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Old Jan 5 2022, 04:35 AM   #161
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Nice looking car if just a bit different. Those back seats though. All I can say is that a big fat bastard like me would have a lot of trouble fitting in them. I can't help but hope all of you are normal sized people.
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Old Jan 5 2022, 05:22 AM   #162
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Nice looking car if just a bit different. Those back seats though. All I can say is that a big fat bastard like me would have a lot of trouble fitting in them. I can't help but hope all of you are normal sized people.
They're a bit of a squeeze for anyone!

The position is to allow room for a standard wheelchair to sit between them. I may well have a look to see if there's any scope to shift the bases out away from the side of the vehicle a bit to give some more room.

Not a massive issue as it's not very often I need to carry passengers in the back, especially for any real distance. If there's a possible quick and easy (and safe) way to improve things though I'll jump at it.
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Old Jan 5 2022, 05:41 AM   #163
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Just one question - is that dropped floor in the back part of the wheelchair adaptation? It looks as if you've got enough head height to make a couple of drop-in storage trays to make a level floor. Then you could lift them out again if you wanted the space.
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Old Jan 5 2022, 07:49 PM   #164
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Just one question - is that dropped floor in the back part of the wheelchair adaptation? It looks as if you've got enough head height to make a couple of drop-in storage trays to make a level floor. Then you could lift them out again if you wanted the space.
Yes, it's set up so there's a fold out ramp which gives a completely flat run all the way in. The idea of making a false floor to stash some storage under has already occurred to me, we'll see how it goes. Someone has mentioned that there may be cubby holes in the side panels, which I keep meaning to look at to confirm.

-- -- --

First accomplishment of today was figuring out a way to stop the heater cable from rattling...it can be wedged in the handle of the ash tray.



Not a permanent solution, but will save it from driving me insane until I can properly sort it.

Having a slightly more in depth look under the bonnet than yesterday I spotted a couple of things amiss.

Firstly, looking at the radiator something just didn't look right. How the top hose was sitting was what really drew my attention to it initially.



A little poking and head scratching revealed that it should actually be sitting more like this.



The top brackets appear to have either fallen apart of are totally missing. Strange.

I deployed a highly technical cable tie to pull it closer to the right spot until I can properly Investigate and resolve that...has at least got some clearance between the top radiator hose and fan shroud now, this was previously touching.



On the other side the shroud had worn quite a deep groove in one of the air conditioning lines too, this now has a bit of actual clearance.



Will need to see if there is any gas in there whatsoever soon. I suspect not.

Then I noticed this.



That's the state the main line coming off the vacuum pump was in. That's not going to be doing anything any favours, especially as at the very least the actuator for the EGR system is vacuum controlled, and there are lines running off to several bits and pieces around the engine bay.

Ten minutes later it looked like this instead.



Sorting this appears to have completely eliminated the hunting idle, the ever present smell of diesel and obvious white smoke on the overrun/light throttle openings. It has also made the throttle response far smoother, so that leak was definitely causing issues for a few things. Likewise the brakes definitely feel stronger now, so I think the servo was also struggling a bit for vacuum pressure before.

It looks like there was originally a plastic cover that sat over the inlet manifold etc. I'm not too bothered about that, as it's one less thing to remove for service access - if I come across one though I'll probably replace it just because I know it should be there. Definitely at the bottom of the priority list though.

While I was in the area I changed the air filter. Old one wasn't too bad so had definitely been done in the last couple of years, but for the sake of a few quid it's on my annual-ish list. Especially on a normally aspirated diesel where getting as much air into the engine as possible is always a priority!

Nice to have got a couple of small jobs ticked off which have had a noticeable impact on the driving experience.
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Old Jan 6 2022, 06:59 AM   #165
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Some years back I had a Metro Chairman. Professionally converted to take a wheelchair and occupant. With "upstairs windows" added including its own screen wiper. The rear bench seat was lift out: either chair or . . . Best passenger I had in there was a shetland pony!
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Old Jan 6 2022, 11:09 AM   #166
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

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Some years back I had a Metro Chairman. Professionally converted to take a wheelchair and occupant. With "upstairs windows" added including its own screen wiper. The rear bench seat was lift out: either chair or . . . Best passenger I had in there was a shetland pony!
As they used to say on the internet, "Pics, or it didn't happen!"

Seriously though, if you happen to have any photos of the vehicle, interior and/or exterior, with or without the Shetland pony, I'd love to see them. I find the foreign (to me) cars that were never brought over here fascinating, even more so if it's a rebranding of a recognizable US name. in the US, Metro was a model of Geo, a subconpact car that was bought out by General Motors and then discontinued after they ruined it. Zel's VW Golf is a good example. The Golf was (or is, I don't know) sold over here, but that Caddy conversion is really interesting to me. If there were other interior layouts besides the handicap layout for instance, something with better rear seating...
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Old Jan 6 2022, 12:11 PM   #167
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The Golf I believe was marketed as the Rabbit in the US, in the 1980s at least, not sure if that continued later than that. The Jetta was always far more popular in the US where Sedans did better, and the Jetta is quite simply a Golf Sedan.

The Geo Metro was sold over here badged as either a Subaru Justy (including a 4WD version) or Suzuki Swift, and were reasonably popular for the cheap basic cars they were. The Metro over here was a model produced by Austin. One I've owned a couple of, this being my favourite one, dating from 1981 when the model was first launched (intended to be a direct replacement for the aging Mini) and to this day one of the few cars I do truly regret selling.



The Chairman was quite a popular conversion at the time, with the roofline extended (fibreglass if I remember rightly) to suit. The access arrangement was similar to the Caddy, just shorter. The clever linked hydrolastic suspension on the Metro meant it handled the extra height without excess body roll which would have afflicted many other cars.

The Caddy was available in a number of different setups. Including a standard panel van (in a couple of height and length variants), pickup, flat bed, and a passenger car version which had standard car seats in the back. Either with one or two rows depending on the options ticked.

A similar vehicle is marketed by Citroen as the Berlingo, which is probably the most popular of these car driver vans which has been derived back into a more utilitarian and massively practical cars. Those from the same sort of era as my Caddy are cars which tend to be quite coveted by their owners as they are fantastically versatile. I've heard more than one person refer to them as the Morris Traveller of the early 21st Century, and don't reckon it's a bad parallel.

-- -- --

Not much to report today. Had to take my husband to a hospital appointment this morning, so have confirmed that cold starting doesn't seem to be an issue for the Caddy, even at -4C that we had today, and oddly is the coldest we've seen this winter so far. All despite the rather old looking Lion branded battery, which I'd generally trust about as far as I can throw it.



I think the best I've ever got out of one of their batteries before was about 18 months, so I'm already mentally budgeting for having to replace that at short notice at some point.

This temperature also meant I was surprised to find that for the first time since I think 2009, I have a car with a full compliment of working rear window defroster elements.



Luxury!

Something which become extremely vocally apparent during that trip though was that the wiper blades were past it. Cleared the screen okay, but unless it was absolutely saturated wanted to jump, skip, judder, squeak and generally make a nuisance of themselves. I did clean them as they didn't look all that old, did help but not by much. So a new set went on.



This restored quiet and calm to the cabin while driving in the persistent drizzle which we've had here all afternoon.

Not an exciting update today!

Last edited by Zelandeth; Jan 6 2022 at 02:17 PM.
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Old Jan 9 2022, 02:18 AM   #168
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Looks like your new project is coming along nicely, Zel. A family friend has two large dogs, a car like the VW Caddy or a Citron Berlingo would probably be right up their alley. The wheelchair conversions are rarer than hen's teeth here, though, and a retrofit would cost more than the car itself at this time. They have an estate car with travel safe crates for the dogs, but a wheelchair conversion car would allow for more freedom of movement for the dogs in transit.
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Old Jan 9 2022, 02:49 PM   #169
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Looks like your new project is coming along nicely, Zel. A family friend has two large dogs, a car like the VW Caddy or a Citro�n Berlingo would probably be right up their alley. The wheelchair conversions are rarer than hen's teeth here, though, and a retrofit would cost more than the car itself at this time. They have an estate car with travel safe crates for the dogs, but a wheelchair conversion car would allow for more freedom of movement for the dogs in transit.
They're pretty rare here to be honest, often the quality of the conversion means the vehicles don't live all that long anyway, with rust seeing them off after after less than ten years. This one still being around after this long is the exception rather than the rule. I think a lot of them get converted to mini campers when they come back off lease from major groups like Motability, as they're an ideal basis for a project like that.

I think me wanting to leave the layout largely unchanged is quite unusual.

-- -- --

Cleaning time has begun for the new arrival.

Interior only as I'm currently without a pressure washer - and they've literally just driven past our house and dumped about five tonnes of salt on each of the roads in our neighborhood so it would be pretty pointless.

Looking forward to dealing with the likes of this though...



Really will be better for a good scrub up. Plus there's about three quarters of a forest worth of leaves in the windscreen scuttle.

While the exterior is a task for another day, the interior looks a bit better for an hour's work this afternoon.

The dash plastics in particular were really dull and lifeless. There's a very clear line where I'd got to visible here.













The seats really want to come out so I can give the carpets a proper scrub, and the seats would really benefit from a wet clean themselves too. Both jobs which will be waiting on warmer and drier weather.

