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Im posting this for a buddy who's got a 92 County. He just picked up a 79 Mercedes 300SD and wants to swap the engine into the Rover. The plan is to use the existing tranny/t-case and mate the engine to it by modifying the bellhousing. Any suggestions or experience with diesel swaps is appreciated.
 

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Mad Max.

The most essential element with converting any donk into the Classic Rangie is an importance of the replacement engine having a rear biased sump bump dude !

Locations of accessories such as the high mount alternator, position of the starter motor versus the tanny bell-housing & general dimensions are the next step ?

Cheerio,


Vinniman
'88 Highline
Perth, W.A.
 

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This thread may be of interest to you and your friend. Just curious why your friend didn't just buy a 300Tdi and drop it in. After doing some research on this your friend is going to have to adjust the ZF transmission for different shift points necessary with the diesel. Apparently the R380 manual transmission is preferred with a diesel engine. Also, I recently spoke to a mechanic about a diesel in my 91 or other RR Classic, and he said I really needed to ditch the Borg Warner transfer box and replace with the Disco 1 version of the LT230 transfer box (which will give you a center diff lock capability). I'm not an expert nor a mechanic, I am merely repeating what I have been told by experts and from the research I have conducted on the subject.

Anyway, check this out. I'm not sure which version diesel engine the 79 300SD has. This thread addresses the different MB OM61x versions. Let us know how it goes.

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=852955

LR diesel conversions have been a popular topic among LR bulletin boards. Do a search on ExpeditionPortal.com and discoweb.org, they have some threads on the subject as well along with some vendors.

There is a guy with the website seriestrek.com who I believe is making adapter plates for the MB diesel engines.

One last note, I was talking to my former LR master mechanic in Las Vegas, Bill Goodman, he is from the UK and has a lot of experience with the LR diesel engines. His quote "they're gutless" and the Brits hate them. Bill recommended a Chevy 350 v8 conversion which should produce about 300-400hp and a boost in torque, based on your set up. Bill says this will improve reliabity and gas mileage, plus much cheaper to convert than diesel. Bill directed me to marks4x4.com and advanceadapters.com as sources for Chevy 350 v8 adapter kits to ZF transmissions.

So that's what I know.
 

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NVRover said:
One last note, I was talking to my former LR master mechanic in Las Vegas, Bill Goodman, he is from the UK and has a lot of experience with the LR diesel engines. His quote "they're gutless" and the Brits hate them.
Gutless in comparison to a V8 if you're racing away from the lights maybe, but actually a really good engine. Outstanding off road, and nice to drive on road, in my opinion. Brits love them.
 

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Danny said:
NVRover said:
One last note, I was talking to my former LR master mechanic in Las Vegas, Bill Goodman, he is from the UK and has a lot of experience with the LR diesel engines. His quote "they're gutless" and the Brits hate them.
Gutless in comparison to a V8 if you're racing away from the lights maybe, but actually a really good engine. Outstanding off road, and nice to drive on road, in my opinion. Brits love them.
So I am the guy doing the swap. I understand that there might be a considerable drop in power, but I drive the Rover like a granny on the road anyway. I have a motorcycle and a car for when I wanna go fast. The rover is just for cruising.

Anyway, I got in touch with a guy building the adapter kits for the Mercedes engines. I am hoping (and so is he) that the kit, most of it anyway, will be available by the end of the Summer. We will see though. The big issues involve the oil pan bumping up against the diff and the turbo getting in the way (the engine has to be tilted and twisted to fit. The shift points will be different as will the rev limiter (I think). I can't remember how he told me he was achieving this.

I am still new to all this but figure I will learn a lot doing the swap.

As far as the price of the swap goes, these Mercedes engines are designed to run off all kinds of fuels, including veggie oil. In doing the swap, it is likely that I will be able to power the Rover through veggie oil, thus off setting the cost of the diesel conversion over the course of two years or so. Even so, I am not doing this swap for fuel economy (as I said, I have a motorcycle and a car for if I wanna save money on fuel), but sort of as a hobby. BUT, in swapping the engine, I will be able to drive the Rover a lot more because it won't cost so much in fuel. This means more road trips and camping trips in the Rover instead of the Audi:)

Anyone with input, please let me know.
 

