Today I mostly .....

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:28 am

Not a huge amount of progress from yesterday - though the rear of the roof is now the only bit which is now still in primer.

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A friend of mine who does quite a bit of painting of commercial vehicles has suggested that based on the type of paint I'm using the 1mm nozzle is likely to be sub optimal for doing full panel spraying. This ties in with my observations to be honest today when I was fiddling around with the settings on the paint gun. I got a nice finish on the little box I was using as my test piece, but turning back to the car it felt like I was puffing paint at the car through a drinking straw again.

About an hour after that conversation someone suggested that on another forum as well.

My friend has also suggested that this paint should behave well if rollered on, especially on a less than stellar surface like this where we want a bit thicker a coat than might normally be expected. So I'm going to give that a try tomorrow. Never tried it before, but curious to try it.

Should quickly be able to get the remaining bits of primer in colour quickly anyhow. I've not discounted the idea of getting it along to the National Microcar Rally next weekend yet...but there are a lot of things which would need to go right before that can happen yet.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:19 pm

Unless I'm hallucinating, it looks like we might actually be making progress now.

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Ten points to everyone who suggested that a 1mm nozzle was smaller than ideal for this paint and application. 1.5mm is working far better. It feels like far more of the paint is now actually ending up on the panel now than just floating around in the garage. I had about 250ml left of the original litre...and it felt like it went way further than two refills of the original spray gun would have. There's probably room to open it up a bit more yet to be fair too. 

Will get an additional two litres picked up tomorrow, get the last few bits of car masked up, then have another bash at it. It's behaving far closer to what I was expecting with this spray gun though, and is giving a finish which it's actually worth flatting back for the next coat, rather than a finish that is rougher than the abrasive I'd plan to flat it with. 

Time will tell if it's a false start...but this feels like progress.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:03 am

Today was very much a game of two halves. Also can be read as "discovering the pitfalls you need to watch for when painting."

Given I was going into this with precisely zero experience, not unexpected that days like this would happen.

Picked up the additional paint, got the gun ready, loaded up with an actually carefully measured 5:1 mix and did a quick test panel. All looked good. Regulator settings still seem well off the mark, but the spray looks good so I'm going with the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" approach there. Let's not make myself work. 

Things were actually going well up until about the 80% mark. Though I REALLY need to tidy my garage up. Trying to move around a car covered in wet paint in there is damned near impossible just now.

At that point something odd happened... suddenly the volume of paint I got out of the gun increased by a factor of about ten it felt like. It was very visible when that happened from the cloud and the change in sound. 

Best guess I have (also pointed to from the visible evidence) is that I'd not done a good enough job of mixing the thinners in and I pulled in a pocket that was very thinners rich. Sadly this resulted in it looking like I'd dumped a bottle of thinners over the roof and offside door.

Am I disgruntled? Not really. It's a learning experience and I'd far rather make these mistakes on a car that's this cosmetically challenged with relatively cheap paint rather than respraying the Xantia or something like that where the final finish is far more critical.

 So I'll definitely need to give some areas another coat, but we're looking close to a point where I'm going to feel I can call it good enough for now on some areas now.

Pictures hopefully speak a thousand words...

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The target here is to get to a state which you'd not immediately think looked scruffy if you saw me driving past...and it feels like we're starting to get there.

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Here's the two shots where there's evidence of my "paint flow anomaly" which I'll need to resolve.

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Nothing a quick rub down to smooth out the resulting runs and a recoat can't sort though. Will have done a decent job of sealing the surface at least. 

I don't think I'm being too forward in saying that I think TPA is looking a heck of a lot better than she did a couple of weeks ago. Just a shame I didn't get this done before the FotU! 

I've not bothered masking the indicator surrounds up front as they're badly perished and will be replaced shortly. Likewise the lock on the engine cover - it's seized beyond all redemption so will be getting changed. 

I'll be getting a small brush out and doing a few details by hand. The edges of the door frames you can't see with the doors closed (I can't be bothered taking the doors off or masking the whole interior off!) for one, and applying some "steel wheel silver" to the engine cover hinges and the air intake grill. Wheels will be getting hammered metallic black (one is already done) as well.

Then next up will be sorting a few items on the snagging list I think. High on that list is to get the dash out to sort some wiring "repairs" I've seen which I don't like. The screw terminal strip which is carrying the full primary circuit current (including battery charge I believe - so theoretically up to 35A) which I really don't like. The ignition switch gets quite warm too, so I'd really like to get some relays fitted to take the strain off it.

