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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:30 PM   #1
Zelandeth
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Default Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

As I mentioned a little while ago, I was acutely aware that my regular posts regarding my automotive & technological hobbies tended to steamroller things in the What's Happening Thread. So it seemed the obvious thing to do to split it off on its own. So the folks who share these interests can follow if they wish without my rambling, image heavy posts cluttering things up.

If there are any major shows or anything I get to I'll link to the respective posts directly from here, using this post as an index effectively.

There will be several posts over the next hour or so while I catch up (not doing it in one shot as I'll probably run into the 10 image limit if I try to do it in one post).

So please stand by, and I'll get you caught up.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Saturday July 31st 2021:

Just to confuse things, we're actually starting off with a vintage technology rather than automotive post.

It's no secret that I've a major soft spot for the Toshiba T1200, and this has developed into a bit of a problem, there are now four and a half of them here, one of which works, three that don't plus a pile of assorted bits.

Then I spotted a very vague ad on eBay for one with one fuzzy photo a week or so back for £50 delivered. I grabbed it. I didn't really care about the operational status based on the fact that A: It's a hard disc equipped model so provides a spare drive (they're a drive that uses a proprietary JVC/Ricoh interface which are consequently basically extinct)... though the main thing which grabbed my attention was the case.

These machines nearly always yellow to some extent. However this one looked pristine in the photo. I was expecting this to have flattered it (especially as it looked to have been taken on a 90s webcam).

I was a little alarmed when this box arrived yesterday...simply as it's about half the size of the box I would have used to ship one of these.



Nevertheless it looked to have made it in one piece. Guess I'm just lucky they didn't ship it through Yodel.

Somewhat to my surprise, the photo hadn't exaggerated it...it is astonishingly free of yellowing. With a bit of a clean this case will qualify as minty fresh I reckon.

My existing running machine is shown for comparison. It's worth noting these were never pure white but a cream colour from the factory.











At the *very* least this will provide a donor case for my working machine. Being a factory hard drive model it has the correct labelling on the status indicator lights showing drive letters A and C rather than A and B as on my current one.



In addition to that the screen looks to be good (they tend to fade, allowing the pinkish colour of the backlight to show through if they're failing - a deep indigo blue is what you want to see).



I'm not daft enough to even *consider* plugging this straight in given that one of the most common failure modes of the power supply boards is to shove 12V down the 5V line. Power supply was whipped out for inspection.



Yep...covered in capacitor goop.

Having been through the "parts washer" it looks like the traces have survived...so with a fresh set of caps hopefully it will live to fight another day.

This leaves me with an interesting quandary. I'm sure at this point that I have more than enough parts to assemble a full second machine. Given the prices these go for in fully working order on eBay these days there's a definite temptation to build one up and see if I can flip it and make a bit of money. Though that sounds like a lot of work as dealing with potential timewasters and such on eBay is always so much "fun."

I definitely don't need a full second machine...and while I want to have spares on hand, I don't feel the need to hoard them...

Most likely I'd end up offering the second (which would be the scruffiest one as I'll be keeping the cleaner case for mine) on a couple of forums I'm on for a more realistic price than what seems to be the going rate.

Getting ahead of myself though, no idea if the power supply will come good, if the motherboard is any good, if the hard drive is seized up...let's see how that goes first.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Monday 2nd August 2022.

Today has been a bit of a mess really, not helped by me having a day where I spent a good half hour apparently having completely forgotten how to drive. Made myself look an absolute and complete idiot about half a dozen times in as many minutes. Thankfully it didn't last long nor actually have any lasting effects, but I generally hold myself to a pretty high standard so was well hacked off with myself for hours.

Grabbed a couple of photos of the Merc at one of my usual spots this afternoon, realised I really didn't have any from the rear. A shame as I think this is one of the better looking estate variants out there.









There were enough people about I didn't bother trying getting any more than that.

Something I have made a start on tackling is the rear headlining trim panel, which has looked like this probably for a number of years.



Not ideal.

I'm trying the simple approach first, which has been to wet the fibreboard down thoroughly in the affected area and clamp it to more the shape I'm after.



Somewhat to my surprise when I removed the clamp after a couple of hours the trim actually didn't just spring back to the original shape...so I've wet it down again and clamped it again.



What I'll probably do tomorrow is the same again, but exaggerating the curve I want, hopefully meaning once it's released that it will just sit against the headlining.

I'm slightly puzzled as to how they intended rear speakers to be fitted as there are no obvious attachment points on the metalwork...so I think attaching them to this trim is the only real option...not the end of the world as I can route the screws through the holes already there without damaging anything (the perforated area is far bigger than the speaker would be). Not an ideal setup though.

Sadly it doesn't look like there's any existing audio wiring loom either so I'll need to pull that through the whole length of the car. Blarg... she's a long old car too!

On the subject of headlining, anyone got a diagram of how this is meant to be assembled?



That's above the driver's door. There's a little metal clip visible there but I can't find anywhere that it's meant to locate. Passenger side looks just the same.



Reattaching the material to the board needs to be done too, but knowing how the panel itself is meant to sit would be useful!

Last edited by Zelandeth; Aug 21 2021 at 09:42 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:43 PM   #4
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Tuesday 3rd August 2021.

Doesn't look like it should be hard to come up with something to secure a speaker in place there.

Little DAB antenna splitter gizmo arrived today. Being me I couldn't let that tiny black box go without investigation.



A lot more in there than I was expecting. Was just expecting some sort of band pass filter, wasn't expecting active circuitry. Guessing this is necessary because it's using an antenna that's not designed for the purpose so additional amplification is needed...pure guess.

Pulled the head unit a bit further out this time while fitting it and had the joy that is finding prior audio wiring work that makes you scratch your head.



There was a lot of this going on.



Why they didn't just put that red wire straight into the white screw connector directly I have no idea...why connect another 2" long wire to it first by twisting the ends together? This loom reaches about two feet out from the dash too so it's not like they were absolutely desperate for the extra length.

Also found the main 12V feed twisted together when they had an open position on their terminal block...albeit with a stub of wire from its former life apparently.



It's not pretty now, but all the taped and twisted together wires are now dispensed with. I would have done this last time but didn't spot it as I never pulled the loom far enough out.

Unfortunately my satisfaction was short lived.



Apparently many DAB sets now use a tiny push fit antenna connection...so I need another adaptor to plug my adaptor in. *Sigh*

So off to wait longer for something else to arrive. Just put it back together for now. Not really likely to really use DAB anyway.

Hard to tell in the photo but I've fine tuned the display colour a bit so it matches better.



It looks like the mission to de-sag the rear headlining trim is working.



Will probably get it refitted shortly as it will be a while before I get around to wiring in rear speakers as it'll be quite a time consuming job.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Wednesday 4th August 2021.

Before:



After:



Haven't bothered tucking it in at the edges as it will come out again to do the boot struts (if they ever arrive) and the speakers. Not sure why folks claim getting the locating pegs back in is a massive pain...took me all of about 15 seconds. Though I may just have been massively lucky this time!

It's not perfect if you look too closely, but is massively improved. If it sags again I'll probably just stick a bit of metal across the back to add some strength to it.

It's been a good couple of weeks since I'd last had TPA out...mainly because I'd buried her when getting ready for the vehicle swapovers happening with the Xantia moving on and the Merc arriving...so I spent about an hour unearthing her.

Quite rightly she was a bit irked at having been so unceremoniously buried, and made this displeasure known by getting a bit of gunk wedged in the idle jet. Thankfully this resolved itself after about half an hour of driving.



On the way home I managed to capture one of those odometer palindromes which please my sense of order.



Will have to make sure that it's not another three weeks before she's out again. Oh, and add "clean carb again" to the service to do list.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:48 PM   #6
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Thursday 5th August 2021.

This afternoon the Merc was being used as a proper estate car.



It will come as precisely zero surprise that the mechanism to lower the rear seats is clever and one of the easiest to deal with I've ever used. The rear seat base can be removed in seconds without any tools as well if you need an extra few inches.

This old desktop for scale is longer than I am tall.



All loaded up for a tip run





Gave me a good opportunity to confirm the self leveling works - appears to do just fine.

The amount of stuff you could cram in here if you tried is crazy.

Bit later in the day this happened.



Now we're talking.



Then with the wheel trim back on.



Could have done without the 25 minutes of soaking wet walking along the verge this caused on the way home though!



Apparently one wheel trim didn't get refitted properly. Thankfully I found it and it hadn't decapitated anyone. A set of safety cable ties will be implemented tomorrow.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Friday 6th August 2021.

Out and about today to collect a replacement for my broken pressure washer, a friend on another forum had one more or less identical one to mine with a busted hose. Hose and lance on mine are fine, it's just the pump that expired violently a couple of months ago.

