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Project Lucas, A Big Update

It’s been a lot of work, but Lucas has moved on considerably since the last post. I’ll break this down into bite-size chunks. This will be a massive post though as it’s a week or two of work.

Rust Repairs/Interior

Right, so continuing on from where we left off. Once the seam sealer was dry, everything top and bottom was coated in primer and then a couple of good coats of paint.

The underside then got a couple of coats of a proper underseal.

When the paint was finally dry, it was time to refit the interior. First, the carpet needed a damn good vacuum. Everyone cleans their carpet on the roof, don’t they?

Next I laid down the underlay. The old underlay was ruined at the front, but the rear half was still in great condition, so I cut it in half and refitted the rear. The front was made from a roll of “underfelt” I had left over from doing the TVR Carpet.

Both sides were done in the same way. In theory, because the front section is separate, and isn’t stuck under the seat, if/when it does get wet I should be able to remove that section to aid in drying.

With the underlay in, the carpet was next. Gosh this is a big lump of a thing to maneuver around.

I mentioned it on social media, but it’s crazy how much just adding carpet to a car makes it suddenly feel a million times nicer and more like a “car”. Can’t wait to get something in the Marina too.

The seats were next. Just a case of wrangling them from their spot on the back bench, onto the mounting points and inserting the bolts.

The center console would go in next, but first, there was a lot of cleaning to be done, and repairing the heater control panel as the top had broken off it at some point.

To remove the heater panel, the two slider knobs just pull straight off. The two direction control knobs are clipped in, so require gently levering off. Be careful not to scratch or crack the faceplate. A screw on either end secures the faceplate. Once the faceplate is free, you will need to remove the fibre optic cables from the rear of the faceplate by unclipping and sliding them out.

Once removed it was just a case of mixing up some epoxy, cleaning everything and then sticking it together.

I took the chance to glue the crack in the tailgate trim since I had the epoxy out

Until the epoxy was dry, I was at a standstill on the interior, so moved to the next task.

Front Window Regulator Replacement

I already had some annoying issues with the RH front window, such as it trying to jump out of the rail when going up, and being loose in the rails, but after sitting for a couple of weeks the window was now completely dead. Its kind of a blessing in disguise as it allows me to hopefully fix all my window issues in one go.

Removing the window regulator starts with removing the door card. Much to my surprise, there was no vapour barrier fitted to this door, so the insides of the door and all the water when it rains, were open to the door card and by extension, the inside of the car.

With the door card off, the next step is to securely tape the glass into place. Thankfully mine was jammed up, so it was easy to work with. I used duct tape to hold the glass, with cardboard over the top frame so I didn’t end up taking the paint off the frame when pulling the tape off.

It needs to be pretty damn secure, you do not want that glass falling into the door, or onto your hand/arm if it drops.

The regulator is held in place by a bunch of bolts. The two with red lines on do not need to be removed as they secure the door handle mech to the plate.

Once you remove all the bolts, things start to get a bit wiggly. I noticed when I removed one of the main regulator bolts that the whole regulator twisted away from the door frame as if it were under a lot of tension. I wonder if this is why the window kept coming out of alignment.

Remove that plate with the big X on it (it has a regulator rail on the back of it too) or drop it down into the bottom of the door if you don’t want to disconnect the handle.

One quick bonus bolt to undo is the one above the speaker, which secures the bottom of the window run channel. Removing this allows you a bit more space for moving the motor about.

Disengage the arms from the runners on the bottom of the window, fold the arms together, disconnect the motor and move the motor up into the top corner as much as possible.

This should allow you to squeeze the arms out the hole and withdraw the whole regulator

The regulator was toast. I managed to get it to move after feeding 12v directly into the motor, but it was slow and jumpy. Even removing the motor from the regulator the motor was slow and useless.

Speaking of, it shouldn’t be easy to remove the motor as they are riveted onto the regulator. These rivets are slim and take up little room. The regulator I removed has been messed with before as the motor was fitted with nuts and bolts, and had clearly been swapped from a different regulator to make this one go again.

