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Tales of eccentrism motoring 2012 onwards ,rag tag engineering


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  • 2 months later...

More simpering messing about in a sort of shuffling librarian fashion

first off I decided I wanted a rev counter for the hole in the dash,and of course not one that would read x2 and break itself over 3000rpm

a triumph stag item was the obvious choice but rather pricey really, so I evicted the 4 cyl smiths mechanism and replaced it with a mech out of a crapola multi cylinder choice tacho



i set it to 6cyl as the 6 cyl readout x 8 over 1.25 scale of the 0-11k rpm mech almost matched the standard MGB clock face scale

and fitted it up



since then i got a Dolomite 4cylinder item for 3quid at Newark autojumble and recalibrated it with a potentiometer and a multimeter tacho, this however required a run out to the country and the engine revved as high as i wanted to hold it whilst adjusting the needle position to match the readout of the multimeter

ive no picture of that ,,but it is a matched and working dash setup,,first time in around 5 years! so i celebrated by having a half decent homeward bound commute from work through the strines/ ladybower valley




also on the menu the proton finaly ruined the clutch plate lining as the center plate looks to have been doing an impression of a spirograph with the input shaft milling away the thrust bearing guide tube even

so i chucked it up the garden and started stripping down (once i caressed the winter muck off the rear to disguise the work being done on it



i removed the front suspension to asses its condition and found everything to be shot to bits really all the balljoints, rack inner joints,roll bar drop links etc



i removed the lower wishbones and found that the bolts only would make some sort of egress with 3 turns one way,,3.5 out,,3 back in and repeat on a realy fine thread,,this took the piss abit so i got a little bit adventurous with the second bolt and tried the same routine but with 4 turns out,,,fail



i drilled out the old bolt and this allowed the threads of the said bolt to be peeled out leaving the threads intact in the shell ,,M12x1.25 bolts on order,,along with all the other shit for the suspension 



the engine and box were pulled to make a start on the 1800 dohc swap



old trusty 1300, abandoned,,dismissed in a sort of miscarriage of justice way as its not its fault,,,but tbh what a boring engine (i stress however a ridiculously reliable one tho such that it would probably run fine after being dropped in a flow of magma as per say the sticker)



i had a brief look at the driveshafts to compare them triple valve to gti,,,bloody similar but with pointless differences like finding a forgotten stash of savings but discovering loads of the old big 50ps mixed in



the gti shafts overall are 26mm longer

gti shaft is 25mm thick triple valve is 22mm

gti inner pot joint is the same but has 8mm added to reach through the bigger bearings of the gti gearbox so that has to swap onto the triple valve shaft, or the gti shaft cut shorter

splines are the same both sides

triple valve uses a cv joint the same as the gti one but sans abs ring,and a 4mm smaller dia oil seal journal,,so the triple valve joint has to stay with either the shortened gti shaft or with the triple valve


so far that's all ive managed to ascertain,,the gti gearbox will work ,,engine fits the bay but it needs 3 engine mounts fettling ,the clutch cable needs a bellcrank and pushrod to adapt to the hydraulic operated arm,,then a host of other things ive not thought about with regards to the wiring,,cooling,,better brakes etc




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  • 1 month later...

More carry on achieved with some most excellent exponential growth of the mojo and a few trials here and there


so the skoda has sat without an mot for over 18months,,thats ridiculous so I set about getting it back

first is first, and that turned out to be pre mot poking and prodding around it to get a feel for how the time dormant has deteriorated the car

the paint has gone flat but I could see that straight away with no effort so that was relegated to the post mot list

next up was a quick scan for rust issues nothing was noticeable straight away aside from a tiny bubbling area on the outer sill panel ,,so I poked it....



