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Old Apr 17 2019, 07:37 PM   #4881
Zelandeth
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If you ever wondered what a slightly stoned one-eyed rat looks like, here you go.


Caption to what seemed to be going through his head during this period:
"Duuuuuuuuuude...wait...I have...whiskers!...that's...that's awesome..."

He's just sleeping off the tail end of anaesthetic having had his teeth trimmed. There are some deeper issues there, but his teeth not wearing normally was the thing needing the most urgent attention as it was preventing him from being able to eat properly.

While I was out at the vet this arrived back at home.



It is reassuringly heavy, and with a rated torque figure of 350NM it should hopefully be sufficient to get the pulley bolts out of the Invacar. I think if that doesn't do the job, next step will be to pull the engine and gearbox then just take the gearbox to my usual garage to be sorted. Having just got the engine running well it would be annoying to have to pull it out again!

As it was a nice day it seemed a good opportunity to get the Lada out for a decent run.





Would have been rude not to get it out for a good run really.
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Old Apr 18 2019, 12:22 AM   #4882
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Rats make pretty good pets, don't they. I used to raise them, a lifetime ago. One of mine started having babies of a color strain that, while known, hadn't been seen around the area where I lived. Instead of the usual white, or black or grey, or some combination pattern of those, mine were a pale tan, or tan and white. They had the pink eyes seen in all white rats. pretty color though, and they bred true. Rarely if ever got a black or grey out of them.
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Old Apr 18 2019, 10:13 PM   #4883
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They're really good pets. I honestly never would have believed that they could have such distinct personalities until I spent the first few months living with them.

The downside really is the tragic brevity of their existence. Think when these two remaining boys pass on we will hold off getting any more for a while. Doesn't really feel we can give them as much time these days as I feel they deserve, especially as we have the dog which makes letting them have free run time trickier.

I've fancied having some crested gecko a for a while as they do such a good job of being the comedy sidekicks of the reptile world...plus are really easy to care for once you've got everything set up right. Looked after they should live a decent chunk of time too so long as you're not massively unlucky.
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Old Apr 19 2019, 10:11 AM   #4884
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A Lada has windows that open?

And, if opened they reclose?

Shock horror!
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Old Apr 19 2019, 10:45 AM   #4885
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I like the way rats are laid back. I started with hamsters because gerbils bite, only to find that hamsters bite, and a lot of times worse. Never got bit by a rat, even a momma with babies. I found it funny that a female rat will run on a wheel for hours at a time, while a male will run a few minutes, figure out he's going nowhere, and go chill out. He'd rather climb around on your shoulders and see if he can get a treat from you. Only thing cute about hamsters is watching them pack their cheek pouches full of stuff to carry off and hide. Greedy little things.
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Old Apr 19 2019, 07:48 PM   #4886
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Strange seeing people talk about Rats as pets, I always kind of pitied them in pet stores, They were being sold as pet food for Snakes.
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Old Apr 20 2019, 09:10 PM   #4887
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So the task for this weekend is as far as possible to bash our way through the list of stuff the van needs for an MOT.

Let's start out with some low hanging fruit. The nearside headlight reflector is sufficiently tarnished to result in there being zip by way of a beam image. Usefully a brand new headlight was found in a box in the van, so I fitted that.

Nice five minute job.



The old one doesn't actually look too bad surprisingly, but it was utterly failing to do anything by way of actually directing light in a useful direction.



Beam height will need adjusting obviously but that can wait until it's pointing the other direction so I can use the garage door, which I think still has marks on from when I adjusted the headlights on the Saab about four years ago.

The next thing on the MOT list was to eliminate a minor fuel leak. There was a very slow drip from the return line to the tank with the engine running, emanating from somewhere up between the fuel tank and vacuum reservoir. This was quickly traced to this pipe joiner.



It was utterly disinterested in gripping the fuel pipe firmly no matter what I did. So it was removed, binned and a short length of 5/16" fuel hose was slipped over the join between the two pipes instead. While I did get diesel in my hair this was another quick job, fuel tight and tested after less than ten minutes.

There is a new exhaust on the way. Unfortunately this is a slightly different type to the one the van was previously fitted with (I was struggling to find anyone who actually had that in stock), so the downpipe and tailpipe of the old system would need to come off. My original plan had been to retain those until I got around to having a bespoke stainless system made for it.

Thanks to decent quality fasteners it only took fifteen minutes to get the tailpipe off. It's seeing stuff like this which really highlights how much longer the van is than most cars.



This whole stretch will be removed once the bespoke system is made - given the weight of this that can only be a good thing. I'm not removing the downpipe and expansion box (which is only loosely bolted on just now) until the new system arrives as that will essentially immobilise the van. I have doused the manifold to downpipe bolts in Plusgas though.

There were a number of things in the van which didn't work when I got it. Among those were the marker lights above the cab. I want to resolve that. This is where I went off on a merry old dance.

After approximately an hour the cab had ended up looking like this.





This was all going on because I was peering into the bowels of the wiring loom trying to figure out where on earth the feed to those lights was meant to come from.



I had found two fuses in the fuse box which were labelled as marker light (well, they were actually labelled in German but not hard to translate). However tracing the conductors from there proved exceedingly difficult, and I couldn't figure out how they got into the space above the cab.

After wasting not an insignificant amount of time dismantling the cab, I eventually tracked down a total of five wires heading up into the windscreen pillars. All of these were accounted for as part of the interior light circuit. Cue much more head scratching.

Eventually after several times longer than it should have, the penny dropped. It was highly unlikely that AutoTrail were going to have messed with the cab wiring...they stuck some carpet and fancy velour in there, but they didn't faff with the wiring.

The only area where the standard lighting had been messed with was at the back, where the tail lights were moved from the cross member where they would have been when it was just a bare chassis with a cab to the rear bumper...oh, and the upper level tail lights. Wait a minute... didn't I find a couple of wires I couldn't account for ages ago, but just stuffed away because they appeared inert. Yeah... here's two of them...



Surely these couldn't be anything to do with the marker lights way up front... surely? Well let's find out. One was a solid ground connection...the other wasn't...so let's stick 12V down it and see what happens.



Seriously?!? Awards for the most ridiculously unnecessarily circuitous route for wiring to feed a couple of lights?

Annoyingly the feed which I suspect to be for the nearside one is now safely terminated and buried behind the bathroom wall...the wall I just finished building and finished tidily. Argh! I am not pulling that all apart again if I can avoid it - especially on the clock like this. Currently thinking the best plan of action is to cut a couple of holes in the trim in the locker over the cab and just stick the lights in parallel... they're only 10W so should be just fine that way.

That's as far as we got today. Hopefully will get those back in a working state tomorrow and then move on to the next things on the list. Getting the new brake pads in is probably looking like a favourite for the next job.

Will definitely need to get the rust in the bulkhead seen to sooner than later won't I.



Hopefully this won't be an issue at the MOT as it should be well clear of any prescribed areas. For now Kurust and Dinitrol will be the order of the day to keep the weather out.

Last edited by Zelandeth; Apr 20 2019 at 09:39 PM. Reason: Forgot a photo.
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Old Apr 21 2019, 11:57 PM   #4888
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So if I remember rightly we had just figured out where the wiring for the offside front marker light emerged into somewhere vaguely accessible. This had pretty much confirmed to me that the mystery wire that I'd stuffed into a corner above the bathroom ceiling was actually for a light at the opposite end of the van...

This left me with a bit of a quandary. Namely that getting access to that wire - which I couldn't even remember if I had trimmed back as far as I could - meant having to tear apart at least a fair chunk of the upper rear wall in the bathroom, the wall I had just spent a not inconsiderable amount of time building.

I did pull apart a tiny bit in one corner to see if I could find the wire by stuffing my hand into the void and grasping blindly. Not a chance. I decided quite quickly to abandon that idea as there was a far easier solution to my mind. Having the lights individually fed from each tail light was a little unnecessary to my mind. Just sticking them in parallel on a single feed seems fine to me. We're walking a pair of 10W festoon lamps (which I will probably replace long term with LEDs - warm white ones before you all jump down my throat) rather than any high power stuff.

This still left me with some work to do, as being a coach built van, all of the wiring and such was routed long before the interior plywood lining was put in place. Initially I wondered if it might be possible to get the upper front trim panel in the over cab locker off. After spending half an hour in there (and nearly dying of heat exhaustion) I ascertained that AutoTrail weren't messing around. The panels are both stapled to the frame *and* glued in place. It ain't going anywhere.

I then decided to take a somewhat more direct (if barbaric) approach as I was done with standing on my head in the locker.

I went round outside, pulled the cover off the lights, found where the cable fed into the van, stuck the screwdriver into that hole then gave it a smack with the palm of my hand, more than enough to punch a hole in the plywood trim inside the van which I could then use as a marker for where I needed to dig out a bit of a hole to gain access.



Likewise on the offside - the mess in the corner there is from my earlier attempts to see if I could get the panel off in its entirety.



It was a quick matter then to disconnect the original live feed to the nearside light and terminate it, and to wire a link between the two to feed them both from the original offside light. I'll obviously make a couple of little covers to go over the holes and will clip the wire in place.



I had taken the lenses off both of them last night to give them a good clean as they were full of pond scum. The seals having disintegrated years ago.



