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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - 302 conversion

I have been considering doing the conversion and have decided to start it this fall. I have a 302 ready to go, but I am not sure as to the rear end. I was just going to go with a mustang 8.8, but I would like to make the rear of the car handle a little better. Does anybody have any suggestions or ideas?
Brian Morrow

Ideas will be a plenty.. feasability or $$ to do them is another question.

Trevor Taylor is working on a IRS system for the MGB/GT. I would recommend either that or using the 8.8" like mentioned. The NICE thing about the 302/T5/8.8" combo is that they are MADE TO WORK TOGETHER. gearing should not be a problem and bolting the tranny to the engine is a breeze!!

I to am doing a 302 and have my engine at home on a stand to be tanked and rebuilt..
Larry Embrey

Trevors rear suspension is completed and a article will appear on MG Magazine.
Bill Guzman

Is Trevor in the US?

does anybody have a price?

The Ford Thunderbird "SuperCoupes" had IRS.
(Supercharged v6 with IRS) Price depends on what
Junk yard you goto. (same type of IRS that's on
the '99, '00 Mustang, and Cobra's!) Maybe buy a
complete setup from a Mustang owner who is going
to swap in a 9" live axle?

Another option would be a Hot Rod quick change
setup with inboard mounted disc brakes, posi, etc.
$5900 complete
James ?

That poses a problem, seeing how MG Magazine is gone. Supposedly they are out of business etc etc.

Do you happen to have a write-up on it??
Larry Embrey

Larry, sorry for the confusion. MG magazine of UK. this magazine can be purchase at Borders book store.

Trevor Is in the UK and you can find his web page here on the BBS. He will be visiting Ca. in Aug He also has a coil front suspension which is consider one of the best engineer for the MGB. When the article is release I could make a copy for you.

Bill Guzman

Me too please! I've written four or six e-mails to Trevor and have recieved no reply. That makes me nervous to forego the kids' colledge fund on his irs. Maybe I ask too many questions, or there's a technoglitch. Perhaps he sells too many for production?? I know some of you guys and girls have the set up running and we'ld all like to know what YOU think. The ford siera cosworth is not available in N/A meaning the added time and expense of shipping bits. Was the dif. used in any other models and how mutch torque can it take? ANYONE!--I've already been to the bank. James, what's this about T-bird supercoups?

The Supercoupes were built in '89 to '9?.
Supposedly the IRS bolts in place of the live axle.
If you can find one in a junk-yard, these would be
the better conversion since horsepower would not
put a strain on it... plus it had disc brakes with
a Posi-unit. (5-lugs)

Recently Ford re-introduced the IRS in it's '99 to
present Mustangs and Cobra's... They might of made
a few changes, ?
James ?

I will be talking to him Aug 12. He is bringing copy's of the article I will post for everyone to see.
If legal to do.

Very strange, he is very prompt in returning e-mails

Bill Guzman

Thanks a bunch, I know I am not in the market for that kind of expense, but please get the info out to those that are..

I will be going the std live rear axle path. I like the way my B handles, my only wish is to have gobbs of power which the 302 I am rebuilding will easily accomplish..
Larry Embrey

Larry, If I may. If you are building your own engine for your MG
You would be very happy if you go with alum. Heads from Edelbrock kit, cam, manifold, and heads. The heads are stock 64cc; combine with a good set of pistons it can yield 9:1 compression. Good for 300 hp 285 lbs. of torque on regular gas it has been done with an Edelbrock carb 750 cfm. Just some information, that may help your engine in your build up.
I will be making a kit to install the 302 in a MG after I finish the V6 project. I think that if you want brute torque then the Ford 302 is it. The Chevy is too big. But...The new LSI all alum engines will available in the scrap yards very soon. In the UK the same engine is going on the Opel Omega. Jus passing info.