The problem with nuts and bolts is they are quite thick, which means they have a high chance of fouling the inside of the door skin when fitted, which would explain the regulator being twisted when fitted….

Anyway, refitting is more or less the reverse of disassembly. Make sure the regulator is in the same position as the one you removed (use 12v to move the regulator, and keep your fingers clear) so you can align it with the rails. Before fitting, since you have the space, get in there and smother grease on all the rails, and spray the window run channels with silicone spray.

During testing, the window now operates perfectly, smoothly, doesn’t try to jump the rails and is super quick. A+ would trade again.

Because that wasn’t the only issue with the door, I did another job whilst the regulator was out, as there is no better time to do it.

Door Handle Rebuild

Yup, the door handle was also stuffed. The main issue was easy to fix; the handle needed a new gasket as it was missing, and the handle was all loose and floppy. Secondly, the lock barrel was stuffed as the key needed vigorous jiggling to operate.

The handle is held in place with a pair of 7mm nuts, which with the regulator out, are very easy to access. They’re shite to access with the reg still in place.

There are two actuating rods attached to the handle, both need to be removed. They are secured in place with a metal locking clip that you have to unclip from the rod to remove. Its probably the hardest bit of the job.

With the handle out, I compared it with the donor.

I was going to swap the donor barrel into the original handle, but the donor handle was in much better condition, with less missing paint and scratches.

Because the donor handle has a different key, I needed to rekey the barrel to match my existing key.

The barrel is held in place with a big C clip on the back

Once removed, the locking mech comes off. Take note there is a spring under it that returns the key to center.

Insert a key (any key that fits) and pull the barrel out the front. The key is only there to stop all the wafers shooting across the room as you withdraw it. You could just hold you hand over it and catch the wafers, I guess. The donor doesn’t matter which order the wafers are removed, but you want to keep the order that the wafers in the original barrel are in or it’ll be trial and error to find the pattern again.

I wont go into detail again of rekeying these as I have done it a couple of times now. This one was a little different as the wear on the key meant that even carrying over all the original wafers to the new barrel, the key wouldn’t disengage all the wafers. I mixed and matched some from the donor barrel until I had a perfect set.

I lubricated the barrel, inserted it into the donor handle and reassembled. The key works very smoothly now and doesn’t need to be jiggled at all.

The new handle gasket went on and the handle was refitted to the door.

Tailgate Wrap Up

A quick little side job was to finish the tailgate work. Once the glue on the trim was dry, I began reassembly.

First was a number plate lamp refresh. These were filthy.

Half cleaned. So much dirt.

After a thorough cleaning, these got some warm white LEDs installed. I want to retain the more yellow light of standard bulbs, but have reduced consumption of the LED.

Now the lights and trim were fitted to the tailgate with all new screws

The tailgate light switch had blown to pieces at some point, so I quickly replaced that too

A good used replacement was fitted

That switch presses on a round plastic fitting (which IIRC is the same fitting as the glovebox strap holders) on the underside of the tailgate. Check this is fitted or the light won’t turn off.

The light itself was also packed with dirt (how is there so much dirt in this car?!) and the bulb was broken

I have ordered an LED for this, but in the mean time I dug through my spares and found a good bulb. I gave the housing a good clean and fitted the bulb.

And refitted to the car. Its not an overly effective light, but it’ll do. LED should help.

Rear Door Refresh

Moving back to doors again, I moved to the LH Rear door, as this had been having issues opening and closing as the door card was catching on the seal.

The door card came off easily enough. Two screws and a bunch of fragile clips.

At least this door has a vapour barrier, even if the tape is barely holding on, and has had the addition of some brown packing tape to help secure it.

There wasn’t much to do in this door, except grease all the window rails, and fit a new handle gasket. The handle is easy to access on these.

Oh, and fix the door card. Its very common on SD1s for the door card to distort and cause issues with the door seals. This usually happens when the door cards get wet. In this case the back edge had distorted, but the rest of the door card was in good shape.

I had heard that you can try saturating the area in PVA glue whilst holding the rear edge in shape, and it dries and stays that way. This apparently works because the door card is made of some sort of compressed fibrous cardboard stuff, and the PVA soaks into it.

