Early Survey Results

Submitted: Friday, Jan 20, 2006 at 21:56
ThreadID: 29933 Views:5032 Replies:19 FollowUps:33
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Please can the owners of cars older than December 2002 go back to the post (29813) and fill in the frequency you changed your oil. Can you also tell me if your car was Ex-police etc.


Hi Everyone,

Ok we have enough cars in the early stages of the survey and we are getting some good info. There are three items which are standing out already.

Maf Sensor: Seems to be a common problem to all years, but unlikely to be the sole cause of the early failures.

Over Boost: Seems to be a problem on the early Failures, but almost certainly not the sole cause of the failures but certainly a major factor.

Injector pipes splitting: Seems to be a problem on the 2000/01 models, but an outsider as only 2 cars report this.

I was going to put a post out about my thoughts on the early failures but I have decided to wait until we reach 100 Cars. I need to go back to certain owners and ask a few more questions. Patience, we will get there.

But already we are getting a picture that indeed there was a problem with the older 2000 and early 2001 models, but no evidence of newer failures. I know there are suspected 2002/2003 failures, but I have left this off until we get more confirmation as the initial description was different from all the other failures.

Look at post 29813, there are two reported cases Jorgejhandal and Damaon, but both these do not fit the failure profile. Both noticed white smoke and Damon noticed coolant loss. Jorgejhandal also got prior warning, it looks like both them were leaking coolant into the cylinders. Read the post and make your own mind up, please post your thoughts.

But here is an interesting point, there was re-call done in Sweden 2002 which was inline with the rest of Europe, still trying to confirm when about in 2002. But there is evidence that some engines replaced in 2002 had a manufacturing fault with oil ways getting damaged and these replacement(2002) engines were also replaced again as late as 2005 in Sweden.

So my initial thoughts, there is no doubt that there was a problem with the early cars and there is nothing more to be said on this. We have no benefit in pursuing the early cars problems as to honest It will be impossible to find the root cause now. I have a fair idea what caused the early failures and it was a combination of factors. When I get more information I will post my theory.

But as it stands my advice to all 2000/2001 owners is, change your oil at about 7500Km basis and watch for any sudden increase in power or fit a boost gauge. But as I said before I believe a few things had to happen at the same time before a failure occurs, remove one of them and nothing will happen. If this was not the case then the numbers would have been massive.

2002-2006 just enjoy your cars, as yet we have no proof of any mass failures, just second hand wife’s tales so far, but the survey is still young.

Year Manufacture Mileage Blown Comments

2000 05/2000 107,000 No
2000 02/2000 110,000 No 2 MAF sensors
2000 / 110,000 No
2000 07/2000 170,000 No
2000 07/2000 84,000 No
2000 06/2000 185,000 No
2000 08/2000 100,000 No
2000 05/2000 195,000 Yes Ex Police
2000 03/2000 80,000 Yes Noticed power surge shortly before blown also 7000-10,000 Km oil changes.
2000 04/2000 160,000 Yes Oil Every 10K

2001 03/2001 97,000 No 2 Maf sensors
2001 / 97,000 No
2001 11/2001 93,000 No
2001 11/2001 110,000 No
2001 07/2001 85,000 No
2001 09/2001 111,411 No
2001 07/2001 95,000 Yes
2001 10/2001 93,000 No
2001 01/2001 128,000 No
2001 09/2001 110,900 No

2002 01/2002 100,000 No
2002 / 92,500 No
2002 06/2002 47,500 No
2002 10/2002 74,000 No
2002 02/2002 133,000 No
2002 10/2002 185,000 No
2002 04/2002 120,000 No
2002 07/2002 67,000 No
2002 / 100,000 No
2002 84,000 No
2002 / 94,000 No
2002 / 101,000 No
2002 01/2002 110,000 No

2003 01/2003 80,000 No
2003 03/2003 65,000 No
2003 / 59,000 No
2003 07/2003 53,000 No
2003 / 59,000 No
2003 / 85,000 No
2003 / 79,000 No
2003 / 55,000 No
2003 / 198,000 No
2003 12/2003 57,000 No

2004 / 35,000 No
2004 / 35,000 No
2004 / 52,000 No

2005 10/05 4,800 No
2005 / 24,300
2005 / 22,000 No
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Reply By: apwaddo - Friday, Jan 20, 2006 at 22:17

Friday, Jan 20, 2006 at 22:17
Scott - I appreciate your persistance but can you tell me where you expect all this to go? Do you really think Nissan are going to say - WOW! scott did a survey and we have a problem - better replace all engines in the 3.0 l diesel???
The results of your survey show what we all know - there was a very small percentage of early 3.0 l diesels that had a problem - the majority of which Nissan fixed.
All you are doing now is scaremongering - as indicated by the large number of responses that say they are totally happy with their vehicle. In addition you are putting doubt into the mind of otherwise happy motorists pleased with their purchase and killing the second hand market.
Why not take up the global warming or greenhouse gass issue where i am sure you would get a lot more support?
However i wish you luck on you African Safari!
AnswerID: 149914

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Friday, Jan 20, 2006 at 22:56

Friday, Jan 20, 2006 at 22:56
Hi Everyone,

Hi Apwaddo,
You are 100% correct, but i was wanting more proof before i played my hand to end this scaremongering. I can now see that this is doing more damage than good as i know as well as 99% of the people out there, THERE IS NO PROBLEM WITH THE NEWER ZD30 ENGINE. So do you want me to tell you what was wrong with your early cars?

Well here goes:

There is no longer a problem(when I say problem from now on I mean blowing up) with the ZD30 engine, we have examples in the UK with 200,000 plus miles. Yes there was a combined problem in the early models, but it has been fixed.

I decided to take this route instead of adding to the top 1000 theories. Without some evidence and sound reasoning it would just become one of the many rumours.

So here goes my attempt at explaining the problem with the early ZD30 engine. Please remember like all mechanical devices there are always the exception to the rule, there is no black and white but a grey area in the middle. I have based this theory on reading all the previous post for the last 3 years and then asking some questions, which were very strange.

I am also using my knowledge of Hi-Tech diesels put to use in areas where they really should not be used. The fact that Europeans have went through the change from low to high years ago a lot of what I am about to say is common knowledge but I was asking the wrong questions to begin with.

But lets get one thing straight, what I am about to propose is not the sole factor in the failure other events had to happen, and that has also came out on the survey. One question about this whole affair has always stood out as defying logic. WHY WAS THERE NO RECALL IN AUSTRALIA??? Why did Nissan ignore their largest market and change the engines in Europe where the patrol has no presence worth talking about.

Secondly, why the large variation in failure mileages ranging from 60,000 Km to over 200,000 Km. Now if I seen a spread like that in the work I certainly would not be blaming a single factor. If it had been say for example too small a diameter spray bar then the grouping of the failures would have been closer.

Now the strange one and the best clue yet. Why the increase in sump capacity??? Thats a strange one, there are no reports in any forum or survey to suggest oil starvation, so why increase the sump capacity. There is no way Nissan who have been building 4x4’s for years would make a fundamental mistake of allowing the oil pickup to miss the oil due to extreme angles. So why the increase in sump capacity?

