design - Land Rover section


Fitting a Small block Ford V8
       Into a Series Land Rover
              Some suggestions

Introduction to Series Land Rover conversions

Thoughts about V8 conversions & body prep for the engine

Gearboxes commonly used with V8 conversions


During the month of July 1999 the Green Rover said good-bye to being passed uphill by old VW vans and was converted to a Ford 302 V8. The design and fabrication was done by Timm Cooper, then of Portland Oregon with me assisting on disassembly and reassembly.   I have found that a basically stock 302 has plenty of power to do anything I ask of my 5,600 pound 109. I never gear down on highway grades, can easily climb any slope that my tyres can grip and go through deep sand without bogging to a stop.  A stock 302 from a 1970 Bronco has 8.6:1 compression (regular grade petrol), 205 HP at 4600 RPM, 242 lb Ft torque at 1200 RPM (vs. Stock LR 70HP at 4000 RPM and 120 lb ft at 2200 RPM).  

This web page was originally written as a long single page discussion on how to do a V8 conversion in a Series Land Rover.  I have split out the information to several web pages and added additional information to each.  This page deals with choosing and setting up a small block Ford V8 for a Series Land Rover and as such only contains part of what you should know for a successful conversion. It is not a stand alone how-to web page but part of a how-to group of pages.

Introduction to Series Land Rover conversions discusses conversions in general and what a conversion usually entails.  It also provides suggestions as to which conversions would be easiest for different models of Series Land Rover.   You will also find links to suppliers of adapters and drive train upgrades that you will need.

Thoughts about V8 conversions & body prep for the engine  provides a comparison between Ford & Chevy V8 conversions.  The page provides detailed descriptions of frame and body modifications needed to fit a small block V8 into a four cylinder Land Rover engine bay.  There is also a discussion on radiators along with some helpful charts for exhaust pipe diameters and intake air flow.

Gearboxes commonly used with V8 conversions deals with the various gearboxes commonly used in conversions and has gear ratio numbers that you will need in order to make the best choices for your new engine.  This page is one of a group of three dealing with gearboxes.

A high percentage of series V8 or V6 conversions seem to be poorly done by good people who are a little unclear of what needs to be done or what works. I'm no expert but what I have learned may help someone who wants to design and fabricate their own conversion. Here is a quick recap: The stock gearbox is not strong enough to handle a modern V8, nor are the rear axles.  A Series  transfercase has plenty of strength.  Dana-18 and some Toyota transfer cases can also be used.  The rear axle should as a minimum, be upgraded to a Salisbury 24 spline unit (Dana 60 built under license) or stronger.  You can get by with a 10 spline front, but a 24 spline or stronger is recommended. To adapt a small block Ford engine into a Series Land Rover engine bay you will need to use the same oil pan and pickup that a Bronco uses, change the oil filter type or location and use an exhaust manifold that exits  downward.  All else are just extra refinements.


The small block Ford V8

In 1962 Ford introduced a new lightweight 90 degree 221 cu in that was to grow into the 302 and 351 engines. There were several versions of this engine. The most common version was named after the city in which the engines were built, Windsor, Ontario. The 302 was introduced in 1968 and was in production through 1995. The 351 was in production from 1969 through XXX.   Most of the after market performance accessories are made to fit the Windsor engines, also known as the 302W (5.0L) or the 351W, (5.8L). These engines underwent a large number of changes over the years to comply with ever stricter emissions requirements and evolving technologies. Early emissions technology required casting changes, detuning, retarding the timing and an array of vacuum controlled devices which made the engine progressively less reliable and reduced power. It wasn't until the vacuum control systems started being replaced by computer controlled systems that the small block engines started becoming more reliable and more powerful. In 1984 the carburetor was replaced by throttle body fuel injection.  For 1985 a high output (HO) 302 engine was introduced with roller cam and different firing order.  The roller cam was used through the end of 302 production.  The 351 stayed with a flat tappet cam.    In 1987 sequential fuel injection was introduced.

