Today I mostly .....

Any topics of general interest (not lada related), post them here.
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Zelandeth
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:19 pm

Well...This is now in my garage!

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First order of business today (given that I couldn't really do much yesterday thanks to the weather!) was to attack it with the pressure washer. It was filthy.

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I don't usually use the rotary nozzle attachment for the pressure washer on cars as it tends to remove paint as well as dirt...however it seemed the ideal tool for the job here!

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Also, here's the shot of a logo that you'd not really expect to find on something like this!

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Yesterday I did get a couple of things done though despite the rain. Mostly just checking things over. Firstly was proving that the engine did indeed turn over freely by hand. I also checked the oil, finding there to be far too much in the crankcase I drained that off and refilled with new...Goodness knows how long it had been in there.

Hoping that tomorrow I'll have the opportunity to do a bit of electrical detective work to figure out how the Dynastart works and see if I can get the engine to turn over - and maybe even run! Wish me luck...
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Tom. » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:24 pm

Wow! you've got your work cut out there. :shock:

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:47 pm

The biggest challenge really is just going to be sorting the body I reckon. Beyond that it should be a pretty straightforward recommissioning job really. The damage to the floor looks spectacular - but the panel is actually just riveted in place and appears to be totally non-structural. So really no big headache. The chassis itself I've found to be sound so far. There is a bit of remedial work needed to the front crash structure, but the chassis itself seems sound.

Keeping my eyes open for either finding donor body sections that I could repair (it's in three sections), though that's probably not likely to happen as there are already more rolling chassis out there than bodies, or looking at creating moulds from a complete car to actually make new panels. More likely than not that's the route I'll need to take.

Otherwise this isn't actually too bad a candidate as everything is there - including quite a lot of the harder to find bits. Plus it's actually been running relatively recently, unlike quite a few which haven't turned a wheel in 20+ years.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:42 pm

So a quick update on where I've got to with the Invacar so far.

The day following the cleaning that's shown earlier I set about sorting out some of the horrendous hackery that the wiring had been subjected to. Thankfully I've got the manual and it contains a nice detailed wiring diagram that's laid out sensibly - so it wasn't a hard job to track down which wires I needed to reconnect to make the engine actually run.

Apparently a lot of this happened to isolate a short years in the past - though I couldn't find any evidence of this - the only possible contender was one connection onto the combined voltage regulator and Dynastart control box where the wire had come adrift and was wedged against the chassis.

Having reconnected everything I thought I needed to, turning on the ignition brought the first signs of life to the dash in that the oil pressure light lit up (green, as per quite a lot of cars in the 60s/70s).

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It also revealed that the engine would spin over on the Dynastart - even though at this stage it became quite clear that I needed to invest in some actual battery terminals.

With those attached, sticking a highly technically measured splash of fuel down the carb throat and cranking the engine over would make it fire and run for a few seconds - but that was it. It was definitely a sign of life though...



It quickly became apparent that the fuel pump wasn't living up to the name.

Stripping it down quickly revealed why - the pushrod was seized.

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Dousing this with penetrating oil and exercising it (read: whacking it with a hammer) quickly got it moving freely again. Upon reassembly it quite happily pumped fuel - however unfortunately it was pumping as much of it straight out of the cover plate and all over the offside exhaust downpipe as it was into the carb. Off it came again, was cleaned up to within an inch of its life, and reassembled with a tiny smear of instant gasket. Sorted. It'll need a new proper paper gasket before the car actually goes back into regular use - but it'll do for now.

Having the engine now capable of running for more than five seconds at a time meant I could investigate the apparently dead charging system (the light on the dash wasn't working) - though actually checking with a decent meter rather revealed a healthy 13.6V across the battery at idle...so it is working fine, just the light isn't. That appears to be due to a break in the wiring between the instrument panel and the Dynastart control box - as I've got 12V on what should be the earthy side of the lamp at the dash - but by the time that wire gets to the control box (brown with a yellow trace, in case you wondered which wire!) it's at 0V...so that wire must be broken somewhere. It's been added to the "to investigate later" list. I really wanted to make sure that was working before running the engine for any length of time though, as the Dynastart unit can be damaged if it's run with the charging system unloaded for any length of time.

This meant that we could run the engine essentially as long as we needed though...so there was an obvious test to do...now we knew the engine ran, did the drive system work?



