Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Zelandeth wrote:Ah, the fun of fixing a broken accelerator with string.

There was one vintage coach incident at a location I'd rather not disclose where nursing the vehicle home - it was a manual as well I might add which had long since lost any claim to have syncromesh on anything save for maybe fifth gear - involved the driver managing the actual driving of the vehicle - with me laying flat on my stomach on the floor with my arm disappearing into the bowels of the vehicle clutching the shattered remains of where the governor linkage had snapped off the fuel pump - with me effectively being the throttle control.

The plan had been for me to receive vocal instructions - but I ended up having to do it by ear from the engine as it turns out that it's kind of hard to hear what someone shouting to you with (from memory) a Gardner 6LXW engine with a blowing exhaust and shot gearbox thrashing away about a foot away from your left ear. Apparently I did okay!

You'd have thought that we'd have been able to find a bit of string, a cable-tie, some duct tape or similar somewhere in the vehicle...but nope...not a chance that evening! So I ended up hanging through the access panel for several miles instead!

Funny, it's really not many years ago, but you wouldn't even consider antics like that now would you?


Needs be when the devil drives!
As a country boy at heart, I usually have a bit of binder twine (& baling wire) or something similar to hand. Of course all this improvise/compromise will die with us as now, everyone has a phone, recovery & no mechanical understanding or empathy.
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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Zelandeth wrote:Ah, the fun of fixing a broken accelerator with string.

There was one vintage coach incident at a location I'd rather not disclose where nursing the vehicle home - it was a manual as well I might add which had long since lost any claim to have syncromesh on anything save for maybe fifth gear - involved the driver managing the actual driving of the vehicle - with me laying flat on my stomach on the floor with my arm disappearing into the bowels of the vehicle clutching the shattered remains of where the governor linkage had snapped off the fuel pump - with me effectively being the throttle control.

The plan had been for me to receive vocal instructions - but I ended up having to do it by ear from the engine as it turns out that it's kind of hard to hear what someone shouting to you with (from memory) a Gardner 6LXW engine with a blowing exhaust and shot gearbox thrashing away about a foot away from your left ear. Apparently I did okay!

You'd have thought that we'd have been able to find a bit of string, a cable-tie, some duct tape or similar somewhere in the vehicle...but nope...not a chance that evening! So I ended up hanging through the access panel for several miles instead!

Funny, it's really not many years ago, but you wouldn't even consider antics like that now would you?


Needs must when the Devil drives!

Being a country boy at heart, there's usually a bit of binder twine (& bailing wire) - or something similar - on board.
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Zelandeth
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by Zelandeth »

We really had no excuse that afternoon. We knew it hadn't turned a wheel in years, and usually would have gone armed with a decent toolkit, some fluids, the trade plates *and* a backup plan. That day for some reason we just took the plates and optimism!

We did find masses of stuff and several tools in the luggage compartment, map box etc, but nothing like tape or string!

Still...it wasn't a breakdown as we still got there. I might have been slightly deaf in one ear for a while and it took a few hours to get the taste of diesel out of my mouth, but I knew what I was getting into when I volunteered to help.

As you say though, the back end of nowhere in the Scottish countryside is probably one of the last places in this country such things would be seen...

...would I do it again now? To be honest, probably yes. Would I do it down here? Not a chance!
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by ekjdm14 »

van ordinaire wrote:Of course all this improvise/compromise will die with us as now, everyone has a phone, recovery & no mechanical understanding or empathy.


Not a damned chance, if I have a hand in it! :) our boys are getting first hand experience of just such antics, both when needed & just to show what's possible and I dearly hope they pick up on at least some of this resourcefulness as it is a great extra tool to ones mental toolbox.

Phones can lose battery or signal, breakdown services can take ridiculous amounts of time to show up but a bit of old fashioned nouse and ten minutes with some old string or bit of wood from the side of the road can get one right out of trouble. Long may this kind of inventiveness live on, says I .
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by ekjdm14 »

Of course everything in its place, and you're more likely to find an inquisitive copper than a bit of twine in urban settings, but country lanes/rural A & B roads etc do still exist in some quantity and are (probably) the preferred route for many of us on here when possible, over congested towns/cities.

I wouldn't dream of limping through a city at 5mph on a hand throttle or suspension blocked up on timber but given a similar challenge around here I'd rate my chances of managing a few miles home without annoying/endangering too many "normal" folks along the way:
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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

It's not just today's drivers, but modern cars, which need to be "told" they've been fixed!

The drive by string incident was between Newton Abbot & Paignton - but even there I back laned (the hills were a bit of a problem, because I didn't have anything like full throttle opening. But my 1st experience of such things was when I lost the clutch, turning right out of Regent's Street into Gt Marlborough St (for those of you with limited knowledge of Central London - that's by the London Palladium) so no quiet backwater AND I had to get back to Harrow. No great distance, but no walk in the park, for a 17 yr old schoolboy (as I probably was then) - remember when, whatever happened, you had to get the car home?
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by white exec »

1964, and I remember an interesting journey from Malvern in Worcestershire back to Ealing, west London, on a Vespa 125. Damned thing used to eat clutch cables, and my spare had been used up. So, after a weekend in Elgar country (to visit a girlfriend on a residential course there), it was back to London . . . after kick-starting the engine, then running along beside it, jumping on, and dropping it into gear clutchless. Traffic lights on the journey needed to be anticipated to perfection...
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by mickeymoon »

One of my 2cvs snapped it's throttle cable and I used a piece of twine to replace it with. I forgot that I'd done it and it was still there when I sold it a year or so later.

