Today I mostly .....

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Tom.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Tom. » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:40 pm

More like last week..................spotted this clean looking Trabant waiting at the traffic lights across the road from Aintree racecourse Liverpool.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:19 am

Tom. wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:40 pm
More like last week..................spotted this clean looking Trabant waiting at the traffic lights across the road from Aintree racecourse Liverpool.

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Good colour for it, and an estate at that...do quite fancy one of those...oh for an infinite driveway!

Real life has been doing a good job of getting thoroughly in the way lately so nothing major has really been going on with the fleet.

Main thing done since the last update has been finally getting the dashcam fitted to the van. It obviously wasn't doing any good sitting in a box on a shelf where it had been for a few weeks. I despise having obviously modern stuff stuck all over an older vehicle but given some of the nonsense I've seen on the roads lately (including a few near run ins with what was obviously someone trying to run a crash for cash scheme - cutting in front of you on a 70mph dual carriageway then slamming on the brakes in a car with no working brake lights) I just decided that it was necessary for peace of mind.

The unit I went with in the end tucks away pretty discreetly behind the rear view mirror and isn't really conspicuous.

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It's visible from the passenger side in the cab, which is pretty unavoidable.

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However is more or less invisible from the driver's seat so I'll call that a win.

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Getting the wiring for that routed was an absolute pain. The term "solidly built" definitely applies to the cab of this vehicle...so getting enough slack in the headlining to move the edge the 1/8" or so necessary to tuck the wiring away required quite a bit of dismantling. Both sun visors, the rear view mirror base bracket, passenger side grab handle, driver's side grab handle blanking plates, both door seals all had to come out. Power is coming from a splice into the dashboard 12V socket into an additional socket tucked away behind the fuse box. Will make it easier for me to swap things out in the future rather than directly hard wiring it into the vehicle loom.

While I had the cab somewhat in bits I also turned my attention to this.

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It's the sonar detector head for the original alarm system. This is totally redundant as a far more modern and discreet system has been installed (plus a couple of personal improvements to what I felt were shortcomings in it out the box). I had left this in place though as removing it would have left three holes in a really obvious location on the top of the dash.

Having had a bit of a think I decided that this was something I could replace the defunct alarm sensor with which would also do something at least vaguely useful.

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Doesn't look like something you would be surprised to see in a camper designed for exploring I reckon. Yes it's a bit tacky, but it's better than a hole in the top of the dash and doesn't scream "hey this vehicle only has an alarm from 1990 still fitted" quite so loudly.

Also yes, the dash really is that filthy... really need to give the cab a good valet.
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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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Neil Chowney » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:42 am

I think its a sad reflection of society when you have to worry about being involved in a scam like that. The roads are dangerous enough without additional muppetry.

I did have a similar experience once as I was driving into Reading off J12 of the M4. This is where the the big Porsche dealer is based. I was pootling down the inside lane in the Niva coming up to the roundabout braking point, when a 911 barrelled up the outside, cut in in front of me and stood on the brakes.

I could see him look in his mirror, do a quick mental calculation on the comparative braking distances of a new 911 and a 20 year old Lada and then swerve back out inot the second lane accompanied with a lot of horn use and shouting from the occupants of the car that just about avoided him.

Bearing in mind that this was a Porsche 'techinician' out on a 'road test' in a customers car (I could see the coveralls) then he was probably about half a second away from being unemployed.
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Zelandeth
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:40 pm

A mate of mine back up north fell foul of a similar scam ten years or so back. He had a lovely W123 Merc (1979 I think), and randomly at a junction a Transit van (on Polish plates) reversed into the front of their stationary car at speed.

The three occupants of the van then (after rolling around in claimed agony) called both police and ambulance. Making out of course that my mate had driven into the back of them.

Police didn't even think about it - automatically sided with the occupants of the van. In addition to the obvious insurance claim against him from them (including whiplash of course), his own car (which had been in the family since new, having been bought by his late father) was written off and he was given three penalty points for careless driving.

Quiet residential street, early hours of the morning, no witnesses obviously. As far as I'm aware he's never driven since.

The van seems to attract idiots like this as I've had a couple of near run ins with them (the same ancient scruffy Mondeo) in it, as they obviously reckon it's likely to take a fair old way to stop. Unluckily for them I'm downright paranoid. Have had a couple of what I suspect to be similarly deliberate near misses in the Lada too, but far less in the Xantia...so guessing they're on the lookout for older cars as they're deemed easier targets.

To be totally honest this sort of nonsense and the downright terrifying degree of raging impatience I see from drivers down here really does take a huge amount of the joy out of something I used to enjoy...one more reason I find myself every day wondering if I made a catastrophic mistake moving down 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 AC Model-70.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:43 pm

Not had a chance to really touch the fleet till this evening, though was lucky enough to get a chance to take a trip down memory lane last weekend.

