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

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

#581 Post by Zelandeth » Mon May 25, 2020 11:36 pm

Bit of work done in the van today to start putting back together what I pulled to bits yesterday.

First up was to extend the top of the countertop over the fridge so we didn't have two different heights to work with. Luckily I found a couple of offcuts floating around which were exactly the right size to get the height right.

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By complete and utter random chance it turned out that I had a thin MDF offcut floating around that was almost the exact right size to close this off. It's a bit warped from sitting in the back of the shed for about three years but that's hardly a problem here.

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Yes I did make sure to leave enough of a drop so the drawer can latch closed.

Those little metal L brackets will feature heavily in this job, and are a favourite of mine for many tasks.

I decided against bothering to elevate the fridge. Doing that would have required me to dismantle and completely redo the flue and I really didn't want to take that apart again.

Having thought on it overnight I decided that the fuel tank for the heater was going back more or less where I had first put it. It was just going to be awkward having it inside the gas locker and there was always the worry of it getting bashed while putting the gas bottle in - though it is really sturdy.

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I prefer this as well in that it means that the fuel level can be checked visually from inside the van without needing to go outside. It's positioned such that filling can be easily done through the gas locker door though.

While I was working in that area I finally got the water pipes into the two brackets right in the corner. I didn't have enough hand strength to do that when I was standing on my head under there when I did the plumbing! The clips are really intended for 15mm copper pipe so these hoses are a really snug fit, it takes quite a bit of effort to get them to snap closed.

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I need to tidy up the tail light wiring. That's probably going to be a job for tomorrow. That's what all that spaghetti is, the feeds for the high level tail lights.

Also, yes. That is a patio gas cylinder. I've got a proper one in the garage waiting to go in along with a new regulator and hose tail. This was the only one I had to hand for testing a year and a half ago (nicked from the barbeque) and I had honestly forgotten about that until seeing the "patio gas" logo on it today. Not sure what the difference is mind you, the ratings on the regulator are identical to the one which will be going in, just a different fitting.

I'll be sealing around the tank so it doesn't leave a gaping hole in the gas locker. I will be constructing things a bit differently to how they were originally as well as I'm not bothering having a separate lid on it.

This got me to an a stage I was dreading...starting to rebuild.

There are some things I am good at and some things I am not good at. Carpentry is one of the latter. Generally no matter how much care, patience and care I put into jobs involving woodwork things degenerate into a complete farce in no time flat and the results make the dimensional control on the Lada production line on a Monday morning look like something from the space program. Even if all I was cutting out was a simple square.

With that in mind I didn't have great hopes for making things like this.

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How far away from fitting was it then?

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I nearly died of shock...aside from some slight wobble on the long edge that I was aware of and really isn't a problem here, it's pretty much a perfect fit. I didn't need to take it back out to be altered, which means it's nanometre perfect in my book!

How about the other side?

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Now I'm getting a little scared...that fit too!

The joins along all the edges will be sealed carefully to ensure that the cabinet is as close to sealed from the rest of the van as possible. I'll be cutting bigger vents in the floor as well before everything is buttoned up. I've got appropriate grills to cover them. Around where the pipework passes know if out will also be treated with tape and/or expanding foam.

I'll add a buffer next to the edge of the heater fuel tank where it protrudes into the locker to protect it from getting bashed when inserting or removing the cylinder. I could have set it back a bit further but that would have made filling more awkward.

I do have a cylinder securing kit in the garage too, will be nice to switch to that and ditch the bungee cords and ratchet strap system!

While it looks tight it's not bad actually.

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Probably the most annoying thing when inserting/removing the cylinder is the kitchen sink waste - however I can't really move it any further back due to the position of the chassis outrigger this corner of the van sits on. It would have been flush with the wall if there wasn't a 3mm thick steel plate under there!

I'd like to ditch as much of the flexible drain pipe as possible somewhere down the line anyway, so that may be revisited.

Yes, the tail light wiring is running through a ventilation hole... it's already on my list (and has been since it was lashed up like that). Pretty much everything in this corner was done to prove things worked and fully expecting to come back to it (which I now am) to do a proper job of it.

I had to stop at this point as I have run out of fixing brackets, and nearly run out of woodscrews of an appropriate size...will need to make a Toolstation run to restock.

Next steps (in no particular order):

[] Tidy high level tail light wiring.

[] Replace gas cylinder regulator & hose.

