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Schaefft's Bargain Barge Extravaganza - E65 Interior Overhaul Part 1


Schaefft

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3 minutes ago, Schaefft said:

I did remember you having to reconnect it a few times, is it draining the washer bottle though?

It will. N/S washer pipe, comes off where the washer jet motors up out of the front bumper. Remove the lower grille and the pipe is accessible from there. I did cable-tie the pipe back in place the last time it came off just after I bought it, I'd guess with regular use in the grim weather we've had it's slipped off again. If I remember correctly the headlamp wash operates every 5th time the screen wash is activated. 

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Good work man...  I'd love to change the A8's gearbox oil but it's a nightmare to do apparently.  There's no dipstick tube, it's filled from the drain plug until it overflows, at which point the car has to be suspended with all four wheels off the ground, running, and in gear(!),  so you can get the last bit of oil in...

I was thinking about doing it on 4 axle stands, with the wheels off, but the thought of crawling under the big lump while its going is just too much!

 

It's sealed for life though, so I'm sure it will be fine*.

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3 minutes ago, TrabbieRonnie said:

Good work man...  I'd love to change the A8's gearbox oil but it's a nightmare to do apparently.  There's no dipstick tube, it's filled from the drain plug until it overflows, at which point the car has to be suspended with all four wheels off the ground, running, and in gear(!),  so you can get the last bit of oil in...

I was thinking about doing it on 4 axle stands, with the wheels off, but the thought of crawling under the big lump while its going is just too much!

 

It's sealed for life though, so I'm sure it will be fine*.

Yeah, have a lift and this wouldn't be an issue either, without and you are just in a world of pain (and ATF). It's the same on the D2 A8 and one of the reasons why the leaking ATF line on that was a major problem. I'm hoping that we are able to find something remotely sensibly priced to move into sometime this year that allows me to have one in the future, things will happen at 3 times the pace once I do.

Regarding the A8, range warning was coming on yesterday for the first time since I picked it up. I think I would have gotten about 500 miles out of it, you probably could have easily gotten over 600 with gentle motorway driving, that's an incredible 1000km. MPGs tell me that this is now the cheapest to run car I own. However, it is a big tank so...

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They are incredible regarding range, I'm only seeing 26-30mpg (mines a petrol, and is spending a lot of time idling while i scrape the windows just now), but like you say, the mahoosive tank means fuel stops are relatively infrequent.  I heard that the tanks are stainless steel, and that there's 5 fuel pumps all told?!  

I long for a unit with ramps somewhere too, in the meantime I'm thinking about various DIY methods for lifting the fleet to a workable height, with at least some safety involved...!

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The most I managed on one tank was its last trip to Cornwall. Mixed motorway/A road there, some local trips there, motorway back. 720ish miles, and I hadn’t started with a completely full tank as I’d used it locally for a few days at home beforehand. Set the cruise at 70, mpg will sit around 45/46.

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I'm probably driving to York this weekend, nice 180 mile roundtrip to see what MPGees I can get out of it. It certainly is impressive, no wonder why everything turned diesel in the early 2000s. With a mild tune this would certainly close the performance gap between it and the petrol V8 somewhat, too.

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Trip to York and back in the Audi completed, around 36MPG at Autobahn motorway (I swear) cruising speeds. The driver side front tire definitely has a slow puncture, confirmed before setting off this morning as it was down to half the pressure it should be. I assume that's the wheel that was welded, the cold nights probably didn't help. It takes a week before becoming noticeable but definitely something worth adding to the list. The parking brake error seems to be gone after setting it a few times at least!

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@Kiltox would be able to confirm but I thought it was the n/s/f wheel that got hit with the electric metal glue. I had to put air in it (and the other 3) a few weeks before you came, but the car had sat for ages so I just put it down to that. May be something as simple as a leaking valve or a bit of crud on the rim?

