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 »

I was always taught that sending a sheet through a laser printer twice was a big no-no. One of those rules I was taught back when my father's office had just bought their first one at the same price as a small car in the early 90s, and I've just always followed since...

To be honest just stacking things as I have seems to have resulted in perfectly adequate performance in the real world.

I did use the transparency setting when printing these which does reduce the print speed, so passes it over the fuser slower. I think you can play around with the print settings further via the control panel on the printer, but this was good enough for me. Especially as these panels live behind a couple of frosted plastic windows anyway.

Another factor is likely the transparency sheets themselves - they're not all created equal.

I might stick one through the really old LaserJet next time it's not forming a structural part of the pile of junk in the corner... that's old enough to lack any power/toner conservation systems so would be interesting to see if it produced a "blacker" print.
Last edited by Zelandeth on 24 Sep 2021, 19:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by white exec »

Bring back Agfa's Copyproof! :roll:
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Well we've found why the BX speedometer doesn't work.

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That little bit of plastic should be attached to the end of the lower cable. So unless I can come up with a bodge I'll be needing a new lower cable.

The dash is back together now though. Looks far less scruffy.

Before:

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After:

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All seems to be behaving.

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I really had not appreciated quite how big a visual impact just repainting the pointer on the speedometer would make.

After dark I was able to take a look to see if the panel lighting was behaving...yep!

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There used to be horrible blotchy bleed through here...

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Much better now.

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The slight bleed through on the right is actually just due to the frosted surface on the plastic light guide rather than light getting through the backing.

I've not been able to sort the clock yet so have just disabled it... having it show 0:00 every time the ignition was on was more annoying than it just not working. I'll get to that at some point in the future.


I've decided to take a step away from the Merc for a few days as I was just getting frustrated with it today.

Have discovered that to get the timing chain tensioner out (because I need to take it out and dismantle it to reset it so I can reattach the sprocket to the camshaft) I first need to remove the alternator. Of course one of the mounting blts is just spinning and I couldn't find the right size spanner to lock it in place. I'd already spent half an hour chasing tools around by that point and getting clocked on the head by the bootlid didn't help.

I'll get back to it after the weekend.

Oh. Looking at a car this weekend too. Yes I know...don't ask why!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

That instrument panel is looking a WHOLE lot better (and considerably better than I could have done).
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren »

Certainly is but I compared the first and second photo's and thought that there must be a lot of wishful thinking going on there - then saw the others :-(
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Two entries in one today as I ran out of time and energy halfway through yesterday's one...

-- -- --

Currently I have five cars on the drive. That's two too many.

Current status of them...

[] Jag: Intermittent charging fault. Reeks of fuel when the tank is more than 3/4 full. Sold anyway, waiting for the new owner to complete their house move so they've got space to take it on. I intend to stick a fresh MOT on before it's handed over (and obviously sort the alternator).

[] Van: Working...though being 2.6 metres tall means it's not the most practical daily driver as so many places around here have height barriers.

[] Merc S123: Currently half way to having the cylinder head removed.

[] BX: Hasn't been on the road in at least 11 years, we're making progress but still a ways from being a working car.

[] Invacar: Working, though the brakes need adjusting.

So yeah...two out of five. Not a great average.

Absolutely the last thing I need is another project...so why the heck was I looking at one yesterday? Honestly I think the answer is because I'm an idiot.

I went to look at it with heavily tempered expectations, though was really quite pleasantly surprised at what I found.

So what did I find?

Looking a little bit sorry for herself from being in storage for several years and sporting a few dents and dings which have occurred during that time, but here she is.

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Here's the real surprise though given this is an unrestored 70s Vauxhall...

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Incredibly little rust for one of these. I did find a couple of crunchy bits though, would have been downright miraculous if there weren't a couple. One is a hole just in front of the rear offside wheel. Which is probably the most difficult one to sort as it'll be an awkward pig to get to with welding spatter going in my ear.

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Oddly the nearside...which is where I'm used to there being the most rust...seems perfectly solid here.

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The crispy looking bit at frame left is the wheel arch lip rather than anything more sinister, poor framing on my part.

