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 »

Yesterday the replacement distributor cap and rotor arm for the Trevi arrived.

Not often I can visually show how worn out a distributor cap is with a couple of photographs...

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Those contact post surfaces should be flat.

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That's the best part of a millimetre of material that has been worn away. It's no surprise the car wasn't running well.

New cap and rotor were fitted without incident (getting to this is merely awkward when the engine is cold...it rises to moderately torturous once it's hot).

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Labelled the leads while I was in there as the new cap doesn't have markers for them. They're pretty easy to trace on this engine but I figure it can't hurt.

This resulted in the engine bursting into life and sounding far more healthy.

For about 1/4 of a mile into the test run. At which point I spluttered to a halt in a bus stop. Managed to get going again for about 30 seconds and ended up having to push the car out of the way off a busy road. Yeah...that went well.

Initially I thought we might have got a fuelling problem as we still had a solid spark from the coil. However checking a HT lead showed zip coming out of the cap. So time to burn my knuckles and get the cap off.

Well that lasted well.

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No idea if it's a case of the part being wrong or just poor plastic that started breaking down in ten seconds flat. Either way, it's scrap now.

Stuffed the old rotor arm back on and the engine immediately burst back into life and I was able to get back to my driveway to do a bit more fine tuning. While the old distributor cap was obviously wrecked the rotor arm didn't look anywhere near as worn. No idea if it's been changed at some point, or if it's just the cap that tends to wear more.

With a reasonably solid spark at least I coukd start to see where we were at. It was obvious how much better the engine was running as the idle had raised from a stumbling barely 500rpm mess to about 2000rpm.



This was the starting point.



It turns out that when you've been trying to get a carb set up while the ignition system is barely working that you end up miles off the mark.

I'm not 100% sure that this carb is in fact properly jetted for this engine (on the idle circuit at least) as this is absolutely the highest CO% reading I can get on the exhaust gas analyser, about 1.8%.

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For an engine of this sort of age (especially given that Lancia would have set this up with a lean towards performance rather than economy I'd expect) I'd really be looking for 4-6%. While I'm sure about the absolute accuracy of the numbers on my meter it shows the right ballpark when hooked up to TPA, so it definitely gives a good ballpark indication at least. A proper modern exhaust gas analyser is something I really should pick up at some point*.

*The Sun 1215 has a good optical CO and HC meter if I can ever get it going properly.

I reckon based on what I've felt when driving the car that the main is probably okay, but the idle jet could do with being bigger (or smaller if it's metering air rather than fuel - I don't know the method of operation of this carb well enough to say). I decided to ignore the numbers for now and just go for where we had the smoothest idle. The engine responce when you crack the throttle open is nice and snappy, just feels on a light throttle that she's starving for fuel a little.

Nevertheless we got to a point where the car was driving reasonably well and we *successfully* completed a couple of mile test drive.

Given the history it has of stalling at inopportune moments and the low reported oil pressure at idle I've opted to keep the idle a little on the high side anyway.

Fast forwarding to today we picked up where we left off.

Something I wanted to check before running it too much further was see what state the oil was in, given I know this car has had ignition issues for the last two years there was every likelihood of it being badly fuel contaminated. Didn't really seem too bad on that count but was definitely dirty and due a change. I've since had the go ahead from the owner to get that changed.

Then did a bit of gentle bumbling around our neighborhood for half an hour or so. All continued well, so I switched out to the dual carriageway - and then (within reason, I know what state the radiator is in) spent half an hour or so caning the snot out of it.

Couple of reasons...one being that if it was going to play up I wanted to provoke it. Secondly given that this car has had ignition issues for some time I figured there was every chance that the plugs and combustion chambers could be fouled up.

Observations. Firstly, this car is a heck of a quicker than it looks. It really can get a shift on. Secondly, when you've got your foot in it it's absolutely happy. Thirdly... something that's really not obvious from outside...this is a driver's car.

The seats are squidgy. The ride is - honestly incredibly - compliant. The cabin is nicely finished. Yet it can *handle.* On a good road this thing would be an absolute joy.

Why is it that the luxury sports saloon has become extinct? This car is a brilliant example that handling and ride comfort aren't mutually exclusive - even without needing to use Citroen's levels of sophistication as seen on the Xantia Activa.

The level of composure and refinement really can't be overstated. This thing is one of those cars that you really could jump into, do a several hundred mile drive and step out still feeling absolutely fresh.

I borrowed my other half as a cameraman to get a bit of footage from a little later on.



The camera really makes it look shaky...it absolutely isn't.

I had been asked by the owner of the car to get some slip covers fitted to the seats. The material of the seats is quite fragile, and the offside bolster on the driver's seat was basically disintegrating more every time you got in or out of the car.

They weren't *tidily* installed, but they were installed. The issue was basically that the seats in the Trevi area a really odd shape, and are about 20% too big for the covers. Nevertheless, they will protect the seats under the covers which is the reason they're there.

