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

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

#231 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:21 pm

Having a closer look at the area where the bodywork was originally rubbing on the wheel (having figured out I could use my phone to get a better look) shows we now have reasonable clearance.

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Taking a look at the opposite side shows that it seems to be fine too.

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I will probably add a couple of rivets to this side though as there's quite a bit of wobble there, given it's a five minute job it just seems to make sense and is likely to help prevent issues in the future.

Never really got a decent photo of the badge when it was refitted a couple of days ago so fixed that today.

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Yes I do realise how utterly pointless details like that are given the cosmetic state of the car!

In honesty though the badge is far safer on the car, it would have been very likely to disappear into one of the bottomless boxes of bits otherwise, probably never to be seen again.

Had a few errands to run today so they were of course an excuse to get the Invacar out.

Looks comically tiny in the B&Q car park...

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Next up I needed a few things from Toolstation...this however involved having to brave the dual carriageways. This was nowhere near as terrifying as you might have expected and we arrived in one piece.

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Sorting the wheel arch has definitely noticeably reduced vibration at speed so the wheel rubbing definitely played a part there. She's still not exactly refined, but far better... there's also no longer an obvious burning rubber smell entering the cabin as soon as speeds head north of 30mph.

On the way home though we did see further signs of the drive system not being entirely happy with life. Any real attempt to get above 45mph resulted in obvious slippage in the drive system with it shunting between "gears" so I just dropped to 40 and took it easy back home.

I'm not really surprised by this given that save for a couple of experimental belt tension adjustments I've not touched the drive. The secondary pulley in particular has a badly pitted surface...so I'm going to pull them both off tomorrow and give them as thorough a clean as I can with the equipment I have to hand. I'm also going to give the belt a careful check over and will replace it with one of the spares I have in stock. For all they're old the rubber seems to be in perfect condition.

Given I know new pulleys and belts are readily available at not unreasonable prices I'm not going to persevere too far beyond giving things a good clean and resetting the belt tension (which after 60 miles may well need attention anyhow, any further issues and I'll just get replacements on order.
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

#232 Post by Zelandeth » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:13 pm

Brief interlude, but you know me so the odd off topic happening is inevitable.

A week or so back my workstation PC died. It's made it to twelve years having barely missed a beat so I've no complaints really aside from it being inconvenient. Having had a decent dig around it was diagnosed as being a pretty fundamental problem with the motherboard. Some crispy looking capacitors were found and replaced, when that didn't help, all the remaining electrolytic caps were changed - still dead. Given the age of it, it's rebuild time. I'd retain the case, power supply, hard drives, optical drive and (assuming I could track down a motherboard which still had support for it!) the floppy drive. So new motherboard, memory, CPU and probably graphics card.

Helpfully though one of my friends who has a house full of old computers stepped up and offered something which should get me back up and running for a while. I had an older machine they wanted though, so we did a trade.

Can't say I will miss moving this sucker.

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It's the holy trinity of heavy, awkward and fragile.

It's a PowerMac One/225. Essentially a Performa 5500 in all-in-one format.

This mission did however require me to break one of my rules of driving though - venturing into London. Generally my rule is that I Do Not Drive inside the M25. This required me to go about ten miles past it. Blarg.

To be honest that was anticlimactic...busy as always, but one thing which was really obvious was that it's way less cut throat now that pretty much everything aside from the main distributor roads are 20mph with cameras every ten feet, so you have to obey the limits - I remember last time I drove in London a few years ago that I felt like I was perpetually being bullied into going far faster than felt comfortable.

The London bit was fine...shame the M1 was an utter nightmare though, both ways. So what should have been a few hour job wound up taking pretty much the whole day.

Still, made it home eventually with a new toy to play with.

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Now I make no secret of the fact that I'm not an Apple fanboy. I like the old Classic machines like the original Macintosh (I have a Macintosh SE that I really need to do something with sometime), and I keep trying to convince a friend to sell me one of his very early Apple IIs, but I've little interest in anything newer than that.

I will not however deny that these Mac Pro series machines are things of engineering beauty.

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My OCD refused to let me not replace the two missing expansion bay covers.

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No they're not anodised the same colour as the case like the originals, but at least they're present.

Yes this is a machine from 2006 or 7, but with a pair of quad core Xeon 5355 processors and 16gb of ram (which I'll be maxing out to 64gb shortly simply because obsolete server grade ram is stupidly cheap) it should be more than capable of keeping up with my needs for a while.

