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Fourteen resurrection!!

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:25 pm
by mbishton
Hi all,

I have a 35/36 Rover Fourteen which has been dormant for a while and whilst everything is free, I want to turn it over and run it up to temperature, so to that end, I need the following (other than the obvious fuel, coolant etc..)

Battery - can anyone recommend a good brand (I don't need it to appear period as there is little originality left) and what CCA and AH is required for a 1600cc Fourteen 6 Cylinder

Oil - the old oil has been drained and plenty of gunk came out so ideally need to get some flushing oil and then I will put some decent stuff in. Would 20w/50 be suitable just for flushing and running up to temp?

Any help and/or advice would be much appreciated!

Many thanks

Re: Fourteen resurrection!!

Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:25 am
by TonyG
Hi Matt,

Great to hear of an old Rover coming back to life!

20/50 oil is probably best for your car. Multigrades didn’t exist pre war and straight 30 was the usual back then. However, while there are cheap 20/50s you could use rather than Classic oils I don’t know if they contain any harmful additives. That said, for flushing, it probably doesn’t matter.

Battery choice is really decided by what will fit into the battery holder beneath the rear seat. You need something around 50 to 60aH. If you look on Euro Car Parts the battery dimensions are given. Half an hour looking through should find something suitable. Order on line and collect from a branch to get the best discounts they offer. I’ve got an Exide Excellent 540 on my 12 Tourer. I put it on the car four years ago and never had a problem or had to take it off for charging. The starter will take the power it needs and the battery output will determine how long it can crank the engine.

The standard dynamo would take an age to charge a big battery and, as it’s best to keep them fully charged, is probably why classic cars often had low output batteries. Hence, it’s worth considering a Dynamator when you get to putting your car on the road as they look the part and give 45 amps of charging. They cost around £150 and well worth it when you come to sort the wiring out as there is no need for a voltage regulator, making things simpler and much more reliable. If you decide to do that it’s a good time to convert to negative earth as they are polarity conscious. Likewise if you go down the route of an electric fuel pump. Auto-sparks can make you a loom with provision for an alternator if you are re-wiring.

Initially though, I expect you just want to get it running but I mention these other points so you can future proof any decisions you make.

Good luck and look forward to hearing that you have it running.


Re: Fourteen resurrection!!

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:23 am
by mbishton
Thank you so much Tony, thats a far more comprehensive answer than I was hoping for!

I've bought 10L of Comma Classic 20w/50 (I believe the sump capacity is around 7 litres) to run it up with and shunt it around once it's moving and then flush out and will keep putting new Comma in until it drains clean and then final refill with something decent.

My car is slightly odd in the fact there is no longer a back seat, it's had a lovely handmade aluminium open boat tail speedster body made and where the back seat was is a space for luggage so you could literally fit a truck battery in there but it's very helpful to know I need around 50-60aH. Thank you.

I think I've sent myself slightly too far down a certain route now as I've recently received a brand new loom from Autosparks but didn't opt for the alternator wiring as I wasn't sure how easy this would be to convert seeing as the dynamo is chain driven from the crank (just the 12v cooling fan and turn signals upgrade) I wonder if this is a separate loom or if it's something they need to have have wired in from the start of manufacture. I've also just had the voltage regulator rebuilt to work with a solenoid in place of the Startix unit to make it easier/more reliable - as I wasn't aware of the Dynamator!! That said, I've looked this morning and struggling to find anyone who can supply a Dynamotor for my Fourteen.

Thanks again,

Re: Fourteen resurrection!!

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:20 pm
by TonyG

Your car sounds like fun. With a lightweight body I expect it will go well too!
I'd forgotten that the 14s had a chain drive dynamo. However, since you already have the parts, best to stick with the original set up and only think about changing to an alternator if you have a problem. I'm sure you could get a dynamator made if they had your dynamo to work from but a lot of unnecessary hassle at this stage.
The wiring diagrams in the RSR workshop manual are invaluable when you do your re-wire. Later models didn't have the Startex system so I expect your new loom will look more like one of those.
The new loom is several bundles of wires and it takes a while to puzzle out what goes where. I found it helped to lay out the loom sections and, using the diagram, identify each wire by colour code and label it using masking tape. I wrote on what it was, where it was from and where it was going; e.g. Light wire from switch to light and at other end of loom, light wire from light to switch. Then when the loom sections are in the car it's quite easy to connect it up correctly.

If you have yet to get tyres for your car, check out the Blockleys. These are used by many Bentley and Jaguar SS owners and are better made than most vintage tyres. They really look good too and would suit your sports car.

