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 Nov 09, 2020 2:10 pm

Think I may just have found a smoking gun with regards to the slight but annoying damp that seems to be getting into the Xantia (just enough to make the windows instantly steam up whenever it rains).

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Will pull and re-seal that tail light and see if that cures it. All of the water off the rear of the roof and tailgate runs over here and there's a seam between two panels under the seal so it's a prime candidate for water ingress even though the actual void into the interior is pretty tiny (just a passthrough for the wiring).

ADDITIONAL: So yesterday evening I ended up wasting the best part of three hours getting a clean print out of this thing.

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For the third time in as many months.

If you use it at least once every couple of weeks it's as good as gold. Print quality is second to non, I've printed about 1500 pages and am still on the ink bottles that came in the box and I don't think I've ever had a paper jam. However it's still an inkjet...so it still gets cranky if left unused for any length of time. Well... except for the old HP PSC2179 which we still have in my husband's room that I bought back in 2003...it seems strangely immune to that problem even if left for six months at a time.

I've just had enough of consumer grade printers. I went out of my way to get a decent one when I got the ET4550, and it's still trouble.

After a bit of digging around I've just ordered a reconditioned HP4600dn. Proper enterprise grade colour laser from 2002. I have prior knowledge of this exact model as it's the one printer that even the council roads department couldn't kill...which is high praise for any piece of equipment! Don't think that one was ever out of service from 2005 through to 2012 when we moved buildings. £120 for a reconditioned one with warranty, brand new imaging kit and transfer belt, and toners showing minimum of 40% (they're good for 8000 pages so that'll last me plenty anyway!) sounded like a bargain to me.

Nice that because this is a belt transfer based printer it prints all four colours at once so performance is identical when printing colour or monochrome. A lot of smaller colour lasers from this sort of period used sequential colour printing...so colour print speed would be 1/4 that of mono. The one in our office did about 15ppm mono...but 3 in colour...and it took a good 45 seconds for the first colour page to appear. Much swearing used to happen if you realised there was one hyperlink or something in colour in your otherwise black and white document that you'd not spotted before clicking print, and you heard the carousel with the toner cartridges on moving out of the home position as you stood up from your desk to go get your document...

So continues my quest to eliminate all the consumer grade tat from our IT infrastructure in this house. I was glad to find the 4600dn specifically because it's a model that I've prior experience both using and looking after, so I know it's built like a brick outhouse and is easy to look after. Must be one of the last generation before HP's kit really went down the pan.

I'd *like* one of the original LaserJet battleships...but just because I love kit like that rather than because I actually have a use for one. I really need colour, and having had a printer with a duplexer I'd miss it going back to one without.

I do have a LaserJet 1100 here though, which used to be my "general purpose I want to print manuals etc" choice before I got the ability to print two sided. Given it proudly proclaims MS-DOS comparability on the self test page it must be pretty old...That thing (and the one toner cartridge I bought for it) will probably outlast the human race. It's a real crying shame that in the mid 00s that HP's kit went off a cliff as they used to be so utterly dependable.

I might well see if I can sell the Epson on. It's a really good little printer by modern consumer standards, IF you're a regular user. I just don't use it often enough to keep it happy it seems. To be honest given the fact it's one of the models with the bulk ink tank system (I've had to top it up once in 1500 pages and about two years) if you can find ten minutes to print off a couple of photos a week to keep the heads happy it's not going to cost anything in ink. That's all it probably needs done.

The other gripe I have with it is that the Linux comparability with it is *mostly* okay, but every now and then the scanner drivers decide to fall over and require me to recompile them for no readily explicable reason. It only takes five minutes, but it's still annoying... especially when you just want to quickly scan something for someone. Between it's tendency to be cranky if left idle for longer periods and flaky drivers...nope, time to switch to enterprise grade gear with proper official Linux driver and software support please.

Honestly not sure what it's worth, know I paid the best part of £300 for it about two years ago... probably about £20 given the rate consumer tech depreciates at! If anyone on here wants it I'm sure we can arrange something.

Looking forward to getting the new old HP set up. NOT looking forward to carrying it upstairs mind you, they weigh something like 45kg as I recall!
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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 » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:49 pm

So our starting point today...

