A K-Series is Reborn – Part 3

So where are we….ah yes we have a head that has been fully serviced, the pistons are fitted to the new rods and the block and liner heights have all been sorted out.

Right then, next step is to install the crank.  Again the K is different to most normal engines.  The crank is held in with a ladder which again is bolted to the block and then torqued up with long engine bolts.  Remember the plastigauge measuring in Part 2.   The installation of the crank is pretty straight forward and nothing to complicated, the bearing shells are all keyed so they will only go on one way.  Soon the crank is mounted into the block, another K quirk is that you can’t rotate the crank easily, again this is because the bearing are oval until the long engine bolts are torque up.  Good fun eh!  Anyway with some gentle persuasion I manage to get the crank to rotate to enable me to bolt on the con-rods.

K series crankshaft

Installation of the liners is next on the list,  I’ve purchased a new set for this engine, one advantage of liners is I don’t have to mess around with a cylinder re-bore.  However as we know liners to come with their disadvantages as they can move with high RPM, again this shouldn’t be too much of a issue with my engine.  The liners are sealed in with good old Blue Holmar

Sealing K series cylinder liner

Once they are fitted into the liners they are locked into position.  Rover wanted stupid money for the official liner clamps so I made some up myself using the old engine bolts, some PVC pipe, a couple of repair washers and lastly some chunks of the old oil rail.  Although they were a bit Heath Robinson but they did the job perfectly.   Now the liners are all locked into place I was able to install the pistons and do up the conrod bolts.

K series pistons fitted into block

The next step is to install the oil rail to the bottom of the engine; this is a very important part of the engine as it provides the anchor to those long engine bolts and provides torsion strength to the whole engine.  This part has recently been upgraded by Land Rover to proved greater strength.  This is bolted to the crank ladder with a couple of locating bolts.

K series oil rail fitted

Last few jobs for the bottom end is installing the crank seal, this is one big seal that needs to be fitted completely square.  Again Rover do a tool but looking at the cost of it I can only assume that is made of gold and encrusted with diamonds.  So I return to my work bench and knock up a tool using some MDF and a piece of plate steel.

Homemade tool
crank seal fitting tool

The tool worked perfectly and the seal went on completely square.

K series crank seal installed

While that was drying I set about installing the sump.  Now there is a gotcha with installing the K series sump off the car, that is the sump bolts to the gearbox.  This means if the sump isn’t installed in exactly the right place there is a chance that when you bolt the gearbox on it can pull the sump and break the seal.  With some crafty use of a flat edge I worked out where the gearbox will sit and then bolt up the sump up confident I’ve got it in the right place.

Now that the bottom end is sorted out, its time to work on the head.  This engine being a VVC (aka Voodoo Valve Control) has a few more parts than the normal fixed valve engines. There are actually 2 inlet cams, the front ones are driven from the cam belt, and the rear is driven by an additional belt connected to the exhaust cam.   In the workshop manual it has big warnings about taking the VVC units apart. Well I like a challenge, also because during the build I obtained some spare units so I decided to take a look at the insides of them to get an idea on how they work.  Taking them apart I soon learnt that although they were very clever their construction was pretty straight forward.  I decided to do a full service on all the units before installing them onto the head.  I figured they are a pretty crucial part of the engine so knowing they are good is very important.

K series VVC internals

Once they are assembled they look like this

K series VVC internals assembled

Both new units are built up and ready to be installed onto the head.  Again the K is different here as there is yet another lump of aluminium acting as a cam carrier which is bolted to the head and this holds the cams and also the VVC sync shaft and HCU.  This shaft is a steel rod with a cog at either end, these cogs engage with the VVC units and ensures that they move at the same time.  If they aren’t in sync you can image what would happen.  There are what seems pages and pages of what/how to do the synchronisation in the Rover manual but Dave Andrews provided a far simpler way of doing it.  So easy in fact that I had to do it twice just to make sure I did it right the first time.

VVC rebuild

The last bit of the VVC magic is the installation of the HCU, Hydraulic Control Unit,  this little chap is oil pressure fed and is controlled by a pair of solenoids.  The HCU rotates the synchronisation shaft which in turn changes the valve timing.  Clever stuff.  Again this needs to be setup correctly and again Dave Andrews comes to the rescue there as well.  Like the VVC units I took it upon myself to strip and fully rebuild the HCU.

Hydraulic control unit VVC

Finally once everything is bolted to the cam carrier the last thing to add is a new Piper exhaust cam.  You can’t buy different inlet cams, this is probably because the VVC system is at its limit already.  However you can buy a different grind exhaust cam.  I had the Piper cam in my old engine and it worked really well.  The cam carrier is soon mounted to the head and the head is ready to be installed onto the block.

VVC head ready for install

Now the big moment, it’s time to bolt on the head to the block.  I’ve been looking forward to this moment as it finally means the engine is nearing completion.  On this build I am using one of the new MLS head gaskets which follow much more modern gasket designs rather than the old elastomer style head gasket.  The head is soon bolted on with its new gasket and engine bolts.    To finish off the block I install a new water pump and oil pump.  Then the belts are installed.  Because of there are two cam belts the timing of the VVC is a tricky process and it took a while to get it right even with the engine on the stand.  Doing this on the car will be a real pain in the arse I’m sure.  So the engine is done!

Rover K VVC engine almost complete

Next time we start on the super charger bits

Part 4