When choosing an engine  there are a number of factors that should be considered:


302 or 351?

The 302 and 351 share the same 4 inch bore diameter.  The 351 has a taller deck height to fit a longer crank.   This means it is a tighter fit into a Series Land Rover engine bay.


There is enough space to switch spark plugs in a 302 installed in a Series Land Rover engine bay with Series inner wing panels. Working at the sides of the engine is tight but doable.   If you install a 351 I strongly suggest converting to Defender inner wing panels in order to gain additional clearance.  This isn't necessary but it would make working on the engine easier. The left side rear spark plug might be really hard to change.   Conversion to power steering to get the stock steering box out of the way is a necessity.

When swapping to a V8, most people overbuild engines beyond what would work well with their Land Rover, then either have no low end power or break a lot of drive train parts.  A bone stock Ford 302 with low compression heads and 500 cfm carburetor has more power at idle than a  healthy 2.25L petrol Land Rover engine with 8:1 head does at peak.  Bone stock the 302 will let your Land Rover climb paved roads in the mountains at the speed limit and accelerate onto a freeway at very acceptable rates. A 302 is a good choice for  driving without a trailer and for driving with small trailers in the hills.

If you plan to spend time towing large heavy trailers in the mountains and feel a need for more power there are two immediate choices: a 302 with stroker crank or a 351. A stroker crank adds its power at the low end RPM, from idle to around 4000 RPM.  A stroker crank by itself brings the engine displacement up to 327 cu in. A complete stroker kit with crank, pistons & rods bring the 302's displacement up to 347 cu in.  All without reducing engine efficiency or increasing the physical size of the engine.  However, a 302 with stroker kit is more expensive than a bone stock 351.

A 351 is basically a 302 with longer crank and additional block height for the additional piston movement.  It is a good base engine if your plans include towing an airstream to a base camp in the mountains.  If you want to tow a really big airstream a 351 engine with a stroker kit  displaces 392 cu in.  Big block displacement in a small block form factor.

I suggest realistically evaluating your needs  then choosing the base engine and displacement that best fits your needs, realizing that a bone stock 302 is more then enough engine for any Series Land Rover not towing heavy loads through the mountains or at really high altitudes. My suggested rule of thumb would be a 302 for light weight towing or no towing and a 351 base engine if you plan on towing medium or heavier trailers.  The longer the crank, the more bottom end torque and the more apt you are to break drive line components as well as make those steep climbs or tow a heavier load.  The smaller the V8 the easier it is to get better fuel economy.  I have found that my 5600lb Land Rover powered by a 302 set up for economy can climb anything my tyres can find traction on and can go the speed limit on mountain roads.  I no longer spend my mountain driving hours figuring the best down shift strategies for tackling the mountain.  I just sit back and enjoy the scenery as I pass the slow vehicles on the hill.

Here's a quote from an article I once read: " Part of building an engine is knowing exactly what you can afford, then not giving in to ego and the temptation. And that’s the mistake a lot of us make along the way. We want to impress our peers. But these are the wrong reasons to build an engine. Don’t build an engine to impress anyone beside yourself, because you alone will have to live with the result."  This is worth committing to memory and repeating whenever looking through a catalogue of speed parts and accessories.


What year engine should I choose?

There were a lot of bad things done to these engines in the name of emissions compliance.  It wasn't until the late 1980's when computer control got good enough to provide cleaner engines with increased engine power and fuel efficiency that the engine became any good again. If you are uncomfortable with fuel injection and weary of engine computers my advice is that you pick an early base engine built before air injection was added.  1968 through 1973 base engines do not need to pass any periodic emissions testing in any State (as of 2008) so you can build it any way that you wish. As a minimum I advocate having a closed positive ventilation crank case system with a PCV valve (positive crankcase ventilation valve), that you use a 180 degree thermostat and that you build and tune your engine for best fuel efficiency The closed crankcase system not only reduces emissions it keeps the inside of the engine cleaner allowing you to drive more miles between engine rebuilds. A warmer running engine reduces engine wear and pollutes less.  All good things in my book.  

