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

#571 Post by Dick » Wed May 13, 2020 7:21 am

Whilst ive always fancied the xjs im sort of glad i didn't.. if changing the distributor cap etc is that bad! I tend to get a bit sweary if things don't go as planned :oops: Do you have a video of the engine running before its new cap / service?

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

#572 Post by Zelandeth » Wed May 13, 2020 12:14 pm

Dick wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 7:21 am
Whilst ive always fancied the xjs im sort of glad i didn't.. if changing the distributor cap etc is that bad! I tend to get a bit sweary if things don't go as planned :oops: Do you have a video of the engine running before its new cap / service?
To be honest it wasn't a bad job, nothing about it is impossible just a bit fiddly and you need to tackle stuff methodically. You just have to accept ahead of time that quite often you will need to remove a few random things to get at others. A big old sofa cushion is a useful addition to the tool kit too!

Doing the plugs looks a right faff, though half the issue there is that you can't get at the bolts that hold the throttle tower on, and you (unless you have a plug socket exactly the right size and shape to fit by it) need to remove that to get to the back four. This problem can be avoided on future changes by drilling a couple of holes or slots in the baseplate (it's just stamped ally) to allow access. The biggest potential headache I can forsee there is if the plugs are welded to the head as they're taper fit ones.

Now a few of the coolant lines...those I have yet to figure out how on earth to tackle as they're buried between the block and exhaust manifolds too far up to reach from underneath. I can see me throwing a few things like that at a garage to do.

I'm sure I grabbed a video earlier at some point, I'll have a dig around later and see if I can find 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.

Dick
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:31 pm

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

#573 Post by Dick » Wed May 13, 2020 12:29 pm

Thanks! You're a braver man than me and ive re fitted the starter motor on my clio 1.5.. (4 times) that's a world of pain i never want to repeat...

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

#574 Post by Zelandeth » Wed May 13, 2020 11:26 pm

Dick wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:29 pm
...re fitted the starter motor on my clio 1.5.. (4 times) that's a world of pain i never want to repeat...
Sounds like me with Skoda Estelle clutch release bearings. I've said that the last four were the last time I was ever doing it. The last one was the fifth! £2 part which takes five minutes itself to change. However you need to remove the engine to do it, and the original ones are made of cheese. It only takes a few hours to pull the engine in an Estelle, but it still grates having to go through all that palaver for the sake of two quid's worth of bearing. Probably have changed my last one now though as both of the last Estelles I've had have been nothing but headaches and I've just accepted that I'm never going to find one that's half as good a car as my first one was - and that even if I did parts availability is so much more of a headache than it was back in 2006 when I had Tango that it's just not likely to make sense.


A little package arrived for the Invacar this morning.

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For those of you who don't know what you're looking at, that's a front hub assembly. That fits over the stub axle and wheel bearings and is what the brake drum and wheel are actually attached to.

I only actually need the studs from it...but buying the whole hub assembly seemed to be the only way of getting hold of any without having them custom machined (with the obvious difficulties involved in that given the current restrictions).

It's still looking like new despite sitting on a shelf for goodness knows how many years thanks to a thick wax coating. Not much I can do with this until the new wheel nuts arrive though. They have been dispatched though so hopefully should arrive tomorrow or Friday.

While digging around in the back of the garage for something totally unrelated I did find a good old stock set of front indicator lenses for it which look far better than the modern ones which came with the new lamp housings. Modern one is on the left in the photo below.

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The apparent actual size difference is just an artefact because of how I was holding the camera.

The older style ones look far better on the car.

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On the same note I do have a proper set of headlights on the way too. These modern ones are bugging me enough that they have to go. I will keep them around though as they actually work *really* well, so if/when I do the epic country-wide road trip I'll probably refit them for that. It's just a five minute job to swap them. These were floating around in the loft though and did just fine for testing.

Not really much else I can do here until we've got the new wheel nuts here though.


I then turned my attention to the van. Today's target was the hob - not least because I'm sick of tripping over it.

It did need a good clean though before I was going to handle it any more than I had to. The whole thing was sticky and just generally horrible.

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Yes, I do have the missing knob, it's missing the spring clip which holds it on though so I've just left it in the box of random van parts for now.

After a good old scrub though it was looking much more presentable.

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I've moved the missing knob to the grill position as I've yet to build the box below for it to sit in. Though being honest I'm less bothered about that as it's not something we're really likely to use often.