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With enough of the interior reassembled as to make the car reasonably drivable we went off to collect the tyres. Via an Esso fuel station to sample their Supreme+ super unleaded which I learned in the last week or two is in fact still ethanol free (despite the E5 label on the pump - an E0 label simply doesn't exist according to their website), so I'll be using that for the forseeable future. The very first thing I noticed though was that it actually smells like what I remember fuel smelling like back when I started driving, rather than the more gas-like smell it's taken on since the early 00s.

We go to the nominated fitting garage at the agreed time and they did indeed have my tyres...they absolutely couldn't fit me in to get them fitted today though. I'd had enough by that point though, and given my unease with using a garage I didn't know and not being allowed anywhere near my car while it was being worked on I just said "thanks" and stuffed the tyres in the passenger seat and headed for Formula 1 in Newport Pagnell to get them fitted.

Yep, I was right that my high speed evasive action before I'd been able to deploy cadence braking had resulted in a "slight flat spot" on the ancient, already knackered front tyres.

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That's quite plainly why the car wasn't driven again after that incident.

While the wheels were off I took the opportunity to take a look at the brakes...as F1 were absolutely fine with me using the time to look over the bits of the car that I wouldn't normally see without removing stuff.

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Pads don't have a huge amount of meat left on them but they're getting swapped out with the warped discs shortly anyway so I'm really not bothered about that. Nice to see the pipes all look in decent order though. Hoses are nice and supple with no perishing apparent.

Doesn't this look better!

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As I hadn't reassembled enough of the dash to have refitted the dash lighting rheostat I just headed directly home from the garage as I was critically lacking any dash lighting. However on the couple of miles it's fair to say that it's a huge understatement to call the car transformed. I was somewhat worried about front end alignment issues as the car has always pulled quite strongly to the left, even after I'd had the tracking done. It was about 8 degrees off when I got the car, which was probably why it wandered all over the road and had wrecked the tyres! It now tracks near as makes no odds absolutely perfectly straight. Think it pulls very slightly to the right on braking...but I'll worry about that if it's still an issue after the new discs and pads are in and I've cleaned up the brake pad slides. It's only very slight anyway. The horrendous vibration anywhere north of 50mph has completely gone, though there's still a very slight vibration through the car at exactly an indicated 70...1mph higher or lower and it vanishes. It's not through the steering wheel though so I'm suspecting rear wheel balance, especially as I'm pretty sure that the nearside rear has thrown a weight based on a witness mark on the rim. It's very slight though so not something I'd consider worrying about...being so slight could be almost anything in the driveline that's to blame as well.

The ride is vastly improved as well (unsurprisingly), the front end being nowhere near as crashy as it used to be. Noise levels seem reduced as well, though it's a bit hard to judge that as I've had to keep the windows open due to currently lacking half a ventilation system...and the exhaust isn't exactly quiet.

I need to make a couple of essential journeys tomorrow so if it's dry I'll try to get her out for a proper run to get a better feel for how the car is now behaving. Need to get her booked in for an MOT soonish too...Willing to take the car in now, I couldn't have shown my face in the testing station with those tyres in that shape though! Nor was I willing to drive it in that state - hence the car having been parked up for a while until I decided to go down the cheaper route to tide things over until we're in a better position to pick up the properly specification correct 215/70 R15 W tyres.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:53 pm

New tyres really have transformed the car. There's definitely still a bit of a vibration from the back somewhere. First thing I'll probably do is drop back by F1 and get the rear wheels balanced (and check while on the machine that neither of the wheels/tyres is out of round) as it's a cheap, low effort thing I'd like to get done anyway. I'm pretty sure one of them has thrown a weight at some point as there's a suspiciously clean rectangle which has clearly had a balance weight on in the relatively recent past. Given what a sloppy job was done of fitting the weights it wouldn't surprise me if the fitter never cleaned the rim properly before sticking it down.

Since I've put a little more air in the tyres the car seems to be pulling up in a perfectly straight line, with any apparent brake imbalance having vanished. So I'm guessing it was down the the pressures being a little mismatched rather than a braking issue, assuming it's not an intermittently sticky piston anyway.

Next job has got to be trying to get the HVAC system put back together... I'm going to have a shot at getting the low speed fans working first, I think I know where the speed switching relays are now so will check those first as the resistors themselves are apparently very reliable. Now knowing how the air temperature is sampled from the cabin it won't be able to work properly without the fan running...and in fact will probably be having air pulled through it backwards without the fan running with the windows open. So hot air from the heater box, making the system think the cabin is toasty warm when it's not. Hoping getting the blowers running on low as well as high will help that side of things.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:01 am

Back to battling with the world's most overcomplicated HVAC system in the world's most overcrowded cabin.

