Cracked piston ZD30 engine - 2004 Navara D22 STR 3.0 litre Diesel

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Hi, my 2004 D22 STR 3 litre Di ZD30 motor with 332000Kms blew a piston last week. I've received quotes up to $7000 for a full engine rebuild plus clutch worse case scenario. This is too much money and as a struggling farmer during drought times this money could be better spent on fixing fences, water, and keeping our livestock alive. So what is the thing to do? We had the turbo replaced in 2018 because it died. the year before that the injector pump. The injectors were rebuilt in 2017. The radiator was taken out and cleaned in 2019 to keep the temps down. The EGR pipe cracked and was replaced in 2018. The flexi exhaust pipe was replaced in 2018. The inner and outer boots were replaced in 2018. Now we discovered the front wheel bearings are cactus. How much more do you throw at a ZD30 motor when they seem to be notorious for failing at almost every level of the engine? But we've sunk so much money into it we'd get nothing for a trade-in, $500 from the wrecker who'd make a lot of money on parts wrecking it. What is the cost of an engine rebuild and how kms will they go for after that? What's involved in a rebuild? Can I do it myself? What tools do I need? What about a rebuilt motor or a low kms 2nd hand engine? The Navara Zd30 seems to be a black hole for money. What is a better, more reliable, durable and robust 4x4? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, ByabarraNavara
 

tweak'e

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at 300,000km's+ that sounds typical for any decent make.
turbo's need rebuilds, the rest are fairly typical wear items. i've replaced wheel bearings at far lower km's.
the egr pipe unfortunately seams to be a issue with them, however i've seen many other brands with the same failure. a cast to stainless steel tube weld is hard to make it not crack sensitive.
its an old 4wd thats done a lot of km's, its to be expected. all 4wd's at that age and mileage become black holes for money.


what did you replace the turbo with? was the original rebuilt?
if an aftermarket replacement i wonder if its a bit small which can cause piston failure.
 

KevinE

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^^ +1

1. Fourteen years & 300K+ out of a turbo is pretty good IMO.
2. Same with the injectors & pump - 13 years is pretty good IMO.
3. I have a younger car of a different name brand, with half those K's & the radiator is already due for a clean out.
4. EGR pipe & exhaust are normal wear & tear.
5. Your split boots almost certainly contributed to the wheel bearing failures. They should be closely monitored & replaced as necessary, regardless of which 4x4 you drive.
6. Well maintained ZD30's in D22's don't fail very often. You're either unlucky, or the servicing wasn't kept up at some stage.

Cheers!
 

Horatius

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Hi, my 2004 D22 STR 3 litre Di ZD30 motor with 332000Kms blew a piston last week. I've received quotes up to $7000 for a full engine rebuild plus clutch worse case scenario. This is too much money and as a struggling farmer during drought times this money could be better spent on fixing fences, water, and keeping our livestock alive. So what is the thing to do? We had the turbo replaced in 2018 because it died. the year before that the injector pump. The injectors were rebuilt in 2017. The radiator was taken out and cleaned in 2019 to keep the temps down. The EGR pipe cracked and was replaced in 2018. The flexi exhaust pipe was replaced in 2018. The inner and outer boots were replaced in 2018. Now we discovered the front wheel bearings are cactus. How much more do you throw at a ZD30 motor when they seem to be notorious for failing at almost every level of the engine? But we've sunk so much money into it we'd get nothing for a trade-in, $500 from the wrecker who'd make a lot of money on parts wrecking it. What is the cost of an engine rebuild and how kms will they go for after that? What's involved in a rebuild? Can I do it myself? What tools do I need? What about a rebuilt motor or a low kms 2nd hand engine? The Navara Zd30 seems to be a black hole for money. What is a better, more reliable, durable and robust 4x4? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, ByabarraNavara
Lot of this is just normal wear and tear. Though even then, it doesn't seem "typical" for a well maintained D22 and the engines aren't notorious for failing (unless they are in a Patrol).

Things like wheel bearings should be repacked and replaced at certain intervals. If you have got that many kms out of a set, you've done quite well. Rubber boots being changed at this many km's isn't that bad either. Fuel quality and how often the filters are changed makes a difference to longevity.

As to the underlined, that could be the source of your current problems. None of these little diesel engines fare well if they get too hot. If that's happening, there is something very wrong (unless you're towing up a steep hill on a 44 deg. day).

