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

Post pictures and stories about your cars both present and past. Also post up "blogs" on your restoration projects - the more pictures the better! Note: blog-type threads often get few replies, but are often read by many members, and provide interest and motivation to other enthusiasts so don't be disappointed if you don't get many replies.
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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#331 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:35 pm

Pretty quiet day today, which was a nice change as the last couple of weeks have been almost non stop. 

Despite having a day off I tend to feel that it's necessary to achieve something in a day, even if it's something small. Having a new set of Invacar pulleys sitting in front of me it was obvious what this afternoon was going to involve. 

While the secondary pulley was ready "out of the box" so to speak, the primary one needed a quick clean up first to deal with some aluminium oxide on the running surface.

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Five minutes with the wire brush later it was much better.

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For those playing along at home, here's a clear photo of the markings on the new primary pulley.

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Getting the primary pulley off was precisely as much of a pain as I'd expected it to be. Simple reason: there is no easy way to lock the thing in place while you try to crack the retaining nut off. After snapping one large screwdriver and bending another, I finally managed to get it to cooperate.

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Yes, that is a crowbar wedging the pulley in place. It later came into its own again while I battered it with a hammer to get the pulley off the shaft. The secondary one slid off pretty easily once unbolted, the primary was really quite a snug fit.

With it off it immediately became apparent that something wasn't right. The reason it rattled was because it appears to be completely devoid of any springs.

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It never ceases to amaze me how knackered this sort of setup can be while still working to at least some degree...this felt absolutely fine anywhere below about 40mph!

The new secondary pulley looks to be a different type...but given the source I'm going to give it a shot.

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Belt tension was checked after I'd rolled the car up and down the driveway a couple of times (yay...it no longer goes *click-squeak...click-squeak...click-squeak...* while moving at low speed. Seems reasonable.

Was only able to get out for a ten minute test drive this evening before dinner, but immediate impressions:

[] At low speeds the noise levels are hugely reduced. The actual noise you can mostly hear now is nice subdued tuneful transmission whine rather than howling belt.

[] Low speed responsiveness is slightly better. Though I think the tension is a little loose as it's a bit snatchy moving off.

[] Only did one higher speed run, but at 40mph plus things seem massively improved. I'm used to being able to just about hit 40mph between the one roundabout and our turnoff. Today an indicated 62mph (which I imagine is somewhat optimistic) was achieved with less than full throttle and leaving me plenty of time to brake.

Hopefully I'll have the chance to do a better test tomorrow. Initial impressions though are that it's improved things.

Oh, and while halfway round a roundabout the brake fluid warning light which I'd lost was spotted skittering across the floor. It has now been safely stuck in the box of random Invacar bits.

Reassembly was relatively painless, only slightly awkward discovery was that the keyway cutout in the new primary was shallower than on the old one, requiring a rectangular rather than square key. Luckily I've quite a few random shaft keys in the "drawer of random fasteners and similar stuff" and was able to find one that was a perfect fit in a couple of minutes.

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Looking forward to a proper test drive tomorrow...after I've cleaned the windows! I did wipe them down briefly...but obviously not very well, and I totally forgot about the wing mirror.

Will 70mph be doable? Let's find out. Not worrying too much about breaking the belt in. Just isn't practical to drive gently for more than a couple of miles here...it's 20-30mph in housing estates or busy distributor roads where you need really to be able to get up to 50mph or so pretty rapidly if you don't want to be flattened.

Do have to wonder what anyone who saw me on the test run thought given the current cosmetic state of the car!
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

#332 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:55 pm

Initial experimentation with the soda blaster has yielded an absolutely godawful mess but little progress in terms of shifting the original paint on the Invacar.

Hard to tell if that's just my air supply not being up to spec or if it's just further evidence of the paint on there being able to withstand a tactical nuclear strike. The paperwork says the blaster wants air supplied at 50psi, and we had that shown solidly on the output from the regulator... I did experiment with setting it higher, which definitely increased the amount of mess generated, not sure if it actually improved the rate at which stuff was removed.

My entire garage is now about 1/2" deep in finely powdered sodium bicarbonate...oh well, at least it will smell fresh for the foreseeable future!

Guessing professional outfits would have a system in place to retrieve and reuse a lot of the media...
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

#333 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:44 pm

Today was our third visit with Star, the rescue dog we're looking to adopt. Today we actually took her out for a walk, helping convince the foster that we weren't going to do something absolutely daft the first time we left the house.

Everything went well, and it's been agreed that we will be adopting her. She will be coming home on Sunday morning. 

A few photos from today - though they all seem to convey seriously huge levels of derp!

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Wasn't deliberate...they just came out looking utterly silly!

Obviously nothing to show car wise as this took up pretty much the whole day. However I've a few things planned for tomorrow all being well. Given FotU is only a few days away I need to get my tail in gear to get TPA ready!
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

#334 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:30 pm

Have made an executive decision regarding the paintwork on TPA. Simply that I've had enough faffing about. I'm getting things into a vaguely flat state then throwing paint on it. I could spend weeks (or months) trying to get a mirror smooth surface, but I think that's a task for another time. The most important thing I need to do with the car at this point in time is simple: Drive it!

