Today I mostly .....

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Zelandeth
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:19 pm

After the better part of three hours and my nearly passing out from heat exhaustion twice this morning, finally got the offside window runner sorted.

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Which at first glance looks very like the last photo from yesterday - if you look closely though you can see how the window rail has now been evenly clamped down to the door top which has helped remove the slight bend it had in it before.

For the sake of completeness, here's a "before" photo looking at the bottom of the window runner from inside the car (photo is of the nearside door, but they had identical issues).

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Looking at the same spot now at the front and rear of the door:

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The only thing I still need to do there is to put a blob of sealant in the end of the stainless steel channel so that water is forced to drain through the dedicated drain holes rather then just running out of the front or back of the channel, straight over the inside of the door.

A bit of paint wouldn't go amiss either but that's a bit further down the priority list.

The channel rubber is pretty knackered but is far better than what was in there before which was about 40% missing. This does at least securely hold the glass now, whereas the window panes could rattle both in the frame and against each other before.

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Very much hoping that this is a job I won't need to do again.

Not content with having lost half my body weight in sweat in the morning, I ventured back into the garage in the afternoon.

My willingness to do anything besides hide in front of an air conditioner when it's anywhere north of about 20C outside is next to non existent under normal circumstances.

I'm trying to maintain momentum with this though so dragged myself back outside. I've really been enjoying buzzing around in this little car the last couple of days now I think I'm starting to get a better feel for it. I don't want to end up putting off sorting things and ending up another year down the line with it barely getting used.

Having got the door back together it was time to reattach the gear selector to the gearbox.

This job is most easily done from underneath, though jacking the car up would have meant taking the car out of the garage and working beneath the deadly ball of death that is the sun today. Not happening.

I wanted to inspect the pulleys, CVT belt and check the oil levels in the gearbox and diff - all of these things want the rear service hatch in the cabin out, so figured I'd just work from above like last time.

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When the new pulley set was installed a few hundred miles ago there was quite a bit of surface oxidisation on the primary pulley, I'm glad to report that just normal use appears to have resolved that. They've both got a lovely satin smooth texture now which is exactly what you want.

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Belt also seems happy enough. The manual states very clearly that cracking between the teeth on the belt will happen early during its life, is absolutely normal and shouldn't be considered a sign of impending failure, so I'm not worried about that. It still seems nicely pliable and there aren't any signs of fraying around the edges or anything like that.

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It's really noticeable that before the pulleys were replaced that this whole area used to get covered in finely atomised belt material during any run. No noticeable deposits anywhere since last time I was in here though so that behaviour seems to have been purely down to surface corrosion on the old secondary pulley.

The gear selector was originally attached to the selector arm on the box by a roughly 1/4" diameter roll pin, held in place by a split pin. I was missing this because the replacement selector I fitted (the original one in TPA was totally siezed) didn't have it, and no amount of effort was able to shift the original one from the linkage. Originally I fitted a bolt in this location and used a locknut arrangement to try to stop it loosening itself over time. Apparently this didn't work as since then I've lost two bolts.

Annoyingly the replacements I have, presumably because they're a metric size, don't fit. The smallest size I've got that fits drops straight through, the next size up won't fit. Adding an extra washer to the smaller one adds enough length that I can't then get the split pin in. So we will need to use a bolt then for the time being.

It was at this point I had a bit of a brainwave. There are two pivot joints on the gear linkage of this type. The lower one (the source of my problem) attaches to a rod which acts as a see-saw before attaching to the gear selector on the gearbox itself nearer the top of the box.

So I took the standard coupler out of the top pivot and installed that in the hard to get to bottom location. I then fitted a bolt and lock nut to the top one.

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The fact that I can actually get to it makes it possible to easily do the locknut up *way* more tightly than I probably managed last time. I also put a blob of thead lock on it.

At least if it does drop off again in future replacing the thing will be a five minute job as it's dead easy to get at.

I do get the impression that I may need to look at replacing the gearbox seals at some point though...

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Yes, I am indeed still out of gloves.

The box has always been quite oily but never actually seems to drip anything so I'm not worrying about this too much in the short term but it would be nice to get that sorted.

While I had access to the rear of the bulkhead because the service hatch was out I also replaced the self tapping screws that were holding the fire extinguisher bracket in place as they had (unsurprisingly) stripped their holes out so the thing wobbled around madly and rattled while driving. Bolts and nice big washers were instead employed which has made the extinguisher sit far more securely in place and far less likely to launch itself off the bulkhead if I were to brake too sharply. Given how loose the screws were I'm honestly surprised it hadn't already done so.

I'd been literally dripping with sweat since about two minutes after leaving the house so called time at this point before I wound up passing out from heat exhaustion (showing 36C in the garage by the time I called it). I'll check the gearbox and diff oil levels tomorrow before I button the service hatch back up and call this round of work done.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:16 am

Finally got around to getting something done today which had been bugging me since the day that TPA first started rolling again.

