Today I mostly .....

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:31 pm

Gardening ate up most of this afternoon but managed to grab an hour in the garage just before dinner.

First task was to get a new set of taps ordered to try to get the hub sorted, hopefully the new set won't be made of cheese like the original set.

Bit of general box ticking was then done.

[] Sealed off the air outlet on the engine cowling for the heater which is now unused. I figure reserving as much air for engine cooling can't be a bad thing.

Just went for a bit of duct tape which is clamped down by a hose clip. Crude but it should do the job. I'll look at a more elegant solution down the road at some point.

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I will pull the tubing that runs between the two halves of the cowling off as well next time the transmission cover is out.

[] I've pulled the current shunt off the negative battery terminal as I've decided that the digital ammeter that goes with it isn't staying with the car. It was handy when I was initially checking out whether the charging system was behaving though.

[] Nearside door tie fixing. This issue goes all the way back to when I first got KPL, in that the threads were so mangled in the door tie that I couldn't get the retaining nut on. As a result the tie rod was held onto the dash support bar with a bunch of cable ties.

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Not pretty. It also made the door sticky to close sometimes.

Today I finally got around to pulling it apart, cleaning the threads up (I didn't have a tap and die set when I originally put this together), cleaning and re-greasing the assembly itself, and then bolted it in place properly.

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Much better.

While I was working on the door in general I took the opportunity to also dig all the old grease out of the whole lower door runner and regrease it. What was in there had basically taken on the consistency of toffee. Chipping it all out took a good twenty minutes or so, but was worth it as the door now slides almost acceptably. Greasing the latches has resulted in being able to actually close the door with the handle rather than having to open the window and grab the top of the door. Still needs a good slam, but it's a definite improvement. I think "passable" is about the best you can hope for with Invacar doors!
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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 May 02, 2020 1:15 am

A few things rolled into one again as I've done a poor job of keeping things up to date lately.

I needed to head out a couple of days ago to pick up some prescriptions (it would be really nice if they would just let me order things a couple of days earlier so I didn't need to make four separate trips for four separate medications!), of course I took a small, sensible car didn't I?

Well...kind of.

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To be honest I don't really want to take the Jag out in the wet until I've sorted the rust on the nearside wing on the Jag and refitted the wheel arch liner, so it was the logical choice.

Now a brief Segway into tech as happens now and then in this thread.

About a year ago I was generously gifted an Acorn RiscPC 600 by a fellow fan of these machines. A RiscPC had been on my wish list since I first encountered one in the late 90s. I have several Archimedes machines as I've always been a huge fan of both Acorn and Amiga computers, having grown up with them.

Don't ask me to pick a favourite... they're very different machines, though from a purely technical perspective Acorn probably gets my vote. They were so, so far ahead of their time architecturally. While I enjoy using Workbench on the Amiga, 3.0 is what I really made my first *real* steps into computing with, I can't deny it's quite clunky in a lot of ways. RiscOS on the other hand still feels slick now...while it might lack modern visual sparkle in some ways, it still works well. It was very much its own thing in the time and to this day nothing has behaved in quite the same way. I think it's the massively efficient use of screen space in RiscOS which makes me want to bash my head against a brick wall when using Windows 10.

While I've several Archimedes machines (A3000, A3020, A4000, A5000) and relatively recently found an A7000, I've never managed to track down a RiscPC at a price I thought was sensible. So when the opportunity to get this one came up I didn't hesitate for a millisecond. Hopefully one day a BBC Micro or Master will also materialise.

Scruffy though it may be, I was very glad to have added this to my collection of interesting (to me anyway!) computing hardware.

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Unsurprisingly this machine needs a bit of TLC.

While I didn't have time to give it too much attention when it initially arrived, I did give it a quick once over. This immediately revealed that the RTC/CMOS battery had been leaking, a common issue on Acorn gear, which can do quite a lot of damage if left unchecked.

Thankfully despite having made a mess there was no actual damage visible.

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So the battery was snipped off the board, the alkaline gunk neutralised and then the motherboard cleaned before it was put into storage to wait its turn in the queue.

After patiently waiting a full year, it's now getting some attention.

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We appear to have the 2Mb VIDC Memory upgrade, a StrongARM CPU upgrade board (not sure exactly which one yet), 32Mb of RAM and the 80486 expansion board (which makes me happy as the idea of being able to run DOS/Windows software in a window on a RiscOS desktop appeals to my sense of ridiculous).

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Also enjoyed seeing a TI branded 80486 rather than an Intel one, don't think I've come across that before.

Starting status: Dead. Well not entirely. On powering on there's a click from the speaker, the hard drive spins up (with that unmistakable "Nnnn-Wrrrriiimmmm...tick-tick-tick-clack" anyone into computers from this era can ID as a Connor hard disc), the power and hard disc LEDs light as expected (disc activity light goes out once the hard disc has spun up), the network adaptor status LED lights, and the keyboard LEDs blink showing me it's getting power, but that's it.

