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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Intro post precipitated by Cummins $1500 off sale of this engine that ends tomorrow. Lots have been contacting me asking questions so thought it best to do a thread here. Engines are for sale direct from Cummins. https://www.cummins.com/engines/repower

We did the first US install of one of these engines into a Defender using a 6l80e to lt230 adapter from Nick and a r2.8 to GM adapter made by Axis Engineering as part of the Beta group to get the first 25 R2.8 engines @ the end of 2017. While it was a fun project and involved lots of engineering/ fabrication/and programming challenges I really wanted to build a manual version. For me, a turbo diesel defender just needs to be a manual.

There are auto transmission kits now available for the 6l80e and the ZF jeep 8spd. Thats not the path I took, or what this thread is about.

Since that first project I have pursued mating the Cummins directly to a land rover transmission.
I worked for some time with one company trying to develop an adapter kit but there were a myriad of issues with this approach and in the end it was Steve Sanders @ Cummins who put me in touch with a firm that could cast a new custom bellhousing for a reasonable price that eliminated the issues I was confronted with. The bell housing route was a path we hadn't pursed because of exhorbitant setup costs we were being quoted. Enter Chad McKinney, I called him based on the Cummins intro and convinced him that Land Rover Defenders were an ideal platform to mate this engine to and one of the few vehicles where an owner could fiscally justify instaling one of these drivetrains and have the end product be worth the investiture.That tied to the fact that most of the 25 yr old trucks being imported had very tired drivetrains make the Defender the ideal vehicle for these conversions. We hit it off immediately and the work commenced. In less than 60 days I had prototype parts.

One of the primary issues involved with trying to use any kind of adapter was that clutch diameter would be limited to one that fits inside the 4cyl land rover bellhousing. This gives a very small friction surface contact patch which is fine for a weak land rover engine but not up to 310ft lbs of torque. I was chasing custom clutch setups made by small co's in the UK. This was not my ideal scenario because clutches are wear items and ideally you want a quick replacement in a day or two's time to get a vehicle back in service.

By going the route of a new casting we are able to retain the flywheel that comes with the Cummins. In searching it was determined that the spline configuration on a 4cyl land rover transmission input shaft for both the Lt77 and R380's was the same as early 70's mopar muscle cars. This solved the need for a beefy clutch.

The next concern was the actual ability of the Land Rover transmission to hold up to 300+ ft lbs of torque. Working with forum member Kraig Mackett who has his hand in manufacturing several different products in Ohio, we approached Dave Ashcroft asking if we had special hardened transmission mainshafts made did he feel this transmissions could be made to hold up.
Ashcrofts response was that the reason mainshafts had been breaking in turned up Td5 trucks was because the bearings rover used in these gearboxes were not beefy enough and were allowing the mainshaft to flex, and in turn break. He said he had found bearings that were 40% larger/stronger and would hold up to 400+ ft lbs. He'd built a few for the UK tuner Twisted and others and they were/are holding up fine. Giving clearance issues I'd contended with using the 6l80e with adapters I knew we wanted to use the shorter "stumpy" version of the r380.
So we had a handfull made and sent one to Chad to work from.

The result is a bellhousing that mates to the Cummins and the land rover trans and has the depth to accomodate the readily available/ off the shelf Mopar clutch components. We reused the
Stumpy throw out bearing that comes with the stumpy from ashcroft but desired a much stronger fulcrum arm/ throw out lever given this is a common failure item in the rover design.
A machined billet arm was designed that will never fail. Next issue was the fact that the original rover slave cyl location is right where the Cummins starter lives. Instead of clocking it 180 degrees to the other side which unfortunately would put it just under the cummins Turbo and would certainly give us heat issues, the decision was made to mount the slave on the back of the bell housing and push towards the front of the truck.
Given the additional leverage needed and the off the shelf/universally available, a large slave from a diesel Dodge truck was chosen.

For that first truck back in 17 we had a single radiator and intercooler made to our specs given the inlet outlet sizes and locations of the Cummins engine. These were designed to nest/bolt together and install as a single unit with an electric cooling fan since the Cummins does not have an engine driven fan. The Cummins ecu has a switched ground signal it sends to ask for a cooling fan when its needed. This signal is used as the signal for a relay. The original worked phenominally well. As part of the original 25 engine Beta test group we worked closely with Cummins engineers on a few things. As part of this we were sent a "data logger" which plugged into the canbus engine loom and allowed Cummins to "call" the engine via cell service and enter the ecu real time.
The cooling system we had made worked so well we had to ask the Cummins engineer to switch the fan on to test my wiring, it wasnt coming on because the heat exchange was excellent.