If you are comfortable with EFI or willing to learn how it works, I suggest 1987 or newer engine, with the MAF equipped 1989 through 1993 Mustang 5.0 as being the best of the newer engines, and newer distributorless engines being a bad idea. 1989 through 1993 Mustang 5.0 engines, have more power then the earlier factory versions, are more reliable than the other heavily SMOG equipped engines, have a barometer that allows the engine to tune itself for optimal driving at different altitudes and a computer that self adapts for different engine configurations, such as headers or non stock cylinder head.

It is generally a bad idea to use one of the newer distributorless engines in a vehicle that occasionally is expected to do deep wading.   Distributorless engines have a crank angle sensor down at crank level.  This is an essential sensor that will keep an engine from running if it breaks. This crank angle sensor usually sits just above the oil pan and tends to break when immersed in cold water.  If you have one of these engines in a vehicle used off road it is a good idea to try to protect the sensor and to carry multiple spares.

In some states the newer engine means the a pre-SMOG vehicle is required to undergo periodic emissions testing and pass at the levels in effect for the year the engine was manufactured.  This could mean all new fuel tanks, charcoal filters and a catalytic converter.   A way around that if you live in a state that requires emissions testing on old vehicles with early 1990's engines is to have a base engine from a year that does not require periodic emission testing and convert that engine to EFI.  This gives you the power and economy of a more modern engine along with an engine that emits lower emission levels than when your Land Rover was new and when your base engine was new.   I'm all for lowering engine emissions but there are practical limitations when upgrading 40 and 50 year old 4X4's.

Your engine on Speed equipment

 A pure stock engine will work just fine and be a major power upgrade that can deliver the same or better fuel mileage as the Land Rover 2.25L engine.  However there is a lot of highly visible speed equipment out there.  One look through the Summit Racing Catalogue can get you dreaming about all kind of exotic parts that will produce a zillion horse power and be the envy of everyone who sees it. BUT a lot of these goodies will make your Series Land Rover less flexible to drive, less reliable and almost impossible to drive past a gas station. Much of this stuff is designed to dump more fuel into the engine and to provide more power at high RPMs by stealing it away from the low end.  Many things that work well at high rev's such as long duration cams, big valves and big intake passages just hinder power at the RPMs most off road trail rigs live at. In most cases you can get more low end power out a a bone stock 302 or 351 at normal off road RPMs than you can out of a very expensive racing crate engine.  Whenever you want to evaluate a product, ask to see the power curve between idle and 3000 RPM.  Many manufacturer's curves start at 3000 RPM and go up from there.  There is usually a reason for that.  Forged pistons, crank and special lightened rods are designed for engines that produce in excess of 500HP and rev past 7000 RPM.  They are both expensive and total overkill in engines set up for trail drives and normal highway use.

That said, there are special parts such as high lift shorter duration cams designed primarily for towing, aluminum heads designed to flow well at low RPMs and headers that can improve the low end power of your engine should you decide that you just NEED more. And a good solid spark never hurts.  If you don't get carried away with high RPM speed gear, Ford Racing can be your friend.


First some Ford small block basics: Flat tappet 302 & 351 cam shafts are interchange but they have a different firing order. The Firing order for flat tappet 302's and non HO versions of the roller tappet 5L engines is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8.  The 351 and later HO 5L roller tappet engines shared a firing order: 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8. This tidbit of information is of interest if you are converting an early flat tappet engine over to early 1990's Mustang 5.0 HO SEQUENTIAL EFI. If you replace the early flat tappet 302 cam with a 351 cam and move the spark plug wires around  you will have a sequential EFI system that injects fuel into the cylinder at just the right time for the spark.  The old cam with work with Mustang 5.0 HO EFI but the idle will not be quite as smooth and the fuel economy might not be quite as good as it could be. 

