SU Carbs Good? Bad? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old April 24th, 2013, 11:47 PM
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SU Carbs Good? Bad?

I have an '88 110 3.5 V-8. The truck and these carbs are new to me.

Any consensus on them? troublesome? reliable? serviceable? I see there is a shop in Kansas City that rebuilds them

Are there any tried and true conversions out there (like to a 4-barrel holley). Good place to go for manifold conversion parts etc? I remember on my series III there were some proven ways to take off the old zenith and put on a weber.

I have seen mention of folks redoing the top end of 3.5's to fuel injected - but for now I just am looking to learn about whether there are well accepted ways to go toward something more familiar to us folks in the US.

Thanks for your help in advance
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  #2  
Old April 24th, 2013, 11:50 PM
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There is an edelbrock conversion available. I love 14CUX EFI, now having said that one of them will now let me down. Knock on wood.
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  #3  
Old April 25th, 2013, 12:03 AM
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Bill Ski
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The SU's are great carbs if you understand them and are good at carb set up. That being said, I love my Holley carb and edlebrock intake. You couldn't pay me enough to get me to take the time on the SU set up to get it running right.

I had SU's on MGB as well it now has a weber, huge improvement.
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  #4  
Old April 25th, 2013, 12:17 AM
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My 110 has a 3.5L V8 as well. Keep in mind, the Rover V8 is just a Buick 215.

Troublesome?: Sometimes. These engines are old, and our older engines HATE ethanol loaded gas. Therefore, fuel treatment (Sea Foam) is needed every once in a while. Fuel filters need replacing sometimes as well. They are simple to replace and can be done in 5 minutes.

Reliable?: Yes. These engines keep going and are very simple. Mine came to me with an Edelbrock Carb installed, with a single filter. I find that this is easier to maintain and clean carbon deposits with carb cleaner every once in a while. Most parts for this engine can be found at AutoZone, which makes it easier on ownership. Only frustration lies when you have to pull a part and match it up with similar fitting parts. Early Range Rovers have the same engine, and you can cross reference parts at stores (because anything prior to '93, stores won't be able to look up parts and numbers for you). These engines are very lightweight as well.

Serviceable?: Yes and No. Many places will claim to be able to work on your rover, but once you tell them it has a carb, they say no. Most shops nowadays only work on fuel injected engines. When it comes to the basic older engines, most new mechanics are clueless. Best bet is to find a hot-rod shop or a shop that specializes in carburetors. Timing is crucial with these engines.

Mine is paired up with a ZF (auto tranny). And I have found out that my truck leaks like a SOB. Also, my exhaust leaks at the manifold, so yea, that should probably be addressed one day.

I'm currently looking for a shop manual for these engines...but haven't been able to find one. If you find one, let me know!
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  #5  
Old April 25th, 2013, 12:21 AM
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Like this?

http://www.landroverresource.com/35_...8_overhaul.pdf
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  #6  
Old April 25th, 2013, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmyRover View Post

Yea, I've seen that overhaul manual, but looking for part numbers associated...that's the hard part.
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  #7  
Old April 25th, 2013, 02:50 AM
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Grew up on SU fed British Leyland cars. Like everything once you know them they are fine. Ask me today to sort out a pair after so many years of EFI engines and I'll be lost.
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A friend of mine runs a land rover / range rover specialty repair shop. Based on his experience, they are capable of stopping anywhere, anytime, at any cost.

I don't know about the brakes, only their unreliability.
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  #8  
Old April 25th, 2013, 09:58 AM
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I think a lot of people switch from SU's because they don't know how they work.
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  #9  
Old April 25th, 2013, 11:39 AM
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Hi Guys,

Over here everyone on the early cars is switching to 4-barrel carbs rather than the twin su's.

The SU's are great for economy IF they are set up correctly, but if you have some headwork and decent valves and even a mild camshaft they are next to useless.

Offenhauser and Edelbrock both make intake manifolds - then it's a choice of 390 holley or 500 edelbrock.

