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

#671 Post by Zelandeth » Fri Aug 21, 2020 12:59 am

TPA was out and about again today up in Olney. I usually try to avoid parking in spaces like this but I didn't really have any choice today as someone had stuck a market in the middle of the actual car park.

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As predicted, yes getting out was a pain in the proverbial backside. Especially lacking reversing lights.

Shortly after that I did the first fuel stop since the carb rebuild and since she's been allowed properly out of town a few times. The maths says 35MPG, which is much more in the ballpark of what I was hoping to see rather than the low to mid 20s I'd seen before. I think that this pretty much confirms that the carb wasn't happy before the second clean.

The new oil in the gearbox/diff has definitely reduced the overall volume of the whine a bit, so I guess the old oil had degraded quite a bit. I did check through what had been drained out and there was zero evidence of any glitter so I'm not worrying about it being a little whiny - I reckon they're just like that.

We then had a run up to Towcester, proper out of town run, which she handled like an absolute champ. I'm absolutely staggered by how well she cruises...She's smoother than a lot of "proper" cars I've had!

About 1/3 of the way home however things went a bit awry. Not badly, but inconveniently. Absolutely out of nowhere while happily cruising along (my pace being dictated by the traffic in front) there was a godawful bang and I suddenly had no drive. Once I'd experimentally revved the engine a couple of times (you honestly can't hear it below about 55) to confirm that the bowels of the engine hadn't just deposited themselves all over the A5 I figured I'd either snapped or thrown the CVT belt. Turns out that a Model 70 without the drag from the CVT will roll for MILES! I must have gone the best part of 3/4 a mile before I got to the gateway I was planning to pull into and I'd lost about 10mph.

So, convenient gateway which let met get a reasonable distance out of traffic.

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Shame the cafe wasn't open as actually just parking up in the car park would have been preferable...plus I was thirsty so being able to get a drink would have been nice.

A quick check under the engine cover confirmed a snapped CVT belt. Half hour job to change but I didn't have either a belt nor the tools to change it on me. Nor did I have a clear enough idea in my head of where what I would need brought to me was in the garage to send someone out with it. Plus I didn't particularly want to be twirling spanners at the side of the A5 in rush hour. Time to call for recovery. Last time I called a breakdown service was in 2006 so I've not had a bad run I reckon.

My view for the next couple of hours.

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While a bit boring, I couldn't really complain. Breeze was running straight through the car so it was a pleasant temperature, I had a comfy seat, and there was a surprisingly large amount of interesting traffic passing by. Given I was on my own and in a (relatively) safe location I knew I wasn't going to be a priority call...despite the initially wildly optimistic estimates given. Think it was roughly two hours before help arrived which was about what I was expecting.

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Then a quick ride on the truck (seriously, about fifteen minutes!)...

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Had us back home.

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Really surprised at how well that truck rode, though the robotised manual gearbox would have driven me spare.

We were dropped off up the hill from our driveway and I was able to just roll down the hill and onto the drive and push the car back into the safety of the garage.

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Didn't take five minutes to retrieve the belt and pretty much confirm my suspicions. I reckon it was a failure waiting to happen down to a degraded old belt. No obvious fraying or anything, it's just gone suddenly at one point when the braiding has given way (the surface damage is just from where it was sitting against the still rotating pulleys I think).

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I know that the belts I've used along with a lot of my spares showed evidence of having spent a long time stored in very poor conditions and I reckon that's taken its toll. We've got some NOS belts at a friend's place which have been stored better, so getting one of those fitted will be step one and should get us rolling again.

Ancient belts however I reckon are likely to be a recurring headache, especially if I'm going to be using the car regularly...and it's something I *definitely* don't want to have to worry about if I wind up doing an epic round-country trip at some point in the next year or two. As such I want to see if a modern alternative will work. The nearest equivalent we believe is a Dayco HP2020, which is slightly longer but has a very similar profile...so I've got one ordered on the way to experiment with. It's coming from Rock Auto in the US as even with shipping it was half the price of one ordered from in the UK it turned out.

So don't think her arriving home on the back of a flatbed is going to result in a huge spell in the garage, she should be back up and running by the weekend. Just one of those things which happens with old cars sometimes.
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

#672 Post by gazza82 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 1:08 pm

Zelandeth wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 12:59 am
It's coming from Rock Auto in the US as even with shipping it was half the price of one ordered from in the UK it turned out.
Hope they don't sting you for import tax on top .. recently received a small gift for my wife from a US supplier and it went up by 50% when our friends at UPS added import tax!! :x
"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

#673 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:26 am

gazza82 wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 1:08 pm
Zelandeth wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 12:59 am
It's coming from Rock Auto in the US as even with shipping it was half the price of one ordered from in the UK it turned out.
Hope they don't sting you for import tax on top .. recently received a small gift for my wife from a US supplier and it went up by 50% when our friends at UPS added import tax!! :x
That shouldn't be an issue here as it's all pre-paid as part of the shipping cost. Hopefully!
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

#674 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:55 pm

A friend very kindly dropped a replacement NOS drive belt off for me this morning. This is in far, far better shape than any of the half dozen or so I originally got with the first Invacar - all but a couple of which were binned long ago as they were plainly too far gone. This one looks in fine shape though.