On the run over there a few things were confirmed.

1. I really need to fit a tethered box or something in the boot or things slide around all over the place and make a racket.

2. The new tyres have definitely reduced road noise and vibration.

3. Ride seems exactly as before, always a bit of a question with tyres these days given the tendency for them to have unnecessarily stiff sidewalls.

4. Wish I could say they have transformed the handling...but they really haven't. She still corners like a drunken elephant on a space hopper. Just isn't a car for pushing on in, she's a lazy cruiser. If I can reduce the freeplay in the steering a bit that would help I think, though she's never going to be a B-Road weapon.

5. I need to replace the felt seal around the sunroof. First time I've been out on a windy day with it closed and it makes a horrendous din. Does make you realise how quiet these cars must have been in their day though.



I ran into an issue setting up the new stereo due to the fancy pants new DAB+ head unit using a tiny (SMA?) Connector, rather than the screw in mini BNC one like the older ones.

As such I'd had to order up this adaptor.



Which lets me hook it up like so.



Nice and simple. Oh. Or is it?



After a certain amount of head scratching I managed to figure out that the issue is that stupid adaptor! Stuffing the antenna connection straight into the socket results in this happening.



The "DGTL" icon on the bottom of the display shows it is receiving through DAB rather than analogue. A quick test with the meter showed that there is indeed a complete lack of continuity through the centre pin. Will need to get another one of those ordered in then.

Getting really sick of getting DOA parts these days. This wasn't even a particularly cheap one - was picked because the seller offered next day shipping rather than because it's cheap. That worked out well then!

Looking forward to having this buttoned up for the last* time.



* Of course keeping in mind I'll need to be back in here to wire in the rear speakers anyway.

I know a lot of people say terminal strip has no place in a car, and for anything under the bonnet or mission critical I absolutely agree. For stuff like this though so long as the strip is good quality, the wires are prepared properly, everything is tightened down and nothing is strained it's absolutely fine. In 26 years of messing with in car audio I've had I think two speaker connections come adrift where these were used - and in both of those cases it was my own fault for making the wires too short.

I'll tidy things up a bit before declaring it to be finished.

I have done the solder and heat shrink thing on one car - and wound up cursing myself for it! Though to be fair with ISO connectors now being the norm nowadays that makes things easier.



The replica sticker pack I'd ordered also arrived this morning. This is the main one I wanted it for as it's got a lot of useful service data on.




I wasn't quite prepared for how many other stickers were included!



I'm going to need to figure out where they all go... though obviously some aren't going to be relevant, being for other markets, diesel versions etc.

I'll try to get some better photos tomorrow, but I'm really blown away by the quality of these, if they had a Mercedes logo on the backing sheet rather than an Avery one I'd have believed they'd just been posted by the dealer. So long as they last they're well worth the asking price I feel.

These were bought from this eBay seller if you want to get some. No connection with them other than as a satisfied customer.

It's a small detail, but little things like that really can improve the feel of a car I think.

The main thing I need to get done before the engine bay ones can go in is of course cleaning it...especially as currently I've no hope whatsoever of being able to tell if we're still leaking oil and where from because it clearly has been for many years. The main thing holding that up was the lack of a pressure washer, which we've now resolved. I'm really looking forward to getting this car properly cleaned, reckon it will make quite the difference. Mean I can give her a bit of a shine up then too.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:51 PM   #8
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Saturday 7th August 2021.

Zip to show for today as 75% of the day was spent gardening, then a trip to Costco - showing once again how silly big the boot on this car is. Just under £300 worth in here. I know in the Jag this would have filled the boot and most of the rear seat, and the boot on the Jag isn't exactly small.



The eagle eyed may see that the trim by the tailgate has sagged again, as I honestly expected it might. I've got a plan to deal with that on a more permanent basis, just wanted to try the simple one first off.

Really hoping that tomorrow I'll be able to get some decent time set aside to do some work on the cars.

A good cleaning session for the Merc is first on the agenda, then I should be able to get most of the new stickers in place (still need to have a dig around to see if I can find a cheat sheet showing where most of them should go).
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:53 PM   #9
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Sunday 8th August 2021.

This bit of trim was really bothering me. Not just because it looks a mess but because it stuck out about an inch from the car and was just asking to stab a passer by.



Eventually I managed to "repair" this channel (read: Squished with pliers) to the point I could reattach it to the trim clip so it sits flat again.



The "cap" which would have closed that off would originally have been part of the rubber part of the strip so is long gone. My solution to that is probably going to be a bit of chemical metal...discovered the tube I had in my toolbox had turned solid so I couldn't do that today.


As I mentioned in my last post the headlining trim had done this again.



This wasn't really a surprise and I already had a plan B in the works for when this inevitably happened.

Panel was removed, clamped in the shape I wanted using a small batten, then I went after the surface with a craft knife, scoring the surface...



...So the resin I had mixed up could sink properly into the board to strengthen it as much as possible.



Left this in the garage to set up for a couple of hours. Result being a board which at least feels far more rigid. Let's hope it stays that way!



Was interested to find a major junction box for the wiring to the rear of the car above that panel. I'm more used to seeing things like this on older commercial vehicles than on cars.



Having conductors numbered like that will surely be a huge help if I ever need to chase gremlins around here.

I took a brief intermission here to investigate what had happened to my old pressure washer before transferring the Lance etc to its new (identical, secondhand) replacement. It died a few months back by surging briefly a couple of times then making a godawful loud bang and stopping pumping.

The fact that oil was peeing out of it when I pulled the pump definitely suggests something is far amiss.



No obvious splits in the casing, but I'm guessing something has gone catastrophically wrong internally in the gearbox. I didn't have a set of hex keys on hand today but I do intend to pull it completely apart later in the week to determine what happened and if I can, why. The moment I hooked the new one up it proved to me that there's been something amiss with mine from day one as the new one has far more punch.

Having a working pressure washer again meant I could start to deal with the proper cleaning tasks...first up the oil caked mess that was the engine bay.

Before:





After today's first pass:





I really need to paint that air filter housing...









I definitely need to get some rust treatment and paint in the general vicinity of the brake master cylinder and servo as there has obviously been a fluid leak here at some point and it's dissolved the paint.

Despite the terror a lot of people seem to express at taking high pressure water near an engine bay, the car started up perfectly after this. I then went for a half hour or so drive to dry everything off.

Still a lot to do as there's plenty of gunk I've missed (especially down by the alternator), but it's a thousand times better and I should actually be able to see which oil leaks are fixed or not now. Was kind of hard to tell with the 1/4" caked on gunge on the sides of the block before.


Last job for today was putting the first of the new stickers in place. This dog eared looking example was removed.



Then replaced with the reproduction one.



I need to try to pull that dent out of the bumper then see if I can get the rubbing strip to pop back onto its channel. The amount of gunk I blasted out of there was unreal...

Hoping to get the bodywork cleaned up and get the polish and wax out soon...oh, and the metal polish on the brightwork.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:55 PM   #10
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Monday 9th August 2021.

The most obvious thing in the engine bay which was making my teeth itch (aside from the horrendous racket from the knackered camshaft anyway) was the state of the air cleaner. It was a rusty, scabby mess which immediately drew your eye the moment you opened the bonnet.



That got pulled off today for a really quick and dirty respray. The high voltage warning sticker had seen better days too.



As had the foam in the intake silencer, so I pulled as much of that out as I could just to save it getting sucked into the filter. After a really quick rub down with a sanding block it was given a couple of quick coats of satin black. I think it was a really dark grey originally, and I will probably try to get it closer to the right colour further down the road - for now "tidy" is the main thing I'm after.





The results speak for themselves I think...it won't stick out quite so much once it's got a bit of general dust and such on it.





It no longer immediately draws your attention when you open the bonnet at least, which was the main object of this whole exercise. All 30 minutes of it. Happy with the result.


The replacement for the dodgy DAB+ antenna adaptor for the stereo arrived this morning (I did look to see if I could get one locally, but the only place I could find one was Halfords - and they wanted £35 for a whole antenna kit, so eBay it was in the end), so I finally have a fully functioning stereo now with both analogue and digital modes working.



Even though I know I'll probably never really use it, knowing it didn't work was going to bug me!

While I was out a bit later in the day I grabbed another couple of photos just because I could. These will be good for a before/after comparison after I've done some polishing and a few bits of paint touchup work.








A pretty major milestone was achieved for me today in that for the first time ever I have actually 3D printed a replacement part for one of my cars.



This (while it obviously still needs some finishing off and painting an appropriate colour) will be a replacement for the broken bonnet catch pull.



