Ok, now the Land Rover is actually officially as disassembled as it is going to be. No more.


(Sorry this post will be light on photos, mostly because I forgot to take them)

Summary so far

As I mentioned previously, my 2001 Land Rover Discovery II needed new head gaskets and after getting a hilariously high quote from the local specialist, I decided to go it on my own.

While the diassembly to get the the heads was pretty comprehensive, it was mostly straightforward and well trodden.

Not so with the front timing cover that some bastard oppo (I don’t blame you) convinced me to do while I already had the thing disassembled. The tl;dr there is the timing chain cover is actually part of the water jacket and replacing the water pump can sometimes disturb the timing chain seal and cause a water-to-oil leak.

Thanks Land Rover.

Down the rabbit hole we go

Removing the timing chain cover looks straightforward at first, but it quickly snowballs. You have to drain the oil, drop the oil pan, and remove all the oil cooler lines, water pump, oil filter, cross brace, and crank pulley.


The oil pain, again, seemed staightforward but really wasn’t. The bolts were dirty and well hidden and the instructions unclear.

Example: The Land Rover official repair manual instructs you to:


What it actually means is remove two bolts in back and four in front. You see both sides of that interface have 4+ bolts on them and it is not readily apparent which hold on the oil pan. When Land Rover says “forward facing bolts” they mean the bolt head is pointed at the back of the car and the threads/ shaft of the bolt point forward.

This is mostly apparent if you study the diagram.


My helper was not studying the diagram. He was under the damn car doing work.


So yeah, this bastard bolt took us almost an hour to find the right collection of sockets, extensions, u-joints, and breaker bars to get enough purchase to break... only to realize it wasn’t one of the ones that needed to come out.


Accoding the the manual and the internet, the crank pulley should almost fall off at this point.


It did not.

No ammount of prying, pleading, shouting, or crying produced any result.

Defeated, I called around and found an AutoZone with the correct puller in stock for rental, drove over in my rental chariot (another story), and rented a 7" puller.


Which didn’t fit.

Back to AutoZone for the smaller puller.

Also didn’t fit, but less so than the other.

I managed to get one hook around the pulley and braced against the crank. Right before the pulley came off I noticed part of the puller was now firmly embedded into my radiator.


Ok well. The pulley eventually came off and the radiator is holding water for the moment, so we’re going to gloss over that.

Job done, we moved on to the front timing cover, which contains nine bolts, all of them caked in grease and grime and some of them having already been removed when I took the water pump off. We got them all off and... nothing. Wouldn’t budge.


We poked, prodded, pleaded, and pried some more to no avail.

Eventually the internet returned a take of woe from some poor sap having the same issue as me. Turns out there is a bolt well hidden under a clamp that while it looks non-functional, it is actually part of the nine or ten or whatever bolts.

That one off, the timing cover finally came off.

It was filthy, but it was mine.

The timing chain has more slack than I’d like, but it should last another 100k. So unless I can find one locally I am going to call it. (Also it has since been pointed out that the other side’s tension is what matters here.... so I am going to check that at lunch.)


Responsible? NO!

Do I care?


... a little.

Up Next

Finally we can begin to re-assemble. The timing cover gasket isn’t coming off without a fight, so I’ve got some work ahead of me teasing that off the soft aluminum. After that it I’ll pre-attach the water pump to the timing cover and then start undoing everything we just did.


The hope is to get the timing chain cover and oil pan buttoned back up tonight (Thursday) and start on the head re-assembly this weekend.