Zel's Fleet Blog...Jag, Citroens, 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.
Message
Author
User avatar
Zelandeth
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm
Contact:

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

#1061 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Nov 16, 2021 11:41 pm

Right...time to quit putting it off, the alternator needs sorting on the Jag.

By the standards of this car it's not actually too bad to get to.

Image

Of course being a Jaguar there's a pipe (can't remember if it's power steering or an oil cooler line) which is positioned precisely so as while it's not an actual problem, is really *annoying* when you're trying to get to the back of the alternator.

Image

Said oil lines will also make getting the alternator out a royal pain if it needs to come out as I don't think it will fit between the oil lines and the engine mount...so let's hope it doesn't need to come out.

Based on the symptoms I've had my hunch is that we've got sticky/worn out brushes and/or a failing regulator. The alternator on this car has always been a bit on the weak side (even keeping in mind the Lucas A115 is only rated at 55A, which isn't a lot for a car like this) even before it started randomly stopping charging.

Before I even got the tools into the engine bay the first step was of course to disconnect the battery. It's smart for pretty much anything in the engine bay really, but faffing around on the charging system with it connected would seriously be flirting with disaster.

Image

Not all that many connections to the alternator, but took several photos of what goes where for future reference.

Image

At this point I had to go rummaging in the toolbox...those tiny little hex head screws I think are a BA size...these saved my day.

Image

Apparently these were originally used for servicing magnetos many years ago - which gives an idea how old they are.

Back cover off meant I could get a better look, albeit via the camera as my view was of course obstructed by the aforementioned oil lines.

Image

I ended up removing the brushes complete with the regulator (rectangular silver box above centre frame). Had to cut one wire as I couldn't for love nor money get this bolt to come out. That black wire is attached to a ring terminal. If I can't get it out I'll just solder and heat shrink the new reg lead on to it, not the end of the world. Now I actually know for certain there is a bolt holding the ring terminal down that's half the battle, I was trying to work this out by Braille at the time.

Image

There we go. One set of brushes and regulator.

Image

Compared to photos of new brush sets for the Lucas A115 alternator the brushes don't look *massively* worn, but there's a good 5mm difference between the two which can't be good I reckon.

Image

Equally suspiciously there are signs in the potting compound that at least some of the magic smoke has escaped. It may just be due to moisture ingress and old age...but generally the potting compound failing on things like this isn't ever a good sign.

Image

A new regulator isn't expensive and it would be silly not to replace it given the situation. Especially as the alternator has been obviously weak as long as I've had the car.

Guess we'll see when it goes back together again! *If* I can figure out how to reassemble it!

Hopefully this will get the charging system going again, then she should hopefully be more or less ready to move on to her new owner.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

User avatar
Zelandeth
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm
Contact:

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

#1062 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Nov 17, 2021 11:31 pm

This afternoon's job. Sorting this.

Image

More specifically, sorting the illumination in that switchgear. None of it was working north of the heater controls.

The fact that they were all out seemed quite odd to me, was really hoping I didn't have a wiring issue to contend with.

Reason I hadn't done anything with this before was that I couldn't figure out how to get the panel out. A bit of experimentation revealed that you had to remove the switches before the panel would come out. Otherwise it wouldn't clear the dash above it.

Upon removal of the first switch the penny immediately dropped as to why the lighting in all these switches was out.

Image

You figured out what these are yet?

Image

Yep, fibre optic bundles. All of these switches are illuminated from a single lamp via fibre optics...clever in that it saves a heap of wiring...but does mean you lose the lot when the lamp fails.

Thankfully the illuminator unit is just about accessible through this panel behind the left hand temperature control. New lamp in there and we had light from the fibres. Sadly I couldn't get a photo of it as everything in there is black and I was working in the dark.

Image

Those maroon and yellow plastic pipes to the left are vacuum lines for the headlamp level adjustment control. Only car I've come across so far where that system is vacuum operated...and I thought the hydraulic setup Lada used was odd.

