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.

Moderators: RichardW, myglaren

User avatar
daviemck2006
Donor 2020
Posts: 4953
Joined: 04 Dec 2010, 19:45
x 333

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

Post by daviemck2006 »

There was a bus at one firm I worked for where the gear linkage had got reversed. So 1 was where 6 should be, 2 where 5, 3 where 4 etc. It's usual driver found it no problem, but the one time I had a go in it, it was interesting!

Sent from my SM-G361F using Tapatalk

User avatar
demag
Donor 2016
Posts: 1436
Joined: 18 Oct 2004, 05:03
x 77

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

Post by demag »

One of my early jobs was as a commercial mechanic. I replaced a diff with another lad on an old Albion tractor unit but we fitted it upside down. We had one forward gear and eight reverse!

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

User avatar
Zelandeth
Donor 2016
Posts: 3936
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 00:36
x 445

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

Post by Zelandeth »

Steering in Ladas is heavy, but if set up properly shouldn't be catastrophically so. The steering boxes tend to leak oil and are awkward to get to so seldom get refilled so it gets silly heavy and wears badly. This results in massive amounts of free-play which then has to be adjusted out come MOT time - which results in the steering getting even *more* horribly heavy! Track rod ends are also prone to seizing. Everything properly set up it shouldn't be any heavier than any 60s design using worm and pinion steering really. That's why they had huge steering wheels when they left the factory.

Gear shift again is one that I've heard a lot of people say was dire...I have to guess that there's a lot of variance between some cars as while mine is a bit baulky when cold (I suspect the oil in there is 23 years old), once it's warmed up the action is feather light and is really precise...heck, wish the gearchange in the 107 was half as decent...Fact that the gear lever is virtually within a palm's width of the steering wheel at all times is also a bonus.

The driving dynamic is very much something from the 60s, and is about as sophisticated as the proverbial brick...but I find that I really enjoy it because I'm absolutely completely and totally involved in everything that's going on, and I enjoy that. Likewise people seem to enjoy driving Series Land Rovers, despite the fact that I can't see how anything positive can really be said about their driving dynamics...and they are a thousand times more uncomfortable than any Lada ever made!

The Estelle is all together a more modern design (especially when you consider where and when it was designed and how ridiculously limited the resources the designers had to work with!), and it shows. They are incredibly quiet for a car of their age (even compared to a number of modern cars!), anywhere over 50mph in mine and the only noise you can really hear is wind noise, and ride very, very well thanks to some quite sophisticated suspension - and by the mid 80s a lot of the potentially deadly handling characteristics of the earlier trailing arm suspension had been addressed. You do still need to learn a few lessons though as the engine is still hung right out the back, so if you don't keep that in mind, you can still get into trouble...No more so than in a VW Beetle, Porsche 911 or Hillman Imp though. Lift off mid-corner at your own peril, especially on a greasy road.

Estelle is actually a nicely engineered car - just a shame that it wasn't half as well put together as it was engineered...Every one I've had has suffered from important things like the driver's seat or the doors never having been bolted in properly as far as I can tell as far back as when they left the factory. This is the third one I've had as well so it wasn't just an isolated case!

For all they're basic as anything inside, they're really surprisingly comfortable little cars too.

As far as Lada were concerned, I think it was a crying shame that they didn't get a handle on the quality control issues with the introduction of the Samara quicker than they did. It was a decently modern design which could have done a lot to drag their name out of the mud - could easily have been a proper competitor for example to Skoda's Favorit (which was entirely designed prior to the VW takeover), if it weren't for the diabolical quality control and downright laughable bodges which were often found with when newly arriving from the factory, especially on the earlier examples which of course only served to fuel the existing reputation they had for being shoddily built.

User avatar
Zelandeth
Donor 2016
Posts: 3936
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 00:36
x 445

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

Post by Zelandeth »

This afternoon ended up being Halloween prep work...

We've got two Americans in the house and they tend to take it more seriously than most folks over here seem to...and I'm a lighting geek...with a huge collection of stuff that rarely sees the light of day...

400W mercury blacklight in the front yard lighting a variety of fluorescent things? Check.
Ex motorway low pressure sodium streetlight backlighting the hedges? Check.
Probably a dozen carved pumpkins with lights in along the path? Check.
Hammond organ being used as a 160kg iPod dock playing creepy music? Check.
Atrium split in a nice blue-green gradient uplighting? Check.
... which is also filled with fog? Check.
Deep red lighting over the entrance vestibule? Check.
Fan up there also making the fog billow out the front door when it's opened? Check.
Laser show also in there to compliment the fog? Check.

... it's a big excuse for me to get my toys out and play really isn't it?

Hell Razor5543
Donor 2021
Posts: 11636
Joined: 01 Apr 2012, 09:47
x 1361

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

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Did you remember the water cannon linked to the 30 gallon drum of pigs' blood, for the obnoxious teenagers who just want to freak out the elderly?

User avatar
Zelandeth
Donor 2016
Posts: 3936
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 00:36
x 445

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

Post by Zelandeth »

Never really needed them here to be honest, the only folks of "that" agegroup we've seen the last two years here have been accompanying much younger siblings...guess that's the bonus of living in a nice neighbourhood!

