Today I mostly .....

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

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:55 pm

I've put the HT lead cover back on for now, mainly to get it out of the way in the garage.

It's a bit of a faff to fit but does tidy things up nicely.

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In hindsight I should have done this *before* going out to run the day's errands so the engine wasn't roasting hot leading to many burned fingers.

Really is a good looking car...

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Despite all of the issues I've had lately - and the blowing exhaust, creaky rear end, squeaky heater fan, it really is a lovely thing to waft around in...I'm really liking the car again...despite having all but decided to sell it this time last week.

I've tracked down where most of that coolant on the radiator is coming from - the hose clip on the top hose has a kink in it. I'll take some measurements tomorrow and get a set of proper Mikalor hose clamps ordered in for it. Should put paid to issues with stripped, kinked or seized hose clips.

This afternoon I got slightly sidetracked by the van. Having temporarily removed the leisure battery while I await arrival of the replacement I figured it would be prudent to remove the fuse from the split charging system. I've isolated the leads anyway, but better safe than sorry.

The main vehicle battery box is something I've barely touched since I got the van. I've simply had no real reason to.

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The white in line fuse holder is the one for the split charging circuit. When reaching for it I couldn't help but notice the random blade fuse taped to a pair of spade terminals next to it was hot. Like REALLY hot. "I'm surprised it's not actively smoking" levels of hot.

A little bit of investigation revealed this to be the DC feed to the fridge, which apparently I'd accidently switched onto DC mode at some point. Being designed purely for use when in transit to/from places that's set up so it will only be powered then the vehicle charging system is active.

While the fuse hadn't blown, this clearly isn't up to the job!

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It was about this point that I discovered that the battery wasn't bolted down either. That was fixed first. Would have liked to have realised that about 10,000 miles ago...

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While rummaging around down there I found this bit of plastic.

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It looked familiar but took a good couple of tens of seconds to figure out what it actually was. It's edging fitted to the front seat frames, like this.

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The outer one on the passenger side has been missing since I got the van...now I know where it ended up, and have refitted it.

I ended up replacing the weedy bit of wire with a maxi fuse holder I had in stock. It's overkill for the application, but is still fused at 20A...and I'd rather have low voltage DC wiring over-engineered than the alternative.

It's hard to see in the photos but all of the other lines going into the split charge relay are beefier than this one was.

I wound up doing a bit of general tidying up and housekeeping...not least actually bolting down the relay rather than leaving it flapping in the breeze as I assume it has been for the last 31 years and labelling the fused lines and battery isolator.

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Not as though you'll ever see any of this as it's hidden under the passenger seat!

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Nevertheless, after running it for half an hour I confirmed that the terminals of the new connection were just barely warmer than ambient...a large improvement from the starting point! So I'm happy it's been sorted even if nobody will ever know.

New hardware is on the way in the form of a new 110Ah deep cycle battery (identical to the old one), a CTek intelligent charger and a 40A DC power supply. With a little rummaging in the box of relays I should be able to get this set up with an automatic switchover and give us a properly looked after battery going forward irrespective of how long I leave the van plugged in for.

I've never had any starting issues even at -10C up in Scotland, so don't think I see any reason to make provision for charging of the vehicle battery from the mains too. If I get that desperate on the road, that's what jump leads were made for...once the engine is running all this requires is enough power to hold the stop solenoid in on the fuel pump.

I will replace that white in line fuse holder when I set about wiring the new kit up, probably with a similar Maxi fuse holder as I used for the fridge line, simply because they're good for way more power than we'll ever see here and I've found them to be nicely robust. Bit harder to find fuses for, but nothing carrying a spare or two isn't enough insurance against (carrying a decent stock of spares in something the size of a small house is less of a headache than in a car!). More and more cars seem to be using Maxi Fuses these days anyway so most factors seem to stock them - albeit not always down to values like 15 or 20A. Probably because they're total overkill for those ratings.