No soft synthesized "Boooop" sound effect, no seek of the floppy drive, no screen output, nothing. These machines are able to output quite a few POST error codes via flashing the activity light on the floppy drive, however nothing showing here.

If the CMOS data has become corrupted or left in a state which could prevent the system booting, it's possible to do a factory reset by holding down delete when powering it up. Didn't make any difference.

One of the best things about these machines is that you can get down to the motherboard (and even get that out) without needing any tools. The "slice" based case really is a clever idea.

At this point I stripped the machine down to it's bare bones and tried known good memory to no avail.

Moving on from there I made sure that all the correct voltages were all present, which they were. Nothing for it then but to pull the motherboard out for a closer examination to see if I could find any tracks broken by corrosion from the battery leakage, especially with the proximity of it to the RAM sockets. While I was there it made sense to pull every socketed chip, clean them up and reseat them.

It didn't take long for a likely candidate to turn up... though not for the reasons I was expecting. This is the chip which handles most of the system I/O, probably being vaguely analogous to the northbridge chipset on a modern conventional PC.

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While I'm not entirely sure how this happened (best guess someone dropped one of the CPU cards on it), we have four bent and one broken pin. I could see that one was already broken, but I decided to see if I could get the remainder to bend back into shape enough to ensure they weren't actually touching each other.

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To give a better idea of the sort of nanosurgery I'd need to do to repair the pin, here's a fingertip for scale.

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I didn't expect anything, but I figured I'd see if we had any change in behaviour with the short removed at least. I was staggered when the monitor woke up, and the floppy drive chunked its way into life for the startup seek. Still didn't boot though, was still non responsive. We did have some sign of life on the display though which was huge progress.

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I know that as the infamous battery is right next to the video memory expansion slot and that contact issues there are common. Sure enough wobbling the memory stick in the VIDC memory expansion slot made the pattern on screen change.

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A quick test to see if the problem is with that memory is simply to remove it. The machine has onboard video memory, you just don't have access to the highest resolution and colour depth modes without the expansion fitted.

Powering up then resulted in a buzzing noise from the speaker...and the unmistakably obtrusive chatter of a Connor hard drive booting up an OS echoing around the room. I was staggered to see this then appear.

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Now something is still very unhappy given the video issues that are visible...but given that there's physical damage to one of the main ICs on the motherboard, getting it to boot at all seems need miraculous to me. Seems to be 50/50 as to whether I get the above display or this...

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This artefact is actually a bit more complicated than it might at first look, as it's not just the screen display being folded over - it does actually seem to be getting drawn that way as the application bar scrolls left or right as you mouse over it, so it seems that we are in fact in some strange, probably invalid screen mode. It's also not just the monitor getting confused, the signal being fed in is a normal VGA signal.

Realistically I need to track down either a replacement IOMD21 chip or a parts donor motherboard before I can go forward with this. There's just no way on earth that I can repair what I've got with the equipment and experience I have. I'm just not set up for nanosurgery like this.

While I had the workbench clear I set about wiring up the additional instrument pod for the Invacar, just need to bolt it in place and add the senders for that. My intention is for it to sit roughly here.

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The exact angle will be chosen to minimise reflections in the face of the gauges. They're just cheap random ones I've accumulated over the years in there at the moment, but I'll try to replace them with more period correct Smith's or similar ones as time goes on and I find appropriate gauges at autojumbles etc. I'm not willing to pay what seems to be the going rate for them on eBay these days. This will be getting attached to a metal bar that runs under the dash rather than to the plastic itself, so won't put any additional strain on the already brittle plastic or anything like that. It will also be removable in the future without leaving any visible evidence if I decide to get rid of it.

I've no real interest in the absolute values that these gauges will show me, I'm far more interested in observing what the baseline for "normal" is for my engine, then any sudden deviation from that norm will be cause for investigation. I may feel that in the more distant future that it's unnecessary, but I'd like to be able to keep tabs on things until I've got at least a couple of thousand miles covered trouble free. Given I do have plans for a long trip in mind which will probably involve a lot of sustained high speed driving, I feel that it's a good idea to have the pod there at least until that's happened. If I was purely trundling around locally I'd be less bothered.

-- -- --

I thought that I'd resolved the issue with water finding its way in through the driver's door on the Jag...

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...Apparently not. Looks like I'll be having to pull the door apart again then. We will have to see if I get bored enough to tackle that next week.

This afternoon I decided it would be fun to stand on my head under the dash of the Invacar for half an hour.

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Before anyone says anything, I'm waiting for the package with the ring terminals small enough for these terminals to arrive from eBay, I got fed up of waiting...when they arrive I'll terminate the wiring properly.

I've simplified the wiring into the car a bit by just thing the illumination and power supply to the gauge pod together, so it will just be lit whenever the ignition is on. So all I'll need is an ignition switched live, a ground (which will be attached to the bracket once I've got ring terminals), and the two sender lines. "Keep it simple, stupid!" Is an approach I like.

