EARLY DRAFT PAGE
Back in 1999 when The Green Rover was converted from a 2.25L petrol
Land Rover engine to a 302 Ford engine I had wanted to convert
to a diesel engine. I choose the petrol engine out of economics. First
there are very few diesel engines that were sold in The United
States that are good choices for a Land Rover, especially a heavy
Dormobile camper with three fuel tanks & on board water tank.
I wanted a fresh engine and except for the big GM 6.2 V8, a fresh
rebuilt diesel engine would have cost me around $8000 (major rebuild
kits for diesels often run $5000). I paid a little over $1000
for a fresh rebuilt 302 long block plus $300 for a core engine. Going
with a fresh diesel engine would have about doubled my conversion
costs. The diesels I was looking at would get approximatly 8 to
10 MPG more than a small block petrol V8 set up for economy. At
the time diesel was a bit more expensive than mid grade grade petrol
and my V8 is set up to run on cheaper regular. Running the
numbers there was no way I could break even on fuel savings between
rebuilds. I did not know that some diesels ran well on used
french fry oil at the time. The question becomes do
you spend a whole lot more money up front and pay a little less
at each fillup or pay half as much up front and fill up more often
when total conversion and operating costs slightly favour the petrol
V8 set up for economy at 150,000 miles. When looking
for a diesel engine be sure to carefully total the costs and be
aware of hidden costs such as buying a 'good' condition used diesel
that is tired and will need a rebuild before long or searching
for a rare or NLA cylinder head or manifold if the one you have
cracks. An engine with a good parts supply, available
locally is by far and away your best bet.
If you are willing to go through the effort of procuring and filtering
used restraunt cooking oil year after year and you pick a diesel
that tolerates usd french fry oil well, the solution is a no brainer. The
diesel quickly becomes the cheaper option. But it would be
real easy to get tired of collecting, filtering and storing your
own fuel over time and just hop over to the filling station. Run
the numbers before finalizing your decision. It the States,
the economic cards are stacked against diesels.
In the U.S. we are hampered by a very small diesel engine selection
in the right size, weight and power range and the high cost of
parts to rebuild a diesel engine. There are a new crop of potentially
"just right" diesels on the near horizon, but they will require
a lot of plumbing, electrics and the price of a newish engine will
likely exceed the value of a Series rig for a while.
was a brief surge in automotive diesels for ligt trucks and
passanger cars during the late 1970's and early 1980's The
Japanese diesels disapeared from all but commercial trucks. American
small truck diesels survived as an option and only Mercedes and
Volkswagon kept diesels in some models of passanger cars. Small
free revving diesel engines that can still be found inside the
US include VW 1.5 and 1.9L fours (excellent engines but a bit on
the small size for Series Land Rovers), Mercedes 616 (240D four
cylinder, about the same HP as a 2.25L petrol but way less torque),
Mercedes 617 five cylinder diesel (300TD, very difficult fit),
A Mazda 4 cylinder diesel that was an option in small Ford Ranger
a 2.8L six cyl diesel that was an option in Nissan Maximas, the
Cummins AT6, a six cylinder diesel made by a company purchased
by Cummins that was used as a diesel option for a Chevy inline
six i small commercial vehicles and the SD33T (3.3L Nissan six
cylinder diesel that was an option in the late international Harverster
LR 2.25L Petrol
52/70 @ 4000
163/120 @ 2000
204 Kg / 450 lbs
LR 200 tdi
83/111 @ 4000
198/146 @ 1800
4 cyl 2.8L diesel,
275/203 @ 1800
Nissan SD33 Diesel 6 cyl, no turbo
70/94 @ 3600
217/160 @ 1800
304 KG / 672 lbs dry
Nissan SD33T Diesel 6 cyl, no intercooler
105/141 @ 3800