...Or I've been spending too much time working on PSA vehicles with their self destructing ignition switch contacts and it's made me paranoid!

That's obviously the ideal time to get the switch for my heater blower fan wired up as the dash will be out and I'll have the soldering iron and heat shrink out.

Feels like I've made more steps forward today than in a while though. 
I continue to be very glad I bought the proper mask for this job.

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Far prefer that blue paint to be in the filters there than in me!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:02 am

Definitely feel I'm somewhat getting the feel of this now. Got the spray gun working nicely within a few minutes today, and it behaved perfectly throughout the whole loading of paint.

I think we're pretty much at the stage now where I'm happy to more or less to call the paintwork "good enough for now."

The aim has always been to get the car into a state where it looked like a somewhat scruffy but well loved creaky old classic car rather than something which looked like it had literally just been driven out of a scrap yard. That's a state which we're getting towards now I think.

The bodywork will be seeing professional attention at some point in the future - but it shouldn't be a barrier to the car actually being used in the real world now.

Here's a bit of before & after fun.

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No, it's not fantastic...but it's a means to an end. I want to use the car...and hopefully this should scream "there's no way this is road legal!" slightly less loudly at any passing traffic police having a bad day that might otherwise see me as a target.

The engine cover and doors might want another coat ideally as they're still a bit patchy. Realistically I'll get a better finish on the doors if I lay them flat for the last coat anyway. The rest of it I'm calling done for now - at the very most I might throw one more coat on.

Tomorrow's task will be to pull all the masking tape off and put stuff back together. The interior is still half full of blasting soda too, so an interior clean will also be on the cards. Keeping fingers very much crossed that the paint hasn't found its way in through too many gaps as I'd rather not have to go over everything with the thinners! I did throw a sheet over the seat at least though...so hopefully that will still be black.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:40 am

Today was quite gratifying in that it has seen TPA suddenly starting to look like a car again.

While the finish is still abominable up close, at a glance from a distance she almost looks respectable now!

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She desperately needs a new set of number plates as they're utterly past it. Being relatively early examples of the "modern style" acrylic plates, they've not weathered terribly well and the originally reflective backing has turned transparent with age.

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It's an odd effect I don't think I've seen happen before. Once they're changed though (keeping with the correct pre-2001 typeface of course) and I've cleaned the not inconsiderable amount of overspray from the rear tyres...

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...She should pass muster as looking like she belongs on the road rather than the scrap heap I think it's fair to say.

Once the throttle cable turns up I'll get her out and take some better photos in actual daylight.

Or I get fed up of waiting for the new cable (ordered on August 8th...) to turn up and I re-bodge the already bodged cable back on.

The National Microcar Rally is this weekend. It's 120 miles away, on roads I've never seen. The longest trip I've done in TPA so far is 17 miles on roads I know. I have not completely dismissed the possibility of my throwing caution to the wind and trying to drive her there. Especially as I believe that TWC, the car she donated many spares to the restoration of before I took ownership of her, will be there...and it's always great to get the pair back together whenever possible I think as it's just a great conversation starter and a great story. Just goes to show that sometimes no matter how slim a chance a car has of being brought back to life, there can still be hope. This pair of little blue beasties now buzzing (well, screaming is more accurate...the cooling fan sounds like a supercharger!) about the countryside is testament to that.

The photo below was taken when TWC dropped by here on the way to another event a couple of months ago.

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Another one has recently been bought by another friend, pictured below, will also hopefully become a somewhat regular visitor to the area.

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This car was actually one of a pair that were sold together, the other (I don't have a photo to hand of that one) bought by another friend should bring our numbers to turn up at a few shows when we can coordinate it next year to four...should raise a few eyebrows!

The fun thing I think is that both of that pair look to be cars which their owners actually want to drive and use rather than just lock away in a garage never to be seen again, which sadly is the fate of a lot of survivors of this type of vehicle.

The more miles we get covered the more urban myths about them we can bust hopefully.

Edit:

Quick addendum:

The National Microcar Rally is actually September 5th-8th. I've no idea where I got this weekend from...

This does make TPA making an appearance *slightly* more feasible.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:21 pm

With the paint stripping, sanding, soda blasting and painting that has been going on over the last couple of months, TPA's interior was in a right royal state.

