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Tales of the TataRover (and friend; now with Agila content)

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It has an MoT!




A couple of advisories for which it'll be going back to the garage at the weekend. My dilemma now, is do I tax it and use it for the rest of the week, or be rational and wait until the start of the month on Saturday?

I sometimes have this dilemma but tax it from the end last month that way the tax runs out before the MoT. That way you can still retax next year because there is a bit of MoT left. Other way round you have a car you must MoT to get it taxed again...and out local DVLA clampers a very active.

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So, I taxed it this morning and did a bit of pottering around before heading to work. It dealt with the wind and rain on the M62 with no problems at all apart from wiper blades that lift off the screen in the rain. Round town though, bloody hell I'd forgotten about the awful, awful gear change. It is rubbery and grating at the same time! It is reluctant to go back in to 1st when you come to a stop, and does the same trick changing in to 3rd - like you're pushing against something blocking the gate. Deep joy!


A city car for city driving? Decent gear change? Nope!




Little car in the big city.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The CR has been back to the garage to address the rotten brake lines and perished rear hoses. They were unable to source the correct rear flex hoses, but apparently Mitsubishi L200 ones are about an inch longer and do the job perfectly. I got them to look at the clutch cable adjustment, they reckon the self adjuster is working fine and have suggested I put a new clutch in it, which might be a job for the new year.


In the meantime I've spent a bit of money at Rimmer Brothers on new column stalks and a new gear knob. The original stalks were faulty. The flick wipe function had stopped working on the right stalk and on the left stalk, the indicators weren't great for staying 'on', and when you pushed back for main beam, all the lights went out. Not good!


Today the weather perked up enough to go out and fit these parts. First up; the column stalks.




...which meant the steering wheel needed to come off, starting with the airbag;




A few pages back I mentioned that the earliest Indicas from 1998 had column stalks from the Maestro/Montego. Once I'd got the steering wheel off and the column cowl it was so comforting to find a familiar looking hub for the stalks to attach to! Even the electrical connections on the back are Maestro/Montego. True engineering heritage, right there!






Once back together, there's now flick wipe, main beam and indicators that stay on!




To finish, a simple job to tidy things up. The new knob I thought was quite pricey at fifteen quid but having seen it next to the original I think it was worth it.









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  • 1 year later...

Bringing the story up to date...

October last year we added a Land Rover Discovery to the fleet and the insurance policy for the CityRover was 'borrowed' for the Disco. This meant that the poor old CityRover was abandoned in a terrible, leaky asbestos roofed concrete garage at my parent's flat. Soon after, the MoT on the CR expired. Fast forward to two weeks ago and the CR was insured once more and driven (in a grimy and mouldy state) to the MoT, which is passed with no advisories. Once home, it was cleaned and sanitised and taxed last Monday, first of the month.

Not an awful lot to report since then, except that the self-park function on the windscreen wipers seemed to work less and less and subsequently stopped working all together, meaning you had to be quick with the stalk to get the wipers 'off' at the bottom of the screen. Now, at this point I quickly jump to conclusions and think the park switch on the motor is to blame. A quick look on eBay finds a brand new one for £39,99 inc. delivery. That arrived today and I was surprised to find it was the whole wiper set-up, not just the motor! Result!



Genuine parts, too!

Now, the set up for the front wipers is pretty simple, but well designed none the less. The scuttle below the windscreen is actually a self contained box section with a 'floor' to it. Access is gained by a removable rectangular panel which to one side is attached the wiper motor, and to the other, the linkage.

In situ;




A very quick and straightforward swap. Only the battery needed removing from the engine bay to allow for extra wiggle room!

Re-assembled, and with the arms back on the glass and it is time to test... and I have the same problem as before; no self-park! Hmmm...perhaps it is the wiper control relay in the fuse box behind the dash. If anyone has ever had cause to enter this particular fuse box on one of these cars then a whole world of pain and suffering awaits. This is NOT a well thought out piece of design!


The bottom of the fuse box is just visible below the line of the dash. Above the fuses you can see are three rows of various relays. The cover unscrews and then needs drawing downwards, sliding it over the top of the relays and from behind the dash. Problem No.1; the bonnet release catch is in the way! Solution; bend the bonnet release out of the way (yes, really).

Shove your hand up the back of the dash to get a handle on the relays; They did print a map on the back of the fuse box cover, so the wiper relay is quickly identified. Problem No.2; the fusebox is installed before the dash during manufacturing, and the dash sits on top of the relays, so you can't actually remove any of them! Temporary solution; I can wiggle the relay about a millimetre backwards and forwards and tap it with my index finger. This slight movement restores the self-park function to the wipers, briefly. Ahhh... we're getting somewhere now!