Bill Guzman

Bill, now you make a kit! Just kidding. What will the kit consist of (tranny mounts, etc.) I'm doing my own
conversion just interested in exhaust, I am making my own set, also has anyone been to this site? - very snazzy I think. Mike
mike childress

Thanks for the info. My next question is in strenght of the car. The engine I built was originally going to be put in a Ford Ranger I had sitting in my garage, but when I moved, it had to go. The engine has been bored 30 over I put flat top pistons in it. I also bought World products 58cc heads. I'm not sure what this engine is going to put out in the way of HP, but if I had to guess it is probably 300 or more. I've talked to alot of people about the trans and although the T-5 is a good tranny if you build the motor your better off going with the Tremec. It can handle more than the T-5. Anyway, I was planning on adding frame connectors onto the car. Anybody have any other suggestions? I love this web page!!
Brian Morrow

Brian, the weak point on the MGB is in the rear where the spring perches attached to the body. A section should be welded across to the stamp rails, the other is at front on the firewall in the bellhousing area.

The concern is that the extra hp will flex the body in those points if ever run hard, otherwise the chassis is plenty strong and well design. The chassis is great just the way it is for street driven car.

Bill Guzman

I am right with ya and a touch in front of you on the 302. My goal/dream is to build it up all Edlebrock. Intake, heads, carb, etc etc etc. Unfortunately short term, it will probably only get the intake and 4bbl carb at original build up. the heads will have to wait. At the same time, the 302 in bone stock form would be more than enough, ans I want it completely streetable, idle for hours, never load up or lope etc etc..

I just finished tearing it down last-night in prep for taking to the machine shope next week for deluxe cleaning.

In regards to the T5, I toured all of the F-foby and mustang site while originally looking at the 215 conversion. What everyone needs to bear in mind is that the guys tearing them up are building 300+lbs/ft engines AND running them in MUCH heavier cars. On top of that most of them are slam shifting and racing. Those all adding up to kill the trannies.

Our light cars and less need for HP&Torq should show that the T5 will last indefinitely. A 300hp/250lbs/ft engine will make a MGB SCREAM down the road, and is well below the T-5's pain threshhold.
Larry Embrey

Tremecs available:
TKO Plus

Then you have a T-56 6-speed which roughly adds another
$800 to the T-5 cost. No-one makes a SFI rated
bellhousing for this T-56 that I am aware of. It's
shifter position is the same as the Tremec, and some
overdrive ratios are .50:1.
(Corvette, Camaro, Firebird, Viper, Cobra,)
James ?

Wow! That is allot of work for a 215, yes Mike is crazy, but then we all are. Well when I finish this V6 kit I will start on the V8 Kit and it will consist of Mounts,and headers.

Larry, the purpose of alum heads is to make the car lighter. But is not necessary if you put the engien back as far as possible. If you get the water pump to be paralel to the center of the front spindle you will have a nice balance B. Let meknow what I can do to help.

Bill Guzman

HEHE, Thanks Bill! I knew you were planing to do a V8 after the V6. I will be going to Alum heads, just not able to afford them right off. Plus I want to focus on fine tuning the engine mounting/location. the heads (while a big job) are really a bolt on upgrade, when compared to other things like Cam, Crank, pistones etc. By that I mean it can be done without pulling the engine. I have been tolad about a water-pump/timing cover from an explorer or suck that is shorter, of course all the ancilarries I can find will be Alum. ABout the only thing I won't attack right off is the alum heads, I want new and $1200 is a big chunk of change.. about equal to what my target is for entire conversion..

I plan to put engine as far back as poss.

What is a resonable amount to allocate for engine shift/torq movement?? 1/4", 1"?? I see some 215 people putting things a fingertip away from body and that looks to close to me, get on it and you have engine on body/frame.. What do you guys think??
Larry Embrey

Larry, I am allowing about a 1/4 to half inch where poss.On our 67 mustang ( 302, 600 edelbrock, performer rpm intake) that to be the amount of movement on that. Also, Larry, what year is your block, some ford used a special water pump, a police version if you will that was shorter in snout length. What cam do you plan on using with your package? I have a friend with a 67 stang 289 blck, edelbrock alum. heads all matched with edelbrocks cam carb & intake very good system, makes about 300 + horses I believe. He is using a MSD ignition box also. Very smart looking setup! Larry, keep me up to date with your project. Mike
mike childress


One way to get around engine movement is to bolt torque arms to the engine block and car frame. My Rover 4.2L has them and they allow very, very little motor movement. They don't get in the way of anything. If you want I can probably rustle up a photo.

