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From Dead, to RED!

V8 Tear-Down; Berts V8 is renovated from 'Knacker' to 'Cracker'


Well if you see Bert's V8 Transplant , you'll learn how this all came about. But in essence, Bert had covered, as far as we could tell a genuine hundred and forty thousand miles, and was going pretty strong for it. Until, that was, we ground to a halt one evening on the M6, with what was a suspected cylinder head gasket blown, and that was thought to have been caused by a by an incorrectly fitted heater matrix hose, that had let him weep all his coolant.

Any way, the intro is that I decided to pull the engine out to fix it, rather than lift the heads of in situ, for the simple reason that we needed to still keep using the car. As its turned out, pulling the motor was a wise decision, as what started out as a mere expedience to make getting the cylinder heads off, and getting them skimmed easier, proved to be the start of a full tear down and over haul. In fact, 'Over Haul' is a bit of an understatement. Even 'Reconditioning' is a little vague. 'Re-manufacturing' is probably the best term to describe what has been done to this particular engine.

Now, if you look around my site, you'll notice that I have pages devoted to how to manage a Land Rover Project, I have pages about how to approach and consider modifications and all sorts of stuff like that. So it would be very easy for me to record what I've done with this engine, and show you some nice pictures of the guts of a 215Ci Buick-Rover V8 engine. But at the end of the day, all I'd be doing is illustrating the sequences of operation given in the Haynes Manual for the Range Rover, under the section 'Engine', or the Rover V8 Overhaul Manual. So, What I have decided to do is illustrate how I have applied my own project management principles, that I've suggested, to the task.

Because, you are probably reading this with the question, "could I do it?", in the back of your mind. I can't answer that, for you, but following this through, might help you work it  out for yourself. Best I can say is, 'Probably', and from feed-back on the forums and my site mail box have been promising.

The Rover V8 is a BIT of a daunting engine to start poking about in, mainly because its such a BIG chunk of metal; BUT, as I found out through necessity, it's NOT actually all that complicated or difficult to get to grips with. I have rebuilt a lot of engine's in my time; I guess, from age 10, starting with model aeroplane engines, then working my way through moped motors up to proper motorbikes and then cars.

Of the engine's I've had the misfortune to have to tackle, or the misguidance to WANT to tackle, the ubiquitous Austin A-Series engine, as fitted to the Mini and Morris Minor and stuff probably stands out as the bench-mark. It's the engine a lot of amateur mechanics cut their teeth on, fixing, fettling or trying to tune up. It's an iron block, push-rod 'four', and supposed to be a pretty 'simple' motor, that's not too daunting and fairly easy to get to grips with.

The Rover V8, then, I would say is no great leap from that. If you would tackle a Mini motor, then I'd say you should be able to tackle a V8. The V8's aluminium block and heads demand that you are a little more careful with the torque wrench, and because there are twice the number of pistons, valves and bits and pieces like that, you NEED to be a bit better organised and methodical so you don't get them mixed up, but OTHER than that, the V8 is all pretty straight forward AND in some ways I think actually EASIER to work on. It's well laid out; bits are easy to get at, and simple to understand, and being BIG often means less 'fiddly'.

Since I first published the article on the site, it seems to have inspired a few people that wouldn't other wise have attempted a full rebuild to give it a go, who have kept me abreast of their projects via the message boards. At least a couple of those people have been complete 'first timers' to engine rebuilds, and have done their rebuild with 'available resources' in back garden's and garages, and been thrilled with the results, and the sense of satisfaction at having actually 'done it'. So, if THEY can, you probably can too.

Bling in the Bay!

And I HAVE to mention all that red paint; 

What I started with, looked a bit like picture on the right; this is actually the 'replacement' engine that went into Bert's engine bay while I did the rebuild on the one that I took out; but they were pretty much alike; all gunky and tarnished.

When I'd finished, looked as it does in the picture on the left; all red, and shiny and spandangly.

That paint job has caused much comment; and to answer the knockers who ask incredulously; "Why?!"; The short answer is "Why NOT!" A V8 is a thing of beauty, something 'special', and I thought I ought to do it justice and make it LOOK special too!

Next comment, was about all the unnecessary time and effort that MUST have gone into getting that sort of finish, with a lot of people suggesting I MUST have spent simply hundreds of hours polishing bits....... To which I reply, Look AGAIN, how much SHINY metal do you actually see?

Not a lot, ACTUALLY is there? MOST of what you see is paint; and THAT was achieved with a quick blast from an aerosol.

As you'll discover if you read on, most of the effort needed to get that level of finish was in the detail cleaning and preparing of the parts for rebuild; degreasing the cases and components so that they could be worked on, checked, inspected and put back together. Having done all that ANYWAY, didn't take much to throw some paint at them and leave it to dry while doing other bits and pieces of the rebuild, just to finish it off, and make it LOOK like an engine that had had all the time and effort lavished on it that it had!

Bit of an indulgence really; but added not much time to the job, probably 50 worth of paint, BUT a heck of a lot of satisfaction. Whether you want to take it to that level is pretty much up to you; BUT, does demonstrate how just a LITTLE bit of extra effort can make something pretty ordinary rather 'special'.

Part 1 - Defining 'The Project'

In The Cold Light of Day

OK, in Bert's V8 Transplant , I explain the sorry circumstances that lead me to have to consider an engine rebuild; or at least a partial rebuild. Basically, Bert ground to a halt on the hard shoulder of the M6 late one evening.

Over in "Theory", are a number of articles I've written on the topic of messing with your motor. Amongst them, Taking on a Project is the more pertinent, because I've written this article quite deliberately to illustrate the principle I suggest in it. Another though is, You can do ANYTHING to a Landy! , which looks at why you might want to take on a project to begin with.

Any way, in 'Anything' I suggest that before you do anything, you need to have a good long think, and decide what you REALLY want to achieve; lots of projects don't just start with an idea, they start with a problem, AND an idea; and I urge the caution of looking REALLY REALLY hard at the 'problem' to work out whether the 'idea' is a good way to solve the 'problem', and think I mentioned the notion of suspension lifts as a solution to the problem of getting stuck, and tearing off trying to find 'extreme articulation'......

Any way, that night, on the M6 I had a problem. My car didn't work. THAT is the basic 'Problem'; lets NOT get carried away with it, and start second guessing as to WHY it didn't work; lets JUST accept that it doesn't.

Right, so, following the logic, that fundamental problem, gave me a few more, 'consequential' problems; first of which, obviously was how the HECK was I to get me and my family, and possibly the dead car home. But conveniently, a little foresight had placed an AA card in the glove-box, and a mobile telephone in my pocket. So we got home on the back of a recovery truck!

That solved THAT one, but in the cold light of day, I had a car on the drive, which didn't work. Wife needed that car to get to work each morning, another consequential problem, BUT that morning I had driven her in Wheezil. Not ideal, BUT got around the problem, at least temporarily.

So, the 'Problem' was that the car didn't work, and we needed a working car. I DIDN'T dive under the bonnet and start poking around or ripping stuff apart, I stopped and had a long hard think about this; with a large mug of steaming coffee, and the Question;

"How do we get a Serviceable Car the wife can use to get to work?"

Take note; NOT the question, 'How do I fix THIS car?'....... back to both articles in theory, lets NOT limit our options before we begin.

OK, so mug in hand, and thought in head. Time to ponder, mull and contemplate. We needed a serviceable car. We had acquired Bert the Rangie for reasons detailed in that article over in Adventures. Essentially a SIMILAR problem not many months before, when the gear-box in the wife's Maestro was about to fall out.

The dint of reasoning that had lead to Bert being the solution to THAT problem, was basically that it was probably as cheap to buy a new car, as repair the old one, plus, circumstances had proved that the 'old' car wasn't really ideal any way. So, Bert had been chosen, because we had to find 'Something' to do the job; that 'something' had to have an automatic gearbox, AND preferably be able to carry seven or eight people.

Bert DIDN'T originally fulfil ALL of the requirements; he wasn't serviceable, to begin with, lacking Tax or Test, or an interior; BUT, I'd figured that a little work MIGHT allow him to tick all the boxes. And so it proved, until he ground to a halt on the M6! So, back to square one; still needed a car that checked all those boxes. So, basically two choices; Repair or Replace.

Repair or Replace

This is the first REAL decision to make; unfortunately a lot of people make the mistake of diving in, and not considering it until the very END! But any way!

Replacing Bert WAS an option. I'd bought him cheap; done a little work to make him serviceable, and spent a bit of money on him, which for a little over six months service WOULD have been a bit annoying to just throw away, but? Well, if you've read  Bert the Rangie  you may remember that I'd 'hedged' my bets a bit, and balanced the risk of him NOT proving a useful vehicle against what I could recover from breaking him for spares.

So, IF he was going to prove too difficult or expensive to fix; well, backing up, we could go back and start again. We'd chosen Bert, because of the auto-box and the ability to drop the seven seat kit in him, and being 'cheap'. IF we replaced him, then there were two options;

The first option, from the experience that lead us to get Bert to begin with, was probably the more promising; old auto Rangies were cheap, and would tick all the boxes with little effort. But, another unknown quantity, that MIGHT prove to be no more reliable than Bert had.

The second option, looked less promising; we'd gone for Bert because of the ability to stick that seven seat kit in the boot, as there were few seven seat automatics around, let alone many in our price range. So it would probably mean accepting a compromise we hadn't previously been prepared to make; EITHER finding a way around the problem of not having seven seats, OR taking out huge loan and buying something above our budget.

STILL not dismissing the idea; but, since acquiring Bert, we had had some 'life-style' changes, and the wife was now using her car MAINLY to commute to work in, rather than ferry kids about. I was ferrying kids about, and had the ten seats in Wheezil to accommodate them; SO, we MIGHT have accepted the compromise of not having a seven seat auto, and gone looking for something more like her old Maestro; which might have had a few advantages like cheaper running costs.

BUT, what about fixing Bert? And the first question that needed asking to be able to work that out was CAN he be fixed? I'm an engineer...... YES of COURSE he CAN be fixed! You can do ANYTHING to a Landy! More pertinent question was, 'is it WORTH fixing him?'; which begs the questions


PUT THAT TOOL BOX DOWN! No! I'm NOT about to wrench the bonnet open and start diving in with the ratchet set doing some 'fault finding'..... Yet! I'm going to go put the kettle on again, make another coffee, and sit down at the computer and do some figuring.

I don't 'NEED' to know what might be wrong with Bert's engine; not just yet, any way. ALL I need to know, is that his engine don't work.

I had a fairly good idea from how it died, that the problem was not going to be something stoopid and simple, like the jack-lead had fallen out of the coil or something; and besides, I'd had to sit on the hard shoulder of the motorway for nearly two hours; and before they sent the wrecker out to haul us home; had the road-side repair man, lift the bonnet, poke around and decide it wasn't anything simple and stoopid he could quickly and easily put right and send me on my way...... I HAD told the call centre that when I called them out........ but as ever, they didn't believe me!

So, PROBABLY not a quick and easy fix; and applying some logic, time to look at some possibilities. The engine was dead. WHY could it be dead? Old 'Pops' once explained that to get an engine to run, you need three things; fuel, spark and compression. We had fuel; We had spark; which left just compression, as the most likely 'culprit;.

What could cause a lack of compression? Head-Gaskets are the most 'Likely' candidate, AND the symptoms were a good match. Could have been a burned out valve, but that would normally only hit One pot out of the eight, and cause a rough running, not a dead engine. Valves not opening, the timing chain slipped, stripped or snapped COULD have been a possibility, but unlikely; head gaskets were at the top of the list.

BUT; either way; WHATEVER the cause; I was going to be looking for a fault INSIDE the engine.

Whatever the fault was, the engine would have to be taken apart. How much of it might need to be taken apart; how much might need to be done to it when it was apart, may be in question BUT, pretty good certainty that SOME of it at least would need some major surgery.

So, before even LOOKING at the thing in the metal; I could do some rough reckoning. In a best case scenario; the problem would simply be that over heating or fatigue had seen one or both cylinder head gaskets give out.

So, the first thing I did, was log onto the 'net and have a shuftie around the Paddocks web-site. COULD have looked at Craddocks, or LR Supermarket, I suppose, they are all much of a much and usually within a few pence of each other on price; so any of them were good enough to get some 'ball-park' ideas.

Head Gasket set, was about 15; I cant remember, and it didn't say whether that was 'per bank' or per 'engine', but even doubling it up, that's still only 30.... At that price it COULD be worth the risk of ordering the gaskets, lifting the heads with the engine in the engine bay, and simply replacing the gaskets and hoping for the best.

BUT; from experience the CHANCES of it being THAT simple, are........ well, slim. Especially on an aluminium engine; when its known it's over heated; and even MORE so when you know its a high mile engine. So, pretty good bet to presume that it would also need one or both cylinder heads 'skimming' to get them flat again.

No real price indicators on the net for that one; a few adverts for 'exchange' cylinder heads, but not really that useful. However, wife managed to boil the Maestro when she first had it, and that little job cost 150 to have fixed by our local garage, and included having the cylinder head skimmed.

No REAL guarantees, but V8, with two cylinder heads, SORT of suggested we could expect something in the order of 250-350 to have the heads 'done' if we took it back to that garage; and sort of suggested that the cost of a head skim on it's own, was likely to be around 30-50.

So; practically; BEST case scenario, was that I could maybe get away with lifting the heads, and replacing the gaskets, and the job costing as little as 30 for gaskets. More likely though, I'd also need the heads skimmed, which would probably add another 100 to that, if I did the job DIY.

Sending it into the local garage to be done; don't dismiss ANY option remember, would probably provide a 300 bill MINIMUM IF it was a 'best case' or close to best case scenario. Worst case, they would tell me it was 'beyond economical repair', as the bill COULD run to thousands if they had to put a lot of labour into it.

So, worst case; lifting the heads, what could I find in addition to blown gaskets and warped heads?

List REALLY is endless; but, inside the heads; there's the valves. Valve seat regression is a common failing on high mile motors, as is valve guide wear, rocker wear, and rocker shaft wear, and it could be a bit pointless to lift the heads and have them machined, only to put them back on with worn valves and guides.

Then, Rover V8's are renowned for the 'black death' where the block gets all gunked up with black sludge, that first gums up the tappets which then leads to premature cam shaft wear. Good chance that I might have to look at new cam-shaft and followers, and probably a new timing chain too. AND of course, there's the likelihood of finding the bores worn or scored. And that is BEFORE looking any deeper at things like the big-end bearings or crank-shaft.

Bit more perusal of the price list, sort of suggested that depending on the bits that needed 'sorting' bill could be anything from 'best case' of about 150, right up to, something silly like a couple of grand, if it needed every nut bolt and fastener replaced.

Realistically, 500 for the 'major' overhaul stuff was more realistic and sensible; give or take a hundred or so either way.

OK. So THAT is the sort of money we might have been looking at to fix the engine already in Berts engine bay. Reasonably, around 500ish, depending on how bad it is and who does the work. 500 was what I paid for him in the first place, which SORT of pushes the idea of fixing that engine into second place, along side the idea of getting another 500 Rangie.......

So, what about simply swapping the engine? If I could buy a whole Rangie for 500, how much would new engine cost?

Well, looking on the web or in the Mag's; you often see brand new 'crate' engines being offered; some of them with quite drool-worthy exotic specifications, like the 5.0l TVR engines, that Unipart dumped onto the specialist suppliers a while back when they reduced their 'inventory'. Start at about 2500, for a mundane Range Rover motor, and go up from there, depending on how 'complete' they are.

NOT in my league, by a VERY long margin. But, remanufactured or Reconditioned engines? Well, a bit of scouring, revealed that a properly remanufactured engine from some-one like Turners, was PROBABLY more expensive than one of the 'crate' engines being offered by the specialists; somewhere around 2-3000, depending on how 'built up' it was. A 'Kit' engine from Rimmers, came as a bunch of parts, completely unbuilt, and that was about 2K.

Moving down the market, started finding 'Exchange' engines, for around 1500; which looked a better bet, but still three times what I had paid for a whole car; while in the 'mid-range' were engines for as little as 750, which I HAD to be sceptical of, for the simple reason that from the price of parts alone, you just CAN'T 'recondition' an engine for that kind of money, so I WASN'T looking at 'reconditioned' engine's, but engines from scrapped cars, which MAY or may NOT have much more life in them than what I had to begin with.

But, brought me down to the 'real world'; and 'scrap' engine's or 'Take Outs', which from commercial suppliers were in the region of 500ish. All of which SORT of favoured the idea of simply replacing Bert with another Rangie. BUT, IF I replaced him; I COULD be back to square one with a car that might only last another six months.

So, what about pushing the search further down the field, and looking for REALLY cheap 'scrap' engine's via the forum spares and stuff; an engine some-one had hooked out for a Diesel conversion or something. At 150 or less and it would probably be as cheap and easy as trying to fix the head gaskets on the engine already there. At 250, half the price of a 'Cheap' commercial 'exchange' engine, or trying to find another Rangie that would PROBABLY need other work doing to it to make it serviceable.

Risk wise; such an engine would PROBABLY be as 'good' as what we'd had to begin with, and certainly as good as what we MIGHT find in a replacement Range Rover.

Economically then, a BIT of reasoning SORT of points to that 250ish 'scrap' engine and a straight swap into Berts engine bay, without any messing around, as PROBABLY the 'Best' way to 'solve' the problem.


All right. With some ideas of where what the options might be, time to go look at the metal, and decide IF we might be lucky and whether there might be SOMETHING that could suggest one solution may be better than another.

Out on the drive, first thing was to lift the bonnet and have a poke about. Dip-stick is a good place to start; if it comes out covered in mayonnaise, well above the 'full' marker; usually means that the head gaskets have gone pretty dramatically, and the sump has filled with cooling water, to be churned into an emulsion by the crankshaft and stuff. Bert's oil was a BIT milky, but not bad. No definitive answers there; but PERHAPS some suggestion it might not be TOO bad.

Next test, put a compression tester on it. Not good. Not good at all. All the readings were low, and they were all different; often HUGELY different. AND on both banks. Either I had a duff tester, OR pretty good bet the head-gaskets on both heads were shot, and from the readings, I wouldn't have bet very much on the odds of NOT having to have the heads skimmed.

OK, so what about the rest of the car?

If I was to PRESUME that the engine was extinct and beyond resurrection, WHAT would make it worth fitting a replacement motor, rather than just replacing the whole car?

Well, It was a 'known quantity'; I'd bought it as an unfinished project, and detailed out the interior myself, and fitted that boot kit, so I knew that the body and interior was pretty reasonable; there were no holes in the wheel-arches, boot floor or sills, as afflict many old Rangies.

The chassis too, was pretty sound, and most of the mechanicals were pretty good. I'd overhauled the rear hubs and brakes not long before, and replaced the rear dampers; no huge amount of work, BUT the sort of 'niggles' you get with any car when you first take it on and either iron out or live with. And SO FAR she was sort of shaping up to be an OK motor; worth persevering with.

So ON BALANCE, the BEST way to solve the 'Problem' looked like it was probably going to be to get a cheapish engine from a scrap Rangie and do a straight swap.


Right, at THIS point I had a 'Project' the project being to fix my Rangie by fitting a replacement engine. Time to do some detail planning and BEFORE doing ANYTHING more definite, follow my advice in Taking on a Project , and make some kind of plan, THEN decide if that plan is viable.

Objective & Policy - is the first thing that I say you need to consider. In my case, the objective presented itself fairly easily; I wanted to get the car serviceable again; the policy, as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Plan - Obtain replacement engine; Remove Bert's Engine; Put in the replacement.

Resources - is the next thing I suggest needs considering. Space. Time, Money, Expertise, and Effort. What do we need in order to undertake this project & put the 'Plan' into action?

Well, I had to find a suitable replacement; to do that I'd need to look on the forums and in the small ads for some-one advertising one; talk around a bit, let people know I was looking for one, and hope that one came up in my price range. That didn't need much space or money, but would need my computer and some connections or associations to be able to source an engine. Viable though.

When I FOUND a suitable engine though; I'd need some money to pay for it. Practically, we were strapped for cash, so I would be looking for sub 150 engines rather than up to 250 engines, which could stretch the time to find one I could afford. Still not undo-able though.