then that was sorted with a bit of 1mm steel and the trusty mig

next up I checked the wheelbearings and front kinpins of which revealed no issues apart from the N/S kingpin which had loads of play

so I removed it and noted corrosion damage to the lower bearing


compared to a good spare



I refitted it and bought new grease nipples so I could ensure it took grease



the trackrods were removed and the rod joints stripped and adjusted


I decided that as I had loads of grease nipples why not fit them everywhere



with new ball joint boots and grease that transformed the steering into something useable


the brake calipers had ceased to function properly so they were stripped and blasted and the pistons replaced with landrover defender pistons with just needed a recess turned into them to make them identical to the skoda ones



the next issue was to resolve a hole in the timing belt cover and replace the bodge sensor braket


so the first task was to get a  rover mounting and turn its face flat


then fit it with a home brew alternator tensioner



I then rewarded it with some closing plates over the opening between the adapter plates and the block



I also vaccumed it for the first time in ages as it was basically covered in foam esters and alsorts of bobblets everywhere



then I simply kept going


back on the road shot after a quick drive around


it passed first time ftw

so the next day was the skoda show south of Leicester, however it wasn't to be as the SU fuel pump stopped long enough to put the car on the hard shoulder, and the battery and dickey starter motor was enough to keep it there once the fuel pump started going again




luckily there was a country lane overhead so I had the good lady drive off the motorway in the back metro and meet back at the overpass bridge so I could shuttle parts up and down to strip and fettle in a quieter area , after getting the starter to work,,a new battery was procured from a nearby village and once reassembled it was all good again ,,,missed the show tho so 1.5 out of 10 for enjoyment, 10 out of 10 for no disasters and 10/10 for the rover group product


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  • 3 weeks later...

well more weeks have past and more progression has been achieved , albeit in a rather rag tag bits and bats fashion as with limited time it all has to be bursts here and there


First up the brakes on the skoda have always been well below par and behaved in different ways week by week , so I decided that as everything other than the master cylinder was recently renewed or rebuilt that it had to be swapped especially as it seemed to be taking in air via the piston seals

so I removed the master cylinder, then decided that the pedal box and servo were too scabby to leave alone so they too came out




then I shot blasted the box and pedals ready for some hot dip galv processing




I then did a cheeky polish of the paint to check it was still basically ok ,seems fine



On the triumph front I have the next axle sorted, 4HA v a spare dolomite sprint axle , this is simply due to the 3.08 ratio and a locker, the strength is a bonus rather than a particular necessity and despite the camera angle and the concave/convex drums they are identical in width, as the ratio is longer it means I could go to a direct top 4 speed manual rather than the 5 speed it has currently



34mm driveshafts v 26mm


also I rebuilt the wayward steering lower joint , and its still wayward but less so than before, I courted the idea of locking the lower joint solid but the rack has solid mounts and the subframe is rubber mounted to the body



the next area of earnest concern was to start preparing the proton to recieve its engine and in that way I could get the boorish jobs out of the way of the marginally more exciting engine fitment and subsequent plumbing in

so the ecu mounting and the wiring behind the dash is the current aim as normally I don't bother and wedge the electronics in any available gap


this looked the best place for it as there is just enough space,metal to mount off and the loom naturally routes there

the center console came out and it looked like the dash was complete behind it lower spec style the ecu is the wrong way in this pic but it shows the position


ecu mounted to the console metal


in position ,so all that's needed is to mount a fuse boxe to give the loom the live and switched lives to the various inputs and an earth stud somewhere to complete the ecu install

the immobilser needs screwed to something also coming to think of it


the gti grommet fits and it'll be easy enough to tidy the loom and such things

next up will be dropping the tank to fit the gti fuel pump in and making an access panel unde rthe rear seat to get to it

and that's that for now








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  • 4 months later...

Well more time has past by and yet more joyous mechanical activity has occurred within that timeframe, first up was to consolidate the work upon the skodas pedal box, such that as a primary aim it had a new master cylinder and the secondary aim which overtook the first one comprehensively as a quick paint up became a shot blast galv and drilling and retapping exercise, hopefully it will stand the dot4 spills further more



I prepped the floor also with a view that a decent pedal setup shouldn't have to rub shoulders with a crispy floorpan


The colour is some sort of ford yellow, which isn't the same,,but its no problem


Also of note was the propensity the car had of vapour locking in traffic and ultimately holding up the queue,,vis a vie old car etc

fixed with the power of pumpola relocation to the tank outlet and the waft of cool air