Hopefully the wiring will be done this weekend. Need a couple of adaptors for the senders (also in the post) but no reason I can't get the wiring done.

Doesn't look too out of place.

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Will obviously look better once I get some period gauges in there rather than the cheapie Chinese nonsense currently in there. These have been in the garage for goodness only knows how long though so seemed the sensible choice.

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Will serve the purpose for now though even if they're a little cheap and nasty.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat May 02, 2020 11:32 pm

Thanks to his walks having been quite a bit shorter than usual lately Tesla has been bouncing off the walls a bit this last few days. Figured it made sense to get him a bit of extra exercise today then and took him out for a run.

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Nice spot to pause for a breather (mainly for canine temperature management as he has zero concept of how to pace himself).

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I really do need to pick up a new battery for the C5 though. It was struggling last year but I was able to nurse it through to the end of the year. It's getting a bit beyond tired now and is really annoying.

While I'd like to go down the road of a proper lithium polymer setup one day the costs involved are just prohibitive at this stage. By the time you've bought the batteries, a proper charger and upgraded the control hardware to properly take advantage of it you can very easily have spent north of £500.

A decent sounding halfway house seems to be lithium-iron-phosphate battery technology. This seems to have come down in price quite a bit over the last couple of years. While it's not quite as much of a game changer as lithium polymer you're still looking at a battery that's half the size and about a third of the weight of an equivalent lead-acid one. Plus they're far better suited to a deep cycle application like this compared to a normal automotive battery. I'm currently seriously considering this one.. The weight saving and lower self discharge rate are attractive enough on their own. I'll let you know how I get on with it if I do go down that route.

Got a couple of small things done on the Invacar this afternoon too.

First up was refitting the infill strips on the gutters. This is important from a weatherproofing perspective as it covers the retaining screws. Plus it makes the car look far less unkempt.

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I had initially planned on changing the front indicator seals, however can't find them. I was absolutely sure I knew which box they were in...apparently I was wrong. No huge loss as the whole indicator units are like £2 each, so I've just ordered a pair of new ones. The lamp holder in the nearside one is somewhat temperamental and the lenses aren't the best anyhow, so a fresh set probably isn't the worst idea ever.

The one light seal I did find appears to be for an Invacar Mk12 tail light I think...definitely nothing Model 70 related anyway.

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With one of my indicator lenses for scale you can clearly see it's larger in diameter.

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While rummaging around in the back of the garage I took the opportunity to drag my spare dash out into the land of the living. It's scruffy and needs a really good tidy up, but there are no cracks or holes in the surfaces you can see. Just a couple of small cracks in the lower edge around where it attaches to the bar under the dash.

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The issue with them warping across the top is purely because the only support there is a tiny little flat bit of metal screwed to the top in three places that doesn't even extend to the ends of the dash.

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Which as you can see from the shape of it, seems to bend more easily than the dash plastic itself. I'm sure I can engineer a better solution than this. It's spent a lot of time outside though so everything attached to it is rusted beyond hope. Getting the fuel gauge out will be fun I think...

I'll see how well it tidies up. If it ends up looking decent I will probably look to swap it for the one in the car. I prefer it not having a gaping hole where the dash mounted gear selector would be if it had one anyway.

I've got some serious scrubbing to do...

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Speaking of the dash, something which had been bugging me no end in the car was the hole just above the interior light. Don't seem to have a recent photo showing it so had to delve into the archives, this was taken when I was experimenting with possible locations for additional warning lights. You can see there's a hole just above the left hand end of the interior light.

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Resolving this involved dismantling the light, removing it from the dash and moving it upwards about 10mm.

There's still a you've out of the plastic by the left hand screw but it's a lot better than it was.

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Little things in the extreme but at the end of the day they all add up.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun May 03, 2020 10:56 pm

Yet another day where gardening ate up most of the day. Did at least feel like we achieved something though. The hedge along here was originally high enough along this whole stretch that the streetlight was almost entirely hidden.

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The whole lot will be coming out at some point and the fence pushed back to just behind the trees, but this is a step in the right direction.

Did mean that I didn't have much time left for the cars though. The Invacar has always had one small oil leak from the sump drain plug. Nothing major but it always left a drip or two in the garage.

Given she was due an oil change I figured this was a good time to investigate that.

Yeah...the state of this might have something to do with it.

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Generally I think that sump washers aren't generally meant to be conical!

I couldn't find another one the right size, so battered it back into a vaguely flat shape and added a smear of instant gasket. I'll get a replacement ordered in and change it the next time the oil gets dropped (which won't be far down the road given I'm wanting to do the best to wash the inevitable gunk out).

I need to have a think about where I'm going to put the oil pressure and temperature sensors.

The pressure sensor can't just go where the pressure switch usually lives as there's no room for it. The distributor is too close to it. I'll need to make up a line to relocate a T connector to somewhere where there's more room.

