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Zel's Motoring Adventures...Jag, Citroen, Mercedes & AC Model 70 - 26/05 - Getting The Van Back Together...

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Guess I should have said "original style" really.  Basically the standard H4 type that were used on the later Minis etc.  I'm sticking with H4 lamps at least, just seems daft not to given the difference in performance and with how unlikely you are to be able to find R2 lamps at most motor factors these days if you had one fail while out and about. 

Yes the load is slightly higher which long term might cause issues for the headlight switches - though I've plans to install relays to both take the load off those and to help make sure that the lights are actually seeing as close to their rated voltage as possible.   See also "trying to ensure long-term reliability."

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38 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

Guess I should have said "original style" really.  Basically the standard H4 type that were used on the later Minis etc.  I'm sticking with H4 lamps at least, just seems daft not to given the difference in performance and with how unlikely you are to be able to find R2 lamps at most motor factors these days if you had one fail while out and about. 

Yes the load is slightly higher which long term might cause issues for the headlight switches - though I've plans to install relays to both take the load off those and to help make sure that the lights are actually seeing as close to their rated voltage as possible.   See also "trying to ensure long-term reliability."

yeah im not one to complain here was just curious :) (especially as she needs new head lamps anyway, I very much plan to fit H4's to REV for exactly the reasons you state)

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The worktop is shallow enough that it's really not an issue here.  Unlike our actual kitchen where it's in a corner and set back miles so is a pain to use.  Previous owner was an interior designer...enough said I think!

I'll be redoing all the worktops at some point in the future in something more appropriate than domestic worktop material.  When that happens I'll give some actual thought to how things get laid out.

Have been keeping my eyes out for someone breaking a caravan or camper as that might save me a bit of time having to fabricate the recess the job really wants to sit in etc.  Nothing has popped up locally yet though.  Well not unless I wanted the whole caravan anyway which I really don't.

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A month or so back one of the computers here packed in.  Despite a reasonable amount of faffing around with it revival appears to be off the cards.  As best we can tell it's either a component level fault on the motherboard itself or a badly corrupt BIOS.

It was a cheap and nasty piece of plastic anyway and no great loss.  It's never a good sign when the chassis doesn't contain any metal nor does the CPU heatsink even contain a heat pipe.


Nevertheless a few parts have been salvaged.  The memory has been transferred into another laptop, the hard drive has been added to the standby stash, but most usefully right now it had a spotless display.

I had a plan for this.  Replacing this thing in the van.


This was installed about a year ago, replacing the little 9" portable thing that was in here when I got it, which was frankly unwatchable because the panel was of such poor quality - plus the only inputs it had were composite and RF so not really useful these days.  This upgrade was useful for one trip but I never really saw it as a permanent fixture for a few reasons.  Firstly, it needs mains power.  Secondly being quite an old LCD TV (with an inbuilt DVD player), it weighs a tonne.  It makes the whole side of the wardrobe it's attached to flex.  Thirdly it's really too big for the van anyway.  Finally...it's terribly scruffy...not massively surprised given it was a kerbside find...but it bugged me.  The lack of a 12V option and the sheer weight were probably the two biggest things against it though - oh, and the horrible image quality wasn't exactly a bonus feature either.

Laptop panels have the advantage of being made to be light.  This one is also recent enough to have an LED backlight so no faffing around with high voltage supplies for that needed.  There was a time when panels like this were basically useless unless you had the smarts to build your own interface board or were willing to pay big money for one.  These days though they're common as mud on eBay for most common panels.  Just find the model of the actual LCD panel itself, and stick that plus "LVDS HDMI adaptor" into a search engine and you'll probably find one.  Going rate seems to be about £15-20.

So this overly heavy piece of nonsense was removed.


Few holes were drilled in the back of the monitor case to attach it to the mount.  I went for six rather than four because it's such a cheap plasticy thing that it has virtually no strength to it to speak of.  I wound up having to remove the top two though as they fouled on the display panel frame.



I'm keeping my eyes open for something I can cannibalise to make a cover for the controller PCB - though to be honest you can't actually see this when it's stowed or in use!


It's much more in scale with the interior I think, the other one was just way too big for where it was.


Especially when not in use as it can actually be stowed away properly.


That looks far, far better I think! 