As a startling break from expected progression the brakes upon the alto began an awfull metallic sound so whence the wheel was removed I noted the brakes are quite good for a shopper machine and also revealed the pads wanted swapped toute suite


And as this was sorted I treated the car and my excellent wife to a luxury brick collection weekend as I had bought 650kgs worth on ebay and had to 1.5 trip it with 2 cars (not recommended)


This was also pressed into brick collection of which I limited it to 250kg to save tearing off the exhaust hence lower ,,although I prefer it higher tbh due to afformention scrape carry on


Which on tangent will be replaced with these fairly soon


And without much reasoning I spotted alto brethren but I imagine the fellow owner wasn't as excited, not that I was either muchly but enough to take a picture


And indeed the bricks as presented to the tiny building inspector were deemed to be ok for the job but of limited interest once she had found a piece of bucket


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  • 3 months later...

So essentially all this new stuff happened loads of earth rotations ago but is adding yet more desired excellence to the tapestry.


So the break with the normality of daily life the good lady wife battered her alto into a parked ford transit with enough force to allow the seatbelt to exfoliate but not enough for air bag action so after a quick check all was deemed to be fine!


Then after that we went back and set about buffing the wing back round the the front and just taped everything back on.



Obviously when confront by this the thought was that it was unviable, worthless new car time etc etc adinfinitum dominae victus

but not in my world!


The inner wing took a minor hit,and the strut was bent very slightly at the carrier joint so with some ratcheting help via the triumphs hub nut it mainly all unorigamied back out


The smashed light carcass was rehashed back in and made to 'work'

and as soon as poss I bought a replacement to make it legally work


Getting there, I might even take the wing off again and batter it more intricately ,because its affordable


so the bits needed will be half the slam panel,abit of inner wing, the other headlight, bonnet, wing, bumper, splash guard and probably a bracket of some description then it shall blend into the background once more



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more activity occurred also and this involved the father too eventually , I went to Goole to pickup 300 roof tiles and on the way back the noisy gearbox became crackly so after pulling in for a Maccy Ds I carried on the journey commencing with a good Italian/American tune up exiting the junction for it to then refuse to change gear so just coasted to a stop.

After some consideration and manipulation the gearlever once more freed off to some hollow jubilation as the engine wouldn't start reasoning being that the dizzy keeps vibrating more advance upon itself so a quick tap back and it went again!


so once more I pulled away hoping for the best only for it to clatter and ping so another pull to a stop however this time the gearbox wouldn't turn from the engine side of it!


After about 40mins the old dad appears


The next day I decided to remove the gearbox, because it was unusable anyway and preps it for a new one


so first thing was out with its extremely complex wiring to allow the parcel shelf to come free


I found also that the floorpans were still there


and also the oily gearbox was exposed to reveal the inner turmoil had been contained very well



I had to jack the car right up to clear the bellhousing , and literally everything I went near meant I was covered in oil smears everywhere, brake fluid,water and oil of both types in my hair



I sneaked it into work and stripped it down on the lunch to reveal a dead input bearing and that the heat had soaked through into the gear




so a dilemma was presented

the gearbox was a G suffix which is pretty much R380 strength levels, however the input shaft was an SD1 type but with the 4x4 step down gear ratio thusly specific to ldv gearboxs

so then I decided that the options were

fit a bearing and hope for the best

replace the shaft with a 130quid on off ebay

find a defender gearbox to nab its input shaft and hope it was similar enough length to work

find an rrv8 lt77 to nick the gearset out of and shorten the input shaft to suite

but all of those had to be a G suffix box to work and also mixing old and new gears might cause localised stresses


so in the end I located a cheap sd1 2.4 gearbox and just fitted that (its only a D suffix but way better ratios!)


also due to ongoing tightness of cash I found this clutch plate at Lincoln autojumble and although its for a 200tdi and is smaller it fits and works ok, certainly better than the oil baked original



I also deglazed the flywheel too for maximum effect!