It was quite obvious that the carb wasn't happy with life - hence the backfiring and carrying on whenever the throttle was applied quickly or the engine was put under load. This really wasn't surprising as I'd not so much as looked at the carb at this point. The accelerator jet seems to have rejoined the party since then. The throttle was also sticking a bit there causing the idle to be too high - which is why there was some horrible grinding of gears as it was making the (centrifugal) clutch drag.

What did become very apparent though was that once the engine started to warm up properly was that we had a severe smoking problem!

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You know it's bad when it even shows up in the photos. I had my suspicions however that this would be short lived. The exhaust had clearly been nigh on drowned with penetrating oil when it was last removed, and the engine had been left with more than twice the correct amount of oil in when it was laid up - so I'm sure that had found its way into places it shouldn't. Sure enough, having cleaned out the crankcase breather and left the engine set to a fast idle for a while the smoke dissipated - and the first time I touched the throttle after that the now-not-full-of-oil exhaust decided to shed about 20 years of soot.

The only other thing of note I've done since has been to attack the utterly rotten floor. It's about 85% out at this stage - the only bit left is the bit I couldn't easily get at from above with the grinder because the gear selector is in the way.

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The fasteners for this are well and truly stuck in place...so I'll either get at this area from underneath or just hack the fasteners off with the grinder. I've got a spare gear selector in a box which is in far better condition than this one, so I'm not too worried about getting it out in one piece.

Didn't clean up too badly actually...

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It would have been downright miraculous if the chassis didn't require some repair work once the floor was removed given the state it was in. There are indeed a few bits where I'll need to weld in some new metal - but given it's been rotting in a field since the early 1990s I think you'll agree that it's astonishing how good condition the metalwork there is in. I shudder to think what state most cars from 1975 would be in if they'd been left in a field (with no doors on!) since then...

Next up will be:

[] Remove the remaining floor.
[] Weld up the bits that need it.
[] Start sorting out the brakes.
[] Start piecing together the rest of the wiring.

Doing both of the above *before* I put the new floor in as it will make routing piping or cabling a heck of a lot easier.

Really been enjoying it so far. It's been working out well as something that I can just go out and spend an hour or so on in the evenings, and is pleasingly over-engineered for what it's really intended to be.

410kgs unladen - and 90% of that must be the chassis and engine - so I seriously doubt they're anywhere near as unstable as legend has it. Biggest challenge most likely will simply be down to sheer lack of weight and contact area of that single skinny front tyre at speed. I'm not planning on trying to break any speed records in it though!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:48 pm

Started out by swearing at the AC. It stubbornly refused to run on both cylinders. This situation continued until I pulled the flooded plug out of the offside cylinder and attacked it with the blowtorch.

While investigating that I did discover why the idle has been so erratic though. The cable hadn't been trimmed after it was fitted and was too long. The untrimmed end had twisted back and was acting as a spring pushing the throttle back open a bit. Trimming that resolved that, so the idle is now stable for the first time.

While I was waiting for the spark plugs to cook, I attacked the exhaust with some black VHT paint I found while looking for the blowtorch. Pointless but satisfying.

Next task was changing the stuffed brake master cylinder.

Didn't bother trying to get the bolts out, just attacked them with the grinder as they were easily accessible. It did take me about half an hour of standing on my head and swearing at it to get the split pin out of the pushrod to handlebar link...made far more awkward by the fact the car currently has no floor. Aside from that though that task was simple enough. Glad to report that my NOS (but having sat in a box for 20 years) cylinder appears to be fine. I've only bled things through to the first pipe union so far though as there are currently no shoes in the drums.

Tomorrow hoping to rebuild the drums, then see what's going to move and what's not. Then can order new wheel cylinders if needed. Even if one brake will work though it will make life easier as it'll make moving the thing less unnerving.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Neil Chowney » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:26 pm

Zelandeth wrote:Started out by swearing at the AC. It stubbornly refused to run on both cylinders. This situation continued until I pulled the flooded plug out of the offside cylinder and attacked it with the blowtorch.

While investigating that I did discover why the idle has been so erratic though. The cable hadn't been trimmed after it was fitted and was too long. The untrimmed end had twisted back and was acting as a spring pushing the throttle back open a bit. Trimming that resolved that, so the idle is now stable for the first time.

While I was waiting for the spark plugs to cook, I attacked the exhaust with some black VHT paint I found while looking for the blowtorch. Pointless but satisfying.

Next task was changing the stuffed brake master cylinder.

