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It is just so Super (Sentinel).


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I like that the report is of a "bridge collapses". Strikes me as a spot of victim blaming. A fully (almost certainly over) loaded DG6 on solids would be pushing 18 tons and the front axle weight alone should have pushed the poor structure well over its limit but it was the bridge that didn't have the moral fibre to stay in one piece. 

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I'll put this here because people reading this thread might have interests in other aspects of silly old engineering and may not know about the online patent database which is just here: https://www.epo.org/searching-for-patents.html

Just pop in the name of your favourite company, engineer or designer and see what patents they filed. It isn't the nicest to use thing but you get access to the original document with drawings and whatnot. A nice rabbit hole to disappear down when the phone isn't ringing. 

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The wood you are buying is probably kiln dried.  If you leave the wood soaking in a vessel or canal for a few days, before steaming, it can help. Steaming in situ with long polythene tube/bags can also be useful, pieces are not too stout. It saves wood cooling down too much before clamping.  Two or three wallpaper steamers can be inserted into the bag ends.


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Aye the wood in kiln dried and I didn't know that the 1 hour per inch guide was supposed to be doubled if you are using kilned stuff. That means these things are going to have to stew for four hours. The other thing I took from the carriage maker chap is that he was doing it under pressure to get the temperature up. 

One thing we are not short of is steam and while it would be a bit annoying to do it because they are drained down for winter it's not much of a biggie to drag one of the Sentinels out to use as a steam generator. Last time we used one of those daft Karcher things which at least you could run them continuously rather than the wallpaper strippers that you needed to turn off to refill. We have a piece of 4" aluminum pipe that is long enough to take the beams  - attempt one with the 4" soil pipe did not end well - but now I'm wondering if we need to make something a bit more butch that can be pressurised. 

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6 hours ago, JimH said:

Aye the wood in kiln dried and I didn't know that the 1 hour per inch guide was supposed to be doubled if you are using kilned stuff. That means these things are going to have to stew for four hours. The other thing I took from the carriage maker chap is that he was doing it under pressure to get the temperature up. 

One thing we are not short of is steam and while it would be a bit annoying to do it because they are drained down for winter it's not much of a biggie to drag one of the Sentinels out to use as a steam generator. Last time we used one of those daft Karcher things which at least you could run them continuously rather than the wallpaper strippers that you needed to turn off to refill. We have a piece of 4" aluminum pipe that is long enough to take the beams  - attempt one with the 4" soil pipe did not end well - but now I'm wondering if we need to make something a bit more butch that can be pressurised. 

Gas mains pipe or similar.  I had a 10ft bit of street lamp post in the past for it. Problem with steaming is that you always need a piece of timber that is way oversize. It is near impossible to bend the end of the timber when it is short or cut to size .

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  • 4 weeks later...

The bloody jobs to do list keeps getting longer. Here is a bunker that is somewhere near finished. There are two lids which are somewhat long at the moment because I keep forgetting to buy some hinges for them. Once they are in the right place I can cut them down so the leading edge of the bunker is a nice straight line. There is no cladding on the front of the body yet. That is going to be a bit interesting because I'll need to move the whole body back a couple of feet to get access. 


One day son, all this will be coal. I'm hoping that this should be good for about 15 cwt of coal so we can go a reasonable distance unsupported. I'll seal the gaps in the floor with something suitable and then lay 16 gauge sheet on it to protect the wood and to stop coal dust working through the gaps and onto the engine below. 


And you can probably make out the hole now has something in it to let the coal pass from the body to the cab.


Looking from the cab side it should get in the way of rear seat passengers too much. Anyway, you will only take the skin off your ankle once. The sliding door is far too tall at the moment - we need to find some suitable design for a couple of handles before I decide how tall to make the slider.


It doesn't look very big but when you see it on the bench there is a lot of steel in it. 


The start of the top window clamps for the windscreens. The top pane flaps open to try to keep the cab not quite as hot as Hell and the are a couple of thumb screws that hold them open. It took a while to work out what on earth was going on with these because I could believe that they had designed them that way. A quick visit to look at some original ones showed that they had indeed done it that way. 


