Car Engine Conversion Tuning

Published by Carl Wilson on

engine swap

Here is some helpful tips and examples for car engine conversion tuning. You can also search for a car engine with us. How to get a Landrover that runs at 20 mpg, being driven at 30 MPH to do 35-40 mpg. A good starting point must be a car engine that is capable of returning 55-60 MPG.

engine swap
source: https://www.fastcar.co.uk/tuning/best-5-engine-swaps/

Basically the landrover will take most engines, as long as you can stick a landy clutch plate on the flywheel and can physically bolt the motor to the gearbox it’s easy. But as you don’t want to break anything sticking to an engine with similar output is a good idea.

Using the landrover clutch plate on the Montego engine requires the flywheel off a Sherpa/LDV van [they come with N/A Prima engines], you can’t squash a 9 1/2Inch plate against the car flywheel. You also need the starter off the van. You can change the rotation of the starter but you would have to replace the starter clutch and the pinion.

The alternator has to be moved to the rh side of the motor, so a new alternator mount is needed, obviously new engine mount’s are needed.

The graph is cost against mileage, for petrol[red] [intersect at zero] and diesel[green] inc. the conversion cost[before it was finished]. This graph is against LPG, the LPG cost more than the diesel to run, not a lot but it is more plus it has higher install costs.

Vegetable Oil Engine Conversion 

We are finding more and more that potential veg oil users are being given misinformation on exactly what they should and should not do to properly achieve their goal, in an effort for you to become responsible users rather than abusers we decided this article must go onto our page.

First of all let’s get down to the basics of running diesels on veg oil. SVO (straight vegetable oil) is many times thicker than diesel at ambient temperatures, the lower the temperature i.e. in winter, the thicker the SVO, in summer, the thinner it is, but even then it is still many times thicker than Diesel.

The mechanics for successful combustion for SVO is very simple, once it is heated to normal engine temperatures around 80°C + it burns similarly to Diesel. But it really is no use heating veg oil and squirting it into a cold unmodified engine, the net effect is cold start problems as outlined in the following paragraph. Everything, the engine and the SVO going into that engine must be at a similar hot temperature.

There are many common misconceptions about running diesels on veg oil, just because the vehicle appears to start and run ok with a mix on an unmodified engine, then it must be OK? WRONG.

Vegetable oil ONLY burns cleanly when hot, so when mixing, most of all potential damage will be caused when starting from cold, when the fuel is forced through injectors, the fuel is thicker thereby putting tremendous unnecessary strain on the fuel system pump and injectors, at least shortening their life, the cold veg oil part of the mix does not fully atomize, you need a fine atomized spray of fuel for clean combustion, larger droplets than intended will form, when they are larger they become incombustible, now large droplets of incombustible fuel have to go somewhere, some will be thrown out of the exhaust causing unnecessary pollution and acrid smell, some accumulates on the internals of the engine running the risk of carbon build up which can stick piston rings into their grooves and can damage surfaces on bores. The remainder will find its way down the bores into the engine oil causing greater engine oil contamination than normal.

ALL diesel engines have a certain amount of fuel to engine oil contamination to a greater or lesser extent dependant upon many things, pre-combustion chambered engines tend to suffer less than direct injection engines. This is why, on any diesel, when engine oil is changed it immediately appears black again, this is soot / carbon deposits amongst other contaminates.

When diesel contaminates engine oil it thins it out then most evaporates, when veg oil contaminates it thickens due to polymerisation and there is no evaporation. When engines are started from cold on SVO or a mix this ingress can be greatly accelerated. If you find that the dipstick level is rising the sump is filling up, it is a sure sign that your engine oil is being contaminated with veg oil, if left unchecked an overfull sump can cause damage. A simple test for polymerisation is to dip then get sample oil between thumb and forefinger, if it is sticky, CHANGE THE OIL, with converted engines in good condition this does not usually happen until normal service mileage is due, if at all.

