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federalman

Triumph TR8 V8 build

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So this is an unusual one for the forum but one that I thought would be worthwhile posting up so I hope you all find this interesting. The engine in question is a Rover V8. Produced for the last 37 years in various capacities and being fitted in the TR8, Land Rover’s and TVR’s to name a few. I write this thread to document the on going work to restoring a classic British icon of the 70’s and 80’s and it’s day to day use. 

Having finished the porting and polishing of my TD04 it has been my privilege to be asked to carry out some major porting/correction work and polishing of the intake and exhaust ports as well as the top of the combustion chamber. The car is owned by my brother in law who until recently has been working for my father in law restoring classic cars as a business for many years.

When dyno’d this engine was making over 350 hp at the rear wheels, with a completely ruined clutch. To put this in perspective these engines would normally produce around 150 hp. The rev limit currently is around 8,000 however the engine is strangled by the heads and has in the past suffered from valve bounce which is a common problem with these. With upgraded valve springs and titanium retainers this problem can be eliminated.

The engine in its original form is far from standard and to say the history behind this particular engine is interesting is an understatement. The next post will give a brief run down of this and a bit of the spec as it came out of the Leyland factory. 

There will be many updates as I progress through the work on it. I do have some photos and spec to post, however the next write up from me will be the history behind this and the story so far. 

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So on to the history of this engine and it’s past as well as it’s present day ownership. 

 

It’s an ex works rally engine from 1978 Triumph TR7 V8. There were 3 cars entered that year, each having a spare engine the idea being the engines could be swapped between all cars. During this season the TR dominated the circuit with nothing to catch it. The car it now sits in is one of twenty rhd TR8s and it is believe to be one of the last produced. Of the six only five have actually been found, so the last one could well be out there with an owner who has no idea why their TR is quicker than others. 

 

The heads themselves have come straight off the factory floor and were not a special casting. However these were modified slightly with extra oil galleries, enlarged push rod guides to fit upgraded push rods and extra bolts to attach the heads to the block. As a result some of the exhaust ports are completely out of line with the exhaust gaskets. Before polishing I will be gasket matching these and opening the insides out slightly whilst following the original lines of the ports as well as reducing the sharp angle of the top and bottom. The inlets will be gasket matched, casting marks removed and left slightly rough to aid atomisation of fuel. 

 

When dyno’d this engine was making over 350 hp at the rear wheels, with a completely ruined clutch and SU carbs. The rev limit currently is around 8,000 however the engine is strangled by the heads and has in the past suffered from valve bounce which is common with Rover V8 engines. With upgraded valve springs and titanium retainers this problem can be eliminated. 

 

The valves in this engine are quite a combination. The 34mm exhaust valves are in fact the standard inlet valves for this head. The 40mm inlet valves are from an unknown engine. You can see how close the inlets were machined to the cylinder by the Triumph engineers when this engine was originally built. The piston rings in this are not standard as they are thinner and are now extremely hard to come by. The timing chain is an American imported item.

 

I shall upload some photos of the work so far later on. Thanks for reading. 

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Four other engines are known, I would imagine my brother in law would have an idea. One appears to have got lost however. 

Edited by federalman
Word added

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As it’s up for £6000 I wouldn’t imagine it’s one of the original race engines. These on their own would easily make £10,000

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17 minutes ago, federalman said:

As it’s up for £6000 I wouldn’t imagine it’s one of the original race engines. These on their own would easily make £10,000

unless like you said, somebody has no idea what they've got! haha

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If it’s been stripped down at all you can tell as the valves are massively oversized to standard. I’ll post the pictures later on as words don’t do these things justice

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The size difference between the original port and what they can be taken out to is quite surprising. 

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The head uses 34mm exhaust valves. These were originally the intake valves. The 40mm intake valves are from an unknown engine. As you can see the valve seats have been cut in by Triumph engine builders very close to the sides of the cylinder wall. The aluminium sticking out above the spark plug will be ground off with a carbide burr before completely polishing the top of the cylinder. The back of the valve seats have a very sharp angle to it so this will be reduced and smoother into the rest of the port before polishing.

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Edited by federalman
Words added

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Extra oil galleries have been drilled into the heads from the factory (circled) as well as extra head studs. The push rod guides have also been enlarged to accommodate thicker push rods and the angle that these will move at due to the 285 cam. 

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As you can see with the standard casting the ports aren’t even straight and are miles too small compared to the gasket. These have now been opened right out and gasket matched. The fact this engine produces 200 hp above standard with the heads as they are is quite surprising. 

This is the start of the porting process. 

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The first picture is a 120 grit sand and the second is an 80 grit buff. I’m around 10 hours in and I have both heads at this stage. I will get all 8 exhaust ports to 150 grit before fully decoking the head and starting work on the combustion chamber. By which time I should have the inlet manifold gasket and that can be ported. After that it’s a case of buff everything and highly polish the exhaust ports and combustion chambers. Still a long way to go. 

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Cheers plenty more to do. I’m currently over 15 hours in and I’ve still got to buff the exhaust ports to 400 grit then polish them. Clean the carbon out of the ports and buff inside then buff and polish the cylinders and port the intake. Reckon there will be well over 70 hours in this when it’s done

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Was showing a fella at work this earlier, think he was surprised by how much power its currently making so will be good to see what it can do after your handy work!

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What Leyland managed to get out of it with the work that was done is impressive. 

It would have been running more power when it was racing, the car has a stock exhaust system at the minute and SU carbs so it should be madness with quad Weber carbs

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Bit more progress this evening. First photo is a 120 grit buffing wheel, second and third photos are a 240 grit buffing wheel. I have 16.5 hours on the board so far though I suspect it’s near or just over 20 now. Next up is 240 grit buff on the second head, then 300 grit buff the pair before decoking, porting and buffing the intake and polishing the top of the cylinders. Still a long way to go yet. 

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More progress made today. Got some photos of the first head with completed exhaust ports. Polishing four exhaust ports has so far taken two hours today, I it’ll be about the same on the second head. 

Photos as follows:

1st: 400 grit buff

2nd: final polish

3rd: first polish

 

Now to start on the second head. 

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Edited by federalman
Photos didn’t upload in the order I added them.

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Cleaned one head over the weekend and I have removed the odd bump round the spark plug. Once both are done the tops of the cylinders will be sanded, buffed and finally mirror polished. Currently waiting for the inlet manifold gasket so I can port the intakes before buffing them to a smooth 240 grit finish. 

Before. 

During. 

After. 

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