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FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron ***C'est fini 17/5***


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Small jobs tonight.

Popped the head locating grommet out and pulled the mini gauze filter insert out to inspect.


Looked pretty clean, bar one flap of material in there. Cleaned out with brake cleaner and reinserted.


Finally, I got the exhaust manifold studs out - these needed replacing as I had to grind two studs down to get the manifold off. Got them all off, which made me right chuffed.


Called it a night afterwards.

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26 minutes ago, Tickman said:

Excellent progress on an unwanted task.

You really are rattling through this.

Cheers, but I've not got much choice - ideally it needs to be MOT'd and on the road in just over a month so I can iron out the last kinks before it goes continental!

I'm actually losing 10 days in the middle as we're going to the Netherlands to meet @chatsharris new baby and have our first family holiday. I've been in touch with the engine chap and he's said if I can drop it off before we depart on the 31st, he'll get the work done and ready for collection by the time we get back. Also getting him to face the head, it makes sense at this point to have one person doing all the big jobs for continuity. I won't be resting though, there's plenty to be getting on with whilst they're away!

42 minutes ago, Oi_Oi_Savaloy said:

The dedication to this and the hours you're putting (plus the welding skills).  Hats off fella.  It'll be a testament to your hardwork (and the family are going to love it too) once you've finished it.


Keep your head up and keep going :)

Thank for those kind words, I'm hoping I can get MrsH to take it to shows with our daughter, the boys will be in the Beat! It'll never be a show-winner as the paintwork is really poor, but it'll be an appreciated retro classic that'll get used as it should be! 

In terms of hours, I get home from work around half 4, get the overalls on for a pair of hours, come in to help MrsH with giving the kids tea/bath/bedtime, then I'm back in the garage for around half 8 for another pair of hours. A lot of the time is spent just staring at something and trying to think of the most logical way to go about it, other people would call it dithering! I'm just pleased the garage is warm and dry, I've got a good stereo system in there, and there's always cold beer in the fridge. Even got a camp bed and sleeping bag in the rafters in case MrsH has really had enough of me being in there all the time 😂

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Ah, this has not gone according to plan.

Started off well, with Phill letting me know that the engine stand I lent/gave to him many years ago was still with him and available to help me in my endeavours:


I popped over after work to collect it and have a chinwag, eventually depositing it in the garage:


Whipped the clutch and flywheel out - it's all a bit rusty from being sat, but there friction plate showed the clutch was a Valeo unit with plenty of meat left on it, so that's a few quid saved (Valeo kits were looking to cost around £110)

Built the stand up and immediately discovered that none of my bolts were long enough to safely mount the engine. Quick visit to B&Q beckoned as it was past 6pm and everywhere else was shut. Their selection of M10 bolts was pathetic, with only one option available, and at 120mm it was way longer than needed, but that is easily dealt with by adding nuts to act as a spacer behind the bolt head.

Thankfully, it has done the trick.


This is a real bonus to have and will make life a lot easier for me during the disassembly. 

A late tea meant there wasn't much done to the engine today. I whipped the sump off:


And immediately turned the engine back upright to allow the residual pooled oil to drain out of the block.

The sump had an bit of sludge at the bottom, but nothing concerning and nothing sparkly thankfully!


I decided I didn't want to strip the engine any further as I wanted my son to see the internals of an engine for himself - good learning opportunity for him!

Anyway, I cracked on instead with cleaning the sludge out of the sump which cleaned up nicely:


Moved onto the sump gasket, using a Stanley blade to scrape the old one off.

Which went well.



Yep, the back of the Stanley blade went straight into the thumb, resulting in a tsunami of claret everywhere.

Thankfully, it sorted of sealed itself enough to stop bleeding, when MrsH descended on it with steri-strips and tape.

Popped back to the garage to lock up and saw the dirt line on the blade, indicating how far it went into my thumb.


It's currently rather sore, unsurprisingly.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.


