Rover SD1 : Brake time for me!

The Polski-Rover is now being given the final touches. Work has re-commenced after four weeks of self-confessed neglect. 

Words and Photographs: Mike Humble 

The Polski-Rover: Work has re-started once more!

Why do it today, when you can put it off until tomorrow? That’s not normally an idea I succumb to but, in the case of the Rover SD1, I’m as guilty as sin. You see, as a rule, I will do work on cars the moment it becomes needed, I just can’t bear the job list to stack up higher and higher. However, as of late, I’ve become all lethargic and reluctant to get my backside outside and wield those spanners – I guess that the reason for this change of attitude is that, technically, I don’t own a car any more. 

To stray for a moment, it’s been all change in the Humble household’s motor pool – to compliment my truly amazing USS Enterprise (aka a Honda Civic iCDTi), the other half came home in a new Golf Mk6 TDi 1.6 which, for the record,  proves Volkswagen has fired the bean-counters and allowed the engineers to design its cars – the new Golf, quite literally, feels like it’s been carved from granite. However, the all-new 1.6 105bhp diesel lacks a solid low down punch of torque when compared to the legendary 1.9PD unit – but boy, is it refined! 

A pair of solid, well-made cars: Honda Civic iCDTi and VW Golf 6 TDi

Anyway, getting back to the SD1, this weekend I took full advantage of the wonderful weather here in sunny Sussex. Rather than sit in the garden with a drink, I donned my ‘Roveralls’ and set about replacing the rear wheel cylinders on the Rover. Prior to throwing the car for its MOT last month, I had taken the rear brakes apart to visually inspect that all was well and add a dab of copper grease here and there. 

Happily, as readers may have noted from a previous rattle of mine, the SD1 passed its test but not without a few mutterings from my man Steve Anderson at New Way Garage near Gatwick. The brakes showed an imbalance on the rear axle, which had worsened from the car’s previous test sheet by 10%. 

Rear o/s cylinder had let go during or after the MOT

Upon returning home from the test station, I took the rear drums off once more to find the offside rear wheel cylinder was weeping, possibly stemming from the hard braking required to lock the rear wheels on the rollers. 

A phone call to Keith Adams resulted in a brand new pair of old stock Lucas items arriving by post but, sadly, they stayed in their boxes for four weeks. Fast forward to this weekend and they have now been fitted while the brakes have been bled again – the latter being a nuisance as SD1s are known for being a touch temperamental to bleed. However, patience was given and now the Rover stops as well as it goes. 

Something nice about new old stock in original packaging - don't you think?
My workshop supervisor Stella gives the Rover feline approval!

That just laeves a perished fuel line and the front dampers to replace  – the nearside unit is leaking more than enough to justify replacement. Rimmer Bros. supplied a pair of brand new (old stock) complete legs with stub axles. 

I shall, no doubt, enjoy much fun and merriment removing the bottom arms, anti-roll bar and track rod ends as these look like they were last touched in Solihull back in 1976. Once completed, a full valet prior to a high speed punt up the M40 for the Pride of Longbridge event will be in order. 

Now then, where’s my blowlamp and WD40?

Mike Humble


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