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20 minutes ago, 83C said:

@Kiltox would be able to confirm but I thought it was the n/s/f wheel that got hit with the electric metal glue. I had to put air in it (and the other 3) a few weeks before you came, but the car had sat for ages so I just put it down to that. May be something as simple as a leaking valve or a bit of crud on the rim?

Yeah you’re right it was the NSF that was cracked 

I think the wheels are just getting a bit tired and porous tbh. Regular pressure checks seems to keep them where they need to be. 

Cant say I ever had deflation quite to half the recommended even from the cracked rim. 

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1 hour ago, 83C said:

@Kiltox would be able to confirm but I thought it was the n/s/f wheel that got hit with the electric metal glue. I had to put air in it (and the other 3) a few weeks before you came, but the car had sat for ages so I just put it down to that. May be something as simple as a leaking valve or a bit of crud on the rim?

 

45 minutes ago, Kiltox said:

Yeah you’re right it was the NSF that was cracked 

I think the wheels are just getting a bit tired and porous tbh. Regular pressure checks seems to keep them where they need to be. 

Cant say I ever had deflation quite to half the recommended even from the cracked rim. 

That's good news, the NS tires hold their air so probably just needs proper resealing on the other side then! Better than having to replace a wheel.

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On 23/01/2024 at 21:56, Schaefft said:

Yeah, have a lift and this wouldn't be an issue either, without and you are just in a world of pain (and ATF). It's the same on the D2 A8 and one of the reasons why the leaking ATF line on that was a major problem. I'm hoping that we are able to find something remotely sensibly priced to move into sometime this year that allows me to have one in the future, things will happen at 3 times the pace once I do.

Regarding the A8, range warning was coming on yesterday for the first time since I picked it up. I think I would have gotten about 500 miles out of it, you probably could have easily gotten over 600 with gentle motorway driving, that's an incredible 1000km. MPGs tell me that this is now the cheapest to run car I own. However, it is a big tank so...

IMG_20240122_182149.jpg

 

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Had a look at the washer pipes today, its the driver side hose to the headlight washer nozzle that popped off, a tactical ziptie will hopefully prevent this from happening in the future. I've also used the chance to remove most of the duct tape residue which improves things considerably. The bumper cover is screwed and will need replacing but a polish should sort the remaining flaws and make things look much better until I can find a decent one in the right color. At least the wings didn't take too much of a hit.

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Also took it to South Shields' #1 tourist attraction today. 10/10, would have lunch in again (the car).

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  • Schaefft changed the title to Schaefft's Bargain Barge Extravaganza - Senator Tinkering

Quick update before tomorrow's post gets too long.

I was actually planning to finally get some space back and replace the interior of the E65 this weekend. I dropped it off at the BMW specialist last week Friday to have a simple oil and brake fluid change done, gotta get that stamp in the service book m8. I hadn't heard anything from him since despite it supposed to be done by afternoon on the same day. As usual he wouldn't answer the phone either throughout the week.

Popped over yesterday (would have been a 20 quid taxi ride) to see whats going on. Well, all doors were shut but I could hear music inside. No answer from the door bell either, he did however open when I knocked on the door. Turns out he had a quick look and stopped because the car needs so many other things. He couldn't tell me what it needed aside from a broken spring (which is totally possible albeit wasn't noticed at the MOT). Why I didn't get a call about it on that day or why he didnt just do the service and fluid change and give me a list afterwards I don't know. Imagine if this was my daily driver I relied on it for my commute to work. This (and the saga that the S8 no doubt will become sooner or later, its been 1.5 months) just reaffirms again that I clearly expect too much from a garage in this country.

Anyway, its not like I have nothing else to work on. In fact I decided to give the Opel Senator some attention for the first time in a long time. As some might remember, some wanker attempted to steal the car in the middle of the night over a year ago now, snapping off the spline section of the steering column in the process (and taking the steering wheel). I've since bought a replacement column and wheel that I had on my shelf for a while now. I need some storage space back so it went into the car today! Naturally the car fought me at every step.

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Old vs. new on the right. You might notice the bottom end seemingly missing a section, more about that in a second.

