Changing oil on a TD5

Another ‘easy’ job [insert hollow laughter].

We’d been talking about the oil change for months but never had time or space to get round to doing it.

Chatting to a mechanic in Gib the other day, they casually mentioned an oil change would cost around £300 at one of the local stealers. What?!!

How long does it take, I asked. About half an hour, replied Partner.

We’d been checking the level regularly – and the colour – and it was always above half and not black. We’d been toying with topping it up actually.

Checked last week and it was filthy dirty and below half. Nice to have decisions taken out of your hands sometimes.

Looked at the handbook. We needed 5W30, spec ACEA A1/B!. If that wasn’t available A3/B4 apparently was an adequate substitute.

The handbook was confusing because it also covers TDis. It talks about temperature ranges and it isn’t clear to me which engine it is referring to. Couldn’t work out if the 10W40 was appropriate for the TD5 or not due to the unclear paragraph headings in the manual.

[Note on looking at the workshop manual which we didn’t have with us – the only recommendation is ACEA A1/B1]

But having good Landy friend on line, I asked her if she had any mates with TD5s and what they used. Back came a rapid response involving a couple of her mechanic pals saying ‘go for fully synthetic.’

It’s always difficult when you have a new vehicle that you aren’t used to, and you don’t know the tolerances, and what works best in practice – and what doesn’t work.

Off we jumps in said Landy, with dirty oil, to try and find this desirable 5W30. A traipse around the industrial estates in our local county town couldn’t find the elusive large motor parts/factors that Partner swore was there.

We decided to go to another one on the other side of town to see if they had it. En route, nicking across town rather cleverly, we noticed a bike shop that did oil changes. And on the other side of the road, a shop selling vehicle oils. Bingo! And not only that, there was a parking space right outside.

It wasn’t a big shop and we gazed at the various containers of oil none of which seemed to say 5W30. They were all 10s and 15s. Boooo.

And then crouching down, in the middle of the middle shelf, there it was. The elusive 5W30. One was A1/B!, and the other was A3/B4. Both the same price at 29€. We picked up the only two containers of the one for us (made by Ford incidentally) and went to the desk. This was just after 9am so the young lad looked most pleased to be flogging 58€ worth of engine oil. Did he have guantes? (gloves) – No! Honestly. I ask you. If you are buying engine oil would you not want to buy gloves?

We were on a high, went to collect some paint (for the house) and sensibly asked for gloves there. Yay! Gloves. A boring stop at a supermarket for essentials – beer and bread – and off we went home. Total trip around an hour.

Next morning, the job.

Put vehicle on ramp and chock up.

All ramped up and ready to go

Bread delivery man arrives. ‘Que pasa?’ he asks. ‘Cambio aceite, facile,’ says Partner.

That’s what made my heart sink. ‘What’s happening?’ ‘I’m changing the oil, easy.’

It is calling down the wrath of all Land Rover gods to say that any job will be easy.

Next up, our next-door neighbour comes up to buy his bread and find out what is happening.

‘Hmmm,’ he said, very Spanishly.’Need to be careful, someone might report you.’

Ah right, when your son-in-law changed an exhaust pipe on the street, and over the years we have changed master and slave cylinders, done endless work on brakes, changed a fuel pump in a mate’s TD5, and some spider bearings for a French couple who were travelling to Morocco. All outside the house.

It’s not as though we are going to chuck seven litres of oil in the street.

But not calculated to improve anyone’s mindset when they are just starting a job.

Starting the job

So back to the job in hand after that minor distraction.

Bucket in place and drain plug taken out.

Black oil drips through.

See the thin drip of black oil?

Nasty dirty oil waiting to be taken to an appropriate disposal point.

Extremely black and dirty

And putting back the plug. Don’t forget to buy a new washer. We did. (forget I mean). Don’t drop the plug in the bucket. (we did that too).

Putting the plug back

All ready to start pouring in the new oil.

And back up to the engine bay… for the new oil

Ah, couldn’t find the funnel. Important note – a funnel would be a good idea.

Ready for the new oil

The TD5 holds approx 7.2 litres of engine oil so we put a full five litre container of nice clean oil in. Nothing showed on the dipstick, so we decided to let it settle – and – go and buy a funnel.

Mmm look at that nice clean oil 🙂


Somewhat later, new funnel in place and oil container pouring happily in. Partner explaining about oil changes and engines to non-car driving neighbour (he’s driven a motorbike and a donkey).

