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Old Dec 30 2018, 04:08 PM   #4730
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Zelandeth's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Milton Keynes
Gender: M
Fan of: Dragonsdawn
Now Reading: Working my way through the whole Pern series
Default Re: What is happening

Few garage updates stitched together because I forgot a couple and despite the somewhat off topic nature of the posts it seems some folks enjoy reading of the nonsense I waste my time doing. So that's why this is a bit long and disjointed.

18th December...

Busy couple of days so I've not had a chance to get into the garage.

Have just ordered some heater ducting Linky to eBay over here so should be able to get the missing bits on TP replaced and have a working heater. There are essentially five ducting runs - one linking the tap off points on both sides of the engine cowling together, one between there and the heat exchanger itself, one from there to the heater box, then two from there into the cabin. Everything downstream of the heat exchanger is present and in decent condition, but I'm missing everything between the engine cowling and the heat exchanger. Hopefully this will tick another thing off the list.

Quite pleased that I've found modern ducting that looks pretty much identical to what's on the car already so it shouldn't be massively obvious. I did have a shot to see if I could convince some metal stuff I had to hand to work, but it's just too big and is never going to work.

In other news, have had a call this afternoon informing me that the MOT work on the Activa is now finished. Sadly a bit too late to get over there today to pick it up, but that will probably be the first thing on the to do list for tomorrow.

19th Dec...

The Activa is finally back home with the worn out ball joint replaced and a fresh MOT. The downside of small local garages with a good reputation of course being that they occasionally get snowed under.

Someone else asked me how much ducting would be needed to totally rebuild the cabin heating system in the Invacar as they're missing a lot of the ducts. So I went and measured them and created a highly accurate technical diagram.

(All measurements in centimetres).

Okay...rough approximation so they know how much ducting to order...

Luckily I only need a metre or so as most of mine is still present.

22nd Dec...

This little package arrived this afternoon.

Was a little tricky to tell from the sales page on eBay, but it does look to be a pretty much perfect match for the original heater ducting still present on the car.

Didn't take long at all to get the missing ductwork reinstated.

I think the original duct was actually routed up into the inner wing down behind the battery, coil and voltage regulator. However I can't really see any particular reason for this so opted for the more economical route which will get in the way less. Getting the battery in and out is already enough of a faff without adding any more congestion to that corner. It's not as though anything will get stretched like this as everything to which the duct is attached here is all rigidly fixed together.

When I first started my old VW T25 up after it had been left sitting for about ten years the amount of crud that came flying out of the heater vents was truly comical. I was expecting much the same here, however that wasn't the case. All we got was this little bit of foam out of the demister vent.

While there's good flow through the cabin heater vent, the windscreen demister is less impressive. It's quite likely the duct is still full of crud though, and the flaps in the control box are a bit stiff. I'll pull it out for a good clean, lubrication of the moving parts and a quick lick of paint at some point soon.

This is apparently one of the more difficult Invacar bits to get hold of, so I'm very glad that it's both present and in working order.

Don't worry about the lack of hose clips on the fuel hose you can see in the above image. That hose is literally just sitting in a fuel can at the moment as there's no tank on the car. The fuel system will all be properly sealed with appropriate fasteners when installed. I'm planning to get some marine grade fuel hose for that given the issue I've had with the stuff from pretty much any motor factors perishing in next to no time lately. At least this thing is a bit less of a fire risk than most Reliants as it doesn't have the carb hanging right above the exhaust manifold.

Given that I didn't want to play automotive Tetris, I wasn't really able to back the Invacar out the garage, so having it running long enough to test the efficacy of the heater meant I had to deploy my extremely technical solution for stopping it filling the garage with exhaust fumes.

The tailpipe on this thing vents directly out the offside of the vehicle rather than out the back, so if not reversed out of the garage it does a good job of filling the garage with exhaust fumes. This results in the lounge smelling of car for several hours afterwards...hence my having come up with a way to convince the fumes to vacate the premises. For all it's hilariously crude, it seems to work.

Speaking of exhaust fumes, I made sure to have a CO detector in the cabin during this test as the exhaust heat exchanger had never been proven before - glad to report that it never twitched during the test. I will fit one in the cabin as a matter of course though as it just seems a sensible safety precaution.

The heat exchanger actually seems to work very well. I was only keeping the engine at a fast idle, I imagine the exhaust will run far hotter with the engine under load. Even so, the air coming from the vents was positively furnace like. I'll tick that off as a result I think.

Before I packed up for the afternoon I finally got around to sorting one of the really minor issues I'd identified with the Xantia. The nearside outer tail light had a small crack in the lens. Not really an issue as it didn't let water in or anything, but I had a good used replacement floating around in the box of bits of Citroen, so seemed daft not to change it.

The seal on the back seems to be in far better shape than the one that came off the car too which I don't reckon can be a bad thing.

Nice when a 30 second job is actually as quick and simple as it should be.

I think the next thing I need to do really is to have a bit of a tidy up to I can see what I'm doing. There are a ridiculous number of tools, boxes of fasteners, bits of various cars etc in the Invacar and scattered over the garage at the moment which is making it impossible to find anything and is just generally hindering me in getting stuff I should sort that.

24th Dec...