THEN I would have to go get it, and transport it home, and for that I had Wheezil, so no great problems there. Just a question of time, really. No great effort or expertise required, just the time to logistically sort it all. Which given the circumstances, would be a case of necessity, and luckily, being then a house-husband, I had a little flexibility over.

Once I HAD the engine on the drive, I'd have the practical task of actually swapping them over. For that I would need more time, some space, some expertise and some effort, and the tools to do the job.

I'm an engineer; and I have done plenty of engine swaps over the years, so the expertise bit wouldn't be a problem. Time & Effort, well, again, matter of necessity, SOME-ONE had to do the work, and I would be the cheapest mug on hand! Space? Well, The drive way is big enough for three cars AND a caravan; so should be enough, and if needs be I could have stuck one or two of the cars on the road outside to make a bit more.

Which just left the question of the appropriate tools to do the job; which again, shouldn't provide too much of an impediment; twenty odd years of mechanicing had resulted in a pretty comprehensive tool kit, AND to hand I had the advantage of an engine crane, which I'd bought after struggling to hoik Wheezil's gearbox out, and had used very successfully to swap the engine in Wheezil!

So, 'The Plan':

1-00-00    Obtain replacement engine

1-01-00    Find for suitable engine in budget

  • Scour small adds on 'net
  • Place 'Want' ads on net
  • Use 'Grapevine' to find engine

1-02-00    Review / View candidate engines

1-03-00    Buy / Transport 'best' candidate

  1. Remove Bert's Dead Engine
  2. Put in the replacement.

1-01-00 Action

OK, then, following my advice  in Taking on a Project , we have made a plan, and reviewed it, decided it's viable, so time to follow it, and see how we get on.

And the first thing I did was get onto the internet, look about the Land Rover Forum's, read all the posts on the spares and parts boards, and see if there was anything suitable on them, and if so, post some questions, like 'is this engine still for sale' or 'where is this engine, can I come look at it?' I also made a few posts of my own, of the sort 'Engine Wanted', and then, pretty much all I had to do was sit back and wait and see what sort of response I got.

But, to be sure, I also asked around in the real world to see if any-one I knew was breaking a Rangie, or knew some-one who was, that kind of thing.

1-02-00 Compare

Within the week, I had a few candidates. The most useful looking engines were over my budget of 150. There were two, one tickling 250, the other, I thought VERY optimistically priced at 350.

I had a couple of offers of engines that were somewhat more within my budget; one was described as having had a cylinder head removed already........ but 'easily fixed'. Rather defeated the point; might as well have taken the heads off the engine I had, and tried fixing that! And NOT had to travel to get it, OR pay for the privilege.

Another engine I was offered was a little more intact, but was seized. Price was good though; I could have it for free! But, again, benefit was questionable; engine would need work, and at BEST all I could hope was it might provide straight unwarped cylinder heads to swap onto Berts block.

Most promising was the offer of an engine from one of the Land Rover Owner forum users, Julian1234 up in Stoke on Trent, who had an engine he was prepared to let go VERY cheaply. It was a BIT of an unknown quantity, he'd bought it to go into a trials Hybrid he'd never got round to building a couple of years earlier. HE had heard it running when he bought it; but not since. It had just been sitting on a pallet in the back of his garage; but it WASN'T seized, he'd checked that by turning the crank on a starting handle!

And, Julian assured me, while it had come out of a manual Range Rover, and had a solid fly-wheel on it, the crank flange was identical to the one in an auto; because he'd done a couple of similar engine swaps himself, before he'd become an ardent of the VM Turbo Diesel!

Stoke is about 70 miles from me; bit of a hike, but mid way is my Mum's in Stafford, so I could at least drop in on her for a cup of coffee and a chin wag.

1-02-00 Correct Plan

Well, REALLY all pretty much to plan. I'd planned to find an engine on the internet or through contacts, and had. The engine's I'd found weren't as great or as cheap as I might have hoped, BUT at least one candidate was 'close enough' to see if we could move on.

The 'candidate' had to be viewed, and if good enough, acquired, and then brought home. That's another 'Plan' so lets stick it in there!

1-00-00    Obtain replacement engine

1-01-00    Find for suitable engine in budget

  • Scour small adds on 'net
  • Place 'Want' ads on net
  • Use 'Grapevine' to find engine

1-02-00    Review / View candidate engines

1-03-00    Buy / Transport 'best' candidate

  • Go View most likely Candidate(s)
  • IF 'Good' Buy. (If NOT good; return to 1-01-00)
  • Transport obtained engine home
  1. Remove Bert's Dead Engine
  2. Put in the replacement.

Practically, another look at the resources was needed; I needed Wheezil empty of anything like kids or shopping to fit the engine in, and a tank full of diesel, and the oil level and stuff checking to get me up to Julian's, plus some cash in my pocket to pay him if I had his engine, then an appointment that was convenient to both of us.

1-03-00 Act

So, into action again. Money was found, arrangements were made; Wheezil was Dieseled up, and I set off to Stoke, and the following morning, was able to look at the 'replacement' engine, on my drive, next to Bert.

Not a pretty site, but hey! The thing cost less than a replacement battery!

So, stage one of the plan effected; replacement engine obtained. so, before doing anything else, time for a little 'review'.


Right, well, throughout the discourse of Taking on a Project , the main point is all about giving yourself some kind of confidence that what you are doing has some reasonable chance of success.....

Looking at THAT engine sat on it's pallet in the state it was in doesn't inspire much, does it? It looks knackered, and to be honest, the 'acid test' ultimately proved it wasn't far off.....

BUT, superficial appraisal can be misleading; I'vee fired up engines that have been sat standing decades, covered in corrosion and crud, and with a little fresh petrol, a clean spark plug and some tinkering, had them running treat in next to no time, and experience of the Rover V8 is that it's one of those engines that CAN be sorely abused and neglected yet STILL keep going.

Any way, back to the plan, which up to this point was simply:-

Not exactly detailed, but good enough



Part 2 - Project Launch Review

OK, this section has been created to look at the question, could YOU do it? And to apply the theory of Managing a Land Rover 'Project' to the exercise, to kind of help you decide the answer to that one for yourself, as well as to see how this project management thing can be applied.

So, from the PM theory we basically find we need to start by looking at, an objective, a policy to achieve that objective, and a plan of how we are going to achieve the objective. Then we need to look at what we need; Space. Time, Money, Expertise, and Effort.

So, do we have a 'project'? Well most things can be looked at as a project if you try hard enough, whether it's worth it or not is another matter. But, for something like this, it can certainly help. It is a pretty big undertaking. We are looking at something that realistically is going to take a number of weeks to see from start to finish, demand a lot of detail organisation and some carefully completed tasks. So, treating it as a project is a good way to go.


So, what's the objective? Well, basically, we started with a lump of useless aluminium & steel in Bert's engine bay. Primary Objective, make it work again.

So, what about the 'policy', how are we going to achieve the objective? What standards are we going to set? What secondary objectives can we put on the agenda?

Well, we could decide that we want to pull the engine out and make it run again as quickly and cheaply as possible. We could decide that we want to pull the engine out and make it 'as good as new'. We could decide that we want to pull the thing out and make it 'better than new', no expense spared. Or we could decide that the 'policy' is to do something in between.

'Better than New', Pardon? Ah, yes. Well, if you are tearing an engine down, you will have a lot of choices, and if it comes to throwing bits of the engine away because they are worn out, it's quite reasonable to replace them, not with a stock part, but with something a bit better.

Remember Modifying your Land Rover ? Well, the parts that Land Rover put into your engine originally were selected because they represented the 'best compromise' that the engineers could come up with. But, that all round compromise might not be your favourite. With the engine in bits, you have the chance to adjust that compromise a bit in your favour. And there is plenty of scope for it, with a Rover V8 believe me.


If you want more power, there are plenty of hotter cam shaft profiles out there, and the chance to get some cylinder head porting done, or increase valve sizes, and all sorts. Rover V8 normally revs to about 5000rpm, but if you want to go further, then you can fit solid lifters and adjustable length push rods, stronger racing con rods, lighter, high compression pistons - the list is endless.

Any way, that is for you to think about and decide upon. For my part, the policy was: To do as much as was needed to ensure that the motor was returned to a serviceable and reliable condition, with as much life as possible for as little expense as possible. But, some scope to incorporate modifications, if 'useful' and non detrimental, and within reasonable limits of the budget, would be considered.

Essentially, the policy was to use some discretion and look for 'improvement' first to life and reliability, then to standard, while keeping a close eye on the budget.

So, the 'Primary Plan' was to get the engine out, open it up and assess the overall condition. If the bottom end was in reasonable shape, and the valve gear not too bad, then the heads would be stripped and skimmed and the whole thing put back together with little more than a new gasket set. If anything looked like it was close to the end of its service life, then the plan would be left open to decide what extra work needed to be done. Basically, use the PACC principle, or in laymans terms 'Suck it and See'.


What do we need in order to undertake this project? Space. Time, Money, Expertise, and Effort. Down to the nitty gritty here, so lets look at each in tern.


Well, space is always at a premium. Realistically, the kind of space you need is about the size of a small single garage or large shed. If you have the exclusive availability of such, then that's great. If you have a big double garage, fitted out with racking storage and work benches, you are probably laughing. But what's your minimum requirement?

Difficult. It depends on how organised you are, and who or what you have to work around. And you need different space for different jobs. Practically, you need three spaces. Storage. Cleaning. Spannering.

If your car isn't going to be going any where while the engine is in bits, then folding down the back seats and spreading some polythene and old blankets to protect the upholstery and trim, can probably offer a neat storage solution. Its not ideal, but it does keep things out of the way.

Cleaning. Absolutely critical this. Now, it's a dirty business, so it's not so much finding enough space, but a suitable one. Now, if you are careful and contentious, you CAN get away with cleaning a LOT of stuff in your bathroom or kitchen. Chip board on the drainer or over the top of the bath to protect the surfaces is a good idea though. Other wise, you'll be relegated to doing things outside. In which case, again, boards and blankets to make clean surfaces where you can put the parts you have just cleaned.

Spannering. Preferably inside, and in a clean tidy area. You don't really want to be working outside and loosing collets into the grass. But if you have to work outside, you can, but good whether and a clean tidy area is essential. Where I've had to work outside, I've spread old blankets around where I'm working so that if I do drop a collet or a bolt, I stand some chance of finding it.

Think hard. Have you got the space? Can you make the space? Who's going to moan about you working in that space? Can you get more/better space somewhere else?


Another finite resource. Now, from start to finish, you are talking a few weeks. Reasonably, from first opening the engine to having something you can drop back in an engine bay, I'd guess that four to six weeks would be a reasonable ball park time frame.

But remember you have different types of time. 'Hand On' time. 'Hands Off' time, and 'Waiting Time'.

Hands on is the time you actually spend cleaning things and wielding spanners, moving the job forward. 'Hands Off' time is the time you spend in logistics. Setting up to do some work, cleaning up afterwards. Running about to get tools materials or parts, or making calls to order parts or services. And waiting time. Obviously, time where you are doing nothing, either because you are waiting for something necessary to allow you to do work, or waiting until you have time available.

So, it is very difficult to say, and it all comes down to your objectives and policy, but I'd say that at the one end of the scale, if you were to have all of the possible parts you needed to hand, and didn't need to procure outside services or anything, realistically, you could take the motor down from heads to sump, and put it back together. And have it running in maybe a long week end.

At the other end of the scale, if you were to deliberate over every piece part, were to be thorough with cleaning everything, and needed to get things professionally machined, and were working just evenings and week ends, you could be looking at a few months.

For a 'Typical' scenario, I'd suggest that you could get the engine out and cleaned over a starting week end. In the evenings of the following week, you could undress the engine and get it ready to be opened. The second week end, you could get the engine open, and pretty well disassembled. That would give you the evenings of week two, to clean and assess piece parts, and put together a 'Need Sheet' of parts you need or work you need to farm out. Week end three you then have to get prices and research, and do some of the heavy and detail cleaning. Week 3 you may need a day off work to get a window when you can go get parts or drop things off to be machined, when places are open. Leaving the remainder of the week for fiddling and more cleaning or preparation. Week End 4, you might be looking at being able to start doing some reassemble work. Week 5, may require another day off work to collect parts from the machine shop or wherever, and if you have the whole week off, you could get most of the engine back together and ready to be sealed up and dressed in the evenings of Week 6, so that you are ready to put the engine back in, week end 7.


Again, this comes back to your policy and objectives. To start with, you are looking at about 30 for gaskets. And that is about the minimum you might get away with, provided there's no real faults in the engine.

It costs about 20 to skim a head, and maybe 30 to cut new valve seats. Re-boring the block might cost about 100, and regrinding the crank shaft maybe 50. New Piston Rings, Main Bearings and Big End Bearings will set you back about another 100. So you are probably looking at somewhere around 4-500 for a rebuild, provided most of the parts inside the engine are deemed reasonably serviceable.

New tappets are about 50 a set, and a new cam is about 70. If you wanted to put in a hot cam, then you might be looking at something more like 150, but you might want to look at a 'cam kit' if that's the case that could include new timing gears and chain, appropriate tappets to suit the cam, and stuff like that.

So realistically, you are looking at between 500 & 1000, to completely take the thing down and put it back together. That would give you an 'as new' bottom end, running on all new bearings with new piston rings. Reconditioned cylinder heads, with the valves and seats re-cut or renewed. A new timing chain, and probably new gears would have gone into it, and then the rest of the budget would have gone on either some mild tuning, maybe cylinder head porting or a hotter camshaft, or on replacing things like the water pump or oil pump gears, and probably the tappets, and maybe the rocker assemblies, depending on what was deemed appropriate.

If you wanted to go to town on tuning, however, well the sky's the limit really. If you fancy it you could use a long stroke crank-shaft, which would set you back about 700. So you might as well have the block bored over size, I don't know 4.6l, and use some light weight, high compression 'slipper' pistons that would set you back maybe another 800. So you might as well go the whole way and put them on decent forged con rods, at another 1600.

Fully 'Built' Rover V8 engines can cost many many thousands, I mean, they are a favourite in the kit car and custom car worlds, and you can supercharge them, gas them, turbo-charge them, or just tune them to bluggery, and run them on four twin choke webber carbs or something daft.

But if that is what takes your fancy, then the cost is probably NOT a very big consideration in the greater scheme of things!


Well, when it was raised in Managing your LR Project, it was to look at what different expertise's would be required, and which of them you had or could acquire and what work you might want to farm out to an expert.

So, what kind of expertise do you need to strip and rebuild an engine? Actually, not a lot. Its a tedious task, rather than a taxing one. You need to have some kind of basic mechanical competence, but really, most of it is simply cleanliness, thoroughness and attention to detail.

If you can follow the instructions in the Haynes manual, it is not much beyond the reach of a novice mechanic, provided they are careful.

The Rover V8 is an overhead valve engine, so it actually not that complex or difficult to work on, and inside, it has a very tidy 'open' architecture so you can see very clearly what is going on and how everything fits together and works - its actually a good engine to start with. The only real problem is that there are so many pistons and valves to contend with.

But, with patience and care, that is no great problem and there is nothing especially difficult to contend with. Its probably actually easier to work on than a mini engine, and certainly far far better for a novice to start with than anything with an over head cam.

Really there are only two bits of specialist expertise required. Inspection, and Machining. Inspection is looking at the bits you have and deciding if they need replacing or machining, or if they are serviceable as they are. Machining is stuff like grinding the crankshaft journals flat and round to remove wear ridges and the like, or to skim the cylinder head faces to make sure they are flat.

First problem inspection. Some things you can determine by measurement. Flatness of the cylinder head, for example. Doesn't require any more specialist equipment than a steel ruler and a set of feeler gauges. Other stuff, like wear on tappet or cam faces, you may be a little more weary of. The Haynes manual can be helpful here as it often gives comparative pictures. Sometimes you will be able to tell that something is obviously not right.

Now, a 'practised' mechanic would probably be able to make a considered decision very quickly and quite easily, but a novice might not. So there are three choices, Use it & Hope. Throw it away and be safe and sure. Ask some-one else.

And with a bit of common sense, making decisions can be reasonably easy. If you have the budget, and the part in question isn't too expensive, renew it. If it is expensive, and you don't have the budget, think through things logically.

If the part in question is the Cam shaft, well it is quite expensive, but was it working OK before you took the engine to pieces? In which case, if you put it back in, the engine would probably still work OK. It might not be brilliant or as good as it could, but it would work all right. If it stopped working though, it would mean pulling the whole engine out and back to pieces to sort it out. So maybe the expense might be worth while in the long run. If the part in question was the rocker assemblies, well, then if you used the old assemblies and they didn't prove to be up to it, replacing them at a later date would be a lot less involved, as you can get at them just by removing the rocker covers. You don't even need to take the engine out. So, you could probably live with the risk. And you also have a second chance in there too. Wear between rocker and rocker shaft is shared. A set of rockers is the expensive bit, a pair of rocker shafts are reasonably cheap, so maybe putting the old rockers on new shafts might take away enough wear to make the assembly viable.

And your last arbiter, ask. Plenty of people here on the internet with the right kind of expertise to help. Certainly on the LROi Forum, but more locally, your local motorfactors, or machine shop, or your mate round the corner who works at the Local Peugeot Dealers.

Which brings us to the matter of machining. Precision metal cutting. Definitely a specialised expertise, not many people have - simply because most of it needs big specialised work shop equipment.

Actually, I do have this expertise, I actually trained in the tool room of a local factory, but it's not something that I would consider doing myself, I simply don't have the equipment, like a lathe, cylindrical grinder, milling machine, etc.

So, things like getting the valves and valve seats cut, or the cylinder head skimmed, the block re-bored or the crank journals ground, you probably need to find a specialist machine shop. Theres usually at least one or two in each town which specialise in engine reconditioning work, so get the yellow pages out and give them a call. They can often usually do things like press valve guides in or out, or shrink in new valve seats. Some can even do silly things like spray metal onto worn out journals and grind them back to the original size, rather than cutting them under size. They can sometimes regrind cams, or cut new cams, to your own specified profile if you want. And some will undertake some tuning work, like gas flowing the cylinder head ports or increasing the valve sizes.

Also good people to ask if you are unsure whether a part is serviceable as it is, can be salvaged with machining or needs throwing away and replacing.


Last one. Effort. Who is going to put it in. Probably you for the main part. The two big tasks in the job are cleaning, which is a dirty, tedious and basically onerous no mind task, and the assembly of the thing when you come to put it all back together, which is not particularly strenuous or mentally taxing, it just demands a lot of attention to detail.

I've been trying to figure it out, and really, there's probably about a hundred and fifty to two hundred man hours work in a 'Home' tear down and rebuild.

In a professional work shop, I guess that it would take a proficient mechanic maybe 40-50 hours, or a full week to do the job 'properly', but that would be using industrial solvent cabinets or whatever to do a lot of the cleaning work, and with the help of an apprentice for some of the less demanding tasks.


OK, so at what point is doing a DIY engine rebuild become a bad idea?

Well, lets start just by looking at this from an economic point of view to start with. I think that what we have considered is that a 'typical' rebuild is going to cost something in the order of 500.

Depending on the condition of the engine you have to start with, probably the minimum you are going to get away with is a couple of hundred, and if you have to go the whole hog and change almost everything to bring it up to scratch, then you are possibly looking at close to 1000.

And THAT is just for parts and services. You have about two hundred man hours of work in the job as well. That's a months full time work, plus overtime.

So, how do you value your time?

For me, well, I enjoy it. To me, rebuilding an engine is 'fun' like doing a jigsaw or crossword puzzle. So as a 'leisure' pursuit, my time is actually not very valuable, I mean, if I wasn't rebuilding an engine, I'd be doing something that was either completely unproductive, or costing me money. So, I don't actually put a price on my time.

But if I did? What would be reasonable? Well, let's just say 10 an hour. Seems in the right order and makes sums easy. So, two hundred man hours, at ten pounds an hour, that's what, two thousand pounds.

OK. So, if I was to put a price on my time, then cost of DIY rebuild would be somewhere between two and a half and three grand. Hmmmmmm.


Because, that is about what a 'Good' remanufactured engine would cost for a reputed firm.

