Engine of choice would have to be a 'breathed on' Rover 4.6 V8 but anything 'Rover' and 'V8' could be going in. Really depends on how much budget is left as it's the last thing to consider.

UPDATE @ 16/02/03: I found, via the classifieds section on www.rover-v8.co.uk , a JE-built (well known Rover V8 tuners) 3.9 litre unit from a Land-Rover Discovery that had been fitted with a mild cam upgrade as well as mild cylinder head mods. It was currently fitted into a Rover SDI but had been re-built for another car a few years previous, with the current seller John (jgough@rdpdisplays.com) claiming only 30K miles in total since the rebuild, as he knew the previous owner of the engine and the car it was originally fitted into. The engine was being advertised at 1,250 ono but it appeared that this was for the engine assembly only, rather than 'turnkey' with alternator, starter, flywheel, injection system etc. that I needed. However, he said that he had quite good Rover resources and could supply all the parts I needed, including flapper injection system for 1,400, or hotwire injection system for 1600. It sounded good.

I spoke to John on the phone and he sounded genuine, certainly not phased by my in depth questioning so we arranged a date and luckily he was only an hour away from me. The engine was still in the car which was ideal. I heard it start from cold, we went for a drive and I also gave it another good going over when we got back and it was stinking hot. I really couldn't find anything wrong at all. No smoke on idle, cruise or full load, and only the tiniest of puffs when revving up to 4K from idle a few times. John even offered to do the revving while I watched the tailpipe like a hawk. There were no odd noises, rattles or bangs. Oil pressure was 60psi cold, and about 45psi when warm @ 2.5K rpm. No problem there.

John informed me that he was only selling it to help fund his 4.5 race car and was going to put a standard 3.5 back in so he could sell the SDI. Not once did I get the impression that he was hiding anything and we shook hands at the price agreed for the whole lot including the flapper injection. I had agreed to buy the hotwire system but the guy who was passing it on to John was obviously an idiot and the deal never came through. It has to be said that the hotwire is a better setup but at the current tune of the engine it will suffice no problem, although it would be nice to have the later system on there if the engine is tweaked further.

To confirm my trust with John, he even asked me if I wanted to come back and hear the flapper system working on the engine (he had it fitted with his own modified flapper system) just to make sure everything was OK. I left it until the last minute and said that it wasn't necessary.

To summarise, I didn't get the 4.2 or 4.6 that I originally wanted, but I had subsequently heard that a 4.6 needs to be modified in several areas to rev as freely and highly as a 3.9 so that put me off a bit as I didn't have unlimited funds. So that left a 4.2 which would have been nice but I feel that the sheer ability to hear a used engine running is worth it's weight in gold. I may have come accross an 'ideal' 4.2 on paper but it could have had it's ends hanging out once installed and fired up. Not only could you easily buy a lemon but you've then got the added aggro of taking it all back out again. I'm happy with what I got, and it was only 100 over my planned budget.

Pics below show the engine and all other parts as I received them
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Although the engine sounded fine and ran perfectly, I thought it wise to check and replace any worn parts whilst the engine was out. This was mainly due to the fact that the inlet manifold (or 'valley') gasket is prone to leakages on these engines so that needed to come off anyway. In all, I replaced the inlet, sump and rocker cover gaskets, fitted a new distributor cap and plugs, water pump and gasket. Both the water pump and air con belts were also new. While I was at it I also renewed the injector O rings and the small fuel supply hoses. The main and big end clearances actually measured up fine, as did the bore clearances but I had the bearings and pistons/rings replaced as well anyway. The old SDI engine mounts were removed and replaced with new ones from Parallel (which I believe are Land Rover ones) which suit their chassis mounts. I dis-assembled the oil pump and packed it well with vaseline to help get the oil pressure up on initial cranking. This procedure is EXTREMELY important for this engine if left for any amount of time. Lastly, I attached the oil cooler sandwich plate onto the oil pump before fitting a new oil filter.

