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

Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:32 pm
by Zelandeth
I wanted to confirm the garage dimensions so I could start planning out how much shelving I can fit in there. However I didn't want to go out in the rain for a fifth time to measure it. So I dug out the floor plan saved from the original property listing when we were looking at buying this place.

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It's an oddly long narrow space (the door is so narrow that to get the Lada in I had to fold both wing mirrors in). Granted, the whole layout of this house is a bit odd!

I'll have a play around with a few possible layouts in CAD tomorrow afternoon if I have time. I'd like to know roughly how much shelving I can actually fit in before I start buying things. Should allow me to figure out roughly how much square footage of storage I'll gain through the project too.

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

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:42 pm
by Dick
Not sure how much headroom you have but you can hang a surprising amount of stuff above the car.. just don't drop it on the car...

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

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:27 pm
by Zelandeth
Headroom sadly is pretty minimal on account of the garage door framework taking up a huge chunk of space.

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A roller door would save a bunch of room but hard to justify it when there's absolutely nothing wrong with the existing setup.

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

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:27 pm
by Zelandeth
Not really been much going on the last few days. Finally did get the opportunity to give the Jag a wash to get rid of most of the caked on salt and grime.

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Still doesn't scrub up bad.

Really do need to attack the wheels with some solvent cleaner to try to get rid of the foam backing from previous balance weights.

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

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:31 pm
by Zelandeth
Decided to take advantage of the sunshine this afternoon to try to get something done without me having to leave my property. Garage clear out is now on hold as we obviously can't get any rubbish cleared out to the tip.

Today's target was the thoroughly blocked "atmospheric coolant catch tank" - seriously Jag, it's an expansion tank - on the Jag. I'd like to get rid of the bottle currently wedged between hoses in the nearside front of the engine bay.

Access is gained by removing five 10mm (I expected them to be imperial sized!) Bolts and pulling the wheel arch liner out.

First contact with the enemy.

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Immediately obvious is that the overflow bung has escaped the side of the tank.

The idea of this setup is that if this tank were to overflow any water or steam would exit via that metal pipe you can see to the left. However if the seal between the tank and that pipe is compromised (which it is basically from day one as they never fitted well) this will simply escape into the wing.

Made worse by them sticking a foam pad underneath it to hold onto the moisture for as long as possible!

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The tank originally would have been a friction fit between two brackets however these were missing so once I fed the pipe through from the engine bay it was just lifted out.

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This left behind a lot of crusty mess.

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Quite how much crud was apparent once it was swept out. Hey, there's the remains of the bracket that should have been holding the tank!

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The results of this were honestly predictable.

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On the plus side, the outer wing just bolts on so access should be fine to carry out a repair. I could be naughty and bolt the liner back in and pretend not to have seen it as the MOT tester would never know... I'd rather properly fix it though. Even bearing in mind that I'll need to chase it back a ways to find solid metal it shouldn't be the worst repair to do. Especially as it's out of sight so my horrible welding won't be visible.

I had a bit of a peer into the void using my phone camera and the inner will looks fine. Couple of bits of surface rust but nothing terrifying.

It looks like the tank itself was replaced in the early 90s judging from the date of 1991 on a sticker on it.

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Given the line was completely clogged I was surprised to find that it did have some water in...well...something vaguely resembling liquid which may at some point have been water anyway.

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This smelled precisely like you'd expect for 30 year old Barr's Stop Leak or K-Seal...lovely! Given that Jag used to recommend adding two bottles of the stuff at each coolant flush, not surprising to find this. There was about an inch of compacted mud at the bottom of the bottle under about 1/2 a pint of water.

Trying to clear the pipe took way longer than getting everything out. The culprit was unsurprisingly the narrowest point in the system, the coupler between the two pipes.

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That was choked solid end to end. I had to resort to drilling the gunk out of it as it had the consistency of concrete. Again, I reckon age old leak stop compounds are probably to blame. Removing the hoses (once I eventually managed to get the hose clips free) required them to be cut and then peeled off with a pair of pliers as they were utterly welded onto it.