The edelbrock importer for the UK is a friend of mine - he is selling everything he can get his hands on for the 215/RV8

------ Follow up post added April 25th, 2013 09:42 AM ------

Hey Guys

You will all find this site useful

WWW.MEZ.CO.UK - tuning the rover V8

Written and maintained by a very knowledgeable Rover V8 Engine man.
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  #10  
Old April 25th, 2013, 12:16 PM
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I swapped out my side draft carbs for the Edlebrock intake and 1404 carb. The reason was that my side drafts were in need of a major overhaul (they were 25 + years old afterall). The costs for parts and to get a mechanic to tune them was almost equal the price of the edelbrock conversion.

With the conversion - I now have a carb that can be fixed with a screwdriver and parts from Autozone or SpeedUnlimited - so that is handy.

But, I am not really impressed with how the edelbrock handles off road / really bad angles. That... and when the engine is hot in the summer time - it starts really hard due to boiling gas pushing past the needle valves and flooding the carb - lots of web articles on this for variety of cars / engines - with lots of remedies proposed.

So, there is good and bad - but if you spend a lot of time on the pavement and your side drafts are giving you fits... the edelbrok will bring simpicity and zen into your life. I do not regret making the change.

(I am sometimes curious about putting good condition side drafts back on. A a comparison of worn out side drafts to new in box edlebrock is not really fair.....)
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  #11  
Old April 25th, 2013, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firemanshort View Post
I swapped out my side draft carbs for the Edlebrock intake and 1404 carb. The reason was that my side drafts were in need of a major overhaul (they were 25 + years old afterall). The costs for parts and to get a mechanic to tune them was almost equal the price of the edelbrock conversion.

With the conversion - I now have a carb that can be fixed with a screwdriver and parts from Autozone or SpeedUnlimited - so that is handy.

But, I am not really impressed with how the edelbrock handles off road / really bad angles. That... and when the engine is hot in the summer time - it starts really hard due to boiling gas pushing past the needle valves and flooding the carb - lots of web articles on this for variety of cars / engines - with lots of remedies proposed.

So, there is good and bad - but if you spend a lot of time on the pavement and your side drafts are giving you fits... the edelbrok will bring simpicity and zen into your life. I do not regret making the change.

(I am sometimes curious about putting good condition side drafts back on. A a comparison of worn out side drafts to new in box edlebrock is not really fair.....)
There is an edelbrock carb part that you are supposed to fit to off-roaders to stop surging/ flooding at angles!
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  #12  
Old April 25th, 2013, 01:18 PM
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RYAN BEIS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffman View Post
There is an edelbrock carb part that you are supposed to fit to off-roaders to stop surging/ flooding at angles!
Is this the kit?::

http://www.4wheelparts.com/Performan...5&t_pn=EDE1465
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  #13  
Old April 25th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jymmiejamz View Post
I think a lot of people switch from SU's because they don't know how they work.
This is what happens quite often. In reality, they are the easiest carbs as they are self adjusting. Keep fluid in the dashpots and youre set. No need to worry about much. I didnt think the 3.5s got SU's, or at least Ive never seen it. Usually its ZF carbs which are fine but have many issues of their own. I put SUs (HS4 and 6) back on my MGs. Threw that Weber crap in the trash. On a breathed on motor, once youve figured out the needle and dashpot spring strength, they are fantastic. For a 3.5, I would go with a traditional 4 barrel carb for better operation at angles.
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  #14  
Old April 25th, 2013, 02:33 PM
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J. Michael McCaig
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Yes, you want the spring loaded needles for the Edelbrock/Carter carb for off road. Drop the float/fuel level a little more than usual and add a phenolic spacer under the carb to help prevent heat build up and you have a good off-road carb set-up. Even though I switched to the Edelbrock for the 4.6, I have to say the SU's did ok off road with the old 3.5.
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  #15  
Old April 26th, 2013, 12:12 AM
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thanks for all the feedback

Thanks everyone for that short course on SU's and the Edelbrock option.

It got me on my way on another internet search.

Like always the Forum is invaluable.

Jack - Fairbanks Alaska
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