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While I'm not always that fussy about the state of the outside of a car, but a grubby interior will drive me spare in no time flat.

I'm honestly embarrassed to have had to display the car at the Festival of the Unexceptional with the interior in this state, but I just didn't have time to deal with it before that event.

We've some time now though, so let's sort it out.

You think rubber floor mats, you think "easy to clean."

Um...no...the ribbed texture does a fantastic job of capturing every bit of grime and even with a brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner it takes ridiculous amounts of scrubbing to get everything out of the grooves.

I've not discounted the idea of carpeting the floor in future. Nothing showy, would just be a dark neutral coloured cord carpet, same as I'll probably line the roof and transmission cover with to cut down on noise. Now I know of several cars in our neck of the woods all of which are in better shape than mine makes me a bit less reticent to make small improvements like that. Especially keeping in mind a possible long trip next year.

Speaking of long trips - I will NOT be able to make it to the National Microcar Rally. The date clashes with a family birthday and I'm very much required at home on the Sunday as a result. Saturday isn't an option as I've a dentist appointment 75 miles in the wrong direction from here. So it would be at least 1600 in the afternoon before I could get there, even being optimistic about travel times...and I wouldn't be able to stay overnight as I'm needed as of Sunday morning here. So just not happening sadly. Definitely an event I'll keep in the calendar though for next year.

After a couple of hours scrubbing the interior was looking a little more presentable.

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Somehow it appeared that the interior surfaces of the doors had been missed when I gave the car the first quick scrub over...much better now.

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The area inside the "door pocket" is another area which might get the carpet treatment in the future - not least to reduce the tendency for me to find up with glass fibres embedded in my knuckles when putting stuff in there. Any reduction in drumming would be a coincidental bonus.

I really wish I had a wet and dry vacuum cleaner as the driver's seat could really do with the attention of one. Though given how warm it's forecast to be over the next week I'm considering just taking it out and hitting it with the pressure washer and leaving it in the sun for a few days to dry.

A couple of the cushions in the van lack removable covers too, so it would be really helpful for cleaning those. Oh, and the velour door cards, the driver's one is a bit grey at knee height.

While I had the cleaning supplies out I took the opportunity to give all the glass a good polish to help get rid of any remaining overspray (it got under the paper in a few locations).

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This windscreen wiper blade does look much more in keeping with the stylistic period of the car.

Given how much the sweat was pouring off me today (the garage is actually one of the coolest places in the house in the summer due to the lack of windows) and we've got a local forecast even worse at 32C tomorrow, I can't honestly see me getting much done. Might see about getting the silver paint out to touch in a couple of details as I can probably retreat to somewhere cool to do that. Engine cover hinges and air intake grill being the main targets there. Would like to get the bulkhead down at foot level cleaned up from where I dripped paint a while ago when I was tidying up the handlebar yoke.

Really looking forward to getting some driving done again...will be interesting to see how much psychological effect knowing the car is less scruffy at a glance will have on me...reckon it will make it feel far less stressful for me as I won't be silently having to remind myself that the car really is roadworthy, irrespective of what it may have looked like. Bit less shy of showing people the interior now it's less of a tip now.

If I don't immediately die of heatstroke when I step out the front door of the house I may see about refitting my throttle cable. I've soldered my bodged end onto it now, so am declaring it good enough to serve until my package of new cable eventually materialises... assuming it ever does. The end is very slightly frayed though, so not 100% certain it will be possible to get it back through the liner...we'll just have to see.

Enjoyed getting to do some interior valet work though, I always enjoy that sort of thing even though it's something which a lot of folk hate doing.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:05 pm

Today I Managed about half an hour outside before retreating inside due to passing out becoming an increasingly real hazard.

Offside rear wheel was target number one. This had lost a lot of paint while on KPL due to a leaking brake wheel cylinder. Nearside one was painted a couple of months ago

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Painted and back on the car. Sorry, forgot to get a photo at the intermediary stage.

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Next up was the grill covering the engine cooling fan air intake. This was originally bare aluminium, and if I'd realised how easy it was to remove I'd have just taken it off before painting the engine cover...every day's a school day!

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It was a bit tarnished anyway so a quick blast of alloy wheel silver wouldn't have gone amiss anyhow. While I had the silver paint out I used a small brush to touch in the hinges on the engine cover silver too. Small details, but they all add up.

