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The 1KD-FTV motor hit our shores in 2005 to an extremely warm reception. Finally we had a HiLux with decent amount of performance thanks to the (for the time) high-tech 3.0-litre turbo-diesel motor, and independent suspension featuring a coilover strut in the front end that rode well for a work ute. It was not without its issues as we soon found out however, with clutches burning out prematurely, injectors causing issues and cases of holes being melted through pistons. Not great! However, a fair few years have passed, and there are fixes available for these problems that are more affordable than they have ever been. I should know, I own one with 280,000km on the clock; sadly though, it is on its second motor after a piston decided it didn’t want to work anymore. I’ve done the research for you because, I’ve got 99 problems but a(nother) blown D4D ain’t one *finds something wooden to knock on*.

WORDS BY EVAN SPENCE

GUIDE

The old D4D HiLux certainly isn’t unbreakable – here’s what can go wrong and how to fix it

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.
 d4d hilux 

INJECTOR SEATS AND SEALS
This is the epicentre of issues for the D4D motor: shithouse injectors and seals that cause a flow-on effect of issues, which you can read about more below. The original injector seats at the base of the injector were made from copper, which would fail regularly. There was actually a recall announced for this in New Zealand and Europe, but us Aussies seemed to miss the email chain for the recall service bulletin. When the seats go, excess blow-by gases enter the tappet cover and mixes with the engine oil creating carbon. This blocks the oil pick-up, starving the motor of oil. If you are experiencing white smoke and a rattling noise when cold, this is where I’d start looking.

It doesn’t end there; the injectors themselves, as they are under enormous pressure from the common-rail injection system, are prone to failure. They will need to be checked every service to see if they are operating within spec, and it is recommended to replace them every 100,000km. Poorly performing injectors have been known to knock loudly, present a poor idle and poor fuel economy. They are also responsible for cracking pistons, which is another major issue with this motor (it’s how mine died at 270,000km).

problem
solution

A quick look online shows new injectors will cost a minimum of $370 times four, so you’re up for nearly $1500 minimum just in parts to get this fixed. However if the injectors are still in spec, it is advised to change the seats with new diamond-like coating seats which were introduced from 2007 every 40,000km. Change the injectors every 100,000km as well. This will prevent cracked pistons, clogged oil pick-ups and all associated issues mentioned previously.  

ENGINE RATTLE
These motors are famously noisy, especially when cold. This could be a few things, with many reports that the injectors are again the culprit. From our investigations, this is usually the main spindle in the centre of the injector sticking to the bore of the injector. As the tolerances are finer when cold, and friction levels higher, the injector holds open for longer, introducing potential over-fuelling issues.  

Another theory is the noise is coming from the rockers, which when the engine has just started haven’t had the chance to be properly lubricated. The solution here is to always use good quality oil and take it easy for the first 5-10 mins of driving. I notice my own engine (a replacement with only 120k on the clock) sounds like utter garbage on a cold winter’s morning, but it comes good pretty quickly. Just take it easy, and if in doubt see a diesel specialist and have your injectors inspected to see if they are still within spec. That’s what I’ll be doing come tax return time…  

problem
solution

Use good quality oils, and change them regularly (I do every 5000km as oil is cheap comparatively). Valves should be inspected every 40,000km apparently, sadly adjustment is quite involved thanks to the bucket and shim design. Have your injectors inspected regularly and have the seals replaced every 40,000km. A decent mechanic will be able to test the injectors to see if they are still within spec.

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TURBO STEPPER MOTOR
The turbo fitted to the 1KD is a variable vane design, which is controlled by an external turbo actuator stepper motor rather than a traditional dump valve and pneumatic wastegate. The stepper motor controls the angle of the turbo vanes that dictates boost levels. These can and do fail, causing a fault code P1251 (34) and the vehicle going into limp mode, resulting in the vehicle not being able to rev past 1500rpm.

problem
solution

A few years ago, this would require the entire turbo to be replaced, usually at a cost of approximately $3500. Thankfully, you can now buy the stepper motor separately for under $500. Alternatively, you could choose this as the opportune time to upgrade the turbo if you are looking for more performance, however this will certainly cost more than the replacement stepper motor.