Today I could potentially have got something useful done...but me being me, ticking off a minor cosmetic job was my preferred option.

The gaping hole in the top of the dash being the target of this afternoon's attention.

Long term, taking the dash out and swapping it for the spare one I have is the proper solution. However between seized fasteners, the general fragility of the dash and the fact that everything on the spare dash will need to be swapped over, that's not a job I'm looking forward to.

Short term though it's time for a bit of a bodge.

Let's go grab a bit of Foamex board, cut it to size and bolt it to the top of the dash.

Not going to win any prizes for beauty, but to my eye at least it's less visually offensive than the huge split that was there before. It has also vastly improved the structural integrity of the dash. Operation of the switches for the headlights or wiper no longer makes the whole thing creak and wobble.

Surprised it's the first time I've used this stuff for anything on a car to be honest.

26th Dec...

Had to give someone a lift earlier today and noticed that the battery really struggled to start the Activa. Very much a case of it started, but only just.

Out with the multimeter.

Off load at idle:

Then with every electrical item in the car turned on:

Those numbers look fine to me. I know I've been doing quite a few short runs lately though, so that's not going to have been doing anything any favours. I've stuck it on the charger and will leave it overnight.

Despite the engine having been running only seconds before the charger was hooked up, it definitely seemed to agree that the battery was indeed rather flat.

Fingers crossed a good overnight charge will sort things out, though if it's just time for a new battery then so be it. They just don't seem to last these days, though whether that's down to the batteries themselves or just the increasing electrical loads in cars as time has gone on I've no idea.

27th Dec...

So went to start the Activa today after the battery had been on charge overnight...still nearly flat. That will be a dead cell in the battery then. Time for a new one.

GSF/ECP want £140 for an identical one, Halfords £110 for their own brand one...hmm, let's check Costco. £68 with the VAT for an identical Bosch one, and I can just walk in and get it rather than faffing about ordering stuff. Was a no brainer really wasn't it.

Will hopefully get that fitted tomorrow and restore normality to my high velocity squidgy leather sofa. Oh, and let the poor Lada go into winter hibernation as it was meant to a month ago...

28th Dec...

With the new battery in the Activa normality appears to have been restored.

Old one lasted eight years. Seems poor to me, but a few folks have suggested that 5-7 years is about par for the course these days. The previous owner didn't drive it very much in recent years either so it probably spent a fair amount of time low on charge.

I was fed up of both parking the Activa on the front lawn and having to get my housemate to move his car whenever I wanted to get whatever was by the garage time for some automotive Tetris.

Meant moving the van - which had been ditched where it was due to clutch shenanigans. I was guessing there was still air in the system (which there was) following my change of the slave cylinder a little while back. However once bled, it still wasn't behaving. The clutch would slowly re-engage itself even if you kept the pedal depressed. Closer inspection revealed that you can hear the master cylinder "hissing" as this happens. Fine then...will get a master cylinder on order. At least they're not massively expensive and access is good.

I'll be getting the cylinder direct from Merc. Having been through the maintenance docs it's obvious that the previous keepers have spared no expense, and it shows. The gremlins I'm fighting here are due to disuse more than anything. Plus I like the approach Mercedes have to heritage parts supply so want to encourage that.

As it was, I had to make do with having "some" clutch, and bunny hopping it out of the drive. At least parking was downhill so gravity did the work.

I had a nagging doubt in my mind that I would actually be able to fit the van and a car on the drive and still open the garage door...

Yes I can. Just!

Moving on to the Invacar I wanted to sort the only serious oil leak I had. The dipstick. These was a pinhole through the brazed base where the handle passed through the threaded cap. As a result of this (and the base of the dipstick tube being below the oil level in the sump) it would invariably "bleed" oil whenever the engine was running.

A thorough degrease of the dipstick and the ugliest bit of brazing in the history of mankind later...

...And we have an oil tight dipstick. It will look better once it's got some paint on.

The only remaining oil leak is from the sump drain plug.

Will put a fresh copper washer on there next time the oil is changed.

I've got a bag of assorted brake unions on the way, once they're here I can tidy up the braking system. Also received a pack of new old stock door seals today, so will probably get those fitted shortly too rather than persevering with my somewhat dog eared originals.

Today (30th Dec)...

Initially had planned to do a couple of useful things today however wound up running out of patience with the mess in the Invacar cabin.

The one task I did manage was to sort out the heater controls. The control for the cabin heater was sticky, traced to the cable sheath moving. The termination at the actual heater box isn't great, but fastening the three cables together has solved the problem. Of course it's also made them tidier which is also extremely important.

It was about this point that I knocked a bunch of tools over again, and felt it necessary to do a bit of tidying up.

Fire extinguisher was shoved back in the bracket as I was tired of falling over it, dropping it on my toes etc. Do need to find a proper bracket though as it's had one for the later powder type which is taller.

Having cleared a load of random tools and general debris out of the car it became very obvious how filthy it the cleaning supplies came out.

Slightly more pleasant place to be now. Really need to get a new grip for the handlebars as I'm fed up of finding bits of blue foam everywhere.

Garage itself actually needs the same treatment now...

I've a load of brake fittings on the way which will hopefully mean I can tidy my earlier work there up soon.

So you're now all up to date!
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