There is quite a bit of crazing on them, but they've cleaned up pretty well.



That was half the challenge...I now had the lights ready to accept power and a wire dangling out of the rear kitchen cupboard...however there was a kitchen and a floor between it and the relevant bit of the vehicle loom for me to tie it in to.

I decided in the end not to go pulling the walls apart again. I drilled a small hole in the base of the cupboard (it has a lip along the front so it's not visible) having pulled the window blind runner and window trim off, tucked the wire into the void under the trim, drilled another small hole in the worktop (again hidden by the window trim), and routed the wire down to the space below down the cabinets. Then I had it follow the sink waste pipe through the floor.



No it ain't pretty. This is a job I can definitely see me coming back to at some point in the future (I'll need to open the walls up really when I reinstate the high level tail lights) but it will at least get the lights working for now.

Once I got it that far I just pulled the offside tail light cluster out and put a piggy back spade terminal on this side and hooked it up to the tail light lamp holder. Glad to see they seem to be fully weatherproof as there was zero signs of water ingress inside the cluster.

The moment of truth of course was to see what would happen when I turned on the headlights.



Hard to see in such bright sunlight, so here's one from a few hours later.



Much better! Seeing that pleases me far more than it probably should do.

On the subject of lighting (as it seemed as good a time to do a full check on it with the MOT coming up and all that) I found that the nearside front indicator was out. New lamp time. This should be a ten second job, if it wasn't for the stupid poorly fitted alarm wiring getting in the way yet again. This thing had been annoying me for months. The entire installation was a mess. This nonsense floating around in the fusebox for a start.



The only fusing to the whole thing being in the *ground* connection didn't instill confidence either.



Twenty minutes later the engine bay looked a good deal less cluttered.





This is the pile of rubbish that was removed.



The interior could then be put back together. Having tidied up the wiring behind the fuse box meant it was far easier to get it back in place this time. Also hopefully has put an end to getting wiring stuck in the seal when putting the engine cover back in.



Before I buttoned that up I drowned the whole rusty area under the heater intake with Kurust.



Also put some tape on this area on the engine side to keep any further water out until I have the opportunity to get a new panel welded in.

Annoyingly removal of the ultrasonic transducer assembly from the top of the dashboard left three holes.



...So I just stuck that back in place. Not that I think a circa 1990 car alarm is likely to be much of a deterrent to would be thieves, it can't hurt. Plus it's a useful thing to attach cameras etc to. It can stay there until I either find something else to take its place or find a dash moulding free of screw holes.



The LED in the dash is staying put for now similarly to avoid leaving a hole. I will be putting an indicator in there to give me a visual indication in the cab of if the power has been left on in the back of the van so I can't forget to switch stuff off before leaving the van or driving off.

The nearside indicator repeater lens is in dire need of a good clean as like the lenses of the marker lights it's been full of pond scum and rust.



Brake pads next. First challenge there will be seeing if I can get the wheel trims off in one piece - if not it will be all the more excuse to bin the horrible things!
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Old Apr 22 2019, 07:55 PM   #4889
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Have been putting it off for long enough...time to get the brake pads changed.

Have to admit to being hugely impressed by this tiny little jack.



Two aspects. Firstly is that it lifted something the size and weight of this van effortlessly. Secondly in that it's cleverly designed so it slots securely around the suspension leaf (or axle tube at the rear). This also makes the jacking process far less unnerving as you don't need to lift the thing feet into the air - literally about an inch has the tyre clear of the ground.

Very glad that I bought the rattle gun...very much doubt I'd have got these wheel nuts out without it...to say they were tight would be a massive understatement.

It's pleasing how substantial everything on this is when you're used to working on cars. Nice to see the discs are obviously pretty decent, no lip at all.



Let's have a look then and see how the calipers come apart to get the pads out...wait a second...



...I thought we were dealing with a worn out set of pads. Not a set that's barely used.

Oh well, got a good opportunity to check things over while the wheel is off. Grease gun was brought in and the kingpin given a good shot of grease (yes I did wipe the excess off before I put the wheel back on).



Annoyingly I almost immediately spotted more MOT work though. The track rod end ball joint dust cover is knackered.



That's one substantial drop link!



Everything else over this side looks okay to me. Bit of rust on the brake hose ferrules, but they've got another year or two in them I reckon. Hoses themselves seem nice and supple still with no perishing. Can't see anything awry with the wiring to the pad wear sensors in that the wheel arch.

Have the hub a good brush down and painted the wheel surface with copper grease as per my usual practice and put things back together. Then on to the offside wheel.

I was slightly worried given the new pads in the nearside but the perpetually flickering brake light on the dash that I would find that someone had only changed the pads on one wheel (wouldn't be the first time I have found that!).



Thank goodness for that!

Gave the kingpin on this side a good dose of grease while I was there too. This is something which is often neglected on these old Mercs. The steering should be lovely and light once you're on the move (especially if it's got the correct tyres on) though it's inevitably fairly weighty when parking! Annoying to hear of people having to do major work due to wear in there for the sake of a 30 second bit of service work!

Hey look...another stuffed track rod end.



Not too bothered about those as track rod ends are hardly going to break the bank. The other split dust cover however is on the steering linkage from the steering box (I believe drag link is the correct term?) which is rather more annoying as I expect this is rather more expensive.



This one I actually knew about beforehand so not a huge surprise. There's a little bit of play in one of the joints as you can hear something very faintly going "dunk dunk dunk..." when you rock the steering. Can't see where it's coming from but given where that is it's a prime candidate. Don't *think* it's one of the track rod ends as I can't feel anything in the way of movement at the wheels.

Looks like my local Mercedes dealer will be making some money out of me tomorrow then. Yes I could probably find stuff a bit cheaper on eBay (etc) but the parts desk at our dealer has been really helpful so far. Plus Mercedes seem to have really good heritage support and I'm more than willing to pay a few quid extra to show that is owners appreciate that.

Depending on how time goes I might fit those things myself...though I'd rather get the garage to. I generally avoid steering and suspension work if I have any choice these days. I've played the "the ball joint appears to have been welded in place and I've immobilised the car trying to get it out" game enough times to learn that throwing it at someone with a four post lift, serious ball joint splitters and oxy-acytaline on hand is far less stress. Not too worried about that.

This however requires more thought and some time spent with my nose buried in a wiring diagram.



The pad wear sensors appear fine and the pads have a good 1/3" of friction material on them. No the fluid isn't low either and the float is floating. Hmm...time to have a think.

Some folks have given me a couple of garages who should be able to do a test on the van so will give them a shout tomorrow.

Still finding this quite nice to work on though. The fasteners are all good quality and most things are nice and chunky, *usually* easy enough to get at too. There are exceptions of course too...see offside front indicator swap which requires you to remove the headlight - which requires you to remove the radiator grill.
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Old Apr 23 2019, 08:24 PM   #4890
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All right...time to work out what on earth if going on with this warning light.

I figured that the issue had to be an issue at the wheels rather than buried under the dash of anything like that. The logic behind this was that the light would come on solidly only when the brakes were applied, it could be made to flicker by rocking the steering too.

The wiring to the sensors looked sound and wasn't shorting out on the anti rattle springs or anything obvious like that.

All four of the pads on the front brakes have a wear sensor in. This is essentially just a wire that's inserted and glued into a void drilled in the brake pads just proud of the backing plate, so that it completes a circuit via the disc to light the warning lamp when the pads have worn down. You can see the hole for the sensor just to the right of the central groove in the friction material of the pad below.



For those not familiar with the brake warning light on the dash of a Merc T1, it performs two tasks. One is linked to a float in the fluid reservoir as on any vehicle. The second function is the brake pad wear indicator. The light only comes on if either the fluid is low or if the pad wear sensors are triggered (and during a self-test when the ignition is turned on, extinguishing when the engine is started). It is NOT a handbrake warning light.

The wear sensors are not fitted to the pads from the factory and have to be inserted and glued in place when the pads are fitted. Now, this hole is blind on proper OEM pads like these (made by Ferodo in this case), but I have seen "off brand" pads where that hole goes all the way through the friction material. What can happen then is that the wear sensor can go all the way through, poking out the other side, meaning the sensor can wind up touching the hub of the disc, giving a false reading to the monitoring system.

Given the behaviour I was seeing I had a sneaking suspicion that this was going on in my case. Should be quick to check at least.

The old "wedge a bit of wood between the brake pedal and steering wheel" trick was used to ensure the light stayed lit until I found (or failed to find) the offending sensor.



While I was situating the pedal wedging device I noticed something odd on the back of hand.



Blue tinted water... there's only one place that will be coming from, the cooling system...and suspect number one is right in the neighborhood.



Figures I found that less than an hour after ordering a bunch of parts from Mercedes (more on that later).

Unplugging the first three pad wear sensors did nothing, however when I unplugged the last one the light went out and stayed out. We have a false positive from the last sensor. I have temporarily disabled it by putting an insulating sleeve over the pin in the connector. I've still got three working sensors, and it's not hard to keep tabs on pad wear. I imagine they will last a decent length of time anyhow given the relatively light duties she's going to be doing compared to normal commercial use a van might see. Will be really nice to drive it without a little red light flickering at me the whole time.

I'll hopefully get her booked in for an MOT in the next day or so to *hopefully* confirm that I don't need to buy anything else.

