Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by CitroJim » 31 Dec 2018, 06:44

van ordinaire wrote:
30 Dec 2018, 21:20
Zel, just keep that fridge going because electronic one are old hat now - the latest ones are "smart" -to what end, I can't imagine!


Smart fridges? Whatever next? The world has gone bonkers!

Yours looks complex enough as it is Zel! Why such a lot of circuitry in a fridge for goodness sakes :roll: It's a bit OTT surely?

Fridges often now dispense with the old traditional panel condenser so they can be installed in kitchen units with no or poor natural airflow around them... Hence the forced air...

I blow an epic amount of fluff and dust out of mine and yes, you need a bloody good airline to do it...

The Invacar is coming along a treat :-D When is it going to be on the road?

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 31 Dec 2018, 19:09

CitroJim wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 06:44
Yours looks complex enough as it is Zel! Why such a lot of circuitry in a fridge for goodness sakes :roll: It's a bit OTT surely?

The Invacar is coming along a treat :-D When is it going to be on the road?


I don't begrudge it having a reasonable amount of "stuff" in given that there are a few separate things going on between it being a combined fridge freezer with an automated defrost system, circulator fans inside, a water dispenser, ice maker and a couple of compartments you can set to different temperatures to the rest of the system. Even so, it seems overkill...

As for the Invacar, it's tricky to say.

A bag of assorted brake fittings arrived this morning, so I can set about tidying that lot up soon. Given they're relatively inexpensive I reckon that I'll probably just buy all new wheel cylinders (£10-15 each) in the interests of just saving myself time overall. Given I've some suspicions about the master cylinder too I'll probably just swap that out as well...That's £50-60 though so will probably be slightly further down the timeline.

The to do list between it and an MOT currently stand at:

[] Sort out enough bodywork so there are no sharp edges.
[] Reattach offside interior door handle so it can be opened from inside.
[] Reattach front service cover.
[] Replace fuel tank (do have a possible lead on that now, though I reckon I am going to have a shot at making something myself first).
[] Tidy up brake lines, bleed etc.
[] Replace/overhaul brake master cylinder.
[] Replace missing horn and either replace the indicator stalk or fit a separate button for it.
[] Set of tyres, probably going to go with Camacs as they're cheap and don't look too painfully modern. Much as a set of Dunlop SP Aquajets would be nice...at £100 a tyre it's just impossible to justify as it would be primarily a cosmetic choice.
[] Replace battery with one the right size so I can fit the battery clamps.
[] Replace clamps on the driver's seat with some that are slightly smaller (they currently don't tighten down quite far enough). While I'm there the original seat belt buckle and pre-tensioner assembly will be removed as they're surplus to requirements as the original seatbelt attaches to the floor and rear bulkhead frame.

That's pretty much it I think...Which given the state it was in when I got it ain't too dire actually. There are going to be odd jobs going on forever probably, but that's everything needed specifically to get it road legal I think.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by van ordinaire » 01 Jan 2019, 02:01

The master cylinder for my Eldorado wasn't THAT expensive!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 01 Jan 2019, 03:13

I think it's because they're used in a bunch of BMC stuff and as such are in demand.

There are a bunch available for £20 - but they seem to have a reputation for being made of cheese. Given that this is a car with single circuit brakes and no engine braking whatsoever, it's not something where taking chances with second rate parts makes sense. If I find myself using the car a lot I'll definitely be considering a conversion to a dual circuit braking system.

Speaking of brakes, this arrived today.
IMG_20181231_224454.jpg
Should be able to get the brakes tidied up now at least. The original brake line from front to rear is a bit of a pain...the line from the front T goes down to the front of the chassis, and has a join buried right under the connection between the floor pan and front bulkhead. I changed this on KP, and it was a gigantic pain to get to even without the floor in place. The rear T piece is bolted to the chassis crossmember just behind the rear bulkhead...directly above the gear linkage.

Having more pipe unions on hand means I can do quite a bit of rerouting. Plan is to have the actual joins more accessible. It's funny that you tend to make a better job of things when you can actually see what you're doing. Also see the comment earlier about single circuit brakes - any leaks are most likely to be at the unions, so I'd like them to be easier to inspect in future.