What followed then was about an hour of trying to cram the heater controls back into the right place. The mounting bracket for them is smashed into about fifteen pieces so nothing lines up making getting things together like herding cats. While blindfolded. I really need to sort the bracket for the heater controls, but before I can do that I need to figure how the heck to get the centre console out, and it's not self explanatory. It's clearly not properly bolted in as the whole thing wobbles too. One for a future date.

Success on the sorting of the illumination though.

Image

Far nicer to have all the dash lighting working properly.

Image

Not blindingly bright like in modern cars, but it doesn't need to be. The dash lighting in this car is precisely as bright as it needs to be and no more. The camera makes the instrument panel in particular look brighter.

This is one of those jobs which definitely had the potential to turn into quite a headache if it hadn't been the simple problem...for once it was though. Guess that's my luck for the week used up!

For those of you counting the mileage showing is now 163,241. 548 miles since the head was swapped. The oil pressure did drop a little over the first couple of days but it seems to have stayed pretty stable since then. Something which is really obvious is how much cleaner the oil on the dipstick has stayed...it would have been the colour of Guinness by now prior to the head swap...So hopefully a good amount of the gunk went with the old head.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

User avatar
Zelandeth
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm
Contact:

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

#1063 Post by Zelandeth » Thu Nov 18, 2021 6:03 pm

New brushes and voltage regulator for the Jag's alternator arrived today.

Image

Comparison of the new and old brushes shows there definitely was a fair bit of wear to them.

Image

Image

Now getting this thing back together is definitely up there on the "Jobs I never want to even entertain the idea of ever doing again" list. What an absolute faff. Trying to get the brushes, the springs, the insulation pad and the screws all back in place - especially bearing in mind that the forward brush retaining screw *also* secures the regulator (which wouldn't just sit in place) was a massive headache. It would have been fiddly and annoying and tried my patience on the bench, but trying to do it with the alternator in situ was a massive pain.

Image

Eventually though we got there.

There's one missing securing screw for the plastic cover because I dropped it. I'll have a dig around tomorrow with the car moved and see if I can find it. If not I'll just have to find another one that's roughly the right size. It's a self tapper into plastic and is just holding an already retained cover in place so being missing for 24 hours isn't going to be the end of the world.

Have to admit I was slightly nervous when I hooked the battery up given how much of this job I did blind. However after a couple of minutes nothing was on fire or trying to be on fire...so I upgraded to turning the ignition on.

Image

Ignition light works...that's a good sign as it means we must have continuity through the brushes.

After starting up we initially had a bit of erratic behaviour but this wasn't entirely unexpected as the brushes will obviously need to bed in against the commutator. After a 20-30 minute run round in circles though things looked healthy enough. So I was brave enough to go get some fuel...which at the current prices stings a bit in this car.

Image

That's from around 1/4 a tank. Nowhere close to warning light territory. Ouch. That's probably good for around 200 miles on a good day!

After that trip we were showing this on the gauge, at idle with the headlights on.

Image

Which actually equates to...

Image

...because the gauge reads a little low. Previously this would definitely have dropped off charge under these circumstances, requiring the revs to be held up over 3000rpm for a couple of tens of seconds for the charging system to wake up again.

It still struggles at idle with the headlights on, rear screen heater and heater blower on high...but given it's only a 55A alternator I think that's not necessarily a concern, as soon as the revs are brought up to 1200rpm or so it comes up to an acceptable range. Not sure what the rated running current is, but I'm pretty sure that *each* blower motor is fused at 30A. So assuming around 20A flat out, there's a fair old chunk of the rated output on the heater blower alone!

I need to make a few errand runs tomorrow so will take the Jag for that and keep an eye on the performance of the charging system. Fingers crossed this stays fixed as I REALLY don't want to have to mess with the alternator again!