We did see a lot more of that back up in Aberdeen some years though, seemed to be very hit or miss though.

Reckon EP90 gear oil would be better though as a deterrent...would take far longer to get the smell out!

Just a shame I never had time to get my costume finished (deadline is actually Friday - well, Wednesday really as we'll be on the road all day Thursday - Halloween was more a target of opportunity) as I'm pretty certain that could have caused some good natured pandemonium among our visitors. More frantic construction on that to continue tomorrow once I dig the house back out from under the debris from today!

Will I manage? Time will tell, but I better given how long I've been planning this...granted, had originally planned to start work about nine months ago, but did my usual trick of procrastinating far too much! Then waited for family to make good on offers of help which took longer to materialise thanks to an excess of real life repeatedly getting in the way. Failure though will result in one seriously hacked off Zel!

User avatar
myglaren
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 19759
Joined: 02 Mar 2008, 14:30
x 1493

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

Post by myglaren »

Procrastination is my favourite passtime :)

User avatar
Zelandeth
Donor 2016
Posts: 3936
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 00:36
x 445

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

Post by Zelandeth »

Mine too! Well... certainly the one I'm best at anyway. I think...

User avatar
CitroJim
A very naughty boy
Posts: 44009
Joined: 30 Apr 2005, 23:33
x 1779

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

Post by CitroJim »

Zel, even though I hate Halloween with a passion I'd have loved to have seen your show... It sounds like it was amazing and I can imagine how some it would look, knowing your house...

User avatar
Zelandeth
Donor 2016
Posts: 3936
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 00:36
x 445

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

Post by Zelandeth »

Well glad to report that the dodgy hose clip on the top radiator hose has stopped the Lada using water. Will still be changing the rest, but at least it's less urgent. Oil leaks now seem to be entirely limited to the rocker cover too, the other few have all stopped in the few weeks since fresh oil was added.

One issue I really do need to get to the bottom of is why the fuel keeps draining back to the tank overnight. There are only a couple of fuel hoses left that haven't been changed, so will do those and see what happens...general running is a lot better now, though the rough idle remains, all fingers now pointing firmly towards the lambda sensor. ...which of course is obsolete. Go figure. Just waiting for confirmation that it is just a standard one operationally speaking and if so will just get a generic one and splice the wiring in as necessary.

Will have to wait till next week though as I'm currently (a passenger obviously) on the way up north for the weekend and won't be back until Monday evening...and will probably be a few days after that before I have enough energy to do much useful again to be honest.

User avatar
CitroJim
A very naughty boy
Posts: 44009
Joined: 30 Apr 2005, 23:33
x 1779

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

Post by CitroJim »

Fuel draining back is usually air leaks Zel but what sort of fuel pump does it have? Mechanical or electric? Perhaps it's leaking back via a bad diaphragm in the pump maybe?

User avatar
Zelandeth
Donor 2016
Posts: 3936
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 00:36
x 445

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

Post by Zelandeth »

It's an old school diaphragm pump, and manually priming it (it has a handle for that) results in an instant start confirming that the reluctance to start first thing is due to a lack of fuel. Don't think the auto choke is working properly either...but don't think I've yet seen one that does, so that's a challenge for later!

I'll get a service kit for the pump ordered...or at usual Lada prices just a new pump...and see if that helps things.

Fuel delivery and pressure look good, though it only takes the tiniest of holes to cause issues. No sign of fuel in the oil at least...though granted it would probably take quite a bit to water down the 20W50 syrup in there!

User avatar
CitroJim
A very naughty boy
Posts: 44009
Joined: 30 Apr 2005, 23:33
x 1779

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

Post by CitroJim »

The pump has got to be a good call Zel...

I expect a new diaphragm, going on the cost of previous parts, costs about 20p and the pump itself just shy of a fiver!!!

User avatar
Zelandeth
Donor 2016
Posts: 3936
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 00:36
x 445

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

Post by Zelandeth »

Today's discovery: the current generation VW Golf contains a severe lack of space given its external dimensions.

We're away for five days (today and Monday just travel really, so little stuff needed for them), and yes there are four of us, and we have a moderate amount of stuff...But the level of cramming that was neededto get us all in was downright ridiculous. Currently I am seriously wishing I had just insisted on proclaiming the car full and jumping in the Lada and following in convoy. That's aside from the Golf being catastrophically uncomfortable to start with. Currently have my left shoulder pinned against the door, right one propping up a backpack, bag crammed in to both sides of my legs with my total range of movement basically limited to T-Rex arm flailing. I know there's someone in the other rear seat but honestly can't see them! For a car that is darn near the size of the Saab this is ridiculous.

...also, why oh why do the seats have no padding?

User avatar
CitroJim
A very naughty boy
Posts: 44009
Joined: 30 Apr 2005, 23:33
x 1779

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

Post by CitroJim »

That's a very poor advert for a modern Zel...

I've noticed the same thing... Many moderns seem to resemble reverse tardises...