Sparky's winter/spring/summer/autumn work


Active Member
This is a very interresting thread to follow. I Wonder when you fit the adjustable pushrods; Are the holes the go through enlarged. I fitted them to my SD1 engine and had to enlarge the holes.


Staff member
This is a very interresting thread to follow. I Wonder when you fit the adjustable pushrods; Are the holes the go through enlarged. I fitted them to my SD1 engine and had to enlarge the holes.
I have heard this and it's in my plan to test fit them to check for clearance first. But, although this particular bit wasn't discussed with V8D, I did buy the adjustable rods from them and they did do the porting work. I didn't expect them to drill the holes out, but it does look like they have done so, which will save me mucking about with it.

push rod holes.jpg

I'll still check the clearance though :)


Staff member
Managed to sneak off for a two hour lunch break today and got a bit done :)

The block is ready for the cam, all clean and shiny but it did occur to me that I had to clean up the threads for the timing cover as they probably had sealant in them.


Not like me to think ahead but I really didn't want to be cleaning them up and getting muck everywhere, with a brand new timing set on there, so found the bolts which were very mucky.


Then found out some paint and gasket remover, and flooded the bolts holes, then using a cleaned up bolt, screwed in and out a few times while spraying it with solvent.

bolt thread.jpg

Soon had them all cleaned out and could easily wind them all in and out by hand.


V8D had supplied some Cam Lube with the cam, so I used that instead of the graphogen I had used on the crank. Very carefully inserted the cam leaving an inch short so I could reapply some of this red treacle on the bearing surfaces, which had been rubbed off on the way in - if that makes sense :)


Posh new chain set turned up with the cam, so tried it for size, jeez it's very tight and has to be tapped on with a wooden mallet :oops:

Test fit.jpg

I turned the motor until piston one was at the top then turned the cam until the timing mark was at the bottom, then found the chain set was even tighter with the chain on, there's not a lot of play in that.

Chain set.jpg

I made a degree wheel, set it at TDC then turned the engine back 20 degrees. Set up the Dial Gauge on the piston and zeroed it. Then slowly turned the engine and watched the dial gauge go up and then return to zero, at 18 degrees (342 on the wheel). Not difficult to work out that the pointer was 1 degree out.


After readjusting the pointer, it reached zero again at 20 degrees.


Happy to accept that TDC on the wheel was actual TDC.

The cam needs to be fully up on cylinder 1 at 111 degrees, so I turned the engine clockwise to 111 to see if it was anywhere close and it was miles out, not even in sight. Had a think for second or two then turned the engine a full 360 back to 111, and it was just about right, so panic over :)

Then it was just a matter of turning the engine back a fair bit, then forward until I got to 100 degrees. Dropped a follower in then set the dial gauge onto the edge of it. This sounds simple but it took ages as I had to use the magnetic base on the liners as they were all it would stick to. Finally got it on there, then slowly turned the engine watching the dial gauge go up, then come back down to zero, at 121 degrees, so the mid point would be 110.5 :cool: oh yes, what a bit of luck.

Problem is, the wheel is rather flimsy and at this point was touching the pointer, and the lift on the dial gauge was very small so I thought I would check it using a larger angle lift.

This time I turned the engine clockwise to 90 degrees (270)


This time the dial gauge registered a lot more movement so more accurate. I was looking for 21 degrees to the top, the another 21 back to zero, so was looking for 270 - 42 = 228 on the wheel.


oh dear.jpg

Now that gives me a cam timing of 108.5 :confused:

It has now occurred to me that the cam lifting the follower and the follower dropping on its own, aren't going to give an accurate reading either.

So I'll have another tomorrow but I'm going to glue the wheel to a sheet of perspex to make it more rigid. I have already sharpened the pointer to be more accurate and will apply some pressure to the follower when it drops.

