My 04 D2 rebuild adventure by knightmetro

By diyauto
( 2 )

My 04 D2 rebuild adventure 

Compliments of knightmetro @


I figure I'd post up my rebuild adventure. I hope some can chime in and give advice from time to time, and of course I hope this may help others down the road trying to do the same.

I just had a 2004 Disco II SE delivered to my house today. Found it on local Craigslist and paid $2,000.

127k miles. White. SE. Heated seats, black leather. Exterior is in amazing condition. Only has one blemish on the pass fender and a headlight that needs to be resealed. Brand new tires. Paint and body are excellent. Interior is even better. Outside of one split in the leather on the driver seat bolster, the interior is a 9.8 out of 10. It even smells new.

I only wanted to spend $1,500 on it, but he threw in a free tow home, it's got a new water pump, new tires, and the full gasket kit new in box waiting for my rebuild. So in the end, I think it evened out.


The original owner was driving one day and noticed white smoke coming out the back. He picked up a complete head rebuild kit and tore it down to the block. When he got in there he found that it had a slipped sleeve. He put the car up for sale as-is when he realized the cost to repair.

Lucky for me all the work to get the car down to the block had been done. SO, next I'm going to yank the block out. I'll start calling around this week and get some quotes on getting flanged liners installed in the block, get the block tested for any cracks or pin hole leaks, and get the liners bored out to the OE pistons. New piston rings. Etc.

Then I'll throw her back in and rebuild it from the bottom up. Full clean up, rebuild the heads, fluid flush of all systems, and replace anything that needs attention to get it up and running like new.

I have a nice 2007 Nissan Xterra 4x4 that I'd like to sell and get rid of the car payments. So the Disco II is meant as a replacement that wont leave me with limitations of moving on from the Xterra. Well not as much cargo room, but more than able to handle Alaska just as well.

I've always wanted a Disco. I can't wait to get her back on the road and fix the few blemishes she has. I'm thinking $2-3K in the engine, a little paint work, and I'll have a cherry Disco to enjoy Alaska with and enjoy being debt free.

So that's me and my project.

Spent the whole weekend tearing the bottom side apart so I can get the block ready to yank out. I got up to APR rental too late to pick up an engine hoist, so I'll have to wait till this weekend to pull it.

After a weekend under the hood I have concluded:

The thing is built like a tank underside in comparison to the Xterra. Especially when I had a solid front sway bar drop and break my nose. Lovely. I do now have some excitement to see how the D2 will enjoy the Alaskan experience.

The 2nd cylinder on the driver side is the one that seems to have slipped. But oddly enough, it's UP. It's just barely above the deck. All the rest appear to be flush and in OE placement.

No rust on the underside. Must have been washed regularly as well. BUT, the engine block and drip plate on the bottom are nasty. Caked. I'll change that. By the time the engine goes back in, the whole engine bay will be spotless.

That way I can see any leaks clearly after the rebuild.

MY plan for this weekend:

Yank the block. Rig up my DIY Lowes pressure test kit so that I can see if the block has any leaks or cracks in the coolant system. Pending that, I will move forward with rebuilding this block, or step out and buy a re manufactured and warrantied block from a supplier I found for $500. 

Now, if the pressure test is good, I'll be rebuilding the block as follows. 

Heat up and pull liners. Inspect and clean interior walls. Then I'll be pushing the sleeves back in and sealing them in place with Loctite 640 sleeve retainer.

This stuff, just like the Permatex Sleeve retainer, is specifically made to hold things like cylinder sleeves in place. Good up to 400 degrees. BUT, I'll also be pinning the liners as well when I get them pressed back in just for peace of mind. I've already got the tap, screws, and safety wire ready.

Fingers crossed I don't have to order a new block.

I'm replacing all of the gaskets with new. I got a master kit for the top end from Victor Reinz that came with the car. I'll be ordering a complete gasket kit for the bottom end from Turner Engineering. I plan to replace every gasket I can get my hands on and the entire coolant system hosing as well.

