Our Cars : Alexander’s Rover 800 – Finally, working wipers!

Alexander Boucke

Very 1980s decal on the rear wings stating the obvious…

As dry and sunny spells are never bound to last very long in Central Europe, fixing the Vitesse’s wipers was the first step towards regular use. Carrying large quantities of screen sealants isn’t really a good substitute…

Despite being an 800, it was clear that the problem was not an electrical one, as the wiper motor was working and I could hear some parts of the linkage being moved around under the scuttle panel. After some dismantling, the reason for failure was very obvious: the plastic clip to go on the ball joint on the wiper arm was completly missing from the linkage – I’m sure the remains must be hiding somewhere in the cavities, but they do so very successfully!

As it was, there was only a bit of bent wire left on the linkage that once held the clip. For the time being I figured that it should work if I put this over the ball joint and bent it tight enough that the wipers don’t have too much free play – and the link will stay on the ball joint off course! A liberal amount of grease and a cable tie as additional insurance perfects the bodge repair – result: working wipers!

While under the bonnet, I noticed that the generator belt was surely the original fitment from Cowley – and is in a horrible condition! I feared the worst for the timing belt. I’m sure that a reasonably fit mechanic would have done a complete change of all the belts on an O-Series engine in the same time it took me just to remove and refit the front timing belt cover. The view was quite pleasing though, with the timing belt looking very healthy and quite recent. Phew… The joys of cars sans service history!

Looking if I can spot where the thermostat sits on these (as this could do with a change), I start to wonder if there is any easy job on these cars that does not require one to remove tons of pipes, cables and other bits at first… Makes me want to skip those fiddly jobs and go on to give it a wash instead!

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