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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
It seems the noise was just a really bad misfire as I changed the spark plugs and it seems to have gone away. It would make sense seeing as I was just running the plugs that came with the engine so they were probably fairly used plus it only started once the engine actually started to make boost. Rain is really slowing progress at the minute so not sure how soon it'll be on the road but I'm planning on finishing the boost control wiring and hopefully putting a new plug on the front lambda sensor so I can plug it into the standard loom tomorrow and then heading off to the scrappy to pick up some new flywheel covers if I have time as I found out my 1.4 ones definitely won't fit this box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #82 ·
Turns out the misfire is still there so I tried changing one of the coils as I had a new one spare but that didn't do anything. I pulled the plugs to have a look and the only one that had anything obviously wrong was number 2 was a bit damp so I'd imagine that's where the misfire is. Unfortunately I didn't get any of the wiring done again but I did change the oil and filter and fit the "new" oil temp sensor. Fortunately there didn't seem to be any metal or anything dodgy in the old oil so I guess that's a good sign. I also changed the gasket on the coolant elbow so that doesn't leak any more. Then it was getting a bit dark so I decided to stop working and say screw it and take it for a quick road test. All I can say is holy moley, as soon as it comes on boost it just spins the wheels at anything over 2/3 throttle in 2nd and even in 3rd sometimes. I kept it below 4000rpm but even then it's pretty brisk. Fortunately for me the misfire only happens at lowish revs with low throttle so as long as I'm either off throttle or above 1/2 it seems to be fine. All in all I'd call it a fairly successful test other than the bodged clutch cable letting go as I reversed back into my space and the fuel clip not holding up at full boost. I've got some hylomar blue coming to try to hopefully sort the fuel and I'll be heading up to the scrappy to get a new clutch cable and flywheel covers tomorrow weather permitting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
Well the weather was not permitting but I went to the scrappy anyway and got very wet but did get hold of a clutch cable and then spent several hours removing an alloy intake manifold from the TF that had recently shown up seeing as they only wanted £40 for it I thought I might as well. Unfortunately I ran out of time to get the flywheel covers off but they are a lot easier to get to now I've removed everything to get the manifold out. I'm hoping to get the clutch cable in tomorrow and if I have time I'll go back for the covers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 · (Edited)
Yeah I've put it up there, just waiting on admin approval at the minute. Also I was looking up my engine number so I can send it off to the DVLA at some point and apparently it's a 18K4G engine code which I thought was a bit weird considering the only ones I've seen before are K4F and K4K but after a bit of digging, it turns out this is actually a Roewe engine which means the car I got it from must have had it's engine changed at some point seeing as it was an 03 plate. That also means that I have no idea what mileage it has done as I doubt they'd have reset the odometer to read what the engine had done so it's likely it isn't quite a 120k mile engine which is good. It also means the chinesium turbo I've got on it is probably OEM spec :=p:

Edit: After a bit more looking it looks like it was just the 75 variant of the turbo engine but info is pretty thin on the ground as some places have it as the 18K4T and some 18K4G
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
Well I got the clutch cable on later yesterday and started modifying the exhaust to fit the turbo downpipe, I basically got a bit of the 2.25" stainless pipe left over from making the other ZR's exhaust, cut a couple of notches in it and squished it in a vice to make it around the same size as the 1.4 cat section and then welded them together. I've still got to cut it down to the right length and weld the flange on but that shouldn't take too long, I'll do it when I get back from Christmas as I'm going home tomorrow. Today the sealant for the fuel rail and the oil catch can turned up but I haven't fitted them yet as I decided I should really go and get the flywheel covers off the TF. Turns out the intake side one was easy to get off without the manifold in the way but the exhaust side was a massive pain to get to. I ended up disconnecting basically all of the coolant hoses and using every extension I had to get to the bottom one and the top one wasn't much better either. If I do ever end up getting an F I'm definitely going to invest in a lot more different length extensions and flexi joints.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
Got back last night and decided to get a bit done on the turbo today. After plenty of faffing I managed to get the flywheel covers on at long last, I also have a very well mounted boost gauge on the inside of the car now (it's duct taped onto the dash at the minute, I'll mount it properly later) and I roughly fitted the oil catch can. Basically it's just got the pipe that would go to the pre-turbo intake on the ZT going into the inlet and the outlet's just going to atmosphere at the moment. I was planning on blanking off the other breather so all of the oil went into the catch can but I couldn't find anything to block the pipe with. I also stuck some hylomar blue on the fuel rail adapter so hopefully that'll help it stay sealed a bit better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #89 ·
Yeah it's really not ideal but I'm not sure what else I can do at this point. My only hope is that since the leak is now only a very small one and is only when at max pressure it's nearly sealed on it's own so the sealant will just give it that bit more to be sealed properly. I'll only be taking it round the block a few times for now until I'm confident it's working as it should and I'll obviously be taking a fire extinguisher with me. If it still leaks I really don't know what I can do other than get a new rail made up in metal with an adapter which actually threads in but then that's going to have to wait a bit so I can get the money together for it. In the meantime, I cut my exhaust down to the right length and fought with the flange for quite a while as it was a snug fit when the pipe was actually round rather than the oval it was once I'd finished mangling it down to 1.4 exhaust size. Hopefully I'll get that all welded together and fitted tomorrow. I also finished changing the connector on the front lambda sensor so that's plugged in now and I made up a bracket for the catch can and cut the breather pipe down to suit it's new position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Well I got the exhaust finished off today which meant I could reconnect the lambda sensor plug under the passenger seat and bolt that back in. I also fairly securely mounted the battery, hopefully they don't look too closely at it on the MOT. I also got rid of some of the stuff in the back, mostly the ancillaries from the 75 and the knackered driveshafts and hubs that came off so there's a little bit more space back there now. Going to run the car over to a friend's tonight as the uni is getting a bit arsey about it being in the car park and I'll see if the fuel leak is fixed on the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
Well it would seem the fuel leak is fixed now which is always good although the horrendous part throttle knock is still there despite tesco's finest 99. Really not sure how to fix that now, I might see if sticking the alloy manifold on helps next but after that I really don't know. There does seem to be a fair amount of ticking from the injectors so it may be an issue with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #94 ·
Yeah I'm still not 100% sure whether it's pinking/knocking etc or if it's rod knock but it only does it at part throttle at around 1700-2500rpm. Once the 99 octane had worked it's way round the system it did seem to get a bit better but then it was still doing it just as bad when I came to park up so I'm not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #95 ·
Bad news I'm afraid. After fitting the alloy manifold I tried starting it up and firstly the battery was super flat but fortunately my mate had a spare. Unfortunately when I fired it up the knocking was now there at idle and worse throughout the rest of the rev range so I can pretty catagorically say it is rod knock now. That means it's the end of the line for this build, at least for the near future until I can afford and find the space to rebuild the bottom end. For now though the car will get trailered home and I'll go back to trying to keep on top of the other ZR and doing silly things with the Fiat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 ·
Well, after a brief pause in proceedings 😅, I'm back at it again. So the old engine was indeed toast, more toast than I thought as it turns out. I'm pretty sure someone had done a bodge job of a rebuild on it before I got it as 2 of the liners had way too much of the wrong sealant on them, one of the gudgeon pins was loose in the rod and had scored both sides of the liner pretty deeply and one of the big end bearings was spun which was likely the cause of the knock. All bar maybe 2 of the journals on the crank were beyond saving, I'm guessing there was a lot of metal in the oil at some point so I wouldn't really trust the other rods as the gudgeon pins are probably also not the happiest.

So basically there's nothing salvageable from the bottom end as I already knew the block was pitted and had low liners so I did what any reasonable person would do and turned it into a table 😁.