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They're pretty cheap and nasty but will do the job just fine. It's not as though I'm going to be commuting daily in the dark. Hopefully somewhere down the line I'll come across a better quality more in-period set of 7" H4 headlights. They certainly look more at home in the car than the clear ones which I've had in here until now though!

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Halfway there...

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Done. Doesn't that look better?

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Before I called it done on the offside door I wanted to get one last issue ticked off while I still had the drill and such out - that the upper runner channel (normally held on by several tiny self tapping screws) had pulled out of the door at the front.

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I drilled a couple of new holes and secured it with proper bolts with large penny washers behind the panel to better spread the load. Hopefully that won't cause is any issues in the future. I'll need to "massage" the front of that rail back into shape just a bit but that's a lower priority that can just stay on the whiteboard to do list for now.

Then once I'd re-secured the door seal in a few places where it had fallen off I called it good in that area for now.

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That door is still a pig to get closed sometimes and doesn't run properly on the lower runner so I will need to pull the whole lot apart at some point. I think that the rollers are knackered or seized to the axle they sit on.

While I was fiddling with door seals I re-secured the one on the nearside door which had started to peel off yet again. I've given up on gluing these in now after the third or fourth time and have just screwed it to the frame. Yes, I know that's not how the did it at the factory...but I'm sick of having to clean everything off and try a different type of adhesive every two months...and Sikaflex seems like overkill which is about the only thing I can think of I've not tried yet...Though I suspect it would just pull the gel coat off the fibreglass which is what I've already had happen in a couple places even with less powerful adhesives.

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I do actually have a full set of new door seals for this car which I'll probably get fitted soon as these are a bit dog eared in places. It's a pretty low priority though.

Before I put the rear service hatch back in I checked the oil level in both the diff and the gearbox and despite the visible leak they were both still showing as spot on. Before I actually put the hatch back in through I wanted to make an improvement to the fittings for that.

Originally this was secured by moderately large self tapping screws which screwed into spring clips behind the panel - all but two of these had dissolved in my case and required me to drill them out to get the panel off. Trying to get the screws into the bottom two holes is also nigh on impossible given that I can't just pull the back of the seat off with two bolts because I'm not using the original seat. Even having replaced the spring clips in there I've found that the screws tend to loosen themselves off over time as well.

My solution was to stick a bolt through from the back side, sandwiching the bulkhead panel between two big washers, essentially giving me studs attached to the bulkhead which I can then bolt the cover down onto.

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This is the first time that I've ever actually had this really solidly secured in place I think. It made getting the thing in way, way easier as it just slotted onto the bolts rather than having to spend forever trying to wriggle it around until all the holes line up and I can get the screws in. I'll be curious to see if this has had any impact on the noise level in the cabin.

Just need to finish tidying up my tools and such tomorrow and then we should be able to get her out and about again.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:35 am

First order of business for today was clearing up the huge mess in the interior from the work over the last couple of days. Easy enough. Getting interior photos is so much easier now I've got access to a wide angle lens...

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Then we were able to go out for a wander. Didn't actually check the odometer before I headed out, but pretty sure we clocked up north of 40 miles today in all driving conditions from bumbling around Newport Pagnell Town Centre to blatting along the A421. Absolutely cannot fault her performance today whatsoever.

I'm glad to report that having the service cover on the rear bulkhead properly bolted in place has slightly reduced the drivetrain noise, but has *massively* reduced the squeaks and rattles in the cabin. It's really only the doors which make a din in that regard now, and there's really nothing you can do about that as the bulk of it actually seems to come from the latches vibrating against the striker plates. There's no way to get them to fit snug enough to not rattle *and* be possible to close without body-slamming into them from outside the car. It's just a limitation of the design...and is something I may have a think about in the future if I find myself using the car as much as I think I might.

Here's a photo of her resting in the scenic surroundings of the Kingston Tesco car park.

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Being absolutely honest, I'm staggered by how capable this little car is now the engine is running right given their reputation. The brakes are getting way better with use as well, I think a lot of the dead feel in them has just been the shoes needing to bed in - which on a 400kg car takes a bit of time - having been able to do a few higher speed runs I think has helped there too.

She's looking far better now we've got period looking headlights to match the number plates which were fitted about a year ago. She's getting there.

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It's really obvious how much better the paint finish I got with the aerosol cans I painted the engine cover with is...Think I'll be going back to that going forward. A year or three down the line I will probably get some of the worst bits of the bodywork professionally sorted out. On the plus side there's another Model 70 within 20 miles of where I live now which has a pretty tidy body, so we should be able to get some moulds made to *properly* sort the front corners and rear apron. Rather than the foam sculpted front corners and totally freehand fibreglass-over-cardboard rear apron.

