Rebuilding a v8 engine - how to fix liner problems - Defender Source
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Old February 21st, 2006, 09:06 PM
robisonservice
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John Robison
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Rebuilding a v8 engine - how to fix liner problems

A few days ago I posted a picture gallery of a portal axle conversion. Here's another photo gallery, this one showing a V8 engine overhaul on a Bentley which has a similar design block to a Land Rover.

I've shown a Bentley because it's an example of a motor for which we can no longer buy repair parts, or for which parts are unreasonably expensive. As Land Rover V8s age we'll see these same things here . . .

Until last year Land Rover supplied inexpensive short blocks for repair. Now the supply of blocks is drying up, and costs are rising. The conventional wisdom had been that when Land Rover engines overheat the liners drop and the blocks are junk.

Given a $1000 new block as a replacement that statement made sense. But for $4000 (the cost of some new blocks today) it's possible to repair those dropped liners.

In addition, the new blocks do not have the same balancing as the original ones and we have had several complaints from finicky owners that untimately led back to balance of the replacement engine. When we rebuild an engine we can balance it properly, avoiding this issue.

I think repair of dropped liners is going to become the norm in the future, and these images show how it's done. I'll explain in brief before sending you into the photos.

1 We strip the block and tank clean it.

2 We bolt plates to the cylinder head surfaces and pressurize the oil and coolant galleries with air, and we check for leaks. That allows us to identify cracks.

3 We also use chemical crack check on accessible areas.

4 We pull any slipped or damaged liners, and we pull liners from any locations where we find cracks

5 We bore the liners if needed, or just hone them

6 We crack test, shot peen, measure the crank and rods and grind or rebuild as needed.

7 We refit liners and fit the pistons, either standard or oversize

8 We continue with assembly

Pulling all the liners is a big job, a day's work. But is new blocks are costly or unavailable it makes sense. Cranks can be ground to undersize, or they can be welded up and then cut back to standard. Rods can be rebuilt by shaving the big end cap then reboring to ensure perfact length, straightness, and bore. Blocks can be trimmed flush on the deck and we can install flanged liners that can't drop. We can linebore the main bearing journals to correct slight twists.

Given one of the responses to my last photos . . . I'll close by saying that we are not putting these images up as a means of soliciting work. I've put quite a bit of effort into supporting the Land Rover community because they are my favorite vehicles and I am fortunate to have a shop where I can watch all sorts of work being done and I have time to write about it. We currently answer questions for Land Rover owners worldwide, and I publish articles about things like this in many Land Rover magazines. If you'd like to try a rebuild like this in your area drop us a line and we'll try and provide more concrete advice for your local machinist. The techniques shown here are within the capabilities of any good well equipped machine shop and master machinist.


The pictures are here: http://www.pbase.com/robisonphoto/bentley_overhaul
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  #2  
Old February 21st, 2006, 09:23 PM
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Tony Brooks
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Excellent work! Want to make a roadtrip to VA and help on my frameover on a Mk VI Special (engine work done by Fred Fabre).
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Old February 21st, 2006, 09:44 PM
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Hans Haase
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The one thing that I think will come of this, if you guys are able to sustain it, is improved processes and possibly some better specialized tooling to reduce the time and labor. Maybe stuff like a block heating rig to expand it and allow the liners to be pulled and installed easier, cryo-sleeve inside the liners to shrink them down (Kinda like the hinge-pins on B-1B wings)

But I do have to ask, you said that you guys refinish and reinstall the original liners? I know somebody had been selling new manufacture ones on E-bay a while back.... i believe Borg-Warner parts.

Either way, this is an exciting development that I hope continues to improve both cost-wise and in availability in the future.

-Hans
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Old February 21st, 2006, 10:45 PM
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Jeff Sturgis
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John,

Another great contribution with a step-by-step process to illustrate what is involved. I have been concerned about sourcing engines for the long term, and you ring the warning bell again. We just had a discussion about some of the long blocks that RPi and ECR were selling.

Thanks for the documentation. I hope I do not have to go through the dropped liner rebuild process, but I agree that the financial considerations and short block availability are not working in our favor.

Here is to hoping that one of your future article will be about the state-of-the-art way to keep the Rover engines rebuilt for a fraction of what it is now.

Cheers.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 06:50 AM
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John Robison
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On Land Rover engines we would not usually refit the original type liner. We'd use a flanged liner that could not move. That's what we do in Ferrari motors, too, FWIW. We do reuse Bentley and Rolls Royce liners but the installation is different.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 08:56 AM
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John that is a great write up. And even though I don't think most of us have access to a great shop like yours to work in it gives the average Rover owner an idea of what needs to be done to do a proper job. It also gives us an idea of what we are paying for.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 09:24 AM
robisonservice
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John Robison
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I think it's important that DIY people see all the steps that are required. It's important for paying customers to understand what they are paying for. And it's also good to give people a sense of what they should expect to see, in this case, in a good auto machine shop.

All to often we accept statements like "liner dropped, block is junk" without really challenging them. But at some point the price rises to where we do challenge it. We've always been able to fix dropped liners, it just cost too much relative to the replacment blocks on Rovers.

As the photos show we've been repairing liner problems on other makes for years. In the Bentley motor in the photos a set of pistons, liners, and other parts needed would have cost $12,000. So we had a real incentive to do something else. And experience has shown that our rebuild with modern parts actually outpeforms the original.

We can also go beyond replacement of simple liners. It's possible to install steel liners to replace the failed Nikasil on 1998-2000 Jaguar V8s, and we can bore blocks for bigger liners. There is really quite a bit a good machinist can do, more than most people realize.

Since someone will surely ask . . . boring a Land Rover block would probably end up in the $3-4,000 range depending upon parts chosen. That assumes we actually bore the aluminum block and fit bigger liners and pistons. That's not just boring oversize to take up wear (which costs a lot less) Costs would go down if 3-4-5 blocks were done at once.

Given the current block situation we are currently rebuilding 4 that we own to keep as service exchange units. That's what we do with cylinder heads now. That way it's possible to turn a short block replacement out reasonably quickly. I am going to have pictures from that process and I'll put them up when I can. I will try and show pressur etesting, crank grinding, some of the steps that are missing from these photos.

My column in the Rover News this March is on repairing dropped liners but I did not have any of these photos at the time I sent it in, so I'm not sure what it will have for illustration.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 10:50 AM
Andrew Vick
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Awesome write up. I can't believe you have to put a disclaimer stating that you're not hustling business. You've given far too much to the community to deal with that attitude.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 10:13 PM
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Keith Kreutzer
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Another trick to keep you liner in place comes from the boys that really play with Buicks...
Many will drill and tap the block through the liner carefully grind of the end of the screw that gets put in the hole and have the bores cleaned up at the machine shop... I have seen many a sand rail with this set up, subject to extreme abuse and HP you guys don't even want to know about..

Seems to work..

Keith
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 10:26 PM
Andrew Vick
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I had heard of pinning the liner from some diesel guys, but no one wanted to touch an aluminum block. I think it's great. The last short block I bought was $980 still in the crate, and methinks those days are gone.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 10:18 PM
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Arthur Maravelis
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Here's a writeup on pinning - and other useful info.

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2357894/1
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