The donor car

You are looking for a Rover Montego car or Estate between 1986-93, don't worry too much about high mileage examples. Estate cars might be a bit more pricey. The Mushroom brown cars have a very low value, 7 seater Estate cars have a price premium. There were some Austin Meastros fitted with the turbo diesel & I believe some vans. Latter vehicles had different injectors which limited performance a little and they had more exhaust emmissions controls, some also had power steering pumps. Unfortunately there isn't room to keep this in the Landy conversion. These engines can be good for several hundred thousand miles, provided they're been serviced properly, so don't be put off by high mileages. The mechanicals are very sound, the problem is the bodywork rots and it ends up as an MOT failure. You could just buy an engine and fit that. But a better plan would be to buy the whole car, as a non-runner for £50, better still get a car with some MOT & a bit of tax left, not least so you can drive it home - make sure you get all the paperwork. It might even be free if you can transport it away there & then! You will then know that the engine starts and runs properly. Such cars can be found for between £100 and £150, worth the extra for peace of mind (look in your local Free Ads paper). One problem is that as this Land Rover conversion becomes more popular the price of donor cars is rising. We are the victims of our own sucess! That said, be careful, some people have inflated ideas of what some of these engines/cars are worth. With a car you will also get several ancillary parts which will save you money & time. Things like battery, alternator, front seats, a radio maybe, column switch gear, steering wheel (it will fit a Series Landy, if that's what you want), exhaust system, fuel pipes, light bulbs, etc. etc. If any of the body panels are good they can be sold on, along with the gearbox and other bits of trim. There is an active Montego Owners club and there is a demand for good trim parts. Otherwise cut your losses and get a scrappy to take the remains away (you may have to pay a few pounds, but there are some free-to-shift outfits). Having got your car/engine remember to SORN it. The aparachiks in the government have instructed the DVLA to recover every penny they can from the motorist, so even if you only keep the car for a weekend - do it! and keep copies of the paper work so you can prove you've complied with the law.

Now would be a good time to get your Haynes manual. Please note that the Haynes manual does not have a diagram of the cooling pipe circuitry. Make notes & take pictures of the layout in the car before you start! Also there are some small discrepancies in the wiring diagram.

Removing the engine is straight forward, just remove all the obvious bits like the air filter box, the water expansion tank, washer bottle, battery etc. The engine mounting brackets are strange, the manual explains the procedure for dismantling. Take care with the wiring loom, keep as much of it as intact and connected to the engine as possible. You especially need the glow plug starting system with relays, this is all on a bracket which can be fastened to the LH side of the Landy bulkhead. There are also other bits such as fuel hose/clips and flexi wrap wiring conduit which will be useful when connecting things up later. The Montego had servo assisted brakes and a cam shaft vacuum pump is fitted on the RH side of the engine. This makes upgrading the Landy brakes a fairly simple task, not a bad idea and should please your insurance company.

The price of the car/emgine can be offset against the value of the Landy engine you are replacing. Even a very tired Landy engine is worth £50, more if it has an unleaded head and half decent ancillaries, dynamo/alternator, carb, exhaust system, distreibutor & coil etc. should all be worth about £100.

In addition to the car engine you will also need some parts off a 2.0 litre Sherpa van (from around 1990), flywheel with no obvious damage, clutch unit, starter motor, sump pan. I used the Montego sump pan, and not had any oil problems - yet! The Sherpa one has the baffles in the correct orientation for in-line mounting. This issue is one of oil pump starvation at extreeme off-road angles! Dudleigh Engineering may be able to help with some of these parts as they try to keep a small stock.

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page updated 8th April 2004