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A Very Brown (Broken) Senator

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Real progress was made today.  Ignore the exhaust, that's being attempted tomorrow.

We started the day cranking it but nothing, which was a set back from last week when it fired, albeit with a bad misfire.  It was winched onto the flatbed on Monday, being incapable of dealing with any sort of incline.

The battery was dead now, so a tad dejected we located the fuel relay and gave the contacts a clean.  Jump pack on and it fired up!  Faces agog at this point.  So egg took it for the brief drive around the green, and I followed later.  Aside from the exhaust it drives well, so either the fuel pump relay needs testing and monitoring (with a spare kept in the glovebox) or the fuel system has cleared itself out.  Who knows.  I did put some snake oil Redex in on Monday.  Either way, MASSIVE RESULT.

It's also really easy to work.  Stuff is accessible, the fuel pump and filter are in a bracket under the boot floor, with loads of room in the engine bay.

Egg also did some Vactan treatment on the jacking points and suspension components, whilst I stood around being lazy basking in the glow of a properly running Senator.  However, tomorrow will be a test to see if it starts up fine again.

Y tho relay.


Executive egg.  Suits you sir.


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I sold these new 1991 to 1994 and the few we sold new and second hand ones were great cars, at that period new was mainly 24v but we did do some young secondhand ones of all engines.

As a Vauxhall dealer our Senator 24v was considers to up market for the dealership staff including my boss the dealer principle so was run by a group director. I had to prove I needed it for a customer demonstration but I always made sure I got it for a night when it was needed.

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The steering is incredibly light - maybe like a Yank land yacht. The boot is massive and as Rob says it feels like quite a simple car in many ways.

I've just ordered wiper blades (traditional style, don't worry DW) and a new driver's side mirror that are on their way to Rob.

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7 minutes ago, egg said:

In their most famous guise...


I still remember when you and I drove down to Hastings to pick up the Rancho, Rob, and you were following me all the way in your old white one.  

Properly freaked me out having a white Senator in my mirrors the whole way. I’ve never driven so carefully.


Outstanding news that the brown one is up and about already!

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1 hour ago, Skizzer said:

I still remember when you and I drove down to Hastings to pick up the Rancho, Rob, and you were following me all the way in your old white one.  

Properly freaked me out having a white Senator in my mirrors the whole way. I’ve never driven so carefully.


Outstanding news that the brown one is up and about already!

Pinched from your Rancho thread.


That was a grand day out.  Three years ago now, jeez...

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Mine was an E reg but the 2.5. 140 bhp in a car that size meant you would not win any races.

On these the grot is under the bonnet - the chassis legs rot but they may look ok - mine needed welding at eight years old. Strut tops are the usual bugbear. Make sure the front tyres are wearing evenly.

The heater on these is electronic - mine was stuck on hot as a new control unit was ££££ back in 1995 - I merely bypassed the matrix using a valve from a plumber's merchant.

15/50 is the ideal oil as using 10/40 means high oil consumption and smoke on start up.

These CIH engines can sound "cammy" but nothing to worry about.

You will spend more time chasing rot on one of these than actually spannering. Well done chaps.

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Thanks Bren.  We did spot a hole in one chassis leg today, but most of the rot on this is just surface and age related.  It's far from being a weldathon, and helps that it was garaged and hardly used for 10 years, or before that having just 70k.

For the price we paid, and if we can keep costs down, it's just a car to smoke about in and not go crazy over.  I think egg's in agreement there.

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This morning I had a go at changing the middle exhaust section that has blown (there's two on this).  Parts and assorted crap assembled.


HSE note.  I got the car fully on the ramps after this shot.

The three bolts here were relatively easy to shift with heat applied.


Shifting it off one hanger was a faff, but fortunately my Dad was on hand to help pull the exhaust aside.  The rubbers have neat retaining washers and were very pliant and in good condition.  31 year old OE probably as they have a GM stamp on them.

Interesting pic of an exhaust rubber at full stretch...


Here's where things stopped.  As I anticipated separating it from the back box will be a PITA. 


Flaring the end was a futile gesture, but that can be fixed later.  I tried MAP heat and twisting it from the far end in an attempt to crack it, but nowt.  A YouTube vid suggests re-attaching the clamp lower down beyond the join, heating the two married up parts and bashing the hell out of the clamp with a lump hammer.  I'll try that another day as it was too hot and I was starting to flag and get irritated.  Only problem is  the limited hammer swinging room.

Or grind it off and sleeve the new one on, but that sounds convoluted and might not seal properly unless I get a tight fit.

Also, fully underneath with it up on ramps I found some more rot.  Chassis rail yellow MoT chalk candidate too.  Never mind, I suppose that's the nature of a project, finding new joys each time!


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It had crossed my mind yes. Considering how relatively easy the bolts and rubbers were, puckering up and buying a back box might be more sensible.  I can then swap over both mid sections as sods law that'll blow soon.

Edit: also lying on your back doing exhausts is painful, dirty work.  Got rust flecks in my eye despite goggles.

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The difference between a genuine and cheap shit exhaust is astounding. I paid £170 for a genuine system in 1995 from plp in Warrington. You got a hernia carrying the bits. Had it fitted at a local tyre place.

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