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: 344
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#281 Post by Zelandeth » Fri May 17, 2019 8:05 pm

Given we had a clear weekend we decided it was a good excuse to take the van away for the weekend.

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Only an hour from home, but still nice to get away for 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: 344
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#282 Post by Zelandeth » Sun May 19, 2019 11:07 pm

Sunshine came out for a while today, so got a couple of snaps of our quiet little corner of nowhere.

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Back home tomorrow so normal service will be resumed as of tomorrow evening.
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: 344
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#283 Post by Zelandeth » Mon May 20, 2019 7:59 pm

Now safely home. Glad to report the van didn't miss a beat. The relative ease with which 70mph can be obtained for overtaking on the motorway now still surprises me a bit.

Did make one upgrade when I got home. The little 10" TFT TV (fitted I'm guessing around 2000-2005) was essentially useless. The image quality was basically on par with the little screens you get on airliners about 15 years ago, except with even worse contrast. Input was limited to analogue RF, DVD, composite video or an SD card supporting only a handful of mostly obsolete file formats.

It was however attached to a standard VESA mount, which meant I could easily swap it out for something else.

Just like this. 

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Being somewhat larger than the old one, this protrudes a bit beyond the wardrobe when positioned for viewing in bed...

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...It is still able to fold out the way though.

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While definitely a luxury item, it is nice to be able to stick a movie on in the background in the evening, so having something able to handle modern video interfaces is a bonus. Even if the TV being used was literally found abandoned at the side of the road with as far as I've been able to tell, absolutely nothing wrong with it aside from being a cheap and nasty piece of tat...more than sufficient for occasional use like this though.
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: 344
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#284 Post by Zelandeth » Tue May 21, 2019 9:31 pm

Have spent most of the day in the garden, and it looks like that will be the case for most of this week. I did manage to sneak away for half an hour in the evening though so thought I'd attack one of the nice simple jobs on the whiteboard in the garage.

At some point the wheels on TPA had been painted with very patchy red oxide primer.

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This isn't a good look.

I've decided to go with the same hammered black as I've used for a few other details on the car.

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Not a perfect finish by any means, but given there are runs in the paint already on there it's as good as it's going to get for now. At some point (probably in a decade or two) I'll look to get the wheels professionally refurbished. For now this looks better I think.

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I doubt that I'll be getting much done this week but hopefully all three wheels will be tidied up shortly. Small details really but bit by bit they add up.
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: 344
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#285 Post by Zelandeth » Wed May 22, 2019 9:57 pm

TPA has been pretty busy today.

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Looks much better with the repainted wheels. Here's a better closeup in actual sunlight.

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That looks "right" to my eye.

Had a bunch of errands to run today all over town...and decided that the best thing for TPA at the moment really is to get some miles under her wheels...so took a brave pill and took her out. 26 miles covered today once I got back.

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This included some trundling around residential areas, some dodging trucks in busy Industrial estates and a fair amount of high speed dual carriageway work. Gremlin count at the end of the day? Nil.

In fact aside from a bit of grumbling from the CVT (belt flapping about a bit because the pulley surfaces still aren't perfect), she was running well and felt well...happy. Not sure how else to describe it. She's far less of a liability on high speed roads than you would expect, the sheer lack of vibration etc through the car at speed is surprising. Honestly she feels less stressed at speed than the Metro I used to own. The ride is also far better than it has any right to be in such a small lightweight car. Even if the slightly odd way the whole car wobbles over some types of road surface simply by virtue of having only three wheels takes a little getting used to. It actually feels like my country wide tour next year might be less of a mental idea than it originally seemed.

Having got a got a few miles of sustained high speed running done today it seemed a good time to check the plugs. When I first started out I had a bit of a recurring issue with the offside plug fouling up with only deposits. My guess was that this was down to a sticky piston ring due to disuse. The oil consumption seemed to have ceased after the first couple of road tests so I was hopeful that the plugs would be looking more healthy now.

Nearside:
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Offside (the one which used to suffer from oil fouling):
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Those look reasonably healthy to me. No signs of oil anyway, which ties in with no oil being used any more and smoke being limited to a brief puff when the engine is started from cold.

Given I'm going to be wanting to drive out of town to a car show in a couple of weeks it's nice to have got some decent testing undertaken without incident.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully get the cover out and have a close examination of the CVT belt and see how it's holding up. Before I did the work cleaning up the pulleys the belt had been getting well shredded and started to slip after less than ten miles, so will be curious to take a look to see how it's holding up.

Saw a lot of puzzled looking drivers today!
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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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#286 Post by Zelandeth » Fri May 24, 2019 9:36 pm

Made another trip to the far side of town today and back without incident. This pushed us past the 50 mile mark of "real" driving, so time for another oil & filter change as we continue to flush the crud out of the engine.

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Vacuum pump being used because the sump plug is ridiculously tight and I don't feel like fighting with it.

In addition to the oil & filter change I wanted to drop the oil pickup strainer for cleaning as I had a sneaking feeling it would be full of gunge. I know another owner has had issues with this clogging, and for that reason I had already given it a clean quite early on when I was recommissioning the car. However given that the engine has been sitting around for many years I was expecting there to have been more sludge having been dislodged and found its way into the sump. I was right.

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Hard to see there, but internally this was almost completely choked up.

Half an hour and a can of carb cleaner later if was looking far healthier.

