Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroens, 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...Jag, Citroens, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#991 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Aug 22, 2021 12:01 am

Bit more progress today. First job was to reattach the air filter/muffler to the compressor as it fell off a while ago. Have gone for the epoxy putty approach first...if that doesn't hold I'll get the welder out and tack it back onto the metal stub screwed into the body of it. Was only a couple of flimsy spot welds originally there.

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Then it was a matter of shuffling things around, putting up an additional shelf on the rack and generally tidying. I moved the air hookup point and regulator a bit too with some thought for when the hose reel when it arrives - assuming it will fit - it will go somewhere in this vicinity of the red circle on the image below.

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Then there was far longer than it looks like generally digging around and trying to tidy things up. It does feel like we're starting to actually make some forward progress now though, which is a bit of a morale boost.

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Having bought the self-retracting hose reel for the air line has given me the idea to pick something up along the same lines for an electrical extension lead. The one I currently have was a seriously cheap one picked up from Argos about 15 years ago and is utterly maddening to use...time for a better one. It will be getting fitted at ceiling height as well in the same area as the air one. The overall mission here is to get as much stuff off the floor as possible to make it an easier place to work in.

About time I sorted the garage door opener too. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the unit itself and it works perfectly, looks a nicely built unit actually. The issue is that we don't have either a fob for the remote receiver or key for the manual override switch by the door. So time to get a new receiver and new keyswitch fitted, then it should be fully functional again. Given the faffing around playing car Tetris that goes on every time I go to get the Invacar in/out of the garage that is something it would be nice to have working. Plus it bugs me knowing there's nothing physically wrong with it but I can't use it.

It's definitely being a bit of a morale boost seeing this starting to take shape. It's needed to happen for far far too long. Should be able to deal with the huge pile of stuff I thought I couldn't move too as it's occurred to me that while we don't have a shed to put the garden furniture in...I do have a stinking great camper van don't I? No reason I can't just stash things in there while I'm working on the garage. Can't believe it took me a week to figure that out. I'm really not the brightest crayon in the box sometimes!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

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

#992 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:18 pm

Out for a run again today, needed to make a run down to Aylesbury and it was a nice day so TPA came out for it.

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While I do enjoy driving this car, and the vast majority of the time she copes very well. Was staggered by how nicely she cruises on the motorway for one, on the wrong road she can be quite tiring. Google decided to send me cross country, and I wound up on a relatively fast road with a horrendous surface.

Ride is better than I had ever expected for a 400kg car on 10" wheels, but is quite bouncy. The seat does a good job of isolating the majority of the shock from the driver too. However being a glass fibre body the moment you hit anything whatsoever by way of undulation on the road you get all manner of crashes and rattles from the body. The interior is a LOT better than it used to be, but there's only so much you can do. The doors in particular are always going to be a major source of rattles without totally re-engineering the latches. I may look into doing something along those lines one day given I'm obviously going to keep using this car regularly and can't honestly ever see me selling her.

You can carry more speed through corners than I think people expect, when you know the road and can see a good distance ahead. However when you *don't* know the road and the tendency for there to be hedges or walls right up to the side of the roads around here I did have to pull in a couple of occasions so as to not irritate the cars behind me. While she's quite happy to cruise at 50-60, she does take a bit of time to wind up - just as you would expect from a 500cc powered car from the 70s!

The biggest cause of stress on that trip though was down to dealing with one of those road surface issues which are just inherently quite unnerving in a three wheeler with the single wheel up front - roads with really wobbly undulating camber issues. That does make her wobble around quite a bit...I don't find it unnerving really now as I've got used to it and know she's not about to hurl me off the road, but it does mean keeping a straight line line (especially with how direct the steering is) on roads like that is quite a bit of work. Not quite as bad as the Lada was on similar roads mind you!

Coming home I chose my own route and just headed down the A418/505/5...far less daft a route. Much smoother and better in the visibility department...and I wound up being stuck behind a brand new Range Rover until I got to the A5 so I could overtake it!

Really, really news to clean the windscreen. The amount of bugs splattered on there is unreal just now. Whole car could do with a wash anyway really...think she's only had one so far since being resurrected so far.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

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

#993 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Aug 24, 2021 11:18 pm

A parcel arrived from DPD earlier today containing this for the garage.