Didn't bother trying to get the bolts out, just attacked them with the grinder as they were easily accessible. It did take me about half an hour of standing on my head and swearing at it to get the split pin out of the pushrod to handlebar link...made far more awkward by the fact the car currently has no floor. Aside from that though that task was simple enough. Glad to report that my NOS (but having sat in a box for 20 years) cylinder appears to be fine. I've only bled things through to the first pipe union so far though as there are currently no shoes in the drums.

Tomorrow hoping to rebuild the drums, then see what's going to move and what's not. Then can order new wheel cylinders if needed. Even if one brake will work though it will make life easier as it'll make moving the thing less unnerving.


Hang on, what???

......Nitrous Oxide in an invalid carriage?????

You'll be getting a stiff letter from the local Motability you will...... :D
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:28 pm

Neil Chowney wrote:
Hang on, what???

......Nitrous Oxide in an invalid carriage?????

You'll be getting a stiff letter from the local Motability you will...... :D


Nearly made me inhale my coffee there, you did! You know full well what I meant! Sticking Nitrous on one of these things would be a quick way to kill yourself unless you'd implemented some way to brake the rear wheels independently to steer. There's little enough weight on the nose as it is, thing would probably wheelie of you stuck that much power through the rear wheels. Assuming it didn't just shred the drive unit anyway...

Today I mostly continued putting the Invacar's brakes back together...

Rear ones are fluffing awkward. The usual trick is to fit the shorter and stronger return spring to the shoes before you fit them to the backplate. You can't do that here because the spring physically does not fit through the space between the hub and the brake adjuster at the bottom or wheel cylinder at the top. You *have* to attach the springs to the second shoe actually on the car.

There's a very specific order that you have to do things in to achieve this and it's a bit of a three dimensional logic puzzle, but it's really not too difficult. Fiddly and requiring patience yes, difficult, not so much.

The front is slightly easier because you can *just* squeeze the shorter of the two springs through the gap between the adjuster and the hub provided you have a suitable implement to convince it that it really will fit through the gap. The rear wheels have a far larger hub flange though so that only works on the front.

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It should be noted that I've not cleaned up the backplates or greased any of the sliding surfaces etc here. I'm fully expecting to have to take this all apart again to replace the wheel cylinders, but I figured for the sake of an hour I'd give them a chance to prove themselves good first.

Had to stop after two wheels though as it turned out that I'm missing a return spring and both the shoe retaining clips for the third and final wheel. This is highly annoying as I know we picked them up when we got the car - so they've escaped in transit somewhere. Not hard to source, just annoying.

I decided we could at least see if what we had would work though, so clamped off the brake hose to the remaining wheel and set about bleeding the system for the other two. Nearside rear bled through just fine - what came out looked precisely what you would expect 43 year old brake fluid to look like (ewww...). However as soon as I closed that bleed screw and tried to start on the front, play was stopped by the sound of a pipe failing. The metal one to the nearside rear had decided to let go just before the flexi to the axle. Not entirely unexpected really as I knew it was going to have to be changed, but annoying nevertheless. Time to bust out the flaring kit and figure out where the 20m reel of brake pipe I know is in the garage somewhere has got to.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Andrew353w » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:50 pm

That stub axle reminds me of my Reliant Robin from many years ago......
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:48 pm

Andrew353w wrote:That stub axle reminds me of my Reliant Robin from many years ago......


Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if it was the same part.

With the exception of the chassis, some of the specialist controls and the bodywork itself, pretty much everything about this vehicle has originated from someone else's parts bin. BMC are well represented throughout, the braking system is all Girling (same 7" drums as used on Reliants I believe), Smith's gauges, Lucas bits of electrical stuff, engine bought off the shelf from Steyer-Puch, and back axle from a Fiat 126...it's a Parts Bin Special really!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:06 pm

Today I mostly...

...Well actually did a bunch of stuff around the house and went grocery shopping...but that's not what you lot are interested in.

So had an hour to do car stuff. First up was relocating my battery which I discovered I had in the wrong place. This proved problematic however in that I appear to be missing a battery bracket. Currently awaiting feedback from some other Model 70 owners so I know what I'm looking for and whether I'd be just as well fabricating something.

Then had a shot at getting the knackered rigid brake lines off, only to discover that the fasteners are an imperial size that I don't (yet) have a spanner to fit. So that can wait until next week.

Determined to tick at least something off the list, instead I turned my attention to the hole in the dash which was making my teeth itch every time I looked at it - so spent half an hour fighting a replacement off the spare dash...and refitted the windscreen washer control.