After a bit of carpentry it was in place.

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I've got a couple of metal plates which I'll install underneath as a heat shield. Plus I've insulated everything even vaguely near to it with aluminium foil tape as well.

No it's not perfectly straight...but neither is the whole worktop relative to the wall of the van. This whole worktop will be coming out and being rebuilt at some point in the future as it's an utterly unsuitable material for use in a van and really isn't fitted well (it does slope back towards the offside wall as much as it looks like it does in the photo).

The fact that the kitchen layout has been completely changed is obvious by virtue of the cover opening the "wrong" way. Obviously the hob originally would have been recessed as well so this would have been flush with the rest of the work surface when closed.

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Initially I thought that the hob might have originally been where the sink now is - but if that was the case the grill would have been totally inaccessible. Hmm.

We'll figure out things like that somewhere down the road though - for now it can live where it is, it's ugly but having a working hob will be worth that when we're using the van. Just having it functional again will be good enough for me for now. Should have it up and running tomorrow, just need to hook it back up at the manifold end and obviously leak check etc. Just ran out of daylight today.
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

#575 Post by Zelandeth » Fri May 15, 2020 12:05 am

A month or so back one of the computers here packed in. Despite a reasonable amount of faffing around with it revival appears to be off the cards. As best we can tell it's either a component level fault on the motherboard itself or a badly corrupt BIOS.

It was a cheap and nasty piece of plastic anyway and no great loss. It's never a good sign when the chassis doesn't contain any metal nor does the CPU heatsink even contain a heat pipe.

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Nevertheless a few parts have been salvaged. The memory has been transferred into another laptop, the hard drive has been added to the standby stash, but most usefully right now it had a spotless display.

I had a plan for the monitor. Replacing this thing in the van.

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This was installed about a year ago, replacing the little 9" portable thing that was in here when I got it, which was frankly unwatchable because the panel was of such poor quality - plus the only inputs it had were composite and RF so not really useful these days. This upgrade was useful for one trip but I never really saw it as a permanent fixture for a few reasons. Firstly, it needs mains power. Secondly being quite an old LCD TV (with an inbuilt DVD player), it weighs a tonne. It makes the whole side of the wardrobe it's attached to flex. Thirdly it's really too big for the van anyway. Finally...it's terribly scruffy...not massively surprised given it was a kerbside find...but it bugged me. The lack of a 12V option and the sheer weight were probably the two biggest things against it though - oh, and the horrible image quality wasn't exactly a bonus feature either.

Laptop panels have the advantage of being made to be light. This one is also recent enough to have an LED backlight so no faffing around with high voltage supplies for that needed. There was a time when panels like this were basically useless unless you had the smarts to build your own interface board or were willing to pay big money for one. These days though they're common as mud on eBay for most common panels. Just find the model of the actual LCD panel itself, and stick that plus "LVDS HDMI adaptor" into a search engine and you'll probably find one. Going rate seems to be about £15-20.

So this overly heavy piece of nonsense was removed.

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Few holes were drilled in the back of the monitor case to attach it to the mount. I went for six rather than four because it's such a cheap plasticy thing that it has virtually no strength to it to speak of. I wound up having to remove the top two though as they fouled on the display panel frame.

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I'm keeping my eyes open for something I can cannibalise to make a cover for the controller PCB - though to be honest you can't actually see this when it's stowed or in use!

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Obviously yes, those cable ties have since been trimmed. I need to tidy up the power supply cable as well - that's the one which came with the van from the TV that was originally here - the plug I'll retain as that's handy...but the hugely over-long cable and taped together joins need to go. The cigar lighter type socket will go as well as it's just not needed. What I WILL be doing at some point in the future is stuffing USB charging sockets in various corners, as pretty much every device I'm likely to want to plug in these days charges by USB. Doing that largely does away with anything directly reliant on the mains to be honest as well and starts making solar far more attractive an option...I don't reckon it's unreasonable to think that we might wind up with solar panels on the roof at some point in the future feeding into the charging system. I'm pondering some experiments with lithium-iron-phosphate batteries too. Mainly because of the weight and space saving, I could cram a lot more of them into the battery box currently occupying the single boat anchor of a leisure battery. They're also far better from a self-discharge perspective so there's less of the "oh I wonder if there's enough juice in there?" if I were to need to use it at short notice...though that would of course be less of an issue if I ever got around to investigating why the split charging system doesn't work!

