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 .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:32 pm

Had a spare hour this afternoon so figured it would be a good time to start tackling the snagging list on the Invacar.

The repainted engine cowl was reunited with the engine.

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Being such a visible thing in the engine bay this immediately makes it look far less decrepit.

I then turned my attention to the slow puncture on the nearside rear wheel. This has lost roughly 5psi per day ever since the tyres were fitted. As such my suspicion was always that there was a leak from the rim rather than in the tyre itself.

Five minutes with the leak detector spray later, we have a winner.

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Bubbling merrily from the bead right behind the larger balance weight. There's another smaller leak I spotted just after taking this photo just out of frame.

I've faffed around fitting tyres at home before and have deemed it to be considerably more trouble than it's worth (until such time as I inevitably pick up a tyre fitting machine) so decided to entrust sorting this to Formula 1 over in Newport Pagnell. My usual go-to for tyre stuff, only reason they didn't get the job of fitting these originally was that they literally wanted double the price for what were inferior tyres.

Suffice to say this being in the workshop caused a few scratched heads.

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The gent who was working on the car for me couldn't have been more than 18 and was really enthusiastic which was nice to see.

Once the tyre was off it was obvious that no effort had been made to clean the rim up beforehand...bit disappointing given the tyres were fitted by a specialist not Kwik-Fit. Five minutes with the wire wheel had things looking far healthier, and we flipped the tyre around (they're not sided) to hide my horrible overspray. Was all going great...right up until this happened.

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Gent doing the work was being careful and was doing everything by hand - that stud just decided it had had enough. They're happy to cover the cost of sourcing replacement and fitting no questions asked. So I'll have a dig later today (I still have the parts manual here waiting to be scanned because I'm so disorganised) to ascertain exactly what spec the studs are and will then get replacements ordered. Hopefully they're straight from the Mini as those will be plentifully and inexpensively available.

I'll plan on replacing all of them as a matter of course now. If one has failed without being abused in my time with the car there's no reason to believe the rest are in any better shape. I had one fail on a car before (can't recall which one) and the very next time I had the wheel off I recall a second stud snapping...so they're all getting done.

Once they're done they're done...one less thing to worry about.

Just hope access to the back of the hub isn't a problem.
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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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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Aaron » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:49 pm

Already forgotten how to post pics.
If i've done it right the following pics should be captioned "today and for the next three weeks, i mostly"
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2 bed terrace in need of complete redecoration, new kitchen and bathroom, two new windows, new back door, garden makeover, some roof and chimney repairs. budget optimistically 2-3k.
Aaron, Grantham <br>
Riva1600SLX (floorless example, sadly not a spelling mistake)
Citroen (surprisingly quite good) C3
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 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:27 pm

Oof, quite a bit of work there Aaron...that damp would worry me as it tends to suggest deeper issues in the fabric of the building which can be a pain to track down...

We all knew this was not going to be simple didn't we!

So far I've ascertained that the Model 70 does NOT use Mini wheel studs. They're screw in ones rather than the splined knock-through type.

It became immediately apparent once I pulled the wheel off that my intention to change all the studs was sensible. Despite knowing they had never been overtightened or otherwise abused during my ownership, one additional to the one which snapped was bent (and cracked I discovered on closer examination).

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Here's what came out. Going theory is that the thread is 3/8" UNF.

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Anyone who recognises what they're out of I'd welcome your input.

The first three - including the snapped one - wound out nicely. Of course this was going too smoothly...the last one immediately stripped the moment I applied any torque to it.

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Balls.

Picked up a tap and die set this afternoon in the hope I can possibly cut a smaller thread onto it and wind it out that way. I realise this is almost doomed to failure, and I'm going to wind up trying to weld a nut to it.

In slightly better news, a nice little improvement arrived today from Tipper's Classic & Vintage Plates.

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Nicely retro reflective unlike the current ones which have become transparent!

