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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Front cover interchangability with later Rover engines.

Had some problems a while back with a cracked block and had just about settled on getting a short (new)3.9 engine. However I've come across a complete 4 litre cross bolted engine with low milage/kms, a '96 I think. The front covers on these are different from the earlier ones and don't take the standard oil pump remote head set up. From memory the oil filter attachment/head is actually part of the front cover, not a bolt on arrangment. How interchangable are these front covers?. Anyone done this?The guy selling it (predictably) says no problems.
Alternativly, can the new arrangemnt of cover be more easily adapted than the old, remote oil lines tapped in?, anyone tried this?
Also were there any known problems with the early cross bolted engines?


Try for the interchange, or not, of parts.

Geoff King


I've just finished assembling my 4.0 cross-bolted engine and I used a 1985 Buick V6 front cover,pump, and 5/8" diameter oil pickup tube, Buick V8 distributer with pertronix II, and oil pan from a 1990 Range Rover (larger capacity). Stock buick 215 balancer, pulleys, water pump, etc. You must use a cam designed for the pre-cross bolted engines, and install just as for a 3.5 or 3.9. I milled .040 from the heads and block (total) so that I could use the composite head gasket without losing compression with buick heads. I bought most of my replacement parts from Rimmer Brothers at a very good price and with very reasonable shipping. Check out their web site.


I went from buick 215 to rover 4.6, the covers interchanged, no problems that I can remember.

I bought several different year model front covers and looked at several pickup screens. The early covers have very small oil inlet and outlet passages where the late covers have much larger passages that will work well with a high volume pump kit. Likewise, even the late 3.9 engine used a very small pickup tube and screen where the late buick part equals the diameter of the late model oil passages. The pickup tube is available from discount parts stores such as Autozone under the TRW brand.


The problem is not the interchangability of the various front covers, it is the engine installation. If you are using the engine in a MGB V8 conversion, the later covers present real challenges for fit. The oil filter fouls the steering rack requireing a major relocation of the rack & a severe engine set back. The 4.0 & 4.6 covers have no provision for a distributer. The early 4.2 covers use a dizzy, the later ones do not. Not sure about the 3.9 covers.

Rest assured, a MGB conversion can be done with a late model cover & serpentine drive, but it does entail a good bit of additional work.
Jim Stuart

Thank you all, very useful information.

Jeff's "interchangeability of parts" site is particularly interesting, a real must for anyone undertaking a job like this.
One thing intrigues me though and that is; is it the cover itself that fouls the steering rack or is it just the oil filter? If there is room for the cover, and maybe an inch to spare then a round flat plate with a couple of hose outlets (one in the middle and the other peripheral) would do the job nicely.

Peter . . . my front cover comes nowhere near the steering rack. As far as the oil filter, there are several simple solutions, such as remote filter kits, available from any hot rod parts supplier, and rotatable filter mounts as sold by D&D Fabrications and others. I used a Hayden remote filter mount and have no clearance problems at all. Try web sites like Sumitt Racing Parts or Jegs for a good selection.


Good price for these:


Damn, sounds like I just wasted some money on a RV8 oil pump head. Thats what you get for trying to plan too much ahead of time, sometimes it's better to jump right in.

This thread was discussed between 29/05/2002 and 31/05/2002

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