I made a trip over to my local Mercedes dealer for some parts. They have always been really helpful before, and we quickly tracked down the parts we were after. I was expecting these bits to be a little more expensive than normal car items as they're quite a bit beefier.

The track rod ends were £48 each, yet the whole steering tie rod (which comes with the track rod ends as a unit) is £132. Given they've most likely been on there for 29 years I was rather expecting a bit of a fight to get them off the tie rod...so deleting half the rusted together parts I need to get moving was worth a few quid extra I thought. Likewise the drag link was available as a whole assembly for not a huge amount more than the two ends.

I decided to get the new fan belt while I was there. Yes I do know I could probably have got that a bit cheaper elsewhere but it seemed the right choice given the huge pile receipts for parts during the life of the van for genuine Merc parts.

Not a cheap trip!



On the plus side hopefully these should all be the right parts so should just fit.

The one concerning thing though was that their parts desk has been told that strictly speaking they really shouldn't be selling parts to me because it's a van. I should instead be directed to a commercial vehicle specialist down the road. I've tried to buy parts from them before, however they made it quite clear that because it was registered as a motor caravan rather than a goods vehicle their system couldn't look up parts for it. Oh, and they didn't want my business anyway as private individuals are "too much trouble" which really gave a good impression. Nor did their comment about how daft I was to be expecting a commercial vehicle specialist to have parts for an ancient camper.

One of the big perks of having this van so far has been the incredible parts support from Mercedes...will be really disappointing if that ceases to be possible down to some manager meddling with things... Especially as the staff actually on the parts desk really do want to help.
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Old Apr 24 2019, 04:56 AM   #4891
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Ouch, I do hope the dealership continues to sell you parts. Have you considered doing a blog on your renovation project? It might attract a few more readers than this thread buried on a nearly lifeless forum...
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Old Apr 24 2019, 08:48 AM   #4892
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Hello all. I haven't been on the site for a few years now but some of the long term members would probably remember me, I was quite active at one time! I still love my books and have several of the harder to come by collectables but lately have come to the decision I need to let most go as I've downsized to a small apartment and most of my collection is in boxes in the garage and I worry they'll get destroyed. It's also very sad that while researchering prices on ebay I've seen the prices for even signed and more rare editions have dropped drastically. Editions that easily sold for well over $100 a few years ago now sell for much much less, if at all. I refuse to give away my collection even if I do worry about damage. Are people just not collecting anymore? Or is it that people want everything digital? I'd much rather hold a real book myself and some editions are truly beautiful to look at. Maybe I'm just out of touch with what people want now. If I cant let go of my beloved books for a reasonable price I'll try to hang onto them and maybe in a few years people will learn to love books, especially Anne's again.
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Old Apr 24 2019, 09:13 PM   #4893
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granath View Post
Ouch, I do hope the dealership continues to sell you parts. Have you considered doing a blog on your renovation project? It might attract a few more readers than this thread buried on a nearly lifeless forum...
Yes and no...

I do intend at some point to shuffle things across to the relevant page on my website - eventually.

I'm on quite a few car related forums and my little fleet has a blog on most of them. Unless someone asks me a particular question here, what you see is usually identical to the updates posted there. I've only kept on doing that as the odd comment that pops up now and then seems to suggest that even while it's widely off topic for the forum that a few folks find them interesting or at least diverting for a few minutes.

I'm not really worried if three people or three thousand read the updates I post. As far as I'm concerned if one person finds my drivel interesting it's worth me posting.

It also helps keep me coming back so I don't feel guilty for missing all of everyone's updates on here. For all the forum is quiet these days I've been on here for well over 15 years, so I feel it's nice to keep up with familiar "faces" here. Originally I was on here under another user name for which I lost the login details, though that in itself dates things...Zel had almost entirely taken over for my online presence by 2002/3, so I must have signed up before that...Sheesh that makes me feel old.

As does the realisation by the same math that I've been in some way a part of the Furry Fandom for *more* than twenty years now...ouch.

-- -- --

Here's the update for today that I totally forgot to post the first time around.

Assuming that Parcel Force don't foul up this delivery (they have managed to mess up all three this month so far so I'm not holding my breath), my new exhaust for the van should be here tomorrow.

Another brief car-less tangent. Only a brief one-post one this time.

Got slightly sidetracked today by another project while it was raining. Another one of those things spotted at the side of the road which I had decided required investigation before it was either rescued or getting put in the electrical equipment bin at the recycling centre (rather than dumped at the side of the road).

It had actually been forgotten about in the boot of the Activa for a couple of weeks. I had clocked that it was A: an audio amplifier of some sort and B: that it weighed a tonne. That was as far as my observations at the time had gone when I tossed it (with difficulty) into the boot.

First look today revealed is to be a rather more businesslike amp than anything else I've had. It's a Spectra 90/D power amplifier...400W stereo or 800W bridged...

Let's have a look shall we. I'd already got the (seriously scruffy) cover off by this point while I was checking for any signs of damage or distress.



No obvious signs of the magic smoke having escaped, though I wasn't really expecting much to be honest. Most amplifiers like these usually have a plethora of protection circuits that usually prevent major meltdowns unless it's something blindingly obvious like the mains transformer having overheated. Usually if something has gone awry you'll just find that one channel is shut down or the whole thing will refuse to power up. This can actually make fault finding an absolute nightmare sometimes as they will often trip out before you can get any useful readings.

Couldn't see anything amiss. It was quite dusty in the case (as is pretty inevitable it seems for any electronic equipment with a fan in) but not too badly really. No signs of any overheating anywhere, no signs of water ingress (despite the case being quite rusty on the surface) or anything like that.

The only signs of trouble I could see were that the volume control pot for channel 1 had become detached from the front panel (sorted by doing the nut on the spindle back up) and that the nut holding the wire on to one of the speaker output posts had come off. This was found rattling around in the case and was reattached.

Was a dead channel due to that nut having come off the reason it had been binned? Well only one way to find out. Plug it in and see what happens!

Okay, not quite. A couple of sanity checks were done - checked the earth bonding was good and checked there was no leakage to earth with the Megger. All seemed good.

Turning it on resulted in an almighty "thud" from the huge toroidal mains transformer (I don't want to know what the inrush current is - the 40,000uF of smoothing caps probably have something to do with it), the fans starting up nicely and after a second or so a couple of relays clicking purposefully.



While I had it powered up this gave me an opportunity to check that there was no DC present across the speaker terminals (that's a quick way to kill speakers). Absolutely nothing according to either analogue or digital meters...this is good.

Couple of lights to tell me it's alive but that's about it. I took that opportunity to take it outside to blast as much of the dust out as I could. It's a substantial bit of kit...



I needed an audio source and some speakers. Specifically I needed some speakers I didn't care about in case there was a fault present that resulted in them being blown into the next county.

Conveniently I remembered having bought a set of speakers something like ten years ago for a project I had never got around to doing...not exactly hifi but they'll prove if it works or not.



The input is via either 1/4" jack's or XLR plugs. I'll just go grab some connectors from Mapl...oh. No I won't because they don't exist any more. Great! Amazon it will be then. In the meantime I came up with a truly diabolically dodgy aux cable adaptor to plug an iPod in.





Horrible hack. This is all signal level stuff though so there aren't any safety issues at least.

Let's stuff some audio in and see what happens.



It appears to work absolutely perfectly. Obviously it's barely ticking over here driving a pair of speakers rated to 70W RMS/120W peak at volumes limited so my ears don't bleed, but it played happily for a couple of hours.

The case however was a mess.



I didn't bother doing anything about this earlier as it seemed daft to spend time on it in case it turned out to be a very heavy door stop.

Now it's proven to be working it seemed worth tidying it up a bit.

Hit it with the carbide mop...



Nice fresh coat of hammered black paint.



All back together, looks rather nicer I think.



Never ceases to amaze me what people throw out! This took all of two minutes to fix, and half of that was opening the case.

Now I need to find some speakers to go with it, then we can really rattle some windows...

Last edited by Zelandeth; Apr 24 2019 at 09:15 PM. Reason: Forgot to attach today's update because I have the attention span of a goldfish.
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Old Apr 25 2019, 07:55 PM   #4894
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This morning (astonishingly, exactly when it was meant to) a very large, heavy cardboard box arrived.



Now I've been here before, so made a point of assembling everything on the floor before going anywhere near the vehicle. Especially on bargain basement eBay specials like this.



This showed a few things. Firstly that the downpipe is indeed different to the one on the van. A little annoying as I was kind of hoping to avoid touching that based on the pain and suffering I've been through trying to get downpipes separated from manifolds in the past. Secondly was that the slip joints were really tight so would definitely need spreading out a bit before putting them together. That's definitely something I was glad to discover inside rather than while trying to slot things together on the van.

Well let's make a start then. First contact with the enemy...



Astonishingly, five minutes later this was in front of me.



The bolts just...unbolted. No heat, no power tools, no fuss. I'm slightly baffled by the concept of a downpipe to manifold joint coming apart without hassle! Not going to complain though.

A large amount of faffing around then ensued while I figured out which hangers went where (as this system is a significantly different layout to the one which came off), figured out exactly what order I needed to put things together in, and battered things with a 4lb lump hammer to correct a couple of bend angles.

