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Saabnuts Assorted Shite Blog - Holden Horrors

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After a delayed start to the day, due to putting my mate onto the A series in the for sale section, it was off in the 9-3 to see my mate who is going to have a look at my road roller, as he lives on the way to the MOT station, and the first proper run in the car since purchase in February to see if it was hopeful for the MOT. Turned right on to my friends road and the offside indicator stopped working!  A quick look, a squirt of contact cleaner and many many movements and it seemed OK, by which time I was due at the MOT station. Fortunately it seems to have fixed it as no more problems. At the MOT station all looked good underneath, it flew past the emitions then on to the brake tester. "Nowt wrong with them" was the verdict, followed by the issuing of an advisory free MOT! Result.

By the time I got home, it had covered 74 miles without issue, so I will call that fully sorted ready for the 940 mile trip to France tomorrow evening.

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After yesterday's MOT the only thing left to do was test it to make sure nothing had gone wrong during the 3 years it was idle. Left home at 17:15 and arrived at Folkestone at 02:25

589 miles so far and all good. Will stop for a bit of kip when I get to France

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I was on a crappy old workboat off the coast of Africa about 15 years ago. They were testing a firewater pump when one of the pipes failed due to many years of rusting at point where it required a bit of effort to look at it. Unfortunately it was a short section of pipe before the shut off valve, so quite high volumes of water started pouring in to the hull. Being Nigeria, the weekly test of the bilge pumps had last been done over 3 years previously, so they had seized up. We were only about 30 miles offshore, so a call for another boat to bring ortable pumps out was made. Of course, this being Nigeria, when they arrived on a small boat, one failed to start and the other was dropped during transfer in 80m of water. Turned out afterwards the portable pump was working perfectly the last time it was started, about 2 years previously. As the boat was slowly settling, a more paniicked call was made to send more. They arrived about 45 minutes after we had all taken to the life rafts and they had a grandstand view of our boat disappearing from sight Still, it meant we did not have long in the rafts.

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My friend down here in France has a 1999ish Pug 306 Auto which has not been serviced since she got it from her parents - 10+ years ago! The car has covered about 100k miles, about 30k in the time she has owned it. It had a set of plugs when it was reluctant to start, but otherwise has been neglected. Things came to a head a couple of weeks ago when the auto box became reluctant to change and noisy on occasions. I reluctantly agreed to give it a service as I hate working on moderns!

Today was the day, as it is much cooler, just nudging 30c and sunny, so the Spitfire was started for the first time since February ish and driven out of the garage, and Pug put in and on ramps. Amazingly the gearbox filler plug came out with a bit of effort, and the drain plug undid easily. The auto box on these takes 2.4litres so I measured what came out. 1.1litres af dark treacle! Drained and refiled with fresh.

Next was the engine oil. Drained what should have been 4.75 litres, and removed 2.2litres of tar! The oil filter soon came off with the trusty hammer and screwdiver removal tool and was replaced with new. Four litres of fresh oil followed, and a new air filter was also fitted. Amazingly, all went to plan except the knob on the end of the dipstick disintegrated so a temporary* fix* was made with duct tape. Will have to see about getting a replacement dipstick, but at the moment I do not hate modernz as much as usual.

Test drive looks like we caught it in time as box is smooth and quiet. Think I will sit outside drinking beer in celebration for the rest of the day.

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1 hour ago, cort1977 said:

Nigeria must be the only place worse than Angola.

When are you back north of the border?  Could do with a few non-soggy Passat parts...

Should be home around the 3rd Sept all being well.

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306s will soak up unbelievable levels of neglect and still work.  The dipsticks all do that.

 

They're not bad to work on for a modern either... only thing I remember causing major swearing on the two I've had were the stupid bayonet fitting coolant hose connections to the radiator.

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Yesterday evening, I was just settling down for the evening when I got a "help" phone call from my friend with the white 2cv - this one

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The owner was stuck at a local supermarket and needed a jump start. Last trip down I fitted a new battery to it but of late it had been reluctant to start if left for a while, so I assumed the alternator was failing and decided to get it back home then investigate. I took my jump leads over, connected up to the 2cv and - nothing. The engine would turn over very slowly, but after repeated attempts it caught and was running, closely followed by a shout from the owner who was stood at the front of the car that it was on fire! I assumed it was a bit of smoke (as there had been no backfires or anything when starting) but jumped out to have a look and sure enough flames were coming from the top of the engine! The flames were coming from the side of the starter motor so  I grabbed a bottle of water from my friends shopping and quickly got the fire out. Fortunately I had left the engine running, and all seemed under control, so we drove it back home, but it into the cave and I disconnected the battery to be on the safe side.

Looking at the starter on returning home, the link wire from the solenoid into the starter had overheated and it was the insulation on this that caught fire. The power lead from the battery to the starter also showed signs of the insulation breaking down, so both starter and lead will be ordered and replaced. My friend was quite shaken by the experience and extremely thankful it happened when the bonnet was open so we saw it, and it had not happened when she returned to the car. A close call. but it will live on.

