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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gazza82
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#301 Post by gazza82 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:14 am

JPB wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:26 am
gazza82 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:50 am
The Cresta is something else .. ex-hearse maybe?
It's one of the ones converted from a saloon into that rather oddly styled estate when new by Friary, though I think that it would have been difficult to create an estate out of such a bubble shaped roof as the Cresta's so well done to Friary for finding a way that wasn't irretrievably ugly :lol: . If you have a spare £16k+, then THIS ONE :drool: :drool: could be yours. I've seen only one of this rare thing in as many years as I've been stalking classic cars, it was a proper badger's backside. :(
I'll pass .. I'm not a fan of Vauxhalls ... mate had an HB Viva that I nicknamed "Nemesis" as I spent more time fixing his that working on mine at one stage. And a later Cavalier I borrowed from the car pool at work threw up all the warning lights half way up the M11. AA was called and .. couldn't find anything wrong!! Spent the day driving a christmas tree!! And they do tend to rot!
"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

#302 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:00 am

Finally back in action after an absolute stinker of a cold. Been ages since I've been knocked for six like that. 

So...the Xantia decided that it would progress the clutch issue from "annoying" to "dead" day before yesterday. 
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Finally getting the lid off the reservoir revealed no fluid present. No huge surprise there given the behaviour. Topping it off and liberal pumping of the pedal returned something resembling a working clutch. Bleeding it will obviously be needed, though given the lack of any provision for that will make that job "interesting."

This is the point things got downright annoying. Having returned the car to a usable if imperfect state, I decided to call it a day and put the lid back on the reservoir...and promptly dropped it straight down the back of the engine. Did it drop all the way out the bottom? Of course not...Can I reach it? Heck...I can't even *see* the thing...Bother!

Will get it on the ramps at the weekend and see if I'm really lucky and it's sitting somewhere accessible from underneath. Not holding my breath...might need to find a new one...though I do have a spare Lada one which I'm really, really tempted to install somewhere actually sensible Inthe engine bay. The current arrangement is just downright idiotic.

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Have a sneaking suspicion that the original lid will be buried down there for ever more.

I'm just praying there's nothing wrong with the master cylinder...as I don't even want to think about the degree to which I'd need to dismantle the car to get that out. 

The squeaking from the fan belt on the van had got to the point that it was driving me mad...so figured it was time to change it...picked up a new belt back with the £350 batch of bits from Merc before the MOT.

One of the main reasons for using a main marque specific dealer is that they have all the fancy parts lookup systems...therefore it's easy for them to track down exactly what you need. Especially useful when there are a zillion different variants of the vehicle. You should wind up with the correct parts...right?

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Oh.

Annoyingly it's well outside the return window. Anyone need a decent quality 6PK2000 belt? Guess I'll be hunting down a replacement tomorrow. So the van is still squeaking. The Citroen is immobilised because I've dropped the clutch fluid reservoir lid down the back of the engine, and the offside front brake caliper on the Lada is weeping again...time for a new one.

Think the Invacar needs to come out this weekend so something can go awry, then I can go for a full house of cars with issues!
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

#303 Post by JPB » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:07 pm

I know the guy whose job it was to recover dropped reservoir lids out of Xantia engine bays for a local garage, he's an awfully shy wee soul, but he did say that I could post the photo of his lid recovering hand, as fitted by Citroen UK's company surgeon at a time when the Xantia was just coming to the market:

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:mrgreen:
John, If it's old & badly broken, chances are I've owned it. :|

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

#304 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:36 pm

Where do I sign up? That would be dead handy (pun not intended, nor spotted until about 30 seconds after I typed that!) for topping up the steering box oil in the Lada too...

I've checked with a bit of random pipe that I had laying around, and the rigid plastic line running to the clutch fluid reservoir is a snug fit inside 3/16" hose as attached to the spare reservoir I have laying around...so I'm pretty sure that my long term plan here is to relocate it to somewhere sensible. The gap between the air conditioning receiver and inner wing looks pretty much made to measure, the bolt which secures the air con liquid line should do perfectly to secure the bracket to.