I did note that both front footwells are a bit damp - I'm not reading too far into that though until I've cleared out the scuttle drains as given the amount of organic matter under there they're almost definitely clogged up. The headlining would also benefit from a deep clean - that will need to come out to deal with the rust at the base of the window over the cab anyway so those things will probably happen at the same time.

Only other item of note done today was getting the fuel filter and the feed lines attached to it replaced. Simple enough job.



Think I'm going to go back and do the ones on the return too, just didn't have enough hose clamps to go round today (I despise those spring type ones with a passion - especially the ones VW use as they have really tiny tabs on so are nigh on impossible to get hold of if you don't have the proper tool). Given I was able to pull the one on the feed side straight off, the hose had obviously been squashed enough under the hose clip that it was no longer doing anything.

One of the O-rings on the return line stub was cracked, so definitely think this was due changing.



Hopefully this will put a stop to air being pulled into the fuel system. Time will tell I guess.
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Old Jan 10 2022, 01:24 PM   #170
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Having run out of daylight yesterday today's quick task was oil & filter change.

Set the oil draining, then realised something...the Caddy is modern enough to have one of these strange plastic caps over the oil filter.



...Which I've never had to deal with before. After wasting half an hour trying to get it unscrewed without the right tools I gave up and went round to Halfords and grabbed one of these.



Even with the right tool, holy hell that was tight. I wound up basically hanging my bodyweight off the thing before it eventually started to very slowly come loose. No way it was coming off without the special tool for it.

I then made a horrible mess and spilled oil everywhere when lifting the old filter out.

New one in - which helpfully has the top marked as I didn't realise they weren't symmetrical until after I'd put the old one down and lost track of the rotation.



New filter also comes with new O-rings for both the cap itself and the feed tube assembly which drops down through the middle of the filter. I made a definite point of lubricating the outer seal with fresh engine oil before reassembling. Tightening it precisely as much as necessary to snug the seal up and a smidge more. Hopefully I won't have such a fight to get the cap off next time round.

The old oil smelled quite strongly of diesel and seemed quite watery (it is 5W40 though so not all that thick anyway), which isn't a huge surprise given the van was chucking clouds of unburned fuel out the back on the overrun because of that vacuum leak I found a couple of days back. By no means the worst I've seen, but it was definitely ready for a change.

New set of floor mats have also been thrown into the cabin to tidy the floors up a bit.



I may get a set of properly shaped ones ordered at some point, but these at least seem to stay put. The rubber ones that were in there before had virtually no grip on the carpet and I'd nearly died getting into the driver's seat about half a dozen times because of that, so these are an improvement in that department.

Hard to believe I've done just over 500 miles in this thing already! Still thoroughly enjoying driving it too.
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Old Jan 11 2022, 09:04 PM   #171
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This afternoon I decided to have a look at the key to see if I could do anything to tidy it up. I also wanted to get into it to confirm if it had an immobiliser chip in or not so I knew which type of spare to order. Currently I only have the one key and that's always a recipe for stress in my mind.

The key looked like this...which is why I was determined to try to tidy it up a bit.



The fact that the tape was decomposing and sticking to every bit of pocket lint (or in this house, the omnipresent dog hair) was also rendering this high on my to do list.

Like a complete and utter idiot I didn't wear gloves while pulling this to bits...and of course the mixture of electrical tape and duct tape had both well and truly started to decompose into the stickiest goo known to human kind. Said goo is now all over my hands, desk, keyboard, mouse, phone, probably in my hair - and all over everything within about a 500 metre radius. Rookie mistake.

Oddly when I pulled it apart I couldn't see anything wrong...all three bits of the assembly click together firmly, and the flexible membrane on the side with the remote buttons on isn't split.

Testing the two CR2016 cells showed they were both fine, so I just reassembled everything after a good clean. Oh, and yes it appears the van does have an immobiliser as there's a chip in there.





Sure enough, the light on the key did flash when buttons were pressed...so I went out and walked through the key synchronisation routine, resulting in...

https://youtu.be/0VEnmLg7pOU

We appear to have fully functional remote central locking again.

I'll take that as a win!

Though I did notice this mess in the engine bay when doing a check for oil leaks following the change yesterday...



Which is moderately concerning. I know this van did at one point have an aftermarket alarm (which doesn't appear to function), so I wonder if this was a result of a refusal to shut up one time to often - the loom tape does make it look different to the main vehicle loom, which is why my first thought was alarm. I will definitely be checking to ensure there's not power there shortly.
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Old Jan 12 2022, 06:54 AM   #172
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Those hanging wires! Yikes. I'm sure you'll be testing them "shortly".
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Old Jan 13 2022, 08:13 PM   #173
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Taking a closer look at that wiring mess reveals the tail is attached to the aftermarket alarm sounder...so that's definitely thoroughly dead then. Good thing I erred on the side of "I don't think so" when asked by the insurance company if it had an alarm. I'll pull that out then and see if I can find the other end of this to at least confirm that there's no power going to it.

Yay, I get to stand on my head under a dashboard again!

On the running theme of seeing if I can get vehicle systems back up and running I made a run over to Formula 1 in Newport Pagnell so this could happen.



While the AC system was totally flat when I got the van I had noted on my first inspection that both service caps were loose, plus the condenser looks way newer than 20 years and 100K miles...have to wonder if a new one was fitted at some point and they just never bothered gassing it up? I still have a bottle with some dregs of dry nitrogen from goodness only knows how many years ago, which in its last gasp shoved around 40psi into this system a few days ago. Checking this morning showed the pressure hadn't visibly dropped. Having something in there had also allowed me to check that the compressor clutch worked and the compressor ran - albeit only for a couple of seconds as I had no idea if there was any oil left in the system.

It was a tense 30 minutes while the system ran the vacuum decay test (which basically is a leak check to see whether any air leaks back into it) was carried out - zero decay reported. Which says the system should hopefully be gas tight. It also shows it's reasonably dry (as water boiling off from the drier core etc would result in a *small* bit of vacuum decay).

Machine was happy with all of the tests and charged properly. Real test was going to be starting up, pushing the button and seeing what happened.



I should really have had a camera pointing at the service gauges to video it, but suffice to say they behaved exactly as expected.

It's a bit hard to tell you'd think when it's all of 6C outside, but the system was definitely working. Suction line definitely got cold and there was heat quickly apparent on the liquid line. Definitely colder than ambient air coming out the vents too... exactly what we were after. No nasty noises from the compressor (that I can hear over the rattle of an SDi idling next to it anyway...though I'd by lying if I didn't admit it's a lot more refined than an XUD).

Having working AC should really help me deal with the bit of damp in the cabin. Basically we'll run the heater at "as warm as I can deal with" on recirc with the AC on for a while and see if that helps. As the air con dehumidifies the air passing through it, that will help actively pull water out of the cabin.

Next significant jobs in mind:

[] Exterior clean.

[] Dismantle and clean EGR system as it sure it's thoroughly sooted up. Especially given I've no idea how long that vacuum leak had been playing havoc with things. Can't see any obvious signs of it having been apart before, so it and the intake pipework will be well due a clean if that's the case.

[] Paint front bumper so it looks slightly less scruffy.

Longer term I have an idea in mind regarding the paintwork as a whole...open to inspiration that others might have too though. I'm already finding myself really quite attached to this little van so I'm going to try to make a reasonably tidy job of things. The rust around the window over the cab will be getting sorted and we'll see what we can do for the offside rear quarter too before the aforementioned larger scale paint job too.

What colour do *you* think she should be painted?
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Old Jan 13 2022, 08:32 PM   #174
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Lime green, fluorescent of course! See you coming and going.

I'm so used to boring silver, white, dark grey everything over here. A bit of color would be fun.
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Old Jan 13 2022, 08:36 PM   #175
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As weird as she looks she needs a weird paint color as well. How about a bright screaming orange with darker lime green and burgundy pinstripes. Alternatively if you want a more normal paint job for a VW how about red, blue, black and white in a tie dye pattern. What can I say I have a twisted sense of humor.
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Old Jan 16 2022, 09:25 PM   #176
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Didn't have a huge amount of energy available today as I'm still feeling like death from the booster jab on Friday, nevertheless I was determined to get a few things done.

First up was getting the interior of the S123 back into a presentable state. Calling it clean would be overselling it, but it's a heck of a lot better and I'm not embarrassed by it any more. Sadly attempts to find a working jetwash to do something about the outside were fruitless. Nevertheless, the interior is better at least.











It's no longer approximately 87% dog hair by volume at least.

Should be off to a new owner in the next couple of days.


Moving onto the Caddy it was time to have a look at the EGR valve to get an idea of how gunked up the system was.

By the standards of most modern cars it's thankfully pretty easy to get to. The arrow is pointing at the vacuum actuator rather than the valve itself, but you get the idea.



Given the position of the securing collar I don't reckon it's ever been off. However the innards weren't anywhere near as bad as I was expecting.



Yes it's pretty grim, but I'm not unused to seeing these things totally choked solid on far newer vehicles.

Probably about 0.5mm worth of caked on gunk the whole way round.

The other side of the valve is more disgusting as it's sticky, tarry crap as the PCV system feeds into the EGR circuit right next to the valve. I did dig an appreciable amount of gunge out of the valve body, but it definitely wasn't totally choked nor did it seem to be sticky.