So, if you are looking for a 'Cheap Fix', then this might be a false economy. Think about it. You can spend a couple of hundred hours at home, up to your eyeballs in grease and oil and bits of metal, and putting up with the hassle of finding the space and working out how things fit together and wot not, OR, you could spend that time at work, doing what you do all day, getting time and a quarter overtime rate, saving the money to buy a remanufactured engine off the shelf.

So, go back to your Objectives and Policy and have a think. Do you WANT to do this? Is it actually worth it?

And there are other alternatives.

You can get 'exchange' engines sometimes for as little as seven or eight hundred pounds. Now, the fact that that price would hardly cover the cost of parts needed to do a proper overhaul, should give you some idea that such an engine isn't going to have a full service life left in it.

I've heard a lot of people try arguing that these cheap 'Re-Cons' are available cheaper than you could get the parts to do the job yourself because the firms offering them have bulk buying power and the equipment to save a lot of time and labour doing the job.

Utter blox, I'm afraid.

Yes, it would take 200 hours of an amateur's time, but a professional would still need 50 hours, but instead of valuing their time at 10 an hour, with the overheads, they are going to value their time at 40 an hour, so its still going to be a lot of labour cost. And you cant save two grands worth of labour, on seven hundred quids worth of parts, unless the suppliers are paying YOU three times the parts regular price to take them off their hands.

So, don't let yourself be fooled. A cheap 'Re-con', is a cheap re-con. It CANNOT have had a full tear down and overhaul. It won't have all new bearings and a reground crankshaft, new piston rings and all that stuff.

Best you can hope for is that the heads and sump have been taken off, the bearings looked at to make sure they aren't down to the bronze, the top ends been de-coked, and the whole thing has been flushed through, and put back together with new gaskets so it doesn't leak. If you are lucky, it might have got a new timing chain.

But, that doesn't mean to say that it is bad value. If you get a motor like that and it costs you maybe 900, and it lasts you 30,000 miles, then its probably done OK. Yes, a 3K remanufactured engine would probably have lasted a LOT more than three times as long, but probabilities and risks, you've not really been ripped off.

So, next alternative, second hand or 'scrap' engines. Often referred to now as 'Take-Outs'. If you hunt about, you can often find some-one breaking a Range Rover or Land Rover, or doing an engine conversion, who's got an engine that are about to or have just taken out of another car. Typically these change hands for between two and five hundred quid, depending on presumed condition and how many ancillaries go with them.

At 300, a 'Take Out' is cheaper than opening up your own engine. At 500, its just on the threshold of a 'budget' tear-down. Now the risk associated with a take out can be quite high. there's no guarantee that the engine has any more life in it than the original. But, that's the gamble. There's also no guarantee that its not a well looked after engine, in pretty good shape, with plenty of life left in it.

So, if you can hear it running before you buy, or you can at least be shown that the thing isn't seized and has compression, then you have a reasonable chance of at least getting something that will work.

And even at 500, the risk might be a reasonable one.

So quick summary:


Advantages: 100% 'Good'. Full service life. Everything in there should be 'as good as new'. No mess, no fuss and you can have it all most straight away. Guarantee.

Disadvantages: Very Darn Expensive. Probably more money than the car is worth.


Advantages: Least Fuss and Messing about. Available Quickly. 1/3 price of remanufactured engine. Probably comes with a six month 'exchange' warranty if it does break.

Disadvantages: Doesn't have a full service life in it. Less life per than Remanufactured engine.


Advantages: Cheap. Probably less outlay than taking the cylinder heads off original engine. No mess or fuss. Availability is almost immediate.

Disadvantages: Unknown remaining Service Life. No Warranty.


Advantages: 100% 'Good'. Full service life. Less than 1/3 the cost of pro-built equivalent. Immense amounts of 'job satisfaction'.

Disadvantages: Huge outlay of time to do job. Lots of mess and hassle for sustained period of time. High Risks. Big risk that you wont actually get the job done. If time isn't there, then project could grind to a halt. Big risk that engine wont run properly, or could fail early - its all down to attention to detail - ammeters can pay a lot better attention to detail than professionals, but they are prone not to be as consistent in their attentions, and a single bolt not torqued up correctly can see the engine rendered into scrap the first time its run up to 3000rpm.

And there is no warranty on it.

OK, so for a few minutes. Stop and think.

Temper enthusiasm for diving in with spanners, by factoring in some thoughts about the wife, girlfriend or significant other moaning about you being in the shed at seven o'clock at night, not sitting watching 'Emerdale' with them; factor in some more moaning about tripping over engine blocks or cylinder heads left lying about, and even more about oily hand prints on the kettle and the toilet handle.

Now think critically about the condition of the rest of the car. If you rebuild this engine, then you are probably giving it another hundred and fifty thousand miles, or twenty years of life. Is it really worth it? Will the rest of the car have broken beyond reasonable repair long before you get the benefit out of all this work? Or do you intend bringing the rest of it up to the same standard when other things start to break. And are you really going to have the car long enough to see the benefit?

So, where's your 'break point'?

Practically, the comparison point is probably a 1000 'Exchange' engine. In comparison to that, you are almost certainly going to get a better engine, provided you do the job right. And you almost certainly are going to save money - but at what cost?

Financially, a warranted 'exchange' or an unwarranted 'Take Out' is probably the most expedient solution, but that doesn't mean to say that it is the best solution.

What you don't want to do, is decide at the start that a DIY rebuild is your preferred option, and commit yourself to that course of action, only to realise that it isn't practical.

So, what 'Margins' are you working within?

Financially, they are pretty easy to assess. Take out, is maybe 100-500. So it overlaps with a low cost DIY rebuild. An 'Exchange' engine will take you from maybe 700 - 1500, which covers the 'Typical' DIY rebuild range reasonably well, given some scope for adding in some upgrades. And then at the top of the scale you have a 'pro-built' engine, which might start from perhaps 2500, and go up to infinity as far as we are concerned.

On the tight budget, doing it yourself, is probably a strong contender. If you set out with the budget of 700, so you can do a 'good' rebuild job, but look to try and bring it in under budget, and try to re-use as much as possible, then its entirely possible that you can get a better motor for less money than a high risk 'Take Out', and even if you have to expend the full budget, and renew nearly everything, then you are still probably better off than if you had gone for an 'Exchange' engine.

So it comes down to the other factors like how much enthusiasm you have for the job, and how much time and space you have available. If you are forced to it, because you simply cant stretch to the price of an 'Exchange' engine, then you probably ought to be thinking seriously about finding a good take out, or biting the bullet, and thinking hard about putting in some over time at work or stretching the credit card limit a bit, to get a decent 'exchange unit'

But I think that probably the main thing you need to be thinking about is time. How much margin do you have on available time. If you commit to a rebuild, you are looking at a solid months full time work, or there abouts. Lets assume you have the work shop space available so that you can keep the job all together and simply walk in and carry on from where you left off without any messing around finding tools or tidying up each session, and that you intend to just work evenings and week ends.

What have you got, two three hours an evening, five nights a week. Perhaps twenty hours over a week end. That's thirty five hours a week. You are looking at maybe a six week project, if you devote your entire out of work life to the job.

What margin have you got for necessities, like going shopping for groceries. Family commitments like wedding anniversaries, birthday parties or an evening out with the significant other?

If other social engagements have to be taken into consideration, a six week job can rapidly start to drag out for months or even years.

So how far can you go?

Well, you can get the job quite a long way without spending much if any money. With the motor out, and cleaned, you can get the cylinder heads off, and the sump off, and get a good idea of how much more is involved.

That I think is really the first break point. At that point you can bolt the heads and sump back on and get an exchange unit, or go looking for a 'take out' or whatever, and all you have really lost is some time.

The next step is to start the detail dismantling, and cleaning, and it is about there that it is starting to get disheartening, as all you can see is a LOT of work in front of you, and all you seem to be achieving is an ever mounting pile of pieces that despite all your efforts to clean them up, probably still look fit for the junk yard.

I think that you can probably go quite a long way down this route, before you actually reach the point of no return. You wont know for sure how much work is left, or how much money needs to be spent until everything is cleaned and inspected.

If you can get through that bit, then the chances are you have a good chance of getting the thing back together successfully, because you will have done about 60% of all the hard work, and the rest will be a lot easier, for the simple reason that you'll begin to see things 'coming together' and it will start to look like you are actually achieving something.

So, your point of no return being the decision to go spend the money on this engine, rather than throw it away and do something else. Up until then you wont have lost much by backing out.

So factor those in to your plan. Start Point being to get your old engine out of the engine bay. Break Point being to do a primary assessment with the heads and sump and maybe the timing chain cover off. Then, put your Point of No Return as being after everything is disassembled, cleaned and you need to start spending money to put it all back together.

Then use your PACC cycle, of Planning, Acting, Comparing and Correcting the Plan, so that you keep an eye on where the project is going, and where you are in relation to your fixed points, so you know whether you can back out or whether you have to knuckle down and just get it sorted.

Last piece of advice: Don't be afraid to throw it all away. If you have past your break point, and decided to strip, and have got a long way down that line, don't be afraid to give up on it. If you are struggling to do the job, or you are struggling to find the time, or you are struggling to cope with the hassle of space and other people, don't be tempted to think 'Well I cant afford to do it another way' or 'Well I've spent so much time or effort on it so far...."

Because that is fooling yourself into false economy. The threshold of viability is the level at which it isn't worth carrying on. Lots and Lots of people work well above the threshold of viability, simply because they don't want to think that they have wasted their time or money, or admit they have made a wrong decision.

So, keep an eye on it, and if it is taking far too much of your time, or causing to much havoc in your family life, cut your losses early, and find another way to achieve objective. Because that is the threshold of viability, and it is a wise man who recognises it.

So, off you go and do some thinking, and hopefully, if you've taken this lot on board, you can answer your own question. So I shall leave this with a couple that should help;

Can I Do a DIY Rebuild?

Answer that lot, and it will help immeasurably. I would imagine MOST people COULD do a DIY rebuild, if they were determined enough.

Whether it would be worth the effort or the best thing to do is another matter, only you can decide.

Back to V8 tear down & overhaul - The Full Story









Defining The Project

If you want to look at V8 tear down & overhaul - Project Launch Review I have gone through all of the various things you need to consider before tackling the project.

At the end of the day, this comes down to a list of questions, to decide if it is actually feasible to undertake the intended project, or if there is no other way around it.

In Summary those questions are:

On the practical side of things, the project is pretty well feasible. I have most of the expertise needed, and the tools. Money is always a big issue, but with a bit of juggling I was sure I could free up enough money to be in the right ball park. Space I have or can make, time, likewise, effort, well I enjoy it, so not a problem. So, objective and policy, lets set them out.


Make Bert the Range Rover run again under his own power.


Within reasonable boundaries and limits, undertake that work necessary to return Bert to functional condition.

Renovate the original engine to fully working condition, incorporating whatever improvements are practical to increase life, reliability, economy or performance, as are within economic reason.,

Overhaul is preferred for simple reason of most economically achieving an engine with significant service life and least risk or early failure. However the length of time necessary to accomplish a rebuild is not desirable, as the vehicle cannot be out of service for a significant period of time.

Use of a 'Take Out' engine, would be preferred from point of view of minimising the period the vehicle is out of service, but is not preferred from point of view of that such an engine is unlikely to have significant remaining service life, and risk of failure is high.

An 'Exchange' engine is not considered appropriate, as a compromise as it is not considered to significantly reduce risk of failure compared to a take out, nor does it provide extra service life as economically as a rebuild. Cost of 'exchange' engine from reputable source is also unlikely to fall within project budgets, but may be considered if appropriate.

A nominal budget of 500 is set for the project, but is not rigidly fixed. Additional funds can be used if essential, or extremely desirable. Priority must be given to those items which are essential to returning vehicle to functional condition. Where items may be re-used or salvaged for re-use, but with significant question of their long term durability, priority must be given to those parts which would be most difficult to replace or repair at a later date.

In order to achieve functionality, in the short term, and avoid the vehicle being out of service for any prolonged period, it is anticipated that a 'Take Out' engine may be used in the first instance, the risks associated with this being mitigated by overhaul of the original engine as a longer term solution.

First Time Around the PACC Loop

First decision made. Project is feasible and viable, so we need a plan. Remember, I'm using the 'Plan, Act Compare, Correct' cycle here. The plan isn't going to be rigid, but evolve with the project to tackle whatever discoveries it throws at us along the way. And the policy has been set in order that there is scope to allow me to exploit opportunities or address issues as they arise.

OK, so the initial Plan.

Step 1 - Remove engine from engine bay, and replace with cheap 'Take Out' to be procured to keep Bert mobile and running during remainder of project.

Step 2 - Clean engine as thoroughly as possible and mount on engine stand for further work.

Step 3 - Undertake minimum of engine disassembly in order to establish rough idea of general internal condition, and what work is essential to return it to functional condition.

Step 4 - Decide if practical to continue with work on this engine, what action is necessary / beneficial to bring engine back to functional condition.

Step 5 - Assess performance of substitute 'Take Out' engine put in Berts Engine bay in 'Step 1'

Step 6 - Revise Plan as suits to minimise risk and Keep Bert moving

All the tedious detail of following that first plan is here in V8 tear down & overhaul - The First Tasks . In summary though, essence was, things went pretty much to plan.

A 'Take Out' was sourced and substituted in Bert's engine bay.

An engine stand was acquired, and the original lump cleaned and bolted to it.

Cylinder Heads were removed, and the inside of the engine peered at. It wasn't as bad as some. And it was decided that it would probably be practical to go ahead with an overhaul, but there were lots of areas where answers were needed to decide what actually would need doing. And lots of cleaning.

The performance of the substitute engine was assessed. And deemed to be deficient. Big time deficient. Seems it only has six or seven cylinders, and it uses a LOT of petrol, a LOT of oil, and leaves a smoke screen wherever it goes. BUT, it does go. Which puts it ahead of the original engine which didn't. But realistically, it seemed pointless wasting much time on trying to sort that one out. Made more sense to dig in and spend the time and effort on overhauling the original and swapping them back over.

So, following the Plan, Act, Compare, Correct cycle, with almost all the initial tasks on the first plan done, the situation was reviewed, and a new plan formulated.

Second Time Around the PACC Loop

  1. Start a List of Parts.
  2. Strip & Clean Cylinder heads
  3. Take Cylinder Heads to Machine Shop for inspection, quote and possibly work.
  4. Rocker Assemblies. Clean. Strip. Clean. Inspect.
  5. Tappets & push-rods. Remove. Clean. Disassemble. Clean. Inspect.
  6. Remove Water Pump, Fan & Visco Unit. Clean, Inspect
  7. Remove timing Cover. Clean. Disassemble oil pump / filter housing. Clean. Inspect.
  8. Timing Chain & Gears. Check chain slack. Remove. Clean. Inspect.
  9. Remove Sump. Clean. Look at bottom end. Attempt to clean block as well as possible with crank & pistons in situ.
  10. Consider tail gate and exhaust manifold problems. Check around for some-one breaking a Range Rover, that might be able to help.
  11. Establish 'Critical' path of dependant activities, and start to develop a work schedule.
  12. Apply PACC and revise plans accordingly.

And following that is detailed in V8 tear down & overhaul - Getting 'Into' It .

Two things on there stand out as classic Project Management 'tools'. The 'List of Parts' , and the 'Critical Path' . So really they ought to be looked at in a bit more detail, So I have dealt with them in separate sections.

Thing about the LOP is that it is not a fixed thing. I've basically published my 'first shot' of the LOP, that is a list of all the bits under 'Engine' on the Paddocks web site. This means that I can see what parts I might need and how much they are. Going through the project, more stuff got added, from bits of pipe to remake the emissions equipment, to stack-a-boxes and tooth brushes to do all the cleaning.

Similarly, the Critical Path, is dynamic. What is 'Critical' really depends on where you are and what you have already done, so again, its something that 'lives'.

Basically, you have a 'Logical Task List', which is all of the jobs that need doing, in the logical order, all the way through the strip and rebuild. But, once you have removed an assembly, like say the cylinder heads, you don't have to go straight in and strip and clean and overhaul the heads, you can put them to one side and carry on down to the crank shaft, and then come back to them. But, you do have to remove them before you can get to the lower layers of engine. So the two kind of go together. Logical Task list, is everything you know or suspect you might have to do, and the Critical Path is the route through them that keeps things moving with fewest delays.

Any way, this was the time where I basically piled into the engine to try and answer as many of the unknowns as possible.

That meant lots of tedious cleaning and scrubbing, and storing.

Then, following 'the plan', we'd had a look at the bits we might need and started a list of parts.

Cylinder heads were first. They were cleaned, and stripped, cleaned again, then taken to the machine shop for expert attention.

The Rocker Assemblies were next, and once down to the piece parts and in a nice clean inspectable state, not good news. The shafts were horrendously worn, and that kind of implied that the rockers would be too. One possibility that presented itself, was to have the shaft ground down true again, and to ream out the rockers then fit a phosphor bronze bush into the rockers to bring the clearances back into tolerance. Machine shop quashed this idea. Possible, but more expensive than buying new rocker assemblies. Apparently it is a technique they can apply, but it only really becomes economic on fairly rare and exotic engines where new rockers aren't readily available.

Not good news, but there you go. One compromise that presented itself was the idea that if the shaft alone was replaced, than that might remove enough of the wear to bring the clearances back to something reasonable. It was a risk, but worth looking at. So, the rocker assemblies were shelved, and the Rocker Shafts ticked as 'NEEDED' on the LOP.

Tappets and Push Rods came in for attention. No great worries there, so after cleaning and inspecting, they were packed and stored for later attention, which brought me down to the timing cover.

Water pump had to be removed first, and that was put on one side for later review. The cover itself was removed complete with oil pump, and after poking at the thick layer of carbon & Sludge on the inside, it was basically abandoned to the cleaning solutions for a few days.

Timing chain and gears, were next on the list. And just a quick inspection of the dirty parts still hanging on the cam & crank shafts kind of indicated that these bits would need renewal. Cleaning them up, and sure enough, the cam chain had enough slack in it for it to have been retarding the cam timing by maybe as much as 10 degrees, while the cam gear had actually lost a tooth and the rest of the gear ring likely to separate from the hub in consequence.

Which got us down to the bottom end, where we found horrors. Lifting the main bearing caps, revealed that the crank had been running on the bronze support of the bearing shells having worn clean through the white metal bearing surface. If this engine hadn't boiled when it did, it wouldn't have been long before it seized.

So, that answered that question, the thing was going to need a full tear down. Pistons were removed, crank was removed and the block and crank taken to the machine shop for attention

Which basically brought me to a halt on the critical path, as with everything removed, and the block and crank being machined, the job could really go no further.

So, it was a case of going back over everything and looking to see what jobs had been done out of logical order and what could be done without the block and crank.

Back to the PACC, and time for the next stage V8 tear down & overhaul - Getting it Together .

I was at the point of the Logical Task List, where it was calling for the 'Pre Assembly Review', so really the next PACC cycle and the Pre-Assembly review could be combined.

Looking down the Logical Task List, and deciding what had been done, and what was left to be done, gave me:-

Mean while, the cleaning program had kind of been taken to it's logical conclusion, and once parts were cleaned and inspected, 90% of the preparation needed to get a good finish had been done, so I started painting stuff, just to finish it off and make it look nice.

Completely un-necessary, but what the heck.

Actually the added 'Cost' of doing all this was not that great. Paint, and I used a fair bit came to about 50, but the time was not that great.

Like I said, 90% of the effort required to get a decent finish had been done in the cleaning stages, so all it actually required was a little buffing here and there, and then the application of the paint.

And that is actually not that time consuming. Biggest part of the time is in allowing the paint to dry between coats. And all THAT needs is space, which luckily I had.

OK, so I took over the dining room table, putting boards on the top to save the surface, but what the heck.

Probably the most important, and time consuming job in this section was to prepare the pistons.

These needed detail cleaning ready to accept new piston rings, and get rid of all of the carbon deposits on the piston crown and in the oil channels.

Boring, boring work, but absolutely essential to the build.

Worst part of the job is getting in to the piston ring grooves and cleaning out all of the sludge and carbon, without damaging the edges of the groove.

I made a tool out of one of the old piston rings for this, by breaking it in two and grinding a flat 'blade' on either end.

Mean while, the cylinder heads had come back from the machine shop and were waiting re-assembly. This needed new valve stem seals, that are included in the top end gasket kit that I'd ordered from Paddocks, along with the bottom end kit, and a pair of rocker shafts.

