Thousand Dollar Supercar's 1984 Rover SD1 2600SE
Posted 22 December 2009 - 08:44 PM
Ahh, the Grandpa Special. Grandpa buys a car and keeps it in his garage out of the weather until he's too old to drive, then some irresponsible unappreciative type picks it up and runs it into the ground.
Trouble is Grandpa doesn't always buy the top-of-the-line V8 sports model. Sometimes he only buys the straight 6, like this.
Rover SD1 (for "Specialist Division, car number 1") 2600SE
2597cc belt-driven SOHC 12-valve crossflow inline 6 engine
Twin SU carbs
136hp @ 5000rpm, 206Nm @ 3750rpm
5-speed manual, RWD
Weighs about 1350kg
Sports handling assured by solid discs up front, drum brakes at the back, a live rear axle and a giant steering wheel that isn't actually circular.
My one has:
vacuum gauge for "economy"
trip computer (which conveniently doesn't measure fuel consumption any more)
sunroof, electric mirrors, electric windows, power steering, colour-uncoordinated blue interior
height-adjustable rear air suspension (Citroen wannabe fail!) with its own pressure gauge and inflate/deflate buttons
air horns that sound like a train
I had been back down to one car (my '88 Alfa 33) for a while, after I sold my backup Alfa and then was presented with an opportunity to give back my newschool company car. So I was in that same situation of knowing the Alfa needed work and trying to work towards not having to rely on it every day.
A friend and I went to the Turners classic car auction, and I looked this SD1 over briefly and trundled it round the test loop. Before I knew it I'd bought it, and I drove it home that same day! All I can say is that I thought the bidding would go higher, cos some old fogies seemed to have their eye on it. I guess they knew something I didn't, but anyway...
Discussion Thread; viewtopic.php?f=18&t=21250
Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:16 PM
Each individual element of the blinds was free to get blown out of alignment by the wind, totally blocking rear vision. So they had to go.
Impressions of the car.. No rust so far, apparently original paint, car has done 120,000 miles and drives quite well. But there's something about it that isn't car-like. I'm not used to the crank-driven fan and the dislike of revs and speed.. it's vaguely reminiscent of a truck. But a soft, cruisy and growly truck. The train-like air horns are cool and entirely appropriate. I can't wait until all the gauges and gimmics are working and the car gets a new stereo and is running well again, but this may not be that easy.
Torn steering rack boots
Possible small leaks in radiator
Cooling system in general is going to need work - temperature gauge reports car never gets close to warm, heater core most likely rusted solid
Engine stumbles at idle
Oil pressure warning light randomly comes on or flickers despite heaps of apparently new oil in the engine. Might be an electrical fault, might not.
This last one is the most concerning because the 6-cylinder SD1 engine is known for oil blockages starving the **EDIT**camshaft**end edit** of lubrication. The Rover SD1 forum have recommended I find the cause of the flickering oil pressure light before continuing driving the car. Not really my area of expertise. Just as well it's the holidays..
Posted 26 December 2009 - 06:10 PM
Discovered the car's colour is Eclipse Blue, and that it has one of those battery disconnect things fitted to the battery terminal - the kind you install when you can't work out what's wrong with your car's electrical system.
I spent a few hours in the scorching sun poking around cleaning electrical connections.
The car's cooling system thermostat - perhaps a bit bright orange, but present and closed nonetheless.
I believe this is the sender for the coolant temperature gauge.
There's a bit of a problem with it though:
I tried to solder onto the remains of the broken terminal. Maybe tomorrow I shall go out Roving to see if I've been successful.
Posted 29 December 2009 - 09:52 PM
I replaced the cooling system thermostat to no avail - I idled the engine until the new thermostat opened (based on the top radiator hose becoming hot) but the temperature gauge still stayed near cold. The new thermostat is missing a bit that the original one has, so the original one might go back in once I find the actual problem.
There's a bright side - oil pressure and coolant temperature have probably been okay all along. I just need to keep working at getting the gauges to agree with my theories.
I took out the hot air pickup system and I'll replace it with just a single big pipe for cold air. Also found I'll need to replace the air duct running across the top of the engine, cos it has too many splits in it.
