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Powerslave

4.6 V8 Megasquirt and Compushift Auto conversion into a 2001 TD5 Defender

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Posted (edited)

Hi all

I'm starting this thread to share the trials and tribulations of the above implantation, but also I have some questions to ask of you knowledgeable folk, so hopefully I'll get some answers along the way. 

The story so far......

I have a 2001 TD5 Defender which is pretty tricked up and has a quite aggressive Pete Bell map on it along with an uprated intercooler and a Griffin 3 inch exhaust system. I have a later TDCi to drag my family around in, so this Defender is more of a well-loved toy. I have always had this hankering to put a V8 engine, but couldn't decide on an approach. Kids and work also get in the way somewhat.

I bought a Disco II as a family bus some years ago. It was a tidy vehicle, but after a year or so the engine suffered the porous problem. At the time, RPI were selling their cross-bolted lumps at reasonable money so I bought one and had it slotted in. I couldn't resist upping the capacity so the donor vehicle has a 4.6 Litre engine in pretty good condition to offer. I don't really need the Disco anymore and it soon became apparent that I would be better off taking the engine out than selling the vehicle complete and then trying to find another engine. The upshot is that at some point I will have to find time to break a tidy Disco II ES.

I had heard of Megasquirt before, but I did some proper reading on this forum last last year, found Nige and ordered a full kit of parts. I now have a working ECU which flashes lights in the right places. 

Fast forward to last week and I finally got around to sympathetically removing all the plumbing from the Disco engine bay and lifting out the surprisingly compact V8. The pictures show the ancillaries removed and a moderate clean in progress. I don't have the patience to go for concours condition, so cleanish will do. 

Nige had told me that using the auto box from the Disco II would be problematic because it relied on the original ECU. I was going to then go the short-bell-housing-and-use-the-110's-existing-gearbox-route. A chance browsing of Ashcroft's website and an email to Dave led to me finding that I could get some bits from them and a compushift setup and use the autobox as well. In for a penny, in for a fair few pounds then!

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Powerslave
SnarlyUpWordings

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At the end of the week, I was test-fitting some of the shiny bits that I got from Nige and a friend of mine (who is much better at shaving bits off spinning chunks of metal) did some machining for me.

 

 

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Tonight and/or tomorrow, I'll be dragging the transmission out of the donor vehicle. My nearly-wife is fast becoming my long-suffering nearly-wife, but I have promised her that it will be done in just a few short years!

I have some questions which are buzzing around in my head at the moment. It's by no means a complete list and I welcome any ideas/responses or exclamations of 'You idiot!'. 

1) I've got a new old-school fuel pump from Nige along with the PRV which came with the kit. Has anyone grafted such a fuel pump into a TD5 tank? Or should I start again?

2) Can I retain the existing TD5 radiator to service the V8 engine? 

3) Until I get the engine out of the 110, I won't be able to answer this for myself, so does anyone know what engine mount combination will work best?

4) The autobox has an oil cooler. I see that Ashcroft's offer a couple of different options in their kit. Again, I can't offer it up yet, but does this mean that the long, thin oil cooler from the Disco is inadvisable?

5) Finally (for now), I am tempted to go electric for the fan and ditch the viscous unit. Has anyone got strong feelings either way?

regards

 

 

Ian

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Looking good, should be very nice!

To skim through your questions:

1) Possibly a V8 EFI pump from a similar age vehicle would be what's needed if your tank is the plastic one with the big hole in the top.

2) More than likely

3) Not a scoobies, sorry.

4) No idea, if Ashcrofts recommend more cooling then I'd listen, other than that an oil cooler is an oil cooler... a length of pipe can make a surprising difference.

5) You're about to start a massive internet argument with that one. I run twin electric switched by the MS on both my trucks and it works lovely.

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Posted (edited)

1) If the pump you have is an external one then you could get a tank unit from a 300TDi Disco, it has the same connector as a TD5 but just has a simple pickup pipe (with a sprung extension thing to ensure it reaches the bottom of the tank) and a return pipe. A straight swap for the TD5 pump unit.

