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Thread: Maintaining an oldish diesel

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Bit of an open-ended help request this, but I figured there's plenty of knowledgable types on Hexus!

    So a few weeks ago I bought myself a lovely Fiat Scudo - ex taxi, 2.0 JTD, ~ 185k on the clock. Earlier this week, after a few miles of crescendoing knock, she decided she didn't want to run anymore. No loud bangs, snaps, crashes or the like - just cut out. When breakdown got to her she did start up again, but didn't sound good, and he guessed, checked, and was quite right that she's slpiped a tooth or two on the timing belt, so I got her towed home.

    I've got someone booked in to retime her this weekend, and am hopeful she'll be OK (but YES, I do know that knocking could've caused more serious, and expensive, damage).

    SO:

    Assuming she comes back running and relatively healthy, what should I be doing (aside from the basic liquid level checking) to keep her in good condition? Are those system cleaning fuel additives worthwhile? Is there anything I should specifically be avoiding? How do I treat a moderately old, moderately high mileage diesel right?

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Mostly same as anything else:

    Get timing belt and water pump changed at regular intervals.
    Use the right oil. Change it and filter regularly. Change air filter occasionally too.
    Reduce strain on alternator/battery by making sure stereo, lights (internal + external) turn off. AC in good condition if present. Consider a battery conditioner if it struggles in winter or you have a long break.
    Drive it plenty, especially long motorway runs.

    On fuel additives.. I would stick the odd bottle of redex in if you aren't sure it's been regularly run in the past, but not much need once it's clean and you just do long runs.

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    HEXUS.timelord. Zak33's Avatar
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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Kal has nailed a lot of it.

    My input - always use the right spec oil
    Change the fuel filter every 2 years max, every year preferably
    Cambelt changes should ALWAYS have a water pump even if it doesn't say in the book

    But I'd not worry about battery load. If a battery is good condition and quality, it's fine and the alternator will charge it. Cheap batteries a rubbish. Period.
    Last edited by Zak33; 30-04-2018 at 01:08 PM. Reason: edit

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    ... not much need once it's clean and you just do long runs.
    So if I have periods when she's not used, or only used for short runs, it'd be worth sticking some in?

    She's mostly going to be doing long runs (that was the whole point of buying her!), but I can see her sitting for a month or more between runs, perhaps longer over the winter when we won't be getting away as much. aiui diesels don't like short runs, right? So am I better taking her out for quick runs or just letting her sit?

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Yeah probably - one of my old diesels used to suffer from waxing of the fuel if left to sit for long periods over winter, and the same redex for cleaning contained anti-waxing properties. I wouldn't take out for a quick run just for the sake of it unless you know you have a problem with the battery holding charge or you're about to do a long trip and want to check it's all working fine.

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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Air filter more important on diesels, as they get through more air than petrols (what with having no throttle valve). Shouldn't damage the engine unless you left it much too late, of course.

    I'm pretty sure that expensive diesel gets a smidge more power, but haven't been running it long enough to say anything about whether it cleans anything or prevents breakdowns.

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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    I would want to know why it jumped a tooth. Were it a FIAT engine I would expect a failing water pump which is driven off the timing belt, but sounds like this is a re-badged Citroen so I don't know.

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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    I would want to know why it jumped a tooth. ...
    Breakdown engineer reckoned the tension was off by enough to allow it to slip. I'm trusting that the guy who's looking at it tomorrow will ensure it's properly tensioned when he puts it back on! He's meant to be checking if there are any other problems while he does it.

    I'll have to check the service records but I think the water pump was replaced less than a year ago.

    The whole platform was a joint effort between Fiat, Citroen (Dispatch) and Peugeot (Expert, iirc) (Fiat dropped out around 2011 and Toyota took their place, so the same basic van is also now the Toyota Proace). When she drives she drives and handles nicely...

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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    I drove a Scudo for about 4 years on the Isle of Man..... The long trips thing is really a thing - you can't do many long trips over there and as a result I blew the EGR valve up twice before the dealer actually bypassed the thing. Never had an issue with the battery, even after leaving the lights on for a day and a half (it's quite a big battery). Had no end of trouble with the front suspension/steering gear, but I think that was more down to the state of the roads than the van, although the seals in the power steering pump did fail once and flood the control box with oil. That was fun.

