The Old Lady

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Vulgalour
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The Old Lady

#1 Post by Vulgalour » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:18 pm

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Love-hate relationship some of the time. After five years ownership I reckon we can call this one a keeper though.
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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ROVER-25X
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Re: The Old Lady

#2 Post by ROVER-25X » Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:09 am

Pimp my Wedge :laughing2

Any plans for it ?
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Re: The Old Lady

#3 Post by Vulgalour » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:26 pm

Mostly just keep it, enjoy it and improve it really. It's taken an awful lot of work to get it this far and now it's just a case of sorting out the niggles, the paintwork and generally keeping it in reasonable health.
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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Re: The Old Lady

#4 Post by Vulgalour » Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:40 pm

Ungrateful old wench went and popped a displacer today. It's not so obvious from the front.
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It's VERY obvious from the side.
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That's the fourth one in five years. Failure rate isn't normally that bad, I've just had really rotten luck with them.
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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Re: The Old Lady

#5 Post by ROVER-25X » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:55 pm

The one on Top Gear had similar issues. :laughing2



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Image
ROVER-25X (2001 1.4 ROVER 25)
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Re: The Old Lady

#6 Post by Vulgalour » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:24 pm

The one on Top Gear was faked and they ruined a perfectly serviceable car for those five minutes of fame. Don't talk to me about Top Gear, for this and so many other reasons.
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

montegoman
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Re: The Old Lady

#7 Post by montegoman » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:59 pm

Totally agree with you there Angyl. That was a really nice Princess that they rigged up to fail and wrecked. I don't think I have watched a single episode of TG since. Bring back William Woollard and Chris Goffey.
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Re: The Old Lady

#8 Post by Vulgalour » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:31 pm

Well in happier news I found the schrader valve block is leaking... it's not super happy news but it does mean it might not be displacer failure and that's ALWAYS good news! Just got to figure out the best repair route.

Which might be thwarted a bit as it seems I'm going to be adopting another Austin this month.
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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Re: The Old Lady

#9 Post by Vulgalour » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:57 pm

That's where I put this thread!

We've had some ups and downs since I last checked in here. This car has kept me from getting to the local club meet too by living up to its name. The suspected popped displacer did indeed end up being a leaking schrader block... then a perforated pipe... and that sort of escalated and now the car has no suspension pipes fitted. It's okay though, we got the new individualiser blocks fitted front and rear, the Churchill hydrolastic pump sorted, and the car pumped up.

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Still need to find out just what's causing the dashboard problems. We suspect a dead bulb or a bad joint somewhere, it's a bit annoying at night.
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First test run on sorting the suspension out was a big shop, which the Princess did with its usual competence when I've given it enough attention after it's had a bit of a mechanical strop.
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Then...
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Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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Re: The Old Lady

#10 Post by Vulgalour » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:10 am

Wasn't best pleased about that having waited so long to get the suspension fixed and now have the rear end sat on the bumpstops again. Investigation revealed one of the nearly 40 year old rear hoses had burst.
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That was super annoying because they're NLA and so custom ones were the only real option. Extra annoying was that if I'd thought on I could have saved myself some cash by getting custom hoses made in the first place and only 2 individualiser blocks. Knowing what I know now, deleting the suspension connecting pipes and individualising the displacers costs about £100 all in, which isn't too bad for custom engineered pieces.
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Happily, the suspension has stayed where it was put after this. The car wasn't done with me yet because on trying to take a test-drive video, the clutch hydraulics decided to play up.
https://youtu.be/2WpHFqJOvFk

It was initially cured by bleeding it, but then I found the clutch had worn out and it was almost impossible to find gears. Changing the clutch is a job I've been putting off since I bought the car in February 2012. Fortunately, almost every car I've ever owned has needed a clutch so I'm pretty good at driving cars that are difficult in this regard, a womble to the unit wasn't therefore too bad and there was more fluid-sprung cars to keep the Princess company.
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Changing the clutch requires you to drop the coolant, oil, and entire engine and gearbox assembly. It is a long, tedious job. We started the job on the 10th of January. In the process of the clutch change, I decided to also tidy up the engine bay, including degreasing and respraying. That meant removing the coolant rail that runs under the radiator which, typically, had holed and was generally in such poor condition on the hidden side it could not be repaired. The only thing holding the coolant in had literally been the rust of the pipe against the metal bracket it clamps to, once disturbed the seal was broken and all the coolant fell out. My replacement pipe was just as bad once I started cleaning it up.
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Anyway, that issue set aside I'd spent quite a while transforming this...
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.... into this..
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... and then this!
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Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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Re: The Old Lady

#11 Post by Vulgalour » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:24 am