Two of the threaded holes I cleaned were behind the cam wheel, so I am assuming they are for a camshaft retaining plate, which I don't have. I don't think I really need one but may give V8D a call tomorrow to see their view on it. I am using the SD1 timing cover which I believe has a boss in it to stop the cam wandering off, but the 4.0L uses the cam thrust plate, and to make things even more difficult there are two types as well :rolleyes:


Staff member
Now I have glued the degree wheel to some thick plastic, shortened the wire with the pointer and sharpened it into a point, I feel I have a more accurate way of measuring the cam angle. It's definitely 108.5 :confused:

So, everything off and back on again with piston 1 at TDC, timing mark on cam wheel pointing at the centre of the crank, and the crank wheel fitted onto the +2 keyway. Now it's 106.5 :mad:

All off again and back on using the -2 keyway, 110.5. This was measured from 90, so I checked it from 100 and got 110.6, and also just to make sure from 80, which went to 141.3, giving me 110.65. Pretty sure I'm not getting any closer to that, so job done.

After talking to V8D I have decided to fit cam retainer plate as the holes are there and it will fit the cam. I have also cleaned up the timing cover bolts and they are rather corroded, worse than the picture shows.

p timing bolts.jpg

If I have to wait until I get the plate, I may as well replace all of these at the same time. So, no more work on the front until I have some parts, onto the cylinder heads then :)

pa NS head.jpg

I have kept all of the bolts in their correct order. Quite surprised at how clean they were though, left hand one has been on the bench grinder (wire brush) and solvent wiped. Right hand one as removed from block.

pb headbolt cleaning.jpg

There didn't seem to be any residue of any sealant, but I did clean them all anyway.

I managed to get some 3M EC776 which appears to be a fuel resistant urethane coating used in aerospace, but also conforms to MIL-D-17951E as a sealing compound? A bit weird but used it anyway :) It only comes in a 1L and cost me too much, so if anyone wants any, let me know and I can fill some off for some beer tokens.

pd 776.jpg

Both heads on, popped the rocker covers on to see what they looked like and keep everything dust free, I am in a working factory doing this rebuild.

pf both heads on.jpg

The cam isn't coming out again, so I coated the the followers with some red treacle that came with the cam. This stuff isn't very nice so gloves on ;)

pg follower.jpg

I have heard from various people that the adjustable pushrods are too long and need trimming off before fitting :oops: Fully shortened they are shorter than the standard one in the middle, and will adjust far longer than standard, so another possible problem averted.

pi pushrods.jpg

All pushrods in and rockers on. I haven't rebuilt the rocker shafts as they have very little wear and I can easily get them out to do so if I need to in the future. I checked to ensure the notch was upwards as per the manual, but there are no notches on them :hmm: The baffle plates are supposed to be at the front on the left hand bank, and rear on the right, but as my PCV out/inlets are both on the front, I have fitted the plates under them.

pm rockers on.jpg

Nice to see those awful shims gone

po no shims.jpg

As it was


The heads were fitted with a stud kit when I sent them off, but they had to remove them when doing the porting, so an other little job - refitting them. I possibly should have used studlock, but I already had some nutlocker open and there isn't that much difference.

pp exh studs.jpg

Now gaskets. I know that Rover V8s don't usually need exhaust gaskets, but my engine came fitted with them, possibly because of the aftermarket exhaust manifolds. Thing is, they fit too well. The port may have been opened up a little but they cover the top of the hole by around 1/4".

px gaskets.jpg

I had a good look at the old ones, and noticed from the carbon build up, they really were a bad fit.

pw gaskets.jpg

They are going to need some careful thought, before I refit them, as well as checking how well the manifolds line up.

