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

#61 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:54 am

So went to take the Lada out for a test run having wired up the speed sensor. Got one tick out of the indicators then they died again.

So back to base, and out with the instrument panel again. On the plus side, that involves removing two screws and unfastening the speedo cable. Takes about 45 seconds. Now I'd thoroughly sorted the connector block onto the flasher unit, so was sure that wasn't the issue. However squeezing the unit itself would make the indicators start and stop flashing. Gotcha.

Pulled it out and whipped the cover off. Sure enough, a plethora of dry joints greeted me. Two minutes with the soldering iron and some decent solder sorted that out. Stuffed the unit back in and sure enough correct operation seems to have been restored.

The fact that this part is from as recent as 1993 still surprises me - most flasher units from that era would contain a single integrated circuit and a couple of passives aside from the contactor assembly itself.

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Also seem to no longer be getting a check engine light flagged every time I coast for more than five seconds, and the lack of pops and bangs from the exhaust tells me that the deceleration fuel cut is now working - so we appear to have a valid signal from the sensor. Hopefully no more random error code 24 faults will be stored (think I'd erroneously remembered it as code 43 - I was working on a memory from 2006...) now.

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

#62 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:46 pm

The first proper clean up of the year has started now. The Festival of the Unexceptional is only in a few weeks, and both the Xantia and Lada will be attending. So I need to get them both scrubbed up beforehand.

There will also be some other big fleet news in the next few days.

In other news, I've just been offered a Merc 209d based camper van. The 2/309d vans are probably my favourite commercial vehicles of any. Aside from many fond memories from my childhood, there's just something "right" about them as a driver to me. I've always fancied one, but have felt I've missed the boat really...then this comes along. We'll priced, roadworthy and in generally very good nick it looks like. ...but I've no room! Argh...

I can start parking cars at my mate's place again can't I?!?

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

#63 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:54 pm

Quick update.

Invacar hasn't moved in several weeks, having thrown a hissy fit because of ingesting gunk from the bottom of the (now removed) temporary fuel tank.

Took the whole fuel system apart and cleaned it, and did the same with the carb. Every jet out and cleaned, including one hiding in a hard to see corner of the float bowl. Likewise all the passages blown through with carb cleaner while the jets were out. Reassembled... result: it's now running lovely. Better than it has ever since I got it in fact. Probably on account of having previously missed the one jet previously.

Battery was struggling a bit on account of the starting issues when the carb was playing up, so took that back inside and have stuck it on the charger overnight.

The speed sensor error has reappeared on the Lada...why do I get the feeling that's going to be a recurring game...

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

#64 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:59 pm

I've been failing spectacularly at keeping this updated lately... there's a big Invacar update that I'll try to get written up shortly.

However the big update is that the Lada is now officially for sale.

Went out yesterday to have a look at the camper mentioned above, and it's in far better shape than I expected, so will be joining the fleet. It ticks many of the same boxes as the Lada for me, yet is also something that everyone in the family should be able to get enjoyment from, whereas the Lada is really just mine and nobody else really gets anything from.

Will look at putting together a proper for sale advert later on.

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

#65 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:32 pm

The Mercedes is now home.

Had forgotten how nice a thing to drive the old TN vans could be...

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

#66 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:20 pm

So the second slowest member of my fleet to date is now officially home.

The slowest member being a VW T25 with the 1.6 CT engine, that really was almost dangerously underpowered.

This isn't. She's just a a bit of an old lady who can't be rushed. However 60mph is entirely possible and reasonably easily maintained. 70 is possible on the motorway so long as you have a few miles to get there and don't have a gradient or headwind working against you. She's geared such that 58mph seems to be the sweet spot though.

So apologies if you get stuck behind this.

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Though I've experience with old buses anyhow, so if on a road without ample overtaking opportunities I'll be pulling in to let traffic by regularly, no point in annoying folks.

While a bit slow by today's standards...and noisy..and wallowy... she's a lovely driving old bus. In terms of driving "feel" actually has a lot in common with a mate's old Bedford YNT. ...which I also could never get enough time behind the wheel of!

She's a comfy old thing too, had forgotten what a pleasant place to be the cab of a TN Merc can be.

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Camper bit is nicely thought out too, though needs a bit of finishing off as the previous previous keeper decided to carry out a bunch of upgrade work to the kitchen. And bathroom but never finished it. All the stuff is still there though, just needs wiring, plumbing and screwing back together.

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Seriously, when did you last see a TN that didn't have an intergalactic mileage?

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She's not a complete miracle though and does have some rust in a few of the usual TN grot spots. Several underneath have already been attended to, but there's some in the windscreen scuttle/heater vents that will be "fun" to sort. Guessing it will be a dash and screen out job at the very least.

Given how much I enjoy driving it though, it will probably get done.

Currently on the list...