My 'turnkey' engine was pretty much complete but one final thing I noticed was that whoever the fool was that removed it from the car felt that the 3 fuel injection relays were obviously highly valuble so they decided to remove them. Nice one. Turns out that the relays are quite specific (one of them has a built-in delay for the fuel pump) and they aren't exactly easy to get, nor cheap at about 80 for all of them! I finally managed to get a set from Parallel but it's worth checking you have them if you are buying a so-called 'turnkey'.

I found I had to make up some pipework to go from the engine to the Parallel piping kit. The Parallel piping kit gets you very much in the ballpark but I think theres just do many variations of Rover engine that it's impossible to make a generic kit. For the water pump connection, I used a combination of the original Rover pipe and a stainless steel 90 degree bend into the Parallel silicone hose of the piping kit. For the top hose, I found a 45 degree rubber hose from a motor factors with a similar 36mm i.d. This goes straight from the thermostat housing on the engine into the Parallel silicone top hose. Connections to the warning sensors (water temp, oil pressure and alternator charge light) and oil pressure sensor for the gauge were all straightfoward. Also easy were the connections from the battery to the starter solonoid, solonoid trigger feed and alternator to solonoid charge line. Fuel in and return were run from the tank down the nearside and 'P' clipped to the chassis rails. I covered both the pipes with thermo sleeve to protect them from the heat of the exhaust manifolds. I also connected the fuel pump feed wire and earthed the pump to the chassis.

 

INJECTION SYSTEM

I am using an early 'flapper' type fuel injection system and this is relatively easy to wire up. The engine loom is straightfoward and for the engine side has plugs for the injectors and various sensors which are pretty much self explanatory. The only connections I had to get the system running were hook up a permanent live (25 amp), a switched live (15amp) a cranking trigger (doesn't need to be fused) and a fuel pump feed out (15 amp). So, 4 connections are needed to run the whole setup. Not bad. All the wires required to carry this out can be found in the cabin and this is handy because this is where the ECU should be anyway. Mine went behind the passenger seat, mainly because the Rover loom doesn't really have enough slack on it to put it anywhere else. I cut into the main loom that goes from the front to the back of the car and located the main power input from the battery (Parallel colour brown) and spliced into it with some hefty cable of the same dimensions. This was then brought up into a 4 way fusebox I bought, and fitted with a 25 amp blade fuse. I then located the white wire on the Parallel loom and spliced into that, bringing it up to the fusebox and fitting a 15 amp blade fuse. Then I found the red/white wire on the Parallel loom and spliced into it, bringing it directly to the Rover wire. Lastly, I cut the wire that originally went from the Parallel loom up to the fuel pump. I insulated off the end that came from the front off the car and left it. This will now not be used and is only really needed if powering a fuel pump for a carburetted car. I extended the remaining end which went up to the fusebox and was fused with a 15amp blade. In short, the wiring colours needed are:

Parallel brown wire: To Rover brown wire
Parallel white wire: To Rover white wire
Parallel red/white wire: To Rover red/white wire
Parallel green/white wire to fuel pump input: To Rover white/purple wire

There is a 5th wire on the Rover loom, a thin brown. This is not used unless you are building an automatic (unlikley :-)

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The picture above left shows the areas of the Rover injection system. The numbering relates to the part as follows:

1. Dual earths. It is reccomended that you earth these to two separate points to obtain the best chance of getting a top notch earth for the system.
2. ECU connector. This is straightfoward to clip onto the ECU and can only go on one way.
3. Main power connector. You will need to cut this off and use a new pair of connectors. I used a 5-way (only 4 connections are needed though).
4. Injector relay.
5. System relay.
6. Fuel pump relay.
7. Airflow meter connector plug. This is straightfoward and can only go on one way.
8. Injector resistor pack.
9. Bunched joiners. These are produced when the loom was originally made and are left untouched.
10. Coil trigger. This must be fitted to the negative side of the coil.