Yes I know proper replacements are about a fiver...but that's not the point. I needed to replace it and I randomly stumbled across the model for this, and it's a pretty flat part so took less than an hour to print...so this was a far more interesting solution than just buying a new one. Will clean that up, paint it and hopefully get it fitted tomorrow.

Really need to try to get a replacement for the broken bit of exhaust ordered in because that blow is really quite annoying - not a huge amount of places seem to have them in stock though (especially not at silly prices), and most of those seem to be the same brand as the systems I fitted to the van and Xantia. I'd really rather not buy another one of those as the fit on both of those was diabolically poor and involves massive amounts of swearing to fit. Oh, and the silencer on the van arrived devoid of any baffles. So it's quite likely that I'll just wind up getting a replacement section made up in stainless, especially as it's a pretty short bit that's affected and the rest of the system is pretty healthy.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:57 PM   #11
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Tuesday 10th August 2021.

I wasn't 100% convinced I'd done a proper job of setting the valve clearances on the first pass (not least because I got interrupted halfway through the job and was dying from heat at the time) so went back today and did it again. Definitely was well off the mark in a couple of cases. No 4 intake in particular was way loose.

Has it made any difference to the noise? Maybe a little bit, but she still rattles, and will continue to do so until I replace the camshaft I suspect. Definitely hasn't made a night and day difference, but I feel better knowing the job has been done right for definite now.

The most annoying noise just now though is coming from this thing.



I need to do some part number comparisons to confirm that the mid section is shared between the saloon and estate as I'm struggling to find anyone with this in stock for the TE variant - though a couple of listings for the saloon are out there at not too silly prices. I know the tailpipe is different, but I *think* the mid section is the same.

While the valve clearance adjustment hasn't made a huge difference to the noise levels it has definitely improved running - my guess is because of that one really loose inlet valve which will definitely have been hindering breathing on cylinder number four.

I did discover one really nice little design feature while doing this job. Last time round I was working with a socket on the crankshaft pulley to rotate the engine. This is really pig awkward to do from a position where you can actually see the valve gear. Getting at the power steering pump pulley is a no-go because it's less than an inch from the fan shroud so hard to get a socket onto. The alternator though is a perfect candidate. It did demonstrate though that the belt needed tensioning (they're pretty well shot due to oil contamination anyway - new ones are en route) as it was just slipping rather than turning the engine initially, even with the plugs out.

Now this is a job which I'm used to being simple enough but fiddly and annoying. Generally because of having to find a way to hold the right tension on everything while tightening things back up. Some cars make your life far easier by having a threaded rod or leadscrew setup on the adjuster, the old Saab 900 was a good example. The Jag uses a similar setup but loses points because the threads are massively more fine than they need to be and two of the adjusters are sufficiently well buried that you have to work blind.

Finding this arrangement on the Merc was a wonderful surprise.



Loosen off the two mounting bolts a bit, a locknut on the back of the adjuster, then just turn it in the right direction...then nip the locknut back up, tighten the mounting bolts back up, done. Two minutes tops. It's a really simple design but has clearly been really well thought out. Someone really put thought into this as to how it would be used in the real world after the car left the showroom. Oh, all the nuts and bolts involved are the same size too.


After spending a bit of time filing the edges smoother and drilling the supports out of the mounting hole it was time to test fit the 3D printed bonnet release handle. It's definitely a good deal more discreet than the cable tie sticking out of the grill.



It pops out when the bonnet release in the car is pulled and is definitely a lot easier to get hold of than the aforementioned cable tie I had on here before.





It certainly feels sturdy enough, it's not a massively strong spring that you're pulling against after all. Now I've proven that it fits and seems to work just fine I'll splash some paint on it to make it a bit less conspicuous (I should have just not been lazy and swapped over to black filament before printing it...takes all of five minutes to do!).

Mission success there it feels like...not only have I 3D printed a part, it even fits and works!
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Old Aug 21 2021, 09:59 PM   #12
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Wednesday 11th August 2021.

I've had a bit of a dig around today for an exhaust and haven't made huge amounts of progress. I've managed to ascertain that the middle section on the car is an aftermarket system. It also seems to be the same as most of the ones I have found, and the fit on the car really isn't great.





Pretty sure the whole thing is twisted to one side and consequently is sitting too low at the front and too high at the back (the tailpipe tip is touching the little anti-rattle bumper above it).

The proper OEM system shouldn't have that sleeve joint in from what I can tell. Which is a shame as it means I've got to replace more than just the "mid-rear" bit if I want to do it right. Looks like about €250 too for a proper one, and I'd have to fit it, and I hate doing exhaust work. Hmm. Methinks I'll be popping my head in the door at Deutsch-Tech tomorrow and see what they'd want to sort it out in stainless. Sadly my guess is probably somewhere in the region of £1200, which I just can't justify!

Far more likely I'm going to end up inventing many colourful new expletives when I pull the dodgy bit off and completely fail to weld up the crack in the silencer end plate then end up right back where I started again.

Searching for systems online is a bit frustrating because a good 50% of the results that parts finders throw up W124 systems rather than W123 ones and they're completely different.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 10:02 PM   #13
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Saturday 14th August 2021.

It turned out to be a really good call getting these fitted last week.



Got caught up driving in some of the heaviest rain I've seen in a long while so I was glad not to be on worn out, perished old tyres. As I've come to expect from Uniroyal tyres, they shrugged it off as if were nothing. I've used these tyres as my default now since at *least* 2006, and continue to be very impressed.

I definitely need to put wiper blades onto my list as I'm pretty convinced the driver's side at least isn't the right size. There isn't so much a triangle of doom where they meet as a crescent you could hold classic car shows in.

Sounds like 19"/20" passenger/driver is the correct size, will try to remember to grab some next time I'm picking up parts.

One feature I do want to implement at some point is an override for the cooling fan thermoswitch. It doesn't cut the fan in until quite a bit later than I would like. I have confirmed that the fan clutch works properly at least - so I just need to provide a switched ground to that wire. Should be a dead easy little relay installation job. Figuring out an indicator on the dash for when it's on shouldn't be too hard - there are helpfully two unused green lights in the strip below the instrument cluster - you can just about see the green mask as a slightly darker strip in the photo below.



The original thermostatic control will be left alone, but I just don't like how warm it gets before the fan cuts in, so I'd like to have a manual override available to me.

We're well over 1000 miles travelled now since I got the car, and I remembered to grab this photo of numbers lining up yesterday.



Didn't have much time today so only went out with one real task in mind, replacing the manky old fan belt. New one was fitted in a few minutes.



The old one was pretty well wrecked from oil contamination.





While working on this I spotted that I may be missing a bolt on the power steering pump.



I haven't changed that belt yet because the new one is the wrong size. I'm not 100% certain there should be a bolt there...the pump is absolutely solidly mounted so it may just be a case of it having a few mounting options for different applications.

Really need to get back in to the front of the engine with the degreaser as I've obviously missed a fair amount there.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 10:04 PM   #14
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Sunday 15th August 2021.

Nothing directly car related really done today. Instead it was the turn of the garage...the catalyst for finally getting around to this was knocking this pile of things over for about the seven thousandth time. Being the most easily accessible corner this is just where things tended to accumulate which are used regularly.



Which pretty much matched the state of the whole garage. This is from a few months ago, but you get a pretty good idea of the general level of disorganised clutter.



The huge pile about the size of a VW Beetle at the far end I can't do much about at the moment as a lot of the volume of that pile is cushions for the garden furniture and I've nowhere else to put that just now. However that's not really in the way of the area I actually use. I've wanted to attack the clutter in here for years, but the cascade of cans when I knocked one over today and it sent the whole lot cascading onto the floor was one time too many. Time for a proper rage tidy.

Cue me making a godawful mess.



After a few hours I had to call it a day because I ran out of wall plugs so I couldn't put up any more shelving. Definitely feels like I've made some progress.



This is what the corner in which I kept knocking everything over in looks like now.



Everything has been moved out of the way so the avalanche of cans and jars should be a thing of the past.

The additional shelving (all scavenged from cheap bookcases we've since got rid of, dating back to our student days) has made quite a difference.



Digging around I've ascertained that I *really* don't need to buy any more oil for a while. Especially 10W40!



Once I do have the opportunity to clear the rear of the garage my plan is to set up three or four ranks of free standing shelves across the garage widthways. Will increase the available actual storage capacity by several times and mean I can actually get at things. There's stuff in there I haven't seen since we moved in!