With converted engines it is recommended you do engine oil changes every 5000 to 6000 miles, a good mineral based oil or semi synthetic oil is ok for some engines but a high spec plant based engine oil such as Plantomot 5w40 as offered here is even better as these oils resist polymerization well, conserve energy and are rapidly biodegradable. It is advised to use these oils especially on higher powered engines and direct injection types. In extreme cases where the engine has gone way over its service interval and/or engine is not in good repair the engine oil can turn to sludge. BE WARNED.

The above scenario will be lesser or greater in proportion to the amount of veg oil mixed, the ambient temperatures at which it is used and the tolerance to veg oil of the particular engine, generally older pre-combustion type engines will be more forgiving, for instance the older type Mercedes pre-combustion engines are the most tolerant due to their particular unique design than the more modern direct injection engines. With common rail and equivalent PD type engines and those with in-tank lift pumps (some in-tank lift pumps are barely capable of pumping diesel let alone SVO!) and engines with Lucas type distributor injection pumps you can really get into trouble very quickly.

Another problem is that most diesel filters are either inadequately heated or not heated at all causing veg oil to wax up and hinder or stop fuel flow.

Mixing a small amount of veg oil to an unmodified diesel engine is, however, undoubtedly beneficial. Five percent would probably not hinder combustion and would aid fuel system lubrication. There would also be an improvement in emissions, similar to that of the same bio-diesel mix which is widely sold at the pump. We reason that why go to the extraordinary bother of making bio-diesel with all the nasty chemical processes that go with a loss system only to mix it with 95% Diesel? May as well just add 5% Pure Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil but that’s another story!

There are many claims by “fly by night manufacturers” of spuriously designed gizmos, “fit this widget and you can start on SVO no problem”. This again is why it is good for tuning and to be aware that you cannot cold start on SVO without some detriment in an unmodified engine period.

For instance take the lesson from above, now many so called engineers seem to think that firing up a glow plug in the fuel line will aid starting, this simply is a wildly inadequate modification. Worst still many believe this drivel. How is this even remotely possible? You have several kilograms of cold metal, tubing and fuel and a 150 watt glow plug is instantly going to set the scene for a successful start up? No way, it is just enough to un-wax a filter, granted it may be better than nothing but glow plugs are designed to glow almost white hot for short periods of time, they are not designed for fuel to run over them constantly, this is why you will find that they will fail regularly, also with such high temperatures the risk of carbon build up and break off is very high, whatever you do do not put one of these in front of your injection pump without a high temperature filter to catch any debris (please don’t get confused with ATG’s diesel-therm which is specially designed for fuel to flow over them, they are built to ATG’s specification by glow plug manufacturers, they cannot be bought anywhere in the world other than from ATG or their approved dealers, we are their UK agents, they are used as part of a kit along with a 2500w or more rated coolant heat exchanger).

We have made very simple calculations and to be able to do what these makers claim even a small engine will need somewhere in the region of 2,500 watts of power for a clean start if used in the right areas. So 16 glow plugs in a line? Don’t think so, that’s over 200 amps on a 12v system! That’s not forgetting of course the cold veg oil still in the high pressure lines, the cold injection pump, the cold piston tops, the cold bores, the cold everything else!! The only way to make a clean start other than conversion is to pre-heat the whole engine, one way is to use a “night heater” either electrical mains or diesel whereby the engine is heated via heating the vehicles cooling system, with a few tweaks this could be a very successful way to do it but in practice it really is not the preferred method, these systems are expensive and you would need maybe half an hour of heating prior to starting at each and every cold start, the energy used is pretty phenomenal considering it is largely being wasted on a stationary vehicle, for instance if you preheated your vehicle 2 times daily, once to get to work then again for the return trip you would use the equivalent of at least 10 full boiled kettles, or over 7 days lighting for an entire house in energy value EVERY DAY!

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Carl Wilson

You won't believe it, I'm native Scotsman. Enthusiast. Car lovers. Almost finished rebuilding my Reliant Saber 🔥

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