At the lights today a homie in an FTO said "Nice oldschool ride cuz, nice!".. and the best part was that he wasn't a senior citizen!
Posted 30 December 2009 - 06:19 PM
So I got a new oil pressure switch and not much changed. Light still flickers sometimes and comes on sometimes.
It's getting hot in here..
With the coolant temp sender wire grounded to the engine block and help from my Alfa's battery, the Rover's temperature gauge will reach full scale. So I have a new temperature sender on order from Ripco.
While taking the dashboard apart checking for dodgy wiring, I found a couple of old tickets and stuff. Some date back to the first three years of the car's life when it was in the UK:
I also fixed a reading light and reconnected a ventilation pipe while under the dash, and painted the badges in the middle of the wheels:
(before this they were a uniform dark blue with the coating coming off in patches)
They look better in small photos or from a distance but not so flash up close.
I replaced the car's now-totally-dead battery with a small temporary battery from my work, and tried disconnecting the automatic choke box but the idle didn't improve. I've still failed to fix anything important on this car.
Posted 09 January 2010 - 10:38 PM
I got a new sender for the temperature gauge and the gauge now reads properly!
So I took the radiator to be re-cored ($$$) and flushed out the cooling system. The radiator man said he used to do heaps of SD1s and know the core dimensions off by heart, but SD1s don't come by so much any more..
Got the radiator back - it's a bit of a monster compared to the Alfa!
The cooling system should now be taken care of, reducing my chances of BLown head gaskets. The heater even works once you understand the controls. Here's the radiator fitted along with my cold air intake made from black spraypainted drainpipe, temporarily held up with wire..
So next I went out and bought all the stuff for an oil change (including ®oversized oil drain pan). I rummaged under the boot floor for a means to jack up the car, and came up with this, the weird Rover factory jack. I couldn't figure out what to do with it, I assumed it was to help raise boat trailers to get them onto the towbar or something. So I went and bought a SuperCheap trolley jack.
I poured two bottles of engine flush into the motor (hoping for ®over-strength formulation) and ran it 15 minutes. I then managed to spill oil on the ground (darn sideways sump plug), and halfway through the oil change I took off the plastic bumper underrider end cap thingies as part of getting access to the oil filter, and worked out how the factory jack was meant to work.
I took out the oil pressure relief valve, which looked OK to my untrained eye. Even if it wasn't, where do you get new springs?
I poured a shameful jumbo pack of old barge oil into the motor and set off home. 5 minutes later the oil pressure warning light came on, despite the oil pressure gauge reading maybe slightly higher than before.
Perhaps I need to consider that suggestion of putting diesel in the engine oil.
Then 10 minutes later the prince of darkness got into the wires again and made smoke come out of the steering column. I think he's taken up residence in the headlight switch.
And one more annoying thing to happen today. Here's the characteristic curved SD1 exhaust tip:
But a suspicious piece of black-painted tape fell off the rear muffler this tip attaches to. What's underneath that I wonder?
Wait a minute, that's not the only gaping hole in this muffler!
No wonder the thingy's so growly.
So. WOF in two months. Do I get the shiny curved bit cut and welded onto a new muffler or resonator or something, or do I go for a new style of tip? If so, what? Something Triumph Stag-ish?
Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:50 PM
The oil level warning light is presumably triggered by yet another sensor, which they identified hiding on the side of the sump where I hadn't noticed it. Regardless, the circuitry seems buggered because the light still flickers randomly no matter whether there's a short circuit or an open circuit on the end of the plug to this sensor.
Armed with this theory (hopefully to be confirmed by someone on the Rover forum who actually has an owners manual), I boarded HMS Rover and opened the taps, what.
It makes an uncivilised thunderous wooshy racket to let you know you're not supposed to drive it that way, but it gets along well enough for 1984. I've gotta keep in mind when doing this that it's not that big on stopping or cornering.
I'll see how the sound changes after tomorrow, when the rusted-to-bits rear muffler is replaced. I'm keeping the curved exhaust tip (no Stag pipes ) so it'll still look much the same.