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Been a bit quiet of late as it has been a bit* warm of late so most of my time has been spent sitting under my Linden tree drinking beer - it has been hell*.

I had funeral to attend near Sheffield on Monday after a good friend passed away shortly after I arrived in France, so Friday I removed the fried starter motor from the 2CV, chucked it in the boot of the Saab and headed to Worksop. Monday morning dropped it into the guys I use for all my oddball electrical repairs and picked up the fully repaired unit on the way home from the funeral. Turned out the commutator had burnt out so a new one was fitted along with bearings etc. Last night I left Worksop to catch a stupid o'clock tunnel and by 1030 this morning I was back here in France. This means that since leaving home on the 17th July with the freshly MOTed Saab reawakened from its 3.5 year slumber, it has covered 2241 miles, and is now showing an average fuel consumption of 45.6 mpg. Happy with that.

Now, anybody stupid bored enough to be following this thread will know I have a soft spot for the Land Rover Discovery, despite my less than trouble free history with them, which stems from a Disco 1 I owned many years ago which was a 200TDi Manual which was brilliant and I have always regretted selling it to trade down up to a Disco II. I recently bought another Disco II as I could not find a Disco 1 that was not rotten or £££££ and true to form, the Disco of Doom has fought me every inch of the way. More recently I bought another newer one as it was in better condition but still needing work, as the first one was beating me into submission. True to form, as soon as the "replacement" arrived home, the first one has changed its ways and been fine, leaving me to ponder fixing the second one, then deciding which one to sell on.

Of course, in the natural order of things, yesterday I received a phone call to say a Disco I (albeit a 300 TDi but on the plus side an Auto) that I have known and lusted after for many years has become available and was I still interested? I first tried to buy it 8 years ago from its elderly owner who bought it at a year old (it was an ex LR Management car) and has used it to tow his caravan. It has a throttle potentiometer problem and has for the last 3 years, but as he sold the caravan and only used it occasionally and locally, never got fixed. Apart from that it has been fully pampered and is one of the cleanest left. Of course, I said yes, final deal to be agreed when I get back to the UK, but basically I now have 3 Discos. This fleet reduction is going really, really well*!

Whilst it solves the dilemma of which TD5 to sell, the answer is now both, it sets up another, do I fix the second one or just move it on as is? I think I will worry about it later, and for now head back under the Linden tree with a fresh cold beer!

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Yesterday it was 38c so I was not too keen on more gardening (OK sitting on the mower with a beer) so I decided to have a look at my friends 1966 Spitfire Mk2 which I had used for the local Marcon classic weekend. It had been running far too rich and developed a missfire on the run back home. First job was to move it out of the barn that has a sand floor which is not helpful if you drop anything and park it in the shade of the garage

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Next was to remove the air filers and strip the carbs so I could set them at a known base setting

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One carb was well out so set the jet level with the bridge, and I found the choke is sticking partly on on the second carb. Set both but it is obvious that 53 years of use has taken its toll with a bit of wear present. Having said that, I have seen much worse so I am pretty sure they will be OK for a while. Put the carbs back together to start the engine and fine tune the carbs, and it started instantly, a good sign, but the miss-fire persisted, with backfiring in the exhaust occasionally when held on a fast tickover. It had cut out on mr the morning of the show and refused to restart for a while, before starting and being fine, so I suspected the ignition side, indeed the backfire showed the symptons of closed points. Off with the distributor cap, looked fairly new but some light corrosion on the contacts so cleaned those up with some fine sand paper.

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Next was the rotor arm and this inspired little confidence, though again cleaned up with sand paper

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S, that done, time to have a look at and clean/reset the points. Aaaaah......................

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I am now suspecting the electronic unit, not sure if I can test it so will have to do some research, but before that that I will do the simple things first and get a new dizzy cap, rotor arm, plugs and leads then take it from there, so as I am heading home this weekend it will have to wait until my next trip.

In other news, I was delighted this morning to see work starting on rebuilding the village shop here after a devastating fire back in January. It is a brilliant all round store and the lady who runs it is lovely, so really pleased to see this. However, the fleet reduction is not really going to plan as I now have FOUR cars to collect on my return home, I really must start getting serious about selling some. My friend checked on my Scottish pad the other day, and his comment of "your grass looks like it is having fun" means it looks like the Kubota will be abused again on my return...

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After the best summer weather I have experienced for many years, I have been forced to return home! I saw more rain between the Scottish border and home than I have seen in the last 6 weeks. All appears good at home so after starting all the cars and moving them so I can get through with the Kubota, it looks like the next day or so will be spent cutting grass!

