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More on replacement RV8 hoods
Mike Lane (Oxford Blue 0855) from Andover recently had a number of replacement hoods fitted and found discrepancies. (July 07)

My earlier RV8NOTE262 highlighted a problem I had found with replacement hoods for the RV8 - there are two types of hood frame! From my further investigations I have been able to assemble more information on the points fellow RV8 enthusiasts should consider very carefully when contemplating a hood replacement. The information here is based on my experiences with three replacement hoods - it has been a frustrating and puzzling time!

First replacement hood
My first new hood was purchased against the original Part No ZKC5279 via eBay from a well-known MG supplier - MG Services Heathrow. Fitting by the supplier was not available at that time but they suggested that I arrange this with a local coach trimmer, which I did. The hood was delivered promptly in secure packaging and the quality looked good. The local trimmer fitted the hood but found it was very tight across the width and sat too high above the side glass, so much so that water easily entered the cockpit and flooded the foot wells. Following a period to allow the erected new hood to settle on the frame, the fit did not improve. I spoke with the supplier and offered to take the car to MG Services Heathrow but I was advised to take it to the original manufacturer - Coventry Hood and Tonneau at Telford.

Second replacement hood
Coventry Hood and Tonneau fitted another one from their stock with very similar results. During that work it became apparent that RV8 hood frames varied in head clearance. Once they realised that it was not the fault of my local coach trimmer they then said another hood (No 3) would need to be specially made to suit my hood frame. This was to be fitted at a later date. At this point I chose the blue fabric.

Third replacement hood
A third replacement hood in a blue material was then manufactured to measurements taken from my hood frame and I returned to have it fitted at the Telford CHT works. This time the hood was fitted without any problems and there were much better results. The good news is CHT has assured me that they now know what to do to overcome these hood size variances.

Whilst I did not have to pay additional costs for the hoods, unfortunately I lost two days travelling to Telford and back from Andover and the expense had to be for my account. So I cannot say the first and second hoods were defective as they were well made - they just did not fit the frame on my RV8! I notice the eBay advert posted by MG Services Heathrow now covers the variable hood frame difficulty by requiring you to provide the key dimensions of the existing hood with your order!

So three conclusions for fellow RV8 enthusiasts considering a replacement RV8 hood
Coventry Hood and Tonneau at Telford seem well worth dealing with if you need a replacement hood as they did a good job fitting a good quality replacement hood to Mike's RV8. They now know what to do to overcome these hood size variances.

MG Services Heathrow adverts for RV8 replacement hoods on eBay now seek the key dimensions of your existing hood with your order so they can supply a hood which will fit your hood frame. The present link is worth visiting so long as the present stocks last. Link

It is advisable to use the original hood as a pattern for any replacement if the existing hood on your RV8 is a good fit and does not leak.

Why would there be two hood types?
It has been suggested that following the launch of the RV8, MG Rover received complaints of poor height clearance from some RV8 owners. Certainly there were a number of comments in the years immediately after the launch that the headroom in the RV8 could be a difficulty for some tall people until the leather seats had settled a little. Well following those complaints it seems MG Rover introduced a higher hood frame but they did not change the frame part number. I am not sure how true this is as my initial investigations indicate that cars manufactured well after my RV8 (VIN 0855) have the lower (presumably the original pattern?) hood frame. However I am aware that the cars did not actually pass down the production line in correct chassis number order so the exact change point for the new hood frame in terms of chassis number may not be certain.

How can we check whether there are two hood frame sizes?
The manufacturer's hood frame serial number plate is another useful piece of information and I am hopeful it may be possible to identify the Tickford serial number change point for the higher hood frame. The serial number can generally be found between the offside outer hood side frame and the hood (in the area adjacent with the headrest) and is better seen if the hood is semi-erect and slack. Dr Gavin Bailey has commented "the Tickford labels are often missing from the hood frames as they are only lightly glued on" so you may find you cannot determine the serial number of your hood frame.

Serial number on the Tickford label. (Photo: Mike Lane)

So what are the costs of a replacement RV8 hood?
The advertised costs on the MG Services Heathrow advert on eBay as at 27th July 2007 are set out below.


First replacement hood was purchased against the original Part No ZKC5279 via eBay from a well-known MG supplier (MG Services Heathrow). Fitting was not available at that time and they suggested that I arrange this with a local coach trimmer, which I did. The hood was quickly delivered in secure packaging and the quality looked good. The local trimmer fitted the hood but found it was very tight across the width and sat too high above the side glass, so much so that water easily entered the cockpit and flooded the foot wells. Following a period to allow the erected new hood to settle on the frame, the fit did not improve. (Photo: Mike Lane)

Near side screen fixing press-stud was too short on the first replacement hood on Mike Lane's car. (Photo: Mike Lane)


Second replacement hood was another stock hood supplied and fitted by the original manufacturer, Coventry Hood & Tonneau via MG Services Heathrow, with very similar results. (Photo: Mike Lane)


Third replacement hood (blue) fitted by the Coventry Hood & Tonneau at their Telford works is a much better fit along the top edge of the nearside window and on the back edge of the nearside window glass by the press-stud. (Photo: Mike Lane)


Near side screen fixing press-stud on the third hood fits much better and provides essential weather protection. (Photo: Mike Lane)

Good weather seal between the side window and hood
Mike has also noted many replacement hoods have additional small extension pieces fitted so that the lower side press studs can engage. He also notes that some cars have a tight hood material to door glass fit on one side of the car but not on the other whilst others have a gap all round on both sides of the car. Further investigation on this point has resulted in a discrepancy being noted between one side to the other of about 10 mm in the diagonal dimension between the centre of the lower side press-stud and the top corner of the screen frame. This may account for the near side screen fixing press-stud being too short on my car. But more data is needed to understand how just how widespread this problem may be.

What an experience - three replacement hoods to get one that would fit!

Looking back on his experience, Mike comments "all I wanted was a replacement hood with a good fit a hood of the same quality as the original".
Sadly it took three hoods and a great deal of time to get there but at least we now have a recommended RV8 replacement hood supplier and fitter.
Webpage posted: 27.7.07
Copy of the advertisement by MG Services Heathrow on eBay on 27th July 2007

Replacement MG RV8 hood ZKC5279
Brand new ''Stayfast'' hood as original
Heavy duty ''Vyback'' rear window
Hood is complete with all correct fittings
Manufactured by OE supplier
Superb quality and indistinguishable from original
Hoods may be fitted in Telford - fitting charge £235
We also stock the hood cover and full tonneau and stowage bags in original specification materials
Cost of the replacement RV8 hood
£
Supply replacement RV8 hood
375.00
Postage costs
11.75
Fitting by CHT Telford
235.00
Total cost
621.75

(VAT position to be clarified)

Link to eBay advert
Please note that at some stage during production MG Rover changed the hood frame to give better head room - this change is not documented in the parts catalogue - there are therfore differences in the hoods by up to nearly 3''. Upon purchase we will require you to measure your old hood to ensure we send you the correct hood for your car - customers will appreciate therefore if the measurements they supply differ from our ''stock'' measurements - hoods will be manufactured to order and may take 4 weeks to supply. Please use the contact seller option with your measurement across the first hood bow of the frame from top of window each side (Please note this is not the header rail which attaches to windscreen) and we will confirm availability before purchase - we will post a picture shortly.

We also manufacture hoods in mohair in various colours to order.
Mini Survey of RV8 hood frame sizes - to try and check Mike Lane's finding that there are two sizes of hood frame under the same MG Rover part number, we are running a mini survey with a simple online form. Do take a moment to measure your hood and send in a form. See our briefing on the survey and online form. More

View the mini survey results as they come in - see the RV8 hood frame size survey report
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