A labour of love

Front cover, crankshaft pulley and timing pointer work

Front cover, crankshaft pulley and timing pointer work

It’s been a few months since my last update, and unfortunately my project is still on hold a little bit longer whilst I await my new garage build and get it all set up, but in the meantime I’m going to write a few quick posts covering more details of some other jobs I’ve already completed.

To achieve a vaguely authentic GT V8 engine bay, I wanted to replicate the front-end engine arrangement of the factory cars as closely as possible. The P38 Range Rover arrangement that my engine would have originally had, with its many pulleys and serpentine belts, would not be right, and probably would not have fitted under the bonnet anyway. Fortunately my engine came with an SD1 front cover, which is close, if not exactly the same, as that originally fitted to the factory GT V8s, so that was a good starting point.

The next thing I needed was the correct crankshaft pulley, or harmonic balancer. The GT V8 used what is often referred to as the “short nose” pulley, and which was common with the Rover P6 V8. These seem to have a reputation for being hard to find, and I certainly spent quite a bit of time hunting for one, but eventually one did pop up on eBay for sensible money. Obviously as soon as I found it, numerous others popped up in quick succession, so maybe they’re not so scarce after all (if you do struggle to find one, apparently an SD1 pulley can also be modified to work by machining a V-groove into it).

The one I bought had a bit of surface rust and needed some cleaning up, but was basically sound and the rubber was in good condition.

After some effort with a wire brush and fine grit paper it scrubbed up OK, and even the timing marks were fully visible.

From the V8 factory service manual, and various photos I’d studied, I noticed the pulley should have a balancing rim on the back of it, which mine did not come with, but Rimmers fortunately still stock it as a new part.

This came in bare metal, so I painted both the balancing rim and pulley itself in zinc primer and several coats of high-temp chassis black paint, to hopefully keep them looking tidy in service for as long as possible.

Next challenge I had was the timing pointer, which will eventually be pretty crucial for setting the ignition timing. Rimmers also still have this part listed as ERC1185, but it’s no longer available, and I couldn’t find a used one in any of the usual places either. So, as it didn’t look that difficult, I made one myself. I extrapolated the dimensions by studying pictures, made a template, and then cut it out of 1.1mm sheet steel to make sure it was fairly sturdy.

If you need one of these yourself, feel free to use my template. Printed out at 100% scale, the dimensions should be exactly right.

Folded carefully at the right point and painted in chassis black it turned out nicely.

The front cover I had acquired with the engine was very serviceable, but a bit grubby from use.

I took it along to my favourite local machine shop when I was having some other jobs done, and they cleaned it up for me as good as new.

You would have already seen these parts put together in my engine trial fitting post, but here’s how they look again (note that the crank pulley is not fully seated because of my crankshaft length woes, the timing pointer will eventually line up correctly!).

2 thoughts on “Front cover, crankshaft pulley and timing pointer work

  1. Hi Mate,
    I’m just starting this process in Australia, (3.5L out of a P6) info can be a bit hard to find at times and your blog is F***ing awesome. thanks for putting in the effort. how you found a front pully and balancing ring I will never know. I’ve been looking for 3 months with no luck. You mentioned you can adapt a SD1 pully so I will look at that as I had not seen that before.

    1. Hi there – thanks for the comment, glad you find the site useful. I know what you mean about the pulley, I got lucky myself after looking for a while, so they do pop up. There are a couple on eBay UK right now, might be worth a look if the sellers will ship to you. I think the SD1 pulley mod is covered in Roger Williams’ V8 conversion book if you have access to a copy. Good luck!

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