DODGY CLUTCH
There have been many reports of clutches slipping on this model HiLux, with some needing replacement in as little as 20,000km. Sure, driving style and load will play a massive part in clutch wear, and they are really a consumable part, but it is something to be aware of if buying a used HiLux. You will have to factor in the cost of a clutch replacement, basically. My own vehicle has an Exedy aftermarket clutch fitted, and has just started to slip slightly on steep climbs. The 32-inch tyres don’t help there … nor does the amount of off-road use the vehicle sees.

problem
solution

Sorry, the only way out of this is to fit an upgraded clutch and have the flywheel machined. A sympathetic driving style will go a very long way in getting the best longevity from your clutch; factor in $500 – $1000 for a replacement clutch, not including labour.

“I own one with 280,000km on the clock; sadly though, it is on its second motor after a piston decided it didn’t want to work anymore. I’ve done the research for you because, I’ve got 99 problems but a(nother) blown D4D ain’t one”

EGR BLOCKAGE AND INTAKE SOOT
This is a problem for all common-rail turbo diesels with an EGR (exhaust gas recirculate) valve, where oil mist laden exhaust gases are fed back into the engine, in an attempt to reduce emissions. This causes carbon or soot to build up in the EGR valve, and intake of the motor, reducing performance and essentially choking it up. The HiLux is certainly prone to this, and the fix is usually an expensive tear down and clean of the intake system.

problem
solution

Fit a catch can, or as they should be known, an oil separator as soon as possible. This will trap oil mist from the exhaust gas before being fed back into the turbo. If you have done big kays already, and haven’t fitted a catch can, it would be advisable to have your intake and ERG inspected to see how messy it is. Cleaning it is extremely laborious, and the right way to do it. I’m not stoked on the idea of doing a chemical carbon clean on the vehicle personally. Some people go to the effort of blanking off their ERG, quite literally with a metal plate, however this is illegal for road use, so we’ll leave that one alone.

ENGINE SEIZED
This is as bad as it gets for an engine, when it decides it’s had enough of life and throws in the towel. The D4D, sorry, 1KD-FTV is not immune to seizing, even though it’s 99 percent avoidable if you know where to look. The problem is caused by the oil pick-up in the sump becoming choked up with carbon and debris, restricting the flow of oil, thus destroying any chance of the motor getting the vital lubrication it so rightfully deserves. This again comes back to those pesky injectors; when the seal fails it allows oil and carbon gases to leak into the cylinder. This evil concoction thickens the engine oil, blocking the oil pick-up and ultimately cutting off the flow of oil to where it needs to go.

problem
solution

Perform engine oil changes on time, every time. When the sump drain plug is removed, shine a torch up through the hole to visually inspect the pick-up mesh. If there is anything other than oil on it, you will need to drop the sump and clean the pick-up mesh. It is also time to have the injectors inspected, and the seals replaced as this is causing the issue. Well, unless you just haven’t changed the engine oil ever, then there are more problems with your motor than modern engineering can solve.

WATER PUMPS LEAKING PREMATURELY
There are several reports of water pumps leaking prematurely, which is a sign they have had it. It’s one of those things, the parts themselves aren’t too expensive, however while you are in there you may as well replace the timing belt, you may as well check the injectors if the condition is unknown and then you may as well have the valves checked for correct adjustment. You may as well change the drive belt too, and check to see if any of the idler pulley bearings are going crunchy and replace those as well.

problem
solution

Water pumps should be replaced before 150,000km or just do them when you change the timing belt. Hopefully they aren’t leaking, but a sure sign would be coolant seeping from the water pump or sprayed up around the engine. If your coolant level is low, but your hoses aren’t leaking, this is a good place to look. So while changing the water pump is a fairly straightforward, and relatively in-expensive proposition (parts are about $220 for a quality replacement) it’s the flow-on effect of all the bits you might as well fix while you are there that will add up.

GUIDE

The 1KD-FTV motor hit our shores in 2005 to an extremely warm reception. Finally we had a HiLux with decent amount of performance thanks to the (for the time) high-tech 3.0-litre turbo-diesel motor, and independent suspension featuring a coilover strut in the front end that rode well for a work ute. It was not without its issues as we soon found out however, with clutches burning out prematurely, injectors causing issues and cases of holes being melted through pistons. Not great! However, a fair few years have passed, and there are fixes available for these problems that are more affordable than they have ever been. I should know, I own one with 280,000km on the clock; sadly though, it is on its second motor after a piston decided it didn’t want to work anymore. I’ve done the research for you because, I’ve got 99 problems but a(nother) blown D4D ain’t one *finds something wooden to knock on*.

 d4d hilux 

WORDS BY EVAN SPENCE

The old D4D HiLux certainly isn’t unbreakable – here’s what can go wrong and how to fix it

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

INJECTOR SEATS AND SEALS
This is the epicentre of issues for the D4D motor: shithouse injectors and seals that cause a flow-on effect of issues, which you can read about more below. The original injector seats at the base of the injector were made from copper, which would fail regularly. There was actually a recall announced for this in New Zealand and Europe, but us Aussies seemed to miss the email chain for the recall service bulletin. When the seats go, excess blow-by gases enter the tappet cover and mixes with the engine oil creating carbon. This blocks the oil pick-up, starving the motor of oil. If you are experiencing white smoke and a rattling noise when cold, this is where I’d start looking.

It doesn’t end there; the injectors themselves, as they are under enormous pressure from the common-rail injection system, are prone to failure. They will need to be checked every service to see if they are operating within spec, and it is recommended to replace them every 100,000km. Poorly performing injectors have been known to knock loudly, present a poor idle and poor fuel economy. They are also responsible for cracking pistons, which is another major issue with this motor (it’s how mine died at 270,000km).

problem
solution

A quick look online shows new injectors will cost a minimum of $370 times four, so you’re up for nearly $1500 minimum just in parts to get this fixed. However if the injectors are still in spec, it is advised to change the seats with new diamond-like coating seats which were introduced from 2007 every 40,000km. Change the injectors every 100,000km as well. This will prevent cracked pistons, clogged oil pick-ups and all associated issues mentioned previously.  

ENGINE RATTLE
These motors are famously noisy, especially when cold. This could be a few things, with many reports that the injectors are again the culprit. From our investigations, this is usually the main spindle in the centre of the injector sticking to the bore of the injector. As the tolerances are finer when cold, and friction levels higher, the injector holds open for longer, introducing potential over-fuelling issues.  

Another theory is the noise is coming from the rockers, which when the engine has just started haven’t had the chance to be properly lubricated. The solution here is to always use good quality oil and take it easy for the first 5-10 mins of driving. I notice my own engine (a replacement with only 120k on the clock) sounds like utter garbage on a cold winter’s morning, but it comes good pretty quickly. Just take it easy, and if in doubt see a diesel specialist and have your injectors inspected to see if they are still within spec. That’s what I’ll be doing come tax return time…  

problem
solution

Use good quality oils, and change them regularly (I do every 5000km as oil is cheap comparatively). Valves should be inspected every 40,000km apparently, sadly adjustment is quite involved thanks to the bucket and shim design. Have your injectors inspected regularly and have the seals replaced every 40,000km. A decent mechanic will be able to test the injectors to see if they are still within spec.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

TURBO STEPPER MOTOR
The turbo fitted to the 1KD is a variable vane design, which is controlled by an external turbo actuator stepper motor rather than a traditional dump valve and pneumatic wastegate. The stepper motor controls the angle of the turbo vanes that dictates boost levels. These can and do fail, causing a fault code P1251 (34) and the vehicle going into limp mode, resulting in the vehicle not being able to rev past 1500rpm.

problem
solution

A few years ago, this would require the entire turbo to be replaced, usually at a cost of approximately $3500. Thankfully, you can now buy the stepper motor separately for under $500. Alternatively, you could choose this as the opportune time to upgrade the turbo if you are looking for more performance, however this will certainly cost more than the replacement stepper motor.

