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Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by autogear » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:21 am

Theres a pinto wagon around these parts with a flathead ford V8, T5 trans. The owner swears it has more pep and gets better mileage than the original powertrain. I keep trying to get him to turbo it or put a vintage centrifugal supercharger on it..so far, no dice.

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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:19 pm

As others have noted, the Rover V8 is descended from the Buick 215. The Rover was sand cast with press-in liners instead of semi die cast around ribbed liners like the Buick and Olds 215s. The earliest pre-SD1 Rover 3.5L V8 is essentially a 2 barrel carb version of the Buick 215 with the intake modified to take two SU (or Zenith Stromberg) carbs. There were also 3.9L, 4.0L, 4.2L and 4.6L displacement versions. The 4.0L and 4.6L got cross-bolted mains and larger diameter main bearings. Lots of variation in timing covers, oil pans and accessories but the long blocks interchange with some detail differences.

> but they are very scarce to find.

Should be plenty of the Rover stuff available in California and there is plenty of aftermarket support. If you decide on this approach, I can point you to some forums that might help in locating a nearby engine.

> I want him to enjoy points and carbs if possible.

A Buick 215/300/340/350/V6 front cover (and many of the Rover covers) and GM points distributor will work. Transverse mount Buick V6 front dress can be used if engine length is at a premium. Later Range Rovers used a nice cast aluminum oil pan, along with cast aluminum valve covers. Lots of 4 barrel carb options including the GM 4 barrel and Edelbrock Performer Rover dual planes and various single planes (Huffaker, Harcourt, Willpower, Offenhauser Equaflow 360). If hood clearance is at a premium, the Offenhauser/JWR Dual Port is very low profile.

There are various options for 5 speed manual transmissions. In the United States, the Rover LT77 5 speed was used in the Triumph TR7 and TR8 but you'll need the TR8 bellhousing to bolt up to the Buick 215/Rover V8 "dog ear" bellhousing. There is also the Rover R380, a later version of the LT77. There were three variations of the GM 215 bellhousings: 3 speed only, 4 speed only and dual (both 3 and 4 speed bolt pattern). The latter two will directly bolt up a GM Borg Warner T5 (and the earlier T50). D&D make an adapter for the 3 speed and dual pattern that allows use of the Ford Borg Warner (as used i the fox body Mustangs) and Tremec T5s. There are also aftermarket bellhousings (Trans Dapt and D&D). If you prefer an automatic transmission, D&D does adapters for the GM 200R4 and 700R4 and a 4 speed ZF automatic was used in the Range Rovers.

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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by PackardV8 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:03 pm

Before this recent couple of feet of snow buried it, I saw a Buick 215 4-bbl in our boneyard.
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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by rebelyell » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:42 am

PackardV8 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:15 pm
Many years ago, I drove a near-new (?76-77) MANUAL trans 240D . . . it stank bad and was woefully under-powered.
For true, the 240D was a POS to drive when new; but you forgot noisy.

Well, whichever suggestion you take, the one fact is no matter what you swap in, you'll have improved the 240D.
So true, I had forgotten how noisy its diesel was.

But now I also recall how its fuel receipt for diesel entitled me a free shower in a truck stop near Van Horn TX. Jeez that was over 40 years ago and how the heck I remember that when I don't know where my keys are?

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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by Leftcoaster » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:46 am

ptuomov wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:23 pm
I think that adding a turbo might help with sound, smoke, and speed, while still keeping the car EMP proof.
A little off the OP's subject, but the 240D is an indirect injection diesel, with a precombustion chamber into which the diesel is injected, there to be atomised, vapourised, and heated to initiate spontaneous combustion before escaping the pre combustion chamber via the precom cup port, to complete combustion when mixing with hot compressed air in the combustion chamber proper

This second combustion event is readily influenced by changes to the phasing, calibration, atomisation, vaporisation and combustion of fuel injected into the precombustion chamber, that chamber's volume, and the precom cup port angle and cross sectional area

The subject is comprehensively covered in ST's 23 July 2012 "Turbo Diesel Flow Gain", and the attached link shows how reducing the pre combustion chamber volume of a factory turbo'd IDI engine by 1.95 ml decreased power by over 60% and increased CO by >600%, CO2 by >30%, HC by >900%, and particulate matter by >200%
Auckland Uniservices' Mitsubishi tests.pdf
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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by volodkovich » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:36 pm