255/188 @ 2000
Nissan LD28 Diesel 6 cyl, no turbo
69/93 @ 4400
200/148 @ 2000
Nissan LD28Td Diesel 6 cyl, turbo
118HP @ 4400
198 lbft @ 2000
Nissan LD28Tdi Diesel 6 cyl, turbo with intercooler
124 HP @ 4400
210 lbft @ 2000
Cummins 6AT Diesel, 3.4L, 6 cyl , turbo
220 lbft @2000 RPM
Isuzu 4BD1 (3.9L 4 cyl diesel)
66 / 86 @ 3200
245/ 181 @ 1900rpm
711 pounds dry
Isuzu 4BD1-T (3.9L 4 cyl turboDiesel)
90/ 121@ 3000
314/232 @ 2200
721 pounds dry
Mercedes OM616, 4cyl, 2.4 L
late- 54/72 @4400
97 lbft @ 2400
Perkins Prima. 4 cyl
60/80 @4500 RPM
154/114 @ 2500
Mercedes/Chrysler Sprint van 2.7 Liter 5-cylinder
243-lb. ft. @ 1600 – 2400 RPM
The Ford Powerstroke V8 diesels are big block V8s that are way
too heavy for Series Land Rovers. The Cummins BT6 used in
Dodge vans are too heavy & a tad too long for Most Series rigs,
but I can not help but wonder how one would work in a Land Rover
forward control. The GM 6.2 and 6.5 V8s are big block heavy
engines but some people have managed to squeeze them into Series
Land Rovers. I think this is likely because these are the
cheapest readilly available diesel engines available to Americans
with easy to get parts at a reatively inexpensive cost. I think
there were one or two Toyota diesels briefly avvailable as options
in Canada but I don't think they made it to the US market. There
are people importing engines that were never sold into the States. These
are always a possibility, but parts may be very difficult to obtain
down the line, service might be nonexistant and in some there may
be problems registering or transfering ovwnership of vehicles with
some of these newer engines.
Diesels tend to be very heavy for their displacement.
The 6.2 GM diesel is about the cheapest that can be purchased
in the US. But it is a GM big block engine that is wide,
long and heavy. It barely can be made to fit in a series
engine bay and will likely require 1 ton springs up front. The
GM 6.5 is a bit bigger yet. For V8 diesels the GM 6.2 seems to
be the best choice for Americans if you ever expect installation
plus operating costs to exceed those of a petrol conversion.
eter Hope has managed to stuff a big 6.2 into a series bay. He
has a web
site describing his modifications.
The following is an email from Peter Hope that provides
a lot of detail about GM V8 diesel conversions. An excellent
primer if you are considering going this route:
"I know of a couple other folks on the list
that are also looking at this power plant.
The 6.2 was originally designed as a result of the fuel conscious
The original engine would produce 20-25mpg in a full size GM
Of course by the time it came off the production line things
and people wanted more power. So over the years the heads were
redesigned, different precups, different injectors, and different
injector pumps were used to up the power output. This upped the
torque at the expense of fuel consumption. The engine had two
configurations, noted by the 8th digit of the VIN. The standard
and the heavy duty J. The J code features a wide open plenum
intake, no egr, and an exhaust crossover within the intake manifold.
Gale Banks also designed and sold a turbo kit for the 6.2.
The GM turbo offered on the 6.5tds was based on the Banks design.
Banks still sells the turbo to this day. Not to bad for a 25
The 6.5 was also offered in a naturally aspirated version.
The first couple years of the 6.5 still had a mechanical IP.
electronic ones had some issues. Mostly in where the controller
mounted, the failed/fail due to overheating. You can get FSD
and/or relocation kits for these engines.
The factory output on a J-code 6.2 was something like 225-250
torque. Getting a high output IP (the 6911), opening up the air
larger exhaust, 6.5 high pop injectors, 6.5 heads, turn up the
the IP, I dyno'd 300 at sea level and 270 here at 6400'.
Getting a Banks turbo can bump that up 30-40.
The engine is very heavy, 700lbs without auxiliaries.
The engine is wide, just a tad wider then a Chevy Big Block.