The temperature sensor is going to be a bit trickier. I'm guessing that the easiest solution would be to get an adaptor to thread into the sump plug and to put it in there. The other option I can immediately think of would be to get hold of a second oil pickup strainer assembly and drill and tap a hole for it in that. That looks suspiciously similar to the plate that VW used as the engine drain on the Beetle/Transporter engines... I'll need to check the dimensions, because if they are the same size that could make my life easier...
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Tue May 05, 2020 6:12 pm

For the first year since 2016, all hell has not been breaking loose and preventing me from being able to shop around to sort my car insurance on the Xantia, as in previous years it has, I've been getting utterly taken for a ride by Adrian Flux.

The renewal this year actually dropped for the first time in living memory, to just over £800, from just over a grand.

Sorted with another provider for £220 for better cover.

Not content with charging honestly laughable rates though it was discovered when I came to cancel the renewal that they have also managed to foul up my no claims discount at some point. Only 3 years shown...and it should be at least 15 (17 actually, but they only had 10+ as an option when I went in).

The policy I had with them (since about 2008 I think) was a multicar one, and the NCB was originally attached to the 107. Turns out that when I took that off cover in 2017 (because I sold it), rather than do the sensible thing and transfer it to another car on the multicar policy - or heaven forbid, ASK ME, they just left it floating around not attached to anything.

As that policy ended more than two years ago, the NCB is now dead and gone.

Am I being unreasonable in expecting for in that situation for the agent I was speaking to to say "Oh, there are 15 years NCB attached to this policy, what would you like to do with that?" If it's not automatically going to fall to the next vehicle I have on cover with them?
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed May 06, 2020 11:09 pm

Was a day or two back that these things I'd been waiting for turned up.

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These were hopefully the last things I needed to finally get the nearside wheel on the Invacar reattached to the hub in all four points. Sadly it would be another couple of days before I'd have a chance to get back into the garage.

This morning another little package arrived.

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Which will allow me to tidy up the front indicators. Just out of shot is also a couple of oil filters.

Had a brief sidetrack attacking the tape adaptor I've been using in the Jag.

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While it worked fine it had a major drawback in that it made a horrendous racket.

The easiest solution I've found for this in most cases is to simply remove the innards from it. Some cassette decks won't work if you do this as they rely on the rotation of the reels to detect the end of each side. This one however doesn't, and will quite happily run without anything inside the tape. So this lot can go in the bin.

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This means that I now can listen to music without a horrible clicky squeaky noise in the background.

Back into the garage.

First up, having finally got hold of a couple of oil filters (having thought I had them in stock but discovering 3/4 of the way through the oil change that I was wrong) I could get that fitted and finish the oil change.

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I'm going to have to spend some serious time cleaning up in here soon...everything is just covered in paint because I was an idiot and didn't properly mask off the engine bay before doing the paintwork. That's a job for another day.

Speaking of clean though, this is the first time that the oil hasn't turned visibly darker the moment it's poured into the engine - this had been running for a few minutes.

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So having spent a good portion of the afternoon putting it off it was back to fighting with the hub.

Even with a good cobalt drill bit drilling into this hub is an absolute nightmare. After the best part of an hour of fighting with the drill and then the tap...

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...Yes! For the first time since the start of September the wheel is actually attached at all four points and tightened up properly.

The shonky using-old-wheel-nuts-as-conical-washers arrangement there on the other bolts was only intended to confirm the thread size in the hub and to prove that bolts would work. It's been confirmed that wheel bolts from a Mk I Morris Minor have the correct thread and right sort of conical head, so there are a set of those on the way.

If the hub wasn't such an absolute pain to drill and tap I'd seriously consider using the M12 bolts in all four holes as they're substantially beefier than the 3/8" ones.

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As it is I'd not be able to drive it like this anyway as the 3/8" bolts currently in there are too long so they foul on the brake shoes.

Huge step forward though!

Next step will be to pull the wheel and drum off to clean the inevitable swarf from the drilling and tapping operations out of the drum, then once the new bolts arrive we can get back on the road!

...Then we can see A: Which gremlins I've forgotten about in the last nine months, and B: What new gremlins have developed while she has spent nine months sitting dormant in the garage.

This will be a good thing given that the Jag isn't exactly...frugal...on continuous local runs! Van is actually astonishingly frugal around town, but as 3/4 of the places I've been needing to go lately have height barriers so it's not an option!

Looking forward to buzzing around in the Invacar again. Especially as I'd just got the CVT sorted out when the whole wheel stud debacle started.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Thu May 07, 2020 11:33 pm

Hopefully the new wheel bolts for the Invacar will turn up in the next couple of days. In preparation for that I pulled the wheel and brake drum off so I could clean things up ready for the road again.

Wasn't actually as much gunk in there as I was expecting. Bit of swarf, but nothing too difficult to clean out.