Keep it diesel and in the family and drop in an OM606 or OM605. Probably the greatest indirect injected small capacity diesel there is.
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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by PackardV8 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:05 pm

volodkovich wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:36 pm
Keep it diesel and in the family and drop in an OM606 or OM605. Probably the greatest indirect injected small capacity diesel there is.
Yabbut, they were such a great answer to today's transportation, M-B ceased making them more than twenty years ago; why?
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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by SchmidtMotorWorks » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:33 pm

Daniel Jones wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:19 pm
As others have noted, the Rover V8 is descended from the Buick 215. The Rover was sand cast with press-in liners instead of semi die cast around ribbed liners like the Buick and Olds 215s. The earliest pre-SD1 Rover 3.5L V8 is essentially a 2 barrel carb version of the Buick 215 with the intake modified to take two SU (or Zenith Stromberg) carbs. There were also 3.9L, 4.0L, 4.2L and 4.6L displacement versions. The 4.0L and 4.6L got cross-bolted mains and larger diameter main bearings. Lots of variation in timing covers, oil pans and accessories but the long blocks interchange with some detail differences.

> but they are very scarce to find.

Should be plenty of the Rover stuff available in California and there is plenty of aftermarket support. If you decide on this approach, I can point you to some forums that might help in locating a nearby engine.

> I want him to enjoy points and carbs if possible.

A Buick 215/300/340/350/V6 front cover (and many of the Rover covers) and GM points distributor will work. Transverse mount Buick V6 front dress can be used if engine length is at a premium. Later Range Rovers used a nice cast aluminum oil pan, along with cast aluminum valve covers. Lots of 4 barrel carb options including the GM 4 barrel and Edelbrock Performer Rover dual planes and various single planes (Huffaker, Harcourt, Willpower, Offenhauser Equaflow 360). If hood clearance is at a premium, the Offenhauser/JWR Dual Port is very low profile.

There are various options for 5 speed manual transmissions. In the United States, the Rover LT77 5 speed was used in the Triumph TR7 and TR8 but you'll need the TR8 bellhousing to bolt up to the Buick 215/Rover V8 "dog ear" bellhousing. There is also the Rover R380, a later version of the LT77. There were three variations of the GM 215 bellhousings: 3 speed only, 4 speed only and dual (both 3 and 4 speed bolt pattern). The latter two will directly bolt up a GM Borg Warner T5 (and the earlier T50). D&D make an adapter for the 3 speed and dual pattern that allows use of the Ford Borg Warner (as used i the fox body Mustangs) and Tremec T5s. There are also aftermarket bellhousings (Trans Dapt and D&D). If you prefer an automatic transmission, D&D does adapters for the GM 200R4 and 700R4 and a 4 speed ZF automatic was used in the Range Rovers.

Dan Jones
Sounds like you understand these engines very well.
How do they compare dimensionally to an SBC?
If they went up to 360, I guess they might be just as big.

I knew a little about the Rover, but wasn't able to sort out what model(s) would be good to consider.
There are lots of them listed here on Craigslist and ebay.

If you could help me target a specific couple of years and models, I would appreciate it.

I found a Mercedes M110 for $900, but just couldn't go for it.

Old simple small V8 just seems more attractive.
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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by Leftcoaster » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:33 am

Jon, check ST thread "Buick 215" of 02 May 2011 for additional period correct information
Can't quote the dimensions now, but you'll find the BOPR long motor dimensions very close to a SBC
In the mid 80's I imported used early Rover 3500 engines and 5sp TR7 trans, manufactured steel flywheels to suit the BOPR crank and Can/US clutch assys, and provided retrofit kits for anaemic TR7's
D&D supplied some aftermarket BOPR alloy bell housings to suit GM bolt pattern manuals trannies, not sure but think they also supplied the ring gears - - Camshaft Machine supplied unground lobe cams, don't recall what maximum lift was available
Keen rodders claimed early SBC rods could be narrowed at the big end and fitted with Vega pistons, and early SBC valves adapted to the heads
Small stem Nissan 260Z Turbo valves mated with bronze Porsche guides with BOPR od's, being a less radical substitute
Adapting GM's HEI distributor and electronics was another trick
Our Oz readers might volunteer info on the Leyland 4.4 ltr derivative manufactured for the short lived Leyland P44 sedan
Mr Dan Jones has provided a wealth of mid to late production Rover V8 info - - entering "Rover V8" in ST's "Google Search" feature will also unearth numerous threads, with ST luminaries such as Oz' Tony Knight and Us' Bill Jones discussing the cylinder heads available, plus pre and post modification flow bench figures

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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by KnightEngines » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:51 am

If a rover v8 will fit, then so will an ls1.........

