Triumph Sports Cars

engine swaps and other performance upgrades, plus "factory" V8s (Stag and TR8)

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7_Heaven
John Gibb
NorCal
(4 posts)

Registered:
09/23/2020 10:32PM

Main British Car:
1979 Triumph TR7 Stock 2L (for now)

authors avatar
Best California BAR-Legal TR7 V8 Swap?
Posted by: 7_Heaven
Date: September 24, 2020 11:17AM

Hi everyone, new member here.

My first car ever was a 1967 MG Midget, with the pre-smog A series motor pushing out 65 hp, allegedly. That car taught me a lot of things but I had to sell it when I went to college. Nearly 40 years later, I bought a TR7 convertible to work on with my car-loving 16 year old son. We've done several projects to get ready for the engine swap including:

Upgraded the suspension with TSI higher rate springs and bushings, and new shocks/strut inserts, plus new needle bearings on the strut towers.
Replaced other suspension wear parts including the wheel bearings and rod ends.
Swapped the 13x5.5 minilite replicas on the car with 185/70 rubber for some 16x7 MGF wheels from the UK with 205/45 tires.

We still plan to upgrade the front brakes with some larger ventilated Wilwood rotors and 4 piston calipers before we do the engine swap. So far, I've seen some cool ideas for swapping in this forum and I've narrowed it down to 3 possibilities. Keep in mind I live in California so I want to do what's called a "BAR (Bureau of Automotive Repair) legal swap so I can drive it on the street here. This is not going to be a track toy, just a fun project car I can street drive. The "BAR legal" rules essentially amount to the engine year has to be the same or later year as the car, and the smog controls on that engine have to go with it for the swap. Also, if I use a 1996 or newer engine (OBD2), I have to keep all the OBD2 stuff.

The swap ideas:

1> A pre-1996 (OBD2) Land Rover V8 [3.5/3.9/4.2]. This is before the cross-bolt block with new oil pump and the I think these came with the 14CUX (Lucas/Hitachi) EFI which is pre OBD2, but more important, it can fit under the TR7 hood with some mods and can be performance modified with a chip. There are a lot of stories about the larger 3.7" bore blocks cracking and liners slipping, and all the motors I can find in Row52 or online are pretty high mileage. This engine would need the factory EFI and probably the air injection pump and cats (these can be gutted, itís just a visual with a high CO/NoX /HC threshold. I think the EFI needs O2 sensors to run. If I do this swap I'd use a T5 not the LT77 Triumph transmission.
2> A 1989-1995 Lexus 1UZ-FE 4.0, preferably out of the SC400 with the rear oil sump. The ES, LS, GS and other Lexus models have a mid or front located sump. This has the advantage that it is a way more modern engine and made 260hp/260ft-lb stock. Row52 shows dozens of these cars in Northern California and you could literally pull one at Pick and Pull for less than $300, swap in a new timing belt and water pump, change the plugs and oil and filter and go. I'm surprised these appear so undervalued. The drawback here is that the flywheel and adaptor plates to run a manual transmission appear to be all made in Australia and available at places like Castlemaine Rod Shop. A Tremec T56 tranny looks like the best option to me; the Toyota manual tranny's don't have great ratios.
3> An LS with a T56. These seem way overvalued as take out drivetrains, even an older LS1, not to mention newer LS2/3. The best way to get one would appear to be to get a thrashed F-body, pull the drivetrain and part out the rest. The drawbacks here also are that this is the heaviest option, even with the aluminum block, I think it weighs 100 lb more than the Rover and 60 more than the 1UZ. I also don't really need 350 hp to have fun with the car, and making it BAR legal will mean keeping all the OBD2 stuff. Maybe not so hard, I don't know.

Opinions welcome!