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The long term plan is still to change the hub as I'm not 100% happy with how close the wider drilling has taken it to the edge of the casting. The thread hasn't been cut as well as I'd ideally like either, though I did give it a good old heave today on the bolt and it didn't strip, so I'm not too worried.



I had a look at something today. The difference between the 4X100 PCD (used on the Invacar) and the original 4X98 that Fiat originally used.

The bolt holes in the brake drum are actually big enough that there's enough clearance for these holes to be used. The only thing actually preventing them being used is about 1mm of metal on the wheel.

The question springs to mind of whether a specialist would be able to make that tiny modification. It's a question I think I might ask of a couple of companies...seeing some of the mad banding mods and such it would seem a relatively easy job. If it *was* doable that would eliminate the potential stud headaches once and for all.

Before folks ask, yes I have looked at the 12" Fiat wheels from the 500 - the offset is significantly different so the tyre would foul on the wheel arch (can't remember on which side off the top of my head).

I've got one of the front indicators swapped out. Just need to go back in with a brush to touch in the paint around where the old seal was removed, was fully expecting that to be needed as the construction of the new unit is slightly different.

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I will see if I can get the old lenses cleaned up properly though as the moulding of the original lenses is of a far better quality (unsurprisingly).

The other one will be done when I next have the car out the garage as the offside front corner is really awkward to get at when it's all the way into the garage.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat May 09, 2020 1:19 am

Not really much to report today.

The indicators looked odd without the gasket behind them, even though they're not really needed to form a seal with how the new units are constructed. So I went out and set about removing as much of the paint from the old gaskets as I could then refitted everything.

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Not totally sure why the one on the offside appears to have swollen up a bit (assuming it's reacted with the thinners in some way) but the other one hasn't...will have a dig through the boxes and see if there's a spare floating around in one of my boxes of assorted junk.

Sadly no sign of the new wheel bolts yet. Had hoped that they might turn up today, but sadly not, so she's still sitting on a jack.

I did think about tackling the brake disc change on the Jag - in fact I even hauled the tool boxes out to it, before realising that the trolley jack still has an Invacar sitting on it. Oh.

I could have faffed around and dug it out, but I didn't honestly feel like it. Nor do I particularly want to jack 1700kgs of Jaguar (including 400+kg of drivetrain alone!) using the one in the boot toolkit if I don't have to.

Slightly irked I decided to revert to type and faff around clean things.

When I first started the paintwork I was grossly naive where quite how far the overspray would travel which had resulted in a bit finding its way onto the tail light lenses (I honestly have no idea why I didn't just remove the units entirely and put them somewhere well away from the painting).

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A bit of a scrub with some G3 cutting paste sorted that out.

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I assume there should be a gasket of some sort between the lens and the back plate, does anyone know if this is a flat gasket or just a tubular section rubber one?

Something worth bearing in mind - when folks say that that soda blasting media gets everywhere, they mean it! There must have been a quarter of an inch of it inside both tail lights! Gave everything a good clean, greased up all the contacts in there so as to prevent any issues with future corrosion.

When we were pulling down the trees a week or so back I slightly underestimated the flail range of one Leylandii tree when it came down and managed to swat the front of the van. It was just the brushy bit at the top so no damage done save for a scuff.

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Nothing a quick bit of polish couldn't sort.

Glad there's no actual damage done. Lesson learned - everything gets *fully* removed from the driveway before we do anything like that again.

Quiet day really.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat May 09, 2020 11:36 pm

*Bashes...head... against...wall*

Either the existing bolts I've got aren't actually 3/8" BSF as I ordered, or Morris Minor wheel bolts are not actually 3/8" BSF.

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Ignore the damaged bit on the end of the thread on the longer bolt, because it's too long it fouled on the brake shoe when screwed in.

The Minor bolts are BSF, but not 3/8". Guessing 1/4"?

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I was all set for this being a ten minute trip into the garage and this would be sorted sufficiently to leave alone for a while...so much for that.

At that point I was about ready to go full Basil Fawlty on the thing or toss a lot match into the garage.

A bit of further digging this evening revealed there was a front hub assembly still available on eBay. Been there for a while actually. I'd originally been dismissing that as I was sure I'd read somewhere that the front hub used conventional splined studs as per the Mini.

The parts manual however simply lists one part number for the wheel studs and shows a quantity of 12 per car...so they should be the same. Closer examination of the photographs on the listing shows that they are indeed screwed in. Suffice to say I clicked buy it now at that point without a moment's further hesitation. I'll still need to source new wheel nuts and figure out how to extract the studs from it without damaging them... that's half how we wound up in this mess!

Though I'm telling you right now that if everything wasn't closed, that hub would have been off and on its way to a machinist today to have all four holes drilled out to take M12 bolts! My only worry there is how close it is to the edge of the hub itself - and I'm wondering if that's why they used such an oddly small diameter stud.