These engineering issues sorted it was time to assemble one and try positioning it into a defender. Intent/perfect world scenario was to be able to retain lt77 engine frame mounts and interior floors and tunnel. The intent being to develop a kit for the diy enthusiast that would enable them to install one of these in their driveway, with off the shelf available components,
Rover/Dodge/Cummins components.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here's a picture of the small LR bell housing with a stock lr clutch disc slid onto the shaft.
The second pick is the large Mopar clucth disc showing its dramatically larger surface area, but also shows there was no way to fit the accompanying pressure plate into that bell housing,
Final picture is the difference between LR's orriginal R380 bearings and Ashcrofts HD bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Here is a picture the R380 stumpy fitted with the custom bellhousing and a picture of the massive billet fulcrum arm. If you are familiar with the cheesy stamped steel LR fulcrum arm/ Clutch fork you can appreciate the huge design improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Cummins flywheel drilled and tapped for the mopar clutch.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Assembled lump.
The picture with the radiator and intercooler show we have used the factory TD5 mounts as well as the Td5 prop rod setup
 

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Discussion Starter #6
After test fitment it became obvious that our upsized bellhousing wouldnt fit under the LT77 bulkhead adapter- the piece that screws to the bulkhead that the actual tunnel fastens to.
We were also damn near an interference fit between the bulkhead footwels and the starter on the left side and the exhaust manifold on the right side. This meant changing from the early Lt77 frame mounts to later V8 auto/ NAS R380 frame mounts. This moved the engine 2 plus inches forward and gave us the clearance we need. Unfortunately these changes do necessitate an r380 bulkhead adapter, r380 tunnel, r380 floors,and a seatbox adapter, and a d1 front drive shaft, all readily available parts (the same changes/parts that are needed for an LS conversion).
We fabricated our own engine block mounts to mate up with the existing LR 4 cyl frame mounts utilized up to the 300 tdi. So we have acheived an install where a diyer would be able to install one of these engines into an 83-9390,110,130 as long as the truck originally had a 4cyl petrolor diesel engine. a/c, V8, and 300 truck can also be easily converted but will require welding.
 

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Doug, thanks for the solid writeup! Does the 300tdi mount setup just plain interfere and requires cutting/rewelding?

I'm on a galvanized frame now and looking to see what might be possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Here's how it fits in a defender engine bay. Nearly identical to original 12J,19J,and 200 tdi setups.
Lots of room between the front of the engine and the radiator,engine centered behind the front axle.
Sorry,these are all the pictures I had in my iphone. Will update the thread once its plumbed up and running.
Waiting on a few AN push lock fittings to be delivered.
 

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I'm thinking we should call this thread "Cummins R2.8 to R380 thread" to differentiate it from the other one.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Doug, thanks for the solid writeup! Does the 300tdi mount setup just plain interfere and requires cutting/rewelding?

I'm on a galvanized frame now and looking to see what might be possible.
No we have engineered a bell housing for a long bellhousing r380 as well. Kit will cost a bit more due to more machining for a forward support bearing. On a lhd requires removal of the self contained water/coolant based oil cooler on a lhd truck and switch to a remote air to oil cooler.
Oil cooler doesnt need to be changed on a rhd truck with the long bellhousing. less emphasis has been placed on that swap as we just didnt expect many 300 tdi owners tolook @ this swap as those hamstrung with the boat anchor 12 and 19j engines. That said, you are the 2nd 300 owner to ask about the swap so far this morning so perhaps we misjudged.

Fwiw welding on a galvanized chassis is no big deal and the 90+ % cold zinc spray you treat the finished welds with seems to hold up just as well as hot dipping.

Next one we are doing is into Chase's v8 South African 110 with a galvanized chassis. Will be welding in different frame side mounts on that truck.
We have also converted that truck to lhd.
It will utilize the Ministry of Defender dash and self contained hvac system.

Point of this thread and todays timing is just to answer all the questions and requests for pictures from those considering buying an engine before the sale ends tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I'm thinking we should call this thread "Cummins R2.8 to R380 thread" to differentiate it from the other one.
I think search engines will differentiate.

