Rover V8 build log

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bash
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Rover V8 build log

Post by bash »

Just throwing this into the mix to see what response I get. Im currently putting a Rover V8 in a SE.
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Is anybody interested in a build log from me just in case anybody else wants to do it. But, if I do I dont want to enter any debates about taking the Lotus engine out, after all not many Lotii had a Lotus engine in the first case, and secondly, its my car so Ill do to it what I like. Ive seen conversions for other cars on other websites where the thread gets taken over by people winging about originality, I dont want that to happen here. Contributions gratefully accepted but I will only do the thread as an aid to someone else as daft as me.
Just to put some background to it, Ive had my car over 20 years so Im very attached to it, Its currently on a sorn for the first time ever and Im currently working on it. Im not going to do anything to it that cannot be put back easily, and it will look the same as before from the outside. Im keeping the original drivetrain just in case I want to return it in the future. Im not trying to get extra performance I just want a usable car......with the V8.
So, any comments ?

Bash
Last edited by bash on Fri Jan 01, 2021 16:26, edited 2 times in total.
On a mission to find the airspeed velocity of a european swallow.

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Hawaiis0
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Re: RV8 build

Post by Hawaiis0 »

Brakes
Diff
Gearbox
:D
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amarshall
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Re: RV8 build

Post by amarshall »

Go for it - and if anyone misbehaves hit the red exclamation mark to call down the hammer of the moderators ;)
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Jason.goad
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Re: RV8 build

Post by Jason.goad »

I think a build log would be very helpful. After all it takes different strokes to move the would. What y' talkin' 'bout Willis?
Good luck

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Re: RV8 build

Post by richardw »

I'd be most interested in what you do regarding the final drive. In my view, the V8 will need a higher ratio than the standard 3.7. I know people have fitted Jag diffs etc in the past but is there a compatible Toyota diff available? If this could be solved then I think the v8 conversion would make a brilliant car, and I'd be tempted!

ATB Richard
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Re: RV8 build

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

....your car, but please do it without a bonnet bulge .... :)
Peter K

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Re: RV8 build

Post by Pete Boole »

V8 - Good plan 8). Fuel injected or on a four-barrel? - I can't remember now. Are you using Rover exhaust manifolds or having some fabricated? You will probably need an oil pump take-off and a remote filter - I seem to remember that the oil filter gets in the way of the steering rack - check out "Think Automotive" for parts. Keep us updated - take some photos!

Pete

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Re: RV8 build

Post by fueltheburn »

The rover v8 seems to cook the starter motor wire due to proximity of the manifolds - insulate the red/white wire with a sleeve before attaching or installing the engine.
The v8 sits in without the need for a bonnet bulge using a low rise inlet and pancake filter as shown in you pic.
Crossover inlets and ITBs would look and sound amzing though!!
The MSD atomic seems a hell of a good compromise between a 4 barrel carb and efi all in a neat package :mrgreen: The MSD atomic has a self learning feature for fuelling, so long as you set-up the ignition properly beforehand.

The standard diff of the SE will give you a top speed of <110mph especially if using 205/50/15 tyres. This may sound like a hinderance but its actually an absolute hoot! You are always in the power! Fuel economy for mine on this setup was circa 18-22 mpg

With the the Rover manifolds mated to the excel exhaust system before the centre box it is very quiet. The loudest thing will be induction roar.... do the world a favour, release the beast.
everybody loves the sound of a v8. Remove the centre box or make it smaller and make the world a happier place :mrgreen:

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bash
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Re: RV8 build

Post by bash »

Ok, here goes.
Just a bit of background.
Theres a couple of reasons I want to do this, noise and economics. the Rover V8 might not be as powerful as it sounds, but in my opinion its one of the best sounding engines ever. Before getting the excel Id had some TVRs with V8s and loved them, particularly for the sound.
Economics, a tricky one this because if you went and bought all the stuff for this conversion in one go its a close call. But, Ive been planning this for double figure years, and I had a job that took me around many garages, recovery agents and scrapyards which allowed me to gather some selective stuff over a long period of time. With regard to the RV8 Ive bought bits carefully when the price was right without going silly on specification. Some purchases have been lucky too, being in the right place at the right time, and some purchases have been from forum members whos advice has been great.
Ive gathered about 4 RV8s, some in component form, over the years and later Ill fill in what and why Ive used some combinations of bits from different engines. Ive also gathered some bits, but not used them.
The first lucky break was about 10 years ago. I was in a scrapyard near to Sheffield when I came across a mk2 Elite with one side stoved in after a meeting with a barrier. I got talking to the guy who brought it in and it turned out the owner had found the barrier on a track day at Castle Combe, but I didnt have time that day to look at it and I knew that not much would fit mine. I happened to be there a few months later and peered under the bonnet to find a RV8, with a john wolfe racing inlet manifold and a Holley390, 4 barrel carb and a LT77 rover gearbox with the short remote for the gear lever. A remote oil filter and all the engine and gearbox mountings (none of which fit the Excel). Lucky for two reasons though, it only cost me 250 quid including all the ancillaries ! I did speak to the previous owner and it turned out that the car had cost him a fortune recently because the gearbox had been rebuilt too. So I had a good starting point.
As it happened I havnt used alot of that kit. I got a brand new weber 500 carb from a TVR member for very little money as his plans changed, and when I weighed the LT77, although I cant remember the numbers, its blinkin heavy compared to the W58 in the Lotus.
more to come.
Bash
On a mission to find the airspeed velocity of a european swallow.

