Technical Supplement No BKTSZ001 - Buyers Guide

The Rover P4 Drivers Guild make every effort to ensure that the information and advice published is reliable and make proper reference to safety procedures. We are unable to accept responsibility for injury, damage or loss resulting from omission or error.

Workshop Manual Reference

Not applicable

Compiled: Barry Kensett

This revision 18 January 2014



Prospective buyers should submit their prospective purchase to a thorough inspection and invoke the assistance of technical experts if they do not have the competence themselves. Although the cars were well built in reation to the standards of their day, the youngest of these cars are now thirty five years old and their condition will reflect the care abd attention that they have been given throughout their life. Their are particular areas of the cars which show distess with age and mileage and some guidance is given here.


High mileage should not exclude a car from consideration for purchase.

Early 2106 cc engines (1949-1954) have white metal bearings and by-pass filtration for which cartridges have been difficult to obtain. If engine has been run with poor filtration, wear can have occurred. Later 60,75,90 and 105 cars use the spread bore engine and a frequent problem is wear of the camshaft and followers which gives out a tapping noise. The 95, 100 and 110 cars have seven main bearing engines developed for the P5 and are less prone to valvegear problems but can still wear on high mileage cars.

Inlet valve O rings can harden and cause blue smoke, particularly when accelerating after a long downgrade. This condition is not serious. Water pump seal to the head on a 110 can leak which requires head removal to fix. Oil consumption on P4's is quite high and should not cause alarm.

The 80 engine is a four cylinder push rod motor which is robust albeit not so refined as the sixes. It can suffer timing chain rattles.


Gearboxes and generally reliable, later model more so due to improved bearings. Many early cars are fitted with freewheel and later cars with overdrive including the unique 105R which has a form of semi-automatic change. Overdrive problems are usually due to solenoid faults.

Running gear

King pins last well unless lubricated with grease which will cause failure. These are quite expensive to replace. Front suspension rubber bushes wear, particularly on the upper links, and are the usual cause of poor steering. The cars are front heavy and do not handle well on cornering. Some improvement can be had by fitting radial tyres but then parking forces are high and the spare wheel will not fit in the stowage. Hand brakes are often a problem due to rusting of the protection box at the base of the lever and ingress of road dirt. Also the mechanism on the back plate can seize and it is also important that the cylinders are free on the back plates.


Chassis was very robust when built but there are some problem areas. These are the body support outriggers and jacking points, particularly at the front. The upswept area over the rear axle can rust, particularly on later models. Main problem areas can be repaired and some sections are available. Major chassis work would entail body removal after which normal welding techniques can be applied.


There are a number of rust traps on the body and these should be carefully checked, particularly the front wings around the lamps, the top rear end of the front wings and the boxed area at the back of the front wings where damage to the scuttle structure is common. Front and rear valances and the adjoining wing areas are prone to rust, also the lower rear wing section.

Water can collect on the sills causing rust which can extend forward into the front door hinge area (see picture below) causing the hinge to drop. Hinge pins are prone to wear if not lubricated but these can be repaired or replaced. Damage can extend to the base of the B/C post. Later 95 and 110 cars have steel doors which can rust.

Earlier cars had alloy doors which can be fitted to later models but it should be noted that dented or damaged alloy doors are more difficult to repair than steel. Later 95 and 110 cars have steel doors which can rust. Earlier cars had alloy doors which can be fitted to later models but it should be noted that dented or damaged alloy doors are more difficult to repair than steel. Rust can occur round the junction of the rear wings and the inner arches, also extending to the boot floor, particularly at the outer corners. The spare wheel door is prone to rust. New body panels are virtually non existent but repair sections for the main problem areas are readily available and with skilled welding the bodies can be repaired but the time taken must be weighed against the option of finding a better example. Care should be taken when considering replacing panels from other cars - they were selectively fitted and adjusted at the factory and considerable difficulty can be experienced in getting panels and doors to line up.

Pre-Purchase Check List

A suggested check list has been prepared by Brian Griffiths and is attached here as a Word Document suitable for printing.

To see this click here.




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©B.Kensett and B Griffiths 2014 & 2007