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Old Nov 16 2021, 06:47 PM   #121
Zelandeth
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Right...time to quit putting it off, the alternator needs sorting on the Jag.

By the standards of this car it's not actually too bad to get to.



Of course being a Jaguar there's a pipe (can't remember if it's power steering or an oil cooler line) which is positioned precisely so as while it's not an actual problem, is really *annoying* when you're trying to get to the back of the alternator.



Said oil lines will also make getting the alternator out a royal pain if it needs to come out as I don't think it will fit between the oil lines and the engine mount...so let's hope it doesn't need to come out.

Based on the symptoms I've had my hunch is that we've got sticky/worn out brushes and/or a failing regulator. The alternator on this car has always been a bit on the weak side (even keeping in mind the Lucas A115 is only rated at 55A, which isn't a lot for a car like this) even before it started randomly stopping charging.

Before I even got the tools into the engine bay the first step was of course to disconnect the battery. It's smart for pretty much anything in the engine bay really, but faffing around on the charging system with it connected would seriously be flirting with disaster.



Not all that many connections to the alternator, but took several photos of what goes where for future reference.



At this point I had to go rummaging in the toolbox...those tiny little hex head screws I think are a BA size...these saved my day.



Apparently these were originally used for servicing magnetos many years ago - which gives an idea how old they are.

Back cover off meant I could get a better look, albeit via the camera as my view was of course obstructed by the aforementioned oil lines.



I ended up removing the brushes complete with the regulator (rectangular silver box above centre frame). Had to cut one wire as I couldn't for love nor money get this bolt to come out. That black wire is attached to a ring terminal. If I can't get it out I'll just solder and heat shrink the new reg lead on to it, not the end of the world. Now I actually know for certain there is a bolt holding the ring terminal down that's half the battle, I was trying to work this out by Braille at the time.



There we go. One set of brushes and regulator.



Compared to photos of new brush sets for the Lucas A115 alternator the brushes don't look *massively* worn, but there's a good 5mm difference between the two which can't be good I reckon.



Equally suspiciously there are signs in the potting compound that at least some of the magic smoke has escaped. It may just be due to moisture ingress and old age...but generally the potting compound failing on things like this isn't ever a good sign.



A new regulator isn't expensive and it would be silly not to replace it given the situation. Especially as the alternator has been obviously weak as long as I've had the car.

Guess we'll see when it goes back together again! *If* I can figure out how to reassemble it!

Hopefully this will get the charging system going again, then she should hopefully be more or less ready to move on to her new owner.
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Old Nov 16 2021, 07:56 PM   #122
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

I'm sure I've seen pictures of your Jaguar but I can't remember. Does it have the lovely "cat" on the hood? I always wanted a Jaguar, partly for that. I knew I'd never have one but 2 years ago for Christmas my husband found a perfect condition hood ornament mounted on a black rectangle of polished stone and surprised me with it. One of my favorite gifts, it sits in the glass cabinet I walk by all day. This Jaguar requires no expensive maintenance and makes me very happy!
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Old Nov 17 2021, 07:34 PM   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Priscilla View Post
I'm sure I've seen pictures of your Jaguar but I can't remember. Does it have the lovely "cat" on the hood? I always wanted a Jaguar, partly for that. I knew I'd never have one but 2 years ago for Christmas my husband found a perfect condition hood ornament mounted on a black rectangle of polished stone and surprised me with it. One of my favorite gifts, it sits in the glass cabinet I walk by all day. This Jaguar requires no expensive maintenance and makes me very happy!
I don't think the XJ-S ever did, the styling was very deliberately clean and modern compared to the more traditional models. Friend of mine had several XJ6s, one of which did though.





That was a nice day out, we just on a whim decided to take both of the Jags he had at the time out to the coast for a photoshoot. He had just bought the turquoise one at that point. I nearly bought the dark green one off him half a dozen times...and still really regret not taking a brave pill and just doing it! Was a lovely car.





-- -- --

This afternoon's job. Sorting this.



More specifically, sorting the illumination in that switchgear. None of it was working north of the heater controls.

The fact that they were all out seemed quite odd to me, was really hoping I didn't have a wiring issue to contend with.

Reason I hadn't done anything with this before was that I couldn't figure out how to get the panel out. A bit of experimentation revealed that you had to remove the switches before the panel would come out. Otherwise it wouldn't clear the dash above it.

Upon removal of the first switch the penny immediately dropped as to why the lighting in all these switches was out.



You figured out what these are yet?



Yep, fibre optic bundles. All of these switches are illuminated from a single lamp via fibre optics...clever in that it saves a heap of wiring...but does mean you lose the lot when the lamp fails.

Thankfully the illuminator unit is just about accessible through this panel behind the left hand temperature control. New lamp in there and we had light from the fibres. Sadly I couldn't get a photo of it as everything in there is black and I was working in the dark.



Those maroon and yellow plastic pipes to the left are vacuum lines for the headlamp level adjustment control. Only car I've come across so far where that system is vacuum operated...and I thought the hydraulic setup Lada used was odd.

What followed then was about an hour of trying to cram the heater controls back into the right place. The mounting bracket for them is smashed into about fifteen pieces so nothing lines up making getting things together like herding cats. While blindfolded. I really need to sort the bracket for the heater controls, but before I can do that I need to figure how the heck to get the centre console out, and it's not self explanatory. It's clearly not properly bolted in as the whole thing wobbles too. One for a future date.

Success on the sorting of the illumination though.



Far nicer to have all the dash lighting working properly.



Not blindingly bright like in modern cars, but it doesn't need to be. The dash lighting in this car is precisely as bright as it needs to be and no more. The camera makes the instrument panel in particular look brighter.

