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Rover Vitesse, My Big Fan

Its been so darn hot recently that progress on the Vitesse has been slow.

Because it is so hot though, I had to find out why the fan didn’t come on the other day.

I emailed the previous owner asking what he knew about the fan, and was advised that the power feed was wired to the coil and that I should check that. When I was diagnosing the starting issues and swapped the coil over I did notice a red wire that was just hanging around disconnected

I connected it back up to the positive terminal on the coil. The terminal was very loose, no wonder it came off at some point. I squeezed the terminal to make it a really tight fit. With something as critical as a cooling fan, there is no room for failure like this.

Once that was connected, I had to test the fan. I didn’t want to sit around waiting for the engine to heat up, so the quickest way was to turn the ignition on, and set the Link to trigger the fan below ambient temp. Sure enough, as soon as it hit that temp, the fan whirred into life.

Well, who would have guessed that the fan would be wired to the coil positive? Not me. I’m sure there are far better places to get switched 12v under the bonnet.

Anyway, the fan works now. I reset the trigger temp to 92c as it was before, and during testing after a decent drive today I confirmed the fan does come on when it should. It moves a lot of air. Not as much as the viscous fan, but hopefully enough.

Theres still a few random disconnected wires in the engine bay, which I have no idea what they go to, but everything else seems to be working. Its one of the downsides to dealing with someone else’s bodges. On the EFI at least I know what all the wiring is for, because before I got it, everything was standard. Anything that was modified was done, and recorded, by me. The Vitesse has had some changes and additions done that I just don’t know about. Time will tell what happens, I may end up ripping these mods (like the air horns) out and redoing it myself, or at least just tracing it back and making a record for the future.

A couple of other small things I got around to doing was to lube the steering shaft bush and refit the driver’s side glovebox.

The steering bush is a common failure point on SD1s, and the one in the Vitesse has been replaced with a nice uprated Nolathane bush. This will last a lot longer than a standard rubber one, and it’s stiffer leading to better feel. Unfortunately one downside to this is that the bush grips the shaft unless it has adequate lubrication, leading to a kinda sticky binding feeling when turning the wheel. The bush in question is the bright red one.

I used a couple of sprays of my favourite lube. It’s a synthetic spray that I have used many times for various jobs and it always works a treat. Its funny, the only reason I have and know about this stuff is that I found this can rolling around under the seat of one of my previous cars.

Since I didn’t need any further access down there, I refit the glovebox. It makes the car look and feel a lot more complete, and adds some nice refinement. Looking at it, i guess I’ll need to remove and clean the damn thing now. It hangs down a bit too, need to see if there is an adjustment in the catch.

I did find a cool business card when cleaning out the car. A google indicates they may not exist anymore. I like finding little trinkets from the cars past, especially from when it was in the UK.

Another random trinket I found was this steering column cover with the original sticker still in place.

Obviously the chances of ever seeing one of these stickers is almost zero, because the owner MUST remove the sticker. Clearly this owner was a rebel.

So that’s all the work I have done recently. These 30c days really slow down productivity, especially with the car outside and the risk of being turned into human jerky being so high.

I still have some work to do very soon, like fixing the rear seat hinges and the tailgate latch. I have ordered valve cover gaskets and shifter bushes from the UK, so they should hopefully be here soon, and then I can take the car for a Warrant inspection and see if it passes, after being off the road since 2013.

I have also done a couple of longer trips in the car to see if I can replicate the original fault, and so far despite covering around 60km (on private roads… ahem), 40km or so today, the fault hasn’t shown up. Hopefully this means I have fixed it, but it may still pop up yet, only time will tell.

I have noticed some other little things with the car since driving it more, like the rear suspension bottoming out over bumps, guess I’ll need to keep that mad raked look by keeping the rears pumped up a bit more. Gosh its fun to drive though, staying at the speed limit is hard… the car just wants to push faster and faster. I don’t know why, but 100kph feels so slow in the Vitesse, whilst in the EFI it’s a nice cruising speed.

New shocks and springs, guess I’ll add that to the list of “things I wish I could afford”.

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