With nothing to lose, I slathered glue on, and taped the edge into place.

It does take a few days to dry though, so in the mean time I looked at why the rear window wasn’t working. I had cleaned all the front door master switches, so I knew they worked fine, but still had no action from the rear windows (either of them).

The rails were all completely dry with no traces of lubricant, so that was my first stop; grease the rails. No change. Using my jump pack and power probe I checked the motor would actually move.

Initially it was a no, it was dead. I couple of percussive persuasions (hitting with a hammer) soon got it moving through, and after some more lube and a couple of runs up and down it was moving freely.

I tried the switches again, and still nothing. Interestingly, there was no clicking of the relays either, which means there wasn’t even power getting to the door. The relays should click whether the motor operates or not, as they are triggered by the switches directly.

I dragged up the wiring diagram to investigate further.

Its a rubbish diagram, even though it’s from the official Rover manual (and no better in my printed hard copy either), but has the info I needed. Everything in the green box is the rear windows (except two of the 215 switches at the bottom as that’s the master switches). To trigger the relays (the 364s, there are two relays per window; one up, one down), the switches send power to the relay coil. The switches get power from the E4 pick up (orange arrow) which is a feed from the battery. This is then split off to the switch circuits (blue circle).

All of this power is broken by one of two things. First, the resettable overload circuit breaker (259 at the top of the diagram) and secondly the rear window isolation switch.

The issue cant be the overload breaker as the front windows work, and that would kill power to all four windows; thus, my suspicions were on the isolation switch in the dash. This switch works by connecting power when the switch isn’t pressed, and breaking the circuit when it is pressed. All this so your little gobblins in the back cant cut their sibblings fingers off by playing with the electric windows.

So I removed the dash top, fished the isolation switch from the dash and had a look.

To open this switch you need to remove the bottom cover. This is just clipped into place. It also holds the retaining clips, which is a pain during reassembly. Use a small pick or flat blade to pup the clips on each side.

That little wire spring is what allows the switch to latch. If the retaining tab breaks and that wire comes adrift, the switch wont latch anymore.

The insides of the switch will now slide out the front of the housing. Be aware there is a sliding contact plate, which has a spring behind it. Dont let the spring fire off into the distance.

The contacts weren’t too bad in the base of the switch

but the sliding contact plate was looking very tired

I guess with no use, there is nothing to wipe the corrosion off the contact and it just gets worse and worse.

I used a fibreglass brush to clean the contacts in the body up

And the contact plate got a good scrub

Everything was coated in dielectric grease, and reassembled. I connected the switch up, and suddenly I had both back windows, on the switches. I still need to lube the RH rear window, but although slow it did work. I pressed the switch back into its place on the dash.

Another switch that needed some work was the window switch. I have cleaned these before, and have been cleaning all of them as I take the door cards off. They are very easy to disassemble and clean, and are a very simple design.

I start by wedging a pick down one side, to disengage one tab

And then flip it over and use another pick or small flat blade to disengage the other and pull the front off.

There is nothing to ping out when you take it apart. There is a spring loaded plastic button under the copper roller, so take note of that when you remove the roller for cleaning.

I clean everything out with contact cleaner, and then polish the roller and contacts in the base with the fibreglass brush. Smother it in dielectric grease and clip it back together. Works well, and makes for a nice clicky switch that doesn’t stick. The housing is keyed,so cannot be fitted upside down when putting it back in the door card.

The door card was dry about now, as it had been a couple of days, so it was time to take the tape off and refit it.

But first, retaping the vapour barrier. I gave the door and the barrier a good clean so tape would stick, and then used some duct tape to carefully seal the edges.

A couple of clips were broken or missing on the door card, so they got replaced with new ones I sourced from Bresco in the UK.

The door card was then fitted and clipped into place.

The back edge was spot on. It didn’t overhang anymore, and no longer caught the seal when opening the door.

Center Console and Dash

Moving back to the center console. The glue had dried, so the heater control unit was refitted, as was the center console.

