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Frequently Asked Questions - Megasquirt Systems, Fitting & Typical Concerns

So, Why MS1 and not MS2 ? or why not even the latest MS3 ECU ?

For many reasons. First, the venerable 'Rover V8' is in whatever form a cast off 1950's Buick Engine. It really is not that complex, even in hugely tuned formats, and MS1 is vastly superior to what many think. MS2 is more expensive, far more complicated and to be honest debatable as to if you will gain much if anything vs MS1. Tuning and setup is everything, too many people think 'bigger is better' when 'small and beautifully set up properly' will leave them standing.

We like MS1, you can run NOS, even Traction Control if you want to, but for most its a good way to LEARN about the system, you can always upgrade the CPU in the ECU to MS2 if you really want to, and MS3 ?, State of the art, hugely complex, mouth wateringly superb, somewhat wasted on a 60+ year old wedge head Rover V8, and thats why we like MS1. Simple, affordable, easy to get to grips with and learn, relaible, robust and does exactly what it says on the tin - and then some.

What do I get in a 'Full Kit'

My own LR90 was an early Megasquirted truck here in the UK. I struggled. I struggled with what I had to do, what I had to make, where you get what was needed, and then how to put it all together. The idea of Megasquirt V8 Ltd was borne from friends and possible customers asking me to do what I had done to m y 90 to there V8s.

Knowing what I had learnt on my install, I knew that although it possible to do there were so many pitfalls many would give up half way through. The entire idea of the Megasquirt V8 kits is to do a Kit with EVERYTHING needed in it, down to the last nut bolt washer screw and heatshrink, coupled with very detailed build manual and phone support it there is a query or 3. Over the last few years the manual has grown from customers feedback and suggestions making it better for the next customers - true megasquirt philosophy !. Here you can buy a single parts, a selection or a full kit or anything in between. Although designed around the Rover V8 and all its varinats many people use us for Megasquirt parts, V6 Suzukis and TVRs being engines I never envisraged we would be involved in. Our kits take the guesswork, worry and complexity away from you.

Why don't you recomend Megasquirting the 3.5 V8 'Flapper' System ?

Easy. The whole idea of Megasquirt is to give total reliability, and remove the 'Lucas Prince of Darkness System' for something that can be trouble free, simple to understand, have waterproofness in off road applications, and the ability to self tune. The 'Flapper' System has to be one of the worse cobbled up bodgifications ever to come out of British Leyland and that's saying something. The system is a miss mash of various manufactuers, and there are things like the 'resistor pack' (with a contender for the vilest plug & socket of the century award), which is there becuase the system is running mixed voltages and the RP is needed to basically stop it all meting - we jest not. The Injectors are now old hat technology, poor spray patterns and hideously expensive. Frankly its a dreadful system, and, IF you megasquirt it you have to keep the resistor pack. As such we strongly recomend you buy a full Hotwire top end system from us, and Squirt that, its injectors are superior in so many ways, and its all current parts with good supply. However, the 3.5 engine is hugely overlooked, its a great engine when the later Hotwire system is popped on and the engine then squirter - it will rev and be sweeter than many can imagine.

Do you offer a 'Tuning Service' ?? - It runs OK but I'd like to pay to get it better !?.

No, sorry, we do not.............But I know a Man that can ! ....and he is good ...very very good ! .

Megasquirt Tuning - MS2 Tuning - Shaun O'Donnell- Contact : 0789 151 2664

Shaun is a Guru on both Tuning and Megasquirt, having his own tuning business 'MS2tuning.com' , oh, and a 'Megasquirt' Nut to boot.

Running a mobile and residential tuning service, he can come to YOU and re program and retune your vehicle on site, and or on the road (or track if not road legal).
You can also take your car to Shaun to have it mapped, or, deliver your car to him, leave it, and collect it when mapping is completed.

To give you an idea of how good his skills are he was kind enough to retune my JED 5.2 Triple Plenum V8 and did a better job than I could have ever have done - so use him not me !.
Also Shaun will work on MS1 2 or 3, and other engines other than just Rover V8s (apparently there are other engines ?)

Shaun has his own website : ms2tuning.com

Do you offer a full 'Drive In.... Drive Out' 'Fitting Service' ?.

No, sorry, we do not. Mainly due to the fact we just do not have the time !. But we have 3 x keen Customers turned 'Megasquirt Fans' who will !
Contact Deatils are below - Whilst we recomend them as Peeps who really know what they are doing - You agree any work with them directly.

Fitting Service - Essex Megasquirt - Essex Areas - Contact : Jeff Waghorn - 07768361199

I have known Jeff for many years. He is defo a 'Megasquirt' Nut.
Jeff has done many customer installs, and also has a far better knowledge on LPGing Megasquirted systems than us !. Jeff loves doing installs !.
He is, as you can tell Essex Based, but, Jeff can possibly come to you, but best just ring and chat through with him what you are looking for.