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Looking forward to getting these fitted to the car, they'll look so much better than the current scruffy, delaminated acrylic plates.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:13 pm

A little closer examination of a slightly less mangled stud has me now pretty certain that we're looking at 3/8" UNF. That would be 9.52mm when it came fresh off the cutter...

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A friend locally has a set of imperial thread gauges which should help us confirm the details when I get a chance to swing by their place. Once we've confirmed that sourcing replacement studs or bolts shouldn't be hard or expensive.

Another little accessory arrived for TPA today which I had honestly forgotten ordering.

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Got to have a marque appropriate keyring...which reminds me that I really need to find a nice Mercedes one for the van sometime...
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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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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:29 pm

Little bit of attention for the Xantia for a change.

One of the cosmetic issues it has faced since I picked it up was that the window seal was lifting at the rear edge of the front and front edge of the rear door on the offside. This looks unsightly at the best of times, and quite often you would find that someone walking past the car had snagged on it in a car park so you'd come back to this.

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I seem to recall this being a really common issue even back when we were selling these cars at the garage 20 years ago. There should be a couple of little locating pegs in there, but they're long gone here.

My solution here was to gloop a bunch of Sikaflex behind the seal and clamp things in place...

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...Then forgot about it for three or four days!

Once the clamps were removed things look far better.

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Especially looking in the wing mirror where you used to be able to see it sticking out all the time.

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The unexpected bonus of this has been a very noticeable reduction in wind noise at motorway speeds. Mostly though it just looks a hundred times better.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:23 pm

We've a friend staying with us this week due to poor health while their partner is away on an important business trip, so I'm in a situation where I'm a bit stuck really in that I can't go anywhere or really get involved in anything too in depth in case I'm needed to assist.

Still, there's no shortage of small things I can get done.

[] Van Headlight Reassembly.

Those of you who have known me for a while will be aware that the general field of lighting technology has been an interest of mine going back a couple of decades. There are no shortage of terrible and downright dangerous headlight "upgrade" kits out there, most of which seem to have the sole purpose of blinding as many oncoming drivers as possible. However when an LED "drop in H4 upgrade" popped up on Wish for £3 delivered, curiosity got the better of me and I ordered it. Not long after, a pair of these arrived on my doorstep.

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Before I go any further it's worth mentioning that I am completely, fully aware that these are not legal for on road use in the UK. I have no intention of actually using them for general vehicle lighting - they have been bought out of pure scientific curiosity and a wish to see how terrible they actually are. The intention has always for once the testing was completed for them to most likely disappear into the endless pit of despair, otherwise known as the box of miscellaneous lighting technology in the loft.

I had to admit to being really rather surprised. Unlike the vast majority of HID conversions I've seen done over the years, the beam control here isn't actually bad. They've done a surprisingly good job of getting the LED arrays arranged to work well with the standard reflector.

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It's worth noting that the nearside headlight is an aftermarket "Depo" branded replacement, and further investigation has shown that the beam from that is pretty poor even with a normal H4 lamp in, despite the headlight having only been fitted for a couple of months - so a proper Hella replacement is now on my wish list.

I did quite a bit of testing walking around in front of the van and asking my housemate to drive past me, and we both came to the conclusion that these headlights don't have any issues with regards to blinding oncoming traffic when they're fitted properly. It's important to note though that the lamps do fit into the collars which locate them in the headlights in four different orientations, so you need to make sure you're putting it in the right way up. I did note in the beam profile on the wall there does seem to be a bit of stray upward light above and beyond what you'd expect normally, but that didn't seem to actually translate into anything noticeable in the real world.

They seem to do a decent job of actually getting light on the road as well. Our streets around here are very well lit since the new LED streetlights were installed, so it's actually not that easy to see the spread of light on the road in front of you with the standard headlights in the van...these seem to do a better job there.

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I don't actually think there is any more light hitting the ground from these lamps than the standard H4 ones, I think the light being a nice crisp pure white (I reckon around 5000K - it's a very clean white rather than strongly blue tinted) makes it seem brighter than it otherwise would.