I fixed a little old bodge aswell just because!


after about 10mins driving the clutch started to slip, then gradually it became undrivable!

so the hypothesis at that stage was that it felt like the hydraulics were holding residual pressure and riding the clutch so after destroying a few seal kits and modifiying the valves in the master cylinder I gave that up as a rough job and just bought a new one for like £8 and deliberately left abit of air in the system to allow maximum engagement which so far has solved things !


of course one thing to chuck a spanner in the works somewhat is that I noticed behind the flywheel an core plug has edged out so at the time I was going to batter it back in, I then promptly forgot about it and reassembled the gearbox back on

so on the 280 mile round trip to get the lathe from the most excellent pair SOC and his son I had a niggling worry that it was going to pop out and ruin the day haha


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  • 3 years later...

Nearly 4 years on and a few minor updates, most of which are fairly low level fault chasing activities and the older cars being relegated to garden ornament status.

I picked up a pair of l251 daihatsu charades for day to day money saving and so far they have been great for that, however somehow both have rewarded huge amounts of effort swapping in engines,bottom arms,exhausts,etc I discovered the rear chassis rails are toast on both cars not far off mot time.

As the afformentioned mot is fast approaching and welding outside on the daily beaters isnt much cop at this time of year I'm bringing a 200 quid bit crucially rust free suzuki ignis back out of long term storage and going through its mot tasks and maybe leave one daihatsu laid up for another time.

Today's task was to remove the struts from the suzuki as somehow just from standing the front springs snapped into 3 pieces, 

Amazingly every single bolt undid without any fight, I had no release spray so in this case was catching the recaltricant fasteners unawares to their soon to be undone/snapped fate.

The struts came out no bother and the spring remains just needed threading off past the spring seats, the springs seemed to snap right where they touch down on the spring pads, maybe a stress riser to the torsion abruptly ending there.

Also I bought a driveshaft which has been a mega faff to find as there are 3 options all massively different and as it happens mine is a facelift car with mk2 struts and a mk1 gearbox, and indeed neither the cv joints or plunge joint would swap between the more common variant, the one I've found is correct except the gearbox oil seal diameter on the plunge joint is wrong @ 38mm instead of 35 so rather than dismantle the joint and get it in the 4 jaw I'll just fit a 38-62-7 seal .

Other minor concerns to be addressed are the emissions which were out of lambda range and maybe laid up related maladies.







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So the gearbox is now out and in bits with a view to replacing the input/layshaft bearing and seal as it was fairly noisy and I noticed alot of clackey shunt on and off the power, it appears these early ignis gearboxes are hard to find and if they are about all seem to be questionable as imo they are way too rinky tink for a 'SUV' as it keeps being termed on search sites.

So having stripped it I now have the order of strip down to hand: selector tower out,end cover off, fifth gear assembly removed by way of circlip, roll pin,21mm nut which can be undone by selecting 2 gears on the exposed selector rods,then the bearing retainer plate comes off via 6 m6 bolts.

All of the box casing bolts come out then it parts enough to get in an undo the reverse selector fork pivot, then with the reverse switch removed it all falls out and various parts all tinkle all over the gritty floor, but no worry they will get a luxury bath in petrol !

So looking at it the ball race cage failed allowing the balls to congregate on one side, so a fairly easy replacement job by the looks especially as there is no shims involved unlike the counter shaft with its upper crust preloaded taper bearings , in theory I should plump for the bearing kit as it does have 190,000 miles on the go but I'll check the prices first lol









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  • 2 months later...

So the ignis has done around 3000miles since the gearbox was rebuilt and it seems decently quiet so in happy with that, when I took it for an mot the emissions were borderline high lambda but passing in all other areas so I drained the old fuel via a pair of scissors to hot wire the pump relay and the fuel rail feed pipe into a can then added cataclean and super unleaded, once sorted i took it on the long way round to the station ensuring to thrash it through the rev range and light as much of the degraded 190k mile cat as much as possible.

whichever the solution it passed no issue although next year might see a new catalytic converter.

No issues on that car, apart from wanting a cosmetic go over and maybe a front oxy sensor to put the eml light off properly.