Uses GM engine mounts.
Has the standard GM bell housing bolt pattern.
Uses a special HD flywheel or flex plate. Special clutch or torque
converter. The rest of the transmission is standard GM. If you
auto I would get a 400 or 700r4 that's been internally built
diesel. Heavy duty springs, clutch packs, etc. The standards
are not a
concern on the internals. A SM420, SM465, or NV-4500 are pretty
Do NOT try a rover tranny behind one of these. I know one of
conversions done in Europe kept the Rover auto and I don't think
longevity is there.
The cooling system needs to be top notch, even in the GMC trucks,
systems over heat under load. Get the biggest oil cooler and
you can find. If I remember correctly the GMC I took my engine
a 42"x19" radiator. If you have ever seen under the
hood on a HMMWV you
know what I mean.
So I am using 3-leaf RM front springs to handle the weight.
I went to a defender bonnet and made my own defender like rad
I widened the tranny tunnel of the bulkhead by narrowing the
side foot well 3-4". It is the same width as the left hand
The engine is centered between the frame rails.
I am using a 31x19 radiator. I had to notch the frame to get
radiator low enough for the bonnet to close. With my structural
tubing frame it wasn't a big deal. Not sure on a stock frame
do have room to tilt the radiator, not a severely as the Hummers,
is another mounting idea.
For an oil cooler I found one that measures 21x10x1.5".
I also found a
dual electric fan that uses twin 10" fans and it works perfectly
the oil cooler. I have a twin 16" unit mounted on the radiator.
There was a guy at last years rally in moab that put one of
engines into a 109. http://www.dansunimogs.com/Landroverproject.htm Dan did a much cleaner install then I did and hasn't run into
issues I have, even in Moab. Somehow his webpage has gotten slightly
corrupted with MOG photos, but you can still see most of the
He is not using a giant oil cooler like I am.
The real problems...
1. I have had issues with large amounts of white smoke when
is below 170*. Coming down trails, using engine braking, or
down a steep pass as soon as the temp drops down it starts
I lost the exhaust valve in #7 and replaced the heads. I am
still having the problem. Most of the smoke is coming from
#7 too, it goes
away when I loosen the fuel line at the injector to that one.
swapped all the injectors and even replaced the #7 hard line.
Compression in all 8 cylinders is in the 375-400 range.
My thought now is that it's a faulty IP.
2. A couple weeks back when we went over to Grand Junction I
have any heat issues at all on the way west. Coming back home
I did get
hot going up Vail pass. I was in the wrong gear and the RPMs
low. No problems at all over Eisenhower.
I have a spare engine now and I want to swap over the IP and
that does to the white smoke, and too hot on steep hgihway passes.
roading the truck does great. Tons of torque.
3. Noise. Even with mufflers on, exhaust pipes wrapped, and
minimal insulation in the cab it is just plain loud. Its louder
other 6.2s and louder then Hummers. Again I am thinking IP problem.
Jim also mentioned that I need to double check on the fuel pressure
coming from my pump (after market one). To high fuel pressure
effect the IP internal pressure and change the timing. So even
IP set up correctly the timing might be changing as I drive.
definitely effect noise and the white smoke.
My drive train is the engine, SM465 tranny, Dana-18 t-case,
Overdrive, Tom Wood double jointed drive shafts, rear Sals, front
I went with the Jeep t-case since it has the same rear offset,
adapters for the tranny are readily available.
I am running coiler gears. The engine runs best at 2000-2500
had a Saturn overdrive mounted to the Dana-18 t-case and used
that as a
gear splitter. Held up for 5 years. It really looks like I made
error on instalation and the mainshaft nut retainer was not installed
You really want a gear splitter. An overdrive is nice for highway
driving but the ability to get in between the gear ratios is
What I am thinking about now is the Ranger overdrive. This mounts
between the bellhousing and the transmission. Its designed for
and tow rigs and can handle the power no problem. It is also
to be used as a spliter.
