How many of you would pay $15,000 for a billet Rover V8 block?

kennith

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2004
10,060
53
North Carolina
Think about it hard...

A "genuine" (potentially slightly improved) Rover V8 block that will suffer absolutely none of the problems associated with blocks currently on the market. It would be full custom and machined from scratch, but it would bolt right in; being set up as a 4.6. Anyone would be able to build a complete engine in there without special catalogs.

Once and done.

We're talking about maximum precision, here; a block that'll be happy for a lifetime. I need 20 for it to make sense, and I know the people are out there. I just don't at this time know precisely where they are, but I'm going to do my best to cure that ignorance.

General Land Rover use, TVR restoration, race cars, rally vehicles, boats... It would still be one of, if not the lightest "production" V8s on the market. It just wouldn't ever fuck up.

Cheers,

Kennith
 

kennith

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2004
10,060
53
North Carolina
You can just send me a PM if you're interested but don't want to post it publicly.

I'll probably go around the Rover forums over the next few months and call some people I know that might be interested.

We'd all have another option that'll take pretty much whatever you can throw at the rest of the drive-line for a very, very long time. Those of you with very well-kept or restored vehicles; specifically high-dollar NAS Defenders might find it worthwhile.

The block would be based on the 4.6 Bosch units, so it's a drop-in on vehicles requiring emissions inspections and is compatible with what's on the market.

Cheers,

Kennith
 

robertf

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2006
3,971
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Is this something you’re designing or someone with a background and reputation in billet engine design?
 

kennith

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2004
10,060
53
North Carolina
Is this something you’re designing or someone with a background and reputation in billet engine design?
Oh, fuck. I'm not designing it :ROFLMAO:, though I'll have some input (and will discuss it all with those who want one, as well as those who've built them over the years to identify potential areas of improvement that have been around a long time).

This is a company that specializes in billet engine blocks. They do other stuff, but they build drag engines putting out thousands of horsepower. They even do nikasil plating. It's the real deal, not some fly by night nonsense cranked out by a guy with a mill and a dream.

It'll be rock solid; built like a tank, and essentially as good as cast iron, while retaining internal and external part compatibility and that RV8 personality that just can't be replicated. If someone wants more power, there will be room to make it, but it'll be a fine, drop-in choice for everyone else; emissions or not.

I was thinking about doing heads after this, actually.

Importantly, it's not going to screw up your vehicle balance. It's not going to be much more heavy than what you have, but my intent is indeed to get more meat in there, but it doesn't need much with the improved materials and production method. That'll come down to discussion and consultation to be sure I'm on the right track.

Cheers,

Kennith
 

kennith

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2004
10,060
53
North Carolina
Actually, I told them my biggest challenge wouldn't be the price... It would be convincing people it's not just another part that will never show up, and that it's not going to be junk.

I know the Rover community is hesitant to trust, at this point.

Cheers,

Kennith
 

SGaynor

Well-known member
Callsign: KN4KFS
Dec 6, 2006
6,068
25
48
Bristol, TN
Hell, people will pay upwards of $20k to put in a diesel. Why not a billet engine that's a direct replacement?
 
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Swedjen2

Well-known member
Sep 12, 2018
158
12
California
I would need more detail on why your proposition is worth an xtra $7-8K above a nearly complete Turner, ACR or IE Rovers top-hat offering.
How is it going to be manufactured? Who is going to manufacture the block? What's their history?
Is it just a block or are you offering a complete engine?
Or compare it to the Trailhead LS D2 conversion for around $10K - even if it goes to 15K. I would not have an issue with a LS 4.8 or 5.3 under the hood.
I think you have a tough sell, but I'll listen.

I didn't include AB since they don't build them in-house, but contract with a shop down the road. AFAIK.
 

robertf

Well-known member
Jan 22, 2006
3,971
16
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Drag blocks that make thousands of horsepower dont have cooling passages.
Machining blind galleys is going to be a challenge. The obvious solution is wet liners, but now youve got an unproven expensive design where an existing proven solution is there
 

K-rover

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2010
1,984
16
Raleigh, NC
#LSswap
I would need more detail on why your proposition is worth an xtra $7-8K above a nearly complete Turner, ACR or IE Rovers top-hat offering.
How is it going to be manufactured? Who is going to manufacture the block? What's their history?
Is it just a block or are you offering a complete engine?
Or compare it to the Trailhead LS D2 conversion for around $10K - even if it goes to 15K. I would not have an issue with a LS 4.8 or 5.3 under the hood.
I think you have a tough sell, but I'll listen.