[] Indicator indicator light on the dash doesn't work. It's not the bulb, and it is connected.
[] Brake light continually flickers. Either the float isn't floating any more, there's a pad wear sensor wire grounded somewhere...or there's a more complex electrical gremlin I need to find. The pads look to have plenty of meat left on them.
[] Heater blower doesn't work.
[] Marker lights above the cab don't work. They need a ladder to access, so may even just be in need of new bulbs.
[] Exhaust rattles. This will be high on the list as it will bug me.
[] Nasty bit of rust in the windscreen scuttle needs sorting.

[] Oven, job, sink, fridge and shower all need reinstalling.
[] Pretty much the entire wiring harness to the rear corner of the van living area has been hacked off somewhere. I've found one end of the tail...but I've yet to track down the far end. As such there's no power to anything.
[] Speaking of power, the wiring harness that attaches to the leisure battery is a mess, and there are two sets of terminals. Why do I get the feeling I'm going to be spending a lot of time with a meter reverse engineering this...Hoping it's just a case of one being for the living van hardware, and the other being connected to the vehicle's charging system. Though why you'd not just use a proper battery manager to handle that I don't know.
[] Needs a really good clean inside and out.
[] The pound shop special wheel trims need to die.

Probably getting power to the living area will be the first step beyond a basic service and a clean. I picked up oil and a filter today, air filter looks brand new (to be fair, she's only done a few hundred miles in the last few years), so leaving that for now. Think I've got gearbox and axle oils already in stock.

I'll need to record a video from in the cab while on the mood for those of you who miss the sound of proper of diesel engines (OM.601 in this) and the sight of how one of these gently sways and bobs along the road in a strangely soothing sort of way.

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

#67 Post by JPB » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:17 am

Zelandeth wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:20 pm
apologies if you get stuck behind this...
Hmm, one of my regularly used cars, the Pajero Mini, has a top speed governed by Kei class rules in its home land to 90KM/H, at which it's running at 5,600rpm. The red line in the 4A-30 engine is north of 8K but as I have no intention of spanking the wee thing beyond the 56mph limit, being "stuck" behind anything is an ideal situation for me on days when the Pajero's compactness trumps the bB's performance, comfort and room to take on the daily duties and I find myself using the tiny 4x4 for its city parking skills.
Since I see no need to kill my ears or that gorgeous little engine by fiddling with the governor, I would be the one diving for that elusive passing place or lay by if I saw the camper coming up in the mirrors, so fret ye not; your 58mph cruising speed wins, not everyone needs to arrive a few seconds earlier, the clever way is to leave earlier and watch as the business drivers' fingertips become whiter as they grip their wheels more tightly as the commute progresses.

That's a lovely van and the shower must have been a fairly scarce option back then, but for me - and my almost fanatical approach to personal cleanliness - that shower is of greater value than an extra 20mph on the top speed or a shorter 0-50 time. As those solid folk over at autoshite would say, the van is full of win, an expression used on that forum to suggest that a vehicle under discussion is pretty much beyond criticism on any significant level and that [the vehicle's] desirability is beyond doubt. I could simply have said that I want one, but as I'm running out of neighbours whose drives, gardens and garages have space to accommodate any more of my random vehicular purchases, the Benz will have to remain a pipe dream for me. :|

Here's wishing you much pleasure from the van. Jealousy is such a nasty thing, so I'm envious. Very, but not jealous. Not much! :oops:
John, Operating knackered old sheds as daily transport since 1981. :|

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

#68 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:07 am

It's been a while since I updated here.

Short version: As expected, I've fallen hopelessly in love with this van. Though she is still in search of a name.

I know I'm not normal, but it's the least stressful and tiring car to drive out of any that I think I've ever owned. The Xantia is probably level in terms of just being able to dispatch motorways and have me get out feeling fresh though. Driving it just feels "right" to me, and has had me taking the long way to get places.

Given she had done so few miles in the last half a decade, I'd been making a point of using it as much as possible as a daily driver.

Two reasons for this really. Firstly that I've long ago learned that disuse is the worst thing for any car. As such I was expecting as she got more miles under her wheels that she'd run sweeter. Secondly, I wanted any of the inevitable gremlins that would surface to do it close to home.

Only had two so far.

[] First one was a sudden failure of the indicators, accompanied by smoke pouring out from under the dash. Cause for this was quickly traced to a short in the wiring to the offside indicator repeater. Well, actually traced to the lamp holder having been pulled clear out of it and floating around in the wing. New unit and a replaced fuse restored sanity.

[] Second was more spectacular from within the cab, and definitely had me scratching my head for longer. Was on my way back home, just got to the top of a hill, having dropped to fourth just to save the last couple of mph for the last bit before the top...when all hell broke loose underneath the van it sounded like. Based on prior failures I've had or been present during my first guess was that one of the universal joints on the propshaft had exploded.

Instinctively put the clutch in, and started scanning for a safe place to pull over. Realised after a second or two that the noise had stopped. Odd...so I (very) tentatively let the clutch back out and checked if I still had drive. I did. Slightly surprised but definitely not complaining I decided to gently continue for the next half mile or so to the nearest filling station as I wasn't in a great place to stop.

