Jake Voelckers' MGB - Buick 3.5L V8 Engine Conversion

Jake Voelckers' MGB - Buick 3.5L V8 Engine Conversion

as published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume XIV Issue 3, December 2006

Owner: Jake Voelckers
City: Sacramento, CA
Model: 1965 MGB with 1977 body
Engine: 1963 Skylark 215
Conversion performed by: Owner

Engine: '63 Skylark 215, Rover Vitesse 9.75:1 pistons, Arma steel crank, dual roller adjustable timing gears and chain, TRW high volume oil pump from Buick 3.8L V6, Rover P5B timing cover and front pulley. Two piece Ford 460 rear seal, neoprene front seal from Buick 3.8L (Timken 710163), Rover heads, dual valve springs. NOS Schiefer aluminum flywheel. All internally balanced. MGBGT V8 valve covers. Remote oil filter on inner fender, Mocal take off plate on "metric" Buick V6 oil pump housing. Hydraulic lifters.
Intake: Original stock MGBGT V8 HIF6 setup with air filter cans and thermal flapper valves. I rebuilt these carbs and designed and fabricated pieces to adapt the linkage to my accelerator cable and choke cable. I am researching different needles that were available in this carb size to get the fuel delivery that I want. I am also incorporating a cold air intake into the filter cans.
Cam: Erson (E640201) 288 degrees duration, 214 degrees at 0.050", 0.458" gross lift, 111 degree lobe center, 4 degree advance, 0.000" lash.
Exhaust: Block hugger headers into 2 1/4" pipe and single muffler out the back.
Cooling: Stock late MGB radiator, Buick 300 water pump, late GM waterpump pulley, redrilled. Stock twin late fans on thermal switch or manual switch. Optional TR7 fan mounted on custom machined bracket. Oil cooler under the slam panel, air dam with ducting into lower radiator and oil cooler.
Transmission: Borg Warner World Class T5 from 1988 IROC, 0.73:1 5th gear mounted on Buick 215 bellhousing with lower removable cover. Modified MGB crossmember, modified IROC shifter. 2" driveshaft with new Spicer yokes, flanges and U-joints.
Clutch: Mcleod 10" disk (260276) (1.125 x 26 spline), NOS Schiefer aluminum pressure plate, long style. Quartermaster hydraulic throw out bearing, custom clutch hose.
Rear Axle: 1968 MGC w/ 3.07:1 gears.
Suspension: Stock MGB. I designed and fabricated an adjustable Panhard rod and tramp bars but haven't installed them yet.
Brakes: Stock front and rear brakes for now. I designed and built a prototype adapter to mate a vented Nissan rotor to the front MGB hub. I also modified a set of Volvo 240 4 piston calipers to fit the MGB upright. It all fits rather well, I just never got around to making a set of adapters other than the prototype. I am currently working on a bracket to mount a Nissan 240sx rear caliper to the rear end with a Saab rotor. Should be done with the design and prototype by early 2007. Will retain stock parking brake cable.
Wheels: MGBGT V8 rims with 195/60/14 tires.
Electrical: Rebuilt Mercury Capri 55A alternator on Rover P5B alternator cradle. It fits the late MGB 3 wire alternator plug and lines up with all pulleys. Rebuilt Buick aluminum noses starter. Stock coil. Rover P5B points distributor. Custom Cavis green spark plug wires, 7mm solid copper core. Wiring harness is a modified 1973 harness.
Body/Interior: Body is in process of being modified to resemble the original 1965 that is now too far gone. Shaved marker lights, chrome bumper conversion, lowered to chrome bumper height, early pull handle door conversion on late doors (in progress), early inner door handle mechanism installed, steel dash conversion (in progress), factory hardtop.
Electrical: Stock '73 MGB gauges except oil and water temp. Early dual oil/water gauge. Tach converted with the Zak method to 8 cyl. Speedometer calibrated using an Excel sheet to optimize transmission speedo gears.
Miles Driven: Approximately 2000 since completed in May 2004.
Date Converted: Ha! Probably in the next 3 years or so it will be at a point where I won't want to change anything else. Time for the next one. Close to 1200 miles driven so far.
Sources: Lots of parts were purchased off of ebay, some from D&D, The MG Guys, Mcleod, Summit, etc. A lot of the conversion info was taken from 'How to Give Your MGB V8 power' and all of the standard MGB info was from my dad and when I worked at his all British shop. The rest was trial and error.
Comments: - The cooling was a problem for a while but I installed a remote inline filler at the highest point in the system and now, no more cooling problems. I removed the TR7 cooling fan because the twin fans will bring the temp down just fine, even on a hot day, idling in traffic.
- Front suspension was lowered with shorter GT springs, this causes some positive camber. I am going to install the chrome bumper crossmember from the '65 and modify the steering rack to allow for more clearance near the headers.
- Initially the car sat too high for the driveshaft to clear the driveshaft catch panel in the back. I ended up trimming it back and making some lowering blocks. The rear suspension was lowered blocks, I plan on redrilling the mounting points to match the '65 and mount the suspension accordingly. The driveshaft was 2 1/2" diameter but this fouled on the parking brake stud on the handle. I trimmed it back as much as I could and then needed to reduce the driveshaft diameter.
- One other problem I had was starting when hot. The block huggers run really close to the starter, so much so that I couldn't fit a heat shield. I ended up getting a better battery and grounding it directly to the transmission instead of the chassis. No problems now.
- The block huggers also fouled the inner fenders, I had to remove the engine and massage the fenders with a hammer to get the clearance needed.

SU HIF6 carbs

SU filter box     MGB oil cooler


MGB hard-top     MGB hardtop

Buick motor     Rover intake manifold

remote oil filter     starter clearance

pressure plate     HTOB

tranny crossmember     transmission crossmember

shifter location     shifter lever

shifter adapter     shifter switches


Mercury Capri alternator     engine driven fan

remote filter     wiring harness

motor mount     engine mount

rubber to chrome conversion     MGB grille

pull-handle conversion     MGB pullhandle

MGB stoplamp     MGB taillamp

primer     basecoat

disc brakes     disk brakes

radio console     MGB LE wheels

delivering the baby

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