That's a task for next week though when I've got the patience to deal with it. The suggestion has been made that it might be worthwhile to try blasting the back of the engine with a hose pipe to see if the cap might then be dislodged...Not a bad shout actually as the engine bay is due a clean anyhow.


Last time I was out in the Invacar I got caught in a moderately heavy rain shower which did a really good job of demonstrating how laughably lacking the weatherproofing was. Especially around the windscreen...which is a pain as due to the driving position being quite far forward the water from there drips right on your knees. The main issue here being that the seals have both perished and shrunk. As a result of that the water seeps in between the glass and the seal, there doesn't seem to be much that actually gets in around between the seal and bodywork.

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The rear windscreen doesn't seem to be so bad - most likely due to the reverse rake of it keeping it mostly dry and any water that does get in tending to just run down the bulkhead. There was however a big gap where I assume there should be a plug at the end of the seal.

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This gap looks far bigger from inside.

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The long term solution of course will be to get a new set of seals. However I don't have those on hand currently and I'd like to be able to use the car this week given that I seem to have a lot of cars with gremlins this week...so I can see the Invacar getting a bit more use than it's been used to up to now. Being weatherproof is likely to make it rather more attractive to drive. So I'd like to do something quick.

Sikaflex to the rescue I think!

I got out some (decent) masking tape to keep the stuff where I wanted it, and set about giving the seals all a good coating to fill all the cracks in the rubber and about a millimetre overlap with the glass and the bodywork...so it should hopefully both keep the water out and the windows in.

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The windscreen used to have a gap similar to the one I pictured earlier on the rear one, but it was halfway up the offside of the screen - that's now covered up as well. So that should be one less ingress point.

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Likewise the rear windscreen is now gap-free.

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While I'm thinking about it, here's a better shot of the interior as it appears now I've got the freshly painted panel above the screen in place and the pillar trims also painted. Think it looks period appropriate and the black is a nice contrast to the light blue.

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Yes, there are some paint runs in there I need to get tidied up. The switches you can see sitting on the dash are these...

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These will be for the electric fan I intend to add to the heating system (demister switch seemed suitable for that, and this one will match those already on the dash), and in future to provide me with a low brake fluid warning light (the switch provides a test feature for the lamp itself). Haven't 100% decided exactly where I'll put them on the dash yet, but probably over by the handbrake most likely.

Masking tape was removed when the sealant was about 75% cured to leave a nice clean edge without leaving streamers of gooey sealant or tearing half of it off with the tape.

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Will attack it with the hose tomorrow if it's not raining and see what the results are like...Fingers crossed my knees will remain dry next time I have the car out in the rain.

The sealant itself can be removed easily from the paintwork so long as it's not fully set by using those wipes intended to go over a panel with immediately prior to painting. Also useful for getting it off your hand when you hadn't spotted there was a hole in your glove, so you ended up with a glove finger entirely full of sealant. Note to self: Use sturdier gloves next time...
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

#305 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:23 am

Having done a bit of testing it does appear that both front and rear windscreens are now waterproof. Haven't actually subjected it to sustained rain yet, so we'll just have to see how it goes.

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Finally had a chance to do a bit more bodywork reconstruction this afternoon.

The foam based corner now looks like this.

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Obviously some serious sanding action needed, but definitely heading in the right direction now. Reckon I'll need to take a bit off the outer radius of the bumper, but I've kind of done that deliberately as it's far easier to take a bit extra off than to add extra material.

This stuff is *way* nicer to work with than what I was using before.

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Will see how it sands, but in terms of application it's streets ahead of the stuff I've been used before...it actually holds its shape when upside down which was really handy when forming the lip along the bottom of the body. This is definitely getting bought again in larger quantities as I get a feeling it's going to be a useful addition to the toolbox.

Have given the underneath of the service cover a skim over as well, hoping that will help strengthen it a little as it's suffered from being quite bendy so far due to the old damage.