Okay...step one. Remove all the residue from the soda blasting experiment. Just a bit left to deal with...

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Gave the van a quick wash too while I had the hose out as it was getting difficult to see through the windscreen again. The joys of brick wall aerodynamics. 

Have had another shot at clearing the fuel tank breather, I've tried several times so far but it's only in the last few weeks I've had access to compressed air, so could try zapping it with this.

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Will remain to be seen if it's actually made any difference.

Back to the Invacar paintwork. Worst bit of the car was this wheel arch I think.

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I just went after it with the sander to get it vaguely smoothed out, then set about chucking some primer at things.

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Followed by some top coat. Still obviously needs a few more coats (and in fact covering the remainder of the car), but I think it will wind up looking better than it started out.

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Really do need to get hold of a spray gun for the compressor though...this is costing an absolute fortune in rattle cans! Hopefully will get it to a state which would classify as "inoffensive from ten paces" in time for Saturday.

Had a brief moment of worry when I was just packing up when I spotted this under the van.

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Despite the engine being a little oily, she never usually actually leaves anything behind so the leak definitely required investigation.

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The oily residue I think is mainly leftover from the leaky cam box cover. She doesn't seem to use a drop between services (granted, there are nearly eight litres of oil in there!)...and this didn't look to be oil. First thought was brake or clutch fluid...however there was no visible source in the engine bay, and hydraulic fluid was still sitting happily on the max mark. 

Eventually I tracked down the source - that vertical tube to the left of the alternator. Looks to be a drain from the heater intake box, so just a bit of water draining off from the earlier wash... nothing to worry about thankfully.
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

#335 Post by JPB » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:01 am

For some reason I woke up at 3 this morning and my mind was full of thoughts about wrapping your AC's body rather than painting it. Time was, that dream would have been filled with the far more usual images involving the Kitten Register team beating the Lotus Elan and the Lothians VW Club teams on the grass at Doune in the Scottish Autotrader Challenge series (a thing that actually happened so often in the '90s that we used to get a by to swerve the heats).
GRP can look rough, especially when that GRP is old, porous and potentially a tad unstable, even if you spend days flatting and applying a suitable filler/primer, but as a wrap wouldn't be hiding anything sinister on this car, it may well be a way to think about.

Advantages: Finished surface will look uniformly smooth. You can have any solid or patterned finish you fancy, even chrome like some of the Nissan SUVs that are currently running about in that style from the factory. Well applied by your local Tints & Tweaks franchise, or similar, a wrap will outlast many paints, especially on the porous, flexible and generally hostile (to paint) environment that is a GRP bodied car.

Disadvantages: Unless you have experience of doing this, it's definitely better left to a specialist. Can be costly but generally cheaper than an equivalent finish achieved with paints.

:idea:
I'm hopeless at using G.I.M.P. to fettle images but maybe some kind soul could try to do a "preview" using that very software, as supplied free from the repositories of most distros these days..

I think that the AC would look great in its original blue, but with a hint of flake to change the colour depending on the ambient light. I also think it's a car that cries out to be orange, but then I would as orange is the best ever colour for any motor vehicle, hence its use by the RAC who are the trend setters in turning blue things orange!
:scared:
JB I didn't go looking for the current fleet, they just sort of followed me home and now they won't leave without an extradition order from the Japanese government..
:|

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

#336 Post by Zelandeth » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:23 am

Orange is always a good colour. The more retina searingly violent the better.

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A wrap is actually a good shout and isn't something I'd even half considered up to now. Definitely worth thinking about for the long term. Especially given the shell on this thing isn't exactly the most rigid thing in the world so I'm expecting that to cause issues with cracks in any paint finish over 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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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#337 Post by Zelandeth » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:49 pm

Knowing that the rattle can route was going to cost me a small fortune, a spray gun has now been sourced. Had it in my head that the entry level was way more expensive. 

I've been pointed to a local paint specialist as well so I'll drop by there tomorrow and see what they say. Hopefully they should be able to get me set up with some *decent* high build primer and a good chunk of paint. The suggestion has also been made that household primer and gloss (readily available in any colour you like) could also be a viable option. Given the minimal outlay involved there I'm probably going to give that a shot...if it all peels off in a month then so be it. 

