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Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Vauxhall, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 24/09 - Further Brake Work...


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1 hour ago, PhilA said:

Viva/Firenza/Magnum brakes.

They are useless, do not expect them to be good. But, they do work and are fairly reliable.

Good to know.  Though I remember everyone telling me that the unassisted brakes on my Metro would kill me but found those to be absolutely fine, just needed a good old shove to work.

Did a very brief investigation into another very minor thing that was bugging me - this bit of blue overspray from something on the nearside rear quarter.


I wanted to see if it would buff off.


The answer is "yes, albeit with quite a lot of polishing." Also there's a look at what colour the car should be!

Of course at this point it decided to start raining so that's as far as we got.

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Even vacuum boosted they're a bit mediocre. I had those on my Victor. 

Experimented with Peugeot 106 floating calipers which required a bit of a bodge to fit... While they inspired significant confidence in the brakes they really didn't fit properly.

You can probably find different calipers but those ones will work, they're just a little underspecified for the weight of the car.


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Well it looks like I will be seeing if I can get these going.  Can't immediately find anyone with them in stock, and most of those are asking > £100 each anyway...So we'll see if the existing calipers can be coaxed back to life first I think.  Service kits do at least seem to exist, so hopefully they can. 

Biggest question really will be what state the bores and pistons are in so we can see if they need to be sleeved.  I obviously don't have the kit to do that, so it would be a send off to a specialist job.

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Today on "jobs that would be 5000 times easier if I had a proper workbench with a vice..."

Seeing if I could get the pistons in this free.  


It's been stewing in Plusgas for the last few days.

I had a little movement from one piston before, and a combination of patience, compressed air and lots of penetrating oil eventually resulted in this.


It then pushed back in by hand.  So while it obviously needs to come fully out for inspection and cleaning, that side is at least free now.

The other one however I can't get to shift more than a millimetre or so.  However the headache I've been trying to power through since first thing this morning is trying to turn into a migraine so we've downed tools for the day now.

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The piston bore of these calipers never need sleeved as the piston and square O ring are the sole elements of sealing contact, as long as the seal groove is in decent shape the bore only has to be cleared of corrosion and general dirt and any burs to allow free and fairly loose passage of the piston when dropped in without a seal fitted

In the past I've taken to heating them and using 2 flat screwdrivers to gently pry up via the piston dust shield lip to gradually start exercising the piston back and forth, it's usually either corrosion formation on the upper bore above the main seal but sometimes the seal bonds to the piston which can involve such joy as welding a nut to the piston to draw it out with a threaded bar etc.

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TPA was out and about doing normal car things again today.


Figured as it's been absolutely forever it feels like since I really did a proper inspection of the drive system it was about time I did.


I think I've finally got the knack of removing this thing now.  Usual slight misting of oil from the gearbox output shaft but it doesn't seem to have got any worse.


Belt looks to be holding up just fine.  This will have probably somewhere in the ballpark of 3,500 miles on now I think.  I'll need to look up the logbook to confirm the exact number.


Pulley surfaces also look fine.



Secondary (which I basically rely on the camera to look at as I can't really *see* it):


There was some slight surface tarnish on that when it went on, doesn't look any worse now.

What I did find however was that the bolt on the primary had backed off slightly.  There was no actual movement in the pulley itself (it's a very snug fit on the gearbox output shaft), but that washer behind the bolt was free to rattle around.  I was able to get maybe 3/4 of a turn out of it.


Given that the slightly metallic rattling noise at low speed that I've had for as long as I can remember now seems to have gone away I reckon this may have been slightly loose for a long time.  I think I will look at making up a locking tab for that bolt as that coming properly  loose at speed Would Be Bad.  Though I think you would get plenty of warning as before it could come out the bolt would hit the inside of the service hatch I think, so would make all the noise ever.

In the meantime it's been done up Quite Tight, and a decent blob of Loctite has been applied.


This is a good example of why preventative maintenance is a good thing.  I have checked on the belt visually from the engine bay regularly, but it's well worth getting right in here now and then to check on things.

Also found a ball joint where the metal clip holding the dust cap on has rusted away.  Otherwise seems fine still so will just replace the clip if I can find one the right size.  Failing that I do have a full set of replacement ball joints in stock if necessary.

Something I want to try is a little bit of experimentation with drive pulley spacing.  The only thing I've noted with the HP2020 belt versus the standard one is that it drops into "overdrive" slightly earlier than the book says it should.  Given the dimensions are essentially identical I'm guessing the difference there is in the actual weight of the belt.  It's a very low priority task and is only really noticeable when accelerating from a standing start on a gradient, but now it's stopped being a million degrees outside I might be more inclined to try tweaking it a little.  My guess is that we need a fraction more tension on the belt.

