Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, 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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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

MattBLancs wrote: 05 Jun 2024, 21:06 Interesting stuff, I'd not thought about it being caught round the perimeter, makes perfect sense that!

Wow the invacar ratio is low! Guess that's aiming at use of two star which is very low octane, isn't it?
Correct. There's a stencilled marking on the underneath of the front cover saying to use two star fuel. Thought I had a photo of that but can't find it to save my life.

Think it's also just part of the design of the engine as a whole. It's very overbuilt and under stressed for a 493cc unit rated at only 19bhp. I think Steyr-Puch really were designing it to run on basically anything vaguely resembling petrol and to continue doing so until the heat death of the universe. In the slightly larger form (just the pistons and barrels between the variants I believe), it's not uncommon to see highly tuned engines producing 60+bhp reliably. Definitely a lot better than the Fiat in line twin from the 500 the prototype Model 70 used.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Still very short on stamina but I did manage an hour's usefulness this afternoon.

Between my knackered one, half a donated one and a service kit I had enough bits to re-re-rebuild a mechanical fuel pump for the Rover.

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Still a right faff trying to get the rearmost bolt back in. Really doesn't look like it should be anywhere near as awkward to get to as it is.

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Fuel filter is staying where it is for now as it does seem that there's quite a bit of sediment being pulled through from the tank and it's far easier to monitor that when the filter is horizontal.

The engine was run fully up to temperature and so far the pump seems to be behaving. I've now left everything to cool again at which point I will re-check for any leaks. How far do I trust it not to leak? About this far.

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Given my history with this fuel system the answer is "Not at all." Fully expecting this to start misbehaving in some way pretty much immediately.

Having a working (for now) mechanical pump back in the Rover has allowed me to retrieve this pump though which I can now return to TPA.

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Which I'll hopefully get done in the next few days, then can actually look at getting her out of the garage for the first time this year. Precisely how it's already June I've no idea.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by CitroJim »

Fingers crossed the Rover's fuel pump now behaves itself Zel :)
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

MattBLancs wrote: 05 Jun 2024, 21:06 ...Wow the invacar ratio is low! Guess that's aiming at use of two star which is very low octane, isn't it?
Finally got around to getting a photo of the signage instructing use of two star as you've suggested this afternoon. This is right above the fuel filler.

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-- -- --

Some considerable number of months ago I pulled the cylinder heads off a certain Rover P6. This resulted in my garage ending up looking like even more of a disaster area once I was done than usual. TPA had been all but buried and walking past her to gain access to the rear of the garage had started to involve an ever increasing amount of mountaineering. Owning to the garage being so narrow it's just annoying enough to squeeze in past a car parked in there that instead putting things away properly to just pile items up on and around the rear end of the car that's parked there. Especially as the paint is in such a state that scratching it really isn't high on the worry list as you'd never notice anyway. The intention is always for this to be a transitionary state of things and that you'll go back later to tidy up properly...However that keeps not happening. My garage is an absolute disaster at the best of times and it makes my teeth itch every time I even think about it - but I've just never had enough time in a single block available to get a skip in and pull *everything* out to ascertain what needs to stay, what needs to go, to get a LOAD of shelving installed at the far end, then to put everything that should stay back in. This had originally been planned as the big summer project for 2020 - but then 2020 happened instead.

Knowing that relocation is something that's at least on the horizon nowadays also kind of damps the enthusiasm to make a start on the job as well, especially as the lofts are in a similar state. I'd just as soon have a skip on hand to sift the junk into between the house and the van when we're moving stuff out of the house rather than have to move it all out to just put it back in again. Especially as I'm still going to be trying to fit a quart into a pint pot at the end of the day as this house just flat out does not have enough storage for the four of us.

I wouldn't say that today I actually tidied up, but I did bring some order to the chaos and mostly unbury the car to allow for this to happen.

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Which made it far less of an uncomfortable job to reinstate the fuel pump as I wasn't trying to do the job all but laying on the roof as I was when I "borrowed" it for the Rover.

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I really do need to pull that top fuel tank strap and put the closed cell foam strip I bought to fill out the of a gap at the top in there, that "I'll get back to that next week" bit of cardboard has been in there for something like four years now I think. I mean, it's doing the job just fine, but it don't half look sketchy and bugs me every time I open the cover. Unfortunately every time I then close said cover I then forget about it again after about 60 seconds until the next time I go to put fuel in or do a fluids check!