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I did manage to get them to sit a bit better than this, but they're still not exactly tidy.

The rear ones are worse, because they are really intended to be fitted to a car where you can get to the back of the seat. However the rear seats in the Trevi are fixed, so I just had to tuck them in as best I could.

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In getting the bits and pieces for this out of the boot I nearly dropped the boot lid on my head for about the fifteenth time due to the faulty gas strut. The boot lid is really rather heavy and this was getting old. There was a replacement gas strut in the boot, so figured I'd fit it. Just two split pins to remove, then pull it out.

Of course as is basically standard with the Trevi, it turned out that the new part was wrong.

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New on the left, old on the right. The new struts had far smaller eyes than the old ones. I did figure out that that the eyelets on both struts unscrewed, though unhelpfully the threaded section on the new struts were significantly larger than the original one. They were plastic however, so five minutes with the drill and a tap solved that problem and the old eyelets were fitted to the new gas strut. Sorted.

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Not before I wasted about half an hour looking for the second split pin...which turned out to be in my left pocket.

Had a few errands to run this afternoon and took the Trevi out for that.

She definitely feels like she's slightly lean especially when cold, but once fully up to temperature seems absolutely fine.

Tomorrow I will be doing an oil and filter change. Then give the interior a quick vacuum out as it's full of dead spiders from the winter lay up. Then we'll hopefully get the car dropped back off with its owner sometime later in the week.

It's been an absolute nuisance at times, but I still love this car.

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If it weren't for the rarity, parts supply challenges and tendency for them to dissolve at such alarming rates I would seriously consider looking for one of these cars. It just suits me so well.

In news relating to my actual fleet, another package for the Cavalier has turned up.

Not sure if you noticed something very conspicuously missing from the back in previous photos or not...

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The Vauxhall badging from the rear panel was missing.

This was very kindly sent my way by a member on another forum.

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Perfect. The badge was a surprise, but yes I will absolutely wear that the first time I get the car to a show. I expected those letters to be plastic, but no they're metal. Quite heavy too actually. That will help tidy the back of the car up a lot.
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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 »

Simple job to start out with for today, oil and filter change.

This really was overdue a change.

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It was basically jet black before the engine was run.

Draining the oil was relatively uneventful, though it was demonstrated to be very thin. Didn't smell badly fuel contaminated, just seemed a very light grade.

Which given this oil pressure reading at idle is less than ideal.

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That's with the idle bumped up a bit too. It doesn't sound bad though, and I've learned not to put too much faith in Fiat/Lancia/Lada instrumentation of this era. The light behaves exactly as I'd expect.

Then came the oil filter. I've only dealt with this engine in longitudinal configuration before...however the Trevi has it set up transverse. Meaning the oil filter is roughly here.

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Wonderful access.

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No access from underneath as there's a cross member in the way. There's no clearance between that and the engine on one side or the radiator on the other. I discovered that you can't manipulate the filter to the left that it doesn't fit between the radiator and gearbox to come out that way.

If you pull the whole air cleaner housing off the carb there's just enough room to squeeze the filter out up the front. It really is a royal pig to get at.

New filter on and fresh oil in, and once back fully up to temperature we definitely have an improvement on the reported oil pressure, albeit not a massive change. Shows it was worth doing at least.

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When you're actually driving it seems to float around an indicated 30psi or thereabouts.

Even with a proper oil jug it's a faff to get oil into without spilling it either.

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I didn't manage to get the retaining screws for the ignition coil fully out, but I did manage to loosen them enough to get the old coil out and my replacement into it. Meant I could get rid of my horrible jury rigged nonsense hanging off the slam panel.

Much better.

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Part number was noted down to assist in tracking down a proper replacement.

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0 221 122 012 I make that.

The old one was labelled to prevent any future confusion before being stowed in the boot along with the old ignition amplifier module.

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Learned long ago that not labelling defective parts was a recipe for much confusion down the line.

Topped off the coolant which had got a bit low, then called it done under here for now.

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It's still not absolutely 100%, I'm not convinced the distributor pickup is in perfect health, and I'm absolutely not convinced the carb is jetted right, but it's running a thousand times better than it ever has in my experience so far and is absolutely driveable now.

Just slightly lumpy on light throttle, and the idle should be smoother, especially when cold. It gets vastly better once up to temperature.

The carb we know could do with some TLC anyway (we had to manually jam open a solenoid plunger because the coil was open circuit (and as I recall mostly missing) last time the car was here), so I'm stopping here before I wind up spending another month trying to get us that last 10% of improvement.

If a known good carb or full overhaul kit for it turns up at some point I'll happily come back for round 3. Though I reckon having someone with the knowledge and equipment to actually say whether the carb is set up correctly for the engine would be worthwhile. I simply lack the experience and kit to really do that.

The ideal thing of course would be to return this car to the original twin carb setup it was fitted with from the factory. Sadly I suspect that cost will prevent that happening any time soon.

