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Post 39
May 2016

Engine Rebuild

This is going to be a short post for a major piece of the puzzle. Sorry about that. Basically at his point in time I had way to much going on and kind of needed to get the land rover off my plate for a while. Especially near the end of the process when photo taking and blogging took a back seat to getting the project done.

Actually there isn’t a whole lot that goes into rebuilding the engine. It’s a case of getting the block and head machined by pro’s and then resembling everything with new parts wherever necessary, always following the manual. Very little scope for grey area.

Land Rover Series 3 Engine Removed

In all its crusty glory.

Land Rover Series 3 Removing Crankshaft Nut

Removing the crankshaft nut. Note the block of wood preventing the crankshaft from turning. I don’t have a spanner large enough or a large socket deep enough for the nut, but luckily we live in a messed up world where it’s possible to purchase a massive plumbers wrench for about $15. Got the job done easy. I feel bad for supporting nasty cheap slave labour polluting companies that produce and and sell merchandise like this, but there was nowhere in town that I could purchase the correct tool.

Land Rover Series 3 Removing Crankshaft Nut

Old style copper head gasket.

Land Rover Series 3 Removing Crankshaft Nut

Removing the retainers from the top of the valve stems. The retainers sit in a groove at the top of the valve stem, and are held in place by the force of the spring. I placed an old socket over the valve spring and applied a gentle thud with a heavy hammer. Just enough to bounce the spring down the valve stem, and the retainers just fall out. Easy.

The Rebuild

Dropped the head, block, and crankshaft off at the local engine machinist. The engine obviously needed reboring and a valve job, but they went away and checked everything to advise on exactly what oversized pistons to order and what else needed work.

The machining:
- Block rebored to take 0.30 oversized pistons.
- Crankshaft polished, but not ground.
- Head skimmed.
- Hardened valve seats fitted. They also fitted the valve guides and lapped in the valves.
- Also skimmed the block. Probably could have gotten away without this but it’s relatively cheap (I think skimming the block cost something like $30 out of a total of about $1000).

I did’t take anything off the head or block to raise compression. Just resurfaced to flat (I already have the 8.1 compression head).

Land Rover Series 3 Engine Paint

Engine repaint. Yes, this is the original colour, colour matched from an unfaded covered section.

Land Rover Series 3 Crackshaft

Crankshaft installed. Fitting the rear bearing seal is a nightmare. There are T shaped rubber seals that fit either side of the rear bearing cap and get mushed into place as the cap is lowered into place. It’s incredibly difficult to do this without destroying them. The proper way to do this is to use tapered guides (plenty about them on the internet). I managed to do it without any guides, just sort of using a small flat screwdrivers to push the seal in as the cap is pushed down.

Land Rover Series 3 Pistons

And pistons installed with new bearings. Everything to this point is straight forward (except for the rear seal). The engine machinists put the pistons on the existing con rods for me, so all I had to do was install new big end bearings and tighten up the bolts.

Land Rover Series 3 Timing chain tensioner

Timing chain tensioner which I had to dismantle because it was seized up with gunk. Just needed pulling apart and cleaning and oiling. Installed a new timing chain.

Land Rover Series 3 camshaft

Looking through the oil filler and fuel pump hole into the camshaft. The engine guys reckoned the existing camshaft looked OK (they can’t tell for sure without sending a camshaft of to be measured on specials equipment, which obviously you wouldn’t do for a motor like this). Anyway since my goal was just to have a basic engined that didn’t leak or smoke, I reused the existing camshaft and bearings.

See the little grub screw in the round face were the oil filter goes. This is really easy to miss when dismantling the engine. Took me ages to figure out why I couldn’t get the camshaft or distributor shaft out. This little screw goes into the distributor shaft, but it is completely covered by the oil filter gasket. I had a major ahh..ha moment when I scraped the gasket off.

Installing the distributor shaft so it lines up with that little screw while making sure that the distributor is aligned with the rest of the motor requires merlin like skill, or many many attempts.

Land Rover Series 3 water pump

Timing chain cover and water pump installed. That is a brand new Britpart water pump. It was a total piece of sh*t. Water pumps have a small weep hole near their bearing. The idea being that an insignificant amount of coolant leaks past and keeps the bearing lubricated. Normally when water pumps fail water starts pouring out this weep hole because the bearing is stuffed. Well.. this water pump did that from new. I understand that cheap parts are not going to be the best quality but they should at least function when brand new. Replaced it with a Bearmach water pump that I managed to source here in New Zealand.

Land Rover Series 3 oil sump

Freshly painted sump installed.

Land Rover Series 3 valve spring compressor

Spring Compressor. So I went out and brought a spring compressor. The only one I could get locally. Stanley I think. Not expensive pro grade, but not supper budget either. Of course it bent in half before it could compress a spring. Crap like that really pisses me off. A valve spring compressor that can’t compress a valve spring. Returned the mangled p.o.s. for full refund.

So I made my own out of a G clamp that cost a couple of bucks and an old piece of pipe. Worked better than a proper valve spring compressor anyway. The only trick is making sure the clamp is deep enough to clear the head. I thought that I may have to modify this one with a grinder, but it was actually perfect as is.

Land Rover Series 3 valve spring compressor

Spring compressor in action.

Land Rover Series 3 2.25 petrol engine

And Voilà. Unfortunately this is where the engine rebuild blogging ends. This was about two days before Christmas and I was desperately trying to get the engine in in case I needed to order parts before everything closed for the Christmas break.

What happened next.

It’s a nightmare trying to line up the gearbox spline when installing the motor. I’m not sure what it is that makes these engines/gearboxes so difficult to align.

Motor had to come back out because of a major oil leak from the back of the motor. As you can imagine this was a depressing discovery. I assumed that it was the rear main seal. Turns out it was just a little cover that goes at the back of the cam shaft. It does nothing except cover a hole. What happened is that I installed it with a cork gasket, and slightly overtightened the bolts, which warped the cover plate and allowed it to leak. Easy fix.

I also rebuilt the carburettor with a Bearmach rebuild kit (basically just gaskets a a few other bits). The gaskets were just completely the wrong size so ended up reusing some of the old gaskets. It really annoys me when companies sell something that they have obviously never tested even once.

Cleaned up the distributor, rebuilt the fuel pump, and painted the air filter cover. Oh, and replaced the brand new p.o.s. britpart water pump.

I ended up replacing the exhaust manifold as well. The studs that go between the manifold and exhaust were badly worn and couldn’t quite handle having the motor installed and removed about three times. There is no way I could get the studs out without them shearing, and basically I just couldn’t get the sheared studs out cleanly with the equipment on hand.

Parts Round Up

I used Britpart pistons and rings (come in a set), and valves. Basically because britpart are what’s available. They seemed fine. I guess I’ll know for sure in a 100,000km’s.

For any generic parts like bearings, oils seals, timing chain, etc. I used specialist brands. King Bearings (I think), and Corteco seals.

Gasket sets were Britpart. And fine. The good part is that the gasket set they supply includes every gasket variation that land rover used over the years, so you get plenty of spares and heaps of sealing washers etc. I used a composite head gasket.

Only major piece of crap was the Britpart water pump. The bearmach one I replaced it with has been fine so far.
Bearmach carburettor rebuild kit is junk. Not even usable. So I’d advise taking a punt on another brand.