Pretty much what I expected from a cheap exhaust to be honest...three hours of *making* it fit followed by twenty minutes actually putting it together.

Eventually we got there.



Had to alter the tailpipe to sit a little lower on account of the grey water tank. Just need to get a bracket put together for the last hanger there...had hoped I could do without it (the system is plenty well supported) but the tailpipe vibrates and buzzes like mad at idle, so it's needed to help damp that vibration.

Starting it up astonishingly revealed it to both be gas tight and to not be touching and buzzing against anything. Was rather surprised though when I touched the throttle and was presented with a very throaty exhaust note. I have a sneaking suspicion that this bargain basement silencer doesn't actually contain any baffles.

This is the kind of observation which is worthless without evidence isn't it...

YouTube Link

Not that I'm complaining...that's a nice noise I think...one straight out of a few decades ago.

Yes she's a bit smokey, hasn't left the driveway since October so she needs a good run. Usually runs clean as a whistle.

Thankfully it's not boomy as that would get annoying in a real hurry I reckon on a long trip. I'll be curious to see how it actually sounds on the move though. Obviously that will have to wait until the trip to the MOT station as it's currently out of test so I can't exactly go out for a quick test run.

Wasn't actually that hard to fit really. Bit annoying that the fit needed a little "gentle persuasion" but not really surprising at this price point, and I don't think I've ever fitted an exhaust that was anything less than maddeningly awkward. Well...save for the one on my lawn mower maybe.

Feel confident enough to get it in for a test now, was a bit worried that the remains of the exhaust would wind up going through somebody's windscreen before. Plus a shiny new exhaust should hopefully show the tester I'm actually willing to put some work in to looking after the van...the invoice for £300 worth of genuine parts for the known fail items should give a decent impression too I'd hope.
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Old Apr 26 2019, 01:52 PM   #4895
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That could have been a lot worse.



Failed on 2x TREs and drag link ball joint obviously. Also the prop shaft CV boot which was known but forgotten about going into the test, rear brake imbalance, high nearside headlamp aim and missing rear reflectors.

The missing reflectors is an odd one as they're integral to the tail light lenses...don't want to be seen as arguing with the tester...but sorry mate you're wrong there. The tail lights are configured right now exactly as they left the Mercedes factory.

Propshaft CV boot is a simple fix, tester confirmed that quickest way is to just unbolt the centre bearing carrier and lower the propshaft until the slip joint separates.

Rear brake imbalance...blarg. The garage can have that one to sort. I'm not faffing with brakes against the clock. Especially as I seem to remember the self adjuster on these being fiendishly complicated.

Headlight aim, fair enough. I fitted a new light a couple of days back and hadn't even looked at the aim so far (it's on the to do list for the weekend).

I'll do the propshaft CV boot, headlight aim, probably stick on a couple of trailer reflectors as it's easier than arguing with the tester, and will give the ball joints the opportunity to come apart. If they do I'll swap them, if they put up any fight though the garage can do it on Monday.

Looks like we've got a reasonable chance of being ready for Thursday.

The exhaust is frankly hilarious. It's a real proper old school "BraaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAmmmm..." Through each gear just now...
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Old Apr 27 2019, 09:11 PM   #4896
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Let's see what we can do to take a few chunks out of the MOT remedial work list.

First target is going to be the propshaft slip joint boot. It's been in the garage now for a few months waiting to be fitted...let's get to it.



Initially my plan had been to minimise the degree to which I had to dismantle things - hoping that I could get away with simply dropping the centre prop bearing assembly. Unfortunately it turns out that this doesn't give enough clearance to separate the splined section on the rear prop from the socket on the front section. Shame as I'd already removed a couple of bits of the exhaust (which I fitted a couple of days ago!) for access. So had to put them back together again. On the plus side, this did give me the ability to check the state of the bearing on the centre prop carrier - it's silky smooth and has no detectable play in it.

The reason I had really been hoping to get away with removing things from the front was that I really didn't want to have to try to get the bolts out of this.



There's no leak here - things had been sprayed down with Plusgas shortly before I took the photo. I was forced to pause at that point as the nuts on the rear flange on the prop were 15mm...a size which I knew for a fact I lacked a spanner in. No way to get a socket on there because of the proximity of the universal joint...You can *just* get a ring spanner onto the nut on four of them, but a socket was a non starter. This meant that I had to make yet another trip round to Halfords to pick up a spanner.

I wasn't sure whether the entire prop was balanced as an assembly or if the front and rear sections were done separately...so I marked the rear flange to ensure that it was reassembled in the same position as it was removed (I had the handbrake on and the van in gear to ensure that neither end could move).



Once all the bolts were removed the rear of the propshaft was lowered to the ground. It's heavy and especially in the confined space under the van is a bit cumbersome, but isn't impossible to manage single handedly. I did want to make sure that I didn't just whack the splined section on the brickwork of the driveway when I withdrew it though so grabbed an old cardboard box for it to drop onto.



It was then withdrawn from the socket in the front section until it dropped onto the box,



While being careful to protect the splined section it was a simple matter to then remove it from under the vehicle.



On the plus side, it's much easier to work on the prop with it actually free from the van. Especially getting the original metal sprung clip that was holding the remainder of the old boot on off.

Not much left of the old one!



The remainder I believe to be finely atomised and spread over a stretch of the A421 just outside Buckingham.

I then gave the splined joint a thorough clean to get rid of all traced of the old grease and any contaminants. Then it was given a liberal coating of CV joint grease (I must have had that pot going on 15 years now) and the new boot slipped into place.



I gave the bolts all a quick scrub with the wire brush to clean the threads up before getting ready to reassemble things. I'm pretty sure that there was some sort of thread lock used during the original assembly, so got mine out ready to be used during assembly.



It was a pretty simple (if slightly physically awkward) process to slot the propshaft back together and bolt the rear flange back together. By some complete fluke I actually managed to get it lined up perfectly on the first try!

The boot was then fastened in place. This would have been done using metal clips originally but I don't have the special pliers you need to fasten them so a couple of cable ties will have to do for now. I will look to get a pair bought in though as I'd obviously like to get the metal clips in there - they were supplied with the boot after all.



That done it was time to tick a few other things off.

The "missing rear reflectors" was a bit of a head scratcher as they're integral to the tail lights - though if the lights are on it would be easy to miss.



The reflector is plain to see if the camera flash is used.



I'd rather not argue with the tester though, for dug out a couple of reflectors that I had floating around in the garage and stuck them on the back.



The headlamp aim was unsurprisingly miles off given that I had fitted a brand new headlight to the nearside a few days ago. Didn't take long to adjust that back to something resembling a normal beam pattern.



One thing I was reminded of standing there with the engine running is that I really need to fix a proper patch onto the air cleaner assembly as there's a hole in it.



This is on the outside of the filter element so isn't important from an air filtration perspective - it does however result in a boomy resonance from the induction side of things which sounds like a blowing exhaust and is quite tiresome. Might see if I can get that sorted before we leave on Thursday.

Final thing I did for the day was stick a little trim on the exhaust.





A joint effort between it being because I thought the finish on the really cheap exhaust wasn't great so I wanted to tidy it up, and also to shift the tailpipe out slightly so it was venting slightly past rather than directly in front of the rear wheel. Not that the exhaust gas temperatures are particularly high from this engine, but I'd rather not cook the tyre.

Tomorrow I'll see if the ball joints want to play nicely...I'm guessing not given how easy everything has been so far...Karma is surely going to come back and bite me at some point soon!
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Old Apr 30 2019, 07:59 PM   #4897
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Given I've been scrambling to get the van ready for a trip later this week the Invacar has taken a bit of a back seat. Hasn't moved since the last trip out when I had issues with the drive system slipping. The basic issue seemed to boil down to the poor shape the surface of the pulleys were in. Dealing with this issue was being hampered by the fact that I hadn't been able to get the pulley retaining bolts out. This was despite having applied enough torque to tip the car onto two wheels.

Today I had a bit of free time, and with the van away at the garage figured I may as well see if after soaking for a week or so, if the secondary pulley bolt was any more interested in moving.

After a brief fight...



Finally!

Doesn't take a genius to see why the system has been struggling and making a royal mess of the belt.



I'd seen that the fan on the back of the pulley was pretty well shredded, wasn't really obvious how bad till it was off!



This may well have something to do with the not insignificant vibration I've been suffering at speed given it will have been making a royal mess of the pulley balance.

It's just a thin bit of pressed steel... corrosion and centrifugal force over the years have done a number on it. If I find there are issues with pulley temperature I'll have a look at improving that side of things...we can probably do better than a bit of time with modern electric fans I reckon.

For now though I've just pulled the shattered remains of it off, which will *hopefully* significantly reduce the vibration issues I've had. Time will tell.



Astonishingly the moving elements aren't seized, despite looking like they've been dredged off the Titanic.



The one thing I hadn't realised until today through was how mental the preload on that pulley is - I'd originally half planned to take it apart to clean and lubricate the innards - however now I've decided to leave it well alone for now. I have visions of it taking my head clean off if I were to mess with it.
The primary pulley is aluminium so was in generally better shape. It was a pretty quick job to clean that up by running the engine in gear and using a sharp chisel as an improvised lathe.



