Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

Post pictures and stories about your cars both present and past. Also post up "blogs" on your restoration projects - the more pictures the better! Note: blog-type threads often get few replies, but are often read by many members, and provide interest and motivation to other enthusiasts so don't be disappointed if you don't get many replies.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#31 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:54 pm

So today I attacked the Invacar with the pressure washer.

This was the starting point...
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Then busted out the rotary nozzle attachment. I don't usually take this anywhere near cars given the tendency it has to remove paint as well as dirt.
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I also discovered that the (rotten) floor appears to actually be totally non-structural. It's only attached at the edges by a few rivets, and doesn't appear to actually attach to the structure of the chassis - which is why it's falling to bits so much! On the plus side that should make replacement a lot easier.

The whole car is still a long way from clean, but at least now it should be rather less disgusting to work on.

I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll have a bit of time to do some electrical detective work to figure out how on earth the Dynastart works, and see if I can get it to turn over under its own power. Maybe even get it running if I'm really lucky...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#32 Post by JPB » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:25 pm

Wow! That's some amazing transformation and the car seems to have come through it unhurt. I'm looking at the shape of the front end of that chassis and evil thoughts - involving mini front subframes, angle grinders, measuring (lots of that) and welding - are entering my head..


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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#33 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:15 pm

Apparently (partly due to the state of the body), a conversion to a four wheeled configuration involving a narrowed Mini front subframe had been considered by the previous keeper.

So...Today I had a bit of time and the weather was playing nice for a change.

So...let's get to it!
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Before I had any chance of considering running tests etc, I needed to repair some of the butchery that the wiring had been subjected to. Armed with the schematic it wasn't too hard to figure out what was what. So I set about reconnecting roughly 92340985477 wires in the engine bay and under the dash, and safely terminating many that were just dangling about looking for something to short out on.

Here's a small selection.
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The screw terminal connectors here aren't a permanent solution - everything will be properly crimped and heatshrink sealed once we're done. These are good for a quick test though, and are handy for safely terminating a lot of the dangling wires until I figure out what they're meant to be attached to.

The interior is a slightly nicer place now it's clean(er).
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Connecting a battery up at this point revealed first light - this was the very first sign of life from the car.
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It was also proven at that point that the engine would spin over on the Dynastart, and quickly thereafter that we had oil pressure.

I had to pause at that point on account of having no proper battery terminals. With those obtained, fitted and replacements for the fact that both of the fuses in the fusebox which were missing, we had the opportunity to further our investigations...

At this point I had an engine that spun correctly on its starter and had good oil pressure. I hadn't any idea whether I had a spark or whether it was correctly timed, but figured that I could carefully check each of these things, or I could throw some fuel at it and see what happened. What happened was that it coughed a couple of times in a way that definitely suggested we had a spark.

A few cycles of this continued until I established that the fuel pump wasn't interested in pumping...however filling the float bowl manually would make the engine run quite happily for a few seconds at a time.

Like so...I actually flooded this a bit when priming the carb, but didn't have a spare hand to give the engine any throttle to help it start - I was also well and truly out of daylight by this point!

YouTube Video Link

I'll try to get a better video tomorrow in actual daylight.

So...tasks for tomorrow:

[] See if I can make the fuel pump pump.
[] Investigate why I've had no life whatsoever yet from the charging circuit (including dash ignition lamp).
[] If I can get it running for more than 10 seconds at a time, see if the drive system actually works (I freed off the previously seized gear selector earlier today).

Has been fun so far!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#34 Post by JPB » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:30 am

That engine sounds amazingly sweet. :thumbs:

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#35 Post by Zelandeth » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:46 pm

It sounds even better now it's got an hour or so running on it - and has stopped smoking like a stone cold Deltic. I think the exhaust was half full of penetrating oil from when it was last removed.

I've also proved it will move under its own power now - stopping is still out of the question though so I'm not going to do much more of that until the brakes have been sorted as it's mildly terrifying. Especially as the idle speed is a bit on the high side meaning that the clutch drags.

Here's a Link to the YouTube video where the drive was tested for the first time. It's worth noting that the carb has become far happier since this video (even though I've not touched it yet) so it is actually capable of making it over the threshold into the garage now without backfiring and carrying on.

Since the last update the following has happened:

[] Fuel pump has been dismantled, un-seized, reassembled.