There was a show at my local museum, however it was BMC themed...and I currently lack any BMC motors (even though the Invacar contains large portions of stuff from their parts bins I figure it probably didn't count!)...so couldn't take a car. Well so it seemed until a friend mentioned they had several potential vehicles appropriate for the show and offered the opportunity to assist.

I immediately jumped at the chance to take the reigns of this.

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Must have been fifteen years since I was last in an MGB, possibly longer since I'd driven one. My memory was that I'd been rather smitten with Craig's roadster though back then...even though I was a very green and somewhat nervous driver. I'd pondered whether a "B" should be on my shopping list at some point, but seemed a good idea to drive one again before deciding that.

Yes I know they're everywhere and some people seem to love to hate them because of that...but C'mon how's it possible to not like the view from here...

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Or here...

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The owner described the car as "a rather tired and rough" example. Has 104K miles on the clock and has never been subject to a restoration so wasn't expecting miracles...Need not have worried, I'd dispute the claim as to condition and instead would have said she's a lovely old thing with whom I got along swimmingly. Drives better to be honest than I remembered Craig's one doing. I had forgotten quite how difficult it is to get in or out while retaining any degree of dignity though simply because you seem to sit several inches below the surface of the road. Once you're in though it's comfy. Goes well, sounds good, rides well, nice gearchange, nice communicative steering, looks fantastic, what's not to like? Only bit I didn't enjoy was the bit where I had to hand the keys back!

Yep...I think an MGB definitely needs to be on fleet at some point. Only downside to this one is it's the wrong colour. Though British Racing Green is second on the list... ideally would be Snapdragon Yellow though. Had a very early Mini Metro in that colour which I have many fond memories of, so would be a nice nod to the memory of that car. Would prefer an early car like this one, not so much that I've anything against the rubber bumper look exterior (though it's not that hard to change that if you're so inclined I imagine), but that I far prefer the earlier style dash and interior.

If anyone would like to swap a Lada Riva for an MGB...you know where I am.

Rather than clutter up this thread with a hundred or so images, if anyone wants to take a look at the photos I took during the event, here's a link to my ImgBB album which you're welcome to take a look at if interested.

Back to my actual fleet. Not really had a chance to do much lately but finally did get a free half hour this evening before the light faded, so wanted to do something useful.

The one thing which has really been making the van look extremely shabby is the paintwork on the nearside. The offside is really dull and in need of a polish, but that's it. The nearside though has really nasty staining and what look to be runs from someone attacking it with TFR at some point. Seriously folks...don't do that to old school paint finishes like this.

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There was also a black smear on the door which wouldn't shift.

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I had previously attacked it with polish by hand to see if it would shift and hadn't managed to make any headway. Today though I was armed with cutting compound and a power polisher...so did that work any better?

What do you think?

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Sorry...not a great photo as it was rapidly getting dark.

I reckon that's taken about ten years off it! Ran out of daylight so the white section below the rubbing strip in front of the door hasn't been done. Also haven't touched anything above that...I can still see a bit of the run pattern in the blue area bit it's far better. So I think one more skim over with the compound should get rid of it...then the whole side will be gone over with Autoglym Super Resin Polish and unreasonable amounts of wax to protect it.

The power polisher is a godsend dealing with a vehicle this size...shudder to think how long it would take me to cut, polish and wax this thing by hand!
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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Zelandeth
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:30 pm

One thing which was obvious yesterday when working with the polisher was that the nearside rear corner was looking rather ratty because of the sealant between the side of the van and the bumper had disintegrated. This has been letting water get in behind there too which can't be a good thing.

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Bit of fresh sealant has improved things - though it didn't go on quite as tidily as I'd hoped.

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The bumper needs painting anyway so will need to come off at some point anyhow. As such I'm not worrying too much about it for now...keeping the weather out has priority.



Biggest issue I've been noticing in the last couple of week is a downright horrific squeaky rattle in the cab coming from the passenger door. This was rapidly driving me insane. The window winder on that door has never worked in my ownership of the van, though the window could be manually slid down by a couple of inches. So a suction cup had been employed to stop it from dropping open. I was pretty sure that the rattle and the dodgy window were most likely connected.

The moment I started stripping things down I immediately became suspicious. The screws holding the door handle on were cross threaded and this was found wedging the captive nut in place...

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Yes, that's a self tapper held in place with blu-tac. This suggested to me that I was very likely to find that Billy the Bodger had been messing around in my door.