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The details for those interested.

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That part number appears to be completely obsolete judging from a Google search. General theory is that these were custom made for the Invacar, probably bought in sufficient numbers by the DHSS back in the day that it wasn't prohibitively expensive per item cost wise to do that.

This belt is 1 1/4" wide at the widest point, so fractionally wider than the HP2020. We'll see if that has any noticeable impact when it arrives.

Changing the CVT belt on one of these cars is pretty straightforward. Only tools you need are two 17mm spanners. The manual states that you need to remove one of the pulleys from the gearbox/chaincase, however if you back the tensioner all the way off there's *just* enough slack to get the belt to walk its way on without having to dismantle anything.

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The belt tension isn't actually set while paying any attention to the actual tension. The manual states that the correct belt tension is obtained with the pulley centres 10.25" apart.

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I did actually get it closer than it looks there, holding the tape measure and the camera at the same time was tricky.

Now having a new belt in good order in front of me to compare to I was able to take a closer look at the two remaining spares I had in the garage and ascertain that they are indeed fit for nothing aside from a trip into the bin.

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Aside from having perished just as badly as the one which just went pop they're worn down to barely 1" in width. The better of the two will be held on to now purely as a "limp my way home" backup, but as soon as I've got a decent spare in hand it will join the first one in the bin.

It will obviously take a bit of time for the new belt to bed in but initial signs on the brief test drive round the block showed everything working as it should. Haven't been above 30mph yet but I've no reason to expect any issues.

The one really noticeable thing that has changed however is that the horrible what I'd always assumed was clutch judder appears to have gone. That's been an issue I've had since the first time KPL moved on my driveway under her own power so has been with me for a while! If a new belt has sorted it I'll be very happy as that's always been really annoying.

In preparation for some remedial work to the paintwork I'm starting to tidy a few things up. While I'd got a decent finish on the engine cover the actual surface was badly pitted in a load of places.

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To remedy this I've been going over the area with some self setting filler, once the panel is given a going over to sand that down it should look a lot better with fresh paint applied afterwards.

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Looks a bit ridiculous in the meantime, but that's the way with cosmetics isn't it? Things have to get worse before you can improve on them. Will be doing this a panel at a time to keep things manageable.
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

#675 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:22 pm

Following the replacement of the belt, TPA was out and about today to meet up with a couple of friends.

You know seeing one Invacar is a rare enough sight these days...

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These other two are just in the process of being recommissiined and should be back on the road soon.

The new belt seems to be working well. The only issue to surface was the cooling fan air intake grill making another bid for freedom.

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As this finding its way into the cooling fan would have been A Bad Thing (tm) it was removed and stowed under the seat for the trip home. As this is the third or fourth time it has come loose I'm going to improve on the standard fixings. Given it's just hooked over the ends of four screws that won't be hard. Some penny washers and a few bolts will do the job.
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

#676 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:43 pm

So yesterday despite the car running well we had one small issue in that the grill on the engine cooling air intake fell off. Again.

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Given that's the only thing stopping people from sticking their fingers in here, this was something I considered sorting to be a high priority.

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Originally it was held in simply by the ends of four small stubby self tapping screws poking through the mesh.

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Given this is the third or fourth time it's done this I figured it was time to improve on this arrangement

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Problem solved and everything back together.

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You can see the edge of the washers in person if you look closely so I'll want to go back to trim those at some point. That's a pretty low priority though. At least the grill isn't going to try to get itself ingested by the cooling fan again now the grill is properly secured.
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

#677 Post by Dick » Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:13 pm

Im probably going to be shouted at but have you considered getting it wrapped? I think it's what the youth are doing to their cars these days? Would itbe resistant to cracks etc? In my defence ive started watching wd and they did it to a few cars :oops:
As for people sticking fingers where they shouldn't.. serves them right...

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

#678 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:27 pm

Dick wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:13 pm
Im probably going to be shouted at but have you considered getting it wrapped? I think it's what the youth are doing to their cars these days? Would itbe resistant to cracks etc? In my defence ive started watching wd and they did it to a few cars :oops:
As for people sticking fingers where they shouldn't.. serves them right...
It's not something I've discounted, but I'd need to get most of the body issues sorted first given the costs involved.