This is one of those jobs which definitely had the potential to turn into quite a headache if it hadn't been the simple problem...for once it was though. Guess that's my luck for the week used up!

For those of you counting the mileage showing is now 163,241. 548 miles since the head was swapped. The oil pressure did drop a little over the first couple of days but it seems to have stayed pretty stable since then. Something which is really obvious is how much cleaner the oil on the dipstick has stayed...it would have been the colour of Guinness by now prior to the head swap...So hopefully a good amount of the gunk went with the old head.
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Old Nov 17 2021, 07:40 PM   #124
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MY Jaguar looks just like that, except mounted on a rectangle of polished black stone. They are lovely looking cars. I've never actually sat in one.
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Old Nov 18 2021, 01:10 PM   #125
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

New brushes and voltage regulator for the Jag's alternator arrived today.



Comparison of the new and old brushes shows there definitely was a fair bit of wear to them.





Now getting this thing back together is definitely up there on the "Jobs I never want to even entertain the idea of ever doing again" list. What an absolute faff. Trying to get the brushes, the springs, the insulation pad and the screws all back in place - especially bearing in mind that the forward brush retaining screw *also* secures the regulator (which wouldn't just sit in place) was a massive headache. It would have been fiddly and annoying and tried my patience on the bench, but trying to do it with the alternator in situ was a massive pain.



Eventually though we got there.

There's one missing securing screw for the plastic cover because I dropped it. I'll have a dig around tomorrow with the car moved and see if I can find it. If not I'll just have to find another one that's roughly the right size. It's a self tapper into plastic and is just holding an already retained cover in place so being missing for 24 hours isn't going to be the end of the world.

Have to admit I was slightly nervous when I hooked the battery up given how much of this job I did blind. However after a couple of minutes nothing was on fire or trying to be on fire...so I upgraded to turning the ignition on.



Ignition light works...that's a good sign as it means we must have continuity through the brushes.

After starting up we initially had a bit of erratic behaviour but this wasn't entirely unexpected as the brushes will obviously need to bed in against the commutator. After a 20-30 minute run round in circles though things looked healthy enough. So I was brave enough to go get some fuel...which at the current prices stings a bit in this car.



That's from around 1/4 a tank. Nowhere close to warning light territory. Ouch. That's probably good for around 200 miles on a good day!

After that trip we were showing this on the gauge, at idle with the headlights on.



Which actually equates to...



...because the gauge reads a little low. Previously this would definitely have dropped off charge under these circumstances, requiring the revs to be held up over 3000rpm for a couple of tens of seconds for the charging system to wake up again.

It still struggles at idle with the headlights on, rear screen heater and heater blower on high...but given it's only a 55A alternator I think that's not necessarily a concern, as soon as the revs are brought up to 1200rpm or so it comes up to an acceptable range. Not sure what the rated running current is, but I'm pretty sure that *each* blower motor is fused at 30A. So assuming around 20A flat out, there's a fair old chunk of the rated output on the heater blower alone!

I need to make a few errand runs tomorrow so will take the Jag for that and keep an eye on the performance of the charging system. Fingers crossed this stays fixed as I REALLY don't want to have to mess with the alternator again!

I'm not declaring this "fixed" quite yet as the full fault condition was intermittent...but overall charging behaviour seems markedly improved so keeping fingers crossed.
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Old Nov 20 2021, 08:09 PM   #126
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Been using the Jag quite a bit over the last couple of days and touch wood, the charging system has been behaving just fine. Sitting bang on 13V on the gauge (bearing in mind it reads a bit low, that's where I expect it to be) aside from drooping a bit at idle if I've got heavy loads on. Not to an excessive extent though, so I'm happy enough so far. The cruise control had decided to go on strike, but today has rejoined the party. Guessing the car has just been a bit cranky because I've not used it much lately because the charging system has been unreliable.

I did one silly little thing this afternoon I'd meant to for a while now. It's no secret that the V12 XJ-S was rather a rapid car in its day, and still feels plenty nippy today. However I'd never actually looked at how quick...so I timed a couple of 0-60 runs there's a layby which means if the traffic is quiet it's perfectly safe to just boot it from a standing start to 60. It's actually pretty rare I do that...as it's simply not necessary and I usually find my acceleration limited by the other traffic anyway.

Well unless it's wet as in that case you treat it with complete suspicion at all times...I tried to pull out of a junction briskly on a damp road once and abruptly discovered that this was a really bad idea. Far too much torque, a limited slip diff and 1700kg worth of Jaguar deciding to go sideways is a handful.

What I was not expecting was the result that came back from today's test was to be 5.6 seconds. That's plenty respectable in 2021...in the mid 80s that must have been stupid fast. That's also after 83K miles and without any performance upgrades, and actually due a service.

Not the sort of thing that usually interests me, but I'd really be curious to chuck it down the strip at Santa Pod just to see what numbers came back. Based on today's test I reckon it would be far more respectable than you'd expect for a heavy luxury car from 35 years ago.

I am going to miss this car when I pass it on. She's just so comfortable. The speed isn't so much notable as the effortless way she builds it, whether you're trundling around town at 30 or joining the motorway... getting to 70 briskly just requires the lightest squeeze of throttle. Oh, and the noise. Everyone should drive or at least be a passenger in a V12 powered car at least once. They really are quite special.

It's something I've never done before, but the keys will be getting handed over this time with a clear understanding that if he ever decides to sell the car in the future that I get first refusal to buy it back. Hopefully in a year or two we'll move to somewhere with more space and a bigger garage. If I had a garage to keep it in I know I'd not even consider selling... it's seeing the bodywork visibly degrading with living outside that has really made my mind up that she needs to go to a better home. Oh, and the fact that the guy I'm selling it to I've been messing about cars with since I was 12 (35 now), and I know he never expected a chance to try out an XJ-S any more than I did. Plus he's entirely responsible for my having a Jag soft spot. I still really regret not buying the dark green XJ6 in the photos above.

