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Cobbler's's Talbot Express - More Gear Linkage repairs

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The cure for non-idling autos is to knock it into neutral as you come to a stop and give the throttle a tickle as you coast to a standstill.  Keep the engine running with the throttle as you wait and then just before you go, lift off as you snick it into D to avoid any shunt.

 

Good purchase!

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Had a quick poke about at the wiring earlier with a view to sorting the headlights. Prodding with multimeter revealed that yes, the headlight switch was at fault.

 

I could have nicked the headlight switch off my other van:

post-3886-0-06113800-1491936991_thumb.jpg

 

But they're both booked in for MOTs tomorrow, so I pried open the switch to see what I could do with it, and found some melted contacts:

post-3886-0-89156100-1491936925_thumb.jpg

 

Cleaned them up with a knife and some sandpaper, it works a treat. I will keep an eye out for another switch though because I had to sand all the plating off to get back to clean metal, so it might not last that long.

post-3886-0-01300100-1491936935_thumb.jpg

 

 

I also noticed the sliding door handle was loose. "They all do that sir" and I was very keen for it not to fall off seeing as when I broke one of these vans about 5 years ago, the sliding door handle got bidded up to three figures on ebay.

 

As usual, the screw holding it on was loose. I've nipped it up, I'll redo it next week when I'm back at work and can borrow a smear of loctite

post-3886-0-47839900-1491936941_thumb.jpg

 

With regards to it getting hot, I checked the rad and it seems OK. I was hoping it would be full of air and simply bleeding it properly would suffice, but it seemed pretty well bled to start with. I left it ticking over on my mums drive for ages until the fan had cycled about a dozen times and there was no eruptions or anything, but the temperature needle definitely does go a lot higher than I'd like. I will probably make time to remove the rad, give it a good flushing out and probably put a new thermostat on - there didn't seem to be a hell of a lot of flow up to the radiator. I had a new pressure cap in a drawer, so I fitted that while I was at it.

 

I need to find my digital thermometer too and check that it's not just an over-reading gauge - although the coolant marks from out of the expansion tank sort of rule that out.

I've also ordered a timing light off amazon as I agree, it does sound like it's pinking under load (if you can hear it over the lifter rattling. I really hope it's a lifter.)

 

Even more pleasingly, I have yet to have to put any petrol in it as there was amazingly about 3/4 of a tank in it when I collected it. By my calculations it must be doing over 20mpg, which isn't as bad as it could be really. I sometimes get worse than that on my morning commute in my Abarth 500!

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I believe the temp sender has already been replaced, for much the same reason. I was sat in a queue myself and noticed that the fans seemed to run for longer than they should. Given how massive the cooling system must be, I wonder if a good flush out would help? Unless the incorrect timing is causing it to get hot. It only got properly warm when I was pushing it at the legal limit up a particularly steep hill.

 

Oh, and an explanation of the heater controls would be appreciated. They are NOT a nice thing to try and suss out on the move! Needs a proper sit-down and explore when not moving.

 

I did quite like it though, apart from that awful suspension squeak.

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The heater controls on the caravelle are extra complicated over a normal T25

 

controlsvw.jpg

 

Lever D controls the (cold only) air that (in true VW style) is piped through the crash reinforcement bar behind the dash, into the doors, out of the back of the doors and into the general "body structure" at the rear behind all the door cards creating slight positive pressure. It's not sealed or ducted, it just relies on all the door cards being sealed to the panel and there being no other holes anywhere and all the sill bungs still being fitted. This slight positive pressure then has to push air up the pillars between the windows to the roof vents. As you can imagine, those vents don't do anything really.

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Yup! It's bloody lovely to have PAS too - I drove both vans back to back today and the difference is amazing. It's pretty decently weighted, and the PAS van has a smaller steering wheel so you can get a disklok to fit.

 

A lot of people are fitting electric PAS motors off corsas and stuff to these now because (RHS especially) PAS racks are incredibly rare.

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The heater controls on the caravelle are extra complicated over a normal T25

 

controlsvw.jpg

 

Lever D controls the (cold only) air that (in true VW style) is piped through the crash reinforcement bar behind the dash, into the doors, out of the back of the doors and into the general "body structure" at the rear behind all the door cards creating slight positive pressure. It's not sealed or ducted, it just relies on all the door cards being sealed to the panel and there being no other holes anywhere and all the sill bungs still being fitted. This slight positive pressure then has to push air up the pillars between the windows to the roof vents. As you can imagine, those vents don't do anything really.

 

That's still baffling. Thanks!

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Very brave indeed buying one of those fuckers with hot running issues, VW were still playing catch up with liquid cooling in the eighties so they're plumbed up like some kind of washing machine, it's almost as if they had suffered some kind of traumatic experience maybe 40 years prior which distracted them from keeping with the program. I think rattling lifters are the engines way of asking for an oilchange.

