Rover Torque – for all Modern Rover Owners’

18 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Rover Torque – for all Modern Rover Owners’

What is it that the advert from the local garage says in the free newspaper? A lot of flash for very little cash!. When you buy a Rover 800 you certainly do get a lot of car for the money, regardless of what you pay for it.

The car starts out its life as an executive motor. But then, when it becomes second hand or definitely third hand, who’s going to buy it? Not the executive.

He’s got to purchase a new car so he can claim back maximum tax, and any way, he’d pay tax on the new car price even if he bought second hand. Further, he needs to buy new to get maximum depreciation to write off against his books.

When a Rover 800 series becomes second hand, it looks as if no wants them and the price plummets. Which is good for you and I, because we get A lot of flash for very little cash.

Generally speaking, a lot of Rover 800’s come in good condition. Particularly if you are buying from the original owner, its a good bet that it will come with full service history, every time something went wrong with the car it would go straight into a garage, irrespective of cost.

The problem normally arises when you purchase third hand or more. The people in the middle, purchased a car at a good price, but maybe weren’t aware of the cost of keeping it on the road. Consequently, maintenance may be cut back or non existent. This is when problems can arise. Below, I list just some of the points to check for when purchasing a second hand Rover 825/827 inc. the SLi Sterling.

Some of these tips also apply to other 800 models.

1/ Body Work.

First, take off those rose coloured glasses. Wheel arches are renowned for rusting. Although there are inner liners on all 4 wheels, once the arches start, they go! The front wings are bolt on, so no real problem there.

The rear are a little more difficult. There aren’t any repair panels available yet, so it’s down to removing and filling/replacing with welded metal. (A feature which we have covered in a past issue of the Club magazine). A particular area to look at is the driver’s side rear wheel arch, where it meets the bumper. Also, check along the bottom of the doors the sills. With the shape of the 800, it can sometimes be disguised until you lay on the floor.

Also check the wheel arch when you open the back doors. Don’t worry too much if the paint work is a little dull, with a bit of hard work and cutting back, they can usually be made to sparkle again. Just use this as a bargaining tool.

2/ Engine.

Always a difficult area expensive if it needs replacing, even second hand. The Rover 820 engine goes back to the good old days of Montego Maestro (BL Days). The 2 litre engine is renowned for developing an oil leak at the front right hand edge as you look at it. Not enough metal work, where one of the cylinder heads bolt down, for the gasket to seal.

If you do replace the head gasket, they generally start to leak again in a relatively short period of time, like two weeks, even if you use a Rover original gasket! Rover 825/827 have hydraulic tappets, with age these invariably become noisy. Don’t panic initially.

If the tappets quieten down when the engine is warm the oil is thin, then it is probably just the usual air bubble problem. You can either live with it ensure that you change your oil regularly ( for the correct grade) to help keep the engine quiet. Alternatively, you could always remove the tappets bleed them.

Slightly costly time consuming but it will be worth it if you can afford it.

Check to see if the cam belt has been changed. If you have seen our web site. you may have read the question about changing cam belts. The 820 engines should have the cam belt changed every 24,000 miles. The 825/827’s were, until recently, every 96,000 miles.

That figure has now been halved. So, has it been changed in the last 45-46,000 miles?

Water loss (coolant). Check that the header tank has no cracks or broken connections. Rover 825/827 appear to develop a strange sort of leak? The water disappears from the header tank over a period of, say, two weeks, but no puddles? It would appear that the water pump shaft wears slightly in its bearing, any water that escapes onto the hot engine must evaporate, hence the lack of any evidence as to where it is disappearing from. (You could live with this problem until it get worse.

Note that if the water pump ceases, it is driven by the cam belt. If the cam belt breaks, it’s Goodbye Engine. ).

Note also, on Rover 825/827, the battery can be removed quite happily the computer will remember its settings. Check under the driver’s seat. The computer has a red LED which, if it is flashing, is indicating a fault. The Club has a full list of fault codes.