This is what the engine looks like now, valley gasket, and inlet manifold just there to stop any dirt/dust ingress. I have covered the trumpets as well before leaving it :)

py rear.jpg

pz front.jpg


Active Member
Your engine build looks very nice, I wonder if you had any issues with adjusting the pushrods? Can you describe how you adjusted them please?
Regards, Barten


Staff member
Did a test fit of the timing cover today to work out which bolts were required, and found rather confusingly, the stud is in the wrong place. I am really glad that I found that out before smothering the gasket with RTV both sides, putting it all together along with most of the bolts :hmm:


I had to think about that for while, but I can only assume that either the Engineers who fitted the top hat liners, or the chap who balanced it, removed it for some reason, and replaced it into the wrong hole.

On the plus side I did find a set of stainless bolts for £10, although with vat and carriage it ended up at £17.10.

When I first had the car, the O/S engine mount had collapsed as it was touching the manifold and degraded under the heat. Also, the PO had hacked a chunk out of the metal mount on the crossmember. When I had the engine out I welded the mount back together and bought a new rubber mount, which I then hacked a chunk out of :)

This is actually the first time I have been able to see the gap between the manifold and mount. I was assured that they would fit without modification, don't think so.



Well-Known Member
This is actually the first time I have been able to see the gap between the manifold and mount. I was assured that they would fit without modification, don't think so.
If it wasn't for the ceramic coating of the manifolds, the rubber would melt after a few minutes of ethusiastic driving. :oops:


Staff member
If it wasn't for the ceramic coating of the manifolds, the rubber would melt after a few minutes of ethusiastic driving. :oops:
They were bare stainless when I got the car, and touching the engine mount, so the rubber stood no chance. I tried wrapping them, but that didn't work so ended up forking out to get them ceramic coated inside and out.


Staff member
The bolts arrived, but the three long ones were 4 1/2" and not 4 3/4" as they should be, so I have had a bit of a game with them. They came with a thinner washer, so I gave them a try but even with the washer they were too short - the top one is the new one, and the lower one the original.


They will do up ok, but I am not comfortable bolting up the timing cover with a bolt that only goes around 1/4" in before I get the torque wrench on it, especially into an aluminium block.

Too short.jpg

Quick call to the supplier, who was very apologetic and said he could get the correct length made but it may take a couple of weeks or so. He could however get some 5" bolts, which arrived this morning.

Not too bad but I do know the length of these bolts is critical, why would they make 4 3/4" bolts if they weren't ?

5 inch.jpg

Quick test fit, showed the top left did up ok, but that was the 5 1/2" one and was the correct size anyway. Top right also did up ok and grabbed the cover well, probably because it was holding the optional power steering bracket so had a bit of leeway anyway.

test fit.jpg

The lower right bolt however didn't turn fully home into the block so wouldn't hold the cover.

fully in.jpg

I tried cleaning the thread with a tap, but I only have a tapered tap so that didn't help much.


As I had 1/4" thread spare, I just cut the end off the bolt and that one fixed, with a good 3/4" of thread.

The lower left goes fully home but is too long, and doesn't do up against the cover.

Note - The cam thrust plate arrived and is now on, drive gear on and all torqued up, hopefully that won't be off again.

No thread left.jpg


I'm going to try the 4 1/2" bolt in that one, perhaps with a thinner washer to compensate a bit :) or use a small spacer on this 5" one, haven't decided yet and ran out of time today.

I have also been playing with the preload, but more of that when I have sorted it :hmm:


Staff member
Next time, get a scrap bolt and cut it across the threads at an angle with a hacksaw and then open it up a bit with a triangular file.
Nice one :).

I did actually consider this, being shown it many years ago by my Father but would probably have run a 1mm cutting disc down it at a slight angle. So the choice was either 1/. Open the thread up to the end, bearing in mind this one goes into the water jacket, so may be the result of corrosion over 16 years (age of engine) or 2/. Nip the end off leaving plenty of thread in the block still, bearing in mind this was the amount of thread in the block with the original bolt. Both ways would work to my satisfaction so which one to go for?

The deciding factor was just a passing thought which went, if I clean the whole thread, the end of the bolt may protrude into the water jacket, but if I leave 1/4" of thread at the end, the 3M stuff I'll use on the bolt will form a little plug there and give the bolt some extra protection.