Last job for the day was to give it a quick vacuum out. Not a full valet or anything, but I wanted to get the worst of the dust and the dead bugs from the winter lay up out.

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Hopefully get her dropped back off with her owner in the next couple of days.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren »

I used to use
STP-logo-BC208E006F-seeklogo.com.jpg
STP-logo-BC208E006F-seeklogo.com.jpg (14.76 KiB) Viewed 168 times
in all my bangers, allegedly improved viscosity and added a protective coating on bearings.

Most likely 78.3% snake oil but like chicken soup, if it didn't do any good it wouldn't kill you.

Might be worth a shot to improve oil pressure a bit.

Haven't used any in decades, nor the
Moly.jpeg
Moly.jpeg (7.23 KiB) Viewed 168 times
that I used to use too.
The latter recommended by my dad, the former by Art Arfons - used to watch him and others at a drag race meet each year in Yorkshire. I forget the name of the place.
Edit: Croft Autodrome. Early sixties.
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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 »

When he used to race my Uncle Jim had STP stickers on his car. That was in the 50's so they have been around for a while.
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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 »

myglaren wrote:
04 May 2022, 09:37
I used to use Image in all my bangers, allegedly improved viscosity and added a protective coating on bearings.

Most likely 78.3% snake oil but like chicken soup, if it didn't do any good it wouldn't kill you.

Might be worth a shot to improve oil pressure a bit.

Haven't used any in decades, nor the Image that I used to use too.
The latter recommended by my dad, the former by Art Arfons - used to watch him and others at a drag race meet each year in Yorkshire. I forget the name of the place.
I'm not worrying too much about it. I suspect the gauge is just rather pessimistic, but have made sure the owner is aware how low the reading is. Whether they want to try anything to improve the pressure will be up to them.

-- -- --

We all knew I wouldn't be able to leave this alone didn't we?

Wanted to double check the rotor arm, mainly because I couldn't actually remember which one we had ended up with on the car out of the three in play.

The answer was the first new one. I wanted to compare it more carefully with the old one as I've started to develop an inherent distrust for "equivalent" parts listed in catalogues these days, especially for somewhat oddball cars like these.

The original rotor arm is a Bosch 1234 332 215.

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A part that I couldn't immediately find in stock anywhere, and the alternative suggested by the usual suspects was the one on the car.

Comparison of the distance between the centre of the rotor and the contact tip however shows them to be rather less identical than the catalogue would have you believe. The Bosch one has at least a millimetre longer reach. The tip of the cable tie here represents how long the Bosch rotor arm is.

I did use rather more sophisticated methods to take the measurement by the way, this was just a nice easy way to show the difference on camera.

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Which probably explains why the replacements appear to be burning up at the tip. It's hard to see in the photo, but this one shows evidence of charring of the plastic near the tip just like the black one.

Sure enough, fitting the old old one back to the car improved running still further...so that equivilant rotor arm clearly isn't equivilant.

I then got a surprise when the HT system belted me several times in very quick succession. This puzzled me given that nothing wasn't securely connected up and the HT leads were all brand new...so the leakage of electrons was rather a shock. Pun entirely intended.

Yeah...about those brand new HT leads.



I guess the Lucas branding on the box should have been a warning...

Turns out that the terminal at the coil end of the king lead wasn't actually crimped onto the conductor, rather just the outer insulator. A few of the strands of the core were poking out round the edge of the rubber boot, and that's what zapped me.

On the plus side, we can see that there's no shortage of spark from the coil now! Originally it was struggling to jump 1/8", that first belt got me from the best part of an inch away.

I swapped this lead out for a nice good quality Bougecord one from my spares stash.

Why is it so hard to get good spares these days?
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Gibbo2286 »

You getting zapped reminded me of a Mauritian mechanic we had in REME in Egypt, his party trick was stopping a six cylinder engine by shorting out the plugs with his fingers. :shock:
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Been a while since I've had a chance to update here so have a couple rolled into one.

Have been doing a bit more of a detailed look at the rotor arm on the Trevi because it seems like there's some incorrect data out there in the catalogues.

Here are the three rotor arms we currently have.

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The top one is what we believe to be the correct one. The lower two are more recent replacements. Part numbers below.

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The black one appears to match the current Intermotor listing at least visually.

The difference in contact profile is quite visible.

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That started to break down to the point that we completely lost spark within ten minutes of installation.

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The Vemo one lasted better, and it's hard to see in the photos but it's burning around the tip too.

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The one which is resulting in the best running is the ancient and probably badly worn Bosch one.

Here appears to be why.

Dimensions of the Bosch one:

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That's from the centre of the mark made by the centre contact post to the outer edge of the contact tip. Wouldn't surprise me if that was a round 1" when made given it's a whole five and a half thou out.

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If this is as old as the distributor cap which came off, it's probably very worn. Remember we had lost about a millimetre of the posts in the cap this is likely as old as.

Both of the new ones are noticeably shorter. I could see this with my eyes, but having instrumentation confirming it is nice.

