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


rob88h

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On 3/30/2021 at 6:30 PM, rob88h said:

I tell my wife I'm building up momentum to be able to get on with my other cars to the point where I almost believe it myself now

Being a motivational guru following the above philosophy, I managed to pop out the pop ups (easier said than done) on the 480. One needs a new motor and t'other needs new hinges, all of which are ready to go, but once out I detected quite a bit of free movement of the lenses in their pods or whatever they're called. Predictably the little white ball-and-socket sockets for beam adjustment are turning to dust. I had this problem on the 440 and ended up buying a whole new car for that just to get the lights, but with 480 prices being the way they are, that may not be the most sensible solution.

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I have two potential solutions:

  1. Order some similar BMW ones that apparently should work (boring)
  2. I've found a CAD file and can ask the Father-in-Law to 3D print me some (way more exciting)

Because he didn't answer the phone I've gone for option 1 to start with, but I'm secretly hoping to have to resort to option 2.

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The Volvo 480 has been the next focus of my attentions. I bought it in July 2020 for a planned trip in December, which obviously never happened. I would have sold it by now if 2020 hadn't been a broken failure of a year and I'd made my road trip on time, but as we're starting to gain more freedoms planning for the 5th Biennial Lands End to John O'Groats has re-commenced. It's time to start dailying the 480 to gain some confidence in its reliability.

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - Step up 480

Volvo 480

From the spoilers posted earlier, it’s clear that the lights are now working. Being true to Volvo 480 form however there is some odd electrical behaviour with the new motor. Sometimes it very very slowly rises and does so in pulses – as if it’s sort of trying to work out its position and range, but I’m sure it’s not that clever – and sometimes it straight-up goes mental, popping up and down like a mad bastard until finally settling after 5 or so cycles. It’s happening quite infrequently so I’ve not managed to capture this hilarity on camera.

What I did capture however was the new beam adjusters fix (and I oiled up the old ones to reduce the chance of them exploding if they’re called upon in the future). I’m not sure if it’s a harsh environment near a light or the wrong plastics get used but I’ve had to do this sort of thing on several cars now! These were from some BMW something or other as suggested by 480 forum. 👍 I take great satisfaction in mixing brands, though in reality it's probably all from the same crap headlight clip supplier.

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It wouldn’t be a frustrating job-not-quite-jobbed without the above intermittent motor issue and the fact I got the alignment wrong on the first attempt (see the right (stage left) pop-up in the last photo). Frustrating it's not be a big green tick, but greatly improved nonetheless and since these pictures I’ve got the alignment and gaps all sorted. All I’m left with is the character enhancing silly motor performance.

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Volvo 480 – Update: the next bit

Welding was a thing that kept this car off the road over winter. Someone else did all the work, so there’s not much for me to say. I’m happy with the job, particularly where you can’t see and where I haven’t photographed, LOL – in the wheel wells and the joins to the boot floor. It was a real mess there.

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As with all welding ever, things were worse than they first appeared, but amazingly external repair panels were available! and the shop I use for welding made up the inner arch and wheel well pieces. These areas are a weak spot on the 400 series Volvos. Neither of mine are original here now, but I’m happy this is sorted for a while longer. 

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3 minutes ago, rob88h said:

Pneumatic on the Lotus? That's a real mans game keeping them working.

Yes, spring up / vacuum down on these, so at least they fail up unlike the earlier Elan. Mine go down when the engine’s running but the light switch is broken 🙄

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Nice to see a 480 getting some love, one saved from the scrapper at least. Are you on the 480 Club Europe Forums? It is a magical place for all things wedge. I decided that a 480 was just perfect as my first car, and they have been very helpful in getting mine back up to health after 15 years in a garage 

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28 minutes ago, MisterH said:

Are you on the 480 Club Europe Forums?

I frequent it, but alas I am not a member. I really should join though, it's a really valuable resource, better than some clubs I've looked for information from - I can't count the amount of times I've found something that I've needed; from dash dismantling to wiring diagrams to brake work. My car may even be known over there as I bought it from a chap who said it came from a 5 car 480 collection. Surely a club member... It used to be on a private plate YYJ 247

One of the problems I have though is I change my car so often that I rarely get involved in one-model clubs, so something like AutoShite suits me better.

