Rover v8 Hot Rod Stereo / Cooling System

Published on 24 June 2024 at 09:12

Before I got started on the stereo and cooling system I needed to do a couple of repairs - firstly the left rear brake caliper had seized from being sat for nearly 2 years and secondly the alternator that I have never tested before proved to be faulty. I purchased both items on line, I couldn't find an alternator the same as the one I originally used so new brackets and a new adjuster had to be made. The caliper was much easier, fit, bleed, test, paint - the easiest job I have had to do in a long time.

I decided to turn my attention too the stereo, which may seem like an odd thing to do but money is scarce at the moment and I had some speakers out of my broken Jag XF piece of shit so I thought I might as well use them. They are by Bowers and Wilkins, although the labels say both Jaguar and made in China so make of that what you will. Anyway, high end audio has always been a favourite subject for me, I used to run 2 in line businesses where I sold refurbished hifi gear. Putting speakers in cars and getting a decent sound is quite an art - it's easy to make it loud but getting the sound to be hifi quality is a whole different issue. Right from the beginning I had designed the car to have a fairly large speaker enclosure but the Jag units were designed to operate in doors rather than the vast open area of a boot. They were also designed to operate with tweeters providing the top end treble and a sub woofer providing the deep bass.

initially I tried them on just a baffle board, two pairs, one speaker on each of the Sony head units 4 outputs. I have the same head unit in my Works Mini and the sound is pretty good in there so knew what it could do. It sounded absolutely awful - no bass, no treble, flat, no energy, just horrible. I got my calculator out and worked out the ideal size of box, I had to compromise it a bit because my space was limited by the two support bars for the seat belt mount being in the way but I figured it would be close enough. The enclosure only took in the two inner speakers, wired to the two rear channels, this was cool because it allowed me to fade between front and rear so I could hear the difference and what a difference it was!! I had to add tweeters, the Jag rear doors were raided for these 1 inch soft dome items. I set the crossover at about 6khz by using 6.8 microfarad capacitors, same as on the Jag so assumed to be about right. The sound really came alive and the sound pressure level increased significantly. I am still lacking the very low down bass - the 32 hz equaliser band does very little but the quality is really good. I am going to try adding a bass port to improve things a bit but am expecting adding a sub woofer will be the way to go - it's all good fun.

ne thing I would say - if you are doing your own experiments take great care to ensure that the polarity of your speakers is correct - out of phase speakers sound awful and most of the bass they produce will be cancelled out. To check it fade fully to the rear, then adjust the balance left to right, if the bass dies off with the balance central your phasing is incorrect. Do the same with it faded fully to the front, then set the fader to the middle and check the phase is correct front to rear. If you have one speaker wrong you are wasting your time doing anything else.

I need another pair of tweeters now, I have a pair on order, I also need to make some enclosures for the outer speakers because comparing the outers to the inners is night and day and I think it will all sound much better with all four channels properly tuned. The problem I have is designing an enclosure that is big enough with the rear wheel tubs being in the way. I have an idea, which I shall be trying when I have more time.

so on to the cooling system, I have only been able to do very short engine runs up until now but with a working alternator it was time to fill the system, check for leaks and then run it properly up to temperature. Before I could do that I had to make some adapters on my lathe to join the heater inlet and outlet to the Rover's differently sized heater pipes. It didn't take long, they were fitted and rubber hoses cut to length so I now had a complete system, or so I thought. I started filling up and got a wet foot where I had an open outlet on the radiator, I had to make a blanking plug for that. With that sorted I put more water in, this time it came flooding out the water pump because a bolt was missing, a bolt that I didn't have. I had to make one, fortunately I had the correct sized UNC die and a longer bolt that I was able to modify t do the job.

Once again I filled the system, it took a huge amount off water but at least it now looked like it was water tight. It didn't take long for the big old inefficient v8 to heat that lot up, as it did so I saw one small leak from one of the heater hoses - just a nip with a screwdriver sorted that, there was also a very slight seep from the gasket near cylinder number 5 - a quick tweak of the 9/16 bolt sorted that one.

The temperature rose steadily and everything looked good until it got to about 90 degrees, when it became obvious that the thermostat wasn't opening. I let it go up a couple more degrees to make sure the fan cut in, which it did  but as the thermostat was firmly shut there was no coolant going through the radiator so the fan did nothing of any real benefit, I stopped the test there and then. Rover v8's really don't like being over heated so any further testing will have to wait until I get a new stat fitted. They are less than a tenner but a critical component, I have gone for an 82 degree one rather than the standard 88. I am still considering whether to drop the fan switch temperature down from 95 to 85 degrees so the fan kicks in earlier. I will see how it goes, it's easy enough to do, I always have the second emergency fan I can flick on if the temperature continues to rise.

at least now I can run it for extended periods, which allows me to fine tune the twin SU carbs and set the ignition timing more accurately.

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