Posted 21 January 2010 - 11:15 PM
Also spent several hundreds of dollars and several days of my own time fitting phat soundz.
The Rover came with an awful old cassette radio which seems to have been fitted in Nelson in 2001 - why would you fit a radio in NZ that only receives up to 90FM? I decided touring barges should have decent sound systems and I gave this radio the boot.
I got a Sony head unit better than my Alfa's one - it does mp3 and wma CDs and has an aux input jack. Flash as.
I got some new front speakers:
The 'woofer' components of the new speakers are only 5 inch because the original Rover items (left) are 4 inch, and the size of the holes in the doors was obviously an issue. This size limit restricted me to a more fancy brand.
Then I put my cap on backwards and said yes to a 600W amp and a 12" sub.
I bought two sheets of chipboard stuff that were cheap because they were actually left-over packaging material. I installed the amp up under the dash in the passenger's footwell. The amp drives the front speakers but the existing Rover rear speakers are run directly off the head unit.
It then came time to install the subwoofer. No problem, I'll just fake some typical Kiwi DIY woodworking skillz and whip up an enclosure before you know it.
Unfortunately the wood knew I was faking.
I cut out two bits of wood to make a new false boot floor (saving the originals), and then measured up and constructed a sub box to go under one half of the false floor:
This makes use of the huge cavity under there, while still allowing room for the full-size spare tyre, jack etc and not sacrificing any boot space.
I had to buy a whole jar of aggro wood screws for the construction, so I went on a rampage, screwing every crack that moved (and some that didn't..). I also squirted glue around liberally.
The lid of the box isn't glued - I used foam window sealing strip and just screwed it down.
In an emporium I found some appropriately ghastly blue fabric to cover the box with. Some spring terminals allow the box to be disconnected for removal.
Because the real floor of the boot isn't flat, my sub enclosure (which rests on the floor) needed to be shallower at one end than the other. It wasn't (see fake skillz), so I just compensated by raising the other half of the false floor to match. You'd never know!
I'm pleased that the audio system isn't too conspicuous and hasn't sacrificed practicality, but is still the best I've owned to date.
Posted 17 February 2010 - 08:35 PM
So I took the car to a garage, and got them to replace:
and all fluids except engine oil.
Of course, the cambelt tensioner is no longer available, so they had to make one.
And when they went to bleed the rear brakes, they found both the wheel cylinders were leaking.
And one other cooling system hose decided to leak on them too.
So I got a massive bill from all the days it took them to do that, but the car should be sweet for next week's track day now right?
It's still losing coolant, and I can't find any more leaks.
I have a theory that explains this, along with the entire cooling system's general willingness to leak, and the fact that now when I run the engine with the cap off the radiator expansion bottle, significant amounts of bubbles come up...
No prizes for guessing, folks. I think I may have the inevitable 6-cylinder SD1 BLown head gasket. Probably had been developing for a while, but now discovered at an inconvenient time and right after the perfect opportunity to replace it has just passed.
Posted 02 July 2010 - 09:55 PM
Poor Rover has had its registration put on hold and doesn't get to go out any more.
Whats happening with this beast?
Personally I have a large soft spot for them.
I got a new busy job and another damn company car - an automatic diesel ute. Why does this always happen to me?
But just now, today, I have progress to report!
It may appear that all I've managed to do is snag the exhaust tip on the ground trying to reverse up a driveway and end up bending it backwards (dammit), but you're missing the important part.
Today I persuaded the Rover to fire up, loaded it up with some possessions and trundled it across town to its new home in MY garage!
Yes fans, after many years of saving and many months of looking, I finally bought a very modest garage. I think it even has a house attached too, which I'll investigate later.
The shelter afforded by this garage and the certainty of its availability due to the fact that I own it (well actually the bank do, but don't burst my bubble) will allow me to proceed with the next stage on the Rover - the uncharted territory of opening up the engine.
But in the meantime I'm going to move the rest of my belongings, tell flatting where to stick it, decorate my new garage and enjoy every minute of it. Life begins now.
Posted 16 September 2010 - 09:57 PM
The Rover's sparkplugs:
I think one of the two carbs might be set a bit rich.
