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Harrison's Garage - 440/A4/Focus/Granada/Mini/MX-5


rob88h

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Volvo 480 – M270 AAF - Indication of things to come?

The Indicators are bleedin' working! It was the fuse. (A blown fuse is indication of something wrong somewhere I know, but my head is firmly buried in the sand). Now if I can get the Info Center contrast/lighting back to something remotely visible when driving, it'll all be champion 😀

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-->NEW CAR INCOMING<--

It wasn’t intentional, I’m trying to reduce my car count, but I had to save this next purchase from being scrapped. There are only 5 left on UK roads!

No more to give away now, maybe a collection thread, my intention is to sell it straight on in this Forum, probably as a mega cheap £5 Roffle because it’d help a lucky new owner have better economics for doing some repairs for the next MOT. In fact, idea! I might start this off as a mystery car Roffle?

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Harrison’s History – #47 Suzuki Baleno S950 ERR

The V5C arrived in the post today, back up to 6 cars, damn. I’d best tell the story.

I had a narrow miss on a local Corsa D that was offered to me recently that was selling at WeBuyAnyCar price and was even going to be delivered so I didn’t have to tax and insure. There was someone who wanted to take a look at it first and fortunately THEY bought it. Less than a week later a close friend was letting his Suzuki Baleno go after many years and over 100,000 miles faithful service to the family. Basically, he couldn’t bring himself to scrap it but also couldn’t find anyone to buy it; enter me. “The gang at AS will snap this up” I thought, saving this quirky little thing, but I’m having to perform a bit of an expectation management adjustment having shifted less than 10% of Roffle tickets, even at £5 a go. It could be that it only has two and a half months MOT and is surely to fail the next one on a cracked windscreen at the least... The burden for now is with me it seems...

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(Edit to the graph: now 4 licenced as I’ve put this one on SORN)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Suzuki Baleno - S950 ERR - a farewell

I needn't have stressed. I knew this forum would come good. In a little under two weeks the Baleno has gone off to it's new owner, and from what I can tell it's being enjoyed and has a shot at a new MOT. The perfect result for this stalwart car which was likely to have been scrapped without our intervention. Obligatory leaving photo 😪

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It's an absolute cracker, and immense fun to blezz about in 😄 It somehow manages to steer and corner like a small hatchback, while cruising calmly on M-ways like a bigger saloon. Far more torque than you'd expect, too - I accidentally lit up the unworn Goodyears on a roundabout this morning while changing up into 2nd. I genuinely haven't had it over 3.5k revs, either - it just makes me grin at any speed.

Currently scouring eBay for slim-cut double-breasted suits and a flip-phone with a pull-out aerial.

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It's the infamous racing pedigree that a Baleno has that becomes abundantly clear when you drive one.

1997: 24 Heures Francorchamps (DNF, broken UJ). Ignore that.

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1998: Undeterred by the previous year's performance and with Electrolux bank rolling them, 26th was achieved, 21 places gained from grid. Blezzin'

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1999: Damn. Broken engine - which I don't believe for a second from a Suzuki.

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There's an even better turnout for the Baleno in the WRC scene 🤣, although strangely it's favoured by the estates. Never even seen one of them in the wild! 9 entries across 8 races. This was a rabbithole I very much went down...

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Engine failure in Australia 1997, accidents in New Zealand and China 1999 and a "mecha   nical" in Cyprus 2000, presumable not boot related.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Mercedes 300TD - KHM 73W

I got a text out of the blue today with the best of news! The big beige S123 I sold earlier in the year (because I didn't think I had the commitment and mental resilience to keep it going) has just passed it's MOT with it's new owner. I can't express how happy this makes me, but I'm sure this is the only community that can empathise the joy of finding that a car you loved but sold because it was merely hanging on to life has survived another year.

The glorious mad bastard new owner is getting new innerwings and a respray for it too. 😁

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2 minutes ago, rob88h said:

Volvo 440 - M93 CEC 

I was doing some work on the cooling system recently that had me warming up the car with the bonnet up.

That'll be the cold misfire diagnosed then. Wonder what this looks like in the dark 😜

It's like 1985 all over again.  Just going to the garage in the dark to see what's going on. 

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Volvo 440 – M93 CEC – Hot Swede

I’ve not used the Volvo much lately, but annoyingly, with a week to go before I needed it for a decent length planned trip, I was greeted with this:

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It all happened very quickly, and this from a car with no “priors” for overheats. Lucky for me, I was at the top of my estate when the light came on (/when I noticed it), so I was able to roll home with ignition on so the fan would keep running. Once on the drive, finding the problem was not too hard.