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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Vauxhall, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 20/09 - CVT Checkup Time...

Have got the good piston in this caliper sliding perfectly smoothly through the full range of travel by hand, so I'm inclined to leave it well alone provided it doesn't leak once subject to full hydraulic system pressure again.

The piston cleaned up fine, just a bit of surface tarnish in a few areas.


Given that I will pretty much definitely wind up having to replace the seal if I pop it fully out, leaving it alone makes sense to me for now.

It's been cleaned up, given a good dose of rubber grease and had the (also cleaned) rubber boot refitted.

The other piston however still refuses to move beyond the one point, though is relatively free up to that point.  Getting any leverage on it is bloody awkward and getting heat involved is a non starter because I'm having to hold on to the caliper.  Basically, I really need a workbench with a vice for this job!  

Will have another ponder at the weekend, though I'm really just leaning towards sending these off for refurb at this point.  Especially as from what I've read when this car was initially got running and driving back at the field that the driver's side one had to be split and the pads removed to get it rolling.  So it's likely to be far more of a fight than this one has been so far.

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18 hours ago, Zelandeth said:

Will have another ponder at the weekend, though I'm really just leaning towards sending these off for refurb at this point.  Especially as from what I've read when this car was initially got running and driving back at the field that the driver's side one had to be split and the pads removed to get it rolling.  So it's likely to be far more of a fight than this one has been so far.

You are correct. The whole driver's side brake was seized solid and I had to split the calliper to free it off. I threw it back together with the pads in to make sure that the pistons didn't get ejected but no shims, which should still have been in the boot. The pad retaining pins were pretty mangled and one of the bolts holding the calliper halves together didn't go back in fully. It will certainly need some serious overhauling, if it is indeed salvageable. Good luck sorting it.

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20 hours ago, Jenson Velcro said:

Not sure if I’ve missed it, but what make are the Cavalier’s front callipers?



I now know they are the Girling type.  Aside from the "92" stamped into there were no readable markings on the nearside caliper.

-- -- --

This afternoon I decided to play chicken with the weather.  This was rapidly bearing down on my location.


Mission was simple: Get the offside brake caliper off the Cavalier so I could get the pair sent off to be rebuilt.

In a rare show of organisation, I actually made a point of getting everything I expected to need out in advance and putting it where I could get to it, rather than the usual 15 trips back and forward to the garage.


Five minutes later, first contact with the enemy.


I was briefly sidetracked by a sinister looking bit of peeling seam sealer on the inner wheel arch, but thankfully I seem to have caught it in time.


Really isn't hard to see why these cars have a reputation for rusting.

Thanks to the wonders of power tools, less than ten minutes after picking tools up I had the caliper off, wheel back on and the jack back in the boot.

The little bag the jack and wheel brace live in are even colour coded to the car, how considerate of Vauxhall...


Yes I know they're just all that colour, but it amused me.

This is where we took a moment of "one step forward, two steps sideways."


These two calipers are not the same.


The one on the right is presumably original to the car and is clearly made by Girling.


The one which came off the nearside however bears no legible maker's mark anywhere.  The only clear marking anywhere on it is a stamp showing the number "92." This is the only other markings I can see, where are precisely as clear in person as in the photo.


Not that surprising to find a car of this age has had a caliper changed at some point, but it's still bloody annoying as I don't have a nice matched set to send off to be rebuilt.

I'm also rather alarmed that the pads in each side are a totally different brand with a significant difference in the amount of wear on them...so it seems that whoever changed the nearside caliper didn't bother swapping the offside pads when it went on... additionally the lower caliper to hub bolt was missing it's washer...You remember me saying I was going to test the rear brakes before pulling things apart?  Nope...on the strength of this, they're definitely getting properly inspected beforehand now.  

Don't suppose anyone has an old nearside Girling caliper floating around do they?

Did spot something I'd previously missed that was a quick fix (well, it still needs a little attention but is a lot better).  Spot the difference.



The valance had been shoved upwards on the offside.  It still needs a little finessing and whatever did the damage has broken off one of the tabs where it attaches to the lower part of the wing, but it's a lot better.


So a little stuck while I decide what to do about the brakes.  Having ascertained thanks to someone on Retro Rides that the front calipers are shared with the BMW E21 I have found a couple of places that do have new ones in stock - but still north of £100 each.  The refurb plan is pretty much stalled without a matched set though...so I may well just go down that road.

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  • Zelandeth changed the title to Zel's Motoring Adventures...Merc, Vauxhall, VW, AC Model 70 & A Sinclair C5 - 24/09 - Further Brake Work...

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