While I know the system has some issues, I'm reluctant to go doing stuff like pulling blowers and the whole system to bits until I've seen how it behaves with air actually going through the heater box rather than just all bleeding out behind the driver's side trim panels. It's obviously kind of hard to tell how the system is behaving when 50% of its air supply isn't connected properly. I'd ascertained that most of the fundamental bits of the system were at least somewhat functional.

Before I could really tell much however I had to get our old friend, the plenum back in place. This thing.

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After having made four attempts so far at getting this thing back in place (which looks deceptively simple) I'd pretty much come to the conclusion that I basically wasn't going to get it back in place without further work. The most obvious solution was to remove the blower motor, attach the plenum to that then wrestle the whole lot back into place as one. This would be easier if Jaguar hadn't in a typically Jaguar fashion attached half a dozen other things to the blower motor frame because it happened to be a flat(ish) surface.

Exhibit A: The right hand blower motor and (almost) everything attached to it.

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This wouldn't be quite so much of a headache if all of the fasteners were easy to get at, and if someone hadn't already stripped the heads of two of the screws out. I'd really rather not have to take that out if I don't have to as the moment you start getting involved with stripped screw heads you know you're likely in for a world of pain.

This was the point at which I basically had a critical patience failure with the plenum. At the end of the day it's just a glorified rubber hose, just one end of where it attaches to is horribly awkward to get at. So I set about mutilating the plenum. Plan 1 was to cut one slit in the base of it. This would allow me to get my hand inside the thing to assist in wrangling it into place.

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This improved my available dexterity by about 300% and more importantly allowed me to be able to feel when each corner was actually positioned properly. Sadly this still wasn't successful as it's such a tight fit on the blower. I kept getting three corners on, but the opposite one would always pop off every time I tried to get the last edge on. So I hacked the thing actually in two and made up a sleeve to rejoin them together.

Getting the "stub" onto the blower still took me a good twenty or thirty minutes because it is a ridiculously snug fit. There's no chance I was ever going to get that into place without either having made the plenum easier to handle or removing the blower. Once that was in it only took a few minutes to get the now separate lower section in, and five minutes to (using an adaptor collar from a generic cone air filter) join the two together. It ain't pretty! I'll be going back in tomorrow to cover the ally tape with duct tape tomorrow just to give it a bit more structural support...not that this thing can really go anywhere. There's a really snugly fitted collar between the two sections of pipe so it's not going anywhere...absolute bonus is that it doesn't seem to be leaking either. The duct tape will add an additional barrier against any electrical shorts given the proximity to the various bits of loom. I like using this ally tape though on any work like this because while it doesn't have much strength it does tend to produce a very good seal. It's also very flexible so tends to form a really good seal even on oddly shaped or uneven surfaces. It does need some protection over the top of it though.

Less said about this the better I think...but it's not leaking and it's buried behind a trim panel...so I'll take ease of service access.

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Turning the heater controls to demist, a huge collection of detritus was ejected from the windscreen demisters and centre vents (not been decent airflow for a few years then!) and almost immediately I had nice toasty air out of the vents. It's the first time I've ever actually felt any appreciable heat in the car...before "luke warm" is about the best I've ever had. I still think it's thinking the air sampled from in the car is warmer than it actually is as with it in normal heat mode it drops out after a few minutes - opening the doors though did get heat back on, and switching between demist and cooling shows that the actual hot/cold mixing side of things is working fine. Oh, we do actually have appreciable airflow through the centre vent now too. Not exactly hurricane force, but an order of magnitude better than it was.

So it seems the complete lack of heating performance was at least largely due to there simply being so little airflow actually through the heater matrix, as it was mostly exiting straight out of the right hand side of the heater box and bleeding out around the trim in the footwell.

I was going to take a test run to see if it would keep behaving itself once we were on the move...right up to the point at which I realised that I was lacking in functional windscreen wipers.

Bearing in mind that it had started pouring with rain about halfway through this work (in contrast to the forecast!) I decided that this was something to have a look at tomorrow. Hopefully I've just jostled the fusebox while I was messing around in the footwell.