Tomorrow it will be getting a thorough de-dusting and some software thrown at it. Thankfully being a late enough Mac to be an x64 based machine it will happily run Debian - if I was tied into MacOS that probably would have been a deal breaker!

Should be interesting to have a play with.

If this becomes a long term resident I may need to make a transparent side panel for it, I usually class that as "needless faff" on computers...but the innards of this thing are so nicely designed it's a shame not to show it off!

My plan for the Invacar tomorrow (if time permits) will be to pull both CVT pulleys off and to give them as good a clean up as my resources allow.
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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gazza82
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#233 Post by gazza82 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:46 am

I could have sold you an Amstrad 1512 .. still runs Windows 3! :D
"If you're driving on the edge ... you're leaving too much room!"

Retirement Project: '58 Austin A35 2-door with 1330cc Midget engine and many upgrades
Said goodbye: kept '98 Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 TSpark to 210K miles before tin worm struck

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

#234 Post by Zelandeth » Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:45 pm

gazza82 wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:46 am
I could have sold you an Amstrad 1512 .. still runs Windows 3! :D
I do have several machines from that sort of era - the one which sees the most use though is this one.

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Boasting an 80386SX processor running at a screaming 14MHz, a 200mb hard drive and I think 20mb of ram this is currently running Windows 3.11.

You've got to love the ability of Linux installs to handle hardware changes...took my main drive out of my old PC and dropped it into the Mac Pro today, pushed the power button and it proceeded to boot up and "just work" as though nothing had happened.

Will still do a fresh reinstall though given how different the hardware between the two machines is!
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

#235 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:28 pm

Nothing much on the cars to report today as I've been slightly sidetracked dealing with a somewhat poorly pet rat.

If you ever wondered what a slightly stoned one-eyed rat looks like, here you go.

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Caption to what seemed to be going through his head during this period:
"Duuuuuuuuuude...wait...I have...whiskers!...that's...that's awesome..."

He's just sleeping off the tail end of anaesthetic having had his teeth trimmed. There are some deeper issues there, but his teeth not wearing normally was the thing needing the most urgent attention as it was preventing him from being able to eat properly.

While I was out at the vet this arrived back at home.

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It is reassuringly heavy, and with a rated torque figure of 350NM it should hopefully be sufficient to get the pulley bolts out of the Invacar. I think if that doesn't do the job, next step will be to pull the engine and gearbox then just take the gearbox to my usual garage to be sorted.

As it was a nice day it seemed a good opportunity to get the Lada out for a decent run.

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Would have been rude not to get it out for a good run really.
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

#236 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:09 am

So the task for this weekend is as far as possible to bash our way through the list of stuff the van needs for an MOT.

Let's start out with some low hanging fruit. The nearside headlight reflector is sufficiently tarnished to result in there being zip by way of a beam image. Usefully a brand new headlight was found in a box in the van, so I fitted that.

Nice five minute job.

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The old one doesn't actually look too bad surprisingly, but it was utterly failing to do anything by way of actually directing light in a useful direction.

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Beam height will need adjusting obviously but that can wait until it's pointing the other direction so I can use the garage door, which I think still has marks on from when I adjusted the headlights on the Saab about four years ago.

The next thing on the MOT list was to eliminate a minor fuel leak. There was a very slow drip from the return line to the tank with the engine running, emanating from somewhere up between the fuel tank and vacuum reservoir. This was quickly traced to this pipe joiner.

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It was utterly disinterested in gripping the fuel pipe firmly no matter what I did. So it was removed, binned and a short length of 5/16" fuel hose was slipped over the join between the two pipes instead. While I did get diesel in my hair this was another quick job, fuel tight and tested after less than ten minutes.

There is a new exhaust on the way. Unfortunately this is a slightly different type to the one the van was previously fitted with (I was struggling to find anyone who actually had that in stock), so the downpipe and tailpipe of the old system would need to come off. My original plan had been to retain those until I got around to having a bespoke stainless system made for it.

Thanks to decent quality fasteners it only took fifteen minutes to get the tailpipe off. It's seeing stuff like this which really highlights how much longer the van is than most cars.

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This whole stretch will be removed once the bespoke system is made - given the weight of this that can only be a good thing. I'm not removing the downpipe and expansion box (which is only loosely bolted on just now) until the new system arrives as that will essentially immobilise the van. I have doused the manifold to downpipe bolts in Plusgas though.

