Going overland with a Landrover Defender is an exciting adventure. Generally speaking the Defender is a simple build vehicle. However, with the introduction of the 2.4/2.2TDI engine things have changed a bit in the electronics department. The 2.2TDI engine stems from Ford Motor Co. The vehicle and the engine were never introduced to the North American market.
I enjoyed travelling very much when going south on freeway I101 along the Oregon coast. Just a few miles south of Florence, OR, suddenly the engine light went on and the vehicle did not accelerate anymore. At the next viewpoint I stopped, let the engine cool down and drained the diesel filter. That seemed to work, hence the engine light was off again and I could proceed as normal. I stayed at a campground close to the pacific coast.
The next morning the vehicle started as normal, engine light was off and I was on my way to Crater Lake NP. During the journey outside temperatures reached 90 °F and several ascending road had to be mastered. A few miles before Roseburg the engine light went on again, the car did not accelerate anymore and the ECU put the engine into limb mode. With several stops I reached Rosenburg at lunch time. The first repair shop I could find said that they are nor dealing with diesel engines and advised to go to Auto Tech just 2 miles down the road.
The guys at Auto Tech were honest and said that they have no experience with Landrovers, however, they would try to help. Right after the lunch break a technician hooked-up the diagnostic system to read the error codes:
P0404-22 Exhaust gas recirculation control – circuit range
P0101-17 Mass air flow sensor – circuit range
P2263-22 Turbo boost system performance
Quickly the Auto Tech guys said that they are unable to assist. They called Landrover in Portland whether they are happy service the car. Landrover Portland said that I should bring the car and then they will tackle the issue. Auto Tech did not charge anything and so I limped via back country roads to Portland.
The next day I was at the Landrover Garage in Portland at around 09:30. A nice lady offered a service appointment for the next day. However, I insisted to talk to the chief mechanic first. After a short wait the chief mechanic arrived and I told him with which model he should deal with and which error codes should be serviced. He was not very interested in the error code printout, nor was he even interested to look at the car, he just said his Landrover garage cannot fix a “gray” imported European Landrover. To cut thinks short, I visited two more repair shops in Portland before my mechanic in Vancouver, Canada, gave me the contact of Ship Mechanics in Portland.
Doug admitted that he has no experiences with diesel engines and grabbed the phone to talk to people who might know. Since the outcome was negative we agreed to tackle the problem.
Our suspicion was that there is one persistent error and the other error codes are subsequent. Therefore we cleared the errors with a ODB2 reader and I had a new test ride until an error was thrown. Error P0101-17 was the evil.
After the Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF) was cleaned, the errors cleared the ECU was still throwing error P0101.
The Landrover maintenance handbook outlines two potential reasons for such an error:
- Frequency mass airflow sensor circuit, short circuit to power
- Frequency mass airflow sensor internal failure
The handbook suggests the following to fix that issue:
- Refer to the electrical circuit diagrams and check the frequency mass airflow sensor circuit for short circuit to power. Repair the circuit as required, clear the DTC and retest the system.
- If the fault persists, check and install a new frequency mass airflow sensor as required. Refer to the warranty policy and procedures manual, or determine if any prior approval programme is in operation, prior to the installation of a new module/component.
I checked all electrical connections, cleaned them and greased them with electrical grease paste. That did not solve the problem.
A look onto the MAF sensor revealed that this part is a Ford Motor Co part. The same day we ordered a new MAF with Ford with pick-up the next day at 7 a.m. The new MAF arrived on time, however, the ECU was still not impressed and was throwing the error P0101.
Doug called Arthur at Rover North in Vermont. Arthur remembered that Landrover had in 2012 a recall for an Intercooler which caused a problem and ultimately was throwing error P0101.
We removed a few parts to get a visual access to the intercooler which is sandwiched between the A/C radiator and the engine radiator. Already the engine radiator revealed a few black spots on both sides of the radiator. The top of the intercooler was deformed and the top oval cooler pipe was nearly round. Without even removing the intercooler a quick decision was made that this part needs to be replaced.
The best source we could find on a Friday before the long Labor Day weekend was LRDirect in the UK. We called them at 1 a.m. US Pacific time whether the part is in stock and ready for shipment the same day (Friday) if payment is cleared. The answer was yes and the intercooler ordered.
Hence it was the long Labor Day weekend, the part could not arrive earlier than Tuesday the following week. Doug and Jean were so kind and invited me to their home in Pendleton for the weekend. Without going to much into the details the whole weekend was just great fun and a good laugh. We returned to Portland on Monday afternoon.
The Tuesday started with big excitement hence the Intercooler from the UK was supposed to arrive. Just before lunch time the DHL truck showed up and delivered the new part. After having some fish & chips in the local pub we got to work.
After removing the old Intercooler the whole disaster was revealed. Apart from deformed cooler pipes one pipe was split. No wonder that the MAF sensor got out of range readings and the turbo boost sensor threw a performance error. The new part was installed quickly and I took the car for a test ride.
I noticed immediately that the engine was now more responsive. During my 30 min test ride no error code was thrown. Problem solved.
Hence it was late in the afternoon after the garage was cleaned and my truck was repacked I stayed another night at Doug’s house. Doug recommended a few scenic backcountry routes when going south. 07:00 a.m. I was happily back on the road.
In summary Doug and I learned a lot while fixing the P0101 error. I am disappointed with Landrover over their non existing support for this vehicle. I am greatly thankful that Arthur from Rovers North in Vermont pointed us into the right direction. All in all, 6 days stranded with identifying the error, ordering a part from overseas and installation is a good result.