It has taken a lot of hours to get them this far. It seems almost a shame that they are all going to be painted black. 


Here is the spare wheel sort of wedged in place so we can work out the carrier for it. Since the conversion to pneumatics was a modification spare wheels tended to be carried wherever they would fit. Fortunately on the longer wheelbase waggons have a big, handy gap behind the cab. All of the solutions look as jury rigged as they were as many were carried out by the service agents so efforts were all a bit "local".


The idea is that the wheel bolts to an arm which is hinged from the side rail of the body. This lets to wheel be swung up to that sort of angle and held in place with a screwed support bar. There are all sorts of designs for the arms (and not just for Sentinel - most manufacturers were having to deal with these tyre things) but many look a bit crappy. I decided to go for something that looked a bit more intended. This is the start of the arm. Obviously it isn't welded here so it's sprung all over the place. When it is done the legs will be parallel and the centreline of the loop is the same as the PCD of the wheel stud holes. 


This is the start of one of the interior water tanks. We had to get someone to fold these up because our folders aren't long enough. There will be another one opposite this directly over the rear axle. With these tanks we should have about 400 gallons of water which makes travelling distances a lot easier. I can't decide at the moment but I think these need to be clad in wood to make the interior of the body look nice. 


Mid point horizontals fitted. I suspect that the brackets are overkill but someone went to the effort to make them so we may as well use them. Eagle-eyed viewers may spot that I got a new Makita battery drill for my birthday.


So bending wood. These photos are a bit out of sequence so things appear and disappear but they show enough of the story. Firstly, something to hold the bit of wood. This is a piece of 4" aluminium compressed air pipe which is perfect for the job but annoyingly will only take one bit of wood at a time. The ends are just lumps of polypropylene. 


And then you need a jig. Since someone mentioned that Engels Coach Shop lad on Youtube we've been watching a lot of his stuff so these ones should hopefully come out a bit better than when we did the cab beams. Firstly he said never bend the wood without a backing strap to constrain the ends. I don't know if that applies to radii as big as this but we made one anyway. It's just a piece of 1/8th" flat bar with some angle welded to the ends to lock the beam in place.


This is the jig for the bending. This time round we put a backing strip on the angle to support the beam much better rather than just letting the wood rest of the angle iron. The big problem is what do you bend them to so that when they release and spring back they end up in about the right place. I took a guess on bending them to 18 1/2 feet in the hope that they ended up at 19 feet when we let them go. This was carefully worked out on the basis that I haven't a clue about any of this. Note some of the clamps we managed to get together. The pile got bigger later on.


And you also need some ash. We are not used to buying decent wood so this was all very expensive and ruining it is not really an option. 


Another thing we learned was that if the wood is kiln dried then you need to steam it a lot longer and try to get the temperature as high as you can manage. Last time we used a poxy QVC standard steam cleaner which at least let us fill it up without needing to stop it. Since the wood was going to need to be cooked for four hours we needed more steam at a higher pressure. Since we could not be arsed pressing one of the Sentinel boilers into service ( they are drained for winter) this finally had the opportunity to do something useful for once. This gave us steam at about 30psi at the outlet. By the time the steaming pipe was lagged with ceramic blanket the temperature we were cooking the wood at must have been reasonably high. The downside was that someone had to sit with it for 8 hours on Saturday poking coal in and pumping water. Still, the kids can earn their keep for once. 


So cook the wood, take it out, clamp it to the backing strap them clamp it to the jig. Four hours cooking, four minutes activity then put the next one on to cook. The one on the left has just been done which is why the one on the right has a right rag bag of clamps holding it in place. These ones are due to get taken off the jig on Tuesday.



And this is one I did earlier. We made one jig up first and bent one to check they were going to come out about right. It turns out that they sprang back more than I guessed but because I'm a divvy I had measured the radius to the underside of the beam rather than the top. The upshot is that the beam is actually bent fractionally too much but since this means that the highest point of the beam is about 1/4 of an inch higher than it needed to be I reckon we can live with that.  The actual number is not critical, just that all 9 beams are bent to the same radius. After we were happy with this we made the second jig and did a pair on Saturday. Only another three Saturdays to get them all done. 