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bash
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Re: RV8 build

Post by bash »

I did a load of research on gearboxs from Toyotas. Ive put a post up previously about this but a short version is that it turns out that the front face mounting bolt pattern on the W58 is identical to the pattern on some toyota 4x4s in the highlux range (g series gearboxes). It would appear that the front half of our gearboxes, where our gearbox split at the centre plate, is the same unit ( also used in some Jeeps in the US incidentally, and some Suzuki 4x4s ). In the 80s most Toyota pickups were used by farmers (unlike the curb mounters that use them now) because the drivetrain was just about unbreakable, unlike Landrovers, but the 4 cylinder engines were abit lacking in grunt when towing livestock trailers so a company called Milner (now gone apparently) converted some to RV8 power using a custom cast bellhousing. The bellhousings turned out to be made of unobtainium because they had just disappeared. So alot of enquiries tracked down the company that made the bellhousings in North Derbyshire, so I made a personal visit. Turned out that the company, Conversion and Precision, was a general engineering company and the bellhousings were a sideline to the car enthusiast owner of the company, but they didnt have any left. they did however still have the moulds and drilling jigs. So, at my risk with no return agreed they cast one up for me for a very reasonable amount of cash because of the circumstances, and the company owner didnt think it would fit the Lotus.
Well, it did fit, ( i had acquired a spare W58 for fitting up on the bench ) in that it bolted up to both the RV8 and the W58, that the input shaft length was correct ( big sigh of relief there I can tell you ) but that the spigot bearing on the end of the lotus input shaft needed removing to fit correctly. This was sorted by a bronze bush to the correct diameters later.
This sounds like a two minute job but actually took alot of sorting out, but I used a LT77 clutch release sleeve with the inner castellations machined out to the correct diameter for the W58 which is slightly larger than the LT77, Rangerover release bearing and and slightly modified arm, BMWmini pivot ball, Supra turbo friction plate, same splines as the W58 but 240mm diameter ( 215 in the lotus) same as a Rangerover pressure plate. The slave is a toyota highlux slave at the moment, but that might change. The access hole for the arm need abit of work. My access to scrapyard bits being useful in all of this process. Once sorted I bought new components.
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More to come

Bash
On a mission to find the airspeed velocity of a european swallow.

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Re: RV8 build

Post by Simpatico »

Looking forward to this tale! 8)
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bash
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Re: RV8 build

Post by bash »