Plus I'm kinda thinking this car is going to be a keeper, so making my life easier for the future.

That is being a bit forward though given I've not driven it yet! I might hate it...though given what a charming little thing it is that seems unlikely, even if it's not maybe an ideal long distance cruiser!

On the subject of comfort, the package which arrived yesterday was this...
IMG_20181231_224830.jpg
Nice new old stock door seals. These probably won't be going on for a while yet though, probably after I've done any paintwork that's needed. They're glued on, so makes sense to leave them until after work that requires the seals to be removed is all done.

Speaking of it not being an ideal long distance cruiser... there's one pretty long trip possibly in the future for it...There are quite a few Invacars in museums around the UK, I've a mind to make a challenge out of taking mine to visit every one of them. Possibly even see if I could raise some money for charity out of it (Willen Hospice probably being my main intended beneficiary there). Would be interesting to see if anyone there had any stories of them to tell as well.

Might just be a silly sun dream that will never come to anything, but it's an idea which has firmly wedged itself in my mind.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 01 Jan 2019, 19:00

Just a quick update for today.

One of the relatively few places I'd seen evidence of water ingress in the van was from the holes left when the high level tail lights had been removed for some reason in the past. I do intented to refit these at some point, so just stuck some tape over it for now to keep the weather out.

On the subject of weather proofing, I decided it was time to replace the mangled nearside gutter on the Invacar (which will also remove one of the pointy edges that Mr. MOT Tester would object to). Given that these stop rain water running from the roof into the door apeture, they're quite important in terms of weather proofing.

After drilling out another fifty or so (fine...six) screws, had the mangled old trim off and cleaned up the area ready for fitment of the new one.
IMG_20190101_152223.jpg
Which is as far as I got with this job as it was at this point I discovered that I couldn't find the dispenser anywhere to lay a new bed ot sealant for the gutter. Of course being New Year's day nowhere is open so I couldn't just go and get a new one...Maybe a job for tomorrow then.

Somewhat ticked off at having to abandon that job halfway through instead I reverted to type and started cleaning things.

Windscreen had never been properly cleaned since I got the car and scrubbed up surprisingly well (especially given the battered state of most of the body).
IMG_20190101_161035.jpg
Have also continued the rather slow process of removing the ingrained dirt from the inside of the doors. This is quite a slow process as they've been outside for years but I'm starting to get there.
IMG_20190101_161046.jpg
IMG_20190101_161051.jpg
Will see what totally random task I pick to work on tomorrow...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by CitroJim » 02 Jan 2019, 06:50

Good onward and upward progress Zel :)

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 03 Jan 2019, 00:20

Looks like our fridge is back up and running. Still think the condenser is an utterly stupid design. This is obviously pre-clean...but you can see that thanks to it being essentially a cubular structure of finned tubing there's essentially no way to get what's trapped in there out without an industrial grade compressed air line. Why they couldn't just have used a "car radiator" style condenser like any commercial fridge would have I've no idea. That would take thirty seconds with the brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner, rather than this nonsense...
IMG_20190102_201615.jpg
You also can't run it without the cover in place as it's an essential part of the air channeling and the airflow from the fan will totally bypass the condenser if the cover is off. Really service engineer friendly.

This was last cleared out (as best I could) probably three months ago. When I first checked it out when we moved in the entire condenser and about 2" to the right of it were a solid block of dust. This is all hidden behind a cover covered in dire warnings of what demons from the seventh circle of Hell will come and hunt you down if you remove it. Oh, if you've got the security Allen bits you need to remove it as well...nice design Samsung.

Ridiculous that a £2 component would likely have scrapped this in most houses. Yes, that's the offending relay sitting on the water dispenser.
IMG_20190102_122143.jpg
Anyhow...back to the cars as that's what you're here for.