Once all the beams are bent and assuming they are all the same they can be cut down and the oak top rail checked out for them to slip into. Hurray. More high stakes woodwork. I love* high stakes woodwork. 

In other news I got some bits of steel and aluminium for Christmas. 






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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't do this very often because little of what we get up to has much relevance to cars but here's a little bit of tin bashing. 

Louvres. If you look at this promotional image you will see the waggon has windscreens which were built by Auster Ltd. Look more closely and you will see on the lower half of the screen close to the chimney a black panel and you should just about be able to make out that the panel is louvred. I assume that was to keep the glass away from the chimney or maybe it was just filling in the blind spot caused by the chimney. For whatever reason Auster fitted a louvred panel. 


The difficulty with making this is knowing what it was supposed to look like because the louvre plates rotted away in double quick time there don't seem to be too many original ones to copy. Many you see have the panel punched out in a modern style. Anyone who punches louvres today tends to make them look like they've been taken off a lathe or something whereas we need something much flatter. So armed with little experience in tin bashing I set about to make some. Now I see them again this morning I don't think I have them quite right yet. 

You tube drew a bit of a blank on the subject of louvre bashing  - plenty of people doing them but not in the right style - so I went back and watched the Metalshapingzone tin bashing DVD again which explained nicely how to swage things by hand. I can't recommend you buy this DVD any more because he has stopped selling them. It is so much nicer watching than YouTube because he isn't much of a "character", has next to no body piercings or tattoos and doesn't keep asking you to subscribe. Maybe it's just me.

It seems that normally such things are done over hardboard or MDF templates but seeing as 14 louvres needed to be made I made a template in steel so it would not wear out. It's also important that the louvres are parallel so making it in steel made it easy to weld a couple of guides to locate the panel. I think the idea of using hardboard is that it isn't too dogmatic about where it stays so it deforms to give the finished item a nice radius. Steel isn't going to do that so I formed a radius on the template. It is also important that you don't start bashing louvres at the wrong end which is why there is a reminder written on it.  In hindsight I should he made the guides longer. Maybe next time. 


Then you need some high tech forming tools. These will be a brick bolster with the cutting edge rounded off and a bit of bar with a radius ground onto the end. There was also another chisel which I ground down to to the short sides. Oh, and a hammer.


So mark out where you want the louvres and slit them with a slitting disc. Or you could use a plasma cutter if you have one (we don't) or you can go old school and do it with a chisel. The slitting disc used with something to guide it gives a straight cut with zero distortion. Tidy up the corners with a hacksaw blade.


Then set the plate in your template and make sure it can't move.


And then you are ready to biff the swage in with your bolster.


And use other things to bash down the radius and short sides. 


And the louvre is pressed. Flat fronted, parallel to the plate and bthe guides on the template makes sure it is parallel to the last one. 


Then you work down them all. The bottom one looks on the piss because there is a bit of bow at the bottom of the plate. This panel sits in a brass frame so that will hold it square. 


Then you can start to dress out the dents and things where you didn't work as lightly as you should have (I'm still a bit 'eavy 'anded)  and you're done.


Except I'm not because although I was pleased with this last night now I look at the pictures I now realise that I've got the louvre to gap ratio all wrong so I'll throw that away, alter the template to make the louvre deeper and reduce the gap between the louvres smaller - these things may be small and unimportant but it sits in a very prominent position and does draw the eye. 

Why go on about this since not many cars have louvres? The exact same technique is used to form any swage in a floor pan, boot floor or whatever. Make your template in hardboard and biff it out using bolsters, chaser, bits of pipe or whatever is needed to make the shape. 

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I'm making no comment on their skills and there are some who are very watchable - that Runge chap is good value for money - I just find these things are much nicer without the baggage. 

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Would something like what has been made here do the job, though rather than using it to form slots make a similar tool to form louvres?

Watch from 4m 20s onward.

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It is a lot faster to bash the louvres out if you have a punch and die. The other benefit of using dies is that if you use tool steel an you make them properly then the punch will cut the steel as well so you don't need to bother with the slitting disc. However, it can take a while to make the punch so if you aren't doing many this approach is probably quicker. 

