Reverend Zach's diesel

Once again Tom and Ray have displayed their lack of knowledge about diesels. I had the same problem Reverend Zach is having on my 2000 Golf TDI. Everyone knows there are only two things to keep a gasoline engine from working: bad gas or bad spark. With a diesel it’s even simpler: bad fuel. The first thing a diesel owner should do when he/she has a problem is change the fuel filter. That fixed my Golf’s unwillingness to start. I’m Reverend Zach should change his fuel filter/filters, if that doesn’t help (my bet is it does,) then he can begin to look for other problems in the fuel system. A bad fuel pump is much more likely than low compression.

I have to suggest you have greatly simplified both gassers and diesels.

Everyone knows there are only two things to keep a gasoline engine from working: bad gas or bad spark. With a diesel it’s even simpler: bad fuel.

See what happens if your Anti-shudder valve sticks or the 109 relay takes a  trip.  :-)   

I did not hear or read Tom and Rays comments so I can't offer an opinion on them directly.

I actually heard the show for a change and I thought they were definitely on the wrong path because, at least as I heard it, the caller said the engine wasn’t turning over fast enough and that if he recruited some people to push it he could get it to start. If it were low compression like Tom & Ray said, the thing would probably turn over faster than usual if anything and push starting it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.

I don’t think I’m familiar enough with Land Rover TDI engines to really comment on what the problem actually is, but I’ll bet it’s something with the charging/starting system. Also they said if it was low compression, it’d cost $6000 to rebuild-- I’ll bet you can get that done a lot cheaper in Kenya!

Oversimplified does not adaquately address your post. Things go bad when you start a sentence with “Everyone knows” and it went down hill fast from there.

While I did not hear this particular show, I do agree that T and R have something missing when it comes to automotive diagnosis. That’s been proven more than once on both gas and diesel.

However, I also think you’re oversimplifying reasons for a gas or diesel engine no-start condition.
There’s a number of reasons for both engine types with the gas engines having many more possibilities.

If the engine was not cranking over fast enough then this would point to a weakened battery and/or dragging starter motor. Both have to be in top shape to turn a diesel over.

When I worked for VW (and assuming the battery and starter are good) the first things we always looked at for a no-start condition was glow plug operation followed by checking the compression.

We had a Rabbit diesel towed in from another shop the car ran just really poor (no power).It turns out the injection timing was off they did not time it on number 1,it was just a guess that I had to check the injection timing,so there are reasons other than fuel for a diesel to run poorly (this one was self inflicted)

Well, when cold starting a diesel everything has to be working. In addition to your stated fuel filters you must also be sure the fuel is winterized and not cloudy or waxy. If the fuel’s not winterized it’ll re-clog your new filters right off. A fully charged capable battery is a must. You have to be able to spin the engine to have any hope of starting a compression ignition. Even a new battery can be down to 50% efficiency in cold weather. The starter must be working perfectly as well. All of the glow plugs (if so equipped)must be working properly. If even on chamber isn’t pre-heating in can be a no start. As said, the fuel distributor must be in perfect time as well, or there’s no, or insufficient, fuel in the chamber to compress ignite.
Compression is a factor. If the valves aren’t adjusted just right your compression goes right out the valve opening. A worn out engine that won’t hold compression in all cylinders will also be hard starting and down on power. In cold weather, of course it’d be a no go. Lastly, an unimpeded air flow through a clean air filter is critical.

So, I and others here, certainly don’t want to disrespect you, but there is a LOT more than fuel filters that go into a non-starting diesel.

It could be that in this case that someone may have replaced the timing belt and after doing that job retiming the injection pump was an absolute must.
Since this required half a dozen special tools maybe the other shop did not have them and figured no harm, no foul.

There was enough movement in the pump bolt mounting holes to throw the pump timing off a mile.
Those old VW diesels were pretty anemic even on a good day and rolling downhill!