Saturday 6 April 2019

Cracking Up II - The Worse News

Lots of technical stuff has been going on while the car's been laid up with a cracked chassis. I've finished the chassis brace & fitted it, then ran out of welding rods, so while I was waiting for some new ones to arrive, I did so more mods to the dash.

Since the I bravely (stupidly) took the Sierra hazard light switch apart, I've had no hazard lights - not a problem as I haven't broken down (well, the car hasn't - I've had my moments), I thought I'd worked out what the problem was & drawn a wiring diagram for a solution & ordered some parts to make it all work.

At this point the screen heater & rear fog switches which were skulking down at the very bottom right of the dash, so to make space they have been promoted to a point of prominence on the central clock panel, this leaves four holes at the bottom right.

In one hole is a double pole switch for the hazards, double pole because permanent live comes in one side & through the first switch pole goes out to the flasher unit. The wire from the flasher unit goes to the second pole & goes out to the indicator circuits through a pair of diodes. I could see no reason why this shouldn't work & after the usual amount of confusion when working on car electrics it did work.

Hazard light switches at about 4:30 on the steering wheel
But there were still three holes in the dash. One was easy, a hazard warning warning light as required by the regs. For the third & forth holes I had a cunning plan.

The indicators have a buzzer which buzzes when they're on so I don't forget to switch them off, that's great, but if I ever needed to sit by the roadside for any length of time with the hazards on, the recovery man would find me frothing at the mouth & murmuring "whibble whibble whibble", so the third hole contains a switch that switches off the buzzer for the sake of my sanity - but the cunning bit is that the switch is an "on - on" switch, one way sends power to the buzzer, the other way sends it to a green warning light in the forth hole to remind me that the buzzer is off - the power is coming from the flasher unit, so it flashes green.

Told you it was cunning.

Except of course that I'm not terribly clever when it comes to electrics & turning on the hazards turned the ignition on as well. So I took the dash out again & found that if I cut the link wire I fitted the other day, the hazards worked perfectly - but the indicators didn't. Fortunately I had another diode & re-made the link wire in a more permanent fashion & fitted the diode to it & now it's all superb - except that the buzzer switch is upside down (sigh) - I'll sort that out next time I'm inside the dash.

With that all done I turned my attention back to the chassis crack as the welding rods arrived with a thump on the door mat this morning. I welded along the crack line on top of the chassis tube, then ground it all off & welded it properly.

So now it was tacked, I got a mirror-on-a-stick, had a good look round & realised there was a matching crack on the front face - that meant the front upper cross rail was completely severed - EEEK!

I don't know how long it's been like that, but I stripped & re-painted the front of the chassis over the winter of 2016 - 17, I would've thought I would've noticed.
Yup - that's a crack.
So now I have a job to do on Monday, I need to remove the bonnet, the radiator, the Coanda panel & a brake line, weld all round the tube, probably weld a plate over the crack & a gusset across the corner, then re-paint & re-assemble.


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