Remembering some comments from last time there was a photo of my garage on another forum. There was a suggestion that I'd nicked the bus stop flag and public transport information sign. No on either. The bus stop flag was a sample we had made to see how the new design (which I'd been heavily involved in the creation of) and was never actually installed. I was quite proud of how clean the graphical design looked and had put a lot of work into it, so kept the sample. The sign was originally in the reception of our old office building before the timetable rack in there was removed, it then spent several years above my desk until we moved buildings...we couldn't take it to the new office and it would have been skipped when the building was demolished, so I rescued it (with permission).

Not sure if the result really reflects how many hours of work this took...but I'm glad I've made a start on it as this is something I've been trying to find the activation energy to make a start on for years.

I can at least walk past the car now without having to flatten myself against the wall (I need to get through here regularly as we have a chest freezer at the back of the garage).



The compressed air tank there is going to be wall mounted up above the garage door frame to keep it out of the way. Having started this will give me a bit of a kick into getting that piped in... especially as I'm sick of not having air on tap any more.

The far side is still a squeeze, but at least having got all of the cans and previously precariously stacked tools onto higher shelves now it doesn't involve me knocking everything over when I want to get through to the oil stash.



Still a load of work to do but it really feels like progress.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 10:05 PM   #15
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Wednesday 18th August 2021.

Progress has continued on the garage. Yesterday I got the shelf up for the compressed air receiver tank which finally moved that from the floor sticking out about 6" into the walkway.



Those brackets are screwed directly into the wall stud so strength should be fine, the tank isn't actually all that heavy (the compressor is remote), and I did go back and add another two just for peace of mind later on.

I had originally hoped to have the tank mounted up above the garage door framework nearer to the door, that plan though was scuppered by there not being quite enough height available. I had also been half planning to have the compressor up in the same area...right up to the point where I picked it up for the first time in a couple of years. Nope... it's staying firmly on the floor because it is downright obscenely heavy.


Today that corner continued to be developed with me starting to rebuild some old Dexion shelving a friend gave me a while back. Yes I fouled up the top shelf currently in there on the one corner.



The bottom one was the important one today though as the height of that was dictated by needing enough room underneath for the compressor to live, so I can now install the rest of the shelves at usefully spaced heights.

The eagle eyed among you will probably see that there is pipework running up the wall there too, that's the charge line to the air tank.

I was a bit worried that my tiny and ancient compressor wouldn't be up to the job, but it made it up to the set point and cut out in a little under five minutes from stone flat. About a minute seems to be the going rate to top itself back up when doing things like inflating tyres. Which in all honesty is what 99% of its work will be anyway. Especially with the two nearest garages to me now charging £2 to use the machine there.

That yellow hose will be getting routed along near the ceiling to next to the door. I'll probably mount a regulator and water trap on a quick connect fitting there. The regulator actually on the tank is awful and I'm basically just leaving it there because I'm too lazy to remove it! I really do want a hose reel (so I can reach all the cars without having to coil/unwrap 25 metres of hose every time), but we'll see how long it takes me to justify the cost. Or I could try to build one...I do have a couple of dead wheels floating around.


The power supply to the compressor is wired through the original pressure switch so it cycles just the same as the original one from that tank.

Once I've finished messing with the shelving I'll probably put some mesh around the bottom to make sure nothing can get tangled up in the belt. Given there's no integrated cooling fan on the compressor I will probably arrange a electrically operated one to help keep it from overheating issues. It didn't seem to be doing bad though after filling the tank from empty twice in a row though. Once I have a fan in there I might enclose one side to help cut down on noise a little bit. Though it's really not bad...plus volume level aside having something chugging away like this is far less grating than the old direct drive one was, which sounded like a cross between a jackhammer and a chainsaw and really did require ear protection if you were in the garage with it running for more than a few minutes.

I *do* need to find some rubber feet for it though...I can feel it going *dug dug dug dug* through my feet despite the floor being concrete - so I'm sure everyone else in the house can as well. I think some broken Invacar engine mounts I still have in a box for some reason will be perfect for that job.

I'll get a few better photos when I've actually finished and tidied things up a little. It still looks really shonky just now.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 10:07 PM   #16
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Friday 20th August 2021.

I needed to get TPA out of the garage to allow me to put up a ladder to route the compressed air line along the side of the garage. So this was an excuse to use this particular car to run the errands I needed to.



Which meant that this happened.



That's us ticked over the 2,000 mile mark. Second one rolled around a lot quicker than the first did!

Having air on tap in the garage meant it was time to replace the horrible cheap tyre inflator/pressure gauge with something a bit more fit for purpose.



The 220psi scale on the old one meant that you really couldn't aim for anything better than "roughly to about +/- 5psi" on a good day - not great when I'm aiming for 17psi for the front tyre on the Invacar. New one actually has a proper scale...and has shown how awful the old one was! It was overreading by about 5psi.



In a hobbyist garage setting that should last basically forever.

I also made a start on routing the supply hose around towards where I'm planning on the hookup point.



The compressor now has "feet" made from a few old engine mounts. This has reduced the noise level in the garage when it's running by a good 50% I reckon.

Sadly took a couple of steps backwards today. I knew I had a tiny leak from one union on the charge line and had planned to just tidy up a couple of minor things like that. However the system apparently had other plans.

You may recall I mentioned that my intention was to remove the regulator that's on the tank outlet as it's sufficiently inaccurate enough as to be useless plus with the new tank location I need a ladder to get to it. Apparently it heard me.

While rummaging through the toolbox I heard something bounce off the ceiling, land on the roof of the Invacar then roll off and disappear behind it. Now I'm quite used to hearing things falling over now and then in the garage, but something randomly bouncing off the ceiling was a new one.

Turns out that it was the pressure adjustment knob from the regulator.



The threaded section in the body has completely stripped out, this allowing the spring pressure to launch the knob off the top of the regulator.

Cue a run round to Toolstation to grab a replacement. Which of course is far larger than the original one so I couldn't just screw it in the same place as the original to stay there until I had finalised the pipework layout etc. So for the time being it's just been hung off a random screw in the wall in roughly the same neighborhood of the target location.



The supply line will be larger than that one long term...it's just what I had laying around with the right fittings on...I'll need to pick up a few more bits and pieces to finish this off.

I've now got a 30 foot hose reel on order so this is probably roughly where the regulator will live, most likely just moved a foot or two up so it's a bit further from elbow bashing height. The reel will probably be fitted up above shoulder height so I can reach around to the far side of the Invacar when checking tyres without falling over it. Also to keep it just generally as out of the way as I can as it will otherwise eat into the space there otherwise.
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Old Aug 21 2021, 10:09 PM   #17
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Saturday 21st August 2021.

Bit more progress today. First job was to reattach the air filter/muffler to the compressor as it fell off a while ago. Have gone for the epoxy putty approach first...if that doesn't hold I'll get the welder out and tack it back onto the metal stub screwed into the body of it. Was only a couple of flimsy spot welds originally there.



Then it was a matter of shuffling things around, putting up an additional shelf on the rack and generally tidying. I moved the air hookup point and regulator a bit too with some thought for when the hose reel when it arrives - assuming it will fit - it will go somewhere in this vicinity of the red circle on the image below.



Then there was far longer than it looks like generally digging around and trying to tidy things up. It does feel like we're starting to actually make some forward progress now though, which is a bit of a morale boost.



Having bought the self-retracting hose reel for the air line has given me the idea to pick something up along the same lines for an electrical extension lead. The one I currently have was a seriously cheap one picked up from Argos about 15 years ago and is utterly maddening to use...time for a better one. It will be getting fitted at ceiling height as well in the same area as the air one. The overall mission here is to get as much stuff off the floor as possible to make it an easier place to work in.

About time I sorted the garage door opener too. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the unit itself and it works perfectly, looks a nicely built unit actually. The issue is that we don't have either a fob for the remote receiver or key for the manual override switch by the door. So time to get a new receiver and new keyswitch fitted, then it should be fully functional again. Given the faffing around playing car Tetris that goes on every time I go to get the Invacar in/out of the garage that is something it would be nice to have working. Plus it bugs me knowing there's nothing physically wrong with it but I can't use it.

It's definitely being a bit of a morale boost seeing this starting to take shape. It's needed to happen for far far too long. Should be able to deal with the huge pile of stuff I thought I couldn't move too as it's occurred to me that while we don't have a shed to put the garden furniture in...I do have a stinking great camper van don't I? No reason I can't just stash things in there while I'm working on the garage. Can't believe it took me a week to figure that out. I'm really not the brightest crayon in the box sometimes!

