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Schaefft's Bargain Barge Extravaganza - Shock Surprise! A rusty Opel!


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Those mats are amazing. I bet theyll come up bright as a button with a good clean. The sound system looks very impressive. What does it sound like man?

Good question, I haven't figured out how to turn up the volume yet. Im not sure if its just a voltage problem or if the volume button doesnt work, but I shall find out once I have spent more time with it. The interior should come up pretty nicely with a good clean, its just the steeringwheel and shift lever that lets it down a bit. The window tint makes everything look a bit gloomy as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I've spent a few minutes to investigate my gauge cluster problem (doesn't work) on the Celsior today and found fuse #14 (7.5Amp) to be blown. Its partially responsible for the gauge cluster together with another fuse. Unfortunately replacing it didn't change much, the cluster still stayed dark and the needles wouldn't move. I've checked the voltage on my battery with the car running and measured 12.1V which is waay too low, now I'm wondering if that voltage would be low enough to cause the cluster to not light up? Everything else apart from the speakers seems to work.


Since the alternator doesn't seem to supply the right voltage, this would lead me to the next question: Are alternators failing due to power steering fluid dripping on them rebuild-able? Maybe one of our LS400 owners here had one rebuilt before? (I know Mr. Dollywobbler replaced the alternator in his car before, I'd rather rebuild mine to save some money).

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Some news on the Safrane for once!


I've done an oil change on it today (filter was a pita as is standard with my cars apparently) to see if there's anything indicating problems with the engine that could be hidden by the ancient oil in it (which did look better than I expected).



Everyone is using a hammer when changing their oil right? Also marvel at the Celsior's automatic vehicle lowering system.


After trying 4 different batteries (2 seemed to be weak, 1 somehow got drained even though nothing in the car was turned on) I managed to start the car and everything was fine apart from the fact that it got hot eventually. The fan didnt seem to turn on so I checked the fuses which were fine. I moved the fan blades a little to see if they were stuck and voila, it started to spin. But only when the engine wasn't running. :?  The coolant level seemed fine as well. I've started the engine a few times and gave it a few revs, the temp needle immediately dropped which I guess means the system wasnt bled properly.


There must be a coolant leak somewhere as the reservoir kept emptying itself over time a few months ago when I investigated a potential headgasket issue, and I bet that's still the case and I'll find it being empty tomorrow again. After turning the heater to max crispiness and giving it a few revs the needle seemed to settle right in the middle so no real overheating issue there in the end.



By far not as baby-pukey as I expected.


I'll check the oil and coolant again tomorrow. If theres still nothing indicating any serious problems with the engine I'll sort the few other things I'm aware of and book it in for an MOT. Hopefully it wont be much longer before I can drive it, its been long enough now.


On a side note, does anyone know if I can just throw these oily kitchen towels into the paper bin?



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Good to see you are closer to an MOT,can,t be much left to do now!

I wonder if it has a heater matrix leak,you won,ty have wet carpets as they are plastic backed and you won,t notice wet floors,but does it smell of coolant inside the car?

A V6 I broke a few years ago was exactly the same,only when I removed the carpets did I find out where the coolant was going....

Is there any signs of a coolant leak underneath or a strong smell of coolant in the engine bay,water pumps leak and so does the bypass pipe that sits between the V under the manifold.

I,am very jealous of the untray,most are missing.

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I shall investigate. It would be quite annoying to find out the floors pans are filled with coolant...


Im quite amazed how many covers Renault decided to put underneath the car for what must be aerodynamic reasons. Even the control arms seem to be surrounded by plastic, very unusual for such an old car, Im loving it!


Depending on how long I need to to remove the gauge cluster and ECU in the Celsior tomorrow I might have time to replace the indicators and intake tube on the Renault. I should have all the bits I need apart from the ABS sensor, but hopefully it just turns out to be something else.


What I did notice today again is that the AC doesn't seem to work, at least the car does indicate that theres something wrong with it. Is there any way to figure out what exactly the problem could be?

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So I guess the SERVICE light is displayed on the climate panel?