My sound a bit daft, but that's the way my mind works o_O


Staff member
Now onto preload - this'll be fun :D

When I first bought the car, I was given a load of info, some of which I flicked through. I did get a page about preload with some workings on the back. I just assumed that he had worked it all out and sorted it, so haven't read it until now.

prelod RPI.jpg

original preload.jpg

Apart from the arithmetical mistakes 40 thou isn't 1.16, it's 1.016, and others, I did assume that he had managed to get them all fairly close. He used the upper figures and had 68 thou shims on the O/S and 80 thou shims on the N/S. This seems to indicate a range of 40 to 90 thou preload, some 50 thou difference. Just a thought but if the preload is now 90 and there is an 80 thou shim under the pedestal means without it, the preload would be 90 + (80*1.6) - or 210 thou :oops:

I have found some people saying to get them within 20 - 50, others 20 - 60, and even 40 - 100 so under the latter range, he did get them all within spec, but I do think that 50 thou on a cam with a maximum lift of 0.432" (432 thou) is a lot, actually nearly 12%. I am wondering if this could be a possible cause of the exhaust smelling rich as it did when I got the car? Who knows, but back to the current situation.

The set up now is no shims, adjustable pushrods all set at their shortest length and lock nuts tight.

I have found some different thicknesses of wire, in 33 thou, 43 thou (the white one) and 60 thou.


After a fair bit of reading I have found that a setting of 40 - 50 would be a good target in a road car with good oil pressure. There are different ideas out the there regarding race engines and engines with very high oil pressure. I haven't set them yet, so any opinions will be gratefully received :cool:

I have turned the engine until a lifter or two is on peak, then tested the opposite one - i.e. when the Exhaust on No. 1 is open, measure the Exhaust on No. 6. I have written them out to save me working out every time I turn the engine.


My idea is to open the pushrod up until I can just get the 43 thou wire into the gap, tighten the locknout, check again, and then I know all of the gaps are pretty close to 43 thou, that'll suit me just fine. Unfortunately the first one I measured it fitted in easily, and I could even get the 60 thou in :confused:.

I spoke to V8D and they were shocked at the tolerances on the engine, but then it was 210 thou and now has had the heads and block shimmed, so is feasible. They suggest that I place a 30 thou shim under the pedestals, set the preload to zero, i.e. just adjust the pushrod until there is no gap but the pushrod doesn't rattle about. Then remove the shims and you have 30x1.6 - 48 thou on all followers. Peasy :)

I did point out that if I placed 30 thou shims under the pedestal I would already have at least 12 thou preload so cannot adjust upward from to 12 to zero o_O. If you don't have any 30 thou shims, you can apparently just loosen the pedestal bolts and measure the gap under the pedestal to 30 thou, although I did think they would wobble out a bit so wouldn't be accurate enough. You could also I suppose get any preload you wanted just by dividing it 1.6 and setting the gap to that, 25 thou would give you 40 preload.

Back to Sparky, I have now removed the rocker assembly and refitted a 15 thou shim under all of the pedestals. I cannot get the 60 thou wire under the few gaps I have measured, so hopefully I can now set them all to 43 as I tried previously. Bit of a compromise as I really don't like shims, but I can live with 15 though I suppose.


Well-Known Member
What is your dislike for shims, it is because they can turn on fitting and can obscure an oil hole ? I have a pile under the pedestals on one engine, I think the 3.9 and that engine has not been babied, and no ill effects to date.


Staff member
What is your dislike for shims, it is because they can turn on fitting and can obscure an oil hole ? I have a pile under the pedestals on one engine, I think the 3.9 and that engine has not been babied, and no ill effects to date.
Partially I just think they don't look very nice and can't do the geometry of the valve train any good.