5amp scissors!20191119_223855.thumb.jpg.3b3d9b52ddd5dee663768b42b21541a8.jpg

Box casing joint has to be clean as hell to maintain bearing preload etc.20191201_140600.thumb.jpg.446c38de9b56956c9fbbf05c3440932f.jpg

Could really do with all my other cars resisting rust like this one!

Also on the agenda is repairing my crashed daihatsu charade gradually over time as it's a handy backup, jobs required seem to be:

Bonnet,bumper,slam panel,bumper reinforcer,both headlights and various plastic clips off ebay.

None crash related parts are the bottom balljoints,some exhaust pipe joint tidying,sill end welding,wheelbearings and maybe discs and pads.


No real effort to remove this, just 10 spotwelds and some m8 bolts.


Luckily the wings were spared damage and the chassis rails were untouched as the car it hit was also fully on the brakes so smashed up the weak areas above the bumper.20200102_163127.thumb.jpg.c6ee99a46a888f01ad8fba48bb28dd63.jpg

A scrap facelift donated the panel work which was all the same underneath as it happens.


The wheelbearings are quite a pricey set bit I noted that some daihatsus use the same bearing with different circlips so I ordered some sirion ones for pocket change as I can reuse the circlips out of this hub since carefully teasing them out.

The bottom arms however are a pain to invest in at 80quid a side!




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Also on the agenda is to revive the Dolomite, historically it's been through 2 1500cc engines,a 3.5 and a 3.9 before returning to a 3.5 with a myriad of fueling systems, so that's been off the road for about 3 years iirc and I've sold the engine and box since then, my thinking now is to give it a sizeable weld marathon, tidy the paint, sort water ingress issues and fit an engine/box of some description.


Derelict but structurally great still.20191229_133447.thumb.jpg.2800697620c6b910f5027bb37d4cb569.jpg

Strip down commences, the carpet is mullered by rat shit and oil etc so bin!20200111_134542.thumb.jpg.26eb90a165ed0caa2a8cdc84a0d5517e.jpg20200112_134426.thumb.jpg.8ab91db4472f04e437ca9cfca24db88b.jpg20200112_134500.thumb.jpg.75897cd8b6e9cd553710b253f77b0d9e.jpg

so the floor is fairly good for a dolomite, I've to finish welding the rear suspension mounting but the structure is substantial enough that I can cut loads out without having to consider much bracing.


the C pillar was ruined by water ingress behind the vinyl but it's a simple fix at least.

overall I'm hoping to get it decently solid, passable presentable and leak free before I look at a power source.

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On 1/12/2020 at 2:45 PM, Jikovron said:

Also on the agenda is to revive the Dolomite, 

overall I'm hoping to get it decently solid, passable presentable and leak free before I look at a power source.


Oh god, please don't make it presentable Ron, it looks astheticaly perfect the way it is. 

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There is no risk of it being a glossy minter,2/3 of the 'fleet' are embattled survivors! 

The proton is hopefully getting an mot in early springtime after maybe 4 years sat dormant! Sometimes looking at this view it's no wonder I do other things instead of diving in with money and time haha20200112_134637.thumb.jpg.5458af38963d7868fa94d903379ae46e.jpg

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Crikey, what a thread!

Envious of both your fleet and your engineering prowess - plus the cheery enthusiasm running through these posts. Entertaining and informative; a joy to read.

Top work, and I for one would love to see that hard-as-nails Dolemite back on the road looking just the way it does now (well, maybe with some seats and a headlight).

The MPI fitted with a Satria GTi lump sounds like it could be a hoot too...

Following with interest!

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The mot tester might not be so keen on the moss coverage as it's still fairly soft slime, however I've presented much worse so will see how that goes.

The skoda was indeed the daily car for years on the commute to Barnsley so it will have been me, it's nearly gone round the clock even having done 90,000 in my stewardship.

Thanks for the kind words DC 

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11 hours ago, Jikovron said:

The mot tester might not be so keen on the moss coverage as it's still fairly soft slime, however I've presented much worse so will see how that goes.

The skoda was indeed the daily car for years on the commute to Barnsley so it will have been me, it's nearly gone round the clock even having done 90,000 in my stewardship.

