So the Rover made it back to Devon in the end, but something was clearly amiss, as the big V8 engine was only producing about 40hp, rather than the 150-odd horsepower which Wikipedia seemed to think it was entitled to. After a somewhat worrying few days when the rain wouldn’t let up enough for me to open the bonnet, and every internet source I checked seemed to think the symptoms equated to the car being a dud on it’s last legs, I was finally able to make the most of a break in the weather and investigate.
First, I checked how many of the engine’s eight cylinders were firing. In the event only five were, meaning the engine was only running at just over half it’s potential – so that’s where some of the missing horses were hiding. Next I checked over the Carburetors, which supply the fuel and air to the engine. The Rover has two of these, one for each side of the V8. These are linked together, so when the accelerator is pressed both sides of the engine are fed fuel, and produce power.
But not in this instance.
The connecting rod which operates the throttles was broken, so on the slow drive back from London, only the carburetor feeding the left side of the engine was responding to my frustrated right foot, while the right side remained at tickover. And of the 4 cylinders being fed by that carburetor, only 2 actually had working spark plugs – so effectively, I’d driven the car home with only 1/4 of the engine working. It’s quite impressive that the car made it back at all, if you look at it like that!
Fast-forward to today, and I have just fitted a new connecting rod between the carburetors and replaced all the spark plugs and associated bits, meaning that now, for the first time since I got the car, it’s running as it’s supposed to. And I am rather relieved as a result.
I’m currently experimenting with the roof rack set-up, and now all the horses are all back in the stable I’m planning a few longer trips for the car to shake out any remaining problems before we take it to North Africa in a month or so. Also on the ‘to do’ list, is finishing off fitting the roof rack (a job I’ve started today), checking over the brakes, changing the oil and coolant, fitting some protection for the car’s vulnerable underside, and looking into raising the suspension. On the trip planning side, the vague plan we’ve settled upon is to get to Morocco as quickly as possible, take in Fez and Marrakesh, then see how the Rover does on one of the high passes over the Atlas Mountains. If it takes the Atlas in its stride, we’ll probably spend another week exploring the fringes of the Sahara near the Algerian border, before heading back to the UK.
So there are our ‘best laid plans’; lets see whether they survive the next month or so…
Right, as always, I’ll end the post with a couple of pictures:
Here’s a picture from inside the engine bay. The diagonal rod in the foreground is the throttle linkage which broke on the way back from London, resulting in only half the engine responding to the throttle pedal. In the background, the blue cables are the new HT leads, which send pulses of current the spark plugs – thus creating sparks. The old cables were in pretty poor condition, and were probably one of the reasons why only 5 of the 8 spark plugs were firing.
And finally, a birds eye view of our fine Moroccan steed.