Does the compressor click in when you turn the A/C on,if its out of gas,which I guess it is,then there isn,t much you can do yourself as it could be a small leak anywhere in the system,a proper A/C check over would remove any gas left in the system and check for leaks etc,but wont allow(in most cases)to regas as it has detected a leak,might have to get a proper A/C person involved in that,or wind all the windows down......!!!

Indicators just unclip,from inside the engine bay,you will see a lever on each indicator,push this down and they will move forward to release.

Not sure what air intake tube you are changing,but the early Safranes used a different setup from the air filter pipe that runs towards the front of the car,pics might help.

Looking at the picture of the bonnet up I can see it has the early setup and I think its the plastic pipe that is broken,this will be the same on any Phase 1 V6 its just the rubber pipe that connects to it downwards that is different.

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Yeah, I was surprised to find out that the indicators just popped out like that, I've replaced them now with a set that still has its lenses. The intake tube was quite a pain to install again, I bet for the same reason the old one was cracked. The rubber pipe just wouldnt fit on it, some mild force eventually got everything back together.


I've also checked underneath the carpets since it looked like someone did before me. And as it happens to be, at least the passenger side was wet... Which leads me to believe that the heater matrix has a leak. I will bypass it just to make sure its not coming from somewhere else (and confirm that its the only place where all the coolant goes). At least all the coolant hoses are easy to reach. Since you've done it before, is it possible to replace the heater matrix without removing the whole dash? Also what size coolant hoses are used in the Safrane?


Also, there definitely is a battery drain going in the car, unless I've accidentally turned on a light somewhere without realizing it. I have no idea how I would diagnose where the drain is coming from, I think the only thing I can do right now is disconnecting the aftermarket phone and hope it stops. Or could the radio somehow cause it (turns on but wont let me press any buttons right now). Maybe a faulty amp?




In Celsior News, I've removed the instrument cluster and extracted the circuit boards to get the capacitors replaced. Looks like someone tried it before and didnt do a particularly great job which is why its not working again. I've also found out that there's a kmh to mph converter behind the cluster, so much for 125.000km on the odo. Not that it was likely before...




I've also removed the ECU which will also get its capacitors replaced and installed the air duct the previous owner for whatever reason didn't put back into the dash. Lets hope the cluster will soon work again and wont show me any warning lights that I dont wanna see.




Why do all my cars always end up looking like this at some point?


Also check out the CD I've found in the disc magazine. Cannot wait to jam out to Focus' greatest hits, CD #2 in my new Toyota. B)



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Oh dear a leaking heater matrix is a pig of a job on V6,i have some pics of one I broke with most of the dash removed and it still doesn,t have the heater box removed,at least I was right about that,although I wish I wasn,t as I can,t see you wanting to do that job,i will send pics direct to you.

As for the battery drain,it could be the radio,i think from memory it has the double DIN unit fitted,worth disconnecting that,make sure the boot light is going out and try turning the alarm off(in the glove box)does it go flat overnight when locked or unlocked,it it charging fine when running etc.RT V6 doesn,t have an underbonnet light like a RXE so its not that,be careful when you leave a door open,there are 6 interior lights on when you do this.

Will post pics to you if you want of dashboard?

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Thanks for the photos Dave, like I mentioned I might need to bypass it for now if it turns out to be too much of a hassle. I cannot drive the car without coolant and I want it on the road asap now.


I shall investigate the potential electrical issues you mentioned. I've locked the car using the remote but maybe the car still thinks one of the doors is open. The passenger side rear door for some reason needs a few attempts sometimes to close properly, maybe the lights just stayed on.

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I've just opened up the ECU, and lo and behold, one of the capacitors is leaking as well. Its funny how I buy one of the best engineered, most reliable cars in the world, and still everything is fucked that can be fucked on it. I can't even claim I'm doing preventive maintenance anymore because everything has already shat the bed. :?



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I've picked up my 20 quid wheels for the Celsior today. As expected, only the best quality tire brands were used for them: 2x Jinyu, 1x Hero (!?), 1x Nankang. All of them have decent tread but two of them are a little old now and starting to crack. They are still much better what I've got on my car right now (and the right size), and I might be able to get most of my money back by selling the extra set of alloys, which are identical to mine, just with a clearcoat finish that has seen better days. I'll get a decent set once I've found the wheels that belong on the car, until then these will do.