-- -- --

This brings us up to date - so updates will now come through here as they happen, generally only one every day or two rather than a massive wall of text like this one!
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Old Aug 21 2021, 11:09 PM   #18
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We have so much stuff in the garage we can only get in one side of the jeep. Have to park really close to the side so we can get the door open to get in or out. We need to get a serious clean up done.
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Old Aug 22 2021, 12:19 PM   #19
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I do enjoy looking at the car pictures. I always wanted a Jaguar sedan with the CAT hood ornament. I'll never have one BUT several years ago my husband searched online and found a dealer in eclectic items who had an authentic Jaguar hood ornament mounted on a black stone base. He surprised me with it for Christmas and it now has a special place in one of our curio cabinets!
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Old Aug 23 2021, 04:40 PM   #20
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Well, I find stuff very informative even if I don't drive, my staff Matt, found odd, but then he I don't know jif he has read any of Anne books, he was helping getting my bookmarks, and passcodes, and stuff for my computer back, transfering them to my old pc to this one, I am still having problems followin links, and I am waiting for mmore help with this in the training department, which reminds me, I think I am going need him to change tis back to eng. USA for I think I have it set as Eng. UK would be my thought, which, I havent got the hang of moving without a mouse pointer, with this softeweare, I only have a few references to eng. UK terns, mostly comes from movies, and a few audio g discription, for I can't see at all, and quite new it this form of hehelper wwhen I can find it. So if tyyou cold tell us what color that you be great, and I can't tell from the rest of your post what type of car or other thing just not the colrs it would great. Thanks.

PS I know a few folks that arecolar blind,ed or blind and can't see what is posted so well with the screen I have set up. I am using a laptop PC, not a desktop to post now, and even't if I don't get to travel with your posts I get to things from around the world. Thanks and sorry for my long and rambling post, I had to go and get a new headset and mic, for my birthday ones died on me., so I am using this post to see how it soulds while I post.
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Old Aug 23 2021, 08:37 PM   #21
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Out for a run again today, needed to make a run down to Aylesbury and it was a nice day so TPA came out for it.



While I do enjoy driving this car, and the vast majority of the time she copes very well. Was staggered by how nicely she cruises on the motorway for one, on the wrong road she can be quite tiring. Google decided to send me cross country, and I wound up on a relatively fast road with a horrendous surface.

Ride is better than I had ever expected for a 400kg car on 10" wheels, but is quite bouncy. The seat does a good job of isolating the majority of the shock from the driver too. However being a glass fibre body the moment you hit anything whatsoever by way of undulation on the road you get all manner of crashes and rattles from the body. The interior is a LOT better than it used to be, but there's only so much you can do. The doors in particular are always going to be a major source of rattles without totally re-engineering the latches. I may look into doing something along those lines one day given I'm obviously going to keep using this car regularly and can't honestly ever see me selling her.

You can carry more speed through corners than I think people expect, when you know the road and can see a good distance ahead. However when you *don't* know the road and the tendency for there to be hedges or walls right up to the side of the roads around here I did have to pull in a couple of occasions so as to not irritate the cars behind me. While she's quite happy to cruise at 50-60, she does take a bit of time to wind up - just as you would expect from a 500cc powered car from the 70s!

The biggest cause of stress on that trip though was down to dealing with one of those road surface issues which are just inherently quite unnerving in a three wheeler with the single wheel up front - roads with really wobbly undulating camber issues. That does make her wobble around quite a bit...I don't find it unnerving really now as I've got used to it and know she's not about to hurl me off the road, but it does mean keeping a straight line line (especially with how direct the steering is) on roads like that is quite a bit of work. Not quite as bad as the Lada was on similar roads mind you!

Coming home I chose my own route and just headed down the A418/505/5...far less daft a route. Much smoother and better in the visibility department...and I wound up being stuck behind a brand new Range Rover until I got to the A5 so I could overtake it!

Really, really news to clean the windscreen. The amount of bugs splattered on there is unreal just now. Whole car could do with a wash anyway really...think she's only had one so far since being resurrected so far.
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Old Aug 25 2021, 05:08 PM   #22
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Managed to grab half an hour this afternoon to get the air hose reel installed in the garage. It was moderately awkward to do simply because it's heavy. Clearly designed more for a commercial setting than a hobbyist garage - even the bracket just for the hose guide reel is like 1/4" thick. This made lifting it into place hard work and meant I needed to make sure to use some pretty heavy duty fasteners.

Think the location I've chosen should work well as it's entirely within what would otherwise be totally dead space.



Nice and easily accessible though - especially once the quick connect has been fitted to weigh the end of the hose down.



Also positioned such that if it *does* decide to pull the ceiling down, it'll more likely land on the door frame rather than the car. Not actually hooked up yet as I need a reducer for the outlet as it's 3/8" and everything I have here is 1/4" - and nowhere locally I could think of had a 3/8" quick connect fitting, so waiting on one arriving in the post.

There is a package on the way from Germany for the Merc with a pair of reproduction tail lights...if it ever makes it here. They appear to be having serious problems with shipping... it's ended up back at the dispatch depot twice now. Have also just ordered a new set of rear springs and tailgate gas struts. Be nice in particular to get the springs changed to get rid of the horrible gronking noises. Not been a cheap week!
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Old Aug 25 2021, 08:00 PM   #23
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Well thanks for the type of converters, thta you folks use their in the UK and other places that use thqt system I think you know who I mean. I to am waiting for a charge plate for my new wwirerless head set, to replace the new/old one thta didn't last pas my birthday in June, its coming in the mail. also, ships to my home. Fir. I've am quite happy with them so far, haven't tried the mich yet, but I hope to do soon, wait on tech suport folks that understand my needs to help me order what theI need with my stims money., This is my secon pick, and I pplan on cross-posting this to the What is happinging Thread and explaining on what is going on. I just am saying I am too waiting on new things my shbboots. sshoes are in I get them Fri. Hope to get m and my dad's fix Rool eyes if I can for the times we my staff and I have there and not very helpful at that. se
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Old Aug 26 2021, 01:08 PM   #24
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelandeth View Post
Managed to grab half an hour this afternoon to get the air hose reel installed in the garage. It was moderately awkward to do simply because it's heavy. Clearly designed more for a commercial setting than a hobbyist garage - even the bracket just for the hose guide reel is like 1/4" thick. This made lifting it into place hard work and meant I needed to make sure to use some pretty heavy duty fasteners.

Think the location I've chosen should work well as it's entirely within what would otherwise be totally dead space.

Nice and easily accessible though - especially once the quick connect has been fitted to weigh the end of the hose down.

Also positioned such that if it *does* decide to pull the ceiling down, it'll more likely land on the door frame rather than the car. Not actually hooked up yet as I need a reducer for the outlet as it's 3/8" and everything I have here is 1/4" - and nowhere locally I could think of had a 3/8" quick connect fitting, so waiting on one arriving in the post.

There is a package on the way from Germany for the Merc with a pair of reproduction tail lights...if it ever makes it here. They appear to be having serious problems with shipping... it's ended up back at the dispatch depot twice now. Have also just ordered a new set of rear springs and tailgate gas struts. Be nice in particular to get the springs changed to get rid of the horrible gronking noises. Not been a cheap week!
Two things in air hoses that almost every mechanic I've known hate: Those self-coiling spiral hoses and the hose reel. Both for the same reason; lay your tool down and it goes scooting off toward the wall, out of reach. The self-coiling hose is the worst because there's no way short of having something handy to snag your tool on to keep it from contracting the implement out of reach. Not quite as bad is the hose reel. At least it has the ratchet-brake system that's supposed to prevent it from snatching the tool out of reach. But I and a lot of others have been in the middle of using an air tool, only to find I don't have quite enough hose pulled out, give it a pull, and for whatever reason the ratchet doesn't re-engage, either due to not pulling it just right, not pulling it far enough, or mechanical failure due to age, lack of lubrication, or dirt buildup in the mechanism. I'm here to tell you that if you have any of this happen to you often enough, your four-letter expletive vocabulary will expand considerably...

So I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors with the reel system.

I applaud your decision to go with 3/8" QDs. Why on earth would any sane individual want to restrict their 3/8" air hose to 1/4" couplings, right? Venturi principal? I think not. Good on ya, mate!
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Old Aug 26 2021, 06:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Two things in air hoses that almost every mechanic I've known hate: Those self-coiling spiral hoses and the hose reel. Both for the same reason; lay your tool down and it goes scooting off toward the wall, out of reach. The self-coiling hose is the worst because there's no way short of having something handy to snag your tool on to keep it from contracting the implement out of reach. Not quite as bad is the hose reel. At least it has the ratchet-brake system that's supposed to prevent it from snatching the tool out of reach. But I and a lot of others have been in the middle of using an air tool, only to find I don't have quite enough hose pulled out, give it a pull, and for whatever reason the ratchet doesn't re-engage, either due to not pulling it just right, not pulling it far enough, or mechanical failure due to age, lack of lubrication, or dirt buildup in the mechanism. I'm here to tell you that if you have any of this happen to you often enough, your four-letter expletive vocabulary will expand considerably...