So the key to this is in Australia, you can bet any recall we got in Europe was prompted by the Australia failures, so again why no recall in Australia. If the recalls would work in Europe why would they not work in Australia. There is no way Nissan would have left that engine in Oz cars if they thought a recall would have fixed the problem, think about it! There most important market would have came first in the decision to recall.

Why have the other manufacturers held back their Hi-Tech diesels? For example the Diesel in the Toyota Prado(Landcruiser in the Uk) is an absolute cracker of an engine, 16 valves and all sorts of fancy stuff to make it run great but you get the ancient 2V engine.

Why the almost non existent rate of failures in Europe, there are isolated cases but no way of confirming if it was the same problem.

From most the reports the majority of early failures were from the utility companies etc. It stands to reason that they would be the first to notice a problem, they are normally used in extreme conditions and not always serviced by the book.

What we can learn from the utility failures were, poor service record and rough use. Big deal I hear you say a truck should be able to take that. Yes it should but not with oil that WAS NOT WORKING!!

I have experience with taking Hi-Tech Diesels to area where they are not sold locally and I know the simple precautions we need to take. So I will run through what we have to do and then I will tell you what its got to do with Australia.

Firstly lets look at the service interval in the UK for the ZD30 engine, its every 9000-Miles which is 14500 Km or 1 Year. In fact most cars in the UK are now every 20,000 miles( 32,000Km) or 2 years.

The major part of this problem I believe is with the Diesel fuel used in Australia. After much hunting about I found out the following:

After December 2002 all Diesel fuel must have less than 500ppm(still very high) but before that anything up to 5000ppm was allowed. There was no major cut off date but a gradual reduction in Sulphur from about 2000 on, this was voluntary adopted by the big oil firms. The best figures I could find was they ranged from 5000ppm ---- 1200 ppm, that’s a very big span, but both figures are high. So until December 2002 you could have been filling your tank with any ppm between these two figures. So whats the big deal, sulphur only lubricates the seals and less sulphur means less pollution, hardly grounds for engine failure. WRONG WRONG WRONG.

There is one other side effect of sulphur which is not commonly know unless you venture out of Europe or run heavy industrial machinery in a high Sulphur area. The truck industry is also well aware of this problem..

Lets look Diesel fuel specification in more detail as some aspects are important.

Four factors are important in Diesel

Sulphur Content is important for Lubricant and Lubricity.

Cetane number is important for Starting and power

Cloud point is important for waxing at low temperatures

Water contamination is important for Sedimenters and Filters

We are not really interested in the last two as I do not think they have any impact on this problem.

Just for completeness I will explain cetane, this is basically the parallel to octane rating in petrol. The higher the number the quicker the fuel ignites. A figure of 50 is about the European norm, some places are as high as 56, basically it depends on how much gasoline is distilled off the crude oil. But this is not the cause of the problem but it can cause ignition-timing errors. A low cetane figure is 45 or under.

Now onto the sulphur issue, does it matter? Most definitely yes it does matter, it is crucial factor for the oil in your engine.

Lubrication contamination: This is the key factor, anything from 5000ppm and above is the danger level for a modern Diesel engine. Engine lubricating oil deterioration results from the use of high sulphur fuel. The contamination is sulphuric acid, where the sulphur combines with the water which is a product of combustion. There you have it a very nasty acid called sulphuric acid in you engine, this can cause engine corrosion, wear AND eventual breakdown of the lubricant.

Ok so if you let the sulphuric acid build up then eventually your oil will break down and will be useless, it will still feel slippery but the all important additives will be gone, frightening thought. I will not go into specific details about oil brands but just say that the variation in oil brands ability to neutralise the acid is very large and is classed by a figure called TBN. But I do not want to get bogged down in fine details. But does this TBN number really matter, after all you don’t see fleets of bulldozers etc being wet-nursed over poor fuel, do you? You can bet your last dollar on that, yes they do. Caterpillar constantly monitors their oil using fuel sulphur analysers and residual TBN kits. Before you ask these are not really viable for an individual to own but it does show you the extent of the problem and that something must be done about it (ps caterpillars red flag goes up at 5000ppm).

So what do you do if you have a high sulphur fuel. The first thing you do is reduce the service interval. The rule of thumb for 5000ppm and above is reduce the interval by half for any engine. So we are 9000 miles in the UK that would make the interval 4500 miles (7000 Km) in Australia, and that would be the absolute maximum figure, any more than this you are sking for trouble unless you have a high TBN oil. If I was using a modern diesel which was my car in a area of 5000 ppm I would change every 7500 Km. Remember these modern Diesels are so dependent on the oil that it is critical that the oil remains effective. These modern diesels have tight tolerances, faster moving, higher stressed, this is why the oil is under such strain.

So it has already become apparent that the early cars were not regularly maintained, basically what this means is they were running about with severely reduced lubricant in their oil, not good. My Guess is some oils would have been almost useless after 7000 km depending on the TBN number. This would cause havoc with the internals, corrosion would be forming and the oil would not be lubricating correctly. In these cases the breakdown of the oil would have been severe but that is not what caused the failures. It was only when an over boost situation occurred that pushed the engine which was already poorly lubricated and corroded over the edge. Remember oil is also a coolant so reduced oil function also reduces heat dissipation.

That would have been the first indication to Nissan that all was not well with their engine. So what do you do in a situation like that, the first thing they could do is reduce their service interval. But who would buy a car with 7000Km service intervals when their competitors were almost double?

So here comes the question about the sump capacity, so why did Nissan increase the sump capacity. Simple, one other way to combat high sulphur fuel is to increase the amount of oil in the sump. Double the sump capacity for example, double the time taken for the sulphuric acid to break down the additives in the oil. If I was Nissan that would have been my first move as they knew this engine was not far away from handling this high sulphur as the fail rates were low. They were also well aware that the Australian government was phasing in low sulphur fuel.

I also think at some point they did realise they could also have some internal engine problems that if fixed could help reduce the failures. These changes were enough to warrant a recall in Europe so obviously they found something but we will never know.

So why then was there not a recall in Australia? Again simple, they knew that with the high sulphur fuel their modifications would only buy time not solve the problem. So why put a new engine in, it was only going to suffer the same fate. They played the numbers game, they knew that the low sulphur diesel was just round the corner, they knew that after the modifications the fail rate would be lower, they just had to sit it out.
Basically they took the gamble to bring a high tech motor to Australia because 5000 ppm was borderline. So why all the variations in failure mileage, again it all depends on what ppm fuel you put in how often you changed your oil, what TBN you oil had, was it an ex police car etc, whether you got over boost when the oil was useless. There are so many variables but the underlying cause was the oil was not lubricating correctly, internal fault(still unknown) and the internal corrosion all combined finished the job. Remember in Australia the early engines never had the “modification”, we will never know what this was but it looks like some lubrication issue and they had to put up with severe oil which further compounded this lubrication problem.