While the console was out I sourced a good used radio surround so I could correctly mount the radio, instead of it sitting there with bits of foam floor mat jammed around it

I fitted the cage to the surround and inserted it into the dash

The radio was then plugged in and slotted into place

And of course it works. I love the period correct look, so it’ll stay for now. I will have to dig my tape adaptor out so I can plug my phone into it and bring it into last century.

I didn’t notice until it was mounted that it appears only one side of the illumination is working, so I may have to remove it again at some point and fix that.

It’s small touches like mounting the radio correctly that make the most difference. I don’t know who thought stuffing floor mats into the gap was acceptable.

Yes, I also dug through my spares and found a heater control knob that still had a white arrow on it and swapped it over later.

The last two pieces for the center console are the ash tray, which I’m working on, and the trip computer.

Unfortunately the ash tray didn’t survive disassembly as a previous owner had pulled the top off it and glued it back together with the nastiest glue possible. I tried to reglue it and made it worse. I have a replacement, which is also in bits, but no one has tried to “fix” it before, so I can make it work.

The trip computer is a pain. I have a few spare bits for these, and almost built a complete unit in good condition, but fell short of one button.

I am replacing the main unit, as my original had a faded LED

Whilst the replacement had much better LEDS

The faceplate needed a good clean, and a couple of buttons were replaced with better ones (CLEAR and STP START), but although I know I have one, I seem to be missing the TIME button. I’ll find it soon, and then will be able to reassemble and install it again.

As a small side note, when disassembling a trip computer, this is the “ping-fuxk-it” spring that people refer to. It resides in the back of the slider switch.

Something else that’s been bothering me, which I had to fix when I had the dash cover off earlier, was to find out why my Speedo was being held in by a piece of folded up paper. Yes, paper.

Thats it there with the green arrow. The whole gauge cluster was pushed back slightly by this.

Looking through the windscreen with the cover removed, and it was obvious why.

There were no screws holding it in. Those two white U shaped tabs should have screws in them. There is another one off to the right that was also missing a screw.

I grabbed some suitable screws from my collection, and worked out how the heck to get a screwdriver in there. Its hard against the windscreen, so no room for a proper screwdriver, and its too deep down behind the cluster for a stubby driver. In the end I used a 1/4″ ratchet with a screwdriver bit on an extension.

I used a small dab of superglue in the head of the screw to stick it to the screwdriver bit (so it wouldn’t drop into the dash), lined it up through the windscreen and then sat in the car to screw it in. Worked a treat.

No more paper, and no more oddly aligned gauges. Success.

Front Doors

Im going to lump these two doors together since its most of the same work.

With the window regulator in the drivers door, it was time to finish reassembly and button the door up once and for all.

I cleaned all the door switches, greased all the rails, and then sealed the speaker.

Someone has replaced the speakers with some quite nice Pioneer TS-1911s in the back, and some smaller, unlabelled speakers in the front. The rear ones seem to be well installed, but the fronts are literally thrown in place and jammed in with a couple of screws against the frame. Not how I would do it, but it works for now. The only issue is that there is no sealing around the speaker, so water could potentially enter around it.

I ran a bead of non-setting butyl rope around the hole

And then stuck the speaker to it.

That should slow any water ingress from there down. The next step to stop water ingress is to actually fit a vapour barrier.

I had some thin plastic sheeting left over from another project, so cut that to shape and taped it into place. All other unused holes (other than the clip holes) were taped over too.

I’ll tell you what, the black may look good, but it does increase the difficulty level since you can’t see the screw holes behind so that you can poke holes in the sheet for them. It’s better than nothing though.

The drivers door card got the PVA treatment too, but that didn’t take quite as well as the edge of the card is quite badly damaged from years of catching the seal. It also got new clips as most were missing, having been replaced with either incorrect clips that didn’t work, or a row of 4 screws driven through the door card into the door shell 🙁

As part of my revamp I am trying to replace as many bulbs as possible with LEDS, so I tried one in the door warning light. It’s a bit uneven, but should be fine. I’m mainly trying to reduce load/consumption. You can see the sad state of the door card here too.

Finally, the waist moulding seal was replaced. I did these on Effie and it’s quite a nice upgrade for minimal work. Pull the stainless trim off, starting at the back of the door, pull the old seal out and press the new seal in. The old seal was hard as plastic, and missing big chunks. Not good for weather tightness.

