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Bert's Transplant

Trials & Tribulations - Bert Needs a new Engine

Part 1

And he got one; a RATHER spandangly, blinged up one!.......... eventually! Not exactly an 'Adventure' as a 'misadventure'. Decided to stick this tale in the adventures section though rather than technical, as practically there's not a lot to tell you about hauling out a V8 and putting in another. The Haynes manual is more use to be honest. But there is some intriguing technical bits in here worth noting. Mainly though, this is a tale of living with an old Land Rover, and the sort of things that can give a bit of colour to your life!

Because it all happens at once, doesn't it? Bert had been misbehaving. Not that that was anything new, we old Silhillians can get a bit cantankerous in our old age. Any way, after a few complaints that 'He's not pulling', I had to drive him, and realised that something was not quite right in the transmission department. It felt like a slipping clutch - but Bert is an automatic. Oh dear. This could prove expensive. Is it the torque converter? Or is it the clutches in the gearbox? Or is it the engagement bands? Oh well, what will be will be. So I decided to leave it and see what happened. A new torque converter is a couple of hundred quid. So is a second hand gear box.

Then she complained about a BIG leak all over the radiator grill. Now, my initial thought was that it was power steering fluid. Bert's always wept a bit around the reservoir, so I told her not to worry about it. Then each evening, she'd come in and tell me it had got worse. So, come the week-end and a bit of daylight a had a quick gander. Strange, power steering tanks nearly full all that COULDN'T have come from there. So I checked the auto transmission fluid. Sure enough, near empty. A-ha. What light through yonder window breaks? Putting two and two together, its not power steering fluid, it's auto transmission fluid. There's a transmission cooler in front of the radiator, isn't there?

Investigation revealed that it was leaking. Not at a joint, no. The thing had rotted through and was spraying the stuff everywhere. So, what to do about it? The first thing was to top up the ATF. Again. The next was to get the wire brush out and try and clean up as much of the exposed pipe-work as possible. Sure enough, we had a pin hole in the top run of the cooling pipe.

Well wouldn't you know. Paddocks & Craddocks & Co don't list a transmission cooler, so it was down to e-mailing them all. Only to find that none of them had one, new or second hand.

So, out with the Araldite 'Metal Set', and a strip of fibre glass tissue to make a sticky bandage. I could have used metal-set on its own, but its a bit runny when first worked and if I'd just glooped the area it would probably have all run off and dripped. So, the technique I employed was to cut a strip of glass tissue about the width of a bit of insulation tape, about four inches long. Then I put the metal set onto that and spread it out so that it covered the hole strip. Then I wrapped that round the carefully cleaned and dried 'wound'. Lastly, I sat there for twenty minutes kneading it around the pipe, with a hair dryer in one hand to force the cure - well it was February and bleeding cold. Its held up so far, but I'm scouting around for a replacement transmission cooler, without much success, so have started to wonder whether the 9 row oil cooler that was on my mum's old hill climb mini (Err, no we wont go there), is still in her cellar, and if it could be pressed into service in place of the transmission cooler behind Berts radiator grill.

You can see where I bandaged it in the pic, between the end of the cooling fins and the T-piece at the top. (obviously pic was taken when I was removing the engine and had taken the radiator out though)

Meanwhile, we had to go visit my mother fifty miles away for my lil' brother's scout gang show. Now I have been having to top Bert's radiator up rather more frequently that I would have liked, so something was not too happy. I wasn't sure if it was a leaky rad, or a hose or something, but....... I think we've found out!

Coming home he started to loose power, then died. The journey was concluded on the back of an AA truck.

In the light of day, a compression tester was put into each of the spark plug holes, and gave a dim diagnosis. Low and uneven compression ratio's. Pretty good indicator that the cylinder head gaskets had gone.

Fixing this was going to be an interesting exercise, undertaken with an extremely minimal budget as with all of our kids, the credit card balances hadn't recovered from Christmas. Oh, and the wife needed the car to get to work, as its the only one we have with an automatic transmission.

So, possible courses of action; The first was to remove the bonnet, strip off the carbs and start digging down to the head gaskets. Possible, but not a quick or easy task working over the high wide wings of a Range Rover. The second option was to remove the engine as a complete lump and worry about it in isolation. A lot of work to get it out, but easier to work on once its there. And then there was the third option; take the engine out, and stick another one in its place.