The windscreen washer bottle from the Invacar was given a darn good clean before being refitted. Some of the rust staining won't come off, but it's better than it was and internally it's clean and free of organic gunk waiting to clog up the works.
IMG_20190102_161238.jpg
This was also one of the most annoying features of the car as it tended to shed bits of blue foam everywhere whenever you went near it.
IMG_20190102_231353.jpg
Think you'll agree this is an improvement.
IMG_20190102_164912.jpg
Thankfully the bars are the same size as normal bike bars so I was able to just grab a set from Decathlon rather than having to spend forever hunting down something obscure. A lick of paint is obviously on the list for the future as well, black hammered finish will be used so it matches the dash pretty well.

This seems to have made a disproportionately large difference to how much closer to a working vehicle it feels from in the driver's seat. The brain is a funny old thing!

I've also grabbed some more hardener so should be all set to get some of the actual bodywork underway soon. Also am heading up to Northampton on Friday to speak to a company about potential fabrication of a fuel tank for me.

Getting there bit by bit. Even if I did forget the mastic gun to refit the gutter, which is what I actually went out for in the first place.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 10 Jan 2019, 00:32

So we've made a start on the bodywork.

I've not done any real work with fibreglass like this before so it's an exercise in experimentation. Main target at this stage is "presentable at twenty paces and acceptable at the MOT.". I'm under no illusions that I won't wind up reworking this at some point in the future. Someone is currently looking at the possibility of making some moulds as well so it's entirely possible that repair sections may become available a year or two down the line too.

We started with this.
IMG_20190109_165332.jpg
Which when I left the garage this evening looked like this.
IMG_20190109_164520.jpg
Still scruffy by any standards, but scruffy is preferable to missing, so feels like progress.

Definitely reverting to the application method I've seen a friend using though (wetting the mat in a tray then applying that to the bodywork rather than holding the mat in place and "painting" over it) as doing it the way illustrated on the tin was a gigantic pain in the tail as the mat even when properly wetted through was far more interested in sticking to the brush than the bodywork.

Also highlighted how well insulated from the house our garage isn't. The whole house now stinks to high heaven of resin.

I've also got a fuel gauge sender, air filter element and a different type of fuel gauge (in case the sender is for a different type - at least three were used), so the tank should be pretty immediately ready to go in hopefully when it arrives. Will be dropping off the sender at the fabricator most likely so they can take measurements from it, they're less than an hour's drive away at least.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Pug_XUD_KeenAmateur » 10 Jan 2019, 09:34

looks like a more than reasonable 'start' to me Zel, specially given its something you're a beginner at...

...and there's a lot to be said for having a go and doing a half-reasonable job that can be improved in the future if required

...as opposed to the 'there's no way I'm going to attempt that' approach.

...'proper money' I should think were you to ask a bodyshop to take it on .

I had a play with Fibreglass a year or two ago, doing a small repair to the fittings on my upgraded Headlight units and was surprised how easy it was to work with; but that was a much smaller task.

Have made a note for future ref re wetting the mat in the tray; will be glad of that one day in the future am sure.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 10 Jan 2019, 14:51

One of the things I'm determined to do here is to get it on the road. I don't want it to spend the next ten years sitting in the garage while I try to make it look pretty.

If properly moulded repair panels turn up I may well chuck it at a body shop to get those grafted in at some point, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Didn't have the package of parts I was hoping for arrive with the post today, but something else of note did turn up.
IMG_20190110_134345.jpg
Finally!

So now being MOT worthy really is the only thing between the car and the road now.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by van ordinaire » 11 Jan 2019, 00:46

Why did getting the V5C take so long? Presumably because of the vehicle's history it wasn't a straightforward change of keeper but what particular obstacles were there & what special steps did you have to take?

I have a particular interest because I would rather like to re-unite my Xantia with its original number - & get a V5C with the correct dates of manufacure & 1st registration.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 11 Jan 2019, 08:24

It took nothing more than a V62, some photos supporting my claim that it wasn't in fact scrapped and the usual £25 fee.

The reason it took so long was that the first three applications vanished somewhere within the DVLA offices. They definitely got them as the envelopes were signed for as delivered...

