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2003 Discovery 2 SE7
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I’ve just about had it with the stock drivetrain’s lack of power and leakiness so I’ve decided to rip it out and replace it with…

A turbo Volvo motor.

Being a Volvo guy at heart I couldn’t really pass up this opportunity, especially since mid-2000s Volvos are so cheap. Obviously this is going to be quite the project, but I’m super excited. Currently looking for a parts Volvo to rip the engine out of and build to go into my D2. This will either be a turbo 5 cylinder or turbo 6 cylinder (if it will fit) depending on what I can find. Will also be swapping in a manual transmission to go with it.
I’ll update this thread occasionally with progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What type of fuel mileage are you expecting with that setup?
I’ll take anything better than the current 12-ish mpg I currently get. Although the least efficient engine I’m thinking of (twin turbo 2.9 inline 6 out of an XC90) is EPA rated at an average of around 16 mpg with a 4 speed auto, and it weighs about the same as the D2. With a manual I’m thinking mid to upper teens, maybe more, especially with a 5 cylinder if I go that route. Finding cheap parts cars is starting to get difficult in this economy, so I’m basing what engine I use on what I can get
 

· very disco
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how does the curb weight of the XC90 compare to the disco? I think differences in torque and GVW could dramatically change those figures
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
how does the curb weight of the XC90 compare to the disco? I think differences in torque and GVW could dramatically change those figures
XC90 is between 4400 and 4600 depending on configuration. So about the same as a stock D2. Stock power is about the same or more than the Rover engine depending on which Volvo engine I use, and torque is a little less, but I plan on building the Volvo engine to around 350 hp/350 lb ft before installing it. The manual transmission should also help
 

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Are you an expert in automotive electronics to emulate the inputs to all the other ECUs from the original ECM? Or you will be pleased enough to have a running engine while all the systems of the D2 will be on default[ABS/TC/EBD/HDC, SLS(if fitted), ACE(if fitted)] as they'll miss the rpm, driver demand and torque inputs which are calculated by the original ECM... if it's automatic the EAT ECU needs the CAN inputs from the ECM as well to work, also the dash will be full of warning lights while the temperature and rpm gauges will not work with other ECU. You can make it run if you know exactly how the systems are working but it will be just some kind of imrovised "hybrid" in a D2 body with systems on default
 
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2003 Discovery 2 SE7
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Are you an expert in automotive electronics to emulate the inputs to all the other ECUs from the original ECM? Or you will be pleased enough to have a running engine while all the systems of the D2 will be on default[ABS/TC/EBD/HDC, SLS(if fitted), ACE(if fitted)] as they'll miss the rpm, driver demand and torque inputs which are calculated by the original ECM... if it's automatic the EAT ECU needs the CAN inputs from the ECM as well to work, also the dash will be full of warning lights while the temperature and rpm gauges will not work with other ECU. You can make it run if you know exactly how the systems are working but it will be just some kind of imrovised "hybrid" in a D2 body with systems on default
My truck doesn’t have SLS or ACE. The plan is to attempt to integrate as much as I can into the D2 electronics so it functions as close to factory as I can get, although I don’t really care too much about it being perfect. It’ll be a learning experience. Temp gauge I don’t care about because it’s useless and I have a mechanical one. My HDC already doesn’t work, I don’t like traction control, and ABS has put me into more hairy situations than it has gotten me out of because it freaks out due to the upsized tires. So electrical integration isn’t a huge concern. It will also be a manual trans. If I need to, I might just swap over the whole Volvo harness and cluster and run it as a Volvo. My understanding is that the body functions will work separately from the engine stuff with only a few key things connected (ignition, etc for powering windows/sunroofs/lights), which is already there and wired and should be easy enough to integrate with the new drivetrain, so the engine stuff is the big task. I’ll try to get it all to work with the Rover stuff so I can maintain that, but I won’t to too upset if I have to rip it all out and run it as a Volvo (or go standalone). We’ll see - still in the super early stages obviously. But it should be a fun project and good learning experience regardless.
 