I've just left the ECU and instrument cluster with an auto electrician to get fixed on Monday as well, otherwise I would have dropped the car off at the tire place around the corner already. It'll give me a good chance to inspect the shocks at the same time so I can decide what to order next suspension-wise (probably brand new KYB springs for all for corners and shocks absorbers for the front).

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More Safrane news!


I've checked the coolant reservoir today, seems like the liquid sealer did its job, still plenty of water in the reservoir which wasn't the case before! I've also checked the battery voltage which is identical to yesterday, so removing the fuses for the radio, phone and some other things seems to have fixed the battery drain, too. I'll check it again tomorrow, after that I will put the fuses back in to see if I can isolate the issue.


I have also fixed the no-washer fluid problem! I suspected the pump being dead since I couldn't hear it running when using the front nozzles. Thankfully the Safrane has the luxury of two washer fluid reservoirs for the front and back, each with their own pump! I've switched the pumps around to see if there was the possibility of a wiring issue.




After sliding out the reservoir from its place in the front fender the state of that pump already confirmed my suspicion (getting to the pump by the way was about a gazillion times easier than on the Lincoln where the whole front end of the car had to come off). It somehow must have leaked internally, ruining it.





Plugging in the other pump solved the issue, I now have working windshield washer nozzles again. Hurrah! That's one more MOT relevant problem solved. I'll order a new one for the rear reservoir later, thankfully this was only a 12 quid repair.





Both pumps next to each other. One sure had a harder life than the other. Off to Ebay for a new one!




I'm not sure what else needs doing now. I know there's still a power steering fluid leak somewhere, which hopefully is an easy fix for the garage, and it might need a balljoint on one corner, but I couldn't notice any unusual noises coming from the suspension either. I guess the only thing I can do now is dropping it off at a garage and see what happens.

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I've picked up the ECU and instrument cluster for my Celsior this morning after getting all capacitors replaced. Just installed them after work, and everything seems to work perfectly again! I can finally enjoy Lexus' holographic cluster wizardry, and see the car's actual mileage, which is a whopping 1000 miles less than advertised! So much good news can only mean that something terrible is about to happen...




I'll get the wheels replaced tomorrow morning and have a closer look at the shocks as well.


I'm also finding more and more money in the car, I bet this is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure eventually I'll have made my money back in coins and used old sharpies.





In Safrane news, the new washer fluid pump for the back reservoir arrived today, I'll install that in the next few days. I've also checked the battery voltage and coolant level again. Still no difference, I guess I can consider both of them fixed now! Must be the aftermarket phone thats causing the drain, or I really left something on all the time before. Hm...

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Well that didn't take long...


Battery doesn't charge anymore. I only noticed when my small air compressor that plugs into the cigarette lighter became quieter by the minute. These engines suffer from leaking power steering pumps that directly leak onto the alternator. I knew mine was on its way out but I was hoping that it would make it at least a little bit longer...


Guess that means new power steering pump and alternator. :?

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In Safrane news, the new washer fluid pump for the back reservoir arrived today, I'll install that in the next few days. I've also checked the battery voltage and coolant level again. Still no difference, I guess I can consider both of them fixed now! Must be the aftermarket phone thats causing the drain, or I really left something on all the time before. Hm...

Will you be leaving the ‘phone module and handset in the car? It being an old analogue cellular system from years ago and no longer in use. However it is in keeping with the age of the car and I suppose it is appropriate to leave it installed as it is contemporary early ‘nineties technology!



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Will you be leaving the ‘phone module and handset in the car? It being an old analogue cellular system from years ago and no longer in use. However it is in keeping with the age of the car and I suppose it is appropriate to leave it installed as it is contemporary early ‘nineties technology!



I'd definitely like to. I've bought an OEM phone and the mounting hardware for my Lincoln before, it might be useless but its just a great little detail that fits the 90's exec cruiser theme so well. It's a novelty today and just adds to the character of the car.

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The updates just keep coming!


Since I couldn't make it to the tire shop this morning I decided to swap the wheels myself. I expected the lug nuts to be completely seized up but to my surprise, with a little help of half a Halfords axle stand, they came off without much trouble.