This display is much more in scale with the interior I think, the other one was just way too big for where it was.

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Especially when not in use as it can actually be stowed away properly.

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That looks far, far better I think!

I'm going to install a Raspberry Pi in the locker just above it which will provide a media source for us should we want it. Plus the interface board has VGA & DVI-D in addition to the HDMI input which is the main one I'll be using. Audio isn't sorted for definite yet, but I reckon I'll probably route a line down to the head unit in the dash and re-wire that to run off the leisure battery rather than the vehicle one. It won't be *too* difficult to route from here. Into the wardrobe, down into the service hatch below there where there is already some ducting running along the length of the vehicle. Just a shame there's no way to really do that any other way without dismantling massive amounts of the interior.

Just nice to keep making improvements, small though they may be.
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

#576 Post by Zelandeth » Fri May 15, 2020 11:40 pm

There we go.

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Rear left could do with a couple of the jets cleaning it looks like, but everything works. Thermocouples all cut in within 30 seconds which is nice to know. What is the "spec" on flame failure devices these days? Pretty sure it was 45 seconds when I last read up on things like this.

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Nice to know it works though and will be ready to go once the enclosure is done.

While I was working in the area and had the joint compound and leak test spray out I capped off at the manifold the gas line to the cabin heater which is obviously no longer needed following the fitment of a diesel fired one.

Now all the lines have been installed I'll get them tidied up and properly clamped in place without relying on quite so many cable ties. Make sure there's provision made to ensure the lines can't rub through on anything is high on the list too. Will see if I get time after dinner this evening.

A new regulator and hose tail are also on the way as this hose looks like it's seen better days and I'm pretty sure is way older than the five years or whatever it is they're meant to be changed.
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

#577 Post by Zelandeth » Sun May 17, 2020 10:15 pm

Well having that hooked up didn't last long! Discovered when I went to actually get the pipework properly clipped in place that two of the lines (hob and oven) were several inches too short...so had to faff around extending them. Added all of ten minutes work but was irritating nevertheless. As was realising that the clips I'd got were for smaller pipe than I'd used...so I wound up using larger ones with a bit of rubber hose cut to size as a sleeve.

There's more under there than you'd think.

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It's not tidy but working in such cramped quarters (getting far enough back to take that photo involved the camera effectively being in a drawer) I'll take it. Everything is well secured and routed so nothing can vibrate and rub against anything else. The other thing I'm keeping very much in mind is that the work surfaces will be getting replaced in the not too distant future. Once the worktop is out I'll have far, far better access. This also means that the appliances may well be moving somewhat so I don't want to go too overboard when I'll likely want to take a lot of it apart again. My patience is somewhat limited when I'm bodily folded into a small cupboard, sitting on a bracing rib and working left handed!

As it stands though everything is now hooked up, leak tested and working.

This is good because it means that I'll be able to complete the gas locker properly. I'd had that lashed together pretty crudely before as I knew there was still plumbing to be done and I didn't want to wind up having to dismantle and rebuild it a dozen times. The fuel tank for the heater will be moving from where you can currently see it, I'll be tucking that away in the gas locker as well, it's essentially outside the cabin then but will still be readily accessible for refilling. Once that's done I can finish off the cupboards and drawers (one of which hides the grill - the metal box for which I managed to unearth again today having not seen it in about a year).

Speaking of things I've not seen in a long while, I also found the missing knob from the hob, so that's been reinstated.

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Getting there.

Figured I'd stick the camera in place to show how the Jag is behaving following the work on the ignition system a couple of days ago. I was already out picking up and delivering medical supplies to some of our friends who can't get out and figured adding just under two miles to the trip wasn't going to end the world.

YouTube Video Link

She feels far more eager when moving off and definitely sounds smoother.

Has obviously barely left our block recently so a few boots away from roundabouts has probably done the world of good too.

Ps: From 4:20 is more representative of my normal driving. I was deliberately provoking some revs here as I was wanting to see how things were behaving under load. Plus it's the first time she has been able to go above 40mph in several weeks so helped running in itself... suffice to say a big V12 isn't too much of a fan of bumbling around for only a couple of miles at a time week on end.
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
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#578 Post by Zelandeth » Mon May 18, 2020 10:58 pm

Dogs need to go in for their vaccinations tomorrow so I needed to get things in the van buttoned back up and hoover out all the sawdust as it's the only vehicle which is really suitable for taking them both out.

