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Discussion Starter · #941 ·
The brakes aren't leaking! I made new pipes using the BGS flaring tool and I pumped the brakes several times after putting fluid through each circuit. A couple of them leaked just a teeny bit at first (at one of the front unions and the T connector on the rear axle), but I tightened them and they appear to be okay. Fingers crossed! Now it's raining outside.

So for anyone looking for a good flaring tool to make stainless brake pipes for a Land Rover I recommend the BGS tool. It's cheap too! The Vigor punch also makes the correct shape, so the Vigor version would be fine as well.

 

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Discussion Starter · #942 ·
For some reason I've been having some second thoughts about my drivetrain choice, but since I pretty much have everything I think I should stay the course. If I was starting this now I think I would choose an LS swap, such as an LC9. When I started planning this project there weren't very many Defender LS swaps yet and Nick hadn't developed the conversion parts. I think I could sell the S52 for a good price (they're in super high demand among the BMW crowd) and pick up a cheap LC9 from the junkyard (there is a Yukon at one of the local self-service yards), but that would delay the project more and would probably cost a bunch more money still. As it is right now I basically just need to drop the engine in, do the wiring and have the exhaust made up. Then button up the front.
 

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For some reason I've been having some second thoughts about my drivetrain choice, but since I pretty much have everything I think I should stay the course. If I was starting this now I think I would choose an LS swap, such as an LC9. When I started planning this project there weren't very many Defender LS swaps yet and Nick hadn't developed the conversion parts. I think I could sell the S52 for a good price (they're in super high demand among the BMW crowd) and pick up a cheap LC9 from the junkyard (there is a Yukon at one of the local self-service yards), but that would delay the project more and would probably cost a bunch more money still. As it is right now I basically just need to drop the engine in, do the wiring and have the exhaust made up. Then button up the front.
I feel you. I look at your build and can’t stop thinking, “Why don’t I just go for it with ABS+TC?” But I’m just feeling more and more that I just need to finish the darn project I’m already on, otherwise I will keep changing my mind every time something else comes along! The other solution is to just buy another project truck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #944 · (Edited)
I can always change it in the future if I want to. :) I'll see how it is. It will definitely be an improvement over the old V8. I do like how the BMW engine was a factory offering. So it was the only other choice that made sense to me besides keeping the old V8. (When I started planning this most Defenders in the US were NAS and the only conversions most people were doing were Rover 4.6 and Tdi.) The LS would be totally custom. It would fit nicer though and I could use the Defender steering box. Using the P38 box kind of bothers me, but Land Rover Classic used that too in the Works V8 edition they made.

Edit:

This Ford Ecoboost 2.3 with AX15 gearbox looks like a great option too. I'm not sure if that would get better MPG than the LC9. Too many options out there. :)

 

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After all you have put into this project, I would implore you not to put a used engine in it. A crate LS is not that much cheddar when you compare it to the effort needed to thoroughly go over the junkyard engine. Buy one if you need the accessories and intake parts, but you can pull all that stuff off a donor and still be ahead.
The right hand exhaust outlet on the Ecoboost will present a challenge for clearing the front drive shaft. I'm sure it can be done tho.
 

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I don't think using the P38 should bother you unless it is due to not being stock. That said, if I was doing a long bell housing with a Cummins R2.8 (I did the stubby), I would have used that box/mod for sure. Due to the location of the oil cooler on the front of the engine and the 1/4" clearance to the steering box.

I may have the location wrong on this, but I believe at the Ntl rally this year, someone it a big bump or something and the engine moved just enough to puncture the cooler on the steering box! So I have no compunction moving that at all.

Curious--is it because it wasn't offered originally that it bothers you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #947 ·
It's only that the P38 box needed some modifications to the chassis (a couple brackets cut off of it) and we had to make a bracket to hold it and to attach the panhard rod. I also had to cut the wing (fender) to go around it. I have a little concern about the bracket flexing, but it's pretty thick steel, so I think it will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #948 · (Edited)
After all you have put into this project, I would implore you not to put a used engine in it. A crate LS is not that much cheddar when you compare it to the effort needed to thoroughly go over the junkyard engine. Buy one if you need the accessories and intake parts, but you can pull all that stuff off a donor and still be ahead.
The right hand exhaust outlet on the Ecoboost will present a challenge for clearing the front drive shaft. I'm sure it can be done tho.
Okay. I haven't looked into what it takes to rebuild an LS engine. It cost around $3k (maybe a little more with the special tools) to rebuild the S52. Maybe it would be similar for the LS. I would think at minimum it would need new bearings, seals, and gaskets, depending on the engine. It looks like the crate LC9 isn't available anymore. That one appealed to me because I think it was the only LS crate engine that was specifically 50 state legal for the 95 or older Defender.

