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, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#161 Post by Zelandeth » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:41 am

The eagle eyed among you may have noticed the mistake with the fuel hose. Yep... they've sent me 5/16" hose - not the 3/16" I ordered. The seller has been really polite though and replacement is already on the way. These things happen.

So given I couldn't set about re-plumbing the fuel system, where did I get to today?

Well firstly these obviously needed to be fitted to the car.

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I'm getting far too much enjoyment from how genuinely like something you'd have seen this car roll out the factory wearing back in 1973 these look like, despite the December 2018 production date.

While I had the wheels off I set about checking the shoe adjustment, sure enough the one I'd not had totally to bits had a heap of slack in it. Nipping that up has greatly reduced the amount of dead travel.

Hard to show how the tyres look on the car as it's really cramped in the garage.

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I'll try to get some better photos soon.

An annoying issue I had previously been unable to resolve was a significant mismatch between the flash rate of the left and right indicators. As this uses a thermal flasher unit (no, I'm not replacing it...the *piiing-tick....piiing-tick* sound effect is important) it's very sensitive to any impedance mismatch between the sides. Thankfully simply fitting a full compliment of new lamps has sorted it. The right hand ones still flash slightly quicker, but they're close enough.

Final task on my list for yesterday was "shore up NS Door.". Some of you may remember from the interior photos that there is a hole in the interior surface of the nearside door to the rear just below the window. My guess is that somebody at some point has shut something in it.

Now if this wasn't so close to the latch I would probably just have ignored it for the time being. However as it was so close to the latch it had a serious effect on the rigidity of the door in that region. As such I needed to tie each of the surfaces involved back together again. This is a job I'll probably get a body shop to do at some point as it will require a bit more finesse than I possess. However this has vastly improved matters from a functional perspective...

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It's particularly noticeable in that the door closes with a slam now rather than a hollow rattly click, basically because there's no longer about 1/16" of lateral movement in the latch itself.

That's where work closed yesterday. Not sure how much time I'll have to look into anything else before the weekend so depending on how things go this might be the last update until then.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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

#162 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:48 am

This evening I've made a start getting this lot fitted.

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Have only done the section between the fuel pump and carburettor so far, but it won't take long to finish things off.

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I have changed the hose routing from the factory spec slightly. It originally crossed from the offside to nearside inside the engine cowling. I'm not a fan of that for two reasons, even if it does help reduce engine bay clutter. Firstly, I can't see it without removing the cowl. Secondly, having the hose essentially sitting on top of the cylinder barrels just seems like a recipe for heat soak issues after the engine stops (shouldn't be an issue with the engine running given the huge amount of airflow).

Instead I've run it along the rear edge of the cowling on the outside where it's easier to keep an eye on. Also means if it did spring a leak, it would dump fuel over the gearbox casing and front of the engine cowl rather than straight over the cylinder barrels and exhaust.

The marine grade fuel hose is meant to be really resistant to abrasion etc compared to normal automotive stuff, so that will hopefully won't be too big a worry.

Very much hoping that this won't be the scene in six months time.

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That's supposedly injection suitable, unleaded compatible hose from a major national car part supply chain. Shudder to think of the possible consequences of that having a few tens of PSI behind it, buried under a car where it can't be seen. Let's see if the marine stuff does better. It feels like a far higher quality product, and it's really noticeable how much better it holds its shape when the hose clips are tightened up than the normal stuff.

There was originally no fuel filter fitted other than a coarse screen in the pump, so I've added an in-line one between the pump and carb, I've positioned it near to the offside cylinder head so it's pretty easy to check visually. Need to try to find some clear filters, all the ones Motorserv stock these days are opaque it seems, makes it harder to see what state the filter is in until it's really filthy.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
Posts: 227
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#163 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:45 pm

Given that the arrival of the fuel tank is surely imminent now, my attention is definitely firmly focused on the "stuff I need done before the first road test" list at the moment.

High on that list was "sort the handbrake." Two reasons for this, firstly: that it's the only way to secure the car when parked. Secondly: It's the only backup you have in the event of a failure of the single circuit hydraulic braking system, as the CVT drive system and centrifugal clutch means that you have no engine braking available to help you bleed speed in an emergency.

Having totally dismantled every brake drum on the car, I knew that the mechanism there was working fine, and I'd established that the cable between the handle on the dash and the cantilever assembly under the car was free (helped by the precense of a grease nipple I imagine), however no amount of my hanging my entire body weight off it could make it move. This was due to the rod with pulls on the cable to the drums having seized into a bush where it passes through the mid chassis crossmember. A combination of battering things with a 4lb lump hammer and general violence got that freed off. I think the handbrake is now actually working, though it will be easier to tell that once I've got it out the garage next. The adjusters are all free though so it shouldn't be a problem to adjust stuff.

The rear valance/bumper was next on the list. This essentially doubles as a shield to keep people clear of the exhaust, so needs to be in place in some form.

I've now started to put together the framework for this and also put some strapping in place to shore up the rear quarter on the nearside which has a bunch of cracks in it.