The other bit of note is on the nearside front chassis rail. A patch was done for the last MOT this car was back in 2010, however rust has got into the seam and blown it out.

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This initially looked quite alarming and had me thinking it was going to be a sigh and walk away situation when the whole surrounding area went "scrunch" when I poked it...but it didn't. It all feels solid and does look to be a case of cutting out that old patch and letting in new metal. It's one of those hugely rare instances where welding is concerned that it's both easy to get to and doesn't require half the car to be dismantled. Wheel off and one plastic fuel line to be tucked out the way should be all that's needed.

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While we're under the bonnet already, look at those inner wings and shock towers...

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We only had about a pint of petrol in the tank today so only managed a few minutes of running before running out, but she fired straight up and ran incredibly smoothly, albeit a bit tappety. Though from what I remember these engines did tend to rattle a bit.

This was about ten seconds after she was started up, so still on the choke.



This was originally an automatic but suffered a gearbox failure somewhere in the distant past - why the car spent its first stint in storage for a while. Back in 2007 it was rescued and converted to a 5-speed manual using a gearbox from a Manta. I know for a while the previous previous keeper had been chasing an odd running issue which seemed to point at a timing problem, however we don't know for certain whether this was resolved or not...we haven't been able to replicate it though so I think there's a bit of crossing fingers and hoping there.

There will be a bit of repair needed under the battery as the panel there is a bit thin and there are a couple of pin holes. Access is fine though and I'm classifying that about a 0.2 out of 10 on the worry scale.

Being a GL this has stainless steel sill covers fitted...which is always a bit of a potential can of worms.

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However from what I can see this is pretty much the story most of the way around.

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I gave them a decent thump along the full length both sides and the only bit I could detect any give in was the last couple of inches at the rear on the nearside where I'm absolutely sure there's a hole.

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Bottom and inner sides of the sill are still there though, so not panicking too much. Wouldn't be the worst repair ever.

While the exterior has survived the last 43 years extraordinarily well it's nothing compared to the interior.

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The 80s Manta gearknob and gaiter have to go and be replaced with something more period appropriate. The console (which is also Manta I think) will need to stay as there's a gap in the carpet due to the gearbox change having required modification of the tunnel as the Cavalier one would normally be further forward.

This may have something to do with why there's so little wear there.

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Always a sucker for a dash with funky warning lights that aren't just square or round, even if my camera couldn't make heads or tails of the colour.

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The door card for the nearside rear is present, it was removed a couple of weeks ago when folks were looking at whether the dent in that door could be pushed out by hand. Needs a bit more strength than that, but I reckon both of these could be sorted to an acceptable standard without too much drama.

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I have always had a soft spot for these. An almost identical car was actually the first car I ever drove at about age 12, so there's a lot of nostalgia there. Memory is a funny old thing, first thing I noticed was that I remembered the smell of the interior. Never actually driven one on the road though!

It's a car I've always liked, for all the front end styling is divisive. Just never come across one for sale that was for sale that wasn't rotten, heavily performance modified, too expensive for me or any combination of the above. I wasn't looking for this...and in fact deliberately avoided looking at it too closely when I was last over there a few weeks ago because I knew I'd wind up asking "how much?" if I did. Then it popped up for sale...so here we are.

This is pretty much spot on for what I'd like...tidy enough that it could clean up well with a bit of elbow grease, not having comfort destroyed in favour of track lap times, and a pretty simple car to work on.

Something will have to go to make way for it though!

-- -- --

Having finally picked up the brake pipe for the BX I really had no excuse not to get cracking on sorting it.

Somewhat to my surprise both ends unbolted from the unions with relatively little effort. Rounding those off was high on my worry list.

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All of the lines look crustier than I would like...so I can see them all being changed before the car is pushed into use.

While the clamps holding the pipe were really fiddly to undo it wasn't really that difficult.

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Putting the new one in was equally fiddly but without drama. All in was about two hours, though at least half an hour of that was fiddling around trying to figure out where half the tools were.

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Oh.

