Today I mostly .....

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Zelandeth
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun May 17, 2020 10:24 pm

Well having that hooked up didn't last long! Discovered when I went to actually get the pipework properly clipped in place that two of the lines (hob and oven) were several inches too short...so had to faff around extending them. Added all of ten minutes work but was irritating nevertheless. As was realising that the clips I'd got were for smaller pipe than I'd used...so I wound up using larger ones with a bit of rubber hose cut to size as a sleeve.

There's more under there than you'd think.

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It's not tidy but working in such cramped quarters (getting far enough back to take that photo involved the camera effectively being in a drawer) I'll take it. Everything is well secured and routed so nothing can vibrate and rub against anything else. The other thing I'm keeping very much in mind is that the work surfaces will be getting replaced in the not too distant future. Once the worktop is out I'll have far, far better access. This also means that the appliances may well be moving somewhat so I don't want to go too overboard when I'll likely want to take a lot of it apart again. My patience is somewhat limited when I'm bodily folded into a small cupboard, sitting on a bracing rib and working left handed!

As it stands though everything is now hooked up, leak tested and working.

This is good because it means that I'll be able to complete the gas locker properly. I'd had that lashed together pretty crudely before as I knew there was still plumbing to be done and I didn't want to wind up having to dismantle and rebuild it a dozen times. The fuel tank for the heater will be moving from where you can currently see it, I'll be tucking that away in the gas locker as well, it's essentially outside the cabin then but will still be readily accessible for refilling. Once that's done I can finish off the cupboards and drawers (one of which hides the grill - the metal box for which I managed to unearth again today having not seen it in about a year).

Speaking of things I've not seen in a long while, I also found the missing knob from the hob, so that's been reinstated.

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Getting there.

Figured I'd stick the camera in place to show how the Jag is behaving following the work on the ignition system a couple of days ago. I was already out picking up and delivering medical supplies to some of our friends who can't get out and figured adding just under two miles to the trip wasn't going to end the world.



She feels far more eager when moving off and definitely sounds smoother.

Has obviously barely left our block recently so a few boots away from roundabouts has probably done the world of good too.

Ps: From 4:20 is more representative of my normal driving. I was deliberately provoking some revs here as I was wanting to see how things were behaving under load. Plus it's the first time she has been able to go above 40mph in several weeks so helped running in itself... suffice to say a big V12 isn't too much of a fan of bumbling around for only a couple of miles at a time week on end.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon May 18, 2020 10:56 pm

Dogs need to go in for their vaccinations tomorrow so I needed to get things in the van buttoned back up and hoover out all the sawdust as it's the only vehicle which is really suitable for taking them both out.

Spot the difference?

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Yep, the gas locker is now boxed off. The cable tie is currently holding the heater fuel tank upright (tied to the oven front panel) as I've still got to pull that out and relocate it. The aluminium foil tape you can see is just a belt and braces approach to sealing off any gaps.

It's not pretty, but it will be covered by an insulation sheet then buried behind the back of a cupboard so honestly I'm not too bothered what it looks like.

Unsurprisingly given that there's no longer a direct path between the cabin and the outside world (the gas locker is of course vented to the outside) it's noticeably quieter in there. Should help with the insulation too, not that the van really seems to struggle with that. Nice to see it starting to come together properly inside though. The last few bits and pieces should be pretty quick to get sorted.
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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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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri May 22, 2020 12:19 am

Had a couple of errands to run today, about ten minutes into the day the Jag was ditched on the drive and the van taken out. It was just too hot and sticky in the Jag. Getting the air conditioning sorted needs to move up the list. Without it the ventilation system is essentially useless.

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Opening the windows generates epic levels of noise but doesn't actually seem to get much air into the cabin. Thus far I've had no luck tracking down a pulley/clutch assembly on its own. Looking like a whole new compressor may well be the route we need to take. With a £3-400 pricetag...before getting the system recharged which will be another £50+, assuming there are no leaks elsewhere! Bearing in mind that I trust the jubilee-clipped line between the condenser and compressor about as far as I can throw it, even if the jubilee clips are factory! They just don't belong on HVAC systems!

