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Old Apr 5 2020, 04:20 AM   #5321
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Originally Posted by Allen View Post
Until he figures out how to uninstall the schooling software like the kids in China were caught doing.

He's using his own computer rather than the Chromebook issued by the school, so he has access to more stuff on it than just schoolwork. But he's been pretty good doing it so far, with minimum supervision. Of course, it helps that both my husband and I are working from home for now. Officially until May 13, but it may be until the end of May when the school year ends.
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Old Apr 5 2020, 10:00 PM   #5322
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Decided it was time to stop putting it off and start getting some of the jobs on the Jag done. I'm waiting on bits for the injection system so can't move forward there but I do have a full set of coolant hoses so can start on those. I don't have enough antifreeze in stock to refill the system if drained fully, so just stop on the top layers for now, done in such a way as to minimise coolant loss.

The bottom hose is going to be a barrel of laughs as the only real access is from underneath, but even then there's still an anti-roll bar and two oil cooler lines in the way - will need to get the car on the ramps before I can get at it though...and I'll need to find some chunky bits of wood to extend the ramps before I can do that as the splitter is several inches too low to drive onto them.

Got a full set of hoses in as it seemed a far easier solution than trying to figure out which ones I needed to buy.



It's easy to see how much the top hose has swollen with the new hose next to it (it looked ten times worse once there was some pressure in the system too).



I'm still baffled as to why the garage that fitted the radiator didn't flag up the state of the hoses and the belts when they fitted it. The belts especially would have taken them minutes to change and only cost pocket change.

Getting this hose off was made slightly more awkward on account of the hose clip having been fitted the wrong way around. There's a hole in the slam panel which would have given easy access if the screw was on the opposite side of the hose. It wasn't though...so it was really fiddly and had to be undone 0.1 turns at a time.



Once I got that undone changing this took about two minutes. Looks rather better than the hose which came off.



The other top hose didn't look so bad but it seemed daft not to do it when the radiator would need bleeding anyway.



New hose does look better.

The bleed line between the top of the radiator and the filler neck was the other one which had swollen alarmingly.



That was swapped with barely a drop of coolant spilled.



The other hose done today was the bypass hose that runs between the nearside thermostat housing to the radiator. That's four down, nine to go.



The two I'd spotted bulging were by far the softest so it seems they have broken down more than the others. The whole lot will get done, but I'll need to get (a lot) more antifreeze in before I can tackle the lower ones. This is as far as time allowed this afternoon, so got things bled through and we'll come back to this project in due course.

I did put a bowl under there before pulling any hoses but predictably with the amount of things for water to bounce off in the engine bay it managed to capture about 10% of what came out. I did hose down the area thoroughly afterwards to hopefully dilute any remaining coolant beyond being harmful to critters.

Definitely need to get the injection lines done soon... here's a close up look at the state they're in.



Lots of fine surface perishing. They definitely need changing ASAP.

Finally got around to digging out the combination imperial and metric socket set a friend gave me a while ago. This will definitely prove useful in the future working on this car.





Having had a closer look today I reckon it should be possible to get into the distributor without removing too much so might have a crack at that soon.

This evening I got interrupted by the apparent death of my web server's hosting machine. As far as I can tell it seems to have corrupted the BIOS or suffered a similarly catastrophic failure. I wanted to test something but figured as it hadn't been restarted in nearly six months it made sense to reboot it. It shut down normally...then just sat there with the CPU fan running flat out, no life from it whatsoever other than that. Nothing I've been able to do has any effect on this behaviour.

It's a Celeron based laptop which is the absolute definition of cheap and nasty (why I relegated it to sitting quietly in the corner as I reckoned it would fall apart in minutes if moved around...plus it ran stone cold and silently so worked well as a 24/7 running machine). Quite how cheap and nasty was apparent as soon as I got the cover off (planning to do a CMOS reset).



Doesn't even have the spot on the motherboard for the battery populated...and the CPU cooler doesn't even have a heat pipe... it's literally just a tinfoil thin stamped bit of aluminium. There isn't a bit of structural metalwork anywhere on it save for the tiny bit at the hinges. Whatever is going on I don't think the CPU is running as it doesn't seem to be generating any heat whatsoever.

Nothing I've been able to do has had any effect, so I've finally got around to sticking Apache on an *actual* server grade machine (HP DC7800, which I have a pair of) which already serves as our NAS which I've been going to do for the last 18 months.



Monitor and speakers are there as it also serves as the "TV" in my bedroom.

Only got an old Core 2 Duo E6750 at its heart so hardly a powerful machine but it's more than up to this sort of job.

It's gained an extra hard drive, my old Nvidia GT 710 graphics card and had a major cable tidy since this photo was taken.



This has finally resolved the file permissions issue I'd been arguing with for ages too which made updating the site a faff too. Still don't know why that used to play up...but it's now a moot point. Might actually kick me into finishing one of about fifteen half finished new pages waiting to be finish.
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Old Apr 6 2020, 10:28 PM   #5323
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The delivery of dog food today never materialised...so my heading out to get more suddenly became non-optional. It was meant to arrive on Friday, and I had enough to last until yesterday evening.

Figured given I haven't even started it since early-ish February, was about time I gave this a run.



Always a bit nervous about whether vehicles will start after being left for more than a few weeks, so was interested to see how she'd start.

Did I need to worry?

https://youtu.be/MZkYAxCqmD4

Of course not. Brief chirp of protest from the fan belt (think I need to turn the idle speed up a little) was the only sign that it hadn't been out yesterday.

Ignore the brake warning light by the way, there's a slight leak to ground through the pad wear sensor circuit which is putting the light on. I'm just going to disable it entirely before the MOT as the issue as best I can tell is simply that modern brake pads are more conductive than the old asbestos based ones. With the relatively tiny mileage this one does I really don't need a pad wear sensor to be honest.

The exhaust has been rattling noticeably the last few trips out, especially when the engine started or stopped, giving an almighty clatter. This was quickly traced to the downpipe to mid section clamp not being done up quite tightly enough. 1/2 a turn on the pinch bolt and we just had honest diesel clatter without a metallic accompaniment. I didn't realise quite how much it sounded like there was a tumble drier full of gravel under the van until I sorted it.

While it's quiet around town but there is still traffic around, the A5 itself though was utterly deserted. Only saw one other car on there...an old gent dawdling along at about 40 in a 51 plate Fiesta. I think he got the fright of his life when I went howling past in full juggernaut mode.

Later in the afternoon I escaped outside to get a couple of things done on the Jag. I still haven't quite got used to walking outside to see this thing...and while it may be an utter pain to work on, has cost me over a grand in fuel alone since I picked it up, it's impossible not to like it. I mean...just look at it...



I really need to do something about the exhaust tips though. Their being at the wrong (and mismatched) angle is really bugging me.

First task was to top up the coolant, I expected it to have dropped a bit once it had cooled after the work I did yesterday. Sure enough it took a little to bring it back to the level specified in the handbook.

Task number two was to pull some of the carpeting out in the boot to see if I could pin down why it always absolutely reeks of petrol. It doesn't make any odds whether it's warm or cold, tank full or empty or whether the engine has been run recently. It always smells...and if you open a window the smell then gets drawn into the car.

Now while it's always been bone dry in my ownership I knew there had been water getting into the boot in the past at some point because I'd seen a bit of mould on the spare wheel cover. Once I took it out it became apparent that there was quite a *lot* of mould on the spare wheel cover.



I had a feeling I was going to find worse once I started digging, so I sensibly donned the mask I picked up when painting the Invacar and gloves before delving further than this.



Sure enough, what was hiding behind the carpets was truly gross.



Fuel filter has a 2003 date code...though obviously it could have been changed far more recently having been sitting on a shelf for fifteen years. Nevertheless it will be changed shortly anyway (honestly can't remember if I've already picked one up or not, I'll need to go digging in the ever increasing box of bits of Jag currently occupying the driver's seat in the Invacar) as I'd rather look after the fuel system.

Again, the willingness of Jaguar to use normal hose clips (or mere friction fit without any fasteners whatsoever) on the pressure side of the fuel injection system on this car never ceases to surprise me.

Yep...I think we've located the original source of the bubonic plague...that would be the mould in the general vicinity of the surge tank and fuel pump in my XJ-S!



There's definitely evidence of historic fuel leakage here but nothing that looks recent. The closest I can see is this sticky, tarry deposit on the fuel pump itself. It doesn't smell even vaguely like petrol though.



The breather system does look predictably over-complicated. In total we have seven connections to the tank, eight if you include the filler itself.



(The drain tube from the tailgate surround crammed into the same space just to add to the clutter...which is of course right next to the engine ECU just to ensure that any leak there is as catastrophic as possible.)

I'm guessing this is the return line? The pickup itself is from the centre it looks like.



Of course thanks to Jaguar being themselves we also have vacuum lines all the way back here. I believe these are what operates the vapour purge system.



Everything is bone dry and all connections seem to be secure so I'm no closer to figuring it out. I can't get to the vapour purge assembly as it's buried behind the fuel tank. The tank currently has about 80 litres of fuel in so it's going nowhere for the time being. I'll have a nosey at it next time I have a tank that's more near to empty. Ideally all of these lines will want to be changed soon as they're undoubtedly not ethanol safe.

The next thing on my to do list after an initial visual inspection was to attack everything with disinfectant wipes to hopefully remove the need for biohazard tape to be wrapped around the car every time I open the boot. I got about half way through it when I ran out of time...will be picking up where I left off tomorrow.
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Old Apr 7 2020, 08:52 PM   #5324
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Completely different sort of post from me for a change...