Alternatively, just take the pump unit out of the Disco II as that will also fit.

2) It will need a fair bit of messing about with to get it to work as the pipes are all in the wrong place and, depending on age, it may well have extra pipes that you will need to block up. You'd be better off going for a new V8 radiator, if only for peace of mind. Like auto boxes, RV8s don't like being run hot.

3) TD5 mounts are a real oddball, the best solution is to carefully cut the mounts of the donor Disco chassis and weld them onto your chassis IMV. Either that or source some V8 chassis brackets, either way the TD5 mounts will have to go off your chassis.

4) Ashcrofts supply a Disco II oil cooler and pipework, if your DII uses a smaller cooler than the one Ashcroft supply then it'd be worth doing but I would check part numbers as you may find you're paying for something that's the same as you have !

5) I like to run twin electric fans controlled by the MS ECU. I use a relay for each, a fuse for each and have a switch on the dash that allows me to turn them on manually, overriding the MS ECU. A real can of worms though and you won't find a definitive answer on the viscous vs electric debate !

BTW, too late now really but for future info, the Disco II engine has a built in crank sensor (VR sensor and missing tooth system) that's almost identical to the one you're bolting on the front of your engine.

Edited by Dave W

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for your replies, fellas. Gives me some ideas.

Dave - interesting what you are saying about the existing crank sensor. I was aware of it and had wondered if I could use it. I would have to look now, but I believe it had been discussed on here and the consensus was that it couldn't be used directly as the timing was substantially different. If anyone has done it, it would be worth putting the information on this thread to help others. 

I spent some time setting up the trigger wheel and sensor tonight and removed the passenger side rocker cover to help locate TDC. (The rocker covers will be cleaned up and given a tasteful coating of red vht paint at a later date. I was a bit distraught when I found that a number of rocker arms were damaged. So, gotta strip both shafts down and rebuild them with new components. 

I wasn't planning on removing the lower inlet manifold assembly, but I am now tempted to check it all and see if there are chunks of metal lying around. Similarly, I wasn't planning on taking the sump off as it is beautifully leak free, but it might be sensible. 

I'm disappointed with the rocker components. They haven't covered huge miles since the heads were reconditioned and fitted to the new block. I wonder if the company used cheap aftermarket components. 

So, a bit of a one step forward half a dozen back. :unsure:

 

 

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Edited by Powerslave

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I spose it's not all doom and gloom though: 

(Although, I now realise I meant to clean the pulley up and treat it to some paint before I fitted it. Doh!)

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At least you found the damage before running it !

The perceived drawback with using the original VR sensor is that you have to add coil drivers instead of using EDIS, either using the recommended drivers or one of the coil on plug, coil near plug (LSx style) or one of the various ignition coils that can be driven directly from 5v logic these days. Given that adding 4 coil drivers (BIP373) is simply a case of housing 4 components in a small waterproof metal box under the bonnet and they will then drive the original coils. The MS ECU supports the VR sensor natively so it can be configured to support whichever crank sensor setup your crank sensor uses. 4 drivers and a box to house them in runs to around £30, not sure what an 8 cylinder EDIS runs to these days.

Some of the original installations mounted the drivers in the lid of the MS ECU which caused horrendous problems with interference from the drivers upsetting the ECU so it got a bit of a bad name. Once people realised that the drivers were better mounted near the coil(s) and not in the ECU box most of the problems went away. They also used the original VB921 driver which was prone to failure if you do didn't get the dwell settings and so on right but they were replaced with the BIP373 a few years ago which is designed to do the job so pretty much impervious to the problems the VB921 had.

Anyway, now you have the classic 36-1 wheel and VR sensor mounted it'll do the job just as well and gives you the option to use EDIS.