Time will tell with the block. I know what to look for when I pressurize the system, but I wont know for sure until I get it done. 

All speculation for now. 

But if the block is bad, I've got the possibility of a guaranteed block for about 500. So I would weigh the cost of fixing mine, if cracked, vs just having a warrantied one shipped to me. 

I should know what we are looking at by the end of the weekend. Then I can see where my $$ will be going.


Well, I've been told my bro in law dropped off the cheery picker, so that's one less thing to rent until I'm done.

It's Friday finally and I'm so ready to dive back into the engine tonight.

Now to get through the work me.

I didn't break anything when I pulled the cooling lines, BUT, I found pieces of itself floating on top of the t/stat. A whole lock ring had deteriorated and come off at some point and traveled down the line and a big ol chunk of rubber from somewhere. I'll inspect every fitting in the long run and replace anything that looks funky.

I'm aware that Rover didn't use Loctite to secure the liners, and that ultimately top hat liners are a bomb proof way to solve all my problems. For a hefty price tag.

But I don't want to throw that kind of money on the block if I can try this theory first for $100. THAT BEING SAID, if all my pinning/loctite aspirations fail, I'll be getting a top hat lined block from ACR or Q&E. In the long run it would be hard to invest more than what the car is worth as I paid nearly nothing for it.

The Loctite idea came from a tried and true practice I found Lotus uses on their blocks, and consistent testimonies from diesel mechanics that use this stuff to lock in their liners all the time.

So I figure I add this to my pinning plan for a double combo to give my block a fighting chance at solving the problem without it costing me 2 grand.

All in theory. We shall see if it works or not.

I figure pinning + loctite all liners + a 100% working/upgraded cooling system = best possible (low cost) chance this Rover lasts me long time.

Oh yeah, and when I pin/loctite the liners in place, I'm going to have them sit just above the deck of the block.

That way when I get the block decked, it shaves the top of the liners flush with the block surface, and creates a mating surface for the liners to have contact surface to the new head gasket.

Figure that'll add to the peace of mind.

The head gasket kit that came with the car is a Victor Reinz kit. No clue on what that ranks in quality. It's German made. 

I'll have to mock up the HG and see if there is any point to deck off the top of the liners. If the diameter doesn't cover it, then there is no point. I'll check. 

The plan I have come up with is about as good as it's going to get without boring it out for new flanged liners. Now this whole plan only moves ahead if the pressure test I run this weekend doesn't uncover any compromises in the block. If I find any cracks or holes in the cylinder walls, then I'll be picking up another block. 

I know you can tig weld it and repair the cracks, as far as I hear, but I just can't see being comfortable with that in the long run. That and the place I have a warrantied block quote from is only $500. I'm sure a machine shop would bend me over tig welding and boring out my block. Just the quote for installing liners was $1,560. That was with ME supplying the liners. 

Now as far as the overheating is concerned, even new fanged liners wont solve that. So no matter what direction this finishes in, I'll be overhauling the entire cooling system. Full flush, new hoses and fittings. New t/stat upgrade. Also, if I find the radiator to not be up to snuff, I'll put in a better one.

After I put all the work into the block, I'm going to make sure the cooling system supporting it is rock solid. That being because of how susceptible these are to overheating damage.


Well, that was a long weekend.

I managed to get the engine out and on the engine stand. (Darn good engine stand for $45 off amazon) My brother in law's forceful tactics cracked the flexplate while getting the engine out with the torque converter still attached. Next time around I'll mate up the engine and TC after the engine is back in. Much easier. $50 part I have to order now.

I was able to mock up all the block plates so I can pressure test the block, but I found that the bolts I have wont work. (Too long) I'm off to Lowes at lunch to get the bolts needed to get the block plates nice and tight. Then I'll pressure test the block to see if I have any coolant channel leaks. Fingers crossed.

I'll probably head back out there this week for the test so that I'm not waiting all week to find out which direction this engine is going to take.

If the block is good, I'll get ready to Loctite and pin the sleeves and start ordering parts for the bottom end this week. I'll probably send it in to get hot tanked so it's nice and clean before I pin it down.