The picture above right shows the location of the airflow meter, airfilter and injector resistor pack.

 

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The picture above left shows the location of the ECU behind the passenger seat. To be honest there really isn't many places it can go- the loom is pretty short and you won't be able to mount is more than a couple of inches radius away from where I did. It's screwed to the bulkhead with self-tapping bolts and sit's there nice and secure. And no, the bolts sitting on top of the box are not for fixing the ECU- they are for my seats! The next two pictures shows me making up an MDF cover for the ECU which is actually an SVA requirement, after which I trimmed it with thin 'base box' material that can be bought from in-car hi-fi shops. I used this rather than carpet because it is much easier to fold around corners, and really isn't much different visibly than the surrounding carpet.

The picture above centre right shows the location of some relays. These are (left to right) air con fan relay and air con pump relay. A 4-way fusebox for EFI 1, EFI 2, fuel pump and aircon fuses. The 3 relays to the right are all part of the injection system and are (I believe) for the fuel pump, injector resistor pack and overall system.

 

CLUTCH

The clutch was again a new item, supplied by Parallel. The one I went for was rated up to 300bhp so was fine for my purposes. They do supply another- up to 200bhp but seeing as my engine was sold as 'about 230bhp' I decided to go for the higher rated unit, especially as it's only an extra 50. Although the clutch cover is regular Rover, the centre plate is one specially modified with a Renault spline to suit the gearbox. The release bearing is a unique part, along with the bellhousing. Both are described in more detail on the 'Gearbox' page or by clicking here.

 

OIL COOLER

Naz suggested that although the oil cooler isn't strictly necessary on a car that is unlikely to see the racetrack, I decided to go for one anyway as 95 isn't a lot of money and I've always been very sympathetic towards oil temps and the quality of the oil itself. Naz had seen 130deg C on the track without a cooler which is what prompted him to fit one. 130 deg C is way excessive, and I figured that even on the road it would hit 100 degrees which is still on the high side for my liking. I prefer around 90 deg. max and hopefully I should achieve that.

The kit as supplied by Parallel is nothing special- just a 13 row cooler and basic fittings (i.e. not Aeroquip or suchlike) and the oil pipe supplied wasn't reinforced which I had my doubts about so I bought some 'proper' reinforced high pressure oil pipe pipe from a local motorport store. I'm sure you could put the kit together for less than the 95 Parallel charge but I couldn't be bothered trying to find out the correct oil filter sandwich plate sizes and type.

I mounted the cooler right near to the offside air duct. Pretty much the whole cooler gets a direct blast of cold air. Make sure you mesh the ducts as road debris will make a right mess of the cooler fins after a year or so.

The bottom of the cooler is mounted to a right-angle bracket which is then mounted to the chassis rail. The top is bolted to another bracket which is then fibreglassed to the body shell. Using this method the cooler is fixed very solid.

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FUEL PUMP & FUEL FILTER

Naz told me that he used a pump & filter setup from a BMW, mainly because it is compact, neat and has ample fuel flow for the Rover V8 engine. I'm not sure what model BMW is used as I just ordered the lot from Naz. It comes with the mounting bracket too, and does a nice job of holding everything together as well as bolting straight up to the mounting lugs which were pre-welded to my chassis by Parallel. It doesn't get much easier than that.

fuelpump.jpg (40127 bytes)

 

AIR CON PUMP MOUNTING

I was quite lucky with my engine in that it came with a bracket bolted to the block that the power steering pump normally bolted to in the SDI it came from. As I wasn't using power steering in my replica I decided to modify it a little and use it to mount the pump. There really wasnt much needed. All I did was weld in a 3rd (rear) mounting for the pump to hold it firmly then made up an adjusting strap to go between the pump and the fixed bracket. It works well, and all I did was take the drive from the original power steering V groove on the Rover front pully. Unfortunately the front pully only allows the use of one belt (the air con pump has provision for two) but I will run it and see how it goes. If I suffer from prematurely wearing belts or slippage I'll revise the setup. I found out that the location of my aircon pump is VERY close to the chassis where the engine mounts are. We're talking about 5 mill clearance but as it's in the front/back plane it should be OK. It's one thing I'll be checking closely when the engine is up and running and I can load up the transmission to get some engine movement.

