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Thread: Land Rover Series IIa 1971 Drivetrain recommendations

  1. #1

    Default Land Rover Series IIa 1971 Drivetrain recommendations

    Step #1: purchase land rover
    I just acquired a 1971 Land Rover IIa 88. Body is in good condition with new ProLine galvanized frame. Axles, suspension have been updated as well......but the bad news is that I have NO drivetrain. With this blank canvas i am looking for the best engine, auto tranny and Tcase that will work. my wish list is:
    • Reliability
    • Power - will be running 31's or 33's on soft sand & dunes
    • reasonable cost to install
    • ease of maintenance

    My LR2a is not daily driver but will be used on the beach and running around, by myself, wife and kids.

    I'm a newbie who is dazed and confused by all the recommendations on engines, tranny, t-case options as well as dated posts. Can anyone cut thru the fog and let me know what the easiest, economical install would be based on wish list above? i realize we all think that "xyz" is the best, but there has to be some consensus outside personal preferences. So, what engine, Auto tranny and Tcase would you recommend and what challenges (frame cutting, short propshaft, will not mate differentials) does the recommendation present? for purists, Im eliminating the 2.25 do to lack of power but open to all other opinions. thanks for your posts or pm's

    Step #2: Planning drivetrain, Here we go.....
    Last edited by heatxcape; 07-03-2016 at 07:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Mountains of Western Pennsy.


    From reading the threads you probably realize there is no agreement on what's "The Best". Diesels are pretty popular for their mileage. TeriAnn uses a Ford set up, I'm using an early Range Rover setup (these being 109's)and both being V-8's, and not what most people use. But, tons of power. For my part mine is all Land Rover, but having an older LT95 trans and transfer (it's all one piece, no separate transfer) parts aren't readily available, everything I need for the trans comes from the UK. Having an older 3.5 V-8 with carb, it uses many parts from a 60's Buick or Land Rover V-8. Why would I cause myself this much trouble? I had the parts for conversion on hand. Is there an easy and cheap way to convert? I don't think so. Find a set up you like and will fit into the chassis, and fabricate away. Not for the faint of heart. I have seen where folks have put in a complete Discovery 4.0l engine and auto trans, with the fuel injection system and computer (and claimed that it only cost about 2 grand to do). What a large size can-of-worms!

    '99 Disco II
    '95 R.R.c. Lwb (Gone...)
    '76 Series III hybrid 109
    '70 Rover 3500S

  3. #3


    thanks for your input. yes, you are correct in that htere are as many drivetrain options as there are people on this bulletin board. still researching.... did find a 2.5 diesel in NC, but not sure if spam or seller is legit. it will be slow, but may be worth the ease of install. I iwll advise once i get closer to a decision....

  4. #4


    I'm assembling a Mercruiser 485 motor to go with a NV4500 5 speed trans and a factory original transfer case. At 3.7L for a 4 cylinder, its compact and rated at about 200/300. Much smaller and far less expensive than fitting a 3.5L Rover V8, plus the engine rebuild is about 1/3 the cost. CHeck out this site talking about the Mercruiser motor:

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