When that arrived, it let me get the valves back into the heads.

Being organised when I took the heads down paid off, and they went back together a treat, without any drama, lost collets or anything like that.

Which gave us tow major chunks ready to go back on, once the block was back and prepped.

The rocker assemblies were another matter though, and when the old rockers were tried on the new shafts, I was disappointed to find that it wasn't going to be much better.

Shouldn't have been surprised, but I was hopeful.

That left the timing cover and oil pump, and the carburettors.

The timing cover, eventually came up clean, and the oil filter housing and the oil pump was removed, cleaned, and inspected. Deemed serviceable, and set on one side until needed.

Carburettors, were stripped, and cleaned and stored pending the painting regime, and a gasket set to put them back together, and that was just about all that could be sorted until the block and crank came back.

So, as soon as the crank and block came back, things were looking good to start get the thing back together, in V8 tear down & overhaul - The Big Build .

And another PACC review. And another 'Pre-Assembly Review'. Hmmmm.

Well, the first time I got to the 'Pre-Assembly Review', I had got the engine all in bits, with big chunks lying about waiting to have something done to them. I mean it wouldn't take  a rocket scientist to realise that they were no where near being ready to put back together, but 'Pre-Assembly Review' was the next task on the list, and the object of the review was to find out exactly what had and hadn't been done, and figure out what needed to be done before things could start to be put back together.

So, having gone around that loop, it was time to repeat the process and make sure that everything that needed to be done was don, so that re-assembly could begin.

And thankfully it was.

And, with all questions answered and a pretty clear idea of what was needed to sort it all out, 'the plan' was now basically to follow the Logical Task List, and get it all back together.

Starting at the bottom, and working my way back up, the first thing to do was get the crank shaft back in.

No major dramas here, just care and attention to detail

Then the pistons and con-rods could be fitted.

Practically, just a case of following the instructions and doing the work.

No questions to be answered and no decisions to be made.


And with all of the attention to detail going into the preparation, making sure that I had everything to put the engine together, and to making sure that everything I needed was to hand, clean, and sorted and ready to use, the thing went back together remarkably quickly.

Which meant that I wasn't having to faff about searching for things, or check them over before using them, and could concentrate on the important bits and pieces like making sure that bolts lined up nicely and went in true, and putting things together 'dry' to get them all lined up, before going back round in sequence, tightening, torquing or applying stud lock.

Which, I think, makes all the difference. If you do the prep, then the build is easy, and if it is easy, then you can do it well and with care, and that should give you something that first stands a better chance of working, then stands a good chance of working well.

Rush it, or skimp in the preparation, or try doing the preparation as you go along, and it will not come together so easily.

Any way, with the crank back in, and the pistons and con-rods in the bores and attached, we have a 'short' engine, ready for the cylinder heads and valve train.

Cylinder heads first, and the built up assemblies were pulled out of storage and offered up with nice new gaskets.

Cam shaft in, timing gears and chain on, and lots of care and attention to get it timed in right.

After than, dropping in the tappets, and the push rods, and re-fitting the rocker assemblies was a doddle.

Just time, patience and attention to detail.

And it is looking frighteningly like an engine!

So, time to detail it out, which is where the job starts to drag out, but none the less, it still needs doing.

Part 3 - The First Tasks


Step 1 - Remove engine from engine bay, and replace with cheap 'Take Out' to be procured to keep Bert mobile and running during remainder of project.

Step 2 - Clean engine as thoroughly as possible and mount on engine stand for further work.

Step 3 - Undertake minimum of engine disassembly in order to establish rough idea of general internal condition, and what work is essential to return it to functional condition.

Step 4 - Decide if practical to continue with work on this engine, what action is necessary / beneficial to bring engine back to functional condition.

Step 5 - Assess performance of substitute 'Take Out' engine put in Berts Engine bay in 'Step 1'

Step 6 - Revise Plan as suits to minimise risk and Keep Bert moving

ACT - Step 1.1

Well, the first part of that task is obviously to find a cheap 'Take Out' to go in the engine bay while work is carries out on the original engine.

I've not actually fully explained that idea. It was actually a bit of the shot gun approach to problem solving. You see, doing a tear down is the preferred way of achieving the objective, because it is the route which involves greatest gain, for least risk, most economically. Procuring an 'exchange' engine was dismissed basically as too expensive, and a DIY rebuild would be cheaper and better.

The idea of using a 'Take Out' was actually a favoured route, especially as it would keep Bert on the road throughout the long tedious rebuild process.

Idea had only one small factor against it- risk.

If a good enough and cheap enough engine could be found, then doing anything with the original would be unnecessary - but the risk was not favourable.

So the plan was to get a cheap 'Take Out' and see how it went. This gave options. If the engine proved strong, then the original could be put in the corner of the shed and worried about another day - maybe the idea of overhauling it could be resurrected for a V8 conversion on the weasel, at some point. In the mean time, primary objective would have been met with least cost and least effort.

If, the 'Take Out' engine was not as good as hoped, then overhauling the original engine would mitigate for some of the risk, and provide a back up in case the other engine seized, blew up or otherwise expired, and I could take my time overhauling the original engine, working on it as funds and time allowed.

If the 'Take Out' engine was even worse than that, then it would hopefully at least keep Bert moving long enough to get the original motor overhauled, and swapped back. In which case the overhaul idea would have to be stepped up a pace and time and money made available to do the job, rather than just fitted in between when possible.

Any way, most of that operation is covered in Bert's V8 Transplant , but in recap, a very cheap 'take out' was sourced through the 'going spare' board on the LROi Forum, from a chap with the username Julian1234, from Stoke on Trent. That cost 70 and a trip up the A34 in the weazil to bring it home, and then it was just a case of swapping them over.

One thing to mention, Bit of detail planning, but I chose to leave the engine in the engine bay until I had something in my hand, or more precisely, on a pallet in front ready to replace it.

I COULD have parallel tasked more of the job by removing the original engine straight away and starting work on it, while I looked for a substitute. Thing is, risk was that I couldn't find anything I could afford, and then the plan would have had to have been back tracked a long way, and I might have made a lot of extra work for myself.

So the 'Plan' is happening at a number of levels here. At the top level the 'Plan' says' "'Take Out' to be procured". There are no details of how or where to procure one, or what it should be like, or any notion of specification or standard, or anything like that.

This is worth taking note of, because without getting too tedious, basically I'm doing a lot of planning 'on the hoof' as it were, and this can be useful. You don't NEED to have everything written down in minute detail, in fact, I had hardly anything written down to begin with, because you merely need the basic scheme of things in your head, and then you can handle the little stuff as you get to it.

Actually, I could have gone through another complete project management cycle for finding another engine, and I suppose to some extent I did. Objective: Source and Procure as good an engine as possible for as little money as possible. Policy: Use Internet, specialist magazines etc to find an engine. Preferable one that can be heard running in a car, though provided the crank shaft can be turned to prove its not seized, and air comes out of the spark plug holes to prove it might have some compression, that will do. It should be as close to home as possible, but anything within a days travel is acceptable. Can help vendor to take it out of current vehicle if needs be. Specification: As close to original as possible. 3.5 litre Carburated.

So, first port of call was the LROi Forum, and a couple of posts and PM's turned up the one Julian1234 had. Was out of the donor vehicle, but the crank turned and it appeared to have compression. Step 1 completed satisfactorily.

ACT - Step 2.1

So the next thing to do was to swap the engines over. Easier said than done, but with the help of an engine crane its no huge undertaking.

About the most important thing to note is that this example is an automatic, and you need to remove the torque converter from the fly wheel (flex-plate), before you lift the engine out.

I didn't - I thought it just slid off the gearbox splines like a conventional clutch, but luckily I don't seem to have done any major damage.

That said, when the engine goes back in it will be getting a new torque converter, as I don't want to have to lift the lump out to get at it again.

Removed as a unit, it was a case of disconnecting the radiator & heater matrix pipes, the throttle & choke cable, disconnecting the fuel lines, and the engine wiring, undoing the exhaust down pipes from the manifolds and that kind of thing.

Getting at the bell-housing bolts is a bit fiddly, but was managed OK, with the motor supported on a block of wood and a bottle jack.

Then it was just a case of undoing the engine mounts, slinging a chain between the lifting eyes and jacking it out with the crane.

Some people reckon that you need to take the front panel out to do this, and on some early models the front panel is bolted in and that's quite easy.

Bert's front panel is spot welded in though, which could be solved easily enough by drilling out the spots, then bolting it back together, but the crane had enough reach, and I didn't really want to disturb the transmission cooler unless I really had to.

Only thing to watch out for, is the carb tops, the slide damper rods are a bit fragile and if you have the lift chain short to help get enough reach, then any slight rock can see them snag and get snapped.

Really, this is pretty much following the instructions in the Haynes manual - though that is just a little bit infuriating what with all the revisions for later models and the like.

ACT - Step 2.1

So, once out, its down and onto a pallet for some serious cleaning.

I don't like working on dirty engines or gear boxes and stuff.

And the first job, while it was outside, was to get a big box of cheap biological washing powder (cheapest degreasant I know of), and the pressure washer, attached to the hot tap and start blasting it.

Old dish pan brushes and a nylon hand brush are handy for getting in and really scrubbing the thing down.

I think I must have evicted about half a dozen Land Rover spiders from their homes in the engine mounts and the wells between the cylinders, but other wise, all the old road crud spilled or leaked oil and everything else was scraped, scrubbed, dissolves or blasted off the motor and down the drain.

This was only the START of all the cleaning that was needed, but it at least got rid of the heavy grime off the outside.

Note that the exhaust ports and the carb mouths were stuffed to keep water out.

ACT - Step 2.2


So the next job was to get it onto an engine stand.

Normally I have hunked motors around on a work bench. But these days I don't have the luxury of one, and do most of my work either on a B&D work mate or a board on top of the deep freezer!

But for this one, I decided that an engine stand would be pretty darn useful - and so it has proved.

About 35 from machine mart.

Peanuts in comparison to the cost of the bits needed to do this job, and worth every penny.

Strongly recommended.

Most useful feature is that you can tilt the block about 360 degrees along the axis of the crank.

That means that you can flip the thing upside down to take the sump off or the crank out.

And you can tilt it through 45 degrees either way so that you can work on each head with it straight & level.

So, with it on the stand, we can have a look at what we got.

Exhaust manifolds, alternator, starter, distributor etc were all removed to be used on the other engine, that was in Bert's engine bay to keep him moving while this one was worked on.

An example of a bit of 'Hands Off' time there, because getting an engine stand was a job that took about two hours to drive over to my Local Machine Mart shop and get the thing, and maybe a bit more in the research in the first instance to find one that would suit.

 ACT - Step 3.1

The initial assumption we were working on was that the motor had low compression and blown head gaskets.

So, we didn't want to disturb more than we needed.

First step then was to remove the inlet manifold. The carburettors and all the associated bits and pieces were left in situ on the manifold, and it was hoped we could just get to the heads underneath, then put the manifold back as a complete assembly.

So, manifold off, and 'tin plate' inlet manifold gasket off and we can see inside the motor.

For any one not familiar with the Rover V8, the cam shaft is mounted quite high in the valley of the 'V' with the tappets running in guides cast into the block at the bottom of the cylinder, and the whole lot is exposed, and only enclosed by the inlet manifold gasket that folds round from one head to the other, and is clamped in the corners of the valley.

OK short answer - see the black area in the picture above? Well the inlet manifold gasket covers the lot, OK?

Now, 'black death'. Common affiliation on old Rover V8's. Its a low oil pressure engine. Its very open, and quite wide so it relies on a lot of oil getting splashed about rather than it being pumped everywhere.

This is good in a way, and bad in another. Low pressure lubrication is pretty robust, it tends to mean that there are few tight galleries to get clogged or blocked, and the oil isn't being forced through tiny apertures like the cracks between cases!

Also means that bearings tend to be a bit bigger and run slightly wider tolerances, so they can tolerate a bit more neglect, or a poor oil supply for a short while. Down side is that without the oil being positively shoved to where its needed, you cant be totally sure that its where you want it.

Any way - 'the black death'. Old RV8's have a habit of ending up looking like your Grannies frying pan inside.

Black, greasy and charred. They tend to get all gunked up, and despite having a pretty tolerant lubrication system, eventually it will suffer. 

First thing that tends to be effected are the tappets, or followers. These are the hydraulic type, and need a good clean supply of oil to pump up and keep the tappet clearances in order. If they don't get it, then they start making pretty awful noises and things start getting worn out.

So, I was reasonably pleased with the state inside this one. Sure there's a lot of black goo, but it isn't too bad. You can actually see both the push rods and lifters in there! Yes I have seen RV8's where they are so clogged with gunk that you cant!

ACT - Step 3.2

Well, there's not a LOT you can tell just with the inlet manifold off. But we has done a compression test before we took the engine out and it was pretty dire. So we needed to take the cylinder heads off and find out just exactly what we could see.

Well, tops of the pistons, valves, cylinder head faces and a bit of soot, is the answer to that one.

And it doesn't really tell up much.

A straight edge and feeler guage over the cylinder head faces give indication that we were on the right track assuming that the heads could do with skimming, and the head gaskets had gone, but other wise, I had little more than a 'feel' for what was lurking beneath.

There were still a LOT of unanswered questions.

 ACT - Step 4

 "Decide if practical to continue with work on this engine, what action is necessary / beneficial to bring engine back to functional condition"

Well, like I said, there were still a lot of unanswered questions. But what are the important ones? What do we REALLY want to know.

My wife is really good at this, pulling the BIG question out from all the minutiae.

"SO, can you FIX IT?"

Err, Yes Bob, we can!

There doesn't look to be anything majorly wrong in there. Its a bit sooted up, and a bit clogged with old oil, but not dramatically so, and there doesn't appear to be anything that is obviously bent broken or wobbling around.

Turning the crank shaft by hand the pistons all go up and down, there's no great scores or gashes in the cylinder wall, no chunks missing out of the pistons, no bits of exhaust valves rattling around in the combustion chamber or anything like that.

So, it stands a good chance that it can be resurrected.

"What do you Need to Do Now?"

Again the wife comes to the rescue, bringing some focus to the task. Well. The bottom end is a bit sludged and grimy. In order to tell if there is anything lurking in there that is going to give cause for concern, it needs cleaning.

As to do the cylinder heads. We are fairly sure that they are going to need at least some machining, but until they are stripped and cleaned we won't know what or just how much work they need. The heads could need new valves, valve guides, or valve seats as well as skimming.

And then there is the question of the rocker assemblies, the push-rods, cam followers / tappets and the cam shaft.

First job. Strip the heads, and clean everything.

ACT - Step 5

"Assess performance of substitute 'Take Out' engine put in Bert's Engine bay in 'Step 1'

Well this one is a bit easier. That engine is sick. It was running on seven cylinders, belching out plumes of white smoke, using far far to much petrol, far far too much oil, and not running either smooth or strong.

So, in the risk thing, we are looking at a stepped up rebuild program.

COMPARE - Review of Situation

A take out engine was procured, and put in the engine bay. Its not worked as great as we hoped, but, its doing the job, so we are looking at the third contingency of a less leisurely rebuild process on the original engine.

Is that feasible? Well, going back to the start point, none of our basic 'resources' have changed, so its as feasible as it ever was. Only real demand is making the time to do the work.

Is it practical? Well, there is still a lot of unknown areas in the engine. Its hard to tell. BUT, from this first stage, I think we have found out enough to say that it looks 'do-able'. There's nothing that has jumped out and said 'This engine is scrap'. It all looks to be about there, its just a question of how much of it needs replacing or reworking to make it work.

So what do we know? What do we need to know?

Well, the cylinder heads are off, and we are confident that they need at least skimming at a machine shop.

So, lets stick that one on the task list. Once we have the cylinder heads apart, we can look at the valves and see if they need renewing, or if we can get away with just lapping them back in.

Next. We've removed the rocker assemblies. They are a bit grimy, and sliding the rockers along the shaft, we can see quite a bit of wear. How bad it is we can't tell at the moment, so we need to get that decided on. First thing is to clean, strip, and clean again. Then we can inspect. Add to the job list.

Push rods, don't look too bad, but could do with a thorough clean, and detail inspection to be sure. So lets add that as an item. Underneath them are the tappets. Lots of black goo around there, and we cant see the tappet faces. These things usually get gummed up, so again, lets get them out, clean them, strip them clean them again, and inspect.

Cam shaft. From the top, looks middling. Doesn't seem to have any flats on it, but the points of the lobes don't look too pointed, and there does seem to be some pitting on the ramps. But again, until its out and cleaned we wont know whether its serviceable, can be made serviceable, or is dead. So add that to the list.

To get it out though, needs the timing cover removed, and that will expose the timing chain and timing gears, as well as the oil pump and distributor drive. All that at the moment is a big unknown hidden behind the cover. So removing the timing cover and having a look at all that, needs to be on the list.

Then we have all that gunk in the valley. Gawd knows what's underneath so, I suppose, turning the motor upside down and taking the sump off so we can have a look and possibly try and clean some of the gunk away would be a good idea. We might be able to get some idea of the state of the crank shaft main and big end bearings while we are about it.

So, do we want to pull the crank and pistons and have a look at the whole lot, or do we think that we can get away leaving the crank and pistons in place? And do we have to decide on that right now?

OK, backing up a bit, what else have we got to throw into the melting pot?

Well fettling the substitute engine, I noted that one of the exhaust manifolds had cracked across one of the bolt holes. I used it as it was as It would still take clamping pressure, but I'm not happy with it. The lug could be repaired by brazing across the crack, or as its only a small chunk, the damaged bit could be discarded and the lug built back up with weld and drilled. Or a new manifold could be procured.

Also on the list, the upper tailgate has finally disintegrated. A new one is about 200 for a frame, so I might have to go scouring the 'Going Spare' boards again and hope to get lucky. I might pick up a few other bits and pieces from a scrapper while I'm about it. Like a driver's door mirror.

What else do we have. Oh yes. Distributor. I had to mugger about with the dizzy drives to get the opto to fit, the substitute engine, and while I was about it threw up that the dizzy cap isn't all that brilliant - so maybe I ought to add a new dizzy cap, rotor arm & Plug leads to the list of required parts.

Better get the rest of the service parts, oil & air filters while I'm about it. Anything else? Engine mounts? Alternator? Water Pump? Fan Visco Unit?

CORRECT - Step 6

So quick check against the old plan:

Step 1 - Remove engine from engine bay, and replace with cheap 'Take Out' to be procured to keep Bert mobile and running during remainder of project.

Done. Engine in place and running, but rebuild needs to take a higher priority

Step 2 - Clean engine as thoroughly as possible and mount on engine stand for further work.

Done. Engine Cleaned. Stand Procured. And Engine Mounted on it.

Step 3 - Undertake minimum of engine disassembly in order to establish rough idea of general internal condition, and what work is essential to return it to functional condition.

Done. Heads off. Guts poked at. Looks reasonable, but still a lot of unknowns.

Step 4 - Decide if practical to continue with work on this engine, what action is necessary / beneficial to bring engine back to functional condition.

Done. Looks Practical. Looks Feasible. Need to do more investigation to find out what detail work needs to be done, but we know where to start looking

Step 5 - Assess performance of substitute 'Take Out' engine put in Berts Engine bay in 'Step 1'

Done. Performance abysmal. Better engine needed SOON!

Step 6 - Revise Plan as suits to minimise risk and Keep Bert moving

That's what we got to do now.

  1. Start a List of Parts.
  2. Strip & Clean Cylinder heads
  3. Take Cylinder Heads to Machine Shop for inspection, quote and possibly work.
  4. Rocker Assemblies. Clean. Strip. Clean. Inspect.
  5. Tappets & push-rods. Remove. Clean. Disassemble. Clean. Inspect.
  6. Remove Water Pump, Fan & Visco Unit. Clean, Inspect
  7. Remove timing Cover. Clean. Disassemble oil pump / filter housing. Clean. Inspect.
  8. Timing Chain & Gears. Check chain slack. Remove. Clean. Inspect.
  9. Remove Sump. Clean. Look at bottom end. Attempt to clean block as well as possible with crank & pistons in situ.
  10. Consider tail gate and exhaust manifold problems. Check around for some-one breaking a Range Rover, that might be able to help.
  11. Establish 'Critical' path of dependant activities, and start to develop a work schedule.
  12. Apply PACC and revise plans accordingly.

