May as well use this thread for general fleet news I guess...
I‘ve been meaning to do something about the wheels and tyres on the Mondeo for ages; the whole car is pretty scruffy but the wheels are covered in brake dust which I just can’t get off and it has mismatched budget tyres ranging from “recent part worn” to “lethal”, and they keep deflating over a couple of weeks. I’m wary about spending much on this as I never expect it to live past its next MOT, but it’s been scraping through for 4 years in my ownership now and there’s only so long I can put it off.
The issue is that I’d like to take them off, tidy and paint them and get new tyres on, and doing them all at once isn’t possible without leaving it wheel-less and immobile for a period.
I set about looking for some temporary wheels but any four wheels that’d fit, with useable tyres, were surprisingly difficult to find for not much money. I eventually got lucky and bought some same-era Mondeo 5-spoke wheels with the same dimensions and old but legal tyres from EBay for £42 (plus a 2-hr round trip to collect).
I think the original Ghia X alloys suit it better, but these look pretty good too...
The originals are now in the garden and I’ll get on with those when the weather’s better.
With the Astra gone, the Dolomite’s back on the drive and motivation has returned somewhat. First job was to sort the clutch, then get back to the running issues.
We’d previously had the clutch slave cylinder apart and changed some seals but it’d made no difference. It was a frustrating job so stripping it down again seemed like too much effort, so I splashed out on a new one. The clutch now works! As well as it ever has anyway, which is okay-ish.
Now I don’t have to push it on and off the drive to get the Ventora out!
A very short test drive revealed the running problem was still as bad as ever though and we didn’t make it much further than the end of the road before losing power and nursing it back home.
As detailed in my previous Dolomite thread, we’d replaced nearly everything already and I was running out of ideas... next to try was an electric fuel pump. So I bought one and we wired that in. Verdict: better for a short while but ultimately no improvement.
At this point I remembered that before the clutch went I thought it might be the fuel cap, and kicking myself for forgetting to actually try running without it. How stupid would I feel if it was just that and I could’ve saved spending a ridiculous amount on new parts! So, tried that, unsure whether I actually wanted it to work or not, and either luckily or unluckily, it didn’t. Next!
Run it from a can. We’d taken the fuel tank out and cleaned it, and replaced every fuel line except the metal one under the car. To eliminate this, we rigged up a line from the fuel filter to a can on the front seat passenger’s lap (don’t try this at home) and took it for another run. The front hinged bonnet and opening quarter lights were quite handy for hose-routing and on this run it was noticeably better. Not fixed, but definitely an improvement. Hmm.
A long bit of rubber fuel line was purchased and run from the tank to the engine bay, bypassing the suspect pipe. Cable tied to various things to secure it, we managed a few miles this time before it started getting a bit unhappy. Made it home after about 20mins of driving without completely breaking down though.
Left it a couple of days, replaced the fuel filter (again) and gave it another run... this time it seemed fine! I’m very reluctant to declare it fixed but I can confidently say it ran fine when it was parked.
Since I bought the Dolomite it’s had no aerial and a hole where a radio should be. The trim at the back of the front shelf, where the speaker was mounted, dropped, and the whole area is a bit untidy. We got the shelf out, gave it a clean and installed some strategically placed bits of wood to prop the back up, and bought this really cheap Chinese stereo, because it’s actually quite a nice “retro” design, and it was really cheap.
Will make some sort of surround to hide the mess (most of which was already like that) and maybe give the whole thing a coat of black before reinstalling. It’s mostly hidden anyway. We’ll give it an oil change and get on with tidying the bodywork a bit next. I also need a new wiper stalk if anyone has one lying around.
In Ventora news, I’d been looking for some grey Britax seat belts, as the ones I remember had been replaced with hideous cheap black ‘80s style things “for safety”. They seem to be pretty rare and, as they’re often found in various Jaguars and other expensive stuff, quite pricey when they turn up. Even the later, more plasticky, ‘70s style ones were usually more than £100 a side...
Via Facebook, I managed to get hold of the interim owner who replaced the belts, and he still had the originals! Even more amazingly, he lived 5 mins from my parents’ house! My Dad was duly despatched and they are soon to be reunited. He also provided a spare wing mirror, which was nice. I hope my luck with this car continues!
Elsewhere, the Saab has been quite leaky of late, and now has a badly cracked drivers side headlight, so could do with some attention soon. Then I should get the Simca back, I suppose.