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That's not a crack under the nearest tail light by the way. I ended up with odd rusty coloured runs in a lot of places after she was washed, that's all that is. It will wipe off with a damp rag.

The fact of the matter really is that I wasn't really wanting to throw serious money at the bodywork until I was convinced that the car was going to be a keeper - but over the last couple of days seeing how she drives when the engine is actually delivering all 20bhp properly - that's pretty much decided I think.

One thing I did want to test out today was how she would handle maintaining speed on a hill, as I know this is an issue that another owner has had with their Invacar a bit. The only reasonable hill around here on a faster road is on the A421 heading out of MK towards Bedford. Glad to report that on that hill she dropped from 60 to a steady 56mph which I think is perfectly reasonable. I'm generally going to be happy bumbling along at 50-55 most of the time anyway, just nice to know she's capable of getting a shift on when needed - especially given that on the grid roads in MK you kind of need to or you're just a moving roadblock ready to end up embedded in the radiator of someone's Audi. She really doesn't like doing 40, she'll creep up towards 50 is you take your eye off her for a second.

This also gave me a good opportunity to check something I'd been wanting to, which was how the oil temperature was doing when she was working hard. I'd previously painted the base of the oil pickup strainer plate matt black so I could get an accurate reading with an IR thermometer for this very reason. This reading was taken literally the moment I parked up, engine still running.

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That's absolutely fine I think. Not really a huge surprise given the size of the oil cooler and fan on this thing compared to the engine, but nevertheless it's nice to know. For comparison, on the oil temperature gauge I've got that would put the needle about 1/3 along the scale...right about where I'd generally want to see a temperature gauge sitting. Perfect!

I'll need to be out again at the weekend most likely, and if so I'll try to get another video showing how she is behaving now. It's astonishing how much less rattle and clatter there is in the cabin now I've got that service hatch properly secured.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:44 pm

I had reason to look back at some of my historic photos of TPA earlier today...and realised that it's easy to forget how far she has come.

June 2018 Vs August 2020:

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There are definitely bits of the bodywork I want to revisit in the future, but she's definitely come a long way...
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:47 pm

TPA has been out and about again, continuing the theme of being the most unusual car in the carpark wherever she is.

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Had the smug satisfaction this afternoon of making use of how narrow the Invacar is when I found two cars both encroaching on the space between them - yet still had plenty of space to be able to slot into the gap. I'd forgotten how satisfying doing that is. It used to be a favourite pastime when I had the Cappuccino.

About thirty seconds after I took that photo (note the foreboding looking clouds) we had one of the most biblical downpours I've seen since moving down here descend on us just as I was leaving that carpark. At this point I learned something: Driving through hail in a tiny fibreglass car is LOUD.

As the rain started coming down heavily enough that it reduced visibility to essentially zero and surface water started to become an issue I decided to just pull over and wait for the worst of it to pass.

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Once things died down to a sensible level and the surface water had receeded to the point where I could see the road again we continued.

Despite a few folks having cautioned me on how poor these tyres are I didn't notice any issues today even when dealing with quite heavy surface water. Definitely was using caution though as I knew with so little weight on the front it wouldn't take much at all to cause aquaplaning.

The novelty of looking in the rear view mirror and seeing three rather than two clear bands of road behind you on a wet surface will take a while to wear off.

The weatherproofing is definitely massively improved over when I got the car but still needs work. Some water is still finding a way in around the nearside of the windscreen (though at least far enough over to clear my knees now) and I will obviously need to put some rubber washers under the bolts holding the window runner channel down as it drips into the door cavity along the bolts themselves. Overall though given the absolutely torrential level of the downpour it wasn't bad at all. The windscreen leak is the one which needs the most urgently sorting though as it has the potential to drip into my shoes. If I can get the windscreen leak fully sorted it's probably good enough for the sort of use this car will be getting to be honest.TPA has been out and about again, continuing the theme of being the most unusual car in the carpark wherever she is.

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Had the smug satisfaction this afternoon of making use of how narrow the Invacar is when I found two cars both encroaching on the space between them - yet still had plenty of space to be able to slot into the gap. I'd forgotten how satisfying doing that is. It used to be a favourite pastime when I had the Cappuccino.

About thirty seconds after I took that photo (note the foreboding looking clouds) we had one of the most biblical downpours I've seen since moving down here descend on us just as I was leaving that carpark. At this point I learned something: Driving through hail in a tiny fibreglass car is LOUD.

As the rain started coming down heavily enough that it reduced visibility to essentially zero and surface water started to become an issue I decided to just pull over and wait for the worst of it to pass.

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Once things died down to a sensible level and the surface water had receeded to the point where I could see the road again we continued.