(Mike, you mention MSD boxes; my car has an MSD box which is perfectly fine but not perceptably better than the regular setup. Not sure the expense is really all that justified, except that it looks kind of cool.)
David Duquette

Trevor Taylor's IRS will be supply the USA in the near future. I received a e-mail from Trevor on July 11,2000
He didn't give a def. date or source, but did say the outlet for the IRS would be LA, Calf. If anyone wants a copy of the e-mail from Trevor, just e-mail me and I will copy you.

This summer, I dove headfirst into stuffing some positive displacement into a '64 mgb roadster shell that I have. To make a long story short, I crashed and burned - couldn't even figure out a good way to get the motor mounted; the steering column hit the head and the crankshaft pulley hit the main support cross-member. If anyone knows a good resource on how to do these frickin' things (took back the motor, still have the MGB body) I would be extremely grateful, and BILL, if you're making conversion kits for the 302, tell me where to send the check.

Kenji, my only advice is for you to be patience with your project. First follow the entire Rover V8 mods. After you have completed the mods to your engine bay, you may have to make changes to the cross member to clear the oil pump hump. Exhaust is best routed via the inner fender panels. You can always move the engine about 1/2 to 1 inch to the opposite side of the steering; it will give you some extra room. Lots of muscle cars follow this practice. I will be making V8 kits but not before I finish the V6 kit.

Bill Guzman

Dennis, that is right. The suspension will be available here in the US. I will have a few kits on hand as soon as we worked out the shipping. Trying to keep the cost down per unit.

This suspension will transform the MGB into a
21-century sport car and maintain the classic look of the B.

The V6 GT test car will be equipped with this suspension. If more info is needed e-mail either Trevor or me.
Bill Guzman

Thanks for the advice Bill, I won't be able to get to the project until next summer anyways, so if you do end up with kits for sale, please notify me.

I have 5 years on my 302 conversion.Fast,fun,extremely reliable.I have the Edelbrock heads(50 lbs lighter),ported,60cc,flat top,9.6:1,315hp@5200,335lbs torque@4400,dyno'd with an Edelbrock carb,since then changed to Demon,much better.I used a c4 auto and built my own 8" rear using stock MG tubes.Homemade headers,ceramic coated,never a problem.Aluminum radiator is a must with this engine.No way around it.I will be in Cleveland for V8 meet if you want a look.
Dale Spooner

Dale is the aluminum radiator custom made or adaptation from another car?
Barry Parkinson

It's a Griffin,part #7565bc-cax.This rad has trans cooler built in,which most people don't need.It fits early V8 Falcon/Mustang.It fits great in my rubber bumper car,not sure about earlier cars.Very tall and narrow,is level with bottom of my air dam.Installing this took 20 degrees out of it,even though I had a stock Ford 3 core in it already.There's a new product from Mobil called Motor Max,a cooling system additive.I don't normally endorse hocus pocus stuff,but this took another 10 degrees off my hot idle temp,which is where most people need it.I also have an engine driven fan and shroud,and 2 electric pushers that are thermostatically controlled.There's an underhood picture of my car in the 1999 Convention link on the MGV8 Newsletter site if your'e interested.

Dale Spooner

Please email me with what you did on your rear axle! :-) Thanks for the radiator info also..

Well, just to update folks.

I get my rebuilt 302 shorty back tomorrow.
Going Edlebrock intake, Holley 600cfm carb, Mallory oprtical distrib. Should be good for about the same specs at Dale's, but probably a shade lower till I do heads.. 300hp/300ftlbs.

I am buying the intake/carb/distrib today. I will have to suffer with stock heads for the initial build out. But thankfully heads are somewhat of a "bolt on" job and can be done in car, so when funds permit that will be done.
Larry Embrey

I cut the tubes off of an 8" rear and replaced them with the tubes from my MG rear,so that I could retain all stock brakes,spring mounts,park brake cable,wheels,etc.Ford axles are large enough on the flange end to machine the MG spline and threads and leave a shoulder for the wheel brg.Unless you can do all the machine work yourself it is not a feasible alternative dollar wise.Seems most guys just have an 8" professionally narrowed and redrill the wheel bolt circle diameter.
Dale Spooner

Hmm, well thanks for the info. I am going to retain the stock MG botl pattern on the wheel, so I guess I have to get the 8" and have it resplined to take the MG hubs.. OR, I might run a stock rear at 1st, since I have it laying around..
Larry Embrey

Dale, what did that Radioator run you? You can answer by email if you'd rather. I am in the buying parts stage of this build up so starting to gather up funds budget wise.