I do reckon that one area (the legality obviously aside) these are going to fail though is longevity. To my eyes the provided heatsinking just isn't close to adequate for the intended application - especially sealed inside a headlight enclosure. The handbook which comes with these actually suggests leaving the back cover off...which is obviously a horrendous idea unless you really do want to destroy your reflectors in ten minutes flat. I'd love to be proven wrong there...and as I do still have the original nearside headlight from the van, I am tempted to stick one in there and set it running somewhere in a corner and just see how long the LED lamp takes to either go pop or to drop in brightness to the point that it can be considered to have failed. I just can't see these having a long life.

The other question for me was "are they an upgrade?" The simple answer there honestly, unless the ability to pick your colour temperature is critically important for your application...No. They don't actually give out any additional light it appears compared to a good quality H4 lamp provided your power supply is in good order.

As for are they terrible and dangerous? Not really...They're certainly a million times more friendly for other drivers than any aftermarket HID kit I've seen...Only real downside I can see possibly there relates to my concerns about longevity and they might fail on you after only a few hours...Though having said that as they're simply a drop in replacement...it's hardly the end of the world (assuming your car isn't one you need to remove the engine from to change a headlight bulb!) to resolve that situation by just sticking a new lamp in, and at least H4 bulbs haven't become too hard to find yet. From the perspective of another driver though, if the colour temperature of these was in the 2700-3500K range, you probably wouldn't be aware that they weren't conventional lamps...it's only the colour which gives it away externally.

Obviously though, they're completely illegal for road use over here, so these are destined for the box of "interesting but useless" lighting stuff. It does give me some hope though that we might some day see a retrofit provided by one of the big lighting companies which might offer a legal drop in H4 replacement. I'd always assumed it was impossible due to the difficulties in getting things to line up optically - but high power COB LEDs have advanced to the point now that it's getting pretty close to being doable now. Provided the output levels were limited to those provided by a conventional H4 lamp and the beam was correct...don't see any reason it couldn't have the relevant approval marks stamped on it. Though the cost of the approvals process for an ever shrinking market may well preclude it ever been deemed worthwhile by the manufacturers...I'll be curious to watch though.

I'm keeping my eyes open for similar H1/H7 retrofits appearing at similarly silly prices...and if/when that turns up I might need to do a similar experiment with the Xantia. Especially given it has headlamps which barely manage to scrape "adequate" as a description on a good day...

First task for today therefore was to return things to original. Despite this requiring removal of the radiator grill and the headlights themselves, this is a five minute job on the van because it's designed sensibly. While I was there though seemed a good time to clean up the offside headlight a bit. This is original to the van and was visibly quite internally grubby, and I was under the impression that the reflector was quite tarnished.

This can't have been helping anything...

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Looking closer...

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Conveniently as with most things on this vehicle, the headlights themselves are designed with service in mind, and as such the lens can be removed simply by removing four screws. With the lens off I was pleasantly surprised to see that the reflector was in a lot better condition than I was expecting.

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Sure it's not perfect; there is a bit of clouding in general and the coating is flaking on the very top and bottom of the housing, but it's perfectly serviceable until such time as I track down a new headlight.

Five minutes scrubbing later had things looking much healthier.

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Even more visible with the headlight turned on, it was really obviously cloudy before - and that indicated light that was being scattered and going places other than where it's designed to.

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I really like this sort of image...It really does go to show how the reflector, lamp and diffractor design all work together to produce the desired beam profile.

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There we go. Everything buttoned back up and tested. Beam alignment was checked just in case anything had moved, which it hadn't.

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[] Dog Guard De-Bodging.

Some considerable time ago I needed to take the (then singular, now there are two of them) dog out on my own, so needed a way of keeping him where he belonged in the back of the van...This resulted in me grabbing a cheap and nasty dog guard that I'd discarded long ago from the scrap pile and wedging it in the space behind the seats. Ugly as sin, but it worked.