It's been a while since I've had a random bit of music made me grind to a halt in the middle of what I was doing and pause to actually listen, but one managed to have that effect on me earlier today.

I've always found myself drawn to songs which paint vivid pictures pretty much irrespective of the musical style (no surprise that Al Stewart surfaces quite a lot in my library then!), and I'm always an utter sucker for "big" choral work. Something I don't get to experience nearly often enough these days.

Something I used to be privileged enough to witness was at what was then our local pub, there was essentially free-for-all music provided every Sunday afternoon. Basically there was space made available, and anyone who wanted to be involved brought along their instruments and had a go, everyone else sang along, stamped your feet, clapped, or just listened quietly. We had quite a few folks there who actually had a lot of musical talent so the lead was usually well on key - but it's astonishing that when you've got a hundred or so folks all singing their hearts out that it doesn't matter how tone-deaf the odd person might be, that it all sounds perfectly on key. To this day I can't listen to Country Roads live without it utterly breaking me emotionally because that was always a favourite among that crowd, and as such it very much reminds me of those far simpler days.

A lot of my musical listening is done via Spotify these days as it's sadly quite rare that I have the opportunity to actually sit down in the room where my stereo lives and listen there. It does have the advantage though of meaning that I essentially always now have (nearly) my entire music library in my pocket wherever I am. It does have one absolutely brilliant feature though, an automatically generated playlist labelled as "Discover Weekly." This is a playlist that's roughly the length of a normal album that it creates new every Monday, featuring tracks that it has no record of you having listened to before that it thinks that you'll like based on saved and liked songs before.

I've found more new artists and even tracks I'd never heard of from artists I've known for 30 years in the last couple of years than I had in the last decade through this.

The one it managed to stop me dead with this morning was performed by a group called IMAscore, and the track is named Andrew's Song.

You can listen to it through Spotify over here. Or if you prefer on their YouTube channel here.

The almost chant-like style of it is always sure to draw me in hook, line and sinker anyway, however that totally aside, some of the lyrics there just really speak to me, in particular:

...What you call home
Is a box of memories
Forever lost
But good enough to keep
'Cause you don't know
What tomorrow holds for you...

Another one which feels kind of more relevant lately is a track named The Dawn Will Come, originally by Trevor Morris. While this is actually from the soundtrack to a video game (Dragon Age: Inquisition), it's a really powerful track I think on its own merits. My favourite version of this is actually a cover by Peter Hollens. Which you can listen to over here on Spotify One of the really neat things I think is that that track actually features a chorus of 500+ people, all his Patreon subscribers. I think the fact that he's been able to actually have his fans take part in something like that is a really neat idea.
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Old Apr 9 2020, 07:38 AM   #5325
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Having discovered quite such plentiful quantities of mould in the boot of the Jag I decided to go in there armed with a bleach solution before going any further. Hopefully I've now eliminated as much of it as possible. There's never really been any sign of damp in the boot since I got the car anyway so I'm hoping it's just a sign of a historic leak.

The carpeting which covers the fuel tank was utterly disgusting you can see in the above photos, so this was pulled out and put through the washing machine. I'd like to do the same for all the carpeting in the boot, but it's all quite firmly glued down so that's not really practical. The fuel tank trim though didn't clean up half bad - a lot better than I was hoping for really. That piece is just glued in at two spots so was relatively easy to remove.



I know 90% of it is hidden behind the spare wheel, but I feel better in the knowledge that the carpet doesn't contain its own ecosystem any more. I do note that even after a trip through the wash that this carpet still smells quite strongly of petrol, so I am leaning more towards the thinking that the smell in the boot may indeed simply be residue from a leak some point in the distant past. In which case getting rid of it entirely may well be challenging without stripping out and replacing all the soft surfaces.

Will get that put back in later today hopefully.

While I was in there I figured it was about time that I actually put the battery clamp back on. It has been rolling around in the boot since I got the car. I suspect on account of the fact that you need to assemble it *before* you attach the battery leads. A fact which I'm sure has resulted in many XJ-S owners spending a not insignificant amount of time with untethered batteries when that realisation has dawned right after the owner has reset the clock and reprogrammed all their radio stations.

I also discovered that the threads on one of the retaining hooks were damaged preventing it from being tightened up properly. This was resolved by grabbing a few random nuts out of the drawer of random fasteners to use as spacers allowing me to use an undamaged area of the threads. Not pretty but it's hidden away under a cover normally and does the job of ensuring that things are secure.

I also made an adaptor out of a bit of brake pipe offcut to hook up the battery vent tube properly (the far end has a bung in).



Probably the first time that's all been properly bolted in place in a while.



Not a huge battery for the size of engine really is it...at least the leads are satisfyingly substantial though.

The strap over the top would originally have held in place the vent assembly which used to sit over the top of the cell access caps on the original battery which are obviously not accessible on this modern maintenance free type.

Then the covers were all put back in place and given a wipe down. Looking a bit less disgusting now I think.



The fuel pump cover really wants a lick of paint too, but that's about item number 39409385398 on the priority list. Likewise there should be two press-fit clips to hold the cover over the battery on. They are quite a pain to remove though so rather than replace the missing clips like-for-like I'll probably put a couple of thumbscrews there which won't require wrenching on a relatively brittle bit of plastic to remove.

Edit: Fuel tank trim carpeting has now been reinstated.


Last edited by Zelandeth; Apr 9 2020 at 08:55 AM.
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Old Apr 11 2020, 08:31 PM   #5326
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Hello All, Hope Everyone here is Safe, and Healthy. Been away for a while, been a crazy last 6 weeks or so. Most places here are closed, All Schools have been cancelled for the balance of the school year. only Drive up take outs from food places. My job is considered essential, as we supply many Hospitals with Sanitizers, Disinfectants and cleaning Chemicals. To say we have been busy would be an understatement. We have been getting orders from all over. We have been sending the most effective chemical Viricides to Hospitals, First Responders, and other Healthcare Facilities only. All requests for vacations are met with a single question, Is this an Emergency? if the answer is no, then you don't go on vacation. I will be very, very, relived when this mess is over so I can get a break.. until then we keep on going.
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Old Apr 12 2020, 12:31 AM   #5327
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All safe here. I'm going bonkers. No one ever tells me when we are low on something. They wait until we're out of something. This means another trip to store. Which means Mom's complaining I'm gout too much. She has a point. She thinks I should search whole house to see what we are out of. I think people should tell when they use the last of something.

If I wasn't already depressed, this would make me depressed. I might survive this.
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Old Apr 12 2020, 09:04 AM   #5328
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Hello all. As I am alone , I have been doing a little "s stocking up " so I don't have to go out for 14 days or more. My doughter and granddoughter live an hour cardrive away, so we facetime a lot.
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Old Apr 12 2020, 09:05 AM   #5329
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Zealandeth, if you tried to drive that campervan anywhere here at the moment you'd get pulled over by the Police as soon as you hit the road. Our version of lockdown means stay home, stay local, and don't go to the batch, cubby, crib or whatever you call your holiday home, i.e. no long distance trips, and anyone who is driving anything that looks like a recreational vehicle is pulled over to see if their trip is essential. In fact, over Easter, anyone heading for the open highway is likely to get pulled over. Except for our Leader of the Opposition who claims he has to drive 500km each way from his home to chair meetings in Parliament in Wellington when everyone else is working from home.
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Old Apr 13 2020, 08:59 PM   #5330
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The Jaguar XJ-S is officially absolutely the most aggressively awkward car to work on I have ever owned. Yes, even compared to the Activa.

Today I decided to tackle the rather ragged looking belts. I was fully expecting this to be exceedingly awkward simply because of how deeply buried down the front of the engine they are.





I underestimated quite how awkward this job was going to be.

While it *looks* awkward, this doesn't give quite the full picture...there are two things which make the job torture. Firstly is that the belt tensioners on this car are the threaded type rather than the automatic spring based ones you tend to see on modern cars. So you can't just pull a spring back...you need to wind the tension off manually. Doesn't sound like much when you say that you needed to essentially unscrew a nut a couple of inches...until you realise that the most accessible adjuster you can get about 1/8 a turn a time on...the second one you can get about 1/16th of a turn, requiring the spanner to be rotated through 180 degrees each between each tiny movement, spending 10-30 seconds of flailing around to try to get the blasted thing back on the nut. Oh, and periodically drop the spanner into the bowels of the engine bay. I did find someone else's 9/16" socket on top of the front subframe though! The tensioner on the alternator has to be done in a similar way, but *entirely* blind. My arms are a good foot too short to reach from above, and unless the car is on ramps or jacked up, the air dam is precisely where my head wants to be and you can't get anything close to a look at what you're doing. The fact that this everything in the vicinity of the front of the engine is drowned in oil makes the job disgusting as well as awkward.

First order of business was to scrape my knuckles to ribbons on the radiator find while wrangling the belt off around the fan. Then discovered that the replacement belt I had for that was a totally different size. On the plus side while it's pretty old, the fan belt is entirely serviceable. So I've noted down "replace when possible" in the maintenance log. The alternator belt actually looked absolutely fine (has a 2015 date code)...however hadn't been tensioned...like at all. I could rotate the alternator pulley with a single finger. So I just tensioned it correctly and left it alone. This had absolutely nothing to do with me turning the the tensioner when I went to take the belt off and having utterly run out of patience by that point, having spent the last twenty minutes trying to wind the tension off!

