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Morris Minor

Diesel-engined Morris Minor

Engine conversion story sent in by a visitor to the site.

Take one Morris Minor, bin the old engine and gearbox, and fit a more modern alternative:

Thanks to Scot for sending in this interesting article earlier in 2004, describing some of the whys and wherefores of converting an original, A-Series engined Morris 1000, to an economical diesel engine.

Not an article for the Morris purist, so if you break into a sweat when you see a classic running radial tyres, go to the Classic Wheels homepage and don't read any further here :-)

The finished Morris Minor

"I have a diesel Morris Minor, I bought this car in 1993 for 100 quid. It had some bad rot, so i worked on it for almost 6 months solid welding it up, then the hunt for a diesel engine was on. All I could find was old BMC diesel lump, but it was too big to fit, so I stored the Moggy for another couple of years until the Ford Orion/Escort diesel engines became available at the right cost.

I picked up a Ford Orion 1.6 diesel, E reg i think, pulled the engine out and then figured out how to connect it to a Sierra gearbox, another six months go by and the engine and box were finally fitted together, with a clutch that matched.

Then, when it came to fitting it, i needed 6 inches out the bulkhead, plus the steering rack had to move 2 inches back as well. With this in mind, i got the plasma cutter out and started cutting, but as always with these projects they get left unfinished. I was determined to have a diesel classic, so i stuffed it back in my council garage for another couple of years.

Doesn't time fly, by now its November 2000, my main car gets nicked and i decide to go flat out on the Moggy to get it on the road for January .. well it took 'til March 2001 and on the road it went.

It has passed every MOT so far - what a project! Next will be a MK1 Triumph Spitfire, powered by a turbo diesel Peugeot 1.9"

Morris Minor

Morris Minor

Morris Minor

Some notes on this Conversion:

"I used a ford orion 1.6 D and a 2.0L sierra box, with 84 sierra clutch 190 plate with 23 splines (some boxes have 21) and it goes on the 1.6 flywheel, the clutch release arm had to be straitened out to give enough release a 10 mm V on the bend is enough to achieve this and it all mates up and of course a spigot bearing, to remove a spigot bearing from a crankshaft pack the end of the crank with grease and take a drift the same dia. as the spigot shaft, sit it just inside the bearing and give it a good hit with a heavy hammer, be careful as the grease spurts out with some force. You can use a 1.8 TD P100 starter or sierra 1.8TD I chose to mount the 1.6 with some little spacers/brackets. To do this, remove the solenoid to engage the dog easily, I cut a hole in the side of the box to see what was going on, use an angle grinder with one of these new discs that are about 1.5mm thick, it cuts easy. To put in the top bolt you have to remove the threads from the gearbox, only the top one as the other 2 are used, put in the top bolt and swing the starter down with the dog out until it engages the ring gear, back off 1mm to allow for easy engagement you now have the position for the starter motor as the box and the starter are threaded, brackets can now be made easily.

The dust cover that goes between the engine and box can be made using the top half of the 5speed one and the bottom half of the diesel one. I also cut a window in the top of the bell housing to clear the steering rack on the moggy a dust cover can be made for this, these bell housings are strong and can take some chopping and not be affected.

The alternator and mounting bracket can be removed, the weird torx bolt behind the injector pump can be cracked and undone with a 10mm spanner to save removal of the pump, if you need to remove the pump the woodruff key sits in line with the mark on the pump pulley so when its lined up you don?t have to worry about it falling out,don`t worry about the gear that drives the pump unmeshing as the oil seal holds it is place quite firmly. The rear starter motor bracket can now be made to pick up on the 2 holes that held the alternator mount on, the alternator can be mounted were the front top engine mount was, above the oil filter you will then need to remake exhaust down pipes/manifold, either find an old four branch and modify it or get the pipe bender out.Engine mounts can be made I used ford transit mounts, they line up to the 4 holes in either side of the block chop a few bits off and their perfect. 2.0 sierra rubber mounts are a good choice as they are nice and fat the 1.8 Td `s are the same as the petrol?s. I have used a 1.6 ford as I have run these motors before up to 200k with no trouble at all just the usual starter alternator stuff that wear out on any car and not even a head gasket. The 1.8 diesel ford on the other hand is absolute garbage the cam belt is overloaded with having to drive the oil pump, water pump and of course the camshaft, all to much for that skinny little belt, the belt is just slightly wider than the one on the 1.6 that only drives the cam as it runs off the injector pump that is gear driven, never seen a snapped one yet. The 1.8s snap all the time and completely destroy the head so stay away from them, if you have one I suggest renewing everything the belt turns, water pump and idlers, check for updates on top sprocket should have red paint on it if, If you can get a match on the top idler with a full metal one instead of plastic, these shatter and snap the belt, use quality belts their about L40 the pair they are worth the peace of mind but still Snap! If its the turbo your after on the 1.8 ford I've seen these fitted to the 1.6 but that's for another time."


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