Today I mostly .....

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

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:10 pm

Xantia is now wearing a nice new set of Uniroyal RainExpert 3 tyres.

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Tell you what I wasn't expecting...that changing the tyres has reduced road noise by what feels like about 70%. It's not something I was expecting at all, so took me a good few seconds to figure out what had changed.

I'm glad to be back on these tyres to be honest. Have been on others for a few years now down to availability and what cars came with...but the RainExpert has been my tyre of choice going back pretty much to the start of me driving back in 2003.

Annoyingly she will definitely be wanting rear discs for the MOT as they've only been working on a small portion of the rear of the disc - quite likely due to the usual Xantia issue of the caliper alignment being screwed up by dissimilar metal corrosion between the axle and caliper.

Deceptive this problem as the rear brakes don't do much in the Xantia unless you've a lot of weight onboard - the brakes in this one feel quite capable of stopping the rotation of the planet itself as they are.

Front discs will do a bit yet, but the pads are definitely getting towards due for a change.

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Couple of weeks over two years and ~20K miles.

The exhaust has also decided to be annoying, having somehow managed to part company with the rearmost hanger.

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Still not quite sure how it's managed this...though the whole system appears to have managed to get twisted somehow and this is the first day it's not rattled in several months. Will see if I can convince it to behave tomorrow.

If I can get this exhaust through the MOT I'll be happy...as I'd really rather not have to add another hundred or two onto the bill (and finding systems that actually fit well for the Xantia is a pain at the best of the time, irrespective of price). I'd like to get a stainless system made...but I could do with a chance to recover from the work about to be done before having to pay for that too!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:02 am

Well that was a waste of a morning.

Turns out the last email I sent to BL Autos never got through, vanishing into the aether somewhere...so they weren't expecting me to appear this morning as they'd never had the message from me saying I'd be there today. This meant that they had nowhere to put the car and their courtesy car was unavailable. So I was left with no option other than to drive back home and book it back in for the tenth.

Not their fault by any means...just annoying. Could have proven really awkward if I'd got pulled over on the way there for driving with no MOT too as the garage wouldn't have had any idea I was on the way. Luckily that didn't happen.

On the plus side it gives me the opportunity to clean the car up a bit before it goes in. I've removed a load of detritus from the door pockets and boot, and will be able to give it a wash to get the moss out of the window rubbers.

The exhaust was reattached to the rearmost hanger (again) and removed the demountable tow bar having smacked my shins on it for about the 78274638th time.

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Just a bit of salt on the roads today...

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Turning my attention to the van briefly I wanted to address one of the biggest shortcomings of the saloon heater. Most notably that this is it notionally "off."

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The controller stays on so long as there's power. This is hooked directly into the leisure battery so doesn't shut off when the DC stuff in the back is turned off at the control panel. This won't be a huge issue long term as a proper controller will be replacing this piece of tat at some point (the controller is where they skimped most on the production costs), but for now I'd like to be able to turn it off.

Half an hour later this was sorted.

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So it's now possible to turn it properly off without having to stand on my head in the side locker to remove the fuse every time.

Obviously you need to wait for the heat exchanger to cool and the fan to stop before you can power it down though or you'll damage it.

Yes it does mean the clock resets to 00:00 every time you turn things back on...but as the clock keeps laughably poor time (loses about five minutes a day!) that's not really an issue.

... I'm trying to resist the very strong urge to reposition the controller so it's level given it will be getting replaced and be returned to the original location on the wall...but it's really bugging me.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:54 am

So the Xantia is likely to be in "dry dock" until after the Festive period due to a list as long as my arm (quoted £1500 plus change by the garage!)...This combined with a taker being pretty much lined up for the Lada means I've given myself a metaphorical kick up the back side to get it back on the road.

Currently awaiting the arrival of a brake caliper overhaul kit (the offside front one weeps slightly), but nevertheless I've got it booked in for an MOT on Friday. Hopefully nothing else will crop up, if so I've no worries about popping back next week when the brake parts arrive. The garage I use is less than ten minutes from my door, so it's not a huge chore to get there and back.