It's not worth getting radiators cleaned, you can buy a brand new quality aftermarket radiator for about the same price as having one cleaned. It would be worth looking at the water pump too and and there can be other problems if it's getting too hot. Every time they clean the scale/build up out of these alloy radiators they aren't going to be as clean as a new one and (assuming it's done properly to begin with) there's always a chance of pinholes/leaks. If the factory gauge indicates overheating that's not good as they seem more a "cracked head/engine failure" indicator anyway.

Obviously none of this helps with your predicament, but there's no cheap way out of it.

A 2nd/h engine won't be cheap (seem to be around $5 thou), and you won't really know what condition it is in. Then you have the cost of getting someone to swap the ancillaries over and install it.

Unless you are very good with tools and have plenty of spare time, wouldn't bother rebuilding it yourself either. It will be cheaper, but perhaps not that much cheaper and there's an awful lot of work to do this. Rebuilt engines can be alright, but never last the way originals do.

When original parts start going any time after 300,000kms, that's not really that bad for any vehicle. The cost of repairs might be worth more than the vehicle itself in this instance, so it might be better to cut your losses rather than fixing it.
 
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ben85

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For someone in the trade who can diy everything its worth fixing, to pay someone else... how much can you buy another vehicle the same for? I think it will cost more to repair than replace.
 

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For someone in the trade who can diy everything its worth fixing, to pay someone else... how much can you buy another vehicle the same for? I think it will cost more to repair than replace.
Indeed but how reliable will a 7k car be? The engine will be the most expensive part and rebuilt should give a ton more ks. However at this point inj pump is getting old too...🤔
 

Horatius

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They have a reasonably new injector pump, turbo and rebuilt injectors on the old one. So 7 thou for a rebuild (with clutch) sounds reasonable. That depends on the quality of the rebuild though. Probably the cheapest way out of it but still seems a lot of money to throw at something that age.
 
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Zd30 Turbo rebuild

what did you replace the turbo with? was the original rebuilt?
if an aftermarket replacement i wonder if its a bit small which can cause piston failure.
G'day and thanks for your reply. The rebuilt turbo was not from our car. It was a genuine Navara rebuilt by a shop that specialises in turbo rebuilds based in Coffs Harbour. So I'm assuming it was the right size. I'll check with the mechanic on Monday.

At 332,000 KMs, if we go for an engine rebuild what else is likely to go wrong with a 4x4 of this age? When the mechanic replaced the injector pump it was a rebuild he did at his workshop at Wauchope NSW. Same for injectors. That's his specialty. He also took the fuel tank out and cleaned and cleaned all the fuel lines.

I read many ZD30 diesel owners put in EGR blanking plates, oil catch cans, exhaust temperature sensors and turbo timers. This seems to be a lot of after market extras as insurance or for failures. Is this worth it? Are there other low cost mods that we can do to help indicate impending problems and preserve the rebuilt engine?
 
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Injector Pump Rebuild

Indeed but how reliable will a 7k car be? The engine will be the most expensive part and rebuilt should give a ton more ks. However at this point inj pump is getting old too...🤔
G'day and thanks for your question. The injector pump was a rebuild it wouldn't have done more than 5,000kms.
 

tweak'e

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G'day and thanks for your reply. The rebuilt turbo was not from our car. It was a genuine Navara rebuilt by a shop that specialises in turbo rebuilds based in Coffs Harbour. So I'm assuming it was the right size. I'll check with the mechanic on Monday.

At 332,000 KMs, if we go for an engine rebuild what else is likely to go wrong with a 4x4 of this age? When the mechanic replaced the injector pump it was a rebuild he did at his workshop at Wauchope NSW. Same for injectors. That's his specialty. He also took the fuel tank out and cleaned and cleaned all the fuel lines.

I read many ZD30 diesel owners put in EGR blanking plates, oil catch cans, exhaust temperature sensors and turbo timers. This seems to be a lot of after market extras as insurance or for failures. Is this worth it? Are there other low cost mods that we can do to help indicate impending problems and preserve the rebuilt engine?
a genuine turbo rebuilt is fine. its just bearing replacement, so the sizing will be fine.
tho i find blown pistons to be interesting. we cracked the head on one of ours due to broken water pipe and engine overheating.
what can cause blown pistons is poor injectors. the local injection shop here told me they will not rebuild them. they have done it, had issues, put new injectors in and issues where fixed. they only replace with new ones now.

i would take injectors to another crowd to be checked.
there is no point rebuilding if your not why why the pistons failed. eg if its was due to poor injectors then the rebuilt engine will not last long.

to fix or replace?
thats down to your budget and when you have planned to replace the ute. save the 7k and buy a new or low km 2nd hand ute.


what else can go wrong? everything. we just snapped a suspension bolt last week and its only done 250k. we do have one thats over 350k with no mods what so ever. however its clutch is bad. tho it doesn't get much use these days.

its often a case of an evil you know is better than one you do not. however newer utes come with better safety, better economy etc. need to weigh up that option to.
 
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What level of rebuilds are required with a cracked piston. how far do you go? Oil pump, water pump, timing chain? on the latter, does the ZD30 have a conversion kit for a dual chain? Does that mean the pumps connected to the timing chain needs to be dual cogs as well?
 

tweak'e

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What level of rebuilds are required with a cracked piston. how far do you go? Oil pump, water pump, timing chain? on the latter, does the ZD30 have a conversion kit for a dual chain? Does that mean the pumps connected to the timing chain needs to be dual cogs as well?
no.
things like oil pumps can be checked for wear and replaced if required.
can't remember if there is a spec for the timing chain, but it would be fine to reuse and its not known for breaking so no dual row conversion is needed.
water pump is cheap enough to replace as is the radiator.


only tricky part of replacing the balance shafts bearings as nissan only supply's them pre fitted to a new block. you would have to get aftermarket for those.

the big question mark will be the head. if its blown pistons due to overheating then the head will be cracked and require replacing.

also will be how much damage has been done to the bore. if thats ok its just a hone out and fit new pistons. if bore is damaged then it will depend on if they can machine it out or need new block. in which case just find a 2nd hand engine.
 

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Would seem a shame not to change things like oil pump timing gear etc on a motor of this age while you have it to pieces. That would seem a "repaired" motor more so than a rebuilt one. Then again, with some of the crappy aftermarket parts around, the originals might be better anyway.

Some rebuild kits have the option to leave the balance shafts out by simply blocking the oil ports (not sure on this motor though). Generally there's no discernible difference from doing this and they run quite happily (again, not sure on this particular motor though).
 

Horatius

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This could lend some weight to one theory among the relevant Patrol owners that incorrect spray from the injectors causes the piston failure. Not sure about that though and there seems as many theories as there are Patrol owners... pressure spikes from fuel pump, sensor failure/over boosting, oil starvation and so on. Seems more like wishful thinking trying to wind these little motors up to drag a Patrol (and van) around. They're only just big enough for a Nav which is probably why so many chip them, this problem seems very rare in a stock Navara. Interesting that turbo, pump and injectors were all rebuilt/changed before this failure.

They seem to largely have fixed the problem in the later Patrols though, wonder what they changed, how they achieved this?
 

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I think that they have it well sorted these days.

The early Patrols with ZD30's weren't running enough oil from the factory (tick)

Some also had faulty injector pumps (tick)

MAF sensors in some were failing over long periods of time (tick)

The resultant high temps from the above problems didn't show up in the cooling system sensors (tick)

The engine was never big enough to drive such a heavy vehicle, let alone tow large caravans! (tick)

People kept running them at high temps, over long periods of time, because they never had any idea that the engine temps were so high (BOOM!)

The only premature failures of ZD30's in D22's that I've heard of were either caused by a lack of servicing, or they were chipped with a chip that over fuels the engine, or both.
 

tweak'e

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This could lend some weight to one theory among the relevant Patrol owners that incorrect spray from the injectors causes the piston failure.
thats a possibility but it doesn;t happen to other manafactures you run the same injection system.
there was some talk that the turbo on them was undersized, which causes high back pressure and keeps more exhaust gas in the combustion chamber increasing the egt's.

I think that they have it well sorted these days.

The early Patrols with ZD30's weren't running enough oil from the factory (tick)

Some also had faulty injector pumps (tick)

MAF sensors in some were failing over long periods of time (tick)

The resultant high temps from the above problems didn't show up in the cooling system sensors (tick)

The engine was never big enough to drive such a heavy vehicle, let alone tow large caravans! (tick)

People kept running them at high temps, over long periods of time, because they never had any idea that the engine temps were so high (BOOM!)