Despite a few folks having cautioned me on how poor these tyres are I didn't notice any issues today even when dealing with quite heavy surface water. Definitely was using caution though as I knew with so little weight on the front it wouldn't take much at all to cause aquaplaning.

The novelty of looking in the rear view mirror and seeing three rather than two clear bands of road behind you on a wet surface will take a while to wear off.

The weatherproofing is definitely massively improved over when I got the car but still needs work. Some water is still finding a way in around the nearside of the windscreen (though at least far enough over to clear my knees now) and I will obviously need to put some rubber washers under the bolts holding the window runner channel down as it drips into the door cavity along the bolts themselves. Overall though given the absolutely torrential level of the downpour it wasn't bad at all. The windscreen leak is the one which needs the most urgently sorting though as it has the potential to drip into my shoes. If I can get the windscreen leak fully sorted it's probably good enough for the sort of use this car will be getting to be honest.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:12 pm

I had a bit of a moment of realisation today, that while I had changed the diff oil and topped up the gearbox oil, I hadn't actually changed the gearbox oil - because there's no drain plug (not massively surprising as there's a diff in the way). I'd always intended to vac the oil out to change it completely, but according to my whiteboard it hadn't yet been done. Until today.

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The oil in general wasn't bad but it looked like there was some darker gunk removed from the bottom.

Ever wanted to see what's inside an Invacar gearbox?

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Then with nice fresh oil in.

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The oil may well be nearly as old as the car for all I know.

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I can't remember if it was on here or another forum where someone asked me if I made a point of keeping a fire extinguisher onboard and accessible...In answer to that question: Yes. Right behind my right elbow.

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I really want to get the floor covering sorted out. The rubber matting really is shot in my case.

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This will be getting replaced with something a little more comfortable. I really don't like the rubber matting, not least because it's really slippery in the lateral direction and I've nearly gone face first into the tarmac when getting out of the car. As a result I'll be swapping it out for carpet (which should help a lot with the in-cabin noise levels I reckon), will be keeping it pretty discreet so a medium dark grey short pile material. I know it's not original, but I actually want to use this car and this is the sort of thing which will make it more pleasant for me. There are plenty of immaculate ones in museums if that's your thing.

I definitely will be reverting to my earlier approach where paint is concerned...Not so much because the new paint has adhered so poorly to the existing paint in some areas, but because the finish there was so much better.

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I've learned quite a few things since I started out, so we should be able to get a better finish now than we originally saw. The car's also generally presentable enough that I don't mind doing a bit of work panel-by-panel going forward.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri Aug 21, 2020 1:01 am

TPA was out and about again today up in Olney. I usually try to avoid parking in spaces like this but I didn't really have any choice today as someone had stuck a market in the middle of the actual car park.

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As predicted, yes getting out was a pain in the proverbial backside. Especially lacking reversing lights.

Shortly after that I did the first fuel stop since the carb rebuild and since she's been allowed properly out of town a few times. The maths says 35MPG, which is much more in the ballpark of what I was hoping to see rather than the low to mid 20s I'd seen before. I think that this pretty much confirms that the carb wasn't happy before the second clean.

The new oil in the gearbox/diff has definitely reduced the overall volume of the whine a bit, so I guess the old oil had degraded quite a bit. I did check through what had been drained out and there was zero evidence of any glitter so I'm not worrying about it being a little whiny - I reckon they're just like that.

We then had a run up to Towcester, proper out of town run, which she handled like an absolute champ. I'm absolutely staggered by how well she cruises...She's smoother than a lot of "proper" cars I've had!

About 1/3 of the way home however things went a bit awry. Not badly, but inconveniently. Absolutely out of nowhere while happily cruising along (my pace being dictated by the traffic in front) there was a godawful bang and I suddenly had no drive. Once I'd experimentally revved the engine a couple of times (you honestly can't hear it below about 55) to confirm that the bowels of the engine hadn't just deposited themselves all over the A5 I figured I'd either snapped or thrown the CVT belt. Turns out that a Model 70 without the drag from the CVT will roll for MILES! I must have gone the best part of 3/4 a mile before I got to the gateway I was planning to pull into and I'd lost about 10mph.

So, convenient gateway which let met get a reasonable distance out of traffic.

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Shame the cafe wasn't open as actually just parking up in the car park would have been preferable...plus I was thirsty so being able to get a drink would have been nice.

A quick check under the engine cover confirmed a snapped CVT belt. Half hour job to change but I didn't have either a belt nor the tools to change it on me. Nor did I have a clear enough idea in my head of where what I would need brought to me was in the garage to send someone out with it. Plus I didn't particularly want to be twirling spanners at the side of the A5 in rush hour. Time to call for recovery. Last time I called a breakdown service was in 2006 so I've not had a bad run I reckon.