I didn't include AB since they don't build them in-house, but contract with a shop down the road. AFAIK.
Yep, Id rather have an LS swap. A fancy billet block doesnt change the fact the engine is underpowered and parts are expensive or no one makes them anymore. Its hard to beat an LS swap for power, reliability, and part sourcing.
 

kennith

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2004
10,060
53
North Carolina
I would need more detail on why your proposition is worth an xtra $7-8K above a nearly complete Turner, ACR or IE Rovers top-hat offering.
Easy. It's a new block that doesn't suffer the corrosion, porosity, liner slip, and head gasket issues. It's a lifetime purchase for anything fitted with a Rover V8.

The rebuilt engines are using the same blocks, and dropped liners aren't the only issue. Cracks, corrosion... It's all happening slowly, but surely. Liners aren't magic. The block is still there, and so are any issues present.

How is it going to be manufactured?
Machined from a forged billet of aluminum.

Who is going to manufacture the block? What's their history?
Currently LSM is on the horn, but there are options. Their history is primarily alcohol drag engines, like most billet block manufacturers. There's normally no need for it otherwise, but this is the only way to get a new Rover V8 block that will last longer than the vehicle. Well, it's the only way to get a new Rover V8 block, period, at this point.

Is it just a block or are you offering a complete engine?
Just the block, liners, and things of that nature; perhaps some other stuff. The stuff that's already in and on your engine would fit.

Or compare it to the Trailhead LS D2 conversion for around $10K - even if it goes to 15K. I would not have an issue with a LS 4.8 or 5.3 under the hood.
There is no comparison. That's a Frankenrover, not something most will want to bother with, and you're looking at a block that will dramatically alter vehicle dynamics given it's increased weight over the front axle. That is not an option for most people, and by the time you slap a winch and bumper up there

The block I'm talking about will be compatible with everything without a hassle, wouldn't require that ridiculous conversion, would keep the benefits of the RV8, and would not be out-classed in any way by an LS; iron or aluminum, it doesn't matter. The quality and dimensional stability you get with a forged billet is outlandish.

We're talking about a drop-in part; the intent of which would be to completely eliminate any issues with the RV8. Forever. You're finished. Problem solved.

I think you have a tough sell, but I'll listen.
I think it would be an easy sell if people stop and think about what they're already buying. I'm going to rebuild mine anyway because I'm kind of attached, but it's still paying $7,000-$15,000 (I want some extra procedures done) for a twenty year old sand cast, porous, potentially corroded and/or cracked block that was made on a severe budget.

I'm one that will contend the RV8 can be perfectly reliable, but time... Time seems to be a variable, and they were a lot better in the past.

Cheers,

Kennith
 

kennith

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2004
10,060
53
North Carolina
Drag blocks that make thousands of horsepower dont have cooling passages.
Machining blind galleys is going to be a challenge. The obvious solution is wet liners, but now youve got an unproven expensive design where an existing proven solution is there
Proven to stop dropped liners and seal some leaks; not proven to stop corrosion eating away at things... And proven for how long, anyway? There are some questions about what time is doing to the later blocks, but they haven't been asked long enough to get an answer.

...and to be fair, most of those guys are just going through the motions and have no idea what their modified engines are putting out. One swore up and down that the power band didn't matter at all, another strongly and repeatedly suggested that top hats solve every single problem that a RV8 could ever have, several more couldn't provide any performance data at all...

Robison has been a far different experience than the rest. That's who's going to handle my own engine, but I'm still out to help create a better option.

Part of the reason they want to go for a decent number is the fact that it will indeed be difficult to get the internal details right. They make conventional blocks, as well; they're just set up for the obvious candidates. They don't have the RV8 on file, so I'd probably have to deliver a few engines to be measured, cut up, and so on.

Their first reaction was simply that they didn't want to bother, but after I asked them to poke around in the market a bit and indicated that I'd like to know what the problem was, I got the numbers. I was expecting much worse for a first run, honestly.