If the computer signals a fault condition, you generally have to disconnect the battery then reconnect, once you have completed the necessary repair. This tells the computer that there is no longer a fault (hopefully). Within a couple of miles of driving, the computer will have sorted itself out be working back to normal. On 2.0 litre engine, however, it is a different story.

Whilst the multipoint injection engines are OK to have the battery removed, the single point injection model should never be removed without a trickle charge being applied, otherwise the computer will lose its memory this can only be re-programmed by an authorised Rover dealer.

3/ Oil Leaks .

We haven’t yet, as a club, found a common area for an oil leak on the 825/827. However, 820 owner’s need to check the engine as mentioned above.

4/ Gearbox.

As with the engine, if this goes wrong, you’re into paying big bucks! Particularly if it’s an automatic. Typically you are looking at approx. £320 for a second hand unit to be fitted for you. When you test drive the car, check the gear changes are smooth and not laboured or hesitant between gears. Check there is no slipping when you put you foot down.

Pull out the gearbox dipstick and make sure its fairly clean. Black oil could mean that parts are starting to break up. On a manual box, check that the clutch pedal travels smoothly isn’t too high or too low.

When test driving, put your foot down hard when in 4th, check that the clutch doesn’t slip.

5/ Exhaust.

Fairly obvious. If it’s blowing you’ll know, although a person can make a quick repair. You’ll need to get on your back. (bet you say that to all the girl’s!) Middle back section can be replaced fairly easily inexpensively.

It’s the front section on the 825/827 thats the killer in terms of cost. If this section is blowing you should be able to negotiate a reasonable amount off the cost of the car, since it costs £196+ for a replacement front section + fitting! (If it’s a Cat’ version, you can expect to pay even more!)

If it’s a ‘cat’ version exhaust this is worn haggle like mad get the price down.

6/ Suspension.

Rover 800’s are an executive car. The ride is intended for comfort. Drive down a cobbled road the suspension is quite good at keeping you on the level. Start throwing the car into corners, however, your passengers may well come away feeling a tad sea sick. The word ‘Wallows’ come to mind.

It’s horses for courses the later variations of Vitesse had up rated sportier suspension. You can replace the springs shocks fairly easily, but don’t forget, this is a big, long car. Rear suspension on top of the range models is self levelling, ideal for towing trailers or caravans.

Check for things like oil leaking from the shocks, or tired looking springs where ride height is uneven. For anyone into ‘sporty’ looks, you can fit 16 or even 17 very low profile tyres wheels.

7/ Brakes.

Rover 825/827 have a sensor fitted to one of the driver’s side brake pads. Unfortunately, quite often the brakes will wear unevenly, resulting in one of the other sets wearing down to bare metal first with no warning. You would really need to remove the road wheels to check for scoring, unless fitted with alloys which allow you to view the discs.

8/ Extras.

Finally, check that all those little extras are working.

Electric windows, sun roof, remote central locking, alarm, air con, electric seats, boot lever petrol cap lever tyres etc. Unfortunately, early Rovers were let down on silly cost cutting parts, such as return springs on the inner door handles. If these snapped, the handle flapped around and looked a very poor site. Shame really for such an expensive car. Exterior door handles regularly fail, they are a one piece moulding with a locator lug, on the inside, which has a tendancy to snap.

This results in the doorhandle no longer operating the door lever link. Easiest option is to source a replacement from a dismantler yard, you can try repairing them yourself, but with mixed results. The heater control has a couple of contacts which wear over time.

Very costly to replace, but if you dismantle the dash’, you can bend the contacts into shape. Wiper arm connection shears, which is just a ball type connection can be repaired very easily by drilling fitting a screw, but it’s another job that you shouldn’t have to do if the mechanism was up to it in the first place.

The standard radio fitted in the 800 range of cars wasn’t a bad job gave a generally pleasing sound, unless you are heavily into disco or house, in which case you may need to upgrade. The rear parcel shelf speakers were 6 variety, although the cut out will accept 8 instead.

Once you are happy, pay your cash drive your ‘flash’ with pride, but be prepared just in case you have to spend something on it in the future. unless you are going to maintain it regularly whilst you own it?

Compiled by Steve Wright ( Copyright t copywrigh 2000+)

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