Today I mostly .....

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

Post by Aaron » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:14 pm

Always interesting to read about your projects,
must take a lot of determination and organisation to keep on top of them all, and a patient, tolerant family.
My wife was amazed to learn, just before christmas, that my Lada still starts. She has encouraged me that I should keep and restore it, but I still don't believe I will ever find the time.

I think (as a pedant) that the my cars section is for LADAs only, so invacars, citroens and Mercs should definately be in the general interest thread.
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Riva1600SLX (floorless example, sadly not a spelling mistake)
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Peugeot (it's only for towing the caravan) 406 (early 99 thursday afternoon spec)

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:02 am

To be fair the biggest time commitment long term will be the van by a long shot. Mechanically it shouldn't be too bad once I've got it back into tip top shape. Virtually all issues I've found in that regard are just down to how little use she's had through most of her life. Merc T1 vans are very well engineered, and if only doing light work and driven with mechanical sympathy should run forever.

I've spent enough time around old coaches though to know that keeping the bodywork in good order won't be a walk in the park.

The Invacar is a big project, but once it's sorted shouldn't be too bad in terms of actually living with it. The bodywork is probably the biggest time-sink in terms of work as mechanically it's so simple. The other big bonus is being tax exempt and costing £50 a year to insure it's essentially free motoring.

Lada to be honest,while there's a bit of a to do list as with any classic car project, has usually fallen under the "it just works" heading since getting the injection kit properly sorted. Which is good - the aim of that project has always been simple: to make the best Riva in the country that you can actually use day to day. It's obviously a ways from that yet as it's always been a long term project but seeing a 26 year old car that was widely derided as hopelessly unreliable when it was new getting pressed into front line service in the middle of winter without missing a beat has to mean something.

I know I'm going to regret selling it when it does go, oh for a bigger driveway...
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:24 pm

Thanks to input from the Microcar World group on Facebook (which I've extremely begrudgingly made use of simply because not doing so was proving to be a major pain in the tail in resource terms) I've finally been in touch with a fabrication shop who are actually interested in making me a fuel tank.

Fusion Fabrication over in Oxfordshire have agreed to make me one up that will be as close as possibly a direct replica of the original tank but in aluminium (because lightness counts of course!). £230 was the price quoted which is precisely the sort of ball park I'd been expecting really - not the £850 one other lot quoted... Will let you know how it turns out obviously.

Next step, order fuel gauge sender...Need to dig back through the various threads I've got on this I think as I'm sure someone mentioned which one I needed somewhere. The gauge reads full scale full with no sender attached if that means anything to anyone - it will no doubt be shared with some BMC models from the early to mid 70s I'm sure.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:23 pm

So we've made a start on the bodywork.

I've not done any real work with fibreglass like this before so it's an exercise in experimentation. Main target at this stage is "presentable at twenty paces and acceptable at the MOT.". I'm under no illusions that I won't wind up reworking this at some point in the future. Someone is currently looking at the possibility of making some moulds as well so it's entirely possible that repair sections may become available a year or two down the line too.

We started with this.

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Which when I left the garage this evening looked like this.

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Still scruffy by any standards, but scruffy is preferable to missing, so feels like progress.

Definitely reverting to the application method I've seen a friend using though (wetting the mat in a tray then applying that to the bodywork rather than holding the mat in place and "painting" over it) as doing it the way illustrated on the tin was a gigantic pain in the tail as the mat even when properly wetted through was far more interested in sticking to the brush than the bodywork.

Also highlighted how well insulated from the house our garage isn't. The whole house now stinks to high heaven of resin.

I've also got a fuel gauge sender, air filter element and a different type of fuel gauge (in case the sender is for a different type - at least three were used), so the tank should be pretty immediately ready to go in hopefully when it arrives. Will be dropping off the sender at the fabricator most likely so they can take measurements from it, they're less than an hour's drive away at least.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:00 am

Was expecting a couple of parts for the Invacar in the post yesterday. Still waiting for them...however something far more exciting turned up instead.