I want to have a go through the fuse boxes anyway as it seems that there's been a completely random approach taken to fuse replacement in this car over the years. This for example should be a 5A.

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Hmm.

In addition, this dropped out the left hand fuse box when I pulled the cover off. This sort of thing instils confidence doesn't it!

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Hoping that was a "get me home, my headlights have failed" type fix. It wasn't fitted, just rattling around behind the lid (no doubt just waiting to short things out)...I do note there's one dodgy contact in that fuse box too, so may look into replacing it. At least it's a small fuse box.

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Note another incorrect fuse there...another 17A on the far left where it should be 10A.

Let's just hope this doesn't wind up opening up a new can of worms!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:14 am

This morning I was expecting a package to arrive. What I wasn't expecting was a PALLET to arrive. It had this cocooned on top of it (we had to de-pallet it as that was too wide to fit through the door).

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We only nearly died twice getting it up the stairs, but sensibly decided to hold off fully unwrapping it until it was situated on the desk which is its new home.

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We had the scales to hand in the room so weighed it - 47.8Kg. Not as heavy as some of the early LaserJet models, but plenty heavy enough that you don't want to move it often!

The company we'd bought it from (who had also reconditioned it) had helpfully printed out a status page before wrapping it up. Nice touch. It's worth bearing in mind that this model was rated by HP for a duty cycle of up to 85,000 pages per month. Being from 2002 you'd tend to expect this to have pretty well earned its living by this point. Especially being the top end version with the duplexer fitted.

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Yes, that does indeed show a total page count of 4830. The term "barely run in" springs to mind. Kind of like finding an XUD Xantia with 30K on the clock.

The supplies were listed as having a minimum of 40% on any of the toners and a nearly new transfer belt and fuser. The consumables printout confirmed this was a bit pessimistic really.

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Can't complain at that...and this seemed to be borne out by the status readout when I turned the thing on.

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In a domestic setting that should last for ages.

In theory what should have then followed was plugging in a network cable, setting the network configuration to "auto" and calling it good. Of course that's nothing like what happened. Not least because of the fact that our router (seriously...I can't wait until we're rid of it) is beyond awful and the DHCP server will seemingly randomly take exception to certain devices and refuse to allocate them a valid IP address. No huge issue...setting up a handful of addresses manually isn't the end of the world.

Two and three quarter hours of swearing and bashing my head against several walls later I figured something out. You can set IP addresses manually...however the fluffing Sky router won't actually speak to anything that's manually configured above 192.168.0.20. So my having picked ...150 because there was nothing else on the network in that vicinity of course resulted in no network connectivity. Well...that's not actually strictly true. I could *see* the printer on the network, to the extent that my PC would spot it and set it up...but couldn't then establish communication to talk to it or print anything. I must have wasted over an hour chasing my tail here...until trying a low end address...and suddenly when I tried ...17 (I've got other devices on 16 and 18) it "Just Worked."

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Finally.

This then allowed me to get into the configuration page and prove that it does indeed have a crazy low page count.

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With it now working (and several test prints run through which came out lovely) I was happy enough to scoot it all the way back into its corner and to rebuild stuff around it.

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For the £120 I paid for it I'm well pleased. It seems to be barely used, has £150+ worth of transfer belt and fuser in, and is incredibly clean - which given it's kinda prominent on my desk is nice. Tucked away in the corner it doesn't actually take up much bigger a footprint than the Epson it's replaced despite obviously being far greater in actual volume.

Being from 2002, this must have been one of the last of HP's products before things really started to go downhill in the mid 00s. Still can't quite get my head around the concept that this is 18 years old.

Anyone want a 2017 Epson ET4550? Mine is now rather surplus to requirements as it's been rather upstaged.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:16 pm

Had the Jag out for a brief run yesterday. For the first time since I picked the car up, the heater was toasty warm the whole time...so much more pleasant.

Looks so much better with decent tyres on the front too.

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I know a couple of people have asked about how the Nankang tyres behave in the wet. My observation so far: they're solidly average. Nothing like the wet grip of the Uniroyal RainExpert line, but they're absolutely fine so long as you use a bit of common sense.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:48 pm

Decided it had been far too long since TPA had been out. Had intended to get her out last week but torrential rain ended up putting paid to that plan, mainly on account of the windscreen demister being pretty much useless. Issue is basically that because the duct is so long and narrow there just isn't enough airflow. The heater really needs a decent blower which can both shift a decent volume of air and also produce decent static pressure so it doesn't just get choked by the ductwork. That was the issue I had with the axial blower I tried originally...it shifted masses of air in the open but couldn't handle the back pressure from the heat exchanger and all the ducting.

