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1980 Austin Princess


vulgalour

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I have white and yellow engineering wire on reels if you want some. Can't remember guage, could check tomorrow.

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Yes please, I only need a metre of each.  I don't know what gauge these are, just pretty standard sidelight/indicator thickness if that helps?

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My prediction was correct.

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That's dipped beam on both pairs of headlights.  Nobody flashed me at all, or drove evasively, so I think the alignment is honestly close enough.  The spread of light seems sensible.  Main beam is frankly absurd I'm not sure when I shall ever need it.  A friend dubbed these 'JJ Abrams Spec'.  They don't lens flare like that in person, only on camera.

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The car gods give, the car gods take away and because I improved the headlights they decided that 11 years is quite enough service for my rear number plate light to give.  I'll have to dig out the spare and figure out how to connect the ridiculous hair-thin wires it has.

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22 hours ago, vulgalour said:

Yes please, I only need a metre of each.  I don't know what gauge these are, just pretty standard sidelight/indicator thickness if that helps?

I got the cable from CPC, yellow is part number CB19904 https://cpc.farnell.com/concordia-technologies/ew16-0-2yell100m/equipment-wire-16-0-20mm-yellow/dp/CB19904?ost=cb19904

Wire section is 0.5mm, 20 AWG, 16 strands of 0.2mm wire if I read the specs correctly. If you think it might do the trick, PM me your address.

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41 minutes ago, High Jetter said:

I got the cable from CPC, yellow is part number CB19904 https://cpc.farnell.com/concordia-technologies/ew16-0-2yell100m/equipment-wire-16-0-20mm-yellow/dp/CB19904?ost=cb19904

Wire section is 0.5mm, 20 AWG, 16 strands of 0.2mm wire if I read the specs correctly. If you think it might do the trick, PM me your address.

That looks if not identical to what I'm after, then as near as makes no difference.  I'll chuck you a PM in mo.

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Today I learned, while jump starting another car that was refusing to start, that my radiator fan switch has completely died.  Luckily the over-ride switch a former owner fitted is still wired in and works.  A replacement switch is £15-30 and May has been very expensive so that's going to have to wait until after big pay day in a week or two.  Coolant change is due anyway, so I'll do that at the same time.

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Just catching up on this thread, those lights look to be just the job. I remember how bloody awful the sealed beam units were on my Dolly Sprint.

I've not spotted the Princess out in the wilds of Scunthorpe yet but if a tatty silver Kia Ceed flashes you it's probably me!

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@Dan302 I'll just have to drive it more I guess :P

With thanks to @High Jetter for throwing some wire my way, it was more than enough to make the little extra bits I needed to connect the new lights to the car's harness.  Nothing fancy, just turning a single output from the harness into two outputs so I could feed both headlights.  It was so easy even I could do it.  Now all the lights work and I've removed the MG B units so the front end is looking a lot cleaner.  Still undecided on number plate location, I did try it out on the front valance and the plate is too big, standing it up looks okay but blocks a lot of air feed to the radiator so isn't ideal, current location might end up being the best compromise.  A smaller plate might work better, or an offset square motorbike style plate (although a 6 digit reg would be better for that, and I don't really want a private plate).

The other thing of note is that the inner pair of headlights shouldn't really have dipped beam.  I need to either de-pin the connector or split the feed wire to the dipped beam or something, it's not urgent right now.

Sidelights.

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Dipped beam.

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Main beam.

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Dipped beam with indicator.

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Hazards.

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one thing I do like is because of the shape of the headlight outer lens and the fact the units are pushed slightly further forwards than the originals, you do still see the indicators a bit from the side of the car.  I'm probably going to put a side repeater in at the front of the wing when I can find one I actually like and I'd put that ahead of the front wheel arch rather than above it since it would be more visible there given how long the nose is on the Princess.  I've also got to do things like blank off where the MG B units were and return that strip to factory, then tidy up the paint and whatnot.

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All good progress. Might look at those headlights for my Mini. 

There's something about the front end without the MGB units that reminds me of a whale shark (in a good way!)

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Just be aware these are 5 3/4" units, your Mini will probably want 7" ones and I don't know if they do this exact style in that size.

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why should you only have the outers as dipped beam?

afaik a lotus esprit has 4 dip

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I'd have to double check, but last I was aware if you have twin lamps only the outers can be dipped as per the MoT handbook, but all four can be main beam.  I can't remember if older stuff is allowed all four on dip and newer stuff isn't, there might be a date cut off like there is for white indicators and side repeater lamps and it could be that the Esprit and Princess fall on opposite sides of the cut off date.

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IIRC it was always the rule, certainly in the 70s, as seen on P6 & Triumphs.