Well, that seems reasonable. So, time to go back to go and start looking at some of these things in turn, eh?

Back to V8 tear down & overhaul - The Full Story

Part 4 - List of Parts

OK, well for any major task, you are going to need a shopping list. And rebuilding an engine, is no different. Some parts are going to need renewing, others will need work to make them serviceable, and there's probably going to be things that are needed in order to let you do the job.

This is accountancy, bean counting, and it is quite tedious, but unfortunately frighteningly necessary. First of all, it keeps track of what you know you need, and what you think you might need, so that you don't come to do a task and find you haven't got what you need to do it. It also lets you keep track of what you are spending, and prioritise the things you need, so that you spend your budget on the stuff you need not the stuff you want.

Yes, great idea to stuff a hot camshaft and solid lifters in there during the rebuild, but the expense will be rather wasted if you end up having to hope that the old main bearings are up to coping with the extra power, because you haven't the money left in the pot to get the crank reground and sat on new shells, and when it comes to bolting it back together, you are resorting to cornflake box cardboard for the timing case and sump gaskets and hoping that you can re-use the old head gaskets.

 Any way, My starting point was to go onto the 'Paddockspares' web site, and copy and past the entire 'engine' parts page into an excell work sheet.





Big end shells - std



Depends on wear. Std size bearings may be used as 'precautionary' replacement. If significant wear, crank shaft will need grinding, and appropriate oversize selecting.

Big end shells - 010



Big end shells - 020



Main bearings - std



Depends on wear. Std size bearings may be used as 'precautionary' replacement. If significant wear, crank shaft will need grinding, and appropriate oversize selecting.

Main bearings - 010



Main bearings - 020



Piston rings - std 8.25:1comp info (per piston)



Depnds on wear. Std size rings might be used if bores in not to bad a shape, and can be brought into tolerance with no more than a honing to remove glaze. Other wise re-bore necessary & over size rings selected to suit.

Piston rings - std- 8.13, 9.35:1 info



Piston rings - 020- 8.13, 9.35:1 info (per piston)



Front crank seal


Not Needed

In Bottom end gasket set

Front cover gasket


Not Needed

In Bottom end gasket set

Rear crank seal


Not Needed

In Bottom end gasket set

Crankshaft gear



Worth considering if new timing chain used and or seriosely worn damaged

Camshaft gear



Worth considering if new timing chain used and or seriosely worn damaged

Timing chain



Considered necessery at 50Kmiles. Useful precautionary replacement while engine apart

Camshaft - 8.25, 8.13:1 comp info


Not Needed

Different Model

Camshaft - 9.35:1 comp info



Can be replaced with engine in car but not easily. 'Flat Lobes' are a known deficiency on high mile motors. Use of new cam could improve performance. Consider also 'Hot' profile cams - small extra expense and give big power gains.

Hydraulic tappet



Known Weak Spot. Can be replaced with engine in car, but not easily. Tend to 'gum up'. May be worth replacing if New cam fitted, or on their own as a precaution.

Head gasket set



Bottom end gasket set



Head gasket


Not Needed

In Head gasket set

Inlet manifold gasket (aka"tinplate gasket")


Not Needed

In Head gasket set

Sump gasket


Not Needed

In Bottom end gasket set

Oil pump idler gear - 8.25:1 info


Not Needed

Different Model

Oil pump shaft and gear - 8.25:1 info


Not Needed

Different Model

Oil pump idler gear - 8.13, 9.35:1 info



Oil pump shaft and gear 8.13, 9.35:1 info



Oil temperature transmitter (for gauge with 120 degree dial scale)


Not Needed

Oil temperature transmitter (for gauge with 140 degree dial scale)


Not Needed

Oil temperature transmitter (for gauge with C to MAX dial scale)


Not Needed

Oil pressure switch - 8.25:1, 8.13:1, 9.35:1comp


Not Needed

Oil pressure transmitter (2 terminals)


Not Needed

Oil pressure transmitter


Not Needed

Rocker shaft



Rocker arm RH



Rocker arm LH



Push rod



Rocker gasket


Not Needed

In Head gasket set

Water temperature sender


Not Needed

Water pump - non viscous


Not Needed

Different Model

Water pump - eng 341/355/359 suff B, C


Not Needed

Different Model

Water pump - eng 341/355/359 suff C D E


Not Needed

Different Model

Water pump - eng suffix F to 21D



Water pump - 1970 to 1982 with air con


Not Needed

Different Model

Water pump - 1982 to 1985 with air con


Not Needed

Different Model

Thermostat - 74 degree


Not Needed

Thermostat - 82 degree



Thermostat - 88 degree


Not Needed

Thermostat gasket


Not Needed

In Head gasket set

Engine mounting rubber



Accelerator cable - 4speed RHD


Not Needed

Accelerator cable - LHD


Not Needed

Choke cable - RHD


Not Needed

Choke cable - LHD


Not Needed

Engine breather filter


Not Needed

Engine flame trap


Not Needed

Starter motor - recon (Surcharge on exchange unit 50.00)


Not Needed

Starter Motor - small EFI type (will fit carb vehicles) NEW by Prestolite - no exchange unit required SPECIAL OFFER


Not Needed

Oil filter-early-to 75/76


Not Needed

Different Model

Oil filter-V8 later



Fuel filter


Not Needed

Air filter - requires 2



Cheap enough to include in any order placed

FilterCharger® Air Filter (replacement element) - requires 2


Not Needed

Different Model

FilterCharger® Air Filter (bolt-on cone type) - requires 2


Not Needed

Different Model

Crankcase breather-carb


Not Needed

Flame trap-carb-reqs 2.


Not Needed

Spark plug-early-to 75/76.


Not Needed

Different Model - contactless ignition

Spark plug-later carb



Good practice to use new plugs in 'new' engine

Contact set-non sliding


Not Needed

Different Model - contactless ignition

Contact set-sliding type


Not Needed

Different Model - contactless ignition



Not Needed

Different Model - contactless ignition

Rotor arm-early (non-sliding contact set type)


Not Needed

Different Model - contactless ignition

Rotor arm-later (sliding contact set type)



Lead set



Distributor cap



Carburettor diaphragm


Not Needed

In Carburettor Gasket Kit

Carburettor Gasket Kit






Engine Stand



Needed to commence job

Cylinder Head Machining

Probably Essential

Block Machining


Crank Machining


Torque Converter


Dealer Only Part - Not needed until Engine about to go in 'bay. Very expensive precautionary replacement. But I'm not sure about the one that's there, and a Darn well dont want to have to take the engine out to swap it when it goes.

Then I added the things I knew about at the bottom, like the machining work, and the engine stand.

Spreadsheets are dead useful for stuff like this, because you can get the thing to do sums, so you can get it to work out the VAT and price for howver many number of a part you will need, and then there is usually a 'sum if' formula. So like where I have added a column for 'Status' you can use a logic command to say, 'Add together all of the values in the 'Sub Total' column, where it says 'BOUGHT' in the 'status' column.

And that gives you how much you have spent to date. And using similar functions and some suitable 'flags' in the status column, you can keep track of things like 'Essential' and 'Possible', so that you know how much you know you have to spend right now, and how much you might have to spend in the future.

You can actually get quite refined with it, using dates, so if you have a schedule and a critical path, you can use the spreadsheet to let you know which items you need most urgently and how much they are going to cost.

But even just at the basic level, having some kind of list lets you see where you are. What you need, and what you have.

So, from the Past of Paddocks engine parts page, you can go back and delete all of the things in there that you know you wont need, and just worry about the ones that you know you do, or might.

Then as you go through the PACC process, and decisions are made, first, you have information upon which to base decisions. Eg; You have got the oil filter housing off, and can see the oil pump gears. You aren't sure as to whether they are serviceable or not. There is no plan there of what you were going to do with them, it just says 'check'. Well, they are on the list, and you know that they are about 30 a set. Is it worth replacing or do you need to save the pennies if you can?

Back to V8 tear down & overhaul - The Full Story

Part 5 - The Critical Path

OK, the idea of the 'Critical Path' is to work out what jobs need to be done before another can be started, and what jobs can be put on one side, and done as convenient.

So, looking at the engine, what do we need to do? Well essentially, there's a simple six step process to follow.

  1. Clean
  2. Disassemble
  3. Clean
  4. Inspect
  5. Repair or Renew
  6. Put it back together.

Now, in essence that is what we are doing with the whole engine, but it would be nice to break it down into more manageable 'chunks'.

So where do we start? Well, I guess if we have the engine in front of us, basically we start at the top and work our down, to get the thing to pieces. Then we start at the bottom, and work our way back up, to put it together again.

Right, so the first thing is the inlet manifold and carburettors. That's a convenient 'chunk' to begin with. We have got to take the manifold off to get to the cylinder heads underneath, but really, we don't actually have to worry about the carburettors, unless we want to, and either way, it will probably be one of the last things we need to worry about putting back on, so we can stick that to one side and worry about it later.

Next, we have the rocker covers and the rocker assemblies. We need to take those off before we can take the cylinder heads off, and while we are at it, we may as well stick the tappets and push rods into that chunk as well. Again, once they are removed, we can worry about them later.

So, the now we have the engine in front of us, and we can look at either the cylinder heads or the timing cover and pumps and stuff on the front. OK, well getting at the cylinder heads has got to be the priority. We want to know if they are warped and what state the valves are in, and if we are going to have to send them away to be machined at all.

Now we could just leave them at this stage, and get on with getting down to the crank shaft, but.....

I was fairly sure that the heads would need machining, so I prioritised them before anything else. The principle being that once I had the heads off, I could get them cleaned, get them stripped, get the parts cleaned, and inspect them all. Then if needed, I could get bits ordered, or send bits away to be machined.

Then while I was waiting for parts, or waiting for things to be machined, I could either carry on working my way down the disassembly process, OR go back and look at the inlet manifold assembly or the rockers & tappets and stuff.

Hope was that the bottom end wouldn't be in too bad a shape, so If I got the cylinder heads sorted ASAP, then if everything beneath proved serviceable, then rebuilding could start almost as soon as the heads were sorted.

So, that was put as the first 'critical' item on the critical path.

OK, back to the engine. Heads off, and we have the block with the timing cover on it, and the sump. The timing cover, could be looked at as another 'chunk', as it contains the water pump and oil pump. Like the inlet manifold, these can be removed and left to one side, and attention paid to them if necessary of desirable.

Once it's removed, you can have access to the timing chain and gears, and the cam shaft. Hopefully no need to remove the cam shaft, but it's likely that the timing chain needs replacement. That demands the timing gears are removed, and the cam can literally just be slid out after they are taken off. And if the crank has to be removed, then the timing chain and gears do need to be removed.

So what's on the critical path? Well, we need some assurance that the crank and bearings are OK to use. And to see them we need to get the sump off, and pull a couple of bearing caps. So, perhaps the best way to do things is to remove the Timing cover and stick that on one side, and then remove the sump pan, and put that on one side, so we can have a look at the bottom end.

If it's OK, then, it would be prudent to have a look at each of the cylinder bores in turn and decide if they need any attention, and if they don't, then the bearing caps can all be done up and the re-assembly process started, after a bit of cleaning. OR the bottom end can be stripped so that the block or crankshaft can be machined.

It's now down to a lot of 'IFs'. IF, the crank or block need machining, then not a lot can be done until they are back, and we know what size bearings and piston rings might be needed to put them back together. So that one's pretty critical.

Getting the bearings and piston rings is likewise.

So, that 'chunk' is pretty well the most critical of them all.

And while that's being sorted out, the ancillary bits and pieces can be dealt with, before we start to put it all back together.

Right so if we look at the whole thing again, and break it down into tasks we can look at all of the things that need to be done, and then decide where things can be done out of order. 

 Logical Jobs List


Mount Engine On Stand



Remove Inlet Manifold & Carbs as assembly


Clean Manifold & Carb Assembly



Disassemble Manifold Assembly



Clean Piece Parts



Disassemble Carburettors



Clean Piece Parts of Carbs



Inspect Piece Parts



Replace or Repair parts as necessary



Reassemble Carburettors



Inspect manifold assembly piece parts



Replace or Repair parts as necessary



Reassemble Inlet Manifold Assembly



Pack and store until Stage 21


Remove Rocker Covers & Rocker Assemblies


Clean Assemblies



Disassemble Rocker Assemblies



Clean Piece Parts



Inspect Piece Parts



Replace or repair any parts necessary



Reassemble Rocker Assemblies



Grease pack & store until stage 19


Remove Cylinder Heads


Clean Assembled Heads



Disassemble Cylinder Heads (Remove Valves, Springs & Collets)



Clean Cylinder Head Castings



Clean Valves



Clean Springs & Collets



Inspect Cylinder Head for flatness, condition of valve seats & wear on valve guides



Inspect valves for wear on seat face and stem



Have Cylinder Head Machining undertaken as necessary



Have valves machined or replaced as necessary



Reassemble Valves to head, with springs & collets etc



Grease pack & store until stage 18.0


Remove Push-Rods & Tappets from block


Clean Push Rods and Tappets



Disassemble Tappets.



Clean Tappet Piece Parts



Inspect Piece Parts



Reassemble tappets



Replace or Repair any tappet or push rod parts as necessary



Grease pack & store until stage 19


Remove Water Pump, Fan & Viscose unit


Store for separate attention. May be stripped, cleaned, inspected and overhauled if time / funds allow. Not needed until Engine Reassembled. Store until stage 21.0


Remove Crank Pulley


Shouldn't be required again until engine re-assembly. Has markings on for TDC so may be useful to clean and make markings more easily seen. Store until stage 21.0


Remove Timing Cover


Clean Assembly






Clean piece parts



Inspect Piece Parts



Replace or Repair piece parts as necessary






Grease pack (NOTE: Oil Pump must be fully packed with Vaseline) & store until stage 20.0


Inspect Timing Chain, Timing Chain Gears & Cam Shaft, in situ


If Necessary:



Remove Timing Chain & Gears



Remove Cam Shaft



Clean Piece Parts



Inspect Piece Parts



Replace or Repair piece parts as necessary



Grease pack & store until stage 19


Turn Engine - Remove Sump


Clean Sump Pan



Store until stage 21.0


Inspect Crank Shaft, Main & Big End Bearings


If Necessary:


(This may require the removal of bearing caps,


Remove big end retention cap, from Con Rod, and slide number 1 piston from its bore.


in which case whole sub section recommended)


Replace big end retention cap on removed con rod/piston assembly



Clean Piston & Con-Rod



Appropriately mark, bag or identify piston.



Repeat 11.01 to 11.04 for each piston in tern



Inspect Big End Bearings & Piston Rings



Pack & Store until stage 16.0



It would be good practice to renew bearings & piston rings as course, however, until condition of crank shaft and block have been established, it is prudent to leave these assemblies alone. Should block need re-boring or crank shaft regrinding, over size bearings, piston rings or even new pistons may be required to be fitted


Inspect crank Shaft Journals & Main Bearing Shells with Crank Shaft removed.


Remove Bearing Caps. Note orientation, they are numbered and arrowed to denote position and orientation. Arrows point to front of engine, and number one cap fits at end nearest timing cover.



Withdraw Crankshaft



Clean crankshaft, bearing caps and bearing journals in block



Inspect Bearing Shells and CrankShaft Journals.



Decide if Crankshaft requires regrinding and or if new main or big end bearings will be needed. Order Parts and Work as necessary



If crankshaft not to be immediately refitted, replace crank shaft main bearing caps, with bolts loosely tightened. Ensure they are fitted in correct order & orientation. Old bearing shells may be left in place for the time being.



Suitably Identify, protect, and store until Stage 15.0


Engine Block Preparation


If pistons have been removed



Inspect Bores, and decide if they are acceptable, need honing to remove glaze or reboring



Inspect Cylinder head mating faces for flatness & decide if they need machining for flatness



Undertake machining activity if necessary



Clean block to remove old oil deposits



Prepare all gasket surfaces



Clean block again to ensure all oil sludge and gasket material has been removed


Re Assembly - Preparation


Under take pre-assembly review, to decide what actions have been taken and what actions may still be necessary to prepare other parts or sub-assemblies ready for rebuild.



Consult 'List of Parts' to decide what parts are known to be needed, and which have yet to be decided upon



Procure necessary parts



Clean Tools & Working Area ready for rebuild.


Crank Shaft Refitting


Demands that Stage 12.0 has been completed adequately. May require new Main bearings, and availability of bottom end gasket set.



If new bearings are to be fitted, remove old bearing shells from both engine block and bearing caps.



Clean area thoroughly.



Fit New Bearings in both block & caps



Oil bearing surfaces, both on shells and crank journal, & prime oil galleries.



Fit new cruciform seals to No 5 bearing cap



Loosely fit main bearing caps. Ensure correct location, orientation & alignment. Stud Lock Bearing cap bolts and tighten to correct torque.



Fit new crank shaft main seal at bell housing end.


Piston & Con Rod Preparation


Dependent on Stage 11. Pistons should have been left in the unassembled state, pending outcome of block preparation in Stage 13. Following stages are if necessary:-



Clean Pistons & Con-rod assemblies thoroughly



Disassemble as necessary



This may merely require the removal of piston rings from piston and big end bearing shells from Con rod, or may need gudgeon pin pressing from piston, if piston is to be replaced or small end bearing to be considered



Clean Piece Parts



Inspect Piece Parts - renew or rework as necessary



Reassemble piston & Con Rod Assemblies.



Suitably Identify, protect, and store until Stage 17.0


Piston & Con Rod Fitment


Demands stages 12 through 16 completed



Starting with Number 1 piston, and repeating for all other pistons, ensuring they are replaced in the bore from which they were removed:



Protect end of Conrod & bore during piston fitment with plastic tube or similar



Slide Piston & Conrod, con rod first into appropriate bore, ensuring correct con-rod orientation. It is easiest if big end bearing end cap is removed, and even easier if a picton ring compressor used to compress rings prior to putting the piston into the bore.



Rotate crank shaft to easiest position to line big end bearing of con rod into the crank journal.



'jiggle' piston in bore to get big end onto crank shaft snugly.



Ensure con rod is correctly orientated and big end end cap correctly orientated, and fir big end end cap and retaining nuts



Tighten up to finger tight, both sides then 'tweek' with socket to pull the two halves of the bearing together, and align halves of bearing shell. Then back of 1/4 turn in order to relieve pressure on bearing and make turning the crank and aligning other con rods easier. Once all pistons & con rods have been fitted, then all the con rod nuts can be torque up at the same time to the correct tightness



Repeat stages 17.01 to 17.05 for remaining seven pistons


Cylinder Head Replacement


Demands stages 12 through 17 completed. Demands Stage 4.0 completed.



Ensure that block & Cylinder head mating faces are clean and true



Place new cylinder head gasket on face of block, ensuring correct orientation & alignment



Place Cylinder Head onto block, careful to ensure alignment dowel does not scrape face of cylinder head as it is fitted.



Ensure all cylinder head bolts are available, and threads clean



Identify which bolts fit to which holes, and locate them where they are to go. (Helpful to screw them in lightly to ensure that everything lines up and that there are no damaged or clogged threads any where)



Following the tightening pattern, remove each bolt in turn and apply stud locking compound. Replace in hole and tighten lightly



Following tightening patern, tighten each bolt with a standard ratchet until it is just over hand tight.



Following the tightening patern, apply tightening torque, in stages until the specified cylinder head bolt torque is reached.



There are three rows of bolts. The top two rows have a higher torque figure than the lower row. Do not attempt to apply the full torque straight away. Better to start at something like half the final torque setting and set all the bolts to that, and then go round and round, repeating the tightening patern, gradually increasing the torque setting on the wrench until the desired setting is reached. Something like three or four increments should be about right.


Refit Timing and Valve Train components.


Demands stages 12 through 18 completed. Demands Stages 3.0, 5.0 & 9.0 completed.



Refit Cam shaft, with new bearings if necessary. Ensure journals adequately lubricated. Ensure cam lobes adequately lubricated



Fit timing chain gears - and rotate cam & crank until timing marks are aligned. Ensuring that No 1 Piston is at top dead centre may be best achieved by temporarily fitting timing chain cover and crank shaft pulley, and using the ignition strobe timing marks.



