Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, BX, Jag XJ-S, 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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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Got a couple of things done later on this afternoon, though not as productive as I'd really hoped to be. Have identified a show on Sunday that I might try to get over to - if I get a decent job done tomorrow getting the Lada cleaned up. She's filthy and needs a polish/wax just now.

I did however *finally* get around to actually fitting the wheel centre covers to the rear wheels - it's only taken me five months to remember to do it.
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Next on the list was the white sticky tape covering the hole in the offside front wing which had been there since a kid from the school around the corner decided to poke it as they walked past one day. It was driving me mad because it was so obvious. Not half as obvious as the hole when you pulled the tape off though!
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In case you wondered *why* they always rot out here, this should give you a clue.
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Several factors. Firstly that these cars were never fitted with any wheel arch liners from the factory so crud always accumulates in the top corner over the headlight. Secondly, that little ledge on the inner wing means that even if you're a conscientious owner who keeps the car clean as you can, you're never going to get everything out of there without some specialised hose-end attachment to get right into the corner. It's also the thinnest part of the panel due to the way it's pressed I imagine.

Now I thought I had some filler floating around - but it had turned to rock some time in the distant past. Hmm says me...and resorted to some cardboard, more duct tape, then threw a bit of paint at it (and Dinitrol on the underside to keep the damp out). Seriously - it's a purely cosmetic repair and the wings are going to be replaced as soon as possible...so yes, it's a horrendous bodge, but that's all it needs to be! At least it looks slightly less blindingly obvious from ten paces.
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Next my attention turned to another item on the to do list - checking/topping up the gearbox oil. Which brings me to a problem. How on earth are you meant to get this filler plug out?!?
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It's a 12mm hex head, but there is literally an inch of clearance between it and the edge of the transmission tunnel...and none of the hex bit combinations I have will physically fit in the gap. I thought the Allen key in the toolkit was intended for this purpose...but it's still too long...

While I was down there I decided to take a look at the clutch slave cylinder as the fluid level hasn't dropped visibly since I topped it up a few weeks ago. It's definitely still weeping, so is on the to do list.
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Nice to see that the rubber boot over the clutch operating lever is still there, they've usually vanished by this point in time.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by RichardW »

I was going to say that it might be easier to just weld a repair piece into the wing, but given how far gone they are, perhaps beyond that!!

You will need to make a tool for the gearbox plug - bit of flat plate, drill a hole in it, cut 20mm or so off the end of the allen key, stick it in the hole, then tack it in with the MIG and hey presto. Alternatively, if the reversing switch or vent is accessible on the top of the box it may be easier to drop the oil, and then refill with the correct amount.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Sadly the reversing light switch is below the oil level it appears, and the breather is right on top, at approximately the furthest possible point from being accessible from anywhere.

On the Niva the top of the box is accessible by lifting the centre console, then the whole selector assembly just lifts off after you remove three small nuts. Takes five minutes, and allows you to overfill the box slightly (2 litres rather than 1.7 which is beneficial in the Niva as the box is at an angle, which leads to the 5th gear cluster getting starved of oil). Also lets you peek into the gearbox and do a quick visual inspection. Sadly don't reckon that's possible in the Riva without getting the carpet out. The hole around the gear lever just isn't big enough!

One thing I am going to try is finding an appropriately sized couple of nuts, locking them together on a bolt and just making an adaptor I can stick a spanner onto. These aren't *usually* too biblically tight. If it works I may weld it together once and for all and keep it in the tool kit. ...Or measure the plug and order one with a raised head I can just attack with a spanner.

The Allen key idea I had already had - having a devil of a time finding one bigger than 10mm though - granted I haven't consulted the internet yet, just my local shops... I'm old fashioned.

There is a 12mm one included in the Lada toolkit which is meant to be for that purpose... I'm almost wondering if the kit (being from an older car than mine) was updated for later cars when the five speed box came in...Wonder if it's wider.

