Bubble turbo

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N1tr0_9
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Bubble turbo

#1 Post by N1tr0_9 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:45 pm

Me again! Like my other recent thread, this is a shameless copy of my build thread from retrorides. The main difference is that this car is not finished yet, so when i get back on it, i will be able to provide genuine live(ish) updates.

Anyway, if some of the following doesnt read correctly, its because its a copy and i cant be bothered to re write it.

There are loads of videos on youtube of me working on this car so i will post periodic links.

Well this is my new and rather random project, but which actually has a lot of rather sentimental value (WARNING sentimental gush follows). Not this actual car, but this type of car. I shall try and explain...

Once upon a time, i was a lowly scrote and dreamed of the next stage in my motoring journey, the Rover 200 mk3, otherwise know as a bubble. I had set my sights on a 1.4 16v K-series 214si. I worked like a demon in a plastics factory on a 3 week rotating cycle, where you did 8 am to 4 pm, then the next week, 12 pm till 8 am , then the following week 4 pm till midnight. Horrible job, but pretty good pay!. Anyway i was doing it just so i could get rid of my Ford Orion and purchase a Rover.

You might think why? but remember in the late 90's it was already getting very expensive for a 18/19 yr old to get car insurance without getting bummed. Plus anything worth having was a high insurance premium. Thats where the Rover 200 came in. For the 1.4 si, with 104 bhp, it was group 6 insurance. That was the same as the saxo VTR and yet the Rover was faster, but better equipped and i liked the styling more. So i saved up and went to look at a few.

I struck gold. I turned up at a dealers who had a 5-door 1.4 si (the car i had originally gone to view) but next to it was a model i had never heard of, a 218is. This is a rare and largely forgotten model, but was a real gem. It had the 1.8 k-series, but without VVC (Variable Valve Control). That meant lower insurance than the 200vi, only group 9 and yet it was essentially identical to the 200vi, with sports seat, ABS, disc brakes all round, lowered suspension, chunky antiroll bars, fog lights, electric windows and sunroof, leather steering wheel and gearknob and stereo controls on the steering wheel!

That particular car was a dealer demo car, but then sold to an elderly couple who trundled around the East Sussex countryside in it. The car was out of my budget, but my Dad liked it too and helped me out big time.

So i became the owner of an old English white 218is 3 door. I loved that car. I had it from 21,000 miles to 80,000 miles. Eventually sold it on ebay for £600 :(
Idiot.

In that time i did a head gasket, crashed it into a kerb attempting a 50 mph reverse flick turn in my local industrial estate, drove it at silly speeds (indicated 136mph) went airbourne over a hill at over 100 mph and nearly killed myself, did multiple runs from Kent to Leeds 260 miles in 2:50hrs, pulled girls, and listened to lots of Trance music. Basically had a thoroughly excellent time, hence the massive soft spot for these cars.

On refection this whole model series i think is massively underrated, including teh MGZR. I borrowed a datalogger from Uno as i was trying to explain to my mates that it was quick and they didnt believe me becasue it was "a curse word rover". Book 0-60 mph is quoted as 8.1 secs, i got it on a calibrated unit as 7.6 seconds. Thats very quick for the day and for group 9 insurance and with two people in it!

That brings us onto thsi one. I restored a Rover SD1 police car, hence my retrorides name, and it was painted by Mike and Dave at MPR, Midland Performance and Retro. https://www.midlandperformance.co.uk/

Mike is building a MG Montego and wanted a T16 Turbo engine. He happened across this very car, which had started life as a 218is (my model car) but had then been converted to a 180-200bhp monster using parts from a 200 tomcat turbo.

Mike only wanted the engine and was going to scrap the rest but knowing i like all things Rover gave it to me for free!!!!! Thanks Mike!

The original plan was for Mike to pull the engine out, respray the shell, i would collect it and fit my own engine that i had in the garage, left over from when i had an 800 turbo vitesse sport. But the 200 had a bit of hidden rust which would have cost more than i anticipated to fix before the respray, so the obvious solution was for me to take the car whole, fix the rust, take the car back, get it painted then engine out and me collect it. So thats the plan.

Now for death by a 1000 photos.

Here is the closest i can find to my original car, same as this, but 3-door.

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Then here are publicity shots of 200vi/218is in the rather fetching Kingfisher blue.

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Here are the photos of the car that Mike send and which so enticed me.