They were all scrapped in 2003, and we all know once that happens the car is doomed, right?

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Had expected this to require far more arguing with the DVLA, however all that wound up being required was a V62, a cheque for £25, a covering letter and a bundle of photos showing the car as a whole and the chassis, body and engine numbers.

Suffice to say, having the V5C turn up is a massive step forward. It however can't just be taxed like that...you need to do this first...

[] Fill in section 7 on the V5.
- Wheel plan/body type, change from "invalid vehicle/not recorded" to "3-wheel/tricycle."
- Engine size, 493cc. They all show 9999cc as that seems to be the default value the system put in when the records were digitised if the field was blank.
- Engine number, self explanatory.
- Number of seats, 1.
- Tax class, change "disabled" to "historic."

[] Go to Post Office. Have them change the tax class there (no MOT needed, V112 exemption certificate is sufficient). They retained the V5C for onward transmission directly to the DVLA.

So for the first time since at least 2001, she is taxed.

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Then rang up my insurer (Hagerty) to get it on cover (all of £50 a year), as I wanted to take the van off cover as it's laid up for winter anyhow...so wound up getting a nice little refund.

So now the only thing between it and the road is my own to do list...suffice to say this should make for a good incentive to get my tail in gear and finish it.

Lack of requiring an MOT is a bonus (it will still get one) as it will mean the first testing can be gently trundling around our neighborhood rather than a mad dash all the way across town to the MOT centre.

The evening task was to reattach the nearside gutter...job done.

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The self tapping screws are temporary, nuts and bolts will be used - I discovered after applying the sealant that I couldn't fit the rivet gun in, so needed to find a way to hold the gutter on while the sealant set.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Tom. » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:04 am

Well done :)
97 Niva 1.7i
2107 Riva Sport
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:39 pm

Turns out my determination to get the trim panel above the windscreen off was well founded given this is what greeted me when I finally drilled out the seized screw and got it off.

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Thankfully the occupants were no longer present and as I've seen no other evidence of them I'm happy to believe that they're gone.

Annoyingly I'll need to pick up a second 1/8" Whitworth spanner to get the heater control box (for painting) and the windscreen demister assembly (to ensure it's free of rodent nests and to improve the degree to which it's sealed as a heap of air currently exits in unhelpful directions). So that's a job for the future.

This is what the trim panel looked like with the rotten cloth and foam removed.

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Once I've managed to remove the adhesive (and the remaining sun visor hinge) it will be given a coat of hammered finish black paint. I reckon that will look as though it was as intended by the factory. The original cloth actually looks oddly out of place I think.

The bolts I'd planned to use on the roof gutters unfortunately have heads too big to fit in the channel. I'll try to find something more appropriate tomorrow. That's not a massively high priority.

Nice little package of stuff arrived this morning.

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That's a fuel gauge sender, new air filter (finally!) and one of the later Curtis/Veglia fuel gauges. So irrespective of which type of sender is in the box I should be able to make that work. Also means I can now take measurements of the sender unit and send those to the gent who is making the fuel tank for me.

Probably get tyres ordered this week...the first test run (even though it will just be a third of a mile loop round our neighborhood) is getting tantalisingly close now...
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:34 pm

I think it's fair to say that the old air filter was "due for replacement" on this occasion...

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Much better.

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The rest of the day's tasks came under the heading of "unexciting but important" given the steadily approaching point at which I'll want to venture beyond the end of the driveway.

The driver's seat still had the seat belt buckle and pretensioner assembly from its previous life in a Xantia attached. This was annoying in that I repeatedly sat on it when climbing aboard and that it got in the way of the seat belt. So that got removed (anyone need a spare for an S2 Xantia?). This meant that it was time to remove the original mangled seat belt buckle though - which I was staggered to find actually unbolted without too much protest.

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Obviously that was destined only for the bin!

Nice new old stock eye bolt was installed...