Then, hopefully start all the measuring on the crank, camshaft, etc to find out what bearings I need and what may need to be replaced. All the bearings will be replaced of course, I just need to know if I need over sized or not and if the cam and tappets are within tolerance. They all look to be in amazing condition, but a micrometer and full dry inspection will tell.

Block looks good. Pistons look good. No sludge in the pan, or miscellaneous pieces of metal, gold bullion, or spare nuts.

Oh, I'd like to say this as it bears noting over every other car I've ever race tuned, ripped apart, or rebuilt. Integra, STi, 350z, Rav4, 370z, Sentra, Hondas, Nissans, etc etc.

This is the first vehicle ever that my hands can reach everything with decent ease. Every bolt is good and tight, but it doesn't take an act of God to remove. Every bolt was torqued to easily broken ability. I never felt like I was struggling to reach a bolt, or break one free. 

Even the tight space bolts I could get a 1/4 socket in there and it would come free. Now I'm not saying these bolts were mere finger tight, but they all just popped loose with humanly respectable ease. 

Thank you Land Rover. So, after an entire 2 weeks of ripping this apart, I have one nick between my finger(from no idea what), and a sway bar that fell on my face and bloodied my nose. My bad...that cracker was 4 times heavier than it appeared. 

I've got all my knuckles. No slipped wrench gashes, and no breaker bar blisters.


I hope the shaft isn't fragile. My forceful brother in law had the engine rocking every angle trying to get it out. I'm going to have to inspect everything when I get back out there.

The teeth looked fine, so I'm not too concerned of any damage.


I'm leaning towards getting an ARP head stud kit now. Should give my Reinz kit a good tight seal. I'll be doing some research to make sure that's the best route. Since I already have a head gasket kit, I don't plan to buy another one.

I wasn't able to pressure test the block over the weekend, due to not having the right size bolts, so I'll be doing that tomorrow night.

Everything is on hold until I know if the block is good or not.

If all goes well, I'll have the block stripped this weekend and ready to be hot tanked. Then I can start ordering all the parts to rebuild the bottom end. Firstly finding out if the camshaft and tappets are within specs/condition to reuse, or I'll be adding those to the order as well.

Now the wait....

The Disco has 127k miles.

How would I be able to tell if the cam bearings need replaced? I'd love to avoid that cost at the machine shop.


Well....the block FAILED the pressure test. The cylinder with the slightly slipped sleeve has a leak. Looks like right next to the head bolt like usual. 


So.... options.

1. Pull all liners, coat each cylinder wall with Loctite 640 and press liners back into place. Cure. Then pin liners in place.
2. Buy guaranteed used block with warranty, and do the same above.
3. Drop a couple G's on getting a top hat block sent to me. Yeah....I really don't wanna.

My theory. If I pull the liners, and coat the entire interior wall with Loctite 640, and press the liner back in place, how likely would that actually fail? It's good up to 400 degrees. It's got a huge PSI rating. It's specifically made to bond cylinder liners in place and seal them.

The cooling system is under little pressure. The liner will be sealed from top to bottom, and pinned in place so it will never move. Sounds pretty....sound.

They do the same thing in diesel trucks everyday.


I know. I knew before I bought the car. I knew going into it what it may take to replace the block. I tested so I knew if it was actually the problem or not. Hence why I already have distributors of a new block in line, a machine shop if I wanted flanged liners, and feelers out to anyone that may have a good block laying around. I did that before I even signed the title.

I didn't go into this project thinking a couple hundred bucks and I'd have it back on the road.

My frugal nature is going to exhaust all routes before I drop $2,000 on just a flanged lined block. I'm doing all the work myself except any needed machine work.


Holy potatoes. They want $140 just to hot tank my block. Uhhh no.

This brings up a good question. Is there a way for me to test my block, when the time comes, to see if it needs decked or not? I of course want to make sure my new head gasket kit is going back on a true flat block deck. The same machine shop wants nearly $200 just to deck it. I'd rather not dish that out.