So I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors with the reel system.

I applaud your decision to go with 3/8" QDs. Why on earth would any sane individual want to restrict their 3/8" air hose to 1/4" couplings, right? Venturi principal? I think not. Good on ya, mate!
I understand this, from whartching mmy dad work with his tools, when he was using them, before my sight when bad, I also recall after a long of use, the 2gage gave out, that told thepsi don't recall what its in metric but without t that one you can't run your system, my dad's and a kin died about the same time so they truck/lorry-pool to get new ones, My dad has sseveral air power-tools, a power washer we my former boyfriend and I got for him, a painter, which can tips and what you need to paint stain for houses, ppaint, for plains., and paint for cars,, note the Hand painer might say its able to to paint a side of a house, but I rerecall that one we had was not powerfull for that, the pisten had to be replaced I ddon't recall how many trips we made to Green Bay that summer, to getget that part,, but the one dad has now can do the job for it has its own air power, note, I am drawing from theDDo it your own projects that we havedone over the passt thirty years, and ones that I have a small hand in helping.

The best one,, was when dad and with help from us, he build his plane. Note, its a something that took a long time five years, and I helped by checking on the orders, one section at a time,. Note I may have said something about this in adifferent threa but I am tryhing to stay on topic. The part of helping one section at a time was realated to the paint and other sustuff nneeded to make it work.


I do recall that someone I knew a old wheel hub into awater holder, or was for the hosees 'shrug shoulders' I just recalled that as I finished this post, and the places are loss to time, by now.
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Old Aug 26 2021, 09:19 PM   #26
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Two things in air hoses that almost every mechanic I've known hate: Those self-coiling spiral hoses and the hose reel. Both for the same reason; lay your tool down and it goes scooting off toward the wall, out of reach. The self-coiling hose is the worst because there's no way short of having something handy to snag your tool on to keep it from contracting the implement out of reach. Not quite as bad is the hose reel. At least it has the ratchet-brake system that's supposed to prevent it from snatching the tool out of reach. But I and a lot of others have been in the middle of using an air tool, only to find I don't have quite enough hose pulled out, give it a pull, and for whatever reason the ratchet doesn't re-engage, either due to not pulling it just right, not pulling it far enough, or mechanical failure due to age, lack of lubrication, or dirt buildup in the mechanism. I'm here to tell you that if you have any of this happen to you often enough, your four-letter expletive vocabulary will expand considerably...

So I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors with the reel system.

I applaud your decision to go with 3/8" QDs. Why on earth would any sane individual want to restrict their 3/8" air hose to 1/4" couplings, right? Venturi principal? I think not. Good on ya, mate!
It's one of those things which in a garage like this is just a necessary evil. This reel is more commercial than domestic so hopefully should last pretty well in a garage like mine where it will live a pretty easy life.

Fittings are currently mostly 1/4" simply because that's what I have - 95% of the air kit I have was given to me by a friend rather than being bought. Plus absolutely *nowhere* around here stock anything other than 3/8" - though the grand total of what I can walk into a store and buy in terms of air supply hardware is pre-made extension hoses and quick connect fittings (1/4" ones). Anything more advanced than that I have to resort to the internet.

Oh how I wish we had American style car parts and DIY stores here...my eyes just about popped out of my head the first time I wandered around a big Advance Auto Parts when I visited my husband the first time back in 2006.

To be honest the tools which will most be used 90% of the time on this air system are just going to be the tyre inflator/gauge and the air duster. Both of those won't care in the slightest about the slightly more restrictive fittings.

-- -- --

I briefly had the Merc out after dark yesterday and it was very obvious that something was far amiss with the headlight aim.

Didn't take long to find out why today.



As with many things on the Mercedes W123/S123 the headlamp beam height adjustment control is operated by vacuum...and that hose you see there should be attached to the nearside headlight height adjuster. I'm guessing I knocked it off when I pulled the cover off a couple of weeks ago. With it reattached the beam adjusters did their thing and the beam height looks more or less right now.

I did make another discovery of something on this car today which again made me go "hey, that's a really smart idea..." which seems to be something of a running theme.

Normally the bonnet opens this far. Which is better than on a lot of cars. Plus sprung hinges mean there's no faffing about with bonnet props.



I also appreciate that the latch is buried up behind the grill as well so it's near impossible to catch your head on it. The bonnet sits high enough that even the grill hanging down doesn't get in the way.

However if you press this one little catch down on the offside hinge...



The bonnet then swings all the way back to vertical (and equally importantly, latches there).



This takes it completely out of the way and I'm pretty sure would even give you ample room to get in with an engine hoist if you needed to.

It's a feature that on 98% of the cars probably never got used even once after they left the showroom, yet the design and engineering team saw it as helpful enough for maintenance that they included it. On behalf of mechanics and hobbiests the world over, if you were one of the folks on that team, we thank you.

While doing a lighting check I did notice for the first time something that this car *doesn't* have which surprised me though.



Indicator side repeaters. If memory serves it was 1986 that they became mandatory on new cars, so being a 1986 car this must be one of the last not to have them fitted - though it's worth mentioning there that this was the last year this model was made (with the saloon having been discontinued a year earlier in 1985) so they likely never got them.

I had TPA out for a run down Dunstable way today, mainly because I remembered there being a set of roadworks down there which tends to cause quite a queue and the Merc gets warmer than I really like in traffic...so was an obvious choice.

Ever since I changed the dynastart belts they have been quite noisy. Originally I'd just put this down to them needing to bed in...but after a few hundred miles they're still making a din.

Looking closer I think I can see why. The inboard one isn't sitting properly.



Same story on the lower pulley.



My theory is that it's a bit too tight so is getting pulled down too far into the valley on the pulley. Now I've spotted that should be quick enough to resolve. Hopefully once I've shuffled shims around a bit the belts will quiet down a bit.


In other news the 3/8" to 1/4" adaptors turned up so I could finish the air line installation work.



Doesn't really look much different to the last picture, but this is actually now all hooked up and working properly.



We did initially have one small leak at this join. This is why I use leak detector spray as I'd never have found it otherwise.



I had just been a bit too stingy with the PTFE tape it seemed as on take two it sealed perfectly without any issues. I've left the system charged and will see if we've lost all the air by morning. I need to do a test to see how far I can reach with this and my existing extension (the yellow hose you've seen previously). I'm hoping that I will be able to get to the whole driveway and can just ditch the annoying plastic coily one which seems to exist for the sole purpose of getting itself tangled around everything and smacking me in the face when it comes free.

Only task left on the air system until I call it good will be wiring in the power switch.



The socket this is connected to is basically inaccessible (it's behind the tank) so is a pain to get to, but I obviously wanted a way to shut it off. I went for an industrial style switch as it was cheaper than an equivalent IP rated double pole rocker switch, which I wanted because I've had issues with dust and grime getting into none IP rated switches before. Plus I can just wipe this down if I get it covered in oily gunk, which will no doubt happen at some point.

Once that's wired up I'm calling it done for now. Few little bits and pieces to do to optimise things (like replacing that flexible line from the receiver to the regulator with rigid line) but it will be absolutely usable then.
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Old Aug 26 2021, 10:02 PM   #27
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

What is it again you call the Merc, an estate? Here that body style has long been called a station wagon... and either way, it's my kind of car. Unfortunately, the last American wagons were made back around 2008, with one exception, Cadillac. My '04 Taurus is beginning to show its age with almost 245,000 miles on it. It has the DOHC 24 valve 3.0 V6 in it, which I consider to arguably be
the best motor Ford ever made.
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Old Aug 27 2021, 09:00 AM   #28
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Isn't an estate bigger than a station wagon? Or is it only that one is European and the other American? Anything other than a Volvo estate would've either flipped or finished up in the river when my son was trying to avoid an entire Police chase heading directly for us on our side of the road and someone minding his own business on the correct side of the road. There just isn't enough room for that sort of activity on a two lane road crammed between a railway embankment and a deep, fast-flowing river.
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Old Aug 27 2021, 12:43 PM   #29
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Isn't an estate bigger than a station wagon? Or is it only that one is European and the other American? Anything other than a Volvo estate would've either flipped or finished up in the river when my son was trying to avoid an entire Police chase heading directly for us on our side of the road and someone minding his own business on the correct side of the road. There just isn't enough room for that sort of activity on a two lane road crammed between a railway embankment and a deep, fast-flowing river.
Near I can tell, it's 2 different terms for the same vehicle body style. You have to remember that in the days of wagons here in the US, they came in several different models from manufacturers. For instance, I owned a 1973 Chrysler Town & Country wagon that was so huge I named it Battlecar Galactica. At the same time, Chrysler Corp. made compact cars in Plymouth and Dodge that were also available as wagons, like the Dodge Dart.

