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Fitting a Ford V6

Installing a Ford V6 into a Series II/III - By Chris Perfect

The Steve Parker kit includes everything from the throttle cable to a replacement exhaust manifold and all the fixings, as well as new engine mounts, thermostat housing etcNeed more power in your Series II or 111? Chris Perfect shows you how to install Ford's compact 3-litre V6 engine

The 2286cc (2.25-litre) petrol engine that Rover fitted to the Series Land Rover has a place in the heart of all enthusiasts of the marque. It is a reliable, no-nonsense unit that is extremely tolerant of abuse and is simple to understand and maintain in the field (literally, sometimes).

The power output and torque characteristics suit the original concept of the Land Rover very well, and match the strength and specification of the transmission. The characteristic braking and handling are quite suitable for a vehicle with about 60bhp on offer.

One of the things I love about the Series Landy is the way it can be modified and developed to suit individual tastes and needs. Today, much-improved suspension and braking can be fitted, and even power steering. It becomes quite reasonable to then want to increase power output. The usual route is to fit the lovely Rover 3.5-litre V8, which can be a very successful conversion and which I used in my own Series IIA a few years ago.

The other popular engine is the V6 3-litre unit made by Ford. Perhaps, as Ford is Land Rover's new parent company, its engines are acceptable as well! This engine develops about 135bhp and 172lb.ft torque, which compares very well with the 3.5-litre V8 developing about the same bhp, but somewhat higher torque. Both engines were produced in several variations over the years, with differing outputs, depending on application.

The Ford is physically smaller, though heavier than the V8, but lighter than the 2.25-litre, at about 379lb. No bulkhead surgery is needed to install it, although engine mounts have to be moved. To help save the transmission from overload failure I use Red Line Heavy Shockproof gear oil to deal with that extra power.

My Series IIA has been developed over the years from a tidy truck cab 88-inch on/off-roader into a dedicated trialler. However, the fitting of the engine would apply just as well to a standard vehicle, although I still recommend that the suspension and brakes be improved.
Having decided to go for a V6, I contacted Steve Parker Land Rovers, which specialise in installation kits for the Ford V6. Luckily, Steve already had a V6 that had been removed from a Series III, so a deal was struck and, shortly afterwards, I had the engine sitting in my garage demanding to befitted.

The Steve Parker kit comes with comprehensive instructions covering variations in both engine and vehicle. They also supplied the special exhaust system and, as part of the kit, a different exhaust manifold for the left-hand side of the engine. There is an adaptor ring that bolts to the back of the engine to marry up with the gearbox bell housing. These had already been fitted to the engine that I bought.

Since the Foot and Mouth epidemic has partly subsided, I've been able to drive the vehicle with the V6 in competition trials. Wow! What a difference. The vehicle drives like a different machine, able to tackle climbs in higher gears and be generally more tractable, pulling smoothly from low rpm. I am sure it would be very nice on the road, too.

The process of removing the 2.25-litre engine is covered in the workshop manuals. In this case, I also had to cut away the trialler's protection bars at the front - simpler on a standard vehicle With access gained, my clutch release unit was removed for modification. But with a Series III gearbox or using a SIIA pressure plate, this particular job will not be necessary

The V6 to SIII adaptor plate was already fitted on the back of the engine The spigot bearing in the middle of the flywheel has to be changed. By filling the old one with grease and tapping a close-fitting metal bar into it, hydraulic pressure will force the old bearing out. The new one can then be inserted

The V6 engine has an automatic choke which is operated by coolant temperature and seems to work well, provided it is correctly adjusted Checking the engine carefully showed a couple of leaky core plugs. Others had already been replaced, so the old ones were prised out and renewed. This is common on the Ford V6

The engine mounting brackets have to be cut from the chassis to move them rearwards. First step is to cut vertically down either side of the mount with an angle grinder After grinding away the weld bead along the top corner, the joint can be broken open with a cold chisel. With the later 109-inch chassis there is no corner weld, so it will have to be cut