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That photo does a good job of showing how knackered the rear plate is.

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I may switch those hinges out for chromed ones at some point for no reason other than because I can...and so they would match what is on the front.

One thing I cannot seem to find for love nor money is the little metal cap for the number plate light...I know it's in the garage. Somewhere. That is the extent of my knowledge!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:52 pm

Throttle cable refitting was an utter fail.

Turned out that having now soldered my end onto the cable it wouldn't fit in the twist grip any more. De-soldering it to adjust then made the previously crimped on end fall off.

I then managed to drop the back part of the twist grip and watch it disappear down behind a pile of stuff in the garage. Retrieval of this took about half an hour.

I decided to call time at this point before I made things any worse!

Literally as I was walking back inside though I got a notification from Royal Mail saying that my package from China (which I have to assume is my throttle cable kit) has finally been received and is now passing through the UK network...so hopefully I'll have the bits in hand in the next day or so to properly change it anyway rather than bodging things.

Still kicking myself for not just bailing on that order and reverting to an actual UK based seller rather than one which just has UK in their name...never dreamt it would take so long to arrive.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:44 pm

Took some measurements today for future reference if I decide to go down the route of adding carpet of trimming any areas. Roof is the obvious one along with the shelf on the transmission cover. The purpose there is twofold in that it would both help with sound deadening and help stop stuff sliding around so much. Lining the roof should do a lot to help dampen the general echoes in the cabin.

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Front bulkhead is probably quite bad for drumming too as it's one huge flat surface.

Would probably make sense to do the floor and front bulkhead in one section.

Not putting too much thought and time into this right now as there are way higher priority tasks...just interesting to plan for what might be future improvements. Most carpet rolls are 4m wide I believe so need to factor in any wastage to the calculations for how much would need to be bought. Guessing two metres from a 4m roll would be sensible. Will give plenty of wriggle room, even taking into account the inevitable wastage, even of I were to do the lot.

I've forbidden myself from going near anything with a repeating pattern as trying to ensure everything is facing the same direction in such close quarters sounds like a recipe for insanity. Plus most patterns would look daft in a car. We'll be going with plain, solid colour short pile. Probably black or very dark grey for the floor, roof and rest of the panels will go for a more neutral mid grey.

Just a shame there are a lot of very rusty fasteners holding the roof on as that would be so much easier with it in the ground.

Not too worried about most of it, but I'd like to get the floor done as the existing flooring is in such poor condition. Imagine it would improve the refinement quite a bit too.

Given that my throttle cable package passed through a distribution centre less than 50 miles away yesterday evening I'm hoping it might arrive tomorrow.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:03 am

Things today started out in a frustrating way.

The throttle cable kit I had been waiting for since the sixth of August finally arrived today. However it immediately became apparent that it did not contain the parts I needed.

What I thought were the small barrel shaped cable ends in the tiny blurry images on the listing actually turned out to be ferrules (left on the image below), and the actual cable ends were the larger type. Shown to the right.

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By this point I was thoroughly irked given how long I had waited for it. This quite quickly turned into me refusing to be beaten given that I was holding a new length of decent cable in my hand.

The issue I had was that the barrel type cable ends supplied while correct in their length were roughly twice the required diameter. So they wouldn't fit into the proper retainer in the twist grip. I couldn't even wedge one in behind the holder because the clamshell sections which cover it wouldn't close with the cable end sitting so much prouder than the original.

That was until I gave it some thought and brandished an angle grinder at it. I cut a new slot just to one side of the original cable retainer like so...

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Which allows the larger cable end to sit like this...

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This drops the height of things to a point where the covers can be correctly reassembled. Having left the original retainer untouched means I will have the option to revert to the other type of cable end in the future if needed.

With the new end soldered onto the cable everything was put together and it worked. Action still isn't great so I may well change the cable outer as well at some point, but it is actually working now. The twist grip itself isn't the nicest thing ever anyway, so that too might be replaced in the future.

Which meant I could finally get the car out of the garage for the first time in several weeks.

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Answers on a postcard for the best way to shift overspray from tyres?

Before heading out though I made a point of properly setting the CVT belt tension - spacing the pulley centres 10.25" apart as per the manual (I'll probably find I've remembered the value wrong now) as I was pretty certain the belt was too loose when I was last out. It was very snatchy moving off from a standstill and sounded like it was flapping around a lot at speed.