So basically what I am saying is the high sulphur in you fuel was breaking down the oil to such an extent that other smaller problems caused the engine to fail. The variation was due to varying oil changes, types of oil, quality of diesel and service interval. That is why we cannot find a single cause, there is none. And yes there might have been an internal fault or Nissan would not have re-called the European engines. Your poor quality fuel just exaggerated this internal problem and brought it to light but the modification was only part of the cure, we will never know for certain. Nissan brought a Hi-Tech diesel to Australia 2 years too early. Who knows with these internal changes and the work done to combat you high sulphur fuel, Nissan might have a very strong engine which could go on to surprise a few folk, but only time will tell.

This all got me thinking, what other countries have high sulphur fuel where they sell the patrol. The first country which stood out was Saudi Arabia where they have 10,000 ppm. So why were we not getting failures from there, again simple the 3.0 is not for sale in that country only the old 4.2 diesel. I started to check through the high sulphur countries and guess what, the 3.0 is not for sale anywhere in the middle east which has high sulphur levels. I then decided to check China with sulphur levels through the roof. You’ve guessed it no 3.0 for sale or 4.2D.

So fast forward to middle of 2002, the engines are of the modified type the ppm of the fuel is dropping gradually to 500 ppm. As far as I see it Nissan no longer has a problem as long as the modifications are correct, this will explain why we see no failures in Europe.

So on a final note, we will never know if there was any internal modification, as there are also rumours flying about that it was a bad batch which caused the re-call. So we need to take this out of the equation. So why all the Australian failures, why no failures in Europe where this engine is in everything from cars, trucks to buses. I hopefully have explained why I think this is.

But the problem has now gone, your Diesel has fell into line, and I believe it is to fall to 50ppm this year.

So I am going to cut the survey short as I always knew there was no problem with the ZD30. Nissans only fault was bringing a Hi-Tech Diesel to Australia two years too soon.

So yes I can see this is doing more damage that good. My last words on the subject are, I can guarantee that you will start to see some high mileage ZD30 engines soon now you diesel is sorted. From 2002 on there is absolutely nothing wrong with your engines, yes you might get the occasional failure which will get put down to this problem, but any engine can fail for thousands of reasons.

As for the people with 2000/01 models, I would not lose any sleep, I have trawled through many forums and I recon the fail rates are so tiny compared to the numbers sold, that is why it has not hit the national press.

Of course I cannot prove any of this but only time will tell, but in the meantime STOP bagging the newer models as yet they have proved to be very reliable.

Flame suit now going on!

FollowupID: 403260

Follow Up By: Exploder - Friday, Jan 20, 2006 at 23:11

Friday, Jan 20, 2006 at 23:11
Just had a quick skim over and I will say this, Interesting, Will come back and give it a full read over later.
FollowupID: 403265

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Jan 20, 2006 at 23:35

Friday, Jan 20, 2006 at 23:35
I have found Scott's survey re-assuring rather than scare mongering. We have had so many reports of failures on the forum, and up to now only about one of a vehicle still going strong from the suspect range. This has brought out the fact that there are a number out there still going strong - can't say a percentage from this sample or survey, but more good stories than bad ones. There are a lot of negatives out in the community about this now - some people look sideways at us as if 'when is it going to blow up?' Dealers like Brunswick diesels use this as a sales pitch, and told my husband they are seeing lots of even the most recent years blown - but apart from Jorge, no real first hand reports from the revised models. Keep on it Scott.

Red desert dreaming

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FollowupID: 403273

Reply By: rickwagupatrol - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 00:00

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 00:00
having just read your thread i can say that i know what you are actually talking about. there are quite a few truck engines out there that have suffered a similar fate as the early ZD30's. High sulpher was usually the point taken as the final nail in many a coffin. Regular oil sampling is pretty much standard across the transport industry, and analysis of samples over a period of time can show basically the sort of ppm fuel used. Owing a
Feb 02 build ZD30 with nearly 120,000 on the clock does not bother me at all. Simple and regular oil changes aliviate the sulpher problem that you are talking about.
When it comes time to trade, i wont have a problem going for another ZD30 at all, they are a good motor.

AnswerID: 149934

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 00:49

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 00:49
Hi rickwagupatrol,

Yes as I said High sulphur is the death of Diesel engines including trucks. I do not want to dilute this thread but a quick note about truck oil. When we take modern diesels into high Sulphur areas we put truck oil into them. I will say no more as you have to be very careful as to what truck oil you use. Remember trucks have completely different operating characteristics. Trucks can go 45,000 Km without an oil change because they have fewer cold starts, longer journeys, big oil sumps and tops ups in the order of 1 litre every 2000 miles. But do not be tempted to put truck oil in and do 40,000 Km plus this can only be achieved by constant sampling as rickwagupatrol pointed out. Oil is immensely complex and now Hi Tech Diesels are coming to Australia it would pay to learn some basics about oil specification. The Viscosity is just the start, but on saying that now your sulphur levels are lower just stick with a good make. But when your sulphur levers were high 2000-2001 oil was critical, that’s where you had to know exactly what oil you were using.

Couple of points for you:

I am sure you will know not to rev a diesel hard from cold.

The first 10 minutes during start-up not all the essential additives are heated up, some of these additives are heat activated. So take it easy for the first 10 minutes.

So as I said in my last post, with a 5000 ppm and a modern Diesel engine, Oil was everything get that wrong and you had a time bomb.

Ps Truck oils are normally ACEA E rated with High TBN values, the light duty Diesel oil is ACEA B. But as I said your Sulphur is now low, so no need to bother with truck oil now.
FollowupID: 403281

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 01:00

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 01:00
Forgot to say

NICE truck rickwagupatrol

FollowupID: 403286

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 01:01

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 01:01
Forgot to say

NICE truck rickwagupatrol

FollowupID: 403287

Follow Up By: Squizzy - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 07:55

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 07:55

"Owning a Feb 02 build ZD30 with nearly 120,000 on the clock does not bother me at all. Simple and regular oil changes aliviate the sulpher problem that you are talking about.
When it comes time to trade, i wont have a problem going for another ZD30 at all, they are a good motor."

Same here mate, I had a 03/2000 built 3.0L model that had done 85,000km's and was that pleased with it I have traded up to a 2005 3.0L model.
The latest one has so far done half of the 'big lap' and is in the 23K zone.
I always change oil at, or near 5K, and all filters at 10K.

FollowupID: 403506

Reply By: Exploder - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 00:38

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 00:38
One question, Why no issues with the old style diesels then, Oil breakdown from sulphur would still be a problem, is it due to the old style engines not being built to such a high tolerance or under as much stress as the new tech diesels are, corrosion would still be a issue but.

2. Surly any independent diesel fitter who striped one of these ZD30’s down would of noticed excessive/ unexplainable wear on internal crankcase components.

Personally wouldn’t mind digging into one of the failed unit’s just to have a look.
AnswerID: 149941

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 00:58

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 00:58
Hi Exploder,

You have answered the question yourself, the new engines are made to much higher tolerances and spin a lot faster there is just so much going on with sensors etc everything has to be kept in optimum condition. They are generally under a lot more stress. But that is not a problem if you maintain it well, and watch the quality of oil, filters and Diesel you use.