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Sadly didn't get time to look into getting it fitted today... hopefully tomorrow.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroens, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#994 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Aug 25, 2021 8:00 pm

Managed to grab half an hour this afternoon to get the air hose reel installed. It was moderately awkward to do simply because it's heavy. Clearly designed more for a commercial setting than a hobbyist garage - even the bracket just for the hose guide reel is like 1/4" thick. This made lifting it into place hard work and meant I needed to make sure to use some pretty heavy duty fasteners.

Think the location I've chosen should work well as it's entirely within what would otherwise be totally dead space.

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Nice and easily accessible though - especially once the quick connect has been fitted to weigh the end of the hose down.

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Also positioned such that if it *does* decide to pull the ceiling down, it'll more likely land on the door frame rather than the car. Not actually hooked up yet as I need a reducer for the outlet as it's 3/8" and everything I have here is 1/4" - and nowhere locally I could think of had a 3/8" quick connect fitting, so waiting on one arriving in the post.

There is a package on the way from Germany for the Merc with a pair of reproduction tail lights...if it ever makes it here. They appear to be having serious problems with shipping... it's ended up back at the dispatch depot twice now. Have also just ordered a new set of rear springs and tailgate gas struts. Be nice in particular to get the springs changed to get rid of the horrible gronking noises. Not been a cheap week!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroens, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#995 Post by Zelandeth » Fri Aug 27, 2021 9:45 pm

Only one small job done today. Due to a missing trim clip the trim panel in front of the centre cubby hole sat a good 1/4" proud of the surrounding trim and looked obviously wrong.

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The way this whole panel is secured is that it slots into place under the ashtray then slides forward to locate. So replacing the missing clip wasn't something requiring *too* much precision. Cue careful use of a woodscrew...being careful to not break the surface. There was already a void here from where the original clip was secured so I've just used that space really rather than screwing further into quite a thin bit of wood.

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Sophisticated it isn't, but it works.

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The whole panel used to wobble around and rattle before, none of that now. If I find what type of clip was originally used there I will see about replacing it properly.one day, but it's pretty low on the priority list.

I really do like how with this interior that they seemed to have figured out exactly how much and where to use the polished wood trim to make it feel properly special, but not be too over the top and brash. Especially with a contrasting interior colour like blue or green.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroens, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#996 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:35 pm

Yet another headache trying to turn into a migraine yesterday meant I only had about half an hour before it became apparent that I wasn't just going to be powering through it and getting on with things.

Did get one tiny job done though. While I had managed to get the trim on the tailgate to sit flat again there was still a gap at the ends and a sharp edge there as the rubber capping had long since been ripped off. As this was moulded as part of the rubber strip itself it's not something you can just replace as a spare.

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Not being willing to part with a few hundred quid for a replacement trim strip, I instead made a replacement "end cap" from some epoxy putty. Not perfect but it'll be less conspicuous once I slap a bit of black paint on it. Had remembered this being a darker grey than this, but those are just the breaks sometimes.

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It means there's not a sharp edge there (on either side actually as they both had the same problem) so I'm not worried about me or some random member of the public snagging on it.

-- -- --

When checking it today I noted that the oil on the dipstick was looking distinctly dark again so it was time for it to be dropped and changed again.

Not black, but definitely dirty. This has been in the engine for about 700 miles.

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You can see how much grime the filter has been collecting between the pleats in the element. So this would have lost quite a chunk of flow capacity already.

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Somewhat worryingly there are a few ~1mm sized bits of metal flake in there. Optimistically they're from the camshaft as we know that's been subjected to abnormal wear due to oil starvation. It's entirely likely though they're from bearing surfaces deeper in the engine. Short of dropping the sump and pulling a couple of the bearing caps off the crankshaft for examination it's impossible to say. It's worth keeping in mind that the previous oil filter that I removed the first time I changed the oil on getting the car had failed so most of the oil was probably bypassing it.

I am going to have a look at how hard it is to drop the sump anyway as given the state of the top end I'm expecting the sump to be just as bad - and I'd really rather not have all that slime ending up blocking the oil pickup screen (as has killed innumerable 90s and early 00s Saab engines).

We've got acceptable oil pressure at idle, not great but acceptable, so I'm not immediately worried it's about to explode, but definitely something I need to keep an eye on. I'll be keeping on the "change the oil once it starts to get dark" routine for the foreseeable future. A bit of a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, but there's only so much I can really do at this stage - if damage has happened it's already happened.

It's worth noting that thanks to sensible design by Mercedes that I was able to complete this oil change without spilling a single drop.