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Danny said:
...Gutless in comparison to a V8 if you're racing away from the lights maybe, but actually a really good engine. Outstanding off road, and nice to drive on road, in my opinion. Brits love them.
That is good to know. I am supposed to call Julian at Global Land Rovers in the UK to discuss his thoughts on it. He gave me a different opinion than my mechanic from the UK...LOL

highfructosecornsyrp said:
So I am the guy doing the swap. I understand that there might be a considerable drop in power, but I drive the Rover like a granny on the road anyway. I have a motorcycle and a car for when I wanna go fast. The rover is just for cruising.
Dont get me wrong, I wasnt suggesting that I was racing away from stop lights...LOL! What I meant was even just the acceleration that we Americans are typically used to in the normal course of driving (getting on interstates/highways, merging in to traffic, etc, isnt going to be the same (as I have been told) with these diesel engines. To what extent, I dont know. I am trying to arrange to test drive a RRC with a 300 Tdi in it.

highfructosecornsyrp said:
As far as the price of the swap goes, these Mercedes engines are designed to run off all kinds of fuels, including veggie oil. In doing the swap, it is likely that I will be able to power the Rover through veggie oil, thus off setting the cost of the diesel conversion over the course of two years or so. Even so, I am not doing this swap for fuel economy (as I said, I have a motorcycle and a car for if I wanna save money on fuel), but sort of as a hobby. BUT, in swapping the engine, I will be able to drive the Rover a lot more because it won't cost so much in fuel. This means more road trips and camping trips in the Rover instead of the Audi:)
I read that too about the versatility of the fuel you can use. I thought that was awesome. You are approaching this the same way I am, its different/novel, and for me it may be more reliable (less repair prone) than the v8.
 
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Alright, so he wanted me to post up and see what would be required to use a GM sm465 manual transmission and np205 transfer case? Could the existing axles and propshafts be used or would the axles need to be swapped out for GM ones? Thanks.
 

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Ok I poked around a little and

Looking around online I found a kit offered by 4x4labs. The kit mates the Mercedes up to an SM465 (chevy) manual transmission and only costs 950 dollars. With this transmission married to an NP205 transfer case (which is a passenger drop), I should be able to drop this thing into the Rover with no problems and modify the existing drive shafts (or shorten some from a long wheel base chevy) and be good to go.

Thankfully, this tranny and transfer case duo sells for 3-500 dollars all day long and is really easy to find.

The reason I am considering this instead of keeping the Rover stuff is that if I ever blow a transmission or transfer case, it will be dirt cheap to replace. Also, with a manual transmission, it gets a lot of issues (shift points, red lines, torque converters) taken care of.

Since my Mercedes doesn't have an alternator, I'll probably either mod a bracket for my extra Rover alternator, or if that gets difficult, find one that is pretty easy to modify and bolt on.

The steering box issue that is causing the engine to be twisted when installed is also taken care of because the Vickers power steering pump from the Mercedes mates up to a Saginaw power steering box readily...the Saginaw's happen to be dirt cheap as well, so if it ever needs to be replaced, I don't have to pay the Rover premium and they are easy to find.

I am in the process of figuring out what kind of starter and clutch I should stick on this setup to round everything out.

Is there anything I am missing so far?
 

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not to be rude but the economics of this seem a little odd.
Cost of the donor car,
plus $1500 for trans/transfer case/adapterplate
cost of bits to put clutch pedal in
cost of drive shaft bits
cost of engine/tranny mounts adaption
cost of power steering bits

Its a cool thing to do if you just want to do it for the exercise and fun of it, but you mention to avoid the cost of expensive rover parts, which aren't that expensive are they? here they aren't that bad.

I like the idea of a rangie that runs on old waste products and such, but I like a bit of power to overtake and pull the horse float up the hills, like the idea of standard parts most mechanics will know what to do if I get in trouble away from home, and unless your doing allot of this work yourself its got to cost quite a few coins.........