2) All engines are different, who knows about the corrosion, maybe it was minor, but the main problem was the oil was not doing its job.

The truck industry learned this a long time ago, Oil is the lifeline of your engine, get it wrong in a high sulphur area you will pay the price.
FollowupID: 403284

Reply By: Member - David 0- Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 01:20

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 01:20
As a chemist nd one who deals with sulphur induced corrosion problems, I have to say, this is a very well thought out explanation. Not only entirely plausable, but in my opinion probably 100% right. I had been wondering about the failure rates in Europe for some time.

This is another reason to run biodiesel. Biodiesel sulpgur levels are typically around 10ppm

Unfortunately I cannot tell if my vehicles previous owner serviced the vehicle any more frequently than every 10,000k. I knoe it was serviced every 10000 when he owned it. whether it was done more frequently is not recorded. I have since I owned it always changed the oil every 5000K

Well done Scott- Kepner and Tregoe would applaude your assessment from such a small sample of data.
AnswerID: 149944

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 02:23

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 02:23
Hi David,

Thanks for the compliment but I cannot say I came to the conclusion just by the survey alone. I just used the survey to try and get together more information before putting my ideas forward, but I think it was doing more damage than good. I have come to this conclusion from experience running Hi Tech Diesels in areas of high Sulphur. I also checked every forum and tried to work out trends. But two questions always stood out, why the increase in sump oil, and why the low failure rate in Europe. I am convinced that any failures in Europe were due to the modification needing done. Your failure rate was much higher because of the sulphur issue.

I cannot take full credit for my knowledge of oil as I learnt most of my oil knowledge from a fantastic book. This book is the overland travel bible, its called the vehicle-dependant expedition Guide by Tom Sheppard. Unfortunately this is a very rare book but it is a mine of information from one of the great overland travellers of our time.

One last thing I will say about the survey, before anyone asks.

What about the failure in Honduras Jorgejhandal(Still think this is different) and the fact that Jorge also mentioned that some other 2001 models had failed. So out came the trusty Sulphur chart and guess what the sulphur ppm was.

You guessed it 5000ppm same as your 2000/01 failures.
FollowupID: 403289

Reply By: Muzzgit (WA) - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 03:06

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 03:06
It's funny you should say that because when I was looking for a new car in 2003, I looked at a new Navara with the 3.0 motor and asked the salesman if the new 4.2 Patrol Ute had any engine upgrades (intercooler etc;) and his words were............

"Nah mate, don't worry about a 4.2, you'd have to change the oil every 5 thousand clicks, but these new 3.0 motors, you only do it every 10 thousand"

One thing you should know about Australia, Scottcamp, is that almost all diesel 4X4 owners change the oil at 5000. The handbook states our country as "harsh conditions"

Also, could you enlighten me as to where you found the information evidence that "some engines replaced in 2002 had a manufacturing fault with oil ways getting damaged and these replacement(2002) engines were also replaced again as late as 2005 in Sweden".
AnswerID: 149947

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 06:14

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 06:14
Hi Muzzgit,

I got the information from another forum I posted the survey on. That was the whole idea behind the survey to gather information.


Onto your oil question, older diesels did indeed have much shorter oil changes our diesels used to be 4500 miles between changes but the engines advanced. But more importantly the oil technology came on leaps and bounds, it is the oil, which allows the long service intervals not the engine, the engine only plays a small part. For example it is not uncommon for us to have say a 2002 car with a 12000-mile oil change interval to have the exact 2003 car model with a 20,000-mile interval. So what happened between years, nothing mechanical, the manufacturer just specked a better oil. Your service interval is determined by your oil and only slightly by you engine.

Your old 4.2 has 5000 Km interval for a very good reason, it is inefficient, you could drive a bus through some of the tolerances in it. As a consequence unbrunt fuel and lots of crap reach the oil. Also due to the loose tolerances you cannot spec a new oil, just imagine 5W-30(that's what is in the UK patrols) synthetic in the 4.2, oil would be squirting out every orifice.

Your point about many people in oz changing oil at 5000, this is my point, some but not all did this. It is this very variation in oil changes that is giving you wide variation failures in the early cars. If you changed your oil every 5000 then you increased your chances of trouble free motoring. But you can bet some owners also went well over the 10,000, with a high sulphur level, very foolish idea.

I am no Diesel mechanic, so maybe someone can give you a more technical explanation for the different service intervals in modern engines. From a personal point of view my wife's car has a 20,000-mile service interval, I feel this is too long.
FollowupID: 403292

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 08:56

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 08:56
Hi All,
Just another thing for you to think about which i hope helps confirm my theory.
Listed below are some other cars the ZD30 is used in:

Nissan X-Trail
Nissan Terrano
Nissan Interstar
Nissan Urvan
Renault Master
Vauxhall Movano ( I think you call vauxhall Holden)
Renault Mascott

There are more but i would have to search for them, but i think you get my point.

In Renaults its called 3.0 dci
That all i can think off of the top of my head. These vans rack up massive mileages with no problem and are still winning awards.

Ps The ZD30 is a Nissan design nothing to do with Renault.
FollowupID: 403307

Follow Up By: warthog - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 23:09

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 23:09
What a load of crap, "Tolerances you could drive a bus through".Do you think they have only just developed the tooling to match cylinder bore to piston diameter. Ever think that 4.2 developing the same power as its smaller 3.0 cousin may be less stressed internally, perhaps that is one reason why they last longer?
The td42 has its piston rings a long way from the crown of the piston leading to high soot loadings on the engine oil. Most of the diesel engine oils on sale in Australia do not have the correct type and quantities of detergent to deal with this as they are designed with American diesel engines in mind where the compression ring is near the crown of the piston.
This is the reason for the 5000k oil change interval it is nothing to do with poor tolerances you uneducated philistine ;-). By using an oil formulated with an additive package to suit this design of engine such as Caltex delo cxj or Castrol jmax (meeting the relevant JASO std) this interval can be safely extended.
FollowupID: 403470

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 00:24

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 00:24
Hi Warthog,

Calm down :-), it was only a figure of speech. As i said in my post i did not claim to know the process, that why i left it open for any one to fill the gaps in(opps maybey gap was the wrong word :-).

But anyway you are backing up what i say, most oil in the market is not designed to hold large amounts of soot. You have to look to a oil with a high TBN for that. That is my whole point.

But all joking aside as i said i am no Diesel mechanic but i am well aware of the effect of high sulphur on a engine.

