design - Land Rover section


Fitting a 302/5.0 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).  In 2018 the tired engine got replaced by a 1993 Bronco 5.0. I mated it to my 1993 Mustang EFI system and found myself learning a lot about engine differences.

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.

Never forget that an engine power upgrade means you need to upgrade your gearbox and at least rear axles. Not doing so is a case of deliberate gearbox and 10 spline axle murder. Punishable by a non-mobile truck and loss of lots of cash.

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.


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 2000 (2002 for Ford Australia). The 351 was in production from 1969 through 1996.   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 largely replaced by throttle body fuel injection. Starting in 1982 the sequential HO EFI was introduced on high performance models of Mustang. This system was improved over the years with 1993 Mustang EFI considered the best and easiest to install version.

A number of changes were made to the engine over its 32 years of production which you should be aware of when selecting and engine or building up an engine:

  • The early 302 had a cast iron crank, flat tappet cam and 9.5:1 compression. It came with either s 2 barrel or 4 barrel carburetor.
  • 1970 the push rod and rocker arm geometry was changed, the water pump was changed to produce cross flow in th radiator and the harmonic dampener was changed. So if you have a pre-1970 block you need to be aware of those changes.
  • in 1972 the compression was reduced to 9.0:1 and possibly smaller diameter head cooling passages to make the engine run hotter. Heads from 72 though about 1983 are best to be avoided.
  • Starting 1982 sequential EFI with HO timing (same as 351) became available on high performance Mustangs. Starting 1983 a non-HO timed EFI became available across the 302 line.
  • 1985 THE BLOCK WAS REVISED. BLOCK COMPONENTS CAN NOT BEUSED BETWEEN THESE ENGINES AND EARLIER ENGINES. The revisions include: roller camshaft, steel crank with closer tolerances, different timing chain cover that uses a reverse direction water pump and serpentine belt. and for most models an oil pan that has its sump in the middle.
  • In 1986 a sequential EFI system was introduced for the Mustang. Other engines continued to use the older EFI system with original cam timing. The sequential EFI system was improved over time. The 1993 Mustang EFI system is generally considered to be the best of the OBD1 Ford EFI systems.
  • In 1994 some changes were made.  I don't know what but many aftermarket accessories do not fit 1994 and newer engines.
  • In 1996 the country switched over to OBD2, distributors were eliminated, and the ODB2 5.0 engines were starting to be phased out with the last used in 2000.

If your state requires newer engines to pass emissions testing you are probably best off with a 1971 or earlier engine block. You can keep it carburettered or convert it to EFI for better power and fuel economy. If it doesn't matter which year you choose a post 1985 engine would be a good choice.


302 or 351?

The 351 is basically a stroked 302. It didn't receive the changes that the 302 underwent over time and retained its flat tappet cam. The engine was discontinued in 1996 when engines were required to convert to OBD2.  The 302 and 351 share the same 4 inch bore diameter.  The 351 has a taller deck height to fit the 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 distributor less 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 distributor less engines in a vehicle that occasionally is expected to do deep wading.   Distributor less 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.


Carburation of fuel injection?

Carburetors are comparatively simple, and relatively easy to troubleshoot They have an idle circuit, a main circuit and an accelerator circuit which you set up to give you the best characteristics for your home conditions. They can not compensate for altitude or temperature and rely upon a choke for cold starts. They cannot self adjust for engine temperature, air temperature or altitude changes. Their only advantage is their simplicity. EFI is designed to continually monitor engine and operational environmental conditions and constantly adjust your fuel delivery and engine timing to provide maximum power at any altitude and outside temperature while minimizing emissions. Better power at any altitude, better engine starts, better fuel economy, all while burning cleaner that a carbureted engine.  The drawbacks are that you need to learn the basics of EFI and you need to add a fuel return line back to your fuel tank. EFI can be added to any of the pre-1996 302/5.0 engines.

  • The best EFI for the 302 is considered to be the Mustang 1993 system.
  • For a conversion, obtain a used upper and lower intake manifold and distributer from a wrecking yard (distributor for a core when purchasing a rebuild). Look for a computer, usually inside the passenger side kick panel. Computers are different for different 302 EFI systems, so be sure to get one off a Mustang  with HO EFI. The computers are different for Mustangs with automatic and manual gearboxes.  If you are buying a rebuilt one, say you have a 1993 Mustang GT with 5.0 and five speed gearbox.  The type you are looking for is a A9L (used 1989-1993).  Everything else should be new  Otherwise it is too easy to get the wrong part (many look alike) or one that is worn and out of spec..
  • For an EFI wiring harness look for one designed for use on kit Cobras. They come with everything you need including fuses and relays. The only problem is the wiring going to the computer will be too long. You can always just loop the extra up.
  • There is an EGR spacer that goes between the throttle body and the intake manifold. If you are not building the engine to meet factory emissions requirements you can eliminate it and replace it with a special plate that holds the accelerator cable in place.
  • You will need to modify the accelerator pedal to hold an end of the throttle cable. I used a pedal off a 200 tdi Defender. If you are handy with welding you can cobble something that works.
  • Use a standard 1993 Mustang ignition coil. Whenever sourcing parts, just tell the drone behind the counter you have a 1993 Mustang GT with 5.0 & five speed manual gearbox.


