Engine back together and after much worry and many tests, started. Shut down right away, funny clicking sounds. NO OIL PRESSURE. Oil filter dry as a bone. Took pan off, without removing engine. Oil pickup tube not picking up oil because I did a couple of dumb things. Oil pump dry. Bottom of pan OK except for a few small grains of non-magnetic material (can't identify).
Now, if no oil was pumped up to the valves, nothing could come down to the pan from the top of the engine, right? So clicking sounds could be dry lifters, right? Just install the oil pickup tube correctly, put the oil pan back on, fill with oil, crank engine to build up oil pressure and then fire it up, right?
Am I being rational or rationalizing? Note that the two words have the same root.
I would guess that you need to prime the oil pump and fill the filter with oil. Forget the routing of oil fill and pump feed etc. but find
it difficult to see how the oil pump can get enough vacuum to suck oil from the pan when it is only pumping air.
I always fill the new filter with oil before fitting on an oil change.
Rover V8s are notorious for losing the oil out of the pump when doing an oil change. Common advice is to pack the oil pump with Vaseline
(petroleum jelly) to prime it.
You could also try un-tensioning the T belt enough to free the oil pump pulley, then sin the pulley with an electric drill and some kind of
adaptor or rubber wheel.
I wouldn't try cranking again until you know that you'll get oil pressure and circulation
Spinning the oil pump with an electric drill and filling the filter with oil are ideas recommended by many. Given the present circumstances, I will follow both.
Sounds like you didn't crank the engine enough before starting it. Pull the fuel pump fuse or relay and crank the engine until it shows pressure. Getting the filter, passages, oil cooler and hoses and all filled takes a scary amount of time with the engine running.
In re-assembly the bearings and lifters should be slathered with assembly lube and be protected for extended cranking.