I'd also been able to confirm that the valve is sealing completely and consistently when closed.

Reassembled everything...and absolutely no difference. Very slightly surging engine speed still there (it does exactly the same at any engine speed I found, regularly once a second), along with excessive smoke on light throttle.

Definitely have vacuum at the EGR valve, and you can hear it physically snap shut if you pull the vacuum line off. It however doesn't really have any noticeable effect on the running of the engine either way.

One thing I did notice is that when this behaviour is present, the rev counter also behaves slightly erratically, randomly twitching upwards from the actual engine speed - and it seems to do it more when on the throttle than off.

Then out of nowhere, the engine completely smooths out. The note deepens (because the flap on the intake, which I assume works in partnership with the EGR valve is now fully open), and the diesel clatter becomes a little sharper, so something has obviously changed - I'm guessing with the injection timing. Checking the EGR at that point shows there's no vacuum present, so the ECU isn't calling for the EGR system to be in operation. It's also noteworthy that after this point when things decide to behave that the rev counter twitching also stops I'm increasingly convinced these two symptoms are connected in some way.

So I don't think the EGR valve is the cause of this issue...bit it's definitely *involved* in it. Think the next step really will be to find someone locally with VCDS and get a look at some real-time data. Everything being fly-by-wire here makes guessing pretty pointless... imagine on a newer car we'd have a check engine light illuminated - but this car doesn't have one!

The rev counter misbehaving being clearly tied into it is making me think camshaft/crankshaft position sensors? Or however else the ECU gets the engine speed/position data...makes sense though if there's a disparity between the requested and reported engine speed, it would throw the fuelling all to hell.

Think it's likely been like this for a while so I'm not worried about it really, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to try to get to the bottom of it. Especially as the van drives so much nicer when this fault is staying out of the way.

We got any SDi experts on here?

Oh...and I've ordered a replacement engine cover. Looks quick and easy to fit/remove unlike many, so I'm not adverse to its being there.

Something which may well be getting changed in the not too distant future - which is a shame as they're only a year old - is the tyres. I had to brake moderately hard to avoid a suicidal pigeon this afternoon and discovered that these tyres really aren't great on a cold, damp road. Also the front ones have way more grip than the rears...great, aside from when all four wheels lock up, then the front regains grip well before the rear - which by then has started to try to overtake the front. It was a moderately firm braking manoeuvre, but I didn't expect quite *that* degree of upset. Even the big van would have been okay.

Methinks some Uniroyal rubber may be in the future. I will get the tracking checked in the meantime though - not least because the steering wheel is slightly off straight and means I can't see about 2/3rds of the warning lights on the dash when driving straight ahead. Bit of a daft design there from VW. Likewise the switchgear most of which is hidden behind the steering wheel.
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Old Jan 17 2022, 09:25 PM   #177
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This surging behaviour seriously has me intrigued. Managed to catch it doing it again today and got a better video properly catching it.

https://youtu.be/JT0X3XLBsCw

This clearly shows how it's essentially a regular "blip" approximately once a second that happens irrespective of the engine speed - and that during this behaviour she chucks out a shedload of smoke.

You can always *smell* that something is off when it's doing this, the smell from the exhaust lingers for ages. If you're in a car following it, it makes your eyes water apparently.

Physically disabling the EGR valve by removing and plugging the vacuum line to the actuator has no effect. I know the valve is moving as you can clearly hear it snap open or closed - and it sealed well enough that carb cleaner wasn't even seeping through the orifice while I was cleaning it yesterday. So I think the valve itself is innocent.

However if I unplug the *electrical* connection to the solenoid valve which controls said valve, the problem completely goes away. Idle immediately smooths out perfectly (it sounds to me like the injection timing or duration also changes as the engine note itself does change too), you hear the throttle valve in the intake snap fully open, and the throttle response becomes perfectly smooth through the whole rev range - and we see absolutely zero smoke aside from the expected tiny initial puff of black if you absolutely boot it, and that's not enough to be visible in the headlights of a following car. Also notable that any noticeable smell completely vanishes too...it just smells like an early 00s diesel VW.

Now I'm sure unplugging that would trigger an engine management light if I had one and I'm sure will have logged a fault code, and disabling an emission control device like this is illegal, so it's not a permanent fix...however it provides me with useful data to add to my diagnostic process and *definitely* puts the van in a less polluting state while I get to the bottom of the root cause. You've seen the cloud if you've watched the video above!

I need to make my reading today working out exactly what the sequence of operation is for the various bits of the emission control system on this engine and how the various parts interact with each other. I get the impression that understanding how that lot works will shed some light on what might be happening.

Decided that the Caddy could have a day off as errand running workhorse today.





Which went absolutely fine until I heard a suspicious "ding" at one point and saw something small and round disappearing into oblivion behind me.

When I eventually found somewhere safe to pull over, the cause didn't take long to find.



Ah. That's sub optimal. The air filter element was still present, wedged between the chassis and suspension arm thankfully (as they're surprisingly expensive), however the cover plate and wing nut are long gone. Even if I could spot it, as with so much of MK there's nowhere safe to pull over to retrieve it safely as it's on a 70mph dual carriageway with no pedestrian provision even vaguely nearby. So I'll need to find a replacement. Thankfully it's a bit of standard Steyr-Puch engine rather than a bespoke bit of Invacar so shouldn't be difficult to track one down, even if it may mean getting a whole new air cleaner assembly.

Guess we need to add "check air filter element retaining wing nut is tight" to the weekly checklist!
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Old Jan 18 2022, 08:31 PM   #178
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Today's automotive task:

Get rid of this bodgery behind the heater controls in the Caddy.



This is a close up of the broken bit of plastic on the back of the heater control assembly.



Which SHOULD look like this.



Thankfully as I expected the base units are identical, just mine has a few extra bits on being from an AC equipped car.

Mine:



New (used) one:



Underneath:



These (plus the white plastic lamp cover I later realised) are what need to be transferred over - and the faceplate obviously.



The greenish plastic thing in the middle is the light pipe which illuminates the indicators in the AC/Recirc buttons green when the headlights are on and the controls are off.

It needs to sit in front of the main light pipe assembly, but thankfully that unclips easily enough.

The one on the right illuminates the legends on the aforementioned buttons...and getting that sucker into position here is a royal faff, especially as you're acutely aware of what a tiny, fragile bit of plastic it is.



Really glad I had the sense to photograph the order these sat in before pulling anything apart.



This is what the top of the switch assembly looks like.



Whole new unit back together now with my AC specific bits added.



I initially didn't realise that the white lamp housing is slightly different, as the AC specific one is slightly shorter to allow it to fit over the additional light pipes.

The part numbers are different, confirming I wasn't just being daft.

AC one:



Non-AC one:



Though if you're doing this job you've likely got a complete but broken assembly in front of you anyway, so really not an issue. If robbing bits for an AC conversion though worth knowing you do need it.

After a small amount of swearing at cables (they are *precisely* as long as they *need* to be). I wouldn't be at all surprised if that's a large part of how that bit got snapped in the first place. Wouldn't be hard to put a load of strain on there when installing a stereo or routing any wiring behind the dash.



Having all four mounting lugs now present both the heater controls and the black surround on the front of the dash is far more secure.

While I was in there I pulled the cigarette lighter out to replace the failed lamp in that.



That has to be one of the most frustratingly difficult to access lamp holders I have ever come across. I did eventually though manage to extract and replace the lamp. Result being (finally) all of the dash illumination working.



Albeit with a moderately annoying amount of light leakage from the vicinity of the cigarette lighter. It really needs some assistance in the light-tightness department.



Next interior target will be the offside outer heater vent which is missing a large chunk of itself.



Which I have a suspicion will end up coming from the same breakers I just got the heater control panel from. I'll probably do the headlight control panel too as it's not securely fitted, I'm assuming because a mounting tab has broken or something like that behind it. The little storage cubby for documents under the dash being screwed shut with self-tappers may make it onto the list too as I can't unsee that now!

Small steps, but nice to have fully working heater controls again without needing a cable sticking out under the dash. For the sake of £12 of parts and maybe an hour of time, hard to say no really.
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Old Jan 22 2022, 06:51 PM   #179
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Been a little while since I had the time to do a proper update so let's have a catch up.

The Caddy passed a nice milestone while we were on the way to an appointment a few days ago. Thankfully I had my other half with me so was able to get evidence of it...as I was on the M1 at the time I couldn't exactly pull over to grab a photo.





Hopefully many more to come.

Despite suffering from a lack of a working pressure washer I needed to get the Mercedes cleaned up ready to be handed over to the new owner - this meant the best part of an hour driving around in circles until I found a jetwash that was actually working. Was the most horribly rushed and patchy job in the history of self serve car washes, but at least I had most of the moss out of the window seals and brightwork, so it looked a lot better.











Still one of the classiest looking cars I've ever owned I think.

The car rewarded me for cleaning it by blowing the offside rear indicator bulb. Of course I didn't have a spare in stock...so wound up nicking one from one of the repeaters on the van. It won't be going anywhere until the salt is gone from the roads anyway. Plenty of that a out just now...the corner of this roof was silver before a 20 minute run up the motorway a couple of days ago!