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This will have been more than doubling the effective plug gap so no wonder it wouldn't run right. We really need to find the correct rotor.

I had pretty much decided to leave that slightly dodgy connector between the distributor and vehicle loom alone as it didn't seem to be causing any issues when poked, shaken, wiggled, flexed etc...however I've changed that decision today on seeing the insulation is worn through on the underside of one of the wires and that bare conductor is visible at the entry point to the connector block.

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Will get that connector deleted... it's only two wires to remake connections between if the distributor has to come out in future. Hardly the end of the world.

Oh...forgot to include the post oil-change photo a couple of days ago. This looks better I think.

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There was a local classic car meet a week or so back which I wanted to make an effort to get to. This was a good catalyst for me actually tidying up the front half of the garage. The work that's been going on with the Trevi this last week or two had resulted in TPA getting a bit buried.

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This is why the garage being so narrow is such a pain... it's so much of a faff to get around the car to get at things that stuff inevitably just ends up getting piled up on top of the car.

It's a good thing I'm not bothered about the finish on the paintwork.

I had a bit of a dig around too regarding the slight running issue we'd had. Decided to clean and gap the points simply because it's been quite a while since they were last done. No horror stories there, and the distributor cap posts were given a gentle clean too to scrape off the oxide layer that inevitably builds up.

A bit of investigation I think has tracked down the issue. I think we've got an intake vacuum leak! It's only a little one, but carb cleaner sprayed around the nearside base of the carb results in a drop in engine speed. It's not worked itself loose of the manifold (again), so I'm not sure whether the base gasket has issues or if it's an issue with the throttle spindle. It has always seeped fuel from somewhere in that vicinity, so might be connected.

It's not bad, and I feel I can rest a bit easier knowing the occasional carburetion hiccup is because of a small vacuum leak rather than something which is likely to suddenly degenerate and leave me stranded. I'll have a closer look soon to see if I can confirm exactly where the leak is.

Had a bit of a run round the car as well, making sure the wheel nuts/bolts were all still tight, greased up the front end checked tyre pressures etc.

All seemed fine, so off we went to the get together. I think the driveshaft coupling bolts being properly tightened has reduced the vibration at speed and seems to have reduced the driveline shunt when taking up drive a bit, though the nature of the system means there's always a bit of slop in there.

Some nice motors there, though car of the day for me was probably this little Micra.

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So nice to see one (a really early one at that) in such original condition.

Speaking of things which are rarely seen as the factory originally intended...

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Rather at the other end of the scale, this was also truly splendid.

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Sounded every bit as good as it looked too.

The US in general was pretty well represented.

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I wasn't in the only two cylinder air cooled car there either.

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Couple of MGBs, not seen many actually in red. Does suit them I think.

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I know a lot of people seem to hate the MGB because they're so ubiquitous, but I still really like them. Kind of surprised I've not owned one yet.

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The vast majority of my photos from this meet up are on film though so it will be a couple of weeks before I get that film finished and off for processing.

I completely forgot to actually take any photos on my phone of my own car there. Derp.


After a search covering approximately 80% of the far end of the garage I finally managed to locate this nondescript black plastic case.

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Plan being to let me see better what's going on with the AC on the Caddy.

Reading with the system fully equalised, having sat overnight.

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Then with the engine running and AC turned on.

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Yeah...the reading on the blue gauge should have dropped, target being the 30-40psi range, and the reading in the red gauge should have gone up, probably to 130-150psi.

They should absolutely *not* stay exactly where they were. What this means is that the compressor isn't pumping. Either one of the valves isn't seating properly or something has failed mechanically in the compressor. It does drop the low side a fraction when the clutch first pulls in, but by like 1 or 2 psi, and creeps back up over the course of the next few seconds.

So basically we need a new compressor.

Really glad I've found my gauge manifold though. Not knowing where that was was really annoying me. Obviously I don't have access to refrigerant so I can't charge it myself and I don't have access to a recovery machine any more, but being able to properly see what's going on is really useful.

These are only cheap gauges and would fall apart in a couple of days in a commercial setting I'm sure, but for occasional use they're just fine. We compared the readings to a set of decent quality (Fieldpiece I think) gauges back when I got them and the accuracy was spot on at least.

Will need to get the system evacuated so we can get a new compressor fitted...hopefully that (and getting it recharged for the *third* time) will finally get the air con working again.

As the Trevi is still here waiting on the arrival of the correct rotor arm that the owner has now tracked down a source of I figured it was a good time to get a couple of other minor niggles sorted.

The reason it was here last time was to resolve the almost completely dead dash lighting. Which was successful, though we had issues with quite a few scratchy contacts.

Since then while the illumination still seems fine, we were missing several warning lights.

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There should be lights showing there next to the fuel and temperature gauges.

A scan over the rest of the dash showed we were also missing the indicators for the handbrake and rear fog lights.

Strip down time.

