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P38a (re)build

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Very slowly...

I've put the axles back together and installed the manual pedal box. Then other things got in the way again.

As for the previous question( which I missed at the time), the rockers are Yella Terra roller rockers I got from V8 tuner. The heads are big valve 'Dakar' type (or so I'm told). They were on my previous P38, and well worth saving/recommissioning after the fire.

I really should crack on, I've had most of the parts for about a year now. 😞


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  • 11 months later...

A year later, the deadline passed by, as did several others, not even a woosh... Lockdown and working from home should have given me plenty of time, but somehow not much went into the P38 project...

There has been some progress, mainly accumulating more parts. 😛 The chassis has been built up to a rolling state, with Ashcroft airlockers, Arnott GEN III airbags and adjustable Terrafirma dampers. The body has been put back on, but only to free the 2-poster (for another P38 body off). We'll take the body off again to put in the engine and gearbox. The gearbox is on the bench, half assembled. I kinda chickened out when it came to pressing in the bearings and shim everything, with a convenient excuse of lots of other work going on...  

One of the other projects was to swap the Bosch 4.6 from my RHD parts car that had been put to daily duty when the 4.0 manual overheated into that car to get it on the road again. I need the intake parts from the Bosch to finish the 5.0, which is why I bought it in the first place. But the engine did so well, it seemed a shame to just put it in storage. So I converted it from Bosch to GEMS and installed it in my old P38 manual. With a lot of help from @elbekko and other friends, couldn't have done it without them. As usual, not many photos taken...

Yesterday was the first real test drive, out to pick up tires and other parts that would never fit the Lotus. Such a pleasant surprise! We knew the engine was very healthy, with a fresh chain and hi torque cam, combined with the directness of the manual, it feels very strong and lively. So much so, I've decided to spend some more time sorting out the rest of the car, after almost 2 years of neglect.

While this might cause further delay for the 'real' P38 project, it does help to get me motivated. Knowing the next one will be even better/stronger and have all the tricks I want should get me started. 


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Some more progress, be it on a different P38. Thought I'd share anyway, if just to prove I'm keeping busy. 😉

Some time ago I recovered a non-running P38 diesel that had been sitting for about 6 years. We quickly had it running again by replacing the fuel pump in the tank. A quick clean revealed both the bodywork and interior were in very good condition, despite sitting under the trees for so long. So we decided to sell it rather than break it for parts. A buyer was found, but then the nightmare started: the previous owner didn't find the paperwork (probably didn't really bother looking, despite my insistence and willingness to pay). We entertained the idea to find a different set of papers but that didn't work out either. So I had to cancel the sale.

Some time later I could use a good engine to get another P38 diesel back on the road (really, I don't like those, but somehow always end up with them). So the engine was taken out, converted to automatic and allowed the other car to run again. Incidentally, that car went to the same guy that had wanted to buy the other Range Rover.

Shortly after that, I was offered a partly stripped P38 (again, diesel...). Mechanically complete (apart from the front axle), bodywork in poor shape and partly dismantled, interior mostly stripped. It was a good deal with a spare non-running engine thrown in, but I was hesitant to add even more diesel parts to our stock. And then it struck me: I could reuse the chassis/drivetrain and of course paperwork for the good body that was still sitting in the yard. So off came the donor body, to be stripped further and weighed in. The good body was put on the 2-poster, the chassis stripped and weighed in, as was the non-running engine after removal of all ancillaries etc. All in an amazing 1.5 days, thanks to some great help. Now for the hard part: the donor chassis/drivetrain was '99, the body '96. So different wiring, brakepipe layout, engine management etc. A bit more work then expected... Progress slowed a bit and attention shifted to different projects, like the V8 engine swap that resulted in a great running manual 4.6 P38. 😎

This week we got to it again: the wiring was matched, brakepipes rerouted and the engine loom and ECU replaced by that of the spare engine. First attempts resulted in failure, no fuel was getting to the engine. Having had my share of problems with FIP lately, I nearly lost hope. Not wanting to give up without a fight, I set about tracing the wiring loom and found a blown fuse for the ECU. Excellent, replace it and try again. No luck, same fuse blown. Further digging guided by the diagrams in RAVE showed 2 connectors had been swapped: the timing solenoid and oil pressure switch. With all the different connectors used throughout the car, I can't understand why someone thought it a good idea to have these 2 connectors identical AND sitting side by side! Correct, try again, no more short, but no real life either. @elbekko suggested wiring the glow plugs as well ('99 having a different cable to '96 that I hadn't swapped yet) to have a better chance of actually firing. And that did the trick! 🙂 We immediately shut off again, only wanting to prove the engine would start. The rest of the afternoon was spent replumbing the enginebay and connecting everything from the body to the chassis. Something I had postponed until we were sure the engine would run. It's all but finished now, I'll change the oils, finish off the interior and expect to have her running by next weekend.

Some valuable lessons learned for my project Phoenix as well, as that also involves parts from a '96 and a '99.


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