This seemed like the best bet. In the grand scheme of things, you should be able to do an engine swap in two or three days, which would possibly be faster than trying to work on the engine in situ. Plus, you never know, until you get inside it, just exactly whet you are going to find wrong inside a dead engine, and with Murphey's Law working over time around me, I reckoned that stuffing another engine in, short term, would be the fastest, quickest and least risky thing to do. Then, with the failed lump out, I could take my time and faff about over hauling it as carefully as I wanted, before putting it back.

First problem was to find a suitable motor to use in substitute. Hunting about on the going spare forum of LROi, and else where, I came across a few possible donor motors.

Unfortunately none of them were within my meagre budget (about 50p if truth be known!). Any way, Julian1234 came to the rescue, offering us an engine he'd had littering his garage for a couple of years and never got round to fitting in anything. He'd paid 70 for it, and that was what he offered it to us for. Sounds reasonable. OK, so neither of us had any idea if the thing worked or not, but hey, what's the old adage, 'beggars cant be choosers'. And, for less money than a full gasket kit from my local dealer, I was prepared to take the risk. So, I toddled up the A5 & A34 to Stoke, to get it.

Any way, first concern was did this engine turn and have compression, and would an engine from a manual Rangie mate to the three speed auto box in Bert's transmission tunnel. Both questions answered yes.

 I'd done a compression test on the original engine before I took it out and they were all over the place, with readings from 1.5bar to a high of about 5bar. This did not put the needle into the white zone, let alone the green, and it was supposed to be a 9.35:1 compression engine.

So, I decided to test the replacement engine. Told that it had been left standing an indeterminable amount of time measured in years, not weeks, I started by removing the spark plugs and squibbing a bit of oil down the bores to lubricate the rings before trying to turn it over, and surprisingly, I was able to turn the crankshaft by hand on the water pump pulley, indicating that the engine was at least not seized.

Looked promising, so I bolted the starter motor to it and spun it up, to let the oil it the bores work its way about, and blow off any excess. And as the motor spun up nice and free, so I put the compression tester on it. seven out of eight gave good readings around about 9bar. Only number 1 pot was down. A lot down. After a few more squibs of oil and a bit more work, we managed to get it up to around 4bar, but no more.

Concluded that in all probability, she'd been sat with the valves on that cylinder open for however long she'd been sat, and that the chances were there was some surface rust on the valve seats stopping it sealing all too well. I reckoned that with a bit of use that would lap off and settle, so it was worth doing the swap, If I could mate the auto's flex plate to the crank.

And, yup, the crank shaft flange is the same on both engines, and even uses the same size bolts.

The pic shows in the top Left Hand corner the flex plate adapter flange; it has six counter sunk holes in it that allow it to be bolted to the crankshaft with short Allen screws

Below that is the flex plate itself that is like the solid fly wheel of a manual, with the ring gear for the starter around it, to which the torque converter attaches. This is held to the adapter flange by the clamping flange shown beneath it.

Beneath that is the fly wheel off the engine from a manual.... it's the rusty one!

So, it seemed that swapping the flex plate for the fly wheel was not going to be a problem.

But, the 3-speed auto-box is attached via an adapter ring, and the location dowels between the ring and the engine are bigger on the engine that came from a manual.

And getting them out was going to be a problem. On the left hand side of the engine, a taper drift and a big hammer saw it hammered out from behind, but on the right hand side it was in a blind hole, and not going to play ball.

After gringding it almost to size with a pair of mole grips, draining my blow lamp of gas and skinning my knuckles needlessly for a day, I resorted to sneak tactics.

I drilled a 7mm hole down the middle of it as close to centre as I could and tapped it out to M10. This left a sleeve of metal with barely a 2mm wall thickness.

I then got a long M10 bolt and screwed it in until it bottomed on the ali behind the dowel, and with a breaker bar on a 17mm socket just wound until the thing came out.

Actually I was surprised, I expected it to start twisting, but was working on the principle that the M10 bolt would give me something to grip to pull the thing out after I'd broken the interference. In fact, it didn't, and the dowel just wound straight up the bolt until it popped out of the casing.

So I wasn't going to complain. So, onward. There was a bit of faffing about swapping over exhaust manifolds. actually, there was quite a BIG problem swapping over the exhaust manifolds!

One of them was ion two pieces! OK, so ONE of the pieces was only little, and the crack didn't extend into any of the exhaust galleries, but even so. Bit of a bludger"!