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However further investigation shows the issue there to be other than in the dash. The rear fogs work, just no light on the dash.

There was an issue with the little lamp failure display too which was convinced there was always a lamp out in the offside rear cluster.

Further strip down needed to get to that.

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There were a couple of spare PCBs in the boot and sure enough swapping it out for one of those (getting the ribbon cable back in was an absolute pig) got rid of the spurious lamp failure warning.

I re-replaced any lamps I put in last time given I've had horrendous reliability issues with that batch. These will hopefully prove more reliable.

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We now have a full compliment of the four main warning lights on the dash during the self test.

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We still have a red warning light (the big circle below the side/main beam indicator had a red and green LED in, it shows green now with the ignition on as the dash lights are all OK, and lights red to draw attention to a fault) when the headlights are turned on - though there *is* a lamp out in the front fog lights, so that may actually be telling the truth.

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So I'll get that changed and see where we are then.

I may end up with the dash apart again as I'd like to beef up the ground(s) for the panel. Currently turning the headlights on raises the reading on the fuel and temperature gauges by about an eighth...to me that just smells like a grounding issue. Especially with prior experience on Fiats (and relatives) where they have almost invariably had issues with grounding in or around the instrument panel. Easy enough thing to improve though. Have to admit I'm tempted for the sake of less than £10 to add a known good engine to body and body to battery ground strap for future proofing...

It looks wacky and you'd think it was a nightmare to work on, but the dash is actually really easy to get apart. Stripping it down as you see above, changing a bunch of lamps, voltage testing to see what was and wasn't working, replacing the lamp failure module and putting it all back together took me less well less than an hour.

Finally got around to investigation of where the little bit of free play in the steering on the Caddy is. It is only a tiny bit but is really noticeable if I've not driven it for a few days.

I had a suspicion that the culprit was this universal joint at the base of the steering column.

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Having an assistant wobble the steering wheel for me (requiring a helper was one reason I'd not done this yet) revealed that I was correct. There is definitely some free play between the two halves.

Wonder how much of a pain that will be to change...

Something else which had been on my to do list for a while was installation of a bit of easily removable equipment in the back.

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Big plastic bin with a non-slip mat in the bottom of it. This is now basically the boot, saves stuff sliding around all over the place. It's tethered in place by the straps there for hooking the dog's travel harnesses to which wrap around the front of it and hook to each other.

Bigger than it looks, can get a week's shopping for us in there with a bit of Tetris action. Can just unhook the straps and lift it out to stow in the garage or stuff in the passenger seat when I want to take the dogs out.
Last edited by Zelandeth on 12 May 2022, 11:44, 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 NewcastleFalcon »

That's what I call a comprehensive post Zel! Enjoyed the pics too. Nice ones of the beige/grey MG, and I agree with you the yellow Micra was a joy!

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

Post by Zelandeth »

TPA was out and about a few days ago and following on from the recent trend something else fell off.

Albeit rather less important than the last couple of things.

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Just a bit of trim. Only myself to blame, don't think I used anywhere near enough glue when putting those panels in (I think about half of the ones in the door cavities have fallen off at some point now). This was then absolutely slathered in adhesive then wedged in place overnight.

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Sorted.

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Don't really have anything visible to show for it, but I've adjusted how the engine cover is sitting to try to reduce the tendency for it to rattle quite so much. It is now actually sitting on the latch pin rather than the bodywork. Only real visible difference is that there's now clearance where it used to rub.

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At least the witness marks made spotting the contact points easy!

Has definitely reduced the tendency for there to be a godawful crash from the back end on bumps now. Has meant I can get rid of the horrible strip of weatherstripping which was across the bottom of the closure too (an earlier - and *briefly* successful - attempt to shut it up).

I do need to touch up a couple of bits of the glass fibre work on that nearside corner though.

-- -- --

I sense that the Caddy will be making another trip to a garage shortly. It's wearing the outside shoulder on both front tyres.

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I did have the alignment checked not all that long ago. However it has always felt somewhat fidgety to me. I know the one lower control arm was changed shortly before I got the car and I have a feeling that its partner may also now be in need of attention. I don't do suspension work, that's getting attention from a garage...sadly it will be a few weeks before it can be fitted in because of how busy my garage are.

A detail which has been driving me somewhat round the bend is the gear change. The bush between the gear lever and the gear linkage itself is worn out to the point of basically being missing. This resulted in about 1 1/2" slop in all directions, to the extent that the lever flopped from side to side when turning corners - which around here means it did that a lot.

A proper replacement bush will be ordered when I next get a shipment of things from Autodoc or similar, but it would be daft to just order the bush. The postage would be probably three times the cost of the part. In the meantime though it was *really* bugging me...so time for some improvisation.

My original plan was to see if I could sleeve the offending bush out with a bit of heater hose or something, but that turned out to be too thick. Some further head scratching and rummaging through the garage was needed.

I am simultaneously both utterly ashamed and somewhat proud of the resulting bodge.