While the alternator belt looked to be absolutely fine, the fan belt serviceable but old, the same couldn't be said of the what I'd say is the most important belt - the one which drives the water pump and power steering pump.

Brace yourselves...







Yeeeeeaaahhh...that was alarmingly close to a very expensive failure. If that belt had let go, bye bye coolant circulation...one cooked engine.

That one at least did match the replacement! Getting the sucker on however was a gigantic pain in the tail. I must have spent nearly an hour wrestling with it before I got the thing on all three pulleys. Then it was a simple matter of spending another hour winding all of the damned tensioners out again.

I was curious to see if this would have made the charging system behave itself properly...



Looks like yes. That's with everything electrical turned on only seconds after starting the engine. Previously this would have required me to bring the revs up to get it to move out of the lower red section on the gauge, and it would tend to drop back again at idle with any heavy load on requiring the same to be done again. It now seems to be doing exactly what I'd expect. As soon as you get anywhere near 1500rpm we have full charging voltage shown even with everything on. With all the loads turned off, it jumps straight up to 14.4V as soon as the engine starts now.

What an utter pain of a job though!

I had planned to have a look at the distributor as well today...however after this messing around I was pretty much out of afternoon.

I'm still slightly surprised that the garage that put the radiator in didn't also raise the condition of the belts as an issue.
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Old Apr 14 2020, 05:40 AM   #5331
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I'm not surprised at the garage. They'd probably had to replace the belts on another Jag and didn't want to ever do it again.
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Old Apr 14 2020, 07:30 AM   #5332
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The craziest part is that with the way the belts are set up, the deepest buried one is the alternator belt...so when that was changed someone had to take the one shown above first, and then made the decision to put it back on again. This isn't the sort of degradation you get in five years, especially with the car having spent most of that time in a garage. It's not even as though these belts are expensive like some of the modern multi-V belts (the one the Xantia uses is about £30), even the longest one was about £5.

The thing you really find when working on this car is the feeling that it was designed by committee...where no two designers of any system ever actually spoke to each other. There is absolutely no need for most awkward jobs to be anywhere near as difficult as they are if a little common sense had been applied.

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Old Apr 17 2020, 10:01 PM   #5333
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I've had something of a critical patience failure with the Invacar sitting immobile in the garage. It's getting sorted. Not in six months time, now. Realistically I'm not much closer to a replacement hub than I was in September. A few leads but nothing has yet materialised.

It's been a while, so here's a recap of the current situation.

[] On 2nd September 2019 I went to get a slow puncture on the nearside wheel sorted.



Just needed the rim cleaned up a bit, took five minutes to sort. Right up until this happened.



Closer inspection revealed the rest of the studs on this wheel to also be knackered. You can actually see the upper right one is bent in the photo.

[] Three of the studs unscrewed from the hub without too much protest. Except for the one which had already snapped. Which snapped twice further before ending up snapping totally flush with the hub.

[] At this point I made a blundering mistake. Rather than taking the hub off and sending it to a machinist to be sorted, I figured I'd have a shot at drilling out the remains of it in situ.

This was foolish for a couple of reasons. The first was that I had utterly underestimated how hard to source a replacement hub would be if I could things up. Secondly was that I was doing this folder into a cramped, poorly lit corner of my garage. So there was absolutely zero chance of me drilling it out straight as I couldn't see what I was doing and by the time I had the drill set up had already lost feeling in my left leg. I'd also underestimated quite how awkward this job was determined to be.

By the time the stud was removed the hole was distinctly oval. That is the point at which I started seriously looking for another hub - and that's where we are still.

It took a bit of experimentation, but we managed to figure out that threads in the hub are 3/8" BSF, and there are currently three high tensile bolts holding the wheel on. I'm not 100% happy with the way I've had to use the original wheel nuts (they're bog standard Mini ones) to centre the wheel, I really need to get some proper conical washers.

Having thought about it a bit I don't see any problem using bolts rather than studs and nuts. I can see that they'd use the studs when the cars were in service as it's going to be far quicker to swap out a stud if the threads get mangled than change a hub. However I'm hardly going to have the wheel off every weekend, and with me being careful rather than monkeys in Kwik-Fit it should be absolutely fine.

The remaining one is getting drilled out to the first size necessary to get the hole properly round and is then getting tapped and an appropriately sized bolt will then be fitted. It's not a perfect solution but in the real world it should be absolutely fine. Plenty of cars far heavier and more powerful do just fine with three wheel nuts or bolts just fine...and I really can't see a 400kg 20bhp three wheeler having the slightest issue because the fourth bolt is a fractionally different size. So long as the wheel is properly clamped against the hub it will be just fine. The only issue I can possibly forsee is the balance being thrown off a little if the one bolt is slightly heavier, but realistically I'm not going to be doing hot laps around the 'Ring...it'll be fine. There's enough vibration from the drive and the engine as it is I'm probably not likely to even notice if there's a slight imbalance from a wheel.

This isn't going to be a long term solution. Once the world returns to some semblance of normality I'll be pulling the hub and sending it to a machinist to be sorted out, probably adapted to take standard press-through Mini studs. However as all of the places I'd be looking to send it are currently closed, I'm forced to improvise. Everything will be very carefully monitored but I'm really not expecting issues once the wheel is bolted on.

Plus if the usual way of the universe continues, the moment I get a workaround sorted another hub will materialize as if by magic in tomorrow's post.

Drilling things went okay today, the hole I'd already got wasn't far off round. However then this happened.



Ah. It's going to be one of *those* days is it...

Apparently my tap set is made of cheese. I'll get a hopefully better one ordered and then we'll come back to this.

Meh, plenty of other things I can do today.

First up came under the heading of "unexciting but worthwhile" in that I made a run round both the van with some grease. The passenger door on the Jag has creaked like a prop from a Haunted House since it arrived on fleet. The bonnet has been sticking a bit on the van lately too. So I went round and greased all the door, boot and bonnet hinges, the pivot points for the gas struts and the latches. I didn't realise how badly the bonnet on the Jag was binding before, it now opens and closes silky smooth, no creaking or groaning. The doors on the van now snick closed with the gentlest push as they should.

I do need to adjust the bonnet closure on the Jag a bit, the driver's side rear corner sits a bit too high and bounces around a bit when driving. Slight echoes of the Lada there...though in that case you need to leave a little slack or the cable will snap the first time you pull the release handle...and if that happens you're in for a world of pain getting in. Been there, done that, have the scars to show for it. You really don't want to have to deal with a Lada Riva with a snapped bonnet cable unless you have a spare bonnet on hand and can just take a grinder to it.

Next up I wanted to check the tension on the new belt I'd fitted, it's had a couple of trips out to bed in, seems generally fine but has been giving a brief chirp of protest from the power steering when first backing out of the drive.

Did seem a little loose, so time to nip it up a bit.

The lock nut is moderately awkward.



The adjuster that I needed to wind out to tension things up on the other hand is exceedingly fiddly.



Your arm is wedged between the exhaust manifold heat shield and the inner wing and have a working arc of about 10cm between the exhaust downpipe which limits your space upwards and the top of the power steering reservoir itself which gets in the way downwards. Between each movement you need to rotate the spanner 180 degrees and have a 50% chance of dropping it into the bowels of the engine bay. It's fiddly. No access from above unless I attack the spanner with the grinder as there's a metal coolant line in the way.

Simple enough though, just fiddly. Seems to have sorted the squeak, I'll check it again in a week or two, but it should be fine now I think. Need to go back in to swap the fan belt once the new one shows up anyway.

It was starting to spit with rain at that point, but I wanted to get one more thing ticked off. The rear fog lights weren't fitted properly and were pointing inwards towards each other. Made the back of the car look cross-eyed. It was bugging me.





There are two large washers and a shakeproof washer on the fitting bolt, these had been fitted incorrectly.



Both of the penny washers were below the mounting bracket which was pulling the light down too far.

Instead there should be one on each side of the bracket, like so.



Problem solved.



Looks immeasurably better. Just need to sort the exhaust tips and the back of the car shouldn't look off any more.



The heavens then opened, so that was the end of it for the day really!



We'll have to see what the weekend holds, sure I'll find things to keep me busy.
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Old Apr 18 2020, 09:20 PM   #5334
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Got a really good MPG readout in the Jag today!



Yeeeaaah...the poor computer is a bit confused. Some idiot (yes, that would be me) managed to leave the interior lights on yesterday and flattened the battery. The resulting voltage dip when I went to try to start it this afternoon wiped half of the memory...it has zeroed the fuel used but not miles covered...hence the ridiculous average MPG listed. Battery has been left on the charger overnight. Hopefully it will have survived the experience as I could do without having two cars with stuffed batteries right now.

Hooking the battery charger up was the extent of car related things today as we wanted to make good use of the relatively cool weather to continue attacking the garden. I think we have now successfully nuked all the Hawthorn at least.


This evening I did have a little project planned though of the computing variety. Those of you who follow that side of my ramblings will probably recall that a couple of weeks ago I upgraded the CPUs in my main workstation PC to a pair of Xeon 5365s, the most powerful chip supported by the machine. While this went smoothly enough I wasn't too happy with the thermal performance I was seeing afterwards.