I'm going to install a Raspberry Pi in the locker just above it which will provide a media source for us should we want it.  Plus the interface board has VGA & DVI-D in addition to the HDMI input which is the main one I'll be using.  Audio isn't sorted for definite yet, but I reckon I'll probably route a line down to the head unit in the dash and re-wire that to run off the leisure battery rather than the vehicle one.  It won't be *too* difficult to route from here.  Into the wardrobe, down into the service hatch below there where there is already some ducting running along the length of the vehicle.  Just a shame there's no way to really do that any other way without dismantling massive amounts of the interior.

Just nice to keep making improvements, small though they may be.

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There we go.


Rear left could do with a couple of the jets cleaning it looks like, but everything works.  Thermocouples all cut in within 30 seconds which is nice to know.  What is the "spec" on flame failure devices these days?  Pretty sure it was 45 seconds when I last read up on things like this.

Grill obviously was only tested for a few seconds given the enclosure for it doesn't exist yet.


Nice to know it works though and will be ready to go once the enclosure is done.

While I was working in the area and had the joint compound and leak test spray out I capped off at the manifold the gas line to the cabin heater which is obviously no longer needed following the fitment of a diesel fired one.

Now all the lines have been installed I'll get them tidied up and properly clamped in place without relying on quite so many cable ties.  Make sure there's provision made to ensure the lines can't rub through on anything is high on the list too.  Will see if I get time after dinner this evening.

A new regulator and hose tail are also on the way as this hose looks like it's seen better days and I'm pretty sure is way older than the five years or whatever it is they're meant to be changed.

Edited by Zelandeth
sodding autocorrect...

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Figured I'd stick the camera in place to show how the Jag is behaving following the work on the ignition system a couple of days ago.  I was already out picking up and delivering medical supplies to some of our friends who can't get out and figured adding just under two miles to the trip wasn't going to end the world.

She feels far more eager when moving off and definitely sounds smoother.

Has obviously barely left our block recently so a few boots away from roundabouts has probably done the world of good too.

Ps: From 4:20 is more representative of normal driving.  I was deliberately provoking some revs here.

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This afternoon I spent a not inconsiderable amount of time with myself folded into the space under the worktop in the van.  Given that all of the appliances are now where they're going to be living for a while it makes sense to actually get all the associated pipework properly secured and tidied up.

Tidy might be a stretch, but working in such cramped quarters and without a pipe bender which works on pipework this small my expectations were pretty low.  Especially as the line to the fridge was in a really awkward location and that's already been boxed in and I don't want to dismantle it again.  I'll take "secure and gas tight."

Especially as I'll probably redo a lot of this when I've got better access when I replace the work surface.

Now the routing of the services has been completed at least I can properly finish the gas locker.  That will mean I can finish rebuilding the cupboard and the drawers.  Couldn't do that before or I'd have just even more seriously hindered my access.  The heater fuel tank will be relocated into the locker as well so it's effectively outside the cabin but still readily accessible for filling.  It obviously won't be staying where it is, right under the grill!

Had to improvise a bit for pipe clips too as I didn't have any the right size...so used the same ones as for the rest of the pipework with a bit of hose cut down as a spacer.  Not something I'd do on someone else's kit, but it'll do fine until I give everything a do-over once the work surface is off.  My patience is somewhat limited when folded into a camper van cupboard worth of space.


That's the same reason the two water lines in the far corner aren't clipped in...I just lost patience with trying to get them clipped in.

A lot still to do - but actually having everything hooked up is a huge step forward. 

Oh, I did find the missing knob from the hob and returned it to its rightful home.


Getting there.

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Dogs need to go in for their vaccinations tomorrow so I needed to get things in the van buttoned back up and hoover out all the sawdust.


Spot the difference?

Yep, the gas locker is now boxed off.  The cable tie is currently holding the heater fuel tank upright (tied to the oven front panel) as I've still got to pull that out and relocate it.  The aluminium foil tape you can see is just a belt and braces approach to sealing off any gaps.

It's not pretty, but it will be covered by an insulation sheet then buried behind the back of a cupboard so honestly I'm not too bothered what it looks like.

Unsurprisingly given that there's no longer a direct path between the cabin and the outside world (the gas locker is of course vented to the outside) it's noticeably quieter in there.  Should help with the insulation too, not that the van really seems to struggle with that.  Nice to see it starting to come together properly inside though.  The last few bits and pieces should be pretty quick to get sorted.

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Sod all time to really do much today but did take a closer look at the NOS front Invacar hub.

