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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Anyone done, or planning a 302 conversion?

I have been thinking about this for a while now and just found a 302 for $300! I may get it while still planning. Just curious how hard it is to get motor mounts to mount up and what kind of tranny and rear one would use.

I would love to talk to someone who has done research or actually completed a 302 conversion. Anyone know of anywhere I could get some details on this project?

I have a brother and many motorhead friends with lots of resources!!! They typically build 9 second strip cars, but I know would enjoy helping me do the B.

My B is a 78.

Mike B

Well here goes. I have NOT done one, but here is some of what I know from my last few weeks of research..

The BIGGEST problem with the 302 is it's weight, with ALUM heads they are 50-70lbs heavier than the stock 4cyl. With iron heads I think they are another 50-100 heavier. That makes them VERY unganly in stock form. That is were the $$ comes in, Alum heads new are ~$1200, so check around for some mild used alum heads, you don't need tricked out ones as bone stock the engine is plenty strong. I "THINK" you can get the engine in with carbs of EFI without a hood bulge, but that remains to me seen so I will list that as a possible downside. Your neighbors will curse you as you accelerate from your driveway on the way to work each morning, or when you are "tuning" your engine at 10:00pm on the weekend..

You will need to get a pilots license because this baby is going to fly! A stock 302 will put out ~225HP and 300ft/lbs torque! Once that upfront outlay is made for alum heads, you will not have difficulty finding parts here in the US which is an issue with the 215/rover. Tranny/bellhousing wise it simply cannot be any easier. The 5.0 mustangs come stock with the T5, so bolt up is easy. I have not heard anything about shifter location, so I assume it is not to bad. The engine is slightly smaller than the rover and thus can be pushed back a bit farther into the car which helps offset the extra weight and maintain balance. I have also been told that the engine fits into the car with less "body modifying" than the rover. Exhaust might be simpler, with all the extra power on tap I plan to have custom huggers made as I do not want to cut my wheel wells. Parts for that should be easy to obtain, and I may look at oversized header tubes to compensate for the tighter bends etc. If you are not tweaking the engine, I "THINK" the stock MG rear end will be OK.

Here is another idea. You should go to your local "U-pick" wrecking yards and find a totaled mustang. Simply grab EVERYTHING from it, engine to rear end. I know my local places sell 302 complete for like $150 (including EFI and ECU), bellhousing and tranny are another maybe $75. So for less than $300 you have almost everything. I am not sure what the rear axles or drivelines cost, but I can't imagine they would be that expensive.

I hope some of that helps, I know another guy local to me is looking at it, he already has a 75B with 215 and he and everyone love the car. He is now working toward a 302 for his GT.
His has to be one of the most beutifull cars I have ever seen AND it is a V8 to boot.

Hope all that helps, email me direct if I can help further. I will do what I can.
Larry Embrey

Mike a ford will fit with some work, and makes a vey interesting car. The MGB rear end won't last, I broke the small rear U-joint every time I power-shifted 2nd gear and when I took out the B rear (put in a ford 8") the splines on the axle were starting to twist. It take more work to put in the ford but for HP per $ its a better deal for us here in the US.


Mike, I am also planning a 302 FI for a RD or GT I have not decided on the model. It will include air cond.
Larry is correct about the 302 give and take a few pounds. The heads from Holley are $1200 but includes a kit, Cam, timing chain, manifold, lifters etc. FI will fit according to measurements and if the engine is set back about 2/3 inches.
Front cross member has to be nocht to clear the oil pan (hump for oil pump) Late model Mustang pan must be used or Bronco pan, this puts the oil sump at back.
If earlier MG is plan to be used then all mods for the buick applies. If 75 and later MG is used then only the notching on the cross member is needed. The rear axle should be replace, 3:90 is a bit much for the V8
The weak part of the axle is the gears, axles are strong enough. Brakes have to be upgraded.
Best sawp for your money compared to the Buick.
I have e-mail with several people who have done it and everyone is happy with their choice.

