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Korean Cortina - now the hottest Stellar in the UK!

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1 hour ago, mat_the_cat said:

Yes, that's literally as low as I can go! The cold start unit I do have (although isn't it a timing advance on a Bosch VE pump?)

I'm unsure on this.  My experience is that the cold-start cable on the 1769cc TD engine injection pump actuated a timing advance lever.  If you move that lever while the engine is running, you can hear a clear change in the injection sound, but minimal change in engine revs.  That lever is on the "front" of the pump (IE closest to the radiator.)

The 1.9TD injection pump that I have experience of from 405s had the timing done with an electronic (or at least electrical) unit built in to the very bottom of the pump.  The cold start cable went to a small lever on the back of the pump (IE towards the engine) which had very little movement, which appeared to be a governed idle speed lever, as if you move it the idle speed changes, but it makes sod-all difference in driving.

Which injection pump do you run?

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7 hours ago, Talbot said:

My experience is that the cold-start cable on the 1769cc TD engine injection pump actuated a timing advance lever.  That lever is on the "front" of the pump (IE closest to the radiator.)

The 1.9TD injection pump that I have experience of from 405s had the timing done with an electronic (or at least electrical) unit built in to the very bottom of the pump.  The cold start cable went to a small lever on the back of the pump (IE towards the engine)

Which injection pump do you run?

It's the Bosch VE pump, original to the 1.9TD Xantia engine. My belief that it was a timing advance was based on the same pump fitted to the LT (albeit the 6 cylinder version), which has a similar small lever on the back of the pump, towards the engine. This definitely is a timing advance, as it's controlled manually and makes the engine audibly 'knockier' when pulled. I've never observed the BX cold start device in action (IIRC it only comes into play at sub-zero temperatures?)

HOWEVER...after 14 years I've just realised that the pumps are reversed on the two engines! So could well be a fast idle lever on the BX - although not engaged.

4 hours ago, mrbenn said:

Had to quote this pic - just love it.

Absolutely bloody brilliant work - really amazing stuff! I was chuffed to bits on your behalf when I read it was working :grinning-smiley-043:

Thanks for your kind words - believe me, I'm equally chuffed :-)

3 hours ago, Talbot said:

Is that a jen-U-whine High-un-dry switch and panel you've fitted there?  Presumably that's the only one left in the entire world.

Not the switch, but I'm glad it had you fooled! The panel is standard across the range, so on vehicles without all options you not only had a blanking plate, but "look what you could have won" legend just to really rub it in. I tried to order the switch back in 1999, but it was NLA even then - however the same year was the one and only time I saw a pre-facelift Stellar (switches are different) in a scrapyard. This was several cars high, with another on top, pancaking the roof. I remember it well, as I cut my hand recovering the switches through the smashed windscreen, requiring stitches.

The switch is a re-purposed HRW switch, with the symbol carefully removed and a snowflake printed onto clear Dymo tape applied. The dashboard part of the loom was the only wiring already in place, so it plugged straight in. The front fog switch is actually just a rear one, as I haven't gone to the same trouble to change that!

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54 minutes ago, mat_the_cat said:

but I'm glad it had you fooled! The panel is standard across the range, so on vehicles without all options you not only had a blanking plate, but "look what you could have won" legend just to really rub it in

It now looks absolutely and completely factory.  A very subtle visual upgrade, and a massive improvement in comfort!  I agree, even for the limited number of days that AC is warranted in the UK, it's a lovely option to have.

I doubt there are many Stellars in breakers any more.  Maybe not a single one.

Were Stellars popular in other markets, where they may have lived a little longer, meaning second-hand trim/interior parts might be available?

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I think it'll get equally as much use to aid demisting, as keeping cool! I do use it quite frequently on the rest if the fleet.

Not sure about other countries - Malaysia is a possibility, but it was only 2 years before the facelift, so a tall order finding one anywhere I think! Thankfully my trim is in good condition, and most of it seems to be from a very resilient plastic, with a few brittle exceptions.

On 5/18/2020 at 9:09 PM, Skizzer said:

Tell you what, having seen how much was already going on under the bonnet of the Stellar, if you’d said you were going to install aircon I’d have just laughed. 

The underbonnet side of things was actually quite spacious compared to the interior! I've put everything back together now, so a few photos below.

The feed for the centre face vents dictated the RH position of the evaporator:


Another piece of ducting to the passenger face vent limited how far forwards it could sit, and the blower motor casing is only a few mm away on the LH side:


Now ready for the glovebox to be re-fitted. Note that I've had to relocate the thermostat to the side, to allow for a small duct pointing down towards the passenger's lap!


I've drilled the bulkhead to fit a plastic hose stub, for draining moisture which condenser on the evaporator.


Then ran a short length of hose to the moulded drain. Silicone hose was used because it makes the car faster...


The insulation was already cut like this - hopefully I'd have been able to do a neater job!

All done!


It's probably been the hottest day of the year so far, so I booked a holiday from work, and as we needed to do some shopping tool the Stellar along to test the system. After leaving the car in full sun until 2pm, it took about 15 minutes of driving to fully bring the temperature down, although the cool air made a noticeable difference straight away. I didn't think to switch to recirculation to see whether this was faster.