Really do want to have a proper crawl over the car before she actually goes on the road this year anyway and she's due a service anyway. I'll plan on getting that foam installed as part of that set of jobs.

As she was rolled back mostly out of the garage though, it would have been rude not to at least confirm whether the battery needed to be charged and if the carb was going to protest at being ignored for the last nine months.

Of course she only started first time and idled as though she was parked yesterday. Was left running for probably half an hour or so to get everything nicely warmed through while I ferried a lot of the tools and such like that had slowly migrated out of the garage over the last few months back to where they actually live.



Hopefully actually get her out on the road again this week.

The Rover - somewhat to my surprise - hasn't yet dumped large amounts of fuel all over my driveway. Not sure if I dare let it know I've noticed...

For I think the first time in my ownership the pump looks to be completely dry after sitting overnight. Kind of at the point where I need to actually start test driving it to see if it's going to continue cooperating. Which fills me with a certain amount of dread given its record so far for appearing to work perfectly right up till the point where I start relaxing and thinking the fuel system is behaving before deciding to NOT work very suddenly. It's not going to get any more reliable just sitting on the driveway though. That said, sorting the oil leak from the filter housing absolutely needs to happen before any real distance is covered on the road. That's not a difficult job...Six (I think) bolts, remove, clean up, replace gasket, prime oil pump, reassemble.

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However access looks absolutely awful so I've been putting that off as I know it's just going to be one of those jobs which ends up testing my patience. Given how critical doing the job properly is to the oil pump actually working, it's really not one that you want to be doing with a frayed temper either.

The whole car also really needs a deep clean as there's moss growing basically everywhere.

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A task which I'm sure is going to do a great job of reminding me how much of a small car that a P6 is not.

Oh, and I need to finish my investigations into what was going on with the Trabant before turning this pile of bits back into an engine.

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Well I can't claim I'm not spoiled for choice on what to work on this week! The Partner is due an oil & filter change too.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by MattBLancs »

Thanks for the "TWO STAR ONLY" picture, nice bit of stencilled text 😁
Given modern petrol is, I think, more like 4 star (higher octane, more resistant to knock, etc) is there any easy ways (guessing custom pistons not so easy or cheap to come by, but machining the two little heads to reduce the combustion chamber volume??) to up your compression ratio and tap into a bit of "free" power?
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

MattBLancs wrote: 10 Jun 2024, 13:36 Thanks for the "TWO STAR ONLY" picture, nice bit of stencilled text 😁
Given modern petrol is, I think, more like 4 star (higher octane, more resistant to knock, etc) is there any easy ways (guessing custom pistons not so easy or cheap to come by, but machining the two little heads to reduce the combustion chamber volume??) to up your compression ratio and tap into a bit of "free" power?
Oh there are parts available off the shelf to do all manner of things to this engine - including boosting the capacity to somewhere in the region of 700cc and 70bhp. If your pockets are deep enough.

Probably the single biggest thing I could do to unlock a bit of extra oomph would be fitting a distributor with vacuum advance. To be fair given that she's only run on E5 fuel anyway, I could probably dial in a bit more advance as it is - if the distributor wasn't absolutely seized into the crank case anyway.

Being honest though for the sort of car it is there's not a real shortage of go. She'll cruise quite happily between 50 and 60, with gearing really setting the max of what's comfortable rather than power. She'll do 70 with more to go, but you're knocking on the door of 5500rpm by that point. Not that you really know it given it's such a well balanced little engine.

The carb and intake are probably the single biggest bottleneck. Getting rid of the foot or so of intake runner to each cylinder and replacing the single tiny 32mm carb with a pair of Mikunis or similar would probably liven things up a bit, definitely improve throttle response anyway. Though keeping in mind it's feeding into a belt based CVT, so you're probably not really going to notice all that much anyway. A lot of shortcomings are hidden a bit by the fact that the engine is set up to deliver peak torque at 3500rpm - and that's right where it comes up to on the CVT. The CVT is probably the thing which causes the most performance issues, as especially when starting from a standstill uphill you're stuck with what it thinks is best rather than being able to drop or hold a gear for a bit of extra power.

