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Land Rover Discovery and Classic Range Rover engine swap options

Will it be worth the cost?

This article is mainly directed at owners of Classic Range Rovers and Discovery 1 and 2 models. 2-door Range Rovers in particular have become “cult” vehicles and a fully restored 2-door may be worth in excess of $100,000. Good 4 door models are also appreciating in value, so if the vehicle is in generally good condition, replacement of a worn engine will not only allow it to run entirely to the owner’s satisfaction, but the value may also be greatly enhanced.

The simplest “fix” for a 3.5 V8 is to change it to a 3.9 litre engine or even a reworked 4.6 engine. Vehicles already fitted with 3.9 engines can also be upgraded and/or have reworked 4.6 engines installed. Neither are cheap options, but the results are frequently outstanding. Additionally, the work is usually less expensive than replacing the vehicle, by the time all associated costs are taken into account – like insurance, financing etc. The outcomes are also predictable, whereas replacing one vehicle with another may not always be the better option.

So what is possible?

At the “extreme end” of the quest for power, one can, of course swap to almost engine if one has the time and money. There are several examples of owners dropping in large American V8 power plants but the added weight requires modification to the power train and suspension to handle the extra weigh and torque – not a job for the financially challenged!

Less adventurous options including rebores, changing the camshaft, the ignition module and making other substitutions but each case must be assessed on its merits. Such modifications may increase the torque and overall power to the wheels by as much as 30%.

Arguably, a better option is to change the power unit wither to a 4.0 litre or 4.6 litre engine taken from the P38 Range Rover. The major problem will be finding a suitable donor engine. If they were any good, they would probably not be available in the first place but regardless, complete reliability will only be achieved by a thorough rebuild that will include the fitting of “top hat” liners, cross-bolted mains, reworked heads, filters, gaskets, and so on

stepped liners4.6 engine block

Please CONTACT US for help with your particular vehicle OR post a question on the blog

This article is one of many written by ASPAC Consulting,in collaboration with the technical experts at Graeme Cooper Automotive. To download it in PDF format, click engine swaps.pdf


Graeme Cooper Automotive 2019
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