It was obvious on start up that she wasn't happy. Just wouldn't idle properly, no matter what I did. Felt more like an ignition than fuelling issue to me so decided to go over the basics.

Gave the distributor cap a wipe down and the contacts a scrub up.

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Wasn't terrible but equally could be better. Given this is the cap which came with KPL and spent goodness knows how long open to the weather I really should just change it...

The rotor arm looked fine so just gave it a very gentle clean. That's not a dark spot by the way, there's just a polished spot where the centre contact sits and it's reflecting shadows.

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Pretty sure dirty points were to blame as there was a bit of oxidisation present. Gap was fine though once the contact surfaces had been given some attention with some fine Emery cloth.

While I was in the area I changed the somewhat ropey crimp terminal on the switched line from the coil.

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I have previously noted that I could stall the engine by wiggling that wire before so had been meaning to change it for a while.

I did note when testing that there's a bit more of an arc at the points as they open than I'd like. So I reckon the condenser is on the way out. May well be behind the original issues today.

Given how terrible the quality of most automotive replacements these days I'm not even going to bother with them. These condensers almost always seem to be in the 0.1-0.3uF range that I've seen values stamped on, so as I've got good quality polyester film caps in stock in 0.22uF/1kV I'll just be fitting one of these.

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I will probably gut the can of the original and stick it in there so it'll be a nearly invisible upgrade. This cap should essentially be a fit and forget solution as these caps don't tend to degrade appreciably and damp doesn't affect them as they're properly hermetically sealed.

I still keep expecting this engine to use oil for no really valid reason and it keeps surprising me when the oil level never moves.

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With the ignition system back together she started up first touch and idled properly again.

Reckon the points might have wanted a clean for a while as I'd swear it feels like we've got more low end torque now.

So off we went, first stop for the day was to pick up more dog food.

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Then off to pick up a few other essentials in a few different locations around town.

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Most of the travel between these locations wound up being straight up and down the A5 as town seemed to be really snarled up most of today for some reason. Sure I remember there being a time when "big" roads like that were something I generally tried to avoid wherever possible in this car...whereas now we're quite happy to use them and buzz along quite happily at a shade over 60. About 63 seems to be where she gets into a groove on roads like that for want of a better term.

Still find it somewhat amusing that the speed she hates doing the most is 30. To look at it you'd expect this to be most happily bumbling along at that sort of speed, not blasting along the open road at 60 plus change. The dissonance between the appearance and actual capabilities still makes my head spin a little and never ceases to amuse.

Glad to report that the adjustment of the nearside door front striker has both reduced the door rattle noticeably and has vastly reduced the draught which used to come in around the leading edge.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:14 pm

While I used up most of my day's energy allotment trimming hedges today (the one was starting to encroach on the footway again despite having been done what felt like five minutes ago) I was determined to get at least one thing on the to do list ticked off...and sorting this on a permanent basis as a follow on from yesterday seemed a good target.

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Checking it on the meter the original condenser was doing a passable impression of a 600K ohm resistor with no reading given on the capacitance range on my meter. Yep, that'll be dead then.

The polypropylene film cap sitting next to it should be a "fit and forget" replacement as they're far more long lived.

The innards were gouged out from the open end of the can and a hole was drilled for one lead of the new capacitor to poke through.

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This was then soldered to the case (note that these capacitors are non polarised so it doesn't matter which side is ground).

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Not the tidiest job but I was running out of gas in the soldering iron so was trying to be quick. It's solid and has good continuity to the can. Those are the important points.

The new cap is a little longer so unfortunately will unavoidably poke out the bottom a little.

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Shouldn't be visible in-situ though unless you're peering at it.

Getting the wire (which is integrated into the insulating block which passes through the distributor wall at the other end) soldered to the cap lead was a major pain. Had to use quite a bit of heat and wound up shrinking the heat shrink I'd hoped to slide over this lead.

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I'll come back to that another day. It'll be fine for now with a bit if tape. Not as though the wire is long enough to go anywhere.

Especially as the void in the can has now been filled with hot glue to provide mechanical support to the cap.

