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101 Forward Control Land Rover pages

V8 engine swap

We finally came to realise that the old engine was well passed its best. Low oil pressure, nasty rumblings and lots of stripped thread on manifolds etc all told us that an engine swap was in order. We asked Steve Graham ( to keep his eye open for one, and he found a very good replacement at a good price. Thanks to Steve! It was a much later engine from a Range Rover - fuel injected and automatic - so I had to do a fair amount of swapping around to prepare it ready for carbs and the manual gearbox. The pictures and words below chronicle the story!

What the manual doesn't tell you.
Before I go on with the story, here are some things that I learned by doing the job, but it doesn't tell you in the 'green bible' (ie the Workshop Manual):

  • Do NOT leave the vehicle with the centre diff locked. It seems like a good idea to lock the diff, because you'll be jacking, but you'll need to turn a wheel to get the splines engaged in the clutch on refitting and having the diff locked means that you'll need to lift two wheels (as I found).
  • Take a careful (to the mm) measurement of the vertical distance between the front of the gearbox or bellhousing and a fixed point on the vehicle - it'll help alignment when you return the engine.
  • The internal position of the engine means that the final mating of engine and gearbox really is a two-person job - one to push and the other to steer. I did it alone, but it took a long time and a lot of running around - you'd be well advised to get a friend on that day!
  • Using some long (preferably cross-head or Torx) screwdrivers through the holes in the bellhousing and in to the engine bolt holes greatly eases alignment. I used 5 (three on top and two at the bottom).
  • The crane is a Clarke long reach, 1 tonne jobby from Machine Mart - and the jib was at full stretch when plucking the engine out. You need something long to do this job!
  • The manual offers two ways of removing the engine - upwards and downwards. I chose upwards, but I've already removed the partition between the cab and the rear (remember mine's an ambulance). It would have been nigh-on impossible to do this alone upwards and with the partition in place.

PART ONE - acquisition and adaptation of replacement engine

The 'new' engine arrives. 1986 3.5 litre V8 Efi (9.35:1 CR). Much of the gubbins on the front will have to come off (power steering pump and air con compressor for example). You can see here that it was from an automatic Range Rover - the torque converter is on the left of the picture and the fuel injection system on top. Up on to a table to work on it easily. The fuel injection system, manifolds, torque converter and so on removed. (Holes stuffed with newspaper to stop bits falling in to the cylinders.)
Here's the pile of bits taken off - to be replaced with parts swapped from the old unit. These'll go on to Ebay. And these are the three broken socket extension bars it took to remove the front crankshaft bolt (necessary to take the huge front pulley off).    

PART TWO - Removal of old engine

The old engine in situ and complete. From the front with the radiator and oil cooler removed. Gearlever, alternator etc removed and sling attached. Front door off, wheel off (to get the crane close enough in) and seat removed.
Straight up and level with the seat boxes. Then pulled out and rested on the n/s seat box to allow for the sling to be repositioned (the door opening is only JUST high enough to allow the engine and crane boom through). Once out, the engine can be lowered safely to the ground. Leaving the gearbox in place.

PART THREE - Swapping and reconditioning parts

Two engines more or less side by side, to make the swapping of the parts easier. The new one is on the table, already partially stripped - see part 1 above. Now the water pump is off, since it needs the earlier version so that the pulleys line up. A new one is in the box on the floor. You may think you've already seen this, but a closer look will reveal that the rocker covers have been transferred across now (necessary because the breather system is difference on the carb engine from the Efi). Speaking of the breather system, the tube needed to be transferred from the hole indicated above to the new engine - on the new engine this was blanked off by a little core plug (easily knocked out). Here is the inlet gubbins, cleaned and throttle linkages reset. On the right you can see the oil pump base from the old engine, which needs to be transferred if the oil cooler is retained. I wondered about this, but decided to keep it (apart from anything else, the oil temp gauge fits in the cooler, and I hate it when gauges don't work).

The flywheel is now installed, and here is the new spigot bearing about to be inserted into the end of the crankshaft. Since this engine came off an auto, it didn't have the bearing. A new one costs 97p, but it's essential. Yes, I had remembered to soak it in oil for a couple of days, and I popped it in the freezer overnight to shrink it a bit before insertion. The studs on the new water pump were a fraction too long, and jammed on the viscous fan drive, so I ground the nose off the studs (without touching the threads). The two furthest away on this shot are done, the other two are not - it only needed a mm or so. Getting back together nicely now .. That's the fan back on (with viscous coupling) for checking, and the inlet manifold. Here's the new exhaust manifold that I had to fit since the old one fell to pieces.

And here you can see the old exhaust manifold on the other side - still intact. This is the modification I had to make to the water pump bypass hose. The EFI timing cover has a slightly different position for the hose connection, so the hose had to be lengthened by the insertion of a bit of 22mm copper pipe. The final job on this phase of the swap is fitting the new clutch. Here it is, carefully aligned using the home-made clutch alignment tool (made from one of the broken 1/2" socket drive bars with the addition of some tape). And here is the completed engine - all ancillaries (alternator, oil filter etc etc) in place, and ready for Part 4 - putting it back in! The alternator and fan are only on to check that eveything is OK - the engine won't fit back in with these in place.

PART FOUR - replacement

Off we go again - N/S door and wheel off and the new engine comes in on the crane. Getting it back in through the door and resting it on the seat box. If you're following this, remember that the engine won't go in with the fan fitted - it's only on here because it looks good for the photos! Swinging it round ready to be dropped down. See the note below for detail of this part. Then the load is taken up by a hoist suspended from timber across the cab.
Lining the engine up with the gearbox is critical, and achieving this at the same time as moving the engine backwards with a crane that is at an angle through the door proved impossible for me working alone. This was the reason for using the internal hoist to do the final drop in to position.



This arrangement allowed millimeter perfect alignment adjustments. The round picture shows the red and black ratchet strap on the front of the engine allowed it to be tilted. And here it the engine "in". The red ratchet strap was used to pull the engine in to place. Finally connected up and running (this is running, although it doesn't look it because the flash has "stopped" the fan). Proof of drivability! It moves under its own power!

Well, that's it. It finished and it runs beautifully! It's been in to Wayne Jackson and his colleagues at Stoneacre to tune it up and check it over and they have pronounced it a good engine. The tweaks they did to it have made it sound even nicer! AND it has oil pressure - even when hot.