Today, I'm pretty sure Mercedes offers different sizes depending on which model or "class" of Mercedes you want. I'm not familiar with other manufacturers.

But estate or wagon, they both handle differently than standard passenger cars. They're "butt-heavy" because the extra glass from the rear doors back is so heavy. Until you experience the weight of a big piece of auto glass, it's hard to believe, but the weight difference can easily be well over 100 lbs. and that's all hanging behind the rear wheels, which will make things feel different in response. Look up a wagon or estate model's curb weight, then the same model in a passenger car and note the difference. Again, almost all of that weight difference will be behind the rear wheels, so a sudden change in direction at speed will cause a rear end sway in a wagon not felt in the regular car. (My big Chrysler weighed in at about 4,000 lbs.)
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Old Aug 27 2021, 04:43 PM   #30
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Sounds like you have your system ready to go, I recall listen/watching a show on PBS that was from the UK about restoring old cars and equipment, aand that was a lot of looking in folks sheds, and other storagesareas, I don't know what you folks have a different name for thqat kinda stuff or not, I only have heard a very fewe ternmostly in movies that have audio discription, and James Bond movie DK book, that I gave to my dad and my former boyfriend about Bond, We are fans of James Bond, And I do have a few others that that the image discription is English UK but I didn't known that till I listen to a car discdiscription, or a TV Show for that matter, Or listening to other shows from BBC or Masterpiece theater FROM ppbs WHICH i DON'T WATCH THAT MUCH,, OUTSIDE OF A FEW TIMES, oR IN A BOOK. i THAT TAKE PLACES OUTSIDE OF THE USA .
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Old Aug 28 2021, 02:47 AM   #31
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Near I can tell, it's 2 different terms for the same vehicle body style. You have to remember that in the days of wagons here in the US, they came in several different models from manufacturers. For instance, I owned a 1973 Chrysler Town & Country wagon that was so huge I named it Battlecar Galactica. At the same time, Chrysler Corp. made compact cars in Plymouth and Dodge that were also available as wagons, like the Dodge Dart.

Today, I'm pretty sure Mercedes offers different sizes depending on which model or "class" of Mercedes you want. I'm not familiar with other manufacturers.

But estate or wagon, they both handle differently than standard passenger cars. They're "butt-heavy" because the extra glass from the rear doors back is so heavy. Until you experience the weight of a big piece of auto glass, it's hard to believe, but the weight difference can easily be well over 100 lbs. and that's all hanging behind the rear wheels, which will make things feel different in response. Look up a wagon or estate model's curb weight, then the same model in a passenger car and note the difference. Again, almost all of that weight difference will be behind the rear wheels, so a sudden change in direction at speed will cause a rear end sway in a wagon not felt in the regular car. (My big Chrysler weighed in at about 4,000 lbs.)

Yup. Not to mention if you load the back with a lot of stuff. That's why estates usually have a higher recommended PSI and sometimes stiffer suspension for the rear wheels than the comparable sedan/hatchback. Of course, sedans have pretty much dropped out of sight for non-premium marques. They've been replaced by SUVs, even in Europe.
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Old Aug 28 2021, 07:38 AM   #32
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As far as I'm aware Station wagon and estate are simply different localisations of terminology for the same body type. Albeit one that's virtually extinct due to the explosion of popularity of SUVs in recent years. Which I still fail to understand as almost every modern SUV I've been in seems to offer the worst of all worlds. Chris' current company car is an Audi Q5 and I've never seen such a huge car which manages to provide so little interior space. The Xantia eclipsed it in terms of luggage space and that was a far smaller conventional hatchback.

Having had both body types of Lada Riva the additional strength required in the rear suspension to handle the extra load capacity was definitely felt. It had a far firmer ride than the saloon.

Mercedes have gotten around that with this model however by the use of a hybrid spring and oliopneumatic setup with a self leveling feature. In the place of conventional shock absorbers hydraulic rams are fitted, coupled to remote suspension spheres just like Citroen used. This setup carries about 60% of the weight of the car with the remainder carried by the springs. The result being a car which doesn't sag at the back when heavily laden and which also avoids paying a penalty in ride comfort for that load carrying capacity. One of the reasons they were very popular tow cars for caravans over here back in their day.

-- -- --

Only one small job done yesterday. Due to a missing trim clip the trim panel in front of the centre cubby hole sat a good 1/4" proud of the surrounding trim and looked obviously wrong.



The way this whole panel is secured is that it slots into place under the ashtray then slides forward to locate. So replacing the missing clip wasn't something requiring *too* much precision. Cue careful use of a woodscrew...being careful to not break the surface. There was already a void here from where the original clip was secured so I've just used that space really rather than screwing further into quite a thin bit of wood.



Sophisticated it isn't, but it works.



The whole panel used to wobble around and rattle before, none of that now. If I find what type of clip was originally used there I will see about replacing it properly.one day, but it's pretty low on the priority list.

I really do like how with this interior that they seemed to have figured out exactly how much and where to use the polished wood trim to make it feel properly special, but not be too over the top and brash. Especially with a contrasting interior colour like blue or green.
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Old Aug 30 2021, 09:45 AM   #33
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Well, according to the great Doctor Google - a vehicle with the same silhouette is still made, it's a "Volvo Estate Wagon," which is bigger than their regular station wagon and also comes in plug-in hybrid and SUV versions. So the answer to my original question is that it's simply a different model of the same make of car.
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Old Aug 30 2021, 03:42 PM   #34
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Well, according to the great Doctor Google - a vehicle with the same silhouette is still made, it's a "Volvo Estate Wagon," which is bigger than their regular station wagon and also comes in plug-in hybrid and SUV versions. So the answer to my original question is that it's simply a different model of the same make of car.
They're out there, we've all been really impressed with every Volvo we've been in (and as a lifelong Saab fan I really feel I should try owning a classic one one day to sample the most obvious competitor). Virtually all the ones you actually see over here now though are the SUVs.

-- -- --

Yet another headache trying to turn into a migraine yesterday meant I only had about half an hour before it became apparent that I wasn't just going to be powering through it and getting on with things.

Did get one tiny job done though. While I had managed to get the trim on the tailgate to sit flat again there was still a gap at the ends and a sharp edge there as the rubber capping had long since been ripped off. As this was moulded as part of the rubber strip itself it's not something you can just replace as a spare.



Not being willing to part with a few hundred quid for a replacement trim strip, I instead made a replacement "end cap" from some epoxy putty. Not perfect but it'll be less conspicuous once I slap a bit of black paint on it. Had remembered this being a darker grey than this, but those are just the breaks sometimes.



It means there's not a sharp edge there (on either side actually as they both had the same problem) so I'm not worried about me or some random member of the public snagging on it.

-- -- --

When checking it today I noted that the oil on the dipstick was looking distinctly dark again so it was time for it to be dropped and changed again.

Not black, but definitely dirty. This has been in the engine for about 700 miles.



You can see how much grime the filter has been collecting between the pleats in the element. So this would have lost quite a chunk of flow capacity already.



Somewhat worryingly there are a few ~1mm sized bits of metal flake in there. Optimistically they're from the camshaft as we know that's been subjected to abnormal wear due to oil starvation. It's entirely likely though they're from bearing surfaces deeper in the engine. Short of dropping the sump and pulling a couple of the bearing caps off the crankshaft for examination it's impossible to say. It's worth keeping in mind that the previous oil filter that I removed the first time I changed the oil on getting the car had failed so most of the oil was probably bypassing it.

I am going to have a look at how hard it is to drop the sump anyway as given the state of the top end I'm expecting the sump to be just as bad - and I'd really rather not have all that slime ending up blocking the oil pickup screen (as has killed innumerable 90s and early 00s Saab engines).

We've got acceptable oil pressure at idle, not great but acceptable, so I'm not immediately worried it's about to explode, but definitely something I need to keep an eye on. I'll be keeping on the "change the oil once it starts to get dark" routine for the foreseeable future. A bit of a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, but there's only so much I can really do at this stage - if damage has happened it's already happened.

It's worth noting that thanks to sensible design by Mercedes that I was able to complete this oil change without spilling a single drop.

Also on investigation of the jammed passenger side heater temperature control found I need to order up a new bracket for the heater controls.