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Was I going to let being a parent stop me from getting in the garage until half eight tonight? Apparently so.

Does that mean I wasn't going to achieve something today? Does it bollocks.

First things first, stock up on brain juice:


Buy a toy for the boy who did great swimming today:


And when the kids finally get to bed, start getting to work on stripping the engine.

Oil pump out first, this was a piece of cake, although I'd already made my first error of the day and left that end plate on - it was meant to come off at this point, but didn't affect anything until later.

I used my paint pen and placed dots and numbers everywhere to allow correct orientation of all items upon refitting.


The Conrod caps were removed and the shells inspected - they will benefit from a replacement, but the crank itself looked good so far.



With all the Conrod bearing caps removed, it was time to utilise one of the more precise instruments in the garage:


And eventually, 4 hefty pistons were removed.


The rings were inspected and there wasn't any obvious signs of wear. I'll be looking a lot closer at everything over the coming days.

Big end caps were labelled prior to removal:


And the shells on these were spot on, with only minor wear evident. They'll be going back in on the rebuild.

With the flywheel end main oil seal removed, and all the caps off, the crankshaft was lifted out, signalling the end of the internal stripping.



The only dilemma I have at the moment is the crank pulley end - there's slots for two woodruff keys, but I've only retrieved one during the disassembly. Hopefully it turns up.


Either way, there's only a few external bits and pieces to come off, including the water pump and mount bracket, then it'll be ready to go to the machine shop later this week.

So, a short period in the garage today, but a productive one.



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These updates almost feel daily at this point!

Yesterday, I had a rare day off the tools, and instead had a day spent on the computer, sourcing more parts that have been discovered in poor shape. They'll be here at some point.

Today, we had an actual break on the miserable weather, and even some sunshine! 


Decided to crack on with the block again, stripping the last few bits off before it goes away for repair.

Timing belt tensioner spring is the original! Suppose it's just a spring, the pulley itself is grumbling so that'll be changed.


All the various mounting brackets etc were removed and I decided against the original plan of leaving the cylinder liners - as I had it pointed out to me, I've gone this far with it, so why stop there?

Glad I did, as more evidence of mingebaggery by the previous owners became evident - clearly this has been run on water for ages.




Thankfully it cleaned up pretty nicely.


The water pump turned out to be the original too!


I then spent a couple of hours cleaning up, cataloguing and boxing everything up from the block strip job, in order to make room for the head strip. Made decent progress in short order so I popped the head onto the clutter free workbench.


This ended up being a rather pleasant job and the Haynes manual was pretty helpful in that regard for once.

The camshaft seal was found to be U/S on removal so a new one will be ordered.



In no time at all, the camshaft was off, cleaned and stowed in the driver's footwell for safekeeping.

Tappets were off next - didn't have a fancy magnet on a stick, so I used a board magnet 😅


Everything was marked with paint dots to keep everything as a matched set and in the right order.


Which left me with valves, and a problem. The spring compressor wouldn't operate without fouling the edge of the head!

Ended up improvising with an injector socket, and just screwing it in to get the collets.


The socket was absolutely the millimetre perfect size required for the job!


Paint markings evident here.


Eventually, all the valves were out!



I had been cleaning the components as they came off so they were all bagged and tagged and ready for reinstall.

Finally, I knocked it on the head, with a rag draped over it to keep the dust out.


A productive day, and a productive weekend all round! This week will be focused on dropping off the block and head, working the remaining mechanical jobs on the BX, and prepping the Rover for a road trip - eventually, I'll get a break!


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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron ***More engine work***

Jesus, brief panic ensued in the work car park - popped out to get something from the Rover, and the fob wasn't working. Totally dead. Unlocked the door with the key and the alarm went off, and wouldn't stop.


Had to run back into the building, prise the fob open, reseat the batteries and try again. Working now, but poo shot out.

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Small jobs today

Scrubbed off the inlet manifold gasket, and removed all the studs off the head.