This will be nice to have done as I can just leave it plugged in through the cold and damp weather without worrying about cooking the battery. The heater is set up to kick in if the cabin temperature drops below 5C or the humidity gets above 70%. Found last year that it pretty much completely eliminated issues with mould and mildew. I have the ability to control it over our home WiFi too, so it's really nice on a cold day being able to pull the modern EV trick of turning the heater on before I go out, then open the door to a nicely toasty warm van. It's hardly essential but is nice to have - especially as I do tend to use it as both a workshop and a bit of an escape space if I want somewhere quiet to retreat to for a while. I know I've sung the praises of the Afterburner controller before, but it's a cracking bit of kit.
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Current fleet: 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 86 Mercedes S123 230TE, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Oct 26, 2021 11:43 pm

Huge box from Tayna Batteries arrived earlier today which weighs about the same as a small planet. Really quick service as usual for them.

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That people, is how to pack a battery.

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A good 3" of padding on all sides (I've removed it from the top), foam wrap and double bagged inside that lot. Took me the best part of ten minutes to dig my way into it. Unlike the last one from eBay which came in a single wall cardboard box with a bit of bubble wrap.

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State of charge indicator shows healthy, though obviously first thing I'll be doing after it's installed is giving it an overnight charge.

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I note that the "remove label for battery maintenance" text has been removed from the label since my previous one was made.

About an hour later another box arrived with this in it.

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It seems to work at least, plus side it's got a manual adjustment for output voltage which means I can bump it up a little from 12V closer to what you'd expect to see from a charged 12V battery. I only had 100W or so of load handy to test it with so far but it behaved perfectly with that.

Not exactly hard to figure out how to hook it up.

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Not exactly the last word in quality in the fit and finish department, but I can't see anything that rings any alarm bells. For £22 delivered I've zero complaints - so long as it doesn't pack in after a week anyway.

I'll probably make some standoffs for it to attach to so it doesn't struggle for airflow - the fan draws in from the bottom and sides so if I mount it flush overheating might be an issue. Not that it will generally be running anywhere close to it's rated capacity for any period. I'm also going to be mounting it to a vertical surface (probably rear wall of the "electrical locker" as I refer to the rear of the space under the sofa/bed) so if we ever have any issues with water ingress through the outer hatch just forward of that area it should be kept well and truly clear of it. Just seems like a sensible precaution...the old school transformer and linear regulator setup would be rather more forgiving of damp than a switch mode supply like this.

Need to engage my brain a bit with regards to wiring things up, but pretty sure I can get an automatic switchover sorted out with a handful of components and some brainpower...quite possibly a single double pole relay could do it...Absolutely sure I can do all the switching on the 12V side...mains can just be left "on" to everything permanently (I'll incorporate a switch anyway for service purposes, but you get the idea).

There are a handful of things I'd like to tidy up while I'm doing this work too - not least getting rid of the last few inline glass type fuse holders. There are a couple of redundant wires that can be binned, one or two to be rerouted actually under the floor, and I'd like to beef up the wire that's actually used for the split charge charging line...it just *looks* weedy to me for the application.

Oh, and a bunch of grounds which run *aaaaaaaall* of the way back to the battery. Zip tied to the nice chunky metal chassis rail. Which being a van/truck chassis has a plethora of bolt holes, mounting eyes etc all over the place...they're getting abbreviated and terminated to the chassis and a beefy earth strap just run to the leisure battery - which should reduce the spaghetti in the leisure battery box by about 80% in one shot. I imagine it should eliminate a lot of the voltage sag we see when the water pump runs a bunch too. Said water pump may get totally rewired anyway... there's something not quite right with it on the control panel (it's causes backfeed into some of the indicator lights on the panel and way more volt drop than I'd like...so the switch may be repurposed to run a remote relay).

The inverter is getting tweaked too. It's only really there as insurance against needing mains in an emergency, and is the sort of thing you can run a battery down with in a hurry - so I want to hook it up to a potential relay same as the setup for the fridge so it can only run when the engine is running and the charging system is live (the idle speed is slightly too low for it to wake up until you blip the throttle).

I actually quite enjoy stuff like this - not so much while doing it, but standing back and looking at the end result and actually seeing an improvement or how much better something works is worth it.