The old clutch, it turned out, was not its first clutch. This was surprising on a car that should have done about 75k over the last 37 years so my suspicions of it having had a haircut, probably about the same time it was 'restored' in the 90s, seemed somewhat founded. I assume the car has done closer to 175k, I just have no paperwork to prove this, quite the opposite. Anyway, the old clutch plate was down to the rivets and the centre piece *rattled* rather alarmingly. The new one did not. The old release bearing didn't run smooth either, which is probably why it was so noisy. Old on the left, new on the right.
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Fitting the new clutch was fairly easy. Most of the time was taken in degreasing everything really and getting the old gasket remains off. With that done and bolted up, the damaged coolant pipe was repaired by having the rotten section chopped out and replaced with rubber hose. I will get a stainless steel or copper one made using my spare as a pattern, I just didn't have the funds to invest in that at the moment, so this keeps me mobile for now. It's not a high-pressure coolant system so I shouldn't have any worries here.
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Sorted out the wiring on my spare original fan and fitted that (someone had cut the wires and reconnected them so the fan blew air out the front of the car instead of back through the radiator into the engine bay, a baffling decision and probably part of what killed the spares car it came from!) so I could remove the Rover fan fitted when my original fan failed noisily on a showground some years ago.
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On the 25th of January, just over two weeks of free time of a few hours here and there around work, Mike and I finally got the car to a point that the clutch was in, the engine bay clean and tidy and the engine itself reinstalled. It was a RELIEF.
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Worst of all, we weren't done yet! Another job I'd been putting off because it needed to coincide with an oil change and info on it was scarce was the gear selector rod seal that is at the bottom of the gearbox. It's a fairly straightforward job now I've done it but it was complicated by finding another issue with part of the selector system having been put together incorrectly which in turn had led to excessive play in gear selection, something I'd previously put down to a Princess thing. It was a nuisance to sort and facilitated removing the exhaust (dramatic doomy music) so that it could be put right. So far, no more leaks from this area and an improved gear change, so that's something.
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We got everything filled up with fresh fluids and went to drive the car out of the unit only to be met with absolutely no ability to select gears with the engine running. Clutch hydraulics, AGAIN. No amount of bleeding would resolve it and parts are a bit of a nuisance. It took a while to resolve and in the meantime I got some different mirrors originally fitted to an old Alfa, that I both like and are usable on the Princess. The wing mirrors, much as they're wonderful to drive on and I like the look of, are now retired providing I'm happy with the door mirrors which pretty much disappear, really cleaning up the lines of the car. That's the housemate's diesel 75 tourer, a very good car.
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Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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Re: The Old Lady

#12 Post by Vulgalour » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:34 am

What was wrong with the clutch hydraulics then? Suspicion fell on three components: slave cylinder, master cylinder, and hose. The hose is the only part I can get, slave and master are like unicorn poop. Known working slave and master cylinders are unicorn poop with hens teeth sprinkled on top. One thing I've learned over the years with these sorts of problems is start cheap and work your way up until you find what's broken. It's usually a cheap part and, if it's not, the old cheap part will fail once you've replaced the expensive one anyway so it's worth putting new stuff on as you go. Cheapest trial was free; leave the clutch pedal depressed overnight to see if it was simply a bleeding issue.
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It was not. Next, order a new hose. When it arrives be not at all surprised that it's too short.
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Order ANOTHER hose, which is described as being the exact same length as the one originally fitted to the car. When it arrives be not at all surprised that it's too long.
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Then bleed the system again. In fact, bleed it twice more just to be sure. Start her up, try some gears... which select... go for reverse... STALL IMMEDIATELY. Ah yes, brand new clutch with actual biting point. Try again to fix the exhaust that's blowing loud enough to rival a Spitfire and try to contain your glee at having completed a job that feels like it's dragged on for five hundred years.
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Do some small jobs while your friend is doing battle with the exhaust, get it to blow a bit less so that it sounds rorty rather than broken then stubbornly drive home because :cursing I've had enough of these shenanigans and I want to drive this wretched thing!
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That's where we're up to now. The MoT is due in April (as is the Rover's, top planning on my part) so I need to resolve the dash lights issue and the blowing exhaust for that as well as figure out why a couple of the rear lights don't always want to work when you're driving but work perfectly fine when you go to actually fix whatever's wrong with them. This is also what's been keeping me from R8 meets and keeping on top of messages, so apologies to you folks for that side of things, at least you know what I've actually been up to in my spare time. All of my spare time.
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1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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Re: The Old Lady

#13 Post by ROVER-25X » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:51 pm

You have been busy on her mate, great work. :clapping

I so want to get my hands on you're dashboard and switch, get some LED's fitted. :D
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Re: The Old Lady

#14 Post by Vulgalour » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:10 am

Exhaust then I suppose today. Drive over in the Princess as normal, nothing amiss beyond the exhaust noise and I find the throttle getting gradually stiffer until I'm approaching lights and suddenly the throttle jams completely. Fortunately I was next to a bus stop so could throw the car into neutral to stop it running away and turn it off to coast to a stop. Hazards on, bonnet up, have a look. Somehow, it was earthing through the throttle cable again even though all systems were normal. I had noticed a dip in the ammeter with the headlights on, much the same as yesterday, but it was stable so just assumed the battery was a little low from lack of use. I let everything cool down and the throttle returned to normal, I then carried on to the unit with the headlights off, which I don't like doing on a drizzly day, but it was less than a mile of the journey to go and nothing untoward happened.