These sorts of niggles are things that you can REALLY do without. And back to Murphey's; if you were planning a full ground up restoration, you would probably not encounter; when you are trying to effect a fix and keep a car in commission.... you'll find loads of them, JUST to confound you.

Any way; Half the battle is knowing your enemy. The other half of the battle is knowing WHEN to engage your enemy. And in this case, I decided it was not the time to engage.

A 'proper' fix would have been effected by replacing the manifold or brazing the broken bit back on. But I didn't have any brazing equipment, and know from bitter experience that trying to braze such a little bit of metal, it would probably go back on crooked so need a lot of careful fettling and flatting to get the faces true gain.

So I bolted the thing back on with the seven other studs, then carefully positioned the broken bit back in place, cracked out the metal set, glooped a bit around the fissure, and walloped the bolt in quick, with a large washer over the top!

Not the ideal fix, but it would do for now, until I could source a new manifold. So slowly and steadily, the donor engine started to take shape.

The one decision I had to make was whether to leave the carbs on the donor engine and try and splice the throttle linkages, or to swap the carbs off the original engine..Bit of a 50:50 one that..

I knew that the carbs on the original engine were in pretty good shape as I'd over hauled them not long back, but at the same time, I didn't want to have to mess around trying to set them back up on the donor engine, if its carbs were going to be OK. Decided to leave things as they were and try and splice the linkages, (So that the auto-box's kick down would work), and if the carbs proved to be gummed or perished or whatever, swap them over after I'd got the engine in and tried it. Which was about the next job.

Dropping the donor engine into Bert's engine bay was no great problem, given an engine crane and a bit of patience.  (Though pic is actually the original engine coming out!)

Now I didn't realise this when I took the engine out the first time...... BUT, you are supposed to undo the torque converter from the flex plate BEFORE you remove the engine from the engine bay, so that it stays on the gear-box input shaft.

Failing to do so, can result in the shaft damaging the torque converter.

However, I was lucky. For once. The seal was not cut up, and I didn't damage the spines on the change pump drive dog. But I did get rather a lot of ATF go every where!

My ignorance of auto-boxes started showing up here; and I simply refilled the Torque converter with ATF...... Yeah. It actually comes from the gearbox! I could have simply left it, and filled the gearbox up after I had fitted it! Shouldd have left the darn thing on the shaft in the first place and NOT made life difficult for myself!

Because it was going to be damnably awkward enough as it was!

Lining it up to the gearbox is  a bit more awkward. It always is on whatever engine, but  particularly problematic on a Rangie though, because there is bog all clearance around the bell-housing and the bulkhead. But I got it lined up. Eventually. But then it's back to that torque converter.

I wont bore you with a blow by blow account of just how mind numbingly tedious a ball ache this is, but I'll describe the problem. You have to put the torque converter onto the gearbox input shaft, inside the bell-housing. You have the flex plate on the end of the crank shaft, in front of the engine.

You then bolt engine to bell-housing. This leaves the torque converter inside the bell-housing, inaccessible behind the flex plate. Now, the only place that you can see the flex plate is from behind, in a sector revealed by the cover plate that bolts to the adapter ring.

This sits behind the sump, so you have a sort of window that it sort of d-shaped, showing only about 1/3 of the flex plate, of which you can only touch about 1/3 of what you can see, because of the sump pan.

Now, the torque converter drum has to be lined up with four holes in the flex plate, and bolted through. You cannot get to the torque converter to twist it or even hold it still, because its sealed in the bell-housing. You cannot hold it or rotate it by jacking and turning a wheel with the engine in gear, because all that does is turn the paddle inside the drum, not the drum itself!

So, you have to kind of turn the engine over a bit at a time until you can find a lug on the torque converter and hope that something lines up, waggling the bolt or a rusty nail through one of the holes in the flex plate in the vain hope that the few mm you can make it move will bring a threaded lug hole into line with one of the bolt holes in the flex plate.

Now, the first time you do this, you get a bolt to line up, and you think 'great'. nip it up finger tight, rotate the crank 1/4 turn and try a bolt in the next hole. And it doesn't line up! Oh wonderful. What you suddenly realise is that there are eight holes in the torque converter, and only one of the sets of four match the torque converter lugs.

So, you try again, hoping to get something to line up with another hole, having marked the four that were on the pattern you tried last time, and using the other set. Still no joy. Again, you get one hole to line up, but badly, and then none of the others do!