Plug 1 was very tight, but I can't see any obvious signs of the bubbles-in-the-radiator fault.
Reinstalled plugs, tomorrow or the next day I'll risk running it up to temperature so I can do a compression test. I'm doing this the slow way in the hopes that I'll learn stuff.
Posted 18 September 2010 - 11:43 PM
Got the car into my small garage with slightly less idling time, pulled sparkplugs and did the compression test:
Results ranged from 145 to 163 psi (my manual says this is too uneven), lowest in central cylinders.
Cylinder 3's spark plug had white deposits on, which I tried unsuccessfully to photograph:
Next step (which might not be for a while) will probably be to locate the head bolts and check they're torqued properly. With my new torque wrench.
Posted 26 September 2010 - 09:01 PM
Check out the Rover big six's revolutionary OHC design - one high performance cam lobe per cylinder! For.. um.. just because!
Unfortunately with my torque wrench set to the factory's reusing-an-old-gasket setting of 103Nm, none of the head bolts moved.
This means I'll need more therapy sessions, because I see no alternative to taking the head off.
Posted 23 October 2010 - 08:41 PM
"Grrr... Oi, you! Get over 'ere and fix my mo'ah!"
It's a sunny long weekend, I've got it all to myself, and in my garage there's a handsome touring car with a good sound system, old car smell, and twin carb straight six goodness.
Unfortunately it's just a pretty sculpture.
You can sit in it and make broom broom noises, but it won't go anywhere.
So I followed the manual and pulled everything off the top end of the motor in preparation for removing the head from the engine bay. Nothing snapped or rounded off, believe it or not! The timing belt is off, the head bolts are out, it's serious.
The trouble is I highly doubt I can drag the whole head out of the engine bay on my own without breaking something. It doesn't look light and there's presumably valves protruding underneath. I've left it sitting there and plan to enlist help to take the front-hinged bonnet off and carry the head out forwards.
Posted 25 October 2010 - 10:34 AM
"Yep, this would fit great in my ute, with some cable ties and about 20psi of boost.."
The head gasket wasn't clearly broken anywhere, but Fred reckoned cylinder 1 had been leaking around the bottom of this photo: http://www.axys.co.n...hamber1wet2.jpg
The gasket wasn't circular at this point and probably wasn't fitting too well:
From the other side, some carbon can be seen across the ring bit thingy:
So the head's gonna be taken to a cylinder head man, to be cleaned / checked / have the face machined flat / etc. Cylinder head man will no doubt be looking at this rather white valve:
And he'll no doubt be laughing at the high quality British casting that has resulted in the pitting around the number 6 exhaust valve seat:
Also, see how the gasket ring gets eaten away where it overlaps the cylinder wall into the coolant passage: http://www.axys.co.n...geatenaway1.jpg
So here's the engine bay now:
I have investigated this statement:
"..for production ease, the bore of the inlet manifold is appreciably less than the mating bore in the cylinder head, and the same step-up can be seen on the other face where the exhaust ports lead into the inlet manifold."
..and it's absolutely true. The inlet manifold port diameters are several mm less than the ports in the head. So much so that you can see it by eye.
That means "Cleaning up these passages and blending their junctions would be an easy first step on the road to more power.."
Current plans for the Rover if the engine can be fixed:
[*:1yt7nh61]Get WOF (some steering/suspension joint needs doing)
[*:1yt7nh61]Remove engine-driven cooling fan and replace with electric ones for less noise
[*:1yt7nh61]Remove all intake piping before carburettors and replace with ramflo filters for more noise
[*:1yt7nh61]Replace rear air shocks preferably with original self-leveling ones from ebay
[*:1yt7nh61]Replace steering wheel with something smaller and more circular
[*:1yt7nh61]Consider replacing breaker points and distributor with DIY electronic ignition
[*:1yt7nh61]Try not to let Fred talk me into a custom larger-bore inlet manifold with DIY EFI...
Posted 27 October 2010 - 03:11 PM
"I used to do a lot of these but not any more, thank god!"
never ending face palm
He immediately identified cylinders 1 and 6 as having been leaking. Apparently the pitting around #6 exhaust valve is caused by the coolant and the white #3 exhaust valve is OK ("probably the only one that's running right!")