Looking forward to seeing your car in the future.


Re: Fourteen resurrection!!

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:29 am
by mbishton
Hi Tony,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, the chap I bought it from seemed to think it would be pretty quick as it won't weigh much at all!

I agree, I think I will remain with the original set up as it might be easier to piece together using original diagrams in the very helpful RSR manual which I have on hand! Mine definitely has a Startix system so I'm hoping the solenoid I bought from Mike at Meteor Spares (who did a great job of rebuilding the voltage regulator) should just wire directly in place of the the Startix as the voltage regulator has been rebuilt with later parts to suit this. The only mod I've made so far is to purchase an electronic ignition base plate for the distributor to do away with condenser/points from Mike at Distributor Doctor

I have bought some proper wiring labels and plan to unroll it all on the living room floor, sit down with a cup of tea and start to piece it all together before I take it to the car!

Ah, it's a small world, I've already spoken to Lee at Blockleys (as a friend of mine is a car dealer on the same industrial estate) but he doesn't stock the tyre size i need (525/550 x 17) so thought I might try Vintage Tyres at Bicester Heritage.


Re: Fourteen resurrection!!

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:39 pm
by Forum Admin
I have edited the above post to correctly show image

Re: Fourteen resurrection!!

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:09 pm
by Phil - Nottingham
As to batteries, I use an 069 (60ah) in our 1938 16. it's compact and not too tall or long. The same sort also fits our Series Land Rovers, P4, P5 and P5B. They last over 10 years on both alternator or dynamo. Good prices from Tayna on eBay delivered with 2 or 3 yr g'tee not that any have ever been even close to that when they tired out.

I use a Classic 20/50 and change every 2 years or 1000 miles as there is no filter.

Re: Fourteen resurrection!!

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:16 am
by mbishton
Thanks Phil, much appreciated. I've bought a 075 60aH battery in the end for £40 with a 3 year guarantee so I think that will be OK!

I thought there was a metal filter on the side of the sump which has a fine gauze - well, there's one on my engine anyway! :lol:

Re: Fourteen resurrection!!

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:19 am
by mbishton
Also, as I'm going to do a compression test this weekend, does anyone know what sort of PSI I should be looking at for each cylinder please?

Cylinders 1 and 6 seem good but 2,3,4 & 5 feel a bit low when you have your thumb over them while you crank but I'm wondering what the lower value needs to start from incase I have any of the centre cylinders which fall below that prompting some investigation into new rings etc..

Thanks again all, the help is really very much appreciated!

Re: Fourteen resurrection!!

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:39 am
by TonyG

Phil is right when he says you have no filter. Or, at least, not in the sense that we understand filters on more modern cars.

My understanding is that post 1960s engine oils had various additives put in that ensured any particles of dirt or metal remained in suspension within the oil so that they could be collected when pumped through the fine paper filters that became the norm then and remain so now. However, back in 30s, the oil used didn’t have any additives and the particles sunk down to the bottom of the sump and collected as a load of sludge, which required the sump to be removed to clean out every few years. The fine gauze filter you have fits into the base of the oil pump and removes the largest of particles but is, at best, a crude filtering system. Therefore, it is sensible to use classic oils that have minimal additives. Classic 20/50 provides a good balance of viscosity for our old engines across the temperature range, rather than the originally recommended sae30 which also works fine. Depends what you prefer but classic 20/50 is readily available and regular changes, as Phil described, ensures that any suspended particles are regularly removed. The gauze filter needs cleaning in petrol when you change the oil.

My rebuilt Tourer 12 engine showed 158 psi on a compression test. However, it has a high compression head so that might be misleading. My Saloon 12 was between 115 and 120 I seem to recall. That hasn’t been rebuilt to my knowledge and runs fine. I expect yours will be in that region. The key thing is that all cylinders are about the same. If not it could be rings, a head gasket or, more likely, a de-coke that is required. If the engine hasn’t run for a long time the valves could be stuck open a bit and, as in the case of my Tourer before it’s rebuild, the cam followers can stick in their guides. Checking that the rockers are all operating ok is a simple visual check before trying to start the engine. Obviously, a compression test will reveal if a valve isn’t closing.

Personally, I’d consider taking the head off an engine if it has been idle for a long time. A de-coke was a regular thing on these cars so not a bad idea and there is nothing nicer than knowing that all is well with your valves, pistons and bores. Mike Couldry can advise on the bits you will need. Just a thought.

Hope that helps.