust – EPB faults are annoying in your home driveway, but 1000km from a garage?
A/C re-gas/check – ours was perfect at start of trip and lost performance
Ball/Train max weights:
LR recommended max ball weight is ~260kgs.
Kerb mass (HSE): 2718kg
Gross Vehicle Mass (HSE): 3180kg (payload max 462kgs, less ball weight (say) 260kgs, 70kgs fuel, 150kgs 2 persons and you are already over)
Gross Combination Mass: 6680kg.
I reckon I was …uhm… a bit over on ball and GVM and a bit under GCM. Car occasionally bounced more than I would like (better with tire pressures up) and evident when going down/up dip’s. I reckon I ran ball-weight of about 290-300kgs (vs LR recommended ~260). NB keep rear tire pressures as high as you dare as this noticeably improved the ride/bounce etc.
ECB Bullbar (alloy) – Fugly bit of kit but the only one whereby the wheel arch mouldings did not need to be cut up. Figured I could resell it after the trip so did not want to cut mouldings – however now moved to the large marsupial capital of Aust. (Canberra and surrounds) and the darn thing needs to stay on! Seems more sturdy than competitors offerings however it’s more old school (pedestrian killer) with less vertical and lateral raking (impact deflection).
Rhino Rack – Well engineered piece and designed for you to buy all the bespoke fittings from them at exorbitant prices. I just wanted to lash a few boogie boards and things on top and should have just gone to Aldi. Probably ok if you need it for 4wd’g and or camper style set-up but too much for somebody with some bungy cord looking a lash a few things on. Bought to resell afterwards so will claw back a bit.
Suspension: With 4 occupants and luggage plus nearly 300kg of ball weight I expected something horrible to happen to the suspension however it was rock solid! The only noticeable issue from so much weight were the Pirelli’s. They exhibited some sidewall cracking right at the end of their tread life. My father bought Landcruiser 200 and had many set-up problems and spent thousands on WDH’s and air bags and has had front wheels lift off (skid) under braking and anti-sway kicking in etc. I spent zero time, money and worry…. Great system!
I ran the Roo Systems mapping for half of the trip and BAS (blanked) for the other half. Roo Systems gets a pretty bad rap online from net-perts that don’t have it and talk tough. It adds just a bit more fuel and boost so a relatively mild map. While I blew an engine on that map when I subsequently looked at EGT and boost values it nothing to do with that map.
I monitored EGT’s and ‘pinging’ under heavy load (pre-combustion) and quite frankly couldn’t tell the difference apart from noticeably more torque from Roo Systems and higher useable boost range. The top 10kPa of boost is unusable on both mappings – meaning EGT’s spike with no Kw or Nm benefit. Roo systems runs max boost (ex-overboost) of 250kPa while BAS stick with the standard 240kPa. For the record I am running BAS day to day as am not interested in a few Nm here and there and prefer my EGR’s blanked. Interestingly, went to one place that I think installs an AutoLogic map and they reckon it runs 277kPa of boost… that’s a lot of fuel to get in! They reckon they have never had a problem with blown engines … but they all say that.
I found the main thing that impacted ‘pinging’ was the use of 2SO. Possibly just my imagination but didn’t notice much pinging … when I did I realised I hadn’t put in 2SO at 2x last fills.
Pirelli -Scorpion All Seasons (verde) – high load rating, smooth, great wet grip, good wear, max cold pressure 50psi
Pressure – rear 47psi, front 37psi. Fill rears with nitrogen which reduces heat and resultant expansion/pressure. Apparently it’s not the actual Nitro that makes a difference but the absence of H2O … so purity, not composition. Consider if going on dirt and decide to reduce pressures to (unladen) circa 20-psi … re-filling w/ normal air makes nitrogen filling a bit redundant.
Additional fuel cooler – I have not seen a write-up by anyone concerning how the fuel cooler works (part 310-01C is also oddly missing from both versions of the manuals I have) but it appears for the secondary one (mounted near the fuel filter) that the cold fuel from the tank is used to cool the fuel leak-off from the injectors (plus it’s inherent thermal mass and airflow). In hot/high load conditions more (hot) fuel is returned to the tank because of increased fuel trims associated with load and fuel & air temp/density. I found when down to ¼ tank performance suffered markedly because fuel was hot in the tank. Section 303-14C of the manual notes that the ECU derates performance when fuel temps reach 85 celsius and saw temps of well over 100 climbing ranges … it’s not clear from the manual if for higher values if performance is derated further (ie. If the trim is binary, linear or geometric). I suggest to split supply and return fuel lines with distinct coolers to/from engine to increase thermal mass. Otherwise simply fill up regularly. As a further note my D3 was imported from the UK and so is not fitted with themo fan as I believe they are as sold here and other hot climate places (neither are Territory EU4 2.7 engines). Not sure how much a thermo fan (mounted on the cooler b/w the Vee) would alter things. According to wiki upon the upgrade to the 3l engine they incorporated "fuel injectors with piezo crystals fitted nearer to the tip to reduce engine noise and a metering mode to reduce oversupplying fuel, decreasing fuel consumption and unused fuel temperature over the 2.7-litre model".