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And here it is on the trailer yesterday when i collected it. Note red bonnet as the original was scrap, so was replaced.

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Got it home and balanced on a spare BRM Grille in Orange. Not sure I'm going to keep it, but certainly fits with the Kingfisher colouring!

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N1tr0_9
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Bubble turbo

#2 Post by N1tr0_9 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:45 pm

Had splendid time at the NEC Classic show on the weekend. I went to the 200/400 stand and got some "spy shots" of how the engine bay should look with the T16 fitted. Lots of BRM's on show, but no bubble 200's. A largely forgotten about car it would seem.

As I was walking out of the show I had a call from my Dad telling me my trailer had been stolen. That is a proper pisser as it wasn't insured and really got me down. I hate Kent:(

Anyway I had to shrug that off before it ate away at me so I kept on the wave of mojo boost form looking at other minty rovers and had a good poke at this one.

The reason I took this one home and didn't just leave it in the capable hands or Dave and Mike at MPR, was so I could fully explore the rust issues without making for hours in the body shop. It was the sills that looked most suspect. I jacked up the nearside and investigated. This car has had a replacement nearside rear wing at some point, and where it has been joined in the area of the door step it has started to break out. It was my intention to sand all the paint and filler off but I had a power cut so had to do it old school Bernie and Lipu Bangladeshi style and used a paint scraper and sand paper. Found a hole with rust extending under the paint. Its right on the join where the rear wing was joined, so it should be quite easy to sort.

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I also pulled the arch liner forward to look at the closing panel. This is a common rot spot as the rad dirt gets trapped and held against the end of the sill and rots it out. Good news, no major rot.

I have bought new repair panels from a chap called Roland who has worked his whole career in the automotive sector for major manufacturers but in his spare time and for a hobby he make small runs or repair panels for cars that he like. Lucky for me he has a rover 200 brm, so has made new sill sections and closing panels (and door cards) for rover mk3. I met him at the NEC and collected repair sections for my sills. I will photograph them next time.

I also bailed out the boot wheel well and was pleasantly surprised that there is no rot.

Pushed it into the garage for safe keeping.

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I love this car. Every time I get home and see it cheeky/menacing grin I smile!

N1tr0_9
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Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Bubble turbo

#3 Post by N1tr0_9 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:46 pm


N1tr0_9
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Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Bubble turbo

#4 Post by N1tr0_9 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:47 pm

Made a start investigating the rust and dents on the nearside rear wing and sill.

Was hampered slightly by stubborn locking wheel nuts, which i did not have a key for.

I tried using a specially designed locking wheel nut removal tool, but in the end had to resort to the welder. One came out fine, but the nearside front took more effort.

I used a paint strip wheel to get the paint off the rear wheel arch and parts of the sill. I was pleasantly surprised by how little actual rot there is. Most of the rust has formed because of a previous repair where the outer rear wing has been replaced and then not sealed properly at the seam. I also noticed that there was a bare minimum of spot welds around the wheel arch lip, and they could be snapped off with a pair of pliers. Seriously weak compared to original factory spot welds or diy mig plug welds.

Also where the skin was joined at the door step and sill, it was a butt weld, so very little strength. It had rotted out from the inside where the weld was made. I'm going to try and put it back together stronger. I have the air powered joddler/joggler, but on a curved sill it might just flatten it out, so ill have a play around and see what i can do.


Got cold so packed up before i had and opportunity to do anything really constructive.

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This is the bit where the new skin had been welded in. Looks nice and smooth from the outside

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Starting to rot on the inside. Actually a real good weld, but left unprotected.

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N1tr0_9
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Bubble turbo

#5 Post by N1tr0_9 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:48 pm


N1tr0_9
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Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Bubble turbo

#6 Post by N1tr0_9 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:48 pm

Did a bit more today. I removed the nearside front wing, and despite there being loads of compost trapped at the rear edge, there was no rot at the sill. Very very pleased and once again incredibly impressed with this car.

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I then turned my focus back to the rear end of the sill and nearside rear wheel arch. I bought 2 replacement panels. 1 was a bit minimalistic, and didn't go right down to the sill. The other was much better and included more metal but had been damaged during shipping and had a great bend in in. I decided to try and bash the dent out and if it came good I would use it.

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Lots of bashing later and I got it pretty damn good.