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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    So if I have periods when she's not used, or only used for short runs, it'd be worth sticking some in?

    She's mostly going to be doing long runs (that was the whole point of buying her!), but I can see her sitting for a month or more between runs, perhaps longer over the winter when we won't be getting away as much. aiui diesels don't like short runs, right? So am I better taking her out for quick runs or just letting her sit?
    Whilst the engine might not care too much about reasonably long delays between runs, the rest of the car will. Stick a large silica gel bag/sock full of cat litter/anything that absorbs moisture in the cabin between uses.

    The other problem is brakes and tires. IME you get slow leaks on tires of cars that have large gaps between uses. If left outside, the discs are more likely to get pitted etc. Also it seems that calipers are more likely to seize if not used reasonably regularly.
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    Senior Member joshwa's Avatar
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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Did you get it back? Fixed?

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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    A well-maintained diesel will do moon miles.
    Car Throttle have just started a YouTube series on a mk1 Octavia that has done moon miles (400,000+) and the engine looks like it's not even passed 100k yet. Still has the original suspension too, apparently.

    Some companies, like Mercedes, had a thing where if you did a million miles in one of their cars, they'd give you a brand new one of equivalent modern spec for free. So our old C250D would have gotten us a brand new C-Class... Trouble is, people were doing it often enough that they scrapped the idea.
    Now you just get radiator grille badges for each milestone up to 1mil.

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by joshwa View Post
    Did you get it back? Fixed?
    Well, there's a story.

    The bloke came, had a look, said he'd do it. He spent several hours on a Saturday morning tinkering, before admitting that he didn't actually have the right tools and would have to buy a timing kit. In the week he told me there'd be no issue getting the kit and he'd sort it out the following weekend (I was away for the weekend doing the TdY ride, so no big deal). But when I got home he'd obviously done nothing, and on the bank holiday Monday he fessed up that the kit was too expensive and he wasn't going to buy one. So that was two weeks wasted.


    By then I'd found out that my breakdown cover came with a service for repairs, that would book you into a garage and handling all the dealings with them directly. Great, I thought, a way to take all the stress out of getting this sorted! Except they couldn't get her into one of their garages with less than a week's lead time before she'd be looked at, and their garages were all ~ 8 miles from home. I eventually got them to book it into a garage of my choice, closer to home, who'd given the same roughly 1 week lead time on looking at her … which was up today.

    So today I get an email saying that they've had a look, the timings out (no, really?!) and they'll need to strip the engine down and can't do it for …. two weeks?! So I'm busy having to chase that up to find out exactly what the garage are planning to do, what the point is, why it'll take so long and how much it'll cost … which isn't saving me any of the hassle of just dealing with the garage directly, because the hassle-saving service have obviously not bothered asking *any* questions at all.


    When did motor mechanics get so shoddy? Last time I owned a car (another old banger) I never had any problems getting her in to the garage and getting work done promptly...

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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    A well-maintained diesel will do moon miles.
    Car Throttle have just started a YouTube series on a mk1 Octavia that has done moon miles (400,000+) and the engine looks like it's not even passed 100k yet. Still has the original suspension too, apparently.
    I'd be a bit wary of a car on original suspension past about 100k. Dampers just don't last that long. They might not be leaking, but they're not going to be performing properly at that sort of age.

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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by Butcher View Post
    I'd be a bit wary of a car on original suspension past about 100k. Dampers just don't last that long. They might not be leaking, but they're not going to be performing properly at that sort of age.
    They appear in reasonable nick. The car mostly did motorway miles, apparently, on fairly good road.
    I'm just dead excited, as it suggests my own Octavia might last as well if I look after it... and I've already done my suspension, as the PO didn't look after it!

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    Re: Maintaining an oldish diesel

    185k ex taxi with a knackered engine, not worth fixing imo, taxi's always have the cheapest possible parts fitted so you would no doubt open a can of worms if you carried on.

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