The wiper control relay is the beige coloured one to the right.


So; the situation now, is a sparkling new wiper motor and linkage, and sometimes I get self parking wipers, sometimes not. There's no more I can do with it now, to time to wrap up the show.

I did make myself feel a bit better about the whole thing by 'modifying' the fuse box cover, so it can actually be removed and put back without too much swearing;


You'd never know I'd been in there! (excuse dash cam wiring!)


So the next task is to locate a new relay and then figure out how I'm getting it in to the fuse box!

In other news, tomorrow the CR is off to the garage for a new clutch and a cam belt change!




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Six years of putting up with the woeful gear change, grinding cogs and clutch judder the old wafer-thin clutch plate was consigned to the bin, along with what was probably the original timing belt. I will now be living on fresh air for the rest of the month, but... no more grinding cogs and clutch judder! The gear change is still woeful, so not to get your hopes up too much I would say the car is transformed from 'awful to drive' to 'meh'. (plus representing really, truly dreadful value for money) Oh, and It's also been treated to a superbly naff numberplate from DVLA!

I best get some miles on the clock now!



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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had a fun week driving round in the CR. The new clutch has really made a difference to the driving experience, and it's like being reintroduced to the thing all over again. Get it opened up on a NSL road, and it's pretty enjoyable!

First up; some fluffy stuff; a new side repeater to replace the one with the missing clip and held in with blu-tac!


...and to follow that up with something more involved; the rotten fuel filler neck! The collar that secures it to the inside of the pocket has rotted away, so the filler has withdrawn out of the pocket and twisted round. It's only a matter of time until the rest of it crumbles to dust. Thankfully this item was in the Rimmer Bros Bargain Bucket and I have one in the garage. Somewhere. First up, get the car in the air;


I'm not sure if it shows in this photo, but the car has seen some accident damage on this side (I presume very early on in its life, to have actually been repaired and not scrapped!) and the bottom half of the door panels are quite 'wavey' and with a poor paint finish. The leading edge of the side skirt also doesn't fit, so another job while the car is jacked up is to remove the side skirt and assess what lies underneath. Generally plastic trim hiding structural components is bad news!


I have four of these rusty nuts to open on the underside of the skirt. Should be great fun!


Back to the job at hand; The three nuts in the filler pocket should secure the filler neck in place, except the collar has rusted away and the neck has fallen back in to the arch;


...and from below...



That's about it for today. Nuts are soaking in WD40, and it's too hot to be lieing in the sun!


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On 11/19/2018 at 2:19 AM, dollywobbler said:

Brilliant! I have driven one, and the interior quality was easily the most hilarious aspect. One of the electric window switches just fell apart as I touched it. I would LOVE to do a video on one. In fact, I seriously need to!

You should probably buy just one....

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I somehow got a bit carried away this afternoon with cleaning rather than repairing. I took all the wheel arch liners out (most screws needed grinding they were so rusty, so said wheel arch liners won't be going back in until I've been to the fastenings shop!) and got busy with a scrubbing brush and Autosmart G101. It's all come up pretty nice indeed and is a good basis for soaking in Waxoyl prior to reassembly.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, that really was one of those jobs that spiralled out of control! Both the side skirts are removed, and for the time being they've not gone back on. The reason is that they're incredibly flimsy fibreglass and in many places where the securing bolts pas through in to the sill, the fibreglass is splintered and in poor condition. More work required there. In the meantime, the holes in the sill where the skirts attach now have some lovely new 8mm blanking grommets in them. All four wheel arches were cleaned, and whilst in bits and as each side was jacked up in turn, the whole thing was doused in a thick coat of Waxoyl. As for the fuel filler neck (which was the main reason for disassembly) some creative work was required to get the new part to fit. The MGRover supplied replacements are all different to the ones fitted to the car. (why? who knows, and it's too late to ask now!).


The difference being, the much smaller return and lack of attachment point for the small hose from the vapour trap. Megabodge to the rescue! The joys of living with a plumber!

So, after a good deal of attention, the CR is now my wheels for the week; a good opportunity to get a couple of hundred miles on it over the next few days.


A particular highlight today was finding another CityRover on the M62. To see one is rare, to see one when driving your own...




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  • 1 month later...

