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1980 Austin Princess


vulgalour

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I'm not an engineer so I don't know.  However, there are some things I do know from this discussion being had many times over the years for many different engines.  The problem with the Princess engine bay isn't the width, they got a transversely mounted six cylinder in there after all, it's the depth front to back.  There's also a lot of depth to be had, the engines the Princess came with as standard are none of them short so you can go quite tall providing you can find something to marry up to the gearbox underneath it all.

So in theory, if the Jag V12 has a narrow enough V you probably could get it in there, I don't imagine height would be an issue since the Jags it was found in had a much lower bonnet line than the Princess.

Getting the engine in is the easy bit.  Keeping it cool, making sure the gearbox can cope with it, routing the exhaust... that's a different matter entirely.  I do wonder what it would do to the handling side of things too, how much heavier than the straight six is the V12?

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I've now disabled the Princess.  On measuring the valve clearances, six out of the eight were the same, which is good and reinforces what my ears were telling me that it sounded like one or two were off.  Turns out two of the clearances were a bit smaller, on valve 2 and 7 (counting left to right, looking at the front of the engine) so those were the ones I need shims for.  Did all the number things, several times because I'm terrible with maths, and made use of online valve clearance calculators which honestly took so much stress out of the process for me!

Have ordered two shims, and am hoping that's what I need.  If not I re-measure and try again.  Made me feel a bit better about the health of the engine too, I've been worried about the rattle but given how clean everything looked inside, and how close the clearances are to one another I think I've perhaps been suffering from an abundance of caution on this one.

Still, it'll be nice to have the car back to sounding less rattly, the O series should be a nice quiet engine really so you can hear the wonderful noises the gearbox makes.

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5 hours ago, vulgalour said:

I'm not an engineer so I don't know.  However, there are some things I do know from this discussion being had many times over the years for many different engines.  The problem with the Princess engine bay isn't the width, they got a transversely mounted six cylinder in there after all, it's the depth front to back.  There's also a lot of depth to be had, the engines the Princess came with as standard are none of them short so you can go quite tall providing you can find something to marry up to the gearbox underneath it all.

So in theory, if the Jag V12 has a narrow enough V you probably could get it in there, I don't imagine height would be an issue since the Jags it was found in had a much lower bonnet line than the Princess.

Getting the engine in is the easy bit.  Keeping it cool, making sure the gearbox can cope with it, routing the exhaust... that's a different matter entirely.  I do wonder what it would do to the handling side of things too, how much heavier than the straight six is the V12?

Weight would be an issue...the engine and box as used in a V12 XJ-S is near as makes no odds half a tonne.  It's a lot of engine.  Vaguely recall the dry weight being something like 430kg.  Simply put, not light.

Servicing is also a little painful at 12 litres a shot of oil and I I remember right 19 litres of coolant...

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That is a heck of a lot of weight.  So then you have to consider the extra stress on the suspension which isn't easy to upgrade at all, and the bodyshell itself and that's before you get into the extra torque stresses the engine is likely to put on things if you get the thing moving.  Brakes could be upgraded moderately easily up front I imagine, mostly because that's one of the few bits of the Princess well catered to in the aftermarket thanks to the stock brakes being a popular upgrade to other cars for years.  Steering is going to be heavy, and it's already heavy as standard with the little four cylinder up front so you'll have to figure out how you're going to package power steering or start your own spinach farm.

I wonder how FabCo are getting on with their Jag-powered Princess these days, I'm in their neck of the woods now...

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I don't have a decent photo underneath the front of the XJ-S from when I had it, but to say that the rear suspension was "pretty substantial" wouldn't be inaccurate.

IMG_20200214_150050.jpg.40e537de471e35ebd53d0512cbd39e89.jpg

I reckon it's one of those things which really would be on a hiding to noting.  It's just such a big, heavy old lump.  I reckon you'd probably never get it in the front anyway - there just isn't room for it - look how LONG it is, never mind the width.