A good flat tappet cam to use in a 351 or an early 302 that has been fitted with Mustang EFI is a COMP # 35-255-5, grind # FW XE254H-14  Here is a description of this CAM's performance provided by a COMP customer engineer: "Basically, it is going to improve performance all across the power band. It is not that much larger than the stock camshaft, but has a more aggressive lobe profile (which makes the valves open and close faster, therefore increasing low to midrange torque), and has a bit tighter lobe separation (which will tighten up the power band a bit, therefore making it more responsive). With the more duration it will make the application turn more rpm, and more upper rpm horsepower. Effectively making the engine perform better all across the board.  Where your stock camshaft will work somewhere between off idle to 4500 or so. My camshaft, the 35-255-5, will work right off idle up to if need be 5000 to 5200. It will effectively produce more low end to midrange torque, and more upper horsepower. It won't be anything super crazy that will give you any kind of problems in the low and mid ranges."   Sorry, since I don't own one, I have not researched roller tappet cams.

Cylinder Heads

The Ford 302 with cast iron cylinder heads is just slightly heavier than a stock Land Rover 2.25L petrol engine.  Replace the 302's cylinder heads with aluminum heads and you have an engine that is almost 50 pounds lighter in weight than the Land Rover four. 

There are a number of compression ratio stock heads available from Ford plus several aftermarket performance heads.  As a rule the stock Ford heads are not known for high rates of flow.  The best of the factory cast iron head is the is the GT-40 E7TZ  with a flow rating of 187/129 (intake/exhaust) at 50% cam lift.  That's about 30 cfm better than the standard 302 head.  They have an aluminum version that flows about as well as the Edelbroch performer head.  The aluminum "street" heads flow on the average of about 60 cfm greater than the stock 302 head (30 cfm better than the iron GT-40 head).  If you find yourself looking at the aftermarket heads, don't forget that larger port passages and valves actually hurt flow and power at the low RPM range where 4X4s live.  High flow at 40 or 50% of cam lift with the smallest valves and port passages are your best bet for off road use.  Most of that advertised performance boost from special performance cylinder heads come in at higher than 4000 RPM, often at the cost of less than stock power at low RPMs.  As an example: 

The complete Edelbroch performer series package, cam, aluminum heads, carb, intake manifold and headers (What about $3500?) gets you an increase of only 20 lb/ft of torque over a stock 302 at 3000 RPM.  The real gain is above that RPM.

Aluminum  heads cost in the $1200 to $1350  price range per pair.  I looked at air flow specs of about 10 different aluminum "street"heads.  Of the bunch the one that looks the best  at low RPMs is the Air Flow Research 165 head, cat # 1400.  On a stock engine they dyno'ed to 302 lb/ft torque, 119 HP at 2000 RPM and 311 lb/ft torque and 177 hp at 3000 RPM.   That's roughly about 1/3rd more torque than a stock 3.9L Land Rover V8 puts out at those RPMs.   When in doubt ask the manufacturer how the head affects power curves in the 2-3000 RPM range. 

As a rule of thumb, figure about 3 percent extra power for each higher compression point. Also higher compression helps long duration cams work better. It is up to you to decide if that 3 to 6 percent extra power is worth the price of premium gas every time you hit the pumps.  I went with the low compression 9:1 heads that allowed me to run regular gas. And if you are shopping for cams make sure the manufacturer knows your engine will live below 3000 RPM and that is where the power needs to be.