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There were a few drawbacks though...Not least the fact that it rocked backwards and forwards every time you accelerated or braked, it rattled incessantly and made it a royal pain to try to get between the cab and living area. Today I decided to address a few of these issues. The dogs aren't going anywhere...so the dog guard needs to stay...and I'm not really likely to find a bespoke solution at a reasonable price that's going to fit a nearly 30 year old camper...so let's adapt what we've got.

A bit of thinking, a bit of realignment and a quick raid of the plumbing fittings box yielded the necessary hardware and we pretty quickly got things sorted out.

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One of the main differences now is that there is a distinct "stowed" and "deployed" position for things.

Stowed, allowing relatively unhindered access between the front and rear of the van. You still need to step over it, but it's a much more sensible height.

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Deployed, keeping any wandering dogs from straying into the cab. Not really too much of an issue these days as they know where they're meant to be, but it's nice to know.

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No this wouldn't do a thing to keep some dogs in there - but ours are both largish and know where they're meant to be, so it's a visual deterrent as much as anything. We do hope that one day we might be able to employ harnesses, but that's still a ways off as they *really* don't like them...and trying to restrain a husky who doesn't want to be is an act in futility.

Both of the uprights need to have some rubber or similar caps fitted so I don't take my eye out the first time I fall over a dog, and I'll probably trim the one on the nearside down a bit. The offside one can stay at the current height though as it's where I usually have a stash of bags for shopping (which I remember maybe 1 time in 10 to actually take into the shop with me) and similar things left hanging.

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Will be handy to help prevent the ongoing problem we have of pillows disappearing into the cab from the bed too, which I've found to be a recurring issue for me.

Haven't had a chance to actually go for a test drive yet, but there's no signs of buzzes or rattles at idle, which is a good start at least.

I'd like to switch to a sliding gate arrangement at some point, though I'm not sure if I'll ever get enough time to sufficiently engineer that...especially as it would need to be rattle free given my hate of all things which rattle! Haven't been able to go for a test run today, but it doesn't buzz due to the engine vibration at idle, so is already an improvement on the original arrangement. Obviously a coat of paint wouldn't go amiss either...

[] Continuation of the Invacar wheel stud saga.

You know some jobs are ones you just know are going to fight you every step of the way? Yes...this is definitely one of those.

I had decided that my first (in this episode!) line of attack to get the one remaining stud out was to tap a new thread on it and try backing it out the same way I did the others.

After a not insignificant amount of swearing due to poor access (due to the proximity of the central mounting flange on the hub which wanted to occupy the same space as my tap), I eventually got a new thread cut in the mangled remains of the stripped stud. Got a locknut fitted, got everything good and hot (it's been soaking in Plusgas for several days now) and...

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Cue more swearing.

Scratching my head for ideas which didn't involve drilling the thing out as I don't rate my chances of managing that without damaging the threads, I grabbed the grinder and set about cutting flats into it in the hope that I might be able to get decent purchase on it with the Stilson's - no dice. The hub flange gets in the way of the head before I can get things to lock up to grab the stud...and things just keep sliding off.

I did notice that the two flats I'd cut into it weren't far off the right size to fit a 5/16" brake drum adjuster tool...so set about cutting a matching pair of flats into the remaining sides and put that on there (after applying even more heat). Result: One broken brake drum adjuster spanner.

Given the proximity of large amounts of fibreglass and the inability to move the car out of the garage in its current state I had really been hoping to avoid getting the welder involved...However I was out of better ideas by this point, so got it out, cleaned everything up and welded a nut onto the remains of the stud. Made a point of getting it as hot as I could before starting welding as I was thoroughly expecting the hub to behave as a massive heatsink and make it nigh on impossible to get a strong weld without melting the nut. My weld it turned out held just fine...the stud didn't, and snapped off yet closer to the face of the hub.