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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by midnightbluS10 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:59 am

SchmidtMotorWorks wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:29 am
swampbuggy wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:19 am
Jon, i read through this thread quickly to see if anybody asked this question (hopefully i did not miss this question). Are you considering how much power will be available to your young son under his right foot when he starts to drive this car ? Mark H. :-k
Not actually looking for anything powerful.
I wish they were into fast cars.
Both my kids turned down new KTM dirt bike, and drivers positions on top notch Jr Dragster team.

Just smoother, quieter, not smelling like diesel and for familiar tech to work on.
I want him to enjoy points and carbs if possible.

I have been offered a 2300 Ford and a Slant six for free.

There is a 1970 gas Mercedes 6 cylinder near by I might consider.
Enjoy?

Is that what you call that? :lol:

I enjoy fuel injection and ignition that works every time I turn the key. As an 17/18/19 yr old in Cali, I bet they want the same. You seem to be confused. They don't want to be top drivers but you think they want to have to work on a car just to be able to drive it daily.

Seems like things are at odds, imo. What you want and what they likely want seem to be on different planes. What makes you think any kid these days would 'enjoy' carbs and points? Did you enjoy it? No romanticizing, either.
JC -

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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by SchmidtMotorWorks » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:08 am

midnightbluS10 wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:59 am
Enjoy?

Is that what you call that? :lol:

I enjoy fuel injection and ignition that works every time I turn the key. As an 17/18/19 yr old in Cali, I bet they want the same. You seem to be confused. They don't want to be top drivers but you think they want to have to work on a car just to be able to drive it daily.

Seems like things are at odds, imo. What you want and what they likely want seem to be on different planes. What makes you think any kid these days would 'enjoy' carbs and points? Did you enjoy it? No romanticizing, either.
Yes I definitely enjoyed it, I think there is more of a connection to the physics of how and engine works that can be learned from points and carbs that is more encapsulated in the EFI systems. I want my son to experience both.
It isn't an either or issue. He knows about EFI from working on our dyno.

Yes I know he will enjoy it based on the non automotive projects we have done in the past.
He has built several circuit boards, has good soldering skills etc.
His tastes are unusual, he can have any car he wants, but wants my 240D.
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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by Daniel Jones » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:36 pm

> How do they compare dimensionally to an SBC?

Deck height is 8.96 inches. Bore spacing is smaller and the heads are quite narrow. It shares the same engine architecture as the 90 degree Buick V6. The Buick 300 is a taller deck iron block variant of the Buick 215. Lop two cylinders off the Buick 300 and you get the 225 cubic inch odd-fire Buick V6 (300 * 6/8 = 225) which later grew to 231 cubic inches. So the Buick 215 aluminum V8 is a V8 version of the Buick V6 with a shorter deck height and smaller bore. Has the same front timing cover mounted oil pump and distributor, skirted block with a flat flange oil pan, etc. Not as compact as a SBF but more compact than a SBC. With proper selection of components, can come in at around 300 lbs.

> If they went up to 360, I guess they might be just as big.

They only went to 4.6L in stock form though 5.0L+ is possible with stroker cranks.

> If you could help me target a specific couple of years and models, I would appreciate it.

If you don't care about fuel injection, then any of the long blocks will work and are externally the same size. Avoid engines that have been overheated as they will often crack behind the iron sleeve. Would you rather have a smaller or larger displacement? The 1996-2004 4.6L was rated at 225 HP and 280 ft-lbs (with EFI). At the other end of the spectrum are the low compression (8:1) early emissions era 3.5L Rover V8s used in the TR8 and SD1 are rated at only 133 HP but it's pretty easy to get 200 HP with the usual hot rod tricks. The smaller bore 3.5L has more material around the bores and is less likely to crack. It's popular to install Buick 300 cranks in the 3.5L and 215 blocks to get 266 cubic inches or so. There a variety of different exhaust manifolds including OEM cast iron and tubular steel manifolds, MGBV8 block huggers, TR8 tri-ys (in mild and stainless steel), Range Rover 4-into-1s etc. to choose from. In addition to the GM dual point distributors I mentioned, Mallory dual point distributors are also available. My favorite front cover is the one used on Triumph TR8 and Rover 3500 SD1 automobiles. It houses a larger oil pump than the Buick V8 front covers but not as large as the aftermarket oil pumps (which are not recommended). Add the Ruggles design booster plate and externally adjustable pressure relief valve which are both available from TA Performance. The TR8/SD1 accessory brackets also mount Delco R4 air conditioning compressors. Range Rover front covers mount the water pump up high.