I'm seriously considering just taking a few days away before the weather gets too horrendous to go have a wander around up north. Aside from one overnight trip to collect the S123 I've literally not been more than 40 miles from home since November 2019 and am going *sliiiiightly* insane. Got a couple of friends who can loan me a parking spot and mains extension lead which is all I need with the van, otherwise I can be totally self sufficient. Insulation does just fine even in sub zero temps with the heater, I've got both hot and cold running water, TV, fridge, comfy bed, oven, grill, hob, perfectly usable bathroom, shower, eight USB charging sockets around the bed, and shedloads of storage. What more do you need for a few days away?
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Current fleet: 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 86 Mercedes S123 230TE, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:02 pm

Oil dropped from the S123. Pretty much the same as previously seen as I more or less expected.

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Looks like the filter has picked up a bit more detritus than previously, but I was expecting that following the head work.

New filter element in.

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Really do appreciate this being a car it's dead easy to do an oil and filter change on without spilling a drop.

I'll leave this in there for a couple of hundred miles and then do another check - hopefully we'll see at least a reduction in the amount of glitter then.

Mileage so far for those who are still keeping a pool going on how far I get before the engine grenades itself and snaps the crankshaft in half.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Oct 29, 2021 1:37 am

Definitely on my list of "things you don't want to discover don't work half way through a journey" are windscreen wipers. Which I discovered today when I went to wash the windscreen on the S123 were indeed completely dead.

As they worked fine yesterday my first suspect was a dodgy contact in the fusebox. Which on these cars is on the bulkhead in the engine compartment behind this little plastic cover.

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There's a knack to getting it in and out of the space around the brake servo but you soon learn it.

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I've plenty of prior experience with this type of fuse as Lada used them right up to the late 90s, and about 95% of electrical issues on those can usually be resolved by wiggling fuses. This seems rather less temperamental as the fuse holders are of several orders of magnitude better quality (brass rather than rusty pressed steel for one thing!), but they can still be a bit twitchy. Sure enough as soon as I touched the relevant fuse the wipers sprang to life. To took that one out, cleaned the contacts and the fuse and put it back in. Hopefully problem solved.

Picked up a replacement for the mangled throttle return spring and a new PAS belt from the dealer today (previously picked up belt for that is the wrong size), and have also ordered a new heater control valve - meant to order that with the last batch but totally forgot. Dealer was a tenner cheaper than eBay there too.

Something else I think I need is the seal for below the cap on the SLS reservoir cap (the return line runs into the cap) as we apparently have fluid seeping out of there still, evidenced by the film on the lid of the reservoir.

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This afternoon I finally got the opportunity to do something about the state of the poor BX which had been turning green for the last couple of months thanks to the proximity to the tree in our front garden. If I get my way it's going in the next round of landscaping work.

Given how lovely this car looks when clean (and I never thought I'd say that about a beige car) seeing it in such a state is so sad.

Yuck.

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This doesn't just lift straight off either, it's horrible sticky stuff. Has left black residue in quite a few areas which will probably need polishing off.

Definitely still has some water ingress issues. One of these is definitely around the dash side fresh air vent intakes. Not helped by leaves building up in the scuttle drains.

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I'll need to make sure any drainage bungs in the floor are removed before winter properly arrives.

One of the other leaks I found today by random chance...the rear windscreen...and not in the way you might expect.

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I'm not sure if the seal has shrunk or if it's had a replacement rear screen and either the wrong seal was used or the glass is undersize. That lighter line you can see to the right of the seal itself, that's the edge of the glass. It's not captive under the lip of the seal for a good 50% of the width of the screen at the top. I've never seen this issue before save for on 60s and 70s cars where the seals have obviously perished or shrunk. Seal *looks* fine...just isn't tight up against the glass. You can clearly see the run marks from where water has got past it during the wash.

Still quite grubby in a few areas but hopefully she's looking tidier enough that the neighbors will stop complaining. They honestly have been talking among themselves and shaking their heads at the cars. Seriously folks... don't move into suburbia, it is a nightmare and something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

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I had planned to wash the van too (which is always something of a mammoth undertaking) as it had been turning distinctly green in a few places...however then this happened.

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That is the coupler which should have the hosepipe on one end and be fastened to the pump itself in the pressure washer at the other. It has detached from the pump.