Lessons for a Spaniard on how to change oil in a TD5

Top tips:

Order/buy the correct washer beforehand.

Wear gloves.

Use a large container so that if you drop the plug in there it’s not difficult to recover.

Save the container from the new oil to filter the old stuff back in and take it to a safe disposal/recycle point.

Don’t forget to find/buy a funnel.

Most important: Use a socket for flats and not a cornered one. The plug is recessed and if you use the incorrect one you will eventually not be able to get it out because you will have rounded off the corners.. Pix of correct and incorrect tools to follow.

Now if I was strong enough to undo the plug and could wriggle underneath, even I could do that.

Recommended oil change on TD5 at 12 months or 20,000kms/12,000 miles.

This vehicle has done less than 19,000 kms in seven years. When we bought it from the Stealer it allegedly had received an oil change. Who knows? But it seemed a bit silly to keep changing the oil every 12 months on that sort of mileage. We’ve only had it around two years as it sat around at the stealers for five years.

All other levels checked at the same time: power steering, clutch, brake, and water.

Total cost:

Oil – 58€, with some left (ie three litres) for topping up

New funnel – 2.50€

Top post here about engine oil
if you are interested

The new Málaga by-pass, A7 – east to west

And the flip side – east to west. I don’t think any text is necessary if you have read the previous post.

Except to say head for Algeciras all the way and you can’t go wrong.

A nice peaceful start to the journey

One of those adorable ruins ‘para reformar’?

Spanish love their bridges

By-passing Málaga and looking towards Alhaurin

Entrance to the tunnel

Spectacular views on the other side of the tunnel

And rejoining the old road again around the hills above Torremolinos

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The new Málaga by-pass, A7 – west to east

The last time we set off down the N340/A7/goodness-knows-how-many-other-names-it-has down to gin, it looked as though the new by-pass around Málaga was finally open.

Either way we missed it.  And trotted happily off down the usual old city by-pass route (opened nearly 20 years ago in 1992) which is pretty quiet on a Sunday anyway.

But coming back up from Gib a couple of weeks ago we decided to go for it.

Yes, the by-pass of the Málaga by-pass finally opened at the end of October.  A press release from 2008 says it was due to cost more than 83M euros for 4kms.  That’s roughly 21M euros per kilometre. Think we travelled more than 4kms too.  Guess it cost more than 83M in the end. Link here.

Wait.  I have found something slightly more up-to-date and accurate.  We are now looking at a total cost of 339M euros for 21.3kms.  Ah, that’s more like it. Thanks Costa del Sol News – more info here.

Anyway.  It was good.  It’s not a toll road, at places there are four lanes, and right now, it is not overly used.  Not at weekends anyway.  And there are some cracking views, although, it is hard in Andalucía not to have cracking views.

If you are heading east, follow the signs for Almería. There is also less lane-swapping for that route, so it is a good thing all round.

Some pix.

Heading off on the new road..

One of the last parts of the by-pass to be completed was the 1.25k Churriana tunnel.

Entrance to the tunnel

Graffiti artists are in there as fast as they can

Looking towards the airport, the new road runs well north

And, with Málaga behind us, heading for the hills of the Axarquía

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What a pane (4) – a wind up?

Getting there. Front door windows next. We’d looked for some decent doors because ours need replacing, but had to settle for the windows only.

Like the rest of the glass, they are windy up ones, not sliding, so sorting out the scissor-style winding mechanism was something to contend with for the first time.

Remove door card. Then remove all broken glass (lots) from inside the door. Take out metal panel and winding mechanism.

Insert glass at an angle, ensuring ball rollers go into the track at the bottom of the glass. Again two pairs of hands are good. Three would be better and then there might be more photos.

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What a pane (3) – own goal – no strikers

We found a lot of glass at a Málaga scrapyard. What we didn’t find was glass for the middle doors, or even any decent replacement middle doors.

But, after a drive up to the scrappy at Arcos de la Frontera, we found some middle doors, complete with glass. They were from an earlier model, but hey anything will do when you are struggling.

It had taken us ages to find the scrappy. The directions we had been given initially were not good, but once we got to Arcos, we just kept asking in Spanish for the scrapyard. Each time we asked (we were taking it in turns at this point), everyone gave us directions so far – and then said ‘ask again when you get that far.’ Which was exactly what we did.

Gotta love the Spanish though because it worked. Although I was slightly worried when we spoke to a council worker who kept repeating the directions. By the time he had finished I thought we had to turn left 50 times.

