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V8 Conversions

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    You know Andy I can't remember. I sort of doubt it, since the transmission on the Traction Avant was very fragile even with the original engine in it.

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  • argentargent Posts: 176
    I've read that Andre Citroen was not a particularly good or enthusiastic driver, and he was much more concerned with effortless driving than fast driving. He apparently wanted the Traction Avant to have automatic transmission (probably Sensaud de Lavaud's transmission), but the box he had in mind was SO unreliable -- even compared to the fragile conventional box it eventually got -- that Citroen couldn't afford to make it at all workable.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    You can bust first gear on that car on a violent push start.

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  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,684
    A friend of mine is thinking of acquiring a '58 MGA and installing a 302 V8. I didn't think to ask if it was a Ford 302 (forgetting the Chevy) but I assume the Ford is narrower and would make a
    better candidate.

    He says the A is actually wider than the MG-B(?).

    Any advice to pass onto him?

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    "Don't butcher a nice car and don't spend $$5,000 to turn a $15,000 car into a $2,500 car"--that would be my advice and it's good advice, too.

    If he wants to build a terrifying straight line street rod, pick something worthless and have fun making it into something worthwhile---there are plenty of very inexpensive domestic and foreign cars that will never be worth any money that you can play with.

    But an MGA is a solid collectible and they will soon be breaking the $20K barrier. Turning one into an un-driveable belching beast seems senseless to me, and disrespectful of automotive heritage.

    I've driven many of these V-8 conversions and they are all a big disappointment after the first one-half hour. Cramped, hot, unruly, noisy, lots of frame flex, and 99% of the time using an auto. trans. I mean, now really.

    MG did do a factory V-8 for the MGB but you know, using that cow of a Rover V-8 didn't make the car all that much faster than a stock MGB. At least MG had the good sense to use only the stronger coupe body for that conversion.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    ...but I'd imagine the Ford smallblock would be the better choice. It was originally designed for small cars, whereas the Chevy small block was not, and IIRC, the Ford smallblock is about 75 lb lighter than the Chevy.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,684
    Good point about the A being a real collectible that's worth more stock than modified. That hood looks pretty low to accomodate a V8 anyway.

    Maybe he's just fantasizing. He's kind of bummed because he thinks the motor in his TR-6 is failing. I assume that car would be worth more w a new 2.5 six than w a V8 as well.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    Well, gee, it's just an old fashioned pushrod 6. He should be able to rebuild it pretty cheap.

    If he wants a fast MGA, he could build a Stage II MGB motor for it, and get maybe 130 HP. With such a light car, it should fly.

    But if he realll wants to put a V8 in something, he could try an MGB coupe, since this has been done successfully before.

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  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,684
    and for all the fun we've had on the Classic Cars board.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    Yeah, it's been great! Thanks Andy, you've been a great supporter and very pleasant to talk to.

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  • cmfloydcmfloyd Posts: 3
    "MG did do a factory V-8 for the MGB but you know, using that cow of a Rover V-8 didn't make the car all that much faster than a stock MGB. At least MG had the good sense to use only the stronger coupe body for that conversion."

    Actually, the extra 45HP make the MGB way more fun. Having driven many MGB V8 conversions from mild to wild, I can tell you that the roadster is certainly strong enough to handle a V8.

    Mine has only 160HP to the rear wheels, but I would never, ever go back. :)

    http://britcars.net/FloydC1.jpg
  • turboshadowturboshadow Posts: 349
    I vaguely remember that Ford South Africa put 302s in the British designed Capri and called it a Pirana (I think that's the way it was spelled). Anyone have any info on if that was true and if you can still get the parts to build one? I think a 5.0 injected manual Capri ould be a hoot.

    Turboshadow
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    I think the MBG V-8s are interesting novelties but ill-conceived in many ways. It kills the natural balance of the B and I bet you could build a regular B engine to run away from say a Costello V8. I guess I just don't see the point when the torquey 1800 cc unit is so "just right" for the car--size, sound, everything.

    As for "wild" V8 conversions, that just bastardizes a great little British sports car. Turning a nice MGB into a bellowing beast is a real crime IMHO. If you want a Cobra, go buy a kit for $12,000 and build it, is my advice, or get a Sunbeam Tiger that at least has a V8 you can do something with. But don't mess up a nice "B.

    Ideas fail for a reason. The Cobra was a smash hit, the V8 MGB and Tiger not so much...

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  • turboshadowturboshadow Posts: 349
    Doesn't a 302 Ford weigh about the same as the MGB motor? IIRC, the Ford weighs 415 pounds all up. Put aluminum heads and intake on it and you can shave probaly another 75 pounds off.