The new column naturally didn't come with a key despite me explicitly telling the seller to include the key. That meant I had to get a little violent with the removal of the ignition barrel, however without actually destroying anything important:

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Drilling it out only got me so far. I ended up snapping off layer by layer of the internals of the barrel, fortunately its all fairly soft metal so a screwdriver and some mild violence was enough. I had to be able to turn "the key" to Position 1 to have any chance of getting the whole thing out. You can recognize some of the individual blades in there, quite interesting to see:

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I was able to turn it in the end but the assembly wouldnt come out. It took me about an hour before I noticed that there was a little hole in the side of the ignition barrel mount after all, a small hex key was enough to finally pop it out. Once again thanks to the seller of the column, I wasted 3 hours of my day with this.

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Old column out. You can see how warped the mounting bracket is from destroying the steering lock when it got nicked. Naturally getting the column out was a proper pita, I used my Dremel to remove the shear bolt on the left which I've now replaced with a regular bolt. The bolt at the bottom of the column shaft (no photo, I was about to smash it all to pieces) that attaches it to the lower column was a pain to access. 

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Naturally even with that bolt removed the upper shaft just wouldn't slide out. Only excessive hammering for what felt like half an eternity eventually made it come out. If you are wondering what this white band wrapping around the column is, this must be the famous steel cable that was intended to prevent the column from moving in the case of a frontal crash in a way where it would literally impale the driver. Why have good safety engineering or airbags when a simple steel cable can do the same* job? Well done GM.

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All in. Remember the missing section of shaft in the first photo? Turns out its telescoping and moves fairly freely in and out of the column tube. Remember when I said the old one didn't want to slide off the lower column. Now imagine how much fun it was to guide a telescopig shaft onto the lower column it doesn't want to slide into while crawling around upside down in the footwell. This is the second or third time I wanted to smash it all into a million pieces. Fixating the shaft in place with a set of vice grips helped in the end but my god am I glad that automative design has moved on since the late 80s. Removing the column in the parts E65 was about a quarter of the effort.

I've already test fitted the new (upgraded!) steering wheel and tested all the electrics, so far so good. I still need a replacement nut for the wheel (if anyone happens to have one from a 80s/90s Vauxhall, please let me know!) and the lower section of the column cover. I ran out of daylight so more on that tomorrow. This is a big step towards making the car properly driveable again though and there's more improvements on the way.

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I don’t have a lot to say apart from ‘YAY SENATOR’ because I have an unhealthy appetite for senators with 24 valves. Looks like a massive pain though, so well done. As you say one step closer.

 

And as for the tosser working on the E65… I’d give up and take it to a generalist garage that are actually helpful. What do people think when they don’t do work that it’s booked in for? That because it’s got a snapped spring that you’re going to weight it in? I had the same years ago getting an E46 rear wheel bearing done as I don’t have a press. I’d book it in, and on the day they would call and tell me actually they wouldn’t touch it. They all said they’d happily do a front, which didn’t help at all.

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5 hours ago, 24vdiamond said:

As well as the nut there is a special  locking washer and an additional spring your missing, I might be able to sort a keyed alike barrel depending on the key style if your stuck

 

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Thanks for the info. I still got the spring but that locking washer is indeed gone. I bought a new ignition cylinder with a set of keys, fortunately they can be had for very little on Autodoc/Ebay. It does mean that I have different keys for ignitition and doors now though.

Some more progress today. I wrapped up the work on the steering column and managed to straighten it out a bit. However now is the time to make a decision about the steering wheel, and naturally I wanted to use the opportunity to replace the missing boring old 4-spoke with something a little more exciting! Cue the 1980s synth pop!

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Yes, we now have a selection of two fantastic looking wood/leather Momo steering wheels to add some Italian flair to the Senator's interior! The Opel wheel was an official accessory you could find in the Omega A while the Momo branded one was a common aftermarket option more often found in a Mercedes.