With the cleanup complete though I was able to pass the car on to its new owner. Only a few miles up the road and someone I know, so I'll still see it now and then I'm sure.

Off she goes.



The space will be filled again soon though, some of you may remember this one being mentioned a few months back.



Which will be quite a rewarding revival hopefully. They're pretty simple cars and this one by and large is exceptionally solid. A friend on another forum has already offered me use of their car roller which will make the bit of welding on the offside sill inner several orders of magnitude easier. Will also make doing a decent job of rust proofing it easier - though I may well still just farm that out to a specialist.

Revival work is what I tend to enjoy the most, so I'm quite looking forward to it.

A surprisingly large parcel arrived - even more surprisingly quickly given it came all the way from Germany - for the Caddy. Got here quicker than some things ordered from an hour up the road.



Hardly mission critical, but definitely tidies things up a bit. Does make quite a noticeable difference to the noise level outside the van too so isn't entirely cosmetic. I usually hate engine covers, but this only takes about 90 seconds to install/remove and makes a good tray for putting things in so isn't a huge problem.

Does look like it's taken about ten years off the engine bay though!





While I was rooting around in the area I dropped the new cabin air filter in. Dead easy to get to compared to many modern cars which require you to stand on your head in the footwell and/or dismantle half the dash.



I'm quite used to seeing these having never been changed so was half expecting a solid black rectangle of unidentifiable organic matter to come out, but it wasn't actually too bad. Definitely due a change but it's definitely been changed sometime in the last few years.



You may recall me noticing some horribly hacked wiring in the engine bay related to the obviously long defunct aftermarket alarm system a little while back.



Which had also left a gaping hole in the bulkhead.



I've now found that end of the tail (buried behind the heater box), and each of the wires has been taped, heat shrink covered then the tail as a whole treated the same way. The actual alarm module is buried up behind the centre console and I didn't have the patience to go chasing that further today.

This lot was pulled out.



The above area now looks like this. By pure chance I found a bung sitting on the drive that was exactly the right size to fill the hole left by that alarm wiring.



Much tidier.

A friend dropped by today with their fancy diagnostic gizmo to see if we had any fault codes stored which might give us a pointer on what's going on with the twitchy idle/EGR issues.

As we had hoped there were a couple of codes stored.



The first of which is the interesting one.

"Motor for intake flap (V157) - sporadic - open/short circuit to earth."

The second code is expected as it's indicating the solenoid for the EGR valve being open circuit - because I've unplugged it.

This is really useful as it gives me a component to home in on with my investigation. First port of call is to make sure the wiring to it isn't obviously damaged as it is quite exposed. Then we'll give it a good clean, which it really wants anyway.

Tomorrow's task is going to be putting together the contents of this very heavy box, which arrived too late yesterday to do anything with...but should solve my pressure washer situation.





Should be a decent upgrade from a fairly low end electric pressure washer...and having 30 metres of hose to play with will be a massive help in itself compared to the four I'm used to. Putting that all together will be tomorrow afternoon's task.

A silly little accessory arrived yesterday for the Invacar.



Suitable replacement for the keychain that I somehow managed to lose back at the start of the pandemic.

Have also come up with a temporary solution to the air filter issue. This doesn't look in any way ridiculous...



To be honest it's basically only there to keep crud out of there until I can track down/manufacture a replacement for the missing bit of the cleaner housing. I won't be driving it like this given the insurance company may declare it's a performance modification...must be good for at least a 30% power increase of course!

I think that brings us up to date for now.
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Old Jan 22 2022, 07:13 PM   #180
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This is not at all car related but I think you enjoy hearing about repair processes even on "not" cars. I did a tub of laundry this morning (bottom bed sheet) and took it out and tossed it in the dryer. I noticed the light did not go on when I opened the door but I just thought "bulb burnt out." Hit the start button and nothing. My husband was just headed out the door on an errand but he checked the fuse box and it was not that. When he got home he pulled the machine away from the wall and a screw fall off into his hand. Turns out there are 3 wires back there supposed to be held tightly to their contacts by screws and washers. The middle one (the one with the screw now in his hand) had apparently been attached with a totally incorrect screw (wrong size, wrong threads) and had finally worked it's way loose. The other 2 wires were fine. Down the road to the hardware store, having determined what size screw was needed and now the dryer is happy and our bed has clean, DRY sheets. Hoorah for figuring things out. He is good at this sort of thing. Part of why I've kept him around for 42 years.
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Old Jan 23 2022, 10:16 PM   #181
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This is not at all car related but I think you enjoy hearing about repair processes even on "not" cars. I did a tub of laundry this morning (bottom bed sheet) and took it out and tossed it in the dryer. I noticed the light did not go on when I opened the door but I just thought "bulb burnt out." Hit the start button and nothing. My husband was just headed out the door on an errand but he checked the fuse box and it was not that. When he got home he pulled the machine away from the wall and a screw fall off into his hand. Turns out there are 3 wires back there supposed to be held tightly to their contacts by screws and washers. The middle one (the one with the screw now in his hand) had apparently been attached with a totally incorrect screw (wrong size, wrong threads) and had finally worked it's way loose. The other 2 wires were fine. Down the road to the hardware store, having determined what size screw was needed and now the dryer is happy and our bed has clean, DRY sheets. Hoorah for figuring things out. He is good at this sort of thing. Part of why I've kept him around for 42 years.
Glad my ramblings and distractions are of interest. Should have a distraction to add in the next day or two from sorting the AC in my room which decided to pack in a few days back.

-- -- --

Well this box arrived on Friday...



What was in it then? Well after about half an hour's assembly, this:



Assembly was about as simple as you could ask for - all the necessary tools and some PTFE tape were in the box.



The biggest complaint I'd seen from people in reviews of this unit was that they were managing to melt the hose that runs between the pump and hose reel on the exhaust. Have to assume they had it routed over the top of the engine...



Simple solution, route it down underneath and apply a couple of cable ties to ensure it can't get in the way.



Yes the reel is very obviously an afterthought they just managed to find space to bolt onto the frame as it does make getting to the pull start a bit awkward.



Really not badly though so long as you've uncoiled the hose, which you're meant to do before starting the engine anyway - and having onboard storage for the hose is worth it I think anyhow.

Speaking of the hose... I've got used to the pathetic four metre reach on the old cheap plastic electric one, so having twenty metres to play with feels like utter luxury. It basically used to equate to one side and a bit of a car before you had to pick up and move the whole lot. This is the new setup...



That's not even using the additional ten metre extension that came in the box. That alone will make the job of cleaning anything far less annoying.

Fit and finish is a lot better than I was expecting to be honest. Just a shame the polystyrene packing has reacted with the paint on the frame in one spot. Everything slotted, clipped or screwed together nicely as it was mean to and I had no issues with sharp edges or burrs on anything.

Engine is your typical Honda clone which turns up on everything from go karts to lawn mowers to generators...and while I'd obviously prefer the real thing (or being me to be honest, a flathead Briggs), I've never personally had any issues with these on any of my equipment or anything I've helped others look after. If it was being used for hours on end every day, maybe. For a couple of hours every week or two it should be fine.





It does have a low oil shutoff, which is always nice to have on a piece of equipment like this.

The detergent tank built into the base is a nice detail rather than just a hose dangling off to dip in a bottle (which inevitably gets either lost or broken) or an awkward thing you have to clip to the lance like the Nilfisk this replaces had.



As for performance? Well you'd expect it to have more punch than the 1400W electric ones given the engine here is rated at 5500W if my math is right (8hp). Yep...that's definitely the case...you properly have to brace yourself when pulling the trigger on this and use common sense as even with the wider nozzles fitted I don't doubt for a second that this thing will strip paint off metal if you're not careful.

Hoping to give it a proper test in the week, today was just a run of a few minutes to make sure everything behaved, and allowed me to blast some of the worst of the gunk out of the gutters and after a dousing in degreaser, the engine bay of the Caddy. Not an oily engine anyway, just grubby from 20 years of use. The washer bottle is going to need separate attention, but it generally looks a lot cleaner now.



Cars are much more likely to get cleaned now as this reduces the hassle factor massively!

List price for this is £379, though it was discounted to £330 when I ordered it - decided it was a good thing to stick the £100 or so of vouchers I've had sitting around literally for years to use for - plus my nan sent some money at Christmas too...so good excuse for a new toy I reckon!
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Old Jan 31 2022, 06:34 PM   #182
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Figured it was time that I did something about this.



I was getting fed up of having to shove it back into place every other trip.

A tip from someone on another forum suggested that there was likely a spring clip meant to be holding things in place based on their experience on older VWs so I went looking.

Sure enough I found one behind the headlight doing nothing.



Took a bit of figuring out that the spring was actually meant to fit into a groove on the back of the headlight, which has been deformed in this case so it doesn't fit very securely, the bottom edge kept popping out of the groove.



In the above photo you're looking into the hole the indicator would normally be in, the front of the van is towards frame right.

Once I figured out how it was supposed to fit together it didn't take long to get it reassembled.



That's looking at the back of the headlight from inside the engine bay.

I've noted that one side of the plastic peg that the spring hooks over is cracked (which is why it's sitting at a bit of an angle) so it will need to be replaced at some point. Not a big issue as they aren't expensive.

For now though it's properly fixed in place again and doesn't fall out if I brake firmly.



I do have a question though for folks who know these cars/vans better than me.

Does anyone know how the radiator etc should actually be supported? The top of mine is currently secured by cable ties (having previously been hanging by the coolant and AC refrigerant lines) as there is no evidence of any viable means for it to be secured to the underside of the slam panel. I've also completely failed to find photos online of anything which looks like what's in place in my engine bay - not sure if that's just because AC wasn't a common option on the Polo/Caddy back in 2002 or if I'm just useless at internet searches. It's pretty obviously wrong in most cases though as the majority of them only have a position available for a single fan, whereas I've got two. The ones I have seen with dual fans show two which are very different sizes, and a plastic cowling...rather than these two which are pretty similar in size (the offside one is a bit bigger) and a metal cowl of quite a different design. So I'm confused.



I'm guessing that there should be some form of bracket/block/fitting...thing...that secures the radiator to the bolt through the slam panel on both sides.



There isn't a threaded hole or anything on the radiator for that bolt to screw into by the way - I did wonder if it was that simple, but no.

Attempting to trawl Google for anything helpful has proven completely fruitless...and in fact about 70% of the radiators shown don't even have *any* tab/bracket etc at the top corners shown at all. I'm basing this on Polo stuff, as trying to search for Caddy specific things is completely hopeless as the search engine totally ignores 2002 and just spits out a plethora of matches for the current models.

I don't think the radiator can be lifted very much as I think the bottom end (which feels like it's located by pegs rather than bolts given it moves pretty freely vertically) will then lift out of whatever retains it down there...which makes me think that there must be something missing between the slam panel and the top of the radiator. It's one of those situations where I know the solution is probably dead simple, but without a proper diagram of how it all fits together I'm just guessing.

I could pull the bumper off to try to get a better look at things, but with it looking like something is actually missing I don't really know what that would gain me anyway other than being able to see that something is missing...

The only other job I've done today was to replace the headlight bulbs. They looked pretty well done based on the condition of the filament and the new ones do seem a good bit brighter so I think they were due a change. Still not great, but I can actually see they're on in town now which is an improvement.
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Old Feb 1 2022, 07:15 PM   #183
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Looks like we have found the missing bit of radiator hardware.

Link

This definitely looks like it would attach to the radiator - though the space above it looks big enough that there would need to be another spacer of some sort involved too...though that's easier to engineer if needed at least.

You can see the attachment point on the radiator better here.

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Old Feb 4 2022, 06:02 PM   #184
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Noticed that there's a slightly noisy pulley in the aux belt area on the Caddy. It's not bad, but with a long drive coming up at the end of next week I'd rather get it changed as a precaution. The tensioner in particular looks quite rough so that's my prime suspect.



I'm not used to being able to walk into the motor factors and just get parts rather than having to wait several days for things to be ordered in.

Guess this is the upside to owning something made this century!

£130 later and we've got a new belt, tensioner and idler pulley.



I'm not sure which it is that's making the noise so just picked up both. Depending how much of a pig to get things off are I may just change them both for peace of mind.

Just need to figure out how to de-tension the tensioner, as that's going to be a major part of the job I think.

Hoping it's not a major pain of a job to change...it looks *relatively* simple which has me worried!
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Old Feb 5 2022, 01:15 PM   #185
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Okay, that's going to be one of "those" jobs then is it...

Only way to get a spanner (can't be a socket as it's too close to the chassis rail) onto the tensioner to back it off is from underneath, which means I need to get the under tray and wheel arch liner out.

That ain't happening today with how windy it is.

At least the actual bolts holding the tensioner to the engine are pretty easily accessible. However until I've safely restrained the world's strongest spring that's not a lot of use to me.
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Old Feb 10 2022, 11:52 AM   #186
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Have also come up with a temporary solution to the air filter issue. This doesn't look in any way ridiculous...
That's a nice lampshade.
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Old Feb 10 2022, 06:50 PM   #187
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Today was roadtrip time!

Loaded up this morning - reckon we had about 85% of the luggage being taken with us, 100% of the bulky items for certain.



Fuelled up yesterday so didn't need to mess about with it this morning.



Wasn't quite sure if I'd need to stop for fuel en route as I'm usually filling up after about 330 miles of running around. This was the projected mileage for our trip.



Plus 20 or so miles yesterday. With 377 miles showing on arrival at the hotel today we still had 1/4 of a tank showing.



Gauge is actually showing a bit low there as the engine isn't running, it was pretty much spot on the 1/4 mark when I parked up.

Have long said that the first long drive is where you learn a lot about a car and really make judgements on it. It's been a very positive experience to be honest and the only thing I'd really have liked would be cruise control. A few years ago I wouldn't have thought about it, but with the proliferation of average speed cameras and variable speed limits these days I'm always a bit nervous on the motorway - especially in 50mph sections as she really doesn't like sitting at 50. She tends to want to drift up towards around 75 too.

Only thing I think could do with some improvement and there is scope for is noise. There's no meaningful sound deadening on/around the dropped floor in the back so there is quite a lot of road noise. The exhaust does drone quite a bit at speed too, which is largely down to the wheelchair conversion too - it precludes fitting of the usual dear silencer right at the back. So instead it's mounted crosswise forward of the rear axle with essentially a six plus feet long tailpipe, no doubt giving rise to some resonance effects. Not much to do with that, though improving the soundproofing of the floor in general will also help with that.

I reckon I'm probably going to make a false floor to go in the back. This will give the dogs a flat (and less slippery) surface to sit on, greatly bolster the sound deadening, and also give me a useful hidden storage compartment. Making it removable will also make cleaning simpler which is always a consideration with the dogs as passengers.

It's honestly absolutely fine...I just like improving things where I can. See also why I spent so much time messing around with TPA's interior...I think it's a sign I like a car when I start looking at detail jobs like that.
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Old Feb 11 2022, 12:29 PM   #188
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I'd be interested in knowing what your miles per gallon turns out to be on that tank when you fill up... I know that you might be calculating kilometers per liter, but I might be able to find a conversion table.
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Old Feb 12 2022, 01:49 PM   #189
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I'd be interested in knowing what your miles per gallon turns out to be on that tank when you fill up... I know that you might be calculating kilometers per liter, but I might be able to find a conversion table.
Curious myself. I'm expecting mid 40s mpg I think. Though worth noting that that's mpg Imperial - so 4.55 litres to the gallon rather than US gallons which are 3.76 litres.

Driving around locally on normal open 50/60mph roads I think you would get well into the 50s (the SDI engine has always been renowned for being very efficient - why it's still produced for industrial and marine applications), though on the motorway I think that having a box sticking out the back will probably knock economy back a bit.
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Old Feb 16 2022, 09:53 PM   #190
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Sadly all good things have to come to an end, and that meant that on Monday morning we had to pack up and head home after saying our goodbyes. Hopefully this time "See you all next year!" actually means it!





It's been a great weekend and we're all sad to have to turn back to the harsh realities of normal boring day to day life again.

Hard to believe that we have seen our event grow from filling only half of this hotel...



To filling it...to filling it *and* all of the surrounding ones in Livingston which became our constraining factor for a couple of years (though we were seriously struggling for event space too in 2018 and 19), and have now moved here...





The main function room is massive. Max capacity of the one in the old hotel was around 300, this one can hold 800+.



About a third of the room, including the main stage is behind me in that photo. The other huge plus for the AV guys here over our old venue is that they're finally able to properly set up the audio gear. The old function room was a very long, narrow and low room which made setting the audio up an absolute nightmare. Especially given the line arrays really want to be 15-20' up...and the room was only about 10' high. So it was always a huge compromise, trying to get it vaguely right throughout without creating a sonic death ray at any one spot. Now they've got a proper stage and overhead rigging to work with...the difference is staggering. Music actually sounds like music...overall volume levels I reckon were lower, but it felt so much more powerful as it's properly equalised.

Which was especially important given we had a concert on Saturday evening, by Drums & Roses no less. A group I'd had on my "I bet they'd be fun to see" list for years, never expected them to pop up at an event I was already at. The word epic fits. Oh, and loud. Very, very loud...even with earplugs to drop the dB level a bit, my ears were still ringing afterwards.



If you ever get a chance to see them, I thoroughly recommend it.

Being our first year in a new venue it was always going to be a bit nerve wracking, especially with a relatively high energy event moving into a four star hotel like this. The old venue loved us, and essentially handed us the keys on a silver platter and gave us free reign to do whatever we liked - so there was a certain amount of crossing our fingers and hoping everyone played by the rules this year. Especially given everyone here hasn't likely seen everyone else since 2019...

Well it sounds like we made a pretty good impression. Even if we did run the bar out of Tenent's (twice) and Guinness on the Friday evening. They saw takings of over £10K through the weekend in the main bar alone, never mind the restaurant etc. There was only one kerfuffle over the weekend with some people having a massive loud party in one room...which when investigated turned out to be a resident who was nothing to do with our event whatsoever.

Fingers crossed this means they'll welcome us back next year, even if we did confuse the heck out of a lot of their usual customers. Maybe turn the heating down a couple of degrees too, that was my main gripe. The whole building was roasting. Oh, and have the most stupidly laid out and unusably narrow bathtubs known to human kind.

If there could not be a Simply Red and James Blunt concert on next door on two days we're there that would be great too. Though I guess that's what you get in the hotel that's physically attached to the SECC.

For the trip back home we decided to simplify things and just chucked everything in the Caddy. This made things way simpler than trying to work out what would/would not fit in the Audi, especially as the hotel doesn't have a really good loading area. So not having to juggle two cars made life easier.

No bother fitting everything even without any real optimisation.



When we filled up for the trip home I ran the numbers for the trip north, which came back at 46.5MPG. I'm pretty happy with that.

On the return trip though, in spite of having more cargo on board and me emphatically not hanging about she did even better on fuel. Showing a good 1/3 a tank left when we got home...reckon there was a usable 400 mile range there.



Running the numbers when I fuelled up the following morning the figures came back at 50.2mpg, which is really good I reckon for a 20 year old 100K mile van. I was hoping for high 40s but never expected us to break the 50mpg barrier. That equates to 48.4mpg over the whole run both ways.

I'm absolutely staggered by how happy the Caddy is on the motorway. Cruises far more happily than it has any right to.

Long trips do a lot to form your opinions of a car I reckon and this one has definitely made me like this one even more than I already did. Really does drive nicely...and the above photo helps show just how *useful* it is, but without a lot of the baggage that comes with a full size van. Fits under heigh barriers and is no harder to park than any car.

Really think this one might be a proper keeper.

A little distraction to keep me from being too grumpy about the return to the humdrum grey normality of every day life arrived back the morning after we did. Especially as we're isolating ourselves until we've had clear LFT results a full seven days after our return from the event as a precaution.



Inside that case was this brick of a machine.



This is a Compucorp 324G Scientist. A scientific calculator with the ability to record and playback user programs dating from...wait for it...1971. Compucorp were well ahead of the curve on a lot of counts, and I feel are one of the more tragic names to be lost in the huge contraction in the market in the late 70s, they really made some very interesting and ahead of their time machines. This one however is my favourite, and I've been after one for well over twenty years. Until last weekend I've never seen one pop up on eBay UK. One or two a year in the US, but never before seen one over here, so I pounced the moment I spotted it.

Most of the photos of these give precisely zero sense of scale, looking like a slightly bulky calculator. Let's get a hand in shot to correct that assumption. This thing is a beast.



Both in surface area and in depth...



That size isn't due to wasted space either, there are five boards in there (including the keypad) to provide all that functionality.

Sadly this has a few issues. All due to the rechargeable batteries having leaked. The battery compartment in particular was in a right state.



Upon closer inspection there was good news and bad news.

The good news was that the PCBs seem to have survived pretty much unscathed. A little tarnishing on the lower one and a bunch of corrosion on the aluminium block that the backplane is clamped together by, but no eaten traces or anything.



Likewise the high voltage transformer for the display seemed to have survived without any damage I can see.



If that was dead it would probably be the end of the road.

It's really quite well packed in there.



Sadly there was one casualty caused by the corrosion due to the battery leakage, and it's going to be a pain to replace.



There's a little metal tab at each side of the display to provide some bracing, unfortunately that has rusted. In doing do it's pushed the two glass panels apart until the frit seal between them failed.

This is a neon based gas discharge display - the direct forerunner to the neon gas plasma displays used on laptops in the 80s and 90s. A Burroughs Panaplax BR16252 in this case.



Ironically if this was a Nixie display it would be easier to sort probably...while expensive they are (relatively) easy to find. These things comparatively had a short market life and weren't anywhere near as widely used as LED seven segment displays were just around the corner and VFDs were already quite widely used by then. So they're a heck of a lot less common, especially in higher digit counts like the 16 this has. 10-12 digit displays with larger digits are more commonplace and were probably the ones produced for the longest, being a common choice for the score readouts on pinball machines. Sure they were used elsewhere, but aside from calculators and one bit of test equipment I've never seen one in the wild anywhere else.

That one bit of test equipment is a Crypton Motorscope 335...photo below for reference of how they should look when working.





The symbols/letters to the right are just incandescent lamps behind masks, the Panaplax display is just the three digits and +/- indicators.

So finding one of those is going to be a right old challenge. Obviously the calculator is a static exhibit until such point as a new display turns up.

While it was apart I took the opportunity to give the case a good clean which has helped a lot. It's actually in really good shape externally save for a bit of yellowing and tarnishing of the aluminium plate on the underside.









Most I've seen are missing the display filter/shade as the hinge pins for it are really fragile, so nice to see it's intact here.



As a final shot for scale, here it is alongside a normal computer keyboard.



Sadly the one sticker didn't survive the cleaning process despite me being careful. It was so filthy though that full immersion and scrubbing was necessary - water ended up the colour of black tea. The labels though may offer some hints as to where it originally saw use.





Wouldn't have surprised me if this was originally leased rather than bought by the user. These things were Expensive when new. The price at launch in 1971 was $795 - that equates to around £5,500 today. So a pretty serious workstation PC setup - which is a fairly reasonable comparison really.

I do wonder what year the last shop who had "Calculator specialists" as their main claim to fame disappeared...

Afraid there won't be any further updates on this one possibly aside from a final photo with it reunited with the carry case when I've cleaned that up for a while. Time to set up a saved search for that display in the hope a new old stock one turns up in a dusty store room somewhere.

Am I disappointed? A little, as I really like having working exhibits. Still happy to have finally got hold of one though. Does remind me that I still need to properly fault find that Anita 1211...the other Panaplax display equipped calculator I have. That's got a display problem too, but I think that's down to a dodgy driver transistor or three rather than a fault with the panel itself as it's missing segments - however it's the same segments on every digit, so I reckon with how the display is multiplexed that makes the most sense.

This is meant to be showing 1 2 3 4 and so on.



Had hoped to find a schematic (or a component layout diagram which for this job would have been equally useful) for it but haven't had any luck so far so will just have to take a stab at it at some point. Other than that this one does appear to work properly at least.
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Old Feb 17 2022, 03:05 PM   #191
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You're gonna love that machine if you can get it working. I still have ballistics pages for my Henry and Sharps that were worked out on that type of machine that are still usable.
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Old Feb 19 2022, 05:39 PM   #192
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You're gonna love that machine if you can get it working. I still have ballistics pages for my Henry and Sharps that were worked out on that type of machine that are still usable.
Oh it'll work one day. Might take me a while, but I'll get there. I've been after one of these since I learned of their existence in around 1998. Was one of the first really older bits of technology I recall finding properly interesting.

The saved search will be staying active in case a better condition one (or the slightly later model 326 from 1974) turns up.

-- -- --

Wasn't I meant to be rid of things in the garage rather than adding to the clutter?

I appear to have accidentally entirely deliberately added to the collection of tools in there I need to find homes for.

Oops.











Hardly the last word in sophistication and the build quality wouldn't last five minutes in a commercial setting, but it doesn't feel cheap or flimsy so should do just fine for occasional light use. Not a tool I see getting a huge amount of use, but has the potential to be a real time (and frustration) saver occasionally. Sadly horizontal rain meant I didn't have the opportunity to test it out today. For the price it seems absolutely reasonable. My brain still can't quite grasp plasma cutters being something that the average home hobbyist mechanic could even consider owning...in my head they're still massively expensive high tech things only seen in shiny multi million pound professional workshops. Being able to pick one up for £150 new seems like madness.
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Old Feb 21 2022, 12:51 PM   #193
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You really couldn't make this up...

You remember that a few weeks ago I sold on my Mercedes S123? Well this letter dropped through our letterbox yesterday. Personal information obviously removed.







I have precisely zero real interest in getting involved myself unless it's very cheap and looks like it could be a quick fix, MOT and pass on (assuming there's no strangeness about "oh my son has the documents" or the like), but as it's been off the road since 2016 I very much doubt it. Obviously if there's any sort of questions over whether it's theirs to sell I'll be out of there no question in seconds. I've got stuck in the middle of one of those disputes before and I've zero interest in repeating it.

Given the value of these cars if it didn't need major work it would be on the road. Plus they can rust for the country even before you start throwing bespoke made bodywork at them.

I've offered to take an objective look at the car for them and potentially pass the details on to anyone who I think might be interested, hopefully steering them away from Cartakeback etc if they've been considering such things.

I'm pretty much expecting to find a bulkhead made of rust though and 35 years of bodges having been holding various systems together since it fell into private hands...God help us if it's ever been a wedding car...

-- -- --

In more normal fleet news, these finally arrived for the Caddy. Actually arrived the morning we set off for Glasgow, but I was understandably focused on other matters at the time and just remembered the box was sitting by the front door this morning.



These are the top mounting blocks for the radiator. Odd setup, but they locate into the top of the radiator and a bolt then runs down through the slam panel into the well on the top of the block, trapping the radiator. It's all a bit odd and I imagine is designed with deformation in mind for crash safety. The blocks in this case we're both long gone and the radiator was floating around held in only by the pipework.

With it properly mounted you can see how far it had dropped back.

The top radiator hose was previously rubbing on the fan shroud. You can see the shiny patch where it was sitting against before.





Good couple of inches clearance now.

On the other side the shroud had cut a deep gouge into this air conditioning line.



Over an inch clearance there now too.