We arrived around 1.15/1.30pm. Not good. There was a queue. Spanish scrapyards are – er – not like British ones. You don’t go armed with screwdrivers and socket sets happily to dismantle bits and put them in your basket to pay at the check-out.

Oh no. You tell them what you want and they look it up and then dismantle it for you.

We spotted a promising looking Santana and asked if we could go look. Spaniards shrugged their shoulders at crazy foreigners. Perfect!! Middle doors (ours were crap anyway and needed replacing).

‘We can’t do it now so come back at 5pm after siesta.’ How long does it take to take off a couple of doors? Did we want to wait three and a half hours? Not forgetting we hadn’t brought the dog as it was hot so he was on his own in the flat.

Assertive Brits swung into action and we said we would take off the doors. Spaniards looked surprised as this is all part of the service and why would you want to do something yourself? But they agreed. We shot up to the Santana and had the doors off in no time. Young lad came with a small car to take them back to the check-out. We paid up and off we happily went.

What had we forgotten in our haste to rip off the doors before lunchtime and closedown? The striker plates. Another trip may be called for. If they even have the same vehicle or a similar one. Live and learn.

Don’t think you need the details for this one. But anyway.

Remove door card and check strap that prevents door from swinging wide open. Undo screws and nuts on hinges. Lift up the door and pull it out. Preferably with an assistant.

Replace in reverse order 😀

Range Rover Classic

Once upon a time I rather fancied a nice V8 Range Rover. It never happened.

This weekend we went to look at one.

It is a Range Rover Classic, year, 1991.

Naturally it is a V8 – 3.9. It sounds wonderful. It has a good chassis and seems rust-free. It has a beautiful walnut dash and a somewhat bizarre small sport-style steering wheel to match. In terms of colour and interior it is slightly faded, or worn, or however you want to describe it. It also has a crap new head-lining that in no way matches.

It costs 200€ a year to road tax in Spain (no road tax in Gib).

It has a few faults. Apart from anything else the ITV (Spanish equivalent of MOT) expired at the end of the month.

The water jets for the windscreen don’t work. One doesn’t even eject water, and the other sends out a pitiful trickle that doesn’t hit the windscreen.

The support for the split upper rear door doesn’t work. If you don’t hold the glass up it drops down and hits you on the head if you haven’t realised.

The small indicator lights on the side of the front wings don’t work. Fuse?

Nevertheless they are not big things in the overall scheme of Range Rovers. Adrian drove it out of the underground car park where it lives so that we could have a decent look at it in daylight – where we discovered the above faults.

We also discovered as I was trying to get in – that it is not a five door. Or rather a two door as one can hardly describe the boot bit as a door. Now while I may have passed my lithe agile peak, I am not entirely immobile and it was hell to get into. It was the sort of situation where you open the door, dive headlong onto the back seat through the narrow gap (even allowing for pushing the front seat forward) and hoping the rest of your body clambers in after the first part. Not that I wear them, but it is no good for anyone who chooses short skirts or stilettos. Nor is it any good for anyone who wishes to look remotely elegant – woman or man.

I could see very little out of the front as the seats are high. I contented myself with looking out of the rear window. They are slidey windows so I opened it a tiny bit and decided I didn’t have enough strength to manage more than a couple of centimetres. I leaned over to the other side and couldn’t open that at all. Still, if we bought it, I wouldn’t be sitting in the back. Neither would anyone else.

It sounded very nice as we drove a short distance down the road. We checked out all the usual suspect areas for rust. Think the owner was a bit surprised when we went through the routine of checking all the lights – like why would you not? Because we don’t drive very much these days, checking all the lights are working (as well as oil and water) has now become standard practice before we set off anywhere – usually to Spain, as there is little point driving around Gib.

So. Verdict.

A good drive. Condition: good rather than very good, and defo not mint – chassis and engine were plus points, and they are what matters. Desirability: two doors, crap colour, and appalling new head-lining detract from it. Oh, I keep forgetting, it had air-con and a newish Blaupunkt stereo. I keep forgetting to mention them because they don’t interest me but the owner seemed to think they were important. Mileage: 240,000 kms. Price: too much. Had a quick looky on eBay and couldn’t find anything over a grand – he wanted more. He’s not been able to sell it in at least the last six months if not more. What could we realistically expect for it if we wanted to sell? A few hundred?

So ……. whatever happened to my dream about Range Rovers? Guess I’ve been a leaf-sprung woman for too long.


