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Rover Metro and 100 (1990 - 1998)

Last updated 5 October 2013

 
3

Buying Guide

Good

  • Decent new K-Series 1.1 and 1.4 engines.
  • End-on gearbox and up to 5-speeds at last.
  • Front-end rust traps largely eliminated.
  • Better built than Austin Metro and generally reliable.
  • Simple CVT auto originally worked well - far less troublesome than Ford and Fiat CVTs.
  • Comfortable. I've done 450 miles in a day in a Metro CVT.
  • Decent fuel consumption.
  • Iron block 1.4 TUD diesel engine comes from Citroen AX and Peugeot 106.
  • Good visibility.
  • Restyled Rover Metro. CVT auto was one of the best. 
  • Rovers generally had slightly below average warranty repair costs in 2003 Warranty Direct Reliability index (index 93.69 v/s lowest 31.93), just beating Nissan. Link:- www.reliabilityindex.co.uk

Bad

  • Cramped cabin due to bigger, more luxurious seats in same size body as original Metro.
  • Heavy, non-power-assisted steering - the wider the tyres the heavier it is.
  • Diesel very slow and not that economical if worked hard.

Watch

  • Oil leaks from engine.
  • Cracked cylinder heads (look for mayo under oil cap). Head gasket leaks due to stretched or re-used stretch bolts which go all the way to the sump.
  • Tappety noises.
  • Abused 16-valve versions.
  • Kerbed alloy wheels (suspect suspension damage). Many went to driving schools.
  • Some were built long before they were UK registered.
  • Rear wheel studs come loose from hubs.
  • If twin-cam 16v K-Series suffers cabin boom at idle the engine mount is worn at the timing belt end(not enough rubber). Replacement mounts £48 + VAT. Check rear wheel arches for rust or bodge.
  • First places to look for rust and filler are the gutter seams and rear wheel arches.
  • K-Series engine inlet manifold 'O' rings tend to perish between 25 - 30,000 miles.
  • Head gasket failure common because very low coolant capacity of engine means small leaks rapidly lead to overheating. Weakest point is water heated inlet manifold gasket.
  • Rear wheel arches highly prone to corrosion.
  • Central locking solenoids fail regularly.
  • Radiator matrix apt to get blocked with mud and flies, then the fins disintegrate. Not good on engines highly sensitive to cooling system problems.
  • Misfires on K-Series commonly caused by failed resistor in rotor arm or by water ingress to coil as well as faulty ECU.
  • Check CVT carefully for clunks selecting drive (failing electromagnetic clutch) and jerky running when on the move (failing CVT bands). Needs fresh transmission fluid every 2 years and must always be kept up to the level.
  • K-Series engine inlet manifold 'O' rings tend to perish between 25 - 30,000 miles.
  • Head gasket failure common because very low coolant capacity of engine means small leaks rapidly lead to overheating. Weakest point is water heated inlet manifold gasket.
  • Rear wheel arches highly prone to corrosion.
  • Central locking solenoids fail regularly.
  • Radiator matrix apt to get blocked with mud and flies, then the fins disintegrate. Not good on engines highly sensitive to cooling system problems.
  • Misfires on K-Series commonly caused by failed resistor in rotor arm or by water ingress to coil as well as faulty ECU. 

AROnline buying guide

Rover 100 

Engine and transmission:

The K-Series engine is generally reliable, but does have a tendancy to leak oil. Head gaskets are known to be weak, and will eventually go even on a well maitained car. If this is not rectified immediatly many cars will just go on, but many will need a new head later. It is in any case expensive not to repair this immediatly, as the coolant hoses will need replacement when in contact with oil for too long. However, if the car has been treated properly (regular serviceing, correct coolant strength, allowing engine to warm up before hard revving,) they should be OK. (check for oil in coolant and water in oil). GTa and GTi models are very likely to have been through a hard life, so a service history is essential on these models. Make sure the cambelt has been changed at 60,000 miles.

There are no major issues with the Peugeot sourced TU engine.

The R84/R85 manual boxes are generally fine in the Metro application, however they can make some noise from the input shaft bearing, and can crunch into reverse. This is nominal, and shouldn’t give cause for concern. It is also worth noting that it can cause problems on the higher powered cars; there have been cases of broken gears. Early gearboxes can leak oil through the breather (which could be replaced with the later breather).

Suspension, steering and brakes:

The Moulton Hydragas setup on the R6 is a joy, and really does give a big-car feel to a small car, however watch for the car being down on one side (particularly at the front) as this could indicate a worn hydragas displacer, however it could just need a pump-up.

Check the rear radius arms for play (an MoT failure) – if these have not been properly maintained, you will be able to easil spot an offending car by its negative camber angle on the rear wheels. In many cases then the rear arms are not saveable by this time and will need expensive replacement.

This is also the same for the front top arm: these have grease nipples and are frequently forgotten.

The steering is generally very direct, with no power assistance. Main things to check for are worn gaiters.

Brakes are generally OK, however the handbrake is manually adjusted and the adjusters have a tendancy to stick. Some WD-40 and a quality brake adjusting spanner should free this off.

Body and chassis:

The main enemy of any Metro/100 is rust. Rear wheel arches, floorpans and outer sills are known to be weak spots. Get the car on ramps and check the floor/sills for bodged repairs. Rear repair panels are commonly available (and cheap), so there is NO excuse for bodging here.

Interior:

Generally very hard-wearing but more visible on lighter coloured interiors.

Electrical system:

Generally reliable. A nice simple system produces few problems. however on later Metros (’93-95), ensure that if there is no remote keyfob, the alarm/immobiliser has been disabled, as the immobilser ECU is under the facia, and the facia will reqiure removal to access this.

On Rover 100s ensure the 4-digit immobiliser code is supplied (about £10 from a dealer) to allow the alarm to be de-activated should the remote keyfob fail.

On the 16v versions the alternator suffers the heat build-up from the exhaust manifolds and will eventually pack up – look out for the heat shield of the alternator. Engine ECU’s are known to stop working at about 10 years. Central locking and electric windows can give additional trouble.

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