Unfortunately I also discovered this:




Cannot wait to figure out how I'm supposed to remove this thing from the hub...


It also seems like the previous owner decided that the car didn't need front ABS sensors anymore. I cannot see any wires going away from the hub, the sensors are still there. They are however complete in the back. I have no clue why anyone would do that, but it fits well to the oh so common theme of general neglect and bodgery all my purchases seem to have.




Like I mentioned before I also used the chance to inspect the suspension in general. I know all shocks were in pretty bad condition, the driver side rear spring almost completely disintegrated, the front one was missing completely and a poorly welded piece of metal tube basically did its job now. To my surprise, both springs on the passenger side were still in one piece, and all control arms and suspension components in general seemed to be in good condition, ignoring the surface rust. There's almost no play in any of them. The exhaust and undercarriage all looked very decent at a quick glance, quite impressive for its age.




Due to the broken rear spring and welded front shock, the Celsior now has a reverse hotrod stance:




At least the tire size is what its supposed to be now,


I will prioritize the faulty power steering pump and alternator first, once these are sorted I will probably get a set of new springs, shock absorbers and whatever else is needed to sort out the suspension. Of course by that time, the money I've spent on it will have doubled, and I havent even touched any maintenance related items yet.

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Wooooah. Its turning into a larger and larger project. That snapped spring looks crazy.

Yeah, it's not pretty but I knew they were junk when I bought the car. I've removed the lose coils so they don't cause any trouble when the car is being moved, as long as I can drive it to the next garage I'm not too worried. The snapped bolt seems to be fairly easily replaced as well. I'll see if I can find some time this weekend to remove the pump and alternator, if I am really lucky it might just be a fuse that has blown, as unlikely as it might be.

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Alright so I've spent my afternoon yesterday and today removing the alternator and power steering pump. I never want to do this job again (not without a lift and exactly the tools I need to do the job anyway). It was almost impossible to remove the alternator without removing as many things as possible around it. The instructions say its easiest when it is lifted out from underneath the car, but I cannot think of a way how this would ever be possible, the anti roll bar sits exactly in the spot where the alternator would need to go through. So I lifted it out from the top of the engine bay, but I had to remove the fan fluid reservoir (why does this exist in the first place?!) first, otherwise that would block it from coming out. I also had to remove the heat shield while the alternator was still awkwardly hanging inside there which was a major pita due to poor accessibility. 



Slurp slurp. I should at least make an attempt to not spill the Celsior's life juices on the floor right?



Removing the intake tubing and pump wheel, so far so good...



This is as far as it would come out, even with the reservoir gone.


At least with that out of the way removing the lower bolts on the power steering pump was easy, with the alternator in place this would have been next to impossible really. Contrary to the instructions, you cannot remove the pump reservoir before taking the pump off either, one of the nuts holding it in place touches the head/valve cover before it comes off.



Filthiest alternator ever. Alternator and pump out of the car, believe it or not but it took almost 8 hours to get to this point. Thanks Toyota!



That's a little better.




All in all, really not something I enjoyed doing, especially with 25 years of oily grime covering absolutely everything. At least none of the bolts snapped which really would have ruined my day.


Thats what it looked like when I opened it up, definitely still was on its original brushes.




Can anyone tell me which parts I should order to rebuild the alternator apart from the brush holder and rectifier? The bearings seem perfect (probably around 100k miles on them) and the voltage regulator didn't seem to cause any issues before, I might replace it anyway, its only 24 quid more. I dont think there is much else I can replace, is there? Is it a good idea to rebuild an alternator power steering leaked on in the first place?


EDIT: After testing all components apart from the regulator which would require special tools, the rectified definitely is f*cked. Replacing it and the brushes would only cost me about 20 quid, which is a saving of about 100 quid compared to a rebuilt unit (an noone knows what actually got fixed in those).


I will most likely get the voltage regulator as well which means I'd spend a total of 45 quid for the whole repair. If I was going to the local Lexus dealership to get this job done, I'd probably end up in the 4-figures...


Still trying to find a place to get the power steering pump rebuilt, parts are harder to get and expensive from the dealer, so letting someone else rebuild it would be the better solution.

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