If you ever want to see a companion of the results of tuning the Steyr-Puch engine versus the Fiat equivalent, taking a look at some of the vintage racing series where you see both cars running tells the story - you can very clearly see which cars are which!



That's basically 150cc of extra displacement and a far bigger carb away from mine.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Mmm...40 year old grime.

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Just what you want on an air cooled engine.

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Quite a few fins were plugged solid on both cylinders.

This was deployed after drowning the whole area in degreaser.

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Well...Something which claimed to be degreaser. Not actually sure it made the slightest difference to be honest. It's doing jobs like this where I do miss the ability of the pressure washer we had at work to deliver hot as well as cold water. Heat really did make a massive difference when you were trying to clean up something like this.

To call it clean would be vastly over selling it, but it's a lot cleaner than it was.

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I've visually confirmed that all of the fins are now clear. Hopefully the removal of the vast majority of the slimy residue will help stop dust and general grime from sticking there in the future. Pulling the shrouds and cleaning everything under them really probably should be an annual service item given how clogged things could get without any way to tell.

Pretty obvious why I wanted to give things a clean before I went unbolting anything else though I think.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while will be well aware that I have a major problem when it comes to portable Toshiba computers from the 80s and early 90s. As such I have accumulated quite a collection of them. This can all be traced back to my father, who worked in the offshore logistics and positioning sector in the very early 90s, during the heyday of radio navigation just before the arrival of GPS. Seeing these huge grey slabs with their vivid amber plasma displays back then they seemed like something straight out of a sci fi movie to 7-or-thereabouts year old me. They were singularly responsible for what has become a lifelong interest in technology from that sort of era and far older. In addition to just collecting them in general, I've long had a mission in mind to complete the lineup of the ones which my father used to bring back from work. These consisted of the T5200/200 which was the big bruiser of the bunch and was more powerful than his office machine at the time. The general do-anything machines were T3200s, which were 286 based and relatively old by the the time we were seeing them, but they were solid and reliable work horses. They also have a fantastically strange sounding hard disk drive. The smaller form factor was taken up by several T3100es, and a couple of eye-wateringly expensive T3100SX models which were noteworthy by being properly portable and capable of running on battery power.

That last model, the T3100SX was the one which I'd been stuck tracking down for a few years. They've not turned up on eBay all that regularly and when they have they've usually sold for well over £150. More than I was willing to pay for a machine I knew was always going to end up being subject to a dice roll as to whether it would be restorable. Supposedly working examples usually fetched north of £400, waaaay outside my budget.

Nevertheless I'm not one to be discouraged and this was one of those areas where I was happy to play the long game, so I left a saved search on eBay and just kept an eye on the listings when they popped up a couple of times a year.

A few months ago a rough looking machine with a broken display popped up. I was at least 85% sure that I still had a good display panel in storage from a machine I stripped for parts 20+ years ago. So I took a punt on it. Bit of a sad looking thing, but even if it only ends up being a static exhibit it's nice to have the whole lineup I remember from an enjoyable portion of my childhood together again.

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Surprisingly only a couple of weeks later another another one turned up. This looked even more rough, but had an intact looking display and more importantly was up for a buy-it-now price of only £25. If I was so inclined I could sell just the keyboard on for more than that, so it was a very cheap parts machine even if it was beyond saving. Suffice to say I hammered the "buy" button the second I read the listing.

Say hello to machine number two.

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The fact that there is evidence of corrosive goo actually having leaked out of the machine didn't bode well for this ever working again though.

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Nevertheless the display looks to be intact and doesn't have any visible burn in, so even if that's all I manage to save from it, it's still proven to be really good value. It also came with all of the originally bundled software and documentation which as a collector is really nice to have.

A couple of days ago *another* one popped up. This was set with a buy it now of £65. Which is cheap for one of these. I did procrastinate over it for a while before deciding not to buy it. May is a very expensive month in this family courtesy of ConFuzzled, so I decided to be sensible.

Fast forward to lunchtime, and an email arrived. "The seller is now offering this item to you for £50!"

Fine. That was cheap enough that it broke my resolve and I bought it.

I didn't realise at the time, but that also came with the original case and power supply. So I do now have a complete setup between them all. Even if the power supply is dead it's still useful as the plug it connects to the machine with is proprietary, and the case is plenty large enough to house an alternative supply within.

