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Rover Vitesse, A Day For Fails

Sometimes when working on cars, things just don’t do what you want them to do. Today was one of those days.

I have had a tow bar sitting around since pillaging the Whanganui cars, and originally had the intention of it going on Effie, but when I tried to fit it to her I quickly found the tow bar will not fit without cutting the underside of the bumper for the tongue, and I didn’t want to do that to her pristine bumper.

Tess on the other hand, has had a tow bar in the past, and already has a cutout on the underside of her bumper, so hey, lets whack the tow bar on her eh?

This job is made a lot easier now that the tailgate doesn’t try to mash my head in, since the four bumper retaining nuts are in the rear panel, inside the boot. Undo those and the bumper simply just slides off the car. There are two side retainers that slide into rubber bushings, but they should slide out easy enough.

So the bumper came off easy enough, but that was about it. Unfortunately the bumper cutout didn’t match the tow bar. Not such an issue, I can cut it larger, but that wasn’t the worst part of it

The worst part was that the towbar isn’t going to fit at all, because the bumper is all kinds of messed up. I noticed it didn’t sit right when I got the car, and the RH sliding retainer is no longer attached to the bumper, what I didn’t realise was that the RH bumper bracket is messed up and the bumper cracked.

The red arrow is pointing at a large crack in the bumper. The orange arrow points at someones attempt to stick the bumper mount back on with some snotty looking glue, and the purple arrow points at a very bent mounting plate.

It’s hard to tell, but the mounting plate should only have a slight curve in it, like the one on the other side

Well that will explain why the bumper doesn’t sit right. The impact obviously tore off the side retainer too, because someone tried to gloop that back into place too (which didn’t work)

The tow bar doesn’t fit onto the mounts (it has to slide over the studs on both mounts), so there’s no hope of it fitting this bumper. I’ll need to reassess once I track down another bumper and mounts.

So that was a fail. Since I was already out in the garage I decided to have a look at the hand brake system too, as it wasn’t holding the car (and will fail the next WOF).

Up on the Quickjacks again. Super quick and easy to do, especially now that the frames live under Tess all the time, so just need to slide them out, plug them into the hoses, plug the hoses into the power unit, connect the jump pack and away I go.

No photos of this, because I detailed it when I replaced Effies hand brake cable, and its a fairly basic system.

My compensator wasn’t at 30 degrees like it should be, so obviously it needed adjusting. I disconnected the cable from both drums, and backed off the adjuster at the lever. I proceeded to adjust it correctly, and went to test. The handle still moves about 6 clicks, which is WAY too many. I readjusted it three or four more times, and the issue remained. I checked the workshop manual to make sure I was doing it right, and yup, I was. Obviously the cable is stretched and I can’t dial out the slack. Damn. I just cant get enough tension on the cable to lock the wheels, so I guess my next Rimmers order will have a new cable in it too. Thankfully replacing it on the Quickjacks will be better than when I did Effies one on the ground under just a pair of stands. Another fail.

Speaking of Quickjacks, I can now confirm that even despite my oversized belly, I can roll front to back under the car comfortably on my creeper. It’s a much nicer height to work at than I’m used to. The only issue I have is that my axle hangs down a lot, so I have to slide to either side of the diff head, instead of under it or I’ll get stuck.

While under the car I noticed that I had a fairly bad exhaust leak from the rear section join. Obviously this wouldn’t be helping the fume ingress situation Tess has. I quickly undid the join, found it missing its olive (a round, metal seal), so just proceeded to smother it in exhaust paste and bolt it back together. I’ll be replacing the rear section eventually anyway, so not a big deal. The other cause of fumes would have been from the four large holes I found drilled in the rear panel, behind the bumper. I don’t know what they were for, but they were sleeved (so you can tighten a bolt down without crushing the two sections of metal the hole was through) and just went into the boot, behind the trim. I have taped them up for now, just to block them off.

A decent drive this afternoon shows that the exhaust sounds the same, but the fumes in the cabin are significantly reduced. I didn’t realise how bad it was before, but now there is almost no exhaust smell with the windows shut. With the drivers window open a crack there can be wafts, but it’s about 5% of what it was before. My wife wanted to put the CO meter in the car beforehand, to see how bad it was, but I was scared to know.

So you win some, and lose some. I still have a lot of things to do to Tess, but I’m just going to order parts and wait for the WOF to run out in July. Once that’s run out, I’ll use that as a chance to take her off the road for a bit to do some work, like stripping the interior and fixing the sump gasket leak.

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5 years ago

Seems to be the thing about our Rovers. You find something, there’s some head scratching and frustration but it’s brilliantly satisfying when it goes back together.

I had some fumes coming in and found it was nothing more than a flap caught on the wiring behind it! Nice easy job.