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Mine has a rattle despite 3000 mile sump drains, its been there from about 115,000 to the present indicated 150,000.   Mind you its not the original engine - some kind of 1990s recon.  Plumbing scares me to death on mine but aside from a new rad, hoses and thermostat it has never given me any grief.   

 

These are great vans, really, its nice being "pushed" along with all the racket at the back instead of in your left ear.   

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This thing is absolutely mega!! I had a bit of a fettle over the last couple of days - sorted the timing out and took off the rad and changed the thermostat and dumped two bottles of "I can't believe it's not tappets" in the oil.

 

It could do with some new front to back coolant pipes so once the other van sells I'll order a set of stainless steel ones, and probably change the radiator because although it doesn't look too bad, for the sake of £75 I would rather have new.

As for the running hot issue, well I'm pretty sure it's just a bad temperature sensor.

Because look:

Guage says "very hot"

post-3886-0-41434000-1492278021_thumb.jpg

but the actual water is fine:

post-3886-0-06632600-1492278028_thumb.jpg

 

There has been a new temp sensor fitted, but it was the one for the ECU not the gauge. I've ordered a new one from GSF on the internet so I'll fit that one night next week.

 

I also tried to sort the iffy idle out - It's not too bad, but it's not right and can often stall when you select drive. It also takes a bit of nursing on the throttle to get it to start.

Basically these things have the engine ECU which unlike every modern vehicle, doesn't control the idle at all.

They have two separate idle control systems - Ignition advance and Air bleed.

The ignition is a box that goes inline with the hall sender and advances/retards the timing to maintain 880RPM idle - mine is fine.

 

They also have an idle air valve and a box of tricks which picks up the engine RPM and a couple of other things and opens the idle air valve to raise the RPM when the engine has just been started, or it's cold, under load or various things. My idle air control box is knackered, so I'll take it into work next week and see if I can fix it.

 

To give the van a good run, I went to see my mate in it today and did about 100 miles with no cooling problems - Even bombed down the A1 at 80 for miles to make sure it was all fine, and it was. I definitely need to put some poly steering rack bushes on this as it's terrible in crosswinds. My other van is completely unaffected, but the tyres are a lot wider (265/40 on the rear!) and it's much lower. This one is all over the place, felt like driving the pissing playbus!

I say no "cooling" problems, as I did run the bastard out of petrol. Luckily I was literally 25 yards from the petrol station, but I still had to buy a £7 jerry can because there was no way I could push the van over there on my own. I'll add that to the other 5 of them in the shed.

As with the temperature, the fuel gauge lies, and it banged out when it was showing just above the red. Normally I would say the 10v regulator has gone in the clocks, but it's fine. The PCB has been replaced with some aftermarket thing which I'm not all that struck on tbh so I might repair the original PCB which was kindly included in a box of "things" in the back of the van.

 

While I was out we put the thing to use dragging some shite out of the garage, and it was briefly converted to a camper:

post-3886-0-65829200-1492278609_thumb.jpg

 

Obviously the BBQ fell over when I was on the A1 sliproad, scared me half to death and tipped sand and shit all over the place.

 

Anyway I love this van so much that I've even bought an original stereo to go in and replace the shitty modern thing that's in now:

 

Blaup-1987-47.751-LubeckSQM28_01def-aam.

I need to find a tape player for the house now and get a stack of d90s to record mixtapes back onto off of mixcloud. I'll just drown out the noisy lifter. I'll give it another 100 miles or so for the magic lifter potion to work but if it doesn't I'll sent it up to my mate Deek to sort out, lifters are only about £12 a pop and I'm told are not too hard to fit.

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I found a bit of variation between temperature senders for the LT van - specifically with the linearity of resistance versus temperature. One of the brands I had would sit in the centre during normal driving, but shoot to the top going up a long hill. Whereas the original sender (replaced only because the switch in it for the electric water pump had failed) and the current replacement only vary by around the width of the LED on the gauge.

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Yeah I suppose they're hardly precision things especially when they're 30 years old. I've been tempted to splurge on one of these gauge pods that replaces the ashtray and fit VDO Oil pressure and water temp gauges, but I'm really loathe to start dragging wires the length of the van and all through the dash and screwing dozens of adaptors out of the block for the senders, so I probably won't bother. It doesn't boil over and hasn't splurged even a dribble of coolant into the expansion tank so to me that confirms that it's not actually getting particularly hot.

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When I had a small family and no money at all I dreamed of having an auto Caravelle! One of those "I'd have a new one today if they still made them" motors.