Unlike the first two, this one was actually packaged really well by the seller. Turned up in a box about the size of a full size suitcase. Thank you so much for being apparently the one guy on eBay who knows and cares enough to ship these things properly.

So here's machine number three.

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This is by FAR the cleanest of the three. Notably there is absolutely zero externally visible corrosion on the case, around the ports or on the battery packs. The only externally visible damage is one broken stabiliser on the space bar. I reckon this may well end up being the one we try to restore initially.

I figured this evening I'd crack open the "no hope" machine to see how bad it really was.

The main thing I wanted this for was the display panel. So we were already ahead, anything else is a bonus - though I'd really like to also salvage the hard disk as they're an odd standard in these (a running theme for Toshiba in the 80s/early 90s...) so are kind of hard to find. Though said drive is right behind that cover in the above photo showing where battery/capacitor goo had leaked out around, so I'm not going to hold my breath.

No, this isn't a great start.

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Crusty!

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Nichicon caps of this era up to their usual tricks. Plus leakage from both the RTC battery *and* the external battery packs.

Yeah, I think this power supply board may be a lost cause...that is just nasty.

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Hard to tell in the photo as the camera hasn't really picked it up but I'm pretty sure there are several suspect looking traces there.

The hard disk...who knows. It's hard to actually see it as it's hidden away under an RF shield so this is all I can really see of it at the moment.

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Getting that out involves removing the whole cage it's attached to...and I think a whole lot of stuff needs to come out to get that out as I recall. I've not gone digging that far yet. I can't test it until I've got one of these machines up anyway as the data and power are combined, I can't just hook up a molex connector and see if it spins up.

What I can *see* of the logic board itself doesn't actually look terrible to be honest save for some slightly green pins on the BIOS EPROM chip. So that might be saveable.

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It doesn't look wonderful either mind you. Not bad enough I immediately dismiss it as beyond hope though. What I may well do is track down a 5V line on there, unplug the internal power supply, and just hook it up to an external power supply and see what happens. That should, if the board is okay, result in the system at least going through the POST process. If there's an accessible 12V line that should also allow the hard disk to try to spin up. I will NOT do this with the display attached as I don't want the inverter for the display powering up until I've checked it for leaking caps. An external VGA monitor will let me see if anything happens though. Would be a nice "proof of life" test if nothing else. As said this has always been a parts donor in my mind, just a matter of figuring out how much we can save.

Next step will be to pull the covers off one of the slightly cleaner looking examples to see how bad it is. Hopefully in better shape than this one.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by CitroJim »

Watching the T3100 restoration with great interest Zel :) I well remember those from when they were new...

Shocked at the leakage damage...
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

CitroJim wrote: 13 Jun 2024, 06:14 Shocked at the leakage damage...
I wish I could say I was! Sadly I've been in this game for long enough now it's really what I was expecting. We'll have to see what the other two machines look like.

-- -- --

Actually had a spare hour for tinkering this afternoon - so of course 15 minutes into that time it started raining.

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Great. Wonderful. Perfect.

The Rover successfully made a run a couple of miles to and from a destination without any issues or anything falling off. Well, completely falling off anyway. This badge is clearly attempting to make a bid for freedom.

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One of the pins has broken off the back of it, so that's going to be a self adhesive pad job until a replacement badge turns up.

Similarly I noticed that pretty much all of the mounting points for the radiator grill look like this.

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I think getting some reinforcement around there is something I'll need to look into. There's really not much left to reinforce, so I think attaching an L shaped metal or plastic strip wrapping around underneath the back of the grill and re-drilling the mounting hole in that will be the way to go there. I should be able to spread the load out over a larger area doing that, as I'm sure going on 50 year old plastic simply having gone brittle is one of the main factors at play here.

I'm declaring this officially off the road again now though until I've had the time and patience on hand to cure the oil leak. It has predictably got worse and is now a solid one or two drips a second at idle. Can't say I'm that surprised, leaks like that don't usually fix themselves.

