Today has not been the most productive of days, but that's primarily because I've been working on the Tempra, which is a bit of a twat to actually do anything on.
I've fixed the water leak. Got the housing for the wax stat fast idle doobery off the thermostat housing (had to cut the cable off and get a 30mm socket and a breaker bar on there, it was about as keen to come undone as you'd expect for something which has been screwed into an aluminium housing for the last 28 years), and the mechanism inside had completely disintegrated. I couldn't immediately find a M22 blanking plug anywhere, so I cleaned the housing out, scraped out all the limescale and trowelled it full of chemical metal as a temporary* fix. With a bit of lube on the threads it screwed back into the thermostat housing fine, and it doesn't appear to be losing any coolant now, which is good.
I'd had to take the battery off to get at the fast idle mechanism, and I took the opportunity to swap it for the battery off the CX, which is in far better health. The CX now has the new Varta battery I bought for the van in November, and the van is going to get the Tempra's old battery (I'm leaving it on charge overnight first to see if that breathes any life into it) - it's pointless leaving a good battery on a fucked van.
I then stuck the car up on the ramps to see if I could find the source of the PAS leak. The entire PAS system seems to be a bit damp so I reckon it has a few minor leaks from old pipes etc, but I did notice a bit of fluid beading round the inside edge of the nearside rack boot. So I cut the cable tie and pulled the boot off, and about a gallon* of hydraulic fluid poured out. Ah. So that's where it's been going then. Looks like a rack seal on its way out - I'm going to run another bottle of Lucas leak fix through it to see if that helps. Otherwise it'll need a replacement rack - whilst this doesn't look like it'd be too bad of a job to do (the rack is held on by two easily accessible bolts through the front subframe, and all the banjo bolts etc are accessible from underneath), actually finding a replacement rack is going to be fun - there are a few on eBay but they're all overseas and thus presumably will be for LHD cars. Also I can't quite see how you disconnect the steering column from the rack, and there's no HBOL for the Tempra (or any other aftermarket workshop manual as far as I can ascertain, other than pirated DVD copies of the official Fiat manual).
While I was under there I had a poke around to see what the grot situation is like. It's not too bad for a 28-year-old Fiat - there are a couple of bits that are looking a bit tender, but most of it seems solid enough.
Then I thought I'd have a crack at tightening the fanbelt. What an absolute twat of a job that was. You can't get to the tensioner bolt from above (at least not without removing the PAS pump), and you can't see it from underneath, so you have to find it by feel and guide the socket onto it that way, all the while avoiding the million bits of engine that get in the way. Then I didn't have an extension the right length - the shortest extension wouldn't allow the ratchet to clear the alternator, but with the next size up the ratchet hit the turbo. I eventually found that a long reach 17mm socket with a 3/8" to 1/2" adaptor was just about OK, but the problem then was that with the play in the extensions and the very limited manoeuvring room I was only just able to get one click on the ratchet at a time, so it took bloody ages to get the bolt loosened off. Then I had to try and lever the alternator across with a crowbar whilst holding the ratchet and socket onto the bolt with the other hand, then tighten it up one click at a time. Anyway, the upshot was that I've managed to get the belt approximately 1% tighter than it was before. I took the car for a spin and the belt didn't squeal, but I think that's partly because the alternator now isn't having to work its bollocks off trying to charge a knackered battery.
I'm going to have to get the car back on the ramps at some point to reattach the rack boot properly - it's so slippery due to the leaking fluid that a cable tie won't hold it on any more - so when I do that I'll have another go at getting the belt tighter. I was too pissed off with the bloody thing to do anything more to it today.
I cheered myself up by going for a quick spin in the Renault 6 - first time it's been out since before lockdown - and then I hoovered out the Rover 45 in an attempt to make it more attractive to a potential purchaser. It still needs a wash though - might chuck a bucket of water over it tomorrow.
Fuck that was a boring post. Soz.