When it did this it did so with quite some force, launching itself a good portion of the way across the driveway. It was still attached to the hose, and now no pump body...so was essentially a free running hose with just enough of a restriction to ensure a decent jet of water was being sprayed. Of course it then took off like a racing snake across the garden, taking me a good thirty seconds to catch it, while getting utterly drenched (it was between me and the tap to cut off the water supply). A poor innocent passer by also got thoroughly soaked during this event unfolding...I don't think I've ever been quite so embarrassed in my whole life. Thankfully they saw the funny side of it, which I count as hugely lucky.

Unfortunately the *reason* it launched out of the front of the pressure washer is that a chunk has broken off the pump casting itself, so there's no tab there any more to hold the clip which should hold that plastic part into the metal body. Of course it's the metal (aluminium) bit that has failed rather than the easily replaced plastic part.

That is now two identical pressure washers I've had where the metal pump casting has failed...first one cracked, dumped the gearbox oil and eventually catastrophically failed as a result of loss of lubricant. This one has had a large chunk of it just break off without any obvious cause. I mean the second one was a freebie replacement from a forum member, but it's disappointing that there seems to be a definite quality control issue there with that part. It also means I can't cobble together one working one out of the two as it's the same part which has failed on both of them. If it was some generic cheapy or Karcher I wouldn't mind so much, but I kind of expected better from Nilfisk.

So now I once again am in the market for a new pressure washer.

At least I managed to knock the worst of it off the cab before this happened I guess...

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At least I can see out of it again now! Finishing off the cab with the hose wasn't too bad, but it won't touch the ingrained stuff and I can barely even get the spray to reach the level of the roof...so it'll have to wait till to pressure washer is replaced.

Shame I'm not friendly with the local bus company or I'd see if I could stick it through the bus wash for a contribution to the petty cash tin.
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Current fleet: 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 86 Mercedes S123 230TE, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Oct 30, 2021 10:43 pm

Planning to make a quick run up north later in the week in the van. With a long run ahead I decided it was time to finally get around to finishing sorting out the audio in the van...being able to even hear that the stereo is turned on above 40mph would be nice.

After a search covering approximately 80% of my house I eventually unearthed this pair of speakers which I've owned since 2005 if I'm remembering right, but have never actually been properly installed in a vehicle.

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They came as part of a package deal including a sub and amp (which were what I was after) and all the stuff that went with it. Really was a case of a whole car audio system in a box, just add your own head unit - though the shop did have a variant with that too.

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The sub is actually still in use as part of my stereo inside, albeit having seen very little use actually in a car.

These should help out quite a bit compared to the little 10cm ones in the dash.

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There aren't a huge amount of places I can really put them without adding in unsightly surface mount boxes, the obvious spot being in the forward facing sides of the seating/lockers immediately behind the cab. I'm loathe to go cutting holes in things...but improving audio is high enough on my list I'm willing to do it. If some future custodian really wanted to undo it, at the end of the day it's just two panels of plywood laminate they'd need to replace.

Nearside is easy enough.

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The offside however is a bit busier because I've already installed equipment here in the form of the outlet, switch and status lights for the inverter.

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Right in the way.

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After a bit of thinking I've decided to rotate the speaker through 90 degrees and move the outlet, probably to sit directly below the switch.

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That bundle of wires you can see there is on my list of bodges I inherited with the van I hopefully will get rid of shortly. I'm planning to vastly simplify the DC wiring when I add in the new power supply and charger setup. Currently every circuit has its own feed all the way back to the battery, instead I'm going to install a beefy cable to a distribution point in the locker right next to the power supply, where it can then split off to the relevant circuits to get rid of a lot of the voltage drop - probably via an actual fusebox so I can get shot of all the remaining in line ones. The current setup is just a mess, for all I have removed quite a lot of bodgery compared to when I first got the van.

Another wiring change I'd like to make would be to allow me to run the stereo off the accomodation power, as it would be nice to be able to run that without worrying about draining the vehicle battery.

I hadn't been in the nearside locker for a while...like in a couple of years. As evidenced by there still being a mains fan heater in there... I've had working heating since sometime in 2019!