What this test did allow me to do though was to let the engine idle for a long while, then shut it down for ~10 minutes before restarting. I do really have some worries that this car may have hot start issues in the future due to vapour lock. While on this occasion it started on what was still in the float bowls, it was a good 20 seconds or so before we had any appreciable amount of fuel actually being delivered through the filter. We'll just need to keep an eye on that and see if it does turn out to be an issue in the real world once we're driving it. Also reckon I might need to dial the timing back a touch as she always starts with a couple of proper diesel knocks when hot, and it sounds like the engine is fighting against the starter sometimes when it starts spinning. That's an easy one to experiment with though. Overall though aside from the oil leak, the car seems to be actually running the best it has since it arrived here now. I'm sure it will punish me for making that assumption soon enough though!


Moving onto the Trabant. While I had things mostly apart anyway I wanted to do a little testing to make sure that the bearings in the fan and alternator were in decent shape. The fan belt wasn't looking particularly happy either so it seemed a good opportunity to fit a new one.

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It was quite badly glazed as well from being loose for quite a while.

Getting the belt off is one of the tasks which is actually a bit on the long winded side on this car. The main reason for this is that as you might have spotted, that the belt actually drives the fan from the back - so the belt runs from the crank pulley, to the alternator then vanishes into the cooling shroud. So to get to it you need to pull the main cooling shroud off. This is normally completely hidden from view.

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This only takes ten minutes and requires nothing more sophisticated than a 10mm spanner, but I'm sure could cause a fair amount of cursing if you found yourself having to swap a belt at the side of the road.

The other oddity is that to remove the belt you need to disconnect the coil to points wiring. This is because the points (or in this case electronic module which has replaced them) is attached to the end of the crankshaft rather than being on a separate distributor.

This wire according to the previous owner had required repair when it had managed to get itself into the fan belt at some point in the past. No doubt the reason for this bit of tape.

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Which turned out to contain a large amount of water and three bullet connectors.

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Did the job, and will likely continue to for some time with a bit of grease to keep the water out. However I've got some proper waterproof latching four way connectors somewhere so will snip these out and install one of those as it will be far more secure and should eliminate the potential for corrosion related dodgy connections in future. For now I've left it sans tape as that seemed to be mainly be doing a good job of capturing water in the connection and not letting it dry out.

Actually looking inside the points compartment revealed some other historic repairs.

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Guessing the green wire had got itself into the pickup at some point. I decided that I could go one better than some paper wrapped in clear tape and got some heatshrink involved. Also added some where the wiring goes into the compartment as there was some evidence of the wire chafing there. Sorry, I didn't have any black in stock in a large enough diameter, so you'll just have to deal with there being a tiny bit of red heatshrink tubing visible.

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The wiring was then routed in such a way to ensure that it was encouraged to stay well clear of the fan belt.

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I'll probably cable tie it to the fuel line which follows a similar route for the sake of ensuring it stays put once I've replaced the connector (ensuring that one end is still removable to allow for belt changes).

The bearings in the fan seem to be in really good shape. It's quiet and spins freely enough that it was quite happily windmilling in the slight breeze today. If spin by hand it would take a good 20-30 seconds to stop again. The alternator isn't what I'd call noisy but the bearings there definitely aren't in their first flush of youth. Nothing which is contributing to the overall mechanical noise though - confirmed by running the engine briefly with the belt removed.

Putting the fan back in place and fitting the new belt is precisely as far as I got today as I was in the middle of doing that when the rain properly arrived so that's where we downed tools and retreated back inside.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by CitroJim »

Ohh! Didn't realise the Trabant had electronic ignition Zel... I had a firm belief it was points... I take it that's original and not an aftermarket mod?

Setting points down there would be a fair old job so I guess being electronic is a big bonus :)
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

CitroJim wrote: 14 Jun 2024, 05:41 Ohh! Didn't realise the Trabant had electronic ignition Zel... I had a firm belief it was points... I take it that's original and not an aftermarket mod?

Setting points down there would be a fair old job so I guess being electronic is a big bonus :)
Access isn't bad actually. Plenty of room through the wheel arch with the steering turned to full lock.

I don't believe this car would have originally had electronic ignition, don't quote me on it but I've got 1986 in my head as the year it was introduced. It's a pretty much universally fitted upgrade though, especially as it just replaces the points and base plate and doesn't require any other alterations. Nobody would ever know unless they opened that cover.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Ran out of time to get an update on here yesterday - so have that one prior to today's (rather lengthy) update. I'm going to split these into separate posts for the sake of my own sanity.