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I honestly can't decide which one I prefer, which is why I bought both. The Opel wheel is in slightly better shape although a good polish would go a long way with the Momo. Which one would you pick?

The horn wiring needed a little bit of love, no before and after but for those curious what the base steering wheel looks like, many official sports steering wheels were based on this basic Momo design.

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The other big list item for today was the front bumper. As a reminder, the center upper black plastic section has been damaged since I got the car, some black tape did its best to hide it a little. It's part of the bumper cover and not replacable. No idea why Opel decided to do it this way, literally everything else on it is. However, after a taxi reversed into the car one night a few years ago it did end up getting more damaged on the passenger corner:

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Well, I actually managed to find a replacement bumper in the right color a while back, not easy considering the rarity of the car. Its not perfect either but fixable which mine wasnt really. So off the car it comes:

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Things looked surprisingly good underneath. However, now's the time to do some quick touch-ups where rust is trying to take hold as I'm not planning to take this bumper off a second time.

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It's all mild surface corrosion fortunately. The 10 years younger parts Alfa 166 was crumbling to pieces behind the bumper and neither make was famous for their corrosion protection.

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Some Kurust should slow things down, I'll add some etch primer and/or order some decent rust inhibiting paint later so I can apply it over the next few days while the bumper is off the car.

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The two bumpers side by side. Opel offered several burgundy colors on the Senator and I'm still not sure if these are 100% identical. I would say they are close enough though. There's one visible crack I had to glue that will remain visible until I repaint the bumper (some day). The rest is just tape residue and other garbage stuck to it from storage.

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I must have looked like a proper nutcase sitting on my front lawn (in the rain) disassembling a bumper into a million pieces.

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I've started reassembling the new bumper but felt like now is the right moment to try and get some of the moisture out of the sealed foglights. Since I still need to paint the crusty areas hidden by the bumper I'll finish that job another day.

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I did however use more of the sunlight to replace the torsion bar springs of the trunklid. This is the second time I had to replace them and having installed them myself for the first time I can understand why.

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They snap into brackets under the parcel shelf and the tension they are under even with the trunklid opened is nuts. Figuring out how they fit wasn't easy (please dont tell me I did it wrong), trying to get them into place was on another level. Once again a job that would have been a fraction of the effort on any other car. This is really becoming a theme with almost anything I've done with this car in my ownership.

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Once again I ran out of sunlight so we'll leave things there for now. The bumper will go back on the car hopefully by next weekend. Should I find a suitable nut for the steering wheel it wouldn't need much more (that I know of) to get back on the road now.

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How many miles has it covered? I remember reading some time ago that engine parts for the 24V are difficult to get hold of.

It looks lovely. And even better with the new wheel.

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Thanks everyonefor the suggestions so far!

21 minutes ago, Bren said:

How many miles has it covered? I remember reading some time ago that engine parts for the 24V are difficult to get hold of.

I think its around 140k at this point. They are but you'd be surprised what you can find in Germany still. I think timing chain guides or tensioners or stetched chains were a problem with the 24V engines but there nothing indicating any problems on this engine. If Im lucky it had some work done on it previously.

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5 hours ago, 24vdiamond said:

We have the technology if you want to get the Senator back on one key! 

 

 

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Wow, Im tempted! I'll definitely keep it mind! You don't happen to have any other Carlton/Senator parts in stock?

7 hours ago, MorrisItalSLX said:

Another vote for the Opel wheel here.

So far everyone one I've asked except my GF said the Opel wheel. I wonder if replacing the Momo logo with the Opel one and covering the inner wooden circle in matte black material would sway people the other way? Personally I like the chunkier design of the Momo wheel, the full wooden rim might just be a little too sporty for a Senator.

I've also looked at floor mats as that is naturally the most important thing. Turns out Omega A/Carlton floor mats are identical to Senator B ones and in some cases even cost half despite identical materials. I am however looking at a much fancier than like-original option. Floor mats do make a difference and a lack of/absolute bottom end quality floormats that came with the car always led the interior down a bit.

