[ROVERNET - UK] butter fingers

Mike Shaddick mikshdik at ozemail.com.au
Mon Sep 11 07:34:47 BST 2006

If you enjoyed Steve Dibdin's dedication, far beyond the call of duty
in bringing a TC  back from the brink, you might like this tale (in a
very much minor key) of a dropped carburettor bolt.  I wrote this
story  for our local Rover Club magazine.

What do you do when the motor loses power and refuses to go uphill at
all?  Firstly, of course, you rev it like mad, slip the clutch quant
suff and drag the car screaming (literally) up hill to the garage.

You pull off the pipes to the carburettors, switch on the ignition
and watch the freely flowing petrol cascading to the garage floor.
Thanking your lucky stars you are no longer a smoker, a new set of
plugs is fitted.  Everyone knows that seven plugs fit in easily in a
P6B  but the eighth, the one below the brake and clutch fluid tank
will try the patience of a saint.

This is done, but with no discernible improvement.  You knew it all
along really, and you can¹t blame the fuel pump anymore, so now you
decide to bite the bullet and tackle the needles.  Sure enough, one
needle has slipped out of its retaining cap. Taking care to put the
carburettor mounting bolts in a secure place, you screw the needle
back in place, assemble everything, including spring and go for a
test drive.  All goes well for about half a mile, then the engine
runs out a breath again.  Carb off (you know which is the offending
item now) and, much to the delight of passing ankle biters (this is
outside a primary school at four in the afternoon), you drop the
needle, drop the spring (fortunately on the grass), pick up the
needle, pick up the spring, screw the whole thing together and
scuttle back home.

Time to get serious about that needle.  The carb is unscrewed yet
again and the offending needle, spring and cap are reassembled
"properly". With a little help from your friends  and aided by a
teeny tiny drop of solder, the needles are set more or less properly.
Now to put the carb back together.  Two of the bolts fall right in
the mounting holes.  The third gets dropped by clumsy fingers and can
be seen lying on top of the inlet manifold and under the air cleaner.
Air cleaner is off in a matter of moments and  there lies the errant
bolt, on top of the manifold and within easy reach of a set of long
tweezers.  Life should be so easy.  The bolt slips from the grasp of
the tweezers.  As you know, the inlet manifold on the Buick / Rover
V8 has obviously been designed by the same spiteful person as
configured the rear  brakes of a P6.  The manifold has been cast with
holes big enough to drop a bolt right through, but small enough to
prevent questing fingers following the bolt.

This has all the makings of a long evening.  Using a lamp and a
mirror, it is possible to sight the bolt, lying on the floor of the
valley, out of reach of the tweezers and not responsive to any number
of bits of wire (some with hooks or loops).  Well, tis said  that
necessity  is the mother of invention. Hanging on the garage wall is
a wide, toothed, fan belt belonging my wife¹s car.  Out comes the
Stanley Knife and with slash, there goes a very gallant fan belt.
Following the progress with the mirror (actually a wing mirror spare)
lying up against the bulkhead / firewall, the belt is shoved into the
valley from the front of the engine.  With several slips and false
starts and much general fiddling about, the bolt is coaxed ever
further back until that magic moment when it can be grabbed by the

Putting the bolt back  in and tightening all three, refitting the air
filter and lubricating the dash pots is all a bit of an anti climax.
Explaining the severed fan belt to Gill is another issue.


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