Exhaust Manifolds  or Manifold Destiny (required for swap)

Ford exhaust manifolds almost all exit the rear of the engine. Series Land Rovers have a vertical bulkhead with makes this style incompatible. To the best of my knowledge there are only two stock cast iron manifolds that can work in a Series Land Rover. One is a pickup left side exhaust manifold. The other is the early Falcon V8 left side exhaust manifold. Ford exhaust manifolds can be mounted on ether side. So you will need two left side exhaust manifolds. Of the two types the early Falcon one will fit better. You can use other stock cast iron Ford exhaust manifolds of you mount them backwards so that the exhaust exits at the front of the engine.  This is a bad idea on the left side because it obstructs removal of the oil filter.  It is a good idea on the right side because you can move the hot down pipe away from the front propshaft and starter motor.  A block hugging header can be made to fit but  generates a LOT more heat inside your tiny poorly ventilated engine bay.  Vapor lock easily becomes a major issue with steel headers.

This is my engine being built,You can clearly see one of the early Falcon V8 exhaust manifold.  This manifold easily clears the fuel filter  area, most engine mounts and allows you to easily route  the down pipe away from a left side mounted clutch cylinder & hose. I used a left side Mustang cast iron exhaust manifold on the engine's right side.  This manifold is mounted on the reverse side puts the down tube at the front of the engine, allowing for a gentle bend and plenty of clearance for the engine mount, front propshaft and the starter motor. Whatever exhaust manifolds you use, it is important to mount them to the engine BEFORE fabricating the frame mounts.  That way you can assure freedom from interference. 

Also note the oil filter aims directly at the frame side rail.  The Ford filter (shown) is too long to fit and be removable. A right angle adapter from Ford Racing is the best solution.  A Dodge 318 V8 oil filter will fit the space between the engine and frame and work well with the Ford engine.


There are a number of block hugger shorty headers that point down instead of to the rear. One problem is that there are a large number of engine mounts used with the Ford small block engines and some interfere with different headers. Steel headers throw off a lot more heat than cast iron exhaust manifolds and the Series Land Rover engine bay is a very small box enclosed on 5 sides. Vapor lock can easily become a major reliability issue when you use headers. I have used both cast iron exhaust manifolds and headers in my truck. I did not notice any power or fuel efficiency differences. The advantage to headers is usually seen at high RPMs where my truck very seldom ventures.  I found vapor lock plagued me with unwrapped steel headers.  Header wrap drastically reduces the duty life of headers.  My wrapped headers lasted about 2 years before disintegrating to rust flakes.

Ford SOV has a shorty exhaust header that will work. "Street Rod Headers" #M-9430-S302. These require you to use engine mounts 270-2221LH and 270-2220RH. 

Ford SOV block hugger headers

Headers currently available are designed to fit the newer heads with the small diameter spark plugs.  If you use the headers with early heads that take the large diameter spark plugs, check the spark plug to header clearance.  You may have to do a little grinding on the header mounting surface to get enough clearance to replace the spark plugs.   Also, you might or might not get a good seal with a stock exhaust manifold gasket.  Best bet is to spring for the thicker higher quality header gaskets.  They do a much better job of sealing.  This is very important if you are using EFI as the O2 sensor would get incorrect readings with gasket leaks.

Motor Mounts

You will need to fabricate new frame mounts and there are a large number of Ford small block engine mounts to choose from.  I decided to use a mount designed for Baja racing Broncos and sold by Wild Horses Four Wheel Drive.   Of course this was after my 302's fan went into the radiator during an off road trip.

Extreme Motor Mounts. These will help keep your motor and fan blade out of your radiator in extreme off-road situations. The extreme motor mounts were designed to withstand the riggers of Baja racing. They come complete with urethane bushings, unpainted.

Wild Horses item # 8036


Oil Filters (required for swap)

The  oil filter sits near the bottom of the engine and points out horizontally.   Unfortunately this is at frame level and there is insufficient clearance to remove the stock Ford oil filter.  There are a few ways to get around this problem.

One is to use a Dodge 318 V8 oil filter. This filter uses the same mounts and sealing surfaces as Ford but is considerably shorter.

