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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was watching Pulling Power on ITV1 last night and they did a feature on the Rover K Series engines and how it was featured in loads of cars from Rovers, MG's, Lotus, Cateram's, and Land Rover.

Not sure what he was banging on about but I use to have a 400 with a 1.6 K series engine in it and I thought it sounded harsh, unrefined and at 82K it blew up, what a load of cack I thought. My brother has the 2.0 lump in his GSI and even that sounded really crap/didnt go.

But obviously the engines in the better cars (lotus/mgs) are better right? When I use to work for Universal, they always had a huge interest from people wanting to buy 2ndhand k series engines for projects. So whats people views on this lump? I for one think its crap
 

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My mum has an MG ZR 105. I dont know if it uses a K series engine but I think its a load of pants. Its performance is low and it sounds very harsh to me. Cant tell my mum though cos she will defend that car to its grave. She loves it!
 

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I had a 420 GSI sport and the engine was great. It did need to be driven hard to get the best out of it though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
PJ, my brother had one and like you said, it needed to be driven hard to be any good. still it was given him loads of problems and that was around the 70-80k mark.
 

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FYI - The K Series engines are only the 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 versions. The 2 litre rover engine is/was the T Series and is a different beast ( a dog!).

I think the K Series engines are interesting for kit car applications because the basic engine size is the same regardless of capacity (except block height) and has an alloy block as well as cylinder head, making it relatively lightweight when compared against many of the other commonly available Ford/Vauxhall engines.
 

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Yep agreed with Rally Chris. The 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 K-series engines are generally of interest for kit cars and track-day specials mainly because they are:

1. Aluminium therefore lightweight.

2. Can take quite a bit of punishment.

3. Nice and fast revving.

4. Tuning potential.

5. Good bhp/litre and bhp/tonne - especially in VHPD form.

Also, don't forget the KV6 engines. Same principles as the K-series but 6 cylinders and in 2-litre or 2.5 litre forms. I believe some companies are now tuning these for racing.

Rover seem to get a lot of stick for the unreliability of the K-series, which in the case of their own cars is fair enough. But the fact remains that the majority of the problems associated with Elises, Caterhams, etc are due to the engine being tuned, but then strengthend incorrectly. The "strengthening" often weakens the block, which despite it's age, was a solid design from the start and can take quite a lot of punishment without any changes. There was an article on this in Evo some time ago.

Some details on the K-series here : http://www.roversd1.nl/sd1web/k-series.html
 

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The 2 litre rover engine is/was the T Series and is a different beast ( a dog!).

I couldn't get past one of these, just about matched it for speed, a 420Gsi, they're only rated at 136 bhp aren't they ?
 

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Aren't loads of Rover owners having problems with head gaskets blowing on K-series engines? I remember reading somewhere that Rover engineers used a motorbike engine as their inspiration. Initially the engine wasn't intended to go above 1.4 litres, but they managed to squeeze 1.8 litres out of it by using a different type of cylinder liner and increasing the stroke.

As for the 2.0 T-series engine, I used to have a 220 hatchback, and it wasn't bad for a bog-standard 2 litre engine. Strangely, the head gasket went in that as well, at less than 60000 miles.
 

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Yes the head gasket problem does exist,

I'm told on the 1.6 it is the worst.

Suposidly bolts that hold the head in place are longer than normal and stretch slightly over time and reving, causing the gasket to blow.
 

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Actually, come to think of it, following my last post i've remembered that my dad had some Rovers in the past and they blew head gaskets like they were going out of fashion.

He had several cars that had engines based on the old old O-Series 2.0 Turbo. Very powerful engine....but boy those buggers blew head gaskets.

As for the T-Series 2.0. He had a 420 and a 620 and they were lovely engines at the time. Bit past it now, but at the time superb power and delivery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Aha! that would explain it then! I had 1.6 and when the engine blew, it blew a massive hole in the engine like I had never seen before and this was at 82K!
 

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i had the rover 25 with the 1.6 k-series unit. it lacked punch & refinement and gave me nothing but problems over just 6 months of ownership. so, no more rover for me please.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
couldnt agree more. That was my last car a Rover 416 (pre 45 shape) and it stank! In 1 year (it was 4 years old I think), the gearbox, clutch, ECU and then finally engine, all went. I called out the AA 4 times in 1 year and have never made so much use of it! I was thinking they might start charging me extra if I had to call them out another couple of times.

Even went through the trouble of doing up the car (why? I wonder that now with my head in my hands) and did a few mods at Moto-Build.
 

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Didn't the old 416 have a Honda engine? My father had a 416GTi and it was definitely a rebadged Honda. Nice engine. He then had a 420GSi tourer with the T series engine. Again not bad but the head gasket went. I had a 220GTi with the older M series which was more powerful and faster than the T series. It was totally reliable.

My mother now has a 45 with the 1.8 CVT. It's actually pretty good but the interior plastics are very poor quality.
 

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Yeah I think they are mainly reffering to the engine in the MG 1.8VVC and Elise, and the 200Vi (which is seriously quick)? I drove a 1999 MGF VVC for a summer and it was bloody brilliant - sounded great, very quick car and embrassed many GTIs - ask Fran who sold his GTI and got a VVC, great car...

But the head gasket thing is an issue! I only had the VVC from 5000-14000 miles too
 

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The 1.8 VVC K-Series is an awesome engine, my BRM is very quick - Vi with Traction and Close-ratio box. It had a new engine at 51k miles though due to HGF!
 

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The head gasket failure problems is due to a bad batch of head gaskets only, and affects many models of the K series. I think the list of users of the K series says it all really.....Lotus for example, Caterham etc. These are not KIT CARS, but specilaist performance cars. They choose the K series cos of its light weight, efficient design, robustness/reliability and tunability, as well as cost of course. There is a modified version available now, which is stronger, but I dont think many cars were affected by HGF, as a percentage. Not as many % wise as 1.8T engines suffer coilpacks or MAF problems anyway!!

In many years tuning N/A cars, and building tuned motors, from ford / vw / vauxhaul and rover, only the old 2 litre 16 v vauhaul engine come close to the k series!! The 1.8 K series can make 230+ hp on throttle bodies, and the rev range is phenomenal. A std k seires 1.6 16v motor will anahialate all other rep mobile engines on the road and dyno, indeed the 1.4 is a potent as most 1.6s! No doubt about it, the K series is a gem of a motor, hence Lotus, Caterham etc use them!

I blew a 216 up in 1998, but then when you shift to 2nd not 4th at 95mph at the end of the slip rd on the m25, and it revs round to over 10k, its no surprise really!! Oh and they replaced it under warranty for me,......!! Imagine VW doing that!!

Go along with Zugun on the VVC engine, in std it is very good, and torquey with loads of revs, much nicer motor than the honda vtech, although untimately not as powerful. However, the tunability of the VVC is limited a little by the VVC system, it can go to about 185hp or so, but then you need to junk the cams and VVC. This is why many tuners use the 1.8 non VVC engine as a base.

My BRM will do 75mph in 2nd gear!! Thet really fly these motors, and love being caned!! I think some people mistake a revvable performance motor as being harsh just cos the rev!! 16v golf mk2s always sounded harsher than the 8vs, but only cs they would rev round to 7k, not 6k max of a 8v!!
 
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