This one was turned around in about three weeks (even with Christmas in the middle). Suffice to say the previous cheques have been cancelled in case the applications reappear in future!...

I have a sneaking suspicion that this happened because it was an odd case requiring some actual work on the part of whoever processed the application, but obviously can't hope to prove that. These cars were all formally "scrapped" back in 2003, though this pre-dates the current certificate of destruction stuff...and as such it's possible for them to be "unscrapped" - even though the DVLA will repeatedly tell you that there's no process in place for this if you try to do it with pretty much any other vehicle I've found.
Last edited by Zelandeth on 11 Jan 2019, 19:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 11 Jan 2019, 19:45

Some progress on things today...

Eventually I figured out exactly what the sequence I needed to do things in with regards to getting the vehicle type updated on the V5 etc yesterday so was able to put things in motion today.

Step 1: Amend the V5 with the revised details (and fill in a bunch of stuff which was missing anyway).
IMG_20190111_141543.jpg
Step 2: Proceed to Post Office to arrange change of tax class. Given it's zero rated and MOT exempt, figured it made sense to just mark it as taxed. As far as I'm aware this isn't "naughty" so long as it doesn't actually go near a public road in an unsafe state. So for the first time since at least 2001 she's now shown as taxed.
IMG_20190111_153808.jpg
The Post Office have retained the V5 to pass on to DVLA to update the vehicle details, apparently this is a pretty quick process usually and I should have the updated one with me within the next week or so.

Step 3: Ring up Hagerty to sort out insurance (yes, I know this technically should have been step two, but I didn't want to bother with it and then find that it was irrelevant because I was going to have to wait for goodness knows how long to be able to do the tax and stuff). Costs all of £50 a year to insure. While I was on the phone to them I took cover off the van as it's laid up for the winter now, so actually ended up with a nice little refund into our account.

So as far as paperwork is concerned, she's now basically roadworthy...I just need to finish actually making it physically roadworthy now! Knowing that the administrative side of things is done should certainly work as a pretty effective incentive to get on with it I'd think as it's only my own list of work needing done standing in between me and the first road test now.

The real bonus of not needing the MOT (it will still get one before going any real distance) is that it means that the first testing can be done perfectly legally just trundling around the quiet little housing estates around here - rather than having to have a mad dash to the far side of town to the MOT station. I can actually be reasonably certain that the car isn't going to self destruct halfway there this way.

This evening I set about reattaching the gutter above the nearside door. I'd originally planned to rivet it on, but realised as soon as I started that this was a non-starter because I couldn't get the rivet gun in close enough...so wound up using a bunch of self tapping screws instead. These are mainly there to keep it flush with the body while the sealant underneath sets - I'll go back in afterwards with some suitably tiny nuts and bolts that can be hidden under the infill strip as the original fasteners would have been.

It's not pretty, but there's a good bead of sealant under it so it should perform the intended task of keeping rain water out of the door.
IMG_20190111_171530.jpg
I'll sort out the little hole at the front of the roof when I've next got the glass fibre repair supplies out.
IMG_20190111_171509.jpg
The to do list is definitely shrinking. Seriously considering just ordering tyres now, though know I should really wait until after payday...I've given the bank account enough of a kicking this month already!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Pug_XUD_KeenAmateur » 12 Jan 2019, 18:51

I'd've thought wise to put off purchasing tyres as long as poss, given that perishing will likely be a future issue

...and we all know how those 'little jobs' can bite one on the bum

as if to say 'Hey, you under-estimate me, I'll cause chaos !'

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 13 Jan 2019, 00:08

The thing with it is that a lot of things are going to be things that I can only really test once the car is mobile.

Brakes I know "provide stopping power" but how effectively is hard to judge going back and forth on a driveway. Not really much to go wrong with them though, they're 9" Girling drums...The drums themselves are fine, the shoes are old but fine, and wheel cylinders are available for pocket change if any turn out not to be earning their keep. No servos, no ABS, no load balancer valves or anything...just a master cylinder and three wheel cylinders. Main task left for the brakes is just tidying stuff up. In an effort to satisfy the "being able to move it around without it rolling off down the hill" requirement I just ran a quick and dirty line from the front of the car to the back, but it needs to be properly routed...shouldn't be a hard job though.

