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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Rover 4.6L Oil Pump & Front Cover

Rover 4.6L users.
Has anyone used the new Rover 4.6L in there conversion? What did you use for a front cover and oil pump?
I rather like the new crank mounted oil pump front cover as it looks more reliable. I would hate to ruin a new 4.6L motor due to a stuck 3.5L oil pressure relief vavle, not to mention the decreased oil output associated with the old style pumps. As the 3.5L front covers often need to be replaced why not use the newer front cover from the 1994 motor ( the one with the provision for a distributor). Has anyone overcome the problem with using the new cover but retaining the old style water pump etc. Would love to hear from anyone who has gone down this road.

Thanks for any help,

Hi Mike

Right in the middle of fitting the Serpentine front end in my chrome bumper V8 conversion. I have the later cover without dizzy drive, but intend to use a direct ignition system.

The main problems were as follows:

With the engine in the standard chrome bumper position the new thicker cover fouls the steering rack. A rubber bumper xmember may give enough clearance!

The water pump has a reverse rotation with the belt running under the pully, so without the powered steering and aircon wheels the system made need idler wheels fitted.

The pullies are closer to the cover than the earlier type, which leaves no room for an alternator in front of the head, as the Range Rover setup had its alternator over the top of the engine, which would be too high for the MG bonnet. I am still working on this one!

You must use the serpentine sump, which is also longer than the older type. I have a cast alloy one, which has an integral bell-housing mount that covers the other 2/5ís of the bell-housing opening, instead of that flimsy metal plate. This ties the gearbox to the block properly, but required a fabricated block the join the two halves together as the boltholes do not line up. This should not be a problem with the metal plate sump.

My cover has studs out the bottom for the sump, which means unless you change them for bolts, you cannot remove the cover for cam/chain changes without removing the engine or the xmember.

Happy to discuss this further or directly with anyone.
At a later date I will cover it on my website at


Nick Smallwood

Mike - the new cover with room for the dizzy has an attached oil filter which fouls the roll bar so I stayed with the original MG cover. I do have an SDI front cover with a larger capacity pump. This one works with the RV8 water pump and it allows one to fit the RV8 a/c compressor. There is however still a problem with the roll bar with the later old style cover.

You may know better but I am not aware that there is a reliability problem with the older style oil pumps or their release springs. The size of the pump was obviously increased to improve cooling but the message stays the same with all these engines - they create sludge and it is important to change the oil more frequently than with the straight four 1800.

In the end, the original is still the neatest so if you can find an American equivalent which suits what passes for an OE water pump, you will have more room to play with but, it will not take the RV8 a/c bracket.

In the end - they can all be made to work - whatever suits you.

Good luck Roger

PS my front cover and pump has more than 250000 UK miles on it, and I plan a few more before changing to the SDI one.
Roger Walker

I don't know much about Rover motors, but if you'll pardon me for interjecting a
remark that's a little off-topic: I've been using a Buick V6 front cover and oil pump
on my '63 Buick motor for years. I don't even know what year/model V6 they're
from - but switching to them gave me a big improvement in oil pressure, a new
neoprene front seal (instead of a rope seal), and a much better oil filter angle.
It won't work for everybody, but with my engine location and the V6 pump, I'm
able to spin an oil filter on and off without utilizing a remote filter mount. The
only snag I hit was that ignition timing marks are different between V6 and V8
Buick covers.

Maybe the Buick V6 front cover and filter would be interesting for someone with a
Rover motor?


Nick - Thanks for the info. The reason I am looking into this is that the 4.6L from RPI looks like an ideal choice when one factors in the cost of rebuilding the 3.5L which I currently have.

Roger - I have no real evidence the SD1 cover and pump are unreliable. With my 3.5L I need a new oil pump cover and both gears and then need to do a remote set up for the filter. By the time one gets all those part a new front cover with the new style oil pump can be had. I think the new cover is around 200 GBP. With your SD1 set up did you change the damper? Anything else need changing as the 4.6L crank has a longer snout? Does the 4.6L not pull oil direct from the sump rather than a block as in the 3.5L?

Looks like the 3.5L SD1 cover may be easier to implement.

Mike Stemp

I'm working on installing a Serpentine 3.9 from a TVR into my rubber bumber MGB. It has the earliest type of Serpentine front cover that retains a distributor. This is work in progress at the moment so I can't confirm that my solution works but here is what I have had to do:

The engine is mounted low using standard engine mounts in the standard position but offset about 6mm to the left using a thin RV8 rubber on one side. The oil filter base on the front cover would have fouled the steering rack at the pinion. I got an aluminium fabricater to cut off and block the oil filter base and fit one union for an oil pipe to the exit for an oil cooler on the right side of the cover and fit a second union onto the oilway running up to the block that is part of the moulding of the front cover itself.

The standard bracket for this engine mounts the alternator too high fo an MGB. Instead the alternator is mounted in front of the right hand rocker cover using spacers with the standard Rover P6 type bracket. The TVR that donated the engine did not have power steering so it already had a dummy pulley in front of the left hand rocker cover. I re-rooted the Serpentine drive belt to ensure it made good contact with the water pump pulley despite the change in alternator position.

The pulley in front of the left hand rocker cover gets right in the way of the normal route for the top radiator hose. Not much alternative here, space is limited as I want to fit the air filter for the fuel injection on the left inner wing and the remote oil filter on the right. I haven't solved this one yet but the likely answer is to modify the radiator to either move the top inlet or replace it with a 90 degree metal elbow. I've been interested in the discussion on custom built aluminium radiators as that might provide a much tidier looking solution.

Finally the bottom hose needs to be customised because the Serpentine cover positions the water pump lower than the pre-Serpentine type cover. Oh and nearly forgot the front anti-roll bar will need a bend in it to clear the bottom pulley (I understand the RV8 anti-roll has such a bend).

Geoff Richmond


Have you got any pictures of the modifcations to the oil filter base and pipe take-off positions.


Mike - the very helpful description of the problems of fitting each of the serpentine covers explains why I have remained with the MG OE solution. (I am keeping the SDI cover for the a/c project).

To the best of my knowledge the SDI cover is simply bolt on - oil pick-up etc is the same - the RV8 pump fits and rotates in the same direction as the MG. You simply cut off about an inch of 4.6 crank. The difficulty is the sump - you want a short sump with the plate in it that prevents the oil from coming forward when you brake (and lose pressure). If you have a short sump without that plate, you can still fit the SDI cover across the bottom of the block (but make sure the engine you buy has been tapped for the securing bolts - most new ones haven't).

If you can't find an SDI cover Simon at Progress engineering 441622687070 will find it for you. He will also make you a better engine than any new one -but you would need to find the carriage.

I am away on holiday for a couple of weeks -please let us know which way you go


PS although the 4.6 is tempting - 160 BHP at the wheels is about as much as is safe in an MGB and the 3.9 is more suitable IMHO

Roger Walker


Yes I have some pictures of the modified front cover which I have emailed to you.


Geoff Richmond

This thread was discussed between 22/08/2001 and 24/08/2001

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