Anonymous said…
hey you ought to start reviewing cars, this was an excellent review.

20 JUNE 2009 14:01

Stuffed it up today

Off down the river bed
Avoiding the deep rut on the driver’s side

Which was quite deep ie we would have been fucked

But going into the ditch on the near side

Water, soft sand, unstable. Good one

Adrian having a quick look before he just drives out.
Puts a bit of cane down. As if. Haha

Maybe not drive out straightaway

Rear diff and rear nearside spring seem to be a bit stuck.
No, we aren’t going anywhere without a bit of work

Spade got us nowhere.
Takes Jackall off Brownchurch roof rack.
Two things that have never let us down

Back on track

The good guys…….

Oh and while I’m on a roll, I thought it would be good to post up my admiration for those expert people, who help any struggling Land Rover owners (especially women who really don’t do mechanics), out of the goodness of their heart.

I have read a fair few posts about these occurrences and I really can’t express how generous I think these people are, to give up their time, skill, expertise, possibly even their tools, equipment and a few consumables.

It’s really good to know there are lots of knights of the road out there.

I am right aren’t I? You are all helping someone for free aren’t you?

Just like we did the other day. Tomorrow’s post will be about how we got two French lads on the road again.

And good on you all who are doing just the same as us. For no charge, just a general love of Land Rovers and wanting to help.

Glow plugs/heater plugs (2)

Robbin’ bastards

So here we are waiting patiently for our heater plugs to come out from the UK.

In the meantime as we can do very little on the Santana, Adrian thought he would cycle into town and see what was on offer at the local auto-electrical garage which we have used a number of times before. Naturally – us being useless at auto-electrics, although these days slightly less than we were.

He walked in with the offending heater plug and asked if they had one.

“I’ll go and look,” said one of the owner’s sons, and disappeared into the dungeon.

After five minutes he returned, proudly waving a Lucas spark plug box, with Land Rover written on it by hand.

Inside was exactly the part we were waiting for. But this was not a new part.

Adrian looked at it carefully. It had obviously been taken out of someone else’s diesel when they had changed a set of heater plugs. Nor did it include the top pieces. It was just the plug.

Just to remind you all – the photo at the top is the defunct plug

The owner’s son went behind the bonnet of another vehicle where his brother was working and they had a very quiet chat to think of a good price that the silly foreigner might pay. He then came out and said: “Thirty five euros.” Smiling. Again.

Adrian fell on the floor.

When he picked himself up, he said, “No, thank you. I’m not paying that.”

“Oh, well in that case, we’ll give you a discount. Thirty euros.”

“No, I’m not paying that either. And give me back my plug.” Which at this point was sitting on the work bench, in the hopes that he would forget it. Including all the difficult-to-get-hold-of top parts.

Taking the piss or what?

So we have now decided to compile a useful list of small parts and consumables on the Santana which are directly compatible with Land Rover parts and I will put it on the sidebar, and keep it updated when we find new equivalent parts.

Importing your vehicle into Gibraltar

This is not difficult.

Step 1

Take your vehicle to the Customs Office (near the freight/commercial entrance to Gib), and ask for an assessment of the value. This varies depending on the condition of the vehicle, and the duty to import it varies depending on the size of the engine.

More info on import duty regarding engine size, new/second-hand car on my later post here.

Pay your money. Cash or cheque from a Gib bank account only. A British bank account is no good. You get a receipt. Obviously.

Step 2

You now have your Gib registration number so you need to go and buy your plates immediately. There is a good place on Devil’s Tower Road – Car Care Centre – that will do plates on the spot. You need to produce your Gib ID card and customs paperwork.

Affix said plates.

Step 3

Buy insurance. You can’t buy the insurance without the Gib registration number, so you need to do it immediately afterwards. We used Solrac in Tuckey’s Lane. They were very efficient and very fast. We got cover for Gibraltar, Spain and Portugal, including breakdown cover. We produced our last British NCD and our recent Spanish policy plus a note from the Spanish insurers to say we had made no claims.

Step 4

Armed with Gib number and insurance (which you need to produce), book your MoT. We were lucky and got a quick appointment. After passing your MoT the paperwork takes about a week.

Step 5

Pick up your Registration Certificate. You are on the road again. Don’t forget to carry all paperwork in the Iberian peninsula.

Adrian and Marc outside the Santana, photo courtesy of Brigid, received the other day, thanks Brig