I'm near St. Louis, Missouri but have a bunch of parts if need something specific (intakes, oil pans, front covers, carbs).

Dan Jones

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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by The Ry Guy » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:35 pm

Interesting thread. I'm in the process of putting a 302 Ford into an 81 300D (W123 chassis). I'm more of a lurker here, but I've been watching this site for more than a decade.

What I've run into is that a custom exhaust manifold/header will need to be fabricated for the drivers side due to the massive steering box. For mine I ended up converting to rack and pinion steering, and ran standard off the shelf shorty headers for a Mustang. If I were to do it again, I would gladly have fabbed up a header instead of going through with mounting the rack and dealing with getting the bump steer worked out.

A fox body oil pan double sump pan could work, however it needs to be trimmed on the front of the rear sump, and you will still loose your steering stabilizer.

A mini offset starter might be used to clear the idler arm, unless you move the engine up in the car significantly.

I tried to move the engine as far back and low as possible, so I took a front sump pan and modified it, by extending the sump even farther forward, to clear the crossmember.

Of course there is the engine mounts and transmission mounts to fab up in addition to a custom driveshaft and exhaust. Not a quick or easy project by any means.

I think your best bet, if you just want a good simple car for your kid is to find a wrecked or rotted out gasser W123 chassis (most likely with the M110 engine) and swap over all the gasser parts onto your good chassis. No custom work will be necessary and will still provide a good reliable cool car for a young person.

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Re: Engine swap ideas for a 1979 Mercedes 240D

Post by SchmidtMotorWorks » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:43 pm

Daniel Jones wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:36 pm
> How do they compare dimensionally to an SBC?

Deck height is 8.96 inches. Bore spacing is smaller and the heads are quite narrow. It shares the same engine architecture as the 90 degree Buick V6. The Buick 300 is a taller deck iron block variant of the Buick 215. Lop two cylinders off the Buick 300 and you get the 225 cubic inch odd-fire Buick V6 (300 * 6/8 = 225) which later grew to 231 cubic inches. So the Buick 215 aluminum V8 is a V8 version of the Buick V6 with a shorter deck height and smaller bore. Has the same front timing cover mounted oil pump and distributor, skirted block with a flat flange oil pan, etc. Not as compact as a SBF but more compact than a SBC. With proper selection of components, can come in at around 300 lbs.

> If they went up to 360, I guess they might be just as big.

They only went to 4.6L in stock form though 5.0L+ is possible with stroker cranks.

> If you could help me target a specific couple of years and models, I would appreciate it.

If you don't care about fuel injection, then any of the long blocks will work and are externally the same size. Avoid engines that have been overheated as they will often crack behind the iron sleeve. Would you rather have a smaller or larger displacement? The 1996-2004 4.6L was rated at 225 HP and 280 ft-lbs (with EFI). At the other end of the spectrum are the low compression (8:1) early emissions era 3.5L Rover V8s used in the TR8 and SD1 are rated at only 133 HP but it's pretty easy to get 200 HP with the usual hot rod tricks. The smaller bore 3.5L has more material around the bores and is less likely to crack. It's popular to install Buick 300 cranks in the 3.5L and 215 blocks to get 266 cubic inches or so. There a variety of different exhaust manifolds including OEM cast iron and tubular steel manifolds, MGBV8 block huggers, TR8 tri-ys (in mild and stainless steel), Range Rover 4-into-1s etc. to choose from. In addition to the GM dual point distributors I mentioned, Mallory dual point distributors are also available. My favorite front cover is the one used on Triumph TR8 and Rover 3500 SD1 automobiles. It houses a larger oil pump than the Buick V8 front covers but not as large as the aftermarket oil pumps (which are not recommended). Add the Ruggles design booster plate and externally adjustable pressure relief valve which are both available from TA Performance. The TR8/SD1 accessory brackets also mount Delco R4 air conditioning compressors. Range Rover front covers mount the water pump up high.

I'm near St. Louis, Missouri but have a bunch of parts if need something specific (intakes, oil pans, front covers, carbs).

Dan Jones
Dan Thanks for all the info!
http://www.schmidtmotorworks.com Prototypes, Tooling, Molds.

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