Given that the X5365 chucks out 150W of heat when all four cores are flat out (and I have two of them...this thing is an effective space heater!) I was expecting it to run warmer than before, but the temperature readouts at full load were worrying. I was seeing around 40C at idle (was usually mid 30s with the previous CPUs), but it was climbing well into the 70s under full load. Noticeably though the CPU fans weren't really doing much, which tells a story as in this system the fan speed is regulated based on the readback from a thermistor on the CPU hestsinks, rather than the CPU temperature itself. This told me that the bottleneck was more the ability of the heatsink to pull heat away from the CPU package than the ability of it to actually shed the heat. I wasn't sure if these reported temperatures were accurate, but a couple of system lockups during heavy CPU load did seem to suggest things weren't happy. Not surprising if the temperature readouts were accurate given the maximum allowed opersting temperature for the X5365 is 63C...

Initially I tried replacing the thermal compound which came with the new CPUs with some of a better quality (Arctic Silver MX4), which did knock a couple of degrees off but didn't really make a huge difference.

It was brought to my attention by a friend over on another forum that the CPU coolers used in the Mac Pro 3.1 are some dimensionally identical to those use in the version 1.1/2.1 machine, use the same fittings etc, but contain three heat pipes rather than one. Ten minutes rummaging on eBay sourced a set of Mac Pro 3.1 heatsinks for £10.

This morning a surprisingly large box arrived which contained these.



Yes, I did straighten those fins before I fitted them.

They aren't a totally drop in replacement. You need to remove the air guide from the one (the one to the left above), and fit a couple of foam pads to help prevent the airflow from bypassing the heatsinks. I was able to just transfer all but one over from the old ones in this case.

The only other thing I had to do was bend the pin header for the lower (B) CPU heatsink thermistor plug on the motherboard over by 90 degrees as the leads on the new heatsinks are about an inch shorter than the originals. I found that by having this plugged in parallel to the board it was possible to have it hooked up without any tension on the leads or needing to make an extension cable.

I was expecting this to improve cooling performance, but I wasn't expecting quite such a big difference!

Idle temperatures are now in the high 20s to low 30s. Under full load the difference is far more extreme, now levelling out at far more sensible numbers.



The temperatures are shown at the top of the screen. They're monitoring one core temperature on each physical CPU. High 40s to low 50s, far more sane...and well clear of the maximum allowed figures according to the data sheets.

Another difference which is really obvious is that you now hear the fans ramping up almost immediately when you drop a heavy load on the CPUs now...that's good as it shows the heat is being transferred efficiently to the heatsink.

This is a really good demonstration of how much more there is to heatsink design than just a block of metal and some fins...the heatsinks here in the "before and after" situation were to the untrained eye identical. Same number of fins, same sized copper mounting block, same physical size...the differences are all in the internal architecture...and the difference in performance is staggering!

I left it running flat out for about an hour this evening and the temperature never budged from the figures shown above - numbers I'm perfectly happy with.

Overall a good result, especially for a tenner and half an hour of time.

So yeah...if you want to upgrade a Mac Pro 1.1/2.1 to run Xeon X5365s, it's definitely worth spending a few quid extra upgrading the CPU hestsinks to the later versions while you're at it. Means literally about ten minutes additional work if you do it at the same time as the CPU upgrade itself.

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Old Apr 19 2020, 09:30 PM   #5335
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So the gardening has continued, pretty much all day today so nothing else was really on the cards.

A recap for those not familiar with the overgrown mess that is our garden.

80% of our property is bordered by Leylandii hedges which had been left to grow wild for about five years before we moved in. The ones between the drive and our boundary on the northern edge has been the target of this last couple of weekends. I forgot to take a "before" photo, so I had to resort to Google Street View to give us some idea what we were starting with. It's a couple of years old, but looked pretty much the same.



As of last weekend we had thinned it down to this...



We honestly had no idea that lattice fence even existed 14 days ago!

When we wrapped up today this was the view in that corner.



Pulling the van into the space here has always involved folding the mirror in and barging through the hedge to some extent. Opening the driver's door was never on the cards. Backing out the garage with the Invacar always involved picking greenery out of the offside window runners afterwards too.



Bit different now!

Actually being able to open the driver's door is a novelty.

We will be extending the full height fence all the way round to the house once we've finished clearing the greenery. I'm planning to have a little gated store where that pile of junk is as that's where I tend to keep stuff that's waiting to go to the tip. Would be nice to have somewhere that's out of the way for stuff that really doesn't need to be in the garage too like wash buckets, and somewhere the garden waste bin can't blow over would be nice. So the fence will come out to be flush with the end of the house, will nicely disguise the rear gate too.

The overgrown Leylandii and whatever that bush is will also be going as they're out of control and beyond taming. There's a gaping hole in the back of it too where a tree has died back historically too.

We will be planting some things in here, but they'll most likely be fruit trees rather than supposedly decorative hedges.

Looks a bit of a disaster area just now, but once we're done it will be so much better and easier to actually maintain.

About 80% of the greenery from the driveway to the far fence was either hawthorn or had hawthorn intertwined with it. We are very bloody glad to see the back of that.

Before the obvious question is raised, yes I've climbed up there and had a good dig around to check for any bird nests before we started pulling things down. The only one found hasn't been occupied for at least the last two years.

My back is absolutely killing me!
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Old Apr 20 2020, 09:18 AM   #5336
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Meanwhile I celebrated day whatever-it-is-I've-lost-count of our national lockdown by separating my television aerial from the set in the wrong place. Well, if it didn't pull out, it had to have a screw, right?
Fortunately my son, who'd provoked the experiment in the first place with a text about my place having a shared TV disc and did I have the connection inside, came and fixed it. I guess that means I'm now officially in his "bubble." The answer to his question was yes, I do, but the connection in the wall is analogue and the tv is digital. So I guess it's back to the rabbit ears.
After seeing my brother still fast asleep and covered with glass after a macrocapa (Monteray cedar) was blown into the farmhouse that I grew up in, I came to the conclusion that no cedar of any sort should be planted closer to a house than one and a half times its adult height. And they shouldn't be planted at all in an urban area unless it's in a park. There's plenty of other things that will make a quick hedge and not need constant attention to keep at a reasonable size.
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Old Apr 20 2020, 08:31 PM   #5337
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My sister is home, not working, after a month of living at my niece's. (Niece is staying at her mother's). She brought my grand niece & nephew home with her. They've been isolated since school's been out. All this means is Tammy can get Mom out of bed & Emmi is old enough to help with Mom, so I have help. It is much better for Mom.
I can take Kibby to get meds, without worrying about time. She gets her meds from UVA, about 2 hours away.
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Old Apr 21 2020, 07:54 PM   #5338
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Having been attacked by the reel of vacuum hose I picked up for the Jag today for the umpteenth time when I opened the garage door I figured it was time that I fitted some of it.

This is the state most of the ones which came off were in.





These are the ones that were changed.



A couple were larger diameter ones which I didn't have in stock - there was enough slack in them though I was able to just cut off the perished/stretched ends and refit the hose. I'll get the right hose in stock and then replace them in due course.

I discovered that the little elbow connectors that attach to the throttle body and fuel pressure regulators are a very loose fit. I was planning to stick a couple of hose clips on there to tighten them up but sadly can't find any hose clips of an appropriate size. Will need to get some ordered in.

You can probably tell from that tiny pile of old hose that I only managed to change about 30% of the hoses. The rest are utterly buried and are pretty much utterly inaccessible. I can't even begin to tell where half of them go beyond "vanishes under the inlet manifold." I have to assume a lot of the lines were attached during engine assembly before the inlet manifolds were fitted. Another job to add to the list while they're off then. Unless I find a good vacuum hose diagram which suggests a good number of them can be routed in a less annoying manner.

I've also noticed that I have a very slight weep from the radiator bleed screw.



I'm guessing this should have a copper washer or an O ring under it (currently absent), can someone confirm this?

While working on it I noticed that the nearside front tyre was looking a little soft. Checking it revealed it to be fine and just looking low down to how the car was sitting on the drive. It did however bring my mind back to something else I'd been meaning to investigate for a couple of months now.

I can't remember exactly when it was, but a couple of months ago I think it was our RCD was taken out when I plugged the compressor in. Resetting it immediately resulted in the circuit breaker for the garage socket tripping. Resetting that immediately knocked out the RCD again...so something was obviously amiss.

I was hoping that this would be something amiss with the pressure switch or a bit of chafed wiring. Sadly it wasn't anything that simple and it turns out that one of the motor windings has shorted to the case. Annoying but these things happen. It did quite a bit of hard work back when the Invacar was painted, which was the job I needed it for the most really.

Can't really justify replacing it just now...while it's nice to have air in the garage it's hardly mission critical. A thought sprang to mind though...a while ago I stumbled across an ancient tiny little compressor hooked up to a probably even more ancient motor. It's only a tiny one, but I had established that it would at least move air. Seemed worth investigating whether I could make use of it in some way. It didn't have a receiver of any sort fitted so a bit of improvisation was going to be needed.

Cue some scrabbling around the garage for things I could scavenge fittings from to actually attach any form of outlet hardware to it, finding a plug (as of course I'd nicked that for something else) and cobbling things together.



Then it became apparent that I'd left the tank drain open. This had also helpfully seized. After a little gentle persuasion it started moving...then sheared off. How lovely!

Eventually finding a bolt that was the correct size plugged that, and we could see if the teeny tiny compressor could fill the receiver in a vaguely sensible time. If it's going to take an hour to get it up to 50psi that's not really going to be useful.

The belt tension needs setting up properly as I need to nudge it with my foot to start it just now, but once it's kicked over it sits there going "dugga-dugga-dugga..." quite happily. Surprisingly quietly too. The vast majority of the noise is actually from the intake, so a muffler would solve a lot of that.