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Which after another ten minutes of standing on my head, would do this on command.

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In hindsight, I would have saved myself a lot of time (and screenwash to the face) if I'd been smart and attached the pipes to the pump *before* I screwd it to the back of the dash.

Tiny detail really in the grand scheme of things, but it did need to be fixed before the MOT, so it's one more thing off the list.

...and I no longer have a hole in the dashboard, which let's face it is actually the most important thing!

Plan for this weekend I think is to get the indicator/light/horn stalk transferred over from the spare handlebar assembly. Once that's transferred over that *should* mean that there will no longer be any dangling cut wiring actually inside the car, which will be a nice milestone. Also means I'll be actually able to start properly testing out some of the other wiring - as all the power to the lighting and indicator circuits pass through that switch, so at the moment I can't do any testing on those circuits.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Geoff Stainer » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:35 pm

LOL I've done it as well, only a few days ago as it happens, but in my case it was worse, it wasn't my face I it--------it was the wife's. I was :lol: She was :x My ears were :shock:
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:01 pm

Had a dig around through my old toolbox of junk today and located a handful of imperial spanners. Also dumped about 2/3rds of a toolbox of cheaper and nastier copies of tools that I've since replaced with better versions...so this toolbox will officially now be the imperial toolbox so I don't wind up mixing everything up and getting hopelessly confused.

Today I had two tasks in mind. Firstly was to get the indicator stalk assembly off the spare handlebars. This involved getting the drill out to drill out the one screw that someone had rounded the head off of some time in the distant past. Then allowing me to get at it to unscrew the remains.

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This pair of adjustable grips is a standard piece of the Saab 900 toolkit, and is one of the most used tools in my toolbox.

I am however going to need to do some repairs to this before I can fit it, as there are several broken wires, which are going to be at best fiddly to sort...Waiting to find out what car the stalk assembly is shared with, as it a replacement is readily and cheaply available I may just opt for that.

Next task was to get the rigid brake lines off. Having the correct sized spanners made this a much more approachable task. This is one of those areas where the quality of fasteners etc that have generally been used on this thing really shows. Every single union came undone without any drama, any stripped heads or anything. The only slight casualty was the bracket the rear T joint body is attached to the chassis by is now slightly bent.

Here's what came off...

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I did cut the main front-rear section in half just to make the job simpler, as I had perfect access to do that with the floor currently out.

...The final bit of the front-rear section is actually hanging on the master cylinder, I forgot to pick it back up for the photo.

The only bits I've left be are the first pipe from the master cylinder to the first union, and the pipe that goes from the rear flexi to the rear wheel cylinders, as they look fine. The one to the front flexi would have been fine too if some idiot (that would be me) hadn't nicked it with the grinder when cutting the master cylinder bolts off. Oops.

Will be having a closer look at the rear wheel sections before I make a final choice on whether they come off too though as I'm not taking chances with this - especially as I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating...You don't take chances with a single circuit braking system as they don't take prisoners if things go wrong.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:51 am

So what did I do yesterday then...Other than knocking a whole heap of stuff over in the back of the garage when I drove back in there. I was expecting the usual battle to get over the threshold, but today the AC decided to take it in its stride, and propel me straight into the stuff piled at the back of the garage. At all of about 2mph, so no harm done! I really do need to finish the brakes though! On the other hand, it really does show how much better it's actually running.

Based on the level of zippiness that was available when I was backing out of the garage (willing to be a bit more circumspect there as it's uphill), this thing really isn't going to hang about.

I decided that it was time to make sense of the spaghetti on the front bulkhead given that I'd established that I could get continuity through the reattached indicator stalk assembly by hitting it (I've got a new one on the way).

Did what I really should have done ages ago, and sat down (well, crouched on the nearside chassis outrigger...) with the wiring diagram and labelled everything. Couple of differences to the stock wiring diagram, but it's easy enough to figure out by process of elimination after a while. The sidelight circuit is red with a green trace (diagram says solid red), and the brake light switch supply is white with a light green trace (diagram says solid green). The fact that red, brown and purple traces on green wires have all faded to white also means you need to dig back into the loom tape in a few places to determine what colour it's actually trying to be.

This is starting to look a bit less electrically intimidating now...

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Real progress came about ten minutes later though when insulated female spade terminals were applied to all the hot feeds and I could start connecting some of the actual equipment up.

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That's a working side, dip and main beam circuit (sides are very touchy as unsurprisingly the switch is a bit dodgy - they were terrible even before it was left open to the elements for years).