Ford Racing has an oil filter adapter for the hot rod set. It is basically a right angle adapter similar in shape to the oil filter adapter used on the Land Rover four cylinder engine. This turns the spin on oil filter 90 degrees. The Ford part number is M-6880-A50

Ford Racing right angle filter adapter

Or if you have space you can go with a remote oil filter adapter on the front left inner wing. I have a windscreen washer bottle and a radiator recovery bottle in that location so no space for a remote oil filter.


Accessory Brackets

Ford tends to mount both the alternator and power steering pump down low where it will interfere with  the Series Land Rover frame and are likely to be submerged during deep wading.  I recommend mounting the alternator at the top of the engine.  Adding accessories such as a power steering pump or air conditioning is usually a matter of finding the right bracket and modifying it if needed. There are a large number of accessory mounting brackets available to choose from if you use stock accessories in one of the stock locations.  Most small blocks go into engine bays that are a lot wider than a Series Land Rover bay and the accessories may not be tucked in close.  Chances are you will need to adapt or fabricate mounts for accessories.

This is my Delco alternator and mount.  The top bracket is an aftermarket GM V8 alternator top bracket. The bottom bracket was fabricated from scratch.


This is an early Ford 302 power steering pump bracket that has been modified to fit the GM "canned ham" style power steering pump


Balance factor: - harmonic dampeners

There were many versions of Ford small blocks manufactured over 3 decades of production  Some things can be mixed but some parts can not.  You need to have the right harmonic dampener flywheel and bell-housing the the version of engine you are using.

1868 - 1980  302 engines were built with a 28 ounce imbalance factor

1981 - 2001   302 engines were built with a 50 once imbalance factor

1969 - 1997   351 W & C engines were built with a 28 once imbalance factor

Severe engine damage will result if you use the wrong flywheel or harmonic damper on your engine.


Flywheels and Starters

Ford used two flywheels, 157 tooth and 164 tooth. You need to match the flywheel with the starter motor and the bell-housing The starter motor is on the same side as the front prop shaft.  I recommend using a geared starter motor.  They are smaller than the stock type starter motor and will provide more clearance for both headers and the front prop shaft.


Engine Cranks  

If your engine is below 500 hp and stays below 7000 RPM, the stock crank shaft , rods and pistons work just fine and are way cheaper than the forged, lightened custom stuff.  A stock 302 will provide move torque than the Land Rover aluminum V8s.  It provides plenty for most all off road driving conditions and for light towing. However sometimes you need more low end torque for towing heavier trailers into the mountains or just because you want to impress you buddies with how much of your expensive tyres you can leave behind climbing a steep rock slope.  The easiest way to increase low end torque is to use a longer crank shaft.  A stroker kit consists of a crank, rods and shorter pistons. It is cheaper to install a 351 engine but the 351 takes up a bit more space in the small Series Land Rover engine bay.

A 302 with a 3.4 inch stroker crank kit with pistons can displace up to 357 cubic inches.  The extra length of the crank throw adds about 70-80 lb-ft torque and lowers peak torque by about 300 RPM from the same engine with a stock crank. (The stock 1970 Bronco engine would get about 320 lb ft peak torque at 2300 RPM) The stroker crank increases displacement to 342 cubic inches using standard diameter pistons.  30 over pistons raises displacement to 347 cubic inches. All with no increase of external engine dimensions!   This combination can provide you with axle breaking power at the low end, but swapping in a 351 is cheaper and a 351 can be stroked to 392 cubic inches giving you big block performance in a small block form factor.

There are a lot of products and manufacturers out there.  I suggest doing a web search and compare products if you decide to use a stroker crank.


Oil Pans (required for swap)

Small block Ford engines have the distributor at the front of the engine and the oil pump is driven by the distributor. This means that Small block Ford engines usually have oil sumps at the front of the engine where they can be bashed by the Land Rover's front differential.  The solution is to source a Bronco oil sump, dip stick and oil pump pickup up from a Bronco. I also suggest modifying the front right corner of the oil pan, making a 2 inch by 2 inch indentation in the corner.  That's about the size dent the front diff made in my oil pan.