I had planned to do something similar with the secondary pulley using my workbench and the drill...until I realised that the drill is in the back of the van. In a yard at the far side of town. D'oh!

So plan B was a bit more of a hack, just attack it with the carbide mop on the grinder.

Couldn't quite get right into the grove but should have got most of the running surface I think.





Gave the top a bit of a scrub too.



Just got things back in place (with a new belt - the old one had lost about 1/3" worth of width) before running out of time.



I'll get it bolted back in, adjust the belt and give it a test run tomorrow... I'm honestly really curious as to whether it will make any difference!

Last edited by Zelandeth; Apr 30 2019 at 08:31 PM. Reason: Missed an image link
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Old May 1 2019, 09:13 PM   #4898
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Today while I was pacing around waiting for the van to turn up I was able to get the Invacar put back together.

Plus I was then able to get out for a test run to get a couple of errands run.



The main issues which had been making TP quite unpleasant to drive were threefold:

1. Severe judder when taking up drive.
2. "Slipping" of the drive at speeds over 45mph or so.
3. Low frequency drone and vibration at speed (not unlike a duff wheel bearing but a couple of octaves lower frequency).

YouTube Video Link
Apologies for the horrible camera shake. I didn't have my decent camera handy, and the phone holder works fine for being a sat nav display...not so much for recording video...hence the jiggling.

Given I'd only done a relatively quick clean and thrown on a new old stock belt I wasn't expecting miracles.

Okay...I underestimated things!

The judder when taking up drive is almost gone. Still there to some extent, especially if you give it beans from a standstill. Not worrying about that though as it's apparently just something that the drive system does and isn't a fault. Just a limitation of the design.

Slipping has totally disappeared as far as I can tell. Have had her up to 60mph twice today and even cruised there for a couple of minutes. Behaved impeccably.

I can conclusively say that this was the cause of the "rumble" at speed. It's now gone...even up at the legal limit...whereas she tended to start shaking herself to pieces as soon as you saw the speedo needle move over 40mph or so.

I'm a happy camper. If this is an indication of what I can expect once everything is sorted, she's definitely going to be getting used a lot more as time goes on. Aside from just being fun and different, the drive out today was actually *nice* which was a big step forward.

Sad I'm away for the weekend so won't be able to drive her again until Monday now.

-- -- -- --

That's us up to date on the Invacar...onwards to the van.

Well I put the van in to a well reputed garage who mostly do HGV/PCV work in the hope that we would see good professional service.

Despite the folks on the desk being really polite and professional I'm not particularly impressed.

First up was the question mark over the "missing" rear reflectors. The tester at the time wasn't interested in entering into discussion. So I stuck a couple of additional ones on at near enough driver eye level.

The tester totally failed to notice these...and went and stuck an additional two on the back of the van down next to the tail lights. It looks like the thing has been attacked by a 90 year old who's raided the caravan aisle in Halfords.





Not impressed. Especially as they're not even fitted straight.

I eventually managed to convince someone to come and look at it...gent I spoke to immediately agreed that the reflectors which both I and their guy had fitted were utterly unnecessary. Doesn't help the fact that I now have an additional pair of squint reflectors (which further impinge on the already not great side viewing angle of the indicators) which appear to be held on with the adhesive they glue the wings on to modern passenger airliners with. They ain't moving.

That hacked me off. Especially as they did it without asking me first. It looks like the thing has been attacked by a 90 year old who's raided the caravan aisle in Halfords.

Likewise the "work done" lists headlight beam adjustment. I did that myself the day before it went back in.

When they phoned me to inform me the brakes needed work, they also listed the propshaft CV boot as still needing changed. Despite me having done that the day before. Just makes me want me to ask "Can you just confirm for me that you have actually looked at the vehicle?"

There was also no further call once they had tracked down parts to confirm that I was okay with them going ahead and spending nearly £250 on parts before going ahead.

I only figured that it was ready to collect when the invoice arrived in my inbox. All £550 of it.

Picking the van up, in addition to the obvious complaint about the hideous reflectors, two wheel trims weren't properly attached and the bodywork has a not insignificant number of greasy hand prints on it. Not a deal breaker...and I'd not blink at it from a little local garage I'd paid £100 to do a job...but this is a big concern who have just charged £300 odd of labour...sorry but I'd expect them to have spent five minutes wiping things down before calling it done.

Oh...speaking of details I'd expect them to get right (especially given their PCV/HGV background) would be this.



This isn't overfilled. This is overflowing. I am not impressed.

I had also asked for the old components be returned (not least because I was curious to see if the brake drums were recoverable as they don't grow on trees these days), that never happened.

Not impressed.

Anyhow, we need to now try to get things ready for a weekend away between this evening and tomorrow afternoon. The bombshell being dropped that we won't have mains power on site arrived at about 1730 today too...yay. Definitely pushes getting the gas system back together up the list as we'll need the fridge to be running on gas then.

Nothing was in place when we started out this evening aside from the water... getting there now.



Obviously the pipes need to be clipped in place and such, but we're getting there. There's a blanking plug on the manifold outlet for the hob as it isn't currently fitted. Everything has been leak tested and is good so far. Unfortunately the fridge doesn't seem to want to work on gas (no life from the control unit), so that's something else for the to do list tomorrow.

Also high on the list is smacking the front bracket for the middle exhaust section with a hammer so it stops buzzing... we've got a two hour drive ahead of us...and that buzzing would drive me absolutely mad on a run that long!

I'll be writing a letter to the garage and see what they offer by way of an apology...a shrug, a verbal "I can only apologise" and crediting me for £2 worth of unnecessary reflectors (which I now need to figure out how the heck to remove) against a £550 invoice just isn't going to cut it guys.
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Old May 2 2019, 10:10 PM   #4899
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We had originally planned to be heading out today even though the event doesn't really start off until tomorrow afternoon. However we did a bit of math and figured that by the time we had done everything we needed to here we would be arriving there after dark. There's no guarantee of lighting at the camp ground as we're essentially just parked up in a field next door to a camp ground, so we decided to just head out tomorrow early on. All it means is that the charity have made an extra £20 or something from us so no big issue. Did leave me time to get a few more things done though.

First issue was the non-functional fridge on gas. I hadn't ever tested this before (nor connected a gas supply to it to allow me to). The fridge is an Electrolux RM 212, which means that the gas side of things is the only complex thing about it as it has automatic electronic ignition. So instead of the normal clicky ignitor button you have a switch.



In theory, when this is on it will automatically sit there ticking away whenever there is no flame detected (with a little red light in the switch blinking so you can see it's trying). However mine wasn't doing anything when the switch was turned on. What is annoying here is that there is no manual ignitor nor any access to the burner which would allow me to light it the old fashioned way. Equally annoying is that most of the wiring diagrams for this fridge I've found are for the older version which lacks the electronic ignitor...

After a not insignificant amount of swearing and headscratching I worked out that we had a multiple offender on our hands. The wiring to the ignitor was totally wrong *and* the switch contacts were dirty. The best decision I made at this point was to just rip all the wiring out and redo it from scratch. Which took five minutes. That done we had it cheerfully going "tickticktickticktick..." when turned on. Adding gas to the equation...



Much better. I gave the flame failure detection system a good workout to make sure it behaved and it did.

Knowing the gas system worked I made a point of actually securing the flue and sealing the joint to the body...much aluminium tape was involved to cover the good inch or so gap I made between it and the surrounding woodwork. The flue doesn't actually get massively hot, but I'd rather keep good distance between plywood and hot stuff.



Of course with gas onboard a new bit of equipment needed to be installed.



I like these CO alarms as they give a useful indication of any low background level which wouldn't actually trigger any alarms.

I let the fridge running for a couple of hours while I was doing other work...



So everything I needed was finally working. Oh...and I stopped the exhaust rattling by smacking the front most bracket with a hammer.

Just needed to get all the junk out of the van and clean stuff up.

All the non-van related stuff chucked out the luggage locker...



Empty and prep the toilet for use. It had been left with a cleaning solution in...seems to have done a good job, no smell whatsoever and looked pretty clean in there. The treatment agents for these toilets seem a lot better than when I first used one twenty years or so back it has to be said.



Stick the fridge on mains mode so it can cool down overnight before we load it up for the trip in the morning.



Gave the cabin and cockpit a clean up - the bit I always enjoy.









Cockpit scrubs up well.



So that's it... tomorrow we will be off as of 11 or so hopefully.



Hopefully an uneventful trip ahead. Hopefully!
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Old May 3 2019, 08:44 PM   #4900
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We have made it here in one piece.



Can categorically say having now had 150 miles to test the theory that the new exhaust has vastly improved the ability to make progress on the motorway. Even if it does leave us with a soundtrack which isn't dissimilar to a WWI era aircraft at times... Mercifully it's actually not that loud once you're up to speed or that could have become wearing rapidly. At 60 though it's totally drowned out by the rest of the mechanical racket and wind noise.

Given we're at a camping event I'm not hugely surprised that I don't have the oldest vehicle here. What did surprise me though is that it's not a VW that is (no classic ones here at all actually).



When did you last see one of those?!?

On the same topic...bonus classic Toyota spotted when we stopped for lunch too.