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Which finally meant I could clip the seatbelt into place correctly.

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The seatbelt now in a functional state I figured it made sense to sort the seat itself next. The main issue I had was that it wobbled because the clamps I'd used to secure the seat to the original framework were slightly too big - so I ran out of thread on the bolts before everything was properly secured. It couldn't actually *go* anywhere, just wobbled by a couple of millimetres.

I suddenly had the brainwave telling me that I didn't actually need to replace the clamps, instead just stick a few washers under the securing nuts to act as spacers, giving me the extra 1.8" or so of thread I needed. Worked perfectly, and the seat is now more securely fastened in place than the original was I reckon.

Knowing I was done with messing for that for now I drilled a couple of holes in and reattached the trim that used to be on the side of it, hiding the somewhat ugly mounting hardware from the nearside.

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Having a seat that doesn't go "clonk" alarmingly every time you sit down and having a working seatbelt definitely seem things it was worth ticking off the to do list.

The eagle eyed among you might have spotted in the above photo that the offside interior door release has also been refitted.

Nothing I've thrown at it so far has any impact on the glue from the sun visor trim panel, so looks like that will need to be removed by brute force and an andle grinder.

The absolutely disgusting sun visor (I'm not kidding, it was gross)...

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Cleaned up quite nicely overnight with a trip through my "parts washer" so is now ready to be refitted once the panel it attaches to is ready.

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I didn't want to tackle the brake pipes while the car is in the garage as having access to all sides of the car will make that a fair bit easier, so might try to pull it out the garage and do that tomorrow if the weather co-operates.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:18 pm

Sometimes you have to take what look superficially like a few steps backward to move forward.

You know that thing I did bolting the seat in place yesterday? Yep, went and pulled it out again today.

To be fair I knew I was going to be doing that, I've got a list of things on the whiteboard which basically come under the heading of "stuff I bodged when I was wanting to just get the car going" and "stuff I couldn't get at earlier."

The transmission access hatch needed to come off. Of course there was the obligatory *one* screw that wouldn't come out. There's always one.

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Out with the drill again. Then half an hour of very, very carefully peeling the gasket off as it was well and truly stuck to the bulkhead.

So there were a few things I wanted this off for.

Firstly, the offside engine mount. I'd only managed to get one bolt into it when the engine went in, and the nut wouldn't do up fully because the bolt was partly cross threaded. Access was awkward from the back of the car, but a doddle when approaching from inside the car. Note to self: next time you need to change one, do it from that side.

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While I was back there I rerouted the throttle cable properly through the eye on the gearbox which has helped stop it sticking. Also took the opportunity to adjust the gear selector which is far easier with the seat out the way.

While rummaging around I found two battery clamps, so have replaced the missing one.

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I've also been pondering my seat attachment setup and reckon that I can improve on my original solution...which worked but was exceedingly inelegant. I can do better.

Other reason I wanted that cover off was to get better access for routing the rear axle brake lines. Once that's done everything will be getting buttoned back up.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:28 pm

Have been struggling for enthusiasm today given I got basically zero sleep last night and have had a raging headache all day, but I was determined to tick at least one thing off.

Today's one was what I reckon is a sensible addition to any classic car, but is almost essential on one with as rudimentary an approach to fuse protection as this - a battery cut off switch.

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This will mean I no longer need to physically remove one of the battery leads every night so I'm not worried about it spontaneously combusting in the garage overnight.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:27 pm

Today I've been trying to work out what battery I need for the Invacar. It's currently got an 038 in (read: nicked from the C5) but that's too long to be secured by the battery clamps.

Here's a close up of the battery tray.

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The hard limits are the distance between the two posts which the clamps fit into at 210mm (8 1/4") and the width at 140mm (5 1/2") as the brackets wrap around the end of the battery.

Looking through my extremely dog eared battery cross reference table, it looks like the 054/5 size is the best match at 187mm (7 1/3") long by 127mm (5") wide and 220mm (8 2/3") tall. Height is irrelevant as there's bags of room above.

Longer term I'll be looking at moving the battery up front to provide some additional front wheel ballast, but that's at least months if not years away yet!

Have been doing some further digging and it looks - depending on where the measurements are taken from a 063 (S4 001 in current Bosch talk) might *just about* fit, so I think I'm just going to wander into Costco tomorrow and take some actual measurements. It seems that for all the type numbers should be standards - there's a huge variance from maker to maker looking at data sheets.

So tape measure and bracket in hands I'm just going to go take a look and see if they've got one that fits. Hoping so as it will probably be cheaper than even a U1 or lawn tractor battery will be elsewhere.

All being well the fuel tank should be done next week so getting stuff like this ticked off is getting more important!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:10 pm

After a rummage round a few places locally today I wound up picking up a U1-R. None of the other options would fit. The ones that were shallow enough were too long and vice-versa.

Aside from a lack of a flange round the base I don't reckon this can't be all that far off the size of the original. Heck of a lot lighter than most car batteries as well at just under 8kg, which in a car with less than 20bhp can only be a good thing!

It might not be a long, long term solution but it should get me mobile at least.

I'll need to make up a bit of a spacer to fill out the brackets but that's nothing too difficult.

Here's a quick snap of the new battery in place before it was hooked up.

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At some point in the future I'll probably look at relocation of the battery to the front of the car and will have more options to play with then.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:11 am

Not had a particularly productive day.

While digging around I discovered that the hose routing air to the cabin outlet was actually hanging off and the last inch or so had disintegrated. Thankfully there was just enough left to trim it back to sound hose and reattach it.

Next step was trying to get rid of the crud in the various hoses in the interests of not getting crud in the eye halfway down the A509.

Sealed the inlet side of the system off...

(Read: pull the duct off and stuff a rag in the end)

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I know the heat exchanger and the hose from there to the control box is clear as I'd already dealt with that off the car.

Then set both the heater and demister on before attaching a vacuum source to draw air in through the demister, through the control box and back out through the cabin heater outlet.

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With this setup in place I basically went around and battered every inch of the ducting with the handle of a screwdriver until I could no longer hear stuff rattling down the vacuum cleaner hose.

This is basically the point at which progress stalled as I decided to change the fan belts. Which was fine until I got back from the motor factors and it immediately became apparent that the two belts they had given me were in fact not identical.

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Got back there to discover they didn't have a second longer one in stock, so will have to go back tomorrow. Blarg. By this point I'd wasted an hour on that and immobiliser the car as the starter motor was no longer attached to the engine essentially.

I have however given myself some more time to consider a proper permanent seat attachment system. These were picked up as a major part of that.

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They're 2.5mm thick steel and far chunkier than they look in the photo. The basic plan is that these will be attached to the Invacar seat frame by two M6 bolts each, and then the runners of the new seat will be bolted down to these brackets.

This will be far, far more sturdy than my original bodge, and in addition will retain both the lateral and height adjustment features of the seat. It will also give me the ability to compensate for the runners on the seat being offset roughly an inch to the right, which is nice.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a little more productive.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:41 pm

Edit: Apparently I missed a post...so here are two together.

So first task of the day was to get the new belts fitted. Ten minute job, and the tension even seemed to be right off the bat, though obviously I expect that to change once the engine has run.

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10x813 is the belt size in case you wondered.

Attempting to *do* that was foiled by the thing refusing to start again. I'm willing to bet money the offside cylinder has flooded and fouled the plug again. This seems to be an issue after a series of very short runs, and I'm hoping will resolve itself once I'm able to get it a proper run. I decided after it started on one cylinder to just file this under "come back to later as I've better things to do just now."


Next up, seat. Let's get this sorted out once and for all.

Here's where we ended up.

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Doesn't look that different to things before does it? At a glance, no.

Here's the "before" shot in case you were wondering....

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There's been a hell of a lot of planning, measuring, calculating and such involved to get to that point.

Originally I just had four huge U-bolts wrapped around the entire rails of the Xantia seat clamping it to the original seat's frame.

Now we've got an M8 bolt on each corner down through the original Xantia mounting points into the angle brackets you saw yesterday - which are then bolted to the original seat frame.

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The rear ones are currently bolted through the original seat clamp onto the frame (hence there only being one bolt per side at present), whereas the front have had a pair of bolts through the seat frame.

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I think given things have lined up in such a way to allow for it I'll probably drill a hole and add an additional bolt at the rear tomorrow.

They're lined up in such a way to help centralise the seat (the rails are offset to one side by an inch or so), and it seems to have worked.

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Driving position now feels perfectly central rather than noticeably offset to the left as used to be the case.

There are some big additional features compared to the original seat "bodge" that I had in here though. All of the original adjustments available are now fully functional (as is the original left/right sliding setup from the original Invacar seat) - which allows an additional party trick...

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Yep, with the seat slid fully forward and the backrest tilted forwards, it's possible to get the rear access cover in and out without removing the seat.

I did have one "oops" moment however when I realised that I couldn't get at the head of the big M8 bolt that I'd used to secure the seat down onto the brackets (which has a slot to allow me to fine tune the left/right position) to tighten them up.

Cue me getting inventive.

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Take two nuts, screw onto the end of the threaded section and make a lock nut - then used that to stop the bolt rotating while tightening the nut holding the seat down up. Job done.

I was worried that it was going to be too flimsy a solution, but it seems to be perfectly fine. It's worth mentioning that the whole lot it depending on a few tiny screws and a pair of nylon rollers in a runner at the back to hold that side to the car anyway! So I get the feeling that this is probably over-engineered if anything...It's stood up perfectly fine to me (literally) jumping into the seat without moving a millimetre. Seatbelt isn't secured to the seat like on many modern cars - it's secured to the bulkhead at the top and to eye bolts secured to the chassis crossmember at the floor level. So the seat is purely something that you're sitting on, it's not involved in actually holding you in place.

Having a proper adjustable seat means I can get into a much more comfortable feeling driving position with my feet braced against the bulkhead, so I think this is a good result overall.

I'm somewhat amused at how close a colour match I seem to have randomly found in Halfords...

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No that's not the "finish" I'm going for - that was purely a "let's see the colour" test. I need to trim the bottom of the panel back as well.

Speaking of paint - I'll be giving the brackets and such I've just added to the seat frame a coat of blue paint as well so they'll hopefully blend in with the original metalwork better.

Feels like a reasonable couple of hours work this evening and a decent step towards roadworthiness, see also the "stuff I orginally bodged together but need to do properly before she hits the road" list.

----

Fast forward to today...

Yesterday was one of those days where I acheived what looked like quite a bit of work in a relatively short time. Today was the opposite sort of day, where quite a bit of time was spent but it looks like there's very little to show for it - though it's actually quite a big step towards the car being roadworthy.

Step 1.

Spend the best part of an hour crawling around on the floor attempting (and eventually suceeding) in extricating this.

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Two factors made this a pain. Firstly the fact that the T-piece (the bit I needed to reuse) was positioned directly above the handbrake linkage. This made getting at it difficult. Secondly was the fact that as with everything on this car it was held on with a bolt and non-captive nut. The other end of which I couldn't really get at with anything. Eventually though I managed to mangle the bracket enough to get a spanner onto it and got it undone.

Step 2.

Spend another hour wrestling the two remaining brake pipes out of it.

They *really* didn't want to come out - however eventually a combination of brute force and the MAPP Gas torch of persuasion were victorious.

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Thankfully the threads all seem to be absolutely fine, so the T-piece with a fresh set of unions is ready to be used again.

Step 3.

Apply some forward thinking to the siting of the T-piece.