-- -- --

Didn't get a whole lot done at the weekend because the weather was being so incredibly erratic on Saturday, and the moment I stepped outside when I was available it immediately started raining. Sunday I was mostly busy so only had a few minutes really spare. Nevertheless I was determined to get something done, however small.

Previously we identified this connection between the vehicle and engine sides of the ignition system which I filed under "could be better" when I looked at it.

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This clearly wasn't going to be great in a relatively exposed location long term. Especially when two wires pulled out of the crimp terminals pulling the supposedly removable parts apart.

Before and after showing me in the process of switching this out for a more suitable connector for use buried down in the bottom of the engine bay.

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There are some areas where it's easy to argue that little progress has been made in the last 40 years or so...but I'd absolutely argue that properly waterproof connectors like these really have been a vast improvement over their predecessors.

Should be a fit and forget solution, but also still allows the wiring to be disconnected without having to open up the points compartment to disconnect things to allow the fan belt to be changed.

The wiring has also been secured to keep it well clear of the fan belt.

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Speaking of the points compartment - you all knew I wasn't going to be able to leave it with that bit of red heat shrink sticking out of it didn't you?

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Added a bit of additional black tubing to both provide a bit of additional protection to the wiring and to make it look a bit tidier.

Hardly ground breaking work, but I'm glad I was able to at least tick something off the to do list.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Things escalated somewhat this afternoon!

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Main mission for the day was to get a look at the rings to confirm they were all present and correct, and generally to look for any further signs of damage. My intention was also to pull the jug of number 2 (I'm numbering the cylinders 1 at the crank pulley end, and 2 at the flywheel end for clarity), to see if I could see any further bits of metal floating around in the case.

Step 1 was simple but awkward. Removing this lot.

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Awkward because I had to remove it as one assembly because there's no way to get a (non stubby) wrench on the inboard bolt without first removing the starter motor...and just pulling it off in one piece seemed like less hassle. That heat exchanger is surprisingly heavy but it came off without too much hassle once I figured exactly which way we needed to twist and slide things to fit the manifold between the front valance and the starter motor. If you have a stubby 17mm wrench you could probably do it, but that's not something I have.

I was quite surprised looking inside the big metal assembly which is labelled as a silencer for the heater air supply to find that rather than just being a big box, it is in fact as the name suggests a proper silencer.

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I'd expected at best for there to be some metal ribbing in there to help cut down reflected sound, but no...proper padding and everything. Again, surprising areas of attention to detail on a car that people by and large tend to dismiss as being chucked together without a care in the world.


Having the manifold out of the way revealed instantly where a good deal of the oily gunge in the engine bay had come from. Cylinder number 1 had completely blown its exhaust manifold gasket at the top, and number 2 had been fitted with completely the wrong gasket at some point which didn't even come close to actually sealing.

The rings on number 2 were indeed present and what I could see though the exhaust port looked in decent shape. However you can see from this angle what an absolute beating the piston crown took from that bit of metal.

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You can clearly see how it's caused the edge of the piston to be mushroomed outwards - I'm pretty sure that this would have caused me issues if I'd left it - while it ran with the engine cold, once it warmed up and things expanded a bit that might be a different story.

Looking at number 1 things started to immediately ring far more alarm bells. For a start the piston skirt looked like this.

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That's not just oily dirt - the surface is as deeply ridged there as a ploughed field. This is Not Good.

Even worse, when the piston was lowered there was also clear evidence of it having also ingested foreign matter, albeit less dramatically than number 2.

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The head was pulled then to inspect and confirm that theory - and yes, there is definitely evidence of there having been something bouncing around in that combustion chamber - albeit whatever it was has long vanished down the exhaust in this case.

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Number 2 is at the top, 1 at the bottom.

Don't read into the surface rust too much - that's likely it having taken a bit of water on when I pressure washed the engine, so I'm to blame for that.

While this piston crown hasn't taken anywhere near the battering that number 2 did there clearly has been something bouncing around in here.

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That piston crown was pristine and damage free when I had the head off back in February to change the head gasket.

