South Africa

South Africa
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04 April 2011

Rover V8 engine - updated Oct 2012 (Bottom of page)

Please refer to important update regarding timing chains HERE

We seem to be having a sudden surge of engine rebuilds coming in so I thought for a change we'll snap away and post up some pics for you all too see.

After all we may as well have fun showing you how we go about rebuilding these great engines.
I highly doubt there are other re builders that give attention to detail as we do on these fine V8's.

Every single part is stripped down to as far as we can go including the front timing cover oil pump housing and checking the clearance on the rotor parts, on the cover very few realise there are two oil pressure control plungers that require inspecting, here again O rings are replaced as age without a doubt causes oil leaks on the round inserts that is retained by Circlips.

If your engine is oily up front its a sure sign these O rings have had it along with the front crank seal or possibly by now ALL the gaskets need replacing.

I'm not going into deep detail so I'll just post some pics to show you all how bad these engines get.

If your motor is hitting around the 230 000km mark and its had some "extended" service oil changes (Overdue) then chances are its going to look like the one below....

There's only one reason why these motors look so bad......bad maintenance and cheap oil, be it by a DIY'er or a independent workshop, now you'll understand why I go on about quality of oil so much....yeah I know I never stop going on about seriously is that important

As we started stripping it was clear all was not well..

High sludge build up like this is a sure sign this motor is well worn.
To aid in preventing this happening we remove the catalytic converters which become blocked up over time and add restriction to the exhaust resulting in severe back pressure, it has to go somewhere and this is where it ends up, past the valve stem seals and back into the engine
But its not the main reason this motor looks so bad, not the worst I've done in the past.

These tappet covers will be cleaned and sand blasted and then sprayed to bring them back up like new again.

Clearly someone was here before us, silicone sealant on a composite gasket and clearly a cheap repair.
In this state we expect the worst and I wasn't wrong.
This is clearly a bad repair gone wrong, if this was a mechanic then his/her certification should be withdrawn. 

More of the red stuff, (cheap junk) it was plastered all over the engine....

Dirty stuff.....not good....note how badly worn the bearing shells are

Despite the bad state of this motor the cross hatching is still very clear with no severe glazing taken place, the block is yet to be measured up to see if a quick light hone with a flex honer will do, my guess is it will be ok to hone without re-sleeving. 

Pistons will be chemically cleaned and inspected, here again it all looks good but the camshaft is no longer usable as 2 lobes are severely worn, new is the way to go along with new Clevitt hydraulic lifters.

Overall condition of pistons shows that compression was good (It sounded willing before stripping), the only issue here is the rings were overwhelmed by the extra oil splashed up by the badly worn main and big end bearings

Severe carbon/sludge build up, yipe nasty cheapo oils and lack of oil changes does this.
according to the engineering company heads are good (valves,  guides and seats) when we stripped off the heads there were signs that the heads had been off previously, I'm now hoping that all is well with the head bolt threads as they were severely over tightened to a point where three bolts snapped on removal but we got them out...ouch and lucky indeed.

Pity I didn't take a snap of this timing cover before it was cleaned, stripped, inspected and cleaned again.
Even inside the oil pump it looked like the pictures above this one and is not normal even on a worn engine
The oil pump rotor and housing passed the clearance check with flying colours which tells me it was replaced at some point.

TIP: If you have low oil pressure don't straight away suspect the oil pump, other factors like worn cam shaft and cam bearings need to be considered, big and main ends will need considering but don't forget the rockers, shafts and hydraulic lifters also play an important part in keeping oil pressure up.
Changing oil before it gets dirty is critical to any engine but so is the quality of the oil..

Another tip: Had a call from a desperate owner who just rebuilt his own engine, after 500km's his oil light flickered on idle, after numerous questions I came upon another important question "Did you replace the timing cover gasket" His Answer "No, I just applied Silicon" need I say more, the failure of oil pressure due to a simple low cost gasket can ruin a rebuilt engine in no time, its one of the many reasons why a engine rebuild should be entrusted to pros like us, on average we recheck everything three times, no chances are taken as alot of time and money goes into rebuilding engines.
I'll also add that rebuilding these engines are not that profitable but we enjoy it all the same.


Every part of the motors will be cleaned and inspected to like new condition, yes I know I said it before..
Non of our cleaning involves sand or bead blasting apart from the engineering company, we use special chemicals that is safe to use on aluminium and is very effective in removing stubborn carbon.

Another successful engine rebuild buy us here at  "WILLIAMS 4X4"

Rusty water pump impeller means that this motor ran without anti freeze for sometime

Oil leaks everywhere along with red silicone sealant means this motor was worked on before and doubt the attention to detail was lacking it should have received.

Utter mess.....say no more and we'll have this looking like new in and out.

Red silicone on the valley gasket area means somebody was here that didn't have a clue what they were doing, I see alot of this on DIY repairs as owners are to tight fisted to do it correctly


First up......Rover V8 timing chains.......
If you use aftermarket chains you will need to replace after 5000ks, seriously they are that rubbish.
The Aftermarket chains wear so badly fast it starts hitting the timing cover and eating into it.
If it does this long enough it will eat through to the water channel and you will have water in oil mix 

2004 Discovery engine rebuild from 4.0 to 4.6 high compression
The below pic is not from the disco engine but bearings were as pictured below, engine with 106 000 k's.
Cause of wear: Oil pump

Hydraulic liters.
Yes those little round steel tube like parts are vey important in any rebuild.

We only install Clevitt Hydraulic lifters.
White box lifters supplied by various suppliers are not worth touching.

Clevitt Hydraulic lifters are the best, the finished swirl marks on top circled in red is for lifter rotation.
Its important to note that if a new cam is installed then lifters must be replaced, you cannot install new lifters without replacing the cam, both MUST be replaced together at the same time.

Adding lots of oil to the new parts is very important.
Adding so called assembly cam lube (Red) is oddly enough not made by any of the big oil brands so use it if you really must, we don't and good normal engine oil is just as good if not better...gimmicks....drives me mad.

Please do not pack this area with grease as I have been told by some people, the ideas some up with is very concerning and tells me many DIY'ers should not be meddling with things they have no a clue about.
It still baffles me how some people think they know more than I do...well you don't and pros like us could teach you alot but we wont and will not, go and do the trade from start to finish like many of us did for 6 years.