Felt like a bit of a vandal peeling off the waxy coating which has kept it looking like new for decades, but needs must and it's done its job very well.


A part number then became visible.  Have to assume this is AC's own internal part code for it.


While these haven't been welded in place, the ends of the studs have been peened over to prevent them from unscrewing easily.


Given I've had an order from someone on another forum who has far better equipment to deal with this than I do to assist with extraction of these studs I may well take them up on the offer.  I don't want to end up wrecking these in my own ham fisted attempts to remove them. Also don't want to just go after the back of the stud with the grinder given there aren't a massive number of threads involved to start with.

Aside from anything else, trying to apply any significant torque to this without a bench mounted vice to hold onto it is going to be nigh on impossible.

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On 5/19/2020 at 6:00 PM, Zelandeth said:

A part number then became visible.  Have to assume this is AC's own internal part code for it.


oh thats very interesting! thats the original drawing number, Technical service drawing (TSD) 1144/6, its one of the earliest Model 70 parts that made it to production being drawn up on the 13th of September 1967 :) 

the /6 is also interesting, 1144 is the general entire front suspension assembly, (not used by the time the Model 70 enter production, it was supplanted by 1190), however various sub components of 1144 did hang around and sub components of a major component like that are given numbers on the end of the main number, so for example the Front hub is listed as 1144/18, but its interesting to see 1144/6  stamped, its is a new one to me, none of the parts in the parts manual etc show 1144/6! perhaps it refers to the actual hub itself (ie not including the wheel studs etc)

the /A is also new but I suspect thats just a revision counter

its makes it the 2nd part known with a visible TSD number on the part itself, the second part being the tread plate (door sill) RHS, as seen here on REV :) 


(not sure if the left hand side has its number stamped or not)



On 5/19/2020 at 6:00 PM, Zelandeth said:

Felt like a bit of a vandal peeling off the waxy coating which has kept it looking like new for decades, but needs must and it's done its job very well.


interesting how it peeled off almost intact like that :) (I wonder how it was applied in the first place, dunked in the stuff?)

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Having actually managed to get some more time at my workstation this evening I wanted to have a bit of a dig for information on what this "special tool required" process needed for setting the preload on the rear hubs on the Invacar.

Turns out that it's actually not that complicated - though it is a bit awkward.  This is me making a bit of an assumption that everything inboard of the brake drum itself is

Basically there's a non-reusable crush washer which is compressed as the hub is tightened up, allowing you to precisely set the tension to give the exact amount of "drag" on the rotation of the wheel.  I'm assuming given the drag there is from the drive system that this would need to be done with the driveshaft disconnected!  It seems that depending how heavily that washer has been compressed you can end up with a situation where the hub cannot be tightened up sufficiently to eliminate the free play.

This isn't going to stop me taking things apart, but I'm glad I did a bit of digging beforehand as it vastly reduces the potential for surprises when I start putting things together.  I'll need to have a rummage around to find what the name and part number of the aforementioned crush washer to make sure I have some on hand. 


Yesterday evening I got the heater fuel tank in the van moved from in the cabin into the gas locker.  This didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked as the thing absolutely refused to prime again once I had everything hooked up - this turned out to be because the hose joining the two rigid lines involved (all inch and a half of it!) had a pinhole in it.

Once I found that, we had things back up and running pretty quickly.  Though after half a dozen priming attempts we unsurprisingly ended up with a bit of smoke.


Okay...Quite a lot of smoke actually.  Accompanied by sounds normally associated with a very old school turbine engine firing up.


This blanketed a significant portion of our street before it eventually sorted itself out.  Glad to report that it seems to be behaving again now.

I have realised however that I've made a bit of a blunder - the hob can't stay where it is.  There is only one full height cupboard beneath the worktop (there's only one door), and the only place it fits is directly beneath where I've just put the hob...and it needs space beneath it for the grill.  So it needs to go somewhere else.  Guess I'll be sorting the work surfaces sooner than later!  I had originally assumed it should go where it did based on where the extractor fan is and the belief that the cover would get in the way when deployed if it was positioned over the oven...Rotating it through 180 degrees never occurred to me...because I'm an idiot.  Live and learn! 


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Had a couple of errands to run today, about ten minutes into the day the Jag was ditched on the drive and the van taken out.   It was just too hot and sticky in the Jag.  Getting the air conditioning sorted needs to move up the list.  Without it the ventilation system is essentially useless. 