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It became quite apparent after a few minutes of driving the van that in addition to the not inconsiderable amount of noise exiting the tailpipe that there was a fair racket emanating from directly underneath the driver's seat.

The source was this nuisance of an exhaust joint.

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I've already had issues with this joint working itself loose and rattling. So it was dismantled today, cleaned up, thoroughly slathered in Firegum and the clamp then tightened up as far as I dare before risking snapping the bolt. Hopefully it will stay that way this time. If it does it again the clamp is getting replaced.


After a not inconsiderable search of the pile of junk out the back of the house and the garage I eventually found the base for the grill, which was absolutely *not* where I thought I'd left it.

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I've had a bit more of a think about the hob in the van. This has caused quite a considerable amount of head scratching while I've been trying to figure out where it originally was.

Originally I had assumed it was directly above the oven, this would make the most sense. This isn't an option though as there's nowhere near enough depth available.

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The other thought was at the rear of the van where the draining rack currently is. However there's no way that can work either as the hob is about 19" deep, and the work surface here is far less than that!

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If the hob was installed there you'd no longer be able to open the bathroom door which would be...suboptimal.

The only thought I do have is that the hob *might* be able to fit below the water heater if it were turned through 90 degrees... I'll need to take some more measurements tomorrow.

Really wish I had a photo of the kitchen before things got moved around!


In other news the new wheel nuts for the Invacar have arrived.

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While sorting the one hub is still a work in progress, at least I'll be able to get a properly matched, non-mangled set fitted to the other two wheels which should hopefully help reduce the potential for future issues due to dodgy threads.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Neil Chowney » Fri May 22, 2020 12:36 pm

Those wheel nuts....

Were you ever tempted, even just a little bit, just to weld the wheels straight onto the hubs.... go on you can tell me..... :D
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat May 23, 2020 2:23 pm

Neil Chowney wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 12:36 pm
Those wheel nuts....

Were you ever tempted, even just a little bit, just to weld the wheels straight onto the hubs.... go on you can tell me..... :D
Given my welding skills, not so much! Especially given how much more terrifying the prospect of losing a wheel on a three wheeler is.

Welding in a replacement for the errant stud...yes. Though you'd need access to the back of the hub for that, and if you need to take the hub off anyway you may as well throw it at a professional machinist to sort.
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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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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun May 24, 2020 10:05 pm

Today I made a horrific mess.

My foul up with the hob positioning had prompted me to do something about the ridiculous worktops in the van kitchen.

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These were just normal household worktops and aside from being about five times the weight of what you'd normally use in a van they were also about twice the thickness of normal camper/caravan ones. This causes a few problems as the fasteners that hold the sink and hob down are captive in the units - and aren't long enough to reach all the way through. It also meant I'd had to resort to bodges like this with the taps.

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After a bit of messing around and three online sellers failing to deliver, finally picked up some slightly less stupid board to remake the worktops.

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It's just furniture board so nothing special, but it will do the job. That panel even before it's trimmed down etc is lighter than what has been taken out by a fair chunk.

Of course the next step was to start tearing things to pieces.

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Before going anywhere further however I'm taking the opportunity to tidy up a lot of the stuff I bodged together when I was trying to get the van ready for the first outing with us. I've got a good stock of laminated ply ready to rebuild the gas locker and the drawer/cupboard framework in there.

The fridge will be getting raised up about 1/2" so it fits the surround properly, the pipework & wiring tidied up, then we'll start putting things back together.

...Once I've figured out how on earth the bits of metalwork which I'm assuming originate from around the oven fit together.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon May 25, 2020 11:38 pm

Bit of work done in the van today to start putting back together what I pulled to bits yesterday.

First up was to extend the top of the countertop over the fridge so we didn't have two different heights to work with. Luckily I found a couple of offcuts floating around which were exactly the right size to get the height right.

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By complete and utter random chance it turned out that I had a thin MDF offcut floating around that was almost the exact right size to close this off. It's a bit warped from sitting in the back of the shed for about three years but that's hardly a problem here.