I'm not 100% convinced it's going to stay put so I'll need to keep an eye on it. Whole setup just feels a bit flimsy to me. Though I guess there is just an element of modern car design there,

This is how they sit once in place with the bolt tightened down.



Just looks like something is missing to me!
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Old Feb 21 2022, 02:18 PM   #194
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

"Diplomatic Limo?" Sounds like a made up title to add extra to the price. Or maybe not. Even in the picture it looked like there could be some rust spots even in plain view, which might lead to more where you can't see it.
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Old Feb 24 2022, 07:32 AM   #195
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"Diplomatic Limo?" Sounds like a made up title to add extra to the price. Or maybe not. Even in the picture it looked like there could be some rust spots even in plain view, which might lead to more where you can't see it.
These were actually an official model variant made by the factory. Probably worth less on the used market than an equivalent standard car though given they're going to appeal to a smaller market. One of those cases where rarity doesn't necessarily mean valuable.

-- -- --

Yesterday I had arranged to take a look at that W123 limo for the owner. I was offering nothing beyond an impartial and to my knowledge realistic appraisal.

My initial reaction on pulling up was "Oh she's crusty."







Though after a bit of a walk round and a bit of a crawl around underneath I've realised she's far less of a lost cause than I initially thought. Let's list the grot.

I Had Concerns about the bulkhead on account of this given the tendency it has to dissolve.



Given the state of the screen surround I was expecting to find that I could poke holes straight through into the cabin. However much to my surprise it looks to be sound, both sides. No amount of poking or prodding resulted in that sickening "scrunch" any owner of cars this age have come to dread.

Offside:



Nearside:



I was really surprised about that. I've seen really tidy looking 123s with holes in there. I did peel quite a bit of the crusty seam sealer off on the nearside and the metal under it was still solid.

Bottom of both B pillars is shot.



Probably the most difficult MOT relevant repair on the car just due to the amount of interior you'll need to remove to make sure it doesn't catch fire.

Offside outer sill needs some love around the rear jacking point.



I suspect that hole will be a lot bigger before sound metal is found, especially running up into the rear quarter, though it felt more solid than I'd expected.

Floorpan seems absolutely fine, couldn't see anything crusty around the suspension mounts etc, underside looks astonishingly fresh aside from one bit on the bottom of the spare wheel well.



I did notice this odd looking panel behind the offside rear wheel. Possibly an old repair? It seems solid enough though.



Both inner front arches need some remedial work, though I wasn't able to poke any holes by hand - I'll make sure I have an MOT tester sized hammer next time. Not really the worst job to fix as there's not much in the way save for a bit of wiring. Keep in mind the wings are bolted on so they can come off to improve access.

Offside:



Nearside:



Contrary to those crunchy bits the bodywork does have a few things going for it.

They often seem to go around the fuel filler flap, that's spotless on this car.



I thought there might be a hole in the rear pillar where that trim had come away, but it's the fastener itself that has rusted away. Though the surface rust there obviously needs catching before it gets deeper.



Rear screen surround where I've seen quite a few of these go is spotless.



I *haven't* had the boot open yet as the lock is jammed, and I didn't have good access to mess with it as she's parked about an inch from the car behind. We'll come back to that.

Oh, and there's the all important flag pole socket.



Wheel arches in 3/4 cases seem to be surprisingly free of the almost standard rust around them on unrestored cars. Only one that's really crispy is the nearside rear.



The engine bay is generally grubby but very free of apparent bodgery. Given the fun and games I had with someone having historically messed with the vacuum system in mine this was nice to see.



Radiator still had spotless green coolant in. Oil needs a change and smells a bit fuelly but I've seen worse. You remember the mess under the rocker cover on my S123? Take a look at this for a contrast.



How clean is that for a 39 year old 115K mile engine?

ATF is spotlessly clean too.

I wanted to spin the engine over to see if it would build oil pressure (hence the jump leads in the earlier photos). She only went and started!...and immediately started peeing fuel out of a perished line on the side of the carb. Fair enough, I hadn't been planning on engine running tests so hadn't checked anything like that. No knocking or anything even the moment it fired, and the oil pressure gauge pinged up to max immediately as we would expect. However we also had it immediately shown that the exhaust doesn't appear to be connected to the engine. She definitely seems to want to live though.

Can't believe the carb was working well enough for her to fire up and that the fuel pump wasn't totally gummed up. The carb is huge by the way. Don't have a photo of it, but it's a stinking great four barrel job that's wider than my hand of the sort of size I'm more used to seeing on huge great American V8s. I guess one thing in our favour is that she was laid up before ethanol was in all fuels...I suspect if it had been a year or two later we'd have got nowhere near as far as this.

Now the really, really sad bit though which could scupper everything.

Can you see the problem here?



Look closer.



Yep. The reason this car came off the road originally is that some lowlife nicked it to break for parts. The car was recovered before they got far through stripping anything, having only taken the seats apart in the back. However they made a huge mess getting into the steering lock.

They also smashed one of the limo specific windows.





Though as you can see, by some miracle the owner managed to get hold of a replacement. If I don't do anything else I'll get that installed to get the car weatherproof again.

I think that film has actually been doing a good job of keeping the weather out until the winds last weekend as the upholstery is in fine shape and there was only a little bit of water in the footwell, no rust or mould which would point at long term damp issues.

While it's in bits all of the rear seating is there i think so just needs bolting back together.

This car definitely has lived an easy life until the last few years, there's very little sign of wear and tear inside.



Really nice seeing original touches like this still present.



Granted she is barely run in.



Yes, the thieving scum who stole it managed to smash the face of the instrument cluster as well while they were making a total hash of breaking the steering lock, adding to the list of replacement bits needed.

Being an earlier one than mine the centre console doesn't have the veneer.



Yes, I want to know what the green switch does too. Guessing it's for the auxiliary cooling fan.

The air conditioning definitely still has gas in, though I'm sure it will need to be recharged - and I'll bet this is still running R22 (or maybe even R12!) so will need to be converted. On the "plus" side, the dash needs to come out anyway...

That dash damage is a big problem, probably *the* problem really. Mechanical parts are generally not too bad to get hold of for 123s for the most part. However bits of trim and the like are eye-wateringly expensive. So finding another full dash moulding, in the right colour is likely to cost a packet. Plus it's also (and I have pulled one of these apart in a scrap yard to get the heater box out) an absolutely HORRIBLE job to get the dash out of one of these. Merc went to great lengths to try to make sure things didn't creak, rattle etc and they didn't envisage it ever needing to come apart in the life of the car. So it's Not A Fun Job. It took me a whole afternoon, and that was in a car which had been rolled and where I didn't care about breaking things. Getting it out without damaging bits of the rest of the interior (I think I ended up kicking the windscreen out) and then getting things back together without breaking anything will be a nightmare.

So my assessment of what she needs sorting for an MOT.

[] OSR outer sill holed.

[] Both B pillars holed at the base.

[] Both inner arches corroded near enough to the shock towers to be a fail.

[] Tyres are perished.

[] Handbrake has been on since 2016...Plan on overhauling the whole brake system.

[] Exhaust rear downpipe is missing about a foot of pipe between the downpipe and collector.

[] Fuel leak at carb.

[] The MOT history mentions issues with the wipers...so given they're sitting halfway up the screen figure that needs to be rebuilt.

[] Attack the dash with a hammer and enough duct tape to get rid of all the sharp edges.

[] New front reg plate as it's delaminated.

Additional you'd want to do:

[] Rust around windscreen surround needs sorted.

[] Nearside rear wheel arch is crusty.

[] Bootlid currently doesn't open.

[] A million vacuum lines no doubt need changing.

[] Goodness only knows what electrical systems work/don't.

I'm going to arrange to visit again with more time and some tools. My target then will be simple:

[] Sort the fuel leak so we can run the engine for more than 20 seconds. That should allow us to do a test on what systems on the car work and don't. Should hopefully also allow us to move it forward so I can have a bash at getting into the boot and to move it out from the fence so I can see the nearside properly. Oh, and see if the SLS works, or is going to flood the driveway with hydraulic fluid.

[] Install the replacement rear window to get the car weatherproof again.

So yeah...bit of a mixed bag. She can definitely be saved, not a hopeless spares only job. However there's an alarming amount of hours work needed there. If you're looking at it pragmatically you'd absolutely break it for spares as that will no doubt be worth several times what the car is in running order. I could be wrong, but I imagine it's probably actually worth less than a normal W123 250E would be because the limo is going to appeal to a smaller audience.

There's nothing I found today that's specifically a show stopper, probably the biggest headache is actually the damage to the dash.

I don't know. If I had no other projects on the go I actually would have been tempted to give it a shot. As it stands though, I do...I already have the Cavalier incoming and really want to reduce the fleet size by one. Time aside this could be a fair money pit too...full set of brakes, tyres, front exhaust, dash, I could see a parts bill easily into four figures.

I think it's just too much of a project for me to be taking on on my own. Aside from the fact it's six metres long!

At the very least we can hopefully get it weatherproof, secure and movable in the short term.

Will probably offer to give it a wash too as getting rid of the moss and pumping the tyres up properly would make the car look a lot less sad.
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Old Feb 24 2022, 11:03 AM   #196
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

Rather interesting car. Knowing you, at this point I'll just say good luck in passing up making an offer on it.
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Old Feb 24 2022, 11:20 AM   #197
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I will second this.