Jeff also has his own website : Essex Megasquirt

Fitting Service - 4x4 Solutions - East Sussex - Contact David - 01825 713600

David has a fully Equiped workshop at 4x4 Solutions, so always wants the vehicle delivered to them (They may be able to collect if localish - speak to them). as such you can deliver leave and collect. The last install they did was on a 4.5 Eales Engined full body rnage rover, and I was over so had a nose - very very nice workmanship.
As they enjoyed doing this install they asked us to offer their services to others.

Davids website is : 4x4 Solutions

Fitting Service - Scott Benwell - Camarthernshire - Contact Scott - 07460327695

Scott was a customer who came o me many moons ago having bought a load of **** elsewhere, gotten in a huge mess, was being given no support, and was at the end of his tether.
Scott knew nothing really about Megasquirt and installs. Roll on to 2016 and Scott has enjoyed his learning curve so much he has done multiple installs and sorted out all sorts of tweaks.
His latest install on his own truck being a nice Lexus V8 - which he did pretty much learning as he did it, as new territory. Scott has access to premises, and is also prepared to potentially travel to you, so if you have a garage or workshop Scott may be your man.

Certainly, as with the others above, Scott know his stuff and personally races on Megasquirt !.

Which engine do I have and what are the various Specs Pros and Cons ?.

Rover 3.5 V8 - ONLY made in the 'V Belt' Design.

This the 1st Rover V8 was 3,528 cc (Lucas 14 CU 'Flapper' - big A4 Silver box ). Bore 88.9 mm stroke 71.0 mm Power / From : 90 bhp (Carbs low compression) up to 158 bhp at 5200 rpm (EFI) Torque: 210 lb ft @ 2600 rpm

This engine is so often overlooked. Yes, it's the least powerful, but its VERY strong, and revs quicker and faster than any of the others. Called a 'V' Belt as these engine have multiple belts - ie one for PAS and another for water pump etc etc and the belts are narrow and a 'V' profile - hence 'V' Belt V8s . Responds well to tuning, easy to keep cooling under control and few if any faults other than excessive mileages and lack of servicing. Bear in mind these engines had truly dreadfull EFI system on them (Flapper) and a MS 3.5 is a world away from a 'Flapper' Controlled one - don't rule these out !. Identity is sometimes tricky - some habe '3.5' embossed on the plenum - some are blank. Look for silver cigarette box size 'Resistor Pack' (RHS rear pic) and '9th injector' on side of the plenum, also easy to spot is the injectors are connected to the fuel rail with short rubber hoses.

Rover 3.9 V8 - 'V Belt' Design, Later 3.9s moved to 'Serpentine' Front Ends

3.9 litre V8 1989-1999 "Hotwire" Fuel Injection (Lucas 14CUX) Bore increased to 94.0 mm stroke same at 71.0 mm Power: 182 bhp @4,750 rpm Torque: 230 lb ft @ 3,100 rpm

These engines are very popular and for good reasons. More power, and a better EFI System (called 'Hotwire' - ECU is Black vs 3.5s 'Flapper' is Silver) MS uses the injectors etc but none of the Hotwire electrics etc. Whilst the 3.9 was better and the performance often more because of the improved EFI system, the Hotwire still manges to turn this fab engine into a nightmare of non relaibility, A MS'd 3.5 and a MS3.9 V belt both can be made to 'Sing'. Then later the 'Serpentine' 3.9s came along. This is a variation of the 3.9 V belt. Key differences are just ONE single wide belt running aroun ALL the front pulleys, a Cross Bolted bottom end for additional strength, and a Crankshaft driven oil pump, (which is regarded as stronger than the V belts Distributor driven unit). But don't discount 'V belt 3.9s' - whilst Serpentines may have advantages V belts are often overlooked and thus cheaper.

Rover 4.0 (1995 - 2001) GEMS - Serpentine Only

Revised in '95 (Called 4.0 to differentiate it from the earlier 3.9, yeah right ! - It's the same at 3946 cc !!) New intake, extra block ribbing, revised pistons, and larger cross-bolted main-bearings. Power : 190 hp @4750 rpm Torque :236 lb ft @ 2600 rpm.

Land Rovers attempt at a Distributorless Ignition - The GEMS System. Tricky (unlike Hotwire) to get engine to run out of one 4x4 and in another. Overly Complex and well, relaibility (or lack of) and complexity made many steer away from these engines. With MS all of that goes and these are like a top of the range 3.9. They are the same basic engines but ancillaries - water pump, alternator etc can vary. Less common than 3.9 Serps.