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Covered over a lot of the pits in the top surface too...have to see how it looks after sanding.
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

#306 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:02 pm

As of this afternoon it feels like we're actually getting pretty close to the offside front corner being built up to a suitable standard to be ready for finishing.

The work from yesterday was extensively sanded back (I'll be finding dust for years) to help define the profile before laying down another layer of paste over it.

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The swadge line is still a little wobbly, and I've got a plan to tidy that up when doing the next stage of sanding. Likewise the radius needs to be cut back a bit further as it's still a bit too sharp a bend. Once that's done it will probably be a few coats of resin to toughen it up before throwing some paint at it.

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It's not perfect by any means, but I think will qualify as "passable" once finished up and painted with a bit of care. I still hope that at some point in the future I might be able to get a mould cast off a car with sound bodywork here to match the profile more precisely.

I've also started to build up the lower edge of the offside corner too. It doesn't need anywhere near as much work to get it to a usable state thankfully.

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Really wish I'd discovered this glass fibre loaded paste sooner as it's so much easier to use than the old school separate Matt and resin approach. Having done a bit of anecdotal testing shows it to be more than strong enough for this job.

Hopefully I'll get time to get it finished tomorrow and start throwing some paint at it.
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

#307 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:07 pm

The radius of that corner being quite a ways off was bugging me...so out with the grinder again.

At close of play today this is where we were.

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Still not perfect, but is close enough now that I think I can call it "good enough" given I started out with this. 

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I am going to be finding dust for months.

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(Yes I was wearing a dust mask).
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

#308 Post by Zelandeth » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:00 pm

I had a feeling this morning that this was going to be one of "those" days, and indeed I was correct. Spent the entire day running around all over Hell chasing my own tail. As such was limited to about twenty minutes in the garage while dinner was in the oven. 

This was however sufficient to move things along with the Invacar bodywork. The nearside corner was now showing roughly the correct profile following the work a couple of days ago, however the surface was still quite rough as the underlying foam had been revealed in a few areas. The resin there had ensured that it was structurally fine, but the finish was obviously going to need work before we could even start to think about paint.

To remedy this I managed to scrape just about enough filler out of the ancient tin I stumbled across the other day and slathered it on, trying to do as much as I could to ensure that it was worked into the surface to leave as few pockets of air as possible (the same was done for the slight void left around the crack just below the indicator). 

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Then once that had just started to harden I hit it with the sander.

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Will want a little bit more sanding before a resin layer is laid down over it, however I had to abandon things at that point as the timer telling me dinner had to come out the oven was beeping at me.

Not sure how much time I'll have for cars tomorrow, but if I have some I'll get that given a resin coat so it's solid, then the whole area will want another light skim of filler so it's vaguely smooth before I start throwing high build primer and top coat at it. 
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

#309 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:46 am

I suspect that tomorrow is going to involve lots and lots and lots and lots of sanding.

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Even before sanding the rear valance is looking a lot smoother now... I'd forgotten how roughly I'd just slapped the filler on there originally!

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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

#310 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:46 pm

Well that's been a less productive afternoon than I'd have liked in terms of Invacar bodywork.

The primer I applied yesterday appears to have reacted with the paintwork underneath it and had dried to a crackled finish - but hadn't actually dried fully. So there's going to be a lot of work to remove that before I can move forward with that. Kind of wish I just had some nice gloopy coach enamel to throw at it right now!

After a couple of hours of fighting with that I lost patience with it and moved onto other things. The moment that my sander decided to expire with an almighty bang I decided to take as an indication it was time to move on to something else. I'll drop by Toolstation tomorrow and pick up a more substantial sander...have a feeling that's something which I'll thank myself for in the long run.

Number one in "other stuff I need to do" was trying to track down the blasted clutch fluid reservoir cap which I'd in a spectacular show of hand-eye coordination dropped down the back of the engine. Thanks to the "busy" nature of the engine bay in the Activa I couldn't even see where it had ended up, never mind being able to get at it. 