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8 hours ago, Powerslave said:

Dave - interesting what you are saying about the existing crank sensor. I was aware of it and had wondered if I could use it. I would have to look now, but I believe it had been discussed on here and the consensus was that it couldn't be used directly as the timing was substantially different. If anyone has done it, it would be worth putting the information on this thread to help others. 

We've done it using EDIS, think it's written down here somewhere. Basically rotate the flywheel (get rid of the dowel) + do the rest with the trim in MS. You lose some timing range, but you don't need that bit anyway.

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7 hours ago, Dave W said:

At least you found the damage before running it !

Well, it was running in the Disco up to a few weeks ago. :(

I am unsure how much to further strip the engine to see if there are any large shards of metal lying around the place. I don't think I have found all the pieces from the damaged rocker arms. A lot of the larger bits were just lying in the recesses in casting. I assume any other bits will have fallen down into the valley and gone from there. 

I have read on TVR forums and such that this is not an uncommon problem and (obviously) a bit of metal blocking an oilway can be catastrophic. That said, I guess that these rocker arms have been in this condition for a while so maybe I've been lucky and the bits that are left have been collected at the filter. (Oil has been changed regularly.)

I generally buy genuine parts and would look to replace all of the rocker arms. Thing is; gen ones are about £26 and non-gen are a fiver. There could be a reason for that, but there is also a suspicion that the genuine ones are not of the quality that they used to be. I'm very interested in hearing ideas or people's own experiences. 

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4 minutes ago, elbekko said:

We've done it using EDIS, think it's written down here somewhere. Basically rotate the flywheel (get rid of the dowel) + do the rest with the trim in MS. You lose some timing range, but you don't need that bit anyway.

Really interesting (and thanks to Dave for the clear explanation). Even though I have the trigger wheel set up now, I might well build the driver and try it the other way at some point. It was bugging me that I had a perfectly good crank sensor that I couldn't use. Today, though.... it's 'retrieve the gearbox' time. :D

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Get a good second hand set of built up shafts, aftermarket stuff is rubbish in my experience.

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Yes - that is the general consensus. I have been googling, reading and also was fortunate to catch Richard Turner to get his take. I'll post more when I have sorted the whole thing out. It seems a damn shame to me that you can't seem to buy replacement parts with any kind of expectation. 

As the engine is currently stalled (oh - how we lolled), I got a friend who is stronger and has a little more experience with removing transmissions and spent some time yesterday grunting, disconnecting and keeping fingers crossed. The auto box and transfer box are now out as one and waiting for a little clean. 

The next step is going to be to remove the TD5 and its transmission and put this lot in its place. The TD5 looks a little easier to remove than the V8 was in terms of plumbing generally, especially as it doesn't have aircon or ACE. 

 

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Dave W - these days I would actually bypass that whole discussion and say if you're not going EDIS then you may as well go for low-voltage triggered coil packs as fitted to loads of modern cars (including the LS I believe). That puts the high-current driver and the coil in one unit.

Only drawback really is ECU's built for EDIS won't have the VR sensor signal conditioning circuitry fitted.

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Just jumping away from the crank sensor/EDIS discussion for a moment......

I vaguely recall that the TD5 Alternator has a vacuum pump attached. Am I correct, or is that just on the later TDCi? If it is the case, I need a strategy for replacing that function. Either fitting a TD5 alternator to the V8 or another source of vacuum. Again, I haven't got far enough into the TD5 to know more, but I am interested in hearing ideas.

regards

 

Ian

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The V8 is quite an effective vacuum pump on its own, surely?

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Well, yes, I should definitely have thought that question through better.

I am asking if the vacuum generated by the engine is enough or at a level compatible with the servo fitted as standard to the TD5. I could well be over (or under) thinking this! :)

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2 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

Dave W - these days I would actually bypass that whole discussion and say if you're not going EDIS then you may as well go for low-voltage triggered coil packs as fitted to loads of modern cars (including the LS I believe). That puts the high-current driver and the coil in one unit.

Only drawback really is ECU's built for EDIS won't have the VR sensor signal conditioning circuitry fitted.