Much as I enjoy it, I'll be quite happy to see it moved on. Not to mention being excited to get to know the car replacing it...

PS: Sorry I didn't get the seal kit from you Tom. Had a voucher that was expiring elsewhere so wanted to use it. You know I'd normally have headed straight for you!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:56 pm

The Lada was unceremoniously dragged out of hibernation this morning and thrown at my local garage for an MOT without so much as a lighting check. Was expecting a list of minor stuff just due to having sat around for a month or two plus a year's use (albeit covering only a couple of thousand miles, mostly in fair weather).

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Unexpected, but not going to complain!

The advisory for some underbody corrosion has been there as long as I've had the car, there's quite a bit of surface rust that could do with a scrub down and attacking with some Vactan and Dinitrol. She's never done any winter service in my ownership and I've generally tried to avoid wet weather driving where possible, so it's never got any worse. Has always been on the to do list, sadly has just never got to the top.

The steering idler mentioned has a (nylon?) bush in it, and they're prone to wear - replacement inserts are less than a tenner...and I've got one in stock already. Though it's nowhere near bad enough to worry us just now.

Having this car roadworthy again is going to make the logistics of this weekend where we need to get to a charity event with the dogs this weekend immeasurably easier.

Last year when she was in for the test I was still trying to get to the bottom of a small vacuum leak which meant the fuelling wasn't quite spot on so the emissions test was a rather mediocre pass. Having finally sorted that leak, I was curious to see what she would show today.

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Much better!

Ignore the fail on the first test. The cat on this car is miles from the front of the car and takes an age to get up to temperature when you're standing still.

Lambda is still showing slightly high, though both me and the tester agree that that's probably entirely down to there being a couple of small leaks in the exhaust.

Last test we did with the carb in place we eventually managed to squeak through at 0.297% CO (limit is 0.300%)...so fair to say she's running quite a bit cleaner now I think. I reckon 0.093% is a decent figure for any engine...much less one from behind the Iron Curtain fro. The early 70s essentially with what many consider to be a very crude injection system grafted onto it. The cat is the original one from 1993 too.

Seeing those numbers makes it seem a lot more worthwhile having done the work (plus the car being way nicer to drive!).

One definite symptom of an old car that's not been used for a while was found though...I don't need to actually be able to *read* the instruments do I?

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Think the first few runs out will be done with the heater on full blast and the rear windows open to try to encourage the moisture out of the car a bit.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by sch4463 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:32 pm

Lada lives! Happy motoring...

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:45 pm

Hmm...what's that hiding in the van...?

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Yet more ex-garage diagnostic equipment. This time in the form of a diesel smoke opacity meter.

This control panel has a very late 80s/early 90s look to it under the grime I reckon...

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These things are pretty simple, so no reason it shouldn't work. Pulled one apart a few years ago and it was basically just a high intensity light source (halogen MR16 lamp in that case) in one side of the case and a detector at the other side plus some hardware to draw the air through.

Can't see it getting a huge amount of use - especially given the van basically doesn't smoke at all once started - but could be handy checking stuff for others and it's nice to know I've got the bases covered... slowly but surely getting my garage kitted out.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by sch4463 » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:54 pm

Sold the outlander I bought 2 months ago, in a lot better condition than when I found it. Going to Zambia via Bradford... Its a funny old world lol.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by rid54 » Sun Dec 22, 2019 4:00 pm

... checked, fuelled and loaded up the Niva (called Little Frog, or Vardīte) for a trip to the remote countryside dwelling, in an attempt to escape the general confusion and trauma of suburbia in Christmas-time. Here it is cold, dark and quiet. If the clouds open, we'll see the stars. Owls are hooting in the darkness as the house slowly gets warmer from the fires (and a few kW of electricity...).

A Merry Christmas to you all!