Which I think is why this whole console is wobbly. That plastic frame is meant to be riveted to the front of the heater box, and the temperature controls are then bolted it it, and that locks everything together. With that broken (it's worse than it looks, I counted eight pieces) nothing is really secured properly. I'll aim to replace the cable for the passenger side temperature control while I'm at it...the valve moves freely but the cable is completely seized up.

Given the number of posts on various forums I found when searching for the part I'm guessing that bracket failing is a common issue. Get a horrible feeling that replacing it is going to be a pig of a job though as I reckon the whole console will need to come out to gain access.
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Old Aug 31 2021, 08:19 PM   #35
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Can you spot the difference?



Well the obvious one is the stainless screws now holding the door handle on (rather than the rusty flat head screws that used to be there). What you can't tell is that this is actually the handle which used to be on the other door.

Something that I hadn't (for obvious reasons!) mentioned anywhere public was that one issue I had yet to deal with on TPA was that the nearside door lock was seized. The offside one worked fine...but I very seldom use that door as it's an absolute pain to close and likes to stick on the runners. Sorting it out is on the to do list, but I've not got there yet.

I had come up with a bodge with allowed me to make it appear locked - but with a solid pull on the handle you could still open it. There was no way to actually lock it properly though.

Today I finally got around to drilling out the screws holding the handles on so I could transfer the good one to the door I use. Then I set about seeing if I could get the seized lock apart and sort it. The answer was "sort of." It's still very sticky but does actually move now. Realistically it wants replacing though. For now though I've got it into a locked state...which given I don't use the offside door having it locked is just fine. You can still open it from inside - for example if I needed to exit that way in an emergency. The nearside door now locks and unlocks properly.

Something I'd been meaning to do for ages so nice to have it ticked off. I mean security is very much relative with these cars...but it's better than nothing! Definitely slightly less worrying leaving the car parked up anywhere public.

Especially in places like busy multi storey car parks for example.



Ease of parking is definitely a plus with driving the Invacar. I remember those spaces being far tighter last time I was in this car park.

I also wasted about half an hour...they have the stairwells in that car park set up as one way...one to go down, one to go up. I found the "down" one just fine. When I came to return to the car...could I for the life of me find the other one? Not a chance. Eventually I gave in and walked up the vehicle only route. Still haven't the foggiest where the entrance to the other one is!

Had a box arrive today I've been waiting a couple of weeks for - the replacement tail lights for the Merc. Took forever to arrive as there were issues with the shipping - with the goods having been returned to the sender twice - I assume due to issues with export paperwork.



Before and after for the offside.





Fit is...average at best. But given they were about 10% of the cost of most of the used genuine ones I've found I'd say it's reasonable. I doubt you'd notice unless you were looking for it.

The original here has pretty well had it.



Sadly the replacement nearside one fared less well during transit.



Seller immediately agreed to send a replacement, so hopefully that will be here soon. Be nice to get these sorted out. Small detail really, but a very visibly obvious one.
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Old Sep 1 2021, 09:37 AM   #36
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Looks like the off-side one suffered a close encounter.
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Old Sep 6 2021, 10:29 PM   #37
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Not been anything going on since the start of last week as entirely predictably my second COVID vaccine dose pretty much clobbered me. I'm just about feeling like a vaguely functional human being again now. I had expected this to be honest, everyone has said the second one of Moderna is the roughest and I always have a rough time with vaccines.

It was actually quite pleasant outside over the weekend but I just wasn't well enough to do anything, I did try once and made it precisely as far as opening the garage door, picking up the socket set and then realising I was totally winded already...then today this nonsense has reappeared.



About 23 is the upper limit I can tolerate while still being anything resembling productive.

So instead I went out for a drive and to pick up a few things. Was originally going to take the van as it's by far the most comfortable on a warm day (and doesn't care itself about the heat as the cooling system has what seems like about 300% of spare capacity). However it needs fuel...and I really want to drop the fuel tank before I fill it again to try to finally sort the vent pipe so I can fill the tank in less than half an hour.

So there was an obvious choice. Especially being late enough in the day that I was half expecting to get caught in some traffic.



Upon my arrival home one of the jobs on my "I need to get around to this one day" list decided to push itself to the front.



The rearmost of the window latches on the offside window finally exploded (quite impressively!) in a hail shower of brittle black plastic. All four are pretty much knackered so it's just time to get a new set ordered. They're readily (if annoyingly expensively) available as they're the same ones as used on early Minis.

They've all been missing huge chunks and badly cracked since I first got hold of KPL back in January 2018 so kind of surprised they've held together this long.
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Old Sep 7 2021, 12:36 AM   #38
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And they don't like the heat any more than you do?
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Old Sep 7 2021, 10:54 PM   #39
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And they don't like the heat any more than you do?
Apparently not!

-- -- --

Having a little bit of a moment of concern over the long term prospects for the engine in the S123. I'm pretty certain that the hot oil pressure at idle has dropped somewhat since it was changed a week or so back. I'm sure we were seeing just under 1.5 bar at the point the cooling fan was cycling. Now looking at this.



It was hotter than Hell out there today and I think the idle may be fractionally lower than when I last checked (I think the IAC valve would probably benefit from a clean), but it definitely seems to be lower.

This isn't entirely unexpected to be honest... let's not forget that this is what several lobes of the camshaft look like.



I was pretty much braced for there most likely to be deeper issues... especially as the oil filter element was so clogged when I went to change it the first time that it had collapsed.

The most likely candidates I can think of off the top of my head are:

[] Clogged oil pickup strainer.

[] Gunk in the oil pump pressure relief valve so it doesn't seat properly.

[] Big end bearings and/or journals in the same state as the camshaft.

[] Oil pump rotors or casing ground away to nothing...like the camshaft.

[] Or it's just a bit of a worn out old engine and wants some thicker oil thrown in.

Which is definitely the first thing we'll be doing after I've had a peek at the oil filter element to make sure it hasn't been clogged up by some gunk having come loose from somewhere.

If it turns out we do have decaying oil pressure which isn't just needing a new filter and a grade change we obviously need to do something about it. The big question is rebuild or replace?

I would definitely be leaning towards wholesale replacement with another engine. I'd be expecting the crankshaft to be scrap based on what I've seen so far...and I'd probably basically end up replacing everything aside from the block itself...even then I'd never be completely sure that I'd got all the gunk out!

If I could find a complete unit with a gearbox that would be even better as I know this one isn't 100% healthy - third gear is engaged with a sledgehammer when cold and first gear only appears for about half a second when pulling away with your foot on the floor...oh, and the fluid smells like burnt toast which is never a good sign.

Given that it's usually rust which kills these cars I'm hoping that tracking down a good power unit wouldn't be too massive a headache. On that note, if you know anyone with an M102.980 engine sitting under a tarp in the corner of a garage, let me know.

At least it looks like doing an engine swap on this car doesn't look like it should be too difficult. Definitely worth doing if it comes to it though I think.

Hopefully we won't need it...but I'd rather be prepared for it if we do. This is why I keep an eye on my instruments, so things like this don't sneak up on you. The actual numbers on the gauges aren't so important... it's keeping an eye out for them doing something different to what they normally do that's important and is a pointer towards something needing attention.

Sorry, that turned into a bit of a ramble.

Kind of surprising really in that having owned probably fifty odd cars over the years - with 80% of those being sub £500 examples - I've never actually had a major mechanical failure. Most in-depth surgery I've ever had to do was a head gasket swap on my last Skoda. Even if I do wind up needing to do major work this time that's still not a bad batting average really. A good advert for preventative maintenance too!
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Old Sep 8 2021, 07:43 PM   #40
Zelandeth
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Well I've got news and it ain't good.

Figured dropping the oil and putting some heavier weight in there wasn't the worst idea.

The drain pan tells us what we need to know I think. It was cleaned before use. The oil has been in there for about a week and a hundred or so miles.





All those specs in there? They're all shiny. Which means they're all bits of metal which *should* be attached to the innards of my engine...most likely either the cam or crankshaft.

With 20W50 in there rather than 10W30, we've gained maybe 5-7psi of oil pressure when hot. A bit but nothing dramatic.



She's obviously hurting pretty bad.

The biggest question at this point really is where has that metal come from?

We know the camshaft is knackered...well the lobes are, no way to see what state the bearings are in without pulling things to bits. Need to have a closer look at my spare head to see how much work it might be to pop the caps off to take a look.

Does anyone know off the top of their head if you can drop the sump off this engine in situ easily enough, or is it a pain of a process because something is in the way? Because if we could pull a bearing cap or two off the bottom end that could tell us a lot.

Obviously the engine has issues, but if it's "just" the camshaft that's chewing itself up, changing the whole thing might be slight overkill. Hmm...further investigation needed.

I have started asking around to see if anyone knows of a spare engine about anywhere though.
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