The other benefit of doing it this way is if you determine that your template isn't the right shape you can modify it fairly easily without having to make a new punch.  

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  • 1 month later...

A few photos to show that things are still progressing. I don't imagine too many people want to know a great deal about the windscreens which have been taking up many, many hours or the body which is taking up many more.

So all the beams got bent and incredibly between the biggest and the smallest they only varied by 1/4" on the centre height. I lined them up so they all ran in one direction and because of the distance you would struggle to see anything changing. 


Once they were bent then I had to check out the top rails so the beams slipped into them. This is exactly the sort of chippying that I hate because if you make a mistake you wreck everything.


Since there will be plywood lining the body you won't see the underside of the top rail so I was going to screw steel stiffeners on the underside of the top rail where it is checked out to take the beam. I suspect it isn't required but it's easy to do when you can dispatch No1 apprentice to make 14 stiffening plates. Stiffening plate not shown. I just wanted an excuse to have another photo of a reasonably well fitting beam end. 


It all lines up!


The eagle eyed may have noticed that the front of the body is now in. How did I do that given that there is less than 2 inches between the body and back of the cab? Well first you jack the whole body up by five inches and pack it off the chassis.


And then you scratch your head about how to hold up the body. Wandering round with your hands in your pockets you find the telegraph poles that the leccy board left behind when they renewed the poles that were holding up the power lines ( yes I know that makes them not telegraph poles but then if you were thinking that you are probably the sort of person who writes to Radio 4 complaining that panini is already plural ) so you cut them into six lengths and chock the body up so it sits above the chassis. Then you pull the chassis forward a couple of feet before sitting the body back down on the chassis where it was stable. That gave me enough room to get the front of the cab done.

Once the plywood had been screwed on it needed the steel sheet glued on. We are using epoxy for this but it is also screwed around the edges where the finishing trims go on. I was really looking forward to this job because nothing gives me greater pleasure applying epoxy to about 8 square meters of wood or steel while working in a restricted space. You end up sticking to everything. However, the is the first one glued in place. The edges are overhanging here because I'll trim them to suit with a slitting disc. It went on as flat as a board so all screwheads are hidden and everything looks just dandy.

The board poking up above the cab was one of the things I was using to hold the sheet on while the epoxy was setting - we chocked between boards and the back of the cab so everything stayed in place. You can see one of the former telegraph poles holding up the body where it overhangs the chassis. 


This is the space you are trying to work in. Just after this photo was taken the second one was glued on. It's just setting as I type. Once this is set I will put the centre trim on and then the front of the body and the rear of the cab can be painted so the body can go back in place. 


This is the nearside windscreen having its first fit. I remade the louvres that weren't right and I think these look much better. I'm slightly amazed at how straight I got them. There is a steel trim plate to be made to fill in the gap between the top of the windscreen and the cab roof. The glass was on order at this point. 


Most of these things have their windscreens polished brass which I do not like at all because they have all the style of uPVC double glazing. Looking at all the works photos if they had windscreens from the factory then they were painted black. Given the paint of the day this would have fallen off quite quickly. Today we have better paints so hopefully they should stay black for longer. 

So they were painted in epoxy primer and undercoat before the glass was fitted. 


They will be painted in gloss black to match the cab uprights.


Once the body is back in place the roof can get put on and the back doors can get made. We're getting closer.  

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Good lord. Just when I think my practical skills are pretty damn good, I spot your updates chock-full of engineering brilliance on here. Are you Doc Emmett Brown or do you just have years of experience under your belt? Either way it's phenomenal work. I just hope both you and your minions are able to pass on your knowledge for the next generations to use for restoration and building projects. 

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It's funny. You look back on what we struggled with in the past and how much has been learned since then. In 1985 the old man bought a roller which we thought we did quite a lot on. However, one of the things it needed was a new HP piston rod but regardless of what we tried we could not get the crosshead off the rod so we lived with the wear in it. You think back now and wonder what the hell we were playing at. Just put the gas axe through the rod, bore the remains out of the crosshead and piston, make a new rod, pop it all back together. Blimey, there is barely a weekend's work in it.