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Then I trimmed off the old rear end of the sill and closing panel, derusted the area and then trimmed down the new sill end closing panel. Hopefully I can weld it in tomorrow!

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N1tr0_9
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Re: Bubble turbo

#7 Post by N1tr0_9 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:49 pm


N1tr0_9
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Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Bubble turbo

#8 Post by N1tr0_9 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:49 pm

Ive had time off over the Christmas and New Year period to get cracking with this one.

Full of optimism, i attempted to fit my new wheel arch lip by forming a stepped or joggled edge in the replacement panel, sliding it in behind the old rear wing skin, and then welding it in.

Sounded like a really good idea, and i even bought some Cleco pins to hold it in place, however when i came to weld it, it went a bit wrong.

Part of the problem was the rear wing already had a ripple and some filler in it. Then when i tried to weld it, i needed quite a lit of current to get decent penetration into the joggled area of the panels. So i ended up warping the wing even more.

Repair panel in position

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Cleco pins

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Tacked

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Welded

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I slapped some thick bonda primer over the top, hoping it would look ok....it didnt!

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So i cut it all off, and did it again, bit this time doing a simple overlap weld. Much better!

New wing offered up

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Welded

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GTiJohn
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Re: Bubble turbo

#9 Post by GTiJohn » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:52 pm

Wow! That's a lot of work :clapping
I like Twin Cams.... and Single Cams

N1tr0_9
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Bubble turbo

#10 Post by N1tr0_9 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 7:18 pm

GTiJohn wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:52 pm
Wow! That's a lot of work :clapping
Can you see why i was lusting over your car so much at Gaydon!

Cthomas
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Location: Kent

Re: Bubble turbo

#11 Post by Cthomas » Sat Sep 19, 2020 7:51 pm

GTiJohn wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:52 pm
Wow! That's a lot of work :clapping
You need to see the rest of the work James has done to a high spec 🤪
Rover 216 vdp 1990
Old ones
Rover 216 vdp 1986 my dads last car
Rover 420 gsi 1992 miss this one
Rover 214 sei 1995
Rover 820
Rover 3500 vp sdi
Rover 2600 sdi

crepello
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Location: Herts

Re: Bubble turbo

#12 Post by crepello » Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:34 pm

N1tr0_9 wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:45 pm
I have bought new repair panels from a chap called Roland who has worked his whole career in the automotive sector for major manufacturers but in his spare time and for a hobby he make small runs or repair panels for cars that he like. Lucky for me he has a rover 200 brm, so has made new sill sections and closing panels (and door cards) for rover mk3.
Roland sounds like a man the Club should get friendly with!

N1tr0_9
Club Member
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Bubble turbo

#13 Post by N1tr0_9 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:27 pm

crepello wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:34 pm
N1tr0_9 wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:45 pm
I have bought new repair panels from a chap called Roland who has worked his whole career in the automotive sector for major manufacturers but in his spare time and for a hobby he make small runs or repair panels for cars that he like. Lucky for me he has a rover 200 brm, so has made new sill sections and closing panels (and door cards) for rover mk3.
Roland sounds like a man the Club should get friendly with!
Yeah im sure he is. He advertises on ebay. He also makes repair panels for the tailgate hinges.

N1tr0_9
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Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Bubble turbo

#14 Post by N1tr0_9 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:29 pm

I also started on the front end of the sill. Chopped the grot off, cleaned up the reinforcing rib inside, and then treated it with Hydrate 80, ready to prime and then weld in the new sill cover.

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N1tr0_9
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Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Re: Bubble turbo

#15 Post by N1tr0_9 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:29 pm

I confidently embarked on welding in a new repair section. I carefully measured up, put my nice neat joggled edge and plug weld holes in and offered it up to the car.

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It kind of fitted, but i had concerns that i hadnt cut enough rot out, and that i couldnt hold it in position properly at the top.

I did some more head scratching and came to the conclusion that i really needed to hack the whole lot off. I thought i had just enough sill pieces to replace it all, so thats what i did.

I made myself a pretty much full length sill but welding my donor sections together. I did this whilst they were clamped to a very long piece of angle steel to make sure they stayed straight. I welded from teh inside, then flipped it over and went back over from the outside to make sure it was 100%. After welding i ground the outside surface smooth'ish, but left the inside weld for strength. I had a bit of a twist so i carefully took that out too.

Ready for welding

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Outside after welding from the inside

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Ground smooth

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Inside

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