Also on investigation of the jammed passenger side heater temperature control found I need to order up a new bracket for the heater controls.

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Which I think is why this whole console is wobbly. That plastic frame is meant to be riveted to the front of the heater box, and the temperature controls are then bolted it it, and that locks everything together. With that broken (it's worse than it looks, I counted eight pieces) nothing is really secured properly. I'll aim to replace the cable for the passenger side temperature control while I'm at it...the valve moves freely but the cable is completely seized up.

Given the number of posts on various forums I found when searching for the part I'm guessing that bracket failing is a common issue. Get a horrible feeling that replacing it is going to be a pig of a job though as I reckon the whole console will need to come out to gain access.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

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

#997 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Aug 31, 2021 11:14 pm

Can you spot the difference?

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Well the obvious one is the stainless screws now holding the door handle on (rather than the rusty flat head screws that used to be there). What you can't tell is that this is actually the handle which used to be on the other door.

Something that I hadn't (for obvious reasons!) mentioned anywhere public was that one issue I had yet to deal with on TPA was that the nearside door lock was seized. The offside one worked fine...but I very seldom use that door as it's an absolute pain to close and likes to stick on the runners. Sorting it out is on the to do list, but I've not got there yet.

I had come up with a bodge with allowed me to make it appear locked - but with a solid pull on the handle you could still open it. There was no way to actually lock it properly though.

Today I finally got around to drilling out the screws holding the handles on so I could transfer the good one to the door I use. Then I set about seeing if I could get the seized lock apart and sort it. The answer was "sort of." It's still very sticky but does actually move now. Realistically it wants replacing though. For now though I've got it into a locked state...which given I don't use the offside door having it locked is just fine. You can still open it from inside - for example if I needed to exit that way in an emergency. The nearside door now locks and unlocks properly.

Something I'd been meaning to do for ages so nice to have it ticked off. I mean security is very much relative with these cars...but it's better than nothing! Definitely slightly less worrying leaving the car parked up anywhere public.

Especially in places like busy multi storey car parks for example.

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Ease of parking is definitely a plus with driving the Invacar. I remember those spaces being far tighter last time I was in this car park.

I also wasted about half an hour...they have the stairwells in that car park set up as one way...one to go down, one to go up. I found the "down" one just fine. When I came to return to the car...could I for the life of me find the other one? Not a chance. Eventually I gave in and walked up the vehicle only route. Still haven't the foggiest where the entrance to the other one is!

Had a box arrive today I've been waiting a couple of weeks for - the replacement tail lights for the Merc. Took forever to arrive as there were issues with the shipping - with the goods having been returned to the sender twice - I assume due to issues with export paperwork.

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Before and after for the offside.

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Fit is...average at best. But given they were about 10% of the cost of most of the used genuine ones I've found I'd say it's reasonable. I doubt you'd notice unless you were looking for it.

The original here has pretty well had it.

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Sadly the replacement nearside one fared less well during transit.

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Seller immediately agreed to send a replacement, so hopefully that will be here soon. Be nice to get these sorted out. Small detail really, but a very visibly obvious one.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

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

#998 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Sep 07, 2021 1:24 am

Not been anything going on since the start of last week as entirely predictably my second COVID vaccine dose pretty much clobbered me. I'm just about feeling like a vaguely functional human being again now. I had expected this to be honest, everyone has said the second one of Moderna is the roughest and I always have a rough time with vaccines.

It was actually quite pleasant outside over the weekend but I just wasn't well enough to do anything, I did try once and made it precisely as far as opening the garage door, picking up the socket set and then realising I was totally winded already...then today this nonsense has reappeared.

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About 23 is the upper limit I can tolerate while still being anything resembling productive.

So instead I went out for a drive and to pick up a few things. Was originally going to take the van as it's by far the most comfortable on a warm day (and doesn't give a damn itself about the heat as the cooling system has what seems like about 300% of spare capacity). However it needs fuel...and I really want to drop the fuel tank before I fill it again to try to finally sort the vent pipe so I can fill the tank in less than half an hour.

So there was an obvious choice. Especially being late enough in the day that I was half expecting to get caught in some traffic.

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Upon my arrival home one of the jobs on my "I need to get around to this one day" list decided to push itself to the front.

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The rearmost of the window latches on the offside window finally exploded (quite impressively!) in a hail shower of brittle black plastic. All four are pretty much knackered so it's just time to get a new set ordered. They're readily (if annoyingly expensively) available as they're the same ones as used on early Minis.