There is a fellow in Ohio who has adapted an r2.8 to his original lt77 with a home made adapter with a 1.6 tcase and he's logged 14k miles with the engine mated to an original Lt77.'He's way under geared and his setup is far from ideal but it works.
 

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Thanks for that write-up, great information. Can you tell us how these Defenders are running after the install. What could it be compared to? I'm looking to upgrade my 200 tdi. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Are you familiar with Cummins reputation ?

Not comprable to anything Rover ever put in a defender. The 2,8 is far more powerful. The closest Rover platforms would be the Td5 or 2.4 liter Ford transit engine called a Puma and those are very distant, less powerfull cousins, but widely acknowledged as the best engines LR fitted in Defenders. The forum member we built that first one for had previously owned both Td5 and Tdci powered trucks and feels the Cummins is a much better, more enjoyable to drive platform.

The first manual one pictured isnt finished, as I said above. Waiting for silicone hose, t bar clamps, AN push lock fittings and Parker push lock hose to finish plumbing it up. Hope to take it for a spin this coming week. I posted this thread now because my phone and email is blowing up with questions and requests for pictures due to the sale ending tomorrow and this was the easiest way to respond to everyone.

There are several automatic trucks like the one we built on the road, that have been in service for a couple years now. Heritage driven in Arizona has built 4-5 automatic trucks. He had two on display/for sale in NC @ Expo East last fall.both offered in the low 6 figure range.
Google is your friend on those and a myriad of other vehicles the engine has been installed in. Virtually every one of the US offroad magazines as well as many outside the US has profiled an r2.8 install.
 

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Are you familiar with Cummins reputation ?

Not comprable to anything Rover ever put in a defender. The 2,8 is far more powerful. The closest Rover platforms would be the Td5 or 2.4 liter Ford transit engine called a Puma and those are very distant, less powerfull cousins, but widely acknowledged as the best engines LR fitted in Defenders. The forum member we built that first one for had previously owned both Td5 and Tdci powered trucks and feels the Cummins is a much better, more enjoyable to drive platform.

The first manual one pictured isnt finished, as I said above. Waiting for silicone hose, t bar clamps, AN push lock fittings and Parker push lock hose to finish plumbing it up. Hope to take it for a spin this coming week. I posted this thread now because my phone and email is blowing up with questions and requests for pictures due to the sale ending tomorrow and this was the easiest way to respond to everyone.

There are several automatic trucks like the one we built on the road, that have been in service for a couple years now. Heritage driven in Arizona has built 4-5 automatic trucks. He had two on display/for sale in NC @ Expo East last fall.both offered in the low 6 figure range.
Google is your friend on those and a myriad of other vehicles the engine has been installed in. Virtually every one of the US offroad magazines as well as many outside the US has profiled an r2.8 install.


Thank you very much. That very helpful for me as I had the pleasure of driving a 2015 puma across Europe and loved it. If that 2.8 is even better then WOW. I look forward to seeing your finished product and am very hopeful you are able to create kits for us DIYers. I saw those 2.8's last fall, they were all very beautiful Defenders. Have you considered using a Lt-85 or do you consider the r380 superior? Again thank you this is very helpful as I've been having a very difficult time deciding which direction to go for an engine and one of the biggest turnoffs for the 2.8 was sorting out the adapters, and I had stopped considering as a viable option. Have a great weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you very much. That very helpful for me as I had the pleasure of driving a 2015 puma across Europe and loved it. If that 2.8 is even better then WOW. I look forward to seeing your finished product and am very hopeful you are able to create kits for us DIYers. I saw those 2.8's last fall, they were all very beautiful Defenders. Have you considered using a Lt-85 or do you consider the r380 superior? Again thank you this is very helpful as I've been having a very difficult time deciding which direction to go for an engine and one of the biggest turnoffs for the 2.8 was sorting out the adapters, and I had stopped considering as a viable option. Have a great weekend.
The lt85 isnt a transmission I'd re-use, no.
 

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Folks will be scrambling for this conversion... it is the perfect paring. Big kudos for the R&D efforts behind the scenes.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
A few pictures of the frame off Cummins powered 90 we built last year doing the Rubicon this past weekend.
 