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Yes I did make sure to leave enough of a drop so the drawer can latch closed.

Those little metal L brackets will feature heavily in this job, and are a favourite of mine for many tasks.

I decided against bothering to elevate the fridge. Doing that would have required me to dismantle and completely redo the flue and I really didn't want to take that apart again.

Having thought on it overnight I decided that the fuel tank for the heater was going back more or less where I had first put it. It was just going to be awkward having it inside the gas locker and there was always the worry of it getting bashed while putting the gas bottle in - though it is really sturdy.

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I prefer this as well in that it means that the fuel level can be checked visually from inside the van without needing to go outside. It's positioned such that filling can be easily done through the gas locker door though.

While I was working in that area I finally got the water pipes into the two brackets right in the corner. I didn't have enough hand strength to do that when I was standing on my head under there when I did the plumbing! The clips are really intended for 15mm copper pipe so these hoses are a really snug fit, it takes quite a bit of effort to get them to snap closed.

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I need to tidy up the tail light wiring. That's probably going to be a job for tomorrow. That's what all that spaghetti is, the feeds for the high level tail lights.

Also, yes. That is a patio gas cylinder. I've got a proper one in the garage waiting to go in along with a new regulator and hose tail. This was the only one I had to hand for testing a year and a half ago (nicked from the barbeque) and I had honestly forgotten about that until seeing the "patio gas" logo on it today. Not sure what the difference is mind you, the ratings on the regulator are identical to the one which will be going in, just a different fitting.

I'll be sealing around the tank so it doesn't leave a gaping hole in the gas locker. I will be constructing things a bit differently to how they were originally as well as I'm not bothering having a separate lid on it.

This got me to an a stage I was dreading...starting to rebuild.

There are some things I am good at and some things I am not good at. Carpentry is one of the latter. Generally no matter how much care, patience and care I put into jobs involving woodwork things degenerate into a complete farce in no time flat and the results make the dimensional control on the Lada production line on a Monday morning look like something from the space program. Even if all I was cutting out was a simple square.

With that in mind I didn't have great hopes for making things like this.

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How far away from fitting was it then?

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I nearly died of shock...aside from some slight wobble on the long edge that I was aware of and really isn't a problem here, it's pretty much a perfect fit. I didn't need to take it back out to be altered, which means it's nanometre perfect in my book!

How about the other side?

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Now I'm getting a little scared...that fit too!

The joins along all the edges will be sealed carefully to ensure that the cabinet is as close to sealed from the rest of the van as possible. I'll be cutting bigger vents in the floor as well before everything is buttoned up. I've got appropriate grills to cover them. Around where the pipework passes know if out will also be treated with tape and/or expanding foam.

I'll add a buffer next to the edge of the heater fuel tank where it protrudes into the locker to protect it from getting bashed when inserting or removing the cylinder. I could have set it back a bit further but that would have made filling more awkward.

I do have a cylinder securing kit in the garage too, will be nice to switch to that and ditch the bungee cords and ratchet strap system!

While it looks tight it's not bad actually.

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Probably the most annoying thing when inserting/removing the cylinder is the kitchen sink waste - however I can't really move it any further back due to the position of the chassis outrigger this corner of the van sits on. It would have been flush with the wall if there wasn't a 3mm thick steel plate under there!

I'd like to ditch as much of the flexible drain pipe as possible somewhere down the line anyway, so that may be revisited.

Yes, the tail light wiring is running through a ventilation hole... it's already on my list (and has been since it was lashed up like that). Pretty much everything in this corner was done to prove things worked and fully expecting to come back to it (which I now am) to do a proper job of it.

I had to stop at this point as I have run out of fixing brackets, and nearly run out of woodscrews of an appropriate size...will need to make a Toolstation run to restock.

Next steps (in no particular order):

[] Tidy high level tail light wiring.

[] Replace gas cylinder regulator & hose.

[] Install gas cylinder fixing kit.

[] Install buffer adjacent to heater fuel tank.

[] Seal gas locker.

[] Add further ventilation to floor of locker.