Dealing with the engine length

The small block Ford engine is longer than it's Chevy equivalent because of the space needed for the front mounted distributor. A Series Land Rover 4 cylinder engine bay does not have enough space for the average 302 with mechanical fan and a vertical flow radiator mounted behind the front  cross member.   There are a number of ways to deal with this front to rear space problem.

One is to leave off the mechanical fan and switch to electric fans mounted in front of the radiator. This has a couple of advantages. The mechanical fan makes a lot of noise at medium to higher RPMs. At open highway speeds the fan becomes a very significant source of noise and is seldom needed. A mechanical fan also takes in the region of 5 to 7 HP to turn at engine cruise speeds. So a thermostatically controlled electric fan will provide a much quieter ride and you will pick up a few HP. You can wire an electric fan to be switched off when you wade and eliminate fan splash inside the engine bay.  Your best bet for a wrecking yard fan is a 2 speed electric fan off a V8 Ford Taurus or a V8 Mercedes.

Another answer to the space problem is to move the radiator forward. There are two ways to do this, one is to convert to a cross flow radiator mounted farther forward on top of the front cross member.  This will add a few inches of available space and eliminate the need for special short water pumps. 

Land ROver custom radiator
My custom aluminum cross flow radiator sits on top of the front cross member is the same height as the radiator bulkhead, sits against the power steering box on the vehicle left side and has enough space on the other side for the bonnet prop rod and for wires to pass

A method for increasing the engine bay length that works with a top tank radiator is to cut the radiator cross member off, move it forward one inch then re-weld it. This will work in combination with a early stock water pump. You will need to heat up the top steering relay lever and bend it rearwards one inch for the stock steering to work. It does not affect a power steering conversion. Moving the radiator cross member forward an inch and using the early water pump will provide enough space to put a top & bottom tank radiator into the stock LR location and have enough space for a mechanical fan.

When you move the cross member forward an inch you cut the radiator bulkhead mounting tabs off one inch and drill new mounting holes 1 inch to the rear. The end result is you have an inch more space and everything looks totally stock.

A 302 from a late 60's Ford Econoline used a shorter water pump than later engines.  It is your best bet for the water pump, brackets & other things that hang off the front of the engine.  You have stock parts prices and the shortest engine available form the factory.

If you find you need a little more space to fit a wider core radiator, Ford Racing has a short V-belt water pump that is only 4/3/8 inches long from casting base to the pulley flange. This pump requires a special pulley kit to keep the belts in line.  Edlebroch makes a short water pump. I do not have the dimensions, but it is worth checking into when deciding how to build the engine.



Here is where the Ford small block conversion really shines. The distributor is in the front and very easily accessible. The GM distributor is in the rear tucked up against the bulkhead. This means you have to remove any bonnet mounted spare and lift the bonnet to vertical to begin to get access to the GM distributor.   Ford offers a rubber boot that covers the top of the distributor providing splash protection.  There are in the $15-$20 cost range.

Ford offered a Duraspark II system during the seventies that provides a breakerless very high voltage ignition system. It provides good spark and you don't have to worry about point slippage or wear.  I mounted the electronic box on the inside of the right inner wing at the very front. It was the coolest out of the way spot I could find and is close to the distributor. You want to mount the control box in the coolest part of the engine bay.

The Duraspark II unit needs a starter circuit sense wire for cool weather starting and there is no place in a stock LR positive earth wiring harness to connect this line to. The sense line bypasses the resistor wire for higher voltage to the ignition during start and it retards the ignition slightly for easier starting.

I ended up getting a late seventies Ford starter relay and wiring it in next to the stock positive earth starter button. The Ford relay has special connection for the electronic box sense wire. I wired the Ford relay activation wire to the stock positive earth manual starter switch so that the stock starter switch activates the Ford relay. So I start the engine the same way I always have.