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Turns out I don't need a radiator fan switch after all, it does work just fine.  Doing some checks and nudged the wiring near the radiator and now the fan switch works just fine.  Just old car stuff.  It's probably a slightly corroded connection from when the car had been sat idle for a while so I'll just keep an eye on that for now.

Amazingly, the fuel pump still isn't leaking oil, and neither is the oil filler tube.  The oil leak on the belt side has reduced too, whatever is causing it, so when I finally get opportunity to clean everything down I should be able to find that easier.  It does seem to be coming from somewhere higher up than the oil pump/filter assembly so I'm thinking it's probably something like a camshaft end seal which is a moderately easy thing to replace and pretty common as a failure.  The leak is definitely more in the weep territory than an actual honest to goodness leak so I'm not that worried about it.

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On 23/05/2024 at 17:12, High Jetter said:

IIRC it was always the rule, certainly in the 70s, as seen on P6 & Triumphs.

I'm pretty sure this was one of the reasons that Plaxton went with vertically stacked quad lights on the Supreme coaches - as they were able to run all four on both dip and main.

...At least the two I've done wiring repairs in that area were set up that way seemingly from the factory anyway!  Those were on a T and V plate respectively.

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2 hours ago, Zelandeth said:

I'm pretty sure this was one of the reasons that Plaxton went with vertically stacked quad lights on the Supreme coaches - as they were able to run all four on both dip and main.

...At least the two I've done wiring repairs in that area were set up that way seemingly from the factory anyway!  Those were on a T and V plate respectively.

Interesting! Sounds plausible. Maybe Facel Vega too?

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Remember these Lotus alloys?

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I've had these for nine years now and lugged them with my stuff over several house moves and never put them back on the car. Time to admit I probably never will since I've been perfectly happy with factory steels and trims. I've got a set of proper Lotus tapered sleeve wheel nuts to go with them too.

Honestly, the money from selling them could be better spent on the car too, there's a bunch of jobs that need doing like getting the suspension regassed, and ordering supplies to get the paint done properly, that I'd rather have than the Lotus alloys. I'm glad I tried them and proved a point, now I think it's time to move them on.

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20 hours ago, High Jetter said:

Interesting! Sounds plausible. Maybe Facel Vega too?

Not sure!

Know we used to set them up so that the upper lights were aimed to the usual height and the lower ones were deliberately aimed about 30% low so you got a bunch of additional light on the road near to you.  They definitely worked pretty well - especially with a newly re-silvered set of lights in and nicely relay upgraded wiring.

Unlike the fancy projector lights on the Premiere in the 90s, which were absolutely bloody useless in my experience and may as well have been a couple of candles.

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11 hours ago, vulgalour said:

Remember these Lotus alloys?

IMAG0356.jpg.9ee0bd1b755eb7956c8b2ff63e3c9ce4.jpg

I've had these for nine years now and lugged them with my stuff over several house moves and never put them back on the car. Time to admit I probably never will since I've been perfectly happy with factory steels and trims. I've got a set of proper Lotus tapered sleeve wheel nuts to go with them too.

Honestly, the money from selling them could be better spent on the car too, there's a bunch of jobs that need doing like getting the suspension regassed, and ordering supplies to get the paint done properly, that I'd rather have than the Lotus alloys. I'm glad I tried them and proved a point, now I think it's time to move them on.

That iteration of your car, for me, worked so well. I loved the look of the Lotus alloys and looking at it again now, I reckon would go hand in hand with a V6 tucked away under the bonnet. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Dick Longbridge said:

That iteration of your car, for me, worked so well. I loved the look of the Lotus alloys and looking at it again now, I reckon would go hand in hand with a V6 tucked away under the bonnet. 

 

 

Totally agree, it was a good stage for it and I'm glad I did it when I did it, surprised a lot of people with how well it worked.  What you need to do is buy my alloys and a Princess and a V6 and make your own :P

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This damp weather is not something the Princess is particularly enjoying.  The age old foible of the headlight switch has resurfaced.  What happens is the copper contacts inside the switch get a tiny bit of corrosion on them when it's damp, and it doesn't matter how many times you clean out and regrease things, it always happens right on the point where the grease gets cleared away so the contact points can do their thing.  Regular use keeps the switches happy except for the headlight switch which does this thing where the sidelights won't come until you've clicked down twice to put the headlights on and then return to first click for the sidelights.  I assume the little extra boost needed for the headlights burns off the corrosion.  Once you've got the sidelights on the first time, they work fine until a little bit of damp gets in again.

It's not the new headlights at fault either on this one, I've had this problem on the original sealed beams, and the halogen upgrade, it's entirely down to the switch design.  Just BL stuff.

