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A Community for Fanatics of Land Rovers

Land Rovers have and still do lend themselves greatly to conversions and modifications in all areas because they have a very basic structure, with very basic components. The majority of Land Rovers on the road end up receiving some sort of conversion throughout their lifetime, especially if that have made to work hard. It is only the rare finds and idle vehicles that escape the need for modification.

Before considering altering or replacing something, it is important to establish exactly what you want to achieve and why you want it. You must consider all available options and remember to calculate in unforeseen costs, you'd be amazed to see how the cost of a conversion will add up with the little things.

Land Rover engines can and often do last very long time but more often than not the vehicles are required to perform better than originally intended. Land Rover's original design is very good and robust if kept as a unit, but, as soon as any upgrade takes place, the rest of the unit must be assessed for compatibility. For example a significantly larger engine conversion will be detrimental to the gearbox and braking system. It must also be kept in mind that the existing engine can ALWAYS be upgraded to increase performance and fuel mileage, It is often a much better option to keep the existing engine and tweak it.

There are many engines that have found their way into Land Rovers over the last 50 years, many of these conversions are very successful and many just give both the engine and the vehicle a bad name.

Some Common Reasons for Engine Conversions:

  1. Seeking reduced fuel consumption
  2. Seeking better pulling / cruising power
  3. You need better travelling range
  4. Old engine has died
  5. You have no engine to start with

Major points to consider when planning a conversion can be summed up as follows:

  • Is the engine locally supported ?
  • How popular is it in it's country of origin ?
  • What is the rebuild lifespan of the engine ?
  • Does the engine suit the application ?
  • Will it fit the engine bay and gearbox ?
  • Is the existing gearbox sufficiently rated to suit the new engine ?
  • What gearing upgrade are you going to use (If any) ? What are the implications ?
  • Will the brakes / steering / suspension cope with the upgrade ?
  • Who will do the conversion ?
  • Are you planning to sell the vehicle in the next few years ?

Discussion on Common Reasons for Engine Conversions

1. A common misconception is fuel consumption:

To re-coup the cost of a conversion costing an absolute minimum, you will have to drive the vehicle an astonishing distance, regularly to break even - That will take a few years. Just do a simple calculation using the difference in fuel consumption i.e. The amount of money saved per kilometre and then divide it into the cost of the conversion - and...Surprise !

An example:

You have a Range Rover V8 Petrol and it does 25l/100 km, you want to change the engine for a V8 Diesel purely for fuel consumption reasons.

Petrol V8 --> 87.75c per km Assuming 25 L/100 km Petrol = R3.51 / L
Diesel V8 --> 38.74c per km Assuming 13 L/100 km Diesel = R2.98 / L
Difference is 87.75 - 38.74 = 49.01c per km saving.

Assuming you manage to get a perfect engine that needs no extra work and everything goes according to plan: Conversion cost = Roughly R 20 000 all inclusive (Fat chance). Now R 20 000 / 0.4901 (savings) = 40 807 km to break even ! Assuming you do 100 km / day (Work and back only) it will take you roughly 3 years to break even.

2. If you are looking for a performance increase the options are Chev 4.1 and 4.9 Str 6 Petrol, Chev 350 V8 5.7 Petrol, Iveco 2.5 Turbo Intercooled, Land Cruiser 4.2 Diesel. There are also various upgrades available for the Rover V8.

3. Diesels are renowned for their lower fuel consumption and thus many people opt for a diesel engine if they need to cover long distances with little fuel - Often the difference in costs even out considerably between V8 petrol and Tdi in the long run, diesels do however usually require a change to the gearing and the hearing.

4. If your old engine has died then you have a problem because you can't sell the old engine for much money to pay for the conversion. You must take note of the reason for the previous engine's demise and don't let the same thing happen to the new engine.

If you don't have any real problem with the old engine then have it rebuilt and continue, you'll have a lot less problems that way.

Land Rover Gearbox Conversions usually happen with Land Rover engine conversions and are rarely done on their own. The exceptions going from manual to auto or visa versa.

Series Land Rovers usually keep their gearboxes as they work well and are relatively cheap and easy to repair compared to the newer boxes. Some of the coil sprung vehicles, Defender, Discovery and Range Rover gearboxes die and are replaced with newer models for better gearing and reliability.

Diff Conversions exist and are used either for gearing upgrades after engine conversions or for performance upgrades like diff lockers etc.

Land rover Suspension upgrades are becoming popular in light of camping holidays and long distance travel where a more stable vehicle is desired when fully loaded.

Brakes are sometimes upgraded like drum to disk conversions on leaf sprung vehicles, There are other bits one can fiddle with too like cooling, interior, body etc.

Unless researched properly, what started out as a very innocent upgrade can turn into a very costly and dangerous mess.