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Yes, that's about two dozen cable ties wrapped around the outer ring which is the bit actually attached to the linkage to the gearbox. Obviously the ends were trimmed before the gaiter was put back on. This is purely to help preserve my sanity until I can get a new bush.

It may be an utter lash up, but it's worked...the gear change is utterly transformed. There is still a little bit of play in the linkages, but the sort of play that you'd have expected from the factory rather than feeling worn out. Has made the vehicle a whole lot nicer to drive.

My feeling pleased with myself was short lived however. Just as I pulled out of my driveway a few day ago it started beeping (loudly, seriously it scared the living daylights out of me) and flashing this angry red light at me.

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Well that's not good...thankfully it was a simple "turn engine off and roll back onto drive" job.

Turns out the oil was indeed very low, barely reading on the bottom of the dipstick. I had checked it a few days (and admittedly about 400 miles) previously and it looked fine. Not having used a drop in the preceding 4000 miles or so. Wondered if I had just mis-read it as our drive is on a slope in not one but two directions. Topped it up and off we went.

Then it did the same again this morning. Oil again was very low. That's the best part of a litre that's vanished in less than 200 miles this time. That's a lot of oil to just vanish.

Given I'd not noticed any smoke - and at a pint per 100 miles I would have expected stone cold Deltic levels of clag - first thought was a leak. Though again I'd kind of expected to have noticed it. The underside would be soaked in it and I'd have smelled it burning off the exhaust. Nothing visible on the rear of the body either where I'd have expected oil mist to be sucked up onto aerodynamically. Anyhow... let's have a look.

Cover off the engine and see if we can see anything.

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Nothing there.

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Bit damp on the offside around the timing cover, but I think that's more just 20 years worth of spillage from the filler rather than an actual leak.

Underside of the engine also supports the theory that it's not leaking externally.

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Which is bad news as that would have been by far the easiest fix...

It's not ending up in the coolant either. That's lovely and clean.

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Which means I guess that it *must* be burning it. Though the lack of smoke if that's the case is a real surprise.



Little puff of black initially when you blip the throttle, but nothing major. I'd be expecting a cloud you could see from low earth orbit with the rate of usage if I'm not totally misreading that.

This weekend I will do an oil and filter change (due in about two weeks anyway) so we can start from a known correct level and then check it daily to get a read on how fast it's really using it.

As a starting point I did clean out the PCV vapor separator in case that was clogged. A little bit of gunk in, but really not bad at all for a 20 year old 100K mile engine.

Really odd how it's just gone from using none to using a lot seemingly overnight.

Answers on a postcard please?
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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 »

Am I seriously going to end up with two vehicles in succession with reputedly highly reliable engines with severe mechanical maladies?

A couple of minutes into driving this morning I had another oil pressure warning ping up - which vanished about five seconds later. I knew the level was fine this time as I checked it prior to setting out. It hasn't done it again for the rest of the day.

Dodgy sensor? Actually low oil pressure? I've got a test gauge on the way now so I can confirm what the oil pressure is actually doing.

Annoyingly the oil pressure light on this is ECU controlled, so you don't have any real indication of how quickly it builds (or being able to do the old trick of seeing how long it takes to come back on when cold). The light comes on for a self test when you turn the ignition on, but then goes out along with the temperature/coolant level light and the service indicator. I think it then needs to see a low pressure for a period of time plus the engine speed above a set level before it will show the warning light. Even when there's the delay in the pressure coming up following an oil change where it has to prime the filter housing the light never appears.

I've done an oil and filter change this evening so we're back on a known level with good, clean oil of the right grade, a clean filter etc. I'll disect the filter element tomorrow to make sure there aren't any signs of impending doom in it.

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No obvious glitter in the oil that was drained (once I got the sump plug out, which had been done up biblically tight - I drained it with the Pela last time) didn't have any obvious glitter in - but being the black ink that comes out of a diesel it would be hard to tell I imagine. Not like when I had the S123 though which left metal particles in the drain pan though...

Hopefully this will turn out to be something relatively benign... though I'm not counting on it. I'm not going to drive it again if I can avoid it until we've had the opportunity to prove the oil pressure at least.

Looks like TPA might be on front line duty this week...when I was meant to be prepping her for a trip at the end of the week. The van is out of MOT and I can't get it in until the middle of next month because of availability of test slots (and it was last week I booked it in)...This is all going perfectly to plan. Great!

Oh, and the mission to try to find the correct rotor arm for the Trevi continues. We're really, really struggling to find one. Which is really annoying as I reckon that's the last bit preventing it from being sorted and handed back to the owner.
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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 »

Not had a great couple of days.

First bombshell was finally getting a roofer in to try to track down the one intermittent water ingress issue we've had. I have been trying to get someone to look at this since we moved in in 2014. Turns out that we need the entire roof replaced...aside from the tiles everything is basically scrap. We've had a ridge tile completely missing for a long time. Like "since the 90s" sort of a long time, so water has been getting into the structure forever.

