Land Rover Series III : Turbo Diesel / 5-speed swap

Land Rover Series III : Turbo Diesel / 5-speed swap

This handsome Series III came to us as a running & driving truck in “rough driver” condition. The owner had been keen on a Diesel engine swap for some time and decided to do this along with other upgrades. Discovery Axles were installed for their disc brakes and highway friendly gear ratios. Power steering (Rover P38 box) and Defender master cylinder were added as well.

Power for this resto-mod Land Rover is from an Isuzu 4BD1-T engine. This is an efficient 3.9 liter turbocharged diesel engine similar to the Cummins 4bt in size, displacement and power output. The transmission chosen for this application is a NV4500 5-speed manual backed by the stock Land Rover transfer case. Custom adapter packages were be used to mate these components.

UPDATE 9/11: So far to accommodate the new drivetrain we have moved the transmission & transfer case to the RH side 1″, allowing for more clearance on the driver-side frame rail. The LH frame rail had to be notched and boxed in to clear the large Isuzu industrial starter. Front crossmember and original engine mounts were removed and new ones have been fabricated. We will also be cutting down the breakfast panel (grille support) and installing a custom radiator for clearance in front of the engine and additional cooling capacity.
The P38 steering box is mounted on a 3/16 steel plate which we welded to the frame. A combination of Series and Range Rover steering components will be fabricated to work together for the steering.

12/2/2013: We are nearing completion! The final stages of plumbing & wiring are being tackled on this project. We will be adding the headlights, grille, and doing a test run soon.

1/12/14: It runs! I did a 30 minute test run in the parking lot, and a drive around the block. This is going to be a very fun and user friendly rig. Now to install the trucklite LED headlights and finish up a few odds & ends.

Here is a video:

5/6/14: We have fabricated a set of galvanized steel rock sliders to replace the stock sill panels, mounted a roof rack and added interior & auxiliary lighting. The paint was buffed and the wheels powdercoated along with an added fender flare. Road testing is underway and so far it’s running & driving great.

Check back often for updates. Anything you see on this project can be duplicated on your own vintage “sport utility” vehicle.