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bigrich 14th November 2013 21:17

Engine upgrade - 1.8VVC
Hi Guys,

So I've got myself a winter project. Couldn't resist a 1.8VVC engine with ECU, 5AS and loom for 140 !

I'm going to keep the R65 gearbox because the mountings, gearchange and driveshafts work well in this set up. Swap the 1.6 flywheel onto the 1.8 and straight in (with a new clutch as the old ones starting to slip)

30% more power, 20% more as long as the gearbox holds out it should be a nice improvement on the old unit at not much cost.

The wiring loom is the only thing I'm not 100% sure of yet....but I think it should be pretty simple (long time since I wired up the 1.6!)

Any hints and tips gladly received :)


limpabit 15th November 2013 07:15

Hi Rich.

Steve did exactly this with he's Marlin. Don't think the wiring was too difficult.

Have a word with Steve :smile:

MikeN 27th February 2014 14:15

Hi gentlemen, any information you have on wiring up the 5AS and engine management would be greatly received.



bigrich 2nd March 2014 21:25

Hi Mike,

What exactly are you looking for...and on what engine?

For the 5AS I bought the Marlin loom - this plugged straight in and works a treat. Others have made their own, but not sure how.

Regarding the ECU it just plugs straight into the engine loom...


SDMC001 4th March 2014 05:47


Not sure if this is what you are after, but hope it helps.

I assume the 5as, blip key not sure about ecu came off the same car as they are matched.

Did you buy the Marlin 5as plug, I have one if necessary (PM me if interested), although I used the one off the donor car.

The following is from Marlin, below that is my notes.

white/orange to ecu pin 13
black to earth
white to exi switch live, their green
blue to exi permanent live their purple
white/brown to dashboard alarm light their pink blue.

My notes

Pin 1 to Ignition switch live their green
Pin 2 Earth
Pin 9 Imobiliser signal to ecu Pin 13
Pin 10 Antena for remote
Pin 23 Starter relay Pin 2
Pin 26 Perm live

Many thanks to Chris who passed on the information as I no longer own the car.

Good luck Steve

bigrich 12th March 2014 16:52

So, I've been busy over the past 4 months. What initially started off as 'clean up and maybe a new rocker gasket' grew arms and legs!!

It was clear upon further inspection that the engine top end sealing was poor (i.e. oil was falling out of most of the joints - VVC seals, camladder seal, rocker, etc...) So I ended up taking the plunge and stripping top end down completely. Head off, new stem seals, lap valves, VVC Hydraulic unit overhaul, new belts, water pump, MLS head gasket etc, etc.....and a good degrease and clean on the way.

Anyway, the engine now is finished and looks damn fine. Just need to get it into the car before Stoneleigh.

Rich :)

limpabit 13th March 2014 15:21

Come on Rich. Never think any job with the car will end up straight forward!

Because it never is!

bigrich 13th March 2014 20:55

John - you're dead right!!

...mind you, at least I've had the full official Rover overhaul manual to use when rebuilding the service tolerances, care points, torque figures, decent diagrams and descriptions....just like the Marlin build manual...... ;)


limpabit 14th March 2014 14:56

Funny enough looking at Rover manuals again my self. Back to circuit diagrams for wiring in a T series turbo with a DTA

bigrich 9th April 2014 20:58, VVC 1.8 K series overhauled, cleaned, headgasket, cambelt etc all done. Flywheel swapped and clutch fitted. Gearbox mated and all back in the car.....first turn of the key......result!

Then I discovered I'd airlocked the cooling system and blew coolant out if the header tank everywhere :(

I'm now waiting for a bleed valve to come to fit in the heater matrix feed pipe.
Anyone else had trouble bleeding air from a k series system??


bigrich 11th April 2014 20:52

getting hacked off with this now......fitted new thermostat with jiggle pin to aid venting + fitted bleed valve in heater pipe at matrix end. No different - still not opening the stat and cooling.

What's weird is I can bleed the system with the engine off and then start the engine from cold OK. If I then undo the bleed screw on the heater coolant feed there is no water flow from still air locked??

I'm thinking of bypassing the heater completely on a temp basis to prove that there isn;t another problem somewhere else.

B***dy cars!

bigrich 12th April 2014 20:38

....set up the temp heater bypass today and seems to have part solved the problem (Thanks to Steve for the encouraging phone call !)

No coolant overheating now.... and fan cutting in and out nicely......but temp gauge is reading really low -at best gets to just above 1/3 on the gauge...and drops when running....might be a dodgy sender?

Anyway - much happier now I know the new engine is OK :) and that it is the ancillaries to sort out.

Might plumb in PRT as latest TF's / elise? Watch this space.


limpabit 14th April 2014 16:24

When ever filled the coolant and bled it, I always needed to hang the expansion tank off the top of the roll bar. To get the height etc.

bigrich 15th April 2014 21:28

Hi John,

Yes - done this too....I think the problem is I've realised that I never incorporated the vent from top hose to expansion tank in the original coolant away with it for 6 years on the old engine, but this one seems a bit more reluctant to vent. Set of Rover 25 hoses coming my way tomorrow so hopefully this will fix it for good :)

bigrich 20th April 2014 08:38

Whilst crossing all my fingers and touching wood I can now say job done.

Replaced thermostat and engine temp sensor with known good units from my old 1.6 engine....plumbed in the Rover 25 bypass and vent circuit and engine is now running fine, coolant temp and flow behaving....all seems well.

Just need to get some miles on it now to build up confidence and iron out any other niggles.

7250revs red line is fun :)


bigrich 5th May 2014 20:47

Well...200 spirited miles covered yesterday to Stoneleigh and back without issue. So confidence now building.

Happy now :)

Great to see 3 exi's on the stand too......


limpabit 7th May 2014 06:41

That's great news Rich. Do anybody get any pictures?

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