Engines short blocks can be bough from Ford for about the same cost of rebuilding one.

Estimated cost for my swap is around $5000 that includes all the goddies and more, plus added cost for the restoration and brake mods $3000 Total cost 8k to 10k Not bad for a new classic high performance car that is personilize.

Consider the Cobra R approved by SCCA puts out 285 hp 300 lbs of torque and has a 5 speed Tremec trans, 3:27 gear ratio The cobra R is about 800 lbs (EST.) heavier than the MG.
Now the MG won't handle like a cobra R or any late Mustang but then again it is not intended to compete in a road course, but....1/4 mile that is a different story if set up correctly.

r/Bill G.

Bill Guzman

BILL!! Send me those emails, OR give them mine.

I just stumbled upon a 302 locally for $75 COMPLETE, unfortunately it is probably not one of the ones recommended below. But, that just leaves a tranny/bellhousing, and I am 90% done.. SWEET! That engine is less $$ than the lucas alternator I need to replace.

I cruised over to a mustang site and did some questioning, here is what I got.

302's were available from 68-92, skipping 80&81. I was told the "best yeras" to get were 85-92. Skipping 86 because it had truck heads and poor pistons. This is because in 85 they started the Roller cams which are a great improvement. All these engines are FI, some Central and Some Electronic. These Mustang guys were very enthusiastic about my conversion idea, I think a few started drooling.

Man I can't wait to get started...
Larry Embrey

Larry, that's really exciting, you just save lots of $$$
I will give you a phone # of a MGF 302 owner
(F for Ford) he is really into it. I will ask him if it's ok to release his phone # via e-mail to you.
He did his on a RD.

I will be starting mine as soon as I finish the V6 kit project. It has been a hard road with manufactures to give us a product, I am not big enough for their benefit.

Larry could you pass the web page of the Mustang guys I would really appreciated.

Are you going with the FI system?

My best r/ Bill G.
Bill Guzman

Good luck on your conversion - I am in the process of putting a 302 HP Ford Cobra engine in an 62 MGA. Many of the issues you may encounter are similar. I have enclosed the URL so you can see some pictures.

I have made most of the frame, brackets, and suspension myself - if you have questions give me a shout or if you would like to buy either car please let me know.

Rand Bardsley

I'm also contemplating a B conversion to a 289/302. The 289 revs a little higher at the expense of a few cubic inches. They are somewhat rarer, but I picked a complete 289 with a factory 4 barrel intake for $275. To me, the Ford small block is the way to go here in the states. Bill - I suggest you check out, a website dedicated to Ford and has a GREAT classifieds section. I'm still looking for a solid chrome bumper roadster for my conversion, so if anyone has a lead, please email me.
Mike Derderian

Bill, the site is

I would like to go FI, but I am not sure what he physicall dimensions would be versus a carb set-up. I want this to be a total sleeper aside from maybe dual exhaust.

Larry Embrey

Larry, the dimensions are a bit taller than a carb model by a 1/2" it all depends on the air cleaner. If you set the engine back about 2" the hood should close.
Keep in mind that this are meusurements and not actual installation on a B The 302 FI fits under the hood of Alpine with no problems. On the B the only problem would be the area of the front section of the hood hence the FI is longer, that is why the engine should be set back. There is a web page that has a B with a Ford V8 with a Carb and air, the FI fills the top of the engine, actually the lengh of the manifold.
Check it out
so it's very possible to install the FI engine.

We should start a MGF (F for Ford)Web page, I believe that the Ford is a great choice for a V8 and a GM 3.4 V6 for a V6 car.

Please keep us updated.
Thanks for those WEB PAGES will go into them this weekend.
Bill Guzman

I saw that one briefly. Ilike Dan Grave's car, that is my "target" machine so to speak.