 Lever the mount up and down and it will break away from the bottom weld. Grind off any surplus material as necessary Make a card pattern that leaves a 2mm gap all round for good weld penetration

 Weld a piece of 3mm plate in place. Grind the rear seam off flush. Welding must be of high standard to replace chassis strength The two engine brackets are trimmed. The end of the longer one is also removed leaving just the large hole

To find the new position for the engine mounts, they were first assembled on the engine, which was then positioned on the bellhousing and the clearances were checked. When the engine position was correct, the mounts were tack welded in place on the chassis 15: The mountings were then unbolted and the engine removed. This gave access to fully weld the mountings in place

Steve Parker's detailed instructions explain exactly how to dismantle and modify the SIIA type clutch release bearing housing, as follows...  First, the bronze bush is tapped out of the housing

It is then reversed and pressed back into place. Take care to avoid damage   A 9/16-inch bolt is used as a spacer to hold the release sleeve out while refitting the cross shaft in place

The result of this modification is that the sleeve can reach further forward to operate the later type clutch Before fitting the engine, two short lengths of studding were screwed into the flywheel housing to engage in the bell-housing bolt holes. This helps to engage the centre spigot bearing. By getting the housing parallel and rocking the engine crankshaft slightly, it should go in

Don't forget to fit the engine mounts - diesel or petrol type are both okay. You'll also need to get underneath to fit the exhaust and to weld all the bottom edges of the chassis plates 23: I had the facilities to do these jobs with the vehicle on its side (no harm done on a trialler with a roll cage). This shows the layout of the Steve Parker V6 exhaust system

 My heavy protection plate under the gearbox, plus modified crossmembers, meant that the exhaust system had to be "cut and shut" to fit below the gearbox. On a standard Land Rover, the whole system would have just bolted together An extra spring, operating directly on the throttle shaft, is a standard requirement for trialling

 A simple bracket was needed to take the Ford throttle cable that was supplied in the kit 27: l used this 16-inch Kenlow fan and a four-row "tropical" Series III radiator to deal with the slightly hotter running V6, which will have to work hard in low range gears - a recipe for high temperatures

The Kenlow control unit fits neatly at the side of the engine bay, together with its fused relay The temperature sender tucks into the top hose with a special sealing rubber

All electrics - except for the engine start and battery charge circuits - have been stripped out on my vehicle. On a road vehicle, the standard set-up will be all that is needed to run the V6 31: The engine fits neatly, but very tight to the bulkhead and nearside - leaving only about 1cm of clearance. But at least the bulkhead did not need cutting and re-shaping

Comment (By Teflon)

The Ford V6 featured in this article has a carburettor, which implies that it is either a 3.0l 'Essex' engine, or early non-injected 2.8 'Cologne', that superseded it in the early 1980's. In either instance, the essence is that it is a VERY old engine! And the conversion is a 'bit long in the tooth'. However, it does have merits.

W-hay back when, the V6 conversion was a favoured alternative to a full on V8 for power applications and competition. The engine is lighter than the iron block Land-Rover 'fours' and just about as powerful as the rover V8, but not quite as 'torque'. A fairly 'revvy' and responsive engine, it didn't load series transmissions as heavily as a V8, and being more compact was easier to fit.

Most 'donor' engines were sourced from old Granada's; though thy were used in the Transit van, the Sierra and Capri, in various different stats of tune. These days most V6's you are likely to come across are the 2.8i motors, with fuel injection, but that shouldn't put you off too unduly, provided you get the complete engine with all ancillaries AND the fuel pump, injection doesn't add too much to the conversion.

However, you do need to b sure to get the right adapter plate for the engine you have. Adapters for 'Essex' engine's, I believe don't work on 'Cologne' blocks, and I think that there were also a couple of changes during the Cologne's long production run.


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