Between having ascertained that there was absolutely more than one piece of debris involved and having seen damage to the skirt on number 1, pulling both jugs was now something that absolutely definitely had to happen. I'm definitely not the first person to be in here given that one of the nuts was 12mm rather than 13, and 2 of the 8 studs were missing washers below the nuts. This and the exhaust gasket choice makes me somewhat hesitant to trust the attention to detail of whoever last had the top end apart.

I started with number 2...For reasons I don't really know. That theme continues for the rest of this post.

There's no really *horrible* damage (save for what we already knew about), though there is definite signs of a lot of blow by.

Front:

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Rear:

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Cylinder as we saw when we looked in there the other day does indeed have a few scratches on it. I had an absolute nightmare of a time trying to get the camera to focus properly on this.

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The pitting nearer to BDC I find quite interesting as that's the sort of damage I usually associate with rust pitting. Though I know nothing of the history of this engine, and the car did spend some period of time off the road so it may have wound up with a bunch of moisture in the cylinder(s) at some point.

Piston number 1 is rather more gruesome...Those of a mechanically squeamish nature may wish to turn away now.

Front:

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Rear:

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Ouch. It's hard to see in the photos, but there are honest *chunks* of piston material missing, particularly from in between the rings. That piston is absolutely definitely scrap.

Given the state of the piston, I'm honestly surprised the cylinder isn't worse. It's actually better than number 2 aside from the one scratch at around 8 o'clock which is just deep enough to feel. Which also makes me think that this overheating/seizure damage most likely isn't something that's happened recently, if it had I'd expect witness marks to still be more obvious. With the exception of the one scratch I'd be surprised if most of this doesn't clean up with a good honing - the camera as is often the case with things like this makes it look worse than it seems in person, and that one scratch just below the inlet port is the only one which fails the fingernail test.

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What I don't know about either of these however is if they're still circular and straight - though given they're both damaged that's kind of academic, I'm just curious. We're definitely looking at the very least by this point at a pair of new jugs and pistons.

Then I spotted something poking out of the oily pool by where the base of number 2 cylinder sits.

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What was fished out of that pool very clearly didn't belong there, nor was it as I had initially hoped a bit of gasket material or similar.

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Unlike the previous bit of metal we found this one very clearly is absolutely definitely hardened steel. Even with a pair of pliers on both ends I can't bend it at all. So there's every possibility that this does indeed originate from a bearing somewhere within the engine. Assuming of course that it's not a free gift still in there from a previous failure - as we've seen clear evidence that somebody has been in here before, and that they've not maybe been as careful as we'd like.

The wrist pins were the next items to come out - albeit requiring a little persuasion. Thankfully I managed to avoid pinging any of the retaining clips off to bounce off the ISS, into my eyes, nor did I drop them into the crankcase. Again we're doing number 2 first before moving on to 1. Plenty of pitting visible. While *most* of it is actually where the race sits, there are a few bits which do extend into the bearing running surface. This also needs to be filed under B for bin.

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I couldn't see any damage to the bearings themselves - but I was working in bright sunlight and with no magnification on hand so I don't think that means much. I think this was actually from the second cylinder - the photo is mainly to give the curious among you a look at what the bearings look like though, and they both looked in pretty much identical condition.

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As was the case with the piston itself, the wrist pin from number 1 was in worse condition. There's both more pitting visible and it's definitely deeper.

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Despite the pitting on the wrist pins, both of these bearings felt fine with everything able to move smoothly and no play in the load direction that I could detect by hand.

With the pistons out of the way and looking down into the crank case, there are definitely a few small "bits" in there, but no big chunks of metal that I can see.

That "blob" you can see roughly centre frame in the first image below just appears to be some oily gunk. I thought it might be a bit of metal but poking it with a screwdriver proved it to be liquid.

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The most concerning thing I was able to find in this area by a purely visible inspection though was some absolutely horrible looking scoring on the area adjacent to the transfer ports where the disc valve runs. While I imagine a little surface scratching is inevitable here, I'm pretty sure it shouldn't look (and feel) like a brake disc that's been run with knackered pads for a couple of thousand miles.

Cylinder 2:

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Cylinder 1:

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Given there's a very narrow clearance there though and we know there's been foreign matter floating around in the crankcase, that damage probably isn't all that surprising. I don't know how critical the condition of that surface might be in terms of the engine being rebuildable though - that's part of the crankcase so not exactly easily replaceable. You'd probably have to TIG weld to build the surface back up then mill it back to the correct surface - which involves equipment many, many tens of thousands of pounds above my pay grade!