Attempt number one to coerce it to fall out the bottom was by poking an air line down the back of the engine and blasting it in various directions. No luck. This was then upgraded to the hose pipe, equally unsuccessful. Eventually I gave in and got the ramps out. 

After a not inconsiderable amount of poking and prodding the cap eventually dropped out, not entirely sure where from actually as it just randomly landed next to my head from somewhere else. 

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Managed to get the thing back on this time. I suspect there's still some air in the system somewhere as the pedal isn't great. That will need some further thought as there's no provision for bleeding the system. For now though it's driveable at least so I'm not going to worry too much.


Having finally sourced the correct fan belt for the van I figured it was time to see if I could get that on and see if it would resolve the extremely irritating squeaking at idle. In addition to a very dry squeaking which I'd initially thought to be a bearing in something disintegrating until I discovered it stopped if you sprayed water on the belt, it would also periodically do the slipping fanbelt screech, especially if you had the headlights on putting some load on the alternator. To be fair that's the only thing which really does pull power from the battery...glowplugs are usually on for <5 seconds and she usually fires first compression stroke so the starter motor doesn't really have time to drain any appreciable charge from it...I was pretty sure the belt was just old though. 

For reference - here's the squeak we're talking about...not pleasant. 

YouTube Video Link

This took far longer than it really should have as it took me a good 45 minutes to work out how to release the belt tension. This is a bit more involved than in some cases as there's an automatic tensioner which needs to be backed off. That still doesn't give you enough slack though until you've also disconnected the vibration damper which is attached to the other side of the tensioner. Then there's *just* enough slack to wrestle the belt off.

While it's free of any damage the running surface is really quite badly glazed.

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It was quite obvious when trying to get it off that anything you did that made the belt move resulted in ear piercingly high pitched squeaking - fair sign the belt was the source of it squeaking at idle. Despite the new belt being 2mm shorter (according to GSF 6PK1015 is an obsolete size, nearest they could supply is 6PK1013) it slipped on without protest. I then spent the next half hour trying to reassemble the tensioner.

On the plus side, it will take me ten minutes next time I do it. Not difficult, there is just a very specific order you need to do things in. Hopefully I won't drop my socket set into the engine bay next time either.

So, after well over an hour...did we stop the squeak?

YouTube Video Link

Yes...we do now appear to have a squeak free van. Exhaust still rattles a little at idle from time to time but there's not much to be done about that as it seems to be something actually internal to the silencer, it doesn't always do it anyway and isn't audible from inside the cab at least

Quick road test supported my initial assessment that indeed we do now seem to be squeak free.

Finally... that's only been on the to do list since September.

Last task for the day was a "period bodge" for the Lada.

Yesterday we were in a hurry to try to get to a shop before they closed (we made it) and as such were "making good progress" at a few points, much to the bafflement of a couple of Audi drivers. The car was quite happy to do this and actually feels a bit better for it - however the duct tape on the offside wing didn't survive the extreme velocities involved and started to disintegrate.

I'd never bothered messing with filler or anything as I'd always found it horrible stuff to work with and I reckoned I'd just make things worse. Plus I know the wings will be changed long term anyway. However as mentioned a couple of days ago this Fibral stuff is far, far more user friendly...so I figured we'd give it a shot.

Stuffed a couple of foam offcuts under there just to hold things in place while it sets, then set about filling the gaps.

End result (prior to sanding of course) was this. 

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I reckon once that's sanded back and painted we should be able to get a perfectly acceptable repair there. If I can get it to a point where it's "inoffensive" rather than being the first thing you notice I'll consider that progress.

As far as the actual rust goes I'm not worried. I've absolutely drowned the area in Dinitrol and there's no sign of it having got any worse since I got the car. She's kept off the road when the salt is around too which I'm sure has helped too.

If this looks okay once I've tidied it up I'll probably do the same on the other side. Oh...and I reckon this stuff should do just fine to repair the rear windscreen washer bottle...so I can fix that and get the rear window washer going...only been broken since 1993. 

Have a sneaking feeling I'll be roped into gardening all day tomorrow so probably won't be much to report 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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