[] Fuel pump then pumped fuel - but also leaked copious amounts of it right over the right hand exhaust downpipe. It was dismantled a second time, cleaned to within an inch of its life and reassembled, and sealed that time.

[] The ridiculous 15" Daimler wheels have gone. It's now sitting on 10" wheels (which are correct for this model year - 12" wheels were used up to 1973). Whether I go for the 10" or 12" long-term will probably depend on which I can get the right sized tyres for the most readily. This has however made the cut out wheel arches look even more silly.
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[] A significant amount of electrical gremlins have been traced to the top fuse holder not working. I'll remove this to be properly cleaned shortly - but won't waste too much time on it. Long term plan will be to replace this with a modern fusebox anyway. Logic here being twofold: Firstly that I'm probably going to want to fuse more than two circuits at some point, and secondly that I'd rather have fuses that I can obtain from pretty much any car parts store - especially as a blown fuse in the case of this setup can totally immobilise the car (both the ignition system feed and the starter solenoid switched supply are fused).

[] A good hour's run time has elapsed, during which the comedy smoke clouds we had when it first started to warm up eventually cleared.

[] I had planned to change the oil then - but it still looks brand new, so leaving that for now. Especially as I don't have the right grade in stock right now - so will leave that on the list for next week.

[] Seat removed (it's beyond saving - and given I've a duff back, a more comfortable one will be going in). This turned into an hour long fight on account of a multitude of rusted fasteners that didn't want to move and was made more frustrating by the fact that AC seem to have been mortally afraid of using captive nuts.

[] Rotten floor pan has been 90% removed - just need to get the last bit out - currently fighting with the fasteners on the gear selector to get to that.
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Next task will be to hit the few bits of the chassis that need repair with the welder. Then I'll rebuild the floor. The "sill covers" for want of a better term also appear to connect to the base of the bracing for the door pillars - this was simply spot welded to the chassis rail at a couple of points - I'll probably seam-weld the replacement in.

This is the worst bit of corrosion I've found so far.
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...Which given that I removed about 70% of the floor simply by picking it up and pulling before I even got the grinder out is almost miraculous. I shudder to think what state most cars from 1975 would be in if they'd been sitting in a field with no doors on since the early 1990s.

Once that's done, it will be onward to the brakes...then continue scratching my head about the bodywork!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#36 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:48 pm

Today started out with this thing initially getting sworn at because it decided to start on only one cylinder, and persisted in messing about until I finally got the plug out of the offside cylinder and attacked it with a blowtorch.

While that was cooking I used the last bit of VHT black paint I found in a can to paint the rusty exhaust so it looks a bit less untidy. ...As if that matters given the current state of it!
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On the plus side I've for the first time actually got the thing idling consistently. Discovered that the excess cable beyond the clamp on the throttle cable was twisted around and was effectively acting as a spring keeping the throttle slightly open. Snipping about 5mm off the end of the cable has resolved this.

Don't know if it's just me, but there seems to be something particularly satisfying about the sound flat configuration air cooled engines make at idle...

YouTube Video Link - AC Model 70 Idle Test

Next up was to replace the utterly knackered brake master cylinder. I didn't even bother trying to argue with the existing fittings...They'd been open to the elements for a minimum of 12 years, and were an annoying imperial size anyway. So I attacked them with the angle grinder. Much quicker and less hassle. High tensile M8 bolts replaced them.

New cylinder on, and quite happily freed off after its overnight soak.
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I've bled it through as far as the first union on the system, so can confirm it's pumping fluid. Given that none of the drums currently have shoes in, I've not gone any further than that. I need to spend a bit of time studying the diagram of how the logic puzzle that is the combination of springs, clips and shoes is meant to fit together under the drums. That sorted out, hopefully I'll find out tomorrow what wants to move and what doesn't.

Even if I could get brakes working on one wheel, it would make moving the thing around a lot less unnerving!

By far the most annoying part of the jobs today was getting the blasted split pin out of the link between the handlebars and the master cylinder pushrod. That must have taken me a good half an hour of swearing at it while standing on my head - the whole process made significantly more difficult by the fact that the car currently has no floor.

With a bit of luck, we might have brakes tomorrow...or at least know what in terms of braking kit works and what doesn't.

My other plan is to run a fuel line to the front of the car - I can't actually fit the tank yet as I've not gone back to pick it up yet, but at least I can route the line to where it will be - and I can then have the open can of fuel sitting somewhere not right next to a really hot exhaust.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#37 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:22 pm

Mostly continued putting the Invacar's brakes back together.