So the FI runs the length of the heads/intake manifold, and is 1/2" taller than the carb. Is it 1/2" taller the entire length of the manifold or does it have a peak to it? See what you started?
Larry Embrey

Sorry for the ignorance, guys, it's embarrassing: is a 302 the same as a Ford 5.0L? 5.0L stuff is really easy to get around here, that's all I know.

I was told that you might be able to find a used aluminum block for a 5.0, which wouldn't be dirt cheap but not that costly either. That would surely take the motor down to the proper weight range.

The intake plenun is the same high all the way. That is why the engine has to set back to clear the frontal part of the hood.

Dan, good question, yes 5.0 litre is the same as
302 c.i. 351 is the same as 5.7 liter.
Cost is relative to the size of the walet.
A bare alum block cost around $4k to $5k and is only 60 to 80 lbs lighter. That would cost around $62.50 per pound just to save 80 lbs of weight, my walet is not that big, but if it was I would go for it.

r/ Bill
Bill Guzman

HEY EVERYONE, I (we) have not heard anyting about what is required Motor/Tranny mount wise. Does anyone have any information on that?? Is it a simple as fabricating a heavy steel plat to attach to the motormounts? I would think that would be weak. I was thinking maybe some sort of bracket or framework that connects the motor mounts together so that the weight of the engine could be properly balanced on them, but that is above my head in engineering.

Let me hear your solutions.
Larry Embrey

Larry, I was planning on using the original motor mounts from a Mustang, and welding new towers to mount the engine.
I am also contemplating the idea of mounting the engine on the front cross member instead of the stamp steel frame where the original mounts are placed.
I believe that using the cross member will reduce torque induce to the unit body and it provides better insulation. Like I said I am only playing with this idea, I need to study the possibilities a bit more. Using an early MG chassis for this sawp will required fabrication of the mounts towers, later MG chassis may be a possibility to use the exixting motor mount towers and use the Ford mounts. At the trans mount it becomes simpler, use the stock trans mount with a new crossmember, but like any other swap, alignment is critical to reliability of drive train componnets and smoothness of power when applied to the ground.

Engine must be level, using a float level at the carb mounting on the manifold. The engine must be level front to rear and side to side. Trans align to differential by a parralel lines between the trans output shaft and the diff. by no more than 3 degrees.
1 to 1 1/2 is ideal.
Engine can be set to a max of 2" to one side (Passenger side) to better clear the steering column, this is a common pratice, Chev. Novas with big blocks etc.. came from the factory with offset engines.

The small block Ford has the mounts mounted up or vertical bolts which makes it easier to install Vs the 90 degree mounts of a Chevy. Ford is more compact therefore easier.
Let us know the progress of your engine Sawp, you may discover new areas of interest to the rest of us.

r/ Bill
Bill Guzman

You could use early Chevrolet V8 donut motor mounts from the cross-member to a cradle mounted to the front of the engine. This should make exhaust system easier to route. I may do the same on my 3.8 Buick conversion for that reason. There may be some problems due to the placement of the oil filters on both Buick and Ford engines. I have remoted my filter.
George B.
George B.

Bill, George & Larry...
While I have done very little so far with my 302 project, I will share this with you:
I will mount the engine to the front suspension XMBR similar to the way that I put the Buick V6 in my 71 GT. I had not yet decided on what "isolators" to use. The mounts that came out of the 84 Capri seem to bulky.
I am modifying the firewall slightly to allow even more engine setback. Due in part to the weight of the package (c.i. heads). The 5-speed shifter comes up exactly in the original position with this setback, another reason for doing it.
I have been using an 80 MGB parts car for the "mock up", the 302 is going into my 74&1/2 GT after I replace the sills and rockers.
Simple me, I'm sticking with a four barrel. I'll make my own fenderwell outlet headers. I want to try to do the Corvette/Cobra style...I'm considering "inverting" the outer rocker panels during their replacement for room to tuck the collectors into them.
Randy Forbes

One down-side on side pipes is serious leg burns. Women whose nylons have melted onto their legs usually will not take a second ride.
George B.
George B.