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The whole lot is now soaking in the sink in the utility room, probably awaiting a run through the dishwasher tomorrow before being refitted.

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The bung on the overflow will probably be sealed to the body using Sikaflex to hopefully make it something resembling water tight. Hopefully the system will be less troublesome going forward given that cooling system sealant potions won't be going anywhere near the car.

I will need to figure out some means to secure it though as the bracketry has long since dissolved too.

Welding the wing up will need to wait a bit as I'll need a bunch of supplies first which I obviously can't get out for just now.

In summary: It's been said a thousand times before by pretty much every owner of an XJ-S ever...what a stupid design!

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

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:28 pm
by Zelandeth
The bottle was left soaking overnight before getting thrown in the dishwasher on an intensive wash this morning.

Hasn't cleaned up badly actually given there was about an inch of solid mud in the bottom of it originally.

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Looks perfectly serviceable to me.

Has now been reassembled ready for refitting.

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I'll make sure both the hose inlet/outlets are sealed properly once it's back on the car. I'll be careful about the hose routing to make sure it doesn't get kinked as I know that's a common problem with this setup.

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

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:10 am
by JPB
That setup certainly has the potential to be its own worst enemy. How on earth would such a Heath Robinson (but without the logic..) contraption ever have been signed off by the production engineers at the time? It looks as if someone repurposed an existing product, more commonly found in a camper van and serving as a waste tank..
;)

It's so encouraging that you're persevering with this car and that your findings along the way are right here to inspire (or frighten off? ;) ) anyone who has an urge to own such a car.
Both the motorhome and the AC are vehicles I would love to own, but the XJ-S is a truly magnificent thing and I have at least had the chance to drive a couple of these back in the days when I could get into and out from a car so low, so I totally understand the sheer joy of driving one, but I lack the bravery to take on anything so full with the potential to bankrupt me these days and shall continue to feel the joy vicariously through this thread.

Keep up the good work. 8-)

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

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:00 pm
by Zelandeth
The XJ-S is a 50/50 blend of aerospace levels of over-engineering and Tom & Jerry jury rigged nonsense.

If they had just used an off the shelf expansion bottle with a properly integrated overflow that was actually watertight I wouldn't have a hole in my sill to fix. Instead no, they used one with a steel pipe coming out of it and a poorly fitting rubber bung. So steam and water leak into the wing, behind the wheel arch liner.

Even better...they could have used a transparent header tank with a max/min mark on it which would have totally negated the need for the extra expansion tank entirely as the level could be properly regulated in the main tank. The only reason this thing exists is because there is no way to gauge the level in the header tank, so "fill it to the top" is the instruction in the handbook. So obviously as soon as the engine warms up it dumps a pint or two of coolant out the overflow (which sounds like a lot until you remember that the engine takes 19.5 litres of coolant!).

Yet less than a foot away from that nonsense, when they chose the retaining bolts for the brake calipers (which are bigger than I've seen on some buses) they decided that thread lock wasn't good enough, so they're all threaded together with lock wire. So I have had to buy in lock wire and a crimping tool to add to my toolkit.

I'd by lying if I said it was a car I'd ever have gone looking for or really considered, *especially* in V12 form...however when the keys basically dropped into my hands I wasn't going to say no.

I've got a parcel on the way (the factors say it's business as usual for web orders so hopefully should be here soon) which contains:

[] Full coolant hose set. Thanks to the expansion tank hose having been blocked for goodness only know how many years, the system has been over pressurising and at least two of the hoses are showing signs of distress as a result. See below.

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These both have cable ties wrapped around them to act as reinforcement until the new hoses arrive. At least the system pressure is being kept at sensible levels now.

Given they're all 34 years old, I figure they've done their time and are probably due a change. The radiator was replaced only a couple of months before I got the car, so having the hoses all replaced as well should hopefully mean I don't need to actively worry about the cooling system for a while.

I'm sure I will invent several new and exciting curses while trying to fit them.

[] Set of spark plugs.