Thanks for the kind words DC 

A run over with clear coat might harden it up well enough.   Then a quick buff to make the slime really sparkle. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

So on a desolate winters evening, the air hung heavy with lowly mist gradually uncloaking its mysterious swirling form as the warmth of the sun receded in the sky, cosetting colours of home transformed to calm but nonchalant melancholy of time and time again the universe mourning death before rebirth, a door closing on the instant that becomes eternity and the future filling the ndeterminable void with both nothing and an infinite possible paths, a soothing crimson light quietly blinks through the haze,,,,

 IMMINENT DIAHATSU ENGINE DEATH stop thinking about why life is mysterious and pull the frock over, on the hard shoulder,,up on the grass and partially up the bank for minimum motorway hassle.


A quick dash up the bank sorted me out with a puddle on a farm track and after a while to cool I top the machine up i continue for 3 days ignoring the radiator leak just topping up regularly.

Then on on the way home it pops the doom light on and I pull over for a 45min sleep while it goes from hotish to cold so I can top it up without cracking the block.


This rad was already out of the crashed but being sorted daihatsu and despite slight impact issues it remained coolant tight so stepped up to the mark.


I tried removing the rad with the bumper still on but this being an AC equipped SL it wasnt to be with the condenser being bolted to the rad along with the fan so out with the awkward plastic rivets and a lone m6 bolt and the bumper was away and dropped tools cascaded out , this pic is with the rad on the way in and being judiciously rammed into everything in its way


All back in and back to solid service, 152k miles and no oil burning etc in sight so no doubt it will shortly throw a rod inexplicably.


It looked like someone had meshed over the rad pack to prevent stone damage which I think is a viable idea but the diy grill was flapping about over broken ground so I tied the loose ends to keep that all happy, now I can only hear the steering rack rattling so that's next on the list for replacement along with a welding session on the rear chassis rail at some suitably inappropriate time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The mot has crept up and I've put off the chassis rail issues as long  as the weather has been opposed to doing the work, so initially I thought that I could just polish up the perimeter and drop in a slick piece of chassis rail


Almost straight away the inexplicable rust spots and laminated steel construction were to be the nemesis of my 5S like plan as cleaning up the hole edges pushed the steel frontier ever further.


I also started an inquisition into the spring mount province and yes that revealed some much needed reform.


This is about the stage I mulled the cars fate, then realised that box section will sort a fair chunk of this out reliably.


The exhaust wants to come off for this as the rust extends down to the trailing arm mount right where the exhaust box resides.


Another annoying feature of these is that where the panel is purely keeping the weather out its 0.5mm thick which will make it a fair old challenge to weld.

The seatbelt and backrest hinges all mount in that area so will tap those into the box section.

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What an incredible thread, the start of which predates my time here - hence me not seeing it until now. 

It also makes me a bit sad. Just a few years ago there was talk of a J plate Proton, a terrible Skoda and bin bag welding masks. Now it’s pretentious pricks with their near perfect Toyotas and endless banal anecdotes about trouble free journeys.

I apologise to all.

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19 hours ago, captain_70s said:

This thread is a hidden gem. That rot is quite impressive for a modern!


13 hours ago, BorniteIdentity said:

What an incredible thread, the start of which predates my time here - hence me not seeing it until now. 

It also makes me a bit sad. Just a few years ago there was talk of a J plate Proton, a terrible Skoda and bin bag welding masks. Now it’s pretentious pricks with their near perfect Toyotas and endless banal anecdotes about trouble free journeys.

I apologise to all.

Thankyou both for the kind words, looking back its mad how long ago it was since I bought the proton! Time does indeed fly when miserably welding outside lol

Not much to report this evening, 

I used age old CAD using a discarded beef hotpot packet to make some repair sections, one being a straight forward patch where the other was like a bent piece of angle iron albeit 0.9mm thick , so bashed some sheet into initial shape and heated it till it started to go and chased the curve with the flame





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Its raining and I left the mask up at the parents so basically just used point ,blink and listen tactics before calling it for this evening as it was raining at the correct angle to sprinkle the area being tackled


Tomorrow may see some better work, ie wheel well done and cleaned off, then the hideous crossmember to rail cut square.

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