So while I will be closing the book on this car for a while soon we may well see it again in a year or two. Plus I'll probably relay any significant updates on it anyway that I hear about.
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Old Nov 21 2021, 03:23 PM   #127
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Made a point of unearthing TPA in the garage today and clearing up enough of the mess that I can actually walk through the garage again. She got somewhat buried when I was clearing out the van prior to a weekend away a couple of weeks ago.

Last time I didn't drive her for a couple of weeks she played up a bit, refusing to idle properly and generally behaving as though there was crud in the carb idle circuit. This sorted itself after about an hour of driving. Sure enough when started up today she behaved exactly the same. Engine would rev just fine, but fall on its face as soon as the revs dropped to idle.

This was the point at which I spotted a very likely cause of issues - that the carb was visibly wobbling independently of the engine. Both mounting nuts were barely finger tight.

With them nipped up (which is fluffing fiddly because of poor access), she started and idled absolutely perfectly. So I'd obviously had a huge vacuum leak from the carb base. I'll stick a couple of shakeproof washers under the retaining nuts next time I get a chance.

Goodness only knows how long that's been causing a leak to some degree... curious to see if there's any noticeable change to how the car runs in general now. Hopefully get her out for a drive in the next couple of days so we can find out.

Aside from anything else, it's been a few weeks and I've missed driving the little rattle box.
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Old Nov 22 2021, 09:00 PM   #128
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Having unearthed TPA yesterday it was time to take her out for a run today. This was intended to be a quick half hour run, but we ended up being out all afternoon, getting home well after dark.

After a bit of a race against the sunset I did manage to get to my usual photo spot as the sun was setting.









So has the carb being loose been an issue for a while? Yes I think it has actually. While outright straight line power is much as it always has been the engine feels much more responsive now than I can remember. Especially that point between where the clutch has just fully engaged and you get to 30 or so.

Need to see about sorting the window catches and replacing the missing weather stripping between the sliding sections as it was a bit chilly at a couple of points today!

Also really should have a look at the voltage regulator and see if I can bring the cut in point down a bit. It only really comes properly on charge on the open road, which is far more of an issue when you've got the headlights on. I may well try to pick up a second one as I've heard from a few people that setting these regulators up is a bit of a dark art...and I don't want to break it!
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Old Nov 28 2021, 07:32 PM   #129
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Tomorrow is MOT day for the Jag. I noticed three things on a quick check over a couple of days ago that would need attention.

[] Windscreen washers were on strike. I could hear the motor running and smell screenwash, but nothing was coming out the jets.

[] Nearside headlight appeared to be pointing at the ground about two feet in front of the car.

[] One of the rear fog lights was out - though came back to life when I thumped it.

Sorting the windscreen washers was by far the most work, but we got there in the end.



All it was was some gunge in the lines - most likely mainly because the car has been used so little over the last year. However sorting it proper required me to blow all the lines through with compressed air. However getting to them requires the whole wiper assembly to be lifted out of the scuttle as there is no other access to it.



Getting that out is simple enough but a right faff. You have to lift/slide/pull/swear at it just right, at which point it will just lift right out...when you don't seem to have done anything different to the last 23 attempts you tried and failed to get it to budge.

Of course I then dropped one of the rubber washers it sits on down the back of the engine, so we'll never see that again.

Sorting the headlight aim really wasn't a problem, the adjuster had just managed to completely unscrew itself. Just took a few minutes to reassemble it and do a rough adjustment based on the beam on the fence across the road. If it needs a bit of a tweak at the testing station in the morning it's no big deal.

Fog lights were exactly as I expected, just dirty lamp holder contacts. Took the lamps out, cleaned everything up with a carbide sponge, greased it up to keep the damp off and reassembled them. Now they both seem to work reliably again.



I've done a quick sanity check and made sure nothing is obviously hanging off, but beyond that it's in the hands of the tester in the morning. Cross as many fingers for me as you can!
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Old Nov 29 2021, 10:09 PM   #130
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Good Luck! Zen Hugs, from your mate, from the USA Virginia AKK GinnyStar

Who may be a non driver, but is enjoying the information you are providing mate. Crossing both fingers here, that its comes out wwith flying colors., Able to feel the road under its tires once mor, for all the hardwork you have put into it, and shared with us, from all over the world, and willing to answer a few questions along the way, from us.
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Old Dec 3 2021, 12:56 PM   #131
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Not sure how we missed an update here...so here's the last two bundled together.

-- -- --

November 29th 2021:

Well...the day could have started better.

I generally try to keep the Jag clear of wet roads and especially salty ones... it's not much fun on a cold day either as the heater control logic is hopelessly senile so it's a lottery as to whether you get heat or not. It's also *quite* squirrelly in the wet. Not ideal conditions then...



The Jag agreed with me.

Turning the key produced naught but a click, starter didn't even try. Battery flat again. Fair enough, it's been weak for a while (demise probably hastened by having gone flat a couple of times during lockdown and when the alternator was failing).

Out with the jump leads, will jump it from the Merc. Well I would if I could get in to it... however the driver's door lock was frozen and the passenger one doesn't work. Cue me clambering in through the boot. Which doesn't stay open so slammed shut on me when the stick I prop it open with fell out.

After far too much messing around which probably looked like something from a Laurel & Hardy sketch at several points we got the leads hooked up.



Didn't never hesitate then, spinning over much faster than any time in the last year at least, pretty much confirming my guess that the battery is past it's best.

