A couple of weeks after the longest weekend’s work Mike Humble ever did putting right all of the wrongs in the engine bay of our Rover 75 1.8, you’ll be pleased to hear that the engine’s now running very well indeed. The inherent advantages of the K’s lightweight aluminium construction, open deck block and minimal amount of coolant make it a delight in town driving – it warms up quickly, easily beats 35mpg in traffic, and makes minimal noise in the process. I finally have confidence in it, too – watching the coolant and oil, it now seems to be using none of either, and that’s just how it should be. Basically, a good job done has pretty much saved this car from the banger track-cum-scrapyard.
So the business end is pretty much as it should be now, barring a couple of niggles. The idle speed isn’t settled, and after running OBD on it, there were some throttle position sensor codes. Mike seems to think that it’s down to having a replacement inlet manifold, which was secondhand and not mated to the car’s engine management. And that means the 75 needs a session on a T4 computer to reset its settings. Does anyone have one to hand?
Other than that, it’s all good. Now I’m reasonably confident in the engine, I can start thinking about getting the niggles sorted. First thing has to be the clonking front suspension. We need to get it on to the ramps and see what’s causing that. And also check out the brake lines – as I know these are a weak link on Rover 75s.
Then there’s the nice to fix things, such as the broken cup-holder (who the hell drinks while they drive?) in the front and rear, the front springs, which give the car an SUV right height at the front, the cracked rear and front bumpers, the missing chrome trim on three of the door cards – which have all been badly removed and refitted.
Thing is, though, what we have here is actually a great Bangernomics car. It cost very little to buy, and if you’re handy with a set of spanners and drivers, quite easy to DIY (typically – assuming you don’t get a butchered one like me), and the parts are all readily available off the shelf. Compared with your average Laguna or Vectra, your sub-£1000 Rover 75 will also feel pretty special to drive, with its boutique interior and solid dynamics. Yes, the 1.8’s acceleration is lethargic and it’s undergeared on the motorway, but you can service one of these effectively yourself, and run it on little more than a pittance…
Just try that with a V6 or CDT.
So… once the weather turns good, I’ll be looking at beautifying the Rover and ironing out the rest of its wrinkles. But for now, I think I’ll just enjoy a car with a cast iron headgasket. Touch wood (dashboard).