My theories at that point were a bit less sure, but mainly centred around part of the very well past its best exhaust having come adrift and touched the propshaft or possibly some of the very shabby splash guards having come apart in the engine bay and having got itself eaten by the cooling fan. Either way, the violence with which the event had happened meant it should be easy to see the culprit.

Yeah, about that theory. Not at all obvious! Nothing was obviously hanging off...the horribly rattly exhaust was still all present and still rattling, there were no obvious witness marks on the fan blades, nor any other obvious signs of carnage. I was stumped...so headed for home very carefully.

It took me a further few hours and a random look in the right direction to find it.

This is the centre support bearing for the propshaft and the sliding joint attached to allow for the movement of the back axle.

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This joint should have a rubber boot covering it, not dissimilar to the one you'd see on the end of a steering rack. Said rubber boot was conspicuous by its absence. The pieces then fell into place. That boot, not too happy about being pressed back into service had split...being attached to a propshaft spinning at an alarming rate however means that rather than just splitting like a CV boot, it had pretty much atomised. The apparent violence it had happened with though still puzzled me - right up to the point that I realised that directly above the rubber boot in question is the handbrake cable. I think that while the disintegrating boot was flailing around, it's whacked the handbrake cable - which in the cab would resonate nicely and sound like the world was ending.

By this point I had amassed a reasonable shopping list, mostly normal service items, but a few oddball bits too. The biggest problem I ran into with that boot was finding places which would sell it on its own rather than with the whole centre bearing or places which could actually verify it was what I needed.

Salvation came from what I initially thought was an unlikely direction - one which was only investigated on a whim because I found myself in the area with time to kill. Mercedes themselves, in this case the main dealer in Milton Keynes.

They treated me like royalty the moment I walked in the door, and even more surprisingly (to me), were in seconds able to find what I needed. What really made my jaw hit the floor was that not only were they any to provide the usual stuff like brake pads, but they were even able to provide me with a replacement lens for the warning light on the dash for the indicators (mine was cracked). They couldn't have been more helpful, and the prices were no more expensive than those online, and I know the parts aren't made of Chineseium. Massive thumbs up...I really wasn't expecting them to even have a parts list for a van that's not been made for 23 years. PSA, please follow this example...

The next few weeks flew by (well, save for the heat exhaustion due to the weather) as I was frantically trying to get the living area vaguely inhabitable so we could take it away for a holiday over the weekend just passed.

Did I manage?

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Yep! After spending far too long sitting doing nothing, she was used as intended this last weekend.

440 miles covered, and not a beat missed, even if the hole in the exhaust silencer is getting rather larger...has managed somewhere just north of 23mpg too, which I'm very impressed with.

Still a load to do, but she's getting there. Bathroom in particular is still in need of quite a few things done (not least finding an appropriate sink), but we're getting there.

Now I'm not scrambling for a deadline on the van, I'll hopefully get a bit more love sent the way of the Invacar as it's not been touched in a few weeks.

One thing I've not been able to do for the van het is to give it a good exterior clean... really need to do that as it's covered in moss and the paint is utterly flat.

Definitely need to try to get it along to a show before the season is totally over for the year.

I also really need to get some more appropriate wheel trims fitted...these Halfords £5 specials are driving me mad...

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

#69 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:55 pm

One very obvious shortcoming that was identified by the trip away this weekend was the lack of an audio system made this century in the van.

I corrected that this afternoon by getting this JVC head unit installed.

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Have never had a JVC fail to do what it says on the tin, so hopefully this one will be no exception. It's got Bluetooth connectivity for both media and call handling which is basically all I was asking for.

The ability to program in the type of vehicle, position and size of speakers to take advantage of the clever stuff you can do with DSP when you have as much processing power as these things do nowadays is a definite bonus. The upshot is that even through four tiny and ancient Radiomobile speakers, it's still managing to sound halfway decent. Though one of the speakers in the cab is buzzing a bit, so I'll need to look at a replacement. The lack of depth available in the boxes may prove to be a bit of a headache I fear.

Having tunes available again will be nice though, especially when stuck in traffic!

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

#70 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:36 pm

New head unit showed that the nearside speaker had an annoying buzz. So a new pair were picked up. This improved matters, but the audio in the cab still sounded terribly thin. Didn't take a genius to work out that the speaker placement was largely to blame. Too low down, not rigidly attached to the surfaces they were screwed to, and pointing straight at a load of thick carpet and sound deadening.

I was pondering the best solution to this when I discovered that I'm a blind idiot. There are only proper cutouts on the dash top for speakers! They're a slightly odd shape though - I reckon because the hole was punched out before the dash was stamped out. I have to wonder if there was originally a fitting kit available from Mercedes (I will check that it's not still obtainable - they've surprised me twice on that front already!). Close enough though I was able to get things properly secured, albeit a little scruffy.

Audio in the cab is transformed I'm glad to report. It's actually quite listenable now.

Poor thing is still waiting for a proper clean and polish externally though. Really hoping that might be possible this week!

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