On another note: If anyone has any idea where I can get the small pop-out display of my Philips SC804 and Grundig SC303 fixed, please let me know. Both have the typical pixel issues most Vauxhall/Opel radios suffer from where nothing on them is readable anymore, including the code required to unlock the radio... It worked fine up until not long ago...

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Ive got a stash of Carlton stuff as I have a 24V GSI, 24V estate and a 1.8i estate, did run a couple of 24V Senators but rust got them! I have some radio displays but will need to have a rummage!

I prefer the Opel wheel, got one on my 24V estate funnily enough 👍

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2 hours ago, 24vdiamond said:

Ive got a stash of Carlton stuff as I have a 24V GSI, 24V estate and a 1.8i estate, did run a couple of 24V Senators but rust got them! I have some radio displays but will need to have a rummage!

I prefer the Opel wheel, got one on my 24V estate funnily enough 👍

Definitely would be great if you could have a look at those displays. I think they need to be paired to the radio, if possible at all but worth the try.

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Update time! I unexpectedly had some freetime yesterday and used it to reassemble the new front bumper and put it on the car. I've picked up a cheap set of new OEM indicators when someone in the FB group cleared out his parts hoard so those went in as well. New ones on top vs. old. Let me know if anyone needs one.

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Remember when I said any job on this car takes multiple times as long as it does on other cars? Reattaching the bumper to the mounting brackets revealed the pinnacle of moronic engineering. It was already a pain to get the mounting bolts off the first time. Due to them only being losely stuck into the square holes of the crash bar it was near impossible to get them fastened again. Nothing is holding the studs the nuts go onto on the bar. You also cannot access the rear of the studs with the bumper cover on, which you cannot install when the bar is on the car if you were bolting that on first. You cannot even hold the upper studs in place by sandwiching your hand between bar and bumper cover when the headlights are still in, which you cannot reinstall with the bumper bolted on. You cant use anything to hold them in place as aligning the studs with the mounting bracket holes requires some shoving that would immediately push them into the bumper, never to be seen again.

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All this shit drove me absolutely nuts and Im honestly surpised that this bumper is still in one piece at this time. You would need to weld the studs onto the bar to ever have any chance of bolting the bumper back on the car (no indication that they ever were). It boggles my mind that something as basic as mounting a bumper can be such an utter shitshow. And this theme is consistent across almost everything I had to sort on this car, nothing had the same thought put into it as almost anything else I've been working on, outside of the Alfa which is right behind the Opel in poor engineering decisions. There absolutely is a reason why some makes and models are destined for the scrapyard and this is currently doing its best to follow the rest of them.

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At least the paint match seems spot on.

I saw that the backseat that was folded down got a little moldy for some reason, it somehow must have trapped water from somewhere underneath it. Lets just say that most people would have thrown it straight into the bin. This was AFTER the first step of vacuuming...

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An hour with the drill brush and extractor later and the rear seats are looking okay again. Disaster averted. I gave everything inside a vaccum but theres a lot more cleaning to be done to get this interior into decent shape, I think I never really went all in on this one. Headliner is starting to drop so that will need doing eventually.

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In more pleasant news, I finally got the E65 back. It really only was the driver rear spring that needed doing in the end, which hopefully explained some of the clunking I occasionally heard before which somehow got missed at the MOT. It wasn't even expensive to have it sorted, a job I gladly passed on. The original reason for bringing it to the garage was to continue the service history. And while the last entry has been 16 years ago now the gap in mileage is rather small. I might add a note that filters and collant have been done shortly before.

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Needs a wash now. I'll hopefully start working on replacing the interior next weekend if the weather stays nice enough.

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I've also paid a visit to the Z3 today, just to start it up and charge the battery just in case it needs doing, it's been parked up since November. Started right up! Not having it under a cover was a mistake as birds shat all over it though. At least it didnt seem to leave any marks on the paint.

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Looking forward to getting this back on the road again once the salt is gone!

Some bonus Touring action which continues to be a great workhorse.

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