I got a quote from Summit, I just can't believe what it was. seems crazy to me..
Larry Embrey

How much does handling suffer with the added weight of a 302 vs the aluminum Rover engine? Anyone out there driven both?
Tim M

The Rover engine is lighter than the MGB 1.8l.

The handling with an aluminum headed Ford engine
can be improved by setting the engine back further
in the engine bay. Improved weight distribution,
the other details can be addressed by tuning the
James ?

Well the iron headed Ford, should be in the realm of 100lbs heavier than a stock MG 4Cyl.
If someone wanted to know before starting what it would be like they could somehow put 100lbs of weight around the engine center of gravity on a stock B and give it a run.. The V8 will actually lower the COG versus the 4Cyl, but it's added weight offsets any gain..

There is a gentleman on Dan Masters website with a 302 in his 64? Looked to me like he may have cut the firwal all the way back and removed the heater. Engine is WAY far back in bay.. that would help..
Larry Embrey

No disrespect meant to the MGC owners out there, but you couldn't find a modern V8 weighing more and having that weight in a worse place than the six banger that the MG engineers installed in the C. Many of the MGC owners are quite happy with the handling of their cars, so we may be over-concerned with an odd hundred pounds here or there.
George B.

I measured my 77 B on 4 corner scales and it weighs 2475 lbs,split 52% front,48% rear.It has alum heads,8" rear,full gas tank.Slightly higher rated front springs with a 7/8" sway bar, seems to work ok for me.I have never driven a Rover powered B so I can't compare now but after Cleveland I'm sure I'll know.Does anyone know the real weight of a stock rubber bumper car?
Dale Spooner

The import car spotters guide at the local library lists a Rubber Bumper MGB roadster as weighing 2287lbs. and a V-8 roadster as 2427 lbs. The V-8 weight is very close to your Ford conversion weight.
T M.

Thanks for the info!!! What intake & carb do you run on your 302??

If you drive you car to the convention, be sure to talk to a gentleman named Kurt Biedler. He has a 215 B (not bringing to show), but is looking at doing a 302 as I am. He is a local guy to me and am sure he will be interested in seing what you have done.

Larry Embrey

I am using the Edelbrock Performer,not the Performer RPM.It is a shorter manifold and fits under the stock hood.Better for all around performance,not killer higher rpm HP.I used the Edelbrock carb originally but it would die on hard cornering or stopping.Worked OK otherwise.I dyno'd it with that carb and the air/fuel ratios were good out of the box surprisingly.The 650 Demon I'm running now I would not recommend.It was crap out of the box,couldn't even drive the car out of the garage.Had major problems,had to install air bleed restrictors,throttle plates were out of adjusment,had to grind the baseplate to get full throttle,after waitng 1.5 years for a choke kit it sucks.Not happy with it,can you tell?It runs good now finally,but it takes a serious rebuild to get there.Use the Holley.I'll be doing a tech session on my car in Cleveland so if anybody wants to maybe learn something from a socalled expert I'll be there.
Dale Spooner

Hey, y'all--

Just a couple of comments. I don't have a BV8, but I might someday. Had a 73B years ago, now have a Ford Fairmont SW with 5.0HO and T5. See it at Anyway, the T5 strength issue in Mustangs also involves cars with traction. I wouldn't expect to break a T5 in a B, especially with 195/60 tires. And the Demon 650 is totally unsuited to a motor that is suited to the Performer intake. No wonder it didn't run right. Shame on BG for not talking you out of it. I have the 625 Road Demon on my 302 and am pleased. Runs best with a 1" spacer, tho, and I think it prefers a single plane intake, whereupon it might be happy without the spacer. The Weiand 7515 Xcelerator is my favorite and will be on my car soon. Don't know if there's room for it in a B.

see ya

My car runs great with the Demon,now that it has been properly built.Of the 15 or so various Demons we have dealt with,they have all needed work.This is dyno tested air/fuel mixtures,not backyard tuning.In several cases,the pulls had to be aborted because they were dangerously lean.My heads have more than adequate flow numbers and ample camshaft for a 650 Demon.I'm just sharing our experience with these carbs,not looking to join a pissing contest on carburetor selection for my car.
Dale Spooner