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If I have problems with it going gooey due to heat I'll revisit things and use epoxy. I just don't have any in stock right now. Reckon it'll be fine though.

Back in place you wouldn't notice something was amiss unless you were specifically looking for it would you?

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Bit of tape has since been added to the coil connection wire to the cap just to ensure it can't short on the case. What I'll probably do as a proper solution there will be to add a crimped on terminal at the body end so I can properly get a bit of shrink wrap on there properly. If it hadn't got dark on me today I'd have done it then, just ran out of time though.

Glad to report that this was the result when I turned the key (note she's stone cold here).



Which is always reassuring given at least twice in the past I've resolved minor ignition issues on cars and then lost all spark until I spent an hour faffing around and swearing at them.

Not really expecting to notice any real difference on the road but we'll see when I next have her out and about.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Thu Nov 26, 2020 5:52 pm

Nobody spotted my deliberate mistake to see if you were paying attention then I see!

Um...yeah...of course it was deliberate. Definitely didn't happen simply because I'm a Blithering idiot.

While that capacitor came out of the drawer for the 0.22uF caps, it isn't one! It's a 0.022uF cap. D'oh! Now thinking about it, that should have been blindingly obvious based on size alone. The result of this was a car that would die the moment you even looked at the throttle.

Of course having turned that corner of the house upside down I can now confirm that I have a total of zero 0.22uF caps in stock.

Cue some bodging to get the car back up and running. This mess will just be getting cable tied to the side of the distributor.

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Once the correct capacitor is back in stock I'll set about making it pretty again. Based on testing on the drive this seems to have sorted things though. Couldn't really go out to do a test drive as by that point it had dropped below few point again...which in a vehicle with no really usable demister is less than ideal.

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That's definitely the biggest shortcoming of this car as a winter runaround I think.

Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to actually test things tomorrow.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:04 am

Towards the end of the summer the oil pressure warning light stopped working on the Jag. Given that the oil pressure gauge doesn't work this was less than ideal and was not something I was willing to leave unfixed.

By the standards of a V12 XJ-S it's not particularly difficult to get to at all.

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Thanks to the sheer amount of stuff in the way though even this did require full use of two extensions and a universal joint to get to it...but not too bad to be honest. Fiddly rather than difficult.

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The offending item.

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Once the new one was fitted (which by some miracle I managed *not* to drop down the back of the engine while fitting) correct operation of the oil pressure warning light was restored.

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Fingers crossed it lasts longer than the previous one which was only in there for about a year.

Earlier in the day I had reason to do a bit of an audit and clear out of the chest freezer in the back of the garage as we had a large delivery of frozen snacks etc for Christmas and New Year arriving today (basically when we found we could actually get a delivery slot from Iceland we grabbed it!). This meant backing TPA out, and while I had some room I decided to do a bit of a clear up. Not bothering about the piles of junk around the periphery...I just wanted to pick up all the bits of finely atomised rubber floor mats and and sweep up the year's worth of accumulated leaves - and omnipresent film of soda blasting media that I reckon I'll still be finding a couple of decades from now.

Looks a bit less unpleasant at least. Though the clutter still makes my skin crawl...I cannot emphasise enough how much I am looking forward to getting this place actually cleared up.

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Note the complete lack of any oil spots...Since I sorted the sump plug washer TPA's engine has remained completely oil tight. She weeps a bit of gearbox oil at speed from the gearbox top cover (reckon I'm missing a gasket), but that's it. Not bad for a 47 year old car. Bet if the engine was British she'd leak! Most of the discolouration of the concrete there was there from before we moved in. Aside from the stripe left to right near the door - that's spilled resin from when I was rebuilding the rear apron.

There will be a MAJOR clear out and rearrangement happening in the new year. Basically everything forward of the space the car parks in will be getting kitted out with ranks of shelving across the width of the garage (leaving just enough of a gap to be a walkway along the left hand side) to finally give me decent storage.

Getting rid of the clutter along the sides here will be a massive improvement as I'll be able to actually get to both sides of the car, and have the permanent equipment like the Sun engine analyser set up in an actual home.

It's a good thing for me that TPA isn't any wider or have conventional doors.