Rover 4.0 THOR Circa 2001 MOTEC (Banana Manifold) - Serpentine Only

Same internals as GEMS 4.0 just the THOR top end - Power moved around interestingly :Power 188 hp @ 4750 rpm 250 lb ft @ 2600 rpm.

These are a intersting engine, more bottom end grunt, tad less BHP. these were moving towards the end of the Rover production, and these are more complex than anything before. frankly without vast knowledge skill and expense you WILL NOT get this running on its Land Rover EFI system. But, these engines can be good value as the breakers know these are of little interest to the DIY V8er. But now with MS these can be squirted as easily as a 3.5 or 3.9 with out new kits.

Rover 4.2 V8 - 'V Belt' Only

The 4.2 engine displacement of 4,275 cc , Used the crankshaft castings from the failed "Iceberg" diesel engine project. (VERY STRONG) Bore remained at 94.0 mm, stroke increased to 77.0 mm Power: 200 bhp (147 kW)@4,850rpm Torque : 300 lb ft @ 2,600 rpm.

One of LRs odd ball units. Designed ONLY for the Lengthened LSE Range Rover as they found the 3.9 not man enough. this engine is a cracker - if you can find one !. Highly respected by those that know them, as a Super strong, grunty (look at the Torque !) V8, and revvy too. racers love these, I would say the best engine LR made of the V8s, with the caviat being 'Yes I know its a V belt) but they are superb units ! Cross bolted blocks, with HD Bottom ends, fab !. Just compare the 4.2 torque to a 4.6 Thor - same !, but not so long stroke - so revvy.

Rover 4.6 V8 1996-2004 GEMS - Serpentine ONLY

In 1996, again enlarged to 4,552 cc Bore remained same size as the previous 4.0 litre version at 94.0 mm , but stroked by giving 82 mm Power: 225 bhp 4,750 rpm Torque: 280 lb ft @ 2,600 rpm.

Not my favourite Unit. Used the pretty awful GEMS system a la 4.0, and prone to overheating by the daftness of the hunt for low co emmissions etc AFR was set too high at cruising sppeds and thermostat way to hot - results being these gave localised hot spots, causing liner slipping and block cracking probs. There were 3 x grades of blocks, Red Yellow and Blue, the best blocks kept for use in top models !. Top hat liner these blocks and the cooling issues go away, but thats not cheap. Its also a Long stroke Engine so is not as keen to rev freely as 3.9s 3.5s etc. But nice power outputs, more so when you get rid of the GEMS and restrictions built in and let it live and breathe properly with proper fuelling !

Rover 4.6 V8 1996-2004 THOR - Serpentine ONLY

Same as the other 4.6 - 4,552 cc Bore remained same size as the previous 4.0 litre version at 94.0 mm , but stroked by giving 82 mm Power: 222 bhp 4,750 rpm Torque: 300 lb ft @ 2,600 rpm

Like the GEMS 4.6 prone to overheating and similarly Top hat liner these blocks and the cooling issues go away, But you get the Massive Grunt the THOR top end produces, and couple that with a long stroke motor with removal of the emissions power sapping gubbins and this is some engine !. Now with MS kits to convert from the CANBUS system these engines are being looked at as cheap power + a MS Kit.

I have looked at your website, but I still have a number of concerns and questions even now

Then write them all down, get a list of what exactly your unsure or concerned about and either email us on megasquirt.v8@gmail.com or ring us for a chat. We will do what we can to explain what your uncomfortable about. We would far rather you talk to us and then decide to buy, or even not buy, than spend money on something your unsure of, or get the wrong kit or parts. If you look at our testamonials and feedback from our customers you will see we try hard to have happy customers. We don't advertise in LR or Magazines etc, we trade on reputation and recomendation, and we love to chat with V8 lovers !

Have I forgotten something important?

Yes! - As with all Modifications you should advise and Check with your Insurance company, I am insured with Academy Insurance in Slough, and they were both helpful and noted the modification without any increase to premiums, Noted here as it is easy to forget - it IS a modification !

Useful Links for Megasquirt Information, Rover V8s and 4x4s and even 'On Board' Cam Recorders !

  • Black Bullet Car Camera - Want a High Quality Hi Resolution On Board Cam-Corder ? - So did I. After much research bought a Black Bullet - frankly - just buy one - it's BRILLIANT !
  • www.LR4x4.com - The best Land Rover Technical Website on the Web - With its own Megasquirt Forum !
  • www.MSEFI.com - THE Megasquirt Website, Helpful guys with brains the sizes of planets, a HUGE Knowledge base
  • Jeff Waghorn - Megasquirt-V8 Ltd Distributor - Also may do Fitting if you ask him nicely !