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What then followed was replacing all the knackered jubilee clamps, which was partially satisfying. Only partially because I noticed that everything I was replacing was a clamp I’d already replaced several years ago when I’d had to change the radiator because of a slow leak. All the original OEM clamps on the back of the engine and heatercore and stuff are still in fine condition. I needed the car running so put more crappy ones on (crappy ones from the same bag as the one’s from several years ago). Intentions are to change them again at some point, hopefully before the seven year corrosion limit.

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And after a refill and bleed the Volvo earned back some trust by completing a 600 mile day without fault.

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - Hot Swede

I think I got away with it. No signs of HGF so far. I got the engine off pretty quick and the guage continued to climb up there as the heat soaked. With the speed it was rising I sort of knew it'd dumped it's coolant, so I thought losing the waterpump in turning off the engine of vs. stopping extra heat from combustion was a fair trade given the water pump would be doing nothing if there was no coolant.

It did the long journey last weekend, no troubles. 👍 I'm just a bit slow at posting

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Volvo 440 - M93 CEC

Trying to post this from my mobile, maybe I have the skills, maybe I don’t. Sod waiting for a gap in the weather though, I’ve fitted new Lucas leads and Bosch plugs in the rain. One at a time to not mess up the order 😉
The good news is the under bonnet lightning show is over and it no longer drops down to 3 cylinder mode. However, it’s still a bit idley all over the place. Probably because it’s cold and it seems do deal with cold idling with a fuelling random number generator. 
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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - MOT season

Ford Focus - WF08 JMV - Exhausted

I'd said 10,000 miles of neglect was next up for the Focus, but that has not strictly been followed... It's MOT is coming up in Jan and every year it gets an advisory for a missing (rusted clean off) exhaust hanger. The rest of the exhaust seems passable (and coincidently does keep passing) but in a moment of feeling flush due to Covid19 related social life deletion, I splashed out on a full post flex-joint exhaust system with fitting 👍. Having replaced the exhaust on the Volvo in stages over the summer, I took one look outside at the weather and picked up the phone. Three year warranty too, better than what I'd give myself for the work I did on the Volvo.

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I've also spotted that one of the inboard CV joints has thrown its grease so will need replacing. Having looked on YouTube, it seems to be an air tools make life easier kind of job, so maybe another one I'm going to pay to go away. Winter messes with motivation for jobs like this. I really need to free up my garage from its MX-5 shaped blockage! 

After paying someone to fit the exhaust I paid someone to wash it and clean the inside. Mojo boost. Looking good!

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Volvo 440 – M93 CEC – Failed its MOT

Bloody 5.3.6 (a) (i)! This has annoyed me more than is should, but to tell the full story I need to go back a car…

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Volvo 480 – M270 AAF – Failed its MOT

This one was inevitable. Planned welding was being undertaken to the 480 rear arches, rear sections of sill, inner wheel well and the lead into the boot floor. To check it wasn’t good money after bad so to speak the garage did an MOT inspection so we could get everything done that needed doing all at the same time. (That’s actually how the front of the boot floor rust was found). There was a whole host of failures on this car, but it was never “readied” for an MOT, other than doing the brakes, which I did in advance as an easy job to keep spending down. The biggest problem was this (on both sides):

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Not many 480’s around and I bought this one knowing the rust, but blah blah its always worse than it looks self-fulfilling prophecy et al, so the plunge was taken to repair it all with some nice new Skandix panels (both sides) to boot, well rear quarter panel, but you get the pun.

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Two months later (I get the “inbetween jobs” rate, which has the added benefit of keeping more space on my drive as most of the time I have something at the garage being welded!) and the job is looking like this:

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Next step is the panel and paint shop to grind back, clean up and paint. I’m usually happy with the job at this garage, the Puma they did for me was outstanding, so I’m looking forward to the end result. After that a few niggly MOT problems and it should be back on the road and greatly improved since I bought it.

Volvo 440 – M93 CEC – (5.3.6(a)(i))

Back to the 440. Now I have two green M-reg Volvo 400’s with two fail sheets supporting 5.3.6(a)(i), four times in total. By the garage’s own admission, the paperwork and work scheduling is getting confusing. I hadn’t expected the 440 to fail on rust this year, it’s only two years since the inner wheel wells were welded and 5 years(cite?) since the rear arches were replaced. I’d start saying some things don’t last forever, but I’ve seen that Acclaim on this forum, so if that can live this thing has surely got more years in it! Here it was before the test, radiating promise of being mint* but secretly harbouring entrenched grot.

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Looks like they’ve joggled them back to make it easier to fill. Don’t know it that’s a thing. I saw it with the old arch lips cut out while they were repairing where the inner arch comes to meet the outer, so I know there’s nothing lurking underneath thankfully. 

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Volvo 440 - M93 CEC - MOT to 2022!