One other point, i know you all love the 4.2, but i'm afraid its past it. I recon now your fuel is sorted this engine is lucky to have 2 years left. You better get used to high strung engines with turbos, i myself do not agree hi tech is always the best way to go, but i don't make the cars only buy them
FollowupID: 403479

Follow Up By: warthog - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 11:00

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 11:00
The td42 is past it because it is an indirect injection design as is the 1hz tojo and will not pass new emission requirements due to come into force some time in the near future. The td42 does have its faults but for MY purposes it is the pick of the current engines from nissan. I plan on keeping my gu for a number of years having spent a fair amount of moula accessorising it.
I know these engines last, and now that it has been modded, produces good power and torque. It has its faults though, fuel efficiency is not a strong point. Perhaps if I was changing vehicles every 3 years the 3.0 ltr may have been considered,but as I plan on keeping the vehicle I didn't and still don't consider it a prudent choice.
FollowupID: 403525

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 11:43

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 11:43
G'day Warthog,
I totally agree with every word you said. I am in exactly the same boat. I'm not sure what this low-sulphur diesel is gunna do to my donk in the years to come, but if/when she blows up I'll be giving serious consideration to the Chev 6.5L V8 option as I've put too much effort and $$$ into this truck to just walk away from it.
When the bloke installed the new turbo, he recommended me to use a diesel fuel supplement to aid upper lubrication given that the diesel fuel was supposed to do this but now can't.
FollowupID: 403714

Follow Up By: warthog - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 20:54

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 20:54
Hi Roachie, I actually pinched those words from you anyway I think:-). You dont get anywhere near the amount of money you spend on accessories, in resale value and I'm happy with the gu package anyway. My mechanic , older fella who's been around a while, also recommended using an upper cylider lube.
FollowupID: 403858

Reply By: kesh - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:24

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:24
Scottcamp. You have come up with a very interesting theory, but one I believe very much misses the mark.

Q. If sulphur contaminated oil (ie sulphuric acid) is to blame, how come the pistons are melting down from the top? The only source of heat sufficient to melt (or burn) a hole through a piston comes from the combustion process. And that can only occurr if the controls regulating the combustion process somehow fail. (electronics?)
Its also interesting that quite a number of these vehicles have had ECU mapping enhanced (Dtronic etc.) but no failures by installation of this reported (but is this to be expected?)

You also involve the "contaminated" oil issue with "high tolerance, high tech" motors. Well, manufacturing tolerance aside, all engines require component clearance if oil is going to provide the necessary lubrication. Where minimum expansion of a component takes place (such as the crankshaft assembly) clearances can be kept to a minimum consitant with maintaining an oil film. Where high temperatures are encountered and expansion of the component is going to occurr (pistons) clearance has to be greater to allow lubrication at operating temperatures.
And whilst on the subject of oil contamination, direct injection engines (3.0l. Nissan) create far less contamination than indirect injection (4.2l. Nissan)
High performing 4 valve turbo diesels have been produced for many years running on extremely variable quality diesel. In fact, the engines driving the oil jack pumps in W.Qld. run on oil straight out of the ground with only the wax skimmed off. I have seen one with 47000hrs. logged without any repaires.

From my W/S manuals, a diesel engine from 1954 had the following clearances specified
Pistons - 0.063mm
Big end/mains 0.025 - 0.05mm

1985 Toyo 2h
Pistons 0.060 - 0.075mm
Big ends 0.030 - 0.070mm
Mains 0.032 - 0.068mm

2000 and on Toyo 1hz
Pistons 0.045 - 0.060mm
Big end/mains 0.036 - 0.054mm

So it is evident that these typical running clearances are required whatever the engine. There have been no reports of seizure occurring when an engine has failed, or there being excess wear (such as if the turbo shaft/ seals failed and the engine ran away on its own oil)
My contention is that whatever problems sulphur contaminated oil will create, holing pistons is not one of them. I think you are treading on thin ice by publicly stating that "change your oil at such and such, you will have no further problems" You could have some one chasing after your hide!
To conclude, I am in no way wishing to demean the 3.0l. Nissan engine. After all, I have a Disco tdi, (180k. and no problems) and am aware of what is thought of that make!
AnswerID: 149967

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:36

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:36
Hi Kesh,

But that is my whole point, the oil breakdown was not the sole cause, other things had to happen. The overboost situation seems like a fore runner. You are correct oil contamination will not hole a piston but the two combined could.

About the oil you could be right, so remember folks this is just a theory, so change your oil whenever you want.

FollowupID: 403314

Follow Up By: awill4x4 - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 16:18

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 16:18
It's an interesting theory Scott, but I think that Kesh is right and it is combustion control problem and this in no way can point to an oil service regime.
There seems to be a common probem with Maf sensors and these are critical in air fuel ratios and another common problem seems to be with overboosting and possibly those 2 combined are enough to blow the pistons. The overboosting by itself wouldn't be a problem in a TD42 or similar old school diesel as the fuel pump will only pump according to its "mechanical" settings and will effectively run "oxygen rich" With the current crop of ECU controlled 3.0 litre GU's however I wouldn't be surprised in an overboost situation (and remember it's been reported boost levels up to 25 psi) that the ECU will try it's best to increase the fuel to compensate for the extra air being forced into the engine. With a dud Maf sensor I wonder if it's acting like a dud Maf or Oxygen sensor in a petrol Efi car and where it runs rich as hell. Remember diesels, more fuel more heat.
As I said, it's an interesting theory you have but I think it's on the wrong track.
Regards Andrew.
FollowupID: 403396

Reply By: Patrick - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:37

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:37
I for one is very grateful to Scottcamp for the well presented explaination offering an easy to read and understand asssesmant of the 30ZD engines. I'm no mechanic and yet with his reasoning I feel much more comfortable knowing that my motor is going to be ok into the future.

Thanks again Scottcamp and epecially to all those who took part in his survey, a job well done.
AnswerID: 149970

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:52

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:52
Hi Patrick,
Thanks for the reply, but i do want to remind you this is just a theory. I could be wrong, so please do still have caution with the ZD30 engine as time will eventually give us the answer. I feel it is a very realistic theory but it is just a theory. I for one will go to Africa next year and will be confident that i can trust the patrol. But i will still take precautions until i am 100% certain i can trust this engine. Time will tell.

FollowupID: 403316

Reply By: P.G. (Tas) - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 10:03

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 10:03
Scott, congratulations on your research, well done, you have certainly put my mind at ease.

Below is a service bullitin from Nissan, allegedly put out regarding oil and the ZD30 that was posted in this forum sometime ago.

First Published: 30th September 2004
Bulletin No: MAO4-001
Re: Revised Engine Oil Specification
Applied Model: Y61 & D22
Applied range: ZD3O Engines

Please be advised that the specification for the 011 fill on the ZD30 has been revised. Engine Oils that meet the specification listed below are the only oils that are permitted for use in the ZD30 Engine. 011 Specification: ACEA 83 or JASO DH.1. Nissan strongly recommend that a viscosity rating of 10W40 be used. For specific viscosity relating to ambient temperature ranges please refer to the viscosity chart in the relevant workshop manual.

Note: API CG-4 0118 must never be used In the ZD30 engine.
To support the revision in oil specification, Nissan has developed a
semi-synthetic 10W-40 engine oil that meets all the operational demands of this engine. The revision of the new oil specification is retrospective and will apply to all ZD30 engines.