To say it will be a quiet weekend will be overstating the fact given we're sharing the camp site with something like 200 huskies...there is much howling going on outside!
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Old May 4 2019, 11:52 AM   #4901
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Have a snap of two from earlier today when we've had (sporadic) actual sunshine.





This´╗┐ however´╗┐´╗┐ is a devious trick...yes it's sunny but that image does nothing to convey the bitterly cold 40mph wind´╗┐, and it keeps dumping short but heavy rain showers on us. So a not insignificant amount of hiding inside is go´╗┐ing on. ´╗┐

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Old May 5 2019, 03:43 AM   #4902
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Nice to see the camper all fixed up. I hope you have a great weekend camping.
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Old May 5 2019, 11:54 AM   #4903
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After all that work you deserve to have a few days to relax and enjoy it.
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Old May 5 2019, 05:42 PM   #4904
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We decided to head back home today as the event just wasn´╗┐´╗┐'t really panning out how we had hoped. ´╗┐ Nothing dire, but they just really hadn't done a good job of making it possible for folks who didn't already know someone there actually get involved. It wasn't *bad* just could have been better - likewise the general information provision was just lacking. We only found the skip for general rubbish after twenty minutes of blindly wandering the site and the fresh water tap by asking a fellow camper. Never did find where to dump the contents of the grey water tank so that was just left in there to be dealt with at home. Also totally forgot to dump the contents of the fresh water tank purely because I'm stupid, so that ´╗┐was an additional 40kgs of ballast dragged home unnecessarily!

I fuelled up just a couple of miles into the return trip, showing a 26.9mp´╗┐g figure for the outward leg. Not bad for a van this size, especially as I've not been actively doing anything to try to improve economy while driving. ´╗┐

´╗┐Arrived home 117 miles later with this much left. ´╗┐



Reckon´╗┐ that's probably sticking around the expected MPG. Will probably fill up tomorrow so I can track performance over the trip. Glad to report that the van has not missed a beat the whole time. ´╗┐



Given´╗┐ all of our stuff was still in there and we've been enjoying making use of it we've decided to throw the´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ dog back at the r´╗┐est of the household, have rearranged cars, levelled the van off so the fridge works, and will complete our weekend's camping - in our own driveway.

Think we can consider this a successful field test overall´╗┐.
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Old May 5 2019, 06:08 PM   #4905
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Ah! A "staycation"!
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Old May 7 2019, 07:27 PM   #4906
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Couldn't resist´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ getting the Invacar out for another run today. Previous to this the furthest I got in one day was 9 miles (having aimed for ten but miscounted).



That´╗┐'s 17 miles today in one afternoon. Doesn't sound like much, but it's progress and is a step towards actually going somewhere beyond this corner of Milton Keynes. Most importantly today that was seventeen miles WITHOUT anything misbehaving or falling off. That is why it's progress. ´╗┐

Because it seems to have become a thing now what I take photos everywhere she goes, did the same today.

B&Q was the first s´╗┐top (looking for some sticky back plastic to tidy up some of the cabinet facing in the van).



This´╗┐ was´╗┐ the first time that I had a proper crowd of people turn up while I was in the store who wanted to know what it was and the story behind it was. One of the folks there did remember them who´╗┐ was very surprised at the complexity of the car beneath the very 50s looking bodywork. ´╗┐´╗┐

´╗┐As they didn't have what I needed, wound up at Homebase (who did have it once I'd walked round the whole store five times looking for it). Bonus Lotus i´╗┐n the car park´╗┐. ´╗┐



Next stop´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ was Morrison's - though the photo from there for reasons best known to the gods of tech has vanished into the void. So you will just have to trust me.

The difference in the drive system is night and day compared to before I started cleaning the pulleys up, she is now quite happy to cruise at 50mph. 60 is definitely on the cards but she's obviously more ´╗┐comfortable at 50. I do have a video of this (with a better camera than the last one), however so far it's being stubborn - once I kick YouTube into behaving I'll get it added here. ´╗┐

It is noticeable that the judder when pulling off has become more noticeable today, though it wouldn't s´╗┐urprise me if the belt tension needed a tweak now she's done a few miles.

I may well get the secondary pulley back off tomorrow and finish cleaning it - I'm hoping the drill will be able to spin it fast enough to get the pulley sheaves to open up as that will make it a lot easier. ´╗┐´╗┐We'll see I guess...

´╗┐One thing which is really obvious now looking far better is the state of the PCV system. There was a lot of mayo in the oil filler o´╗┐riginally, but after the run out today that's looking *far* better. ´╗┐



That´╗┐'s more li´╗┐ke it.´╗┐
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Old May 8 2019, 06:49 PM   #4907
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Apparently´╗┐ teaching the dog the command "through" to walk through a tunnel was a bad idea. He has now realised that he can squeeze under things we he previously saw as impenetrable barriers.

´╗┐Hence this greeting me when I got home from taking him out for a run round our local dog park earlier.



Apparently´╗┐ I'm going to need to add some additional bars...

The question of "which sticks better?" between duct tape and self adhesive aluminium foil tape has been answered. The original patch I ´╗┐stuck on the air intake resonator on the van was duct tape, it was blown off in a matter of minutes. The ally foil tape repa´╗┐ir is still there and still quiet 240 miles later. It's hard to believe how much quieter fixing this 1/2" or so diameter hole makes life in the cab! ´╗┐




It will´╗┐ do for now´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐, at least until I find a replacement air box.

Speaking of tidying stuff up...a´╗┐nyone got one of these light switches (or even just the knob) floating around? While this one wo´╗┐rks fine it looks like somebody has used the knob as a chew toy and it really bugs me. ´╗┐



So far the dealer´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ and eBay have turned up blank. The latter though doesn't mean much given that pretty much the entire search result list is "promoted" content which appear to have absolutely nothing to do with my se´╗┐arch string... ´╗┐´╗┐

Have pulled´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ the secondary pulley back off TPA ready for proper cleaning before being met with a slight impass because I'm stupid.

It's clear from the deposition of belt material on the service hatch that it's the secondary pulley that is responsible for shredding it exactly as I expected.



What I had´╗┐´╗┐ failed to take into account is that the bolt screws into a shaft which passes most of the way through the pull´╗┐ey...not straight into something level with the back. So I need to get some threaded rod to make what will essentially be a´╗┐ really long bolt to attach the pulley to my drill which will be essentially taking the place of a lathe. Will get that done tomorrow and hopefully get everything back tog´╗┐ether for ano´╗┐ther t´╗┐es´╗┐t.

Felt like a right idiot when I realised the bolt was a good couple of inches too short to just bolt it onto the drill!
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Old May 9 2019, 08:35 PM   #4908
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I had a spare´╗┐ hour (ish) this afternoon so made another pass at the "clean the secondary pulley game" on the Invacar.

A metre of threaded rod was all of £1.85 from Toolstation. That, a couple of bolts and a few washers allowed me to create this potentially lethal contraption out of my poor innocent workbench and even more horribly abused (yet apparently indestructible) power drill.



It's actually´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ infinitely´╗┐ less terrifying than it looks courtesy of the pulley (as you would expect) being really insanely well balanced. It wobbles a bit at around 500rpm, but then smooths out totally up to the free running speed of the drill. What is scary is that *stopping* from that speed takes the best part of a minute thanks to the rotational inertia involved...

I only did that once though, more out of curiousity as to how well balanced stuff was, while being ready to leg it at a moment's notice.

For reference this is the pulley surface we started with following my first pass at cleaning it with the polycarbide mop on the grinder last week.



An hour or´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ so o´╗┐f working at it with a combination of a chisel (ooooh...sparks!) and several grades of Emery cloth resulted in the surfac´╗┐e looking like this´╗┐. ´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐





While there´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐'s still a lot of visible tarnish there the pulleys surface is now smooth to the touch ´╗┐´╗┐ac´╗┐ross the full running surface. Whether this will help things or not I will hopefully find out tomorrow. It's hard to express quite how much smoother that pulley face feels than it looks in the photo.

Realistically, this is as good as the pulley surface is going to get without being able to throw it onto an actual lathe with a suitable cutter to reface the running surfaces properly. It just ain't going to get any better in my hands...so if it still eats belts I'll probably need to get a machine shop involved.

The last thing I did before packing up this evening was throw (not literally of course) a load of filler at the bodywork.





The area behind´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ the nea´╗┐rside wheelarch should benefit a lot from this (remember, there was a huge crack there). I'll hit it with the sander and some paint tomorrow (or another coat of filler if needed - I'm going for presentable from twenty paces here) to tidy things up a bit. Obviously will be a fair amount more needed, but it's the first time I've used this exact stuff so I wanted t´╗┐o start simple. Plus to be brutally honest I'm more interested in driving this car right now than making it pretty.´╗┐.. ´╗┐
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Old May 11 2019, 08:18 PM   #4909
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Having had a think about it further this morning I went to confirm the identification of my brake master cylinder so I could get either a service kit or new cylinder ordered.

Nice to see that the fluid level hasn't moved in the slightest since I've started driving it, I know there's no reason it should have, but it's still nice to see the fluid staying where it should be.



Yep, there's the number which I couldn't remember or find written down anywhere.



Doing a bit of digging around on the internet to see what I could find. When did the search function on everything become so utterly useless? Why when I type in "Girling 625 master cylinder service kit" are the first five items for Lockheed cylinders or totally different complete cylinders before anything starts to turn up that's useful?

