Saturday, 19 September 2020

Wales

It was dark when I set off - very dark indeed, in fact it was still very dark indeed when I got to Newlands Corner to meet another five bleary-eyed blokes heading west for a long weekend's driving - yes, we were all keeping a safe distance apart both in & out of the cars. One of our number was running late & sent word that we should set off & he'd meet us on route. So we headed out into the dark.

 

This was the first trip with the Quantum & it had only had the last of its’ ills mended a couple of days before so I was "a little concerned".

Last year (I didn't go having just wrecked the Fury - was that really only a year ago?) they turned up at the pre-booked breakfast just inside Wales an hour early, this year we were almost an hour late, so on average, pretty punctual then.

Linda was waiting for us when we arrived & having scoffed we set off. We pretty much went up the middle of Wales, I don't remember too much of this except rounding a blind corner to find a Hi-Lux coming towards me in the middle of the road - that got my attention. There was also an incident with a sheep - we'd stopped for a break & someone noticed a sheep-in-distress having got it's horns stuck in a fence. A couple of the group rescued it & sent it on it's way. I reached the hotel in Llangollen in the early evening, 300 miles barely any motorway, we had tea & I was in bed by 9:00 - asleep.

Day two & there were two routes to choose from, we chose & headed out. For some reason I was leading which was fine all the time the road was narrow & twisty, the car can hold its’ own in the corners, but as soon as it opened out a bit I pulled over & let the others by. It was shortly after this that I touched the brakes in a village & the bonnet opened & fell back! I stopped & shut it properly.

 



There were the usual splits & re-formings, wrong turns & no turns where there should've been, so two of us missed the first coffee stop & then found a third who had also missed it, so the three of us carried on & rolled into Llandudno stopping by the prom for a coffee & in my case treacle tart. The route when round the Great Orm & while we were in the queue to pay the toll, talking on the radios, the other group arrived, so we circum-navigated the Great Orm in convoy. After that it was some excellent moorland roads. Slowly heading back to Llangollen, but inevitably we got split up & two of us never made the coffee stop at the Ffestiniog railway.


Back at the hotel, the car park was rammed, but shortly after we arrived, one car left a corner space allowing us to get three cars in. After a wash & brush up I decided to go for a quick walk around & get some photos of the river Dee, this turned out to be a big mistake because I started thinking about when I was last there with my wife & youngest daughter in 2018 & came over all melancholy - even the ducks were paired up in couples. So then I took myself off for a long walk by the canal to sort my head out.

 

On reflection, maybe not the best choice.

No beer for me this evening (or tea come to that).

 


 

Monday, 14 September 2020

All .... Systems ..... Go!

 Took the Quantum into work this morning & had no issues. None at all.

So it's fingers crossed for Wales not changing the Covid rules. There is currently no legal reason why we can't go, so I'm hoping it stays that way as I could REALLY do with getting away for a few days.

Also on the plus side of life's equation, the HT leads & spark plugs arrived from Burton, pretty impressive as today's Monday & I ordeed them on Friday evening. They are fitted already & look the part.

Yes, yes, not much of an engine bay I know. Hopefully I'll be improving it over the coming months.

Next on the list (assuming nothing breaks in Wales) is new longer front springs so I can take out the spacers, hopefully a new rear silencer to replace the rather embarassing boom box it has at the moment & it could do with new tyres & brakes on the front. 4 pots would be nice but at around £800 I'm going to have to REALLY like this car, so green stuff pads & new disks is looking a lot more likely.

Four more sleeps!

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Getting There

 There was another dissapointment this week when I took the car into work & 1/2 way thee it lost power - & it hasn't got a lot to lose!

It was one of those horible thing where the engine will idle or scream at full throttle but nothing inbetween. I wrestled it into work & decided some dirt must've got in the carb so it would run on the idle jets & the second venturi.

I left work at 15:00 to avoid the traffic, but it was a lot better on the wy home - not good, but better. I took the jets out & cleaned them, put them back in & took it round the block - it was mech better. I wen home & set up a camera for the Welsh trip, took it out to get some footage & it was back to how it was again.

Back home & I noticed the central post on the distributor cap for the HT lead had a clean bit around the plug, could it be the plug wasn't pushed in properly? It seemed unlikely but I gave the lead a hard stare, it's a yard long & falls right down to the gearbox before coming back up to the distributor & there in the middle -right down in the depths of the engine bay it was wrapped in insulating tape "here we go" I thought.

Sure enough, on unwinding the tape, the insulation on the lead is cut right trough to the conductor. There's a new set of leads on order.

Having pushed the central plug right on, I took the car round the block & it was much better - until suddenly it wasn't. Not the HT leads then.

So the carb has come right off the car (four attachment bolts weren't tight) & had a good clean with all the little drillings I could get to squirted through & all the diaphragms I didn't change in the week replaced. There is quite a large heap of stuff the carb now hasn't got. A choke butterfly & all the linkge, the "throttle kicker" & all it's linkage has gone & there's some more bits I couldn't identify that weren't doing anything in the heap as well. On fitting it back onto the car I found the gaskets that came with the carb refurb kit are the wrong size, fortunatly the carb came off without harming the old one.

The car started up OK & a run round the block suggests it's mended, but who knows. I need to take it out for a few runs over the weekend.