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Yeah...about my diagnosis of that pipe being at fault... totally wrong. It must be the main brake supply line to the rear axle. Really hard to tell as I can't see the actual location of the leak, but it's not suspension related as the leak only happens when the brake pedal is pressed.

That will be fun to change. I know the official way to do this involves dropping the subframe...which is a road I really would rather have avoided at this stage when I don't even know for certain how far from an MOT we are.

Bit frustrating to be honest having spent that amount of time on something which probably didn't need doing!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

This one is a 2000 Gls in similar colour/ upholstery in nice condition fetched £7,100 hammer price at SWVA 30th October 2020

https://www.swva.co.uk/classic-car/vaux ... -gls-1980/



REgards Neil

Lower spec 1980 model. Couldn't fault this one at all, superbly presented and sold for a reasonable £4,840 hammer price April 2021.

Last edited by NewcastleFalcon on 28 Sep 2021, 19:55, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by bobins »

I have a car roller you can borrow if you want to roll it onto its side for any welding, Zel. Bolt it to the wheel studs on one side and safely put it up on its side - it don't half make life easier for such things :-)
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Dormouse »

For welding try using a Nomex racing balaclava. The basic Clubman ones are not too expensive and you can get them in open face or eyeleted type. They even do a great job of keeping rust flakes/crud out of your mouth and ears. Worked for me.
Some of you may remember Chunky. Well, I was instrumental in selling a white GLS 2000 to him complete with caravan electrics for his Motocross bike trailer. The car was already in very good condition but Chunky took it to a whole level more and it was "minted". He even managed to keep it that way. He loved that Vauxhall and swore by it. Comfy, roomy, plenty of poke when he wanted it and surprisingly economical.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren »

Zelandeth wrote:
27 Sep 2021, 00:09
Two entries in one today as I ran out of time and energy halfway through yesterday's one...

-- -- --

Currently I have five cars on the drive. That's two too many.

November the 5th soon Zel :twisted:
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

bobins wrote:
27 Sep 2021, 06:58
I have a car roller you can borrow if you want to roll it onto its side for any welding, Zel. Bolt it to the wheel studs on one side and safely put it up on its side - it don't half make life easier for such things :-)
That would probably be an absolute godsend for doing that work on the inner sill.

The first thing which will be happening once the welding is completed will be getting it professionally rust proofed. Yes it'll be £5-600, but given the tendency of these cars to dissolve even back in their day, having a warrantied corrosion barrier in place will be worth every penny. Plus I know they'll have the kit to get properly into all the cavities and such way better than I can. It's so clean by and large underneath it really should be preserved.

-- -- --

Yesterday with fuel basically impossible to come by it was obviously a good idea to take out the most economical member of the fleet to run my errands. Especially as I had a can of petrol in the garage for the mower... enough to add about a quarter of a tank to the gauge in TPA.

Been a while since I got any new photos of her, so grabbed a few while we were out.

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Guessing she will be out and about quite a bit this week.

Having now got hold of a 12mm Torx bit I had hoped to get some more work on the Merc done today...

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Yes, the weather had other ideas. As a bonus there's about an inch of water in the garage again. Oh what fun.

My current plan is to swap out the cylinder head for my spare and see what happens. Basically as there's nothing to lose by trying save for a few hours of time and a gasket set. If it's the bottom end of the engine that's self destructing it should be pretty immediately obvious as the oil pressure will continue to decay and we will keep seeing glittery oil. At least then we'll know.

Aside from £500-£900 plus postage for a replacement engine itself, probably £150 of sundry parts I'd change while it was out, I'd need probably £2-300 of tools (not least but including an engine crane). I reckon that's a large enough chunk of money that it's worth a few hours of my time throwing spares I've got at it and seeing what happens. At the end of the day if it doesn't sort it I'll just unbolt the head again and it can go back into the spares store!

The arrival of the Cavalier on the scene really has complicated things... Really hadn't been anticipating any more automotive arrivals for a while. Very much looking forward to getting stuck into it though.

Biggest issue though is that I need to clear a space before I can get it delivered...Jag isn't going anywhere for over a month. Merc Currently is obviously...in bits. BX...well I really want to get that back on the road. Bah...need to make a slot somehow! Preferably quickly as I'd like to try to get at least some of the work done before the weather totally dives for the winter.