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It will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has ever been unfortunate enough to witness me undertaking anything resembling carpentry that things pretty much immediately descended into farce. Eventually we got to this point.

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You are not getting to see what's behind the panel. It is seriously ugly.

The other side first required me to remove the socket, but followed a similar theme.

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Likewise, you're not getting to see the carpentry here either. Especially as a fair portion of it had to be done by hand as I couldn't get in there with the jigsaw.

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I'll reinstall the socket shortly, probably directly under the switch.

I may go back and add a cover of some sort behind the speakers, partly as protection for them and partly to hide my absolutely hideous carpentry.

Will be curious to see how this sounds - has to be an improvement over the tiny dash mounted ones though. No I've not discounted the idea of adding a sub in the future. That's a job for the future though. Would really like to get some better ones actually in the cab too, though that's difficult without actually cutting holes in metalwork which I'd rather not do.

Last job for the day was to give the new power supply a test run. With everything on and the heater in preheat mode and the leisure battery disconnected the line voltage stayed rock steady at the voltage I set it to.

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At a guess that's with about 15A being drawn.

So looks like that will do the job just fine. The fan speed is load dependent, but even at full chat (well, the loudest I've heard it anyway), it's just a distant bit of white noise once the locker is closed. Definitely won't be objectionable for the intended use.

The little round pin socket, before folks ask is a DC outlet. Only thing I generally use it for is the water transfer pump for filling the onboard tank from the portable one. Though as part of the electrical improvements I might install a cigarette lighter style outlet in the locker so I don't need to run in and out of the van during the filling operation - I'd probably replace it with another mains/USB combo, one thing I've learned is that in 2021 you can never have too many USB charging points.
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Current fleet: 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 86 Mercedes S123 230TE, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Nov 01, 2021 11:06 pm

Today's main mission was to get the speakers I had just fitted wired in. I was not looking forward to this job as chasing wiring through the cab of the van is a royal pain as there's not much that comes off to hide it behind.

Helpfully I discovered that the speaker wiring for the original rear speakers in the ceiling of the living area runs through a grommet in the floor under the fuse box, across the rear cab chassis support and then up into the bodywork.

This meant I could reuse the bit between there and the head unit - I just snipped the wire under the van and dropped a cable tail down from the lockers right next to the speakers. Easy.

I've left the original wiring in place as my intention is to wire those up to the monitor in the back, giving us a self contained entertainment setup without the need for standalone speakers or anything.

While crawling around I discovered that the reversing light switch (which doesn't work) is actually external to the gearbox, attached to the back of the gearchange linkage.

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I'll need to have a poke around at that and see if it can be adjusted/repaired or if it needs replacing. Could even just be old grease that's dried up over time.

While crawling around I had a hunt for something which has been bugging the heck out of me since the day I bought the van - an extremely annoying rattly buzz (or buzzy rattle) which appears whenever the engine gets anywhere towards the top end of the rev band. Which equates to any road speed above about 55mph.

I was pretty confident this was something to do with the handbrake cable. I originally thought it was coming from here where the cable passes through a chassis member.

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Turned out that wasn't the culprit as putting a rubber sheath over it made precisely zero difference. A little more digging tracked it down.



It's the cable return spring that's rattling against the little eye it passes through.

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I'll need to see if I can find a parts diagram to see if there should be something else there - it feels like there should have been a rubber boot or something to prevent this being an issue - as it seems like it will always have done this. I know mechanical refinement was never really the top of the priority list for a vehicle like this, but a noise as maddening as this surely never would have been considered normal.

I note that there are two holes in the cable yoke with nothing on them, I do wonder if there should be a spring or something hooked on there.

The speaker installation by the way appears to have been a success. While not stellar it's at least half decent now. Decent stereo separation, good chunk of bass and no real distortion - especially as the heavy lifting is now being done by the 6x9s rather than the tiny little speakers in the dash.

Last job before I downed tools was tweaking the offside wiper arm a little as I noted last time I was out in the rain that it was fouling the side of the windscreen.

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Dropped it down by a couple of splines on the spindle and hopefully that will do it. There's no real way to get the wipers looking both tidy and have decent coverage. Not sure if this just something unique to the right hand drive vans or if they're all like that.