302 flat tappet distributors used an iron drive gear.  302 roller cam distributors used a steel drive gear. If you are converting a early 302 engine with flat tappets to EFI you will need to fit the EFI distributor with an iron drive gear.




Carburetor are jetted for a single altitude and can only respond to 3 basic conditions or a mixture of the three: wide open throttle, cruise and idle.  You can set the amount of fuel delivered under each of those three throttle conditions for a given altitude and expect the carburetor to provide you with ball park air to fuel ration delivery over all your driving conditions.  A carburetor will not deliver the best power under all your normal driving conditions Nor will it give you the best fuel economy.  It is a compromise at best but many people like it because it is mechanical and it is relatively easy to diagnose problems. But it is a solution who's day has passed.  Most people tend to over Carburete for normal off road or highway driving with makes the carburetor even less suited for all your normal driving conditions.  A good 500 CFM carburetor is plenty for a small block engine that is not going to be used in a mud pit racer.

When my 302 engine was built in 1999, I used an Edlebroch 500 CFM four venturi carburetor that is a copy of the old Carter AFB. It is a simple carburetor and is easily jetted for economy.  In my 109 Dormobile I achieved 15-16 miles per U.S. gallon highway and around 8 MPG stop & go.  This is identical to what I got out of the 2.25L petrol engine with Rochester carb, only with WAY more power. The carb worked OK for me but needed to be rejeted for large changes in altitude so I carried a spare set of jets with me when I was expecting major elevation changes.  I mounted my carburetor on a Edlebroch Performer manifold. This is their design for maximum low end power and torque.

Timm Cooper likes the Rochester Quadrajet carburetor because the float design lets it work properly at steep angles. I didn't use it because it is also one of the most complicated four venturi carburetors on the market and I personally prefer simple.

The Holley carburetor float arrangement generally tends to make it a poor off road carburetor.  They do make a special off road version with a better float arrangement.



Factory fuel injection has become too efficient and reliable to ignore.  It is a lot more complicated than a carburetor and distributor with points but it will allow your engine to produce more power using less fuel while running cleaner.  Anything that is reliable, pollutes less and allows me to drive past a couple extra fuel pumps is OK in my book!  Ford has one of the most reliable EFI systems available.  I suggest that stock EFI system will provide fewer headaches at a lower cost than the aftermarket EFI systems.  The best Ford EFI system is the one the factory used on the 1989 through 1993 Mustang 5.0 engines.  They provide the most reliable HP, self adapt to a number of engine variations and they are constantly retuning the engine to compensate for altitude, air temperature coolant temperature and even engine wear.   In short they will give you the best combination of power and fuel economy under most all normal driving conditions and will work at steep angles where carburetors run into trouble.

A Series Land Rover engine bay is a lot narrower than a Mustang engine bay which means you will need to get creative with where you place the air cleaner and make an extra loop of the EFI electrical harness somewhere between the back of the engine and where the harness enters through the bulkhead. I ended up hanging my air filter & prefilter on the right side wing and looping the main EFI harness once around the Kodiak fan housing.  The EFI harnesses mostly works fine but you will need to move the ground and 12 volt supply wires around.

EFI computers do not like to get hot or wet.  A Series Land Rover has the perfect place to mount one. The right side instrument shelf area.

Ford EFI computer mounted on its side with rubber padding on top, bottom, side, front & back

There is a hole already at the correct location.  The factory bulkhead hole for a RHD steering column.  I just removed the cover and enlarged the hole a little to fit the Mustang bulkhead gasket.  Then I added a sheet metal plate in front of the EEC.   The EFI main power relay sits inside beside the EEC.

Main fuse panel mounted to cover in front of the EEC.  The big 60 AMP fuse is for the 4 roof lamps

I will try to add a web page about 302 EFI conversion sometime in the future.





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