This is also a good example of why I don't bother messing around with horrible skinny jump leads. If these hooked up to a decent battery won't start it, it won't start.



The heater decided to play ball today so at least I was able to demist and defrost the windows normally.

An hour later the results were in.



Given I'd barely even looked at the car prior to the test I'll take that result.

That could have been a lot of stress if I'd just given myself 15 minutes to get there (test station is less than a ten minute drive away), but because I gave myself half an hour and always do for anything time sensitive, was no bother to sort things out with time to spare.

Will make a run over to Costco later in the week and pick up a new battery. Just ran out of time today.

Collection has now been arranged for the 10th/11th of December, so will be all change here around then!

-- -- --

December 3rd 2021:

Been having a bit of a ponder about the fleet as a whole today and also looking at commitments coming up both temporal and fiscal.

I am still unconvinced that the engine in the S123 has great long term health prospects. I'm far from convinced that the rattle at higher revs isn't getting slowly worse.

I'm not doing an engine swap. I don't have the space and am missing several bits of equipment, and would have to strip down the existing unit to transfer ancillary components and do a bunch of preventative service work in the middle of the front lawn.

1. Not fun in December.
2. My neighbours across the road (who we do get along with - only ones around us we really know at all) already put up with enough of my nonsense.

Dropping the sump is about 80% as much work as pulling the engine, so we're not going down that road. Plus just being completely honest, these are jobs that quite simply I do not *want* to do and therefore have zero enthusiasm for.

If someone wants to take it on as a project, two grand and it's probably yours. Taking quite a substantial hit there, but I'm conscious that I'm selling it with a known engine problem and budgeting somewhere around a grand to sort that.


Jag definitely needs a new battery, it's obvious having tried to charge it that we've lost a cell. Been on charge overnight, however dim dash lights and nothing but a 1/2 second lazy churn of the starter before click-click-click when I went to start it. Haven't had a chance to pick it up this week, but we'll be making a run to Costco this weekend anyway so will grab one then.



I've decided to see about getting a quote from Chevronics to sort the rear end hydraulics on the BX. It's a fiddly job with a ramp but they know the car and the quick ways to do things. Crawling around in my front garden trying to drop the subframe just doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs. Plus I can get them to give the whole car a once over and provide me with a proper to do list. Given how many years this car has been off the road that's honestly a hugely useful resource in itself.
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Old Dec 5 2021, 09:22 PM   #132
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

I don't have any idea about the lost posts, but I also recall my mom having to have dad add a cnew link for a trailer in one of our car with a bboat contecter ,, I wonder if that is why we got a problem and a fire in the car so long a go, no one hurt, thank goodness, but that is a story for a different time,.

PS Thanks you are giving me a few more ideas for something I am working offline on.
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Old Dec 11 2021, 06:10 PM   #133
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

The first few web searches, including the lookup system on Tanya's website, suggested that a 096 battery is correct for the XJ-S, so is what I picked up.



Was no point comparing to the one in the car as I knew it was well under sized - hence my "creative" solution to getting enough travel in the tie down frame to actually make it fit.



Turns out they're speaking nonsense. No way will a 096 fit in here, it's the best part of an inch wider than the battery tray. D'oh!

Cue a bit of head scratching...before I nicked the battery I stuck in the BX about 8 months ago. That's a 027 which while still a little smaller than what I imagine Jag intended (which I'm thinking now is probably a 075), is a far better fit. It sits snugly in the tray and the tie down fits properly without needing to faff about with spacers. Meant I could actually get the lid fitted properly for the first time since I've had the car.



The battery tray in the BX is huge on account of the diesel variants so the 096 dropped in there just fine and looks like it was meant to be there - even if it's grossly overrated for a humble 1.4 petrol, but we're not going to complain. Especially with the car not being used regularly.

I put it on charge overnight on account of the BX sitting unused a lot, but even beforehand it span the engine over far faster than the one previously in the car ever did. Also while out for a run the voltmeter stayed pretty much smack in the middle the whole time without sagging anywhere near as much at idle...so I think that was half our problem. Dying battery took out a weak alternator regulator? Or dying alternator killed the battery? We will probably never know.

The battery that csme out definitely has a shorted cell. Sitting rock steady on 10.8V off charge but using the calibrated battery testing spanner is still sourcing a decent chunk of current - which suggests it can also still sink a decent charge rate, which given that with a lot of kit running I can easily account for about 80% of our old 55A alternator's output in vehicle systems alone isn't going to help anything.

First thing I noticed driving out of our neighborhood on a quick test run...the heater was actually behaving in a sane manner. It continued to do so for the remaining 25 mins or so I was out...and the cruise control worked first try. Have we been fighting off odd gremlins because of a sickly battery for a while? I know that's more of a modern car thing...but let's face it, the XJ-S in a lot of ways *is* a lot more modern than its year of production would suggest.

I had a decent opportunity to give the charging system a good test the following day as I had to make a decent run out of town to pick up some vintage computer hardware. At 150 odd miles round trip this was actually the longest single run I'd probably done in the car since I picked it up. Glad to report that it performed perfectly - and I managed 21.7mpg on that run...a far cry from the 12mpg I manage around Milton Keynes!

For those interested in such things, this is what I was picking up.





In 1987 this was pretty much the most powerful portable machine you could buy - with pretty much everything you would expect of a conventional desktop PC - including a full size ISA expansion slot. These "portable desktop" machines were something that Toshiba were very good at making, and were quite worthy of note in an era where desktops tended to do desktop things and portables were generally vastly more limited and did very different jobs. The desktop replacement concept became quite commonplace about 15 years later, but in the late 80s/early 90s was quite a novel idea.