Less than a minute in...



Looks promising. After a few minutes we were up to about 70psi, so that's entirely usable for my purposes. I'll pull everything out of the garage at some point so I can actually get at it and then have a think about how to actually properly pipe things up.

Long term I'll need to look at getting a new compressor as this isn't going to have the legs to keep up with any real demand, but it should at least let me do things like checking my tyre pressures reasonably quickly.

Will probably look to install a little shelf above the receiver and use this as an excuse to get some polished copper and brass in the garage. I'll look to add a fan of some sort to blow over the compressor body too, even though it only got vaguely warm during today's test. The hose was quite warm though which was the main reason I called time when I did as it's obviously not really suitable for use in that position.

I was backfilling the tank through the outlet through a random extension hose because I simply wanted to see whether this would even work, the correct inlet and outlet will be used once I set stuff up. No reason I can't use the existing pressure switch and regulator etc as there's nothing wrong with it as far as I can tell.

...Glad I saved this one from the skip at the side of the road now!
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Old Apr 23 2020, 09:26 PM   #5339
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Couple of updates rolled into one here as I ran out of time to get a post put together last night.

----

A few people have suggested that it might be possible to replace the motor on my currently dead compressor. I'd originally discounted this myself as being a direct drive unit I expected things to be pretty model-specific. It's only one of those around £100 including a bunch of basic tools jobs anyway so not worth throwing a huge amount of money at. However it's worth looking into depending on what state the compressor side of things is in. I particularly wanted to examine the bore on account of having discovered that the cheap piece of recycled biscuit tin that the air intake was made from was sufficiently poorly made that there was a good 1/8" gap between the air cleaner element and the back of the housing. So none of the air was actually being required to go through the air cleaner. I discovered this *after* doing a bunch of soda blasting and painting a car in the garage! As such I was...curious...to see how much of this gunk it had ingested.

Had to admit to being a bit curious anyway...I've had a few refrigeration compressors apart before so I was interested to see what differences there were in the construction.

Off with its head!

The valve plate definitely shows that it's been breathing more than just clean air...This is the side which faces down into the cylinder, there's a reed valve which sits over the central hole allowing air into the cylinder through there, but forcing it out through the three smaller holes above it. Two of these had a good 1/16" of solidified gunge on them, and the inlet reed valve had about the same thickness of paint on the outward facing surface.





Lovely...That's a large blob of what appears to be a congealed mixture of soda blasting media and compressor oil. I wasn't sure if I wanted to push the cylinder down to examine the bore at this point!



Actually a lot better than I honestly expected. I can *just about* feel the most obvious score you can see in the above photo, but that was the worst of it. With a good clean I reckon it could live to fight another day with a replacement motor - if it's cheap enough.

I knew the older one I was monkeying around with yesterday wasn't performing its best down to how much the belt was slipping, and wanted to see how it compared actually working better.

There was no way to get the tension set properly on the belt with the slots in the base it's currently mounted on being where they are, however I just happened to have a slightly shorter belt in stock, which meant I was able to line things up better. Also meant I could actually bolt both things down with four bolts rather than the original two.



This then meant I could fit a new belt and properly tension it. Doesn't this look better?



Suffice to say it's an awful lot happier with a new properly tensioned belt on it. Not only does it seem to be filling the tank at nearly the same rate as the original compressor seemed to, it will now happily start even with 100psi of head pressure on it (which it wouldn't normally see when starting as there's an unloader built into the tank feed - and of course the pressure switch is set so that it will normally cut in at around 60psi).

Even if it is a little slower than the original compressor, honestly it's so much quieter that I think that's a price I'd be willing to pay. You could certainly happily be working in the garage with this one chugging away, whereas the original one definitely required ear protection if you were in the same room. It frequently resulted in me jumping half out of my skin when it started up - even when expecting it.

I'll have a think about my options and come back to this project I think.

I definitely need to get something set up soonish though. The only two garages near here with air lines in a usable condition are now charging £1 to use them. Sorry...Nope. £0.20 I was fine with, £0.50 I'd grumble but pay, a quid however is having a laugh. The tyres on the van though run at 58/65psi front/rear. My little 12V compressor really isn't designed with pressures like that in mind, so I really need the garage air supply working to keep them topped off (they don't generally lose air, but I like to check things like that weekly).

Only other thing I really got done today was to give the leather in the Jag another going over with the leather feed. I think this must be the sixth or seventh treatment, and it's actually just about starting to not immediately get absorbed. The rear seats in particular felt very dry when I got the car - not that anyone is ever really likely to be in the back given how hard to is to get in and out of!

Looks better for it, though I do at some point need to give them a really good scrub down with the cleaner as they're still quite grubby in a few places. I didn't realise how much so until looking at these photos.







There are a couple of small areas that could do with some attention...so a question to those of you who have dealt with interior trim repairs before (it's a new field for me). Are these things that a specialist would be able to repair, and if so is it likely to be at a reasonable cost? I've never really had a car where it was worth asking questions like this before!

Rear seat has three spots where the stitching is failing. From previous experience with XJ6s, I think there is an element of "they all do that sir" because the thread used in the stitching isn't all that great.







That last one is probably the most important to me as it's really clearly visible from outside the car.

The driver's seat also has a spot where the backrest adjuster lever has rubbed a hole in the side of the seat base. Again I suspect this is something that virtually every XJ-S owner has to deal with at some point just due to the seat base design.



Also there's a bit of wear to the backrest bolster on the same seat - though I'm more willing to just mark this up as the inevitable battle scars of 35 years and 78K miles, it's not really noticeable unless you're looking for it.



If it was going to be reasonably cheap to repair though I'd not say no.

These aren't things I'm going to lose sleep over, but it's probably the first car I've had where it's actually worth thinking about getting things like this looked at. In the long term they will add value, and will obviously make the car a nicer place to be (like having refinished the wood trim).

----

Having had a look around for compressor motors I've not really found anything at a price that makes sense. Around £50 is the cheapest I found from a seller I even vaguely trust, and when Toolstation have an entire compressor of more or less identical ratings for £99.98 - that just doesn't stack up. So I'm continuing with my thought experiment about using the working hardware I have.

The idea that there was no real requirement for the receiver and compressor to necessarily be in the same place does raise some interesting ideas in terms of saving floor space in the garage, as it does take up quite a lot of room. There really isn't any reason though that it couldn't be elevated into the "dead" space around or above the garage door frame.



The tank drain valve has always been an utter pig to get at, so this would make it more likely to actually be drained weekly as it wouldn't involve me having to wheel the thing out of the garage, tip it on its side, getting the pliers out to unscrew it and then repeating the process in reverse to get it back inside.

I had always planned at some point to move the compressor itself somewhere else in the garage anyway and to pipe the air to somewhere near to the door...so it's just an expansion on that idea really.

----

Did a bit more digging into the compressor today as curiosity got the better of me. I'd expected some sort of coupler between the motor and compressor...however it quickly became apparent that it's all one chunk.



Also became quickly apparent that the crankshaft seal has been leaking, the whole rotor is covered in sticky horrible oily gunge. I thought the golden colour was varnish or something - right up to the point where I touched it.



Getting the fan off the end of the shaft was an absolute pig of a job as it was clearly designed with a correctly sized, keyed fan in mind...however the manufacturer had literally just hammered one on there that was small enough that it was jammed in place. Getting it off as a result required no small amount of brute force.

The receiver isn't all that heavy in itself, so I think the idea of mounting it remote to the compressor is a decent one. Pressure switch, reg and water separator (not currently fitted) can be kept at eye level, and a drain down valve can also be remotely piped in. Reckon a pipe off the bottom of the tank and a ball valve will be more reliable long term than the fiddly arrangement it originally had anyway.



I reckon that the original compressor mounting brackets there may well even be well suited to secure it with (obviously I'd need to modify the outlet pipework, but we can deal with that).

It does take up a good old chunk of floor space so I like the idea of it being shoved somewhere properly out of the way.

At this point I was intending to tidy up from that before moving onto another job - however successfully sidetracked myself en route and still haven't remembered what I actually went into the garage to do in the first place. I stumbled across an ancient bottle of Auto Glym Bumper and Trim treatment which I think I've had since I worked at the garage (which I moved on from in 2005). This reminded me that I noted way back when I first picked it up that the plastics and bumpers on the Jag were looking really dull and lifeless. I didn't realise how bad they were until I started treating them.



I honestly thought that the strip under the radiator grill there was really grey until now!



These vents speak for themselves I think, this is where I started out and realised how badly the plastics needed some TLC.

This thing was a pig to do. In hindsight I should have pulled it off the car, would have been quicker I think.



Can see a few bits I need to go back to anyway. Also I'd always thought that grill was plastic...nope, it seems to actually be die cast aluminium based on the feel of it.

I always forget how much just treating all the plastics and bumpers can make a car look so much tidier.





The one bit of plastic I didn't touch is this one.



Reason being is that I want to go in with a tiny brush and touch in the lettering on the panel between the reversing lights. I'm not sure if this being silver or black is a HE/Pre-HE difference, but I prefer the look with the text standing out a bit. I've seen this panel all black like this, silver with black lettering on a couple of really early cars, and black with the lettering in satin silver. That's the look I'm going for.

The other bit of silver detailing I've seen on a couple of photos of early cars is on the surrounds around the instruments.



I'm guessing this was dropped as time went on as it saved a bit of time on the assembly line, and therefore a few pennies!