Gentlemen: I, too, was very interested in the Ford 5.0L with 5 speed to the extent that I bought one. After many emails that go back 2 years, I was informed by Eric Furbee, of Virginia, that his 1974 MGB Engine and Trans combo weighed a total of 448 lbs. Dan Masters published the 302/5 speed combo at 509 lbs, that he was planning for his TR-6. Not much of a weight penalty considering the availability of inexpensive horsepower. By the way, I will be bringing my Mustang combo to the V-8 meet in Cleveland to sell if anyone is interested. I've already started a Chevy 3.4L V-6 conversion with Bill Guzman's kit. Found a 1994 Camaro with a relatively low mileage package.

Start looking at a few Ford cars that are on the road, as in research. Ford's IRS unit has been installed in many other cars besides the Super-Coupes and the '99, '00 Cobra Stangs.

I found a unit local out of a Lincoln Mark VIII, IRS, disc brakes, Aluminum diff housing, etc. Late model Thunderbirds, Cougar Xr7's, maybe a few Mercury's also had this suspension... (8.8 differential)

The price at a local yard was $400 for the complete setup out of a Lincoln Mark VIII.
(minus the airbags.)

I'm going to pick it up next week so i'll give you a write-up on it...
James D.

I just picked up a 76 MGB and am in the planning an engine and transmission combo. I am leaning towards the 302 and t-5 combination. As this car will be a daily driver I am wanting reliability and also living Arizona I would like to have A/C. Has anyone use this combo with A?C. Also, what needs to be done in the engine bay for mounting the 302 and the tranny. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated. In the beginning I probably won't be able to afford the aluminum heads. Will this affect engine placement. What suspension upgrades should I anticipate. Thanks for all you help.
Joseph Manning

Joseph, you should plan on a custom radiator if you go with the AC. The air will be heated up by the time it runs through the condensor and you could wind up with a cooling problem. From what I've read in the archives, cooling can be a major issue with a 302.
keep us posted, good luck
Sean Squires

If any one is interested, I have a page that I have just started, I will be adding pics as I can. Be patient with me. Mike
mike childress


That's not a Ford engine....
James D.

I have some questions regarding the use of a 86-93 Ford Mustang as a donor car. Will the Ford fuel injection clear the MGB hood? Are the electronics a nightmare in getting the fuel injection to work? Is the serpentine belt system difficult and expensive to change? Is a modification of the steering shaft always necessary when using a chrome bumper MGB? Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

James, Sorry about that. I am using another car for those pics. I am still having difficulty putting up mine. I will get these posted asap mike
mike childress

Did anybody here get to the Cleveland meet?I don't recognize any names but I'm bad with names.Excellent time,lots of cars,lots of seat time in other cars.I drove Bill Yobi's car,a very quick 215(94mph 1/4 mi).Good top end power,not as much torque as the Ford understandably.Drove Mike Moores 300 powered Buick,more torque than the Ford which makes for a super car to drive.Several people drove my car and didn't really feel the extra weight was noticable.The power certainly is though.Even with the auto.5 spd next year.Bill (last name?) from Washington state absolutely blew everyone's mind with his car. Unbelievable job,all his work.I'm sure there will be pictures of it online.Worth the trip just to see it.If you haven't been to a V8 meet yet,you should.Test drives are plentiful.Florida next year,min.1500 miles for me so won't make it,especially in March.Ya know,Vermont would make a great place for a meet(listening Kurt?).
Dale Spooner

Bill Jacobson is the name and the car is fantastic. Bill was at the Portland, OR. All British car meet,and I had the chance to meet him and his family, then he was on to Ohio for the V-8 meet. Realy nice person to talk to and make one of your friends.

Anyone have contact info for Bill Jacobson? I live in WA also and would be very interested in seeing how someone else has done a 302. It will help me do mine..
Larry Embrey

Sorry Larry, Bill's car is Buick 215 powered. You can see it and Dale's 302 MGB by using the link below:

This thread was discussed between 25/07/2000 and 15/09/2000

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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