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I understand, you want a bastardised vehicle with a D2 body 😵 ...i'm too much of a D2 enthusiast to like that
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I understand, you want a bastardised vehicle with a D2 body 😵 ...i'm too much of a D2 enthusiast to like that
Don't get me wrong, I love the D2, just not the Rover drivetrain. I'd be much happier in Europe and probably wouldn't change much if I had a TDi/5 speed. The V8 auto just sucks though, and it's our only option in the states.
 

· Bleeds Green
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From my understanding the ZF4HP24 in your Disco can handle up to about 350 lb/ft of torque. I investigated this before proceeding with my own swap to an LS-based engine. I know you're planning on swapping the trans, but I mention it because the rest of the driveline will probably be built to handle that amount of power or less. If you succeed in your swap and achieve 350hp/350tq, you run the risk of snapping axles, u-joints, blowing up the diffs and/or the transfer case. The first time you run it hard you may hear some bad noises and not go much further :)

You mentioned you like the TDi / 5 speed. Have you investigated importing one of those drivelines and saving yourself a ton of fab work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
From my understanding the ZF4HP24 in your Disco can handle up to about 350 lb/ft of torque. I investigated this before proceeding with my own swap to an LS-based engine. I know you're planning on swapping the trans, but I mention it because the rest of the driveline will probably be built to handle that amount of power or less. If you succeed in your swap and achieve 350hp/350tq, you run the risk of snapping axles, u-joints, blowing up the diffs and/or the transfer case. The first time you run it hard you may hear some bad noises and not go much further :)

You mentioned you like the TDi / 5 speed. Have you investigated importing one of those drivelines and saving yourself a ton of fab work?
I thought about it, but the cost of the drivetrain alone, plus importing it, is surprisingly expensive. And I would like more power, not less.

Besides, the Volvo engine is going to be basically free once I'm done parting out the donor car, so that's a big plus.

I would be getting a new transmission and transfer case combo. Since the likelihood of that lining up to use factory driveshafts is slim, I will probably be getting custom driveshafts made for it. So as long as the axles can take the power, I should be ok. I only plan on making 350-400 hp, and around there for torque. I'm not too worried about the axles being able to take that.

I have some skills for this kind of thing but I'd also like to use this as an opportunity to learn a lot more as I progress on the project.
 

· Drives like an old man
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I'm no purist, especially for Rovers (hate that stupid Rover V8!), so I will follow this with interest. I'm rooting for ya!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm no purist, especially for Rovers (hate that stupid Rover V8!), so I will follow this with interest. I'm rooting for ya!
Thanks! I’m hopeful too. I have a similar hatred for the factory D2 mechanicals.

I’ve decided I’m going to need a 5 cylinder car as a donor. The 6 cylinder, while a lovely engine, is likely not going to fit. They are long, and the crazy twin turbo setup will likely only make it more difficult to cram into the D2’s somewhat small engine bay. I also have much more experience with the 5 pot, as the 6 cylinder is a somewhat uncommon engine offered in just 2 cars. Preferably I can find a -98 turbo 5 cylinder car, which runs Bosch M4.4 electronics with a mechanical throttle, so it should be easier to wire up and make run than the later ME7 or newer cars with electronic throttles and more complicated com. They are getting very hard to find though, so I might have to make due with a later car, which is fine.

I’m also currently still searching for a donor car.

Potential candidates include any 2.5T or T5 powered P80 or P2 platform cars. There are various benefits to different engines available in different cars but I won’t get into that here unless someone wants me to.

