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About Cleon-Fonte

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    Rank: BL Wedge

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    Royston Vasey


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  1. Has the fuel heater down the back of the engine been blanked off yet? It's a well documented air ingress point and bypassing it shouldn't make any difference.
  2. Cheers, to be honest the work hasn't been that bad so far (thermostat aside). Certainly nothing like the battles I've had with a certain old Citroen. I can confirm mine has the same two indentations, which do indeed look like accident damage at first glance. My best guess is they're there to add extra strength to what would otherwise be a flat sheet of steel, but surely then they'd be a feature on both sides? I didn't find the rear brakes such a bad job on these - aside from the sheer number of springs - and taking off the rear hubnut is quite easy compared to anything French (where you usually need a 40mm+ socket and they're done up to ridiculous torque settings). The major problem I had with handbrake cable reassembly is that the clips on the suspension beam are knackered and the nearside cable kept popping out, easing off the tension seems to have helped a bit but new clips are probably on the horizon somewhere (joy!). If the air would bleed out of the braking system that'd be nice, though. Welcome to the 100,000 mile club, it should do the same again easily. They do shrug off abuse well. I wouldn't mind a slushbox on this, changing gear is hardly something you'd do just for the fun of it with these things anyway, sadly Vauxhall never gave people the option. At least you never have to worry about your gear linkage falling off at the worst possible time. Having serviced a neighbour's 1.4 slushbox occasionally they're definitely somewhat easier to work on than the little Fiat oil burners but I'm still quite enamoured with the latter. They add a bit of Italian flair and character to what is otherwise quite a dour, teutonic car, plus I love the way it flattens out Derbyshire hills and the fact the fuel gauge never really moves.
  3. I'm truly envious, clearly the Bini was designed by rational, sane folk rather than a bunch of pissed up Italians. If it had been that easy I'd have done it months ago.
  4. Yesterday I decided to change the thermostat. My idea of a thermostat change involves removing a couple of bolts on an accessible housing, swapping out the thermostat and bolting the housing back on. Fiat appear to have taken a different view, with the thermostat and housing forming one unit and a load of electronics thrown in, all wedged awkwardly in the worst possible place beneath the injector pump and various other bits of fuel system, inaccessible until you remove half the engine bay and held on by two bolts whose very existence is questionable given how well hidden they are. First up, remove all the bits I detailed in the first post about turbo removal above (only the top end of the lower intercooler hose needs to come off, so you can leave the bumper on at least), then the next step is to remove the four coolant hoses attached to the stat, starting with the top hose. This little section of connecting hose was one of the causes of the leaks that nearly got the van scrapped (along with the incorrectly placed clip on the top hose). It was replaced with a section of Marina 1800 top hose I had lying around, which fortunately seems to be holding up well. Once the hoses are off the wiring connector can be removed. Then it's a case of locating the two T45 bolts holding on the stat and undoing them. This is an infuriatingly fiddly and time consuming process, but eventually the stat was out. Reassembly is the reverse of removal, apart from putting the two bolts back in. The process goes: spend several minutes wrestling thermostat into place, attempt to locate bolt, drop bolt into inaccessible crevice in engine bay, retreive bolt, repeat 10 to 20 times. Eventually I got lucky and the new stat was on. So, yes, changing a 1.3 Multijet thermostat yourself is possible and theoretically quite straightforward, but don't put yourself through it. Accessibility is appalling (probably as bad as the worst things an XUD can torture you with) and it's just not worth it for what should be an easy job. Get somebody else to do it, ideally someone you despise.
  5. Yeah it has been burning oil, cleaning out the intercooler is on my to do list. It has to be done as part of the warranty conditions for the new turbo anyway.
  6. I spent most of today at the workshop doing rust repairs on the R4, so only had about an hour or two of daylight left and didn't expect to acheive much with the Corsa. However I decided to see how far I'd get. Today's first job was to remove the bolt holding the cat to the sump. With that done I could support the cat with the trusty old jack and undo the three bolts holding it on. I mentioned previously that before doing anything else it's recommended that you separate the cat from the front pipe, but that in my case the two bits had seized together. They still refused to come apart, but after a brutal few minutes of beating them with a big hammer and wiggling the cat they came apart. There is no way I'd have been able to do it with the cat still bolted on so it's possibly best to just leave the exhaust in one piece until you really need to separate it. Once the cat was off it was time to remove the two bolts holding the turbo oil return pipe to the block. Finally it was finally time to loosen off the manifold nuts and, with the light fading rapidly, the turbo was out at last. I'd been told the turbos on these engines were tiny but it's only when seeing one for the first time that you realise just how tiny they are. There are probably kei cars with bigger blowers than these. Have a comparison with a Citroen BX 1.8TD turbo, which is bloody huge in comparison. The next job is to swap the new turbo onto the manifold, clean up the various bits I took off the engine and then it's time to do the thermostat.
  7. What swayed me towards this one was the condition, despite being ragged everywhere and barely maintained for 10 years it's still in remarkably good nick, not a trace of rust on the bodyshell and the mechanical bits are mostly fine, or could be improved with minor maintenance. These Corsas are clearly indestructible, the number of them still about attests to this. Sadly there are a few dodgy bits of design here and there and GM clearly took a few cost cutting measures, plastic gear linkages for instance, but it's easy and cheap to replace the shit bits with improved aftermarket items. I've known a few 1.3 Multijets and they've mostly been hassle free. We had three Corsavans (this one and two Corsa Ds) when I started working at my current place, all with these engines, and whilst the two later ones were falling apart the motors carried on regardless despite the extreme treatment they received, both vans died of other things in the end. They're much better than the horrid PSA/Ford 1.4 diesels most of the fleet is equipped with now, which are much less pleasant in use and not nearly as unbreakable.