The oil will be available from Nissan Parts & Accessories in 51t and 200lt Quantities using the following part numbers.
51t- B3005-10W40PK
2001t- B3200..10W40PK

Authorised by:
R Bahn
Manager. Engineering Support
National Service & Engineering Department

Locked Bag 1450. Dandenong South, VIC, :3154 Phone. (03) 97974111 Fax. (03) 97974400

This bullitin was copied "verbatim" by another forum member and if this bullitin is not correct, I'm sure it can be easily verified.


AnswerID: 149975

Reply By: kesh - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 15:42

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 15:42
Scottcamp. I think that some useful information for you could be accessed from this:


Then you may start to understand why these engines are "self destructing"
Oil is simply the lubricant for the engine. As the old add. used to say "oils aint oils", today and for years they have been used to this sort of operating environment. (high sulphur fuel)

In 1990 the new Landrover tdi diesel (2.5l.) developed 34kw./litre (engine capacity) The 2000 on ZD 30 (3.0l.) developed 39kw./litre. So much for "high tech", and I never heard of tdi's melting pistons (ok, timing belt is another issue).
They run happily on high sulphur fuel, with the lubrication specification A2/B2, a quite common type of oil. The latest V6 Landrover (and many other European) engines far exeed these output figures, all without self destructing.
You make the statement, high sulphur fuel = sulphuric acid in the oil (at what concentration?) so ok, how on earth does this cause, or add to the probability of a piston melt?
A direct answer to this, without obfuscation, would be appreciated thanks.

My final query would be as to who manufactures and programs the electronic controls for these engines and how much research and for how long took place here before they were introduced?
AnswerID: 150018

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 18:02

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 18:02
Hi Kesh,

I think you are missing the point. There is no doubt that oil is the most important factor in a engine. Why else would the firms spend millions on new oil research if it was not important.

If as you say, an electronics problem is the cause then this could happen in a car with 1Km out of the showroom, we see non of them.

The single theory also does not explain this.

Why no failures in Europe, we have the same turbos same electronics

Why the increase in sump capacity. This as far as i am concerned is a key factor.

Why the changes in oil spec?

Why the re-call to fix the oil lubrication?

Nissan knew alright they had a problem with the oil.

As i said before you will rarely see an engine failure due to sulphur contamination, it is normally something else which lets go due to the poor condition of the oil.

Why did the other manufacturers hold back their Hi-Tech Diesels? They never done this for fun, they knew they would strugggle with your Diesel. No offence meant here it was not your fault, your goverment dragged their heels with the fuel.

Come on now you are taking the piss, i come from the Land of Land Rovers, love them to bits still have my old 110 County. Specs on paper are one thing, i jump out a Tdi into the Nissan, it a complete generation ahead. The Tdi was good in its day, but its in the history books where it belongs now.

Yes you are correct in saying the Nissan diesel is not very Hi-Tech, well thats what i get for trying to be nice. Most of the engines you had in your cars prior to December 2002 i would have to go to a breakers yard to buy one.

Nissan knew alright they had a problem with the oil.

But my parting words on this, it is a foolish man who ignores his oil, it is the single most important item in a engine. Why else to do you think the transport industry take sulphur contaminaion so seriously?

But as i said before only time will tell, i expect to see some very high mileage 2003 models soon.

So Kesh i think we have a different views on the importance of oil.

FollowupID: 403420

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 20:29

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 20:29
Hi Kesh,
Sorry never noticed the part about V6 landrover.

Whats that got to do with anything, remember we are talking about 2000/01 failures. Your fuel is now better, so of course the new engines are going to be introduced.

Remember back in 2000 you had one of the worse fuels in the world. And in the case of the early ZD30 engines you also had an engine which had a lubrication problem, remember this was serious enough to re-call the engines in Europe. Add all this to a overboost situation and you are surprised at the outcome!

FollowupID: 403436

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 20:51

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 20:51
Hi Kesh,

One part of your reply warrants a seperate reply:

You stated "Oil is simply the lubricant for the engine"

That has got to be one of the worse bits of information i have ever heard before.

I could spend hours telling you what other functions oil has but i have a funny feeling i would be wasting my time.

Sorry if you take offence to that but as i said before we have different views on oil.

FollowupID: 403439

Follow Up By: GUPatrol - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 23:26

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 23:26

But in 2000 (actually 1999) before the ZD30 was released, Land Rover released the TD5 with common rail and more adavance technology than the ZD30, yet they don't blow holes in pistons.
FollowupID: 403473

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 00:28

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 00:28
Hi GuPatrol,
I was thinking that myself, to be 100% honest the only reason i can give you, was the early ZD30 engines did have a built in lubrication issue. What was the service interval for the TD5 around 2000.

FollowupID: 403480

Follow Up By: 120scruiser - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 11:00

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 11:00
What a great site.
I have been telling every customer this exact thing when they come in and want a turbo just fitted.
I now have a website I can refer them to as this will save me many hours of trying to explain to them why its so important to fit an EGT guage.
Fantastic and thank you Kesh.

Have you seen inside one of these engines when they burn a hole in the piston? If not let me know and I will put a photo of one on my website so you can see just how concentrated the heat is. I have seen several and believe me they are identical down to the mm.
I may put one up this week so keep an eye out on my site here
www.lonards-automotives.com.au/patrol.html around wednesday as I am in courses Monday night so will upgrade tuesday.

FollowupID: 403524

Reply By: Patrolman Pat - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 18:31

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 18:31
A great theory scottcamp. It makes a lot of sense to me as a layman and I think you are on the right track. I certainly hope so.
AnswerID: 150037

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 19:54

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 19:54
Hi Patrolman Pat,

Thanks for the support. But you are right it is just a theory, but until i see some high mileage 2003 models i will have a little doubt in my mind. I am almost 100% certain i am right and will continue to use my patrol as normal. My theory is the only one which explains why Nissan were messing about with the oil system in this car. All the evidence points to a lubrication issue, but no one ever reported a seized engine. It also explains why the higher failure rate in Australia. Plus how else do you explain the lack of sales of the ZD30 in High Sulphur fuel regions.

There is no doubt in my mind the overboost or over fueling caused the final failure but it was not the sole cause.
FollowupID: 403432

Reply By: scottcamp - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 22:56

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 22:56
Hi Everyone,
After checking my replies from the other forums, another piece of the puzzle has just fallen into place. But can anyone confirm this.

My very first point about solving a sulphur problem was in the first instance was to reduce your service interval. That is what i would do first, before i increased the sump capacity. If you take the uk service of 9000 Miles or 15,000 Km as the base. I do now believe that indeed the service interval WAS reduced on the early 3.0 from 15,000 to 10,000, if this is true then that is the complete path for reducing Sulphur problems complete.

AnswerID: 150072

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 23:57

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 23:57
Hi scottcamp,

Current 3.0TD's definetly have a standard service interval of 10,000kms and from memory the early 3.0's had 15,000km but not 100% sure of this.

I think you have hit the nail on the head about high sulphur being an issue and also the fact that its a combination of problems and not a single root cause as to the early failures. But high sulphur is perhap the common denominator in the failures.

