50 Shades of Grey

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Johnny 216GSi
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Posts: 1962
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:17 pm
Car Ownership: Rover 200 Mk2 (R8) Hatchback
Location: Birmingham - the home of Rover!

50 Shades of Grey

#1 Post by Johnny 216GSi » Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:02 pm

Here's the story...

A few months back I had to take the immobiliser off that I'd had fitted to the car from new.

If you remember in the late 80's and early 90's a British company called "Vecta" had a reputation for making immobilisers that saved a few Sierra and Escort Cosworths from the hands of undesirables.

I had therefore opted to go for the Vecta "Shadow" model - random placement fit by one of their improved installers.

Everything was fine, I was happy that the car was protected and it had been trouble-free in operation for 19 years.

Then, one day, when I was relying on the car to get me some 130 miles home, the darn immobiliser wouldn't disarm. I'd put the key in, but the light continued to flash red regardless of how often I tried.

So I called an auto electrician out, luckily covered by my breakdown insurance. He spent about half an hour rigging up wires under the bonnet and routing them into the car. I was given a "launch" sequence of what wires to twist together to start the car - it worked! I got home safely enough but knew I had to sort out the immobiliser.

Anyhoo... I did manage to ascertain the immobiliser actually still worked - if you pushed and pulled the key in and out about 1,000 times - or at least that's what it felt like.

So I got my multi-meter out and found the original wiring and the immobiliser unit after much searching. I marvelled at its construction - a piece of black drain pipe filled with a hardened black goo, sporting a bright-yellow "Vecta" sticker. I proceeded to trace the function of each wire until I found the 3 immobilised circuits, the power and ground for the unit and so on. Then I just wired the 3 circuits back together, disconnected the offending item and removed it.

Of course I was then left with holes where the immobiliser key-slot and LED had been. The chap who'd fitted it had used the blanking panels that are on the left of the steering wheel, at the bottom.

I couldn't find those blanking panels in the Granite Grey trim finish my car has. It's only on the early models and no matter who I harassed on Ebay, all I ended up with was a collection of ash grey ones which stuck out like a sore thumb on the car.

I needed to get the car looking tip-top again, and had a brain wave. I remembered an episode of Top Gear where they created a car for "old people" and scanned a hearing-aid so they could paint a Fiat Multipla "hearing aid beige".

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I took the trim panel to my local Homebase. Their Dulux paint lab was broken. So I took it to another Homebase and their paint lab was working. I described my predicament and asked if they could help.

The chap pointed the scanner at the trim panel. The computer thought for a moment. Then it flashed up the Dulux paint code "Night Jewels 2". I love the fact there's a Dulux colour called "Night Jewels 2". It implies there was a "Night Jewels 1" and a committee of Dulux people all sat round a table dipping their fingers into it, holding them up and saying "I dunno Tarquin - this isn't saying Night or Jewel to me... try again".

Then he asked "What finish do you want?". "...Erm... well I know there's Matt, then Silk, then Satin Wood, then Gloss... What do you think?"

The nice shop assistant paused for a second. I could see him trying to derive a meaning from life whilst being asked to assess the finish of a Rover trim panel for glossiness. To his credit, he came back with "Satin Wood, I think." So that's what I went for.

He pulled a can of Satin Wood base paint from the cupboard, positioned it in the machine and pressed the button. After the pigmentation had been added, he put the lid back on and the machine shook it violently for 30 seconds to mix it all together. He popped the lid. It looked grey enough. So he fitted the lid back on and I paid for my purchase.

Got home, cleaned up the two Ash Grey trim panels I had, and began to paint.

The results weren't too bad at all. For your delight and delectation, I swapped the larger panel on the car and left the smaller one off, for comparison purposes.

Here's the small (painted) panel next to the larger (original, drilled-for-the-immobiliser) panel:

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You can see it's a subtly different shade of grey, but pretty close. I also did 2 coats which meant the grain pattern was somewhat filled in by the paint and less pronounced. But all in all, not a bad solution.