With the cam shaft & crank shaft correctly aligned - slip the gears off the shafts to allow fitment of timing chain to gears - this may need some fiddling to keep alignment marks in correct orientation



Refit timing gears and chain to crank and cam shaft



Refit fuel pump cam or spacer, and distributor / oil pump drive gear, washer and bolt to end of cam shaft and set appropriate torque.



Ensure that tappet guides and oil ways are clean and clear, and lubricate.



Lubricate each tappet and fit into guide in block.



Lubricate ends of push-rods, and slide through guides in cylinder head, and locate in tappets



Take complete rocker assembly and loosely fit to cylinder head. Screw mounting bolts in finger tight. There will be gaps beneath rocker shaft posts.



Check alignment of rockers over valve stems and collets. Seat ends of push rods in other ends of rockers. Make sure that rockers are free to rock



Starting with the middle two rocker shaft bolts, start tightening the assembly into place. This will start to load the shaft, so work in stages from the middle out to the ends, until all the posts are seated flat to the head, with minimum force on the bolts



Set appropriate torque on rocker shaft bolts with torque wrench


Refit Timing Cover


Demands stages 12 through 19 completed. Demands Stage 8.0 Completed



Ensure gasket faces clean and true.



Fit new gasket



Align cover on dowels



Locate all screws, clean if necessary, and place in appropriate location



Going round each screw in turn, remove, apply small amount of thread lock, and replace, tightening to finger tight



Apply final tightening force in stages. Torque may be too low to use torque wrench, in which case hand tight should be good enough. Specified torque value on these bolts is to stop them being over tightened and shearing or ripping threads out of soft aluminium.




With Engine upside down, fit new sump gasket and sump pan. Torque retaining screws to appropriate setting



Refit Crank Shaft pulley, washer and bolt. Torwue to appropriate setting



Return engine to correct way up. Fit Rocker Covers



Fit 'tinplate' inlet manifold gasket into valley of 'V'. Remember rubber seals at the ends of the block, and the retension caps, but dont tighten them up just yet.



Refit inlet manifold assembly, complete with carburettors.



Locate all screws & clean if necessary, place in appropriate location



Remove each manifold bolt in turn & apply small amount of thread lock.



Following tightening patern, in stages, bring all manifold bolts to specified torque



Tighten tin plate gasket clamps on ends of block



Refit water Pump assembly with new gasket.



Refit anything else not covered in this list, such as exhaust manifolds, starter motor, distributor, alternator etc.



Review - spark plugs, leads, oil filter, air filters engine mounts, is everything that should be there, there?

If 'YES' fill it with oil and leave it over night to see if any of it leaks out


Final Check list


Is the engine 'complete' with everything that needs to be done, done?



Is everything tight and secure?



Is there ANYTHING that needs to be done, or ought to be done before this thing goes back in the car?


So, we've listed just about everything that needs to be done, and in the 'logical order', but as we've seen, in the first stages we have a lot of 'Store until Stage XX.XX' statements.

So obviously, we have some scope to do things out of sequence. For example, taking Stage 3.0 ' Remove Rocker Covers & Rocker Assemblies', if we follow all of the steps of things we could do with that assembly, we are going to end up with something sitting on the shelf almost until the very end.

Now, we KNOW that the rockers and shaft need cleaning and inspecting, but realistically, we could save scheduling that activity until after we have got the cylinder heads apart and got them off to the Machine shop.

Then, while we cant do anything more on them, we find out if we need new rockers or shaft or tappets and stuff, and having found that out, we shelve the whole lot while we go look at the bottom end.

Then, once we have decided if the bottom end is going to be serviceable, or if we need to get either block or crank machines, we can spend our time looking at re-assembling the rocker assemblies.

In that way, we can sort of shuffle activity into what would be empty slots of waiting for something to happen.

I mean, big delay, while you wait for the crank shaft and block to be machined. You cant start any re-assembly work on the engine really until you have the block and crank back together, AND you will probably have another delay, after they have come back and you know what size bearings and piston rings you might need.

It can quite easily be a week or ten days to get the crank & block machines, and then another week or ten days for the appropriate sized parts to turn up.

So, you can use that time to do a lot of the things that you have side lined, from the earlier stages, like sorting out the valve gear, or looking at the carburettors, oil pump, water pump and stuff like that.

The basic principle, is to identify, those jobs that are on the critical path, and are going to govern when anything else can happen.

So the critical path, is basically everything in the left hand column of the logical list, as that is essential to getting down first to the heads, which is the first 'critical' item, and then down to the crank, which is really the second and most critical item.

Everything on the right hand side, is of secondary importance, and a lot of it can actually be left until after reassemble has been started, if needs be.

So, the critical path, is really a scheduling tool to enable you to get on with the jobs that have most depending on them first, and fit the rest in around them so that you can get the whole lot done with the least amount of time sitting around, unable to get things done, because you are waiting for something to be done by some one else or for parts to arrive.

Now, assuming that you are not working to a tight schedule, this may not be all that important, but, even so, the least time that the engine is hanging around 'open', the least chance there is that bits will get lost or rust or whatever, so it can still be quite useful.

Back to V8 tear down & overhaul - The Full Story

Part 6 - Getting 'Into' It

 OK, so where were we? OK, we'd got the cylinder heads off, so we could have a look at them, and had kind of formulated the next plan of action.

So what have we got?

  1. Start a List of Parts.
  2. OK, done that, that's V8 tear down & overhaul - List of Parts . Ah, but looking further down, we've got lots of cleaning to do. Might be an idea to get some stack-a-boxes and cleaning materials. Guess we ought to add those to the list of Parts. I know they aren't exactly parts, but we still need them.

    Actually what do we need? Well first of all, something big enough to fit a cylinder head into, that will hold water, degreasant and solvents. So, a BIG stack-a-box then?

    Scrubbing brushes to get the big muck off, scouring pads, sponges and a couple of tooth brushes for the nooks and crannies.

    And plenty of rags to wipe hands on and dry things off.

  3. Strip & Clean Cylinder heads
  4. Right, down to business, then, and the first job is to get the whole cylinder heads, as they are into one of the stak-a-boxes and get as much of the crud off it as I can, so that I can see what I'm dealing with, and am not leaving oil smears every where I move it about.

    So, into the armoury of cleaning solutions. Every one has an opinion here, from soaking things in petrol to getting stuff CO2 pellet blasted. Personally, I'm too cheap to buy 'Gunk', and for getting lots and lots of sludgy stuff off them, the starting point I used was industrial oven cleaner and whatever I could get in to the various crevices to prod, poke and scrape as much of the crud out as I could.

    Cheap 'biological' washing powder is pretty good too, and cheap washing up liquid. I wont bore you with the differences between a 'soap', a 'deturgent' and a 'solvent', or even 'oxidant', as I'll deal with all that in a later section hopefully. But, the essence is, if you go into your local Motor Accessory shop, you can rapidly rack up a big bill for 'specialist' cleaning products that actually aren't much different from a lot of stuff you already have under the kitchen sink or wherever.

    So, it was a case of applying the oven cleaner, and leaving things for half an hour, then coming back, scraping and scrubbing, then rinsing off in water, and letting them dry out before the next go.

    I could just about get one cylinder head and one rocker assembly into my improvised cleaning bath at a time, so that's what I did.

    Mean while, I removed things like the engine mountings and water pump and poked and prodded the carburettors. Nothing majorly useful, but odds and ends that give me a bit of an idea about what might need looking at later.

    So, with one of them at least, reasonably clean, it was time to have a look and see what we got, taking it down to its various components. As you can see, its all a bit sooty in there, and the chalk on the valves kind of suggests that it was sucking in water for a while.

    But the real question is how flat are the faces on the heads and the block. Bad news here was that there was about 0.03mm of bow in the head, which didn't bode well, and meant that skimming was on the cards.

    Now some companies are quite happy to machine cylinder heads with the valves still in them. Others wont.

    I wasn't sure who I was going to have to use to have the head skimmed or whether they preferred the heads 'bare' or 'built'. But either way, I decided that best thing to do was to strip them down and clean them up.

    This would give me a chance to get some of the black gunk out of all the crevices in the cylinder head, and clean the chalk and soot off the valves, as well as inspect the valve seats and the valve guides.

    This is NOT a difficult task, and the only bit of specialised equipment you need is a valve spring compressor.

    This is sort of a cross between a pair of mole grips and a G-Clamp. And what you do is put the forked end on the top of the valve spring retainer and the bottom end on the head of the valve, and then you pull the two together with the handle, so that the two metal collets at the top of the valve stem pop out and you can then take the pressure off the spring and drop the valve on the floor!

    Which is convenient because you need to hunt around down there for one of the collets any way!

    Now, this is where a healthy supply of jam jars, ice cream tubs, and stack-a-boxes starts to come in useful.

    Old Indian trick for cleaning collets and valve spring retention collars, 1/4 fill a jam jar with petrol. Drop collets and retention collars into the petrol, and apply the lid.


    You can now do a 'Tom Cruise' style hippy hippy shake in imitation of 'cocktail', and the abrasion of one part against another in the solvent should bring all the old oil and stain off these small parts.

    Now, my tip - having cleaned these items, take them out of the jar of petrol. Don't think that it'll be OK to leave them in there until you are ready to use them again - some-one will knock the jar onto the floor. It WILL break and you WILL loose your little bits and pieces.

    So, bit of clean rag, and empty the jar into the rag. If you are canny, you can put the rag into an ice cream tub, and save the petrol for further use (but DONT put it into the car or even the lawn mower!). Best thing, drop the valve springs into it, and get them cleaned up.

    Let the bits dry, then get some clean fresh grease and smother all the collets and collars in it, and put the collet pairs into their seat in a collar.

    This means that you should be able to see that you have a full compliment of parts at a glance, while the grease keeps them glued together and will stop them rusting.

    Now, you want something with a lid, like an ice cream tub, to keep them in. Try and keep as much together , and as like assemblies as you can.

    What I actually did was put all of the valve springs into a tub end up, then put a collar and collet pair on the top of each one. Then when I had removed and cleaned up the tappets I put each tappet inside a valve spring. This kept storage space to a minimum, and meant that I only had a small number of tubs to keep track of with bits in them.

    So, back to the plot, with the valve springs removed, I could drop the valves out, and they were not a pretty sight. Apart from being pretty well 'fouled' there was a deep and pitted groove around the valve lip, and the valve seat in the head wasn't much better.

    The question which needed answering here was whether the valves were serviceable. First thing to do was to clean them. This was done was done in time honoured fashion using a soft copper wire brush on a bench wheel, to get rid of the deposits, and then left to the Machine shop to decide if they had enough metal to grind the valve lips flat again without them becoming too thin.

    Likewise, the decision on the state of the valve seats was given to them. If they couldn't cut a new flat into the existing valve seat to take out all the wear and pitting, then it would need new valve seats to be pressed in.

    The valve guides were also brought into question, as were the cylinder head faces. Basically, I stripped the heads, and cleaned them as meticulously as I could, then took the whole lot to my local Machine Shop for scrutiny.

    By 'feel' I had a reasonable idea that the valve guides weren't in too bad a shape, and with a steel rule and feeler gauge had decided that the head faces were probably best to be skimmed. The valves and valve seats, I was a bit unsure about. And to be honest, so was the machine shop.

    Prognosis was that they would leave the guides alone, and they would skim the head. They reckoned that the valve seats were probably OK to be re-cut, but the valves were a bit borderline. Best thing to do was to give it a go, and see if they left any too thin - if so they would have to be replaced.

    So that brings us up to the next job on 'the plan'

  5. Take Cylinder Heads to Machine Shop for inspection, quote and possibly work.
  6. As it was, they all cut back within tolerance, so no new valves were needed. Which was a relief, a pair of valves are about 10 a cylinder, so a complete new set would have added about 80 to the job.

    Having the valves re-cut, probably accounted for about half of the cylinder head machining in total, which was 90. So in the economic equation, we were risking about 50, to find out of we would need to spend another 80. The saving really was only about 30.

    So, it's worth some thought, if the valves are not in great shape, it may be less risk to just buy a new set straight out. If they hadn't machines up, a new set of valves would have still been needed, and the 80 they cost, plus 50 worth of machining scrap metal would have added 130 to the job, rather than saved 30. And, practically, the valves were functioning before the engine came apart - depending on your project policy for the rebuild, it may be worth taking the risk of leaving the valves alone, perhaps putting them back in and spending some time lapping them up to improve the state of the sealing faces. Not brilliant, but it would still have been better than it was.

    So, as far as I was concerned, one question raised over the state of the valves and seats, and a bill for 90 to add to the list of parts for head machining. And while they were doing that, I could go have a look at the next item on 'the plan':-

  7. Rocker Assemblies. Clean. Strip. Clean. Inspect.
  8. Cleaned, and they didn't look too promising, but I still had to strip them.

    Picture above shows brand new rocker shaft, above, and one of my rocker shafts below. Hmmm messy.

    Rockers themselves weren't in too bad a shape. All of the tappet faces were pretty good and none were cracked or pitted.

    Only thing was the wear on the rocker bosh.

    Shaft is case hardened steel.

    Rocker is aluminium.

    Rocker has no replaceable bush or bearing, it runs directly on the shaft.

    If there is enough wear on the case hardened shaft to be able to feel the groove where the rockers sat, then how much metal has been worn off the softer rockers?

    Once cleaned up, if you put the two together you could actually see daylight between rocker and shaft, the clearances were that big.

    So, back to the machine shop for advice.

    The reason for that being that a set of rockers is expensive, about 80 expensive.

    So if the rockers and shafts could be salvaged, that might save some pennies.

    This is how it goes. The rockers are aluminium, and the bearing surface is the aluminium of the rocker itself. As that had been worn over size by use, it might be possible to ream the hole out a few mm and then press in a new bit of metal, that could then be drilled to make a new bearing surface close to the right size.

    For preference, a nice bit of phosphor bronze would do very nicely, and result in a part that was actually better than new, as when the phosphor bronze bush wore out, a new one could be pressed in.

    Which would leave the matter of the old shafts. Well, simple solution would be to grind them down to some size where they were straight and level again, and make the phosphor bronze bushes for the rockers the right size to suit the new shaft diameter. Only problem would be that the rocker shaft pillars would have holes too big for the shaft in them, but that could be solved by sleeving them pretty much like the rockers.

    Well, that's the theory. In practice, after talking to the tool setter at the machine shop, it was going to be cheaper to buy new rockers and shaft.

    Rockers are 3.70 + VAT each. That's 70 a set. A pair of rocker shafts, on their own, are only 25. Which gave one remote option. That was, that replacing the rocker shafts on their own, would take out enough of the wear between the two components as to bring them back into the serviceable range.

    So, a 'primary parts list' was being formed. This was going to include the 'essential' things that I knew I was going to need, and which having around early could prove handy, and those bits that were needed to answer questions just like this one.

    So far, we had top and bottom end gasket kits and the rocker shafts.

    And since the cylinder heads were still away being machined, it was time to go look at the valve train and poke a bit lower into the engine.

  9. Tappets & push-rods. Remove. Clean. Disassemble. Clean. Inspect.
  10. Well, the push rods are simple enough. I took them out, gave them all a couple of doses of oven cleaner, then buffed them up with a rotary wire brush. The ends were nice and shiny with no obvious wear marks, and none of them showed any signs of being bent of having flexed.

    It's difficult to show in a picture, especially when you haven't got one as an example, but push rods can flex. They stay straight because the limit of their compressive strength isn't exceeded, but in engines that have been 'cammed' or old tired motors that are seriously over reved, the pushrods bow when loaded by the cam. This has the effect of retarding the valve timing, because they bow when the cam pushes them hardest, then straighten as the load reduces or as their natural stiffness straightens them out.

    As far as it goes, it's not particularly dire a scenario. It will cost a few bhp, because once a push rod has been subjected to enough stress or has become so fatigued that flex occurs, so the metal relaxes, and looses its stiffness. Eventually, a push rod will bend permanently, or break, which may or may not have dire consequences. But here I was just looking for the evidence, which is a kind of surface marking a bit like those scematics of a strand of dry splitting hair in the shampoo commercials or the sort of cris-cross patern of a palm tree trunk.

    I didn't find any, which was good. New push-rods though are only 1 each, so Having cleaned them up, I oiled them and bagged them for re-use. If I had to get new tappets or rockers, a new set of push rods to go with them may be a worth while precaution. Other wise these were serviceable enough.

    So, onto the tappets. First job, cleaning. The tappets are a four part affiair. They have an outer 'cylinder'. Inside that is a 'pisiton', then there is a spring to keep the tension on the two parts, and a cap to take the end of the push rod, and the whole lot is kept together with a spring clip.

    First thing to do was to clean them. As there are fine ground surfaces and very small oil galleries in these things, though, I chose not to use the oven cleaner. Instead I soaked them in an ice cream tub of petrol, over night. Then I pumped each one through in the petrol, before taking it apart, cleaning each of the individual components, and putting it back together, and packing it with grease.

    I was looking for three things. First, would the actually pump. Second, did any of them do nothing but pump, ie: not go hard after a couple of squeezes. And third, what was the condition of the 'follower' face that actually rests on the cam.

    Conclusion of exercise was that the tappets were Ho-Hum. None of them failed to pump up once they had been cleaned, and none of them were particularly 'leaky' and carried on pumping.

    But, some of them, while not excessively pitted or worn on the faces, did show erosion on the tappet edges.

    So, they were re-assembled and grease packed for re-use, but like the push rods, it was thought that if the cam was going to be replaced, then new tappets would be fitted with it.

    This was going to make the decision over the condition of the cam quite critical, becouse essentially, if that was deemed serviceable, then everything in the valve train was going to be re-used.

    If NOT, then it was going to be expensive!

    So, time to get into the timing cover to find out. This if course necessitated action six of 'the plan':-

  11. Remove Water Pump, Fan & Visco Unit. Clean, Inspect
  12. I took it of. Spun the fan on the shaft - or tried to. Rocked the shaft a bit and decided to worry about it another day. Getting a bit ahead of myself here, because I did do it another day, but in one of those lull moments when I was looking for things to clean, I picked up the water pump, and made a diagnosis. It was functional, but I didn't like it. There was a lot of rock in the bearings, and it was 30 for a new one.

    I contemplated taking the old one to the machine shop and asking them to press off the impeller, so that I could clean it up properly, and change the bearings and seals, but then I decided that even if the bits only cost me a tenner, and getting the M/C shop to press the impeller off and back on only cost me a fiver, it wasn't really worth the bother.

    So I concluded that I would get a new one. I didn't even put it on the reserve 'if funds allow' list. Hey, ripping this motor to bits is a blooming big job. Balancing risk vs effort, sure, its a job I could do with the engine in the car, after all the rest was done, BUT, if I used the old pump and it gave up, chances are the motor would cook and banana the cylinder heads again, and I'd be looking at another top end rebuild.

    30 seems like good insurance on that score!

    As for the Visco unit, well, I dont much rate them. This one wasn't particularly keen to 'wind mill', but what the heck. At the end of the day its no worse than a fixed fan. If I was to change it, I'd go for a Kenlow, so it may as well stay put.

    Any way, that covers that 'task', but at the time, I dived straight in to go look at the timing gear and cam shaft.

  13. Remove timing Cover. Clean. Disassemble oil pump / filter housing. Clean. Inspect.
  14. It came off. Inside it was all black horrible and messy. It went into the oven cleaner, and stayed there. It wasn't on the critical path, so it didn't get much attention until much later. What it did get was another dose of oven cleaner and another scrub, every time I had something else to clean.

    The thing was just caked in crud that did NOT want to come off.

    When I eventually got round to it, I removed the oil filter housing and stripped the oil pump. I took the pressure releaf valve out and gave it all a good clean up in petrol, and there really was nothing of great concern in there. So it was basically all shelved pending re-assembly.

    Mean while, Action eight:-

  15. Timing Chain & Gears. Check chain slack. Remove. Clean. Inspect.
  16. This was what presented itself when I opened up the timing cover. Actually, it isn't.

    What presented itself when I first took the timing cover off was a black horrible mess.

    I took this picture when I came to put everything back together, because some little oik had nicked the batteries out of my digi-cam for their game boy, when I actually did the deed, as it were.

