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Rootes ‘Arrow’ Rapier

Published: 16th Jun 2011 - 1 Comments

Rootes ‘Arrow’ Rapier
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The ‘Arrow’ range covers a wide variety of models and specifications vary according to individual version; some aspects were also changed during production.

Note 1: Mileage/time intervals shown are suggested for typical use; frequency may need to be increased under harsh operating conditions.
Note 2: The ‘Arrow’ range covers a wide variety of models and specifications vary according to individual version; some aspects were also changed during production.
Note 3: Data relates to 1725cc Sunbeam Alpine, Rapier and H120 models as examples; other versions are generally similar but consult manufacturer’s literature for full details of each aspect of maintenance, specific to your particular model).


Firing order: 1-3-4-2 (No. 1 cylinder at front).
Spark plugs: Champion N9Y, AC 42XLS or equivalent. Gap 0.025in. Check/clean every 6000 miles or annually; renew regardless every 12,000 miles.
Contact points: Gap 0.015in., corresponding with dwell angle reading of 60 +/- 3 degrees (Lucas 25D4 distributor), or 51 +/- 5 degrees (45D4 unit). In each case, check/clean points every 3000 miles or annually (whichever comes first); inspect contact faces for pitting. Renew points regardless every 6000 miles. Distributor cap, rotor arm and high tension leads: Every 3,000 miles, clean and check condition, ensuring also that all connections are sound.
Distributor - mechanical aspects: At every service, apply a few drops of engine oil to the distributor shaft and to the mechanical advance/retard mechanism, also SPARINGLY apply high melting point grease to the distributor cam.
Timing (static): Check every 3000 miles. Nominal static setting is 7 to 9 degrees Before Top Dead Centre (BTDC); however for the H120 the setting is 6 to 8 degrees BTDC. In each case minor re-adjustment may be required after road testing.


All units are overhead valve (pushrod), in-line four-cylinder types
Alpine: 1725cc 74bhp
Rapier: 1725cc 82bhp
H120: 1725cc 95bhp

Valve clearances

With engine hot, check/re-adjust clearances as required at least every 12,000 miles. Inlet and exhaust clearances are 0.013in. Adjustment is by conventional screw and locknut but the conventional ‘Rule of Nine’ practice doesn’t apply. From front of power unit, valves run exhaust-inlet-exhaust-inlet-inlet-exhaustinlet- exhaust. Slowly rotate crankshaft until No. 4 cylinder’s exhaust valve is fully open, then check/re-adjust clearance on No. 1 cylinder’s exhaust valve. Now rotate crankshaft until No. 3 cylinder’s inlet valve is open, and check/re-adjust clearance on No. 2 cylinder’s inlet valve. Continue rotating crankshaft and check/re-adjust as follows: With No. 2 cylinder’s exhaust valve open, check/re-adjust clearance on No. 3. With No. 4 cylinder’s inlet valve open, check/re-adjust clearance on No. 1. With No. 1 cylinder’s exhaust valve open, check/re-adjust clearance on No. 4. With No. 2 cylinder’s inlet valve open, check/re-adjust clearance on No. 3. With No. 3 cylinder’s exhaust valve open, check/re-adjust No. 2. With No. 1 cylinder’s inlet valve open, check/re-adjust clearance on No. 4.

Sundry items

Every 3000 miles, or annually (whichever comes first)... Clean the crankcase ventilation valve (rinse in clean paraffin) and pipework. Note that the valve is not fitted to the H120. Check the cleanliness and security of all electricalconnections, and assess the wiring. Establish the clutch fluid condition and level; renew the fluid if necessary.Watch for leaks from the clutch master and slave cylinders. Lubricate the clutch pedal pivots and the slave cylinder’s clevis pin. Check the condition and security of all running gear components and suspension mounting bushes; include in your examination the springs, shock absorbers, steering box, drop arm, relay lever and its mountings, centre track rod, track rod sockets and steering arms. Check also the alignment of the track rod sockets on their ball pins. Scrutinise the exhaust system for corrosion/damage. Examine/check-tighten the fasteners securing the carburettor(s) and manifolds. Closely examine the underbody for damage and rectify paint blemishes. Check the propeller shaft’s universal joints for wear/damage. Check/re-tighten as required all underbody nuts and bolts (ensure that the engine and gearbox mountings are included). Lubricate all hinges and catches (wipe off excess lubricant) . Clean out all under-wing crevices (a pressure washer or hose can be used), and ensure that all drain apertures are unobstructed.

Fuel system

Every 3000 miles or annually (whichever comes first), inspect all fuel system pipework/connections and (on examples fitted with Stromberg carbs) check/top up piston damper oil level; add oil as required (fill to within 1/4in. of chamber top). Inspect/clean the gauze filter in the fuel pump, also sparingly lubricate the carburettor linkages. Every 12,000 miles (or sooner if the element(s) appear(s) to be choked), renew the air filter element(s). Alpines have a single filter element to serve the single carburettor; the Rapiers (with twin Strombergs) and the H120s (twin Webers) have individual filters for each carb.
Note: Don’t forget to set the air intake pipe to the ‘summer’ or ‘winter’ position, as appropriate. Carburettor re-adjustment (every 3000 miles) should only be attempted after the valve clearances and all ignition settings have been checked/set, and with the engine fully warmed up.Use proprietary do-it-yourself equipment for synchronising twin carburettors (where fitted), and consult workshop manual for detailedmodel-specific adjustment information (especially on twin-choke Webers). Alpine: Alternately rotate the jet adjuster (at the base of the single Stromberg carburettor) and slow running screws to obtain the smoothest possible tickover. Rapier (fitted with twin Strombergs): Adjustment is as for the Alpine, but both carburettors need to be synchronised (please see workshop manual). H120 (equipped with twin Webers): Before carrying out any adjustments, check the condition of the carburettors’ ‘O’ ring rubber mountings (they can deteriorate). These carbs are complex to set up properly and you may find it best to leave it to a specialist.


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User Comments

This review has 1 comments

  • The car TDU258H shown was exported to New Zealand in August 2010 and now undergoing a major rebuild to remove rust and preserve it. Any information from prior owners is welcome to the abovementioned e-mail address.

    Comment by: Brian Baylis     Posted on: 13 Feb 2012 at 01:16 AM

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