Despite having so much money thrown at it this year, the little CityRover is having a proper sulk at the moment. Back in June when the timing belt was done, the garage and I decided we wouldn't do the water pump unless it looked and felt like it needed it, as new water pumps are about a million pounds each. I have no idea why, but they are stupidly expensive. So, you can guess what happens next... yes! Puddles of fresh antifreeze under the car. I was fortunate enough to find a new water pump in a Tata Parts box on eBay, located in Halifax for just £20. Now, Rover did go to the effort of ensuring all genuine parts for CityRovers came in MGRover branded boxes. How there came to be a Genuine Tata Parts boxed one in Halifax, we shall never know. Still, it cured a leak... until the drive home from the garage, to find another coolant leak from behind the bumper. Next day, back to the garage! Thankfully just a loose spring clip to secure a pipe, which was replaced with a proper Jubilee clip. Yesterday, I took it to work, its first trip out for a while. After work I checked the coolant level in the expansion tank and for leaks on the ground and it was all as it should be!

What could the next problem be? I didn't have to wait long to find out, as not a quarter of a mile from home the battery light lit up on the dashboard! I wasn't up for investigating at half midnight, so I parked it up and went inside. This morning, the battery is completely flat, no central locking, no ignition lights - completely dead. It's now on the naughty shelf while I look for a new alternator, or investigate buying parts to rebuild the current one.




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1 hour ago, Austin-Rover said:

I didn't have to wait long to find out, as not a quarter of a mile from home the battery light lit up on the dashboard! I wasn't up for investigating at half midnight, so I parked it up and went inside. This morning, the battery is completely flat, no central locking, no ignition lights - completely dead. It's now on the naughty shelf while I look for a new alternator, or investigate buying parts to rebuild the current one.

That seems like more than just an alternator, you can drive for quite a while on just the battery, so a short drive home shouldn't have killed it. Modern batteries don't seem to like being left flat so you may need a new one.

I would charge the existing one, start the car and see what's going on. You should have about 13.5 volts at idle if the alternator's working. If you have a meter with an amps function, disconnect the +ive lead, put the meter between it and the battery and see what drain you have with EVERYTHING switched off - interior lights, ign etc. Should be very minimal assuming there's only a clock, radio memory, immobiliser(?) requiring power.

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  • 1 month later...

After a two month hiatus, the CityRover is back on the road. It's actually been ready for a couple of weeks, but logic dictates waiting for a new month before buying tax for it.

I found a very good alternator repair place not far from me in Batley who were happy to take a look at the alternator (when it quickly became apparent that you can't get alternators for CityRovers, repair was the only option). Now, I'm not too hot on the defining characteristics of alternators, but his interest was piqued as soon as I put it on the desk. He claimed to have not seen one of those before (looks like every other alternator to me, but there you go!) and was happy to take a look at it.

A week later I went back and he had diagnosed the rectifier had died, but he was unable to source any suitable spares to repair it, and exhausted all his usual supply channels. So, with no new ones around, and no spares to repair the current one, a second hand one from eBay it had to be! I will make a point of getting another second hand one 'in stock' for the future I think!

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52 minutes ago, outlaw118 said:

You're probably already aware, but Rimmers have got a sale on, loads of CityRover bits.

Whether they'll ever be any use is another matter!


Oh yes! Already stocked up. Mostly with stuff I'll never use!

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  • 5 weeks later...

This weekend was time for an oil change, the first one since 2018 (Only 3,500 miles ago!)


A straightforward job, with the only gripe being the spin-on filter pisses its contents down the front of the block as you screw it! Oh well!

I'd also ordered a brand new central locking/alarm fob. Old MGRover stock in its proper bag, for £15. Matching it to the car is a DIY job, provided your ECU specific 'learn fob' hasn't gone walkies! Learn fob? Yes! If only all cars were this easy to code replacement fobs!


The 'learn fob' has a lead attached to plug in to the alarm/immobiliser ECU. It features an 'unlock/disarm' button and another button marked 'learn' where on the proper fob, that button is 'lock'.


It is a pretty simple process with easy to follow instructions. First job is to erase all known fobs associated with the car (make sure all fobs have fresh batteries to avoid having to do this too often!). Second stage is to associate however many fobs you like with the car by pressing the 'learn' button, and any button on each fob three times!

A pretty good system, but sadly the 'learn fob' is one of those things that a decade or so later, any remaining CR is unlikely to still have. It is matched to the ECU, so you can't mix and match. If the learn fob is missing, you also can't replace fobs as they die. ECUs and 'learn fobs' might be matched to each other, but not to the car, so they can be moved between cars without issue.


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  • Austin-Rover changed the title to Tales of the TataRover (and friend; now with Agila content)

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