Oh, and I managed to fill three full size rubbish bags with bits and pieces between the nooks, crannies, drawers, lockers and pocket dimensions.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Nov 05, 2021 12:16 am

Having barely left the concrete jungle I live in for the last two years (almost to the week actually) this is a nice change.

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At the traditional spot where I usually snap a photo of my cars up here. Lada and Jag have been the only recent ones missed...and the Jag will be living less than 20 miles from this spot in the future so I'll be arranging that to happen one way or another! The Invacar I still really want to do the round country run in so would obviously happen then. Merc S123...well if the engine doesn't grenade itself in the next couple of months we'll see. Kinda sad I never got the Lada there, just never had the opportunity...being 450 plus change miles from my current driveway means it's not a trip I can just make on a whim!

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Definitely isn't enjoying the cheap supermarket fuel. I'm sure the actual difference is absolutely tiny, but in a 2.8t brick with 78bhp to work with and the aerodynamic profile of a block of flats it doesn't take much to be noticeable. Dealing with a bit of a headwind on the first half of my drive out today and I was barely managing to hold 50 in top gear, even the slightest of gradients necessitating a drop to fourth. The return trip, bounded along at 60 in top gear without a care in the world, only a couple of the steeper hills requiring me to drop gears. You always notice a headwind in this, but the difference usually isn't so dramatic unless it's really strong.

Guess it shows how much on the knife edge of the performance being acceptable the van is.

Given none of the stations around here have premium fuels I'll have a nose around to see if anywhere sells any of the cetane booster treatments.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Nov 10, 2021 10:39 pm

One issue I noted while out last week with the van was that the freshwater pump had sprung a slight leak. The leak was tiny, however it meant it kept losing prime.

A bit of digging found a seal kit for £30 odd but couldn't actually find any in stock...or for literally £7 more including delivery...

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Yep...whole brand new pump, on my doorstep in less than 24 hours.

Made in Mexico rather than China too, not been sitting around on a shelf for years either.

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Old leaky water pump... I'd forgotten the pipework in here was still such a mess. I really need to tidy this up at some point.

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Old and new next to each other to make sure everything matched up. Yep, aside from the label they seem to be identical.

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The silicone sealant oozing out between the two halves of the pump casting suggests to me that someone has had a shot at sealing this up before.

New one in, correct way up this time round. The instructions suggest that the motor should be at the top if vertically mounted.

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The strainer is bugging me...the threads are such that I can't position it in a useful direction.

Needs a bit of tidying but is working fine... reckon the old one had been struggling for a while as this now primes several orders of magnitude faster than the old one and provides a much smoother flow.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Nov 16, 2021 3:20 am

Very quick job on the van a couple of days ago. Can you spot it?

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New air filter.

The old one still wasn't quite due by mileage but has been in there since a couple of days after I bought it and was looking quite grubby.

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The whole housing being part of the filter means it's a bit more expensive to replace - but means changing the filter is literally a ten second job. One spring clip then the whole thing just pulls off. Have oil and fuel filters waiting to go on too, so will see about getting those done shortly.

The old water pump had definitely been got at with silicone and instant gasket.

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Old pump was rather full of gunk, evidenced here by what was built up on the pressure switch.

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Eww. Kind of glad I pulled it now...definitely think the system will be getting rather more aggressively treated this year as I don't want that stuff growing in there.
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Current fleet: 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 86 Mercedes S123 230TE, 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 » Tue Nov 16, 2021 11:44 pm

Right...time to quit putting it off, the alternator needs sorting on the Jag.

By the standards of this car it's not actually too bad to get to.

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Of course being a Jaguar there's a pipe (can't remember if it's power steering or an oil cooler line) which is positioned precisely so as while it's not an actual problem, is really *annoying* when you're trying to get to the back of the alternator.

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Said oil lines will also make getting the alternator out a royal pain if it needs to come out as I don't think it will fit between the oil lines and the engine mount...so let's hope it doesn't need to come out.

Based on the symptoms I've had my hunch is that we've got sticky/worn out brushes and/or a failing regulator. The alternator on this car has always been a bit on the weak side (even keeping in mind the Lucas A115 is only rated at 55A, which isn't a lot for a car like this) even before it started randomly stopping charging.