But, please post pictures :)
 

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you're right, I'm surprised I didn't think to do this exercise yet, JSP!

Donor engine/car: 300
tranny, transfer case, and drive shafts: 300 plus another 300 to have the driveshafts modified
adapter kit: 950
clutch assembly (from the pedal down): 300 or so...though I am not sure on this one, have not priced it but hopefully can get one from a U Pull it or something.
saginaw power steering box plus adapter fittings: 200
starter from Ford 5.0: 60
200 amp alternator: 170

2580 plus random stuff...I am thinking around 3 grand for the whole shabang. And that is before selling parts off the mercedes donor car and selling the rover 3.9, tranny, and transfer case. That's really not that much for a toy-I only have about 2500 in the Rover so far including tax tag and title:)

After 5 years of waste oil and great gas mileage...this will be a fun swap!
 

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My guess is that you are used to the v8, and after getting it up and going, you will eventually sell it because you will hate the performance. After talking with my former mechanic and then verifying his comments with another Brit who imports old Rovers to the US, I know clearly understand why converted Tdi's are up for sale. 1) it's expensive to convert, 2) parts for the complete Rover Tdi swap are hard to get (you are making different vehicle manufacturers products fit together which means you will have to have some sort of document for future mechanics) and 3) diesels in these newer heavier rovers suck on the performance side. Yes, you can idle up a hill, or pull a tree out of the ground, and still get 25 mpgs while towing a 3 ton trailer; but when the little electric cars are passing you on the highway, you are going to hate life because your RR wont go over 70.

The second guy I spoke with yesterday morning told me his RRC cruises at a comfortable 55! He can get it up to 70 mph and it tops out at 75 on flat surfaces with the peddle on the floor. I asked him about intercoolers and adjusting the injection pumps...he said yep, you can do that and get the cars up to 80 then! I really dont do 80 in my rover that often, but I still want to get up to interstate cruising speed (75) in a relatively reasonable amount of time (seconds, not minutes..LOL).

Just something to consider, if you really want to do a conversion that results in common easy to find parts - why not do a 350 conversion, with chevy transmission and t-box? At least you'll have better performance, probably somewhat better mpgs due to the increased horses, and the parts will be easy to find. Just a thought. I havent done this, but I'm researching this option as it is more interesting than the diesel.
 

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Ya I ride my buell xb12ss when I wanna go fast. My audi for the rain. This rover for camping and offroading...I'm aware of the limits of 200 horsepower and 200 lbs of torque...and that's tuned with an intercooler...everyone talks about sticking a Chevy small block in everything...I'm gonna do something more interesting-stick an engine in a rover that will run on veggie oil for a million miles and cross a river without a hiccup. All while getting more than 20 Mpg;-)
 

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highfructosecornsyrp said:
Ya I ride my buell xb12ss when I wanna go fast. My audi for the rain. This rover for camping and offroading...I'm aware of the limits of 200 horsepower and 200 lbs of torque...and that's tuned with an intercooler...everyone talks about sticking a Chevy small block in everything...I'm gonna do something more interesting-stick an engine in a rover that will run on veggie oil for a million miles and cross a river without a hiccup. All while getting more than 20 Mpg;-)
Cool! Well, post details and pictures of your swap. I am sure there are a lot of people interested. BTW, I dont think you're going to get 200hp out of that benzo oil burner. More like 123hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. Here is a forum that may be helpful for you.

http://www.superturbodiesel.com/std/
 

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NVRover said:
After talking with my former mechanic and then verifying his comments with another Brit who imports old Rovers to the US, I know clearly understand why converted Tdi's are up for sale. 1) it's expensive to convert, 2) parts for the complete Rover Tdi swap are hard to get (you are making different vehicle manufacturers products fit together which means you will have to have some sort of document for future mechanics) and 3) diesels in these newer heavier rovers suck on the performance side. Yes, you can idle up a hill, or pull a tree out of the ground, and still get 25 mpgs while towing a 3 ton trailer; but when the little electric cars are passing you on the highway, you are going to hate life because your RR wont go over 70.