The plethora of bolts and rivets you can see here are now tying all the bits of bodywork here together via straps on the other side of the panel.

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There will be glass fibre repairs done here as well, matting most likely applied from behind the panel, but actually having things tied together now will make that a lot easier. The whole corner is now reasonably rigid rather than distinctly floppy (to the extent that it used to wobble comedically when the engine was idling).

Getting there, bit by bit.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

3xpendable
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#164 Post by 3xpendable » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:05 pm

Loving this resto, keep up the good work!
Currently classic-less.

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

#165 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:32 pm

Actually some decent progress made today for a change.

Having reversed out of the garage it was far easier to get at the fuel lines.

Ten minutes later all of the old fuel lines were off. Had to cut it into a couple of pieces to remove it as it is essentially impossible to bend.

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No idea what this hose is made of...Absolute pain to cut whatever it is!

My guess as to how much hose I needed was correct pretty much to the inch. In case you wondered, you need five metres of hose. Tail is here waiting for the fuel tank up front.

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Speaking of the fuel tank, had an email from the company who have been making it for me to say that it's now ready for collection. A shame that you'll never see it once it's on the car.

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Fuel lines all finished up in the engine bay now as well.

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The other task of the afternoon has been to start building up a framework to support the rear bumper as I come to actually build it up.

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Sadly won't be able to pick it up tomorrow as I've got a prior engagement, but will hopefully be able to get over there on Wednesday and can then get it fitted.

Then we might be looking at a (very, very, very, very) local road test and see if it's as downright terrifying to drive as I'm half expecting it to be.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
Posts: 227
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#166 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:19 pm

Look what I picked up today...

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This was made for me by Fusion Fabrications, and I reckon they've done a really nice job of it. Well worth the £220 they charged for it I think.

Sadly won't have time to get it installed this evening - but suffice to say though it will be the first thing on my to do list for tomorrow!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

User avatar
Zelandeth
Posts: 227
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#167 Post by Zelandeth » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:25 pm

Sadly due to other commitments which required me to run off to London I've had to leave the job half done - but the tank is actually attached to the car now.

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Didn't spot that the lower bracket has a tab missing until just now annoyingly, but I have a spare so no problem.

Should have a pretty clear program tomorrow so should be able to crack on with the jobs a bit.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
Posts: 227
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#168 Post by Zelandeth » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:13 pm

Having finally got the fuel tank installed and piped up (note to self: if you take it out again, connect the fuel line to the tank BEFORE installing it), there was only one thing left to do.

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The following photos of a very damp Invacar demonstrate quite an important milestone.

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This is for the first time in probably a couple of decades, running entirely on internal power and fuel. No fuel cans balanced on the engine cover, no borrowed battery, it's got a full tank of fuel and is ready to drive.

Now it's been blowing a gale and tipping it down all day here... exactly the sort of conditions you *don't* want during the first test run of an extremely small three wheeler with questionable stability and laughably poor weatherproofing. So I really should have waited until the weekend.

Yeah...we all knew that wasn't going to happen didn't we?

Big point though: Safety etc. This test run has been entirely within a quiet residential area with very little traffic, for a grand total of about half a mile. It won't be going anywhere near the open road until quite a bit more remedial work has been done to the bodywork. This test was largely to help me make a judgement on what the mechanical to do list was - there's only so much you can do with thirty feet of driveway.

[] CVT Belt needs tightened up resulting in it failing to "change up" as the speed picks up.

[] Brakes need readjusted now she's left the drive - quite a bit of free play now, whereas there was hardly any before we left the drive. The nearside rear is dragging a bit too - though far less so after the run than before.

[] Weatherproofing needs to be made to exist at all...It's truly comical how many places water gets in.

[] Demister is essentially useless. There just isn't enough airflow to do anything meaningful...Methinks a booster fan will be getting added to that.

Pretty much exactly the sort of result I was expecting and hoping for to be honest.

Will get the CVT belt and the brakes adjusted, then we'll do another run at the weekend.

I see what folks have been saying about the steering, it is VERY direct...definitely requires a bit of skill to drive smoothly.

Bottom line though: She lives!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

User avatar
Zelandeth
Posts: 227
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#169 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:38 pm

Today on "coceptually simple tasks that are actually an absolute pain in the tail" we have adjusting the CVT belt on an Invacar.

Sequence of what you need to do is:

[] Loosen the final drive chaincase pivot bolt.
[] Loosen off the nuts on the threaded bit of the adjuster so there's some free play.
[] Loosen the three nuts around the final drive input shaft.
[] Wind the adjuster in the correct direction until the belt tension seems reasonable.
[] Tighten all of the above back up.

This sounds nice and simple, and doesn't look bad when you look at the diagram in the manual.

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What this doesn't take into account is that you can only see one of the three nuts around the final drive input that you need to loosen off. So two of them need to be done blind, and that no matter which way you go in there is stuff in the way. Now I know where they are it will be a bit less of a pain next time, but the first time when you only know vaguely where they are it's an exercise in extreme frustration.