Spot the difference?

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Yep, the gas locker is now boxed off. The cable tie is currently holding the heater fuel tank upright (tied to the oven front panel) as I've still got to pull that out and relocate it. The aluminium foil tape you can see is just a belt and braces approach to sealing off any gaps.

It's not pretty, but it will be covered by an insulation sheet then buried behind the back of a cupboard so honestly I'm not too bothered what it looks like.

Unsurprisingly given that there's no longer a direct path between the cabin and the outside world (the gas locker is of course vented to the outside) it's noticeably quieter in there. Should help with the insulation too, not that the van really seems to struggle with that. Nice to see it starting to come together properly inside though. The last few bits and pieces should be pretty quick to get sorted.
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
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#579 Post by Zelandeth » Fri May 22, 2020 12:17 am

Had a couple of errands to run today, about ten minutes into the day the Jag was ditched on the drive and the van taken out. It was just too hot and sticky in the Jag. Getting the air conditioning sorted needs to move up the list. Without it the ventilation system is essentially useless.

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Opening the windows generates epic levels of noise but doesn't actually seem to get much air into the cabin. Thus far I've had no luck tracking down a pulley/clutch assembly on its own. Looking like a whole new compressor may well be the route we need to take. With a £3-400 pricetag...before getting the system recharged which will be another £50+, assuming there are no leaks elsewhere! Bearing in mind that I trust the jubilee-clipped line between the condenser and compressor about as far as I can throw it, even if the jubilee clips are factory! They just don't belong on HVAC systems!

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It became quite apparent after a few minutes of driving the van that in addition to the not inconsiderable amount of noise exiting the tailpipe that there was a fair racket emanating from directly underneath the driver's seat.

The source was this nuisance of an exhaust joint.

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I've already had issues with this joint working itself loose and rattling. So it was dismantled today, cleaned up, thoroughly slathered in Firegum and the clamp then tightened up as far as I dare before risking snapping the bolt. Hopefully it will stay that way this time. If it does it again the clamp is getting replaced.


After a not inconsiderable search of the pile of junk out the back of the house and the garage I eventually found the base for the grill, which was absolutely *not* where I thought I'd left it.

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I've had a bit more of a think about the hob in the van. This has caused quite a considerable amount of head scratching while I've been trying to figure out where it originally was.

Originally I had assumed it was directly above the oven, this would make the most sense. This isn't an option though as there's nowhere near enough depth available.

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The other thought was at the rear of the van where the draining rack currently is. However there's no way that can work either as the hob is about 19" deep, and the work surface here is far less than that!

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If the hob was installed there you'd no longer be able to open the bathroom door which would be...suboptimal.

The only thought I do have is that the hob *might* be able to fit below the water heater if it were turned through 90 degrees... I'll need to take some more measurements tomorrow.

Really wish I had a photo of the kitchen before things got moved around!


In other news the new wheel nuts for the Invacar have arrived.

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While sorting the one hub is still a work in progress, at least I'll be able to get a properly matched, non-mangled set fitted to the other two wheels which should hopefully help reduce the potential for future issues due to dodgy threads.
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
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

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

#580 Post by Zelandeth » Sun May 24, 2020 10:02 pm

Today I made a horrific mess.

My foul up with the hob positioning had prompted me to do something about the ridiculous worktops in the van kitchen.

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These were just normal household worktops and aside from being about five times the weight of what you'd normally use in a van they were also about twice the thickness of normal camper/caravan ones. This causes a few problems as the fasteners that hold the sink and hob down are captive in the units - and aren't long enough to reach all the way through. It also meant I'd had to resort to bodges like this with the taps.

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After a bit of messing around and three online sellers failing to deliver, finally picked up some slightly less stupid board to remake the worktops.

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It's just furniture board so nothing special, but it will do the job. That panel even before it's trimmed down etc is lighter than what has been taken out by a fair chunk.

Of course the next step was to start tearing things to pieces.

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Before going anywhere further however I'm taking the opportunity to tidy up a lot of the stuff I bodged together when I was trying to get the van ready for the first outing with us. I've got a good stock of laminated ply ready to rebuild the gas locker and the drawer/cupboard framework in there.

The fridge will be getting raised up about 1/2" so it fits the surround properly, the pipework & wiring tidied up, then we'll start putting things back together.

...Once I've figured out how on earth the bits of metalwork which I'm assuming originate from around the oven fit together.
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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