There were a number of things in the van which didn't work when I got it. Among those were the marker lights above the cab. I want to resolve that. This is where I went off on a merry old dance.

After approximately an hour the cab had ended up looking like this.

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This was all going on because I was peering into the bowels of the wiring loom trying to figure out where on earth the feed to those lights was meant to come from.

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I had found two fuses in the fuse box which were labelled as marker light (well, they were actually labelled in German but not hard to translate). However tracing the conductors from there proved exceedingly difficult, and I couldn't figure out how they got into the space above the cab.

After wasting not an insignificant amount of time dismantling the cab, I eventually tracked down a total of five wires heading up into the windscreen pillars. All of these were accounted for as part of the interior light circuit. Cue much more head scratching.

Eventually after several times longer than it should have, the penny dropped. It was highly unlikely that AutoTrail were going to have messed with the cab wiring...they stuck some carpet and fancy velour in there, but they didn't faff with the wiring.

The only area where the standard lighting had been messed with was at the back, where the tail lights were moved from the cross member where they would have been when it was just a bare chassis with a cab to the rear bumper...oh, and the upper level tail lights. Wait a minute... didn't I find a couple of wires I couldn't account for ages ago, but just stuffed away because they appeared inert. Yeah... here's two of them...

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Surely these couldn't be anything to do with the marker lights way up front... surely? Well let's find out. One was a solid ground connection...the other wasn't...so let's stick 12V down it and see what happens.

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Seriously?!? Awards for the most ridiculously unnecessarily circuitous route for wiring to feed a couple of lights?

Annoyingly the feed which I suspect to be for the nearside one is now safely terminated and buried behind the bathroom wall...the wall I just finished building and finished tidily. Argh! I am not pulling that all apart again if I can avoid it - especially on the clock like this. Currently thinking the best plan of action is to cut a couple of holes in the trim in the locker over the cab and just stick the lights in parallel... they're only 10W so should be just fine that way.

That's as far as we got today. Hopefully will get those back in a working state tomorrow and then move on to the next things on the list. Getting the new brake pads in is probably looking like a favourite for the next job.

Will definitely need to get the rust in the bulkhead seen to sooner than later won't I.

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Hopefully this won't be an issue at the MOT as it should be well clear of any prescribed areas. For now Kurust and Dinitrol will be the order of the day to keep the weather out.
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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JPB
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#237 Post by JPB » Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:07 am

I suppose that the wiring for the marker lamps must have been fitted before the camper body was mounted, which has some logic to it but obviously doesn't make things easier for repairs that become necessary so long after the warranty expired!
Is it necessary to make holes though? Could both lamp units not simply be removed and a length of cable be attached through the gap by feeding that cable across with something thin and stiff, from the outside of the van? I'm thinking maybe a chunk of that very fine brake pipe found in older Citroens, or maybe some domestic cooker cable, whose earth wire is usually one single, thick strand which can be peeled away and used on its own.

This sort of task is fresh in my mind as I've finally got round to connecting the daily Toyota's reversing camera to the head unit, which was a painful yet quite interesting experience as it's always good to become more intimately acquainted with the wiring loom of one's daily transportation device, a record for me as I've only owned the bB for three years and covered a further 80,000+ KM since getting it registered and on the road.
Your work rate is phenomenal by comparison, as well as most inspiring. Please keep the fleet news coming.

8-)
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, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#238 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:36 am

Not too worried about making an access hole for the wiring in the locker over the cab. It's just a storage locker, so once everything is sorted I can just put a cover over it.

The only reason this caused me so much head scratching was the fact I was looking for something from the van to the camper - not something totally integrated into the camper bit.

I don't mind having to dig out access to the wiring in a few places if necessary, once it's done it's done once and for all.
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

#239 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:47 am

So if I remember rightly we had just figured out where the wiring for the offside front marker light emerged into somewhere vaguely accessible. This had pretty much confirmed to me that the mystery wire that I'd stuffed into a corner above the bathroom ceiling was actually for a light at the opposite end of the van...

This left me with a bit of a quandary. Namely that getting access to that wire - which I couldn't even remember if I had trimmed back as far as I could - meant having to tear apart at least a fair chunk of the upper rear wall in the bathroom, the wall I had just spent a not inconsiderable amount of time building.

I did pull apart a tiny bit in one corner to see if I could find the wire by stuffing my hand into the void and grasping blindly. Not a chance. I decided quite quickly to abandon that idea as there was a far easier solution to my mind. Having the lights individually fed from each tail light was a little unnecessary to my mind. Just sticking them in parallel on a single feed seems fine to me. We're walking a pair of 10W festoon lamps (which I will probably replace long term with LEDs - warm white ones before you all jump down my throat) rather than any high power stuff.

