Range Rover






Cooling system


Electrical system


Ignition system




Manual Gearbox


Automatic Gearbox


Transfer Box


Air Bags


Air Suspension
















Psion Organiser II


Flymo LT1236 mower


Range Rover pages

V8 Engine


My 1985 Range Rover is powered by a 3528 cc twin carburettor version of the Rover V8 engine. This is similar to the type of engine as was fitted to the earliest examples of the marque.

The early versions of this engine had three rows of cylinder head bolts, but experience has shown that the outboard row caused the heads to tilt, with leaking of the head gasket into the valley. This outer row of bolts has been omitted from later versions of the engine. Current replacement head gaskets do not even have holes for the bolts!

The engine is from the 17D series, a 9.35:1 high compression version and one of the last used in the UK before the introduction of fuel injection. Two systems were used in an attempt to reduce air pollution, at a time when CO (carbon monoxide) was considered to be the main problem:-

1) The Stromberg carburettors were fitted with a modified throttle butterfly, which had a spring-loaded poppet valve in it. This was designed to open under conditions of high induction manifold vacuum, as in engine braking and over-run, when excess fuel tends to be sucked out of the carbs. The open poppet valve allowed more air to be drawn into the engine, which helped burn off the extra fuel and reduced the CO emission levels.

Alas, there was a generic problem with the springs in the poppet valves, which were factory set and solder-locked. They lost their strength at around 30,000 miles so that the valves would open even at tick-over and this made it impossible to get the slow idle speed of the engine down to the correct value. Many owners have simply soldered the poppet valves shut, but as this leaves a large excrescence in the airway, others (myself included) have replaced the butterflies with plain ones.

2) I believe the "Pulseair" installation was first fitted to vehicles sold in Australia. My engine was fitted with the "later type" pulseair system, but although a diagram of this can be found in the Workshop Manual, there is no corresponding listing in the Parts Manual.

The pipework connects air from the clean side of the air filters via a combined flame trap and non-return valve to the exhaust ports. The theory was that as each pulse of gas leaving the exhaust port passed into the manifold it would draw air into the exhaust, which would then help burn off any residual hydrocarbons and CO.

Many owners have had trouble with this system and have removed it, fitting blanking plugs to the exhaust ports. The carb elbows also need blanking off, but there is no LR part for this, unless you can get hold of an earlier version of the elbows.

I retained this installation until 2010 and used to enjoy the "gritty" noise which these engines emit when working hard. However, I had to remove it for access when replacing the cylinder head gaskets and decided not to re-fit it, because the pipework had corroded in the heat.

The engine now runs almost silently and the MOT emissions test shows no measurable difference!

I have experienced the same problem as many other owners, with the engine "popping" on the over-run at speed against a closed throttle. Another owner showed me a device which his dealer had fitted early in his car's life, in the form of a cowl over the air intake, which is factory pre-drilled for its fitting.

He was told that the "popping" problem is caused by turbulence from the radiator fan disrupting the air flow into the engine. He says it has cured the problem.

I rather think that the cowl was designed to prevent the ingestion of water thrown up by the fan when wading. I have not been able to track down a part number of supplier for this item.

I would be concerned that by making the air flow change direction so acutely it might adversely affect performance.

However, my searches identified part number ERC7079, below, which is listed in the Land Rover parts manual although without any illustration. Inevitably it is a long-since obsolete part, but Hobson Industries had several in stock at the time (along with all sorts of other bits and pieces!)

This fits under the air intake, using the pre-drilled holes provided by Land Rover.

Again, it looks to me more intended to prevent water ingestion, but it certainly does seem to have reduced the "popping" in my case and doesn't look as though it would have such an adverse effect on performance.

These pictures of an engine-strip were taken during one of the Range Rover Register courses held at the Land Rover Technical Academy.

Before doing so, consult the proper workshop manual for your vehicle, where you will find important information, including torque settings. Also recommended is the Land Rover V8 Engine Overhaul Manual.


This 3.9EFI with Lucas hot-wire injection has been sectioned
at the rear.

  The push rods have been removed to clear this view of the cylinder.   This is a view from back to front inside the valley.

Chris Elliott beside a 4.0EFI with Bosch 5.2.1 injection.

The ancillaries, inlet manifold and rocker boxes have been removed.

"Off with its heads"


This bottom end view shows how the main bearing caps are cross-bolted to the crank case.


The following photos were taken during replacement of the cylinder head gaskets during August 2010.

If you are thinking of doing this job yourself, please read the workshop manual applicable to your vehicle and the V8 Engine Overhaul Manual before you start, as there are many variations amongst engines.

When you strip the engine down to remove the cylinder heads, you will end up with a workshop full of parts, looking like an autojumble.


Here's what the engine bay looks like when the heads are off - there's a lot of space which wasn't there before! The two rear outer row head bolts are the most difficult to access, because they are just inside the transmission tunnel.

You can see the holes for the head bolts plugged with twists of kitchen roll to stop gubbins dropping in when cleaning the face of the block. This clearly shows the double row of holes on the outer side, the outermost of which are left empty in the rebuild to prevent the heads tilting and leaks on the valley side.

I've taped the bottom of a 2 litre lemonade bottle over the distributor to prevent damage, or things dropping in.


The cylinder heads are cast as symmetrical and reversible, but are machined for left and right fitting, so don't muddle them up.

On my 3528cc carburettor engine, only the exhaust valves have seals (black rubber washers in foreground) which act like little umbrellas over the valve guides to reduce oil seepage. They harden with age, so it's worth replacing them. It's also a very good opportunity to examine the valves and guides, as you won't get another chance easily!


Here it is, going back together. The dark plates over the rocker shafts are to stop oil spray being sucked up into the the rocker box breathers.

It's clear from this view how the right hand side of the block is set behind the left and how the front face of the block is curved on the right hand side as a result.

Then it's just a matter of fitting the valley gasket, induction and exhaust manifolds and all the ancillaries.