 

WATER CONNECTIONS

*IMPORTANT- see update at end of section*

With nothing ever being easy on kitcars, I should have known that even getting water in and out of the engine would need some work. The Parallel 'cooling pipe kit' certainly gets you in the ballpark as to where the water in and out needs to be, but some work is actually required to get it on the engine. I found the top hose (into the thermostat) needed a sharper angle than could be found from the Parallel parts, and the bottom hose (from the water pump) also needed a piece of bent tube to go from the original Rover pipe to the Parallel one. Neither of the jobs in itself is expensive but I spent a fair bit of time under the car trying out various pipes and bends trying to get something that would work nicely, and the top hose can only really be got at from inside the engine bay so it was with a lot of mirth from my neighbours that I had to jump in and out of the bay and work around the engine like an ambidextrous chimpanzee. I got there in the end, but it was fair to say that what should have been a fairly easy job turned into a bit of a drama.

Top hose (to thermostat housing):
The housing I had pointed up at a much sharper angle than the Parallel water pipe that was coming to meet it. I could get the pipe on, but it was kinked so badly that hardly any water would have got through. I rumaged around at my work and managed to find a rad hose (probably from some Japanese car) which had about a 35 degree bend in it, and did the job nicely. Truth be told, it's just not quite enough of a bend but I'm confident that the water flow is not being restricted in any way so I kept it.

 

 

Bottom hose (to water pump):
Again, thankfully working in a car workshop meant I could rummage around and found a piece of pipe which was exactly what I wanted in terms of diameter and it was even stainless steel to boot. Only problem was that it was a 90 degree bend, and I needed about 45 degrees. So, I cut the pipe in the middle of the bend then welded a straight piece of pipe to it which gave me a 45 degree bend. Easy you would think, but by christ the pipe was hard to cut. Stainless steel is rock-hard at the best of times, and the fact that the bit of pipe I had found was extra-thick walled stuff that we use for exhaust manifolds didn't make it any easier. Still, I got there in the end.

Heater matrix connections:
Not having much experience with the Rover engine I wasn't sure where I was supposed to be taking water from for the heater box. I got my answers from a combination of the workshop manuals and the forum. On my waterpump I had a stub coming out of the top of the fat pipe that normally goes to the rad, and a stub coming out of the back which extends all the way under the inlet manifold to come out at the rear of the engine. With only 2 water takeoffs that I could see I wondered how it would all work bearing in mind I also had my header tank feed to consider. After some head scratching, I found that the pipe coming from the back of the inlet manifold was the pressure inlet to the heater box, and the stub on the top of the fat rad pipe on the water pump was the return from the heater box. I also found out that the original Rover had the header tank feeding into the top of the original rad (which I wasn't using) so I had to make up yet another piece of stainless pipe with a takeoff incorporated . This I placed in the top rad hose which is where most header tanks feed so I guessed it would work on the Rover too. I had to use two 90 degree plastic bends on the heater box pipes just after they came through the bulkhead to bring them away from the front of the engine, and I also had to use one on the pipe coming from the back of the inlet manifold to avoid kinking the rubber pipe I used as it would otherwise have to turn through 180 degrees. I also decided to use a 90 degree bend on the return pipe just before the water pump connection as it would help to keep the water level as low down as possible. The whole setup looks like it contains a LOT of feet of pipe (and it does) and the water does have to go through quite a tortuous journey to get in and out of the heater but it seems to work fine.

19mm bore (3/4") pipe was used from the header tank to the engine, and 16mm (5/8") pipe was used for the heater box piping. All pipe is reinforced hose which is good enough for high-pressure engine oil applications so I knew it would be fine for the relatively low water pressure required.

