300Tdi Timing Belt Swap Lessons Learned


Staff member
My 300Tdi started leaking a bit of oil from the front necessitating new seals. Since the front was coming off a new timing belt was in order. I did what I have done in the past. Lock up the timing wheel, pin the IP, swap out the tensioner and install the new timing belt. My first clue that things were wrong was that I couldn't get the camshaft timing mark dead on. We buttoned it up and took it for a test drive. The EGT was way hotter than perviously noted. Thinking we did something wrong we locked up the flywheel, IP, etc, etc, etc and buttoned it up again. Same result which was both frustrating and disappointing. I left it to sit while I went on vacation.
Back home with a clear mind I went back at it again.
First off I decided I wasn't going to remove the radiator and have to mess with the oil lines dripping everywhere. Round one and two I used the giant wrench device Robert Davis sells. This time I used a Cornwell Stubby Impact which just fit between the giant crankshaft nut and the frame cross piece. That saved me well over an hour of time.
Second I didn't lock the flywheel. Instead I aligned the crankshaft woodruff key with the arrow on the timing case. I then lined up the camshaft timing hashmark and pinned the IP in place.
Third I started installing the timing belt first on the crankshaft pulley, then onto the camshaft pulley, then the IP and finally over the tensioner.
Before buttoning it up I looked where the flywheel timing slot was and it was NOT centered in the hole. It was slightly off to one side explaining why the camshaft timing mark was half a tooth off.
I put back on the timing cover, serp belt, fan, shroud, etc and took her for a successful test. I have no idea why the slot is slightly off but I won't be locking up flywheels when doing this anymore. I'll use the timing case marker and compare where the flywheel slot is. As a point of reference if you have a ZF (automatic transmission) you have to use the timing case marking.
I apologize for not taking any photos but I hope this helps somebody out when they do their next timing belt change.
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Uncle Douglas

Well-known member
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Timing pin groove on some flywheels don't work anyway. My brothers tdi pickup, there is no groove anywhere near tdc so its always best to do it the way you have done it here. FWIW I never pull radiatoer etc on a 300 to do the timing belt. The ease of doing the timing belt is the main reason many prefer the 300 over the 200.
The disco 200 engine is the worst of the rover diesels for doing the belt.


Well-known member
All of this a few things I would add:

You definitely want to rotate the engine from the crankshaft twice and recheck all of your marks. After I rotated I had to adjust the IP, the Cam and the Crankshaft remained aligned.

You definitely want to have a torque wrench with the dial on it when you set the tensioner. 11 ft/lbs is hard to achieve with a traditional torque click style wrench.

My TDC pin on the flywheel was correct. Seems odd yours would be off since there isn't any adjustment as best I can tell. Locking it with the Pin made alignment of the Cam and IP much easier.

I pulled the radiator when I did mine so I could instal new silicon hoses. I do think it was a bit easier for my first go around since I could look at the marks head on. Going forward I don't think I would bother as the rad hoses ect are a PITA to remove. Although, again, if you have never taken off things like your oil cooler hoses its a good opportunity to check them for tightness ect.

Lastly I got 2 different style tensioners from different places. When I pulled my timing cover I could see the that tensioner was fouling on the timing cover (had worn a nice ring in it). The difference in the 2 styles was one had a thick washer in the middle and didn't sit flush. Think this was part of a service bulletin for the 300TDI at some point.

One tip I would give is to use the LandRoverWorkshop site to correctly identify the timing case bolts for re-install. I basically laid them out on a table to keep track of them but if you have them shuffle a bit the LRW site provides lengths of each bolt which makes re-install a no-brainer.

RN has the timing kit at a reasonable price. Probably the same as the Chinese kits on Ebay just ships the next day.


Well-known member
I made a cardboard cut out of the cover and punched the bolts through in the appropriate spots. That way I didn't have to second guess location and length of the bolts.


Staff member
I found a photo of when this mess started. I was changing the crank and cam oil seal with the flywheel locked with a pin. I blew up the photo and you can see how far the key was off.


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Well-known member
I found a photo of when this mess started. I was changing the crank and cam oil seal with the flywheel locked with a pin. I blew up the photo and you can see how far the key was off.

you take this with a flip phone lol

Still tinyyyy :p


Well-known member
I hope so. Parts are on the shelf and I’ve chickened out twice. Got to get this done soon to address an oil leak from wading hole.


Technical Excellence Contributor
honestly the factory manual is great for this job. only special tools needed are a beam and lick toq wrench and a gear puller if you are removing the lower timing gear for the updated gear/pulley swap.

use anti seize on the idelr and tensioner bolts


Super Moderator
Staff member
I hate gratuitously draining radiators mainly because I hate refilling and burping cooling systems, but in this case I think it’s totally worth it for no other reason than to put an impact wrench on the crank pulley bolt. The other big problem area is that there are two slots on the flywheel, so you have to make sure you’re locking the position at TDC. Well, at least if you want all the timing marks to line up…
Does anybody have a good step-by-step 300Tdi timing belt write-up?
I'm about to do mine again due to an oil leak, but there are plenty of pretty good videos on U-Tube that I refer to.

One thing I will say, and I've heard this from supposed "specialists" is that an automatic TDi doesn't have the correct fitting in the bell-housing for the timing pin and they have to use the notch in the timing case cover. This is wrong and could cause damage as it's wildly inaccurate.

On a manual, the timing pin goes into the drain plug hole directly at the bottom of the bell-housing, most of us know that, On an Auto equipped TDi, the correct timing pin location is on the front face, there is a small steel plate held on with 2 bolts, these don't match BTW so you can't pick the wrong one. The pin will drop into a slot or hole on the front face of the starter ring gear, which is why it has to be in this position. Be careful it doesn't engage on one of the other holes though, by using the approximate timing mark behind the bottom pulley in the timing case.

I would strongly recommend buying a few special tools, these don't cost the earth, most importantly a timing pin kit (mine came with a puller for the bottom sprocket which doubles as the pump changing tool) and the crank holding tool which bolts to the front pulley/damper.