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The black paint at the threshold is an experimental test to see if I can stop the little bit of water that tends to get in from doing so. The garage door closes about 1/2" in from the edge of the concrete slab so water tends to "wick" its way under the door through the grain despite there being a slight downhill grade to it...so I want to see if the finish being less porous helps stop that. It's not a big issue, but I'd just like to sort it if I can. Especially as there will be a floor covering of some description going in at some point to make it a nicer place to work.

There's more clutter than usual in here at the moment as well as we've got a crew coming tomorrow to spend the week to permanently deal with the rampant bamboo in our back garden, so there's a bunch of garden furniture and cushions from it etc buried at the back too. By the way...if you're looking at a house where the previous owner has been daft enough to plant bamboo outside, not in a properly shielded container, run away. Getting it eliminated is going to be costing us the best part of £6000. Yes, six *thousand* pounds. The work does come with a ten year guarantee at least.

I've also made a bit of a change to my parking arrangements. The Xantia has now moved to the bit of ground under where that huge Spruce tree used to be. The ground there is really hard packed and there's no grass or anything there so it's not going to get churned up. Plus it's just scrub land so couldn't care less really if it did make a cosmetic mess of it. Unlike the bit of lawn right out the lounge window which I'd been using as the overflow space before. That wasn't too much of a problem A: In the summer when the ground is like concrete, or B: When the car there wasn't being used much. However with the ground now being flat and everything pretty much in regular use I was starting to chew the grass up. I also really, really didn't want the Jag parked long term in damp weather over grass given their tendency to rust. So the Xantia is now to the left of the driveway, the Jag has taken up the position behind the van, and nothing is on the lawn. Well, the Xantia will for a couple of days when the landscaping crew arrive tomorrow as they'll be using that space as their entry/egress into the rear garden, but not on a long term basis.

We might well actually extend the driveway over towards the fence, where the tree used to be as it should gain me two spaces - but that will involve quite a bit of ground work to remove the stump of the tree, to flatten it all out etc...so not a job for this year. I really would like to be able to actually park all my cars on proper spaces though...and not have to dump something on the street whenever I want to get TPA out of or into the garage as that wastes a lot of time - and basically means I can't do it between 0830-0930 and 1430-1530 every weekday due to the school rush.

Having the area beyond the driveway here available as a proper parking area would definitely be really useful.

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That bit of actual driveway is usually occupied by Chris' company car by the way...and it's not quite long enough to get two cars in one behind the other - which is annoying! At the very least we might extend the driveway back a few feet to the left in that photo as the fence there needs replacing anyhow...at least having the option to stick two cars one behind the other would be an improvement over the current arrangement even if still a bit more of a faff than having each one able to get in/out without needing to play automotive Tetris.
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 » Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:51 pm

It's always fun when you take a car in for its first MOT in your ownership. Doubly so when you really haven't had time to check anything beyond that all the lights work. Though I did forget the fog lights.

Never mind when it's on a 35 year old British motor and the test is effectively six months late thanks to COVID (granted the car was off the road for the bulk of that time).

Anyhow...in we went.

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Twenty minutes later:

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I'll take that.

Usual issue noted with the daft steering rack mounting bushes meaning the whole rack can move, which I was already aware of. Might look to sticking some improved bushes in there at some point. That didn't go on as an advisory as it's more of a stupid design than a fault due to wear or age. Only other thing noted was a tiny bit of play in the lower pins in the rear hubs. Nothing major and I've always told my tester I'd rather he told me of any issues rather than just issue an "easy" pass.

Tester admitted to being pleasantly surprised by the overall condition of the car and was complimentary of the standard to which the usual welding repairs had been done.

Then straight back home to start hauling bits of felled trees into a skip. Right across the area where the patio used to be but is now a giant clay pit. In the pouring rain. I lasted about an hour before my arms and legs were utterly useless. Now resting up for a bit, will see if I feel like having another bash at it in an hour or so. Just seems sensible to use as much of the skip as possible given it's here until this evening and the contractors dealing with the bamboo only used about s third of the capacity. We did check and it was fine for us to throw anything in there.
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.

Aaron
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Location: Grantham

Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Aaron » Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:37 pm

I was hoping to get a couple of hours of welding in today, but it rained all day. So I baked a fruit cake instead.
Perhaps the start of winter was not the best time to begin a large scale outdoor car restoration.
Aaron, Grantham <br>
Riva1600SLX (floorless example, sadly not a spelling mistake)
Citroen (surprisingly quite good) C3
Nissan (it's only for towing the caravan) X-trail
Simson S51

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