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.

Computer mounted
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 computer. The panel make a good place to mount fuses.

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



200tdi pedal
200 tdi pedal. I had to grind off the bottom stop on the pedal arm

cable entrance
Where the accelerator cable went through the bulkhead I use nylon spacers to take up the
free play between the cable housing end and the pedal connection



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.



First some Ford small block basics: Flat tappet 302 & 351 cam shafts are interchangeable 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 stock 302 flat tappet cam with work with Mustang 5.0 HO EFI system but the idle will not be quite as smooth, the power output less, 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 sequential 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

Many 1985 and newer 302 engines with roller cams retain the old timing, including 302 engines built for Broncos and trucks. If you do not the the vehicle an engine came out of you really have no way of knowing which cam it has. If buying a rebuilt engine specify a HO cam. I suggest a COMP 35-512-8 cam for a roller cam engine using 1993 Mustang EFI. This is their best cam for low end torque and provides good fuel economy. The power curve is 1200 RPM through 5200 RPMIt is their best cam for towing (low end torque) and fuel economy and your best bet for off pavement driving.

Cylinder Heads

A stock 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 (casting ID F3ZE-AA).  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 aftermarket special performance cylinder heads come in at higher than 4000 RPM,  and flow less than a stock Ford cylinder head below about 3000 RPM.  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 Their advertised curve does not go below 3000 RPM where they can perform worse than a stock head and cam.

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 is shorter than the Ford filter and can be used on 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. There may be a slight interference at the oil pan flange. If there is grind off a little of the flange edge.

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. 

For pre-1985 engines with flat tappet cams:

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

For post 1995 engines with a roller cam you need to use a serpentine belt (An early cam gear cover might fit onto a later engine allowing you to keep fan belts but I have not verified it). There are several companies making brackets for engines using serpentine belts.

%.0 engine with serpentine belt

I used conversion kits made by CVF Racing. Their Ford 5.0L & 5.8L serpentine conversion kit. The spacing on the engine mounting allowed me to relocate the brackets higher on the engine. I needed to order some different length spacers and the company was very helpful.



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 tyre tread 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)

Early 302 pans have the deep sump at the front which will interfere with the differential on full downward articulation. Look for a center sump oil pan and pickup from a 1985 and newer 5.0. Be sure to get the dip stick and dipstick tube as well.


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.   The easiest way to provide space is to mount an aluminum cross flow radiator on top of the front cross member and use electric fans. You want to use dual puller fans mounted on a shroud behind the radiator for maximum cooling. Dual fans will put a fan on wither side of the water pump pulley. I choose a radiator that provides space on the right side for the prop rod and on the left side for the power steering box. My choice was Griffen Thermal Products 1-59241-XS which has an overall width of 27.5", height 15.5". Have the company mount the shroud and fans. If you misalign drilling the holes you will puncture the radiator and void the warranty. This radiator with the 2 shrouded puller fans have worked very well for me keeping the engine at operating temperature driving through summer Arizona and Utah trails. When I installed the new engine with the serpentine belt I needed slightly more space. I hammered the back of the headlamp buckets in a little and got what I needed. of course it would not be an issue with a newer truck that had headlamps in the wings.

Land ROver custom radiator
My Griffen 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

If you need additional engine bay length, a method is to cut the radiator cross member off, move it forward one inch then re-weld it. . 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.

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.



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 for engines using a carburetor. It provides good spark and you don't have to worry about point slippage or wear. Engine bay heat usually kills them over time.  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.  If using EFI, the stock parts work well.

The Duraspark II unit and the EFI ignition system need 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.


Positive earth LR starter switch warning

The Ford starter motor draws a lot more current than the LR starter motor.  If you try to wire the stock push button starter switch directly to the starter motor the current will weld the contacts closed so the starter motor will continuously turn. You need to use a starter relay to handle the current.  I wired my stock push button starter switch to my relay which provides power to the starter motor.



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