The larger panel on the car is shown below. You can see a colour difference at some angles (picture 1 below). At other angles, it looks identical (picture 2 below). But I would argue that because these trim bits were made in a hard plastic and the dash itself is a softer, covered material, even the original Rover bits probably didn't match 100% anyway:

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Now at this point, I feel I must apologise to forum members who began reading this thread purely because of the racy title I gave it. There's no hot and steamy action I'm afraid. The 116bhp SOHC Honda engined 216GSi that got restored SHOULD be all the raciness you need, to be honest.

I do recommend this technique to any members with car trim that needs some colour restoring if it's been scuffed or has faded or discoloured in sunlight, or if they can't get the correctly coloured spare trim anywhere. What I might change if I were to do it again would be:

1. Possibly thin the paint a little and do a couple of lighter coats.
2. Satin Wood might be too shiny a finish - but I dunno - looks okay to me.
3. Use a soft brush - I used a hard bristled decorating brush and you can see some small brush stroke marks on the panels I've done, if you look closely enough.

Of course, the paint you buy is mixed in quantities no smaller than 250ml, which will leave you with some excess. Because I went for the Satin Wood finish, the smallest can they'd mix and sell me was half a litre, at a price of just over 12 quid.

This does of course mean I have almost exactly half a litre of Dulux Night Jewels 2 paint, a.k.a. Rover Granite Grey, left over.

I can offer a painting service to any club members with cars the same finish as mine, at very little cost. To be honest, I can probably change the entire internal colour scheme of quite a few Rover 200's just with the tin I purchased.

Alternatively, half a litre is probably enough to paint a small feature wall in many a box room in many a 3-bed terrace or semi in the UK. This might appeal to a motoring enthusiast seeking to recreate his Rover dash in the bedroom for some night-time inspiration, or to impress his lady-friend. Don't think I haven't thought about it. Or it might appeal to someone who works in a quarry and finds comfort in facing a granite-coloured wall all the time. Who knows?

And the moral of this tale? When you drive a car made by "Rover", even the smallest of incidents can be turned into a shaggy dog story.

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Last edited by Johnny 216GSi on Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:30 am, edited 14 times in total.
Rover 216GSi K reg. Flame Red over Tempest Grey

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GTiJohn
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Re: 50 Shades of Grey

#2 Post by GTiJohn » Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:15 pm

Thank you for making me laugh so much :laughing
I like Twin Cams.... and Single Cams

crepello
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Re: 50 Shades of Grey

#3 Post by crepello » Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:40 pm

GTiJohn wrote:Thank you for making me laugh so much :laughing
+1 !

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GTiJohn
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Re: 50 Shades of Grey

#4 Post by GTiJohn » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:28 am

This has got to go in the newsletter :laughing2
I like Twin Cams.... and Single Cams

Mr Teddy Bear
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Car Ownership: Rover 400 Mk1 (R8) Saloon
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Re: 50 Shades of Grey

#5 Post by Mr Teddy Bear » Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:43 pm

:laughing2

Thanks for that Johnny 216GSI, I can see you becoming a valuable and prolific contributor to our [hopefully] soon to be resurrected Newsletter/Magazine!












Edit: spelling correction
Teddy Bear

Rover 216 Sli SRS Charcoal Colour Coded bumpers 1996

Rover 216 GTi Flame Red 1992

Rover 414Si British Racing Green 1995

Rover 216GTi TC Ocean Blue 1993

User avatar
Johnny 216GSi
Club Member
Posts: 1962
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:17 pm
Car Ownership: Rover 200 Mk2 (R8) Hatchback
Location: Birmingham - the home of Rover!

Re: 50 Shades of Grey

#6 Post by Johnny 216GSi » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:44 pm

Thanks for your kind words. I aim to please. Strangely, I didn't start writing it to be funny, just informative :blushing

I almost think it would be funnier if it wasn't true...

Unfortunately, there is evidence to suggest otherwise...

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Rover 216GSi K reg. Flame Red over Tempest Grey

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