So it's not going to be sorted this weekend...but we're getting closer. Hopefully!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Neil Chowney » Sun May 10, 2020 7:14 am

Hi Zel,

Don't torch the garage! its the only active thread on here and there would probably be three days of national mourning if you did....

Damn silly question, you haven't got a thread pitch gauge have you? that would tell for sure what was fitted?

I think that there is a decent app or two for smart phones that does the job as well.

Have you considered converting to splined stud and nut?

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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sun May 10, 2020 9:09 pm

The thread in the hub we're pretty sure of. The problem we had was that we were sure that the bolts we'd ordered were correct. I could just shorten the bolts I've got...it just *feels dodgy* to me... I'd just far rather use proper wheel bolts.

We do have thread gauges on hand, and they were used when we were originally figuring this mess out.

It just gets really confusing when there are no less than three different 3/8" threads used on the car.

The problem with a splined stud conversion is that A: The hub would definitely need to come off to fit them. B: the back of the hub isn't flat behind the stud, it sits on a 45 degree chamfer. So it would need to be taken to a machine shop to have a land milled in the back to accept the stud - if there's enough meat in the hub to do that without making it too thin.

If I'm sending it off to a machinist anyway I may as well just make my life easy and have the existing holes just drilled and tapped for bog standard M12X1.5 bolts. That's inevitably far quicker and cheaper a job than faffing around on the mill.

This has very much turned into one of those "how hard can it be?" type of jobs.

If I had the ability to do this over, I'd have driven straight to my trusted garage and just told them to sort it. With the right tools and knowing how to properly tackle a problem like this it would be far less hassle.

The poor car has been locked up in the garage since September, and I just really want to drive it again now!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed May 13, 2020 1:21 am

Here ya go...normal service is resumed...a huge rambling post about me undertaking a really simple task!

Today's target: Distributor examination & Replacement of the cap and rotor arm on the Jag.

No surprises it's a bit awkward to get at.

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Not insurmountable to be honest, just a bit fiddly. Removing the cruise control actuator (three easily accessible 11mm bolts and one vacuum hose) makes it entirely doable.

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Helpfully the HT leads were all already labelled as that saved me having to do it! The direction of rotation and the socket for the lead for cylinder 1A is helpfully marked on the outside of the distributor cap too and the firing order is noted in at least two locations in the engine bay, so you've really no excuse for getting too lost.

Having pulled half the HT leads off it started to become apparent how much of an issue being able to reach things was. This wider angle shot shows just how far away from you the thing is...

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Eventually I wound up climbing into the engine bay and kneeling on the left hand inlet manifold. This would have been far less uncomfortable if those ridges weren't cast into the top of it and if that blasted fuel return line cooler wasn't in just the wrong place.

Once the cap was off...which took a not insignificant amount of force...it became immediately apparent that something wasn't quite right.

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While it's not immediately visible in this photograph because of how things are sitting, the centre portion of the plastic cover below the rotor arm has completely detached from the outer part and has been spinning freely around with the rotor arm, there's also a big crack in the central portion currently hidden behind that HT lead. This I suspect may have been the source of a rattling noise I'd been hearing on and off from this region of the engine bay.

One of the biggest issues I was aware of was that the distributor breather line had become detached from the outside of the cap. Someone apparently has tried (unsuccessfully) to superglue it back on at some point in the past.

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You can see the marker for plug lead 1A next to what's left of the breather line attachment, and the arrow at roughly 12 o'clock showing the direction that the rotor travels.

Underneath it's not looking too bad really. Not much fouling at least really (the powder is bits of the plastic cover mentioned above which has been getting finely atomised and bits of which are everywhere).

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Looking closer however it looks as though the rotor arm has been sitting lower than it really should and has only just been making contact with the posts.

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This however is where the fun and games really started. Quite simply the rotor arm was completely and utterly disinterested in parting company with the distributor shaft.

The plastic cover being broken at this point was helpful as it meant I could just pull it off. The outer section just lifted off once the four screws were removed, and I decided to just snap the inner bit given that it needs to be replaced anyway.

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It appears that the advance mechanism surprisingly doesn't seem to be bound up, this was quite a surprise. Vacuum one is definitely moving freely, I'll stick a timing light on it and double check that the centrifugal one is also moving. I was originally planning to strip this all down to clean and lubricate that - but given I need to get things apart again to replace that plastic cover I can do that when I have the replacement for that in stock.

So started roughly an hour long fight with the rotor arm. Somewhat awkward fighting as well as I obviously didn't want to pull up too hard on the whole distributor shaft as I know on some cars that can damage the drive (no idea if that includes the Jag, so I'm just going to assume "yes" unless told otherwise).

*Eventually* after a not insignificant amount of swearing...

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There are several cracks in this arm...though it's impossible to say if they've been there for ages or are a result of the sheer amount of brute force that was needed to remove it.

Then as they say reassembly is simply the reverse of removal.