Cheers,

Kennith
 

kennith

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2004
10,060
53
North Carolina
#LSswap


Yep, Id rather have an LS swap. A fancy billet block doesnt change the fact the engine is underpowered and parts are expensive or no one makes them anymore. Its hard to beat an LS swap for power, reliability, and part sourcing.
It doesn't have to be underpowered. That comes down to what you do with it. You can get enough juice out of a RV8 to overpower your drive-line. I've seen my share of engines cranking out more than 500bhp in scavenger hunt rallies.

You just won't have that juice for very long... With the improved block, you'll have it as long as you like.

I don't know what you mean about parts being unavailable or expensive. I can still get everything I need; much more than I ever could for my other vehicles, and most are cheaper.

Cheers,

Kennith
 

K-rover

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2010
1,984
16
Raleigh, NC
My point was trying going down to Autozone or similar and say you need a (whatever) for a D2. They look at you like you have a 3rd eye. Now if you say you need a part for a Chevy 1500 truck, they give you 10 options at all different price points. Dollar for dollar you cant beat the LS. I just cant see enough benefits of having a "better" Rover v8 block when you still have to reuse other Rover parts.
 

ERover82

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2011
3,101
54
Darien Gap
Summary. Miss anything?

LS Pros:
Cheaper
More power out of the gate
Parts highly available

LS Cons:
Not Rover purist approved
Labor intensive install
Heavier (How much?)

Billet RV8 Pros:
Rover purist approved
Lighter (How much?)
Foundation for more power
Existing part compatibility

Billet RV8 Cons:

Expensive
More power requires foray into non-Rover parts and tinkering
Experimental
Limited to Rover part availability
 
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kennith

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2004
10,060
53
North Carolina
Yup, you pretty much nailed it on the pros and cons, as well as target demographic, though I'd expand it to people like me and those with really nice Range Rovers and D1s. Remember as well that the blocks would end up cheaper over time. Many of their "production" blocks go for less than a rebuilt Rover V8.

Of course, this wouldn't be entirely experimental. Technically it's the second after-market Rover V8, but depending upon what has to change inside, there could be some questions. Honestly, though, is it really going to be a questionable block? If they cool it in a way that works, build it to fit the parts, use high quality materials and manufacturing, and are confident it's as good as anything else they've built...

It's not as if I'm asking them for a Merlin, or to design a new engine.

It's an old Buick push-rod V8. They know how to make a V8. The question is just how close they can get to the original intent. There's nothing wrong with a drastically different cooling arrangement so long as it's compatible with the vehicles in question, it works fine, it's long-lived, and the engine doesn't lose it's personality.

I find it difficult to accept that the result would be anything less than an improvement, and if they can actually mill that thing out largely identically, it's obviously several steps up. I know I'd love to find out just how the hell they do all that internal machining, because I've wondered that myself many times.

It's not an overnight project. This will take a while to get right, and that's why it's expensive. The first customers always end up subsidizing those that come after. That's just the nature of manufacturing.

Cheers,

Kennith
 

kennith

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2004
10,060
53
North Carolina
If you can get roller rockers to work instead of flat tappets, I would be 7% more interested.
I don't see why not. At least one person here already has a roller setup in his RV8. Now, how much work did it take? I've no idea.

This is stage zero, though; exploring interest.

Now, if some small alteration opens up a huge after-market and has no drawbacks whatsoever, that's the sort of thing I'd be keeping an eye out for. Perhaps altering a part slightly will remove an oiling restriction, or a superior bearing can be used with improved availability... The intent is to produce a Rover V8 block.

Deviating too strongly would end up defeating the purpose. It may even make the most sense to identically replicate the design with no alterations beyond those required to produce it in this manner.

Good or bad, it must remain a Rover V8, and it must play nice with electronics. It'll be beefier and made of better stuff, but it'll still be a Rover V8. Beyond that, it's one thing to replicate an engine and improve precision, but it's another entirely to begin redesigning it. Replicating it costs $15,000. Redesigning it costs more than that amount. :ROFLMAO:

Some things are easy and part of the process. Others would require extensive design and testing. Don't forget that any alteration involves someone sitting down at a computer and figuring out the best way to do it without affecting anything else. It ain't going to check every box on the wish list.

Cheers,

Kennith
 

fishEH

Well-known member
Jan 26, 2009
6,437
32
Lake Villa, IL
Don't MG's enthusiasts use the Rover V8? The pics I've seen seem to indicate they get all geeked up for stuff like this and may be another(if not your primary) audience.