Anyhow...eventually managed to track down some rebuild kits. They're a good bit more expensive than I'd expected...not far off the same price that genuine Girling cylinders seem to go for (£60 or thereabouts). Though there are a plethora of off brand ones for £20-30 out there. Though quite what sort of quality to expect at that point I'm not sure.

I did however decide to grab one. Basically because A: I've had gift money sitting in my Amazon account for about two years now so it's essentially free. B: Because it will at least let me prove the rest of the system behaves or not. If it does behave perfectly then I at least know that the MC is the issue...if I can't then make one good cylinder out of the two or am actually satisfied with the one from Amazon that turns up, I'll get a proper new Girling one ordered up. As the one I've ordered is essentially free it seemed worth a shot though.

Bodywork wise I've given things over the back a sand down (man I'd forgotten how much dust that creates!) and blew a quick bit of paint over it.



Definitely heading in the right direction... here's the same panel when the car arrived on my driveway.



Will want another coat or three of filler, but we're definitely making progress. I'll make sure I actually have enough on hand next time!



She's never going to be a concourse show winner, but hoping that a finish that's presentable from ten or twenty paces should be doable.

What I was really interested in seeing though was whether my messing about with the CVT secondary pulley yesterday had actually done anything useful.

The answer is a definite yes. While I've only been able to do testing up to 30mph today courtesy of rush hour, things have obviously improved. The pickup from a standing start is smoother and changes to throttle setting are far more quickly responded to now. It's also way quieter.

Have a *really* shaky video showing how things are behaving now. I'll hopefully make a run out onto a faster road tomorrow to see how it behaves.

While I was on Amazon earlier this afternoon a better phone mount was also ordered...so hopefully any future footage recorded on that will be something resembling stable. I can only apologise for how awful the footage here is.

YouTube Video Link

Feels like we're getting quite close to a car which is actually usable now.

-- -- --

Did a bit of experimentation with my existing camera mount to see if it could be improved while I wait for a better one to turn up...nope. Still shaky as ever...so the video from today is equally as unwatchable as the one from yesterday. If anyone actually wants to see it anyway let me know and I can chuck it at YouTube.

Another 16 miles covered. Was actually tempted to keep going but ran out of time.



The run out today was uneventful. Even if I did utterly confuse the poor folks at the fuel station. Speaking of fuel - average fuel consumption on the first tank (well, about half a tank) was 28.1mpg. Given the fact that during that tank we've had sickly carb, plethora of neglect issues in the CVT and have only left the block on a couple of occasions that's a reasonable starting point. Hoping we can expect to see mid to high 30s.

The CVT is very obviously far, far happier. 50mph cruising is almost comfortable, and the judder when moving off from standing still is very much reduced. Had 60mph on the speedo on a couple of occasions. The other thing which is conspicuously absent now is the smell of burning rubber which had previously accompanied any attempts to venture beyond 40mph or so. Obviously I'll need to get a few more miles on the clock to see if we've got things back into a stable and reliable state.

One thing which was made abundantly clear this afternoon was that not having a sun visor is *really* annoying. I've had the trim panel to which it is attached sitting around waiting to be reinstalled for a couple of months now, but finally got around to putting it back in this evening.



I had hoped to get the control box for the heater and choke out to paint it...however it was utterly unimpressed with that idea, so just gave it a coat of paint the old fashioned way with a brush in situ. Not perfect by any means but is at least a bit less scruffy.



While on the subject of tidying the interior I figured it was time to throw a bit of paint on the handlebars and some rusty bits of the seat frame. This has definitely helped make things look a bit less derelict.



Slightly out of order as this was earlier in the day, but I've also given the offside wheelarch a quick skim over with the paint. It had weathered away here to nothing so even though it's not a perfect colour match or all that smooth, it's still an improvement.



Have picked up a load of filler today too, so will hopefully get a few of the scruffy bits of body sorted this week. At least most of it is small patches rather than outright rebuilding like the rear valance...

While I was playing automotive Tetris to put the Invacar away I snapped this photo.



This is a good one for the "what year was this photo taken?" category I think.
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Old May 13 2019, 08:31 PM   #4910
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Had a bit of a special day today as the owner of TWC was due to pay me a visit. His rescue from a field and restoration of TWC was responsible for me discovering what an Invacar was. I'd never heard of them until then. Shortly after wound up with one which was missing a large portion of the bodywork but was generally sound mechanically...then once TWC was back on the road, I bought TPA, the original spares car for the restoration of TWC. She was missing her entire drivetrain by this point...but I had essentially precisely what I needed to make one working car out of the two by fitting the drivetrain from my original car. We did get a couple of photos of them together back last summer, but TPA was still a fair ways from roadworthy back then.

This was going to be the first time they'd been in one spot while both were roadworthy, so obviously we wanted to get a few photos of them together, have a little drive out in convoy etc.

In preparation for that I wanted to finish off the cosmetic work I'd been doing yesterday. Quick splash of paint first.



Still going to need a little more filler, but a LOT better than it was.



While I had the paint out I gave the fan shroud a quick splash as well. The original paint was flaking off and it was bugging me.



Then gave the interior a quick clean as it was covered in filler dust and rust powder which the heater is still shedding despite my best efforts to clean it out.



Really need to get a wet and dry vacuum on the driver's seat as it is quite grubby (sitting in the back of the garage for two years will do that, not to mention the 200K miles in the donor vehicle).

Soon after I was done with that my guest arrived and we went out for our little drive, stopping at a local from park which has some nice greenery in the background so is a good place to take car photos.









That was quite a fun afternoon. Yes, we did get some properly confused looks when we were out driving in convoy.
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Old May 14 2019, 09:16 PM   #4911
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Had a pretty´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ full day today so didn't have much time for cars. ´╗┐

One thing which I'm rather paranoid about both in the home and cars is fire. There were a couple of things around the fridge which were bothering me. Simple really in that it chucks out a LOT of heat, especially from the area right by the burner when on gas and around the rectifier/water separator. ´╗┐

The proximity of that to a plywood wall covering polystyrene insulation bothered me. When I first got it the wiring was melted into the water separator too. In addition to fire hazards the fact that the water lines to the kitchen run ´╗┐within a couple of inches of the burner and that makes me uncomfortable. ´╗┐

Some of that is unavoidable to some extent, but I could do something to improve matters a bit with a bit of insulation and rerouting of wiring. I want to do this now as before too long the compartment it lives in will be getting closed in, so there will no longer be a whopping great hole in the wall of the living area. Need to fit a vent in the floor so we c´╗┐an get some decent airflow through the heat exchanger too.

´╗┐ First up was some foil attached to the wall that's nearest to the hottest areas. ´╗┐



Not´╗┐ pretty but´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ it doesn't have to be... it'll be behind the fridge. ´╗┐

Also wrapped the wiring which has to run u´╗┐p´╗┐ ´╗┐behind it and tethered them to keep them from actually sitting on the water separator. ´╗┐



Will get the gas hooked back up, do a leak and CO escape check then get the thing boxed´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ back in as it should be. Once that's done I can button up the gas locker...once that's done I can do the cupboards. Just need to do stuff in a very specific order for the sake of access. ´╗┐
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Old May 15 2019, 08:36 PM   #4912
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Wound up digging around in the locker under´╗┐ the sofa in the van so took the opportunity to install the battery gauge which has been rattling around for months.





The reason I really´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ wa´╗┐nted this installed was because the one in the main control panel appears to have issues. This photo was ´╗┐taken about twenty s´╗┐econds after t´╗┐he one ab´╗┐ove. ´╗┐



Hopefully´╗┐ at some point I'll be able to get that sorted. It's a ways down the priority list though.

I had it in my head that there was a local classic car get together here this afternoon...however when I got there it became ´╗┐apparent that I'm utterly useless and had the wrong day - that's actually tomorrow.

So I suddenly found myself with a couple of hours to kill. Figured it was time to throw some more filler at TPA. ´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐

´╗┐Still a bunch more sanding to do, but we're getting somewhere. ´╗┐



Nearside´╗┐ quarter loo´╗┐king almost sm´╗┐ooth. ´╗┐



The huge gouges´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ on th´╗┐e nose have been smoothed out. I felt this was quite important given how prominent the area is. ´╗┐



Bonnet hinge area´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ is almost resembling flat again and I've built up the corner of the bonnet which I'd clearly missed on the ´╗┐first pass. ´╗┐



Finally got the´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ hole in the roo´╗┐f filled. Meant the duct tape there can finally ´╗┐go´╗┐.



This corner is actually´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ starting to look passable. This is as far as I got with the sander. Even with the dust extraction set up the´╗┐ process still makes a godawful mess! ´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐



The biggest´╗┐ pits around the rear of the car have been filled, though some further work will definitely be needed there - running out of filler meant I couldn't go much further today!



The chunk´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ taken out of this wheel arch has also been patched up.

Will spend a bi´╗┐t more time with the sander then throw some paint at it. May have a shot at remodelling my ´╗┐original work on the offside front corner first though as the state of that makes my skin crawl... ´╗┐

At least matching the original level of f´╗┐in´╗┐i´╗┐´╗┐sh on an Invacar isn't too strenuous compared to most vehicles, though even that's horribly time consuming! ´╗┐
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Old May 16 2019, 09:24 PM   #4913
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This morning´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ I made an absolutely awful mess in the garage by attacking TP with the sander and some paint´╗┐. I swear I will be finding filler dust for years...the stuff gets everywhere. ´╗┐

´╗┐Does look like we're moving in the right direction to me.