IMG_20200705_175701.jpg.91dac2168662698202235f568b869253.jpg

Just the rocker covers are longer than the bonnet on plenty of cars, never mind that and the width of the whole assembly, though you've got a bit of opportunity to improve things there by using different intake/air cleaner arrangements - though you're facing a similar challenge as on the XJ-S of having a very low nose to work with, so probably not really by much.

For all the fun I reckon a highly tuned Jag V12 in a Princess would be, probably something that looks like a Princess but had the engine mounted amidships would be far more realistic.  I'd also never wish having to work on that on anyone.  For all I loved it the car, it was an absolute pain in the arse to do anything on, even in a car that was all but designed around it.  Don't think I'd ever had a car where it took me a whole afternoon to change a set of HT leads before.

XK8 era V8 though?  That might be doable.  Probably half the weight for a start.

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Just a note of caution here, remember that the manual 2200 had to be withdrawn for a while as the driveshafts could not cope. What about a KV6 with its 5-speed gearbox, driveshafts, hubs ect. Yes, it would be a lot of work, but so would any other engine swap. 

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The KV6 has been discussed more seriously than this theoretical.  Fact is it's too chunky in the wrong way to go in, you get all the same problems as Johnny Smith's Allegro build even though the Princess is a bigger car.  Rover T series had also been considered but has issues because it sits too far back in relation to the driveshafts and interferes with the suspension that runs across the bulkhead.  Funnily enough with the KV6 is not the height or width of the engine that's the problem so much as the depth front to back.  The Princess engine bay space is really short front to back because of the transversely mounted displacers along the bulkhead, but really wide since you've got no traditionally located suspension struts which is how you can get a transverse straight six in there.

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I do remember there being plenty of room in the engine bay. Lovely thing to work on as you could get to everything. Not all plastic shrouding, trunking and soundproofing. 

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I do love a Rover V8, although, the engineering challenge to turn the car into rear wheel drive would be quite an undertaking! What about the K series? The 1.8 engine produces 135bhp, the turbo versions 160bhp. The 1.8 would not be too much different in size to the 1.7 O series already in there would it?

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59 minutes ago, Dick Longbridge said:

This one has a Rover V8. It would be interesting to hear what it's like to live with. 

20240610_105719.jpg

20240610_105700.jpg

I think I’m in love.

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3 hours ago, Dick Longbridge said:

This one has a Rover V8. It would be interesting to hear what it's like to live with. 

20240610_105719.jpg

20240610_105700.jpg

... you're trolling us right?  That's obviously a photoshop.

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Yesterday the new shims arrived and I got to work on putting the engine back together.  I installed both, measured the gaps, and found that what I'm calling #7 actually needed the original shim putting back in to get the gap correct.  I've now got 0.30 gap on 7 out of 8 which is great.  Unfortunately, #2 is just above tolerance of 0.20 so I need to work out what size shim I need for that, take it all apart, and do it again.

A friend with more engine experience than me did tell me that this is normal.  When you replace the shims sometimes the size you think you need isn't actually the right size and you need to try out shims slightly thicker or thinner until you find the right one.  Changing one shim can alter the gap on another for reasons I don't actually understand.

I did have a bit of a moment with the job where I was very worried I'd completely fudged it.  As I put everything back together I cranked the engine by hand to check for tight spots and be sure I hadn't mucked up the timing somehow and all seemed well.  One last hand crank to make sure it was good and it felt okay, I'd got compression where expected, nothing felt like it was binding or amiss so it was time to turn the key.

Quick flick and a listen, all seemed fine.

Second turn of the key to try and start it and something was wrong.  There was a hard spot in the rotation, as though something was binding.  This was very concerning.  I'd not kept an eye on the time either and had gone into too-hungry-to-focus territory without realising it and was about to throw all my toys out the pram... took a step back and left it alone to have some pizza.

Came back with a full tum and refreshed brain and had a think.  Tried turning it by hand and I could hear compression where expected, but there was definitely a tight spot.  Checked the cambelt hadn't jumped a tooth (it's done that to me before, totally randomly) and it was fine.  Distributor seemed okay.  So I felt like I probably hadn't smashed all the valves into the shims.