In other news, the seat belt had been a pain, either not retracting, or more annoying, locking solid & not extending. Some inertia reels I've seen are adjustable for locking angle & sensitivity, so I took it out of the car & this one isn't, but excercising one of my favourite mantras I thoght about the non-retraction & asked "what actually is the problem here" & realised there was far too much webbing wound onto the spool - why? because the Fiesta it came from had the shoulder mounting high up on the "B" pillar, the Quantum hasn't got a "B" pillar, so there's about 2ft too much webbing. At the bottom it just loops round a steel rod bolted to the floor, so I took it off that, pulled it under the seat & attached an adjuster from the redundant rear seat belts & bolted that to the front seat mount so that absorbs the excess webbing, the belt is all nice & free with no kinks or folds & what's left retracts. I carefully tightened the bolt where it extended most easily.

What amazes me is that this car has been like this for TWENTY YEARS. Did these things not irritate previous owners enough to do something about them??

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Some Success!

 

After the dissapointment of not finishing a number of jobs last weekend, I have been more sucessful in the intervening days.

My brother made the spacers I needed for the front struts & I got one fitted after picking them up on Monday & found time to swap the cig lighter sockets on the dash for 12v ones which are slightly smaller so the plugs don't keep falling out. Tuesday the carb refurbish kit arrived so I re-built that, though some gorilla before me had stripped no fewer than THREE of the six threads  holding the carb top on. I had some studding, so araldited lengths of that into the remains of the threads & held the top down (gently) with the three remaining screws & three nuts. It started & having done the other strut, I took it for a test drive, but the steering wheel was off by about 10deg which was annoying.

Since then I've slackened the strut bolts off, pushed the front wheel out with a jack between the gearbox & the hub carrier & torqued them up again & the steering wheel now points straight ahead & has more "feel". So that's another fix.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Brakeing - Good

 

That brake push-bar I mentioned last time, here's the horrible mashed & worn thread that would, given time, have stripped & dissapeared into the fitting leaving the car with no brakes, or at least a pedl that wouldn't work them.

The push rod took a trip to Margnor & the tread was diagnosed as M10 x 1.25 but it was so mashed by 20 years of vibration that the nut wouldn't go on with finger pressure.

I bought a bolt & a nut & yesterday evening took them over to my brother's lathe, turned an old railway bolt into a tube & prepared the ends to slot nicely into one another.

This evening I did some measuring & cut them to size, before welding them up (& grinding & welding them up & repeat). The welding isn't stictly necessary as it's all made to fit together & it's in compression when in use, but for safety's sake, it's welded as well.

 

 

 

 


As usual my welding it not pretty, but a coat of matt black does wonders & the push rod is as good as new. Better even.


It's on the car even as I type.





In other news, I swpped the inner door handles fom the "excitingly chunky" 1980s monstrosities, to plain simple alloy items, for no better reason than I've always liked them but never has a car I could put them on before.

 

Wales Road Trip Count Down:-

14 sleeps.



Monday, 31 August 2020

Loooong Weekend

 Bank Holiday Weekend & I've spent the great majority of it in the garage - Hoorah!

So what have I achieved? As previosly reported, I've mounted the roll bar & fitted a high level brake light, since then I've had the rear brakes in bits to see if a non-adjusting self-adjuster was the cause of the vague pedal, but no luck, done a load more bit's & bobs that I've already forgotten about & yesterday I started by fitting power points behind the driver's door for the radio (walkie-talkie) & a roll bar mounted camera - note to self - get a camera roll bar mount. Today in an attempt to improve the brake "feel" & get the clutch bite point out of the carpet pile, I took the whole pedal box out of the car. Sadly there were no obvious faults apart from the brake push-bar that links the pedal too the actuator. Whoever built the car cut it off too short & omitted a lock nut, so it's served 20 years wearing out the mere 3 1/2 threads it was attached by. A trip to Margnor tomorrow I think.

But before all that I bled the brakes, no air came from the back, so the slave cylider replacement was done properly, but the nipples on the front calipers were both seized, but yielded a little air & quite a lot of dirt when I got them freed, testing showed brakes that felt like brakes - which was nice.

While I was in the driver's foot well,  I stopped the accelerator pedal sliding side to side as that was a bit pants too, There's photos of the pedal slid to the left & right - which Blogger has seen fit to rotate so it's top & bottom.

 

 But the big news is the clutch. I have thought & considered, mulled & even cogitated what to do with the clutch. The trouble is as soon as I changed anything, the auto-adjust re-set it to how it was before - in the carpet, this is a known thing on 2+2s & there is a section in the build manual on how to fix it - I did that - cost me £25 - it didn't work.

With the pedals out of the car I saw the clutch pedal trvelled a little less than the brake pedal before it hit it's stop, so I cut some of the stop away - only about 1/8" (3.25mm for millenials) but the business end of the pedal is some way away, so it multiplys. So that inceased the amount of travel & I put the pedal box back in the car with a couple of penny washers between the lower two feet & the bulkhead, again it's a very small distance, but it tips the pedal box so the pedals are further from the bulkhead and......... the cluch bites about an inch - 1.5 inches away from the floor, making the gear change much much nicer & while it would be pushing it to say the car is now a joy to drive, it's a world away from wrestling it down the road when I picked it up.

 I still have another couple of jobs to do.

1/  Check the nearside front calliper nipple isn't leaking.

2/  Buy & fit another few power points, both USB & 12v.

3/  Sort out the brake push-bar.

But it's nearly ready for it's first big adventure, the RogueRunners Welsh trip 2020!

There's a photo here of the second lot of wire I've removed from the car.