February 2001 ...

February 3rd, 2001

Finally made my mind up about the best route for the fuel lines so set about fitting them. Both lines are to run along the lower chassis rails with the nearside one crossing over to the offside rail so that they both end up on the offside of the engine compartment. I might have to put a small plate under the car around the area of the handbrake cables just to make sure they don't rub the fuel lines when the handbrake is activated (and to keep Mr. SVA happy). I'm not sure what the SVA has to say about one of the fuel lines crossing over the underside of the tunnel to meet its associate. Although the lines will be clipped to the chassis at the appropriate distances, at some point one will be in 'free space' for 200mm or so as it crosses the tunnel. Looks like I will have to finally go and buy a guide to the SVA. Any comments gratefully received.

In absence of the wiring loom that has yet to arrive from Lightening Looms (it was on a three to four week order) the next step was to begin stripping the engine. My engine is a pre-cat 3.9i V8 from an automatic Range Rover. It was sourced from Equicar 4x4, a specialist 4x4 breakers. As such it came with all of the ancillaries still attached including all of the EFI gubbins. At first site it looks an easy task to strip the air-con pump, power steering pump, alternator and viscous fan from the front end of the lump. However, each unit has fixings common with another and it took most of the rest of the day just to strip the above items, with the exception of the fan assembly. There are also three belt tensioners to remove that might have to be reused at a later date.

The viscous fan assembly is proving to be a real ^&*%@~!£ to shift. There are bolts that hold the pulleys on to the water pump shaft and bolts that hold the huge fan on to the viscous coupling. Undoing any or all of these just leaves you with pulleys and fan hanging on the shaft. The viscous coupling itself is free to spin on the end of the water pump shaft (albeit viscously) and the whole lot spins with the water pump. The viscous coupling is fixed on to the end of the pump shaft by a large nut. The problem is holding any of it still to undo the nut and I'm not sure if the nut is left or right hand thread (there are no markings to suggest LHT). After much cursing I decided enough was enough and called it a day. I will research the nut issue over the coming week with the help of the Rimmer Bros free Range Rover catalogue I've just ordered on-line.

February 15, 2001

The above mentioned brochure never arrived. I had a feeling that this would be the case since the Rimmer website never confirmed the request even though I tried twice. However a Range Rover Register member at the office told me that the offending viscous coupling was left-hand thread so with the aid of a large adjustable spanner and a scaffold pole, the offending fan assembly finally yielded.

Very little mechanical progress has been made over the last two weeks as a direct result of reading the new SVA tester's manual which arrived on the 8th February. I bought it to check the regulations pertaining to brakes etc., but soon found myself reading the emissions sections resulting in mega-depression.

The emission test regulations are changing on April 1st, 2001. In a nutshell, if your pride and joy is SVA'd after that date you need to provide evidence of the 'effective age' of your engine, otherwise it will be tested to 1997 regs. That is to say, it would need a catalyst (two in my case!) to pass the SVA. An example of such evidence is deemed to be the engine's donor vehicle V5, provided the engine & donor are well matched. For example, a V5 showing any Rover V8 in a Land Rover should be OK, a V5 showing a Rover V8 in a Sierra is chancing it. Other acceptable proof is a letter from the manufacturer stating the engines production period.

In my case I know I have a 1991 pre-cat Range Rover 3.9i engine. Unfortunately I can't prove it. In order for Land Rover to trace the date they need the VIN and Reg number which I don't have. I can't obtain them from Equicar 4x4 since the Range Rover in question was scrapped under Category B (B for Breaker) salvage rules. This means that the vehicles identity must be erased and never released to the people who buy the bits taken from it! To be fair this is not Equicar being awkward (far from it) but the law as confirmed by other salvage yard owners I've spoken to.

The National Motor Heritage Centre can tell me that the engine exists on their database but is too new for them to date. Even if they can provide written proof from the archive, the local Mr. SVA (Kent) said he'd have to run it past Swansea first to see if such evidence was acceptable. For their part, Heritage say that they provide Swansea with information on an almost daily basis without question and therefor Mr. SVA's concerns should not give cause for any worry.

The DVLC couldn't offer any help as they need the Reg number before they can search for the correlating engine number.

The long and the short of it is, is that when buying your engine either buy it with a copy of the V5 from the vehicle from whence it came or buy a complete vehicle and break it yourself. Alternatively, buy an engine old enough for Heritage to date (no younger than late mid eighties in the case of Rover V8s).

Trev's Tip:- Always get the VIN and or the Reg number of the vehicle your engine came from before buying the unit unless you are absolutely sure that you can prove the engine's age based on block number alone. Otherwise you could find your car being catalyst tested after April 1, 2001.

For my part this news came at just the right time, i.e. just prior to fitting the engine. For others it has become more of a problem since their engines are already in their cars which are virtually finished. I've decided to buy a complete Rover V8 saloon with V5 etc. and break the car myself. This car cost me the princely sum of £150. I'm seriously considering doing a full recon job on the block and perhaps rebore out to 3.9 or more whilst I'm in there. Mr. SVA's proof (V5) will still be correct but the engine will be for all intense and purposes, brand new. This will cost money so it seems likely that I will sell the 3.9i that I already have to recoup the rebuild costs.

The whole situation has slowed the build, but them I'm not really expecting it to be on the road this year anyway.

February 21, 2001

Not much time spent on the car over the last week due to pressures of work and domestic life.

The 3.5 V8 was fired up last weekend and sounds very smooth and not too much smoke either. Having researched the engine situation more thoroughly and contrary to what I've written above, I think the plan will be as follows:-

  1. Remove the 3.5 from the donor car.

  2. Strip all ancillaries from the 3.5.

  3. Remove heads from 3.5 and clean 'short' engine. At this point I'm not considering recondtioning the 'short' engine as once the SVA is out of the way, I will most likely drop in the 3.9 'short' engine over the winter lay-off.

  4. Possibly replace camshaft with 'fast road' variety. Also upgrade timing gear to vernier type.

  5. Renew cam followers.

  6. Fit 3.9 heads to 3.5 block. This is because the 3.5 heads (as they are pre-SD1) would need slight modifications to the inlet ports to allow the fitting of fuel injection. The 3.9 heads will already have the correct valves, guides etc. to allow the best gas flow into the engine.

  7. Re-shim rockers to ensure correct lifter pre-load.

  8. Fit 3.9 front cover to 3.5 block. This allows use of newer type distributors and better oil pump internals.

  9. Fit 3.9 efi system to 3.5 engine. According to the book, this should not present a problem as all ECUs are mapped for 3.5, 3.9 and 4.2 capacities. This point is slightly ambiguous since it might mean that a chip change is required. Might give RPI or D.J. Ellis a call on this point.

  10. Stick it in the chassis.

This will cost money and take up valuable time but at least the SVA shouldn't be a problem.

All of the above is going to take place very slowly since it's now the time of year when yours truly spends every other week away on business (see CV to work out why).

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