I'd already played getting new pipes onto that thing once on KP. Getting them off TP was equally as much of a royal pain. The way the brake pipes were all tucked up into the chassis made it tricky to carry out a visual inspection of them unless you were up on a ramp as well.

As such, I decided to move things a bit. The T-piece is now attached to the bodywork just below the service hatch, and the lines will run along there before heading off to the flexis going to the rear wheels. I'll install some P-clips along there to keep them in place (the original pipes just seem to by and large rely on luck from keeping them in place and preventing them rubbing through on stuff).

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This will make future inspection and maintenance easier (as the whole of the brake piping setup from the T-piece to the wheels will then be visible with the service hatch open), and should keep stuff further away from road grime under the car hopefully.

It also means that I can do the actual connection of the brake lines to there while sitting in the car rather than contorted into horrifically uncomfortable positions underneath the car. Surely that's got to improve my chances at doing a decent job of it. The body of the T-piece will be secured in place while the unions are done up of course - I won't be applying all that torque to the tiny area of fibreglass it's currently bolted to.

I'm definitely not discounting the idea of at some point converting the braking system on this car to a dual circuit setup, so anything I can do to make it more user friendly in future has to be a good thing I reckon.

With a bit of luck tomorrow I should be able to get the actual lines connected up to this and we should be pretty close to being in business. At least I have a stock of unions in the garage now, so if I mangle the odd one here or there it's no big deal.

Edit: The fuel tank is apparently all but finished! Just going to drop the sender unit off with the guy making it so he can double--check that the holes are spaced correctly before the boss is welded onto the tank. Soon I can dispense with having to precariously balance a fuel can whenever I want to move it...
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:08 am

Here are the crusty remains of the front to rear brake line once removed from the car. This had been bypassed by a temporary line for quite a while to make moving the car around less terrifying, but wasn't actually removed until yesterday.

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The in-line coupler will be saved (the fittings used on this thing are actually all nice quality), but the pipework is obviously only destined for the scrap metal bin.

New front to rear line is now in place (the temporary one I'd had just dangling under the car is visible to the right) and connected up at the front.

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The line you can see to the right of the frame is the temporary one I'd plumbed in a while ago - that's now also been removed.

Pipework has been run right up to the T-piece for the rear axle connections.

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Goes without saying that there will be a bunch of grommets, clips and bits of rubber sheathing installed to make sure it can't rub through on anything as this car has no shortage of rough edges.

I was a bit disappointed not to have time to get the lines to the rear wheels connected up yesterday evening as the lines are tantalisingly close to being finished. However it wasn't to be.

While I was crawling around under the car removing the old pipes I took the opportunity to thoroughly douse the handbrake mechanism in penetrating oil, so I'll be looking at seeing if I can get that to behave itself soon as well. A good parking brake is essential on this car as there's no way to secure it without it!

It gave me a good opportunity to have a proper look at the condition of the chassis as well. It's quite remarkable to be honest...I've no idea what they rust proofed these old crates with when they made them, but it's incredibly effective. There's nothing beyond light surface corrosion present, despite the car being 43 years old, and having spent the last 15 years in a boggy field with no wheels on.

Between a hospital appointment awkwardly scheduled right in the middle of the day and my getting stuck in traffic this afternoon I've nothing to really update today. However I did discover this evening that unbeknown to me at the time my husband snapped a hugely flattering photo of me while I was busy working on the seat installation the other day. If you wondered how compact the Invacar actually is relative to a person, here you go.

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Having a completely flat floor without pedals in the way does make it slightly easier to do stuff like this, and in fact it wasn't even that uncomfortable once I was folded into that corner.

Getting back *out* of that corner on the other hand, that was a process which I will simply describe as "inelegant."

The interior is actually decently roomy for a single person - especially compared to some of the contemporary microcars. In conjunction with my having chosen to fit a more comfortable seat, I can see it not being too bad a place to spend time on some longer trips - important given I've quite a few planned for later this year or next year...
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 AC Model-70.

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