Opening the windows generates epic levels of noise but doesn't actually seem to get much air into the cabin.  Thus far I've had no luck tracking down a pulley/clutch assembly on its own.  Looking like a whole new compressor may well be the route we need to take.  With a £3-400 pricetag...before getting the system recharged which will be another £50+, assuming there are no leaks elsewhere!  Bearing in mind that I trust the jubilee-clipped line between the condenser and compressor about as far as I can throw it, even if the jubilee clips are factory!  They just don't belong on HVAC systems!



It became quite apparent after a few minutes of driving the van that in addition to the not inconsiderable amount of noise exiting the tailpipe that there was a fair racket emanating from directly underneath the driver's seat.

The source was this nuisance of an exhaust joint.


I've already had issues with this joint working itself loose and rattling.  So it was dismantled today, cleaned up, thoroughly slathered in Firegum and the clamp then tightened up as far as I dare before risking snapping the bolt.  Hopefully it will stay that way this time.  If it does it again the clamp is getting replaced.

After a not inconsiderable search of the pile of junk out the back of the house and the garage I eventually found the base for the grill.


I've had a bit more of a think about the hob in the van.  This has caused quite a considerable amount of head scratching while I've been trying to figure out where it originally was.

Originally I had assumed it was directly above the oven, this would make the most sense.  This isn't an option though as there's nowhere near enough depth available.


The other thought was at the rear of the van where the draining rack currently is.  However there's no way that can work either as the hob is about 19" deep, and the work surface here is far less than that!


If the hob was installed there you'd no longer be able to open the bathroom door.

The only thought I do have is that the hob *might* be able to fit below the water heater if it were turned through 90 degrees... I'll need to take some more measurements tomorrow.

Really wish I had a photo of the kitchen before things got moved around!

The package of new wheel nuts for the Invacar arrived today at least.


So most of those can get fitted next time I've got some time in the garage so I've got a proper matched, not mangled set on the car.


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On 5/19/2020 at 6:33 PM, LightBulbFun said:

interesting how it peeled off almost intact like that :) (I wonder how it was applied in the first place, dunked in the stuff?)


Hot dip waxy preservative stuff like Crocell that gets put on bare steel if it will sit on a shelf for any length of time; it's quite old fashioned and things are moving toward VCIs as you don't need to peel those and it's probably dolphin-friendly or something, but there's a good deal of satisfaction to be had from stripping it off a new milling cutter etc, rather like popping bubble wrap.

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Today I made a horrendous mess.

The main reason was that I really wanted to do something about these stupid worktops in the kitchen.


They're just standard household ones, and aside from being massively heavier than the purpose built caravan ones they are about twice as thick. 

This is a problem because it means that the fasteners on the underside of the hob and sink aren't long enough to reach all the way through, and I've had to do nonsense like this with the taps.


Reason being that the threaded section was slightly shorter than the thickness of the worktop.

So I went out and picked up something at least a little more sensible.


It's just furniture board so nothing special, but it will do the job.  That panel even before it's trimmed down etc is lighter than what has been taken out by a fair chunk.

Next step of course was to start tearing things to bits.  Wasn't done here yet, the one remaining partition in there was also pulled out before I was done.


On the plus side, this means that I can actually sort a lot of the jury-rigged nonsense I threw together when trying to get the van ready for the first trip out in a massive hurry.  Getting things under there sorted out will be an order of magnitude easier without the worktops in place.  I've got a bunch of decent laminate board which will do just fine for panelling stuff down there out.  I'll get the fridge lifted up an additional 1/2" as well so it actually fits properly in the hole for it.

Does mean that I need to try to figure out how on earth some of the original bits and pieces fit together though!

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Bit of work done in the van today to start putting back together what I pulled to bits yesterday.

First up was to extend the top of the countertop over the fridge so we didn't have two different heights to work with.  Luckily I found a couple of offcuts floating around which were exactly the right size to get the height right.


By complete and utter random chance it turned out that I had a thin MDF offcut floating around that was almost the exact right size to close this off.  It's a bit warped from sitting in the back of the shed for about three years but that's hardly a problem here.


Yes I did make sure to leave enough of a drop so the drawer can latch closed.

Those little metal L brackets will feature heavily in this job, and are a favourite of mine for many tasks.

I decided against bothering to elevate the fridge.  Doing that would have required me to dismantle and completely redo the flue and I really didn't want to take that apart again.