[] Install gas cylinder fixing kit.

[] Install buffer adjacent to heater fuel tank.

[] Seal gas locker.

[] Add further ventilation to floor of locker.

[] Add further hole for sink draining rack drain line.

[] Trim screws where they protrude into the locker (not strictly necessary but feels the right thing to do).

[] Pick up more brackets, screws & gas fittings.

[] Paint everything under there white once it's all fitted.

[] Install cupboard and gas locker (remotely switched obviously) lights.

[] Properly figure out where sink, hob and draining rack are going!

[] Refit oven heat shielding.

Speaking of the heat shield... I'm *assuming* that's what these bits of pressed metal are. There are two identical ones there.

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Has anyone who's done work on something like this have the foggiest idea how they're meant to be fitted...it really isn't obvious! To be honest the outside of the oven doesn't really get all that hot so I'm not sure how necessary they are. I've had it running for a full hour flat out during testing and it never got to a point where the surface temperature was worrying. It's double skinned as it is. The panelling between it and the cupboard will be lined with foil for heat reflection anyway and there will be a decent air space around it on all sides.

Feels like progress is being made...was a bit disheartening seeing the mess I'd made yesterday and the amount of things I'd out together that I had just pulled apart again. Nice to see proper panelling going in rather than paper thin chipboard you can cut with scissors or Foamex which was used for a lot of "this will do for two trips I've one afternoon to prep for" too.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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

#582 Post by Zelandeth » Wed May 27, 2020 12:22 am

This is one of those days where there's depressingly little visible to show for a lot of work at a glance!

While I didn't do a direct before and after, here's the general area a couple of days ago before work really started beyond pulling off the worktops.

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Here's where we left things today.

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Prior to this working the oven was basically just floating. It was held in purely by the four screws in the surround (which in itself had about as much structural rigidity as silly string).

Step one for today was to remove the oven so I can get into the area behind it unhindered.

Step two was further carpentry to make the divider that separates it from the cupboard.

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Again, this fitted with surprisingly little hassle...the only fettling that was needed was to make the cutout for the pipes a little deeper as I hadn't taken account for the fact that I had bent the gas lines for the hob and oven back a bit to keep them out of the way.

This then allowed me to locate a shelf beneath the oven for it to sit on, and to properly tie the front of the worktop frame to the wall of the van again. This was where I also discovered that it wasn't actually screwed onto the floor anywhere except for right at the one end. Once this had been corrected it actually felt sturdy for the first time ever. This is relevant as the oven is by far the biggest source of squeaks and rattles while driving, so anything I can do to reduce its ability to wobble and bounce independently of the van itself is to be taken advantage of.

After probably an hour of faffing around with the L shaped metal panels which I have to guess originally formed a box around the oven I ran out of patience. I have to assume that there was an additional piece or a load of battens or something that went with them that I just don't have. I decided to just use them to line the enclosure the oven was going to live in and call it good. I've no idea how they were originally used and I'm sorry if the designers see this and tear their hair out. One is mounted underneath the oven and to the rear, the other is to the front and left. The little strip left in the one corner has been covered with aluminium tape to offer a bit of thermal reflection too.

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I think this is probably a bit overkill given the amount of heat that isn't chucked out of the back and sides of the unit (most of the output comes out of the vent below the control panel at the front), but I figure the more heat that's kept away from wood the better. The underside of the shelf which was then put in to close this area off (after leak-checking the reconnected gas line of course) was also foil lined.

The liner for the grill was then attached to the shelf - this shelf was reused from the original setup - I know it's what the liner was originally attached to as all the holes line up!

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I've no idea what the rear of this was originally closed of with - if anything. I'm going to slot a piece of steel sheet in here though. Already have it marked out, just need to get the grinder out to cut it out. I'm planning to make a couple of plates to go over the top as well either side of the burner to keep the heat off the frame and keep it as completely enclosed as I can. Not going to make those until I've decided precisely where the hob assembly will sit as it will obviously affect the geometry. Just the fun and games of trying to make something that is designed to get hot with a frame out of what's essentially low grade plywood! The oven is pretty easy as it's inside a pretty well insulated metal box, the grill needs a bit more care taken, which means I need to do some metalwork.

That's where we left off today though.

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Doesn't look like much for more or less a full afternoon of work does it!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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

#583 Post by Zelandeth » Wed May 27, 2020 11:13 pm

Only had an hour after dinner today, but as per my recently set out rules, I always want to get at least one thing on the to do list ticked off. So out we went.

Today I wanted to start getting the void in between the oven and the gas locker actually starting to look like a cupboard for the first time since I'd owned the van. This whole area was just an empty void when I got it.

Out with some high quality drafting materials for our template...

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Which was then translated into actual material.

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I have moved away from the chipboard now and will be using this laminated chipboard going forward. It's a lot stronger and cuts more cleanly. I didn't start out with this as I had yet to have confirmation that these panels were actually fair game to be used or I would probably have gone with this to start with.

This was then assembled into an actual shelf.

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The battens along the front and rear edges serve a dual purpose of helping add a little additional rigidity to the shelf and also giving us an edge to prevent things from being able to fall off. Bearing in mind this *is* a van, so there's always the chance of things moving around in transit - even though I will be putting non-slip rubber matting on the shelves and the door will have the ability to be secured closed.

I will be adding a panel to cover most of the heater fuel tank (being careful of screw length - I'm aware that there are quite a few I need to cut back in this area as it is - nowhere local had anything shorter than 1" long in stock, so I just figured I'd spend half an hour with a Dremel trimming back some screws where necessary) to protect it, just leaving myself a "window" to observe the fuel level through. Another identical shelf will go in above this one, just above the fuel tank. As the door itself is quite narrow (about half the width of the opening here) it will be quite a black hole, so I will be fitting lighting in here so that you can actually find anything.

While it's a small thing it feels like quite a big step forward as it is the first time that this space has actually been starting to take shape. Feels like I am actually starting to put things back together now rather than pulling stuff to bits.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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

#584 Post by Zelandeth » Fri May 29, 2020 12:23 am

Just a bit more progress today.

The seams around the panel above the fridge were sealed off with ally tape. There's a large vent to the outside open to the area below this panel so I wanted to make sure it was well draught proofed. I've found this aluminium self adhesive tape to be really good for this sort of job where no real mechanical strength is important.

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It looks messy, but does a good job of sealing. I blocked off a couple of gaps in the floor and such when I first got the van and they were all still there fine a year and a half later when I removed it to put proper seam sealer in there.

The next shelf was made up and installed.

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Yes, the bottom one is slightly off level. Not totally sure how I managed that given that I measured it three times. Easy fix though.

The framework for the cupboard door was added.

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Then the gap between the door and the corner was panelled in.

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Don't worry about the tiny gap in the corner. I'll be putting a little L shaped trim in there anyway.

So we actually have a proper cupboard now.

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The grill has now been lined with foil tape for heat reflection. I was originally planning to fully panel this, but thinking about it a bit more, for all the time it will be running to heat up the odd piece of toast once every few years, it should be absolutely fine. I've done some experiments with the grill and the heat distribution from the burner is very directional and focused on the centre of the pan with very little actually reaching the sides. With the heat reflective foil on there, it will be absolutely fine I think. I may well still add some metal plates though...nothing to stop me from doing that later. I'm not holding up the rebuild of the kitchen on it anyway. We've been out with the van a few times so far and to be honest haven't missed the grill anyway so I don't mind if we need to come back to that.

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Before I closed things up for the day I propped the new worktop material up on top of the cabinets. This gives a better idea of the finish on it than the earlier photos.

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Should look nice I think. You can see how much thinner it is than the surface that was in here before looking at the gap under the panels by the water heater. That was cut back to allow the previous work surface to fit. It's a good 3/4" thinner.

The thinner top on there should mean I can actually properly reinstate the rear window lower trim. Previously this was all bent out of shape around the worktop as you can see here. This also meant that you couldn't use the fly screen on this window as there was no way to secure it in the lowered position.

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...Which does a good job of highlighting how messily the work surface was installed and one of the many reasons I wanted to change them!

I'll need to find a new lower window channel trim as this one has been cracked in a few places, but that shouldn't be too hard.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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

#585 Post by gazza82 » Fri May 29, 2020 1:23 pm

The sink/drainer looks odd like that .. are you planning to swap them so the drainer is in the corner? I would have thought the sink is pretty awkward to use tucked over there .. (although I realise you will not be washing up after a Christmas Dinner for 8 in there! ;) )
"If you're driving on the edge ... you're leaving too much room!"

Retirement Project: '59 Austin A35 2-door with 1330cc Midget engine and many upgrades
Said goodbye: got '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...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#586 Post by Zelandeth » Fri May 29, 2020 10:31 pm

The layout is compact enough that it's not actually that bad as everything is within reach...plus you're hardly doing masses of dishes there. It is suboptimal though, so I will probably look to switch things around a bit.

I *think* this is the layout we're going for.

A: Hob/Grill.
B: Sink.
C: Draining Board.

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-- -- --

Seams around the gas locker have now been sealed and the grating has been refitted over the floor vent.

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Obviously the top ones will be done once the worktop is in place.

After a search covering about 80% of the house I've managed to track down the wiring conduit and the connectors so I can get the tail light wiring in there tidied up. I also need to tidy things up a bit as there's a horrible goopy mess of sealant around some of the areas where the pipework passes into the locker...but we'll get there in due course. I'm having to fight the temptation to box the pipework in in the interests of tidiness, reminding myself that it's in the gas locker...you won't be able to see any of that once things are finished...I've gone for overkill as far as sealing things are concerned, even if that does mean it's messy.

Also installed the first of the cabinet lights. There will be one of these on each shelf in the cupboard.

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This one however is positioned so I can see what I'm doing when connecting/disconnecting the gas cylinder and turning it on/off.

They're dirt cheap little LED things, but work well for occasional use applications like this. I think they're actually meant to be number plate lights, but are about 7,000 times too bright for that application really.

The switch will obviously be in the cabin, not having switches in the gas locker...
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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

#587 Post by Zelandeth » Sat May 30, 2020 10:32 pm

Picking up where we left off yesterday it was time to start trial fitting things. At the very least I wanted to get the main chunk of the worktop into a position where I could have it in place as trying to work around a 2.5 metre long chunk of board on the floor in the back of the van was getting on my nerves. I also didn't want to have to try to get it *out* of the van again as it only just fit through the door.

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I may well take the edge back a bit further yet, this is the full 600mm depth that the board was supplied in. There's a balance to be struck between floorspace, workspace and the edge of the worktop not getting in the way of accessing things below it. The one at the rear will have to be shallower so that the bathroom door can still be opened.

I think that this is *approximately* where things will be going.

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That will leave the whole area at the rear of the van clear as a workspace. The sink isn't stuffed away awkwardly in the corner and nothing's situated in a way that will be a pain to hook up. I am finding myself tempted to take the opportunity to get rid of the convolute hose for the drain pipework while I've got a lot of things apart though. It doesn't flow well, Getting the joins water tight is an exercise in frustration and while it's not a problem I've had in this van I know it's prone to causing smelly drains as the ridges in the pipework tend to hold both soapy gunge and water - obviously of course there are no proper traps on the sinks here either which make that more likely to be an issue. I'd use waterless traps here anyway to reduce the odds of problems with freezing in the winter.

Before I finalise anything though I'm going to borrow Abby and see what she thinks. She's the most proficient and enthusiastic cook in the household so I'm happy to bow to her guidance on what will work best in terms of kitchen layout.

Once everything has been properly situated the worktop will be glued down to the framework in addition to the screws to hopefully reduce any potential for squeaks or rattles in the future.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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

#588 Post by Zelandeth » Sun May 31, 2020 10:58 pm

Moving on from yesterday the last bit of the worktop has been fitted.

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The last bit was a lot more awkward as the gap it had to fit into was far from square.

Starting to look more like a room again.

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Annoyingly the gas line for the water heater is now looks to be about 1/8" too short! So I'll probably need to cut it and add a coupler in there. Frustrating...but that's the way these things go sometimes.

Appliances going in will be the next thing on the list.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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

#589 Post by Dick » Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:51 am

Tidy job mate. How many people can sleep in it? Child no 2 is obsessed with camping cars..but finding a 5 berth in my budget is impossible... there's a chap selling a mk 2 transit camper near me in budget but a 4 berth...

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

#590 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:50 am

Dick wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:51 am
Tidy job mate. How many people can sleep in it? Child no 2 is obsessed with camping cars..but finding a 5 berth in my budget is impossible... there's a chap selling a mk 2 transit camper near me in budget but a 4 berth...
This model could be specified in anything between two and six berth. This particular van is set up to sleep two in comfort though. We're looking to add a decent awning to give us a bit more flexibility in that department sometime in the future as we're a household of four.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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