  8. Another day, another few hours spent on the Corsa. The next job was to take off the engine lifting bracket and the exhaust heat shield nut (or what was left of it). Cleaning up the nut didn't help, it's clear it fused to the stud shortly before they both rusted away virtually to nothing. The heat shield itself doesn't look too clever either. There was nothing for it but to bring out the Dremel*. This does leave me the problem of what to do with the remains of the stud, but I'm sure I'll figure something out. With the heat shield off it's time to remove the oil-to-coolant heat exchanger pipe. Removing the pipe from the heat exchanger was easy enough, removing the bracket holding it on under the manifold was another matter. I couldn't see a bolt, I could barely get my hand in to feel for a bolt, I could find no suggestion of where the bolt might be and even if by some miracle I found it I wouldn't have a clue what size socket to use. This picture was the only evidence I had of the bolt's existence. With a bit of trial and error I managed to get a 10mm socket on it, but finding and locating a socket on the thing had taken up quite a substantial proportion of my spannering time that could have been better used. Once that pipe was off it was the turbo oil supply pipe's turn, access to the bolt on the heat exchanger was again dire. And with the bottom coolant hose removed the four bolts holding onto the heat exchanger itself were ready to come out. Anyone doing this should be be prepared to be showered with both oil and coolant when separating the heat exchanger from the block. Both oil filler and oil filter housing are combined in one unit with the heat exchanger, this will be a good opportunity to clean any crud out of both. With that done it's finally time to start separating bits of exhaust and remove the manifold and turbo itself, but that's for another day. I also have to remove the intercooler and clean it out as part of the warranty for the new turbo, so I'll do that at the same time.
  9. Step 1 is to separate the front exhaust pipe from the cat, however it seems these two are in a close relationship and refuse to part. Plusgas has been applied and I'll come back to it later. After draining the coolant it was time to remove the front bumper. This would have been easy if the wheelarch trim fixings hadn't been previously bodged (the mechanic at work is limited to a very tight budget) but eventually it came free. With the bumper off remove the lower section of pipe from the intercooler to the inlet manifold. To access the upper section the fuel filter housing and expansion tank must be removed. The fuel hoses have 'quick release' clips which are a pain in the arse and require three hands to remove if you don't have the right tool (I don't have the right tool). The filter housing is attached to the bulkhead by two nuts, now it's off I can stick it in the vice and try and remove the very stuck lid somehow, this thing's well overdue a new filter. The expansion tank is held on with one of these clips. Being hit by one of these when it pings off at light speed is probably on the top 10 list of most painful experiences known to mankind. With those off the engine bay is opened up considerably. The upper hose is visible for the first time. It's held on by a bracket where it meets the lower hose and is connected to the manifold by two awkwardly placed bolts. The contents were not very pretty, the turbo has clearly been burning oil for a while and I imagine cleaning out all this clag should regain me a few lost horsepower. And with that the first afternoon of work was over, with most of the relatively minor, less fiddly bits out of the way and only the bits I was dreading left to face.
  10. Like most of Western Europe I recently gained a surfeit of free time, for the first time in years. Much as I'd happily sit on my arse for a few months and wait for the bullshit to blow over I've decided instead to use the time productively. I've owned this Fiat 1.3 Multijet-powered Vauxhall Corsavan for nearly two years now. It was my work van most nights for six months and it charmed me immensely, proving an incredibly pleasant way of completing a shift. When it was about to be scrapped over a minor coolant leak I stepped in to save it, being the only one who could see the jewel beneath the grime and neglect. Since then it's been cleaned up and de-dented, done daily duties (except for a two month period where the clutch didn't work) and then served ably as a long distance cruiser/backup car for the R4. I took it off the road a few months ago to sort out the rear brakes and seized handbrake cable and it's been out of action since due to a massive pocket of air in the braking system that stubbornly refuses to bleed out. So I've decided to use the next few weeks of captivity to get the van moving, if not roadworthy, and thought I may as well document my misadventures here. I'll tackle the brakes at some point but the first job (of many) is to replace the turbo, which has been on its way out for a while. This will also afford me the opportunity to swap out the knackered thermostat which requires many of the same items removing (it turns out changing a thermostat is quite an involved process on a modern). Stay tuned for Part 1 of the turbo swap.
  11. Pull clip holding suspension cylinder to suspension arm, cylinder separates from arm, remove and replace boot, then return clip to suspension cylinder. Job done. Even if you remove the sphere it looks like it'd be a nightmare to remove it the other way.
  12. I've booked the day off so it looks like I'll be along to this, Chinese Bat Flu or no Chinese Bat Flu.
  13. What terrible news, condolonces to Reb and the rest of Richard's family. I first met Richard when he came down to one of the NPH gatherings in Glossop and I formed a half-arsed welcoming party at the National Coal Mining Museum, after doing the tour of the mine he proceeded to take his Volvo apart in the car park to show me various bits of work he'd done. Since then I've seen him regularly at other things where he was always knowledgable, approachable and always took time out to chat. He was a staple part of Autoshite's annual descent on Chumley and it's been strange to think he won't be there this year, in fact Autoshite in general will be a poorer place without him.
  14. Might have to get myself a set of those, especially if she'd make a few in green. It's a Lucas.
  15. They're a bit like Austin Rover dashboards in that regard, except they don't warp in sunlight. This all seems fairly normal to me. Perhaps I've been living and working in Glossop's bad bits for too long. It says something for the 205 that they were still competitive right until the end, never reaching duffer status. Having said that Renault also managed to get the maximum lifespan out of their small cars, these Clios would have shared the showrooms with R4s until 1993/94 and R5 Campuses until 1996, which really must have made them feel cutting edge.
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