 

I heard from a long time VW van guy that wandering in side winds has a lot to do with tyres and that what is needed is proper van tyres with stiff sidewalls.

 

Is this a three speed auto like the air-cooled vans? Same 'box as my Audi 80 and Maestro if so!

 

If you can't fix thetemperature problem, convert to air cooled.

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Yeah, it's a 3 speed auto. I've had limited experience with autos, but to me it's pretty unobtrusive - nice smooth shifts, reasonably chosen ratios, I can't really fault it at all, I reckon it's my favourite feature of the van. The tyres are "proper" reasonable branded van tyres but I do hear from quite a few people that the steering rack mount bushes are the main culprits - these will have had more hammer than most because of the PAS. They're on the big brickwerks shopping list.

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when I was working in construction for a small family firm in Sydney - bondi area ; years ago- the boss had an 86 Panel van- with an auto; I think from memory a 2.1 - it used to struggle really bad on the the various steep hills round there, and occasionally overheated... it was the bain of other drivers in a hurry, who wanted to catch the next set of lights, 1/8 mile away - they'd watch from behind, as the lights in the distance turned red, as it struggled to progress up a hill...

...I sorta loved/hated it - its overheating n reduced progression, meant that eg. picking up timber from the yard, Id have to make a return trip, to collect the other half of the load, so it was a godsend for avoiding actual work... stereo up (to drown out the abuse from other motorists) chugging it about...

 

It overheated badly one very hot day, n I had to pull in; boiled off most its water... let it cool off, n started the search onboard for water...in the ensuing search, a large collection of the boss's 'special interest gentleman literature n pictorials' were evicted from behind the seats (twas a bulkhead fitted model) to the kerb/footpath, resulting in some disturbed looks from the fitness/dog walkers... it still seemed to plod on - overheating about twice a week...

 

I have a t25, myself at the moment; its just a bare but solid shell someone used a donor for its diesel bits- it was cheap; sunk into a horse paddock... next month Im buying a rusty donor next, the otherside of the country for 3 times the prices of the good shell, as a donor for the ex-donor; prices for even small bits like the lower sliding door bracket (£160 or something) are mental money... I had been buying up all the bits 'here n there' but spares are v scarce here; Folk running a T25 guard their stash of bits, n don't really want to sell any bits....

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...as I did run the bastard out of petrol. Luckily I was literally 25 yards from the petrol station, but I still had to buy a £7 jerry can because there was no way I could push the van over there on my own. I'll add that to the other 5 of them in the shed.

Glad it's not just me that never has a can (one of my many) handy for when there is an actual need for one.

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After a few pops last night I decided that the wishbone squeak was doing my head in too much to wait for the other van to sell so I splurged and bought the bits on the credit card

 

These vans have the upper wishbone bushes just actually welded into to the arm, they're a strange nylon/rubber combination that squeak like a bastard when worn. You can dose them with silicone grease and it shuts them up for a week or two, but it's a temporary fix.

Anyway, since I've not got a welder at home anymore, I need to buy a complete wishbone to just bolt straight on, only nobody seems to sell them ready assembled unless I want a 2nd hand one.

So I bought a kit of parts, I'll weld the bushes in up at my mates and then bolt the lot on.

post-3886-0-13241800-1492329224_thumb.jpg

 

Once I'm done I'll stick the old wishbones on ebay for someone else to refurb - for some reason rusty old wishbones with knackered bushes cost about the same as brand new ones.

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After what I thought was running out of fuel, I reckon it was just flooded because it did the same the next day after I let it stall when it hadn't been running for long - It wouldn't restart until I turned it over for a bit with the ECU turned off to cut fuel and dry out the plugs.

When I got home I pulled the plugs and they were pretty grotty.

post-3886-0-45576100-1492540055_thumb.jpg

 

Luckily, a new set were included in a box in the back. Thanks, whoever left them there! With the new plugs fitted it definitely starts nicer. I wound the CO adjuster on the airflow meter out by about 5 turns (this allows air to bypass the sensor, adjusting the mixture mainly at idle) to hopefully stop them wetting up when cold in future.

 

Then I got on to checking the lifters to hopefully fix the clatter. 

Basically they're sprung out to take up the clearance, and fill with oil against a ball valve that holds the oil in when they're opening the valve. They stick shut or the ball valve stops sealing and they collapse and make a nasty noise.

They should be adjusted to 1.5 turns less than "no" slack, essentially -1.5mm.

I went through all the rockers pushing them to see if I could feel spring tension rather than "solid oil" and found one soft lifter, and one that had completely stuck closed and was leaving about a 0.5mm gap:

 

This would explain the awful noise when it's running.

 

To change these lifters you need to remove the pushrod tubes - which means removing the heads. Or you can buy telescopic pushrod tubes and just bend the old ones out, then compress and slot the new one into place. I'm not about to take the heads off at the side of the road, so telescopic tubes it is!

