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Rover Vitesse, Bonnet Struts

Just a small update today; I got rid of the bonnet support broom.

One of the differences between the Vitesse and EFI is that there were two methods of supporting the bonnet.

First was the standard locking rod as seen at the top of this image. It’s a rod attached to the bonnet that travels along a slot, and at the top of the slot is sort of like an upside down J. As the bonnet opens the rod moves up the slot and falls down into the hook of the J, locking the bonnet up and in place. To close the bonnet you lift the rod back into the main slot, and lower the bonnet. It’s a nice simple, reliable system. It does mean you have to go to the passenger’s side of the car every time you want to close the bonnet though.

On the other hand, for some reason only known to BLMC, the Vitesse didn’t get that simple system, it got a pair of gas struts at the front edge of the bonnet, which are designed to hold the bonnet open.

They’re great when they work, but mine didn’t. This required the use of a trusty broom to stop the heavy steel bonnet caving my head in.

Thankfully the previous owner had realised this was an issue and the car came with a pair of what he was told were good struts. Today I set about swapping them.

It’s actually not a hard job. Use trusty broom to hold the bonnet up, and then a pair of 13mm spanners to remove the nuts holding the struts in place.

The struts came out easily once I managed to crack the nuts. I ended up sitting on the front guard and leaning in so I wouldn’t kill my back. Low car life. The replacement struts went on with some copper grease on the threads so they can come off again in future.

The old struts were so wasted that the oil had parted company with them, and you could compress them by hand. No wonder they didn’t hold the big steel bonnet up.

The replacement struts? They were good, which is great. They hold the bonnet up well, and although they groan a bit when lowering its a smooth action.

And to celebrate? A hoon of course. One thing I noticed though, despite getting the engine nice and warm (a touch over 100c) the electric radiator fan didn’t come on. I thought it was triggered by the Link ECU at about 92c, but maybe I’m reading it wrong. Need to look into that, don’t want to cook it.

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