Cutting to the chase, what there is are two sets of drilling in the torque converter for, I assume two different torque converters. One set is in a slightly larger radius than the other. Then the holes aren't equidistant. Ie. Its not good enough getting one hole to line up and assuming that all the rest will follow suit, you have to match the right hole in the torque converter with the right hole on the flex plate - it will only go one way. And there are eight to choose from.And every time you get it close and find out its the wrong match, you have to start again, and HOPE that the next one you try is not the one that you just had! If you see what I mean.

All the time, lying on your back; in near darkness; with your arms above your face and the blood draining from your fingers; while you try and wield a little mirror and an inspection lamp, a spiky thing you are using as a feeler in the holes, and a couple of 1/2 inch AF spanners, all in a space no more than 8" deep, and concentrating on a tiny crevice you can hardly get your fingers in!

I think, total time under the car, faffing about trying to sort that one was about two days. I don't want to have to do that again. EVER. Except that I know that I will!  So, meanwhile, between bouts, I did some of the other odds and sods at the top. If nothing else to let the blood drain back into my fingers.

The biggest of those top side jobs was swapping the dizzy. This shouldn't be that difficult, should it? Hmmmmmmmm

There was a problem. The drives didn't match. Off the original engine there was an opto magnetic dizzy. This matched the coil & amplifier bolted to the inner wing, so to my mind it seemed easier to fit the opto dizzy to the donor engine, rather than trying to figure out how to wire the points dizzy from the donor engine to the original ignition circuit.

Except that the shaft on the points dizzy is longer and has a flat on the end where it goes into the gear, that engages in the drive. The shaft on the opto-dizzy is shorter and the gear has a brass bush on the end with a slot in the end. So, the opto dizzy wont go into the donor engine, and swapping the gears between dizzys meant that there was no alignment lug, so it could be teeth out of alignment, not just 180deg about, if you see what I mean.

This lead to a LOT of head scratching. In the end, the gear off the points dizzy was taken off, and cross drilled where the flat of the old shaft should have been, then tapped so that an m4 bolt could be screwed through and filed to shape before being peened and loctited into place to replace the flat bit of shaft missing off the opto dizzy.

It was nail biting stuff, and it needed to be pretty darn accurate. And doing it with a 12v cordless drill and a black and decker work mate does not instil the kind of confidence that I should have been attempting such precision engineering. But it worked! So, with the carbs connected, and the ignition connected, it was time to see if there was hope that she'd be willing to run for us.

The cooling system, water pump, alternator, steering pump and all that kind of stuff, in fact, even the exhaust manifolds had yet to be connected up. But, we had the basic ingredients, the potential for induction, compression, ignition and well the exhausts can sort itself out, cant it?

So, jump lead from battery to starter and lets see what we get.  A wine, a lurch, an odd judder, and with a little twist of the dizzy........

Ok, so not the most healthy sounding motor in the world, but HEY! IT RUNS!!!! Sounds quite roarty, actually!

So, onward and onward. With that noise came the confidence to go bolt things to it - the lump wasn't going to have to come out again. A bit more work saw the torque converter in place, and bolted up - whether by good management or pure luck, I don't know, but hey, I got four bolts in, they all lined up, and none of them had to go in skew, so I'm not complaining either way.

Exhausts went on, radiator went back in. Alternator got wired up, and things started to look pretty useful. A little bit of fettling left to do, set the timing accurately, twiddle the mixture screws, and set the throttle stops, that kind of thing, and hey we're almost there. So, lets see how she drives; make sure she takes load and goes through the gears and all that kind of thing.

Yep, we could be onto a winner here. Hmm Tacho don't work, and she's a bit loath to rev out, but hey, check the wiring, and tune her up and I'm sure she'll go great.

Which is kind of where the job stopped! Wife drove him to work the following day, before I had a chance to fettle him.

And the next.

And the next.

But not the next.

Starter motor decided to seize!

Why couldn't it have done that BEFORE the engine went pop?!?

Oh well, nice to know that Murphey is making sure his laws are well obeyed!

And that is about that, apart from the fact that three months on, the fuel consumption, oil consumption and general rough running of that 70 motor have meant that there is no way that the thing will get through its MOT, so the idea of overhauling the old engine has had to be stepped up the priority list a few notches.  But that is another story...............

This one in fact! From Dead, to RED! You know, it never ends!

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