What would have made life slightly easier would have been to get the protective cage around the pulleys off, however this is utterly disinterested in the idea of moving after 43 years. I gave up trying to remove the retaining bolts when the spanner started to bend.

Tension now seems a lot more reasonable...There's no obvious "slop" in there now, and you can still just about make it slip with the handbrake on by hand, but it's a case of "Just about" now rather than easy.

By the time I eventually got things back together it was too late to faff around moving the clutchless wonder that is the van out the way for a test run. I'll see about that tommorrow.

Note to self: Sort the clutch in the van already. Meant to check on the price for the master cylinder when I was driving past the dealer today but totally forgot.

I did a bit more work on the rear bumper framework earlier in the afternoon. I think this is as far as the metalwork will go, should be a decent base that I can start to build up the glass fibre around.

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Based on the noticed behaviour during the road test yesterday I made some more brake adjustments. The offside needed to be nipped up a bit more, whereas the nearside had something like three complete turns taken off the adjuster. Will check tomorrow to see if that's helped things out.

I can't help but wonder if I'll notice any real improvement if I were to simply get out onto a slightly faster road and to get the drive belts to cover the full range of their travel a few occasions to clean up the pulley faces.

Hopefully time will permit some further tinkering tomorrow.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
Posts: 227
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#170 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:54 pm

Having got the belts adjusted (after much swearing) yesterday I wanted to take the Invacar out for another quick test today.

This didn't start great as I discovered that the clutch in the van had decided over night to go from "somewhat dodgy" to "non existant." Now, I might be willing to try shuffling a small car around the drive with no clutch, but trying to move something that big with as many blind spots without a clutch just seemed to be a disaster waiting to happen. Especially given that there's a good second or so delay between turning the ignition off and the engine actually stopping!

The whole master cylinder failing right after the slave cylinder just seemed a bit odd to me. I know the slave had failed because overnight at one point it dumped all the fluid on the ground under the van...no questions there. Seemed distinctly odd to me though that the master would fail so nearly simulteneously. What I did remember though was that the fluid in there when I got it was absolutely rank - it looked like strong black coffee. I had a sneaking feeling that it might have wound up ingesting some of the crud that was inevitably floating around in the bottom of the reservoir when the fluid all leaked out.

So then...let's go stand on our head for ten minutes and get the master cylinder out.

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This would have been far easier if the driver's door wasn't jammed up against the hedge meaning I had to do everything from the other side of the cab. Neverthless, didn't take me long once I figured out how to get the split pin holding the pushrod onto the pedal out. I reckon I wasted about twenty minutes on that.

Initially when I got the master cylinder off it was utterly disinterested in holding pressure. Blocking the outlet and pushing the actuating rod in simply resulted in it making strange burping noises from the fluid inlet. After flushing and working through copeous amounts of brake cleaner though it seems to have come good. Reassembling it and bleeding things through has resulted in a working clutch. In fact a working clutch with the bite point at a far more sensible point than it has been as long as I've had the van. It had always been quite low before.

Right...After wasting probably an hour and a half and most of my daylight I could finally move the van so I could get the Invacar out of the garage.

I wasn't going to let that spoil my fun.

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Yes, I need to find the little metal shield that goes on the number plate light. It's in a box somewhere.

Initial tests show that the drive system seems to be behaving better. I still reckon it may be letting the engine rev a little higher than normal, but it's one of those things that I've only given it such a brief test at this point that it's hard to say. I think I'm going to have to take a brave pill and take her out onto a 60mph road and open the throttle and see what happens. Yesterday though it felt like getting to 30 was a chore, whereas I had to back off the throttle to stay within the speed limit today - so definitely a step in the right direction. As mentioned before, I'm curious to see whether just getting the belt and pulleys cleaned up through a bit of use may make a difference.

In terms of use helping though, the brakes seem to be a lot better for it. There's still a bit more dead travel in the "pedal" before you get brakes than I'd maybe like, but they seem to have really good bite now. It's possible to lock all three wheels in an emergency stop, and the handbrake is more than capable of locking the rear wheels - I really wanted to check that as it's obviously your only backup in the event of a hydraulic braking system failure. The brakes when I took it out the first time felt quite wooden even though they did stop you, but they're definitely better now.

There's quite an important milestone visible here...

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Maybe if you look closer...

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Yep...For the first time since 2001 the odometer has moved. She's done a whole two miles now, and I hope to add to that again tomorrow.

The only recurring gremlin I've found again has been the oil leak from the dipstick.

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This absolutely refuses to seal. I've tried to braze it up four times now. I think the issue is that I can't totally clear the residue from where the oil has been. Given that new dipsticks are available for £13, I'm just going to include that in the order I'll be putting through for engine bits shortly. I've already wasted a couple of hours trying to sort it.

I think the plan for tomorrow is to visually tidy the rear bodywork up a bit, maybe try to scrub some of the undergrowth off the driver's door, then go do a higher speed run down to the nearest roundabout and back. I'm seriously tempted if that doesn't result in anything terrifying happening, to take her to one of the nearby supermarkets...Yes, photos will happen if that does.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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