Thanks. That's very helpful.

Once the bottom end is done, I'll be sending the heads in for a full rebuildand have any issues replaced.

I got the blocked stripped today. Ready to go to the shop and get hot tanked this next week. Then I can start ordering parts for the rebuild depending on what direction the block goes.


Right now everything is on hold. I may have a chance to get a get, low mileage, 4.0 block and roll up this rebuild with something I don't need to repair or modify.

Waiting for the moment. IF this works out, all I'll need to do is scrub out the oil pan.

Oh yeah, I'll be putting the 4.6 gear in it. I do not want to downgrade to the 4.0 displacement wise at all.

I just want the good block.

Well, block fell through.

This weekend I'll be pulling the liners, and I'm going to go ahead and try to clean and degrease the block at home with the power washer. Save some more $$.

Then I have a few things in mind.


Good block on the way. 73k miles from a 04 Disco II. Professionally inspected.

Cost me $100. Should be here in a few days.

So, onto the next step. Rebuilding the bottom end when it gets here.

First thing. Crank is in perfect condition. All the other odds and ends are flawless. I plan to reuse as much as I can. Cam, lifters, push rods, crank, rods, pistons, etc. All rings, gaskets, bearings, etc will be new.  

So, two things. How do I measure if I need std, or oversize bearings for the crank and rods? Any recommendations on things to consider on the bottom end?


Found the numbers for the crank bearing measurements in the RAVE. Simple and easy to understand. I like that.

Well I now have the block. I wont be able to get it up on the stand until this weekend, but a quick inspection looked good. Sleeves are flush and look great. Whoever had it before didn't do as many oil changes as the original engine from the Rover I bought. Block may have been cracked, but whoever owned it took great care of it.

I'll get it up on the stand, get it back to sparkling clean, then run a full pressure test and inspection. Then it's measuring up the crank, find out what parts to start to order, and start cleaning up the parts that are going to go back in.

This weekend ends the destruction phase and begins the rebuild phase. OH yay, I do say.

That and now that it's starting to creep towards the 50's outside, I may get out there and pressure wash the engine bay.


Got the new block cleaned up and pressure tested.

ALL GOOD. Block is solid and in great condition. No visual issues and pressure test yielded no leaks.

So, on the the crankshaft to measure for bearings. The crank bearings all measured out within STD bearing recommendations but the connecting rods are right in between standard and .01 oversize.

All measured 2.185". So that puts it right between.

Any opinions on if that is good enough to just go for a STD set, or should I up to the .010 bearings?

Next week I'll be turning in the heads and ordering all the new parts for the bottom end rebuild.


Forgot to update for a while.

Well I pinned all the liners. Easier than I thought. Drill. Tap. Had to grind down each bolt to size, which was the only real time consuming part. The walls on the part of the block are pretty thin. Drill goes through the liner nize and clean.

Looks good.

All the parts for the bottom end came in from Turner. FAST. Sad how $40 can get me a big box from the UK here in 2 days, but I can't get a box the size of an iPhone from Cali for the same price in a week.

I dropped the crank off at the machine shop and we decided to grind all down to fit .010 bearings. I'll be picking it back up today.

So, this weekend the whole bottom end goes back together. Heads go to the shop next week. So I should have the long block all back up in the next 3 weeks and then back into the car.

2nd update..

I may be taking delivery of a 06 LR3 SE fully loaded in the next week for about $8k. So, if that works out, I may be selling the freshly restored(when done) Disco II to my folks to pay off the LR3.

They could use a second car, something that can tow far more than their Element, and I want the LR3 a bit more than the Disco. But this isn't set in stone yet.



Bottom end is all back together.
New piston rings, crank and cam gears, new timing chain, all new seals, new main and conrod bearings, crank ground and polished to .010 sizes, tappets inspected and primed, etc etc. New rear core plug. Threw in a block heater while I was at it since this will be in Alaska for a while. Of course all the liners are now pinned as well. Much easier than I thought it would be.