    Personally, I like the American V8 conversions. I do prefer them on the less mainstream cars (TR7 and rubber bumper MGBs) because those cars are cheaper.

    I talked at length about 10 years back with a guy that had a 289 powered 75 Spitfire. The handling was descibed as diabolical, and it had a huge hoodscoop like a 64 Ramcharger to cover the engine.

    Turboshadow
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    how light the 302 is...I've heard ranges from around 450-500 lb. Definitely light for a V-8 though.

    I wonder though, even if the engine isn't much heavier than MB unit, it might still end up being too much power for it. To use a totally different example, a Mopar smallblock wedge V-8 weighs around 525 lb, only about 50 lb more than the slant six. But the overall weight of the car usually went up by around 175 lb or more when you got the V-8, because of bigger brakes and other beefed-up components to handle the extra power.

    Then it could just be that the extra torque is too much for the lightweight MG body, and makes it too scary to handle? I'd imagine that even a mild 302 probably still puts out about 230-250 ft-lb of torque (and that's "net", post-1971 torque!), which would probably be considered stump-pulling for something like an MG!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    Well what happens is you end up steering the car with the gas pedal, like in a Sunbeam Tiger. This is both fun and exhausting, and the car becomes loud and rude and the torque really stresses the frame. They sound like fun to drive but they really aren't. I'd much rather have a factory-engineered V8 but the MGB V-8 I drove really wasn't very fast at all. I think the Buick Rover V8 is a cow of an engine but some people disagree...

    I did drive a V8 conversion in a Mercedes 280SL and that was pretty good---it was a low HP Ford 289 with automatic and a very quiet muffler system and beautifully, and I mean beautifully, engineered. That seemed to work.

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  • cmfloydcmfloyd Posts: 3
    "They sound like fun to drive but they really aren't."

    I personally know more than 40 people that disagree. Come to our British V8 Meet in Townsend, TN this June and try out some well sorted, very fun MGV8s (& TR6 V8s).

    On one hand, you say that you drove an MGV8 and it wasn't that fast. Then you say that a V8 makes it no fun to drive. Can't have it both ways. A Buick/Rover is not a big engine, but twice the displacement, 2-3 times the power, & 40 pounds lighter than stock makes it perfect.

    Even putting a 302 in a MGB doesn't have to upset the balance or handling of the car. I have driven 2 MGBs that were dyno'd to be putting over 300hp to the rear wheels. Both are excellent handling cars. Way better than any Sunbeam Tiger.

    BTW, that 4 cyl. MGB that can outrun a Costello V8 is not going to be very streetable or, as you say, much fun to drive. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    The MGB is perfect to me just as it is, it doesn't need a V8 I don't think. If a person wants a Cobra, they should buy a Cobra. For every MGB fan who likes the V8, there are probably 25 that don't IMHO. Certainly the V8 was not a popular model when new.

    I don't like driving them at all...too much understeer, too much engine heat, too much noise of the wrong sort for my particular tastes. A British sports car should sound like a British sports car, not like a GTO.

    I'm trying to think if I ever drove a V8 conversion that substantially made a "better" car---but I think all one gets is a "different" car--which may suit your particular tastes, granted.

    I'd much rather drive a car with less power quickly than one with too much power slowly.

    I did drive an MGB fitted with a Mazda rotary and 5 speed and that car was pretty sweet--I preferred it to the V8, no question. Also the TDs with Volvo engines are okay, but I'd never do that to a TC.

    But I do agree with you that a 130HP MGB built up from an 1800cc engine is not all that streetable. However, a well tuned stock MGB is actually not much slower than a stock MGB V-8---which is why the V8 didn't sell. You only gain maybe 1.5 seconds or so.

    If I had a Cobra, I'd want the smallest, lowest HP engine possible, a mildly tuned 289 would be perfect for me. I think the 427s are just plain nasty to drive. Ditto Vipers.

    I also drive a Porsche 928, so I know all about V8 sports cars and what I like and don't like personally.

    You know, to each his own, that's what makes cars a hobby.

    Of course, if you tossed me the keys for a day, I wouldn't whine :P

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  • I think you miss the point, or perhaps it's just that your perspective is so different. The list of things that made the MGB such a popular car were led by handling and fun. Changing to the V8 doesn't diminish either one, in fact it increases them. The engine is actually a bit lighter so it doesn't hurt the handling at all, in fact it doesn't have any effect whatsoever. And most people that I know of don't actually prefer the exhaust note of a 4 cylinder engine over the sound of a v-8 engine. So I'm having a real problem understanding your objection here.