I suppose the main problem though is that they cannot adjust the preload gaps individually, just all 8 on each bank to the same amount, so if you start with preload which are out by 50 thou, you end up with preload out by 50 thou, meaning the valves open 50 thou too little on some, but also open and close at the wrong time.

It may be only slightly off, but I feel it is better to get it as accurate as possible and shims don't really allow it.


Well-Known Member
Of course with adjustable pushrods you can optimize each valve, although in theory you can put a straight edge along all the valves and grind the tops to line up, and then use the cheaper shims to get the same result, then use the left over cash to wine and dine the missus with all the resulting benefits from that ;)

No, I like the adjustable push rods as well, as long as they don't adjust in situ.


Staff member
Well that could have gone better :hmm:

Before committing to fit the timing cover with the 3M muck 'n all, I thought I would just first check the cam timing, so I fitted the cover dry, setting the front pulley to TDC, and checking it with a home made piston stop. I tried to somehow hold the Dial Indicator onto the follower. The only steel bits I had to hold the magnetic base were the baffle plate on the rocker shaft and the dizzy clamp bracket. After what seemed to be a week or more I managed to get it set up and got a measurement of 114 degrees :oops:. Hmmm. not good, it should be 111.

Tried again after much messing with the dial gauge - it is very difficult to get the gauge directly above the follower. Still 114, but this time when turning the engine, I heard a noise "Tink" rather like a stuck valve pinging back into place.

Paranoia then set in and even though I knew I could not have bent a valve, I did toy with the idea to remove the head to check. 10 bolts to remove it now, a lot more if I have to do it later, so off it came. No marks, no scratches, valves are fine. Now I need a new head gasket :mad:

Checked again, still 114, but the convoluted way in which the dial gauge was on can't give an accurate measurement so I had a little think and made up this: -


This is an old follower with the innards removed, and a long reach 7/16 socket tapped in, with a short 3/8 drive extension. The dial gauge sits in the end of the extension bar. This now brings the measuring up to the same level as the gauge, so should be more accurate. Still 114, so off came the timing chain and gears and back on again at zero degrees on the crank wheel. I then get three different measurements from 110 to 114 :mad:

I was just having one of those days I think, so I decided to make the extended cam more rigid by gluing it together, which is probably what I should have done in the first place to stop it wagging about. I also glued a bolt in the end to give a flat surface.

Glued up.jpg

Now that worked a lot better, giving me a reliable, and consistent reading.


Of 109 :(

So off again with the cam chain and gear set, and back on at -2 as before, which then gives me 102 - starting to get a bit fed up now, so off again back on again carefully, and not one tooth out :rolleyes:, and I get 111.

Checked it four more times, got 111 every time with the timing gear in exactly the same position as it was when I started. Then I went home.

Next day.........

I have now fitted the timing cover, cleaned up all of the oil pump bits

Cleaned up.jpg

Fitted them after packing with vaseline


Oil pick up and baffle plate on - don't you just love an engine stand :)


After reading another post on here, I measured the clearance of the oil pick up from the bottom of the sump.

Pick up measure.jpg

There's a clearance on 1/8" which when added to the thickness of the gasket gives me 0.215". I will be doing some work on the sump prior to fitting it, so I will probably be giving it a tap or two in this area.

Shouldn't take too long after the gasket gets here, hopefully Tuesday - I can almost hear it running :)


Well-Known Member
Richard, I wonder how you are arriving at your 111 degrees ?
I assume that you are only turning the engine in the running direction. Are you doing that and watching the DTI until it stops moving and then noting the reading and aiming for 111 degrees ?

If you are then the trouble with that is there will be a few degrees of crank rotation where the DTI will not move as the cam nose goes over.
The more accurate way is to find the MOP ( maximum opening point ) of the valve.
This is done by turning the engine slowly until the DTI stops moving then noting the reading on the degree wheel, continue turning until the DTI moves again, note reading again, the MOP is mid way between the two readings, which should be your 111 degrees.