-- -- --

A package arrived from the US this morning.

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This was ordered a full 24 hours later than the oil pressure switch sitting next to the belt, which was coming from less than 100 miles away - they arrived within a couple of hours of each other. This is the second time I've ordered stuff from them and have had things arrive seemingly unfeasibly quickly.

The arrival of this belt meant that I could finally get some actual measurements relative to the original Invacar belts, which I'd been wanting to for a while. I'd hard a few mentions of the HP2020 being slightly longer so wanted to see how how much longer it was and whether it would be possible to take up the additional slack with the tension adjustment.

First up, an original Dayco 43-5639. This is the now obsolete belt which was originally fitted.

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So let's compare that to the Dayco HP2020 which we've been advised is the closest current equivalent.

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Unless I'm seeing things, those belts look to be as close to the same length as to be identical according to this tape measure.

How about width. I measured the new belt I fitted a couple of days ago at 1 1/4" wide. How does that compare?

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So it's fractionally narrower, but not by much at all. The wear limit width wise according to the manual is 28mm, so we're comfortably within that.

So not a problem it looks like. The slightly narrower starting width means we might not get quite as much life out of the belt, though at this point we're still trying to figure out what normal belt life actually is. To be honest if it lasts a year of normal use and is an annual service item...it's a £30 current production part. I can deal with that.

Of course this is theory at this point...while my measurements show that the HP2020 is all but identical to the NOS Invacar CVT belts, it may well behave quite differently in the real world. My plan at this point is to get the HP2020 installed at some point shortly so I can get some real world testing done. It looks really promising though. The reports of the HP2020 being notably longer appear to be false.

I'll also try to get this oil pressure switch installed on the Jag ASAP.

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The original one randomly decided to quit working a couple of weeks ago. That's a warning light that I'm not willing to do without!
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

#679 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:36 am

After three days of faffing around with it I've got the paint on the engine cover...looking not quite as good as it did before I started messing with it.

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I just really need to accept that bodywork isn't really my forte. It wasn't going to go well when after sanding things back and degreasing the panel, the primer proceeded to do this as it dried.

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The worst of that was flatted back but I had to admit to having lost patience with the job a bit by that point.

During the long cold evenings in the winter we'll see about totally stripping the panel back...or getting a professional to do it.

Trying to smarten this up was a daft idea and I should have left it alone. Will get everything put back together later...then stop messing about trying to make things pretty. Just concentrate on what it needs to be a working car that's reliable and pleasant to use.


My local garage has been snowed under lately, meaning the Xantia has been sitting out the back of their place for three weeks awaiting time on the ramp...to try to remedy this, they have asked a local Citroen expert (in a strange twist of fate, the car's former keeper) to help out. So I've been lending a hand too.

The issue we started out with was a failed lower control arm bush. Swapping this turned out to be slightly more of a headache than it might have been as the nut on the bottom balljoint refused to come off...so the whole wishbone had to come off complete with the hub still attached.

Next couple of photos are courtesy of the gent who's been doing most of the work.

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Don't worry, the brake caliper was also tied up after the photo was taken, not left precariously balanced on that box.

She's also wanting new brake pads so those will be swapped while we're in there. Looks like the caliper has been touching the edge of the disc as well so that will be given a clean up. The car's been sitting since November so not surprised there's a little rust there.

Turned out that both the bush mentioned by the MOT tester *and* the rear "P" bush were stuffed...so they're both getting changed.

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It was noted around the point the MOT was running out that the battery was struggling. It was still under warranty (fitted in December 2018), and Costco swapped it yesterday without any quibbles.

Turned out there was a reason for this. The suspension on the Xantia wakes up when it detects a door or the boot opened, which can be detected if you know to look for it, by a quiet whining noise from the electrovalves.

While he was working on the car it was noticed that the system wasn't always going to sleep as it should have. The culprit was (as is often the case apparently) the switch in the boot latch. This has now been defeated (unplugged!).

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Hopefully the battery will stop going flat now.

I'm just waiting for a new lower ball joint to turn up then we can start getting things reassembled.
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

#680 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:06 am

The Jag is now off the road until such point as I get the tyres replaced. The front ones are ancient and had turned to more plastic than rubber and were out of round. However at £220 apiece it's one of those jobs which it takes a bit of time to build up to, especially as my husband is now looking for work as their work contract has just come to an end, especially as while they weren't great the tyres were still legal and I just made a point of not using the car in the wet - especially as it's near impossible to keep the thing demisted without working air con. The rear ones are older than ideal but still nicely compliant and have some life left in them. However I can't really just change the front ones as the tyres it's fitted with aren't correct. It should be fitted with 215/70 R15 tyres with a W speed rating. Not the 205/70s with a H rating on the front or T on the rear.

A very, very, very near miss with another driver (which looking back on it I reckon may have been a Crash for Cash attempt) earlier today saw me laying down a truly impressive set of skid marks, left a sufficiently dense cloud of tyre smoke you couldn't see through it, and has left a huge flat spot in both of the fronts. The resulting vibration actually was sufficient that I pulled over as soon as it was safe to to confirm I hadn't blown a tyre completely. The front tyres now are thoroughly dead as the vibration is sufficient to render the car pretty much undrivable above 30mph. You can see the flat spot from about ten feet away.

It's my hope that we will have the Xantia back in service in the next few days. If that's the case the timing will work out pretty well as there are a number of jobs I want to get done on the Jag which require quite a bit of stripping down - not least changing ALL the rubber fuel lines on the car for ethanol resistant ones, replacing the leaking cam cover oil seals, the blown inlet manifold gasket and changing some of the harder to get to coolant lines. Have a set of front brake discs and pads to go on to. Assuming I do get the Xantia back this week, the Jag can go into "dry dock" for a month or so while those jobs are tackled, and it can get the new tyres fitted immediately before returning to the road. Hopefully by that point our household employment situation will be more solid so dropping a grand on tyres will be slightly less stressful...though given the current job market I'm not holding my breath.

Something I did spot that's a little worrying though was that there's something funky with the rear ride height. I can't remember off the top of my head which is left/right here...but compare the two photos below.

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Something ain't right there. I did crawl underneath to see if I could immediately see any evidence of a broken spring (remember, there are two on both sides on an XJ-S just for added fun/misery) and I couldn't immediately see anything obvious...so further investigation may be required there. I'll be able to get a better look when the wheels are off. I'm *hoping* that there has historically been a broken spring/springs on one side and it's been replaced...and the difference is just because they were cheap about it and only did one side...so one side has 35 year old springs on, the other doesn't. I rather doubt I'm going to be that lucky though. I need to investigate that before going too far down the tyre replacement path as this has the potential to be hiding some really nasty bills. Especially as I have a horrible feeling that a spring change is a subframe off job on this car.


The Invacar engine cover repaint has progressed today. I gave it a skim over with the sander this morning which got rid of *most* of the remaining chunks of paint. I'm not worrying too much about it at this point as I fully realise that there are about 50 steps needed to get a properly smooth uniform finish that I have neither the time nor patience for. If I can get it back to looking reasonably cared for and more or less presentable from ten paces I'll be happy. Somewhere down the line it will need to be more aggressively stripped and sanded back, the well and truly rusted on hinges and lock removed, the surface properly filled, sanded, filled, sanded many times over, before being repainted in a proper spray booth or at least a properly equipped garage. That ain't happening today though!

A couple of thin coats of cheap. basic primer (rather than the expensive high build stuff that started this whole mess) were applied and didn't appear to do anything unexpected. So topcoat number one went on...For some reason I forgot to get a photo of the primer stage.

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This was repeated a couple of times until I was satisfied I had decent even coverage, and I just had time to get the first layer of clearcoat down before it started to cool off and I started to lose the light.

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It was then very carefully placed back on the car in the garage so it can cure overnight in there rather than being left outside to get damp which would almost definitely make it go cloudy.

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It will want a few more coats on, but should be able to get it put back together tomorrow. Then I'll leave it the heck alone and concentrate on stuff which actually will make the car better to use rather than worrying what she looks like.

One of the things the events of today have definitely pushed back into the forefront of my mind though is that I really *need* to get dashcams fitted to the rest of the fleet (the van already has one installed), as that was a very close call I had earlier today and without video evidence the suspicion of guilt would automatically have been pointed at me given I'd have gone into the back of another car. Basically, quiet derestricted dual carriageway. I saw a car and a bus behind them on a side road waiting to join, so I moved over to lane 2 to let them do so. Given the suspicion I treat all other road users, I'd backed off quite a bit by this point, even though I was only ambling along just under 60 anyway. Good thing as after a second or so they without any warning whatsoever moved over into lane 2, where I was about to pass them. I couldn't dodge left as the bus which had followed them out was now there, and the only option to my right was a barrier. As such the only thing I could do was stand on the brakes and pray. Thankfully A: The brakes on the Jag are far better than most cars from that era, and B: Nobody was tailgating me at the time. If I'd been blasting along there at 70+ as a lot of people do and not assuming that the merging car was likely to do something stupid, I'd have wound up parked halfway through their car. The skid marks and cloud of smoke were rather impressive. On this occasion it was in full view of a bus that's bristling with cameras so getting hold of footage to pass on to my insurer and the police wouldn't have been a problem, but this really highlighted to me that in 2020 I need to get permanent recording hardware installed in my cars. It's just not a "good idea" any more, it's essential.
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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