But then he brought out his hardness tester..
..and condemned the head as being soft down one side. Reckons it's not reusable because it'll just blow again. "You've got yourself a good bit of boat anchor." Apparently I should put a V8 in it. Think I might have heard that before once or twice.
Instead / in the short term, I'm told there's an SD1 at Otahuhu Pick-a-Part. I will reassemble the 6 with a new gasket and the best head I can find and see how long I can run it before it's properly blown up.
Posted 27 November 2010 - 11:08 PM
My gasket set arrived, so I got back to work on this and removed the inlet manifold and exhaust headers.
My focus on the inlet manifold was the transducer that sends the fuel usage to the trip computer, because this aspect of the computer doesn't work and I'm a sucker for gimmicks. I found that the transducer was installed upside down, possibly by the last person to replace the fuel hoses (or possibly by British Leyland, something you can never discount..)
I set up a test rig using the suspicious non-factory electric fuel pump from the engine bay to drive used coolant through the transducer, and confirmed its output voltage changed with flow. After fitting new fuel hose, I reinstalled the transducer the right way up. If I can get this thing to work I will be unreasonably happy.
Here's the goofy-looking exhaust manifold, which incidentally appears not to use gaskets between itself and the head:
When last it was repaired, someone must have painted it silver but all the paint was falling off. I ground it back, resprayed it with go-faster red exhaust paint and baked it in the oven:
Hey presto, fit-for-scrap Leyland iron manifold becomes Tom Walkinshaw Racing Hurricane Pacemaker extractor headers?
Maybe not. Actually the racing red looks more like rust brown now that it's dried.
And the paint got a bit scratched due to the headers not fitting in my oven properly.
Somebody who apparently has experience with these engines told a friend of mine that I should use VHT copper gasket stuff to help the head gasket seal. I haven't heard of this practice before, but it's understood this motor needs all the help it can get so I'll give it a go!
Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:42 PM
Then I thought I could lift the head on myself, because the manifolds weren't in the way. Not a good idea - to get it done before the copper stuff dried, I ended up standing on the strut towers trying to gently move a heavy head into position below me without damaging anything, and without any locating / guide studs to help me line it up. What a rough bastard I am.
But I got the head bolts in, torqued them up, put the manifolds back on, all the wires, vacuum lines, cooling system, ignition system etc all back together, put the timing belt back on, totally guessed the tension for it, poured some oil over the camshaft, refitted the rocker cover, turned the engine over by hand to check the cam timing was right, flushed and filled the cooling system with water, disconnected the coil, cranked the engine on the starter motor to circulate some oil, reconnected the coil, crossed my fingers..
It fired right up.
Sputtered for a bit while it burnt off all the stuff I spilled in it while it was apart, but a little bit of throttle and it settled down.
So the big six is rolling. At minimal cost, baby.
The best part - it's day two now, I've taken it for a gentle drive each night, and still no bubbles in the cooling system!
Why look, here it goes outside the garage:
I washed the dust off and vacuumed out the cobweb this evening. Now the car needs that repair for a WOF, then I can start on all the stuff I was holding off on until I had a running engine again.
Posted 04 December 2010 - 11:37 AM
(can you tell I'm trying to get this thread to two pages?)
Also, merry christmas to me!
Posted 05 December 2010 - 08:47 PM
The exhaust headers and air horns have been repainted as mentioned, also to make way for the ramflo filters all this stuff was removed:
The pipe that crosses the rocker cover had worn through the cover's black coating to the metal underneath, which didn't look good. So I stripped the black off, and now there's just shiny metal that's a bit too bling for my camera to handle.
Same side, from another angle (colour of headers looks even worse here):
From the other side:
And I'm liking the look of my filters. These plus SU carbs look very period-rubbish-sportscar.
Yes, I'll take the photo again in better focus with the filters fitted straight.
I want new plug leads cos mine are a mix and some of the plug boots are half melted. Anyone know where I can buy red ones? Bosch are black, I think Champion are red but I dunno who carries them.
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