Specs seem positively laughable by today's standards, but this was a powerful machine when it was launched.

Back on topic...

That run was a usefully timed test given that the car was off to a new owner today.

I gave the interior and windscreen a quick clean and loaded up the spares I had into the boot.





I had originally planned to give the whole car a wash and quick wax - but realised that given the state of the roads and that it had a 400+ mile motorway run coming up that it would be completely pointless.

Definitely a car I will miss. This is definitely one I'm selling because it's the sensible decision than because I want to.

While I would happily have made the trip myself, it's always a bit nerve wracking sending someone.off who's not familiar with the car on a journey that long - especially when it's not had a huge amount of use recently. However the worry was unnecessary as she made it to her new home in Aberdeenshire without incident - well aside from the interior light falling out of the headlining again. Economy on that run was 20.8mpg, which seems perfectly decent to me for a 1700kg 5.3 litre V12 car from the mid 80s.
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Old Dec 12 2021, 12:35 AM   #134
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That Toshiba looks very like my dad's computer from that era, the first one I ever used at home. I wrote at least one book report on it.
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Old Dec 12 2021, 07:52 PM   #135
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Having a gap out here just looks wrong!



No...it looks right. It's a step towards actually getting everything to fit on the driveway.

Short lived though given there's another (broken) project on the way soon...so much for thinning out the herd!
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Old Dec 14 2021, 05:02 PM   #136
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I'll be honest that newer blue? purple? car seems out of place compared to the rest of the fleet.
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Old Dec 15 2021, 10:08 PM   #137
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Well I a m going on Holladay for two weeks and without internet, so I shall have to think on this and get back to you I have a related computer portable to desktop story to tell, but bbad weather we are having spring T-storms in winter in Dexc. and high winds, so I am heading off line early, note I am X-posting to other thread this update., now that my mind is slowing a bit.l
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Old Dec 16 2021, 12:29 PM   #138
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I'll be honest that newer blue? purple? car seems out of place compared to the rest of the fleet.
That's not mine - that's the company car of one of my housemates. Which is of limited use to be honest given only they can drive it and the list of things you're not allowed to do and the paranoia around causing the slightest scratch on it.
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Old Dec 16 2021, 07:57 PM   #139
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Well I do have a storyits how my new staff found my sGeneral Lee, Charger , but what color I don'[t recall , one is a very bad yellow, ;uck:

The first portable laptop wwas nicknamed the lunchbox , I don't recall whattype it was, I trided didn't work for me. I shall have to see if I can dig up more on that.
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Old Dec 18 2021, 07:55 PM   #140
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Okay, as there is a new project shortly inbound the Mercedes is officially for sale.

Photos as of a few days ago. Not prettied up, in her working clothes as she's still being used as the daily.





Offside rear arch is probably the most outwardly scruffy bit of bodywork. A repair panel for this is included with the car.















Current mileage, though this will go up a bit as the car is in regular use.



If you've followed this thread over the last few months you'll know the car.

I bought this car back in the summer with the intention of it being a practical daily which I could carry out a gradual rolling bit of tidying up on - not going to say restoration as that was never really the goal. A tidy working car was.

Sadly it became apparent a short time later that due to historic chronic neglect the top end of the engine had sustained a lot of damage due to oil contamination and/or starvation. The damage to the camshaft is probably the worst I've ever seen on a running engine. Aside from sounding like an 80s Fiesta needing a service she still ran just fine though!

As a spare head was supplied with the car I went ahead and fitted that.

My intention had been to drop the sump so I could inspect the crankshaft and potentially drop in a new set of bearing shells - however I quickly discovered that doing that involves you going about 80% of the way through pulling the engine as there's a huge chassis cross member in the way. So we were taking a gamble.

While the engine is a lot happier now (it's been a little over a thousand miles since the head swap), it's still a bit rattly at high revs and the oil pressure at hot idle is mediocre - though not in itself low enough to be a danger sign apparently.

I'm not convinced that this engine is going to be reliable long term without a bottom end rebuild...and that's something I just am not interested in getting involved in. Nor am I messing about swapping engines. If I could find one for a couple of hundred quid, maybe. Sadly the days of them being cheaply available appear to be in the past, and I'd need to do the work in the middle of my front lawn. My poor neighbors put up with enough as it is without that nonsense! I could be totally wrong and it will still be going strong, rattling away in another 50K miles...but I just don't trust it to not eject the number three con rod through the side of the block without warning halfway down the A5 in rush hour. Milton Keynes being such an aggressively unfriendly place to break down in does fuel that paranoia somewhat.

The bodywork is best described as scruffy but generally solid. Pretty much every panel has some form of dent, rust and or evidence of a prior respray done quickly. However it's not a total rot box and is perfectly respectable from ten paces. At least none of the trim is actually missing as that stuff is expensive to replace these days.

Interior is similarly a bit shabby. Worst parts are the driver's seat where the base has partly collapsed and the bit of trim above the sun visors which has peeled away from the backing at the edges. Aside from oddly the carpet from the offside rear footwell everything is there though.

Vital bits of info:

[] 163K miles - will continue to go up a bit as the car is still being used.

[] MOT to April (20th if I remember right).

[] Potential bottom end engine issues as described above.

[] Gearbox goes from second to third with quite a jolt, especially when cold but otherwise seems to behave.

[] Exhaust has a couple of leaks in the front section. Pattern section is about £70 on eBay, or I was quoted £700 for a full stainless system by a local specialist. Whole system is £350 direct from Mercedes as a third option.

[] Boot struts don't work.

[] Central locking only works for a few minutes after shutting the engine off due to a vacuum leak somewhere, just haven't got to investigating that. Most likely candidate is the fuel filler flap lock.