The rear could do with a lot more sanding, though I was running out of both time and´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ patience by the time I got there, so it will be revisited of course.

The reason I really wanted to get a basic skim of paint over there this afternoon was that ther´╗┐e was a local show this afternoon which I wanted to get TP over to for her public debut at an event other than just driving around. Especially given I arrived yesterday to find I'd got the da´╗┐te wrong.

´╗┐Did we make it? ´╗┐

Of course we did! ´╗┐





Here's a few snaps of some´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ of´╗┐ the other motors that w´╗┐ere ther´╗┐e´╗┐.´╗┐

I didn't snap anything like every car as I had made a critical wind chill calculation error and was freezing, so the order of the day was brief runs out to snap photos and talk to people between periods hiding in the car waiting for the feeling to return to my fingers.

Plethora of´╗┐ Astons. Not really surprising given the proximity of their factory and t´╗┐hat one of the organisers is apparently in the owners club. ´╗┐


Don't recall seeing an MG´╗┐B in this colour b´╗┐efore, I like it.


Normally´╗┐ a BM´╗┐W wouldn't get a second glance from me (635 excepted), but seeing an i8 up clo´╗┐se al´╗┐w´╗┐ays feels special. They're still a gorgeous looking car I think.





Oddest coloured´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ car of ´╗┐the day award g´╗┐oes to this Ford Prefect.



Lovely Jowett Javelin. These just look "right" to me, and I only discovered recently that they're really quite interesting mechanically speaking too.



Hard not to like a Scimitar.


I just love the degree´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ of colour in thi´╗┐s photo given we ´╗┐live in a ´╗┐world of silver, grey, white and slightly off white cars these days´╗┐.´╗┐


While Astons are usually a bit rich for my blood, this thing is lovely.



They really need to bring back tail fins...


There were actually a few Austin 7s there, though this one is a really early example if I'm not mistaken.


I still need to drive an actual Mini at some point!


It would have been downright´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ rude to not take a bunch of photos of this. There's no angle it doesn'´╗┐t look fantastic fr´╗┐om.´╗┐





As usual I never´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ actu´╗┐ally took any close-ups of my own car.

Definitely need to make up an information sign to put with the car, as the number of questions I wound up answering was very surprising...and most people didn't even know that they had been rendered illegal and had mostly ´╗┐been scrapped.

Importantly TP ran perfectly both to and from´╗┐ the event, even managing an overtake on the dual carriageway on the way there - cue one very puzzled looking Zafira driver. Afraid I didn't have a camera running at that point to capture that ´╗┐moment...maybe next time (this is why I really need get a proper´╗┐ camera mount so recording video isn't such a pain). ´╗┐
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Old May 18 2019, 08:10 AM   #4914
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Importantly TP ran perfectly both to and from´╗┐ the event, even managing an overtake on the dual carriageway on the way there - cue one very puzzled looking Zafira driver. Afraid I didn't have a camera running at that point to capture that ´╗┐moment...maybe next time (this is why I really need get a proper´╗┐ camera mount so recording video isn't such a pain). ´╗┐[/QUOTE]

O man ! I would have loved to see that drivers face
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Old May 19 2019, 08:15 PM   #4915
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Sunshine came out for a while today, so got a couple of snaps of our quiet little corner of nowhere.









Back home tomorrow so normal service will be resumed as of tomorrow evening.
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Old May 20 2019, 05:08 PM   #4916
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Now safely home. Glad to report´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ the van didn't miss a beat. The relative ease with which 70mph can be obtained for overtaking on the motorway now still surprises me a bit.

Did make one upgrade when I got home. The little 10" TFT TV (fitted I'm guessing around 2000-2005) was essentially useless. The image quality was basically on par with the little screens you get on airliners about 15 years ago, except with even worse contrast. Input was limited to analogue RF, DVD, composite video or an SD card supporting only a ha´╗┐ndful of mostly obsolete file formats.

It was however attached to a standard VESA mount, which meant I could easily swap it out for something else.

Just like this. ´╗┐



Being somewhat larger than the old one, this protrudes a bit beyond the wardrobe when positioned for viewing in bed...





...It is still able to fold out the way though.



While definitely a luxury item, it is nice to be able to stick a movie on in the background in the evening, so having something able to handle modern video interfaces is a bonus. Even if the TV being used was literally found abandoned at the side of the road with as far as I've been able to tell, absolutely nothing wrong with it aside from being a cheap and nasty piece of tat...more than sufficient for occasional use like this though.
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Old May 21 2019, 06:36 PM   #4917
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Have spent most of the day in the garden, and it looks like that will be the case for most of this week. I did manage to sneak away for half an hour in the evening though so thought I'd attack one of the nice simple jobs on the whiteboard in the garage.

At some point the wheels on TPA had been painted with very patchy red oxide primer.



This isn't a good look.

I've decided to go with the same hammered black as I've used for a few other details on the car.



Not a perfect finish by any means, but given there are runs in the paint already on there it's as good as it's going to get for now. At some point (probably in a decade or two) I'll look to get the wheels professionally refurbished. For now this looks better I think.



I doubt that I'll be getting much done this week but hopefully all three wheels will be tidied up shortly. Small details really but bit by bit they add up.
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Old May 22 2019, 07:16 PM   #4918
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TPA has been pretty busy today.



Looks much better with the repainted wheels. Here's a better closeup in actual sunlight.



That looks "right" to my eye.

Had a bunch of errands to run today all over town...and decided that the best thing for TPA at the moment really is to get some miles under her wheels...so took a brave pill and took her out. 26 miles covered today once I got back.



This included some trundling around residential areas, some dodging trucks in busy Industrial estates and a fair amount of high speed dual carriageway work. Gremlin count at the end of the day? Nil.

In fact aside from a bit of grumbling from the CVT (belt flapping about a bit because the pulley surfaces still aren't perfect), she was running well and felt well...happy. Not sure how else to describe it. She's far less of a liability on high speed roads than you would expect, the sheer lack of vibration etc through the car at speed is surprising. Honestly she feels less stressed at speed than the Metro I used to own. The ride is also far better than it has any right to be in such a small lightweight car. Even if the slightly odd way the whole car wobbles over some types of road surface simply by virtue of having only three wheels takes a little getting used to. It actually feels like my country wide tour next year might be less of a mental idea than it originally seemed.

Having got a got a few miles of sustained high speed running done today it seemed a good time to check the plugs. When I first started out I had a bit of a recurring issue with the offside plug fouling up with only deposits. My guess was that this was down to a sticky piston ring due to disuse. The oil consumption seemed to have ceased after the first couple of road tests so I was hopeful that the plugs would be looking more healthy now.

Nearside:


Offside (the one which used to suffer from oil fouling):


Those look reasonably healthy to me. No signs of oil anyway, which ties in with no oil being used any more and smoke being limited to a brief puff when the engine is started from cold.

Given I'm going to be wanting to drive out of town to a car show in a couple of weeks it's nice to have got some decent testing undertaken without incident.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully get the cover out and have a close examination of the CVT belt and see how it's holding up. Before I did the work cleaning up the pulleys the belt had been getting well shredded and started to slip after less than ten miles, so will be curious to take a look to see how it's holding up.

Saw a lot of puzzled looking drivers today!
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Old May 23 2019, 08:13 PM   #4919
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I Haven't been on for a few days, My Brother passed away Sunday evening, And I received notice Monday afternoon that my job closed without notice, putting myself and 270 others out of work. Life is not very good right now!
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Old May 25 2019, 07:06 PM   #4920
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Fan View Post
I Haven't been on for a few days, My Brother passed away Sunday evening, And I received notice Monday afternoon that my job closed without notice, putting myself and 270 others out of work. Life is not very good right now!
Ouch... that's a harsh week...hope things calm down a bit for you soon. Not a lot any of us I can do I imagine, but we're here if you need someone to talk to (or rant at!).

-- -- --

Running´╗┐ around like a headless chicken all day today so nothing much to report...only thing I did was finally get around to mutilat´╗┐ing a set of floor mats for the cab of the van. Suffice to say none of the generic ones ever fit because the footwells of the van are way different in shape to those in a car.

Nearside one is relatively simpl´╗┐e´╗┐, just needs a little chunk removed for the space taken up by the engine cover. ´╗┐



Offside one requires rather more hackery. Two reasons. Firstly is that the engine cover is not actually central in the cab - it's a good couple of inches nearer´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ to the offside of the van. Secondly is that this van has a floor mounted throttle pedal with a huge heel rest, so you need to cut a slot out for it to sit in´╗┐. ´╗┐



The cab will be getting new carpet at some point (yes, in something more sensible than the factory beige shag pile), so I really wanted some mats in´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ there before that happened so as to keep things clean. Oh, and I had been repeatedly knocking this set of mats over in the garage for months and I wanted them out the way. ´╗┐

Hopefully will get some actual garage time tomorro´╗┐w so will have something more worthwhile to report on. ´╗┐
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