Had a reasonably productive Saturday and a somewhat crap Sunday this weekend.
First job on Saturday was to run a wheel each from the Renault 4 and 6, together with the two new tyres I bought in a Camskill clearance a couple of years back, down to the local tyre place to have them fitted. The nearside front tyre on the 6 got a puncture a couple of months back and since then it has been on the spare, which was a remould of uncertain age. The offside front on the 4 didn't look too bad at first glance but I noticed a couple of bulges on the inner sidewall when I was replacing the driveshaft. So each car now has a shiny new HiFly tyre on the front. They couldn't balance the 6's wheel as it's centreless so that might have to end up going on the back if it vibrates.
Then I had the fun* annual task of putting the boat and the Renault 6 away for the winter. This involves digging the various boxes of crap and assorted tyres out of the garage and piling them in the back of the Maxus, then wheeling the boat down the road from the house on its trailer, tipping it off and leaning it up against the wall, where it's held in place by a ratchet strap to a handy nail in one of the roof beams. If done correctly this leaves about 3" of clearance either side of the Renault once it's driven in, so I have to remember to pop the tailgate before driving in so I can clamber out through the back. If the Renault is parked with the bumper against the back wall there is then just enough room to squeeze the Mobylette and the Spacy in behind it. The Renault started fairly easily with a jump and I left it running for a bit to charge the battery, then switched it off. I came back to it a little bit later and it wouldn't start - I tried various things but it eventually turned out that the little bracket that holds the end of the choke cable had come away from the carb so the choke wasn't opening and the engine was flooding. Once I'd opened the choke flap by hand the car soon chugged back into life and drove into the garage.
This has resulted in the Innocenti being evicted from the garage to the driveway, which I'm not entirely happy about - it has a much greater chance of surviving a winter outdoors than the Renault - it's still amazingly solid for what it is - but it is nonetheless at an age where I'd really rather it was indoors over winter. I need to try and find another garage. In an ideal world I'd have the Volvo under cover as well but I can't really afford three garages, even if I could find them.
Today I decided to tackle the next job on the Z4, which is to replace the nearside front strut with the secondhand one I bought off eBay. It started off pretty well - the wheel bolts had been ugga duggad pretty well so I had to jump up and down on the breaker bar to crack them off, but they all came out OK. Even the locking wheel nut key was present and correct. The drop link nut undid with no fuss at all - I didn't even need to hold the ball joint in place. Then I went to undo the pinch bolt - it didn't look particularly rusty but it just snapped, despite having been doused in GT85. So that was the end of that.
I'm not sure what to do next - it's a long M12 bolt so drilling it out is a non-starter really, and anyway I'd probably damage the threads. I think a secondhand hub might be the way to go, and just take the whole lot out along with the strut. The bottom arm is new so hopefully that will come undone pretty easily - I'm not so sure about the track rod end but we shall see. I've given everything a good squirt of Plus Gas for now but I'm not sure when I'm going to get around to getting any further with it - it certainly wasn't a job to start tackling at 2pm on a freezing Sunday afternoon with only an hour and a half of daylight left.
Then I thought I might take the Renault 4 for a drive, as it hasn't been out for a bit. I've Lanoguarded (or the Weldstation equivalent) the underside so it should be reasonably well protected against shit winter roads. It didn't seem to want to start though - it always takes a bit of cranking when it's been stood, not helped by the fact that the fuel line between pump and carb is longer than it should be as I fitted an inline filter, but today it wasn't showing any interest at all even though there was fuel in the filter. It does have a bloody good battery though! Eventually I tried flicking it over with the choke pushed in and it fired straight up, which is odd - on the coldest day since I bought it I'd expect it to need more choke than usual rather than less, but when I pulled out the choke it conked out. Very weird.
I left it to warm up for a bit while I pumped up the back tyres, which were a bit low. As I got back in to drive off, I noticed steam coming from under the corner of the bonnet, which seemed to be rapidly increasing in volume. Switched off and opened the bonnet to be greeted by this.
When things had calmed down I went in for a closer look and found that it was just a split in the pipe from the expansion bottle to the top of the radiator. The engine wasn't even that hot - the radiator fan hadn't kicked in - but on a cold day it doesn't take much to make steam. I cut off the split end of the pipe and refitted it and took the car for a drive, and everything seemed fine except that the heater is now blowing cold, so I assume it must have pulled some air into the system. I was running out of daylight by then so didn't look into it any further but at least everything is fairly accessible on these, unlike the 6 where the water valve is hidden in a tight space under the scuttle.