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Tom. » Sun Dec 22, 2019 4:37 pm

rid54 wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 4:00 pm
... checked, fuelled and loaded up the Niva (called Little Frog, or Vardīte) for a trip to the remote countryside dwelling, in an attempt to escape the general confusion and trauma of suburbia in Christmas-time. Here it is cold, dark and quiet. If the clouds open, we'll see the stars. Owls are hooting in the darkness as the house slowly gets warmer from the fires (and a few kW of electricity...).

A Merry Christmas to you all!
Sounds wonderful, have a nice break and a Merry Xmas to you and yours :)
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:48 am

Stumbled across a video on my phone I'd forgotten about.

So what does an OM.601 sound like with what is essentially a straight through exhaust on it?

Something like this.

YouTube link.

My phone was left sitting about 6" from the tailpipe which is right below the step into the living area, so probably sounds a bit more obtrusive than it is.

It's a bit ridiculous around town but surprisingly isn't really that noticeable on the motorway unless you're dealing with a major gradient.

Old school diesel with a straight pipe isn't something you come across these days.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:07 am

My intended task list for this weekend:

[] Re-seal the tail lights on the Lada to hopefully put a proper stop to water getting into the boot.

[] Oil & filter change on both Lada and van.

[] Wash both of the above and the Citroen. It's not going to be moving till spring, but I'd still rather get the salt it's already caked on it off.

[] Empty the Lada's boot of all the bits of Citroen and goodness only knows how many bottles of LHM are in there. If anyone needs any I have way more than I'll ever need...

[] Dig out and reinstate the Lada's glove box.

Didn't have a huge amount otherwise planned for the weekend so had hoped to get started on that list today...life of course decided to intervene today.

Our boiler has been kettling badly for last few days. It's always done it to some extent, but has been a lot more noticeable in the last few days. My intention (having recently managed to actually find the very well hidden drain down valve) was to drain, flush and freshly treat the system in the spring. Not really wanting to knock heating and hot water out for a full day in December.

Said detective work was made easier by having things like this to hand.

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This one just shows the supply side, I've got another one showing the feeds from the various tanks - yes there are four.

I have been trying to get a professional in to do it since we moved in. In 2014. However suffered a critical lack of interest from tradesmen usually getting the "it's not worth my getting out the van for..." Or "you need a new boiler, mate" without them having been given any information from me beyond that I want the system flushed, treated and the boiler checked and serviced.

I really don't get the "it must be replaced because it's old" mentality.

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Yes it's been here since 1981. However it has barely any moving parts, zero electronics and has a record of perfect combustion test results on every documented service. I agree, once something on it beyond the pilot light thermocouple fails it will not be worth repairing...but until that point I intend to keep it going. Our gas bill is hardly anything so I can't see a replacement paying for itself quickly...

Anyhow...back on topic. Having given up getting the system serviced, I figured I'd do it in the spring. However as it had been sounding distinctly unhappy in the last couple of days I figured there was little to lose by sticking a dose of silencer in there. If it calmed things down for a month or two, excellent. If not I'll just have to do it properly anyhow. I'd had the bottle of silencer solution floating around for years, may as well use it!

Before I could add it though I needed to drain a bit of water from the system so it wouldn't just pool uselessly in the expansion tank. Sounds simple enough.

Whereabouts does the drain down valve live? Oh...yeah...here.

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Which looks like this if you're not wedged against the underneath of the utility room sink.

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The valve is roughly where the arrow points.

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Not great forward planning. Cue ten minutes of work with the jigsaw.

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Mmm...crusty. Get the feeling this hasn't seen use in a few years.

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Sure enough it required a not insignificant amount of persuasion to open...but we got there in the end.

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Barfed a huge lump of crud when we first opened it, and then proceeded to leak like a sieve like virtually every one of these things things I've seen.

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Stopped when we'd drained ten litres or so off (and the water was stone cold so obviously being drawn from the tank rather than the circuit) and went and dumped the additive in the expansion tank.

This has definitely helped, restoring the kettling issue to a distant "grumble" which I'll call progress. Radiators are very noticeably warmer too so it's definitely improved something.