I have been contemplating sidepipes as well, but I have the same concerns as George. I actually didn't want them exposed at all except for the tips just in front of the rear wheel That will alleviate the burning issue. Like the Mustang in "Gone in 60 Seconds". I don't want to go to the extreme of modifying the sills to do it though.

I am not sure if I want to mount to a crossmember or not, rather try to use the stock mounts, but ta same time, would rather thrash on a crossmember than wled things into the car. I would like to be able to swap it back to stock if the need ever arises. I have a rostyle parts car I plan to take the hubs out of for the front end and mounting on the Ford rear end I want to use, might as well use the x-member too!! Then I can save the original one for converting back should the need arise.

In fact I could use the parts car as my mock up for placing the engine, since it is a 79 and my good car is a 78. Yeah!
Larry Embrey

I think the biggest reason to attach the front of the engine to the XMBR is that it allows you to go a great deal lower with your mounting points. That was why I did that with the V6 car.
BTW, I built the V6 car before knowing anything about this site or the V8 NEWSLETTER. It was just "practical" to use the XMBR. And as Bill states, should isolate vibration better (makes me contemplate a ridgid mount?). I have noted that several people claimed to have used the XMBR in the NEWSLETTER.
For the benefit of us all, please share your ideas, concerns and progress with the rest of us.
Randy Forbes

I do not have anything to do a conversion except the car itself, I just want a complete and thorough idea of what I need to do. I have been researching a V8 for many months, and have a friend 80% complete with one. I was going std 215, but in the last month have swayed and decided on 302, so I am "starting over" in terms of research..
My ideas are aften found on complete fantasy, BUT I think some sort of brace or bracket from Xmember to stock motor mounts, this would be just to add support and spread engine energy acrost a wider area. This might also strengthen engine mounting since it sounds like they need to be moved back a bit. I can't even "see" what I mean, but as soon as I do anyhting I WILL make it available to all. Right now I need to save up $150-200 so I can get myself a engine to start playing with. Anyone need yardwork done? Will work for V8 parts......
Larry Embrey

George, the 57 Chev motor mounts work great if bell housing mounts are used. The spand between the front mount and the trans moount is to long, therefore creating a weak point in the midle area, the bellhousing. Mounting solid is Ok if the engine is balance. Harmonic vibrations can play havoc on the block. The Ford mounts were design for that block and fabricating a mount would not be difficult.
The idea of mounting the engine to the X member is for rigity and just in case of a casual race and the full torque curve would be apply. this is not to say that mounting to the stamp steel rails is not strongh enough. The X member adds the extra insurance for piece of mind. If mounts of the pancake design are consider then the after market ones would work just great, mounting this mounts to the fardest side of the chassis for stability.
Choices to mount an engine are several, just consider the rigity of the engine and frame combo and the intended use.

There are many possibilities and all should be consider, using one method or another makes little difference if you are not comfortable with the design, then it is difficult to enjoy.
My best advice is to really study all posibilities and see which would worked better for your application.
One point that I would really like to share, Always allowed for motor mount setlement, after time rubber does compress.
r/ Bill

Bill Guzman

I'm going to try and type a link in here that will take you to some pictures of the Buick V6 I put in a '71 MGBGT. It may be useful to you, or not.
Here goes...
Hope I got it right!
Randy Forbes

Thanks for the sight.
George B.
George B.

To George B., Wildomar
Will you be attending the VARA Road race at the French Valley airport using airport transfers sevenoaks the 24th or 25th ?
Don Zeigler

I haven't followed racing much since I pit crewed in the sixties, so didn't know about it. I would like to see your 3800 conversion, so I'll try to make it.
George B.
George B.