Went through the process in my head of what needed to come apart to investigate.  First thing was the camshaft end plate and that reminded me the last time there was a binding issue was when I hadn't put a gasket in there, leading to me smashing all the valves into all the pistons.  Eureka moment had because I had made a new gasket since the old one tore on removal (and it's good practice to replace it anyway).  Took the end plate off and sure enough, there was a problem.  I'd cut the top hole in the gasket just a bit undersized and there was a witness mark where the camshaft end had been rubbing on it.  Opened out the hole a bit larger than the witness mark and put the plate back on with the adjusted gasket then turned by hand.  No more tight binding!  Gave it a few more rotations by hand to be sure and then tried turning the key again.

No start.  It was behaving like the plugs were out of order, which was something I did know they weren't since I'd very sensibly labelled everything and could easily check my work.  Knew the timing belt was correctly positioned to so that meant it had to be the distributor at fault if it was an ignition issue.

Sure enough, I'd put the distributor in on the wrong timing mark.  Pulled it out, repositioned it, and hand crank again just to be extra safe.  All systems appeared okay.  Turned the key and hey presto it ran!  What a relief.

It's a lot quieter, not as quiet as I'd like as I still have that one shim to adjust.  I had to tweak the distributor a tiny bit to correct the advance/retard from where it was before (I'd marked it so I knew where it should sit to avoid guessing), and then we were good to go for a test drive.  Quick whizz around the block far enough to get it up to temperature and I was pleasantly surprised at how much nicer it drives, much more like its old self.

Now I just need to order another shim and have another go at that noisy one.  I don't really want to, unlike a pushrod engine to make any kind of valve adjustment on this one it involves a lot of dismantling and nonsense I can't be doing with so since things are within tolerance it can wait for now and I can get on with something else, like welding the jacking point I have the parts for now.IMAG7317.jpg.a715262b1514709ad5c2071f12fa0fed.jpg

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3 hours ago, vulgalour said:

Yesterday the new shims arrived and I got to work on putting the engine back together.  I installed both, measured the gaps, and found that what I'm calling #7 actually needed the original shim putting back in to get the gap correct.  I've now got 0.30 gap on 7 out of 8 which is great.  Unfortunately, #2 is just above tolerance of 0.20 so I need to work out what size shim I need for that, take it all apart, and do it again.

A friend with more engine experience than me did tell me that this is normal.  When you replace the shims sometimes the size you think you need isn't actually the right size and you need to try out shims slightly thicker or thinner until you find the right one.  Changing one shim can alter the gap on another for reasons I don't actually understand.

I did have a bit of a moment with the job where I was very worried I'd completely fudged it.  As I put everything back together I cranked the engine by hand to check for tight spots and be sure I hadn't mucked up the timing somehow and all seemed well.  One last hand crank to make sure it was good and it felt okay, I'd got compression where expected, nothing felt like it was binding or amiss so it was time to turn the key.

Quick flick and a listen, all seemed fine.

Second turn of the key to try and start it and something was wrong.  There was a hard spot in the rotation, as though something was binding.  This was very concerning.  I'd not kept an eye on the time either and had gone into too-hungry-to-focus territory without realising it and was about to throw all my toys out the pram... took a step back and left it alone to have some pizza.

Came back with a full tum and refreshed brain and had a think.  Tried turning it by hand and I could hear compression where expected, but there was definitely a tight spot.  Checked the cambelt hadn't jumped a tooth (it's done that to me before, totally randomly) and it was fine.  Distributor seemed okay.  So I felt like I probably hadn't smashed all the valves into the shims.

Went through the process in my head of what needed to come apart to investigate.  First thing was the camshaft end plate and that reminded me the last time there was a binding issue was when I hadn't put a gasket in there, leading to me smashing all the valves into all the pistons.  Eureka moment had because I had made a new gasket since the old one tore on removal (and it's good practice to replace it anyway).  Took the end plate off and sure enough, there was a problem.  I'd cut the top hole in the gasket just a bit undersized and there was a witness mark where the camshaft end had been rubbing on it.  Opened out the hole a bit larger than the witness mark and put the plate back on with the adjusted gasket then turned by hand.  No more tight binding!  Gave it a few more rotations by hand to be sure and then tried turning the key again.

