Need more power in your Series II or 111? Chris Perfect shows you how to install Ford's compact 3-litre V6 engine
The 2286cc (2.25-litre) petrol engine that Rover fitted to the Series Land Rover has a place in the heart of all enthusiasts of the marque. It is a reliable, no-nonsense unit that is extremely tolerant of abuse and is simple to understand and maintain in the field (literally, sometimes).
The power output and torque characteristics suit the original concept of the Land Rover very well, and match the strength and specification of the transmission. The characteristic braking and handling are quite suitable for a vehicle with about 60bhp on offer.
One of the things I love about the Series Landy is the way it can be modified and developed to suit individual tastes and needs. Today, much-improved suspension and braking can be fitted, and even power steering. It becomes quite reasonable to then want to increase power output. The usual route is to fit the lovely Rover 3.5-litre V8, which can be a very successful conversion and which I used in my own Series IIA a few years ago.
The other popular engine is the V6 3-litre unit made by Ford. Perhaps, as Ford is Land Rover's new parent company, its engines are acceptable as well! This engine develops about 135bhp and 172lb.ft torque, which compares very well with the 3.5-litre V8 developing about the same bhp, but somewhat higher torque. Both engines were produced in several variations over the years, with differing outputs, depending on application.
The Ford is physically smaller, though heavier than the V8, but lighter than the 2.25-litre, at about 379lb. No bulkhead surgery is needed to install it, although engine mounts have to be moved. To help save the transmission from overload failure I use Red Line Heavy Shockproof gear oil to deal with that extra power.
My Series IIA has been developed over the years from a tidy truck cab 88-inch on/off-roader into a dedicated trialler. However, the fitting of the engine would apply just as well to a standard vehicle, although I still recommend that the suspension and brakes be improved.
Having decided to go for a V6, I contacted Steve Parker Land Rovers, which specialise in installation kits for the Ford V6. Luckily, Steve already had a V6 that had been removed from a Series III, so a deal was struck and, shortly afterwards, I had the engine sitting in my garage demanding to befitted.
The Steve Parker kit comes with comprehensive instructions covering variations in both engine and vehicle. They also supplied the special exhaust system and, as part of the kit, a different exhaust manifold for the left-hand side of the engine. There is an adaptor ring that bolts to the back of the engine to marry up with the gearbox bell housing. These had already been fitted to the engine that I bought.
Since the Foot and Mouth epidemic has partly subsided, I've been able to drive the vehicle with the V6 in competition trials. Wow! What a difference. The vehicle drives like a different machine, able to tackle climbs in higher gears and be generally more tractable, pulling smoothly from low rpm. I am sure it would be very nice on the road, too.
Comment (By Teflon)
The Ford V6 featured in this article has a carburettor, which implies that it is either a 3.0l 'Essex' engine, or early non-injected 2.8 'Cologne', that superseded it in the early 1980's. In either instance, the essence is that it is a VERY old engine! And the conversion is a 'bit long in the tooth'. However, it does have merits.
W-hay back when, the V6 conversion was a favoured alternative to a full on V8 for power applications and competition. The engine is lighter than the iron block Land-Rover 'fours' and just about as powerful as the rover V8, but not quite as 'torque'. A fairly 'revvy' and responsive engine, it didn't load series transmissions as heavily as a V8, and being more compact was easier to fit.
Most 'donor' engines were sourced from old Granada's; though thy were used in the Transit van, the Sierra and Capri, in various different stats of tune. These days most V6's you are likely to come across are the 2.8i motors, with fuel injection, but that shouldn't put you off too unduly, provided you get the complete engine with all ancillaries AND the fuel pump, injection doesn't add too much to the conversion.
However, you do need to b sure to get the right adapter plate for the engine you have. Adapters for 'Essex' engine's, I believe don't work on 'Cologne' blocks, and I think that there were also a couple of changes during the Cologne's long production run.