To George B
Could you please Email as to get your address
Don Zeigler

Well, thanks for the info folks! I am definitely going to atack a 302 conversion. BUT not until winter. I want to enjoy the car for the summer, it is my 1st lbc/convertible and I am going to enjoy it while I can. When the rain starts, it will go in and get attacked..
Conversion tasks:
1. fitting engine/tranny, mounting on xmember.
2. shortening ford rear axle and resplining to take MGB rostyle hubs.
3. Shorten stock Mustang driveshaft
4. converting front end to Rostyle.
5. Buying 15x6 wheels and 195/50r15 tires.
6. Lowering car to CB hieght
7. Converting to CB bumpers.
8. Complete tear down and repaint of body.

Wow that list got big fast.. HEHE time to sell more spare parts and whatever isn't bolted down...
Larry Embrey

Is any one doing a 302 w/ efi? A guy here has mustangs and has efi units for about 30 dollars. The clearance is not a problem on my B, so any suggestions are welcome. I am going to use an EZ wiring Harness for my car. The original has long since departed, and a 12 circuit is only about 150 bones
mike childress

I am in the planning stages of my 5.0 or 306 EFI conversion. Being that aftermarket ECU's are a bit expensive, I will more than likely use the EPEC and EEC-IV. I'm not sure on the hood clearance on my application so, a Edelbrock Victor jr converted to EFI and a special throttle-body to carb base adapter will be used.

I don't want to use the MAF sensor, but I don't know if the EPEC needs it or not. (use a 4-wire MAP instead)
(expcet with the throttle body going towards the firewall.)

(I have a 12 circuit Painless harness in my car.)
James ?

James, I am not sure, but I have been told that a regular carb manifold will not work as effecient as one design for TBI. It has to due to the runner design and size. Like I said I am not 100% sure since I have not experimented using a carb manifold with a TBI system. If you know for sure share it with all of us.

Bill Guzman

I don't know how effecient the design is compared the the long-runner TPI but, since it is EFI and not carb'd I figure that the electronics can be used so that effeciency is re-gained.

As for the runner size, I truthfully don't think that a long-tube TPI type of intake can be found that will out-flow a large single plane open-plenum carby intake. (I might be wrong) Besides, the end cost is about the same... convert a carby intake to accept fuel injectors and a throttle body, or buy a Ford 5.0 "race" intake for the same amount of money if not more. Since I am going the EFI route, ($$$$), I don't want to be stuck with clearance issues of the 5.0 intakes... so a modifed carby will do.

I've been doing a LOT of reading, and I still don't have a clue! But, I know for sure that I want a EFI 5.0, (or 306), and a Tremec TKO 5-speed. Somehow or another that's what i'll end up with.

(awhile back I mentioned the Ford 2.3-Turbo but, that died when I couldn't locate one for 2 years at a good price or condition)
James ?

James, I am not trying to argue the point of manifolds. It does not have anything to do with size of runners, but rather design. give the boys at Edelbrock a call, I will try to get some info on this also.
Bill Guzman

How does the painless system work? Also I picked up a efi unit for 20 dollars this weekend. I am thinking of using this along with 5.0 liter harness/computer etc. any suggestions? I am not looking for tire shredding perf. just a little more oomph. Also for those interested, MustangsPlus put a efi on a 289 HiPo
while still in the car, point is they make alot of parts for conversions. Harnesses,02 kits, etc. mike
mike childress

The painless kit is very simple and easy to install.
The hardest part with installing the harness is where
to mount the fuse box, and if you want to run the
wires on the inside of the car or outside like OEM.
I chose to mount my harness and route it on the inside
of the car vs. running outside under the floorboards.

If I have an electrical fire, I wouldn't be a happy
person. But, since grease, heat, oil, water, dirt
won't be able to get to the wires, it should last
longer. A few other companies are offering complete wiring kits too, some have more features than the Painless, and have a cleaner fuse box where you can add more wires if you want to.

For the EFI setup, just hook-it up according to the
way that your suppose to. (plug and play)
James ?

Does a Volvo 240 86? model work with Mgb's? mike
mike childress

This thread was discussed between 09/06/2000 and 14/07/2000

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