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After test fitment it became obvious that our upsized bellhousing wouldnt fit under the LT77 bulkhead adapter- the piece that screws to the bulkhead that the actual tunnel fastens to.
We were also damn near an interference fit between the bulkhead footwels and the starter on the left side and the exhaust manifold on the right side. This meant changing from the early Lt77 frame mounts to later V8 auto/ NAS R380 frame mounts. This moved the engine 2 plus inches forward and gave us the clearance we need. Unfortunately these changes do necessitate an r380 bulkhead adapter, r380 tunnel, r380 floors,and a seatbox adapter, and a d1 front drive shaft, all readily available parts (the same changes/parts that are needed for an LS conversion).
We fabricated our own engine block mounts to mate up with the existing LR 4 cyl frame mounts utilized up to the 300 tdi. So we have acheived an install where a diyer would be able to install one of these engines into an 83-9390,110,130 as long as the truck originally had a 4cyl petrolor diesel engine. a/c, V8, and 300 truck can also be easily converted but will require welding.
Thanks Doug for providing all the info on the R2.8 into a Defender :thumb:

Reading above it sounds like the following parts are needed to get an R2.8 into a 2.5/200tdi frame:

  • 300tdi/V8 LT230 mounts
  • Ashcroft R380 Shorty (HD with bigger bearings)
  • R380 tunnel, floors, seatbox adapter, bulkhead adapter
  • D1 front drive shaft
  • UD bellhousing
  • Mopar clutch, pressure plate, fulcrum, slave cylinder
  • UD engine mounts
Questions:

  • With the R2.8 forward 2" - it sounds like the engine mount location will line up with the stock 2.5/200tdi frame mounts which you guys are making?
  • Does the rear DS have to be lengthened?
  • With the exhaust coming out the RH side on the R2.8 would running the round style cross-member be easier for exhaust pipe/front DS room? (attached picture)
  • Cooling can be done by whatever the person wants depending on fabrication skill or the radiator/IC/oil cooler that fits in the Defender opening you have been designing
For the V8/300tdi frames same as above but R380 body parts and DS's are not needed, shorty R380 is, and frame/engine mounts need to be welded in?

I couldn't spring for the R2.8 during this sale as funds low and my garage is currently knocked down but I could see me going this direction down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Don,
Not 300 mounts- the 300 uses a special setup. The NAS d1 auto (require a small trim), D1 V8 manual, and NAS 90 mounts are the ones to use.
Yes on the floors and tunnel etc- ones from an lt85 truck also work.
Basically we are mounting the lt230 in the NAS 90 position so NAS 110/90 driveshafts will work.
I prefer a D1 front drive shaft for two reasons, its smaller in diameter so gives greater clearance, and it is solid rod as opposed to hollow tubing used on defenders. Its just superior in every way, kind of like the disco1 steering upgrade.
On the crossmember havent decided which one we'll use on this truck. Trey is insisting we use a td5 or Puma version. I think the rectangular 200 version will work. The exhaust needs to run above the crossmember and right next to the chassis rail to avoid interference with the front driveshaft and then cross under right in front of the transfer case. We re-route the chassis wiring harness to exit on the outside wall of the chassis like on NAS trucks to keep the harness away from the turbo heat. Will post pictures of what I end up doing.

On frame mounts, from 83-93 all 4 cyls had the same chassis mounts. The v8's are different and are too far forward and require removal and different mounts welded in.

For the block side mounts, we are going to have a commercial fab shop make them for the stumpy/ 4cyl frames, these first ones I made out of 1/4 plate and put 3/8 to 1/2 inch wide weld beads on them, total overkill for the application but 1/4 plate was what I had. Cut them out with a Hypertherm 45 plasma and welded them. Ideally the pattern would be cut with a waterjet from lighter gauge material and then the angle bent in a press brake. The block side mount sweeps forward a little to align with the 4 cyl frame side mounts.

For V8 frames or scenarios where a/c is to be fitted frame side welding will be required.
I havent done one with a long belhousing r380 but have one here and we plan to build a display/test ride truck using a new chassis and white lhd td5 5 door body we have here so will be crossing that bridge soon.

Cooling, We have that special sauce but its not inexpensive.
There are some nuances, that anyone can glean from Cummins install manual available online.
For instance, the engine has different diam upper thermostat outlet than the lower water pump inlet. We had a radiator made with corresponding inlet outlet sized necks.

I'm not going to be selling these kits, someone else is going to run with that ball and will have a retailer in the Rover community handle selling and shipping them.
 
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