[] Add further hole for sink draining rack drain line.

[] Trim screws where they protrude into the locker (not strictly necessary but feels the right thing to do).

[] Pick up more brackets, screws & gas fittings.

[] Paint everything under there white once it's all fitted.

[] Install cupboard and gas locker (remotely switched obviously) lights.

[] Properly figure out where sink, hob and draining rack are going!

[] Refit oven heat shielding.

Speaking of the heat shield... I'm *assuming* that's what these bits of pressed metal are. There are two identical ones there.

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Has anyone who's done work on something like this have the foggiest idea how they're meant to be fitted...it really isn't obvious! To be honest the outside of the oven doesn't really get all that hot so I'm not sure how necessary they are. I've had it running for a full hour flat out during testing and it never got to a point where the surface temperature was worrying. It's double skinned as it is. The panelling between it and the cupboard will be lined with foil for heat reflection anyway and there will be a decent air space around it on all sides.

Feels like progress is being made...was a bit disheartening seeing the mess I'd made yesterday and the amount of things I'd out together that I had just pulled apart again. Nice to see proper panelling going in rather than paper thin chipboard you can cut with scissors or Foamex which was used for a lot of "this will do for two trips I've one afternoon to prep for" too.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed May 27, 2020 12:29 am

This is one of those days where there's depressingly little visible to show for a lot of work at a glance!

While I didn't do a direct before and after, here's the general area a couple of days ago before work really started beyond pulling off the worktops.

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Here's where we left things today.

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Prior to this working the oven was basically just floating. It was held in purely by the four screws in the surround (which in itself had about as much structural rigidity as silly string).

Step one for today was to remove the oven so I can get into the area behind it unhindered.

Step two was further carpentry to make the divider that separates it from the cupboard.

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Again, this fitted with surprisingly little hassle...the only fettling that was needed was to make the cutout for the pipes a little deeper as I hadn't taken account for the fact that I had bent the gas lines for the hob and oven back a bit to keep them out of the way.

This then allowed me to locate a shelf beneath the oven for it to sit on, and to properly tie the front of the worktop frame to the wall of the van again. This was where I also discovered that it wasn't actually screwed onto the floor anywhere except for right at the one end. Once this had been corrected it actually felt sturdy for the first time ever. This is relevant as the oven is by far the biggest source of squeaks and rattles while driving, so anything I can do to reduce its ability to wobble and bounce independently of the van itself is to be taken advantage of.

After probably an hour of faffing around with the L shaped metal panels which I have to guess originally formed a box around the oven I ran out of patience. I have to assume that there was an additional piece or a load of battens or something that went with them that I just don't have. I decided to just use them to line the enclosure the oven was going to live in and call it good. I've no idea how they were originally used and I'm sorry if the designers see this and tear their hair out. One is mounted underneath the oven and to the rear, the other is to the front and left. The little strip left in the one corner has been covered with aluminium tape to offer a bit of thermal reflection too.

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I think this is probably a bit overkill given the amount of heat that isn't chucked out of the back and sides of the unit (most of the output comes out of the vent below the control panel at the front), but I figure the more heat that's kept away from wood the better. The underside of the shelf which was then put in to close this area off (after leak-checking the reconnected gas line of course) was also foil lined.

The liner for the grill was then attached to the shelf - this shelf was reused from the original setup - I know it's what the liner was originally attached to as all the holes line up!

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I've no idea what the rear of this was originally closed of with - if anything. I'm going to slot a piece of steel sheet in here though. Already have it marked out, just need to get the grinder out to cut it out. I'm planning to make a couple of plates to go over the top as well either side of the burner to keep the heat off the frame and keep it as completely enclosed as I can. Not going to make those until I've decided precisely where the hob assembly will sit as it will obviously affect the geometry. Just the fun and games of trying to make something that is designed to get hot with a frame out of what's essentially low grade plywood! The oven is pretty easy as it's inside a pretty well insulated metal box, the grill needs a bit more care taken, which means I need to do some metalwork.

That's where we left off today though.

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Doesn't look like much for more or less a full afternoon of work does it!
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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