I gave the distributor post a bit of a clean up to remove the surface rust on there which was probably why it was such a pain to remove the rotor arm. Then also very carefully made sure all the HT leads went back in the correct place.

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Doesn't that look better than the bright blue thing?

Yes, I'll get some proper insulated spade connectors for the coil when I'm next in here, those are bugging me.

There's really no possible way I think to route the HT leads which doesn't result in them criss-crossing over themselves to at least some extent.

I discovered another potential issue at this point which might also have been responsible for the very slight intermittent idle misfire I've noticed...About half of the plug leads weren't actually clipped onto the spark plugs. I discovered this when the one for 5B came off in my hand. This is of course one of the ones buried under the throttle tower, so getting it back onto the plug took me about ten minutes of contortions. Got there in the end.

Has this helped smooth things out at all? She's always been a little lumpy at idle for the first couple of minutes, especially from the left bank (and the idle speed is a bit high sometimes - the IAC valve needs a thorough clean)...How's this for an improvement?

YouTube Video Link (0:15)

It's worth noting that the sound which seems to come across on the camera like timing chain rattle is actually the "ringing" noise coming from the stainless exhaust. The camera just seems to pick this up way louder than it is in reality.

I'll take that. It's hard to say which is most responsible...The new rotor arm & cap or actually having all 12 HT leads attached to their respective plugs properly. Haven't had a good reason to go out today so haven't been able to leave the drive - but just blipping the throttle when stationary it *definitely* feels more responsive. To the extent it's now making the exhaust rattle against the floor when you blip the throttle...That's never happened before, so I think is definitely a sign that we've got more urgency. We'll have to wait until I've got a valid reason for going out to see if that translates into any perceptible difference on the road.

Now to update the maintenance log and get a replacement for the distributor internal cover/shield/whatever they call it in Jag lingo ordered.

Should have been a 45-min to 1 hour job...right up until the rotor arm decided to fight us!
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Wed May 13, 2020 11:29 pm

A little package arrived for the Invacar this morning.

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For those of you who don't know what you're looking at, that's a front hub assembly. That fits over the stub axle and wheel bearings and is what the brake drum and wheel are actually attached to.

I only actually need the studs from it...but buying the whole hub assembly seemed to be the only way of getting hold of any without having them custom machined (with the obvious difficulties involved in that given the current restrictions).

It's still looking like new despite sitting on a shelf for goodness knows how many years thanks to a thick wax coating. Not much I can do with this until the new wheel nuts arrive though. They have been dispatched though so hopefully should arrive tomorrow or Friday.

While digging around in the back of the garage for something totally unrelated I did find a good old stock set of front indicator lenses for it which look far better than the modern ones which came with the new lamp housings. Modern one is on the left in the photo below.

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The apparent actual size difference is just an artefact because of how I was holding the camera.

The older style ones look far better on the car.

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On the same note I do have a proper set of headlights on the way too. These modern ones are bugging me enough that they have to go. I will keep them around though as they actually work *really* well, so if/when I do the epic country-wide road trip I'll probably refit them for that. It's just a five minute job to swap them. These were floating around in the loft though and did just fine for testing.

Not really much else I can do here until we've got the new wheel nuts here though.


I then turned my attention to the van. Today's target was the hob - not least because I'm sick of tripping over it.

It did need a good clean though before I was going to handle it any more than I had to. The whole thing was sticky and just generally horrible.

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Yes, I do have the missing knob, it's missing the spring clip which holds it on though so I've just left it in the box of random van parts for now.

After a good old scrub though it was looking much more presentable.

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I've moved the missing knob to the grill position as I've yet to build the box below for it to sit in. Though being honest I'm less bothered about that as it's not something we're really likely to use often.

After a bit of carpentry it was in place.

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I've got a couple of metal plates which I'll install underneath as a heat shield. Plus I've insulated everything even vaguely near to it with aluminium foil tape as well.

No it's not perfectly straight...but neither is the whole worktop relative to the wall of the van. This whole worktop will be coming out and being rebuilt at some point in the future as it's an utterly unsuitable material for use in a van and really isn't fitted well (it does slope back towards the offside wall as much as it looks like it does in the photo).

The fact that the kitchen layout has been completely changed is obvious by virtue of the cover opening the "wrong" way. Obviously the hob originally would have been recessed as well so this would have been flush with the rest of the work surface when closed.

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Initially I thought that the hob might have originally been where the sink now is - but if that was the case the grill would have been totally inaccessible. Hmm.

We'll figure out things like that somewhere down the road though - for now it can live where it is, it's ugly but having a working hob will be worth that when we're using the van. Just having it functional again will be good enough for me for now. Should have it up and running tomorrow, just need to hook it back up at the manifold end and obviously leak check etc. Just ran out of daylight today.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Fri May 15, 2020 12:23 am

A month or so back one of the computers in my distributed computing cluster here packed in. Despite a reasonable amount of faffing around with it revival appears to be off the cards. As best we can tell it's either a component level fault on the motherboard itself or a badly corrupt BIOS.