Before I even got the tools into the engine bay the first step was of course to disconnect the battery. It's smart for pretty much anything in the engine bay really, but faffing around on the charging system with it connected would seriously be flirting with disaster.

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Not all that many connections to the alternator, but took several photos of what goes where for future reference.

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At this point I had to go rummaging in the toolbox...those tiny little hex head screws I think are a BA size...these saved my day.

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Apparently these were originally used for servicing magnetos many years ago - which gives an idea how old they are.

Back cover off meant I could get a better look, albeit via the camera as my view was of course obstructed by the aforementioned oil lines.

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I ended up removing the brushes complete with the regulator (rectangular silver box above centre frame). Had to cut one wire as I couldn't for love nor money get this bolt to come out. That black wire is attached to a ring terminal. If I can't get it out I'll just solder and heat shrink the new reg lead on to it, not the end of the world. Now I actually know for certain there is a bolt holding the ring terminal down that's half the battle, I was trying to work this out by Braille at the time.

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There we go. One set of brushes and regulator.

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Compared to photos of new brush sets for the Lucas A115 alternator the brushes don't look *massively* worn, but there's a good 5mm difference between the two which can't be good I reckon.

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Equally suspiciously there are signs in the potting compound that at least some of the magic smoke has escaped. It may just be due to moisture ingress and old age...but generally the potting compound failing on things like this isn't ever a good sign.

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A new regulator isn't expensive and it would be silly not to replace it given the situation. Especially as the alternator has been obviously weak as long as I've had the car.

Guess we'll see when it goes back together again! *If* I can figure out how to reassemble it!

Hopefully this will get the charging system going again, then she should hopefully be more or less ready to move on to her new owner.
LOZ: Oddball cars, lighting information, and anything else I remember to upload!
Current fleet: 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 86 Mercedes S123 230TE, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Nov 17, 2021 11:56 pm

This afternoon's job. Sorting this.

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More specifically, sorting the illumination in that switchgear. None of it was working north of the heater controls.

The fact that they were all out seemed quite odd to me, was really hoping I didn't have a wiring issue to contend with.

Reason I hadn't done anything with this before was that I couldn't figure out how to get the panel out. A bit of experimentation revealed that you had to remove the switches before the panel would come out. Otherwise it wouldn't clear the dash above it.

Upon removal of the first switch the penny immediately dropped as to why the lighting in all these switches was out.

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You figured out what these are yet?

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Yep, fibre optic bundles. All of these switches are illuminated from a single lamp via fibre optics...clever in that it saves a heap of wiring...but does mean you lose the lot when the lamp fails.

Thankfully the illuminator unit is just about accessible through this panel behind the left hand temperature control. New lamp in there and we had light from the fibres. Sadly I couldn't get a photo of it as everything in there is black and I was working in the dark.

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Those maroon and yellow plastic pipes to the left are vacuum lines for the headlamp level adjustment control. Only car I've come across so far where that system is vacuum operated...and I thought the hydraulic setup Lada used was odd.

What followed then was about an hour of trying to cram the heater controls back into the right place. The mounting bracket for them is smashed into about fifteen pieces so nothing lines up making getting things together like herding cats. While blindfolded. I really need to sort the bracket for the heater controls, but before I can do that I need to figure how the heck to get the centre console out, and it's not self explanatory. It's clearly not properly bolted in as the whole thing wobbles too. One for a future date.

Success on the sorting of the illumination though.

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Far nicer to have all the dash lighting working properly.

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Not blindingly bright like in modern cars, but it doesn't need to be. The dash lighting in this car is precisely as bright as it needs to be and no more. The camera makes the instrument panel in particular look brighter.

This is one of those jobs which definitely had the potential to turn into quite a headache if it hadn't been the simple problem...for once it was though. Guess that's my luck for the week used up!