I got the good news on the 440 through a notification on one of my car organiser Apps! The welding must be complete and the re-test is passed. The 440 is now looking at survival into 2022 😀

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With the Volvo’s away at the garage I revived the Mini (just in case I had somewhere to go) and warmed it up having not turned it over in many months. Must try harder, I’ve barely used it this year!
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On 11/10/2020 at 9:38 PM, rob88h said:

There's an even better turnout for the Baleno in the WRC scene 🤣, although strangely it's favoured by the estates. Never even seen one of them in the wild! 9 entries across 8 races. This was a rabbithole I very much went down...

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Engine failure in Australia 1997, accidents in New Zealand and China 1999 and a "mecha   nical" in Cyprus 2000, presumable not boot related.

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I noticed a W reg Baleno estate in my nearest town that I see semi regularly only after my parents bought a modern Baleno hatchback. I'm sure the old one is fine, never been near it but I can confirm the modern is also surprisingly good.

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1 hour ago, rob88h said:

Let me know the moment a for sale sign goes up in it🤣, I’d be heading straight over to buy it lol! I think the estate could be had as 4WD if what I’ve seen on YouTube is to be believed, and probably why it was always the estate in WRC. 

I really like the idea of a decent awd choddy estate or hatchback. Especially if it's full time awd rather than in demand. Though I'd have either I suppose. I came close to buying a Jaguar X type estate two years ago.

The Mazda 6 could be had in AWD, and not the turbo charged mps either!

But yes the Suzuki Baleno awd sounds ideal as a choddy load lugger. I've no idea if the local one is or not. I've not seen it much this year thanks to lockdowns. If I notice it I'll let you know.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Volvo 440 – M93 CEC – Weldreading

I got some photo’s through from the garage of the recent weld job on the 440. It has made me reflect that it’s getting a bit weldy this thing.

Consulting my nerdy little tracker I keep on this car, “serious” welding started in 2017 and it has had bouts in 2018 and now 2020. It’s starting to visually scab up on the outside too, door bottoms, base of front wings and probably soon plastic parts the rate it’s going.

The Mini and the MX-5 have forever been pretty much terminally rotten since I’ve had them, and I’m ok with that, but the rust on the 440 is getting on my nerves!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ford Focus – WFob – MOT success

First* time, get in! Well, I say first time, it actually went down as a fail first, but on a bulb so minor the garage just took the initiative, replaced it, then retested it. Annoying because I’d changed that exact bulb 10 minutes before, albeit with an old one from a damp cardboard box in my garage. The bulb holder is kind of burnt, M.O.T man mentioned that too, so he obviously had to go in there… Anyway, recently my MOT’s have been taking a few days/(months in the case of the Volvo 480) so I’m pleased with it. Especially considering this is the first test since its little write-off scare accident and subsequent home brewed repair, so it’s an extra special feeling of survival getting it here.

It’s getting close on its arbitrary mission now, only 10,000 miles to go to beat the Civic predecessor.

On 6/18/2020 at 12:19 PM, rob88h said:

We got to 155,000 in that Civic – so that’s the benchmark for the Focus.

I’ll have to think up a new arbitrary mission if this survives another 10k lest I fall out of love with it based on its lack of purpose.

The advisories are all boring and in hand. The front numberplate was cracked from the accident (surprisingly the donor car couldn’t help there), the rear numberplate grottiness has finally succumbed to MOT advisory levels of grim – it was always weird, like a sticker on a black plastic plate and it was peeling vertically in the middle. Front tyre wear – mostly inner edge and finally a minor exhaust gas leak. Tyres are already changed with new like-for-like Goodyears with alignment to hopefully sort out the wear pattern. The car’s going back to the exhaust shop for a free exhaust re-fit. I’d only just had it fitted in December grumble grumble, proves my Volvo exhaust job was no worse than a professional job… as both MOT’s are blighted with minor gas leak marker.

Have a picture of the replacement rear plate I had to borrow from my wall of fame numberplates collection. I hate crooked numberplates, not sure if I’m happy with the fitment or if I’m imagining things. 

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Austin Mini – A-WOV – Better than an MOT

Two out of the five have MOT now, with a third “in progress” at the garage, so I’ve decided not to get an MOT on the  Mini right now and have instead got it booked in with a Mini specialist for some substantial bodywork repairs. It starts in May (hopefully). I’m well into the sunk cost fallacy with this little grot bag having done the floors, sills and subframes, but it’s got everything I want, 10” steelies, centre clock, good colour combo, so why shouldn’t I keep going on it even though it’s not a more financially worthwhile 60’s Mini… is my thinking.

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My wife likes this one too, plucky little survivor, who wouldn’t, so maybe this is the gateway for her into my car world.

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - 440/A4/Focus/Granada/Mini/MX-5
  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - 440/Focus/Granada/Mini/MX-5

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