Having thought on it overnight I decided that the fuel tank for the heater was going back more or less where I had first put it.  It was just going to be awkward having it inside the gas locker and there was always the worry of it getting bashed while putting the gas bottle in - though it is really sturdy.


I prefer this as well in that it means that the fuel level can be checked visually from inside the van without needing to go outside.  It's positioned such that filling can be easily done through the gas locker door though.

While I was working in that area I finally got the water pipes into the two brackets right in the corner.  I didn't have enough hand strength to do that when I was standing on my head under there when I did the plumbing!  The clips are really intended for 15mm copper pipe so these hoses are a really snug fit, it takes quite a bit of effort to get them to snap closed.


I need to tidy up the tail light wiring.  That's probably going to be a job for tomorrow.  That's what all that spaghetti is, the feeds for the high level tail lights.

Also, yes.  That is a patio gas cylinder.  I've got a proper one in the garage waiting to go in along with a new regulator and hose tail.  This was the only one I had to hand for testing a year and a half ago (nicked from the barbeque) and I had honestly forgotten about that until seeing the "patio gas" logo on it today.  Not sure what the difference is mind you, the ratings on the regulator are identical to the one which will be going in, just a different fitting.

I'll be sealing around the tank so it doesn't leave a gaping hole in the gas locker.  I will be constructing things a bit differently to how they were originally as well as I'm not bothering having a separate lid on it. 

This got me to an a stage I was dreading...starting to rebuild. 

There are some things I am good at and some things I am not good at.  Carpentry is one of the latter.  Generally no matter how much care, patience and care I put into jobs involving woodwork things degenerate into a complete farce in no time flat and the results make the dimensaional control on the Lada production line on a Monday morning look like something from the space program.  Even if all I was cutting out was a simple square.

With that in mind I didn't have great hopes for making things like this.


How far away from fitting was it then?


I nearly died of shock...aside from some slight wobble on the long edge that I was aware of and really isn't a problem here, it's pretty much a perfect fit.  I didn't need to take it back out to be altered, which means it's nanometre perfect in my book!

How about the other side?



Now I'm getting a little scared...that fit too!

The joins along all the edges will be sealed carefully to ensure that the cabinet is as close to sealed from the rest of the van as possible.  I'll be cutting bigger vents in the floor as well before everything is buttoned up.  I've got appropriate grills to cover them.  Around where the pipework passes know if out will also be treated with tape and/or expanding foam.

I'll add a buffer next to the edge of the heater fuel tank where it protrudes into the locker to protect it from getting bashed when inserting or removing the cylinder.  I could have set it back a bit further but that would have made filling more awkward.


I do have a cylinder securing kit in the garage too, will be nice to switch to that and ditch the bungee cords and ratchet strap system!

While it looks tight it's not bad actually.


Probably the most annoying thing when inserting/removing the cylinder is the kitchen sink waste - however I can't really move it any further back due to the position of the chassis outrigger this corner of the van sits on.  It would have been flush with the wall if there wasn't a 3mm thick steel plate under there!

I'd like to ditch as much of the flexible drain pipe as possible somewhere down the line anyway, so that may be revisited.

Yes, the tail light wiring is running through a ventilation hole... it's already on my list (and has been since it was lashed up like that).  Pretty much everything in this corner was done to prove things worked and fully expecting to come back to it (which I now am) to do a proper job of it.

I had to stop at this point as I have run out of fixing brackets, and nearly run out of woodscrews of an appropriate size...will need to make a Toolstation run to restock.

Next steps (in no particular order):

[] Tidy high level tail light wiring.

[] Replace gas cylinder regulator & hose.

[] Install gas cylinder fixing kit.

[] Install buffer adjacent to heater fuel tank.

[] Seal gas locker.

[] Add further ventilation to floor of locker.

[] Add further hole for sink draining rack drain line.

[] Trim screws where they protrude into the locker (not strictly necessary but feels the right thing to do).

[] Pick up more brackets, screws & gas fittings.

[] Paint everything under there white once it's all fitted.

[] Install cupboard and gas locker (remotely switched obviously) lights.

[] Properly figure out where sink, hob and draining rack are going!

[] Refit oven heat shielding. 

Speaking of the heat shield... I'm *assuming* that's what these bits of pressed metal are.  There are two identical ones there.