Still a bit juddery moving off from a standstill, but definitely better. I suspect the engine/gearbox mounts I have are a bit last their best so may look to replace those at some point. It does to some extent seem to be something they are a bit prone to though from what I remember seeing.

Drive is definitely happier though, *far* quieter and especially so at cruising speed. Much less of a noticeable shunt when coming off the power too. Several points while out today I was having to back off the throttle due to the 60mph speed limit rather than due to running out of road or other traffic.

Fuelling up has shown us nearly touching 30mpg on that last tank - half of which was prior to fitting the new pulleys, so it's definitely heading the right way. Not expecting to ever see particularly great figures locally as MK is murderous on fuel economy because of there being a roundabout every 0.9 miles. Would be nice to see over 30mpg though, which hopefully we will on the next tank.

Obviously had to snap a few photos while out and about.

The heavens did open at one point, which revealed that I owe an apology to this windscreen wiper blade.

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I had expected it to be nothing but a pointless shiny bit of tat...but it actually works just fine, better than the Bosch one which was on there before anyway.

Even when the surface is horribly rough, you still get water beading on new paint which is always satisfying to see.

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At least I now have a few reasonable "stock" images of TPA I can throw at people when they ask what a Model 70 is now. Obviously I'll need to re-take these once the new number plates arrive though.

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...And back home after all the excitement of an actual run.

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The sliding doors still amuse me and seem to utterly confuse passers by.

I'll need to find an excuse to head out of town shortly so I can properly assess how the drive is behaving. Definitely seems far happier now though and there wasn't anything which felt like it gave me cause for concern during the drive. Never mind nothing actually falling off, it didn't feel like anything was even in danger of falling off this time.

Looking at those photos now it is slightly hard to believe that's the same car that arrived wedged in the back of a Transit van about a year ago...

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She's undergone a bit of a transformation I think it's fair to say!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Tom. » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:55 pm

Zelandeth wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:03 am
She's undergone a bit of a transformation I think it's fair to say!
Understatement! .......it's had a great transformation, really enjoyable read as well, by the way.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by sch4463 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:31 pm

Not bad, looking forward to the matching trailer to go behind it.... :lol:

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Aaron » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:53 pm

Wire wool, either dry or dipped in a little thinners.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:56 am

I figure that by far the best thing for TPA at the moment is to cover miles given how long she's sat dormant. To this end I took the very long way round both to and from the shops this afternoon, covering roughly another 40 miles.

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Nothing I've ever owned does quite such a good job of making conventional parking spaces look absolutely massive.

She didn't miss a beat. The only gremlin I have discovered is that the heater control flaps aren't closing fully in the control box...so the heater doesn't switch off quite fully. The efficacy of the heat exchanger definitely isn't in doubt...The air coming out of the vents is *painfully* hot...so it would be nice to be able to switch it off properly. Especially as the outlet for the main cabin heater is under the seat. Gets a bit toasty after half an hour or so.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:27 pm

You know a while ago I gave some of the rusty and/or scruffy metalwork in the engine bay some paint? I really should of either held off doing that until after I painted the rest of the car or masked it off.

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Oops.

On the plus side it wasn't exactly a work of art, so not much to be replicated. Have already given the cowling a fresh coat of hammered black.

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I'd really like to get the fan off so I can give it a better clean up, but the bolt holding it onto the dynastart really doesn't want to budge. A six foot breaker bar and 3/8" socket extension resulted in zero movement and a bent socket extension. A task for a year or five down the line.

Had a few errands to run today and it would have been rude to take any other car wouldn't it.

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Enjoy the fact that it wouldn't take all that much editing to take thirty years off this photo.

Starting to get a bit of a better feel for the car now and can definitely vouch for it being very much at home darting around congested city streets. The only slight negative mark is that the initial launch between 0 and 5mph is a little sluggish. This is down to the centrifugal clutch and a relatively heavy flywheel for a small engine like this. It's not bad, just more like an old school automatic with a long first gear. Just needs a half second or so more forward planning than driving a modern car when you're pulling into a busy roundabout or turning right out of junctions.

Have been a little more daring today and can vouch now for this car having downright tenacious levels of grip compared to what you'd expect. Yes she wanders about in sidewinds a bit and wobbles in a strange way unique to three wheelers on uneven surfaces, but there's a lot more cornering ability than you'd think.
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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