The drive system being a belt driven CVT isn't something you can really judge the condition of in a static way...Though I have had it up to normal road speeds with the car on axle stands and it *seems* to behave - whether it will actually do so under load will be another question.

I get the feeling that the carb and engine in general will probably be a good deal happier once I've been able to give it a decent run at speed and get all the fluids and such properly hot, get some of the condensation out of the crankcase and such like. There's quite a bit of "mayo" in the oil filler neck, despite having done several oil changes already.

I'm very curious to see how much clag appears out the back of it the first time I give it full throttle under load...I know that the power unit in here has spent time being used as a caravan park tug...so has probably done many hours idling and on stop/start duties, so goodness only knows how coked up it really is. She smokes a bit, but compression is right on the numbers, so guessing sticky oil control rings are to blame for that. We'll see if a proper old fashioned high speed thrash will help there.

Engine parts are readily available though and not even that expensive, so I'm not too worried there. I've heard three running in person so far and this one actually sounds the smoothest, most eager and generally "healthy" of the three. So long as all other boxes remain ticked and the oil consumption isn't excessive I'm not going to worry if she smokes a little.

I reckon the first cheeky run round the block here depends on the following happening.

[] Fit fuel tank when it arrives.
[] Properly route fuel & brake lines.
[] Fit some slightly less terrifyingly old tyres.
[] Reattach front service cover (no, I'm not beyond using cable ties for this purpose).
[] Rebuild the offside front corner as I just did the nearside.
[] Do something with the rear apron? Aside from it currently meaning there's nowhere easy to put the number plate light, that's probably not a massively high priority. The only thing it covers really is the exhaust, and even as it is it's tucked away more than on virtually any rear engined car that's had a few mods done...

Of course with the above to do list, the only sensible thing for me to do was to continue pulling more bits off wasn't it?

Simply put, the interior trim panel above the windscreen was really bugging me.

One of the screws did eventually relent and come undone with me hanging on the end of a really decent screwdriver. The other however just stripped the head. Fine...Out with the drill. As with most of the screws I've had to drill out on this car, it appeared to be made of titanium, but did eventually relent...and the panel came away. Showering me with the remains of a (thankfully vacant) mouse nest.
IMG_20190112_174030.jpg
I feel slightly more vindicated for being determined to get it off now. Does explain why bits of finely atomised foam kept falling out from back there too. Five minutes with the vacuum cleaner dealt with that mess.
IMG_20190112_183536.jpg
Unfortunately I can't get the windscreen demister vent assembly or the heater control box off as the bolts in question are 1/8" Whitworth...and I have a grand total of *one* spanner in that size - and I need two to get anything apart as the nuts used here are - as it seems with any on this car - aren't captive, so just start spinning as soon as you try to unbolt anything.

I want to get the heater control box off to clean and paint it, because it's horrible. I want to get the vent assembly out to confirm that it's not full of rodent nests and to properly seal it to ensure that as much air as possible actually finds its way onto the windscreen where it's needed.

My plan for the panel itself is - once I've figured out how to remove the remains of the adhesive...
IMG_20190112_183531.jpg
...Will be to give it a nice coat of black hammered finish paint. I reckon that should look like it had left the factory that way. Will be interesting to see if I can find anything that will dissolve that adhesive, failing that I reckon five minutes with the carbide polishing mop on the grinder will sort it.

Annoyingly the bolts I'd planned to sort the gutter with are no good. The heads are too big to fit in the channel.
IMG_20190112_183724.jpg
Fine, I'll run by Screwfix tomorrow and pick up something more sensibly sized.

Glad to report that a little package of goodies arrived this morning.
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This contains a fuel gauge sender unit, a new air filter (finally!) and one of the later style Curtis/Veglia fuel gauges. So irrespective of which variant of gauge sender I've got I should be able to make it work.

Plenty to be keeping me busy!