Yes it will be delivered. I know it's technically MOT exempt, but I'm not about to go all Vice Grip Garage on this...I know the front brakes are shot, there's a bulge in the nearside front tyre the size of an egg, we're missing part of the exhaust, and it's been sitting in a shed for at least 11 years. Plus there may have been an unresolved running issue prior to that. If I was still in the back end of rural Aberdeenshire, maybe if I changed the tyres, made sure it actually ran well and sorted the brakes...Down here...not happening!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by bobins »

Zelandeth wrote:
29 Sep 2021, 01:19
bobins wrote:
27 Sep 2021, 06:58
I have a car roller you can borrow if you want to roll it onto its side for any welding, Zel. Bolt it to the wheel studs on one side and safely put it up on its side - it don't half make life easier for such things :-)
That would probably be an absolute godsend for doing that work on the inner sill.

No probs, just need to sort out the where's and when's and you can borrow it for the duration. I rarely use it - last time was to clean and underseal my hairdryer a year or two ago :)
I've also got a lovely old Westinghouse engine crane you could borrow if you wanted for the Merc. It's a lovely old bit of kit, but so over-engineered it could probably pull the Earth out of its orbit :lol:
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

bobins wrote:
29 Sep 2021, 06:56
Zelandeth wrote:
29 Sep 2021, 01:19
bobins wrote:
27 Sep 2021, 06:58
I have a car roller you can borrow if you want to roll it onto its side for any welding, Zel. Bolt it to the wheel studs on one side and safely put it up on its side - it don't half make life easier for such things :-)
That would probably be an absolute godsend for doing that work on the inner sill.

No probs, just need to sort out the where's and when's and you can borrow it for the duration. I rarely use it - last time was to clean and underseal my hairdryer a year or two ago :)
I've also got a lovely old Westinghouse engine crane you could borrow if you wanted for the Merc. It's a lovely old bit of kit, but so over-engineered it could probably pull the Earth out of its orbit :lol:
I think if I get to the point where I actually *need* an engine crane it's basically a sure sign that it's just time I bought one. They're a really handy tool to have about whenever you need to lift anything really awkward and heavy...just not enough so I've able to justify the cost yet. Plus I've never had space to store one, but the garage is slowly getting sorted out now.

A car roller though, that's pure luxury! Just remember to drain the oil first...a friend of mine made that mistake once...

-- -- --

Back at it this afternoon.

Step 1 I decided was to label the handful of wiring connectors which would need to be removed. Have to admit this is one of the reasons I love K-Jet injection systems...so simple electronically.

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IAC valve is hiding just out of shot above the frame.

Checking it with a straight edge the spare head appears to be flat. Once it's had a good clean I'll inspect it closely for any signs of damage. Being used to relatively tiny and not performance focused OHV engines those valves look positively huge. I guess that's the real bonus of an oversquare engine with a crossflow head...more room for big valves.

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I'll be transferring my inlet manifold complete with fuel distributor over, but I'll be removing it from the head off the car. Both as the inlet manifold will give me something to get hold of to help lift it and because a couple of the retaining bolts are a real pig to get to with it in the car.

Definitely want to use mine though. Assure from it being filthy it looks like the plastic housing on the fuel metering head has started to fail on the spare.

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A vacuum leak there could cause absolute mayhem with regards to fuelling. Hoping the one currently on the car is better or I'll need to come up with some sort of repair.

Let the strip down commence!

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A huge surprise arrived midway through this when I went to tackle the part of the whole job I have been dreading the most. Removing the exhaust manifold.

I have never had to remove one on a car which has not been an absolutely horrible war of a job.

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Right up until today. This just unbolted from the head without any drama whatsoever. Okay, was a 50/50 mix of the nuts unscrewing and the studs winding out of the head but that's irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. I have never known a manifold come off that easy. Ever.

So...this brings us up to here:

[] Rocker cover, camshaft carriers/rocker assemblies and camshaft removed.

[] Exhaust manifold clear of head.