Unfortunately as is traditional with this house, in sorting (albeit temporarily bodging in this case) one problem always generates at least one additional piece of work. The drain down valve now won't seal fully. Dripping persistently once every few seconds. Not trying tightening it any further than I already have for fear of totally shredding the sealing disc.

So tomorrow I will instead of working on the cars, have to drain the entire heating system down and replace the drain down valve.

Obviously I may as well get the appropriate treatments dumped into and flushed through the system if I've got to drain it anyway.

The drain valve will not be replaced like for like. For a start compression fittings will be the order of the day, secondly I'll be fitting a good quality lever operated ball valve and terminate it in a hose barb...will make future drains of the system far less hassle.

Simple enough...just a bit awkward standing on my head under the sink (I can see that whole wall in the cupboard being removed to improve access) and annoying as I can think of a load of things I'd rather be doing.

Of course once I fix that something else will no doubt go wrong...that's how repair work in this house works!

Maybe I'll get to servicing the cars on Monday?
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:49 pm

I went into today's job with a couple of avenues open to me.

Firstly was as suggested elsewhere, I could try to change the washer in the offending valve. This would obviously save me a bit of time - though I still would need to drain the system fully which was of course going to be the biggest time waster.

I made a point of getting the necessary fittings for replacing the valve entirely, ideally as insurance that the simple option would work. I'd really rather get a ball valve in there long term anyway so I can drain the system without it leaking everywhere.

First contact with the enemy.

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Drain hose was hooked up again. Conveniently we've got ground level drains in our conservatory below the solar panel drain valves...

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Which meant that I could just dump the water into there rather than having to leave an actual outside door open to let all the heat out.

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Before I actually set about draining anything I obviously wanted to make sure the boiler didn't fire and the pump wouldn't start. Simple enough here as the main switch on the control panel knocks everything out.

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That panel is a bit of a blast from the past...no titchy little PCB mount relays here!

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While there were a few chunks of crud washed out what drained was nowhere near as disgusting as I honestly expected given it's been in there since at least 2006.

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I had half hoped I could just ship the core out the old valve and swap it with the new one. Sadly the new one was quite a bit smaller - though the washer was virtually identical so I was able to grab that and transfer it over. The cause of my having to go through this nonsense?

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Guess it's allowed to be a bit crispy after 38 years.

I have a sneaking suspicion from the look of the surrounding woodwork that it's been weeping at some point in the past, probably stopping when the sediment clogged the cracks up.

Once that was reassembled with the new washer it was time to dump a fresh dose of corrosion inhibitor into the expansion tank and start refilling the system. Thankfully the valve has indeed been repaired it appears.

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Then there was lots and lots and lots of this.

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A.k.a. "How many times in one day can Zel lose the radiator key?"

The answer is "always at least once more" it seems.

Then stuck the necessary details on the label and put it on the boiler...last one dated from 2006...so this was massively overdue.

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The system could really do with a proper flush I imagine, and I'll get to that in the spring...I need to drain it down again anyway as of course an additional problem surfaced...this crusty looking vent of course decided to weep once the system was bled up.

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If I'd seen it was this manky before I started I would have changed it before I refilled things. See also my earlier comment though about any job on this house generating at least one more item of work though...it's like a perpetual expense engine...

In this case though it can wait. It's barely even weeping and probably has been for years from the look of it. For now though the boiler is now running silently again, so I'll call that a win.

So much for my plan to get the cars serviced this weekend though!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:43 pm

Didn't quite get as much done as I'd hoped today, mainly because I wasted about two hours trying to sort an air leak on the pick up tube on the Pela - without success. Eventually gave in and dropped the oil from the Lada the old fashioned way.

This did involve me dragging myself across the driveway at the end of a six foot breaker bar. This was seriously tight.

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Thankfully being on the Lada the head is large enough that there was little danger of it stripping.

Oil dropped, new filter was spun on - that at least came off without a fight because I put it there (hadn't had the sump plug out myself before as I generally just use the vacuum draining method these days).