Edit: I'm reading the "GM Gen 4 conversion including LS" thread and it looks like the E-Rod crate engine was not good for California since the package included the wrong transmission and it needed other mods to work in the Defender which made it no longer compliant. So it looks like to make the LS 50 state compliant I would need a donor truck and transfer everything over. I think I already posted it, but I did call G & K in California before and they said they can certify the S52 with CARB. They also mentioned they do a lot of LS certifications and that would cost a little less. So I won't worry about it I guess. Not unless I planned to sell the vehicle or move to California.

I haven't researched the Ecoboost swap, so I don't know what's involved (I also can't find any emissions compliance data from Ford on their crate engine, and if their crate engine controller pack couldn't be used I don't know if it's possible to use the ECU from a Ranger, such as if it has an immobilizer or CANbus, etc.). Searching online I've only found a shop in the UK that has put it in the Defender.

Edit: I don't mean to derail the topic of my thread thinking out loud about things. I actually don't see an engine I'd rather put into the Defender than the S52. I don't think I would enjoy an LS engine. I prefer high revving DOHC engines. So if I went with a V8 it would have to at least be something like a Coyote, but more like a BMW S62 or S65. Even the BMW M60 would be a better choice for me than the LS.

I think shops like the LS because the swap has been figured out with available conversion parts and they can buy a new crate engine instead of dealing with something from the junkyard. They're not very expensive either, so they are probably making good profits. I checked on the list price of an S52 from BMW. It's about $16k. It looks like the LS engines also suffer from some serious design flaws, specifically the LC9, since GM has multiple class action lawsuits up their sleeves. Those engines were new and not sufficiently tested before people decided to put them into their Defenders. The BMW straight 6 engines are known to be reliable, and I'm glad Ineos decided on those for the Grenadier. They definitely did their homework.
 

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Discussion Starter · #949 ·
Davis, I'm glad you mentioned the P38 box with the R2.8. I found it here on the NAS-ROW forum. I'm going to remake the bracket so it's like that one and move the box forward. I like how the bolts go above and below the chassis. I'll figure out how to secure it around the frame rail so there's no possibility of it flexing outwards.

I ordered a new steering linkage and I'll align it with that. I found the bracket for the wing I cut off the chassis so I'll put that back on there. I can rivet a little bracket onto the wing to fix that mistake. It looks like it would still need to be cut a little with the box in the new position so it's not a terrible mistake.
 

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Plus I will add that I love watching this build and after all of this, I would hate to see you switch to the LS. Don't get me wrong, the LS is great. Just not great gas mileage and I would love to see how happy you will be with this swap! You do great work. Besides...selfishly, I have 8 years into following this swap. I already have followed a bunch of LS's (including mine) and that is boring to me now, lol.
 

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Chip, I have followed your Build or rather Engineering marvel.........to say impressive would be an understatement. In my humble opinion, and having a 96 Land Rover Discovery, 07 BMX X3 3.0si with the BMW Inline 6 N-52, which I drive daily and the smoothness and power that the BMW Power-train offers is reassuring. I think You have built an amazing and unique Land Rover Defender.....and a very rare one at that. Look back at the Toyota FJ-60 Inline 6. I hope that when completed you will be able to enjoy all of the hard work and engineering that You have invested in your truly unique Land Rover. Your Build inspired me to always keep repairing and maintaining our Rovers, along with the camaraderie around builds is what this Forum is all about. Best of Luck, and Thanks for all of your contributions over the years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #952 ·
Thank you RangeRoverSurfer. I very much appreciate your kind words. I'm glad you've been inspired to keep your Rovers going. The project became much larger than I ever could have imagined and the engine conversion became a relatively minor part of the build, but I've kept going. I think the inline 6 will be great in the Defender 90. If I was building a 110 I think I would definitely want a V8, but we'll see how it is. :)

I've always thought it would have been nice if Land Rover brought the M52 Defender to North America, but realistically if they brought us a BMW engine it would have been the V8 (the one they put in the L322 Range Rover.) I found a dyno chart (link) where someone overlaid the 540i with the M3 for comparison and the difference is ridiculous, especially torque which starts out 100 ft-lbs more. Of course I wasn't intending to build a rocket ship out of the Defender. I didn't feel comfortable driving over 60 mph before. The old tractor doesn't feel very safe going faster and the soft top really starts to flap and becomes noisy. It's all part of the charm though. I miss driving it. Hopefully I'll be able to get it on the road, and off-road, soon again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #953 · (Edited)
I put the engine in. That's what I did for Halloween. I could have went to a party, but I had to go to bed early for my mammalogy class.