Fired a message to the bloke doing the work, and I'm dropping the head and block off tomorrow afternoon. Be good to get it over there!

Next up, taking the track rod ends off the steering rack. Decided to leave them connected at the ball joint end.


Luckily, I didn't have to stay upside down with filth falling on my face. Result!


Got it out, albeit with a struggle!


Turns out the new boot I had doesn't match at all, so I've got a new set on order. Noticed the power steering ram looked a bit damp, with OE examples commanding prices of £400+ for new examples, the aftermarket has triumphed, with a new unit available for £45. Ordered one and will see what it's like when it gets here.

Ordered the last of the seals required too, so there'll be a mountain of parts awaiting fitment when I get back. Tomorrow is forecast to be dry, so my focus is shifting slightly.

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Time for a change of subject today.


The Rover is the preferred vehicle for the upcoming family trip to NL on Sunday, so it was time for a few jobs to be bashed out.

First job, swap the front and rear wheels round - the fronts were exhibiting wearing on the outer edges.


Whilst the oil was draining, I jumped onto the fuel filter.



All evidence points to the last service being conducted in late 2020, judging by the date stamps.

Oil filter was marked with the mileage and date.


And moved onto the auxiliary belt - piece of cake on this!



Spark plugs followed - gaps were checked for the magic number of 0.85mm before being copper greased and torqued in.


Next job was a preventative one - I could only get a cheap 8mm clevis pin for the clutch arm during the clutch change last year, so it was time to swap it out for a more substantial stainless steel one.


Managed to swap them out without having to open the clutch slave bleed screw and pushing the plunger in. You can just about see the start of the wear on the old, long one.


Noticed some chafing on the underside of the boost pipe from the cone filter, so some protective tape was applied to the pipe. Not the tiniest, but will provide a sacrificial layer. A new filter is on order.


Whilst working in the engine bay, I noticed there was a weep of coolant coming from these two bungs - the only aftermarket radiators available for 620ti's are also fitted to the diesels. These bungs are for the diesel sensors.


As a compulsive tight-arse, I hopped onto the Rover groups and was delighted to be told that a solution was available, for literal pence.


Apparently the old school trick was to remove the plastic bung, leave the seal in place, and add a slightly-filed down 2p piece in its place.

Decided to test either one for effectiveness - the 2p piece, or the bung, having been removed and cleaned along with the seal.


(I have been for a 10 mile test drive, and so far, both have remained dry. Going to pack the bung and another prepared 2p piece just in case)

Remember this utter tightwadded bodge I did when I had the flywheel off in November?


Well, it's been four months and I have finally checked underneath the car - it's bone dry underneath there, so it actually bloody worked, £25 saved 😅

Whilst inspecting underneath, I finally found the source of the large explosion noise about three weeks ago - the weld around the back of the centre box has split, suggesting some sort of initial blockage in the actual box.


This pipe moved a bit when the exhaust was moved up and down. Mindful of the arseache we went through when the Laguna's exhaust welding completely failed, I decided to act now whilst it was on axle stands.


Safety first on the other side.


Didn't bother getting any pictures of it, but I didn't want to fully re-weld it back up, especially if there is still any sort of blockage in there. Instead, I elected to weld the joint back up at various intervals to ensure the exhaust remains attached to the rest of the car.

Another quick job was adjusting the door and door catch, as it was catching slightly on closing.


The strip of making tape highlighted the contacting area when closed, and I adjusted accordingly. Not too happy with the shutline gap, so I'll get the front wing off at some point to access the hinge bolts to allow for better adjustment.

Finally, the speakers have been blown for ages and they were irritating me, so let's whip them out.


These were the OE Goodmans speakers so it was no surprise to see the glue had failed around the cone:


Still, being tight as fuck, I elected to attempt a regluing of the cone to the metal base.


After a couple of hours left to dry, I reinstalled one in the darkness:


And realised they sounded just as poor as before - guess it's replacement time then.