By this point I was quite royally hacked off with the thing so got distinctly medieval on it. I grabbed the nearest sized socket from the beat up cheap and nasty set, and hammered it on there with a 4lb lump hammer. I expected this to just slip off - nope. It just sheared the remains of the stud off almost completely flush with the hub.

Next best idea was to cut a reasonably deep slot in it and smack it with the impact driver. Unsurprisingly given that all indications suggested the stud was in fact made of cheese, it just mangled it the first smack of the hammer.

Grinder was busted back out again and the remains of the stud have been ground back flush with the face of the hub. I'll get a couple of new drill bits tomorrow and we'll just drill the sucker out. Have ordered an imperial tap & die kit in the thorough expectation that I'm probably going to need to sort the threads out afterwards...hopefully that forward planning will mean I don't need to!

I do find myself wondering at this point if this stud was ever actually made of an appropriate material from day one...so far this one seems to have behaved as though it's made of monkey metal!

Investigation has revealed that the other wheel nut holes in the hubs have M12x1.5 threads in them. These however only go in approximately 10mm, the thread doesn't run all the way through - even though the hole does go all the way through the hub. So wheel bolt length must have been critical in the original application. The PCD does look to be smaller than the one used by the wheels on there, albeit by the tiniest of amounts, it's barely visible lining the spacer ring which usually sits between the brake drum and the wheel up with the holes.

Stay tuned to find out how this probably goes even more spectacularly wrong and I continue to make an utter meal of what should be a dead simple job!
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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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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:58 pm

Being stuck dealing with gardening most of the day again today I was only left with an hour or so to do anything car related.

I decided to investigate something which had been mentioned yesterday on another forum as to whether it might be possible in the absence of a plentiful supply of RHD Merc T1 headlights at sensible prices, to adapt an LHD one. While I know that's not really an easy option as you'd need to both swap over the lens and modify the lamp holder, it set an idea rolling in my head. Most notably that I was pretty sure that the somewhat poor beam image I had from my nearside aftermarket headlight was most likely down to the lens rather than anything else...and I still had a good original lens, it was the reflector that was stuffed and resulted in the headlight being changed. Could I improve things by swapping the OEM lens across to the aftermarket unit?

A quick rummage revealed that the old headlight was indeed still in the scrap pile. Was a bit buried but didn't take too long to unearth.

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Pulling the lens off did indeed confirm my original assumption that a replacement had been bought by the previous owner because the reflector was knackered...I've seen worse and it could be refurbished, but it's definitely past its best. Pretty colours though...

Note that this still has the R2-H4 upgrade lamp in it. That's since been retrieved and stored safely as it's the same as is currently still used in the O/S light on the van.

When I got the van this headlight had the bung the wiring loom passes through in the back cover dislodged, so I suspect that there has been historically an issue with water ingress due to that which has lead to this one being in a far worse condition than the offside one (still in service).

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Ten minutes scrubbing with some warm soapy water followed by some glass cleaner had the lens looking like new. Testament to how tough glass really is I suppose.

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Comparing the OEM Hella lens and the one from the aftermarket Depo headlight next to each other, there is quite a clear difference between the two in that the details in the Hella lens are far more sharply defined, in comparison the Depo one looks very "soft" for want of a better term. You obviously can't tell in the photos, but the Hella lens is nearly twice the weight of the Depo one too. Similar story with the seals, the Hella one is a properly contoured item which fits into a groove in the housing, whereas the Depo one just uses a (not particularly well fitted) bit of square foam. They had also put the join in that seal at the top rather than the bottom of the headlight...that's just asking for future water ingress issues.

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With the Hella lens in place, the headlights now visually matching each other pleases my OCD tendencies. No it's not something that anyone else would ever notice...but I *knew* they were different...

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Quick test (after a quick beam adjustment) shows a far improved beam that far closer matches the offside one. Given they're running two different lamps (offside is a Halfords own brand R2-H4 upgrade, nearside is a somewhat ancient Osram H4 I dug out of my spares stash) I'd still expect there to be a little difference between the two anyway.

