Our Cars : Mike’s Rover 75 – new boots and brakes bring new problems

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Mike Humble

Some new anchors were badly needed. These respected branded items were bought over the counter for a price that in some cases bettered the internet
Some new anchors were badly needed. These “over-the-counter” parts were of reputable brand and not made of re-cycled Soviet gun metal either. They were priced better than some on-line outlets

Well… what a past couple of weeks, I can tell you. There’s been major heartache at work, and then my trusty PC decided to catch fire (honestly) after almost ten years sterling service – deep joy. But like those Weebles that older readers may recall, I wobbled but refused to fall down – maybe being a similar shape may have helped matters. Anyway, after having a good look over the 75, it transpired that the previous incumbent Neil Rapsey had done a cracking job of keeping the car in tip top order which was confirmed by a flawless journey back from South Wales a couple of weeks back. The only items that warranted attention was a couple of tyres that required changing with one of them being only just legal. So I took a half hour drive to my tyre folks in Ditchling Common where Ashley, who runs Re-Tyred, supplied and fitted three so now all of them match for brand and type.

While the front wheels were off the car I couldn’t help but have a quick nosey to the front brakes. The front pads were about 20% worn but I noticed a nasty ridge developing on the inside edge of the nearside disc. A closer inspection revealed more lip than a classroom full of teenage boys with a supply teacher at the helm so a mental note was made for some new anchors. Despite the 75 now having more previous owners on the V5 than the company who made it, a good pile of service history has always been present so I have little doubt that the front discs have lasted an incredible 91,000 miles. My factor of choice supplied some Mintex pads and discs for less than what some Internet sources can charge, once again proving that it’s not always cheaper online. Not only that, I like the over-the-counter banter, too.

The service history confirmed the pads had been changed before but the front discs seemed to have lasted 91,000 miles. They were beyond a good rub with some Emery cloth
The service history confirmed the pads had been changed before but the front discs seemed to have lasted 91,000 miles. They were beyond a good rub with some Emery cloth…

What should have taken a couple of hours actually turned into a right old rigmarole when I discovered a nasty problem that turned out to be caused by a less than careful previous technician. After returning home from the factors for a second time (the pad wear sensor fell to bits), I parked the company Golf over the road rather than along-side the Rover thus giving me heaps of natural light to complete the offside task. It was then I noticed that dreaded sign of a leaking CV gaiter, there was grease all over the lower engine mount and engine belly tray. It was coming from the inner joint and my heart sank at the thought and palaver of mauling on changing a CV boot – I hate that job so much. With rag in hand, I set about wiping the mess up when the boot quite literally popped off the inner joint yet the boot was not faulty.

The car still sports the original CV boots, shafts and joints but, for some reason, the offside inner boot had been secured with a cable tie at the large end. This was odd as the shaft end still wore its metal crimp clip from manufacture. Now there is nothing wrong with using a cable tie to secure a CV boot providing it’s a good quality one and it’s ripped up tight and trimmed of its tail – what I was confused about was why? Then it dawned on me about a ‘phone call I had with Neil last summer where, in a bid to cure a slight suspension knock, he had the dampers and one strut mount changed by a local garage. Clearly what had happened is the garage must have pulled the hub too far and dislodged the CV innards, rectified their error and replaced the metal clip on the joint end of the inner CV – I’ve done this blunder before myself in a moment of clumsiness…  as I’m sure many others have.

The nasty gritty puddle of ejected C.V grease. The stray end of the original cable tie could still be seen in the detritus
The nasty gritty puddle of ejected C.V grease. The stray end of the original cable tie could still be seen in the detritus

Pulling back the boot revealed very little grease in the joint and most of it was lying in a gritty pool on the engine belly tray so it was off to the factors AGAIN for a sachet of special grease. After squeezing the contents into the boot, I then tried to nip up the cable tie with some side cutters and it just snapped. A little rummage in my tool box found a nice good quality tie wrap and the job was well and truly jobbed, but that could have been an expensive situation if not spotted until nearer the MoT.

Besides the aforementioned I am pleased to report that it’s good to have the old girl back in the fold – the seats cosset, the ride is sublime and the heater is better than anything else I have owned – and that includes a trio of SAABs. The upgraded Alpine Symphony head unit has a wonderful sound quality now improved by my fitting of rear door tweeters. So will she be there for Pride of Longbridge? That’s a tricky one as I have been asked to take one of the very last 1600cc MG Maestros built – yes, that’s right it is an “S” series powered one, too. I will more than likely ask someone to steer the 75 there but we will have to see how things pan out a little bit bit nearer the time!

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

4 Comments

  1. Oh the joys of motoring rears its ugly head, goes to show no matter how careful you are at taking care of the car there is always something to spoil your day, but here is the thing, if you want a job doing right then do it yourself( or get a good mate to do it over some tea and biscuits. That strut was fitted by a competent mechanic as i didn’t have the time myself but although an simple mistake by them could have been far more costly come MOT time.

  2. I presently run a couple of ten year old Almeras and(so far) it has been a pleasure to only replace brakes and exhausts. Having cut my teeth on Allegros and Marinas you were lucky if the ball joints you bought from Charlie Brown’s to pass the MOT one year were still passable a year later.

  3. Your PC probably just needs a new PSU, unless the fire engulfed the whole system.

    The PSU is the only high voltage part, and gathers up dust over the years.

    £25 and undoing a handful of screws and it’s replaced. Much easier than trying to push back calipers!

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