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8 minutes ago, rob88h said:

I frequent it, but alas I am not a member. I really should join though, it's a really valuable resource, better than some clubs I've looked for information from - I can't count the amount of times I've found something that I've needed; from dash dismantling to wiring diagrams to brake work. My car may even be known over there as I bought it from a chap who said it came from a 5 car 480 collection. Surely a club member... It used to be on a private plate YYJ 247

One of the problems I have though is I change my car so often that I rarely get involved in one-model clubs, so something like AutoShite suits me better.

Interesting, yeah I aspire to have a fleet of interestingness* but I just love the atmosphere on there, exceedingly kind. I know of some which have that many, did you by any chance get it from the south coast, there is a guy called keith down here who has a collection including the oldest survivor. That being said I have never seen another 480 on the road, except in Bosnia, when I first discovered they existed...

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21 minutes ago, MisterH said:

yeah I aspire to have a fleet of interestingness*

1988 Volvo 480ES, 1994 Rover 220GSi 3dr, 1986 Audi quattro WR - looks like you're there!

My 480 seemed to spend most of its life between Par, Cornwall and Leigh-On-Sea, Essex (amazing what you learn reading all the receipts 🤓). I'm thinking someone had a second home, LOL. I picked it up from the Essex side of it's life.

26 minutes ago, MisterH said:

I have never seen another 480 on the road

I'm lucky, there is another in my village that I keep seeing. It has no doubt kept them subconsciously high up in my agenda, but also we've had a 440 in the family since new which has been mine for the last 6 or 7 years. That has always kept me grounded in the Volvo 400 series.

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11 minutes ago, rob88h said:

1988 Volvo 480ES, 1994 Rover 220GSi 3dr, 1986 Audi quattro WR - looks like you're there!

My 480 seemed to spend most of its life between Par, Cornwall and Leigh-On-Sea, Essex (amazing what you learn reading all the receipts 🤓). I'm thinking someone had a second home, LOL. I picked it up from the Essex side of it's life.

I'm lucky, there is another in my village that I keep seeing. It has no doubt kept them subconsciously high up in my agenda, but also we've had a 440 in the family since new which has been mine for the last 6 or 7 years. That has always kept me grounded in the Volvo 400 series.

Mmm tasty, do love a 440, the car the 480 fell on its sword to propogate. I think there is talk of a 480 invasion of one of the Haynes breakfast club meets, 4th June I think, if you are interested....

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Volvo 480 - Electrical gremlins ad infinitum

Using a car more means little details, like dash lighting, become more annoying. Especially as the fuel and temperatures are digital and invisible during the day. I’d tried to fix something I didn’t know was broken a few months ago when I had the binnacle PCB out to repair the odometer gears. There was a visibly broken track which I tried to bridge with solder but didn’t think much more of it.

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Also, I’d not really considered the fact one of the dash bulbs had its own “previous owner” wiring direct to the bulb. Anyway, long story short I was really happy to have repaired the ODO, but I was now blowing fuses if I asked the 480 to indicate while the lights were on. Indicators and dash lights are on the same circuit…

I thought about re-visiting the PCB again and seeing if I could do things properly, but as mentioned when I was doing the ODO fix, some previous owner had soldered the dials direct to the PCB, so separating it all risks further damage each time. These instruments are notoriously fragile, so I decided I should reinstate the previous bodge rather than risk losing other functions. What they’d done was pick up a bulb from the headlights switch and wired it into the binnacle from the back of the bulb.

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I decided to replace the twisted together and taped connection with a more permanent solder and shrink wrap job as my token improvement.

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With that, temporary success was declared, the Info Centre now lights up and I can see how much fuel I have!

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I say temporary because although I can now see the fuel gauge, what it was telling me was complete poppycock. I was minding my own business driving around when I started to notice a droning from the rear somewhere that had been getting louder and louder. Sitting in traffic I started to think; is the aerial trying to pop-up? (motored aerial back there), maybe it’s the fuel pump? Then I thought about it and it’s been months since I filled up with petrol. Last year in fact. I continued to drive until I came across a petrol station without a great deal of fear as the tank was supposedly half full. I managed to fit over 63 Litres into a 60 Litre tank, so I’m thinking I came quite close to running out there 🤣

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I’ve since done about 400 miles and after 300 the tank was showing half full again and It only took 30 litres to fill up – so this may have fixed itself. I’m thinking having had the dash in and out it needed to calibrate itself somehow and a nice brim job seemed to fix that.