The newly acquired Saab has been brilliant. Since leaving home the day after MOT (and 3.5 years of no use) it has covered 3301 miles. In that time the only problems have been a rattle from a rear shock absorber (the thread on the shocker is damaged so I cannot fully tighten it) and at Carlisle on the M6 the back box on the exhaust decided it had had enough of the rest of the system and parted company. Fortuneately the rubber hangars held up and I managed to stop and put the box in the boot. Jobs are now to buy a new pair of rear shocks and have a look at the exhaust, a sleeve may do it as the rest seems OK. There is no rush as I have got used to the rattle and the exhaust is no noisier than with a back box fitted.

Average fuel consumption for the trip (according to both the onboard computer and rough calculation) was a smidge under 45mpg. Very happy with that.

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Settling in back home, but unfortunately my mobile phone has vapourised, last seen in my car just south of Dundee on the way home. Was sure* it was in the glovebox, but when I went to fetch it the next morning, there it was gone. Much searching has ensued, but I have given up and blocked it, ordered a new SIM card and awaiting a replacement from my brothers stash of cast offs!

So yesterday I decided to have another look at fitting the new clutch cable to the Fiat 500 (some may remember it failed at SF18) but I still could not figure out how to fit it as the end that attaches it to the clutch pedal was too big to go through the guide tube. Eventually I raked through the bin and found the old broken cable and close examination showed the end on the new cable was a different shape and bigger! It looks like the right cable but when sise by side it is obvious the Chinese manufacturing tolerances and methods are just not up to par. I had sourced the cable from a main Fiat parts supplier, but as is so often the case these days, they are just reselling cheap shite.

I contacted another supplier, who struggled to hold back his laughter as this is apparently a common occurrence (he even named the supplier) and has posted out the correct cable. It was £3 dearer, but at least it will be a clutch cable not a useless wall ornanment! By the end of the day all I had achieved was cutting the grass and a sore foot for some reason.

This morning I can hardly walk as it would appear that for the first time in my life I have Gout in my big toe. It is bloody painful but I am sure nothing* to do with the quantity of red wine I despatched over the last few weeks! As I am struggling in the workshop, I took the opportunity to collect the first car of the 4 I have recently gained. It is for a friend who lives near Maidstone who needs a new engine for his Saab 9-5. This is a very tidy looking 53 plate estate which is a one owner car. Sadly, all that time has been parked on the top of a cliff on the coast of NE Scotland so it is as rotten as a pear underneath. Still, it drives well and the engine is very sweet.

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Bit of a strange week that was. The morning after the last update I awoke with a severe case of manflu. I almost died, but fotunately I am made of sterner stuff! :-) As a result not much got done, and the weather did nothing to help, but my new phone arrived and 02 sent a new SIM card in record time and amazingly despite never knowingly doing a back up all my contacts are on the new phone - spooky! Just to make sure it was not really me,  I had two friends check for my phone but it had definitely gone.

Today I was feeling better and the sun was shining, I decided to cut the grass again. To get the Kubota out of the shed, I had to move the Saab out of the way. I got in, went to shut the door, and there in the pocket was my phone in plain sight, now I do not need it! Even more spooky - que the Doo Doo Do Doo music!

Grass cut, I decided to see if the non Chinesium clutch cable fitted the Fiat 500. After getting the angle grinder out to remove the ferrule from the old cable which had rusted solid to the guide tube, all went well and an hour later clutch operations had been restored and the carpets refitted. Lesson learned. Next week I will refit the trim that had to be removed to lift the carpets after which it will get a wash and a polish. Once that is complete, my time with it will be complete and on to the market it will go.

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Nothing happened in the shed last weekend as I got distracted collecting the 9-5 from Hull which I combined with a few beers with a friend who lives in Hull, so a late start on Sunday meant I got home just before dark o'clock. This week has been a bit more productive, though not a lot really achieved. I had to remove the just fitted carpets on the Fiat to fit the heater ducting I had forgotten to put in, then refitted them. Need to do a repair to the tunnel tray before I can finish off the interior.

Today as it was a nice day I decided that it was high time I fixed the Holden so that could depart. I ordered new rear wheel cylinders for it a few months ago and I went to fit them, starting on the side I had already replaced the brake pipe. Removed the drum and a visual looked like I had the right ones, which was lucky as these are the only ones listed! The old cylinder came off easily, but on trying to fit the new one the problems started and it would not go on. Mindful of the replacement fiat cable woes, I put the new and old cylinders side by side ans sure enough the dimensions are significantly different in all ways, so stripped both and the bores are also different. I now have a bit* of a problem as it appears the Australian market used different cylinders and they are rare over there, never mind here. This one is the only one that was officially imported.

I have an idea for a bodge,  the next day or two will show if it will work.

This evening I sold one of my TD5 Discoveries as I have sourced a Disco 1 which I prefer. Sadly, this has created no space as a) it has not gone yet and b) I have taken a rotten Disco 1 in part exchange! Always good to have a car for spares.......

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