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Looking at the beam image with the camera you can see how much better defined it is too.

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This image obviously is flipped the other way up by the time it gets to the road due to the wonders of optics (the downward kink to the left of the image is what actually forms the kick up to the left of the beam on the road).

Quite happy with that result, having made one good headlight out of one knackered old one and one distinctly mediocre modern one...So hats off to the gent on the other forum who mentioned the thought which set this idea in motion.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:20 pm

Today has been a bit of a disaster...eventually decided I'd had enough of dealing with the outside world and retreated to the garage.

Been a while since I've done any real cleaning/valet type stuff and it's something I used to enjoy (was my Saturday job for five years)...van has no shortage of targets.

The run marks here by the high level tail lights are impervious to normal washing materials, TFR and so far elbow grease.

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A combination of cutting compound and the power were applied.

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Definitely a huge improvement. Nearside was precisely as grubby. The whole van is entirely matt too, so gave the rear panel a bit of a going over in general to see if it was interested in taking a shine...

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Of course we had to encounter the obligatory "first time I've ever used this polisher and cutting compound" moment where I cut through the paint. Oops.

The rear bumper had a lot of marks on it from where someone had taped something to it. Glad to report that the polisher made short work of that.

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The horribly messily applied sealant will be dealt with in due course...did scrape a fair bit of it off after taking that photo as well.

Whole van really needs going over...but it will obviously come up okay. The roof really wants a good scrub too...if I can figure out how to get to the middle of it without falling *through* the roof...going to take forever though - it's at times like this that you realise how much bigger this is than your typical car.

The cab will come up okay too it seems...

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I need to stop procrastinating about it and just buy a new bonnet. The vinyl graphics are basically holding the offside corner together. Yes it's £150 (at a guess £300 delivered, painted and with the graphics remade) but hopefully shouldn't need to be touched again... especially as I'll obviously rustproof the snot out of it before fitting. If going down that road I should probably just do the apron at the same time... imagine that would do a massive amount towards tidying it up though... likewise trying to sort the ridiculous panel gaps...the bonnet was obviously refitted by a blind monkey at some point...

The thought occurs as well that if I painted the whole windscreen scuttle with the same colour of white it would help make the rust look rather less obvious...
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:22 pm

I don't think I will ever complain that reviving weathered paint on a car is tedious and time consuming ever again. Reckon we're about 1/3 done now

Back is looking almost presentable now.

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The rear window was covered in a lot of very fine scratches before which gave it a cloudy appearance. Glad to report that it revived to an as new finish without any headaches.

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Calling the back done for now. This isn't a final job, I'm just wanting to get to a presentable finish...need to get the spare wheel off and the tall ladder out to properly reach the top and the middle of the bumper.

Definitely need to get all the beading off here and re-seal under it. I'm just going to work on the assumption that they all need doing as that way I'm far more likely to have a water tight van afterwards. Especially as bathroom sealer seems to have been the material of choice for the most recent round of repairs by the previous previous keeper.

Speaking of the roof...yeah... it's been a few years since this was clean.

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That front roof light will be getting changed soon. That one does leak very slightly under really heavy rain... probably just needs a new head of sealant around it, but as the frame inside is cracked in a couple of places it just makes sense to change it I reckon. Sadly I suspect finding one in anything other than white seems unlikely these days...

Moving on to the offside...yep, it was as bad as everywhere else.

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You should be able to see my reflection here...

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Yep...can definitely see where I got to!

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This was probably a couple of hours work - albeit feeling like far more because I kept getting interrupted.

Once this is done the next step will be to basically drown the thing in wax to protect the paint as best as I can.
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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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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Neil Chowney » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:35 am

That's starting to look completely super! Keep at it. :D
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Argue ye not with dragons, for thou art crunchy and go well on toast........

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