Despite the potential self-fix there, I still maintain temporarily fixed because during those 400 miles the Info Centre has gone completely blank twice, leaving me with no indication of fuel. In its defence it has come back to life both times seemingly as randomly as it died, but still, my trip is now my fuel gauge.

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One more bit of fun. When I reconnected everything up to test it, I could control the speedo with the brake pedal – and not in the conventional slowing the car down way! In this video I’ve got ignition on, engine not running and I’m pressing the brake.

It did it less and less each time playing with it and now doesn’t do it anymore, which is no fun.

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Hey. You can check the calibration of the fuel tank by brimming the fuel tank, switching the Info Centre to either “Range” or “Fuel Average”, holding the grey button on the Info Centre switch and switching the ignition on. 

(FYI one position displays the Litres and the other the resistance of the fuel tank sender).  
 

You can adjust the figure with a little screwdriver adjusting the potentiometer between the two grey buttons on the Info Centre switch.  
 

In theory, you can pull the potentiometer blank out with a pin but I’ve never managed it as always have to disassemble the switch first. You may be lucky though! 

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Thanks @jamescarruthers, I’ll try that if I get more problems. I think* brimming it (and flicking through the various modes) combined with the fact the dash has stayed in the car between fill ups for a change has sorted it. It just needed to learn where full was after a reset I guess.  
 

What do you know about the Info Centre temp gauge? I’m always reading “Cold” now. The engine cooling fan cuts in when seems sensible, but if it’s like other digital systems I guess it has one sensor for the engine and another for the dash?  It did read temps last year but I know how fragile these Info Centres can be... Oil temp  is working, so I’m not blind, but I’d like to get the coolant temp to display too if I can. 

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1 minute ago, rob88h said:

Thanks @jamescarruthers, I’ll try that if I get more problems. I think* brimming it (and flicking through the various modes) combined with the fact the dash has stayed in the car between fill ups for a change has sorted it. It just needed to learn where full was after a reset I guess.  
 

What do you know about the Info Centre temp gauge? I’m always reading “Cold” now. The engine cooling fan cuts in when seems sensible, but if it’s like other digital systems I guess it has one sensor for the engine and another for the dash?  It did read temps last year but I know how fragile these Info Centres can be... Oil temp  is working, so I’m not blind, but I’d like to get the coolant temp to display too if I can. 

You are right, the engine has different sensors for temperature depending on what is being fed:

- to the engine ECU (under the No. 1 spark plug, distributor cap end). This will have a blue two wire plug on your car. This will not be your problem as you say it is running fine.

- to the Info Centre, near the thermostat. If it is disconnected, it will say “Cold” so you may have an easy win here if you find it and plug it back in! Im told if you short the pin to ground it will say “STOP!” and that you can test it with a 68 Ohm resistor to ground to display 100 deg. C to check the wiring. This is just a single pin connector.

- to the fan: this is hidden in the nose cone I think but again not your problem  in this instance.

 

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Do join us at the 480 Club Europe forum, there is plenty of help available and we are looking in to doing our next few mobile mini meets which are great fun!

The Speedo being interfered with by the brake pedal doesn’t seem good! I think MisterH, who replied above, can help you with how to make sure your electronic speedo sensor has its shielded ground wire correctly installed. If not, you may need your dash to go to our Dash Doctor as there may be some interference... although yours sounds and looks like it might be better to replace with one with its mileage adjusted!

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15 hours ago, jamescarruthers said:

although yours sounds and looks like it might be better to replace with one with its mileage adjusted!

It wouldn't be the first time 😂.

Because I are nerd, I made this graph from old paper MOTs and the more recent digital records. The Odometer has changed at least twice, and the entire binnacle certainly isn't original as it has paint pen markings on it as if it has come from a breaker.

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By my estimation though, it's about the right mileage. It's over reading if you do the maths, but there's no accounting for mileage done when the ODO has been broken...

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - Granada

I did a buy!

Harrison's History #49 - Ford Granada, 336 PR 87 (mais oui!)

I've just achieved my primary car-life goal and bought myself a brown mk1 Granada. I didn't really think I would ever get to own one, but I took the plunge when just the right level of grot showed up. After 15 years of having eBay notifications set for "Granada", I can finally delete it. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

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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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