Indeed, I use LS6 coils on mine which are driven from a 5v logic signal to each coil, when I was still using an RV8 everything was done on the cheap though so using what's there is always easiest and normally cheapest :)

Depends who built it I guess re the VR circuit, I always built mine with everything, it takes so little extra time to do so, the components are supplied as part of the kit and, more importantly, I could repurpose an ECU for a different setup if needed. That said, nearly all my ECUs were built for personal use so more likely to get hacked about over time as I change my mind and try new stuff. The first ECU I built was running a 3.9, fuel only. Then I changed it to fuel and spark using EDIS. Then it was moved to SWMBOs 90 running a 3.9 V8 with LPG fuel and spark and then it finally ended up being reconfigured as a spare for my LS1/6 before being sold to someone who needed one for a setup with 4 coil drivers ! Not bad for a kit I bought off Bill 15 years ago :)

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9 minutes ago, Powerslave said:

Well, yes, I should definitely have thought that question through better.

I am asking if the vacuum generated by the engine is enough or at a level compatible with the servo fitted as standard to the TD5. I could well be over (or under) thinking this! :)

Yes, the servo fitted to the TD5 Defender is compatible with the V8 one.

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Posted (edited)

Good news - Thanks Both! 

I am starting to gently and lovingly strip the engine etc out of the TD5 today. Without much initial thought, I assumed that I would take out the gearbox and transfer box and put the Disco transfer box and gearbox in. These would then dictate the placement of the engine. The question came up within my circle of long suffering friends of 'are you sure?'

I realised I had translated my thinking of originally just getting a short bellhousing and bolting the engine to the R380 into assuming that it all will fit when I change to the autobox. I can get the measurer out later, but does anyone know whether I am going to be lucky and whether the gearbox mounts will match up?

 

 

Edited by Powerslave

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Gearbox/transfer box mounts are in the same position, just use the mounts from the Disco. I've done what you're suggesting a few times now when changing from one engine mount to another - put the gearbox and engine in as one unit, bolt the gearbox/transfer box mounts up and tack the engine mounts onto the chassis where it sits before lifting the engine up and welding the mounts.

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Yup as above, move the engine not teh transfer case, otherwise you are into custom props etc.

Moving the engine is just a case of an electric fan, some trimmed hoses and done (well kinda ;) )

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Nice project. Should be an interesting drive when complete.

On the transmission side, I note you are opting for Compushift. Have you considered Microsquirt as the TCU? It is claimed to work in tandem with Megasquirt to retard the ignition during full power shifts, and may help protect the transmission. Although preconfigured to support US autoboxes, the principle of operation is the same for electronic control of the ZF 4HP22/24 - there is a reasonable amount of information on the forum about supporting 4HP22/24 & Megashift, pin outs, solenoid operation, etc.

The flip side with Compushift is that the job has been done numerous times before and you won't incur any real development / debugging time.

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Posted (edited)

A quick update:

Dave - I was considering going the Microsquirt route, but (as you acknowledge), the attraction of compushift is that it was been done before and is an established solution. 

I had a bit of time at the weekend, so I built up the rocker shafts and checked the pre-lift. It was too large on all valves but reasonably uniform, so I put in the appropriate shims and it looks very pretty. I had made my mind up that if I couldn't get the pre-lift right I would go for an incredibly expensive set of oh-so-shexy Yella Terra. I don't know whether I am relieved or disappointed. :unsure:

I battled the tank out of the 110 last night. Next step is to give it a clean and decide how to adapt the EFI pump to go into it. Retroanaconda mentioned in another thread last night that the D1 pumps might use the same fitting which would be a neater solution. 

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Edited by Powerslave

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Nice project. Have you considered using an external fuel pump like a Bosch and just set up the tank with a pickup. I did this on my RRC and it worked well. Advantage is that if you have a fuel pump problem in the future you just change the pump without having to drop the tank

cheers

Nick

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