I'm not declaring this "fixed" quite yet as the full fault condition was intermittent...but overall charging behaviour seems markedly improved so keeping fingers crossed.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

User avatar
Zelandeth
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm
Contact:

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

#1064 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Nov 21, 2021 12:48 am

Been using the Jag quite a bit over the last couple of days and touch wood, the charging system has been behaving just fine. Sitting bang on 13V on the gauge (bearing in mind it reads a bit low, that's where I expect it to be) aside from drooping a bit at idle if I've got heavy loads on. Not to an excessive extent though, so I'm happy enough so far. The cruise control had decided to go on strike, but today has rejoined the party. Guessing the car has just been a bit cranky because I've not used it much lately because the charging system has been unreliable.

I did one silly little thing this afternoon I'd meant to for a while now. It's no secret that the V12 XJ-S was rather a rapid car in its day, and still feels plenty nippy today. However I'd never actually looked at how quick...so I timed a couple of 0-60 runs there's a layby which means if the traffic is quiet it's perfectly safe to just boot it from a standing start to 60. It's actually pretty rare I do that...as it's simply not necessary and I usually find my acceleration limited by the other traffic anyway.

Well unless it's wet as in that case you treat it with complete suspicion at all times...I tried to pull out of a junction briskly on a damp road once and abruptly discovered that this was a really bad idea. Far too much torque, a limited slip diff and 1700kg worth of Jaguar deciding to go sideways is a handful.

What I was not expecting was the result that came back from today's test was to be 5.6 seconds. That's plenty respectable in 2021...in the mid 80s that must have been stupid fast. That's also after 83K miles and without any performance upgrades, and actually due a service.

Not the sort of thing that usually interests me, but I'd really be curious to chuck it down the strip at Santa Pod just to see what numbers came back. Based on today's test I reckon it would be far more respectable than you'd expect for a heavy luxury car from 35 years ago.

I am going to miss this car when I pass it on. She's just so comfortable. The speed isn't so much notable as the effortless way she builds it, whether you're trundling around town at 30 or joining the motorway... getting to 70 briskly just requires the lightest squeeze of throttle. Oh, and the noise. Everyone should drive or at least be a passenger in a V12 powered car at least once. They really are quite special.

It's something I've never done before, but the keys will be getting handed over this time with a clear understanding that if he ever decides to sell the car in the future that I get first refusal to buy it back. Hopefully in a year or two we'll move to somewhere with more space and a bigger garage. If I had a garage to keep it in I know I'd not even consider selling... it's seeing the bodywork visibly degrading with living outside that has really made my mind up that she needs to go to a better home. Oh, and the fact that the guy I'm selling it to I've been messing about cars with since I was 12 (35 now), and I know he never expected a chance to try out an XJ-S any more than I did. Plus he's entirely responsible for my having a Jag soft spot. I still really regret not buying the dark green XJ6 in this photo.

Image

Especially as the guy who did buy it went and scrapped it following a trivial fault developing...which hacked both of us right off as we'd both poured a lot of hours and money into sorting many problems that car had when we got it. It was really quite well sorted when we sold it.

So even though I'll be closing the book on this for a while in a month or so (I'll probably still relay any major updates still), I may well wind up with it on the drive again in a year or three.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

User avatar
Zelandeth
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm
Contact:

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

#1065 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:19 pm

Made a point of unearthing TPA in the garage today and clearing up enough of the mess that I can actually walk through the garage again. She got somewhat buried when I was clearing out the van prior to a weekend away a couple of weeks ago.

Last time I didn't drive her for a couple of weeks she played up a bit, refusing to idle properly and generally behaving as though there was crud in the carb idle circuit. This sorted itself after about an hour of driving. Sure enough when started up today she behaved exactly the same. Engine would rev just fine, but fall on its face as soon as the revs dropped to idle.

This was the point at which I spotted a very likely cause of issues - that the carb was visibly wobbling independently of the engine. Both mounting nuts were barely finger tight.

With them nipped up (which is fluffing fiddly because of poor access), she started and idled absolutely perfectly. So I'd obviously had a huge vacuum leak from the carb base. I'll stick a couple of shakeproof washers under the retaining nuts next time I get a chance.

Goodness only knows how long that's been causing a leak to some degree... curious to see if there's any noticeable change to how the car runs in general now. Hopefully get her out for a drive in the next couple of days so we can find out.