The only premature failures of ZD30's in D22's that I've heard of were either caused by a lack of servicing, or they were chipped with a chip that over fuels the engine, or both.
no to pretty much all of that.

amount of oil was ok, it was just nissans band aid fix to increase oil capacity, but that causes other problems. it certainly didn't solve the issue.

injection pumps have always had issues. but again other makes use the same system with no engine problems.

MAF sensors are always an issue. they get contaminated from engine oil mist from the breather especially when overfilled with oil. normally that just causes performance issues, however the patrol also runs the turbo control off the MAF input. so when it plays up the turbo plays up and that causes a ton of issues.

engine is plenty big enough. the later common rail zd30 in the patrol doesn't suffer the same problems.

the patrols zd30 is not known for overheating issues. one thing that was never a problem.
they never ran hot (water temp). EGT's temps was often the problems.

early D22 zd30 also had issues with piston failure.
but over all substantially less issues due to lack of variable turbo and maf sensor.
 
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After several days of fact finding and talking to Navara specialists we hit a crunch point. Today we've had a trying time with mechanics and engine rebuilders. Our main mechanic that undertook the injector pump, turbo and EGR work on our Navara has some grievance with our preferred rebuilder. This presents a problem as there are only three decent rebuilders in our rural area. One is flat out and will only do heads, No2 only does a part rebuild and won't take the timing chain cover off and won't replace any shaft bearings, and no 3 is the one capable of doing a complete rebuild but our mechanic won't work with him. We've gone to see another mechanic who services our Mazda 6. Great mechanic. However, both mechanics are concerned about inheriting warranty issues from any engine rebuilder. The BIG concern by the mechanics about the rebuilder seems to be oil leaks around the timing chain cover and accessories fitted incorrectly. I'm a little bewildered. A decent rebuilder should be able to completely disassemble and rebuild an engine without getting oil leaks or coolant leaks anywhere including the timing chain cover. A decent mechanic should be able to work with a decent rebuilder to take the engine out and refit it and there are no leaks from anything. Despite telling all parties we want to get the engine rebuilt no one really wanted to take the job on. There are few second hand Navara D22 with ZD30 engines around us. We're kinda stuffed. Can anyone tell me what is a decent 4x4 that we can get lots of kms out of that isn't going die of cancer with a succession of component failures such as turbo, injector pump, overheating, cracked piston, warped head and so on. MY wife and I run a small farm on the smell of an oily rag. We have enough troubles with drought, fencing, selling our animals and feed without getting messed about by mechanics and rebuilders that don't get on or won't warranty their work? How do we get around this ? Suggestions appreciated.
 

Horatius

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Sounds like your mechanics have plenty of (easier) work to do, and couldn't be bothered. Out of curiosity, how often did you service this vehicle, and which mechanic did the servicing? Would be a bit rough not wiling to help you out, willing to take your money for servicing and dropping you like a stone when there is some real work to do. So much for loyalty.

The mechanics won't have to provide a warranty for the engine regarding leaks and so on (only on the ancillaries they install) the rebuilder would be liable for that. Sounds like they couldn't be bothered.

It won't seem like it, but you'll struggle to get a more robust ute for the time it was built than that model navara. Perhaps a reasonable 2nd/h SR5 hilux? Though you'll pay top dollar for one of those and there's no guarantee with any car you buy. An Isuzu? They seem to have very reliable motors.

There are other things to consider, such as do you really need a 4wd or will rwd do? Need a dual cab, or will ute do? Petrol or diesel? That sort of thing will affect the price hugely.
 

tweak'e

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Can anyone tell me what is a decent 4x4 that we can get lots of kms out of that isn't going die of ......
landcruiser or patrol (4.2).
utes are light weight and you pay the price for that. however (when new) you can buy at least 2 hiluxs to a landcruiser (or 3 navaras at the time).
we have the same thing at work.

the re-builders and mechanics sounds weird.
the only thing the re-builder has to do is the block. the rest is the mechanic.
the only thing a mechanic can't do is the machining of the block, so i don't know what your mechanics are smoking.

is the head off the engine at the moment?
 

Horatius

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The last rebuild I had done via a mechanic it was sent away and arrived almost ready to go. The mechanic only had to put all the outside bits on, manifolds, water pump, distributor, belts and so on. As well as install it and get it going of course. Maybe I'm confusing that with an exchange (reco) engine?

At any rate they are basically saying they aren't confident enough to do the job lol. Seems more likely they already have enough work.
 
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