My view for the next couple of hours.

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While a bit boring, I couldn't really complain. Breeze was running straight through the car so it was a pleasant temperature, I had a comfy seat, and there was a surprisingly large amount of interesting traffic passing by. Given I was on my own and in a (relatively) safe location I knew I wasn't going to be a priority call...despite the initially wildly optimistic estimates given. Think it was roughly two hours before help arrived which was about what I was expecting.

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Then a quick ride on the truck (seriously, about fifteen minutes!)...

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Had us back home.

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Really surprised at how well that truck rode, though the robotised manual gearbox would have driven me spare.

We were dropped off up the hill from our driveway and I was able to just roll down the hill and onto the drive and push the car back into the safety of the garage.

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Didn't take five minutes to retrieve the belt and pretty much confirm my suspicions. I reckon it was a failure waiting to happen down to a degraded old belt. No obvious fraying or anything, it's just gone suddenly at one point when the braiding has given way (the surface damage is just from where it was sitting against the still rotating pulleys I think).

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I know that the belts I've used along with a lot of my spares showed evidence of having spent a long time stored in very poor conditions and I reckon that's taken its toll. We've got some NOS belts at a friend's place which have been stored better, so getting one of those fitted will be step one and should get us rolling again.

Ancient belts however I reckon are likely to be a recurring headache, especially if I'm going to be using the car regularly...and it's something I *definitely* don't want to have to worry about if I wind up doing an epic round-country trip at some point in the next year or two. As such I want to see if a modern alternative will work. The nearest equivalent we believe is a Dayco HP2020, which is slightly longer but has a very similar profile...so I've got one ordered on the way to experiment with. It's coming from Rock Auto in the US as even with shipping it was half the price of one ordered from in the UK it turned out.

So don't think her arriving home on the back of a flatbed is going to result in a huge spell in the garage, she should be back up and running by the weekend. Just one of those things which happens with old cars sometimes.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:00 pm

A friend very kindly dropped a replacement NOS drive belt off for me this morning. This is in far, far better shape than any of the half dozen or so I originally got with the first Invacar - all but a couple of which were binned long ago as they were plainly too far gone. This one looks in fine shape though.

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The details for those interested.

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That part number appears to be completely obsolete judging from a Google search. General theory is that these were custom made for the Invacar, probably bought in sufficient numbers by the DHSS back in the day that it wasn't prohibitively expensive per item cost wise to do that.

This belt is 1 1/4" wide at the widest point, so fractionally wider than the HP2020. We'll see if that has any noticeable impact when it arrives.

Changing the CVT belt on one of these cars is pretty straightforward. Only tools you need are two 17mm spanners. The manual states that you need to remove one of the pulleys from the gearbox/chaincase, however if you back the tensioner all the way off there's *just* enough slack to get the belt to walk its way on without having to dismantle anything.

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The belt tension isn't actually set while paying any attention to the actual tension. The manual states that the correct belt tension is obtained with the pulley centres 10.25" apart.

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I did actually get it closer than it looks there, holding the tape measure and the camera at the same time was tricky.

Now having a new belt in good order in front of me to compare to I was able to take a closer look at the two remaining spares I had in the garage and ascertain that they are indeed fit for nothing aside from a trip into the bin.

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Aside from having perished just as badly as the one which just went pop they're worn down to barely 1" in width. The better of the two will be held on to now purely as a "limp my way home" backup, but as soon as I've got a decent spare in hand it will join the first one in the bin.

It will obviously take a bit of time for the new belt to bed in but initial signs on the brief test drive round the block showed everything working as it should. Haven't been above 30mph yet but I've no reason to expect any issues.

The one really noticeable thing that has changed however is that the horrible what I'd always assumed was clutch judder appears to have gone. That's been an issue I've had since the first time KPL moved on my driveway under her own power so has been with me for a while! If a new belt has sorted it I'll be very happy as that's always been really annoying.

In preparation for some remedial work to the paintwork I'm starting to tidy a few things up. While I'd got a decent finish on the engine cover the actual surface was badly pitted in a load of places.

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To remedy this I've been going over the area with some self setting filler, once the panel is given a going over to sand that down it should look a lot better with fresh paint applied afterwards.

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Looks a bit ridiculous in the meantime, but that's the way with cosmetics isn't it? Things have to get worse before you can improve on them. Will be doing this a panel at a time to keep things manageable.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:25 pm

Following the replacement of the belt, TPA was out and about today to meet up with a couple of friends.

You know seeing one Invacar is a rare enough sight these days...

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These other two are just in the process of being recommissiined and should be back on the road soon.

The new belt seems to be working well. The only issue to surface was the cooling fan air intake grill making another bid for freedom.