Sulphur levels in 2001(?) were lowered to 1350ppm and in 2003 were reduced to 500ppm. But some refiners (BP in WA for one) were producing 500ppm in 2000 and 50ppm in July 2003. The BP refinery in Perth supply many other brands, but not always (dependent on spot price/availability of diesel internationally).

While some may disagree with your conclusions, I have always used BP diesel due to its lower sulphur content as I had already considered its impact (I am a Chemical Engineer). Additionally I have performed 5,000km oil changes as oil is the lifeblood of an engine!

The fact that sulphur ppm was dependent on where one filled up would have resulted in a wide cocktail of sulphur levels and is potentially another reason why the 2000/1 blown 3.0TD's is so unpredictable. The spread of blown engines that I have heard of is from ~50,000kms to over 250,000kms.

The introduction of 500ppm sulphur in 2000 in some areas resulted in many leaking fuel injection pumps, usually traced to Buna N seals shrinking and/or cracking. Low sulphur also required lubricity agents. But this was enough to scare many "old timers" from using the low sulphur fuel (and perhaps rightly so on older engines!).

Anyway, while I think your survey has been very interesting, there is a core bunch of ludlites who will continue to lambast the series III+ 3.0TD even though IMHO its proving to be as reliable as virtually any other motor around.

All manufactures have stuffups, remember the first 80 series 4.2 TD that had bigend issues? It was taken off the market in ~94 and replaced with the 4vpc 4.2TD and has since proven to be on of the most reliable TD around. I think the 3.0TD is arguably in the same vain, but only time will tell!!!



PS. I would be upgrading the fuel filtration system if using drum fuels in your African adventure. Probably preaching to the converted, but dirty fuel, high delivery pressures and diesel injecters do not like each other!!!
FollowupID: 403476

Reply By: GUPatrol - Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 23:34

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006 at 23:34
If this theory is correct then why is it that the LAnd Rover TD5 sold in Australia since 1999-2000 (about the same time) and with service intervals greater than the ZD30 and with a more high tech injection design, does not have the same issue?

I think that EGT readings on the ZD30 of over 750 degrees may have something to do with it....
AnswerID: 150075

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 00:44

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 00:44
Hi Gupatrol,

As said before, it was not just the Sulphur, that only played apart . Remember there was an internal fault which was serious enough to warrant a re-call all over europe, Nissan do not do this for fun to train their mechanics, there was a fault! We will never know what this was, it does not matter now.

This whole post is about the post modification models, as captain says all models can make cock ups. We are trying to determine if the newer models will have a problem, its looking like they will be as reliable as any engine on sale. You just have to look at all the vans running around Europe with starship mileages to prove this. If this engine was so bad then why is it in almost every single light van Nissan and renault make?

So you cannot compare the early TD5 with the ZD30 only the post mod models. The other reason for this is to try and shed some light on the early model failures to try and give some piece of mind to the early owners.

Even all this aside it looks like some of the early models are starting to rack up some high mileages.
FollowupID: 403483

Reply By: Rock Crawler - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 00:58

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 00:58
I think some people have way to much time on the hands lol

thats alot of info there , lol well done
AnswerID: 150084

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 01:01

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 01:01
I think i am 2 post away from Divorce!
FollowupID: 403488

Reply By: scottcamp - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 00:58

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 00:58
Another quick point,

Have you never thought why nissan tell you to avoid CG-4 Oil. Well i think you can Guess CG-4 oil is blended for Euro Low Sulphur Diesel it cannot handle High Sulphur as it has a very low TBN.

What more Bloody proof do some of you need, i'm going to get divorced at this rate or this laptop smashed over my head :-)
AnswerID: 150085

Reply By: fourstall2000 - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 08:53

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 08:53
Perhaps the reason the Rover td 5 has not have problems is due to the centrifugal oil filter.
The 3.0 litre Nissans lawn mower filter could not be as efficient.
This backs up Scottcamps oil failure theory.
My truck engine failed at 118,000 km was bought second hand at 100,000.
Although assured it had service history it had none (they said it was on the computer)oil change frequency unknown.
Now replace oil and filter at 5,000 km.
Also heard rumours that some engines had oil jet damage during asembly.
Since the replacement engine was fitted in 2004 have had one injector pipe fail.
Also the MAP sensor and turbo(replaced labour cost only).
I congratulate Scottcamp on his efforts,as a theory it is most plausable and hopefully will be confirmed to be correct in the future.
Nissan is to be condemmed for not explaining there findings on this issue.
AnswerID: 150104

Reply By: awill4x4 - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 09:56

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 09:56
Unfortunately, the main problem of these engines seems to be ignored. They aren't seizing, there are no crankshaft journal problems and this is where an oil problem will surface 1st. The pistons aren't breaking along the ring lands which also is an indicator of poor lubrication they are blowing in the centre bowl of the piston.
These are a "high boost" small capacity engine (15 psi boost standard) but so are the Landrovers (even smaller capacity) and they haven't had the same problems with their pistons and a high sulphur content fuel.
Overboosting is a known problem, commented by a number of people on different forums where hoses blow off. I wonder if the variable vane turbo's are part of the problem in that they can't react quickly enough and don't vent exhaust gas past the turbine as per standard wastegate type turbo's. Especially if there are Maf sensor problems or an engine light on the dash which has also been reported by others.
Perhaps in an overboost situation with fuel of dubious quality and a low cetane the engines are experiencing the diesel equivalent of a petrol engines "detonation". To me this is a more realistic explanation of pistons blowing in the centre bowl.
Regards Andrew.
AnswerID: 150114

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 10:40

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 10:40
Hi awill4x4,

Some good points raised. But if overfuelling was occuring on a regular basis, would there not be the teltale sign of black smoke coming regularly from the exhaust? From what I have read, when the engine does blow, there has been no previous excess black smoke on a regular basis that would have weaken the piston.

But do agree that oil problems in isolation would have more likely seen engines sieze, which none have been reported to date. But oil cooling of the pistons is an important thing, perhaps the reports of oil sprays being misaligned in earlier models is another link in the equation?

Also, the series III have an extra sensor under the turbo. What is this sensor? Is it a pressure sensor, temp sensor or what? This may give some clues to what is now being monitored and hence what may have been a problem in previous model engines!

Can the variable vanes on the turbo sieze? If so, you may have high boost at high revs with no means of limiting boost. If the MAF sensor keeps fueling in line with air flow, you will have some decent power, but without black smoke, you still have not overfuelled.

But your comment about low cetane during overboost and "detontion" has a lot of merit as this does seem to fit whats being reported. Also seem to recall a comment that Dtronic equipped engines haven't blown (has anyone had a Dtronic eqipped blown engine?). Perhaps the Dtronic has a line of code limiting max fuel delivery (or alters fuel timing) thus preventing "detonation".

Too many what ifs and unanwered questions to draw a final conclusion. But i am sure Nissan to know the answer and are simply not telling!!!