Here's the remains of the spun bearing:


The scored liner:


The excessively spoodged liners:


So in the time since I last posted I've graduated from uni, moved into a house that's meant to be a house share but I've had to myself for the last year or so, bought a new turbo bottom end as well as another NA 1.8, bought my mate's crashed 1.4 ZR, stripped it for spares, bought a 160 ZR with no engine off the uni race team and got it back on the road, put a fully rebuilt 1.8 in my old grey ZR only for it to be taken out by a Ford Ranger 1000 miles later, bought a blue 160 swapped ZR, bought another crashed 1.4 track car that I completely stripped and then sold the other 160 which is where the money for this build has come from. The plan was to put the turbo engine in the 160 when it had no engine but I figured it made more sense to sell that rather than putting the silver one back to a 1.4 to sell however now I've got the blue one which is much nicer in every way so it's going in that now as the vvc engine is not the healthiest at the minute. The silver one has just been sat in my parents garden for nearly 3 years now but I've got a new 1.4 in and nearly ready to go, it just needs a couple of things to get it driveable but I'm getting it towed to Wrexham after christmas to do the rest of the work on it.


Here's the new one, I got it for £500 with no mot, it didn't need much to pass and already had the 160 engine, gearbox and front brakes, Rover BRM interior, black "flocked" trim, some coilovers which weren't meant for a ZR that had been bodged to fit which came off straight away and all the brackets in the engine bay are painted white. Since I've had it I replaced the saggy headliner with some black fake suade, put the white straights that were on my 160 on it, moved the battery to the boot, put the lowering springs and massive alloy radiator and fans that were on the track car I stripped on, installed a switch for the fans on the dash, put some speakers and a stereo in and put the full stainless exhaust that was on my grey one on.

The plan from here is to obviously put the 1.8t in as well as reinstalling aircon, fitting the disc rear hubs I got a little while ago, redo the exhaust in 3" pipe, add a sub and a couple more speakers and probably plenty of other things that bug me or need replacing over the course of the next few months 😛.

So I ordered the bits to build the engine from DMGRS and they showed up today but unfortunately they forgot to send the big end bearings so I've emailed them and hopefully they'll be here soon. In the meantime I've got the crank and liners in and put the oil pump and front and rear main seals in. I've stuck a scrap head on to let the liners set overnight and then I'll gap the rings tomorrow and wait for the bearings to turn up. Got plenty to fix on my Fiat while I wait so never a dull moment 😅.

Here's the turbo bottom end that's been sat under my sofa for the last year:


Here's all the stuff I took out of the silver ZR that was turbo related in a room full of miscellaneous ZR and Fiat parts (I'm definitely not a hoarder 🤫). I think the block I'm using is from a 1.4 but I drilled and tapped a hole to put an AN fitting for the turbo oil drain so it's as good as any


A far far too shiny rear main 😂


And here's the engine as it sits now


So, assuming the bearings don't take too long to come I should have the engine ready to go in by the end of next week at the latest and should have the conversion done by the time I go back to Lincoln for christmas, admittedly last time I said I wanted to get it done by christmas and that was 3 years ago but we can dream 😜.
 

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......one of the gudgeon pins was loose in the rod and had scored both sides of the liner pretty deeply....
I dare bet that they had replaced the con rod or the piston crown - the gudgeon pins are an interference fit, and highly unlikely to hold tight if removed and refitted and therefore very likely to come out and damage the liner as yours had (this was the reason why Rover only ever supplied replacements as a complete con-rod and piston assembly).

You've been away for some time, but you have certainly been busy :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #99 ·
Well after a very messy birthday weekend I started back on the build as the new bearings and a few other bits had turned up but quickly realised the crank was completely refusing to turn with or without the head torqued on so annoyingly I ended up having to take it back apart again. My initial thoughts were possibly the generic fit main bearings were too thick for that crank and block combination as I'd never actually checked the spec and I'd never run into that problem before. As it turned out all the bearings were perfect as they were all 2B but after getting the crank back out with a bit of a fight it turns out there was a bit of residue on the crank where the thrust wahers sit and that had caught on the washer and stopped everything moving. Even worse is that both thrust washers now have fairly deep gouges in them and are toast so that was a waste of £16. I've decided I'm going to use my spare crank and a set of thrust washers I took out of a low milage engine a little while ago but now I've got to wait for some more orange loctite to turn up so I can stick the block back together. Here's one of the thrust washers that came out:


In the meantime I ordered pretty much everything I need once the engine's built to put it in the car so I've got the electric water pump from a Merc Sprinter for the charge cooler loop, a bunch of piping and adapters to fit it to the Fiat radiator, a couple of banjos and other bits to watercool the turbo, some AN pipe and fittings to remake the oil drain and a few other bits and pieces. I've also heat wrapped the exhaust manifold and am planning to wrap the turbo and the downpipe, probably not necessary with a standard turbo but any heat kept from the engine bay is always a win with a K series 😜 . It's not the finest wrapping in the world but it should do the job.


I also have to move my crashed ZR out of the garage that I used to work for so I finally got round to putting 4 wheels back on it, the tracking's not even that far out 🤣.


Well done on graduating! What did you study?

The ZR looks a bargain. Good luck with the work. Don’t forget to enjoy driving the car in between upgrades ;)
Thanks gnu, I was doing automotive engineering, I've not really done much with the qualification since seeing as I've just been delivering pizzas when my cars aren't broken (which they usually are 😅) and I was working in a garage for about 9 months but ended up leaving due to a lack of being paid lol. I'm meant to be starting a new job at a place that makes carbon fibre panels and stuff soon so hopefully I'll be able to convince them to make some bits for MGs 😄. I also started getting involved with the race team at the uni again since I had a lot of time on my hands after I left the garage and built the new engine for their Elise and it actually finished a race for the first time ever, a 12 hour one no less. It did end up having an intermittent misfire which I think is fuel related and a few other electrical gremlins due to the whole loom being a complete mess that we didn't have time to sort. Mechanically though it was perfect, during the race at least. In practice it set itself on fire 3 times due to a gearbox oil leak which ended up being down to a clutch bolt that sheared and punched a hole in the diff housing 😬. Once we'd sorted that though it was fine, the car's getting completely rewired during the off-season and a few other issues are being remedied and then hopefully it'll run nicely all next seaon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #100 ·
Some more bits turned up today, namely all of the piping I'd ordered for the charge cooler so I mocked them up to figure out what I inevitably missed and I've had to order a bit more straight pipe and also a T piece and a couple of pipes to run to the spare ZR reservoir I'm going to be using for it. I also went and grabbed the AC condenser from my crashed car to try to figure out how I'm going to stack 3 heat exchangers from 3 different cars into a ZR where the radiator I've got already sits super far forward while hopefully not interferring too much with the bumper.

The issue I'm having is that the charge cooler rad is smaller than the AC condenser and the mounting holes that I'll be using are on the back plus it has a bleed outlet on the back too as well as the standard mounting brackets which I'll probably just end up hacking off. What I'm probably going to end up doing is using some C channels to bolt to the charge cooler rad with some tabs coming off to mount the AC off the holes where the front fan usually goes. The problem I then have is that to get the bleed outlet to clear the AC I need to mount the charge cooler higher up which means the main outlet goes directly in front of where the AC pipes bolt on. I should be able to find a workaround for that once I've actually started mounting stuff and can see how it all sits but then I have to figure out how to run the charge cooler pipes around the mahoosive engine rad which is wider than the factory rad hole so I might need to cut even more out of the already very hacked front bulkhead.

I've still not had the loctite turn up so no actual progress on the engine building front although I did put the exhaust manifold back on the head so I could feel like I at least did something 🤣 .
 
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