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As this finding its way into the cooling fan would have been A Bad Thing (tm) it was removed and stowed under the seat for the trip home. As this is the third or fourth time it has come loose I'm going to improve on the standard fixings. Given it's just hooked over the ends of four screws that won't be hard. Some penny washers and a few bolts will do the job.
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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 » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:44 pm

So yesterday despite the car running well we had one small issue in that the grill on the engine cooling air intake fell off. Again.

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Given that's the only thing stopping people from sticking their fingers in here, this was something I considered sorting to be a high priority.

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Originally it was held in simply by the ends of four small stubby self tapping screws poking through the mesh.

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Given this is the third or fourth time it's done this I figured it was time to improve on this arrangement

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Problem solved and everything back together.

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You can see the edge of the washers in person if you look closely so I'll want to go back to trim those at some point. That's a pretty low priority though. At least the grill isn't going to try to get itself ingested by the cooling fan again now the grill is properly secured.
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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 » Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:31 pm

A package arrived from the US this morning.

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This was ordered a full 24 hours later than the oil pressure switch sitting next to the belt, which was coming from less than 100 miles away - they arrived within a couple of hours of each other. This is the second time I've ordered stuff from them and have had things arrive seemingly unfeasibly quickly.

The arrival of this belt meant that I could finally get some actual measurements relative to the original Invacar belts, which I'd been wanting to for a while. I'd hard a few mentions of the HP2020 being slightly longer so wanted to see how how much longer it was and whether it would be possible to take up the additional slack with the tension adjustment.

First up, an original Dayco 43-5639. This is the now obsolete belt which was originally fitted.

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So let's compare that to the Dayco HP2020 which we've been advised is the closest current equivalent.

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Unless I'm seeing things, those belts look to be as close to the same length as to be identical according to this tape measure.

How about width. I measured the new belt I fitted a couple of days ago at 1 1/4" wide. How does that compare?

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So it's fractionally narrower, but not by much at all. The wear limit width wise according to the manual is 28mm, so we're comfortably within that.

So not a problem it looks like. The slightly narrower starting width means we might not get quite as much life out of the belt, though at this point we're still trying to figure out what normal belt life actually is. To be honest if it lasts a year of normal use and is an annual service item...it's a £30 current production part. I can deal with that.

Of course this is theory at this point...while my measurements show that the HP2020 is all but identical to the NOS Invacar CVT belts, it may well behave quite differently in the real world. My plan at this point is to get the HP2020 installed at some point shortly so I can get some real world testing done. It looks really promising though. The reports of the HP2020 being notably longer appear to be false.

I'll also try to get this oil pressure switch installed on the Jag ASAP.

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The original one randomly decided to quit working a couple of weeks ago. That's a warning light that I'm not willing to do without!
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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 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:37 am

After three days of faffing around with it I've got the paint on the engine cover...looking not quite as good as it did before I started messing with it.

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I just really need to accept that bodywork isn't really my forte. It wasn't going to go well when after sanding things back and degreasing the panel, the primer proceeded to do this as it dried.

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The worst of that was flatted back but I had to admit to having lost patience with the job a bit by that point.

During the long cold evenings in the winter we'll see about totally stripping the panel back...or getting a professional to do it.

Trying to smarten this up was a daft idea and I should have left it alone. Will get everything put back together later...then stop messing about trying to make things pretty. Just concentrate on what it needs to be a working car that's reliable and pleasant to use.


My local garage has been snowed under lately, meaning the Xantia has been sitting out the back of their place for three weeks awaiting time on the ramp...to try to remedy this, they have asked a local Citroen expert (in a strange twist of fate, the car's former keeper) to help out. So I've been lending a hand too.

The issue we started out with was a failed lower control arm bush. Swapping this turned out to be slightly more of a headache than it might have been as the nut on the bottom balljoint refused to come off...so the whole wishbone had to come off complete with the hub still attached.

Next couple of photos are courtesy of the gent who's been doing most of the work.

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Don't worry, the brake caliper was also tied up after the photo was taken, not left precariously balanced on that box.

She's also wanting new brake pads so those will be swapped while we're in there. Looks like the caliper has been touching the edge of the disc as well so that will be given a clean up. The car's been sitting since November so not surprised there's a little rust there.

Turned out that both the bush mentioned by the MOT tester *and* the rear "P" bush were stuffed...so they're both getting changed.

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It was noted around the point the MOT was running out that the battery was struggling. It was still under warranty (fitted in December 2018), and Costco swapped it yesterday without any quibbles.

Turned out there was a reason for this. The suspension on the Xantia wakes up when it detects a door or the boot opened, which can be detected if you know to look for it, by a quiet whining noise from the electrovalves.

While he was working on the car it was noticed that the system wasn't always going to sleep as it should have. The culprit was (as is often the case apparently) the switch in the boot latch. This has now been defeated (unplugged!).

