by Joe Mazzei in the May 1978 RootesReview Appeared first in The Cats Whiskers, Issues 4 and 5 The Club Publication of The Sunbeam Tiger Owners Club, England
I have always been the kind of person that, if told something was impossible my attitude was, and is, that you don’t want to do it badly enough to solve all the problems satisfactorily. I was told that a 351-Windsor would not fit in a Tiger, there just was not enough room. The whole procedure started as a let’s see if this can be done and be something that one can live with, work on and enjoy, and not be a butchered mess. As you can see, if you didn’t know the engine was a full 1.5 litres (91 cu. In.) bigger you could easily mistake it for a 260-289-302, with Cobra valve covers, and there are many who have done so. Results? Satisfactory beyond my hopes, there were NO de-bugging problems!
No. 1 – Installation procedures. Place vehicle on four frame stands and drop a line to the floor to mark the center line of the stock motor in the chassis, also measure very carefully the distance from the floor to the crankshaft center. This gives you the centering measurements for the new engine. Remove the old one. Have the new motor ready for trial fitting. The bellhousing will at this time have to be modified to accept the narrow bolt pattern of the trans. Four aluminum blocks heliarced in, drilled and tapped, work nicely. Also the trans front bearing retainer will have to be changed to match the hole in the bellhousing, (don’t forget the new seal). Now bolt the whole works (engine, bellhousing, trans) together. Now that it’s all bolted up you can start to fabricate a new clutch slave bracket – be certain to extend a bracing arm to the lower trans to bellhousing mounting bolt, otherwise the bracket will flex affecting clutch release or the bellhousing will break. (Look at a MKII bracket for the general idea). Now you are ready to start on the engine compartment.
No. 2 – Remove the rear mounting points for the Alpine Burman steering, (this is recommended any time you take your engine out as it will provide a little more room to work in).
No. 3 – Remove the rear bolt brace and guide for the stock frame mount.
No. 4 – Here’s your chance to be another Carroll Shelby. It’s time to lay the fire wall back and widen it at the same time to accommodate the additional height and width of the 351-W. Start the horizontal cut approximately 1″ below the horizontal cowl brace (lower). This cut should be extended along a line that ends on both sides, directly above the inboard edge of the fire wall openings for the steering column. (There is one on each side for left and right hookers.) The lower cut should be made along a line approximately 1″ above the fresh air intake water drain. Extend this line the same distance as the upper line. Make the two necessary vertical cuts to the ends of the horizontal cuts and remove cut out piece.
No. 5 – Prepare engine for first trial fitment. Remove exhaust manifolds, starter, water pump, harmonic balancer (damper) carburetor and valve covers (discard valve covers).
No. 6 – Hang the new heart in its new home. Completely mount the trans and cross-member. This properly locates the rear of the engine. Now center the front of the engine using the mark and measurement taken in step No.1. Block the engine solidly in this position. At this point lay in place the valve covers that you intend to use, either the original Tiger covers or after-market items.
No, 7 – Paper patterns will now have to be made for the box section to be installed in the firewall, (The lip that is left at the upper cut must be laid back so that it is approximately 30 degrees from horizontal). This pattern will have to fold around the front face of the firewall above and below the steering column on the driver’s side and across the hole on the passenger side. It should overlap all edges by 1” minimum. Tape the pattern in place and check for ease of removal of valve covers and intake manifold.
No. 8 – This is the most time consuming of all the steps as you must fabricate new engine mounts. Making paper templates is generally the best way to start:
(A) – Bolt the original motor mounts to the block. Now things get tricky. The frame mounts must be fabricated in conjunction with the headers. The headers that I used on this installation are made by Sanderson in California. These fit up closely to the block, but are not close enough as the frame required notching and boxing to clear the pipes. These could have been modified to fit more cleanly, however, we also wanted to see how this would affect frame rigidity, I would recommend having a custom set of headers fitted to the car.
(B) – The frame mounts should be made of approximately 1/4” mild steel. The piece that attaches to the motor mount should be 2″ wide and 4″ long. The piece that will attach to the frame should be 2″ wide and should start out about 5″ long. The new frame mount will only use two bolts for attachment to the frame vs, three. The first of these is the bottom frame mount bolt hole. The second is to be added. Weld a piece of square stock (1″ works well) 2″ long to the frame directly above the lower bolt. This piece must be drilled and tapped prior to welding to the frame. (Use at least 3/8 grade six S.A.E. bolts, prefer grade eight), drill the two by five piece and bolt into the frame, centering it on the lower bolt hole, mark the back of the plate through the frame. Remove it, drill it, weld a proper size nut to it and you’re nearly half way there. Drill the two by four inch piece on center and bolt it to the motor mount. With a piece of heavy manila paper make a template for the angle needed to join the two pieces. There should be about one and a half to two inches hanging below to which a brace must be welded. Take the new mounting pieces out, tack them together, check for fit and weld them up and bolt them in. If everything has been done properly the engine is in its new home. Now thrill of thrills, take it back out. Make up the fire wall box section and fit it into the car, (weld or pop rivet). Before removal see next step.
No. 9 – Remove the steering column cowl, loosen the column supports, cut the column support bracket from the inner wheel well as the steering column will have to be moved away from the about 1” and moved forward about 1″. Deburr the edges of the U-Joint sections and check for freedom of movement, weld the inner support in its new position, check column cowl for fit and trim as necessary.
No. 10 – While the engine is out change the timing case cover to the cover and water pump from your Tiger. Use the MKI type with aluminum pump (weight you know). The lower pulley must be machined to fit the new damper (a flange needs removal). The generator bracket should fit the head by enlarging the mounting bolt holes as necessary and using a longer fan belt The throttle cable needs a longer insert and a new hole must be located in the fire-wall. Clean it up and detail it out.
No. 11 – I recommend installing a Holley Torker type intake manifold and 600 CFM carb in conjunction with the headers, this combination increases H.P. 60 over stock. The car with a Posi, and decent tires will run very low 12’s or high 11’s. Just take care not to break your neck(s).