The second guy I spoke with yesterday morning told me his RRC cruises at a comfortable 55! He can get it up to 70 mph and it tops out at 75 on flat surfaces with the peddle on the floor. I asked him about intercoolers and adjusting the injection pumps...he said yep, you can do that and get the cars up to 80 then! I really dont do 80 in my rover that often, but I still want to get up to interstate cruising speed (75) in a relatively reasonable amount of time (seconds, not minutes..LOL).

Just something to consider, if you really want to do a conversion that results in common easy to find parts - why not do a 350 conversion, with chevy transmission and t-box? At least you'll have better performance, probably somewhat better mpgs due to the increased horses, and the parts will be easy to find. Just a thought. I havent done this, but I'm researching this option as it is more interesting than the diesel.
I think we understand that you don't like diesels.

However
1) Yes it will be expensive to convert a car from one engine to another (a rebuild of the current engine to factory specs will result in better performance over a worn engine and at less cost).
Lots of people want to swap engines to save money but you need to drive a lot of miles at an extra 10mpg before you start saving money.
2) I'll give you the parts availability thing. I've never shopped for diesel Rover (or Merc) bits in the US but they can't be that common. That said, why not keep a small amount of consumables at home?
And aren't the people who convert Rovers to TDI in the US aware of this? "yeah, I'll give you $7k to drop a diesel in there. I'll still be able to buy the bits at Walmart, right?"
3) Who are these chancers who fit a TDI in a Classic and can't get over 75mph? I wouldn't trust them to service my lawnmower. They've obviously made a cock of it. I don't whether their engines haven't been looked after, the gearing hasn't be sorted...
I've been in a dead p38 that was towed over a 1000 ft hill by a Disco TDI at 55mph all the way.
My old diesel p38 would happily cruise at 90mph.
A TDI won't accelerate as fast as a v8 but it will be fine in traffic.

And regarding your Chevy swap
1) it's expensive to convert
2)you are making different vehicle manufacturers products fit together which means you will have to have some sort of document for future mechanics
3) I guarantee you won't get better mpg (unless your current engine is on its last legs).

By all means do it for the performance.
But buying an engine, gearbox, transfer box, fuel pump, mountings, ECUs, alternators, brake hydraulics and making all manner of little bits equals a lot of cost. So it will be a long time before you start saving with your "improved" mpg.
 

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Gee Tim, its for the fun of it :) yeah I think he's NUTS!!!! But its his money and I like to see what others do to their rovers so lets all sit on the fence and wait for the pictures to come :)

I just hope this doesn't turn out like the P38 thread where a guy was putting a 6 cylinder diesel in a P38 from a merc ML or toureg or something and at one point said he had the electronics sorted but there was only ever a picture of an engine sitting on a garage floor and the tread went on for like a year and the guy never resurfaced...
 

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I just don't like all the bull that surrounds this subject.
 

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Tim (Scotland) said:
I think we understand that you don't like diesels.
Actually quite the opposite...I really do like diesels. I want(ed) to do a swap in mine, or buy another Classic and do a swap, for the following reasons:

1) I really like the vehicle and the uniqueness of the design.
2) The diesel engine generally is much more simple mechically and more reliable
3) Excluding conversion costs and parts availability, the diesel should be cheaper to operate.
4) They're unique (in Rovers) here in the US - now if you want a 3/4-1 ton pickup, diesels are all over the place!

My inclinations to not do the swap were due to talking with two gentleman who have significant experience driving LR diesel products (both from the UK), and those two gentleman telling me that the diesel performance (for engines compatible with the Rovers) compared to the V8 is very different. The diesels will get better gas mileage and torque, but for get up and go and top end power, the V8s win. Just what I was told. I am still awaiting an opportunity to drive a RRC with a 300tdi conversion so that i can experience the performance first hand.