DODGY CLUTCH
There have been many reports of clutches slipping on this model HiLux, with some needing replacement in as little as 20,000km. Sure, driving style and load will play a massive part in clutch wear, and they are really a consumable part, but it is something to be aware of if buying a used HiLux. You will have to factor in the cost of a clutch replacement, basically. My own vehicle has an Exedy aftermarket clutch fitted, and has just started to slip slightly on steep climbs. The 32-inch tyres don’t help there … nor does the amount of off-road use the vehicle sees.

problem
solution

Sorry, the only way out of this is to fit an upgraded clutch and have the flywheel machined. A sympathetic driving style will go a very long way in getting the best longevity from your clutch; factor in $500 – $1000 for a replacement clutch, not including labour.

“I own one with 280,000km on the clock; sadly though, it is on its second motor after a piston decided it didn’t want to work anymore. I’ve done the research for you because, I’ve got 99 problems but a(nother) blown D4D ain’t one”

EGR BLOCKAGE AND INTAKE SOOT
This is a problem for all common-rail turbo diesels with an EGR (exhaust gas recirculate) valve, where oil mist laden exhaust gases are fed back into the engine, in an attempt to reduce emissions. This causes carbon or soot to build up in the EGR valve, and intake of the motor, reducing performance and essentially choking it up. The HiLux is certainly prone to this, and the fix is usually an expensive tear down and clean of the intake system.

problem
solution

Fit a catch can, or as they should be known, an oil separator as soon as possible. This will trap oil mist from the exhaust gas before being fed back into the turbo. If you have done big kays already, and haven’t fitted a catch can, it would be advisable to have your intake and ERG inspected to see how messy it is. Cleaning it is extremely laborious, and the right way to do it. I’m not stoked on the idea of doing a chemical carbon clean on the vehicle personally. Some people go to the effort of blanking off their ERG, quite literally with a metal plate, however this is illegal for road use, so we’ll leave that one alone.

ENGINE SEIZED
This is as bad as it gets for an engine, when it decides it’s had enough of life and throws in the towel. The D4D, sorry, 1KD-FTV is not immune to seizing, even though it’s 99 percent avoidable if you know where to look. The problem is caused by the oil pick-up in the sump becoming choked up with carbon and debris, restricting the flow of oil, thus destroying any chance of the motor getting the vital lubrication it so rightfully deserves. This again comes back to those pesky injectors; when the seal fails it allows oil and carbon gases to leak into the cylinder. This evil concoction thickens the engine oil, blocking the oil pick-up and ultimately cutting off the flow of oil to where it needs to go.

problem
solution

Perform engine oil changes on time, every time. When the sump drain plug is removed, shine a torch up through the hole to visually inspect the pick-up mesh. If there is anything other than oil on it, you will need to drop the sump and clean the pick-up mesh. It is also time to have the injectors inspected, and the seals replaced as this is causing the issue. Well, unless you just haven’t changed the engine oil ever, then there are more problems with your motor than modern engineering can solve.

WATER PUMPS LEAKING PREMATURELY
There are several reports of water pumps leaking prematurely, which is a sign they have had it. It’s one of those things, the parts themselves aren’t too expensive, however while you are in there you may as well replace the timing belt, you may as well check the injectors if the condition is unknown and then you may as well have the valves checked for correct adjustment. You may as well change the drive belt too, and check to see if any of the idler pulley bearings are going crunchy and replace those as well.

problem
solution

Water pumps should be replaced before 150,000km or just do them when you change the timing belt. Hopefully they aren’t leaking, but a sure sign would be coolant seeping from the water pump or sprayed up around the engine. If your coolant level is low, but your hoses aren’t leaking, this is a good place to look. So while changing the water pump is a fairly straightforward, and relatively in-expensive proposition (parts are about $220 for a quality replacement) it’s the flow-on effect of all the bits you might as well fix while you are there that will add up.