My ideal set up would be engine, Ranger, NV4500, atlas, Sals
rear with 4.1 or 4.5 gears.
With the NV I end up with a dual overdrive so the gearing change
an issue on trips and I also retain the gear splitting ability.
105" wheelbase and the TW drive shafts the center output
wont be an
I am also tossing around the idea of getting a Banks kit for
Now if you are looking for a good diesel to put into an 88 that
provide off road grunt and good highway MPG I would consider
else. Jims VW conversion, 300tdi, 2.8tdi or something similar.
easier conversion. In a 109 that will carry lots of weight I
am not so
sure. I plan on using the 105 to tow with and I think that when
my issues worked out it will be just what I want.
I know of a couple 109s, and a couple 110s that are running this
with out the issues I am having. Now except for Dan it looks
others are very, very tight installs. I could have placed the
my truck without modifing the bulkhead, but would have had <1/2" clearance betten the sides of the footwell and the heads.
For the inline six cylinder diesel class, the old Cummins AT6
inline six cylinder engine seems to be the best conversion. Other
inline 6's available in North America include the LD28 (Early 1980's
Nissan Maxima) and the SD33 (Nissan 6 used as an option in late
International Scouts). Modern Cummins engines like the 6BT
used in Dodge trucks are a lot heavier and bulkier than the earlier
engines. I have yet to hear of a successful conversion. The
Mercedes 300D engine has a number of fit issues at frame level
and would require a lot more engineering. However the engine
weighs way less than the GM V8 diesels. it has a longer average
time between rebuilds and gets significantly better fuel mileage If
one could iron out the fit issues, put a 5 speed gearbox with granny & overdrive
gearing behind it and set up the overall gearing properly this
engine could well be the best of what is available in the U.S. There
was a BMW 2.8L diesel used in some late model Land Rovers. This
appears to be a nice engine and at least one Canadian company is
importing the engine and stocking parts. But be prepared
to spend at least US$5,000 for the engine alone. You can
easily spend over $10,000 by the time you have the conversion on
the road doing most of the work yourself. There might be
import issues for use in a motor vehicle used on the road and you
would have to import any part you need to maintain the engine. You
can buy a lot of petrol for the difference in conversion costs.
Of the four cylinder engines, the Mercedes 240D engine has been
adapted but seems way underpowered for all but the lightest 88's. Here
is an excerpt from an unsigned email I received from someone who
had a 616 engine in a Land Rover Series I "Ive done the mercedes
240 D swap in a 49 80 inch. I used a factory remanned motor with
about 40K miles on it. Ran sweet returned fair mileage. However,
its a gutless motor. Its great for an 80, but not enough oomph
for anything much larger. Under 100 ft/lbs of torque." On
the plus side the engine is an easy fit with decent fuel milage,
tolearates used french fry oil well and Seriestek makes an adapter
that will make the engine to a Series gearbox.
The Ford/IVCO conversion is common in Europe and adaptor kits
are available in LR magazines. Most of the commercial truck
fours are narrow RPM band engines that are not suitable for a 4X4
but I never investigated them all. Four cylinder diesels
tend to be bone shakers.
Keep an eye out for newer diesel availability in the US. A wide
revving V6 or V8 in the 3 to 4L size would likely be the ticket.
Maybe the US will start seeing them after cleaner diesel becomes
available in 2007.
Since I didn't have a diesel conversion I never researched
the nitty gritty nuts and bolts details. So back to my conversion:
The ideal engine in my opinion is the 2.7 liter five cylinder
turbo diesel that is in the dodge sprinter UPS Trucks. Dimensionally
it will fit in a Range Rover or a Series engine bay. I went for
a ride in a loaded UPS truck that weighed 8000 lbs and it shot
from 0 to 72mph (governed) in an alarmingly short time. Plus, amusingly,
he averages 25 MPG in it on a day to day basis. These are hard
to find and cost $7,000, but what an engine!????
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