Copelander page 3

After the gearbox went crunch I sat down for a while to decide what to do. The original engine was underpowered which made accurate maneuvering difficult. Low ratio on the transfer box also was not low enough so I was continually slipping the clutch and overheating it.In the end I came up with a rather drastic solution - change the engine and gearbox! Well, the original had done 67 miles. It was about due for a change!
So now, what engine do I fit? Most 4x4 engines and gearboxes are much too big and heavy. In the end I decide on an automatic front wheel drive engine and box turned 90 degrees and mounted in-line. The diff would have to be welded up then the drive shafts would drive into the original diffs giving me an additional 5.2:1 reduction over the original transmission. The big disadvantage of this arrangement is the fact that you don't have a high ratio so the car becomes pretty useless on the road. This is a compromise that I am willing to accept.After a bit of searching I picked up a Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 auto for a reasonable price. Welding up the diff was pretty easy and it fitted in the available space remarkably easily. The only problem is that it is a lot wider and taller than the original so space in the cab is a bit limited.

There is not a lot of room but the exhaust and coolant hoses just clear. The power steering pump is a bit of a squeeze but I want power steering. Manual steering is hard work!

The air box over the throttle body is a bit of a squeeze. I had to cut a chunk off the side and weld in a plate. In the end I also ended up moving the inlet from the front to the rear.

To get drive to the front axle I welded an adapter onto a cut down CV joint. The adapter then fits a Land Rover prop shaft universal joint. As you can see the adapter is a bit of a tight fit!

It was not possible to reach the front axle in one straight run so there is a joint in the middle of the drive shaft supported by a Ford Transit centre bearing.

There was not enough room for an adapter on the rear axle. Instead I used the original drive shaft and CV joint

This then joins on to the original prop shaft using the spider out of the centre of the original front outside CV. It all fits together quite well though there is a bit of flex in the splines. This would be a problem at high speed but the car will only have a top speed of around 20 miles an hour so that isn't an issue.

The exhaust was a bit of a tight squeeze but it fit in the end.

As you can see there isn't much room. Good job the engine doesn't move much.

It was fiddly to make but in the end the down pipe came out very well with adequate clearance.

I found a long thin silencer that just fits in the available space. It is a straight-through type silencert but with the added noise reduction of the catalyst, the exhaust note is fairly quiet.

Making the engine cover took a while but in the end everything fit together quite well, though the seats are a tight fit.

Handbrake and gear change now in place. The gear change currently does not have a gate. This needs to be fixed as it is easy to slect park while still moving. It does however make switching between drive and reverse quick and easy.

It all fits!. There were several times when I thought it wouldn't.

There was no room for the radiator in the front and the original radiator kept clogging up with mud so I ended up fitting the radiator in the back. My trials car also has the radiator in the back and it has adequate cooling.

Trial fitting the radiator cover and header tank. It all fits in rather well.

I was a bit concerned about cooling but these two monsters should do the trick. I'm not sure what they are from but they shift a lot of air. The original radiator has been removed but it's fan wqas left and runs all the time. This provides a steady flow of air through the engine compartment to help keep things cool.

The suspension air tank fits nicely on top of the radiator cover

Yikes! that is a lot of extra wiring! It is needed for the engine and gearbox ECUs. It actually went together quite quickly with no major issues. There were several spare wires left over from the security system. The Corsa security wiring is quite complicated but frighteningly easy to bypass. Just disconnect it all and everything works fine!

That looks a bit better!

So how does it go with the new engine? Fantastic! Plenty of power and so much easier to control. The cooling system works well. I took it on a competition and embarassed several Land Rover divers when I just pottered up slopes that they really struggled to get up. The only time I stopped moving was when I ended up cross-axled with two opposite wheels off the ground.

one minor problem was that there was a lot of front prop shaft vibration due to too much flex in the centre bearing. I filled it with silicone rubber which firmed it up and fixed the vibration

Of course this is the infamous Chinese self destructing machine so my fun couldn't last too long. It wasn't long before the front diff spat out one of it's CVs and chewed up the splines. I did manage to get it back together but I am sure it is only a matter of time before one of the diffs dies completely.See page 4 to see how I overcome this most recent problem



Do you like what I am doing? Am I doing it all wrong? If you have any questions or suggestions, do let me know by posting a comment.

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