We all know the car market is insane right now, so it’s become a waiting game of finding a car with both
a) a low price, since I just need the engine, accessories, and electronics, and
b) a seller who will get back to me when I message about a car
So far those two things haven’t aligned like I’d hoped. The search continues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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Your project scares me, and I love it. My first swap was putting a v8 into a my grandmother’s 1977 Vega station wagon when I was 16 years old in 1984. I learned so much from that Frankenstein project, and I have no doubt you will learn a ton too. Please post a lots of updates, and especially the problems you run into with your solutions. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Your project scares me, and I love it. My first swap was putting a v8 into a my grandmother’s 1977 Vega station wagon when I was 16 years old in 1984. I learned so much from that Frankenstein project, and I have no doubt you will learn a ton too. Please post a lots of updates, and especially the problems you run into with your solutions. Good luck!
Updates will be posted for sure! Gonna be slow for a little while as I try to find a suitable donor car, but updates will happen as stuff actually happens.

Also, a few of you are probably wondering why I’m going through the trouble of this if the Volvo engine makes about the same power and less torque than the Rover V8. Well, I’m going to build the engine. I’m still in college getting a degree in automotive engineering, and we have the ability to take an engine machining class where you have basically unlimited access to a massive machine shop, which is what I plan on doing. The engine will geta shimmed block, different manifolds, injectors, much bigger turbo, and all new seals/o rings/belts while it’s there, as well as some other odds and ends. The goal is over 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque going through a manual transmission and part time transfer case (I hate full time 4x4 like it has currently as it kills mileage and tires).

I’m excited, and it’s certainly going to be a learning experience. The only thing I’ve learned so far is that almost nobody on Craigslist or Marketplace answers messages or emails, and getting broken cars home is difficult when you have nothing to tow them with (the Rover is stored away at school for now and the car would be getting towed to my parents place back home to strip the engine and related parts out of it).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Its going to be interesting what you experience along the way. Keep in mind there are people who will want the rover parts you remove.
I’m well aware. That’s part of how I plan to fund this, as well as selling parts off the donor car.
Not sure anyone would want the transmission, but the transfer case is good and the engine is fine, as is the wiring and extra bits and bobs. I’ll keep everything to see what I need but once I figure out I don’t need it it’s going up for sale
 

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A couple of thoughts from someone who has been down this path before. I was involved in some of the early design for the ACE D2 LS kit. The Disco is not an easy car to swap, particularly from scratch. To do it correctly in my opinion, you really have to think about everything as a system starting with the axles and work forward from there.

The axles are offset to the passenger side front/rear, which is a somewhat uncommon configuration for modern-day stuff. This means you have limited transfer case options. Center output rear transfer boxes would be require a somewhat extreme rear driveshaft sideways angle that would likely cause excess vibration, which makes most other options not usable for a daily driver.

The LT230 is a pretty stout transfer case, all things considered, and already bolts into the frame, making it somewhat of a logical choice. It can move back a couple inches before driveshaft lengths start to become a problem. It also can be converted to selectable 2/4wd (not that I would really recommend that in the short wheelbase Disco though). Overall package length is important - With the ACE swap, it was great to be able to get the engine to sit far enough back that a viscous fan could still be used in the front and for weight distribution / driving dynamics.

The Volvo engine you mentioned I believe(?) were all used in transverse applications. It would be easier to start with an engine designed for longitudinal applications. I personally feel like going that route is asking for more work (just look at the trussmount setup Cody Built manufactures to fit transverse VW TDIs into Jeeps). Also, you need to consider potential oil pan clearance issues with the front diff and front driveshaft. A transverse engine may require a heavily modified or custom pan.

As for the electrical side, make sure the engine you choose has a lot of aftermarket support, particularly tuners that support building standalone engine harnesses and standalone ECU operation, so you don’t need all the body modules from the donor car. Having to drag along clusters from donor vehicles is a major pain and wiring nightmare.

Point is, before you buy anything, try to have as much as you can planned out. This is nothing short of a massive undertaking to do correctly. 100s of hours for research, then execution.

If / when you get to the Discovery electrical part, I helped ACE with their Gen 5 /6L80 Disco electronics interface as well as some other engine swaps in D2s. Happy to help as able.
 
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