What makes me smile most about this is that I look forward to apprentices 1 through 6 scoffing at how feeble our current efforts were. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

It's been a while since the last update. Painting things, deciding it was the wrong paint, watching videos on Youtube by coach painters, finding the very much right paint, finding out that one of the few people who stocked it was just down the road in Falkirk, waiting for it to arrive and putting it on soaked up a bit of time. The other thing now is that there are fewer jobs to do and they all run through one path or another means that things slow down a bit. 

When we made the rear axle we ordered a bit of bar which was about six inches too short. Fortunately someone who has helped out a lot on this job needed a new rear axle for his Aveling tractor and the now scrap bar was just the rightish size so it got turned into a nice new axle. To say that Aveling's engineering prowess was not exactly brilliant so it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get everything fitted just right. Making crude things work is always hard work. 


I know lots of people like these things but I really don't. The hammer and chisel engineering involved makes me cross. This is the winch drum hub which also acts as the drive for the nearside wheel. To make the axle drive the wheel you stick a big pin into one of those four big holes. It's just too agricultural for my liking. 


Back to the slightly more sophisticated end of the market this is the not exactly sophisticated arm for the spare wheel. This is suspended from the body and lets you swing the wheel out of the way. All of the spare wheel carriers were a bit Heath Robinson because on the Supers and many DGs were converted to pneumatics. It is nowhere near finished by the way. 


And this is the start of the bracket that it will hang from. When it has been machined it will get "roughed up" so it looks more like a casting. It is bolted underneath the body where you can't see it so it isn't that big a deal.


And here is the first sign of some colour. Once the front of the body and the back of the cab were painted the body could be dropped back into place. Or at least lowered gently into place. I haven't made my peace with crimson lake yet because I still wanted it to be green. Apparently the estimate of £7K plus VAT for the gold leaf said it wasn't going to be Boots. Shame.

You may also notice that once the body was back on it was possible to do the roof. The front edge looks like crap because I will trim the front and rear once everything is fixed down. The batten crudely screwed to the side is the temporary support while the first sheet of steel is glued on. 


The roof is quite big. I am not looking forward to gluing the duck canvas on. I think we'll pull it outside to do that. The curve doesn't look too bad and when you run an eye from one end to the other we got the beams pretty true. It would have been nice to have built all of this on the floor and then lifted it on but then it would also be nice to have a big travelling crane which we don't.  


And inside it's a fairly big space. The sides and front are going to be lined with ply so you won't see the angle brackets between the horizontals and the uprights. However, the roof isn't getting lined because I want to at least leave a bit of evidence that it got built right. Inside is going to be painted the same sandy beige as the inside of the cab. 


Go on, be a bit impressed. I'm bloody amazed I got things this tight and generally not looking like complete shite. I don't know whether the steel stiffener under the beam was needed but No1 apprentice was happy to stand making them, they are going to get covered up by the ply lining and I doubt that they are doing any harm. 


And the other side. A bit of space will be taken up by the water tanks but there is still loads of room for some reason or other.


And that is about it. The next big job is to make the bloody rear doors which I am really not looking forward to because there is no hiding place for any mistakes with them.


As an aside, I don't go on about my shitters very often but here's  a little tip I discovered this week. If you have scrawled a post it note on a filing cabinet that the MOT is due 11/04/22 that does not mean that the MOT expires on the 22nd of April <red face>. This is the TT I bought from @Jamie a while back and it is still going strong. It is just sitting here waiting for a replacement O2 probe and a pair of rear tyres so it can go for a slightly late MOT. 


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I once took a Sentinel man on a Aveling roller, old single cylinder job that runs on hot water, does about 3.8mph  and looks like the Guinness advert, for about four or five miles, his comment at the end was "well, thanks, I now have that out of my system" 😂

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I know how he feels. The old man bought a Fowler T3b roller in the mid 80s which we rebuilt and drove for a few years. Fast forward a decade or so and we were driving the first Super over some reasonable distances (longest was a 360 mile round trip) when an almost identical Fowler came up for sale at what I thought was sensible money. Maybe it was the ten year layoff but I thought, "yeah, why not? How bad could it be?." 