Use lots of silicone spray in the channel and press the seal in bit by bit. Don’t be tempted to pull the seal into the channel as you will just stretch it, and may cause it to shrink later.

I ended up just going around and doing all the windows. A couple of them were quite bad, like the RH rear, which was all wavy

Yes, I cocked up and forgot I needed a tail to go over that little triangle bit on the pillar. Oh well.

The LH front door was much of the same, except I knew the window worked on this one. Vapour barrier was present, but the tape was all hanging off. More of that damn brown tape.

There was plenty of evidence that water had been making its way past the vapour barrier. You can see streaks in the dirt at the bottom of the door. No wonder I was having issues with water entering the car over top of the door seal.

I greased the rails, lubricated the channels, fitted the handle seal, and then went to seal the speaker.

Looks like this door had a bit of a water issue.

I cleaned the terminals up, but sadly this is the only speaker not working. I don’t think it’s this wiring, so will need to dig deeper.

I used more butyl rope to seal this one too.

Before fitting the vapour barrier again I wanted to look into an issue I have had with this door for a while; it’s really hard to close. You need to slam it like it owes you money, or it’ll just bounce on the first catch.

I thought it was the door card, but the issue was still present with the card removed. I then removed the door latch to inspect it.

I found the roll pin in the middle was falling out, and had actually gouged into the door panel

I hammered this back in, lubricated the latch and refitted it. The issue remained.

Digging through my spares again, I found a spare latch. I cleaned, lubricated that and fitted it.

The issue still remained.

Then it dawned on me, could the striker be out of alignment? I loosened it off and moved it outboard slightly.

I’ll be, the issue was better. A few more tweaks and the door shuts first time every time now. It turns out someone had fitted the striker as far inboard as it could go, so the door could barely reach the second catch.

Much to the enjoyment (I’m sure) of my wife upstairs, more door slamming ensued as I went around the car and adjusted all the other strikers so the doors were aligned nicely and latched first time. The rears needed to be pulled in slightly so the doors would shut tighter, but otherwise they weren’t too bad.

The last thing on the front door is the door card. This also suffered the distortion to the rear edge, and you can see that it’s flat, instead of being at a right angle to the main card

Lots of glue

Pulling it up to the correct angle.

Unfortunately one of the clip mounts was torn almost off the card, so that needed to be glued back on too. I used a clamp to hold it while the glue dries.

I will leave it a couple of days to dry, and then it should be ready to refit.

In the meantime I had cleaned the door and barrier, and retaped it, making sure it was well sealed.

I did find something interesting on the vapour barrier. On the LH side of it, there is a piece of masking tape that I have left in place. The reason for this is there is something written on it. I can’t quite make it out, but it belongs with the car.


As a final task, I upgraded a couple of other lights.

The interior courtesy lights got upgraded to warm white LEDs

While the taillights got the Narva Halogen upgrade.

The old bulbs, like everything, were covered in dirt

The new halogen bulbs are a straight swap

It’s hard to photograph, but they put out noticeably more light than the standard bulbs. Halogen on the left, standard on the right.

And both halogen, featuring the warm white number plate lights also.

And that’s about it. I’m waiting on the door card to dry, and then I still need to do the RH rear door, but that can happen any time.

Phew that was a lot of work.


I should have also said, I took the car for a quick run around the (private, closed and in Mexico) block to get it up to temp and see how it drove after the work I did previously (fixing air leaks, replacing AFM, and binning the restrictive air filter). The car takes a few cranks to build fuel pressure when cold but starts and settles into a nice idle easy enough. Throttle is responsive even when cold, which makes a huge change.

The biggest difference is that the car has gained about twice the power it previously had. It’s responsive and can actually haul itself down the road at some pace now. Some lifter clattering was present on the cold start, but otherwise was not present during driving. I’ll touch wood, but maybe the engine is starting to be a bit happier.

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Rob Murray
Rob Murray
1 year ago

Great write up Kelvin.
Very pleased you didn’t give up on the SD1.