Tomorrow I absolutely need to throw the lights, number plates back on and remove the masking from the windows and go for a drive. She needs to drive 15 miles to and from FotU on Saturday, and has barely turned a wheel in the last month! So I reckon I need to do a thorough test tomorrow to make sure she's fit to make the journey. The new pulleys have only been round the block a couple of times so far...and they're kinda critical components!
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

#338 Post by gazza82 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:13 am

Zelandeth wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:49 pm
Knowing that the rattle can route was going to cost me a small fortune, a spray gun has now been sourced. Had it in my head that the entry level was way more expensive.
I used a gravity one that came with my compressor and it was ample for what I did .. (generic photo!). Worked better than I expect on primer coats .. I think the top coat could have done with a different nozzle .. but I'm still in that "learning phase" and didn't really get a chance to experiment too much as I needed a car back on the road after an "incident" with a crash barrier on M4!!
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gravity-spraygun.jpg (14.96 KiB) Viewed 538 times
"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

#339 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:02 am

So I'd really hoped that I'd have time to give the Invacar a proper shakedown prior to the trip to FotU tomorrow. However I ended up with next to no time to do anything car related today. 

However I did pick up some paint while I was out running some other errands.

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This actually looks a lot closer in person than the camera makes it look. It's also matched to the transmission cover which is slightly lighter than the doors.

Couldn't resist splashing a bit onto the car in the interests of curiousity.

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Does show how far off the mark the blue I'd been using actually was. 

This was at like 2200 though...so no test drive.

Tomorrow morning will be the first real test, heading over to Buckingham. If things go well, you'll see her at the Festival of the Unexceptional.

If things don't go well, I'll probably be there with a scruffy Mercedes camper instead.
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

#340 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:03 am

Never had a chance to do an update over the weekend as we've been massively busy, figured folks would want to know what had been going on.

I wanted to get the Invacar to a show on Saturday, 15 miles out of town, having just had the entire drive system in bits. No test run had been possible due to time constraints...so I felt I had two plans open to me. Get up really early and do some gentle testing around the block before heading to the event...or saying "I'm confident in my work" and just running with it.

So I pointed TPA towards Claydon House and cracked the throttle open. This marked the first time I had ever driven her out of town too, in addition to being the drive system test. 

Knew I had the van as a backup if anything did go awry. Having booked in to the show ages in advance I was determined to get something there though. 

So...did we get there?

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Of course we did!

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On the way there I was somewhat amusingly stuck behind modern traffic doing 35-40mph all the way there. On the way home however I had a nice clear road...and all I can say is that I'm staggered by how well TPA drives. She's more than happy to cruise at the legal limit. Way happier than you'd expect from a tiny little three wheeler that wasn't even considered a real car when it was launched in 1971. In fact she's far happier sitting at 60mph than several normal cars I've owned from the late 80s. It's honestly startling.

One thing they're well renowned for is being tossed around alarmingly by crosswinds, and Saturday was a pretty windy day. The issue was far less pronounced (even at 70mph on a bit of dual carriageway) than I was expecting...definitely found driving a lot less unnerving than expected. Not sure if that's in some way due to the change from 12" to 10" wheels with wider tyres...but it's definitely nowhere near as bad as expected. The only other one I know in use is on the 12" wheels and the owner has indicated that it's quite scary on a windy day.

No car stuff on Sunday unsurprisingly, courtesy of collecting this idiot who has now officially joined our family.

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She seems so far to be settling in fine. In fact far more so than we'd hoped... apparently she hasn't been out for a walk of more than twenty or thirty minutes on a well known route due to her being so easily spooked. Both yesterday and today we've been out for a couple of miles, even including the pet store. Yes she is skittish, but she coped very well given the issues we had been told to expect.

I think she's just thriving on a house where she's sharing with one dog and four doting humans (she's a truly massive cuddlebug) rather than having a few hours of attention a day in a house where there are 30+ dogs...and the associated noise and smell.

Sure there's a caption just waiting for this expression...

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Sure that you'll see plenty more of her as time moves on.

While I was at the car show on Saturday I was handed something else new to me, something I've wanted to add to my collection of random old computing technology since 1999 when I first saw one - An Acorn RiscPC.

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It's scruffy as anything, is missing the lid, has broken retaining springs for the front drive bays (they all do that) and it won't even run the power on self test, much less actually boot. However it has a few very useful expansion cards fitted.

StrongARM CPU upgrade.

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The somewhat legendary 486-PC-on-a-card. This is really handy as it allows you to properly run normal PC software without faffing around with emulation or anything (bearing in mind that the architecture is utterly different to a standard PC of the time), but as it shares the drives, video etc it's a far cheaper and saves a lot of space than having two totally separate machines on your desk.

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It also still has a hard drive in (can tell you purely based on the noise at startup that it's a Conner made drive), so will be interesting to see if there's any software from the back in the day left on the drive.

I've been after one of these machines forever...but they rarely come up for sale at reasonable prices as owners when asked if they would part with them tend to respond with "you can have my RiscPC when you pry the mouse from my cold dead hands...". So I'd pretty much given up on finding one.

It does need work though. Though the failure to boot is most likely due to damage caused by this.

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I can't see any broken traces yet, but I'd bet one or two are and that oscillator crystal has probably died.

Of course rather than investigate that I simply removed the old battery and cleaned up the residue...and then did the most important thing: Fixed the retaining springs on the flip up covers over the drive bays.

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Needs a really good deep clean 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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