This still left me with some work to do, as being a coach built van, all of the wiring and such was routed long before the interior plywood lining was put in place. Initially I wondered if it might be possible to get the upper front trim panel in the over cab locker off. After spending half an hour in there (and nearly dying of heat exhaustion) I ascertained that AutoTrail weren't messing around. The panels are both stapled to the frame *and* glued in place. It ain't going anywhere.

I then decided to take a somewhat more direct (if barbaric) approach as I was done with standing on my head in the locker.

I went round outside, pulled the cover off the lights, found where the cable fed into the van, stuck the screwdriver into that hole then gave it a smack with the palm of my hand, more than enough to punch a hole in the plywood trim inside the van which I could then use as a marker for where I needed to dig out a bit of a hole to gain access.

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Likewise on the offside - the mess in the corner there is from my earlier attempts to see if I could get the panel off in its entirety.

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It was a quick matter then to disconnect the original live feed to the nearside light and terminate it, and to wire a link between the two to feed them both from the original offside light. I'll obviously make a couple of little covers to go over the holes and will clip the wire in place.

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I had taken the lenses off both of them last night to give them a good clean as they were full of pond scum. The seals having disintegrated years ago.

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There is quite a bit of crazing on them, but they've cleaned up pretty well.

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That was half the challenge...I now had the lights ready to accept power and a wire dangling out of the rear kitchen cupboard...however there was a kitchen and a floor between it and the relevant bit of the vehicle loom for me to tie it in to.

I decided in the end not to go pulling the walls apart again. I drilled a small hole in the base of the cupboard (it has a lip along the front so it's not visible) having pulled the window blind runner and window trim off, tucked the wire into the void under the trim, drilled another small hole in the worktop (again hidden by the window trim), and routed the wire down to the space below down the cabinets. Then I had it follow the sink waste pipe through the floor.

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No it ain't pretty. This is a job I can definitely see me coming back to at some point in the future (I'll need to open the walls up really when I reinstate the high level tail lights) but it will at least get the lights working for now.

Once I got it that far I just pulled the offside tail light cluster out and put a piggy back spade terminal on this side and hooked it up to the tail light lamp holder. Glad to see they seem to be fully weatherproof as there was zero signs of water ingress inside the cluster.

The moment of truth of course was to see what would happen when I turned on the headlights.

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Hard to see in such bright sunlight, so here's one from a few hours later.

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Much better! Seeing that pleases me far more than it probably should do.

On the subject of lighting (as it seemed as good a time to do a full check on it with the MOT coming up and all that) I found that the nearside front indicator was out. New lamp time. This should be a ten second job, if it wasn't for the stupid poorly fitted alarm wiring getting in the way yet again. This thing had been annoying me for months. The entire installation was a mess. This nonsense floating around in the fusebox for a start.

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The only fusing to the whole thing being in the *ground* connection didn't instill confidence either.

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Twenty minutes later the engine bay looked a good deal less cluttered.

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This is the pile of rubbish that was removed.

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The interior could then be put back together. Having tidied up the wiring behind the fuse box meant it was far easier to get it back in place this time. Also hopefully has put an end to getting wiring stuck in the seal when putting the engine cover back in.

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Before I buttoned that up I drowned the whole rusty area under the heater intake with Kurust.

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Also put some tape on this area on the engine side to keep any further water out until I have the opportunity to get a new panel welded in.

Annoyingly removal of the ultrasonic transducer assembly from the top of the dashboard left three holes.

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...So I just stuck that back in place. Not that I think a circa 1990 car alarm is likely to be much of a deterrent to would be thieves, it can't hurt. Plus it's a useful thing to attach cameras etc to. It can stay there until I either find something else to take its place or find a dash moulding free of screw holes.

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The LED in the dash is staying put for now similarly to avoid leaving a hole. I will be putting an indicator in there to give me a visual indication in the cab of if the power has been left on in the back of the van so I can't forget to switch stuff off before leaving the van or driving off.

The nearside indicator repeater lens is in dire need of a good clean as like the lenses of the marker lights it's been full of pond scum and rust.

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Brake pads next. First challenge there will be seeing if I can get the wheel trims off in one piece - if not it will be all the more excuse to bin the horrible things!
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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