Has anyone who's done work on something like this have the foggiest idea how they're meant to be fitted...it really isn't obvious!  To be honest the outside of the oven doesn't really get all that hot so I'm not sure how necessary they are.  I've had it running for a full hour flat out during testing and it never got to a point where the surface temperature was worrying.  It's double skinned as it is.  The panelling between it and the cupboard will be lined with foil for heat reflection anyway and there will be a decent air space around it on all sides.

Feels like progress is being made...was a bit disheartening seeing the mess I'd made yesterday and the amount of things I'd out together that I had just pulled apart again.  Nice to see proper panelling going in rather than paper thin chipboard you can cut with scissors or Foamex which was used for a lot of "this will do for two trips I've one afternoon to prep for" too.

Edited by Zelandeth
Autocorrect hijinx...

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On 5/6/2020 at 4:59 PM, Zelandeth said:

Sodding finally!


 Has only taken me eight months.

Amwaiting on some early Morris Minor wheel bolts to arrive to eliminate my seriously shonky using-old-wheel-nuts-as-conical-washers bodge there...but the fourth bolt is now present and actually has tightened.

I do need to remove and shorten the bolts slightly before I can actually drive though (and clean the award out of the brake drum) as they currently foul on the brake shoes... that's relatively easy though.

The M12X1.5 bolt is way beefier than the original 3/8" stud/bolts.


I'd rather wait for the proper bolts to arrive anyway as this arrangement just doesn't look robust to me...despite equal amounts of metal holding things together as with the original studs and nuts.  Sure it would be fine...not wanting to tempt fate though!


If the hub wasn't such an absolute pig to drill (even with a cobalt drill bit) I'd be tempted to just drill them all out to M12, but as it is such a pain and the existing threads seem fine in the other holes... getting appropriate wheel bolts in and calling it good!

I always thought Morris Minors from the very start with the Series MM in 1948 had wheel nuts, not bolts. I remember both my 1959 and 1962 Morris 1000 of years ago had wheel studs and nuts, not bolts. The correct spanner is 3/8" BSW/9/16" BSF. The torque is 37 - 39 lb ft. I have a Morris 1000 parts list book from then! It shows that the front and rear wheel studs are different part numbers, but what the difference is, I do not know. They are all splined into their hubs.
The part numbers are: Front stud; 2A 4066, Rear stud; 2A 7089, Wheel nut; 88G 577

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10 hours ago, somewhatfoolish said:

Those panels maybe for if the oven is installed as a stand-alone device rather than built in to the cabinetry, i.e. cosmetic only?

That's not a bad thought, though as far as I'm aware they have come out of here originally...there are definitely used screw holes in several areas.  I'm just struggling to figure out how it's meant to fit together.  I'll figure it out eventually I'm sure.  Or decide I've wasted enough time on it and do it my own way!

Further fixings have now been acquired so I should be able to pick up where I left off later.


Very much doubt I'll get as far as reinstallation of the worktops today, but we'll see.  There's quite a lot to be done before I get to that stage.

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This is one of those days where there's depressingly little to show for a lot of work at a glance!

While I didn't do a direct before and after, here's the general area a couple of days ago before work really started beyond pulling off the worktops.


Here's where we left things today.


Prior to this working the oven was basically just floating.  It was held in purely by the four screws in the surround (which in itself had about as much structural rigidity as silly string).

Step one for today was to remove the oven so I can get into the area behind it unhindered.

Step two was further carpentry to make the divider that separates it from the cupboard.


Again, this fitted with surprisingly little hassle...the only fettling that was needed was to make the cutout for the pipes a little deeper as I hadn't taken account for the fact that I had bent the gas lines for the hob and oven back a bit to keep them out of the way.

This then allowed me to locate a shelf beneath the oven for it to sit on, and to properly tie the front of the worktop frame to the wall of the van again.  This was where I also discovered that it wasn't actually screwed onto the floor anywhere except for right at the one end.  Once this had been corrected it actually felt sturdy for the first time ever.  This is relevant as the oven is by far the biggest source of squeaks and rattles while driving, so anything I can do to reduce its ability to wobble and bounce independently of the van itself is to be taken advantage of.