I polished up the exhaust manifolds with the wire wheel and removed the carbon build-up on the inside. They had a layer of orange corrosion on them.

 

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Discussion Starter · #954 ·
I made a new heat shield for the engine mount rubber. The exhaust heat shields for the Defender 2.8i are one-off parts and don't have part numbers. This is something close I came up with. It's a 4" galvanized steel vent cap from Home Depot. I trimmed it to fit.

 

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The secret sauce for gas off-road engines is a six cylinder in line. It should have relatively long rods and stroke, and be moderate compression, like 8.5-9.5:1. An engine like this will be well behaved at low RPM, have lots of torque and smooth as butter. Both Ford and Chevy make excellent versions and the Dodge slant six is also an excellent example, but challenging to fit in a truck. I don't know anything about BMW sixes, so if this one falls into these parameters you should be very happy with it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #956 ·
I decided to improve the P38 steering box installation with this kit from Blackbird Industries in the UK. I'm impressed with the quality.



It does require two new holes to be drilled in the chassis. They supplied the crush tubes. I wasn't sure how to install them until I watched this YouTube video.
(install is at about 6 minutes in).

Today I drilled the holes in the chassis and beveled the holes & crush tubes after I cut them to the correct length. Now they just need some weld.

 

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Discussion Starter · #957 · (Edited)
I was looking online to find pictures of the P38 steering bracket that Land Rover Classic came up with for the Works V8. I found a photo on a sale listing linked below. They made a brace that attaches to it from the other chassis rail, which is interesting.

I lightened the shadows of the upper Works V8 image (in bottom link) in Lightroom to see the top of the bracket better and it looks like LR Classic put the P38 box directly onto the chassis rail and the bracket is only holding the lower two bolts and the panhard rod. So that's why they needed the brace. It looks like a little piece of the bracket extends up to attach to the two bolts next to the P38 box, but does not go between it and the chassis rail. The more I look at it the more bizarre it appears to be. The Blackbird design is much more neat IMO.

It looks like Blackbird may have made the attachment point for the steering damper on the track rod too close to the center. I'll have to see if that will work. The attachment point on the P38 track rod I modified looks closer to the one on the Works V8, so I can use that one if this new one doesn't work out.

Listing with Works V8 steering bracket photo:

Image of upper part. If you download the hi-res image you can see the brace that goes in front of the engine to the other chassis rail:
 

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Discussion Starter · #958 · (Edited)
A friend helped me weld the crush tubes and we restored the upper panhard rod bracket. But then when I test fitted the P38 box I could see it needed to be trimmed still. So that was a shame. At least it's partly still there. :)

Installing the Blackbird bracket is more work than I expected, but I'm happy with it. My only complaint, besides that there are no instructions, is that the middle bolt they supplied is a little too short. It should be 110 mm long instead of 100 mm. I made a trip to the hardware store, but they didn't have any flat head bolts that size. It torques down fine, but I think ideally it should extend to the end of the nut. (Edit: Ordered one from McMaster-Carr.)





It doesn't fit between the upper panhard rod bracket and coil spring mount.



Now it fits. Handy grinder with the cut-off wheel.



Well, almost. The securing bolt for the steering shaft hits where I marked with a Sharpie. So I'll need to cut the corner off the coil spring mount.

 

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It's a bit late, but a good trick for welding up those tubes is to get a piece of round brass stock the same size as the hole. Stick it in there when welding and it'll keep the tube from getting any weld inside and or getting out of shape. Then you dress the weld after removing the brass.
 
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Discussion Starter · #960 ·
It's a bit late, but a good trick for welding up those tubes is to get a piece of round brass stock the same size as the hole. Stick it in there when welding and it'll keep the tube from getting any weld inside and or getting out of shape. Then you dress the weld after removing the brass.
That’s a great idea. Thank you for the tip. Some weld got inside, but I filed them out.
 
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