The limiting factor seems to be airflow rather than AC performance, which was a criticism levelled at the car in contemporary road tests. And asking it to blow through an additional heat exchanger isn't exactly going to help!

A small snagging list I've discovered - firstly I've inadvertently tested out the high pressure (400psi!!) safety cut-out :oops: Turns out that both cooling fans on simultaneously will blow the 30A fuse after a while. And without sufficient airflow, pressures will rise. Easy fix to bung in a 40A fuse, as fortunately the 4 sq.mm cable is OK for that current.

Second snag is that I really do need something to up the idle speed. I only stalled it once, but revs drop to about 250rpm, which means little charging, AC, or oil pressure probably!

But that's bordering on nit-picking really. It's made a huge difference to comfort levels - just need to go on a long, hot road trip now!

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I've been using this to go to work during the latter half of this week, and it's great to be back behind the wheel (OK, it's only been a few weeks!) It feels  bit strange not having anything to do on it in the evenings, at least until I pull the gearbox out. This time last year I was just ticking over 200k miles, so 4k miles in a year is a reasonable amount for a 'fun' car.

AC is still working, so seems to be holding pressure OK. I was driving along deliberately allowing the cabin to heat up, just so I could flick a switch and cool it down again!

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On 5/20/2020 at 7:59 PM, mat_the_cat said:

Turns out that both cooling fans on simultaneously will blow the 30A fuse after a while. And without sufficient airflow, pressures will rise. Easy fix to bung in a 40A fuse, as fortunately the 4 sq.mm cable is OK for that current.

Fuse was duly uprated, which (once I'd changed the fuel pump fuse from 15 to 10 amps - no need for a 15A fuse on that) gave a pleasing kind of symmetry to the arrangement of the auxiliary fuse box. Yes, I really am that sad!


No more blowing, despite some *really* hot weather,  over 30 degrees C in the sun! It was such a perfect day last Friday that I took it to work, and it behaved well even when caught in a queue behind a tractor. I stopped to take a photo and it was actually a relief to get back inside...crazy weather for May!


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  • 3 weeks later...

We're still limited to a 5 mile radius from home here in Wales (apart from travelling to work) but I've got a few photos out and about. 


Generally working well, but I need to sort out an oil leak from the rocker covers, as the Rover gaskets are not an ideal fit. Heavy rain today, and as my Friday treat it's becoming a habit to take this to work.


It gave me a chance to test the demisting ability, which works well but does highlight a minor problem. When I turn the AC on I have to nudge the heater up a fair way to maintain warmth in the cabin! I can imagine that on a cool wet autumn day I might be glad of the heat soaking through the bulkhead to supplement that from the heater. I could possibly vary the compressor cycle time to chill the evaporator less - for drying the air it only needs to be colder than ambient rather than close to freezing.

Another drawback I've found is that there's no need to open a window any more, so I'm missing the sound of the engine echoing off walls. Managed to rectify that with a dry spell this evening going to do the shopping... :-)

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Because I'm a sad bugger, I thought I should label all the underbonnet relays, for ease of identification and fault-finding. I've already swapped them all out for ones with an integral LED indicator, so in the event of a fault I can at least see if the relay is being switched.




Little things, but it makes me happy.

I went for a run in the hills yesterday, and when I got back I actually thought the car appeared almost good looking!


Really enjoying it at the moment - just need to sort out the rocker cover and gearbox oil leaks, and I think it'll be just about perfect!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I bought a diesel heater controller from Australia recently, and the maker kindly agreed to include a pair of P76 rocker cover gaskets in the package for no extra cost. (Although I sent him extra as a thank you).


The Rover gaskets are too large, so don't sit properly and have a tendency to pop out. Even torquing them down partially, and then trying to poke them in as I tighten the screws fully, didn't really work effectively. The new gaskets are now in place, and so far seem to be sealing.


I'm planning on heading down to the Field of Dreams on Friday, so that will be a test whether they still seal with hot, runny oil!

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Nice job on the relays.  Labelling and switching them out for the ones with the power indicator is definitely something on the wish list for the Jag given that it has about three thousand of them dotted completely and utterly randomly all over the car.  About 60% of which aren't mentioned anywhere in the handbook. 

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I finally had call to use that afternburner heater controller in my van yesterday - I was camping but out walking all day and the weather was very changeable.

I set it on "cyclic" so it shuts down completely if 3c above the set value, linear mode with 2 degrees window, at 21c on a timer to come on at 4pm. I left the roof vent open in the van anyway because I had some towels to dry.

Bloody brilliant - I got back to the van at 7pm after walking in the rain all day, it was 11c outside. Inside the van, 21.1c! It can hold a steady temperature without ramping the heater up to all or nothing all the time too, so you don't notice it working either!