Tim (Scotland) said:
However
1) Yes it will be expensive to convert a car from one engine to another (a rebuild of the current engine to factory specs will result in better performance over a worn engine and at less cost). Lots of people want to swap engines to save money but you need to drive a lot of miles at an extra 10mpg before you start saving money.
I dont think we disagree here.

Tim (Scotland) said:
2) I'll give you the parts availability thing. I've never shopped for diesel Rover (or Merc) bits in the US but they can't be that common. That said, why not keep a small amount of consumables at home? And aren't the people who convert Rovers to TDI in the US aware of this? "yeah, I'll give you $7k to drop a diesel in there. I'll still be able to buy the bits at Walmart, right?"
Merc parts will be more plentiful because MB sold (and still does) diesel cars in the US (too bad they dont offer the G-wagon diesel here). Rovers North is starting to carry some 300 & 200 Tdi parts.

Tim (Scotland) said:
3) Who are these chancers who fit a TDI in a Classic and can't get over 75mph? I wouldn't trust them to service my lawnmower. They've obviously made a cock of it. I don't whether their engines haven't been looked after, the gearing hasn't be sorted...
I've been in a dead p38 that was towed over a 1000 ft hill by a Disco TDI at 55mph all the way.
My old diesel p38 would happily cruise at 90mph.
A TDI won't accelerate as fast as a v8 but it will be fine in traffic.
Bill Goodman and Julia (forget his last name) at Global Land Rovers. Both of their comments were based on factory fitted Tdis not conversions. Julian still has a RRC with 200Tdi. i'm pretty sure I heard their comments correctly, I even asked again to be sure. Didnt the P38 have the Td5 in it?

Tim (Scotland) said:
And regarding your Chevy swap
1) it's expensive to convert
Yep, I agree. Unfortunately I dont know how much different in costs compared to the diesel. My understanding was the conversion costs were about the same. The differences were: a) the engine is much cheaper because the 350 is a commodity here in the US...very cheap to buy and even modify. b) the adapters required for the 350 conversion are the expensive piece (where as the 300Tdi engine/drive train is expensive itself)

Tim (Scotland) said:
2)you are making different vehicle manufacturers products fit together which means you will have to have some sort of document for future mechanics
Isnt this what the original poster and owner is doing here - fitting a MB diesel to a Land Rover?

Tim (Scotland) said:
3) I guarantee you won't get better mpg (unless your current engine is on its last legs).
Better gas mileage than what? Vs. the diesel, I think we can agree on that. Vs. the 350, not so sure. Remember the V8s are somewhat under powered for the weight they're pulling. With the higher horses of the 350 v8, wouldnt their be better fuel economy because there's better power to weight ratio/distribution/whatever the correct phrase is? Example, the LR3 is similar in weight to the D2, but the 300 hp engine gets better fuel economy by far. Granted there is a different engine managment system. I dont know how much that affects the LR3s improved gas mileage, and how much of the improved economy is result from the more up to date engine design. Hopefully someone who knows automobile engineering can answer this.

Tim (Scotland) said:
By all means do it for the performance.
But buying an engine, gearbox, transfer box, fuel pump, mountings, ECUs, alternators, brake hydraulics and making all manner of little bits equals a lot of cost. So it will be a long time before you start saving with your "improved" mpg.
That is part of the debate in the US regarding the conversions...the cost to convert, even to a Rover Tdi complete drive train, is not offset by the improved fuel economy. I agree that any 350 v8 conversion probably wouldnt pay for itself in fuel economy either.

So, I think we're pretty much on the same page except for performance...and that is because I havent experienced it first hand (hopefully soon) and I am merely repeating to persons who do speak from experience.
 

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hmmm personally had a disco td5 for a short time, not my pick of a car compared to the P38 I replaced it with, but the engine was pretty nice and it quite easily sat on 120k's on the highway, which is roughly 75 miles an hour, I would have thought it could do at least half that again if I pushed it. I drove a 300 tdi disco for 2 days considering it as a donor for a classic I had, and it comfortably sat on 120 k's but struggled a bit to get there, then again it had 170k on the clock as well. But a 200/300td5 engine should easily do those speeds, just take its time to get there, and personally classic rangies shouldn't really go much faster.