It was a cheap and nasty piece of plastic anyway and not all that powerful, so no great loss. It was only in there because it was free. It's never a good sign when the chassis doesn't contain any metal nor does the CPU heatsink even contain a heat pipe.

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Nevertheless a few parts have been salvaged. The memory has been transferred into another laptop, the hard drive has been added to the standby stash, but most usefully right now it had a spotless display.

I had a plan for the monitor. Replacing this thing in the van.

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This was installed about a year ago, replacing the little 9" portable thing that was in here when I got it, which was frankly unwatchable because the panel was of such poor quality - plus the only inputs it had were composite and RF so not really useful these days. This upgrade was useful for one trip but I never really saw it as a permanent fixture for a few reasons. Firstly, it needs mains power. Secondly being quite an old LCD TV (with an inbuilt DVD player), it weighs a tonne. It makes the whole side of the wardrobe it's attached to flex. Thirdly it's really too big for the van anyway. Finally...it's terribly scruffy...not massively surprised given it was a kerbside find...but it bugged me. The lack of a 12V option and the sheer weight were probably the two biggest things against it though - oh, and the horrible image quality wasn't exactly a bonus feature either.

Laptop panels have the advantage of being made to be light. This one is also recent enough to have an LED backlight so no faffing around with high voltage supplies for that needed. There was a time when panels like this were basically useless unless you had the smarts to build your own interface board or were willing to pay big money for one. These days though they're common as mud on eBay for most common panels. Just find the model of the actual LCD panel itself, and stick that plus "LVDS HDMI adaptor" into a search engine and you'll probably find one. Going rate seems to be about £15-20.

So this overly heavy piece of nonsense was removed.

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Few holes were drilled in the back of the monitor case to attach it to the mount. I went for six rather than four because it's such a cheap plasticy thing that it has virtually no strength to it to speak of. I wound up having to remove the top two though as they fouled on the display panel frame.

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I'm keeping my eyes open for something I can cannibalise to make a cover for the controller PCB - though to be honest you can't actually see this when it's stowed or in use!

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Obviously yes, those cable ties have since been trimmed. I need to tidy up the power supply cable as well - that's the one which came with the van from the TV that was originally here - the plug I'll retain as that's handy...but the hugely over-long cable and taped together joins need to go. The cigar lighter type socket will go as well as it's just not needed. What I WILL be doing at some point in the future is stuffing USB charging sockets in various corners, as pretty much every device I'm likely to want to plug in these days charges by USB. Doing that largely does away with anything directly reliant on the mains to be honest as well and starts making solar far more attractive an option...I don't reckon it's unreasonable to think that we might wind up with solar panels on the roof at some point in the future feeding into the charging system. I'm pondering some experiments with lithium-iron-phosphate batteries too. Mainly because of the weight and space saving, I could cram a lot more of them into the battery box currently occupying the single boat anchor of a leisure battery. They're also far better from a self-discharge perspective so there's less of the "oh I wonder if there's enough juice in there?" if I were to need to use it at short notice...though that would of course be less of an issue if I ever got around to investigating why the split charging system doesn't work!

This display is much more in scale with the interior I think, the other one was just way too big for where it was.

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Especially when not in use as it can actually be stowed away properly.

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That looks far, far better I think!

I'm going to install a Raspberry Pi in the locker just above it which will provide a media source for us should we want it. Plus the interface board has VGA & DVI-D in addition to the HDMI input which is the main one I'll be using. Audio isn't sorted for definite yet, but I reckon I'll probably route a line down to the head unit in the dash and re-wire that to run off the leisure battery rather than the vehicle one. It won't be *too* difficult to route from here. Into the wardrobe, down into the service hatch below there where there is already some ducting running along the length of the vehicle. Just a shame there's no way to really do that any other way without dismantling massive amounts of the interior.

Just nice to keep making improvements, small though they may be.
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Re: Today I mostly .....

Post by Zelandeth » Sat May 16, 2020 12:12 am

There we go.

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Rear left could do with a couple of the jets cleaning it looks like, but everything works. Thermocouples all cut in within 30 seconds which is nice to know. What is the "spec" on flame failure devices these days? Pretty sure it was 45 seconds when I last read up on things like this.

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Nice to know it works though and will be ready to go once the enclosure is done.

While I was working in the area and had the joint compound and leak test spray out I capped off at the manifold the gas line to the cabin heater which is obviously no longer needed following the fitment of a diesel fired one.

Now all the lines have been installed I'll get them tidied up and properly clamped in place without relying on quite so many cable ties. Make sure there's provision made to ensure the lines can't rub through on anything is high on the list too. Will see if I get time after dinner this evening.

A new regulator and hose tail are also on the way as this hose looks like it's seen better days and I'm pretty sure is way older than the five years or whatever it is they're meant to be changed.
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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