Rear ones are fluffing awkward. The usual trick is to fit the shorter and stronger return spring to the shoes before you fit them to the backplate. You can't do that here because the spring physically does not fit through the space between the hub and the brake adjuster at the bottom or wheel cylinder at the top. You *have* to attach the springs to the second shoe actually on the car.

There's a very specific order that you have to do things in to achieve this and it's a bit of a three dimensional logic puzzle, but it's really not too difficult. Fiddly and requiring patience yes, difficult, not so much.

The front is slightly easier because you can *just* squeeze the shorter of the two springs through the gap between the adjuster and the hub provided you have a suitable implement to convince it that it really will fit through the gap. The rear wheels have a far larger hub flange though so that only works on the front.
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It should be noted that I've not cleaned up the backplates or greased any of the sliding surfaces etc here. I'm fully expecting to have to take this all apart again to replace the wheel cylinders, but I figured for the sake of an hour I'd give them a chance to prove themselves good first.

Had to stop after two wheels though as it turned out that I'm missing a return spring and both the shoe retaining clips for the third and final wheel. This is highly annoying as I know we picked them up when we got the car - so they've escaped in transit somewhere. Not hard to source, just annoying.

I decided we could at least see if what we had would work though, so clamped off the brake hose to the remaining wheel and set about bleeding the system for the other two. Nearside rear bled through just fine - what came out looked precisely what you would expect 43 year old brake fluid to look like (ewww...). However as soon as I closed that bleed screw and tried to start on the front, play was stopped by the sound of a pipe failing. The metal one to the nearside rear had decided to let go just before the flexi to the axle. Not entirely unexpected really as I knew it was going to have to be changed, but annoying nevertheless. Time to bust out the flaring kit and figure out where the 20m reel of brake pipe I know is in the garage somewhere has got to.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#38 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:06 pm

Had a dig around through my old toolbox of junk today and located a handful of imperial spanners. Also dumped about 2/3rds of a toolbox of cheaper and nastier copies of tools that I've since replaced with better versions...so this toolbox will officially now be the imperial toolbox so I don't wind up mixing everything up and getting hopelessly confused.

Today I had two tasks in mind. Firstly was to get the indicator stalk assembly off the spare handlebars. This involved getting the drill out to drill out the one screw that someone had rounded the head off of some time in the distant past. Then allowing me to get at it to unscrew the remains.
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This pair of adjustable grips is a standard piece of the Saab 900 toolkit, and is one of the most used tools in my toolbox.

I am however going to need to do some repairs to this before I can fit it, as there are several broken wires, which are going to be at best fiddly to sort...Waiting to find out what car the stalk assembly is shared with, as it a replacement is readily and cheaply available I may just opt for that.

Next task was to get the rigid brake lines off. Having the correct sized spanners made this a much more approachable task. This is one of those areas where the quality of fasteners etc that have generally been used on this thing really shows. Every single union came undone without any drama, any stripped heads or anything. The only slight casualty was the bracket the rear T joint body is attached to the chassis by is now slightly bent.

Here's what came off...
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I did cut the main front-rear section in half just to make the job simpler, as I had perfect access to do that with the floor currently out.

...The final bit of the front-rear section is actually hanging on the master cylinder, I forgot to pick it back up for the photo.

The only bits I've left be are the first pipe from the master cylinder to the first union, and the pipe that goes from the rear flexi to the rear wheel cylinders, as they look fine. The one to the front flexi would have been fine too if some idiot (that would be me) hadn't nicked it with the grinder when cutting the master cylinder bolts off. Oops.

Will be having a closer look at the rear wheel sections before I make a final choice on whether they come off too though as I'm not taking chances with this - especially as I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating...You don't take chances with a single circuit braking system as they don't take prisoners if things go wrong.

I'm trying to keep things moving by forcing myself to go and do *something* on this thing every day.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#39 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:20 pm

Okay, first task for today was to reassemble the one remaining wheel as I now had the full compliment of clips etc.

Jack it up, wheel off, drum off...
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...This one hasn't been dismantled.

Cue much swearing as I'd been sitting around waiting for a week to get bits that it turned out I didn't need. Have also confirmed that the handbrake is working on this one too. It will happily hold the car sufficiently well that I can't push it, the cable is still binding quite a bit though - will give it a thorough greasing as soon as my grease gun appears (there's a grease nipple on the cable at the mid-point).