I've also put in a new oil pump, and the water pump was already very new. Threw on a new gasket though. Cleaned up all the pistons.

Everything from the oil pan up is back together. A good dose of oil and assembly lube on everything. Wrapped it all up in a garbage bag to keep FOD out until I get the heads back.

Heads were sent off to the shop to be rebuilt last week. Upon inspection, they found a circle hammered into the deck caused by the slipped liner. Must have been 1/32" deep. You could get a whole fingernail in there. So, it's being sent out to be welded, and then the head will be decked smooth. Then both will be rebuilt. I should have these back in a week or two. Then buy a new flexplate, and an ARP stud kit, then slip this back into the engine bay  My nice freshly cleaned engine bay. Then, as I am not the one who took the whole top end apart, I'll have to piece this puzzle back together. See what needs replaced as I go. I'll be putting in all new coolant hoses and a new radiator and t-stat. I figure I'll just get any cooling related possibilities solved before they ever happen with putting in all new from the start.


OK OK..... I know I have been super lazy updating this.

Sooo..... the engine is back in the car. I should have it buttoned up and starting it for the first time next weekend.

So here is what ya missed.

ARP head stud kit installed. Picked up the heads that went with the block I got with 77k miles and rebuilt those. Those are back on and shiny. New VR head gaskets installed and all other seals replaced. Engine dropped back in etc etc.

The rest of the parts I needed are ordered and on their way. Nissens radiator, all cooling hoses, couple bolts and rubber grommets lost during the rebuild, NGK spark plug wires, Bosch platinum plugs, transmission filter kit, Royal Purple break in oil, Dex/Merc oil for tranny, and the Britpart Gray 180 t-stat.

Here are some pics from the last few months. I really only finally started hammering this out in the last month. Getting ready for my wedding in three weeks. BUT, I have to get this done before the winter sets in hard.


What comes next...

I have this going in another thread, but I'm getting rid of the SAI before I move on. Then...

1. Well I have to drain out 3/4 tank of gas that's been sitting in the car for 1-2 years. 
2. Last few plugs and connectors to figure out where they go as I'm not the one who torn down the top end of the engine. 
3. Install the intake, new spark plug wires, new spark plugs, new belt, new tensioner. 
4. Bolt the flywheel to the torque converter.
5. Fill up the old cooling system with water. 
6. Fill up the block with the RP run in oil. 
7. Prime the oil system and fire her up!

After the break in I'll drop out the run in oil and filter, fill her up with some GTX dino oil, and give her a test drive. Then we will run the Moroso ceramic sealer through the cooling system to seal up any microcracks and porosity in the block. Then finally we'll let that dry, drop the entire old cooling system out and install the new radiator, t-stat, and all of the new hoses. Fill her up with some new antifreeze, and see if she can handle being a daily driver.


I am going with Rotella 5w-40 T6 for the long run, but for the first 3,000 miles of break in, I'm going with a decent dino oil.

I'd do Rotella conv oil, but it's not rated to how cold it is this time of the year.


Well half of my orders came in.

^^ I don't think I've ever seen anyone use this T-stat.

It's the Britpart replacement for the gray 180. Heck it was even listed as being the grey one. It says it opens at 82C, so it's the 180.

We'll have to see how well it does. I liked the price I got it for. All these came in from the UK. Great prices.

Ultragauge ordered and on the way. Hopefully it'll be here by Saturday so I can watch temps while I break in the engine.

Weekend Update:

I tracked down all the plugs and wires. Forgot to mount the O2 sensor plugs when I put on the bell hosing, so just mounted those to the firewall and out of the way.

Merging the TC to the flex plate was a PITA, but that's done. I got the intake on, after a looong soak in degreaser and a power wash. Filthy inside with oil. Pretty much everything is back on except a few old rad hoses, the radiator, tensioner and belt.

The last real issues, pains, will be getting 3/4 tank of gas drained....

and the kicker..