For those of you counting the mileage showing is now 163,241. 548 miles since the head was swapped. The oil pressure did drop a little over the first couple of days but it seems to have stayed pretty stable since then. Something which is really obvious is how much cleaner the oil on the dipstick has stayed...it would have been the colour of Guinness by now prior to the head swap...So hopefully a good amount of the gunk went with the old head.
LOZ: Oddball cars, lighting information, and anything else I remember to upload!
Current fleet: 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 86 Mercedes S123 230TE, 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 18, 2021 6:07 pm

New brushes and voltage regulator for the Jag's alternator arrived today.

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Comparison of the new and old brushes shows there definitely was a fair bit of wear to them.

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Now getting this thing back together is definitely up there on the "Jobs I never want to even entertain the idea of ever doing again" list. What an absolute faff. Trying to get the brushes, the springs, the insulation pad and the screws all back in place - especially bearing in mind that the forward brush retaining screw *also* secures the regulator (which wouldn't just sit in place) was a massive headache. It would have been fiddly and annoying and tried my patience on the bench, but trying to do it with the alternator in situ was a massive pain.

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Eventually though we got there.

There's one missing securing screw for the plastic cover because I dropped it. I'll have a dig around tomorrow with the car moved and see if I can find it. If not I'll just have to find another one that's roughly the right size. It's a self tapper into plastic and is just holding an already retained cover in place so being missing for 24 hours isn't going to be the end of the world.

Have to admit I was slightly nervous when I hooked the battery up given how much of this job I did blind. However after a couple of minutes nothing was on fire or trying to be on fire...so I upgraded to turning the ignition on.

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Ignition light works...that's a good sign as it means we must have continuity through the brushes.

After starting up we initially had a bit of erratic behaviour but this wasn't entirely unexpected as the brushes will obviously need to bed in against the commutator. After a 20-30 minute run round in circles though things looked healthy enough. So I was brave enough to go get some fuel...which at the current prices stings a bit in this car.

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That's from around 1/4 a tank. Nowhere close to warning light territory. Ouch. That's probably good for around 200 miles on a good day!

After that trip we were showing this on the gauge, at idle with the headlights on.

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Which actually equates to...

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...because the gauge reads a little low. Previously this would definitely have dropped off charge under these circumstances, requiring the revs to be held up over 3000rpm for a couple of tens of seconds for the charging system to wake up again.

It still struggles at idle with the headlights on, rear screen heater and heater blower on high...but given it's only a 55A alternator I think that's not necessarily a concern, as soon as the revs are brought up to 1200rpm or so it comes up to an acceptable range. Not sure what the rated running current is, but I'm pretty sure that *each* blower motor is fused at 30A. So assuming around 20A flat out, there's a fair old chunk of the rated output on the heater blower alone!

I need to make a few errand runs tomorrow so will take the Jag for that and keep an eye on the performance of the charging system. Fingers crossed this stays fixed as I REALLY don't want to have to mess with the alternator again!

I'm not declaring this "fixed" quite yet as the full fault condition was intermittent...but overall charging behaviour seems markedly improved so keeping fingers crossed.
LOZ: Oddball cars, lighting information, and anything else I remember to upload!
Current fleet: 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 86 Mercedes S123 230TE, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:57 am

Having unearthed TPA yesterday and resolved a problem with the carb having unbolted itself from the inlet manifold, it was time to take her out for a run today. This was intended to be a quick half hour run, but we ended up being out all afternoon, getting home well after dark.

After a bit of a race against the sunset I did manage to get to my usual photo spot as the sun was setting.

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So has the carb being loose been an issue for a while? Yes I think it has actually. While outright straight line power is much as it always has been the engine feels much more responsive now than I can remember. Especially that point between where the clutch has just fully engaged and you get to 30 or so.

Need to see about sorting the window catches and replacing the missing weather stripping between the sliding sections as it was a bit chilly at a couple of points today!

Also really should have a look at the voltage regulator and see if I can bring the cut in point down a bit. It only really comes properly on charge on the open road, which is far more of an issue when you've got the headlights on. I may well try to pick up a second one as I've heard from a few people that setting these regulators up is a bit of a dark art...and I don't want to break it!
LOZ: Oddball cars, lighting information, and anything else I remember to upload!
Current fleet: 90 Mercedes 208D Autotrail Navajo, 86 Mercedes S123 230TE, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, 85 Sinclair C5, 73 AC Model-70.

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