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Land Rover Repair/Disco burning oil, clouds blue smoke


QUESTION: Hello John,
I hope you can help me with some advice please. I'm desperate now and at wits end. Spent a lot on a complete engine overhaul on my '98 disco 300tdi & the turbo cartridge replaced,(this is not a job I could do so my mechanic worked on it and seemingly did a good job). He thought any smoke now was oil remaining in exhaust, however after one week on road it got progressively worse with blue smoke again. It's very bad and embarrassing of course. Seems to be running ok except for burning up the oil! Level dropping fast as you might expect. Diesel pump was also overhauled, by the way. Any advice would be much appreciated, this is my workhorse and I need it working properly.
Thank you,

ANSWER: I would look for problems in the crankcase breather system.  Another possibility may be the vacuum pump

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thank you very much for your prompt reply, but how would the vacuum pump cause the smoking?

I'm in the USA, and you are not, so this may or may not apply to you.

Some of the trucks have engine driven vacuum pumps, and they have diaphragms which - when torn - can allow the vacuum pump to suck oil out of the motor.  Mercedes 300 diesels were kind of notorious for this in the 1980s.  I have seen a few Land Rovers with this issue but don't know which motors it applies to.

If it's not that I would look at the possibility the crankcase breather system is not working and pressure is building up so oil is pushed from the breather pipe into the engine intake.

This can be a PCV valve problem, collapsed hoses, or it can be something worse - like excess blow by pressure form worn piston rings  

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John Elder Robison


I own J E Robison Service in Springfield, MA. We are Bosch Car Service for Land Rover, BMW, Mercedes, and other European lines. I can answer most questions about Land Rover service or repair. I'm known as a car enthusiast, machine aficianado, photographer, writer, and speaker. I've been around Land Rovers and British cars most of my life. Visit me at my car business, or my author website, Check out my autism and writing blog at or my photos on John Elder Robison


I have been a Land Rover service manager since Land Rover returned to North America in 1987. My company is a four-star Bosch Car Service facility, known nationwide for Land Rover service, overhaul, customization, and restoration. In addition to Land Rover our company services BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls_Royce, and Bentley motorcars. We have factory-plus-level service capability for all makes. Visit my company online at > service > land rover Also visit my blog at


In the Land Rover world, my writing can be found in various print magazines and online at robisonservice.blogspot,com. In the wider publishing world, my work is published by 20 publishers in over 50 countries. Mt books Look Me in the Eye, Be Different and Raising Cubby have made US and international bestseller lists.

I am ASE certified, Bosch Trained, and trained by Omnitec/T4 and Autologic on their Land Rover test systems.

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