I finally started on my engine swap. I'm tired of missing out on trips, and it's gotten so critical that I've been nervous to drive it any further tan about 60 mils from home (though I've done so on several occasions recently.)
What I'm referring to is the lifter tick which anyone in the Club who's been around my Rover is well familiar with by now. When I swapped this '95 4.2 into my '91 RRC about 7 or 8 years ago, it already had a nice lifter tick which would come and go. Sometimes I could drive it for days and it would never make a sound, but whenever I hit the trails it would always show up. I've tried a few work-arounds and managed to reduce it at times, but it's always come back. I've been able to isolate it to the #3 exhaust valve, and even replaced the guts of that lifter working through the passage in the cylinder head (I think I know sort of how a proctologist feels now!) but the problem always returns. I suspect that the oil pressure is now so low that there's simply not enough oil getting to the lifters. It's also quite possible that a cam bearing has worked its way partially out of the journal. Every once in a while I hear multiple lifters clattering, but for the most part it's just the one, clacking away merrily. And it oozes oil from every rock-hard seal and gasket, leaving quite a mess. Over the years I've replaced the front and rear main seals, valve cover gaskets, intake manifold and pan gasket, but oil still finds its way back out to help replenish the Earth's oil supply (and keep my chassis well-lubricated.)
It's gotten to be almost non-stop now, it's only quiet when I first do a cold start, then the clattering comes on after about a minute or so and at this point rarely goes away. At idle I can hear a slight lope to the engine which corresponds perfectly to the lifer tick. And when I pull into a parking lot or drive down the street, people turn their heads and look, and I very much doubt they're thinking how cool my RRC looks, they're thinking, "Wow, listen to that POS! He should junk that thing!" So it's really been an embarrassment to the Marque, way past time to take care of it.
Don't get me wrong, it's been a great engine overall. Good power, fun to drive, reliable, and I see no evidence that the heads have ever been off of it. Despite the mileage it's had low oil consumption and even been reasonably decent on gas, usually returning about 15-16 MPG with a high of 19.9 on Nevada gas going down to Death Valley on one trip. I don't know exactly how many miles are on this engine, but I think it had about 175K when I put it in (it came from a '95 LWB that Cambo and I swapped a 4.6 into, and Cambo had gotten the truck from Nathan who told me it had had a hard life before he got it) and I've put somewhere around 90K miles on it...so overall, I really have nothing to complain about. But that lifter tick...it's been driving me nuts for a long time, and now that it's a full-fledged non-stop clatter, it's time for it to go away.
So the replacement engine is a '95 4.2 that I got several years ago with a blown head gasket, blown directly to the outside so there was no coolant loss, just loss of compression. This engine only has around 97K miles on it, and I've cleaned it up some externally, replaced all gaskets and seals, installed a Crower 50227 cam with new lifters and double-roller timing set, skimmed the heads and done some minor cleanup of the ports (just the smoothing the pockets under the valves) along with a 3-angle valve job and new stem seals. I have a lower plenum with the trumpets removed, which I'll take about 3/4" off the bottoms before I reset them. I also have a set of headers which I'm debating installing, but I'd like to get this finished up in the next day or so, and installing the headers will mean fabricating quite a bit of new exhaust to replace the Y-pipe, so I may put that particular project on the back burner, along with an intake system project I've been working on and gathering parts for. (More on that when I'm ready...stay tuned!)
Today's episode will start with pressure washing the engine compartment and using some POR-15 on some rust on the top section of the bulkhead, and installing some insulation on the bulkhead as the RRCs didn't have factory bulkhead insulation till about '93 or '94. I will then swap my flywheel onto the replacement engine and install the new clutch and pilot bushing, along with a few other odds and ends, and hope to have the engine sitting in place by this afternoon. But I have a gig to play tonight, so I have to wrap it up here by about 4:30.
So, I have a few pics to post that I took yesterday when the engine came out, more to come as things progress.