After a very brief test run I found that the answer was really, really bad. It made me realise that it was Sentinels or nowt. 

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I think this is the best place for this photo I happened across...


Turnpike Lane station, under construction 1930 or 1931. The London Underground Piccadilly Line was extended northwards from Finsbury Park to Cockfosters, with work starting in 1930. Tunnelling was complete by the end of 1931 and the extension opened in stages in 1932 and 1933.


2022. Not steam powered.

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    • By captain_70s
      I'm a masochist from Leeds who is running two rusty, worn out Triumph Dolomites as my only transport in rural Aberdeenshire. You might recognise me from various other forums and Facebook groups. Realistically I need to buy a modern car of some sort, but instead I find myself looking at £300 Citroen BXs and Triumph Acclaims on Gumtree and thinking "yeah, that'd fit right in with the rest of the broken cars I can't afford".
      On to the cars, the main attraction being my 1976 1850HL "50 Shades of Yellow" that I bought for £850 and is currently my daily driver, here is a picture of it before I sanded off some surface rust and sprayed it badly in the wrong shade of yellow with rattle cans:

      Within a month of purchase I managed to plant it in to a steel fence backwards after a botched gear change on a wet roundabout and ruined the N/S rear wing, although judging by the other dent that's packed with filler it looks like somebody had already done the same. I also managed to destroy a halfshaft and one of my Sprint alloys (good for an extra 15hp) in the incident, so now it's sitting on it's original steelies but painted black (good for an extra 5hp).
      It's only broken down on me twice. once with some sort of fuel delivery related problem which may or may not have been an empty fuel tank and once when the thermostat jammed shut and it overheated and blew out some O-rings for the cooling system. It has recently developed a taste for coolant and oil which is rather annoying, although it's done 89,300 miles which is about 80,000 more miles than BL engineering is designed to last, I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines... 
      I tried to keep ahead of the rust a bit by rubbing down the arches and re-painting them, but apparently rattle can paint isn't great when you are spraying it at -5C, it also highlighted how although my car might have been Inca Yellow in 1976 it's now more of a "cat piss" sort of shade. So I ended up with the wrong shade of yellow which has rust coming back through after 5 weeks. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
      The other car is the first "classic" car I bought, so I can't bear to sell it. It's a '77 Dolomite 1300 and it cost £1400 (about £400 too much) and has been nothing but a pain in the arse:

      It looks much prettier (from 100 yards) but that's most due to the darker paintwork hiding the rust. It lives a mollycoddled life in my garage, where it somehow still manages to rust, and is utterly rubbish. 0-60 is measured on a calendar, top speed is 80ish but at that point it uses more oil than petrol, it rarely ventures over 50mph and if you encounter an incline of any sort you can kiss that sort of speed goodbye, along with about £20 of 20W50 as it vanishes out of the exhaust in the form of blue smoke.
      One of the PO's had clearly never heard of the term "oil change" so it developed into brown sludge that coated everything internally with the next owner(s) blissfully pouring fresh oil on top of it. This lasted until about 600 miles into my ownership when there was muffled "pop" from the engine bay and the car became a 3-cylinder. The cause was catastrophic wear to the top end causing a rocker arm to snap:

      As this was my first classic car I'd assumed it was supposed to sound like the engine was full of marbles, it wasn't.
      I put the engine back together with second hand bits declared it utterly fucked and promptly did another 5000 miles with it. After about 3500 of those miles the oil burning started, valve seals have gone so it's been relegated to my parent's garage as a backup car and something to take to local car shows as the 1850 is now embarrassingly ugly. I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines (deja vu, anybody?) Oh, I also recently reversed it into a parked Ford Fiesta and royally fucked up the rear bumper, rear panel and bootlid. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
      There have been two other cars in my life. My first car, a 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.0 an it's replacement a 2012 Corsa 1.4T. I didn't really want either of them, but it's a long story involving my parents and poor life choices. Ask if you want to hear it!
      So that's a brief summary of my current shite. If you want more pictures or details of anything do say as I've got photos of almost everything I'd done with the cars.
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