[] Fuel leak when the tank is brimmed from the gauge sender as the gasket has dissolved. Keep meaning to see if I can get to it without dropping the tank.

[] Could do with a set of rear springs as they creak over larger bumps.

[] Full set of UniRoyal Rainexpert tyres fitted a couple of months ago.

[] Passenger side heater temperature control is jammed - though you can still adjust it from the valve in the engine bay so nowhere near as big a deal as it could be.

[] The boot is large enough that it should need its own post code.

These were all the sorts of things I was planning on picking away at, getting deeply involved in the mechanical side just wasn't in the plan and I just don't have the kit or space to get any deeper into than I have at the moment.

£2500 and it's yours. Which if you have taken a look at the market for an S123 with a current MOT, even a slightly shabby one, is pretty cheap.

I'd just far rather move the car on now while it's a running driving concern rather than having to do this if something did go awry with the engine at a later date.

Car is located in Central Milton Keynes.

I MAY consider a swap/px for another large estate or similar. What I *want* is an early XJ Cherokee, but don't expect to find one I can afford...

-- -- --

Not really been much else going on to be honest. Had TPA out and about again a few days ago when I needed to make a run out to Northampton.



Did get spotted while on the outward journey, resulting in a rare photo of TPA actually in motion which is nice to see.

Link to Facebook Post. Sorry, not sure how to link to the image directly, I really don't use Facebook for much.

Shame the photo wasn't of the return journey which was down the M1...that really would have messed with folk's heads. Was really nice to get her out for a decent run again, had been a while.
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Old Dec 23 2021, 05:50 PM   #141
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Had an opportunity to activate test out the SLS setup on the S123 yesterday when we did a run to the recycling centre. Prior to startup she was sitting like this after loading.



Then 30 seconds or so after the engine was started.



Yep, that works then.

Don't want to know how much weight I had crammed in there...Was quite a lot of heavy metal stuff like old brake discs, the knackered old cylinder head and four old car batteries.

I could have gone up further, but I knew if I had much more in there I'd never get everything out in the 15 minute slot they give you. I barely managed as it was.

This evening I discovered a job for tomorrow while I was out running some errands.



At least it's only a 30 second job on this car.

To be fair I usually change the headlight lamps when I get a car, never did that on this one.
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Old Dec 24 2021, 04:08 PM   #142
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I have no idea what SLS means but I'm guessing it raised up the car once "activated". Useful if you have a heavy load inside. Other than the tiny (cute) blue car and the travel van do you generally take a car in, refurbish it and then sell it along?
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Old Dec 26 2021, 12:37 PM   #143
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I have no idea what SLS means but I'm guessing it raised up the car once "activated". Useful if you have a heavy load inside. Other than the tiny (cute) blue car and the travel van do you generally take a car in, refurbish it and then sell it along?
SLS stands for self leveling suspension. In place of conventional dampers in the rear suspension there are a pair of hydraulic rams which are used to control the ride height. Which given the load bay on this car is the size of a small country is a smart idea. Means you can handle the full rated load without needing stupidly hard springs on the back. Which is why the station wagon version of quite a few cars have more harsh ride than the other body types. This setup allows load carrying without the expense of ride quality. The whole lot is powered by a pump run off the front of the camshaft.



I think the hydraulics support about 1/3 of the car's weight under normal conditions.

I don't really go into things with any particular plan, I just enjoy tinkering with cars. The BX was probably an exception as it was basically picked up specifically to save it from potentially being scrapped. It arrived as a non-running paperweight, but now runs well and drives - just a couple of hydraulic lines and a tiny bit of welding needed to get it back on the road. Unfortunately one of those hydraulic lines is a real pig to get to so requires the rear subframe to be dropped off the car (the assembly that basically the whole rear axle and suspension assembly is attached to), and getting that off also requires removal of the fuel tank and exhaust...sounds fun!
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Old Dec 27 2021, 02:47 PM   #144
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Things I learned today:

This little sucker can JUMP.



As I discovered when he sailed some considerable distance over my left shoulder while I was cleaning the tank out.

Thankfully he was rescued and returned safely to the tank apparently no worse for wear. I'll be more careful about that in future though. Not a huge amount to be done about it though, I need to take the lid off the tank to clean it no matter what I do.
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Old Dec 30 2021, 09:33 PM   #145
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Been very little going on, hence little to report.

I can confirm that as of this evening a deal has been agreed and that a new vehicle will be joining the fleet shortly. We collect it from down by Exeter on Monday.

Not fast, not exciting but will be supremely useful I hope, and I think will be quite interesting in its own way.

Sounds like a nice sort of state for me too, nothing that needs urgent attention but a good number of smaller jobs that will want doing which will add up to making it a lot nicer to live with long term.
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Old Jan 2 2022, 05:22 PM   #146
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New car collection preparation checklist:

[] Money transferred, check.

[] Insurance, sorted. Bit more expensive than the Merc, but I expected that.

[] Address confirmed for collection.

[] Collection vehicle fuelled up, check.

...Would have had the actual owner transfer done if it weren't for the amazing automated computer system the DVLA has which only keeps office hours, so that and the tax will have to be done in the morning.

We aim to be on the road by 0900 tomorrow, about a 3.5 hour drive there...Wish me luck with the motorway traffic gods...
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Old Jan 2 2022, 06:18 PM   #147
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I can't recall. Are you surprising us with what you are getting? I will never be used to Merc as an abbreviation for Mercedes. 1. I would never abbreviate Mercedes. 2. Merc to me = Mercury!