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Rather interesting car. Knowing you, at this point I'll just say good luck in passing up making an offer on it.
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Old Feb 24 2022, 11:35 AM   #198
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I will second this.
Bwahahahaha! Zel's too much of a gearhead to be able to easily "Just say no" to the chance to own such an interesting car. I'll make a mental bet with you that if he sells one or more of his existing stock he will at least make an offer.

I say "mental bet" because that way I can't lose any money, just my mind.
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Old Feb 24 2022, 02:59 PM   #199
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Default Re: Zel's Automotive Antics & Occasional Distractions.

I'm a bit of a petrolhead, I'm always drawn to the unusual, and I'm an absolute sucker for trying to give what should really be a lost cause a second chance.

See exhibit A when she arrived on my driveway in mid 2018.





Missing small details like, you know...the engine or gearbox too. Fast forward to a month or so back and rapidly heading towards 3000 miles covered since her revival.



As for the limo, I've not 100% dismissed it, but it's unlikely.

I reckon to get the car into a state in which it could pass the MOT as roadworthy will be probably somewhere in the region on 150-200 hours of work. Though that's very much a spitballed figure and it wouldn't take the discovery of much unexpected grot to double that. It's not going to be a cheap project either. Just back of the napkin maths...

[] Tyres - £400.
[] Body repair panels - £200.
[] Welding supplies - £100.
[] Brake discs & pads - £200 (double that if the calipers are stuffed).
[] Exhaust - £400.
[] Fuel lines - £30.
[] Battery - £80.
[] Dashboard - £300.
[] Instrument panel - £100.
[] Ignition barrel & key set - £150.
[] Probably another £200 worth of "misc" easily.

So that's £2100 and change straight off the top of my head. Realistically at the end of the day it's never going to be worth more than ~70% of what an equivilant standard saloon would be. So you're probably looking at a car that at the end of the day is worth somewhere in the region I reckon of £5K. Don't think it's impossible to make double that in parts of you were to break it. It makes zero sense to try to save it...so of course that just makes me all the more determined to do what I can to save it.

It would also mean a complete drop of my planned project for this year and starting over. The BX would need to be rehomed sharpish and I'd need to abandon the planned restoration project on the Cavalier. Which I'm already feeling guilty for not having managed to arrange delivery of yet.

It's a tricky one as it's a very *interesting* car, which is right up my street. However there's no room at the inn and I need to keep very much in mind that it could wind up being a completely ungrateful money pit.

Last edited by Zelandeth; Feb 24 2022 at 06:20 PM.
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Old Mar 10 2022, 08:19 PM   #200
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It looks like we've come to the end of the road with this V123. Simply because the current owner is looking for around £1500 for it. I don't doubt for a second that on the open market someone will probably have their arm off at that price to break it for parts as it's worth a lot more than that in bits. However I made it quite clear what I was willing to get into this for, and dropping another grand on top of that just wasn't going to happen.

We're still on amicable terms though. I fully understand that this situation with the car being vandalised has left them way out of pocket and they need to try to recoup at least some of their costs. I just can't justify spending that much. I'm grateful they took the time to contact me and let me spend a few hours crawling over it. They're grateful I've given them a bit of an insight into the reality of the situation with it. I got to do one of my favourite bits though, and that's actually breathing life back into something that everyone assumed was a completely lifeless hulk. At the very least they now know that with a jump start she will start and drive onto a trailer just fine.

I had been planning to take a better look at it last week, but with the weather being so dismal I only dived over very briefly the one day to get the replacement window installed and to do a real quick stock take to confirm that all the bits of the forward rear seating row were there.

Fasteners scattered all over the floor and one support needs a whack with a hammer to get it back into shape, but yes everything was there.



Looks a mess there, but I could absolutely transform that in a couple of hours. That rear seat is so, so comfy. Given we as a family actually do quite often want to transport four adults plus luggage and occasionally two dogs, especially on holiday runs the layout could actually be really well suited to our needs...for all I initially looked at the car and thought "what on earth would I do with that?!?" It's not unusably large either - being well over a metre shorter than the camper, which I quite happily used as a daily driver for a period last year when the S123 had an engine in bits and the Jag lacked a charging system. If you're not comfortable driving bigger things, yes it's one to avoid. I'm not bothered about that though so reckon I could use it daily no bother. Guess that's the difference with it being a factory built car designed to transport people in the real world rather than movie stars from one glitzy hotel with a purpose built collection point to another. In actual car terms, it's a smidge over 10cm longer than a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow/Spirit. I've done plenty of miles behind the wheel of one of those, so it doesn't put me off.

I returned today to take a closer look at it. I wanted to get the engine running long enough to get some heat into it and make a proper list of what worked and what didn't, and see if we could move it away from the fence to get a better look at the nearside. Oh, and to attack the crusty bits with some violence to see how much bigger I could make the holes.

The inner arches under the bonnet were pretty much exactly as they looked. I was able to punch a pinhole in the offside one in one spot, the nearside didn't go through but they both want that bit cut out and new metal let in as it's obviously thin. There's nothing in the way though save for needing to cut a few cable ties to get the wiring loom out the way. I'm calling that about a 1.5 out of 10 on the difficulty to fix scale.

The bit of most concern was obviously the B pillar. I was kind of expecting a substantial portion of the surrounding metalwork to vanish and to find myself staring into the void where the inner sill used to be. I was quite surprised that I only poked one hole in the actual sill structure and peering through there with a torch showed everything in there to look fine. So while it's still quite an involved repair it doesn't seem to be as drastic as I was honestly expecting. I was kind of expecting to end up going halfway along both door apertures.

The camera always makes rust look way more dramatic than it does in person.



Don't get me wrong, it's bad...but not nearly as catastrophic as it might have been.

The hole by the rest jacking point was pretty much exactly as expected. Not the worst I've seen by a long shot.



Pretty standard "old car rust" there I think. Unlike the B pillar though repair panels for the sills are readily available.

Same spot on the nearside isn't nearly as bad, though I was able to punch a tiny hole right next to the jacking point tube so it'll want a repair in the same place.



That slightly wider shot shows what the underside looks like though. There's a bit of rust around one of the bungs (again it resisted being bludgeoned by a screwdriver) but by and large the underbody protection seems to have done a pretty good job.



The nearside I originally thought needed the same repair to the bottom of the B pillar from what I could see when trying to view it sandwiched up against the fence, but it turns out there's not actually a hole there. Was a lot of flaky stuff along the seam (which is obviously the offending water trap), but despite getting quite aggressive I didn't manage to poke any holes in it.



A little more grot was found along the edge of the boot closure on the one side, so that'll explain where the water that's rotted out the boot floor came from.



Fiddly but not unexpected as they often go there.

I was worried spotting this in the nearside front wheel arch, but after some digging it honestly does just seem to be the seam sealer having got to that age where it starts failing.



I knew the offside had a repair done here for a previous MOT...not thrilled by that so a good session with the flap disc would definitely be in the future of this corner. I'd be budgeting on cutting this out and redoing it.



Mechanically given the car was running and driving fine when the break-in happened I had no reason to expect any issues - but that *was* in 2016.

Having it idling like this with precisely zero work beyond reattaching one fuel hose which had been dislodged wasn't expected.

https://youtu.be/e9AamEkV6wo

That's on six plus year old fuel, not touched the carb, and started first touch today.

Speaking of the carb, this thing seems somewhat overkill for a 2.5 litre engine. Hard to convey as there's nothing really for scale in the photo. It's a big old beast though.



She sounds a bit rough there because the exhaust has been damaged, I'm guessing from the looks of things from when the thieves dropped it off the truck they carted it off on, as the whole system has been pulled back by a couple of inches - which also has mangled the rear valance.



The pipe leading to the rear manifold has pulled out of a slip joint, the forward one however is responsible for the racket.



Yep, that would do it!

Despite the noise she's running beautifully smoothly, throttle response is instant and showing zero smoke or anything. Which also meant I was able to confirm we had drive. Smoothly engaging gear, and even more surprisingly given the handbrake has been on since it was parked up, after a brief blip of throttle the brakes freed off - and then also worked. Not much you can really test on a driveway but definitely seems like a good start.

At the very least that will make loading it when it comes to move easier.

Aside from the windscreen wipers everything (including the electric radio antenna) seemed to work - though I didn't try the windows as that seemed like tempting fate.

This is where we part ways though. I'm sure a lot of parts from this car will see further service on other 123s, but if they're wanting that sort of money for it I really can't see anyone taking it on as a project. Even if they delivered it to my doorstep for free it still wouldn't make sense anyway!

Does now mean that the V123 is very much on my radar as something to possibly consider in the future though. So even though it looks like this one will be going elsewhere another may pop up here one day.

Which I'm okay with to be honest. If that one had *just* the damage from the break in, the rust or had been sitting since 2016 I'd be happy enough to just dive in...but having all of those things against it really does make it more of a project than I wanted to get into this year. Especially as I've already got one lined up. The Cavalier is probably more conventional content for these threads I think...

It's been a fun little diversion though and I've enjoyed my brief encounter with it. I think we've come to the right outcome at the end of the day.
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