    If it's the power, well the MGB always was a little underpowered, no getting around that. It never did have enough to get throttle induced oversteer under most conditions and so was lacking in handling there. And I suppose a mere 50% increase in power by going from the 100 or so horses from the 4 to the 150 or so horses from the 8 could be described as a marginal increase but then it truely makes me wonder what you would consider more suitable.

    Actually your comments tend to persuade me that you have never actually driven a V8-MGB at all but are simply regurgitating some old negative press disdainfully presented on behalf of the old Triumph faction. Or if you did, perhaps it was such an old and tired example as to be scarcely capable of rolling out of the driveway, because I can tell you from experience that even a very mild 215 with under 7:1 compression is a joy to drive compared to the 1800, due in large part to the exceedingly wide powerband.

    But a Cobra? BAH! What on earth do the two cars have in common that you would be cheeky enough to suggest I might like one of those better than an MGB? Clueless, I'd say.

    Jim
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    By all means, we should all drive what we like.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    I'll see a 70's Dodge Colt 2-door hardtop show up at the various Carlisle shows. It's one of the older RWD models, and is sporting a 440 in the engine bay! :surprise:

    I'd be curious to see how something like that performs and handles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    Probably a lot of push in turns and hard work to drive around town. With a tricked out suspension and good brakes and decently quiet exhaust, it might make a decent straight line highway car. I would imagine you wouldn't nail the gas pedal on a turn or you might forfeit your life.

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  • turboshadowturboshadow Posts: 349
    Ronnie Sox had a hemi powered Colt pro-stock in the mid seventies. He abandonded it because with the short wheelbase, the handling was horrible and the car was quite skittish.

    Anyone remember the pro-stock 4 door Mavericks from the mid seventies?
  • the thing was to put a Dana rear end into a Chevy?

    .... or those little cars (sort of like a Citation) that used to be modified with a 350?

    Isn't there a BIG car show in Pa. next week?
    ... and a cruise, too?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    in Macungie, PA the weekend of August 5. I had intended to put a car in, but I just checked the registration sheet and missed the deadline, which was July 1. :-( Dangit. Well, I'll keep it in mind for next year.
  • chicos48chicos48 Posts: 1
    I have a 48 chrysler windsor and am wanting to change the factory 6 cylinder/6 volt to a 8 cyclender/12 volt but keep the original gages is this possible if so what do I need to do thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    You mean change over to a Chrysler straight-8 from a Saratoga or New Yorker of the same year, or to a modern V8 engine?

    If it's a modern V8, the best thing to do is buy a plastic full-size dummy of the engine you wish to use. This allows you to figure out your clearances and motor mounts and exhaust/manifold paths and radiator clearances and cooling. Once the dummy engine has been properly located, you can worry about the transmission mounting and clearances and floor tunnel cutting, probably using a gutted transmission case. Then you've have to fabricate a driveshaft. Depending on the power of this V8, you may need to completely change your differential, but maybe not.

    As for the gauges, simple resistors should protect them but I'm not sure how you'll get the speedometer to work. That's going to take some research.

    You're in for a big job.

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  • doty805doty805 Posts: 2
    My name is Carlin Doty and I am 16. I own a 1960 Chrysler windsor four door sedan with a 383 big block V8. I have been having problems with getting enough fuel to the carbuerator. I have replaced the fuel pump recently so I am wondering if I should bipass the old metal fuel line that goes to the gas tank in case it is blocked and install a rubber one.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,647
    A big No here. If you have to replace the fuel line, go with metal. But fist, buy/rent/borrow a fuel pressure gauge and plumb it into the fuel line between the pump and carb, and see if it is a pressure problem. Now that it has a new pump, low pressures would be caused by some obstruction. Sometimes, the fuel tank pickup can be blocked, and replacing the line won't help. Most of all, be careful working on the fuel system, especially if it comes to opening up the tank. Explosions are known to happen! Good luck with it, my family's car growing up was a '63 Dodge Polara with the 383. We still have it, drove it recently, so they'll run forever!

    p.s. - did you check/change the fuel filter?
  • doty805doty805 Posts: 2
    Thank you for your reply. I did replace the fuel fiilter. My only problem is that the original metal fuel line runs inside the frame so if i were to replace it with another metal fuel line i would have run it along the frame because i dont see how i could run it through the frame. I thought that it would be easier to run a rubber one instead. i will try to get ahold of a pressure gauge and test that out. thanks again.
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