Safe travels and good words with the traffic gods. Watch out for THE STUPIDS. They are everywhere.
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Old Jan 2 2022, 07:37 PM   #148
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I can't recall. Are you surprising us with what you are getting? I will never be used to Merc as an abbreviation for Mercedes. 1. I would never abbreviate Mercedes. 2. Merc to me = Mercury!

Safe travels and good words with the traffic gods. Watch out for THE STUPIDS. They are everywhere.
It's always a bit of fun seeing if folks can figure out what the new arrival is.

Still a real shame that things didn't work out with the Mercedes (well, the S123...van is also obviously a Mercedes...having two white Mercedes on the drive was a look I liked), but that's the breaks sometimes.

We're *hoping* the roads will be relatively quiet tomorrow. At least we're heading west rather than south, so we're not hearing towards London.
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Old Jan 2 2022, 08:06 PM   #149
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Oh dear. I did not mean you or anyone shouldn't abbreviate Mercedes! pay no attention to the silly woman sitting over here enjoying all your car antics!
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Old Jan 3 2022, 05:07 AM   #150
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Safe journey and colelction of the new colelctible, Zel!
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Old Jan 3 2022, 02:24 PM   #151
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Full report tomorrow. Right now I've got a grade 8.2 out of 10 headache that's threatening to turn into a migraine so am going to go hide somewhere cool, dark and horizontal until it subsides.

Can't really give a tour just now as it's pitch dark outside. However thanks to the magic of this camera, here's a brief intro.







Initial observations though are that it drives really incredibly well.

The SDi seems to have a reputation for being slower than a wet week, however it seems absolutely fine to me. It's not a fast car, no. Equally though it doesn't feel even remotely sluggish. Didn't have any issue at all holding 70 on the motorway without needing to drop a gear or anything.
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Old Jan 3 2022, 02:30 PM   #152
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So a pickup with a sort of camping type thing over the back bed. Can't see the model vehicle (and honestly does not interest me all that much). Interesting that there seems to be a wide opening between the cab and the second row of seating.
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Old Jan 3 2022, 04:21 PM   #153
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So a pickup with a sort of camping type thing over the back bed. Can't see the model vehicle (and honestly does not interest me all that much). Interesting that there seems to be a wide opening between the cab and the second row of seating.
She is a VW Caddy. So basically a small van based on VW Polo with a box plonked on the back. I think car derived vans like this are far more of a common thing over here than in the US.

Not a camper this one, it was converted to be wheelchair accessible, so there's a fold out ramp at the back and lashing points so the wheelchair would sit between the two rear seats. Not a very good photo that one, this one the seller provided shows it a bit better.



This means the floor is lower than standard and there are several lashing eyes present - two of which are *perfectly* placed for a leash to be attached for the dogs harnesses, essentially as a seatbelt for them.

It should be a very versatile layout in the real world. The rear seats are quite cramped, but it's really quite rarely that I'll need to carry all four of us, however it's really useful to know that I *can* carry the whole family, the dogs and some bags etc at the same time if I need to. 90% of the time it's me, me and one other and/or the dogs, and for that this is ideal.

Cab is actually quite a nice place to be. She *just* pre-dates the point at which VW started to switch over to making their seats out of concrete, so they have a decent amount of padding on, have a decent amount of adjustment and and are in decent shape. It's comfy, surprisingly quiet and for the age (2002) really well equipped. Power steering, power windows, power mirrors, remote central locking, rev counter and even air conditioning (which is a rare option on this sort of vehicle here even today), so someone went to town with the options. About the only things it doesn't have are front fog lights and cruise control...which I might actually see if I can add as she would be a really relaxed long distance cruiser with it. I believe everything is fly-by-wire on this engine, so it *might* just be a matter of finding the control stalk, plugging it in and enabling the option through a computer running VCDS (the VW dealer software). If that's the case it will definitely get added.

I'm really blown away by how nicely she drives. Might not look like much, and I don't want to jinx it, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that this honestly might be the sweetest driving car I've ever bought. No real rattles from anywhere, no clonks, creaks or squeaks from any of the suspension/drivetrain, absolutely *no* vibration at speed whatsoever, tracks and brakes perfectly straight, and even handles astonishingly well.

I went looking at this because it would be practical, I really wasn't expecting it to be even close to this nice to drive. We'll see how things look once I've had a better look at it tomorrow...I suspect that some serious rust proofing may be high on the list, as this might be wanting to stick around for a while.
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Old Jan 3 2022, 05:14 PM   #154
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I get the VW. To me a "Caddy" might possibly be a "Cadillac" which this is not. Is there a special meaning to Caddy?

It looks like there are lots of uses for it and I'm sure you'll enjoy rummaging under the hood.

My husband loves watching all the car repair shows- Wheeler/Dealer and various US shows.
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Old Jan 3 2022, 05:38 PM   #155
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I get the VW. To me a "Caddy" might possibly be a "Cadillac" which this is not. Is there a special meaning to Caddy?

It looks like there are lots of uses for it and I'm sure you'll enjoy rummaging under the hood.

My husband loves watching all the car repair shows- Wheeler/Dealer and various US shows.
I'm like you Priscilla, say Caddy and I think Cadillac. But I think it's a term for the car conversion, like "estate" is the UK/EU term for "station wagon".