Like this (image grabbed from a classified listing somewhere - trade-classics judging from the image watermark - a while ago, and used purely for reference).



I know it's technically not correct for a HE, but I think that the silver detailing really looks nice and breaks up what is otherwise quite a big slab of black and helps define the border between the black and dark grey parts. I need to pull the panel again because the warning light for the rear fog lights has packed in (again, dodgy lamp holder), so might add a bit of early car detailing there. It fits with the overall black with silver piping theme outside too.
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Old Apr 23 2020, 10:24 PM   #5340
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Someone at Kibby's work was tested for the virus. It will take 3 days to vet the results.
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Old Apr 24 2020, 04:06 AM   #5341
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Re the compressor: have you looked at what Aldi has in from time to time?
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Old Apr 24 2020, 10:54 AM   #5342
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Re the compressor: have you looked at what Aldi has in from time to time?
The ones they have in will probably be identical more or less to the one that's just died and is available in Toolstation etc. 95% of the cheap direct drive ones seem to be about half a dozen different designs just with a different badge on.

While they're fine for occasional use and blowing up the odd tyre beyond that their limitations start to show.

Realistically I can't see me bothering with another direct drive one, it's just so ridiculously noisy being the main complaint. I shouldn't have to exit the garage to wait for it to get back up to pressure...

I'll get the little belt drive one I have here hooked up "properly" in due course and it will do until I decide a proper upgrade is needed. That will likely be next time I decide to do paintwork, and it will probably be to a twin cylinder belt drive model. £150 or thereabouts seems to pick up a decent used one if you're patient and are willing to collect it.
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Old Apr 25 2020, 06:00 PM   #5343
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More good news, not, Mom has a mass on her lower intestant, surgery tomorrow. They don't think there will be any problems. She is 83 & not in good health. If Kibby was exposed to virus, than so was Mom.
In case you are wondering, kibby is still working. No deep cleaning or anything is being done. Don't what happens if girl does have virus. There is no plan to close store down or anything.
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Old Apr 26 2020, 01:55 AM   #5344
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I sure hope it's not the virus... Fingers crossed.
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Old Apr 26 2020, 09:09 PM   #5345
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Really hope everything comes back clear for you.

-- -- --

Yesterday didn't go so well.

I didn't have a huge amount of time so thought I'd tackle something small. My choice was installing the switch I picked up ages ago for the heater blower I've fitted to the Invacar. Simple enough job.

It all came unravelled however when I decided to overhaul the switch before fitting it. The action was rather "crunchy" and checking it with a meter showed the contacts to be quite intermittent. Nothing a bit of cleaning and some fresh grease can't sort.

However somewhere between me taking the switch apart and me sitting down to reassemble it, the spring disappeared. I had precisely zero idea where or when...I don't *think* I left it sitting loose on top of the switch body when I walked out of the garage...but I can't be sure.

I must have spent an hour and a half crawling around trying to find it before running out of patience. I did have a thorough dig through the boxes of random bits and pieces to see if I could find a suitable replacement...no dice.

So back out this afternoon to see if I could find that blasted spring. After about an hour of digging through the garage I finally relented and shuffled all the stuff out of the way, moved the Jag onto the street and backed the van up so I could get TPA out of the garage. Here she is blinking in the sunlight for the first time since September.



Could I find it even having got myself some room to move? Not a chance.

Had a last bash at things by sweeping the garage out then going through the resulting pile of dust and debris with a magnet. Result?



Found ya, you little sod!

Ten minutes later I actually got the switch cleaned up, back together and was able to get it installed.



I don't think it looks out of place, going digging for switchgear matching the originals was a good call.



Could have been straighter, but I'll take it. There's a bit of wiggle room there so I can look to fine tune it later. Obviously needs wiring attached at some point. Plus at some point I'll be swapping the dash out for the spare I have which doesn't have a stinking great hole in the top anyway. I need to pull it to tidy some of the existing wiring up anyway (the main ignition feed passing through a rusty screw terminal block doesn't instill confidence!), so may as well take the opportunity to fit the better dash while it's out.

Speaking of wiring I want to see if I can make a few improvements anyway...a relay or two to take the load off the ignition switch for one as it gets warmer than I'd like. Plus I want to add a 12V outlet tucked out of view under the dash and hook up the additional instrumentation pod...so a few wiring jobs to do.

Wouldn't be a bad idea to tackle that job now while the car's otherwise off the road now I think of it...

Will probably move the indicator stalk back to the left too...I prefer it on the right, but trying to operate it and the throttle at the same time is awkward. That will wait until I've picked up the right stalk though as the legends being upside down (this is a Land Rover SIII one I believe, the correct Invacar one I believe is shared with the Herald) would drive me nuts. The correct stalk doesn't have the cranked stalk or any legends so it can be fitted on either side just as easily.
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Old Apr 27 2020, 11:52 AM   #5346
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Last Monday our oldest son called to let us know he was going to have to take his wife in that night to induce labor for their baby. So while we were expecting the call and had planned the trip to take care of their two girls (her girl is 12, their girl is about 2-1/2) we were expecting to be going Tuesday afternoon/Wednesday morning. So off we went, from Licking to La Grange, MO.

The doctor induced labor around midnight Monday and Tuesday decided she didn't like the way things were progressing, so caesarian section time, and Declan Richard Fields came into the world @ 4 pounds, 9 ounces, 17 inches long. I made the drive back home Wednesday to check on the house, make sure the wild critters hadn't eaten all of my dog's food I left for him, and make sure the cats hadn't destroyed the house. When I left there was no word when they were going to send the family home, and by the time I got back to La Grange Thursday afternoon, mommy, daddy, and "baby makes three" were there waiting for me.

We stayed until about noonish on Saturday and got home about 7PM. Sunday was spent recuperating, sorting through the new photos, and trying to get back to what passes for "normal" around here.

So now between my wife's three sons, plus one girl that she started taking care of in a daycare at about 6 weeks, we have 7 grandchildren, 3 step-grandchildren, and one "adopted" grandchild. Since this is my first (and LAST) marriage and I have no children of my own, I claim all of her family.

I tell everybody I'm adopted.
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Old Apr 27 2020, 12:19 PM   #5347
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Keep us posted about Kibby and your mum, Michelle!


I wish you all the good luck you need!
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Old Apr 27 2020, 07:05 PM   #5348
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The girl who was tested was told she could go back to work because she no longer has fever. No test results.

Mom's had diarrhea since she went to hospital, so they put surgery off until tomorrow. We have a cousin who works there that was able to sneak in to see her. We can't go.
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Old Apr 28 2020, 06:21 PM   #5349
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Mom's surgery went well. She'll be in hospital for 5 days then rehab for about 2 weeks.
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Old Apr 29 2020, 05:17 AM   #5350
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Hooray!
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Old May 1 2020, 10:17 PM   #5351
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Mom's surgery went well. She'll be in hospital for 5 days then rehab for about 2 weeks.
Glad to hear it! Hope she will need the advice and rest up properly! My parents were both terrible for refusing to rest.

-- -- --

A few things rolled into one again as I've done a poor job of keeping things up to date lately.

I needed to head out a couple of days ago to pick up some prescriptions (it would be really nice if they would just let me order things a couple of days earlier so I didn't need to make four separate trips for four separate medications!), of course I took a small, sensible car didn't I?

Well...kind of.



To be honest I don't really want to take the Jag out in the wet until I've sorted the rust on the nearside wing on the Jag and refitted the wheel arch liner, so it was the logical choice.

Now a brief Segway into tech as happens now and then in this thread.

About a year ago I was generously gifted an Acorn RiscPC 600 by a fellow fan of these machines. A RiscPC had been on my wish list since I first encountered one in the late 90s. I have several Archimedes machines as I've always been a huge fan of both Acorn and Amiga computers, having grown up with them.

Don't ask me to pick a favourite... they're very different machines, though from a purely technical perspective Acorn probably gets my vote. They were so, so far ahead of their time architecturally. While I enjoy using Workbench on the Amiga, 3.0 is what I really made my first *real* steps into computing with, I can't deny it's quite clunky in a lot of ways. RiscOS on the other hand still feels slick now...while it might lack modern visual sparkle in some ways, it still works well. It was very much its own thing in the time and to this day nothing has behaved in quite the same way. I think it's the massively efficient use of screen space in RiscOS which makes me want to bash my head against a brick wall when using Windows 10.

While I've several Archimedes machines (A3000, A3020, A4000, A5000) and relatively recently found an A7000, I've never managed to track down a RiscPC at a price I thought was sensible. So when the opportunity to get this one came up I didn't hesitate for a millisecond. Hopefully one day a BBC Micro or Master will also materialise.

Scruffy though it may be, I was very glad to have added this to my collection of interesting (to me anyway!) computing hardware.



Unsurprisingly this machine needs a bit of TLC.

While I didn't have time to give it too much attention when it initially arrived, I did give it a quick once over. This immediately revealed that the RTC/CMOS battery had been leaking, a common issue on Acorn gear, which can do quite a lot of damage if left unchecked.

Thankfully despite having made a mess there was no actual damage visible.



So the battery was snipped off the board, the alkaline gunk neutralised and then the motherboard cleaned before it was put into storage to wait its turn in the queue.

After patiently waiting a full year, it's now getting some attention.



We appear to have the 2Mb VIDC Memory upgrade, a StrongARM CPU upgrade board (not sure exactly which one yet), 32Mb of RAM and the 80486 expansion board (which makes me happy as the idea of being able to run DOS/Windows software in a window on a RiscOS desktop appeals to my sense of ridiculous).





