As I sit and write this, I do so from a holiday caravan down in Land’s End. And I’m choosing now to write about the goings on of Project 800 because honestly, I’ve been rather busy and with it, I haven’t given N2G or my cars the love they deserve. Sorry about that.
To explain, the main reason for my newfound business is my new job, as I mentioned during the last update. For the last four months I’ve been working as the new Editor for Car & Classic. You know, the yellow and green site. We’re doing editorial now, the bulk of which comes from me, so that eats a fair old chunk of my time. Not that I’m complaining of course, I mean, I was driving an Aston the other week, so, y’know. But, it is full-on work, and it takes a lot of time.
Anyway, this post isn’t about me, it’s about Project 800, which is very nearly ready for the road. How very exciting indeed. It’s all back together, it’s roughly car-shaped and I’ve even driven it, though it was slightly alarming experience as I’ll explain later.
Aw, look at it, all up and together and looking something like a car again, albeit with four foot of dust and grime on it. I’ll get around to washing it at some point. Promise.
It’s not quite on the the road yet, and that means it won’t make it to the Retro Rides Gathering, which is deeply annoying as that has been the goal for a long time. However, my daily C Max decided a functional clutch master cylinder is overrated, so it decided to not have one. The killed my unit time. Pisshats.
Before that though, here’s what I have been up to…
The one big mechanical cloud that’s been hanging over this car since I bought it (other than the fact it’s a Rover) has been the clutch, or lack thereof. But, given that I’m not in any way, shape or form a mechanic, it’s been a job that’s evaded me. Until that is, my mate Chris stepped in to help. He has a Vitesse and knows these things inside out, so he was the ideal man to help. We’d have it done in an afternoon, or so we thought.
Because this is a car owned by me, absolutely nothing went smoothly. The suspension wouldn’t come apart, the driveshafts flat-out refused to let go of the gearbox and then the gearbox itself wouldn’t come off. It did in the end though, and to my relief the clutch was indeed utterly shagged. To quote Chris, I “had a good three or four… miles left in that”.
Imagine though, doing all that work, knowing the car doesn’t drive only to find the clutch in fine fettle? That’s why I was happy to see it was utterly borked.
With the clutch finally done, I could crack on and put the suspension back on the front end. This of course meant putting the driveshafts back in that had been repainted, cleaned and fitted with new boots. I gave all the suspension parts a clean off and a lick of paint, because who doesn’t like some shiny stuff, right (plus, it probably confuse the shit out of the MOT tester given it’s an old Rover)?
Put the brakes back in and on with the help of my main man, Rich, who then helped me to bleed them. An important step given that the car has been sat with with only 70% of of its brake lines for a while. Plus, while it’s not the most handsome example out there, I am a fan of my face and would like to avoid having it rearranged by a steering wheel.
Wheels and tyres
I think you’ve got to be a car person to get this, but there is a huge moment of satisfaction that comes from putting the wheels and tyres on. This was amplified somewhat by the fact I was putting on a set of shiny new Falkens (thanks Falken, you beautiful bastards). Well, I say ‘I’, but what I mean is the local tyre place. I think me, some washing up liquid and a couple of spoons would have been an exercise in futility. Best to pay the pros.
Other bits and bobs
Erm, what else have I been doing? Oh, I fitted a manual boost controller because when we were doing the clutch, something broke off a part of the engine I didn’t understand. What I did understand, however, is that said thing seemed to be a valve and it was wired into the ECU. Given parts are unobtanium, I thought I was in trouble. I wasn’t though, because the ECU on a Rover 800 is about as intelligent as a drunk three-year-old. As such, I just had to tape it up and fit aforementioned boost controller. Job jobbed. I also fitted a boost gauge, but that doesn’t work obviously.
I also made a tool kit from a cheap eBay briefcase, because business Rover.
Oh, and I fitted some aluminium pedals because I have zero sense of taste and/or style. But whatever, I like them.
With all that done and the car back together, it saw daylight for the first time in a year. Naturally, given that I have some long access roads at my disposal, I opted to take the old girl for a drive. During this time I made some observations:
- Holy shit, I’m going to die!
- The brake bleeding did not do the job – the pedal lied to us
- It is in no way fast, but then, the boost is wound right down because the sodding boost gauge doesn’t work for some reason
- I knew, having been apart, the suspension would be a bit out of whack. This thing is like trying to point a greased Aldi trolley in the right direction – but that’s a job for the garage
- It bogged down really hard at one point as I went into second. Don’t know why?
And that’s where I’m up to. The clutch master went on the daily shortly afterwards, and it’s been sat ever since. Once I’m mobile, the jobs to do include change the timing belt, aux belt and water pump, sort the brakes and then give ti final check before going for an MOT. It can only possibly go well, right?