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Amazingly, the weather hasn't broken into rain today so I got the welding done on the front jacking point.  I'll sort some photos and whatnot out later.  This job is one of those where it's actually a bit bigger than I can tackle properly at the moment, so I've had to sort-of-bodge it.

I wanted to find out why the jacking point had failed and correct it.  The reason is rust, and I've fixed part of it.  A combination of rust and repairs from before my ownership had seen the floor and inner sill separate next to the jacking point bar that runs from the inner sill to the chassis leg.  That meant the floor got pushed up, leading to the look of a collapsed jacking point.  The rust was invisible because of the thick layer of factory sealant inside the car, and the multiple layers of steel panels on the outside of the car, the rust was buried in the middle of it all.

I got the rust repaired where needed so the floor and inner sill are tied together again and I could jack the car up now without pushing the floor up.  However, I did start getting crunchy noises and when I let the car down off the jack the actual jacking point bar has now failed since the floor is stronger than it.  This is really old damage, that bar was crushed when I got the car and I don't have the means to replicate it with the tools and skills I have.  Spares don't exist, obviously.

I've seen other Princesses with the front jacking points replaced by square bar tubing stuff and that might be a route I go since it's easy to get hold of, strong, and unlikely to rot out particularly quickly.  It's just a really unpleasant job however I try to go about it doing it on the driveway outside at home.  What I wouldn't give for a ramp to work under so this job was at least tolerable, and an assortment of nice air tools, and maybe someone else to do it for me since we're asking.

 

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I have been spending cash.  Little stuff, like some square tube to replace the crushed jacking point, balljoint dust covers, steering rack gaiters... and big stuff like a new windscreen.  The windscreen is something I've been putting off since getting the car, there was always something else to spend on, and it's taken me a little while to save up for it.  Special order from Pilkingtons to match the original screen in the car, comes out at £614.99 including VAT and delivery.  That's a big oof but balanced out by the fact it's for a car whose manufacturer hasn't existed for a couple of decades and is itself heading towards fifty.  Sometimes, things are just expensive.  I do have a new seal, have had one for ages, and just never pulled the plug on a new windscreen to go with it.

Next big spend is going to be ordering paint since it makes no sense to fit a new screen and seal without sorting the paint on the roof out at the same time, that's going to be considerably more palatable since a friend is helping with the labour on that one.  Suspension is also on my spending agenda since I need all of my displacers regassed.  Just as well I like this car!

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Good news! I finally found someone supplying valve shims that are suitable for the Princess.

Purely by chance I ended up reading an American forum where they were discussing using Jaguar parts to fix Triumphs and someone mentioned that Stags take the same 5/8" shims as most British cars from the period. That somehow sparked a connection in my brain and I measured the Princess shims which I'd done in metric up until now, and sure enough they're 5/8". Sent a message to Robsport International who I also found by accident coincidentally with the forum post and they confirmed the measurements and have a huge range of sizes available.

Sometimes you just need to know what question to ask and while I had looked at Triumph shims previously, they weren't the correct size because I was looking at the wrong Triumphs.

That means tomorrow, weather permitting, I'm pulling the cambox apart and disabling the Princess so I can measure the shims, work out what size I need, and get an order in. Worst case I need to buy 8 shims and at £2-3 each that's still not terrible. I suspect I actually only need one or two since it was only one I was struggling to get when I last did them and it has quietened down a lot over the last couple of hundred miles.
 

I'm making good progress on the Princess at the moment, the only fly in the ointment has been my friend's paint supplier of choice being unable to make RAL Luminous Pink which is the colour I want to use, they also can't do RAL Telemagenta or RAL Antique Pink which are my secondary choices. We'd like it in a water-based 2k since that's what my friend prefers to paint with. I'll probably do a shout in the help section for this for an alternative supplier, the pink is pretty important as part of this car's identity and my personal happiness.
 
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On 27/05/2024 at 10:43, vulgalour said:

Totally agree, it was a good stage for it and I'm glad I did it when I did it, surprised a lot of people with how well it worked.  What you need to do is buy my alloys and a Princess and a V6 and make your own :P

stupid nearly 5AM thoughts, but through a chain of association, would a Jaguar V12 fit under the bonnet of a Princess? I mean my thought process was thus, the Princess Transaxle is special because its one of the few that will bolt up to a Rover V8 right? mostly used for when you want to mid-mount a Rover V8 into a Mini or something such, but you could theoretically stick a Rover V8 into a Princess right? which is cool enough as is, but then it got me thinking, the princess has enough width for an inline 6 as per the 2.2, and if it is got enough under bonnet length for a V6/V8 transverse, does that mean a transverse V12 would also fit?

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