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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

I got the Caddy back fom Austria last August bank holiday with a serious (&, as yet, unresolved) overheating issue - & only one back brake! For some reason it had destroyed the pads on one side AND lost a lot of fluid. Removed calliper & disc, wound back piston, wedged in a carefully selected piece of wood, consigned disc to boot, refitted calliper, bled it - & relied on the shedload of electronics to take care of any imbalence &, to be fair, you'd never have known only one back wheel was braked!
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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

I suppose if it wasn't obvious from that last post, I must now hold my hands up to being the idiot of the group. (1) I was so engrosed in this forum I forgot to go back to the bar during "happy hour" for another beer (2) it wasn't the overheat light at all, it was "low coolant".
Didn't realise it had so many warning lights, when I turn on the ignition, I'm just waiting for the pre-heat light to go out! When I was in Ireland a couple of weeks back, there was a set of 3 guages reduced to €25 - maybe next year!?
BUT, you might recall, it hardly took any water - or so I thought. Must admit, I never check the water, there's never been any need: right up to the time I drained it down, prior to the cambelt, it'd never used a drop! I might've checked it after refilling it, in case there'd been any cavitation. There is a snag though, it's supposed to be between the 2 marks on the expansion tank - but there aren't any!

Re-fitted the battery clamp this evening, which gave me a chance to have a general rummage around. In fairness to whoever did the clutch they had cobbled something up with a modified repair washer - many places wouldn't have bothered!

More importantly, checked the gearbox oil level, as soon as I loosened the plug, oild started to run out - & that was with the wheel about an inch off the ground! It was very clean, so I drained it back into the oil container, then when it stopped (gave me time to check the tyres), I replaced the wheel, gently lowered the jack 'til it had settled on the deck & left the oil still trickling out. Seemed a lot but, actually, the level in the container went up very little.

Now, you might remember that I was supposed to go back for a free allignment check/final tweek but in the excitement/relief of getting the clutch done, I forgot I should've gone back to the tyre shop. (it's in Totnes, so it'll have to wait a bit longer now) Anyway, there no excessive/accelerated tyre wear - at last, so I can get some decent tyres next time round: budget tyres have their place &, some might say, that's a rather tatty C15 - BUT they don't have to cope with sodden autobahns, even if not at autobahn speeds!

Today's installment was supposed to be about why I'm in Berlin (see my contibution to the Xantias sighted thread) but it's like bedlam here & I can't think straight, so it'll have to wait 'til tomorrow (assuming the return trip to Essen is of little consequence, of course) if I can sort out internet access with mein hostess. ;)
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by ekjdm14 »

van ordinaire wrote:IIn fairness to whoever did the clutch they had cobbled something up with a modified repair washer - many places wouldn't have bothered!


This just reminded me the Xantia came without a clamp & has just such a cobbled up effort holding the battery down admirably well (MoT pass like that too)... It's a fender/repair washer with one edge ground flat so it fits over the clamp stud and when bolted down it wedges between stud & battery! Must add the proper clamp to the list of bits to pillage from the scrappy...
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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

If the Xantia one's as inaccessible as the C15's I'm not surprised it's passed an MoT - the tester's not going to go out of his way to look for something. The battery in the Caddy's not secured at all - but it's under the back seat, so who's to know?
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by ekjdm14 »

Well TBH it passed quite rightly, the battery is indeed secure. it's just not right & the rest of the car warrants it being so...

Under the back seat they can wobble about all they like, I doubt they'd go anywhere in a hurry anyway :)
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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

Back in Essen, sorted out the pub's Wifi - so I'm sat at the bar, drafting this!

300, largely uneventful miles from Berlin. Had told SatNav to get me here by "shortest route" (found that's quite good for exploring country lanes - & inner city back streets!) rather than "avoid motorways" which would, presumably, just reverse Friday's route. A time came when it directed me onto the Autobahn - but that sliproad was closed. "Avoid road block" took me to another access point, on reflection, I should've changed type of route to "avoid M-ways" but, for the moment my course was committed. Joining the Autobahn I was down to 1/4-tank, so idea was to come off at next exit, in any event. You can see this coming now, though can't you? Joined the carriageway, got up to 70-ish - & it was like I'd run out of fuel. Roll onto hardshoulder, quickly empty the 5 litres I'd had forethought to replace at Aucun, into van (bearing in mind it's an offence to run out on the autobahn - of course, I hadn't really, but didn't fancy arguing the toss with Herren Polizei). Started straight away, but died. 2nd time, it only took a bit of judicious throttle tickling to get it to (a) tick over & (b) rev. Back on the road, literally, & it's been fine ever since, except might've lost a bit of top end - or is that my imagination?
I now suspect the pump but, for the moment, as long as I have at at least 1/2-tank to maintain M-way speeds I'm OK, & I'll have another think when I've changed the filter.

I hadn't forgotten about Berlin but, at this stage, I'm given my room key - so it's a natural break. More later!
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van ordinaire
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Re: Travels & travails with a C15 (& other vehicles)

Post by van ordinaire »

ekjdm14 wrote:Well TBH it passed quite rightly, the battery is indeed secure. it's just not right & the rest of the car warrants it being so...

Under the back seat they can wobble about all they like, I doubt they'd go anywhere in a hurry anyway :)


It's amazing how little is required to secure a battery, yet other manufacturers still use an extraordinary amount of hardware.