It's a truly silly thing to be flummoxed by!

The wings are pretty far gone. To be fair, it's really only that corner and the rest is fine, still would be a pretty major bit of reconstructive surgery - especially as my welding can be structurally sound now, but is far from pretty! Plus that was on a nearly millimetre thick piece of 25 year old Swedish exhaust pipe rather than bodywork. Pretty sure I'd blow more holes in it than I'd fix.

You'd expect the whole car to be rotten from the state of them though wouldn't you? Thankfully that's not the case, and the wings really are the only major rot area.

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myglaren
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by myglaren »

No use to you but I have a large collection of hex keys, many from Aldi but some odd ones came from a local branch of K-Engineering, a fasteners stockist.
Have a look for somewhere similar near you.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

Your wing repair takes me right back to the 70s Zel. Such 'repairs' were common then and these days it is very rare to see it.

You could consider it a period mod!!!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Didn't James Blunt, on "Top Gear", admit to having had a Lada Riva SL some time in the past? SL standing for "Slightly Luxurious", as he put it. He also owned up to having a Moto Guzzi motorcycle, to which Jeremy Clarkson said "I didn't know you were homosexual". The response he got somewhat de-railed him. "Most of my songs are about you!".

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by RichardW »

Plnety on e-bay! not worth buggering about trying to find one locally... I know we should support local shops, but you can't beat the net for this sort of one off oddity!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

The biggest hurdle I'd probably have to deal with if I was to attempt to repair the wings in situ is actually lack of tools. I don't have any of the stuff I'd really need to precisely shape metal as would be needed here (nor the experience at doing it). Haven't got much metal around either as most of my stuff like that was scrapped when I moved south. ...Though I could probably cannibalise an old PC case...

The outer skin and top wouldn't be too hard, but the leading edge I think would present rather more of a challenge.

Just doesn't seem worth spending money on getting tools and such I'd need for that when I already have two brand new wings sitting in the garage. Especially as pulling them off the car gives an ideal chance to assess the condition of the inner wings, to carry out any repairs needed there, and to rust proof the area beyond any chance of ever corroding!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

So, this afternoon's entertainment...

Going to head up to a show in Peterborough tomorrow morning, so wanted to give the Lada a bit of a clean.

Sadly I only got half way through the polish, but nevertheless it looks better than when I started out, and the interior is clean again. It's astonishing how hard it is to remove dog nose prints from car windows.

Then turned my attention to the fact that the handbrake light had quit working a couple of weeks back. This. Annoyed. Me. A. Lot. So needed to be resolved. Now, knowing the car helps a bit here, as I know that the switch is generally reliable, the flasher unit (yes, the handbrake light flashes for some reason) tends to fail but usually just leaves the light on rather than flashing, the usual suspect is the crimp terminal to PCB connection on the little board with the lights themselves on. Sure enough wiggling the wire made the light work.

So I grabbed the soldering iron, flux pen and set about soldering the pin to the board. That sorted it out nicely, and reassembly of the instrument panel went without incident. Testing showed that the light was now working...But the brake fluid light had now quit working! So everything out again, poking its lamp holder got that going again (I bent the terminals on that a bit for good measure), and put everything back together a second time. Victory at last...It better stay fixed this time!

Will make sure to get some photos at the show tomorrow and report back on what sort of response the Lada gets. Will be the first time I've taken it to an event, so quite looking forward to it.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

So today we had a nice little run up to the Stibbington Diner for their regular classic car get together. Nice varied turnout that rotated quite a bit through the day. We had the usual suspects like an MGB, couple of Stags, Spitfires, a Beetle etc, but had a few more oddball motors along too. Ones which immediately spring to mind were an odd little Bond 875 three wheeler - which was rear engined, and I'll really need to do some research on, a Renault Fuego, and a DeLorean. I'll pull some photos off my phone shortly and drop those onto the spotted classics thread.
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For once I actually remembered to take a photo or two of my own car at the event! I've a history of forgetting to do that.