 

So when looking at buying at least two lifters (£13 ea) and two pushrod tubes (£26 ea) or a full set of lifters and pushrod tubes for £170 I just bought a set of 8. I will change them all, along with an oil and filter change shortly before and shortly after to make sure the thing is flushed out nicely. DW said something along the lines of this engine not being all that old and I really want to do everything I can to keep it healthy, it's really beginning to grow on me.

 

The scary alternative is that the camshaft on that particular lobe is absolutely destroyed. This isn't completely out of the question as these engines do have chocolate cams. This would be a Very Bad Thing as I'd have to strip the engine and split the crankcase to even get to the cam. On top of that new cams need to have a particular tolerance grade timing gear to match the one on my crank (It's stamped on the gear). Out of about a dozen sizes, only 4 are still available and are £300 each, so I'm very much crossing my fingers we don't have to go down that route.

The oil doesn't seem to have many bits of camshaft in it, the valve seems to be lifting much the same amount as the others and the amount of play shown is exactly what you'd expect from a lifter that was completely bottomed out ( normal adjustment leaves 2mm play, so the -1.5mm preload leaving 0.5mm play all adds up) so I remain fairly confident.

 

I also fixed the idling problem completely today.

As usual with these vans it was a combination of many iffy adjustments masking the actual fault.

 

First of all the base timing was way too advanced, Secondly the throttle didn't quite close and activate the idle switch. Also, the idle screw on the throttle body was too far open, but the main thing was the idle air valve control box was knackered and not controlling the air valve meaning idle control was relying to timning adjustment alone.

 

I repaired the control box this morning at work (BDX680 transistor, 30p) and now the van starts and idles from cold without even a tap of throttle. Perfect!

 

I presume this thing must have lived down a dirt track or something at sometime in its life, as I jet washed a good 20kg of mud from under the arches, and what I found underneath was mostly pleasant, with just one rear tub needing attention. This will be done when I replace both rear wheel arches and lower corners over summer.

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When you change the lifters don't throw the old ones away, a lot of replacement parts are such utter jism, pay no heed to what the vendor says or what name's on the box, Brazilian, Mexican and now Chinese fuckers cutting plasticine with dogshit and passing it off as monkey metal, it's always a gamble. The cams were no worse on those engines than any other, they only last half as long because they're doing twice the work, well worth hunting out the oil with that zinc additive. Could be worth checking your oil pressure before you do anything, I used to rebuild the odd one of those flat clattery buggers back in the day, sometimes to put out the oil light, more usually after they'd shat their coolant, occasionally both.

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Hey that's a point about the cam Des - I hadn't put two and two together. The corresponding valve on the opposite side of the engine seems fine, so that lobe is probably OK with any luck.

 

I'll hang onto the old ones - as you say old original can often be better than new stuff. Apparently you can strip and rebuild these lifters but surely they'd need refacing unless immediately going back in the same place? That said, with this engine supposedly being only about 5 years since rebuild according to the hand stamped date on the top of the case it could already have shitty chinesium lifters fitted, which is probably why they're already knackered.

 

Oil pressure seems fine but I'm only relying on the switches and the buzzer of doom. I don't really fancy fitting a manual gauge if I can avoid it as it's just more wires to run up and down the van!

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Brilliant. I was right about a mechanical thing! It was advanced. Glad you've been able to sort that. Perhaps that'll help keep the temperature under control. I certainly also felt there was something wrong with idle control, even though I didn't understand what was at fault. Worth me mentioning that the throttle was very sticky when I first got in it. I lubed it up as best I could, but if you know these vans better than I do, you may know other spots that'd benefit from a spot of lube. Hope other fettling goes well. This is great to see.

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There's a rod linkage thing from the gearbox to the throttle body that I'm not familiar with which I don't think is helping matters at all, I need to look into it at some point though,

 

Whatever you did to it seems to have worked, it's not sticking anymore, but overcoming that first bit it sticktion as it comes off idle does make reversing "gently" uphill quite jerky.

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There's a rod linkage thing from the gearbox to the throttle body that I'm not familiar with which I don't think is helping matters at all, I need to look into it at some point though,

 

Whatever you did to it seems to have worked, it's not sticking anymore, but overcoming that first bit it sticktion as it comes off idle does make reversing "gently" uphill quite jerky.

 

I'd imagine that'll either be part of the kickdown gubbins, or something to encourage a little more throttle when in gear. Glad the throttle is behaving now. It generally behaved for me, apart from one bit where it'd stick, making slowing down interesting (brake, while also selecting neutral and stamping on the throttle so it'll shut properbly). Old cars lead to the development of useful skills!

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