    Any way, at least its a bit clearer than it was. That chain is LOOSE.

    Quite drastically loose. These engines run wit no cam chain tensioner, and provided the chain isn't so loose it can jump off the gears, it doesn't have too much of a detrimental effect.

    But when they are this loose, there is about 5mm of stretch in either side of the chain. Crank shaft sprocket is approximately 50mm in diameter, so it has about 180mm circumference, or 1mm = 2 degrees of crank rotation.

    5mm of chain stretch then can retard the cam timing by as much as 10 degrees.

    This can account for poor running. Effectively the retarded cam timing 'detunes' the engine, making the valves open late, but the dire side is that it will hold the valves open later, and the Range Rover already has quite a long duration cam, so the danger is that the 'over lap' period when the inlet and exhaust are open together will let a lot of fresh charge down the exhaust pipe, and the inlet valve will still be open for a good proportion of the compression stroke, possibly blowing back through the carburettors.

    Not good.

    Interesting thought for you though, in the 'olden days' a 'cheap' mechanic might often save the price of a cam chain when they were in this state by simply advancing the cam chain gear one tooth in relation to the crank shaft, which is actually what I have done here, as you can see, even though all the slack is in the back side of the set, the gears still line up perfectly under tension.

    You have been warned - this is how some people make knackered old motors run like they are in good fettle despite being full of parts long past their sell by date.

    Any way, back to the task at hand, and the timing gear came off.

    For certain, a new timing chain was needed, but what about the timing chain gears?

    Became apparent that new ones were in order as soon as they were cleaned up.

    You know, it's quite depressing to spend lots and lots of time lovingly cleaning bits and pieces up, only to end up putting them in the 'Scrap' bin.

    But that's the nature of a rebuild.

    If you dont clean them properly, you cant inspect them properly, and if you cant inspect them properly, you are either going to put that scrap back into your engine (along with the accumulated grime), OR, you are going to end up binning perfectly serviceable parts.

    Actually, I could see that the gear was damaged before I cleaned it up, but, its one of those judgement calls.

    If it was just one tooth and it was merely just 'chipped', then it might not be too unreasonable to re-use it.

    However, this is a 'quiet running' 'compound' gear. Basically its a nylon gear moulded onto an aluminium hub. Because there's no tensioner, these are supposed to stop the timing chain making quite so much noise.

    But in this case, the plastic had actually cracked down to the aluminium, and the risk was that the plastic would completely separate.

    So, into the bin it went. Add to list, one chain and a set of timing gears.

    Crank shaft gear, didn't actually show any signs of damage at all, but it did show some pretty heavy wear marks, and as the cam gear was being replaced, it was only good practice to change the whole set.

    So what about the camshaft?



    Not brilliant.

    Two main concerns with the cam. Pitting or erosion, and uneven wear.

    A few lobes showed the sort of pitting and edge erosion this picture shows.

    It isn't great, but it is just about serviceable.

    If you look, the wear patern follows aroundit, so it may mean that the tappet sees a bit of a more localised load, but other wise it's not doing any significant harm.

    Obviously, it isn't going to promote long life, but realistically, this could survive another 30,000 miles before it gets worrying.

    Most of the lobes looked more like the one in the picture beneath, with edge marking on the ramps of each lobe, indicating nice even wear.

    Looking at the profile of the cam, the lobes were obviously worn, and the peaks were a bit rounded, but none of them were flat or skew. That is to say that none of the lobes had worn so that the pint was running at an angle to the cam axis, or had flatted off.


    Back to the machine shop with this one for advice.

    The cam can be reground. Taking a few thousandths of an inch off the whole profile can keep the timing and lift and everything exactly as it was before, and take out any pitting or wear marks.

    A lot of modern cam's however don't run much tolerance for regrinding any more though, as with over head cam designs and cam profiles orientated for emissions and economy rather than power, as in the 'old days', cam loading tend to be a lot lower.

    Any way, two chances. The cam could be reground, if there was enough metal there, or, each lobe could be rebuild with weld, and re-cut to the original profile.

    This is a practice that is commonly used with motorcycles, which have very little 'meat' to allow a lobe to be reground, and also for race 'tuning', where a non standard profile may be required.

    Any way, as it was, my tool setter's advice was basically use it or buy a new one.

    A new cam shaft is 65, and it would be more expensive to regrind the old one, even if it didn't need weld building first.

    So, it was the tough call. The cam was serviceable. Not brilliant, but serviceable. If it was put back in, then the tappets, and push rods would be re-used.

    If not, then it would be 65 for the cam, 50 for the tappets, and 20 for the push rods. That's 135. If the heads come back with the valves salvaged, and the rocker assemblies can be made good with just new shafts, and the bottom end doesn't need any great attention, then potentially the thing could go back together for 25 worth of gaskets, 30 wirth of timing chain and gears, and 90 worth of machining.

    That's under 150, which would be very nice than you very much.

    So, it comes down to the bottom end. Action nine of 'the plan'.

  17. Remove Sump. Clean. Look at bottom end. Attempt to clean block as well as possible with crank & pistons in situ.
  18. And I don't want to go there, I really don't!

    Basically, I have shoved all of the decisions 'down stream'. I've avoided making any really. You may notice the tactic employed by real managers. They sort of stall pending further information, until a critical decision has to be made, and then they need to get some-one else with more authority to make it!

    Where's the wife?

    Yes, right where was I. Down streaming. It's actually not a 'bad' management practice, but as illustrated, tends to be used for avoidance rather than tacking a problem properly.

    I want to build this engine properly, but at the same time I don't want to waste money. And right now, its not actually hurting. I'm not putting any delays into the program from not making a decision, or ordering parts or anything, so I can afford to wait until all of the relevant info is in before doing anything.

    But, I do need to get the info in, and I do need to realise that by down streaming, I am combining lots of little decisions that could be looked at separately to form some sort of compromise, into one big 'all or nothing' gambit.

    Or am I? If I get down to it, and the crank needs cutting and the block boring, and I have to throw a chunk of money at doing that work, then, could I back up and decide to risk going with the old cam and valve gear, to try and keep the overall costs within realistic limits?

    OK - well, I'm keeping an eye on the next stage and where we might have to go from her. Mean while there's a crank shaft to get at and look at.

    And it don't look good.

    Basically the picture shows Number Three main bearing that the crank shaft runs in, and the new replacement. The old one is the one that is pink, showing how it has worn through the bearing metal to the supporting bronze underneath.

    They were all like that.

    So were the big ends.

    So, the whole lot was going to have to come out, which meant that I might as well get the block checked and prepped, and either honed to remove glaze from the bores, or rebored to get them back to round.

    Either way, I was looking at 100 worth of bearings and piston rings, plus whatever the machining costs were going to be.

    Well, not a lot could be done then, until that lot was sorted out, so essentially it was back in the cleaning tubs to get rid of as much crud as possible, then taking the block & crank to the machine shop and leaving it with them until they had done it all and come back to me with the sizes of bearings and rings I'd need to put it back together.

    So, on the table, I had eight pistons to clean, and the various bits and pieces like the timing chain cover and the oil pump to look at. Question to answer over the use of new rocker shafts with old rockers, and some decisions to make.

    Where were we with regard to 'the plan'?

  19. Consider tail gate and exhaust manifold problems. Check around for some-one breaking a Range Rover, that might be able to help.
  20. Ah yes. Interestingly enough, I sorted that one. Found a chap over in Birmingham breaking an 84 model. Well, actually it seemed like he had about three or four of them and was trying to make two good ones out of them.

    However, a reasonable tail gate was available. Like wise he had a pair of manifolds, and a load of other bits an d pieces that were quite useful. Trim, switches and stuff like that. Only thing as far as this project was concerned, the manifolds had sheared studs in them, and didn't come with the bolt set to attach them to the cylinder heads.

    If you are interested in the salvage procedure, then getting the broken and seized studs out is featured in the section:- Work Shop Practices - Fixing a Sheared Screw or Stud .

    Which leaves:-

  21. Establish 'Critical' path of dependant activities, and start to develop a work schedule.
  22. Which I've done, here:- V8 tear down & overhaul - The Critical Path . Not been so hot on the scheduling side of things though. Maybe I should be.

    Up until now, I'd kind of just 'got on with it'. I knew it was important, and relatively urgent, so had been giving the job about as much attention as I could. I didn't have a schedule. I knew, that the car's MOT was about seven weeks away, and it would need the engine back in the engine bay before then if it had any hope of getting through the emissions test, but other than that, it was a piece of string job. I simply couldn't schedule tasks I didn't know about, or buy things I didn't know I'd need.

    Right here though, I was at the point where things were chyrstalising. I knew that the thing was down to the crank shaft, and it was going to take a full rebuild, so I knew roughly what was needed to be done, and roughly how long it would take.

    Practically, with all the necessary bits on hand, maybe two or three clear days hands on labour.

    Critical path however depended on getting the right bits at the right time so that work could go on un-interupted.

    And right now, I knew what parts I needed, but not what size, and I wouldn't know what size until I got the block and crank back from machining.

    Which was going to be a week.

    After that, I could order parts. Give a couple of days for bits to arrive, and we have got a week to get the thing together, and ready to go back in.

    With three weeks to go, that is not un-do-abale.

    Gives a week end to get the engine in, then Monday after to book the MOT, for the following Monday, and the evenings in the week to run around doing the odd jobs like fitting new headlamp surrounds to cure the chronic beam alignment problem.

    So, lets get into the PACC.

  23. Apply PACC and revise plans accordingly.

 It's decision time. We've followed the plan, and done each item. We've a thorough assessment of everything that needs looking at. And we have choices to make.

We couldn't make the thing function without the heads being worked.

Thing would not function for very long without the crank and bearings being done.

So we have made the two 'Major' bits of the engine 'as good as new'.

Now, we can follow that through with the rest of it, and ditch the rockers, the cam shaft the tappets and everything, and have a total build cost in the order of 700.

Or, we can re-use everything, bar perhaps the timing chain and gears, and have a build cost in the order of 500.

There's 200 in it. Think Risk.

Now, I have to confess to a small indulgence at this point. I think that you have kind of got the idea that I rate cleaning stuff as being pretty important. And, as far as I'm concerned it is.

An old hand working on racing cars once told me "A dirty car'll never win a race". Don't think I necessarily agree with that one, I don't think I've ever seen a clean rally car cross the finish line, but the essence of what he was saying was that if the mechanics don't show the level of attention to detail to make sure everything is clean, then chances are they haven't applied the level of attention to detail which stops them missing some fault that will cause a failure.

Any way, I clean everything as well as I can, and in cleaning up this engine, I was getting frustrated, because after hours and hours of soaking and scrubbing, all the bits I ended up with were still dull, tarnished and manky looking bits of alloy.

So, having done 90% of the preparation, I thought that the best way to finish them off and make them look like they had seen the level of attention that they had was to paint them.

And all of a sudden, this engine was starting to look more like a show motor than something to haul a Range Rover through mucky puddles.

So, the decision was made. Bite the bullet and do the job properly.

And the new plan could simply be summarised as 'Get Parts, put it back together'.


Back to V8 tear down & overhaul - The Full Story

Part 7 - Getting it Together

 Well, we've been round the PACC loop a couple of times now. So where are we at?

Well, we started off hoping that we could get away with little more than skimming the cylinder heads and changing the head gaskets, and maybe changing the timing chain.

At the start, we had found a substitute engine, and dropped that in Bert's engine bay to keep him going for the time being, and hoped we could fettle this engine over a long period of time.

But, 'The Plan' had to evolve. The substitute engine wasn't as successful as hoped and was going to have to be swapped out sooner rather than later, so we dug into the original engine, mainly on a fact finding mission, and basically discovered that the thing was almost completely at the end of its useful service life and needed some serious over hauling.

The first unknown we had addressed was the cylinder heads. More than just needing skimming, they had needed almost completely re-conditioning, with valves and seats re-cut, and the valve train brought into question.

Digging deeper, the cam shaft and timing set were on the dubious list, and the bottom end, the crank, block and pistons were in need of much work.

If we have a look at V8 tear down & overhaul - The Critical Path , we have the 'logical jobs list' that kind of follows the Haynes Manual instructions. I'd looked at that and kind of indented it, so that the Critical Path is shown on the left, and the stuff I could fit in and around was on the right.

In essence, we were at the stage 14.0 Re Assembly - Preparation. This gives the list of things to do as:-

Starting at the top, the heads had come back and were looking rather good, but were still disassembled. Putting the valves back in needed new valve stem seals, and they were in the top end gasket set.

The rocker assemblies were all apart, and the shafts at least consigned to the scrap bin. New shafts were needed to assess if the old rockers could be re-used, and the crank shaft and block were going to be away for a fortnight while the Machine Shop found time to grind the journals and bore the block.

So, first thing to do was to order some gaskets from Paddocks. Top and bottom end sets would eventually be needed, so I decided I might as well get them straight away. That would let me get the cylinder heads put back together and out of the way.

Rocker shafts were also included, as they were needed for the rocker question.

And until I had those, it was pretty much a question of going down the logical task list to stage 14, checking to see what was left to be done.

1.0 'Mount Engine On Stand' - DONE

2.0 'Remove Inlet Manifold & Carbs as assembly' - DONE

2.01 - 2.12, Overhauling Carbs and manifold assembly, were actually added at this stage, but I Think I'll come back to that.

3.0 'Remove Rocker Covers & Rocker Assemblies'- DONE

3.01 - 3.05, clean disassemble, clean & inspect, 1/2 - DONE. Couldn't be finished until question of using old rockers on new shafts answered

4.0 'Remove Cylinder Heads'- DONE

4.1-4.11 Overhauling heads, 1/2 DONE. Basically all sorted bar putting back together which needed valve stem seals out of top end gasket kit.

5.0 'Remove Push-Rods & Tappets from block' - DONE. Parts were all sorted and ready for re-use, if they were going to be.

6.0 ' Remove Water Pump, Fan & Viscose unit'. - DONE. Decision was made to keep visco unit but dump the pump. That was added to the Paddocks order for the gaskets and rocker shafts.

7.0 'Remove Crank Pulley' - DONE - had to be to get the crank out of the block for machining.

8.0 'Remove Timing Cover'- DONE.

8.01 - 8.07, cleaning the cover and overhauling the oil pump. Aha, one I could get on with.

9.0 'Inspect Timing Chain, Timing Chain Gears & Cam Shaft, in situ' - DONE

10.0 'Turn Engine - Remove Sump' - DONE

11.0 'Inspect Crank Shaft, Main & Big End Bearings' - DONE

11.01 Clean & Prep Con Rod & Piston assemblies for new bearings & rings, aha, another one to be sorted.

12.0 'Inspect crank Shaft Journals & Main Bearing Shells with Crank Shaft removed.' - DONE

So, in summary, of all of the tear-down actions, I had:-

So, the first order of parts was duly placed. And I carried on cleaning things. I also started painting things, which was what brought the matter of the carburettors into question.

I've already mentioned, I allowed myself the small indulgence of getting a bit carried away with the finish of the parts I was working on, and painting stuff.

It started with the rocker covers. I had tried to buff them up when I first took them off, but the quality of the casting is pretty poor to begin with and all I succeeded in doing was taking the lacquer off, and leaving a patchy horrible mess, so paint was the solution.

I also had this idea that the ribbing and lettering, where it says 'Rover' really ought to be a bit more prominent, and decided it would look good picked out in black with the ribs and flat polished.

So I sprayed them red.

I know. The logic doesn't follow, does it? Well, it does because the next step is to consider that that is what every body thinks and tries to do, and every-one ends up with black and silver rocker covers.

So spraying them red, is going to be different.

But they still need the lettering picking out in black, and the ribbing polishing.

Oh dear! Big job. Especially as you have to remember that after all that work, unless you then lacquer the thing, the nicely polished ribbing is just going to tarnish again!

So, having got something in my head about how they were going to look, and got the other components clean enough to bring up to a similar standard, it seemed a bit of a waste of effort to just leave it at the rocker covers. Hence the carbs got singled out for attention, as then they could be cleaned and painted too.

Any way, we won't mention much more about all that. I like the way it looks and that is all that matters. I think that it has added about 50-60 to the job in paints, which I think is worth it all told, and most of the time it took was just a few moments between doing other jobs, or when I walked past, adding another coat of spray, so that that could dry while I did something else.

Biggest cost of the painting was probably space, but luckily I had that.

So, back to the nitty-gritty, Oil pump was removed and cleaned and deemed serviceable, so the thing shelved as far as further work was concerned, as soon as the timing chain cover was de-gunked and entered into the painting processes.

The big job was to prepare the pistons.

Back to that time honoured cycle; Clean, strip, clean look, work.

The things were pretty black and horrible,

The piston crowns were thick with soot, and the insides, well I could hardly see anything inside.

The piston rings didn't seem too bad, but there was a lot of carbon in the grooves and most of the oil control rings looked like they were pretty clogged.

Such is the way these things get I suppose.

So, on with the cleaning, then getting the piston rings out.

Don't throw them away when you come to do this, and if one breaks while you are taking them off, keep that one to one side.

And I'll tell you why.

The piston ring grooves are a real pain to clean out. If you try doing it with a wire brush, you'll end up wearing away the edges of the piston and probably not get in and get into the corners of the groove.

If you use the point of a screwdriver, chances are you'll score the bottom of the groove to pieces, and or end up getting the blade 'wedged' sideways in the groove.

Piston ring is just the right size to get into the groove, and has a kind of trapezoid section to it, so you can get it into the corners of the groove nicely.

All you need to do is take a broken one, and grind the ends flat.

In fact, if you use one of the middle sealing rings and put an edge on either end, you get a wide side that is good for scraping the bottom of the groove, and a narrow end that's good for getting into the corners.


And I've actually taken a photograph of cleaning a piston ring groove!

Oh well. Sad isn't it?

BUT! It is important. Its the attention to detail that makes the difference.

Throw it back together with lots of new bits, and well, it might work, but you'll never know whether you missed something important under the grime, or whether some of it will work loose and clog a vital oil way, or something.

But if you start with something like this.

The piston ring grooves are half full of carbon deposits, and the rest of it is covered in shellac and crud.

In operation, all that carbon is going to hinder the piston rings turning in the grooves, which will lead to uneven bore wear and possibly scoring.

The bottom ring is also known as the oil control ring or 'scraper'.

Idea is that that one squeegees the oil of the wall of the cylinder so that the sealing rings aren't 'planing' on a layer of oil that will get past into the combustion chamber, and be burned.

If the oil scraper is as clogged up as the groove behind it, obviously the oil isn't going to get scraped off and flow away, so the scraper ring wont be doing its job.

All told, its not nice.

So you clean it all up until it looks something like this.

Only better.

If you look, you can see that there's still carbon in the corners of the grooves.

I used a soak, scrape, soak, scrub, scrape, scrub, soak, kind of process to get them completely clean.

Basically, I soaked them in petrol, then scrubbed and scraped to get them minutely clean.

And for final finish, I used a very fine wet and dry, wetted with petrol to just dress the surfaces inside the grooves to make sure I hadn't left any score marks in the scraping, that the new rings could snag on.

But, then I gave them a couple more dousing in petrol to make sure that there was no grit left behind.

End result looks impressive though

And if you found reading all this tedious, don't even DREAM of having a go at doing your own rebuild.

Because doing it is about is only slightly less mind numbing than an evening watching 'Reality TV'.

Except that at least you know that a Reality TV show WILL end - it says so in the telly guide!

I think I spent about two days solid on these pistons, and using a piston ring as a scraper to get into the grooves serrated the skin of my thumb and forefinger in about a million little paper cuts.

In the end I wrapped masking tape around it as a kind of handle, but that just made it harder to control.

This is one of those jobs, if you can schedule it to in small chunks, like an hour or two each evening, can make it bearable, but then it probably seems even more unending.

Necessary though.

Any way. Until the block and crank are machined, that's about as far as you can take it. Job needs the pistons fitting with new rings and the con-rod fitting with new bearing shells, but until we've found out how much metal the Machine shop have taken off the mating part, we wont know how what sizes we need.

So, the things were stacked and marked ready for when we had the bits back from the machine shop, and I went looking for my next job, which was the timing cover and oil pump.

But I've already covered that in 'Getting into it'.

Cylinder heads..