[] Coolant drained (block drain is hidden behind exhaust manifold, hence choosing that sequence). Oil had already been drained before we started.

[] Throttle cable and gearbox kickdown cables disconnected.

[] Various electrical connectors disconnected and de-threaded from the vacuum pipework they wound their way through before.

[] Vacuum line to brake servo disconnected at manifold end.

[] Engine earth strap disconnected from inlet manifold.

[] Fuel flow and return lines disconnected and moved clear (after discovering the hidden 10mm bolt holding them to the fuel distributor.

[] Disconnected heater hose from rear of head.

[] Removed half a dozen small bore vacuum lines, not forgetting the near invisible one to the gearbox.

[] Unbolted the thermostat housing from the front of the head.

[] Removed the top alternator mounting bolt.

[] Removed head bolts ( including the sneaky ones right at the front and the *really* sneaky one over by the warm up regulator masquerading as a plugged coolant sensor hole.

Yeah...to put into perspective how filthy this head is, this is how much gunk I had to scoop out of the head bolt heads before I could get the bit into them properly.

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That is probably the best part of 1 X 2 cm.

After a certain amount of swearing we got to the point where the head has split from the block.

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However I haven't so far been able to get it to separate around the full perimeter quite yet. I've also realised that due to the design of the timing chain tensioner that I need to faff around with that first before I can fully remove the head. The tensioner has a pin which passes through the middle of the loop of the chain...so either than pin needs to come out or the chain needs to be split. Apparently the inner of this pin however is threaded so you can wind a bolt into it and then pull it out of the head... we'll see if that's true tomorrow.

Kinda feels like a failure that I didn't get the head fully out today, I had really hoped to. We're about 95% of the way there though.

I can't start rebuilding things yet anyway as I'm still waiting on the head and inlet manifold gaskets (exhaust ones are of a type which should be fine to reuse) to arrive. Depending on what the weather is up to tomorrow we'll hopefully either get the whole head off the car or start stripping down and cleaning the spare one.

I'm telling myself to stop being bloody lazy and lap the valves in, though I can't for the life of me tell you where my valve spring compressor is...

It's a bit of a strange engine to work on...a lot of it is really well thought out and easy, but every now and then there are just a few bits which are seemingly needlessly complicated or awkward. The non-resettable timing chain tensioner and chain guide you need to use a puller/slide hammer to remove from the head immediately spring to mind.

I have checked the measurements of the head bolts and they're all well within spec so should be fine to be reused. I can't see any evidence of this head ever being off before so far so not a huge surprise.

Just need a really good clean as like everything, they're covered in sticky black tar.

As is now about 3/4 of my toolkit, the garage door, my hair and the side of the van.

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Hopefully we'll have good progress to report tomorrow.

Of course just to add to the fun the heavens decided to open just as I was tidying up...and immediately stopped about the second I closed the garage door.

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With a bit of luck we'll be able to do a side-by-side comparison of the two heads tomorrow.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Well I had really hoped to get quite a bit of work done on the car today...life had other ideas.

Our kitchen has been infested with grain mites.

See the specs of dust on this storage box?

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They're not specs of dust. As demonstrated by the fact that they were moving. They were all over one side of the kitchen. As best we can tell by where "Ground Zero" was, they appear to have been a free gift with a food delivery we had at the end of last week. I actually first noticed them about two or three days ago - noting that I really needed to clean the kitchen. However it was when I moved the first thing today to start doing said cleaning I discovered there were thousands of the suckers under it. At which point I swore. Loudly.

So instead of working on the cars I've spent the entire day cleaning and removing items one by one from the kitchen so we can clean every millimetre of it and drown everything in vinegar (which seems to be generally regarded as the best thing to get shot of them other than bleach - and having two dogs I'd rather avoid bleach). Reckon I've got another full day's worth of it tomorrow. Oh joy. Plus it will probably take several passes to actually get them cleared as I know they're behind the cupboards, underneath them etc....

So much for getting anything actually useful done over the next few days.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by bobins »

You need to deploy one of BigClive's UV lamps - that'll annoy the little mites :-D