After probably an hour of faffing around with the L shaped metal panels which I have to guess originally formed a box around the oven I ran out of patience.  I have to assume that there was an additional piece or a load of battens or something that went with them that I just don't have.  I decided to just use them to line the enclosure the oven was going to live in and call it good.  I've no idea how they were originally used and I'm sorry if the designers see this and tear their hair out.  One is mounted underneath the oven and to the rear, the other is to the front and left.  The little strip left in the one corner has been covered with aluminium tape to offer a bit of thermal reflection too.


I think this is probably a bit overkill given the amount of heat that isn't chucked out of the back and sides of the unit (most of the output comes out of the vent below the control panel at the front), but I figure the more heat that's kept away from wood the better.  The underside of the shelf which was then put in to close this area off (after leak-checking the reconnected gas line of course) was also foil lined.

The liner for the grill was then attached to the shelf - this shelf was reused from the original setup - I know it's what the liner was originally attached to as all the holes line up!


I've no idea what the rear of this was originally closed of with - if anything.  I'm going to slot a piece of steel sheet in here though.  Already have it marked out, just need to get the grinder out to cut it out.  I'm planning to make a couple of plates to go over the top as well either side of the burner to keep the heat off the frame and keep it as completely enclosed as I can.  Not going to make those until I've decided precisely where the hob assembly will sit as it will obviously affect the geometry.   Just the fun and games of trying to make something that is designed to get hot with a frame out of what's essentially low grade plywood!  The oven is pretty easy as it's inside a pretty well insulated metal box, the grill needs a bit more care taken, which means I need to do some metalwork.

That's where we left off today though.


Doesn't look like much for more or less a full afternoon of work does it!

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Use some of this on your compression fittings. Don't put them together dry. It's a non setting compound that will stop the fittings potentially 'cracking' with vibration.


I use it on all my connections, even water. Put it on top of any thread tape as well.

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4 hours ago, paulplom said:

Use some of this on your compression fittings. Don't put them together dry. It's a non setting compound that will stop the fittings potentially 'cracking' with vibration.


I use it on all my connections, even water. Put it on top of any thread tape as well.

Already done.  It's an ancient tin of stuff made by Boss, but same idea.  Says it's suitable for both gas and water on the tin.  Definitely wouldn't entertain the idea of putting together connections for gas dry given the safety implications.

I was always taught as a rule that when dealing with compression fitting that if it squeaks when being tightened that it would almost definitely leak somewhere down the line.

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8 minutes ago, somewhatfoolish said:

Don't gas ovens need a flue of some kind? Or does it vent through those holes above the door?

That's what the slots above the door are.  Air is drawn in through a grating at the lower edge of the back and exits above the door.  There's a gap left open to the area below the oven enclosure to allow it to breathe.  I'll ensure there is a vent into the small locker that will be under there so it can breathe (like any of this will be air tight enough for that to be an issue!).  Likewise the "flue" for the grill burner is through a slot in the middle of the hob.

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Only had an hour after dinner today, but as per my recently set out rules, I always want to get at least one thing on the to do list ticked off.  So out we went.

Today I wanted to start getting the void in between the oven and the gas locker actually starting to look like a cupboard for the first time since I'd owned the van.  This whole area was just an empty void when I got it.

Out with some high quality drafting materials for our template...


Which was then translated into actual material.


I have moved away from the chipboard now and will be using this laminated chipboard going forward.  It's a lot stronger and cuts more cleanly.  I didn't start out with this as I had yet to have confirmation that these panels were actually fair game to be used or I would probably have gone with this to start with.

This was then assembled into an actual shelf.


The battens along the front and rear edges serve a dual purpose of helping add a little additional rigidity to the shelf and also giving us an edge to prevent things from being able to fall off.  Bearing in mind this *is* a van, so there's always the chance of things moving around in transit - even though I will be putting non-slip rubber matting on the shelves and the door will have the ability to be secured closed. 

I will be adding a panel to cover most of the heater fuel tank (being careful of screw length - I'm aware that there are quite a few I need to cut back in this area as it is - nowhere local had anything shorter than 1" long in stock, so I just figured I'd spend half an hour with a Dremel trimming back some screws where necessary) to protect it, just leaving myself a "window" to observe the fuel level through.  Another identical shelf will go in above this one, just above the fuel tank.  As the door itself is quite narrow (about half the width of the opening here) it will be quite a black hole, so I will be fitting lighting in here so that you can actually find anything. 

While it's a small thing it feels like quite a big step forward as it is the first time that this space has actually been starting to take shape.  Feels like I am actually starting to put things back together now rather than pulling stuff to bits.

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