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Photo was actually taken about half an hour later when I was doing a running leak check, but you get the idea...

While the oil was draining I also changed the fuel filter - this had been on the to do list for a while because I managed to lose the new filter (for about a year).

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The old one came from the donor vehicle I pulled the injection system from - and I have a horrible suspicion that it may have been the original.

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The air filter was checked but left alone as it still looks exactly the same as when it was fitted (the paper has always been a slightly more greyish colour than most I've seen).

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I did rotate it through 180 degrees at least.

While I was in the engine bay I also gave the bonnet stay and hinges a bit of treatment with the spray grease.

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Then did the same for the bonnet catch. This gets pretty well drowned regularly as if it sticks and the release cable snaps (or the sheath slips out of the catch) you are in for a world of pain trying to get in. Been there, done that. Thankfully not on this car or there would be scars from it!

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Not quite sure how it took me until this week to actually buy a proper oil pouring jug.

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It makes things SO much easier. Especially on a car like this where the oil filler is a bit awkwardly placed where you've got to stretch and/or reach around other things to get at it.

Oil was re-checked and topped up once the engine had been run for a few minutes (looking for slightly over the maximum reading due to the slope of our drive).

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Then just did a general check over. Tightened up a couple of hose clips which had worked slightly loose and tucked a couple of wires back into their clips. Added a tiny splash of coolant to just bring that back up to the max mark (level with the top of the strap holding the expansion bottle in place).

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It's never really going to be a tidy engine bay, but at least it's a reasonably clean one.

Hopefully will get the steering box, gearbox and rear axle oil done tomorrow.

One additional thing I did was finally change the second number plate light on the van. One got smashed a while ago when someone drove into the back of it. The other one however had already got a cracked housing and they didn't match.

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This really is only fit for the bin.

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Ten minutes later, symmetry was restored.

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Much better.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:30 pm

The previously weeping brake caliper on the Lada which had stopped for several weeks has resumed leaking. It drops the level enough to just start to flicker the warning light in about two weeks of normal use, so not unmanageable...but braking issues need fixing rather than accomodating. Especially as the car is off to a new owner hopefully this week.

In my experience with these cars the calipers are usually pretty reliable unless they're irreparably seized from disuse so a service kit usually does the job. Grabbed this a few weeks ago.

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In theory this should be a pretty simple job.

[] Clamp the feed line from the reservoir.
[] Remove wheel.
[] Remove brake pads.
[] Disconnect brake hose.
[] Remove caliper.
[] Remove piston(s).
[] Remove seal.
[] Clean bore.
[] Insert new seal.
[] Insert new piston.
[] Reattach caliper.
[] Reattach brake hose.
[] Reinsert pads.
[] Remove hose clamp.
[] Bleed system.

However I know full well that these jobs tend to grow arms and legs so was fully prepared for all hell to break loose.

The problem is obvious.

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The horrible, horrible mess is far more obvious once the wheel is off. Yuck.

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Yep, it be a piston seal that's leaking. Didn't expect otherwise really.

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These brakes are refreshingly easy to work on. The pad retaining rods are floating on springs (so they're *usually* not seized) and come straight out once two P clips are pulled off. Then the pads lift straight out, and two further bolts (17mm) allow the caliper to be removed from the hub.

I had originally planned to change the flexible line as well but the union at the inner wing end didn't immediately relent when presented with a spanner so I opted for "leave it well alone" as one of the main targets for this job was not to generate a bigger to do list than I started with.

Getting the piston out required a bit of perseverance simply because I didn't have a helper to press the pedal while I kept an eye on things and compressed air was out of the question as my compressor is currently out of commission until I find out why it's tripping the RCD.

Wasn't too hard though, with the dust boot removed it was easy enough to pull it free while slowly rotating it.

The fluid actually in there didn't really look too bad and there was no puddle of metallic sludge in there like I've found in a few older calipers.