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Hopefully the battery will stop going flat now.

I'm just waiting for a new lower ball joint to turn up then we can start getting things reassembled.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:06 am

The Jag is now off the road until such point as I get the tyres replaced. The front ones are ancient and had turned to more plastic than rubber and were out of round. However at £220 apiece it's one of those jobs which it takes a bit of time to build up to, especially as my husband is now looking for work as their work contract has just come to an end, especially as while they weren't great the tyres were still legal and I just made a point of not using the car in the wet - especially as it's near impossible to keep the thing demisted without working air con. The rear ones are older than ideal but still nicely compliant and have some life left in them. However I can't really just change the front ones as the tyres it's fitted with aren't correct. It should be fitted with 215/70 R15 tyres with a W speed rating. Not the 205/70s with a H rating on the front or T on the rear.

A very, very, very near miss with another driver (which looking back on it I reckon may have been a Crash for Cash attempt) earlier today saw me laying down a truly impressive set of skid marks, left a sufficiently dense cloud of tyre smoke you couldn't see through it, and has left a huge flat spot in both of the fronts. The resulting vibration actually was sufficient that I pulled over as soon as it was safe to to confirm I hadn't blown a tyre completely. The front tyres now are thoroughly dead as the vibration is sufficient to render the car pretty much undrivable above 30mph. You can see the flat spot from about ten feet away.

It's my hope that we will have the Xantia back in service in the next few days. If that's the case the timing will work out pretty well as there are a number of jobs I want to get done on the Jag which require quite a bit of stripping down - not least changing ALL the rubber fuel lines on the car for ethanol resistant ones, replacing the leaking cam cover oil seals, the blown inlet manifold gasket and changing some of the harder to get to coolant lines. Have a set of front brake discs and pads to go on to. Assuming I do get the Xantia back this week, the Jag can go into "dry dock" for a month or so while those jobs are tackled, and it can get the new tyres fitted immediately before returning to the road. Hopefully by that point our household employment situation will be more solid so dropping a grand on tyres will be slightly less stressful...though given the current job market I'm not holding my breath.

Something I did spot that's a little worrying though was that there's something funky with the rear ride height. I can't remember off the top of my head which is left/right here...but compare the two photos below.

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Something ain't right there. I did crawl underneath to see if I could immediately see any evidence of a broken spring (remember, there are two on both sides on an XJ-S just for added fun/misery) and I couldn't immediately see anything obvious...so further investigation may be required there. I'll be able to get a better look when the wheels are off. I'm *hoping* that there has historically been a broken spring/springs on one side and it's been replaced...and the difference is just because they were cheap about it and only did one side...so one side has 35 year old springs on, the other doesn't. I rather doubt I'm going to be that lucky though. I need to investigate that before going too far down the tyre replacement path as this has the potential to be hiding some really nasty bills. Especially as I have a horrible feeling that a spring change is a subframe off job on this car.


The Invacar engine cover repaint has progressed today. I gave it a skim over with the sander this morning which got rid of *most* of the remaining chunks of paint. I'm not worrying too much about it at this point as I fully realise that there are about 50 steps needed to get a properly smooth uniform finish that I have neither the time nor patience for. If I can get it back to looking reasonably cared for and more or less presentable from ten paces I'll be happy. Somewhere down the line it will need to be more aggressively stripped and sanded back, the well and truly rusted on hinges and lock removed, the surface properly filled, sanded, filled, sanded many times over, before being repainted in a proper spray booth or at least a properly equipped garage. That ain't happening today though!

A couple of thin coats of cheap. basic primer (rather than the expensive high build stuff that started this whole mess) were applied and didn't appear to do anything unexpected. So topcoat number one went on...For some reason I forgot to get a photo of the primer stage.

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This was repeated a couple of times until I was satisfied I had decent even coverage, and I just had time to get the first layer of clearcoat down before it started to cool off and I started to lose the light.

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It was then very carefully placed back on the car in the garage so it can cure overnight in there rather than being left outside to get damp which would almost definitely make it go cloudy.

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It will want a few more coats on, but should be able to get it put back together tomorrow. Then I'll leave it the heck alone and concentrate on stuff which actually will make the car better to use rather than worrying what she looks like.