I love my station wagons. And Cadillac is the only full-size US wagon left in current manufacture. I'd like to have a Chrysler 300C SRT Hemi wagon, myself. But then, I'm still a gearhead after all these years.
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Old Jan 4 2022, 05:47 AM   #156
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So a pickup with a sort of camping type thing over the back bed. Can't see the model vehicle (and honestly does not interest me all that much). Interesting that there seems to be a wide opening between the cab and the second row of seating.
You didn't think of golf caddy? According to Wikipedia it's a small van and was never marketed in the US under that name.
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Old Jan 4 2022, 06:26 AM   #157
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I did not think of Golf Caddy because we call them Golf CARTS. The Caddy I believe is the person the golfer hires to carry their clubs and hand them the "proper" club for each shot.
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Old Jan 4 2022, 10:50 AM   #158
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I did not think of Golf Caddy because we call them Golf CARTS. The Caddy I believe is the person the golfer hires to carry their clubs and hand them the "proper" club for each shot.
You're confusing yourself, Priscilla. Volkswagon (VW) has or had a model called Golf. In Europe this "conversion" was referred to as the Caddy. As vyon said, it was never marketed in the US, at least under that name. With the US obsession with pickup trucks (which I don't completely understand) it's easy to understand. Car-based conversions like this have never been popular, so while we got the VW Golf, this one was never seen. As Zel pointed out, his was originally designated as a wheelchair van. With the narrower streets in a lot of European cities, this configuration makes a lot of sense, because an American handicap conversion full-sized van would never be practical over there.

What's in a name? A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.
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Old Jan 4 2022, 10:53 AM   #159
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Oh Allen! I am easily confused!
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Old Jan 4 2022, 08:02 PM   #160
Zelandeth
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Milton Keynes

Fan of: Dragonsdawn
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

So, what have I found, having had a chance to look over the...car? Van? It's half of one, half of another... we're just going to say "car" for the sake of simplicity.

Overall initial assessment so far is that it's pretty much as expected. Cosmetically challenged in a few areas but fundamentally sound underneath it all.

Let's start with the usual walk round photos.













The only bit of rust which has me slightly concerned is the bit immediately below the window over the cab.



I have a horrible feeling that if I start digging at that we're going to have a hole to deal with. Properly sorting *that* would then require removal of both the front and rear headliners. I'll obviously be doing a bit of investigation, sanding it back, attacking it with Vactan then paint it for now.

Interior isn't too bad, needs a good clean and I've a few things to sort, but for a vehicle which has always earned its keep it's not bad at all.



Thankfully this just pre-dates the point at which VW switched over to using concrete for their seats, so they're quite comfortable actually.

Rear seats are a bit cramped, but will be absolutely fine for short trips which are the most likely thing they'll be used for 99% of the time.



That interia reel on the floor is part of the original seatbelt lashing arrangement so could be removed just a couple of bolts and could easily be refitted later if needed. Would be nice to get it out of the way of people's ankles given room is already pretty limited.

Strange sitting so high up, you kind of look down into the cab a good foot or so above the driver.



Will surprise precisely no one that the pop out side windows appear to leak.



Hopefully a good clean and treatment of the seals will sort that out.

The rear door seals could do with a bit of a refresh too. This will explain why the cabin fills up with exhaust fumes if you have a window open.



This is the real reason for buying this though. Having two pretty large dogs, this is about as perfect a setup as I could ask for. The rear two wheelchair lashing eyes even are perfectly placed to hook their travel harnesses to (via suitable leads with elastic to absorb the shock during an emergency stop).



I'm thinking I might make a panel to drop in over the dropped floor section so they have a bit more width, and it could also make a handy covered storage area. Lack of anywhere really out of the way of prying eyes is a bit of a drawback to vans with a lot of glass like this.

It's a layout which just lends itself to being a really, really *useful* vehicle.

Words can't quite express how much I'm looking forward to attacking this engine bay with a couple of gallons of degreaser and the pressure washer.



That said, it's an honest looking engine bay and there's no hugely obvious bodges that are immediately apparent.


So let's make a start on the to do list.

One thing I immediately noticed the moment I started the van yesterday was that the idle tended to hunt a bit, especially when cold.

https://youtu.be/FOa03CZlPpk


Which was also accompanied by a tendency for a bit of white smoke to be visible occasionally when you come off the throttle. It's definitely fuel related, not coolant based on the smell.

Took me about thirty seconds to spy a likely cause for the fuel system having a bit of a hard time with the engine running.

https://youtu.be/R5WR5FFaLfs

If you look carefully you can just see there are air bubbles in the feed line to the fuel pump.

An obvious suspect is this fuel line on the suction side of the pump which is very obviously perished and kind of squishy.



They're all a bit crusty looking, so I think they will get replaced along with the fuel filter. I've picked up everything for a routine service today anyway, so that will be done soon.



There was an advisory on the MOT for the SRS warning lamp not lighting. As the space for the radio was still empty it was easy to get to the back of...sure enough it was unplugged.

Plugging it back in and turning the ignition on resulted in it lighting up as it should...



Then after a couple of seconds, somewhat to my surprise, going out, exactly as it should do. Has continued to do so all afternoon too...so if that's sorted it I'll call that a win.

Next task was an obvious one...



Getting audio set up. I'd actually asked the seller to take their head unit out as having only just bought this one and just about learned my way around it I'd rather stick with it.

Helpfully it's one of those which you can customise the colours of, so can match it perfectly to the dash lighting.



Speakers in there are pretty decent actually, nice not to have to mess around upgrading those for a change.

Which is where I left it today, as I'd clearly run out of daylight!

Next thing I need to investigate is the temperature control for the heater. As is basically standard for this control assembly the cable has snapped off the back of it. So the heater is currently adjusted by pushing or pulling a cable sitting in the dash cubby hole. Which rattles. A lot. If nothing else it'll get relocated to one of the switch blanks above there to stop it rattling so much! Hopefully while I'm in there I can see if I can sort the illumination for the heater controls as currently none of that works.

Not really going to have much time over the next few days, but I'll no doubt find a few minutes here and there to do something.

Overall though I'm really happy with it so far. Was exactly as I expected based on the description I was given and is something I should be able to improve on nicely. Really does drive nicely too.
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