Taking the SAI fittings around town trying to find 4 bolts that will block off the holes in the heads, or 4 caps that will block off the ends of the fittings. Pray that'll be an easy find.




After about 2 attempts, as the fuel lines were bled dry, she fired right up. Then died shorlt after as uh.... well I forgto to bolt the power steering pump to it's bracket. Must have been stuck in there good enough where I didn't know it wasn't.

So, after a run up, we had some issues with running too hot with only water in it. (had a reason for that). We got a few misfire codes on the Ultragauge. 3, then 6, then 5. Cleaned up the plugs, burned off some oil in the cylinders. After a bit of burning off the old gas, and letting the cooling system run, I finally was able to do a 30 minute break in without it hitting 250. 

We ran a bottle of Moroso ceramic sealer through it during an hour break in period, then a good hour drive. Temps dropped to 203 running around. Ran nice and smooth. Solid. No more codes. At all actually. 

No dash codes. No warning lights. All good. I have to say, I was not expecting that at all. So we dropped the Royal Purple run in oil, and swapped in some 5w-30 dino oil to run it the next 3k miles. Let the seals bed in. Then I'll drop the Rotella T6 5w-40. 

Right now the cooling system is bled dry and letting the ceramic set. Tomorrow I'll flush it out and fill with antifreeze. I'll let that run until the new radiator gets here. New radiator, all new lines, and a new 180 t-stat.

I just can't believe she is up and running. Finally. We'll see how it goes from here until I make her the daily driver. For now, I'm getting ready to get married on Friday. I'll finish the truck Thanksgiving weekend.



Well I have about 100 miles on the rover so far. I won't be using it as a DD until I have the new cooling system installed. So far the only codes I get on the Ultragauge anymore relate to the SAI that I removed. Fingers crossed nothing else will pop up. The car does seem to idle a little more rumbly than I expected on a newly rebuilt motor, but I'm sure it's still breaking in the engine as well as the ECU is still learning.

The radiator came in last night, Nissens, so that will be going in with a new 180 t-stat and all new cooling hoses this weekend. Then we will see what temps its running at.

After running the car up, it ran at 203-12 on the highway and at stops. BUT, the radiator felt very uneven on heat distribution. The top right was hot, but the rest was mostly cool. I have a feeling the old one was clogged up.

So, Friday I'll drop the new cooling system in, top it off, and then take it out and test. If I have the time, I'll do a drain and fill on the tranny and put in the new filter and gasket that came in.

Then on Sunday use it to move from my apt to the new house.



OK, so the biggest thing is what the car was like with the old cooling system, and now the new. 

All new cooling hoses, all of them, new 180 t-stat, and of course a new Nissens radiator. So that took me from driving at 203 degrees, and idling at 212-220... to now under load not going over 186 and never more than 194 at idle. Actually I haven't seen it go over 194 at all. But then it is in the 20's here, so we shall wait for the summer to see what it maxes out at.

SO THE REAL UPDATE! No codes. No issues. Runs and drives great. Actually in 6 inches of new snow, I can't believe how well this thing handles. I understand now what people mean when they want more power, but I can deal with the fact that it takes a bit to get this tank up to speed. Keeps me from spinning those tires on the ice here. 

So far no leaks and no hesitations. Starts up every time and goes where I ask it to. Great alignment too. Drives straight as an arrow. And may I say wow on how easy it is to drive. Pulls into parking spaces like a sub compact. Well maybe compared to my Xterra anyway. 

So far I love it. The heated seats are killer and thank God that the heat doesn't take much to kick on with this engine and get the car warm.

and a sad side update...

My wife lost the back end coming down a mountain on Saturday, and an oncoming new 4Runner destroyed the back end of the Xterra.

Probably looking at a total loss as it killed the rear suspension, damaged a bunch of the rear interior, and now a slew of new dash warning lights. I can't imagine they will try to fix it all.

So, for now the Land Rover is being thrown into daily service as our only car. So pray that this whip stays running. That being said as I'm the one who rebuilt are all of these extra bots for still on the workbench... HA. Wish me luck.