Also enjoyed seeing a TI branded 80486 rather than an Intel one, don't think I've come across that before.

Starting status: Dead. Well not entirely. On powering on there's a click from the speaker, the hard drive spins up (with that unmistakable "Nnnn-Wrrrriiimmmm...tick-tick-tick-clack" anyone into computers from this era can ID as a Connor hard disc), the power and hard disc LEDs light as expected (disc activity light goes out once the hard disc has spun up), the network adaptor status LED lights, and the keyboard LEDs blink showing me it's getting power, but that's it.

No soft synthesized "Boooop" sound effect, no seek of the floppy drive, no screen output, nothing. These machines are able to output quite a few POST error codes via flashing the activity light on the floppy drive, however nothing showing here.

If the CMOS data has become corrupted or left in a state which could prevent the system booting, it's possible to do a factory reset by holding down delete when powering it up. Didn't make any difference.

One of the best things about these machines is that you can get down to the motherboard (and even get that out) without needing any tools. The "slice" based case really is a clever idea.

At this point I stripped the machine down to it's bare bones and tried known good memory to no avail.

Moving on from there I made sure that all the correct voltages were all present, which they were. Nothing for it then but to pull the motherboard out for a closer examination to see if I could find any tracks broken by corrosion from the battery leakage, especially with the proximity of it to the RAM sockets. While I was there it made sense to pull every socketed chip, clean them up and reseat them.

It didn't take long for a likely candidate to turn up... though not for the reasons I was expecting. This is the chip which handles most of the system I/O, probably being vaguely analogous to the northbridge chipset on a modern conventional PC.



While I'm not entirely sure how this happened (best guess someone dropped one of the CPU cards on it), we have four bent and one broken pin. I could see that one was already broken, but I decided to see if I could get the remainder to bend back into shape enough to ensure they weren't actually touching each other.



To give a better idea of the sort of nanosurgery I'd need to do to repair the pin, here's a fingertip for scale.



I didn't expect anything, but I figured I'd see if we had any change in behaviour with the short removed at least. I was staggered when the monitor woke up, and the floppy drive chunked its way into life for the startup seek. Still didn't boot though, was still non responsive. We did have some sign of life on the display though which was huge progress.



I know that as the infamous battery is right next to the video memory expansion slot and that contact issues there are common. Sure enough wobbling the memory stick in the VIDC memory expansion slot made the pattern on screen change.



A quick test to see if the problem is with that memory is simply to remove it. The machine has onboard video memory, you just don't have access to the highest resolution and colour depth modes without the expansion fitted.

Powering up then resulted in a buzzing noise from the speaker...and the unmistakably obtrusive chatter of a Connor hard drive booting up an OS echoing around the room. I was staggered to see this then appear.



Now something is still very unhappy given the video issues that are visible...but given that there's physical damage to one of the main ICs on the motherboard, getting it to boot at all seems need miraculous to me. Seems to be 50/50 as to whether I get the above display or this...



This artefact is actually a bit more complicated than it might at first look, as it's not just the screen display being folded over - it does actually seem to be getting drawn that way as the application bar scrolls left or right as you mouse over it, so it seems that we are in fact in some strange, probably invalid screen mode. It's also not just the monitor getting confused, the signal being fed in is a normal VGA signal.

Realistically I need to track down either a replacement IOMD21 chip or a parts donor motherboard before I can go forward with this. There's just no way on earth that I can repair what I've got with the equipment and experience I have. I'm just not set up for nanosurgery like this.

While I had the workbench clear I set about wiring up the additional instrument pod for the Invacar, just need to bolt it in place and add the senders for that. My intention is for it to sit roughly here.



The exact angle will be chosen to minimise reflections in the face of the gauges. They're just cheap random ones I've accumulated over the years in there at the moment, but I'll try to replace them with more period correct Smith's or similar ones as time goes on and I find appropriate gauges at autojumbles etc. I'm not willing to pay what seems to be the going rate for them on eBay these days. This will be getting attached to a metal bar that runs under the dash rather than to the plastic itself, so won't put any additional strain on the already brittle plastic or anything like that. It will also be removable in the future without leaving any visible evidence if I decide to get rid of it.

I've no real interest in the absolute values that these gauges will show me, I'm far more interested in observing what the baseline for "normal" is for my engine, then any sudden deviation from that norm will be cause for investigation. I may feel that in the more distant future that it's unnecessary, but I'd like to be able to keep tabs on things until I've got at least a couple of thousand miles covered trouble free. Given I do have plans for a long trip in mind which will probably involve a lot of sustained high speed driving, I feel that it's a good idea to have the pod there at least until that's happened. If I was purely trundling around locally I'd be less bothered.

-- -- --

I thought that I'd resolved the issue with water finding its way in through the driver's door on the Jag...



...Apparently not. Looks like I'll be having to pull the door apart again then. We will have to see if I get bored enough to tackle that next week.

This afternoon I decided it would be fun to stand on my head under the dash of the Invacar for half an hour.



Before anyone says anything, I'm waiting for the package with the ring terminals small enough for these terminals to arrive from eBay, I got fed up of waiting...when they arrive I'll terminate the wiring properly.

I've simplified the wiring into the car a bit by just thing the illumination and power supply to the gauge pod together, so it will just be lit whenever the ignition is on. So all I'll need is an ignition switched live, a ground (which will be attached to the bracket once I've got ring terminals), and the two sender lines. "Keep it simple, stupid!" Is an approach I like.

Hopefully the wiring will be done this weekend. Need a couple of adaptors for the senders (also in the post) but no reason I can't get the wiring done.

Doesn't look too out of place.



Will obviously look better once I get some period gauges in there rather than the cheapie Chinese nonsense currently in there. These have been in the garage for goodness only knows how long though so seemed the sensible choice.



Will serve the purpose for now though even if they're a little cheap and nasty.
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Old May 2 2020, 04:49 PM   #5352
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Mom can't get out of bed. She has no choice on resting.
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Old May 2 2020, 08:36 PM   #5353
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Thanks to his walks having been quite a bit shorter than usual lately Tesla has been bouncing off the walls a bit this last few days. Figured it made sense to get him a bit of extra exercise today then and took him out for a run.



Nice spot to pause for a breather (mainly for canine temperature management as he has zero concept of how to pace himself).



I really do need to pick up a new battery for the C5 though. It was struggling last year but I was able to nurse it through to the end of the year. It's getting a bit beyond tired now and is really annoying.

While I'd like to go down the road of a proper lithium polymer setup one day the costs involved are just prohibitive at this stage. By the time you've bought the batteries, a proper charger and upgraded the control hardware to properly take advantage of it you can very easily have spent north of £500.

A decent sounding halfway house seems to be lithium-iron-phosphate battery technology. This seems to have come down in price quite a bit over the last couple of years. While it's not quite as much of a game changer as lithium polymer you're still looking at a battery that's half the size and about a third of the weight of an equivalent lead-acid one. Plus they're far better suited to a deep cycle application like this compared to a normal automotive battery. I'm currently seriously considering this one.. The weight saving and lower self discharge rate are attractive enough on their own. I'll let you know how I get on with it if I do go down that route.

Got a couple of small things done on the Invacar this afternoon too.

First up was refitting the infill strips on the gutters. This is important from a weatherproofing perspective as it covers the retaining screws. Plus it makes the car look far less unkempt.



I had initially planned on changing the front indicator seals, however can't find them. I was absolutely sure I knew which box they were in...apparently I was wrong. No huge loss as the whole indicator units are like £2 each, so I've just ordered a pair of new ones. The lamp holder in the nearside one is somewhat temperamental and the lenses aren't the best anyhow, so a fresh set probably isn't the worst idea ever.

The one light seal I did find appears to be for an Invacar Mk12 tail light I think...definitely nothing Model 70 related anyway.



With one of my indicator lenses for scale you can clearly see it's larger in diameter.



While rummaging around in the back of the garage I took the opportunity to drag my spare dash out into the land of the living. It's scruffy and needs a really good tidy up, but there are no cracks or holes in the surfaces you can see. Just a couple of small cracks in the lower edge around where it attaches to the bar under the dash.



The issue with them warping across the top is purely because the only support there is a tiny little flat bit of metal screwed to the top in three places that doesn't even extend to the ends of the dash.



Which as you can see from the shape of it, seems to bend more easily than the dash plastic itself. I'm sure I can engineer a better solution than this. It's spent a lot of time outside though so everything attached to it is rusted beyond hope. Getting the fuel gauge out will be fun I think...

I'll see how well it tidies up. If it ends up looking decent I will probably look to swap it for the one in the car. I prefer it not having a gaping hole where the dash mounted gear selector would be if it had one anyway.

I've got some serious scrubbing to do...



Speaking of the dash, something which had been bugging me no end in the car was the hole just above the interior light. Don't seem to have a recent photo showing it so had to delve into the archives, this was taken when I was experimenting with possible locations for additional warning lights. You can see there's a hole just above the left hand end of the interior light.



Resolving this involved dismantling the light, removing it from the dash and moving it upwards about 10mm.

There's still a you've out of the plastic by the left hand screw but it's a lot better than it was.