Of course they have then failed to forward all the details they were going to...so I'm going to have to start chasing them. I'm betting they've seen how much work is involved, and will not disappear never to be seen again.

A padded envelope arrived a little while back which contained a single roll of film. Turns out when that left the processors it contained an additional film...and two envelopes of developed film. That's vanished in the post. There's absolutely no mechanism in place to attempt to recover any loose lost items, so they'll wind up in a bin at a Royal Mail processing centre.


Final annoyance was the arrival of a parcel of bits for the Invacar. This should have contained a full new set of window latches and replacements for the felt strips that should be fitted between the two sliding window sections.

This parcel contained *one* window latch. Three plus all the mounting hardware haven't been sent. Of course the one I've been sent is the one that isn't in some way falling to bits on the car!

The weather stripping was also a fail. I was sure I'd read that this was a Mini parts bin item.

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About 2" too short. Fine...I'll just have to measure it up and order some from somewhere that sells it cut to length for you. In the meantime I guess having a slightly short strip on that side is better than having it completely missing.

I have made a bit of bodywork progress that nobody will ever see though, rebuilding the missing bit of the offside wheel tub.

Before:

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After:

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Never going to get it as tidy as the factory.

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Pretty it ain't...but once it's got another couple of layers of mat and some paint on both sides it won't be noticeable. It's already vastly improved the rigidity of that corner. Main reason I wanted to get it done though was to stop the coil from getting drowned every time I drive on a vaguely wet road. How it's not complained at me yet I've no idea. It is literally right in the spray fan from the tyre.
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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 »

The oil pressure test gauge turned up this morning.

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Time to (hopefully!) confirm that the oil pressure light in the Caddy is telling lies.

Cold startup suggests yes.

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Shot up to about 80psi before settling down to a smidge under 60.

While out and about driving it seems to sit right around 70psi which seems to be where the pressure relief valve is set.

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Hot idle is about 19psi - though there doesn't look to an actual idle pressure listed - minimum quoted allowed pressure is 30psi at 2000rpm - at which point we have around 60psi. The oil pressure light will actually never be triggered below 2000rpm...which seems like a really strange arrangement to me...but apparently VW thought it was a good idea.

Long story short - there's nothing wrong with the oil pressure. I'll get a new pressure switch ordered and hopefully that will put a stop to it scaring the living daylights out of me.

-- -- --

Got a little more glass fibre laid down on the repair on the Invacar then attacked the corner with some paint. It's astonishing what sins you can hide in shadows with a bit of matt black paint!

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Fluids etc have all been checked. Tomorrow I'll give the car a quick clean, remove anything that doesn't absolutely need to be onboard (as the car park I'll be in doesn't have the best reputation for security and we all know how secure the cabin is), then be on my way.

My brain is making this seem a far longer trip than it is...it's like an hour, and I've regularly been out bumbling around for entire afternoons. Nevertheless, it's the furthest I've ever gone in one direction so feels like quite a big milestone.

Really hoping it's less windy tomorrow as it has been quite breezy today and if that continues it'll be a very wobbly journey...
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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 »

As usual my plans to have everything ready yesterday never worked out. So this morning TPA was treated to what absolutely definitely wasn't the first wash she's had since returning to the road two years ago.

Yes I do feel guilty. The amount of grime that came off was horrific. The engine cover regularly being used as a workbench probably didn't help.

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I ordered a set of new window latches last week...and received a package containing *one* window latch on Monday. Of course the one in the package was the only one on the car which worked properly!

Thankfully the rest of them arrived today, about 10 minutes before I originally intended to leave...so I delayed myself a few minutes to fit them.

You'll understand why I wasn't too enthusiastic about parking this overnight somewhere public with latches in this state securing three out of the four sliding window sections.

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This one actually fell off on a regular basis.

Much better with a full new set.

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Then it was time to hit the road. An hour and a half later Birmingham was achieved.

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Was a pretty relaxed drive to be honest. We had a HGV in front of us for most of the drive, and I was quite content to bumble along at their pace. I did note that she started to miss occasionally on light throttle towards the end of the journey, but nothing bad. I've noted this to be an intermittent issue for a while, and it always seems to be towards the end of trips, so I wonder if there's something suffering heat soak problems - coil would probably be my first suspect (it's never been touched) as it does run quite warm. It's also an easy thing to test by substitution.

Parked a couple of spaces away from some rather nice motors. Couldn't help but be drawn to this!

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Not a bad view from my hotel window really compared to a lot.

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Though it improved after dark.

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So the car show part of our event runs from 1200 to 1500 tomorrow, and if the car park is anything to go by there's going to be quite an interesting variety there. I'll obviously share the highlights here.

Better remember to get a couple of my own car there...I always forget that!

Another big milestone passed today - about halfway through the trip over here TPA ticked over 3,000 miles since revival. Hard to believe really when you look back to June 2018.