The last thing I could check without any further strip down and/or equipment I don't have on hand was to look for play in the big end bearings. In summary: Not good. There's what I would say is about 0.5mm of "vertical" play at the bottom of both con rods, and enough play that you can visibly "tilt" both rods left to right by a good distance which doesn't seem right. The bottom end also sounds quite grumbly if you spin the engine over by hand.

Apologies for the vertical video, I didn't think about that when I recorded this.



I am open to feedback from people who know these engines there - but the fact that I can twist/tilt the rods just seems off to me. I'd expect a needle bearing to allow straight side-to-side movement, but not for the lateral relationship to the crank to be changed - at least not that extremely.



So what next?

Given the damage we've found to both pistons, the scored/pitted cylinders, hardened metal debris and what to me seems like excessive play in the bottom end, just throwing this back together and crossing my fingers feels like I'm just asking for further trouble. Whether that be 5, 50 or 500 miles down the road, something is going to let go and it's most likely going to do it at the worst possible moment. I count myself very lucky that when the breakdown that kicked this all off happened that I was able to coast without any drama into a safe stopping location well clear of the road at the entrance to someone's driveway. If this had happened during probably 85% of my normal driving it would have been far more of a nuisance, given the plethora of 70mph dual carriageways with absolutely zero provision on them for safe stopping in Milton Keynes, odds are that's where it would have happened.

My hunch is that the 35K kilometres shown on the odometer in this car most likely is 135K. Which if the bottom end of this engine hasn't already been apart at some point is pretty impressive going for a little air cooled two stroke with its design roots in the 50s I'd think! Especially given that the general evidence in this car suggests that it's never really lived a pampered life either before or since its arrival in the UK.

This leaves me with three options I reckon.

[] Find a second hand replacement engine.

[] Buy a rebuild kit.

[] Buy a reconditioned engine.

The first option is obviously most likely to be the least painful to my bank balance. If I can find someone in the UK who has one they're willing to part with at a sensible price of course - and assuming that engine itself doesn't also need major work, otherwise we just end up straight back where we are now.

Trabantwelt do sell a "rebuild in a box" kit which most likely would contain everything we needed to get up and going again. Albeit not exactly cheap - and viability of this is assuming that that scoring we found by the disc valve ports isn't a show stopper.

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Link.

Actually a little more as I'd need to factor in return shipping for the old core parts, though that's likely to be a drop in the ocean compared to the overall price tag in all honesty.

By far the biggest single cost in there is the crankshaft assembly which is €550 if you were to buy just that alone.

Though if we're already looking at a four digit price tag for this as it stands, do we just accept this is going to be expensive and order a whole engine off the shelf?

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Link.

Don't honestly know how much I'd need to add on to that for shipping the core back to Germany, but I'm guessing most likely somewhere in the region of £100. Don't imagine postage for the new part here is exactly going to be cheap either.

Time to do some digging to see if I can find a serviceable spare in the same country first I think as that would definitely be the easy option, also time to get the lump currently in there pulled out - as whether it's getting rebuilt or replaced it needs to come out of the car to be worked on. I'd also like to examine the clutch as that has always been prone to a lot of judder - so I'd like to know if we need to look at ordering that as well.

Getting the engine stripped down that far took maybe an hour or so - and that included probably 20 or 30 minutes wrestling with the exhaust before it occurred to me to just remove the manifold and heat exchanger together as one assembly. Total tools involved: 10 (is just to remove the cowling), 13, 16 & 17mm sockets (x2 for the exhaust manifold-heat exchanger bolts as they're not captive), a ratchet flat blade screwdriver, needle nose pliers, a few rags and a couple of ziplock bags to put each cylinder's small components in. Can't really complain at that to basically have an engine half way stripped down. Actually quite enjoyable to do as well, even the brief bit of wrestling with the exhaust wasn't all that annoying all told.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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CitroJim
A very naughty boy
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by CitroJim »

A good, if unhappy read Zel... Maybe a nice little road trip to Germany to get a new engine?
Jim

Runner, cyclist, time triallist, duathlete, Citroen AX fan and the CCC Citroenian 'From A to Z' Columnist...