Little things in the extreme but at the end of the day they all add up.
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Old May 3 2020, 04:33 AM   #5354
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Congrats, Allen! I hope your son and especially his wife and child are doing well.
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Old May 3 2020, 12:11 PM   #5355
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Congrats, Allen! I hope your son and especially his wife and child are doing well.
Thank you. Latest report, Heath told us that they're doing well. Declan had lost some of his precious little weight but is gaining back. He's been back up to his birth weight and is on his way. I know what mom is going through in her own recovery. Her c-section wound is a lot smaller than my colon cancer surgery scars, and I was in the hospital for almost 2 weeks instead of the 3 days they had estimated prior to surgery.
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Old May 4 2020, 12:25 AM   #5356
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Mom is going to be transfered to rehab as soon as Covid test comes back. She is in good spirits, & feeling much better. I wish we could go see her.
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Old May 4 2020, 12:27 AM   #5357
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Allen, congrats on family addition.
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Old May 5 2020, 08:10 PM   #5358
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A bit of administrative fun and games and bashing of my head against a brick wall today!

For the last few years I have been getting *massively* overcharged for the car insurance policy on the Xantia. This has basically been because every year since 2016, about the time of year that the policy has come up for renewal I've been fielding off some form of major family disaster which has resulted in "shopping around for cheaper car insurance" to be somewhere around number 938 on the priority list. Their mid-term cancellation policies were sufficiently punitive as to make it not really worth dealing with until renewal time.

This year their offer at renewal time was just over £800 for the year - which is a drop from the £1100 odd it cost last year, and I think is the first time I've ever seen the number drop.

Half an hour digging around secured better cover from another provider for £220. I'm happy with that.

I was very much looking forward to phoning Adrian Flux and telling them what to do with their renewal invitation. Especially as they have been biblically ineffectual in the past from an administrative perspective - I've called them at least half a dozen times to attempt to remove my husband from the policy as he's now medically unable to drive...I eventually gave up on that count after about six months of chasing it.

They were relatively efficient actually when I phoned up and got the necessary paperwork through to me confirming the policy wouldn't be renewed, confirmation of my no claim's discount to forward on to my new insurer, all three years of it. Wait...What the? That should be like *fifteen* years, not three.

Cue be getting back on the phone, spending another half hour on hold, only to discover what had happened.

Before I can explain that I need to clarify one peculiarity of how the no claims bonus (NCB) works in the UK. You earn a year's NCB for each year of driving you complete without either making any claims or having any claims made against your insurance. However this NCB can only be applied to the policy attached to a single car...Which still seems daft to me. So I've got insurance policies for four cars - but I can only use my NCD against one of them.

You also cannot use or earn NCD on most specialist policies like ones specifically for classic cars etc.

Also if it is inactive for more than two years, it expires. So that's something to watch if you take an extended break from driving here (as a friend did a few years back when he disappeared to stay with his folks in Australia for a couple of years).

What had happened was that back in 2017 when I sold my Peugeot 107 (which was the "lead" vehicle on the policy, and the one which I had my NCB attached to), common sense didn't happen. Rather than either A: Automatically transferring the NCB to the next vehicle on my policy, or B: Heaven forbid...ASKING me what I wanted to do with it, the NCB entitlement was just left floating around in the aether. Until February 2019 when it expired of course.

Now technically I should have spotted this, as my accrued NCB is listed in my policy documentation - albeit in one solitary tiny poorly labelled cell in a table about 20 pages into the 30 odd page policy summary. It took me three attempts to find it this afternoon when I was specifically looking for it. The odds of me spotting that when scanning through to make sure that my personal and vehicle details are right were somewhere between slim and none. Poorly labelled it may be, but it was still there...so they'd be within their rights to say "tough luck mate" which is essentially what happened with the first call this afternoon.

This made me Significantly Displeased.

Significantly Displeased that after a few hours when I'd had the opportunity to mull things over a bit and get my thoughts in order that I called them back.

This time I got an operator who actually seemed to know a bit better what they were talking about and willing to actually do some digging to get to the bottom of what had happened and *why* it had happened.

They were able to confirm quite quickly that if I had just flat out cancelled the policy on that car, I should have just been sent a summary note confirming my NCB entitlement and that would have been that. However as the reason for cancellation of the policy was clearly labelled as "sale of vehicle" a different process should have been triggered. I should have been asked by the operator at the time what I wanted to do with the NCB attached to the policy. Even if they hadn't, in the absence of any other instructions, as I had other vehicles on cover with them it should automatically been transferred to the whichever vehicle became the lead vehicle on my multicar policy once the original one was removed.

They were able to confirm that no summary note was ever issued, and that this transfer never took place. Precisely *why* they weren't any better able to answer than I was.

It took a decent amount of running around in circles on their part and no small amount of time on hold for my part, but they were able to essentially get the NCB reinstated and added back onto my policy.

Sadly there are three years missing from when it was dormant (as when it's not attached to a vehicle it doesn't grow), but I came out with eleven years rather than three...which given I've managed to get an insurance company - especially one that's well known for being about as user friendly as an angry wasp - to admit that they fouled up, I'm going to call a win and leave it at that.

Definitely can't say I'm sorry to see the back of my old insurance company!
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Old May 6 2020, 08:16 PM   #5359
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Was a day or two back that these things I'd been waiting for turned up.



These were hopefully the last things I needed to finally get the nearside wheel on the Invacar reattached to the hub in all four points. Sadly it would be another couple of days before I'd have a chance to get back into the garage.

This morning another little package arrived.



Which will allow me to tidy up the front indicators. Just out of shot is also a couple of oil filters.

Had a brief sidetrack attacking the tape adaptor I've been using in the Jag.



While it worked fine it had a major drawback in that it made a horrendous racket.

The easiest solution I've found for this in most cases is to simply remove the innards from it. Some cassette decks won't work if you do this as they rely on the rotation of the reels to detect the end of each side. This one however doesn't, and will quite happily run without anything inside the tape. So this lot can go in the bin.



This means that I now can listen to music without a horrible clicky squeaky noise in the background.

Back into the garage.

First up, having finally got hold of a couple of oil filters (having thought I had them in stock but discovering 3/4 of the way through the oil change that I was wrong) I could get that fitted and finish the oil change.



I'm going to have to spend some serious time cleaning up in here soon...everything is just covered in paint because I was an idiot and didn't properly mask off the engine bay before doing the paintwork. That's a job for another day.

Speaking of clean though, this is the first time that the oil hasn't turned visibly darker the moment it's poured into the engine - this had been running for a few minutes.



So having spent a good portion of the afternoon putting it off it was back to fighting with the hub.

Even with a good cobalt drill bit drilling into this hub is an absolute nightmare. After the best part of an hour of fighting with the drill and then the tap...



...Yes! For the first time since the start of September the wheel is actually attached at all four points and tightened up properly.

The shonky using-old-wheel-nuts-as-conical-washers arrangement there on the other bolts was only intended to confirm the thread size in the hub and to prove that bolts would work. It's been confirmed that wheel bolts from a Mk I Morris Minor have the correct thread and right sort of conical head, so there are a set of those on the way.

If the hub wasn't such an absolute pain to drill and tap I'd seriously consider using the M12 bolts in all four holes as they're substantially beefier than the 3/8" ones.



As it is I'd not be able to drive it like this anyway as the 3/8" bolts currently in there are too long so they foul on the brake shoes.

Huge step forward though!

Next step will be to pull the wheel and drum off to clean the inevitable swarf from the drilling and tapping operations out of the drum, then once the new bolts arrive we can get back on the road!

...Then we can see A: Which gremlins I've forgotten about in the last nine months, and B: What new gremlins have developed while she has spent nine months sitting dormant in the garage.

This will be a good thing given that the Jag isn't exactly...frugal...on continuous local runs! Van is actually astonishingly frugal around town, but as 3/4 of the places I've been needing to go lately have height barriers so it's not an option!

Looking forward to buzzing around in the Invacar again. Especially as I'd just got the CVT sorted out when the whole wheel stud debacle started.
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Old May 7 2020, 08:37 PM   #5360
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Hopefully the new wheel bolts for the Invacar will turn up in the next couple of days. In preparation for that I pulled the wheel and brake drum off so I could clean things up ready for the road again.

Wasn't actually as much gunk in there as I was expecting. Bit of swarf, but nothing too difficult to clean out.



The long term plan is still to change the hub as I'm not 100% happy with how close the wider drilling has taken it to the edge of the casting. The thread hasn't been cut as well as I'd ideally like either, though I did give it a good old heave today on the bolt and it didn't strip, so I'm not too worried.



I had a look at something today. The difference between the 4X100 PCD (used on the Invacar) and the original 4X98 that Fiat originally used.

The bolt holes in the brake drum are actually big enough that there's enough clearance for these holes to be used. The only thing actually preventing them being used is about 1mm of metal on the wheel.

The question springs to mind of whether a specialist would be able to make that tiny modification. It's a question I think I might ask of a couple of companies...seeing some of the mad banding mods and such it would seem a relatively easy job. If it *was* doable that would eliminate the potential stud headaches once and for all.

Before folks ask, yes I have looked at the 12" Fiat wheels from the 500 - the offset is significantly different so the tyre would foul on the wheel arch (can't remember on which side off the top of my head).

I've got one of the front indicators swapped out. Just need to go back in with a brush to touch in the paint around where the old seal was removed, was fully expecting that to be needed as the construction of the new unit is slightly different.



I will see if I can get the old lenses cleaned up properly though as the moulding of the original lenses is of a far better quality (unsurprisingly).

The other one will be done when I next have the car out the garage as the offside front corner is really awkward to get at when it's all the way into the garage.
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