Aside from anything else, it's been a few weeks and I've missed driving the little rattle box.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

User avatar
Zelandeth
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm
Contact:

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

#1066 Post by Zelandeth » Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:55 am

Having unearthed TPA yesterday it was time to take her out for a run today. This was intended to be a quick half hour run, but we ended up being out all afternoon, getting home well after dark.

After a bit of a race against the sunset I did manage to get to my usual photo spot as the sun was setting.

Image

Image

Image

Image

So has the carb being loose been an issue for a while? Yes I think it has actually. While outright straight line power is much as it always has been the engine feels much more responsive now than I can remember. Especially that point between where the clutch has just fully engaged and you get to 30 or so.

Need to see about sorting the window catches and replacing the missing weather stripping between the sliding sections as it was a bit chilly at a couple of points today!

Also really should have a look at the voltage regulator and see if I can bring the cut in point down a bit. It only really comes properly on charge on the open road, which is far more of an issue when you've got the headlights on. I may well try to pick up a second one as I've heard from a few people that setting these regulators up is a bit of a dark art...and I don't want to break it!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

User avatar
gazza82
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:38 pm
Location: Buckinghamshire
Contact:

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

#1067 Post by gazza82 » Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:57 pm

What about looking for a solid-state regulator? We know how you love a bit of tech! ;)
"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

User avatar
Luxobarge
Posts: 1858
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:12 pm
Location: Horne, Surreyshire

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

#1068 Post by Luxobarge » Tue Nov 23, 2021 7:03 pm

gazza82 wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:57 pm
What about looking for a solid-state regulator? We know how you love a bit of tech! ;)
Yes, I've used these before, one on my tractor (12V) and one on my Reliant Regal (6V) - both work brilliantly.
Some people are like Slinkies - they serve no useful purpose, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them downstairs.

User avatar
Zelandeth
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm
Contact:

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

#1069 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Nov 29, 2021 12:30 am

gazza82 wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:57 pm
What about looking for a solid-state regulator? We know how you love a bit of tech! ;)
It's not a bad shout. Something I will probably look into at some point. Just need to confirm what the original one actually is so I can look for a proper replacement - assuming they're not relatively universal anyway.

-- -- --

Tomorrow is MOT day for the Jag. I noticed three things on a quick check over a couple of days ago that would need attention.

[] Windscreen washers were on strike. I could hear the motor running and smell screenwash, but nothing was coming out the jets.

[] Nearside headlight appeared to be pointing at the ground about two feet in front of the car.

[] One of the rear fog lights was out - though came back to life when I thumped it.

Sorting the windscreen washers was by far the most work, but we got there in the end.

Image

All it was was some gunge in the lines - most likely mainly because the car has been used so little over the last year. However sorting it proper required me to blow all the lines through with compressed air. However getting to them requires the whole wiper assembly to be lifted out of the scuttle as there is no other access to it.

Image

Getting that out is simple enough but a right faff. You have to lift/slide/pull/swear at it just right, at which point it will just lift right out...when you don't seem to have done anything different to the last 23 attempts you tried and failed to get it to budge.

Of course I then dropped one of the rubber washers it sits on down the back of the engine, so we'll never see that again.

Sorting the headlight aim really wasn't a problem, the adjuster had just managed to completely unscrew itself. Just took a few minutes to reassemble it and do a rough adjustment based on the beam on the fence across the road. If it needs a bit of a tweak at the testing station in the morning it's no big deal.

Fog lights were exactly as I expected, just dirty lamp holder contacts. Took the lamps out, cleaned everything up with a carbide sponge, greased it up to keep the damp off and reassembled them. Now they both seem to work reliably again.

Image

I've done a quick sanity check and made sure nothing is obviously hanging off, but beyond that it's in the hands of the tester in the morning. Cross as many fingers for me as you can!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 83 Citroen BX 14RE. 85 Sinclair C5. 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE. 86 Mercedes 230TE. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo.

Dick
Posts: 953
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:31 pm

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

#1070 Post by Dick » Mon Nov 29, 2021 6:20 am

Good luck!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest