Engine swap project with a twist. Recommendations? - Defender Source
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Old February 11th, 2011, 10:46 PM
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Chris Murphy
'89 127 (D130), '16 LR4
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 767
Engine swap project with a twist. Recommendations?

Hello, team.

For my 94 ST, I'm gearing up for a 4.6 swap. Nothing new there, but I have a idea (and a challenge) that I haven't seen here on the board or elsewhere online in my searches. I initially planned to just use my 3.9's front cover and ancillaries, new distributor-drive-capable cam, a new Mallory dizzy I already have, etc., but I've also been considering screwing around with Megasquirt for fueling.

I've found posts from people here and a few sites in the UK that have had good luck with fuel control and/or conversion of older LR V8s, but haven't found anyone who's posted about a 4.6 as I'd now like to do it.

I spoke with Jake <user Roverchef> at "Rovers in the Hole" in Jackson, WY for ideas a few days ago. (Jake helped me with my '97 a bunch when he lived in Jacksonville, FL and I was stationed there, and we became pretty good friends. Jake's a great Rover mechanic a a great guy, too. If you're looking for a good mechanic in WY or nearby, I can't recommend Jake highly enough.)

Anyway, I mentioned to Jake that I was either going to use all my old stuff from the 3.9 when swapping, but would prefer to find the necessary parts to almost completely build up the motor on a stand before install.

I have a very complete 70k mile GEMS 4.6 from a '97 RR HSE that I'm starting with for an eventual swap from the stock non-serp 3.9. I have also been very interested in experimenting with Megasquirt to fuel it. (And perhaps eventually spark it.) Jake recommended that I go serpentine and find one of the 94-95 Disco/95 RR distributor-drive serpentine front covers and other associated parts. Since then, however, I've been getting into planning the project and figure if I'm going to have to find a bunch of stuff anyway, I may as well go all out. (While still staying within something of a budget and doing the work myself.)

I'm now wondering if in addition to fueling, I should just jump in completely and go distributorless and use MSII/III for ignition (EDIS). The engine still has the RR HSE camshaft pulley and front cover, so if I do go that route, I'll swap non-dizzy 97 D90/96-99 Disco I ones on (ERR7373/ERR4922 and ERR6815) in order to make my ancillaries and serpentine belt line up.

I've found posts from some of you guys that have added Megasquirt fuel control or ignition, and have seen successes from people that have removed or otherwise disabled their distributors in serp or non-serp setups, but have any of you just used a 4.0/4.6 non-distributor-style front cover and started from scratch with Megasquirt fuel and ignition control both on a 4.6 from the get-go?

I realize that doing the engine swap along with all the additional unknowns may be asking for trouble, but the challenge is half of why I want to do it. My 94's 3.9 actually runs OK now, Ill just prep the motor for a final install in the spring or summer before I redeploy back to the Middle East. I've already procured the necessary D90 ancillary gear brackets and pulleys, I just need to commit to a plan and track down the front cover and crank pulley, break down the engine and rebuild, and then start assembling everything else.

Any recommendations? Potential pitfalls?
Chris Murphy
'89 D130SW
'16 LR4

'97 D90SW - SOLD SEP '14
'94 D90ST - SOLD MAY '13
D90s sold while assigned overseas. You're welcome America!
'06 Range Rover Sport Supercharged
'8X FankenRover D100
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