Fine...Stuffed that wheel back on (with a full compliment of four wheel nuts rather than the two it came with) and turned my attention to the rest of the brakes. I knew I had quite a few bits of NOS braking kit floating around, so decided to do a bit of a stock take.

First up was a new full front-rear section, still in its massive cardboard sleeve. That was immediately dug out and I set about installing it. I was definitely right to do this before putting the floor in, as threading it through the cutouts in the chassis would have been quite fiddly from underneath.

I needed a bit more height to get at the union between the two sections at the front (which is helpfully under the bit where the floor and body overlap, so there's no access from above!)...however was able to do something you just can't do with normal cars.
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Now this doesn't look too unusual...what's unusual is that I was able to simply pick up the front wheel by hand and plonk it down on that wheel rim. I should have used a couple really, but one actually gave me ample space to work. Rear wheels were of course chocked so it couldn't fall off.

You can't really see much difference here - but there's now a nice new brake hydraulic line running from the front distribution T right back to the identical one which splits the feed to the rear wheels just ahead of the rear axle.
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Even successfully managed to get it back into all the original clips. I'll probably cut a bit of rubber pipe and put it in where the pipe goes past the upright and vanishes under the body - I don't like the idea of the pipe rubbing on that unfinished metal edge.

I've also swapped out the front flexi for a NOS one. The rubber on the one that was there actually looked fine externally (no visible perishing, and it was definitely still flexible, not having turned to plastic like a lot do), but the ferrules were quite badly rusted. The new one aside from being a bit dusty looks and feels like it just came off the production line.

There are a few other bits of rigid line that I just need to figure out the correct location of. Think I should have everything I need save for maybe the line from the front union to the flexi for the front and the offside rear...So that's definitely saved me some work!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Saab, Citroen, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#40 Post by Zelandeth » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:46 pm

So, what did I get done today?

...Other than knocking a whole heap of stuff over in the back of the garage when I drove back in there. I was expecting the usual battle to get over the threshold, but today the AC decided to take it in its stride, and propel me straight into the stuff piled at the back of the garage. At all of about 2mph, so no harm done! I really do need to finish the brakes though! On the other hand, it really does show how much better it's actually running.

Based on the level of zippiness that was available when I was backing out of the garage (willing to be a bit more circumspect there as it's uphill), this thing really isn't going to hang about.

Having established that I could intermittently get continuity through the indicator stalk by hitting it (a new one is on the way), I decided that it was time to make sense of the spaghetti on the front bulkhead.

Did what I really should have done ages ago, and sat down (well, crouched on the nearside chassis outrigger...) with the wiring diagram and labelled everything. Couple of differences to the stock wiring diagram, but it's easy enough to figure out by process of elimination after a while. The sidelight circuit is red with a green trace (diagram says solid red), and the brake light switch supply is white with a light green trace (diagram says solid green). The fact that red, brown and purple traces on green wires have all faded to white also means you need to dig back into the loom tape in a few places to determine what colour it's actually trying to be.

This is starting to look a bit less electrically intimidating now...
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Ten minutes later we had insulated spade terminals on all the hot feeds, and then this happened...
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That's a working side (intermittently as the dash switch is unsurprisingly a bit dodgy), dip and main beam circuit.

Plus the dimmest main beam indicator on the dash that I think I've ever come across.
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Astonished that the light in the fuel gauge works, unfortunately the same can't be said of the gauge itself which is knackered. No light in the speedo yet as someone's nicked the lamp out of it. Astonishingly they've actually just removed the lamp rather than hack the wires off as they had with just about everything else!

I've got continuity through from the indicator stalk through to the wires outside as well, hoping that with the fitting of a front lampholder and reuniting the flasher unit (which I found this evening after wondering all day what I'd done with it) with the car I'll be able to test that tomorrow.

Would you believe that this thing works?
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I'd have said it was scrap at a glance. It's sat quite happily for half an hour though click-pinging away switching a 55W headlamp from the bench power supply, so seems to be good. I'll give the terminals a quick sand before putting it back in the car. The nut is never going to come off the bracket though - nor is the bracket going to come off, so it will get cable-tied to the dash support bar I reckon.

Hopefully will be able to get some life out of the indicators tomorrow.

Next up will be seeing if I can get any life whatsoever out of the lights at the rear of the car - I've a sneaking suspicion that I'm missing quite a large chunk of loom for that however so that might be more of a challenge.

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