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Rover SD1, Cooling fixed, Some LEDS and De-Grot

After yesterday’s revelation that I had made a real balls up of the thermostat install, it was time to fix it once and for all.

First things first, I had to go buy some gasket paper, since the old gasket wasnt reusable.

Heh, keeping it British.

I traced around the old gasket, and then carefully cut it out with a sharp knife.

And then the painful bit. Getting the thermostat to stay in the recess whilst fitting the housing and gasket. I stuck the gasket to the housing with some sealant, and ran a bead on the other side of the gasket too. I used two little blobs of sealant on the thermostat itself just to help “stick” it to the recess. I guess it worked, because with plenty of very careful movements, lots of watching the thermostat with a torch and mirror, and plenty of luck, I got the housing on with the thermostat correctly installed.

After that it was a piece of cake to refit the radiator hose and fill the system with more coolant. Hopefully this is the last time I need to dump it all on the floor.

I did the procedure as per the book to bleed the system. Hold the revs at 1500RPM with the radiator fill plug out. Keep topping the coolant up as it burps air out. Run it to temp and then install the plug. Shut off, fill the expansion tank, let it cool and then top up if needed. It kinda worked, I got heaps of air out, and the temp would rise but then once again it would drop off. After letting it cool, and burping some more air, I decided to just take it for a careful run around the suburb. Sure enough, it obviously gave it all a good shake up, as it came up to temp and held there nicely. Engine was running like clockwork, and was no longer running pig rich (in warmup mode). I did notice the damn trip computer has ceased to give me a consumption readout now. Hopefully that fixes itself.

The heater is still barely above cold, but I’ll deal with that closer to winter. For now, I just want to get out there and drive the damn thing!

Whilst in the garage I did some other work too. I decided to try to fix the water ingress I mentioned previously. It was coming in through the tail light, and I suspect it was this gap here, as all the water running down the channel exits onto the light, and runs off down this side.

I gave it all a real good clean out with a stiff brush, and then isopropyl alcohol. Once clean, I slathered on some sealant, smoothed it off with my finger, and cleaned the excess off. I also did the LH tail light, as although it isn’t leaking, there were some gaps in the old sealant.

Hopefully this will keep the water out, so I have reassembled the boot carpets and linings and made it look nice again. I’ll monitor it and see what happens.

I also went a bit nuts on fitting LEDs. I changed out the two room lamps to warm white LEDs. I think they suit the style of car a lot better than cold white.



It looks a little greeny in the photos, but isn’t bad in person.

I also got the boot light and rear reading lights working. Turns out it was only a blown fuse. Boot now has a bright cold white LED, and the reading lights are more warm white.

I still haven’t got the front map light, or glovebox light working. I don’t know about the map light, but the glovebox light switch is broken so I’ll need to look into that.

The number plate lights bothered me too. In some previous photos I took, one light was brighter than the other. This isn’t on as it doesn’t appease my attention to detail, so I whipped them out, and fixed it.

The reason for the dimness? Grotty housings.

A thorough clean took care of that, as well as a quick wire brush to brighten up the terminals.

And installed, with yet another warm white LED. Dirty housing with bulb on the left, clean housing with LED on right.

I tried a red LED in the tail light too, and once again it was useless. Too direct and not as bright as the bulb, so out it went. I’m still looking into installing dual filament bulb holders to increase my tail light brightness.

Speaking of grot, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I HAD to give the interior a quick clean. Using some Amorall wipes, a microfiber and some muscle, I gave the center console and dash a quick clean. Its come up really well, and has a nice matte finish to it when the typical Armorall shine is wiped away.

Compared to what it was, im very happy.

I also had an awesome moment on the test drive this afternoon. I was sitting waiting at a side road intersection waiting for a gap in traffic, when a gentleman in an orange Hillman Avenger goes past. Many waves and thumbs up ensued. He happened to be going the same way I was, so when I caught up and went by him further up the road, he stuck a big thumbs up out the window, and I gave him a toot toot. Always a pleasure to come across some other poor bastard that has a similar sickness.

It’s getting there. We have had some nice bonding, I’m finally enjoying driving the car, and I cant wait to go for some cruising. I think this weekend will be a machine polish and wax for the old girl.

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James Swindells
7 years ago

I was wondering about led lighting. Will give it a whirl. Had that same water problem with the rear light. Typical Rover:-)

Reply to  James Swindells
6 years ago

Your blog is invaluable! Just been out to seal my rear lights and remember reading your blog on this subject. Sadly, the boot floor will need work as I didn’t know I had a leak but hopefully this shores things up until we visit the body shop.