One of the things the events of today have definitely pushed back into the forefront of my mind though is that I really *need* to get dashcams fitted to the rest of the fleet (the van already has one installed), as that was a very close call I had earlier today and without video evidence the suspicion of guilt would automatically have been pointed at me given I'd have gone into the back of another car. Basically, quiet derestricted dual carriageway. I saw a car and a bus behind them on a side road waiting to join, so I moved over to lane 2 to let them do so. Given the suspicion I treat all other road users, I'd backed off quite a bit by this point, even though I was only ambling along just under 60 anyway. Good thing as after a second or so they without any warning whatsoever moved over into lane 2, where I was about to pass them. I couldn't dodge left as the bus which had followed them out was now there, and the only option to my right was a barrier. As such the only thing I could do was stand on the brakes and pray. Thankfully A: The brakes on the Jag are far better than most cars from that era, and B: Nobody was tailgating me at the time. If I'd been blasting along there at 70+ as a lot of people do and not assuming that the merging car was likely to do something stupid, I'd have wound up parked halfway through their car. The skid marks and cloud of smoke were rather impressive. On this occasion it was in full view of a bus that's bristling with cameras so getting hold of footage to pass on to my insurer and the police wouldn't have been a problem, but this really highlighted to me that in 2020 I need to get permanent recording hardware installed in my cars. It's just not a "good idea" any more, it's essential.
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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 » Tue Sep 01, 2020 10:31 pm

A few days ago I went through my Citroen spares stash carefully three full times checking for a lower ball joint before I admitted defeat and ordered one.

Today what did I spot sitting on the pool table...about a foot away from the P-bush which has been waiting to be dropped off at the car once the new ball joint arrives?

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I must have physically picked this up and moved it TWICE when I was digging through the boxes of parts. I really do worry about the state of my brain sometimes...

Anyhow...It has now been dropped off with the car. My friend is going to build up the control arm in the interim and we'll hopefully get it put back together on Friday which is when we're next both free. When the new ones arrive they can go back into the spares stash as ball joints are one of those things which you're always going to need at some point.


I've decided to call time on fiddling around with the paint on the Invacar for now. The finish on the engine cover isn't even close to great if you look at it up close, but given the state of the rest of the car it'll do just fine. "Obviously cared for even though rough around the edges" is the basic target we're after.

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We called it good there and I set about putting things back together again.

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While I had the painting kit out I gave the top cowling on the engine a quick sand back and a coat of paint as it was flaking off there badly in a few spots and it was bugging me.

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Something I did before putting the engine cover back on was to move the block I used to set how far forward I can pull a bit to give me more clearance at the back of the car. On three separate occasions now I have taken a chunk out of the engine cover with the latch on the garage door when turning it to lock it.

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The way the door sits means that you actually have a good six inches or so less clearance than it really looks like you should have...I really don't want to have to touch in a chunk out of the engine cover there for a fourth time.

Given the Jag is now off the road until the tyres are replaced, the Xantia is still in bits and a couple of places I needed to visit today have height barriers, she was immediately dragged out of the garage and pressed back into service.

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It's definitely one of the easiest ways of making normal sized parking spaces look comically huge.

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She's a bit tidier now than the first time I took a photo of her in that car park on her first trip out onto the road...Still held together by duct tape, cable ties and hope!

I noted that the new Dayco HP2020 belt I picked up has clear instructions on the packaging instructing a 20 mile break-in period during which you shouldn't exceed 50mph so I applied this procedure to the NOS belt which was fitted as well. You wouldn't think to look at this car that trying to keep it below 50 when on the open road would be quite so tricky...

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We're now well outside that 20 mile period though so we're able to drive normally again. The new belt is a LOT quieter at speed than the previous one was and has completely done away with the judder when taking up drive which has plagued me since the day I got the car which is nice.
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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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:35 pm

Now the Invacar is back into regular-ish use I figured it was time to start trying to properly clean the interior a bit. I'd got the very worst of the grime off originally, but there were quite a few areas which needed more detailed attention. This is where we left off after maybe an hour or two.

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At a glance not a huge difference, but a lot of the effort has been in some of the smaller areas. Particularly the doors, both of which had quite a lot of rust staining down below where the windows had been leaking for decades.

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This one was particularly bad at the front. I'll need to put a touch of paint at the front there as it's actually stained the fibreglass below the runner, but it's a lot better. I also need to get the thinners and remove that paint drip just forward of the door handle as that's driving me crazy.

Nearside door wasn't anywhere near as grubby at least.

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The colour IS that different, I believe one of the doors is an Invacar made one, the other is AC made. I *really* need to do something more elegant by ways of a repair to that rear corner. The only reason I didn't glass it up originally was fear of getting resin into the door latch assembly. Realistically I'll need to get the latch out to do this properly (or anything vaguely resembling properly).

In addition to the doors, the area between them and the rear bulkhead is looking a lot better now.

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The access hatch really needs hitting with the power polisher and some cutting paste to try to get rid of some of the flaky paint etc on it but we're getting there.

Definitely need to look at getting the flooring sorted out because it is really letting things down - and I'm fed up of nearly faceplanting into the tarmac when climbing out.

Small stuff in the grand scheme of things, but making the car a nicer place to be is important in my book.
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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