[] A/C Compressor to condenser hose. Speaking of factory bodges - using jubilee clips to hold together the hot gas lines on the A/C system qualifies I think! It probably worked fine if the system was to be gassed up every year or two, but with the price of refrigerant these days (the system has been converted to r134a at least) I'd rather get shot of two joints which I know will leak...I've spent many hours helping out a friend who is a HVAC technician, so this makes my teeth itch!

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That's exactly the sort of bodge we used to find on equipment on the farm. Bonus points if it's on the high pressure side of a hydraulic system.

[] Cam cover gaskets for both cylinder banks and a set of half moon seals for the cam boxes.

[] Inlet manifold gasket set.

Both cam covers leak like a proverbial sieve at the moment...actually changing those is pretty simple...once you get to them! Um...

Can't even see the one on this side...

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Nearside one you can see bits of at least!

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Which also does a good job of highlighting how ridiculously long the engine is given that the cam cover runs from the oil filler (mid way between the radiator caps) all the way back to just above the windscreen washer bottle. She's a substantial old beastie! Pretty sure I recall seeing someone quoting a figure somewhere around the 450kg mark for the drivetrain in this thing...The unladen weight of the Invacar is 410kg!

Yeah, getting at the cam covers requires removal of the inlet manifolds (which of course requires removal or disconnection of no small number of things which are attached to or in the way of them). Well it's a good opportunity to change the gaskets I guess!

The distributor also needs servicing...which will be massively easier with all the nonsense it's normally buried behind out of the way. So doing this while I've already got things apart to do the cam cover gaskets makes a lot of sense to me. I'd rather not take this much stuff apart more often than I need to. Spark plugs will also be changed at the same time as getting to those requires you to unbolt the A/C compressor and to remove the assembly holding on the throttle linkage and ignition coil. This is a job that's way more awkward on the HE cars because of the angle the plugs screw into the heads. The plugs on the pre-HE cars just screwed straight down into the heads which made things way easier.

Hoping once the plugs are done, distributor has been overhauled and a new cap and rotor arm are on it that we'll finally be able to get an idle that's as silky smooth as it should be. Currently there's a very slight intermittent miss at idle which is really bugging me.

I wouldn't complain if it improved economy a bit either!

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

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:58 pm
by Zelandeth
Found that Mr. Injector do a nice kit which contains all the necessary bits to overhaul the engine bay fuel lines. Link here. Not a bad price either given there's 12 (or more or less) of everything and that that hose isn't cheap even on its own.

Then discovered their web shop is currently closed due to the lockdown. Balls.

Time to go digging for all the bits individually elsewhere.

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

Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:33 pm
by Zelandeth
Most of the bits I've been waiting for the Jag have now arrived with the exception of course of the injection stuff because the store is closed and I've not yet summoned the energy to pick up everything individually. Oh, and bolts for the cam covers because I still been to dig out what size is the best fit (seem to recall it being mentioned in the PDF I've got which helps keep us XJ-S owners sane).

Looking at the bag full of coolant hoses I'm somewhat horrified by the number of really short bits there are... I'm used to these being an absolute pain in the proverbial rear based on my experience changing the water pump to heater feed connection on Skoda Estelles...and that's relatively easy to get at!

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Changing half a dozen of these in hose twice the diameter, buried under the sprawling V12 mess in the XJ-S engine bay isn't my idea of fun...I'm guessing that it's probably going to be a lot easier to get to a fair few hoses while the inlet manifolds are off to get at the cam covers.

Today I decided that in the interests of getting the dogs (and me) exercise while being a far faster moving target for hassle that it was time to get the C5 out for the first time this year. I'd meant to a couple of months ago, but couldn't face digging it out of the back of the shed at the time.

Unsurprisingly it hasn't got any less scruffy over winter.

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Star decided she wanted to model for us here too. It actually took me six attempts to get this photo without her being in the way.

Apologies for the state of the garden here as well...This area is pretty much exclusively used as an exercise area for the dogs and is due me going around to do a litter clearance (it gets done a couple of times every week), so is a bit of a mess. Only reason other than the dogs to be out there is that it's also the route between the shed the C5 lives in and the outside world.