Land Rover Engine Conversions

Before replacing your trusty 2.25 4 cyl petrol engine, have a look at the Land Rover 4cyl 2.25 litre upgrade that you can do to it to make it perform a lot better and not cost a fortune.

If you have a Series 1,2,3 or R6 and want to fit a stronger but not excessive engine, here are your options within the Land Rover range:

Land Rover 2.5 Petrol, 2.5 Diesel Turbo (Falcon) and Land Rover Tdi (200 and 300)

These 4 cylinder engines came out in the Land Rover Defender all use the same basic engine block as the 2.25 petrol and diesel engines in series 2 and 3 Leaf sprung vehicles. They are directly swappable on the gearbox, bar one or two extra studs (Tdi's).

The LHS mounting is retained while the RHS mounting must be shortened when fitting a Falcon engine in a 4 cyl series chassis.

Land Rover V8 3.5 Petrol

As an alternative to either the 4 or 6 cylinder engines, the Rover V8 is a good choice. The engine is reliable and robust, quite light in weight and similar in fuel consumption. Less so than the 2.6 side valve. It is easy to repair and rebuild. All parts are locally available and are reasonably priced. The left hand foot well needs to be cut to clear the exhaust. There are square type manifolds available that clear the chassis rails. The whole conversion can be completed without affecting the look of a Series 2 or 3 vehicle, but to accomplish this the front cross member must be cut out an re-positioned. If you are going for a flat nosed look (R6 or 110/90) you will easily fit everything in without cutting too much.

Adapters are available off the shelf from Gilo's adapters, BUT you will need to make a spigot shaft bush and thrust bearing spacer of sorts.

Land Rover Engine Conversion - Toyota Ford Isuzu

Toyota 2.4 4 cyl Petrol

Very easy conversion works well, not extremely powerful though.

Toyota Land Cruiser 3F Conversion

  • Locally available, alleged head cracking problem.

1973 SII LWB pick up with canopy. Originally a 2.6 engine. But when that was tired replaced it with a Land Cruiser 3F motor and gearbox with the older 4-speed Land Cruiser 'box. Radiator was upgraded and moved forward. Headlights had to be moved to the fenders. Engine mounts and gearbox mounts had to be fashioned. Propshafts are one half Land Rover and the other Land Cruiser. The chassis cross member aft of the gearbox needed the hole enlarging. Lots of power but short on legs. Drawback is that the 3F motor notoriously cracks its head. - Donald Abbot

Toyota 2.4 4 cylinder Diesel

  • Locally available, parts are plenty and very expensive
  • Engine is too weak for pulling a Land Rover around.

Land Rover Series 1 conversion to Toyoya 2.4D Engine From Jaco Steenkamp:

I own a 1955 series one with a 2.4D toyota engine. I bought the Landy like this, (would never thought of putting anything close to a toy part in a landy) But I am greatly astonished and pleased with it. It runs with a 3 series gearbox, series one front diff and series 2A rear diff. I have never broken a sideshaft and trust me, i have done some crazy places.

I would recommend this conversion, all i had to fix on the engine in the since i bought it 4years ago was to service the started motor. (which wasn't even a toyota part)The only other main cost of the engine is refueling. I get 8km per litre and a top speed of +- 115. I had a Fairy overdrive as well that made me go about 135+kmh, but seized due to me not noticing the oil coming from it for half an year.. thus it ran dry and now... on the scrapheap.

I also use cooper sst tires 16/265/75... and I with the correct tire pressure I can go on sand where all other petrol models go and where 2.4Hiluxes dream to go. On rocks the low torque of the diesel engine is superb. The reason for my big tires was to take some revs down and decrease power... it worked, but i still have enough power and torque for any hill. The 2.4 on a short wheelbase is definitely an option to consider. Thank you for running this webpage... its awesome!

Ford V6 3.0 Petrol

  • Adapters available from Gilo's Engineering
  • Engine mounts need to be cut off and re-welded
  • Differentials must be changed or an overdrive must be fitted
  • Radiator upgrade is recommended
  • The engine is very revvy and flat at low revs but powerful at higher revs.
  • It apparently doesn't like working hard for long.
  • It is a very short engine that sits hugged up against the firewall with too much space to the radiator.
  • Very popular locally and parts are plenty and cheap

Isuzu 2.5, 2.8 DT

  • Very expensive engine, not very popular due to cost
  • Engines available locally, parts are shockingly expensive but available.
  • Conversions done in Johannesburg by Outback Conversions

Other Engines

Nissam Engine Conversions
LD 28 Diesel
RD 28 Diesel
2.8 Petrol
Chev Engine Conversions
4.1 Petrol
5.7L V8 Petrol (350)
6.2L Diesel V8
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