Long range tank – too heavy, spare wheel moves back to ‘ball’ equiv. weight. Carry jerry’s. Tank range with 3t van (@20l per 100kms) was 400kms so 100kms for each jerry can. One is enough, two very safe.
The following recommendations are to keep gearbox (auto) and engine temperatures down. If you push above the recommendations below – the EMS will begin trimming performance and if you ‘mash’ the throttle to compensate your car will be on top of a flat top within the hour. Target parameters are EGT’s (measured post turbo at downpipe) 420c, Coolant <100c, Gearbox <100c. These are temps I got from unladen car pushed hard. Generally speaking, just keep the rev’s up to it…. More than ‘Sport’. These values are good for Standard, BAS or Roo Systems maps. General consensus is to travel 100% in Sport – but this is probably true for circa 2-2,500kg vans. If Sport had a 3,000kg trailer setting (Sport plus) – this is what it would look like:
Stiff headwind: 4th gear Sport/manual 2,500/2,700 rpm, MAP/boost max 220kPa, 90-95kmph – coolest
Calm/flat: Sport/Auto or 5th if boost less than 210kPa (in 5th)
Hills: Change-down manually earlier than ‘Sport’ ... max 3,000rpm, min 2,100rpm
Mountain ranges (up): If you end up below 2,300rpm keep boost @ 200kPa or below (2nd gear) (or feel for the point where increased throttle does not result in more torque)
Downhill: use for a ‘rest’ 5th/6th bring down temps, keep up some throttle to keep fan rotating
Cruising: don’t go beyond 220kPa for extended periods say, 5 mins
Max boost: Don’t go over your max boost (ex-overboost) minus 10kPa for more than few seconds. EGT’s spike massively. So, for example, if you max boost is a standard 240kPa stay below 230kPa on approach to hills.
I swapped out all the hoses for silicon and used T-bolt clamps to secure the hoses. What a mess! Now I am prepared to accept that my D3 has more drivetrain vibration than others for an unknown reason but I had real trouble keeping the hoses clamped on particularly the small one no matter how I positioned the clamps or how much I tightened them. While there was no load on the car (eg w/out van) the hoses/clamps were fine – as soon as I hooked up the van they fell off – sometimes it took a few thousand kms. Even a year or so after the trip the medium hose clamp (t-bolt) fell off – which is a to find upon visual inspection (behind the inner mudguard or lots of coolant piping)– of course this happened at night in the middle of nowhere towing the van (my only stroke of luck was the clamp fell off onto the chassis and stayed there). My theory is that the additional drivetrain vibration associated with the heavy load, plus oil spitting out the turbo seals weeps out of the hoses and joins and constant high boost causes the issue. Again it might just be my car but I strongly suggest reusing long and medium hose clamps from standard fittings (not t-bolt or any other not for purpose clamps – the standard ones have ‘keepers’ which puncture the hose to keep it in place). The small hose standard clamps (from memory) are rivetted to the hose and can’t come off and secured to each other for same reason mine kept falling off (slipping up or off the hose) and I therefore recommend staying with a new standard rubber hose for the small one. Maybe it can be re-used by grinding off the rivet and re-riveting it to the new (silicon) hose. If you suddenly lose boost on the trip (very poor performance/ exhaust black smoke) stop immediately … you only have a couple of minutes of engine life with that load.
Heard from an LR/engine specialist that these engines blow when engine oil heat reaches critical point and begins to breakdown and begin not lubing and/or cooling engine parts/cylinders. Pistons then heat up beyond their performance window (because of resultant increased friction) and then melt. That appears to be exactly what happened to my engine no.1 – one piston had melted/heavy scoring of cylinder. I reluctantly admit that I subsequently monitored engine oil temps for a while but it just made me sick with worry so just relied on focussing on coolant/EGT’s being as low as reasonably possible. I am not an oil expert so stuck with 5w-30. Mechanics generally put 40 grade oil in Aust. so maybe not a problem at relatively high ‘start-up’ ambient. Do your own research/take your own chances. If I did it again would run 40 grade (more start-up wear but manages higher temps better).