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Above: pics showing heaterpipes

 

*UPDATE*

Connecting the header tank into the top hose coming out of the thermostat is not correct. The header tank must be teed into the pipe that goes to the bottom hose, or the heater matrix return pipe. I found that with the setup shown above, I was hitting 100 deg C and the temperature was very erratic. After modifying the feed the car is rock solid around 80~85 deg C. To rectify, I done away with my homemade T adaptor that was in the top hose (complete with the hose either side) and fitted a single 90 degree water pipe from the aluminium rad pipe to the engine, and fitted a T piece into the heater matrix return to connect the header tank to.

 

FIRING UP

Do not, under any circumstances, fire up the engine if it has been sitting around for a while and especially not if you have had the engine drained of oil for any length of time. My engine had been sitting around with no oil for a while, so it was necessary to 'prime' the oil pump. This is essential. I have read that you will NEVER get oil pressure on a Rover engine that has been sitting around unless you do this. It involves removing the end plate off the oil pump and jamming as much vaseline inside the workings as you can. It actually takes a fair bit of the stuff. This then cretes a nice 'suction' when you start spinning the engine and will help suck the oil up the pipe, into the pump and on to the engine.

Once the pump is primed and the end plate replaced, blow the crud out from around the spark plugs and remove all of them. You will need to get the engine spinning as fast as possible on the starter motor to have any chance of getting the oil pressure up. Also make sure that the battery is fully charged. You don't want it clapping out halfway through because you will then have to re-prime everything again. When you're happy that the engine is ready to get oil pressure, draw a big breath and turn that key...

I had my engine cranking for what seemed like hours, in bursts of say 20 seconds, only leaving a couple of seconds or so between bursts (don't leave it any longer than that) to allow the starter motor and battery to recover a little. In reality, it probably took 10 minutes but thats an awful long time to get oil pressure up and just goes to show that without priming the pump it would never had happened. I really thought that it wasn't going to happen for me, and I wasn't far off giving up. The battery felt the same way I think and it got to the stage where the engine was noticeably getting a little slower so it was with great relief when I finally saw the red engine light go out and the needle on the oil pressure gauge start to move. It hit a max of 2 bar which on the relatively low cranking rpm is fine.

In hindsight, it would have been better to remove the oil cooler sandwich plate and get pressure up before refitting the plate, cooler and lines and trying again. The oil cooling system takes a fair bit of oil and so to prime all of it, as well as the engine in one go is asking a lot.

Once you're happy that the pressure is up, replace the spark plugs. Fill the system with coolant (if you haven't already) and allow plenty of time for it to work it's way around the rads, pipes and engine, checking for leaks at every point. When the system isn't taking on any more water, turn the ignition to 'on' and listen for the injection relays to click to make sure that the system is powered up. Finally, make sure that there is plenty of fuel is in the tank (sounds obvious but hey).

At the firing up stage, I would reccomend that you get a friend to help keep an eye on everything. Having 4 eyes looking for problems is a lot more effective than 2, and if you have any fuel, water or oil leaks then you need to find them asap because it could get nasty. Finally, turn the key and go for it. When the engine eventually fires, try and keep the engine at a high idle to ensure oil gets to all the moving parts asap and constantly check for any leaks. When the engine is getting up to temp you want to keep you eye on when the thermostat opens (by feeling the top hose and seeing when it gets hot) as you will more than likely need to get a fair bit more coolant in there when it does. If all is OK, and no leaks are found, continue running the engine whilst all the time keeping another eye on the temp gauge. If the temp appears to remain stable at around the halfway mark, keep on running until at least one rad fan cuts in. If the fan comes on fine you are pretty much there. Make another final check of any leaks (including the exhaust system) and if all is OK then give yourself a pat on the back!

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And of course....the view 'out back' through the glass panel....

The following pics were taken when the engine bay was 100% completed, including the fitment of the engine bay blanking panels.

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