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1.8 vvc timing 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:31 am
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
Thanks for the photos. I don't have that mould that fits over the petrol pipes but I do have a surround for the handbrake, made from fibreglass, that spans out behind the seats.

I see you installed a vent at the rear, is that to aid with de-misting the windscreen? I wasn't sure about having a hold so close to the exhaust manifold - Is your filter good at keeping fumes and smells out of the cab?

I ask because the previous owner installed an amp which was cut into the centre of the trim underneath the window. it weighed a ton so I've removed it. I might copy your vent idea to fill that space... Will take photos when I get home.


Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:06 am
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
The small vent is to prevent over pressure in the cabin and allow airflow with the blowers on - if you're blowing air in it's gotta exit somewhere! In the extreme (at speed) you can get the air trying to push the tops of the door windows out.

I always have the blower on to some extent*, so air is always exiting there. There's also a square of plastic sheet on the cabin vent fixed on one edge to act as a 'one way valve' - there's no filter just a grille. Where the vent is the bulkhead is double skinned.

Misting of that window has never been an issue.

*nice to have warm air in winter and when it's warm weather you'll need em blowin cool air.

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Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:38 am
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
Vent opportunity and missing moulding :(


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Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:00 am
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
Don't think i'd put it that far down, is getting close to the manifold there. Wonder why that bit is cut out?

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Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:45 pm
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
The young lad who had it before me had a posh amplifier installed in that gap. Wish he hadn't chopped up perfectly good trim.

I copied your cooling system Sidewinder but I'm having an issue with the heater blower. After running the engine for a short while the pipes were hot (both in and out of the heater). I bled the hose but I'm still not getting any hot air blowing through.

I've tested the radiator fan and it works using a straight 12v supply, but it's not coming on when the radiator is hot. Confirmed 12v to the switch on the radiator, but I'm not sure if it is a sensor allowing voltage to the fan when it reaches 92 C locally (i.e. temperature activated), or is it ECU activated?

Good news is that the oil and water temperature gauges now work and the temperatures are very close to my thermocouple - so well done to Speedy Cables. Bad news is that when removing the oil temp sensor I found the oil to be vanilla milkshake :cry:


Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:41 pm
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
Did you switch it to hot and is the lever actually connected to the one on the blower unit? There could still be air in the matrix.

If it's a Rover Metro rad there is a sensor in the passenger side of it about halfway up - Think it's that that brings the fan in, I don't think the ECU is involved.
As the OE metro stat is a 97°C one I guess the fan sensor is set to suit that so if you fit a stat which controls the temp to a lower value the fan won't run unless things get really hot. Don't forget you have a lot more metal pipework to dispose of some heat unlike a metro.

Sounds like HGF to me (no more running that engine!), dump the oil in a pan and see what it looks like. If it's anything other than oil only then dump the coolant too and see what that is like.

I had HGF on mine not long ago with coolant getting onto the oil, but the actual coolant itself did not get contaminated. Mine went on the low pressure oil return & coolant path(s) which is why coolant went into the oil but not the other way round.

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Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:27 pm
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
Just thought, the dash centre blower vents will only give cold air - it's the windscreen and passenger foot well outlets that are governed by the hot/cold control.

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Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:05 am
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
I moved the blower controls manually rather than using the lever to make sure it was in the right position. Why would the central blowers not have hot air, seems an odd design :lol: I'll abandon ship on the hot air issues for now as you're right, I shouldn't be running the engine anymore in this state. The water has a small amount of white flecks in it (old residue perhaps) but does have a grease on water sheen to it (un-burnt fuel perhaps?).

I've spoken with a local garage about the MOT / engine change details etc. so I'll get the car in running order, (just need to add the passenger seat, dashboard and fix the rad fan issue), and ask them to inspect the engine, change the head gasket, water pump, belts etc.at the same time.

We changed the head gasket from the single silicone bead to the multi-layer steel type all those years ago as a precaution. Engine was purchased from a scrap dealer so could very well have been duff to start with, but just as likely we didn't install it properly (not done it before). Possible now that the head will need skimming. Is it worth updating the oil rails or any other key internals at the same time?

Thanks again for your help. Very supportive community.


Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:02 pm
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
if the headgasket has been changed before the oil in the cooling system could be from the last head gasket rather than the current one the oil residue in the cooling system can be hard to remove i have used a forte additive in the past that is good at getting it out just thought worth suggesting to make sure you do not do work thats not needed


Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:00 pm
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
Blowers, dunno it's just how they work.

It's likely oil floating on the water from this or possibly a previous HGF.

Be very sure it is a HGF problem, did you get white smoke out the exhaust, did you 'lose' a bunch of coolant, is there a layer of water hiding under the oil you drained out? (oil n water don't mix).

I used the updated (but 'old' style) metal/silicone type gasket as my cylinder liners were below the height at which the MLS gasket could be used. I read that the new type multi layer gasket can only be used if the liners are proud of the block's face by x amount (cant recall the exact figure). If they aren't you should use the single layer type gasket as the MLS won't seal properly.

I kept the standard oil rail and used new normal torque head bolts.
My head was well pitted, maybe from using the wrong type of coolant according to one expert I spoke to, which prob was partial cause of my HGF. I got a used replacement head and had all the internals transferred over from/by Dave Andrews who is a K series expert.
I used metal dowels instead of the plastic ones but had to make them a tiny bit shorter as with the replacement head being skimmed, the depth of the holes is less.

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Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:00 pm
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
I am losing a small amount of coolant, but I can see a small leak under the old thermostat housing under the inlet manifold. I'll need to change that gasket (and perhaps add a little high temperature silicone) to seal it properly.

There was a very slight light white smoke coming from the engine at start-up the last time I ran it, nothing that made me think "oh dear." Before that it all looked OK. Some white smoke cleared out of the oil filler cap after we ran it the first time for 20 minutes or so.

The engine hasn't been cleaned out after it stood for 5 years, I just drained it and went for new oil & filter. I suppose there could be some of that residual emulsion that has washed down to the sump and formed a layer of emulsion as you say?

There wasn't anything suspect on the dip-stick (see photo), but it did look a lot thinner than when I first put it in. I don't think that is oil related though, it would be white, right? I'll drain the oil and see how bad it is. Must be worth another oil and filter change before I end up spending £500 odd.


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Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:44 am
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
HG is definitely leaking. Oil is full mayo.


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Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:44 pm
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
Your milkshake brings all the mechanics to the yard...

I think the OE stat housing uses an o ring as a seal rather than a gasket.

Speaking of gaskets I replaced all of them, exhaust and inlet side when I did my HG.

I also removed and thoroughly cleaned the sump too - gave all the gunk in the crank area time to drain out. So when I reassembled everything was fairly water/mayo contamination free.

Also when you get to the stage of putting coolant back in http://www.sidewinderforge.co.uk/netlib ... mlb20.html You can clamp off certain hoses, like the one of the heater legs near the bleed valve to help push air out the bleeder. Loosely fit the cap back on before releasing any clamps cos it can bloop up out of the exp tank when you do.

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Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:26 pm
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
Hmm, a classic case. At least its a good opportunity to check everything out. Hope the change goes well. Keep your nerve when doing up the stretch bolts - that last quarter turn feels all wrong!


Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:58 pm
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Post Re: 1.8 vvc timing
I'm not really sure how to proceed from here *(starts a poll!)*

We could:

Have a go at changing the HG ourselves again, check for warping etc. but we may bugger it up again. May decide at this point to pay, refurb (e.g. skim head) or just scrap the engine off. £50 - 150 for HG, bolts etc. More for a skim (if I can find someone to do it).

Pay for the HG to be changed by a mobile mechanic / Rover expert ~£300 - 500? but if there are underlying issues with the the engine that's dead money.

Buy a 1.8 vvc trophy engine from eBay ~£650. Gamble, as these engines could also be knackered.

Pay for the engine to be refurbished / upgraded, if possible. £1500+?

Buy a running motor and get a friendly scrap yard to break it for the engine and let them have the rest (don't have the time and space to do it myself + the missus would set me on fire) :mrgreen:

We also discussed buying one of the MG6 engines for maximum reliability, but that brings me back to re-wiring the car, ££££ and a loss of BHP. Nope.

Open to recommendations on mobile mechanics and engine refurb services if any are known.


Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:12 am
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