Bettie's Engine status update from John Carey

(john carey) #1

Hi all,
I posted back in December 2018 that my engine was being sent back to Coventry West for diagnosis of a “clunking” sound that began in September of 2018. The story is a little more complicated now so I’ll update everyone that is interested (if not skip this posting).

  1. My 1963 e-type was running a 4.2 motor from a 1969 Series 2 that I had begun to work on several year ago but abandoned due to bodywork needed beyond my skills and willingness to tackle. The motor was already rebuilt so I sold it on without the motor and gearbox.
  2. The 3.8 motor that matches my car was left in pieces in my shop waiting some future event (either I’d rebuild it or sell the car with it).
  3. My 4.2 developed an issue and it was decided the engine needed to be taken apart to find out what went wrong inside. Coventry west is doing that work.
  4. At this time I decided that I’d rather have the 3.8 number matching motor rebuilt vs rebuilding the 4.2, so we switched to working on the 3.8.
  5. As of this week the block was cleaned and prepared, pistons were ordered, rods were reconditioned and the crank is going to be polished soon.
  6. I am looking forward to the return of my 3.8 motor soon and the 4.2 will stay with Coventry West for their use as a rebuild candidate or parts for someone else.

thanks for the interest I’ll keep posting updates as I learn more.
best regards,

(Puddinhead) #2

John, when CW took apart 4.2, what ill…did they find ?

(john carey) #3

They haven’t had time to do that yet although Dick said he’ll do it eventually. I’m curious to learn what went wrong too.

(Puddinhead) #4

Thanks John, so you out how much ? Or is the 3.8 free rebuild?


(Geoff Allam) #5

Sounds like the sensible course to rebuild the correct engine. Will you be running the original moss box as well and what are your plans for carburetors, generator etc?

(Erica Moss) #6

Sounds good. That’s what I’d do. Had the 3.8 ever been rebuilt before? Are they going with the original piston sleeves or replacing? Is he rebuilding your Moss for you?

For whatever reason, the current market seems to be placing new emphasis on numbers matching on E-Types. Maybe it’s just a product differentiation strategy, or maybe muscle car guys are having an influence.

(Ray Livingston) #7


How are you going to resolve the bellhousing/flywheel/starter issues, in switching from 4.2 to 3.8? I assume you are retaining the 4.2 bellhousing, flywheel and starter?

Ray L.

(Nick Saltarelli) #8

It’s what I’d do in your place, John.

Curious to hear the final 4.2 diagnostic.

(john carey) #9

Yes I will retain my 4.2 flywheel, bellhousing and starter set up.

Quoting Ray Livingston via Jag-lovers Forums

(Eric) #10


The 3.8 flywheel gives slightly more crisp throttle response given that it is a bit lighter. I had the option when I redid my 3.8 with an all synchro gearbox and elected to machine the 3.8 bell housing and all the rest.

Are you staying with the rope rear seal? Valve guide seals on intake and exhaust? Hold down kit on the cam follower sleeves? Epoxying the head to front cover holes to create blind threads (eliminate drips)? Welding the expansion plugs in place (kidding), but I have two leaking after putting them on with Permatex and beating the snot out of them.

(john carey) #11

I had been running the 3.8 intake and triple SU intake on the 4.2 that I modified the head water passages for originally. I will keep them. The Moss Box that came with my car was junked by the PO - sadly it is lost so I am using the 4.2 synchro box that I had previously installed. I also have plans to install an alternator using a custom mounting bracket for it on the 3.8.

(john carey) #12

As far as I know the 3.8 was never rebuilt but it’s likely it will be bored out slightly to assure perfect roundness on the cylinders… See my reply to Geoff re the Moss box.

(john carey) #13

Yes me too - I can still hear that cluncking in my head when I think back on it. Not sure what it was…

(john carey) #14

I don’t know if the 3.8 flywheel is going to be modified or we’ll just use the 4.2 flywheel? DIck Maury will advise when we get to that point in the rebuild I am sure. Rear seal ? Again we didn’t discuss changing that to a modern lip seal but I suppose it’s worth talking about it while the block and crank ar at the machine shop.

The head will have valve guide hold downs, Not sure about epoxy on the front mount studs, maybe???
best regards.

(Michael P Moore) #15

John, I think that was a great move. On my 3.8, I had leaks from those studs also. I bought sealing tall acorn nuts from somewhere which had o-rings on the bottom. I also cleaned the inside of the head where the stud protruded and I coated the stud area with a gasket compound (red devil?) that had a brush in the bottle. After it all dried and was assembled, it no longer leaked although other paces did,

1 Like
(Ray Livingston) #16


Make sure Dick understands ahead of time you will be using a 4.2 bellhousing and starter. Using the 3.8 flywheel is NOT an option - the ring gears are different, and not interchangeable. Use the wrong parts, and your starter will NOT work.

Ray L.

1 Like
(john carey) #17

Ray - that’s right! I need the 4.2 flywheel for my starter to work. Dick knows that and he told me to retain everything from the 4.2 set up from the flywheel back to assure it all works.

(Eric) #18

Using the 3.8 flywheel is absolutely an option if you elect to make the requisite changes. This is exactly what I did in order to take advantage of the lighter 3.8 flywheel in conjunction with the synchro gearbox. Use the 3.8 flywheel (drilled for the diaphragm clutch if you so choose), a 3.8 bellhousing with bore machined for the synchro gearbox, and a 3.8 starter. If one has the 3.8 flywheel and the 3.8 bell housing it’s the cost of a starter and a little machining. The characteristics of the 3.8 engine are a delight…why convert it to a 4.2 slug…

Regarding the rear seal…I believe Dick Maury is an advocate of the rope seal. I am a staunch advocate of the Terry’s lip seal. Not even a hint of a weep from the one in my engine. The rope seal WILL eventually leak even with the proper sizing tool. The seal in the Terry’s kit is a Federal Mogul design for GM cars.

Be sure to research the latest on the lower hydraulic chain tensioner. You want the more expensive reproduction that says Made in France. And be sure the conical screen gets replaced. And beware of failed chain guides of inferior design…documented here on the forum.

I’d opt for a new (versus rebuilt) water pump of the same design as the original (from XKS).

A small case alternator from a Suzuki Samurai will bolt directly onto the bracket for a 3.8 generator with a couple of long spacers. One is used in the Retro Air AC kit. Internally regulated 55 amp…plenty for a stock S1 electrical system. You’d need to find a tensioner arm…maybe a pully. Photo attached.

(Geoff Allam) #19

John. I changed the generator on my 3.8 to a GM delco alternator a number of years ago. At the time xks supplied a conversion bracket so I would guess they still do. I elected at the time to just weld up a bracket. It was very simple and took very little time or effort.

1 Like
(john carey) #20

Thanks for your detailed information. You’re set up looks very clean.