Wasn't particularly thrilled about this so the first job was to investigate the earth issue and we thought we'd resolved it when we noticed the headlight earth point was a bit dirty. Made a brand new earth point which improved matters, but after a while the throttle cable started to warm up again if the headlights were on (and only the headlights), so I need to find out what's going on with that. At the moment the earth points check out fine and there's nothing obvious, all I can say for certain is that something on the headlight circuit isn't routing electricity as it should and further investigation is required.

Exhaust next then, since I didn't want to chase electricals until that was sorted. Air filter box, carburettor and heat shield off first for access. I never disconnect the cables going to the carburettor because the end of the cables always fray and I can never get them back in again, so I always make use of the flat bits of the engine bay to keep the carburettor out of the way and still connected. Unconventional, perhaps, but saves me the expense and hassle of fitting a new pair of cables every time the carburettor comes off... which has been a lot lately.
Image20180219-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Mike and I wanted to make the exhaust components that were leaking as clean as possible so we opted to remove the manifold rather than dropping the exhaust this time. This was also a consideration after folks on my various threads suggested the manifold casting can have flaws that cause issues with sealing, so we could deal with that too if it turned out to be the case. The exhaust downpipe flanges didn't look too bad, with the exception of some exhaust paste to remove of course, so that was something.
Image20180219-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180219-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

With everything cleaned up, which took forever, we aligned the manifold to the downpipes and immediately a problem became apparent. We moved things around a fair bit to double check and played with the clamps and dry fitting to be sure, but it looks like one of the downpipes is at the wrong angle and if you bent it to be at the correct angle, it wouldn't sit in the correct place to meet the manifold. This is probably the root cause of the exhaust blow and only a replacement exhaust is going to solve that. I was therefore okay to accept the exhaust will blow when reassembled, I cannot do anything about this at the moment.
Image20180219-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

After fiddling about with the clamps and the jack and the exhaust, we got a better fit than the above photograph by sort of wiggling the manifold down onto the pipe with me bracing various pieces while Mike got the clamp tightened up with a little exhaust paste. Then the chore of refitting the manifold while it was attached to the exhaust, which is about as difficult as you can imagine since it goes on with bolts rather than sitting on studs and there's a gasket to fit at the same time, so you need about 6 hands attached to two arms. It was like playing Twister, just a whole lot less fun. With it all bolted up the extras were reattached so the car could be started and here's an idea of the access available to you if you don't remove everything first.
Image20180219-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180219-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The end result, on starting the car up, was that the driver's side clamp has sealed perfectly. The passenger side one has a little bit of a blow, it's tolerable and should go through an MoT at least and will likely quieten down a bit once the car has been through a few hot/cold cycles. Partial success at least. Annoyingly the carburettor then decided it was just going to pour fuel out of the overflow while idling and didn't want to respond to any sort of attention and the headlights are still trying to earth through the throttle cable.

So the Princess has been left in the sin bin at the unit for a bit to think about what its done while I try and find the next bit of free time to go through the electrical issues with Mike. Carburettor is probably just a stuck inside component, low oil in the dashpot or simply because SU. I hate problems like these because they take ages to find and sometimes, even worse, mysteriously fix themselves.

---

After having posted the above on other fora, it seems likely that the original braided earth strap is probably to blame and is probably why this earth problem has come and gone intermittently. I'll be replacing it with a cable type instead which will either be one of my spares or, if they're not long enough, a new one of the relevant length. Hopefully that will chase out this electrical gremlin I've had for ages.
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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Vulgalour
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Re: The Old Lady

#15 Post by Vulgalour » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:14 am

LEDs are easier said than done! A good portion of the dash illumination, namely all the switches and the centre controls, are illuminated by a single bulb that routes through basic fibre-optics. Fitting an LED in place proves tricky because the whole thing relies on the shape of the incandescent bulb. I've also been unable to find LED bulbs that fit in the bulb holders for the other illumination as yet again, it's design in such a way that the tolerances to the incandescent bulb are too fine for fitting an LED equivalent. Without substantial rewiring and redesign of the dashboard, LEDs aren't an option.

Besides which, I don't like LED illumination.
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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