They've all been missing huge chunks and badly cracked since I first got hold of KPL back in January 2018 so kind of surprised they've held together this long.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

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

#999 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Sep 08, 2021 1:44 am

Having a little bit of a moment of concern over the long term prospects for the engine in the S123. I'm pretty certain that the hot oil pressure at idle has dropped somewhat since it was changed a week or so back. I'm sure we were seeing just under 1.5 bar at the point the cooling fan was cycling. Now looking at this.

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It was hotter than Hell out there today and I think the idle may be fractionally lower than when I last checked (I think the IAC valve would probably benefit from a clean), but it definitely seems to be lower.

This isn't entirely unexpected to be honest... let's not forget that this is what several lobes of the camshaft look like.

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I was pretty much braced for there most likely to be deeper issues... especially as the oil filter element was so clogged when I went to change it the first time that it had collapsed.

The most likely candidates I can think of off the top of my head are:

[] Clogged oil pickup strainer.

[] Gunk in the oil pump pressure relief valve so it doesn't seat properly.

[] Big end bearings and/or journals in the same state as the camshaft.

[] Oil pump rotors or casing ground away to nothing...like the camshaft.

[] Or it's just a bit of a worn out old engine and wants some thicker oil thrown in.

Which is definitely the first thing we'll be doing after I've had a peek at the oil filter element to make sure it hasn't been clogged up by some gunk having come loose from somewhere.

If it turns out we do have decaying oil pressure which isn't just needing a new filter and a grade change we obviously need to do something about it. The big question is rebuild or replace?

I would definitely be leaning towards wholesale replacement with another engine. I'd be expecting the crankshaft to be scrap based on what I've seen so far...and I'd probably basically end up replacing everything aside from the block itself...even then I'd never be completely sure that I'd got all the gunk out!

If I could find a complete unit with a gearbox that would be even better as I know this one isn't 100% healthy - third gear is engaged with a sledgehammer when cold and first gear only appears for about half a second when pulling away with your foot on the floor...oh, and the fluid smells like burnt toast which is never a good sign.

Given that it's usually rust which kills these cars I'm hoping that tracking down a good power unit wouldn't be too massive a headache. On that note, if you know anyone with an M102.980 engine sitting under a tarp in the corner of a garage, let me know.

At least it looks like doing an engine swap on this car doesn't look like it should be too difficult. Definitely worth doing if it comes to it though I think.

Hopefully we won't need it...but I'd rather be prepared for it if we do. This is why I keep an eye on my instruments, so things like this don't sneak up on you. The actual numbers on the gauges aren't so important... it's keeping an eye out for them doing something different to what they normally do that's important and is a pointer towards something needing attention.

Sorry, that turned into a bit of a ramble.

Kind of surprising really in that having owned probably fifty odd cars over the years - with 80% of those being sub £500 examples - I've never actually had a major mechanical failure. Most in-depth surgery I've ever had to do was a head gasket swap on my last Skoda. Even if I do wind up needing to do major work this time that's still not a bad batting average really. A good advert for preventative maintenance too!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

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

#1000 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Sep 08, 2021 10:33 pm

Well I've got news and it ain't good.

Figured dropping the oil and putting some heavier weight in there wasn't the worst idea.

The drain pan tells us what we need to know I think. It was cleaned before use. The oil has been in there for about a week and a hundred or so miles.

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All those specs in there? They're all shiny. Which means they're all bits of metal which *should* be attached to the innards of my engine...most likely either the cam or crankshaft.

With 20W50 in there rather than 10W30, we've gained maybe 5-7psi of oil pressure when hot. A bit but nothing dramatic.

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She's obviously hurting pretty bad.

The biggest question at this point really is where has that metal come from?

We know the camshaft is knackered...well the lobes are, no way to see what state the bearings are in without pulling things to bits. Need to have a closer look at my spare head to see how much work it might be to pop the caps off to take a look.

Does anyone know off the top of their head if you can drop the sump off this engine in situ easily enough, or is it a pain of a process because something is in the way? Because if we could pull a bearing cap or two off the bottom end that could tell us a lot.

Obviously the engine has issues, but if it's "just" the camshaft that's chewing itself up, changing the whole thing might be slight overkill. Hmm...further investigation needed.

I have started asking around to see if anyone knows of a spare engine about anywhere though.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

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