Got a reasonable amount of interest as hoped, with the usual memories of parents or grandparents having had them in the past, but nobody being able to remember when they last saw one.

The Diner was still open for business as usual, hence the parking area being shared with some day-to-day modern traffic too, hence the random Nissan Note in the photo.

A last minute detail I put together this morning finally sorted out something which had really been bugging me too...
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It's a really quick and dirty bit of graphics editing, but looks convincing enough unless you're peering through the windscreen...I'll spend a bit more time on a better one (with the correct month too - it should really show October) at some point in the future - and acquire a plain disc holder too.

...I admit that the only reason that one's still there is because I know it will make an awful mess if I try to pull it off, but as the screen needs changing now that solves that problem.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

I like those period tax discs Zel.

I've often thought about getting a 1964 one for the Xantia!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Jim, there are plenty of outfits out there now which will provide a professionally made replica one to your spec (even down to the issuing post office) for just a few quid.

Today I went to go out to get a new front tyre for Abby's bike (the old one was starting to perish quite badly - it's both a very heavy bike, and it's used every day for commuting), and immediately noticed that something wasn't right.

What's wrong with this picture?
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Clue is that the engine is running.

The voltmeter needle should be sitting on that little black mark. Good demonstration here of why it's a good instrument to have! It was quite sunny at the time, and thanks to the reflection I didn't clock that the warning light wasn't working when I turned the ignition on - if I didn't have a voltmeter, I'd have been away down the road before suddenly discovering I had a flat battery...

Now the alternator is (save for the steering box) about the most difficult to get to thing in the engine bay. It's buried down in the offside front lower corner, and the exhaust manifold, water pump, thermostat and the battery tray are pretty much entirely in the way. Should be easy enough to get to from underneath shouldn't it?
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Oh...Luckily that splash guard comes off.

Twenty (no, really!) bolts later, and access is rather better I think it's fair to say.
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First thought: "What a mess." 99% of that oil I reckon is coming from a combination of the rocker cover and timing chain cover. Both of which I have new gaskets sitting here for, and a front crankshaft oil seal too. The coolant is coming from...well...every blasted joint that I haven't changed the hose clips on yet it seems. Barely uses any it seems - but I think that's more down to the fact that it's got a large expansion tank rather than that it's not leaking...

I've ascertained that it's not just an external dodgy connection to the alternator, nor is the bulb in the dash to blame (annoyingly...). So will need to pull the alternator and take a look. If I'm really lucky, the brushes will just have stuck in their holder like happened with the Saab. If I'm not lucky, it will be a larger problem and I'll need to go looking for a new one or to get it reconditioned...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

That's a properly decent splash guard Zel and a very good idea!

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Splash guard is made of silly thick metal for what it is - could probably jack the car by the thing! Not quite as mad as the sump guard on the Saab which is about 5mm thick.

Guessing my problem here is going to be similar to the issues Xantia alternators tend to have after being drowned in LHM...

Speaking of, what is it then that actually stops them working? Crud accumulating on the brushes/commutator or does it cause damage to other components, insulation etc?

Given I've lost the warning light here as well I'm guessing either the brushes have stuck in their holder or the 12V that should be there to provide the excitation current has gone astray - will double check that's getting *to* the alternator before I pull it out. Definitely getting to the dash as it shares its positive feed with the oil pressure light which is working.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by RichardW »

Try giving it a whack - if the brushes are stuck this may free them off and start it working again (although it's a sign that it needs attention!). The dash light is earthed via the brushes when the alt is not turning. When it turns, this current excites the coils in the armature to set up the induced currents in the stator coils - once these start producing electricity there is no potential between the light and earth so it goes out. If the light is not on at switch on (and the bulb is OK) then the brushes are not making contact (hence the shock as above). This will not work if they are covered in oily crud of course....