Rover V8 Locost 4.6Litre 4×4

I now have a Rover V8 Locost 4.6Litre 4×4. I’ve changed from JEE Rover SD1 to Megasquirt 4.6


New Goals

I haven’t done a great deal on the car in the last year, so I set a few goals.

  • Finish the exhaust
  • Get the engine running
  • Start the bodywork

I had a tuned John Earl Engineering 3.5 Litre V8 from a Rover SD1. It had been sitting for 10 years before I bought it and another 4 years since. A few bits of loom and the Mass Air Flow meter were missing, the front oil seal was knackered but basically it was still in pretty good nick. I’d say less than 3,000 miles on the clock.

I’d changed the front cover and water pump to that from a 3.9Ltr Serpentine V8
One reason was to reduce the overall length as I needed to add a strengthening cross-member for the in-board suspension. The other was the oil filter position.

SD1 Front Cover

Rover V8 Short Water Pump

The SD1 oil filter is forward facing (good for my application), but it hangs a long way out the side, which in my car, would rub on the front 4×4 propshaft.

Serpentine Front Cover


The serpentine front cover is quite compact and still has a distributor drive.

Gems P38 Rover V8

Rover V8 GEMS Front Cover

The 4.6 doesn’t have a distributor therefore the front cover is shorter (shortest of all Rover V8’s), meaning that I could add extra chassis strengthening.rover-v8-timing-chain-covers

I was all set to get the 3.5 running, when along comes a 1999 P38 Gems 4.6litre Range Rover. The miles were reasonable, but, as often is the case, the front crank oil seal was leaking quite badly. The price was half that of auction sites and I knew it had been running recently. I know these 4.6 engines suffer from slipped liners, but the seller assured me if it was knackered he’d buy it back.

The only thing I hadn’t thought through was the Oil filter sticks out the side at a slight angle. I’m trial fitting the rather oily engine below. It might be hard to see but the Oil filter mount is sitting on top of the steering shaft and preventing the front prop-shaft from connecting to the front differential.

Locost  4×4 Front propshaft

The water pump outlet was also extremely close to the prop (but I think have a solution for that).

Rover V8 clearance Issue

The solution was to add an extra universal joint into the steering shaft and to raise the front differential 28mm.
Now everything clears fine. The prop-shaft has 20mm clearance and that’s with the engine tilted over as far as I could get it. With the engine sitting naturally it’s more like 35mm.
So I was happy. To be sure and to limit how much the engine can move around, I’m adding a engine steady bar from a classic mini.  I’m also using harder poly engine mounts and a Group N gearbox mount. Vibration through the chassis will be up, but at least there won’t be any grinding.

Considering when I first dropped the engine in I was considering giving up with the 4 wheel drive, it’s ended up OK. 4×4 is such a daft idea on a car like this anyway.

Problem solved. I’ve just got to take it out again and clean it. Fix the front oil leak and get it started.


To get it started I’ll need to finish making my starter motor, or invest in one of those compact high torque units. I’ll also need to fit a remote oil filter, as although it just clears the chassis without the engine running, it wouldn’t take much of a rev to get it to touch.

Rover V8 MS1 Megasquirt

I have all the standard ECU and all the bits to get it started, so I’m not decided on whether to try that route first or go straight for the megasquirt. Time will tell.

The Megasquirt route looks easier with far fewer wires, but will it work or will it need a re-tune?

With the engine out, I’ll paint all the bits that have gone rusty. – there’s quite a few!

Once it’s been running, I’ll take it out yet again for a complete re-build. With the body off, it’s only a couple hours to take it out and put it back in. So although it sounds like a lot of unnecessary work, it’s no big deal.

The liners may not have slipped, but there’s signs it burnt some oil. For peace of mind come IVA time, having a fresh built motor should in theory help.