Hope Im not going on about the background work too much but its important if anybody else wants to go down this route.
More on the drivetrain Im afraid. Forgot to mention in the last bit that the gearboxes might be Toyota gearboxes, but they are actually manufactured by a company called Aisin. Incidentally, there is nothing wrong with the rover Lt77 gearbox, its strong quite and quite reliable, had it in a few TVRs, they can be a bit reluctant to select first gear when cold but thats hardly a problem with a V8, just set off on second instead, I do it all the time with any car Ive had if there is a slight downhill slope anyway. I wanted to keep the Toyota box because it saves problems with sorting a prop, speedo drive and not having to make a gearbox mounting, Im using the Lotus one in my conversion. I havnt got a large garage by the way, Ive got a shed in the garden for some bits, but my garage is single garage length but wide enough to have a bench down one side. It does have a peaked roof though so some of the lighter stuff is up there. But I have managed to get 3 rover V8s, only one fully assembled ( laters), two W58s, one Lt77, one lotus engine some diffs, and a partridge in pear tree no doubt. So, you dont need a big space to do this. But I will need to tidy up when Ive done !!
Diffs. This is the one thats held me up the most because as already stated the existing diff can take the power, and it makes for a very quick car, I wanted something that I can use for long trips without breaking the bank for the fuel ( I am a Yorkshireman after all ).
When it comes to diffs, 3.9s and 4.1s are common. Limited slip diffs not so common. I came across one at work a few years ago and has been in the back of mine for some time now. It makes a difference though. At the end of the road where I live is a very steep slope onto a very fast road. Before I used to easily spin a wheel up getting out but the LSD helps to get up to speed quicker, as long as I dont spin up both wheels that is. If you go on the Celicasupra forums, which are mainly US based, aftermarket ones are commonly used there. As for ratios, everybody here knows that the SA's had a 3.7 ratio, which is better for my purposes and i managed to acquire one from one of our trusted members. The LSD can be bolted up into any of these cases by transfering the ring and pinion gears. Although its been covered here before, what is not so commonly known is that the ring and pinion gears were used in some live and 4x4 axles in the Toyota range, although they are not common. Toyota produced a 2wd petrol powered hilux that was sold mainly to the US and some of our cousins downunder, these came in a 3,58 ratio that is ideal for our purposes here, and even a 3.3 ratio ( dodo quality tho ). They also used some of them in the front axles of some 4x4s in the 3.58 ratios, but Im not sure if these would also fit, Cant get my head around the reversed pinion / wrong side drive issue here ( Im no where near as bright as I look..... ). Ive been on the hunt for a 3.58 for ages when I managed to buy one from another forum member who brought the ringgear and pinion back from the states in his hand luggage after a holiday, my type of bloke. I intend to put my LSD into this with some new clutches etc. There is loads of info on diff ratios on the web, just search 7.5", F series toyota diffs.
Incidentally, if anybody wants to see a really elegant well engineered alternative setup I would look under Pete Booles LS1 engined example. I hope Pete doesnt mind me 'grassing him up' here, buts hes a very good engineer. Hes managed to unite part of the lotus front diff mounting arrangement onto an axle case that was used in some later TVRs and Maserati's. LSD and good ratio being useful. Sorry Pete ! But an LS1 in an Excel is just brill.

Bash
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Re: RV8 build

Post by Pete Boole »

Thanks Bash. I don't mind! :oops: My engine is undergoing a rebuild at the mo. with forged internals and better flowing heads and a cam that will be better for the track. Aiming for 400 ft-lb at the wheels - will need that strong diff!

Pete

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bash
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Re: RV8 build

Post by bash »

On my hols for a bit now. As a holiday present I welded my foot making the engine mounts, more on that later..... the mounts that is not my foot.

Bash
On a mission to find the airspeed velocity of a european swallow.

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bash
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Re: RV8 build

Post by bash »

A tiny bit on Rover V8s. Specs for this are huge, as are the amount of know alls about the subject on the web, you can wade thro this if you can be bothered but its not worth getting into a discussion on the subject as some of the writers can get quite.... passionate about it.
A bit of very basic stuff tho, early 3.5s, 3.9s and some others use the same crank, capacity being governed by bore size. Compression ratio's vary hugely and is dictated by piston bowl design and all the heads are interchangeable. Alloy components mean hardened valves and seats. Later engines are stronger having 4 bolt bottom ends and are known as serpentine engines due to the front drivebelt arrangement, they also have a better cylinder head design with slightly larger ports, oils seals on the valve stems and use a composite head gasket. Very basic stuff here so anyone who knows about these engines will see that there is lots to talk about around these basics.
So, what have I gone for ?
My spec is a pretty basic one, Im not after a turbo nutter bas...d spec with huge power, I want a good running engine that will at least match the alleged horsepower of an SE. Therefore I have a 3.5 bottom end, a crank out of a 3.9 which still gives a 3.5 capacity because of the bore size, later heads which have a smaller combustion chamber than the early heads but with composite gaskets to redress the compression ratio, sensible cam, and a vernier cam wheel.
Some stuff to watch tho. The tdc markings on Rv8s are notoriously inaccurate. I made a piston stop out of an old spark plug by knocking out the ceramic centre and fitting a long threaded bolt. by fitting it into no1 cylinder and winding the engine backwards and forwards the centre of the two marks on the bottom pulley will give an accurate centre, mine was about 1 1/2 degrees out. This is important when it comes to cam timing, getting this wrong can lose alot of power and is dictated by the cam spec which should be given from the suppliers. Ive used a single cam chain, but modified the oiling system slightly to give better lubrication. The lifter gallery has extra oil supply by drillings which drops oil directly into the chain area. Its important to get the cam keyway correct too because this is also an oil feed issue if its wrong, and Ive opened up the lifter gallery oil drainback holes. Ive learnt the hard way in the past that these engines hold alot of oil in the top end when revved hard which can then starve the oil feed when cornering hard on a track day. To set the cam up you need a degree wheel, a dial test indicator and the afore mentioned accurate tdc position. Im not going to describe how cos the info is out there if anyone needs it.
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Bash
On a mission to find the airspeed velocity of a european swallow.

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