No start.  It was behaving like the plugs were out of order, which was something I did know they weren't since I'd very sensibly labelled everything and could easily check my work.  Knew the timing belt was correctly positioned to so that meant it had to be the distributor at fault if it was an ignition issue.

Sure enough, I'd put the distributor in on the wrong timing mark.  Pulled it out, repositioned it, and hand crank again just to be extra safe.  All systems appeared okay.  Turned the key and hey presto it ran!  What a relief.

It's a lot quieter, not as quiet as I'd like as I still have that one shim to adjust.  I had to tweak the distributor a tiny bit to correct the advance/retard from where it was before (I'd marked it so I knew where it should sit to avoid guessing), and then we were good to go for a test drive.  Quick whizz around the block far enough to get it up to temperature and I was pleasantly surprised at how much nicer it drives, much more like its old self.

Now I just need to order another shim and have another go at that noisy one.  I don't really want to, unlike a pushrod engine to make any kind of valve adjustment on this one it involves a lot of dismantling and nonsense I can't be doing with so since things are within tolerance it can wait for now and I can get on with something else, like welding the jacking point I have the parts for now.

Ungrateful bastard, isn’t it..😱😁

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1 hour ago, Noel Tidybeard said:

have you considered the metalic cerise colour nissan used on the primera gt?

it might be easier to obtain

image.jpeg.f03e7d37844ab777e7cfb87bc1d49dee.jpeg

I hadn't, I didn't know it existed.  I really like that, as much as I was avoiding metallics I might have to re-evaluate that now.

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That colour would really elevate it if you are going to the effort if having it sprayed. Regarding the timing,that would likely have needed a tweak anyway as you have altered the valve timing slightly by re shinning,I would have thought. Hopefully you can get the last one sorted,aside from the noise it's amazing what a difference to the running side of things tweaking the valve gaps can do

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I have been surprised, pleasantly.  I think I need to tweak the timing a smidge more, not much, had an occasional fart at very low speeds intermittently so it's probably a tiny bit retarded?

Also spoken to friend that's doing the paint and he's going to see if he can get a sample of that pink.  If it works as well as I suspect it will, I'll have to hunt out a metallic black to go with it because I think a flat black is going to look odd next to the metallic pink.

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1 hour ago, vulgalour said:

I have been surprised, pleasantly.  I think I need to tweak the timing a smidge more, not much, had an occasional fart at very low speeds intermittently so it's probably a tiny bit retarded?

Also spoken to friend that's doing the paint and he's going to see if he can get a sample of that pink.  If it works as well as I suspect it will, I'll have to hunt out a metallic black to go with it because I think a flat black is going to look odd next to the metallic pink.

My vote for the complimentary colour?  Peugeot Raven Black.  It's got a lovely deep multicolour (mainly green and purple) shimmer in it up close.

It's also fscking impossible to photograph.

Screenshot_20240613_194058.jpg.5d811d3499f73d6422fa620bdc2ad6b5.jpg

Screenshot_20240613_194038.jpg.129cff3cf76e74b8a4fac50e28dd0301.jpg

The colours are massively more saturated in person.  However from a distance it's subtle enough to just add a nice bit of depth.  In the sun and up close though it's really pretty.

Given that it was used for most of the run of the 107 and 208 should be pretty easy to source I'd think.

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53 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

My vote for the complimentary colour?  Peugeot Raven Black.  It's got a lovely deep multicolour (mainly green and purple) shimmer in it up close.

It's also fscking impossible to photograph.

Screenshot_20240613_194058.jpg.5d811d3499f73d6422fa620bdc2ad6b5.jpg

Screenshot_20240613_194038.jpg.129cff3cf76e74b8a4fac50e28dd0301.jpg

The colours are massively more saturated in person.  However from a distance it's subtle enough to just add a nice bit of depth.  In the sun and up close though it's really pretty.

Given that it was used for most of the run of the 107 and 208 should be pretty easy to source I'd think.

Perfect!  I was just talking to the housemate about this very colour and couldn't remember the name.  It's one of my favourite modern colours out there.

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