MG Sports Cars

engine swaps and other performance upgrades, plus "factory" and Costello V8s

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marmstrong
Michael Armstrong

(2 posts)

Registered:
09/25/2015 01:52PM

Main British Car:


Re: Introduction and questions about MGB V8 conversions...
Posted by: marmstrong
Date: September 25, 2015 02:05PM

Have a 78 B and would like to convert to a V8 daily driver. I have read that the Buick 215 is a fairly easy conversion. Is it so? What mods need to be made. Can I use my existing b bell housing and tranny. What about engine mounts etc.?


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4414 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Introduction and questions about MGB V8 conversions...
Posted by: Moderator
Date: September 25, 2015 11:46PM

Welcome to BritishV8.

Yes. The Buick 215 is a relatively easy swap into a 1978 MGB because the factory modified the MGB engine bay earlier in the 70s to facilitate their own installations of Rover V8 engines. In the past, several companies sold kits for this conversion. You could buy a big box of parts and just bolt them together. But one reason MGB-to-Buick/Rover kits have gone out of fashion is that there are and always have been so many alternatives. MGB-to-Buick/Rover engine mounts come in set-forward or set-back versions. (Do you want to leave extra room for air conditioning?) Exhaust headers come in block-hugger and through-the-fender versions. The through-the-fender headers (which are generally preferred) are available with different diameters of tubing and can be sourced in mild steel or stainless. Radiators are made specifically for this conversion in either copper/brass or aluminum designs, or you can source original factory MGB GT V8 style radiators. Early Ford Mustang radiators are another popular choice. You can choose between something like eleven different models of intake manifold, and then choose between several different carburetors... or upgrade to EFI. (Best idea yet!)

Adapter plates for the MGB transmission used to be easily sourced, but they're not recommended because it's a fragile gearbox. You want and need a five speed. Here's another area where you're spoiled for choice. I like my Chevy Camaro spec Borg Warner T5. Other people prefer the Ford spec. Other people prefer Rover or Toyota gearboxes. Then there are aftermarket gearboxes (e.g. Tremec.) Various bellhousing choices too...

If you haven't studied this website's How-It-Was-Done article database and MG Photo Gallery, you're in for a treat!


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2648 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Introduction and questions about MGB V8 conversions...
Posted by: rficalora
Date: September 26, 2015 12:32AM

I'll second the welcome!

Good info from Curtis. In addition to engine and tranny, you will likely want to change the rear axle to get better gear ratios too. As with motor mounts and headers, there are options available.

Best advice I can offer is to spend a few weeks educating yourself. Call the vendors to get a feel for what they offer - as well as how you like how they interact with you - let's face it, you'll probably need to chat with them several times as you progress.

Vendors I'd recommend talking with are:
- Dan Lagrou - www.aluminium v8.com (Buick/Rover)
- Bill Guzman - www.classicconversionseng.com (60 GM V6, custom front suspension, and 4-link rear end kits)
- Pete Mantell - www.mantellmotorsport.com (Ford 302 installation kit & headers)
- Terry Senneker (Jr or Sr) - www.fastcarsinc.com (custom front suspension with integrated Ford 302 motor mounts, headers, 3-link rear suspension, and aluminium radiator)

Also, if you are anywhere near Townsend TN next weekend, check the fall gathering thread on this forum. Would be a great opportunity to meet and chat with some great folks who've done it and can show you the differences between their cars.

There is a good market for used parts, so you can sell pretty much any part you swap which will help defray your project costs.


marmstrong
Michael Armstrong

(2 posts)

Registered:
09/25/2015 01:52PM

Main British Car:


Re: Introduction and questions about MGB V8 conversions...
Posted by: marmstrong
Date: September 26, 2015 03:42PM

Thanks for the info and references. Years ago I owned a Sunbeam Tiger and liked the 289's performance but much prefer the B's fit like a glove road performance. This is the third one I've owned but the first that has had so much previous owner screw ups that I thought it might be a good candidate to strip down repair, repaint and reengine. Thanks again for the info. Mike


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5869 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Introduction and questions about MGB V8 conversions...
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: September 27, 2015 11:17AM

Mike, there are many many threads on engine selection and conversion. I would recommend you consider the 300 Buick engine, if only on a cost/benefit basis. True it is 80 lbs heavier than the BOPR, but that is still only 50 lbs heavier than the stock engine and extremely few drivers will ever be able to feel the difference in the weight. The difference in power will be immediate and obvious however, in addition to which you will save money on the bellhousing, flywheel and starter, plus get the added rigidity and reliability of a cast iron block. Otherwise it is nearly identical to the BOPR, although the decks are 9/16" taller. Most parte used for the BOPR conversions can be used. Ceramic coating on the headers is highly recommended. A mild steel ceramic coated fenderwell header is the de-facto standard and BOPR headers work with the 300, as do the motor mounts.

Any garden variety 300 is a suitable candidate. There is no practical need to insist on the '64 engine with the alloy heads, as a later engine can be fitted with late Rover heads or aftermarket heads like the ones from TAPerformance. The iron heads will increase the weight of the engine by about 50lbs and this is not anywhere near a prohibitive weight, so there is no reason why a conversion with an iron head 300 wouldn't be a completely viable option, even if the iron intake was also retained, plus these could be upgraded later. The iron heads also have considerably better ports.

From a cost, durability, and output basis it makes a lot of sense to go with the 300 rather than the BOPR, and only a knowledgeable enthusiast will be able to distinguish the engines from each other from outward appearances. Some have further enhanced the similarity by the use of silver paint on the block (I suppose ceramic coating here would be possible as well) but in reality the iron block conversions are still somewhat uncommon, are performance oriented, and constitute something of a bragging right as things currently stand so it would depend on whether you wanted to go stealth or show off. The 300 can also be fitted with the common 350 crank for a 5.7L displacement.

Jim


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