Yeah...I wasn't quite braced for what greeted me when the door card was removed.

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Okay...that linkage should be straight. It's a good 2mm thick, so must have taken some serious effort to bend! This was wedged around the wrong side of the window runner and jammed against the base of the door, presumably to keep the window up. Cue a bit of investigation to try to figure out what on earth was going on.

This appears to be the root cause of the trouble.

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This fits through the whole assembly, with the coil spring slotted into the back of it. Now I need to track down a diagram to ascertain whether something has broken off this or whether there's meant to be an external clip to hold everything together. It looks like there may originally been something involved with a square section involved.

Before I could do anything though I needed to try to get the linkage back into something vaguely resembling the right shape.

I've no idea how they bent it like that...but getting it back involved getting it cherry red with the MAPP torch and battering it with a 4lb lump hammer.

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Better. Though they've managed to bend it in this axes too.

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Don't think this will stop anything from working though.

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This allowed me to reassemble things to prove that everything was there fundamentally - I stuck a bolt temporarily in the place of the aforementioned fastener just to hold everything together for testing purposes.

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Well that looks a bit healthier doesn't it? You can see the scratches by the bottom of the window runner showing where the lifting quadrant used to be. The cable ties are locking things in place just now as the bolt through the middle allows a bit of movement so the winder doesn't reliably stay meshed with the teeth on the quadrant. As stated though this was purely a test.

I think once I've sorted that "thing" in the middle this should be back in action. The teeth on both the winder and the lifting quadrant look perfect, the runners all seem fine etc. Just need to figure out what bits are missing and replace them.

While I had the door apart I took the opportunity to make sure the drainage channels were clear in the bottom of the door and vacuumed thirty years worth of detritus out of the bottom of the door. The paint is flaking off quite badly in several areas, so it will shortly be getting drowned in rust convertor and cavity wax.

Reassembly required a little remedial work too as I'd mentioned earlier, the screws holding the grab handle on were utterly cross threaded and good for nothing but scrap.

Luckily the ones on the driver's door were fine so I was able to confirm the screws were standard M6 items. The nuts in the door responded fine to being chased out with a tap.

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Suitable replacement screws were sourced from the drawer of random fasteners and the door put back together.

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The suction cup previously holding the window up can go now...it was mainly being used to ensure the glass didn't drop on my head while I was working inside the door.

While I've not had a chance to take it out yet, it doesn't rattle at idle any more and now clonks shut rather than clatters shut...so hopefully will be quieter on the move. I do need to look at adding some sound deadening in the doors though as they do drum something rotten...I get the impression some Dynamat (or similar) could knock a huge percentage off the noise levels in the cab. Replacing some of that which has been removed from the bulkhead and floor when welding has been done in the past probably wouldn't go amiss either.
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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Zelandeth
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:20 pm

Went out for a test run today to see how much quieter the cab was.

Had to break out the special swear words almost immediately as it became apparent that the squeak was in fact still cheerfully chirping away. Quick bit of investigation soon found the source.



I'll need to delve a bit deeper tomorrow to figure out exactly what the culprit is and work out how to shut it up. Suffice to say it's a high priority as that's the sort of noise which will drive me round the twist in short order. Hopefully some fresh grease on the various moving parts, springs etc will shut it up.

The door needed to be pulled apart anyway though to investigate the window winder issues so it wasn't time wasted anyhow.

Speaking of the window winder I dropped by the Merc dealer today to see if they could track down a proper diagram of what should be in my door so I could confirm nothing else was missing and hopefully see how it was meant to be held together. Unsurprisingly their magical parts lookup system didn't even break a sweat looking this up for a 30 year old van.

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This however shows me something I was half expecting - that something has actually broken. That odd pin thing which runs through both the lifting arm and winder quadrant should be permanently attached. The whole lot shouldn't come apart...as such bits of it aren't available separately.

At least I now know that. In itself that's useful as I can start thinking about how to manufacture a solution rather than just being able to pick one up.

Not going to waste too much time on it though (especially as the lifter arm is still slightly bent and I'm not totally sure if that will affect operation) as the whole winder/lifter assembly is available from Mercedes for £81 including the VAT.

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Going to have a closer look at it though as I reckon it should be possible to fix it...given I've some other big bills coming up the window winder will need to wait if it needs a replacement. Anyhow it's firmly closed now and if need be can wait until the spring when I'll obviously want to be able to open the window again.

At least the dealer seemed happy to talk to me this time following on from their "no commercial vehicles" nonsense last time I was there. Not sure if something has changed since last time or if they just agreed with my opening line of "Hoping you can help me, given Intercounty are as much use as a chocolate teapot..."

Really wish I had access to their parts lookup system...
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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