If you want a unique car go for it! just seems expensive :) then again I have the diesel bug simply because I now live in the highest taxed state in the country for car's, and a 4 cylinder diesel will save me $200 a year in rego.
 

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I had a huge reply typed out but lost it all too a computer crash.
Here's the highlights.


Factory TDIs had a top speed of between 90 and 95mph. Thats an indicated 100mph on the speedo, or a comfortable cruise at an indicated 70-90mph. A healthy factory (or correctly converted) TDi will manage this.
Do all the 75mph flat-out types believe that the left-hand lane of UK motorways are clogged up with TDI Discos moving at barely above walking pace?


That parts list for future mechanics applies as much to your chevy conversion as the OP's Mercedes conversion


A D3 has about 110bhp per ton and a D2 has about 90bhp per ton.
The D3 also has two more gear ratios, better aerodynamics, better suspension and a sophisticated engine/gearbox management system.
Land Rover spent hundreds of millions developing that vehicle, they didn't just buy a scrapyard engine with a bit more poke and sling it in hoping it would work.


Overfinch converted loads of Classics to Chevy v8 power, fuel economy was never mentioned in contemporary road tests...
Must get round to scanning some more, have a look at these in the mean time
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tayne/sets ... 577631957/
The one about the supercharged p38 makes good reading - 60bhp gain and its getting 1.4mpg LESS than the standard car


If you're going to commit thousands of your own dollars to a conversion make sure you can drive at least one converted motor and speak to a few satisfied customers.


NVRover said:
2) The diesel engine generally is much more simple mechically and more reliable
$5k for a diesel conversion or $2.5k for a major major service, $500 for triple A membership and $2k to spend on beer?



Here's the biggie...

NVRover said:
3) Excluding conversion costs and parts availability, the diesel should be cheaper to operate.
That statement is exactly why I get so wound up about diesel conversions.
Read it again and think about it for a moment...

"Excluding conversion costs" - Spend $5k up front and save $80 per month. Does that sound good?

Lets say the conversion costs $5k and your economy goes from 15mpg to 25mpg.
You're going to have to drive 62,500 miles before you start benefitting from that.
How miles do you drive in a year?

And before anyone starts with waste veg oil, its a pain in the backside



Seriously, go to every gas station in your town, buy 2 gallons from each, come home and pour into a large drum, wait 48 hours and then pump into your Rover.

Repeat every 7 days (becuase if you stop collecting the used cooking oil they'll get someone else to do it and your name will be mud).

How much is your time worth?



Seriously everyone, if you want to do then do so.
But diesel conversions take years to pay back and Chevys drink fuel.
Go in with your eyes open.
 

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okay so things are moving along, slowly but surely.

I picked up a primo NP203 transfer case for 60 bucks (thanks craigslist!), a starter for a Ford Mustang for $28 shipped. I am currently trying to track down an appropriate transmission for the NP203, an appropriate power steering box for the Vickers pump on the Mercedes, and a good 200 amp alternator to stick onto the Mercedes.

Any recommendations on a manual transmission for this setup? I was thinking SM465, but I don't really know how long it is compared to other chevy transmissions. I would like to keep my stock axles, but being as the classic has an offset rear diff, that throws a monkey wrench into the equation. Do you guys think there is enough room to angle a driveshaft to that rear diff or will I need to install a different axle to get the diff into the middle of the truck?


As far as the power steering box is concerned, I have heard rumblings that a saginaw power steering box mates up nicely with the Vickers pump on the Mercedes. Which Saginaw should I be on the lookout for, or is there another one that is more readily available?

As far as the alternator is concerned, I was initially thinking a Ford Taurus SHO alternator (as someone who sells a kit recommended), but due to the price, I think a more suitable and readily available alternator would be one from the Ford Crown Victoria police cruisers. I've never made a bracket for a modified alternator on an engine so I don't know if it is possible to do so with the crown vic one, anyone here have experience in this?
 
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