Aside from missing hub caps, a missing front mud guard (I do actually have that, I've just never got as far as refitting it as it makes checking the front tyre pressure a pain) and every single surface being scratched to Hell and back the reflective stripes are falling off and are the wrong colour. They were applied in minutes by me with stuff that I just happened to have laying around about five years ago.

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Completely at random I stumbled across some reflective tape in Halfords a couple of months ago which is a far, far closer match to the colour of the original stuff.

The two little squares on the wheel trim here are still the originally applied stickers, so you can see while it's not a perfect match it's a lot closer.

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An empty paint tin I've found makes an ideal jack for working on the C5.

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While it's still scruffy as anything if you look vaguely closely I think it looks a good deal more presentable at a glance now the stripes are all there, match each other and are the right colour.

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Next up for it once the lockdown finishes will be a new battery as the one currently in use has pretty much had it. Can't really complain though, it's done five years of regular use and is just a standard car 038 type, so not designed for this type of application really. I'd really like to go down the lithium ion route as it's entirely possible to build a pack into the base of the luggage compartment that's a fraction of the weight of the original yet gives a real world range of 50+ miles even using motor assistance more than normal. However you're looking at several hundred pounds worth of batteries alone...plus obviously a charger and controller would also need to be factored in...and some form of monitoring as the original "fuel gauge" calibration wouldn't be suitable for a different battery chemistry,

Mentioning the instrumentation, here's the "dash" on the C5.

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The right hand display is the fuel guage. Simple bar graph that ticks down as energy is used. It will start beeping at you before you run out of juice entirely, and about that point will cut power to protect the battery from damage. The left hand display is essentially an economy gauge. When the motor is energised a single LED lights to show how much power is being used - moving to the right (red) if the load is heavy, or left (green) if the motor load is low. The two amber LEDs at each end of both gauges are simply there to act as an indicator to the user that the power is switched on. The left display also acts as an overheat indicator for the motor - if it gets too hot the whole display there will flash to warn you. The electronics in there are actually pretty clever for the time. The LCD display at the far left is just an off-the-shelf cycle computer to give me a speedometer, odometer and clock as there's nothing like that built in. The two green lights at either side are also additions of mine tied into the indicators so I don't go for miles before remembering to switch them off.

I have thought about doing a more thorough modernisation, doing away with the original lead-acid battery, the original primitive motor controller (it's just a relay switched feed so on or off, there's no throttle or anything like that) etc. However given that this C5 while cosmetically rough is actually very original and works well I'm quite reluctant to go gutting it. If I came across the necessary hardware cheaply enough (finding an e-bike that's been accident damaged beyond economic repair would be the ideal situation really) though I may well be willing to reconsider that situation. A modern hub motor even though still rated at the same maximum of 250W can provide a lot more torque a lot more efficiently than the comparatively primitive one the C5 uses. Speaking of the motor...no, it is NOT a washing machine motor. Yes, Polymotor, company who made it do also make washing machine motors...but the press seemed to conveniently forget that as well as washing machine motors, they also make motors for torpedos and other industrial applications. There's actually nothing whatsoever wrong with the original C5 motor - quite a few folks get impressive performance out of it running it on 24V with some additional cooling without reliability issues, it's just that technology has moved on from 1984. A modern hub motor will perform better than the original, is lighter and does away with the need for a separate gearbox and belt drive as it's just one integral unit. We'll see...If I came across the parts needed for an upgrade, I might instead look to revive the "spares" C5 which lives out the back of the shed. It's got a dead control system and is missing a lot of bits, so would be a better candidate for a complete drive system overhaul. It's in a lot better shape cosmetically than the one I actually use too. I don't really mind it being scruffy though, it's a working vehicle and being a mess visually makes it less appealing to thieves - especially as the accessories like the indicators and rear view mirror are things I've grafted on myself rather than factory accessories which have quite a bit of value these days.

It's good fun to ride around here where we've got so many off-street cycle paths, don't think I'd fancy using it to actually commute on a public road though!