FollowupID: 403520

Follow Up By: scottcamp - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 11:08

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 11:08
Hi Captain/awill4x4,
I think as you say no one theory will find the fault. We will never find the fault now, all i wanted to achieve with this post is an open mind. Instead of just bagging the 3.0 refer future people to this post if they have doubts about the 3.0. That way they can make their own mind up, we have lots of valid points here, but the bottom line is we will never prove any of them.

But one thing still stands out everyone is over looking, there are no European failures, these engines are in everything and are covering very high mileages.

So what is the point, i am pointing out that this engine is capable of massive mileages. So whatever the problem was it was not major, you can only hope it has been solved as these are sound engines in my opinion.
So give the post mod models a chance, lets just wait and see, but in the mean time stop bagging it until proven guilty. We need to seperate the old model from the new, is that too much to ask?

I propose we end this thread now as not much can be gained from it now. I think we just have to have a little faith in Nissan, afterall they have been building 4x4s longer than some of us have been on this planet. They have built some cracking engines, but we all make mistakes, i am convinced this one is minor and this engine will prove to be as reliable as any previous Nissan engine.

I propose we visit this thread in a years time when the 2003 models have reached high mileage.

Lets put it this way i bought the patrol and a waeco fridge on the advice and info on this forum.

If the patrol blows up,and my waeco fridge packs in, i will need to bring out my black book and book flight to Australia, you have been warned :-)

Anyway it is past midnight now i have just finished a bottle of Hardys Columbard and i am off to bed. We are off tomorrow with the patrol up to the scottish highlands, well another 10 Defenders will be their as well.

So over and out,

I hope i am still welcome on this forum after this thread.


FollowupID: 403528

Reply By: kesh - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 15:09

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 15:09
Well, Scottcamp, off up to the highlands are we. You should be safe there with all those Defenders to pull you out!

Why didnt you say you didnt actually know anything about Au. specification ZD30 powered Nissans, for all you know they could be manufactured and programmed in Ethiopia.

My comments through this have been in the area of trying to analyze your reasoning that oil contamination from high sulphur fuel has been a major part in the failure of these engines. I have asked you to indicate how this contamination causes even part of the problem, but to no avail. Please understand that regardless of the fuel sulphur content, oil contamination takes place. Piston blowby is always present, just remove the engine breather pipe and see what comes out. Better still block it off with your finger, the pressure buildup is immediate so where do you think that comes from?

I was very interested to note that a contributor had looked at the banks diesel power site, and I commend it to all that have been following this thread.

My own conclusion is a quote of your own words -
"So whatever the problem was it was not major. You can only hope the problem has been solved as these are sound engines in my opinion"
Try telling that to an owner whose engine just blew, or a convinced with your theory owner, now changing the oil at 5000km. but whose engine still lets go?

Good luck in the highlands, scott

AnswerID: 150158

Follow Up By: AJB - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 22:14

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 22:14
The rebuild of the GU, which is still happening, is in the form of a rebuild kit supplied by Nissan but paid for by me. Basically it is s short motor, new block, pistons, rings, crankshaft conrods etc. I think they use my sump and probably the oil filter set up. In my case the head was also buggered and I am getting a new one of these as mine cannot be repaired. I hae decided to go the whole hog now that I am at this stage and putting a new clutch, getting the pump and injectors at least inspected and tested. The Nissan dealer is doing all this as I build for a living and thats it.
Now I only saw my engine with the head off. The pistons had small cracks in them and one of the mechanics said that one had a hole in it. If there was one, I couldn't see it. The head I saw at the local recon place and it had 4 cracks and all were at the glow plug point. 3 were repairable but the 4th was quite large and irrepairable.
Normally with this damage you would say travelling with no oil or coolant but this was not the case. In fact the recon bloke said that there were no leaks from the cracks that were on it but it was only a matter of time, probably days, before they would.
In the end I think the engine is either thrown away or sent back to Nissan for analysis. As mentioned in an earlier post I actually split an injectors pipe and when I was trying to get one, the local dealer said there were none in the country, I rang another dealer and he said he might have one on one of the old engines out the back. I got told by him that they'd replaced about 10 or 15! He rang back and said that they he had no pipes so I guess thay were also supplied with a short motor as the pump/injector pipe will come off the old one.
Anyhow I hope it lasts this time
FollowupID: 403894

Reply By: AJB - Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 18:16

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006 at 18:16
Ok so it was the early models and the diesel fuel sold in Australia that caused the engine malfunctions. Does this mean that when I purchased the GU in May 2002 with about 60000ks on the clock, the damage was allready done and no matter what I did the engine self destruction was inevitable. See I changed the oil and filters between 5000-7500 ks depending on the work it had done, once or twice it went to 10000 but this was advised by a staff member of the nissan dealer. This was all after May 2002. Who knows what happened before this. So maybe the reason my engine "lasted" for 195000 was because of the frequency of the oil changes. I wish I hadn't had the oil changed so frequently as then Nissan may have helped me out financially with the rebuild as they had with earlier failures. So I am being financially punished for a maintenance program on the engine and to quote Nissan HQ when asking for assisstance "Too old, too many kilometres, too bad"
You may be on the right track and I thank you for your efforts. I think it is fuel related, maybe sulphur content, but I think it is more pump/injector/ spray pattern. Perhaps it is also linked to the turbo system. Was there any revising of the fuel injection system (Pump/injectors) in the 2002 models onwards?
I hope the rebuilt engine lasts longer than the original although I probably wont have it for long.
AnswerID: 150171

Follow Up By: kesh - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 11:17

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 11:17
AJB. You make the only comment regarding a rebuilt engine. I assume this was because Nissan did not come to the party.
Would just like to enquire, did you see the pulled down motor, if so what is your assessment of the total damage, what was replaced in the rebuild and an approx. indication of rebuild costs.
Have seen quite a few damaged diesels over the years, seized due to no coolant, (but not running out of oil and seizing) piston top pulled off, (common in Toyo H mod.) broken rings ripping lands off etc. and in all cases an effective rebuild could be undertaken with new parts and generally no more than a bore hone.
I have often wondered what Nissan did with these engines replaced by "new?" or has the whole excersise been one of rebuild and recycle.
FollowupID: 403709

Reply By: scottcamp - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:44

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:44
Hi All,

Maybe Kesh and awill4x4 and AJB were on the right track in saying they did not think the High Sulphur fuel was not to blame. But like any theory it was always open to change as new info came in.

I have now found further evidence which reduces the chances that High Sulphur was the main cause. I have found 3 failures in Europe all 2000 models with the exact same problem and same symptoms. So maybe it did play a part but I am no longer certain that it was the main cause. There is a definite drop off in the number of later failures so I guess it is looking like the Nissan modifications have indeed solved the problem. But at least I have brought the issue of oil and service interval to some people. I myself usually change my oil at half the recommended mileage but I have also gone the full course and nothing has changed. So I would agree at the very least I would change on the manufacturers recommended interval and not later. All the points about TBN are valid but as it stands just not as important in the case of the early failures. As I have said before I do believe the early failures have been sorted and it is now looking like the modification has done the job. But only time will tell.
AnswerID: 150395

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