Barrie's Special Shortie Water Pump (for Rover and Buick 215)

Barrie's Special Shortie Water Pump (for Rover and Buick 215)

This article appeared in The British V8 Newsletter - Volume X, Issue 1 - January 2002

by: Barrie Robinson

There are several well-known problems with dropping Rover V8 engines into an MGB to make it into that most desirable machines built by the factory in the 70s. When I say problems I mean "challenges" rather than problems. They are all well known and include the unsuitability of the MGB rear axle, the rear springs wind-up, the probable need for better front brakes, the oil filter set-up and the most dreaded of all, the cooling problem. Not that the factory MGB GT V8 was noted for its cool engine bay but it was "satisfactory". But it was only pumping out something around the 137bhp mark. Rover engines being slipped into newborn V8s are in the 200bhp area.

This extra heat has complicated things and many V-eighters are experiencing overheating.

This is the problem to which I gave a lot of thought. The most obvious first decision is the use of through the wings (fenders) exhausts rather than block huggers. This has three positive effects. One it gives more room for air to pass over the engine, down and away; secondly it lets air stream over the exhausts and out through the holes in the wing; thirdly it effectively puts a great portion of the hot exhaust tubes outside the engine bay. The factory used an up-rated version of the MGB radiator but modified for the radiator hose positions and this would seem to prevent a problem. But interestingly enough my survey on the over heating problems showed that users of MGB radiators were in the "not having much trouble" category.

However, only 13 cars were in the survey - (so where were all you other MGB V-eighters when I asked for data?). So I decided to use D&D Fabrication's heavy-duty radiator and this began what I would call a "gotcha" problem.

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Despite using Glenn Towery's air-conditioning engine mounts which set the engine back 1.5", I found there was little space to slip an electric fan between radiator and water pump.

By tilting the radiator I had just 2.625" and thus the only fan that would fit would give me something in the order of 850 cfm and this allowed no clearance. Hayden's web page, which is pretty badly setup I may add, shows a Typical Cooling Application Chart. This is the only attempt I have seen that puts cfms against engine sizes and realizing the difficulty at doing this I take my hat off to Hayden for having a stab at it. It says 3.2 - 4.0 liters require their model 3710 and this beauty is rated at 1,820 cfm. Obviously I had a problem and I was NOT going to use twin small pusher fans in the front. I have been told that they are noisy and give poor performance.

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So as the radiator could not be moved forward and the engine could not be moved back, the answer was a thinner water pump. A remote electric water pump solution seemed attractive as suggested by a "lister" but I could not find a bilge pump that would sit inline with radiator hose. They all seemed to be designed for bilges - strange! They also looked slightly fragile.

I bought another bog standard Buick "short" pump, designated P591 by the company that rebuilds them here in Toronto, for closer examination. They informed me that this is the shortest available. When I pointed out that cursory examination revealed that it could be made shorter by a significant amount the reply was that they could not help me - goodbye and good luck. A local highly regarded machine shop estimated a charge of Can$250 to make it smaller - big problem they said. By using the Web I found Margus Auto Electric Exchange Inc., of Los Angeles.

A brief chat with Don Lopez there resulted in a promise that he would see what he could do. A mere 10 days later the new pump arrived. It was only 3" from the stub end of the shaft to the engine block mounting face - absolutely marvelous! The picture shows the standard Buick pump on the left, which is 4" from pulley flange face to engine mount face, while the Margus beauty is on the right, measuring a svelte 3". I calculate that I will have a 3.625" when the new pump is fitted. This allows for a Spal 14" puller fan with a massive 0.235" clearance.

Despite advice to the contrary I was going to use a Spal fan because of its specifications. It draws a massive 16.3 amps, but it also belts out a massive 1,720 cfm at a static pressure of 0". But with further investigation, I found that Vintage Air sells a Revcor 14" unit of 3" thickness that delivers 1,980 cfm. So at time of writing I am trying to get specifications out of Revcor. I find that too many suppliers do not give any specifications and one web site just said the fan was 14" - "Put in shopping cart". I ALWAYS send off a short note to such people telling them of their deficiencies and I urge everyone to follow suit - as well as panning those stupid $999.99 prices.

Disclaimer: This page was researched and written by Barrie Robinson. Views expressed are those of the author, and are provided without warrantee or guarantee. Apply at your own risk.

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