Gasket kits and stuff arrived from Paddocks, and that let me get the heads back together

And yes, I've recycled the picture of using the valve spring compressor to take them apart, for putting them back together.

Well, web-space is web space and I don't see much point to waste it.

Only difference would have been that there wouldn't be as much oil on the valves and springs when I put them back together, and I did it a LOT more carefully, because I didn't want to risk damaging any newly machined surfaces.

Having cleaned and prepped all of the collets and collars paid dividends though.

None had been lost and having them all to hand and ready greased, they went on a treat, with no dramas.

This is where you start to realise how much a little organisation is worth. No hunting around to find the bits and pieces or getting half way through to find that they aren't all there, or cursing and blinding because the dirt on them is stopping them from sticking where you want them.

Any way, at the end of it they look a bit like this.

Which is a bit different to how they looked when they were taken off, so I thought deserved a big picture.

Actually, its one of the few, after I managed to retrieve some half flat batteries out of my oiky son's game boy, for my digi cam, that have proved to be in focus. Seems the thing got the macro switch bunted when the batteries were removed. So apologies for the blurry pictures!

So, back to the game plan, Rockers.

Well, the new shafts came with the gasket sets, and it took about three minutes to find the rockers, open the tub, unwrap a shaft and watch the old rocker do a toy woodpecker impression sliding down it.

You know those toys where the collar slides down a pole and there's a woodpecker on a spring on the collar and it pecks at the pole on the way down? Well thats what the rocker did.

So, new rockers needed to be added to the LOP. Oh dear, getting expensive.

On to Carburettors. Not a lot to say about this one. They had actually had new diaphragm's about eight months ago and I don't think that they were in bad shape. And the original plan was to leave them alone and attached to the inlet manifold.

But, with the painting program, and the work that had gone into the guts of the engine, I'd decided to drop the float bowls and give them a bit of a clean out, and throw some paint at them to make them look as good as the rest of the engine.

More cleaning, basically. Everything came apart and was cleaned, and a carburettor gasket set added to the LOP.

And that brought us basically to the end of the tear down process. Things were starting to come together, notably the cylinder heads.

Just about all of the unknowns had been answered. Unhelpfully, but answered.

And all that remained was to put the thing back together.

So, back to the PACC.

Tasks identified for this session were:-

DONE. Parts ordered and received

DONE. Cylinder heads reassembled, greased and stored.

DONE. New Rockers needed. Old ones worn out

DONE. Cleaned (And Painted). Oil pump fine.

DONE. Ready for rings and bearings when I know what size.

1/2 DONE. Stripped & Cleaned. Entered into painting program. Waiting for gaskets to reassemble.

So, we were almost there. The job had been pushed forward about as far as was possible. Everything that could have been done, and needed to be done was done, and we were just waiting for the block and crank to come back, and parts to be ordered to get the thing built back up.

So, time for another PACC Cycle, and into the 'big build', I think.

Back to V8 tear down & overhaul - The Full Story

Part 8 - The Big Build

So, where were we? Ah yes. At another PACC review. Things were starting to come together. Just about everything had been pulled apart and cleaned and was either waiting for bits to let it be put back together, or something to bolt it to.

Cylinder heads were back, and built, and the crank shaft and block were back ready to be re-assembled. So, what's the plan?

Well, going back over the Logical Task List, I was technically still at Stage 14, Pre-Assembly review.

First time I reached it, I'd got there out of sequence, following the critical path, racing ahead, leaving stuff on one side, to get answers to questions and find out just what was going to have to be done. That lot answered, I went back and filled in, doing the jobs that hadn't been properly sorted.


And it was worth while, because doing things out of sequence allowed me to get answers more quickly, and get important things underway, and then do the less important stuff in whatever time I couldn't do anything else.

So, basically, I'm back on track, and can follow the build up half of the logical task list, pretty much in order.

Parts are needed, the most important being the crank shaft main and big end bearings and the piston rings, which will let me get the bottom end back together.

Then there are final decisions to be made over the cam shaft and valve train, and the appropriate bits ordered, and put is as they arrive or as deliveries allow.

So the first thing to do was to order the bearings and Piston Rings. +10 thousandths of an inch oversize bearings were needed for the main bearings and big ends, and +20 thousandths of an inch piston rings were needed, and Ordered.

And while I waited for those to arrive I took a look at what I had, and made a decision about the valve train.

Cam shaft, followers, push rods, rockers. All to be replaced. One 'googlie' to add to the melting pot was the idea of an alternative camshaft profile. Made sense to at least have a look at what was available. A new stock cam shaft is about 75, but 'performance' profile cam shafts are not a lot more expensive. In fact, with the tappets and cam chain being consigned to the scrap bin, a 'cam kit' actually looks pretty reasonable value, coming in at round 200.

Now, I thought about these carefully, and it came down to three things. If I went for a different cam, I didn't want to sacrifice any economy. Top end power was not deemed particularly important, but bottom end torque was.

Reviewing what was on offer, most of the cams available were intended for kit cars and sports cars, and tended to raise the state of tune over the stock saloon car profiles most donor engines would have come with.

Basically, the Range Rover V8 is in a softer state of tune than the SD1 saloon, and most camshafts on offer gave more top end and sacrificed a bit of bottom end power over the SD1 profile, so in reality, few cams looked like they were going to be suitable.

There were a couple of 'high torque' profiles offered for 4x4 applications, and but the suggestion was that they wouldn't make a huge difference over the stock item. They might have lifted the power curve a little, and given a bit more bottom end, and mid range power, but not without sacrificing some economy.

Eventually the idea was dropped. It was extremely tempting to fit a hot cam, something that gave maybe 200+bhp, just for the heck of it, but at the end of the day, this engine is going into a pretty well stock Range Rover, that was used every day, mostly on the road.

So, backing my own principles for considering a modification, I really didn't have a good reason to change anything, and it wasn't worth the risk. Consequently a stock profile cam was ordered. I know, BORING! But there you are.

Any way the bearings and piston rings arrived.

Right, well I encountered a 'hitch' here. Basically, the bearings arrived, but there were a couple of problems. First, the big end bearings were +20 Thou, not +10 Thou. This I didn't find out until after I had fitted three of them and came to turn the crank to tighten up the third bearing cap, and the crank wouldn't turn! So, they had to be taken out, and the right size bearings obtained.

Then, when the right size bearings did arrive, I got to the sixth piston, only to open the piston ring packet and find that one of the scraper rings had been snapped in transit.

Another ring was requested, and in the mean time, an accident in the work shop when an errant teenager came in and through a wobbly because he couldn't have his own way, saw a piston knocked onto the floor, snapping another scraper ring. So I ordered two more sets, hoping to avoid Murpheys law any more!

This, saw the bottom end back together, which I shall kaleidoscope into the simple sequence it should have been.

So, step one, get the block back onto the engine stand, checked and cleaned. Looks different having been put through a vapour cabinet, doesn't it.

Black Sludge? What black sludge?

Seriously, that is the result of a LOT of careful cleaning, BEFORE it got any where near the vapour cabinet, but any way.

First job, get the main bearings in. Not difficult. Just take the bearing caps off, make sure you clean them, fit the shells in the right way round and align them as best you can.

A good tip here is to put the shells in, then use a straight edge to get the ends flush in the housing, and then to assemble the bearing 'dry', that is without the crank in there, so that the shell halves level out without any load on them.

Once the crank shaft is in place and levelled up, the main bearing caps can be torqued up.

Remember the cruciform seal and the main crank seal in number five bearing cap though.

Note advice about only using the torque wrench to 'set' the correct torque.

Do the bolts up tight first, with a conventional spanner or wrench.

At least on anything that needs a torque figure more than half way up the torque wrench scale.

If its less than that, torque setting is given to try and stop you over tightening, so just nip the fastener with the conventional socket before setting with the Torque Wrench.

Next job is to put the pistons back in.



Nice surprise here, when the piston ring sets turned up, they were nice and neatly packed in little pocketed wrappers with a schematic on the front to show which ring went where on the piston, and they were marked to show which way up they should go.

Getting them over the piston and not cracking any of them is another matter.

A practised and steady hand is useful.

If you don't have one, don't be tempted to use a screwdriver or anything to lever them over and into place, you'll just end up putting lots of pits into the aluminium of the piston before you break the ring.



The bottom, 'oil control' ring is the worst as its a thick ring with slots in it, and the slightest twist will crack it.

Trick is to use your thumbs to spread the ring out and to work in down in steps.

So, rings on, bearing shells in the big end. Same as the mains, helpful to dry assemble them to line them up.

Then they can be slid into the block.

Its best to try and protect the bores from being knocked or scored by the end of the con rod here, and the Haynes suggests using a couple of lengths of rubber pipe on the end cap bolts to do the job.

I used masking tape around the whole big end.


Getting them into the block is the tricky bit. I was advised to get a piston ring compressor, these beasts being so big, and the rings being over size.

I'm in two minds about the device.

About half of the pistons dropped in a treat first time.

The other half snagged and needed recompressing and re-aligning, which was a bit of a ball ache.

Old fashioned method of working each ring in, in turn, using an old bearing shell to apply a bit of pressure to it, has always worked well for me before, and as you can see what you are doing and feel it all as it goes, you KNOW none of the rings have snagged and cracked as you've put them in.

With the compressor though, there's always an element of doubt.

However, they all went in.

Important to make sure that the con rods are aligned the right way though.

Line them up carefully and triple check the orientation before you put each piston in.

Which brings us to fitting the big end caps.

My preference is to loose fit each one as you go, so you don't mix them up.

I actually give them a little 'nip' so that they are tight and formed into the journal, but then I back the nuts off 1/4 turn so that there is only minimal pressure on them, while I fit the other pistons.

This makes turning the crank shaft a bit easier and gives the shells a chance to settle, which I aid by giving the crank a couple of rotations after the last con rod is on.

Like the mains, I nip the bolts up with a conventional ratchet, then set them with a torque wrench.

My technique, is to set high torque's in stages, so I start at the bottom of the wrench's scale and set every nut to that, then go up maybe ten ft-lb and do them all up to that, until I reach the specified setting.

On the big ends, I find that this means that the bearings get settled as between each new setting the crank shaft has to be turned in the bearing.

To my mind this will relieve any latent stress in the bearing where the torque being applied is forming the bearing shell to shape, rather than actually applying pressure to the journal.

And then lastly, I leave them all over night, and recheck the torques again, on both main and big end cap nuts and bolts.

Possibly not essential, but then I am unlikely to get everything done in a day and leaving the sump off a while means that its no hardship.

And if the torques are still OK the following day, then I have a bit more confidence that the fasteners are holding pressure and nothing is relaxing or deforming.

So, that's the bottom end back together, and looking GOOD!

Time to flip it over and wallop the heads back on!

OK, carefully line them up.

Boring process, but it got to be done

Just thought it worth the comparison. Picture on left is the engine during rebuild, just after the heads and valve train had been refitted. Picture on right, is how it looked when first opened. Look at how much sludge has been removed!


Any way, back to getting the heads on. First thing worth mentioning is that prepping the mating faces and gasket is essential.


Face on the head should be perfect, because its just been machined, but the block will need attention, and even the head could probably do with checking and wiping.

And five minutes lining up the gasket and making sure it is seated properly, is NOTHING in comparison to snagging it when you put a head bolt in, and having to start again, or worse, having the thing fail after a few weeks in the car.

There is not a lot I can really say or show you about fitting the heads, apart from trying to stress how important attention to detail is.

Look at everything three times from every end, and every side and every angle and then double and triple check.

You only want to have to do this job once, so make sure you do it right.

When it comes to the cylinder head bolts, there's three rows and three lengths, and they don't correspond.

The long bolts go in the three middle holes of the top row under the rocker cover.

The short bolts all go in the holes in the front row along side the spark plug holes.

The medium length bolts go wherever there's a hole left after that!

Make sure that the bolts are meticulously clean before reuse, and torque up in stages, with the torque wrench, as I've told you about before, after you have nipped the bolts up tight with a conventional ratchet first.

OK, well the picture shows the heads on and valve gear installed. This of course required assembly of new rockers to new shafts, when they had finally arrived.

Not a lot of any excitement to report there.

Only comment I can make concerns the fact that the 'new' rockers are not the same as the old ones.

Picture left illustrates the biggest difference.

Yes they are balancing on a steel ruler pivoted on a cold chisel!

For those of you who may consider this to not be particularly scientific, I would like to say that for a certain duration of my career in industry I was actually a rocket scientist. No bull, I worked on the D&D of missile guidance systems. And I can say, from first hand experience, that such techniques are genuinely 'rocket science'. We measured Centres of Gravity and things like that with about as much precision as this!

New rocker is on the short end of the ruler. Old rocker is on the long end. New rockers are three times the bleedin' weight! Yes, they are not the same, they are steel.

I contemplated this for a long time, because the new rockers, were a much looser fit on the shaft than I had expected, and I wondered whether it would be better to run the old, lighter rockers with that bit more slop, or the newer heavier rockers without.

In the end, I decided that the steel rockers were probably the better bet to use. Being steel the wear rate would probably be better, and being new, I could rely on them more. The extra weight, I concluded was significant, but practically, this thing was not being built for racing. It is in a pretty mild state of tune, it isn't going to be expected to rev much or very often, and we haven't got a lumpy cam or anything.

The rockers are pretty short, and most of the mass is centred about the shaft boss, so the weight might be 3x, but the 'moment of inertia' it has as a rotating part probably isn't quite as bad.

At the end of the day, they were 4 each or 64 a set. I found out that genuine aluminium replacements are 7 so nearly 120 a set. So it is a significant saving, and one I think might be worth while.

But if I was building this engine with a hot cam, they would have gone back, and I would have paid the premium for the Ali parts.

So, before we put the push rods and tappets in we need the cam shaft in and the timing chain on to drive it.

Again, all I can do is stress, look check, double check, look again and triple check.

Its a bit fiddle trying to get the chain on with the sprockets lined up, because you have to keep slipping the gears off to do it, but getting it spot on is time well spent.

Just for note, you may have noticed 'Vernier' timing gears offered for more accurate cam timing.

Yes, they can and do work. But unless you are setting an engine up on a Dyno, and want to advance or retard the cam by half a degree to find the point where they are giving best power, to my mind, they can actually make timing the cam in more difficult, and give you more chance to cock it up.

Unless you are race prepping the engine AND you are confident about what you are doing with a vernier gear, stick to the stock cogs and use the alignment marks and a lot of patience and attention to detail.

So drop the tappets in with a bit of grease. Put the push rods on top of them, then clamp down the rocker shafts, and we have something looking dangerously like an engine.

And that is about the most satisfying days work there was. Everything before hand was leading up to getting those major chunks sorted and re-united, and in the end, I went from a pile of bits to something looking like it belonged in a car, in just about one day.

So I had to shove the rocker covers and the timing chain cover and see what it was going to look like.

This is a real water shed, because the rest of the job, dressing and fettling the engine so that it will work and work reliably will take a lot more time. Again, attention to detail, checking, double checking, sorting out the right nuts and bolts and lining up gaskets and trimming them here & there to make sure they fit and I don't leak oil or coolant.

But the end is in sight and its all starting to take shape.

So, time for another PACC review.

Basic plan was now to follow the Logical task list as that really was all that was left to do. With the palaver with the bearings and the piston rings, I did actually step out of sequence and build up one bank before the other, but it was hardly a huge deviation from the plan, and overall, this section has seen 15 through 19 done and dusted.

15.0 Crank Shaft Refitting - DONE

16.0 Piston & Con Rod Preparation - DONE

17.0 Piston & Con Rod Fitment - DONE

18.0 Cylinder Head Replacement - DONE

19.0 Refit Timing and Valve Train components. - DONE

So, no real problems discovered or horrors found. Nothing new has cropped up. No circumstances have changed. Berts still chuffing about belching blue smoke, and the workshop hasn't fallen down on top of my tools. So, at this stage, happy to say, it all looks like its going to plan, and no new plan is needed - just need to tick the appropriate items of the logical task list, and carry on.

Which is basically, carry on from task 20, sealing the engine up with the appropriate covers and stuff, and start bolting on the ancillaries.





Back to V8 tear down & overhaul - The Full Story

Part 8 - Dressing out

Well, Dressing out. Last PACC we were on track and pretty happy. Nothing had cropped up to scare me or give us anything untoward to think about, and the plan was basically to stick to the Logical Task list, and carry on from task 20, putting the timing cover back on.

So, from where we left off, the rocker covers were lifted off, the water pump was removed, and the timing cover set to one side.

The gasket set was pulled out along with a pot of grease, and the timing cover put back on properly, with the faces all cleaned and dressed and the gasket carefully aligned.

Tin plate gasket was lined up, and the inlet manifold put in position, and fettled until all of the bolts went through all of the holes.

And it was all done slowly and carefully with everything fitted and lined up and nipped, then undone again, and realigned to let something else be fitted, before it was all 'happy' and locked down with appropriate torque on the bolts and stud-lock cement where needs be.

In between there were finishing touches to be made, like cleaning out the timing marks so they showed the white lettering through the black paint, and

Lacquering over the florescent yellow of the dip-stick and oil filler caps.

The Oil Pump and sump were fitted with the engine inverted, and the pump primed with vaseline, as directed in the book.

Water pump was fitted, and the old distributor, so that the dizzy cap could be fitted and the plug leads aligned.

Little guides to replace those useless 'combs' were made up and then all the plumbing was looked at.

Carburettors and air filter assembly was for ever coming on and off while the thermostat was fitted and the hoses between the water pump and manifold and the various plugs and pipes offered up to where they come off the manifold.

All time consuming but necessary stuff.

It COULD have all waited until the engine was back in the car, but its a lot easier when you can get around the engine easily.


Something that had been missed off the task list cropped up here, and that was the emissions re-breather pipes.

Taken off when the engine was first stripped, they had been dumped in a box and not looked at again.

Inspection revealed that one of the pipes was actually rotted through, and another snapped, so these had to be remade, and then the assembly painted and prepped and fitted to make sure that everything lined up and fitted around them.

The exhaust manifolds had already come in for attention. One of the originals was cracked across a flange hole, so these were procured amongst a host of other second hand bits and pieces.

They had needed fettling though, and were the subject of Fixing a Sheared Screw or Stud , where the manifold to down pipe studs had needed sorting out.

And then were painted.

The carburettors were rebuilt during this phase, and new float needles and diaphragms were included, to make sure they were a known quantity.

And like a lot of stuff, they were all fitted to the engine at some time to make sure that everything lined up and all of the nuts and bolts hadn't been lost all of the plumbing  would route snugly.

This actually went on right up until just before the engine went back in, and a bit beyond.

When the 'substitute' engine came out, bits were hurriedly stripped off it, like missing nuts and bolts the alternator, wiring loom, starter motor, distributor, and fettled onto the rebuild.

Distributor came in for attention here too.

If you read Bert's V8 Transplant , you'll remember I had trouble with the distrubutor drive to the oil pimp shaft. Well swapping back, I had to reverse the operation and swap the drive gears off the ends of the dizzy.

While I was at it, I stripped the dizzy and cleaned the oil groove and the bob weights and stuff and put it all back together.

And after a lot of muggering around, I had something that looked 'finished'.

which was a shame, because most of it was going to have to be taken apart again before it could go into the engine bay

But, as with everything else, it was attention to detail.

I knew that as much as I could would fit before I tried sorting it inside the box.

And there were little details that make a big difference, like labelling around the distributor cap, so that you know which lead goes where.

As I painted the cap to match the other ancillaries, I actually used those little stick on numbers they include on blank video cassette labels to number each lead position, then I lacquered over the top of them.

But, under less stringent circumstances, just putting a blob of white paint on number one lead's turret can stop a lot of silly questions later.

In a similar manner, I sorted out all of the spark plug leads, and having routed them all snugly, labelled them with the video label numbers, too.

This time , though, I just held them secure with a strip of celotape. 

This is where most of the time is spent, and a lot of it is doing noting more than sifting and sorting through nuts and bolts and finding out where they all belong,. And cleaning up the threads so that they go back in nicely.

But it's all worth the effort, because HOPEFULLY, you'll find all the problems BEFORE you put the engine in, so you wont have to take it back out again to sort them out.













  And that, I guess is about it, apart from a couple more piccies, and the final check.


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