Problems we had: (at km)
1k –alternator (replace)
2k – oil pump seal (the big squiggly one)– incorrect fitting when doing belts (pinched – van covered in oil)
5k – blown engine (overheated - subsequently got EGT gauge and Bluetooth sensor monitoring)
8k – lower steering universal joint – steering very stiff after 40kms of corrugations but did loosen up sufficiently to be safe
9k – EPB squeal (stopped using it until clean/adjust)
12k – turbo hose blew off had to refit 3 times in 5kms to get right (small one), bush repair done later
18k – wheel alignment
20k – Mech overfilled front diff – oil over main bashplate (interestingly when I filled the proper level I have had no problems)
25k – reversed the van into home driveway at end of trip– EPB squeal … in low range (D3 has last laugh!)
Places to watch temps:
Hume Highway b/w Sydney and 100km south Albury – spoke to the caravan park manager at Yass and they have 2-3 per week come in flat tops in summer with cars/vans on the back (for those of you panicking – not specifically talking D3’s) – specially reserved pitch for them. That’s where I did mine 20kms south of Wodonga. I started tailgating a truck and needed to push quite hard to get the draft benefit but there was no airflow in the front grill. I was pushing b/c my father in law fell ill while we were on the Tassie ferry coming back and he didn’t have long.
North out of Alice Springs – I was unprepared for this … but it must have been 10-15kms hard/steady climb. (keep Rev’s beyond 2,300)
Stuff I do which is possibly nonsense:
2stroke oil in diesel – cut at 100ml for 20l diesel (400ml for tank). Lubes fuel pump/injectors; reduces propensity for pre-combustion - does other good stuff (apparently)
Warm down – I don’t immediately turn off engine after long hard run – bring temps down – leaving idling while refilling diesel (only when towing) or during van park negotiations. My little Mitsubishi run-about (diesel) has an electric fan that operates after ignition/engine shut-down sometimes for more than 5mins.
Clockwise or Anti-clockwise:
We went Port Augusta (Aug), Darwin, Broome, Perth, Canberra (Dec) trying to get cooler temps over the top and had 30-40kph head wind every single day but 1 or 2 – no real calm days except on the 1 or 2 tailwinds. It was hard-work on the car. Catch the trade winds at that time of year CLOCKWISE!
Other Sundry D3ism’s
Alternator failure – It’s important to understand when the alternator is failing on the road because a bush mechanic used to servicing more utilitarian forms of transport (Toyotas) might miss this. It generally starts and progresses in the following way although more generally a range of unrelated faults may appear. First “Park Brake fault” may appear on the dash but the brake works fine, then later … 1 day - 3 months “Transmission Fault and Suspension fault” will appear generally together on the dash whereby the car will lower onto the bump stops and you will need to turn off the engine and restart … it might be good for 2kms or 200kms but will happen again. This will often occur when backing off over the crest of a hill where rev’s drop quickly. Then with a code reader, if available, P0191-24 (6 and/or P088-00 (6 fuel rail pressure range /pressure too high faults may appear. Time to change the alternator as the purity of it’s DC current output is compromised by alternator ‘ripple’ causing false sensor readings/warnings.
Reversing up hill / park brake– a few campsites required quite steep reversing. Make sure you remember to use low range – I forgot and ended up smelling burnt trans fluid (doh). Note that engaging low range increases park brake application tension in so if you hear a squeal it may not squeal in hi range… so you can still use it. Recommend engaging park brake in lo-range only when necessary albeit only for the sanity of not hearing a squeal.
Coming to garage near you:
QLD, Sunshine Coast – British Offroad – Front of house only (can’t talk to the person who worked on your car), fitted oil pump seal pinched, timing out 1/2pin, delivered car w/out coolant pipe properly sealed (swmbo was driving when temp light came on … of course!). ‘Up-selling’ scoreboard of ‘customer liaisons’ behind the counter unashamedly visible to patrons. Head Mech. very good. I got yr12 on work experience to do my belts. No apology, tried to feed me BS and were prepared to send down another $3 seal but not the $1k+ of labour to rectify. 5/10
TAS, Launceston – Goldstar Auto - Capital ‘P’ for Passion for the brand (worth a lot), good guys, correction of oil seal leak, relatively low LR volume brings score down 9/10
WA, Perth – Tickle’s Discovery – front of house only - ‘Gunned-up’ wheel nuts, overfilled oil (no apology), sloppy EPB service 0/10
ACT, Canberra – Series Workshop – ‘P’ for passion, Old school, master tech.– stuff’s done right - wheel nuts @140nm 10/10
SA, Adelaide – TR spares – Know their stuff, no deduction for arrogance, head mech. good guy & master tech- 10/10
SA, Adelaide – PCB – no score as insufficient evidence but had Hunter wheel alignment gear onsite – good sign. Nice (English) chap running it.
Other trip tips:
Car servicing – Van parks don’t allow mechanical work – I assume they mean ‘wet’ work. I did one oil change at 6am and got spotted/balled out.
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