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Things were put back together, a fresh filter and a few pints of good old 20W/50 oil were added. I'll basically keep checking this every 50 miles or so until we cease to see obvious grime collecting on the strainer. It's only the work of two minutes to remove, so easy enough to keep an eye on.

This does do a pretty good job of demonstrating that where an engine has been out of use for such a long time that just changing the oil a couple of times and overhauling the carb isn't sufficient to ensure the long term health of the engine...if this was left alone it would probably have gone undetected until we suddenly suffered issues with oil starvation - and it doesn't take long for that to render an engine toast if it's running at high speed. It's a busy enough experience driving the Invacar that it would be a lot easier to miss that little green light than it might be on some other cars.
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: 344
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#287 Post by Zelandeth » Mon May 27, 2019 9:03 pm

Aside from the scruffy corners, one thing which has been really obviously detracting from the bodywork on the Invacar is the fact that the doors are a totally different colour to the rest of the body.

Today I threw a bit of paint at the nearside one to see if I could do anything to improve it.

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Mostly has taken really well, just one area directly above the door handle where something has reacted with the paint. So I'll need to get that area rubbed back and repainted before getting things ready for another coat.


Definitely looks better than it did I think.
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.

Toledo Man
Posts: 201
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:55 am
Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire

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

#288 Post by Toledo Man » Tue May 28, 2019 5:53 am

As a HubNut subscriber, I've realized it was you that bought his spares Invacar. When the two of you met up your's was running better until he managed to obtain some NOS pulleys and the correct drivebelt for TWC following his visit to where they were originally built.

I remember the Sinclair C5 being introduced in 1985 which contributed to the downfall of Sinclair Research and the resulting sale of the rights to the Sinclair computers to Amstrad (owned by none other than Lord Sugar of The Apprentice). I owned a ZX Spectrum back in the day and I own a Spectrum+ 2A which is in working order (aside from a faulty modulator). I have a few emulators so I can still relive my teenage years.
Toledo Man

1972 Triumph Dolomite 1850 auto (NYE 751L)
2008 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 2.0 HDi Exclusive (MA08 WCL)
1995 BMW 318i (M265 PNC)
1991 Toyota Celica GT (J481 ONB)

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Zelandeth
Posts: 344
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#289 Post by Zelandeth » Tue May 28, 2019 11:06 pm

Got everything wiped down today (hopefully getting shot of the couple of bits of I'm guessing silicone residue) and have given it another few coats. Looking reasonable I think given what I'm working with.

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Still needs another couple of coats I think, as the finish is a bit patchy yet, but we're getting there. It's forever since I've painted a larger panel so I've been playing the how-do-get-an-even-finish game. Especially in my cramped garage where I'm working in my own shadow the whole time. 

 I may well just take the door off and outside to do the final coat or two. If this hadn't landed on top of us when I was doing the work today I'd maybe have done so today.

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Yes, the resulting rain was precisely as heavy as it looked like it would be.

Have done another bit of tidying. Handlebars are no longer rusty and as rough as sandpaper.

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I've also made a personal choice with regards to interior decor. The inside of the door upper runner and the previously flaky windscreen pillar trims have also been painted black.

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No, it's not factory spec...but it's entirely reversible with naught but a paint brush, and it's my car. I think it looks better like this as it ties several parts of the interior together visually. Yes I'll touch in the little patch between the windscreen an dash top once I have a smaller brush to hand. Didn't want to get paint on the dashboard as it would be a pig to remove it from that finish. 

Personally I think having a bit of detailing breaking up what was otherwise an unending sea of solid blue is an improvement.
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: 344
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#290 Post by Zelandeth » Wed May 29, 2019 10:16 pm

Now we're cooking with bacon (as my late father would have said).

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I'm actually really happy with the finish I'm getting here. The original finish on these cars was laughable to be honest - I've seen kid's toys better finished. With a bit of flatting back this should be just fine. If I can manage to get this level of finish on the car as a whole I'll be a very happy camper. Annoyingly I got slightly too heavy handed right at the end and wound up with a couple of minor runs...even so I'm not too worried, runs and all it's still a million times better than it was.

Before the front end can be painted though I need to finish rebuilding the corners...the nearside one in particular was a joke. First bit of GRP work I'd done beyond patching up cracks in a bashed bus corner, and it showed. I've done some experiments now with the materials I have to hand and have a plan.

Step one is to cut back out my original fugly handiwork.

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Which left me with a much more evenly shaped void than the ragged hole that was originally there. The panel above isn't too bad, just the bumper moulding and below that needs done.

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Originally I had tried to build up a rough mould out of cardboard etc and to glass over that...which I found quite difficult to do accurately - especially trying to get the mat to adhere to the underside of the bumper moulding and the valance.

Have decided to take a different approach. I've built up a loose barrier behind the panel, then entombed the entire area in expanding foam.

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Once that's set I'll "whittle it down" to sculpt the correct profile. A simple matter then to stick a layer or two of GRP over it, some filler and then we should have as close to an invisible repair as I'm likely to manage with the materials I have to hand. I'm far more used to sculpting stuff from foam, so reckon I've a far better shot at getting the profile right this way. Once the outer surface is built up the foam base can then be broken away from behind the panel.

The whole front of the car is basically just a giant mud guard, it's just a plastic box, so this approach is actually valid...rather than expanding foam being the absolutely last thing you want to ever see on a car when doing body repairs! Especially when a mate discovered the sills on their Jag XJ6 were entirely built of the stuff...
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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