There wasn't really any obvious damage to either the piston or the seal at a glance.

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Though the new seal is a more snug fit to the piston, there's visible clearance between the old seal and piston.

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(Trying to photograph that was an utter pain).

The only signs of damage I could see were some *really* fine scratching/pitting near the outer edge.

Ignore the mangled finish on the inner area of the step, that's just from me wrestling it out of the caliper , and is the area normally outside the dust boot.

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This isn't enough to feel with a fingernail and is only visible when the light catches it just right. I guess it's enough though given the clearances involved.

I made the executive decision to leave the outboard piston alone. There's absolutely no sign of leakage from it at this stage (I did have a peek under the rubber dust boot), and given that pulling the caliper takes all of five minutes, it's not the end of the world if it needs to be revisited.

No photos from the actual dismantling and reassembly process I'm afraid as I was predictably absolutely covered in a horrible slimy congealed brake dust/brake fluid mixture.

This was snapped once I'd reassembled everything and changed into a fresh pair of gloves.

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The bleed nipple even came undone without undue force (it was slightly rounded off though, so the new one from the service kit was fitted - dust cap has since been added).

Then hooked up the Easybleed and let it run until I had a steady stream of clean fluid running through.

Then it was just a matter of double checking the fluid level...

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...5-10mm above the mounting bracket is correct.

Then going for a test drive. Well it would have been if the headlights hadn't then decided to play up.

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Nearside is lit at roughly 50%, and doesn't respond to switching between dip and main beam.

Tapping the relay that handles that headlight with the handle of a screwdriver immediately restored normal operation.

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The headlights on this while not being quite up there with some of the modern cars with good HID setups are by quite a long way the best of any classic I've driven. Definitely an example of what the humble H4 headlight bulb can actually do with a decent optical system to work with. I've got a spare relay in stock, so will change that out to hopefully prevent further issues with that.

There's still more travel in the pedal than I'd like so I reckon there might still be a bit of air in the system. I'll go back and bleed everything again thoroughly tomorrow - didn't want to start on that today as A: it was nearly dark by that point and B: I had run out of brake fluid as of filling the Easybleed.

While there is a bit too much free travel, the tendency to wander under heavy braking has been vastly reduced and the brakes generally feel more positive...hard to quantify the feeling of them biting, but they definitely feel better than before this work was done. Let's see what a full system bleed does for things - it's a few years since I changed the fluid now anyway so it's worth flushing through anyway. Checking the fluid after the run out hasn't shown any level drop and I can't see any signs of leakage from the wheel...though there's enough goop round there it's kind of hard to tell.

Have parked the car the other way around tonight so hopefully I'll be able to see tomorrow if I've stopped the leak...it was leaving a few drops overnight before.

Hopefully this is one job ticked off...was actually quite a pleasant one to do to be honest, if a bit messy.
LOZ: Oddball cars, lighting information, and anything else I remember to upload!
Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:12 pm

No brake fluid loss overnight nor any sign of fluid under the car.

Had it out a couple of times today and the brakes are definitely better than they were, just a bit too much travel in the pedal yet. Keep meaning to reset the handbrake adjustment too as that can have quite an effect on it.

Will try to get the system bled again tomorrow as I picked up some more fluid today. If it's still the same afterwards I'm just going to write it up as "it's just like that" as she honestly stops perfectly well and I think it's just throwing me because the pedal feels different now.

Last job for me on the car probably though as it's now official - she will be moving on on Wednesday morning. So tomorrow I'll get the brakes bled, top up the steering box and try to give her a bit of a valet.

Realising that I'll be wanting to use my phone to navigate on Wednesday I've picked up a windscreen mount, as unlike the van or Xantia there's nowhere convenient to just sit it. Same is true of the Invacar so will definitely get further use in the future.

So exciting new arrival day after tomorrow...know some of you know or have guessed what it is...but I'll bet it will surprise a few of you! Surprised me...
LOZ: Oddball cars, lighting information, and anything else I remember to upload!
Current fleet: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa, 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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