Introduction and Topics

Since converting my first TR7 to V8 spec in 1984 and assisting in the conversion of about six others, I have been asked many times what I felt was the optimum conversion. This question has no definitive answer as each person has their own ideas as to the perfect V8 conversion. What I would like to define are my own ideas of a 'middle of the road' conversion for reasonably fast road use coupled with comfort for long distance travelling. I must stress that these are my own thoughts, based on past experience, so I hope it will not upset too many conversion specialists.
Before even lifting a spanner it is essential to plan out exactly how you want to carry out the conversion and work out an estimate of how much it will cost.
If it is to be a 'turn key' conversion where specialists carry out all the work then get a number of FIXED PRICE WRITTEN QUOTES for exactly the specification that you require. To arrive at your specification talk to other V8 owners who have either done the conversion themselves or have had the work carried out by a specialist - don't assume that articles on conversions must be correct nor that people who have been meaning to do the conversion for some years have all the right answers, they don't - there is no substitute for 'hands on' experience. Bear in mind that tuning parts, particularly for the SD1 engine, can add a great deal of money to the cost of the conversion and in many cases do not make a significant improvement to performance. The alternative to the above is the DIY approach which most people favour. This can be done in two ways - either accumulating all the parts over a short period of time and spending a great deal of money very quickly (not something many of us are able to do!) thus completing the job in possibly two/three weeks - or carry out the conversion in stages. It is this latter approach that I will be concentrating on.

So, where do we start?

The following should enable the car to be kept on the road for as long as possible before the main transplant, bearing in mind time constraints. One assumption that I have made is that the car body is in good order.

(1) Front suspension.(10) Speedometer
(2) Rear suspension.(11) Back axle decisions.
(3) Trailing and upper arms(12) Rev counter.
(4) Battery(13) Sourcing the subframe/prop shaft/exhaust system.
(5) Cooling system(14) The drive train change - the main transplant.
(6) Wheels - optional(15) Conversion of the electrical system.
(7) Brakes - front and rear.(16) Start up.
(8) Sourcing and rebuilding a suitable engine(17) On the road.
(9) Carburettor Decisions

The above, I feel, are the main considerations which will be expanded upon in the following issues. As you can see, I have deliberately spread out some jobs that can be done at weekends whilst the car is still on the road. So in the next issue we start with the suspension.