Our cars : Alexander’s Rover 800 – Stranded

Alexander Boucke

Vitesse grounded in front of my place after breaking down once too often.

The Munich-Barcelona Vitesse had an attack of heritage yesterday – it left me stranded at the office in the evening…

Now with the weather getting warmer, the PGM-FI main relay was occasionally playing up. So far no big problem, a bit of patience and, after several attempts, the fuel pump would usually prime and the car would start on the button. Not so this time – despite not being used all day, the car either did not run the fuel pump or would not ignite or possibly both. In the latter case the check engine light did not switch off after the initial check. A quick check of the error code showed ‘Ignition output error’ – so either the problem was in the ignition circuit or the main relay was failing to power up the ignition system. After trying on and off for over an hour, I gave in and called home for a lift.

With the Vitesse still at the office, my choice of cars was one down. I decided to take out the Maxi for its first run after a long hibernation period of more than 5 months. A battery was hooked up and the car started immediately and ran as it should – finally something reliable…

Arriving at the office early, with the temperatures still low from a rather cold night, I gave the Vitesse a try. Lo and behold it started as if there was never a problem… So I swiftly moved it home before our diva decided differently and took a bus back into the office. Now the Vitesse will be grounded until I find time to sort out the main relay and take a closer look at some of the other electrical issues.

Alexander Boucke


  1. I’d have a look at the Ignitor first, is a small black box on the top of the drivers side (i guess) inner wing, has 4 wires going into it, and is near the coil. This and the PGMFi relay are the only failures this engine suffers from (ignoring those down to negelct)

  2. Agreed, we had both problems in our 216GSI. The ignitor failed about 10 years ago during a holiday. That was expensive because the Rover garage where we managed to get the car to only had a full distributor they could sell us. The main relay failed later and was swapped for a used one about 2 years ago. In this case the main relay is the more prominent failure, and looking at the electrical diagrams, the failure of the ignition could be both, the ignitor failing (don’t these fail completly instead of work once they feel like it?) or the main relay failung to power up the ignitor. Unless I understood the diagrams wrong…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.