John
Tr7.jpg


Jim Stabe
Jim Stabe
San Diego, Ca
(772 posts)

Registered:
02/28/2009 10:01AM

Main British Car:
1966 MGB Roadster 350 LT1 Chevy

authors avatar
Re: Best California BAR-Legal TR7 V8 Swap?
Posted by: Jim Stabe
Date: September 24, 2020 04:31PM

Your mistake was buying a 1979. You should have looked for a '74 or '75. 1976 and newer cars require smog certification and bi annual checks in California. '75 and older you can do anything you want to the car.


7_Heaven
John Gibb
NorCal
(4 posts)

Registered:
09/23/2020 10:32PM

Main British Car:
1979 Triumph TR7 Stock 2L (for now)

authors avatar
Re: Best California BAR-Legal TR7 V8 Swap?
Posted by: 7_Heaven
Date: September 24, 2020 10:35PM

Hi Jim,

Yes I know all about the '75 rule, I've lived here since I was born and have bought smog exempt cars before. It was supposed to moved to '80 a few years back but that died for reasons you might never expect here in the Golden state. One problem is there are NO 1974 TR7's, the first model year is 1975. '75's are thin on the ground at best, and none are convertibles. All the 1975's were built at Speke and those cars have a deservedly bad reputation for assembly quality and rust. The later cars were built at Canley or Solihull and are much better as well as having a convertible option. Despite what you might think, engine swaps in post '75 cars are fairly common and can be done, import tuners do LS/240Z and LS/BMW and more crazy swaps up here pretty commonly. Let me worry about the legalities, I'm just wondering about the basic Rover/1UZ/LS trade. If anyone has dealt with the pre/post OBD2 rule that's a bonus for me, since if that's easy to do that opens up more options.

[jagsthatrun.com]

John



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/2020 10:36PM by 7_Heaven.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5968 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

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

authors avatar
Re: Best California BAR-Legal TR7 V8 Swap?
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: September 25, 2020 10:57AM

We did the 1UZ swap to Dan's 1980 TR7 several years back and that turned out really well. The transmission can be a challenge, as can retention of the cowl vent but really worth the effort.

Jim


TR8Driver
Darrell Walker
Vancouver, WA, USA
(8 posts)

Registered:
08/23/2019 07:59PM

Main British Car:
1981 Triumph TR8, 1966 Triumph TR-4A 3.5 Rover V8, 2.1 wet liner 4 cyl with super charg

authors avatar
Re: Best California BAR-Legal TR7 V8 Swap?
Posted by: TR8Driver
Date: September 26, 2020 07:41PM

I don't think the Land Rover swap will fly, since it is a "truck" engine, not a car engine.


7_Heaven
John Gibb
NorCal
(4 posts)

Registered:
09/23/2020 10:32PM

Main British Car:
1979 Triumph TR7 Stock 2L (for now)

authors avatar
Re: Best California BAR-Legal TR7 V8 Swap?
Posted by: 7_Heaven
Date: September 28, 2020 01:01PM

Thanks Jim and Darrell. I sent a PM to Jim about the 1UZ swap, looks like the best candidate since the LR is probably listed as a dreaded "truck" engine (although its at least 10X cleaner than the stock TR7 lump).


bsa_m21
Martin Rothman
Vancouver, Canada
(214 posts)

Registered:
01/06/2009 11:41AM

Main British Car:
1980 TR7V8 Rover 3.9L

authors avatar
Re: Best California BAR-Legal TR7 V8 Swap?
Posted by: bsa_m21
Date: October 02, 2020 10:52AM

FYI - the TR8 used an earlier version of the same v8 lump as LR's did up to 2004. Just like a Mustang has variants with 4, 6, or 8 cylinders with those engines used in various vehicles, the case has been successfully made before, in some jurisdictions, that a LR V8 is just an updated version of the TR8 engine. I swapped one into my TR7 and managed to get the authorities to agree that it was merely an "upgrade" to TR8 specs. My car is now listed as a TR7V8 on the ownership. :)

M.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/02/2020 10:53AM by bsa_m21.



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