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

Post by mickthemaverick »

I don't know if this is of any interest to you Zel?: I am bidding on several items in the sale and expect to go and collect them next Monday. If you are interested let me know your maximum price and I can bid on it and drop it in on my way home from Leicester if successful. If not don't worry!! :-D
https://www.suttonhillfarmcountryauctio ... o-lot-306/
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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 »

mickthemaverick wrote:
29 May 2022, 18:25
I don't know if this is of any interest to you Zel?: I am bidding on several items in the sale and expect to go and collect them next Monday. If you are interested let me know your maximum price and I can bid on it and drop it in on my way home from Leicester if successful. If not don't worry!! :-D
https://www.suttonhillfarmcountryauctio ... o-lot-306/
Oh, yes please. I'd stick £75 on that I think... probably will go over that given the desirability of anything with a Commodore or Sinclair logo on, but as we proved with the Beeb you just never know!

-- -- --

A whole bunch of programming was going on through the weekend, but the main thing I'd been looking forward to was getting TPA along to our little car show. Well, show is maybe overselling it. Basically the hotel staff give us the staff car park to ourselves for a few hours where anyone with an interest in motoring get together and have a good old natter.

This is great I think, because you get a bit of everything. Some classic classics, some more modern things, ever popular tuner material, some cars with fancy audio installs, and some very ordinary cars which are just very much loved by their owners.

Now, before I set off to ConFuzzled I had the presence of mind to write up a sign giving a brief description of what the heck TPA is and a*very* brief intro to the history of the Model 70.

However did I have the presence of mind to actually TAKE it with me? Uuuh...not so much. Left it sitting on the desk next to my keyboard. Idiot. Well at least it's there for next time she goes to a show.

The sheer number and intensity of exclamations of complete befuddlement when people found TPA was highly amusing. Definitely got a lot of interest though. My immediate neighbour to the right was a bit of a contrast!

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Quite a variety there as I've said, though this must be a pretty rare bird these days.

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Likewise I can't remember the last time I saw a Vitara. Looks like this one is properly enjoyed.

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One of the prettier convertible conversions done.

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With some interior trim which is an absolute late 90s throwback.

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A very, very, very festive Cube.

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Unsurprisingly the Buick I had parked just across from also made an appearance. Sounded lovely too.

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Seeing this very much reminded me of how much I still want one.

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Though admittedly the early airbag wheel is pretty hideous.

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On the general subject of Americana...

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Several Volvos, only two of which I apparently photographed.

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I wasn't the only person with a rear engined air cooled car there...not even the only pale blue one.

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The Japanese were pretty well represented too.

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If these came in estate form I would seriously consider one.

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At the other end of the scale...

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Variety is always good to see.

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Was interesting to get to have a proper nosey under the bonnet of a Leaf too to see how the traction unit is packaged.

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This apparently is quite properly rapid.

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One very pretty little sports car.

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When these came out I really wasn't big on the styling...time has been kind to them I think.

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Spent a lot of time explaining to clusters of people what TPA was. Really need to remember the blasted window sign next time. I know they have been extinct for going on 20 years but it really surprised me how many people had no idea they had ever existed.

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Parked up next to a nice motor for the night after the show was done.

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The golden spanner I was handed along with a few other folks suggests TPA made a good impression with the organisers of our little shindig.

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Knowing we had had some security issues in the hotel car park in previous years I made a point of taking a few precautions to immobilise TPA overnight. Among those was one straight out of the history books, having this live in my hotel room.

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This wasn't by means the only thing I did, but was probably the most traditional.

Headed back home today around lunchtime, another 70-ish miles and she didn't miss a beat. Bit less breezy today so was a more relaxed run.

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Safely tucked away again.

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My figures show we made 40.8MPG on the way there, which is more akin to what I'd have expected to see without the huge penalty you pay driving around MK. For a CVT driven car from the early 70s that seems pretty reasonable to me.

Window latches. Dear god I should have replaced those sooner. It's so nice having windows which actually stay where you put them - I also had totally failed to realise how many rattles in the cabin came from the windows. Between the new latches and the zip tie stopping the fire extinguisher handle from rattling (it doesn't interfere with operation) it's made the cabin a lot nicer. Not having a continual draught from the offside window blowing right in my ear is nice too.

It's been nice to see how TPA handles a slightly longer run. Was good to see that the temperature did stay in the 150-170C range even when staying at speed for quite a while. I know this car wasn't really designed with high speed cruising in mind so whether the cooling system was up to it was always a question in my mind. I do want to have a closer look at the CVT belt just to see how it's holding up after this - no noticeable change in behaviour, but it must have north of 2000 miles on now, so worth checking properly.

Is she an ideal long distance cruiser? Absolutely not! Wobbly, incredibly noisy and the ventilation is hilariously awful on a warm day. However she's perfectly capable of it - which is good to know given the big show I've got in mind is about twice as far away from home for me as this was I think.

Absolutely knackered now though, not so much by the drive but it's been a busy few days.