Ah well, the block and head were dropped off for the required work, the garage was re-tidied ready for another day's graft, and I've got an overnight shift at work so there'll be no work happening on the cars tomorrow.


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The way you tackle jobs  
Absolutely smashing it
Thank you, it's been hard going at times but hopefully rewarding, although I've still got the BMW, MX5 and Beat to get back on the road yet so there's still plenty of work to go!

Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk

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33 minutes ago, fatharris said:

Thank you, it's been hard going at times but hopefully rewarding, although I've still got the BMW, MX5 and Beat to get back on the road yet so there's still plenty of work to go!

Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk

Well, don't be burning yourself out 👍, take time for yourself, little 'un and good lady.

Cracking workmanship too btw 

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Man, I wish this weather would piss off, bursts of sunshine, interlaced with sudden downpours and hailstorms.

It was finally time to wash the Rover after a winter spent as the daily, in preparation for the long journey on Sunday.


Took a LOT of scrubbing but eventually, it came up alright.



Even took the time to fit the bits needed for European travel:


I shan't be touching the BX now until.i get back, as I've yet to actually pack any clothes yet.

Long journey ahead of us on Sunday!


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T-minus 90 minutes to go before we set off, fuelled up and loaded.

Yesterday in the nick of time, the speakers arrived.

Chopped the old connectors and solder sleeved the new leads and connectors on.


And thankfully, this set fits lovely in the original frames, and the window can go up and down fully. Sound isn't amazing, but it isn't rattly and at £17 delivered I wasn't expecting miracles.


Naturally, I slept horribly last night, woke up with a sore back, and the kids are hopped up on Easter choccies.

With a friendly reminder of which side of the road to stay on:


We are fully ready to embrace driving on the continent.


Winner. Let's have it.

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Well, the ferry was an emotional experience - key lowpoint was out overtired 2 year old just wouldn't go to sleep, and kept getting up, and wanting to wander about. I totally understand that, she'd been sat in the car seat for nearly 11 hours at that point.

They all eventually fell asleep, leaving me to stay too wired to follow them.


We got out of Dieppe ferry port around 0515, and immediately happened along the Alpine factory 😁


Didn't realise just how poor the lights got after the beam deflectors were fitted, they were like bloody candles!


Thankfully, a reinvigorated MrsH had planned ahead and filled a thermos of tea, which was still piping hot the following morning!


Can tell the British influence in the Rover, it was practically made for this purpose!


This only worked on the French roads, which were impeccable, with only two potholes observed. Belgian roads are a different kettle of shitey fish altogether.

Entered NL, and took a quick photo whilst adding to the PC.


And triumphantly arrived 45 minutes later at my destination, staying with my brother @chatsharris and his wife who has recently had a baby.IMG_20240401_110009.jpg.c94739f8d4631e1a9b10b8b5da7ab628.jpg

The Rover was absolutely faultless, it worked an absolute treat the entire time and I definitely made the right call to take it. Even the seats that were a bit firm at the beginning, became supportive in the end.

PC: 7, with one false start.

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Chod spotting?

Chod spotting.

The Netherlands has no car culture at all. Zero. They're memed about this for a reason.

Remarkably, the car park of the local Lidl was surprisingly fruitful.


On the way home, I saw my first JDM car of the entire trip!



See? It counts.


(I expect someone from the AS collective will know immediately where the tail lights are from)

Even had JDM wheels!


Not sure on the dashboard, but think it's upmarket 106?



Bonus twingo content.


And spotted a lovely original Lancer!






And eventually consoled myself with retail therapy:


Later, we popped to the Drielandenpunt,  a point where Belgium, Germany and Netherlands meet. It's also where the highest point in Netherlands is, at a whopping* 325.5 metres. Got to recreate a classic Simpsons moment:


Tonight, I'm watching some football with the boy and @chatsharris. Not a bad way to spend an evening.




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