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Plus the dimmest main beam indicator in the history of the world. Astonished the light in the fuel gauge works...sadly the unit itself is knackered. Nothing from the speedometer because it turns out someone has nicked the bulb. At least that they've just taken out rather than cutting the wires off like everything else!

Have also confirmed with the meter that I've got power getting to at least the nearside indicator circuit.

The hiding flasher unit was later found (hiding in a WD40 cap!), and would you believe it...it actually works.

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...Never would have expected it to given the state it's in. I'll get some sandpaper on the terminals before it gets put back into the car. Has tested good on the bench though, tick-pinging away switching a 55W headlight bulb quite happily.

Next task electrically is probably to try to get some life out of the tail lights - though I have a sneaking suspicion that a large portion of the loom involved in that is outright missing so that might be more of a challenge. I don't actually mind electrical work like this though, you just need to take your time and work through it methodically. If you can't immediately identify something leave it and come back to it - Had a couple of wires like that up front, but by the time I'd gone through everything I could find on the diagrams it was a pretty trivial matter to work out what I was left with by process of elimination.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:55 pm

Okay...The lighting for the speedometer on the AC is in fact *not* a Ba7s lamp as I thought it was...Annoying. I'll investigate further tomorrow to see if I can work out what it is.

First task of the day though was to fit a non-return valve into the feed to the windscreen washer pump. This should stop the water draining back to the reservoir and requiring a million pushes of the button before anything gets to the washer. Have to admit for a manual washer pump I'm really surprised at the volume of water it gets onto the screen and the pressure with which it delivered.

Have successfully had life out of the indicator circuits now - especially having worked out which terminals to short out on the stalk (which is *utterly* knackered) so I can actually get life out of both the dash lamp and the exterior ones. Looking at it more carefully I think there's actually an entire part of the assembly outright missing.

The flash rate is a little higher than I'd usually like, but I think it'll be perfectly fine for a vehicle of this age. If anything else, the pattern being different to you'd expect from a modern car is a good thing as it makes it more visible, and with a car this small you want every bit of visibility you can get.

The more exciting part of this for me though is this...

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Which confirms to me that the front-rear lighting loom is in fact intact.

...Even if the fact that it the brake light that started flashing did initially confuse me. The previous owner has managed to put the backplate on upside down. The indicator is actually meant to be at the top, I'll turn it around tomorrow. Now I better understand the lighting loom, running the missing section from left to right shouldn't be too hard. Just three wires. With a bit of luck, tomorrow I'll have fully functioning rear light clusters.

That's quite a bit boost to me as I was worried that was going to be a lot of extra work.

Another boost was that in having sorted out a number of dodgy grounds etc and such like was that this happened too.

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Yep, the windscreen wiper is now working just fine too. Self parking is a bit touchy, but that's entirely due to the rocker switches which we've already mentioned. I note that the Lucas replacement for the wiper one is actually a "two speed" version, so if I do fit that later I may well stuff a timer unit in there to give me an intermittent option, as that's actually a nice thing to have.

The list of vehicle systems needing to be brought back to life is actually shrinking quite a bit now.

May well look at getting the floor sorted out this coming week. The main brake line (which was the thing that was going to be the most awkward) has been replaced now and I've ascertained that the wiring loom under the floor is in perfect order, so no reason not to really. Be nice to actually have a floor and a seat in it!

In case you wondered, seating is going to be provided by the driver's seat from my old Xantia. I was originally planning to use this for an office chair, but this is a more immediate need. Yes it's a bit of a departure from originality and all that, but my spine will thank me for it.

Need to get myself a set of number plates made up for it as well. Will be in the correct typeface of course...modern ones would just look daft on this. Would really like to get a set with the 3D plastic numbers/letters on it - but not sure if my bank balance will stretch to that!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Postby Zelandeth » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:06 am

Question folks...

Just realised that I've been somewhat massively spamming this "today I mostly..." thread with my current restoration project.

Would folks prefer me to shuffle further detailed updates on this over to the relevant thread in the members cars section? Or are folks finding it interesting? I'd still stick a brief summary here, but would probably keep the detailed description to to the project thread.

I'll start updating the thread in there as well so it's easier for people to read end-to-end if they so wish, but wonder what folks would prefer in here?
LOZ: Oddball cars, lighting information, and anything else I remember to upload!
Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 93 Lada Riva 1.5EFi Estate, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 73 &75 AC Model-70s.


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