After 30 years, most things can use a little refresh – the Rover V8 engines are no exception. While some folks might happy to do a small service on the top end of an engine and send the Defender along the way to their new owners, we take it quite a bit further by completely rebuilding the motors – inside and out.
We were fortunate to be able to drive the 3.5L Rover V8 motor while it was still in the Defender. It was a nice smooth engine, with plenty of power. But given the rest of the vehicle was going to receive a full body-off restoration, we thought it was important to bring the engine back to factory-fresh condition at the same time. We do quite a bit of engine rebuilding in-house, but there are some times when it’s necessary to bring in specialists to do some fairly complicated measuring and machining work.
After removing the original motor from the vehicle, we gave it a pretty extensive power wash and de-greasing. After 30 years of roaming around the roads and beaches of Jersey, there was plenty of oil, grease, dirt, and mystery matter covering the engine.
We took off some of the top-end elements to be cleaned and restored by our master mechanics here at Bishop+Rook UK, while the block went off to be machined by one of our trusted partners. They’re better equipped with the tools and experience to do the precise work necessary to make sure the engine is as perfect as it can be. They stripped the Land Rover V8 engine down the rest of the way, honed bores, polished crankshaft serviced cylinder heads, stripped and cleaned hydraulic tappets, and reassembled the engine with all new bearings, piston rings and gaskets.
While it does look like a piece of artwork, we have the knowledge that this engine will be as good, if not better, than the day it left the Solihull Land Rover factory in 1989. After machining, the refreshed engine block will head back to our Salisbury workshop for re-assembly and installation back onto the refreshed chassis.