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350 miles later, after a trip down to the Field of Dreams, and all seems leak-tight. Although the same could not be said at 3pm Friday afternoon when I wanted to be setting off! The last time I drove it was in some absolutely scorching weather, 30 degrees C, and I'd been driving it hard uphill - then I came to some roadworks. Not wanting to turn the engine off and lose the AC, I kept it running for the duration. This turned out to be around 15 minutes while they unloaded a gravel truck, and it was too much for my welded repair on the crack in the heater tap. 

I noticed the smell of antifreeze later in the journey, and when I took a look it was weeping slightly (I think so was I at this point...) I thought I'd better have another go at fixing it before barreling down the motorway, so off it came. To try and get a better weld I used a blow torch to bring the moulding towards its melting point.

And beyond, as a gaping hole opened up :-( No photos of this, as I was definitely not in the mood! An hour or so later I had slowly managed to build it all back up again, and it held air pressure well in a bucket of water. I replaced the tap and proceeded to pack my camping stuff and a change of clothes.

I topped up the coolant and set off, with more than a little trepidation! I took the lack of smell as a good sign, but daren't look at it on the journey, until safely there late on Friday evening! Both coolant and engine oil stayed where they should, so up went the tent while I brought Aldi's finest red wine up to an acceptable drinking temperature.


Night fell, and we used the bonnet light plus a few others which gave quite a cosy atmosphere. 


Driving home yesterday, was pretty uneventful, after I had put the dash back together in the morning. A hot day but no problems, and it was nice to head over the mountains with good visibility. 

20200711_185447.thumb.jpg.c53fccb095af685a02d543fb69ee8d84.jpg It's the first decent trip since the diff ratio change, and it worked well giving more relaxed cruising and an average of 27mpg at 70mph :-)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Something which has mildly bugged me for a while is the HT lead from the coil to distributor. 


The rest of the leads were pinched from the rolled Discovery, as it had been recently fitted with a genuine Land Rover set not long beforehand.


So the king lead was a glaring mismatch! I kept an eye out for something suitable on eBay, and sure enough a bargain came up.


Just needed to crimp a different connector on one end, and I have a matching set! Little things...


I've just dropped it off at my local garage tonight, for an MOT tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

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Well, it failed, but only on the slightly melted rear seatbelt, which has been an advisory for the last two years! "Nearside Rear Seatbelt seriously weakened but not a statutory requirement" has been upgraded to a fail, which apparently is down to the tester's discretion. Although I hardly ever take rear passengers I don't want to remove the belt and leave a hole in the trim, so will have to replace the webbing I think.

I was chatting to the garage owner (who didn't do the test this year) and apparently his wife took a photo of my car whilst out and about to show it to him, knowing he's interested in anything unusual. "Whatever you do don't race it!" was his reply! :lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Seatbelt has now been replaced, so it's the retest tomorrow. I took it for a drive this evening, and the air in the car is so humid, you can actually see the moisture in it condense when you turn the AC on.

Normally, water vapour coming from the vents would be a worrying sign but it was very welcome today!

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It does, but I've not measured the actual temperature at which it switches. It's an off the shelf thermal cut-out designed for the task, so it would be logical to assume it should keep the evaporator from freezing. However, it does seem to keep draining for quite a while after parking up, suggesting there may be ice present. Having said that, there's no detectable drop off in flow which could be down to ice blockage.

I should perhaps mention that any delusions of coolness I might have had, were shattered when I stalled the engine pulling out of a busy car park today...

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I've currently got three Chrome tabs open while I make my mind up which is the best option! It's probably further down the priority list though, after sorting the gearbox oil leak.

Happily I now have a fresh MOT, but still need to adjust the wheel bearing. I had a stupid moment and nipped up the wrong side - I thought they were being a bit picky as I was doing it as there was barely any play in it!


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On 8/11/2020 at 11:43 PM, Talbot said:

You must surely have the evaporator below 0C for that to be happening quite so prominently.  I've never seen a car AC system be able to blow so cold that you get clouds in the car!

Does the system have an evaporator temperature sensor and a low-temp cut out?

The system on my 107 would do that very briefly when you first turned it on on a really hot day.  The AC in that thing was astonishingly effective for such a basic little car.  I remember in really hot weather that it had a really annoying habit of causing condensation to form on the *outside* of the windscreen when you were sitting in traffic.

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On 8/11/2020 at 11:43 PM, Talbot said:

You must surely have the evaporator below 0C for that to be happening quite so prominently.

It would appear so.


That's actually ice on the *outside* of the evaporator casing, a few minutes after switching off! So it looks as though I do need to alter the temperature at which the compressor cycles. Or have a variable control, as the BX...

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28 minutes ago, mat_the_cat said:

Or have a variable control, as the BX...

Interestingly* most PSA stuff from that era had the ability to have a variable temperature on the evaporator, just very few cars actually used it.  Something was very wrong with the control system of my old 405 (almost identical control system), which meant if you had the temperature sensor in the airflow, it barely cooled.  Remove the sensor and allow it to hang in the car body air, and the AC blew lovely and cold.

Presumably a simple temperature sensor and switch on/switch off control is all that you need?

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  • mat_the_cat changed the title to Korean Cortina - now the hottest Stellar in the UK!

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