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Harrison's Garage - Focus No.6


rob88h

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  • 3 weeks later...

(ULEZ trigger warning).

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Like many here I don’t like to see a good car scrapped due to the ULEZ expansion, so I took on this mk1 Focus on a mission to save it from being another victim. The vague plan: Speculative MOT and obtain an emissions Certificate of Conformity – as although these 1.8 Petrol Zetecs are Euro 3, and registered such, the NOx emissions are well under the ULEZ requirement! The DVLA don’t record the NOx amount on the V5, only the CO2 (for tax calculation) and Emissions class, and the TFL use the DVLA database for working out guessing NOx compliance... The result is loads of cars have compliant NOx figures, but don’t meet ULEZ by default. There is a process to rectify this on a case-by-case basis though. 😊

Ford are providing free copies of Certificates of Conformity for vaguely appropriate build years, which is an official document detailing the VIN and homologated emissions values (and some other stuff) all signed by an official. You can then submit this to TFL along with the V5 and they manually update their local database to allow that registration to show as "meets ULEZ". I presume other CAZs run similar schemes.

CoC in hand, everything was submitted to TFL for a decision.

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Meanwhile it went for MOT.

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Ironically, it was a huge NOPE on emissions. I watched the guy run it through several times including something with a mug of water for one of the probes on the test equipment. I’d given it an Italian tune up on the way in and everything. The worst of it was the rot though.

Once home I took the dreaded sill covers off and wheel arch liners out and after a good fingering… Hmmm. No.

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TFL got back to me merely 2 hours after the Focus had been dragged away for scrap, accepting the Certificate of Conformity but asking for all four pages of the V5C. Not sure why they need page three and the completely blank page four, but that went with the car, so unsatisfyingly the story ends here. At the very least it was scrapped on its own merit in the end!

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I did squeeze almost another 1000 miles out of this Focus in the weeks leading up to its death. A good last hurrah over to South Wales and back. They are great cars to drive. About a decade ago I had an insurance-cost-mandated 1.4L 3 door and this 1.8L is a much better engine to have. Plenty of poke (vs. a 14E Citroen BX). I think I want another.

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Wunk was a pretty presentable prospect at £notmuch, but had some big ticket problems making it an easy decision to not invest much time and money in keeping it going after the MOT news. The engine mounts were totally toast, making it sound and feel quite rough, the clutch feel wasn’t great, mileage was over 180,000 when I finished with it, it was previously written off and salvaged on the V5, the exhaust leaked, the intake was cracked and it hunted like Genghis Kahn. Emissions were nowhere near the MOT standard and that rust, particularly up the nearside rear wheel well was pretty bad. Any one of those things and I’d have probably got stuck in, but all together I decided to scrap it while I could break even.

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage

It’s time I got some MOT’s, the “on the road count” is 2 out of 6! The target is 4 out of 6. The furthest away of the closest to test ready is the Mini, so that’s some great middle of the road procrastination to start with.

One task is to make the screen wash more reliably. For the last 5 or so years I have only one jet or mostly none at all. Every year I have to revive the screen wash jets with pins, needles and compressed air for the MOT, and every year it never seems to last more than a few weeks. Time for a complete refresh!

Here’s what lives (accurate description) in the screen wash bottle:

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I tried soaking the hoses in all kinds of cleaners, but for the price of it I just decided to replace all the hoses and the spray nipple things.

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The bottle got scrubbed and disinfected to within an inch of its life:

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All reassembled and ready for the MOT man. This should last more than a week.

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Next it needs a new alternator. Not for the MOT specifically, the old one is charging but the bearing is toast and that’s why I stopped driving it and let the MOT lapse in the first place. New one incoming, although I probably can recondition the old one and keep it as a spare. After that, I think just a bit of presentability work and a driveway pre-test (bulbs and bits) and I’ll stick it in for a test and see.

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12 hours ago, Bren said:

Have you touched the granada?

I shimmy past it in the carport most days if that’s what you mean 😅

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I do love the look of that Mini. I guess this is its last officially required MoT given the age of it. My A-reg was registered in October 1983 so becomes MoT/Tax exempt this April.

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6 minutes ago, Tommyboy12 said:

I guess this is its last officially required MoT given the age of it

From memory mine’s from  June/July ‘84, so goes MOT exempt this year (at 40) and Tax exempt April 2025, tax year after it’s 40. I’m not going to bother trying to get a build date as I doubt it’ll tax exempt it any earlier, can’t imagine Minis sat long unregistered back in the early 80’s. 
Plan it to keep going for MOTs to force me to keep it vaguely safe. 

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In 2023 the 440 wasn't having a good time. It snapped it's cambelt (oops, my bad) and was breaking out in rust, with a hole in the sill and the bottom of the drivers door and wing disintegrating fast (also probably my bad). Basically sustained neglect.

On 22/05/2023 at 17:23, rob88h said:

The rust on the sill and along the bottom of the drivers door and wing hasn’t magically fixed itself though unfortunately.

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Well 2023 was also a busy* year for it and now It's back! I've just recently picked it up from the body shop.

Nothing lasts forever - but I'd thrown financial caution to the wind to give the Volvo some more years! I found it a decent second hand door, albeit the wrong trim and colour, a NOS Volvo front wing and supplied it and them to a local bodyshop. They did the rest.., crafting sill repairs and other behind the scene repairs where necessary. It's a really nice job, I can't find the paint blend at all, even when it's dry. Both sides of the door and shuts are the right colour and the trims are all swapped over. Essentially you wouldn't know it's repaired. Well, I wouldn't. 

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Don't get me wrong the car is not mint, but what was the worst bit is now not the worst bit 🙂. It's MOT'd until 2025 too. Hopefully it'll do more than 2000 miles this year.

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - The Volvo's back! Resplendent Respray.

Storm Henk foced an issue. Since the summer two of the Moped Collective have been living outside huddled under a motorbike cover. They're only small, bless 'em, so they happily shared one cover. Well, they blew over the other week and the cover got shredded flapping around in the wind on all those glorious rusty edges. The only natural overreaction on my part was to declare it's all shit, they're shit, and I should sell the bastards. 

First out was PUB_D (aka GFS_D)

Linking Sale thread here for my own posterity as I had some FaceBook Market Place Fun

 

After sucessfully selling one project the burden of The Moped Collective felt lessened. I was actually sad to see it go and it invicorated me to get the others going again, so I'm keeping them for now. The dream is to Buzz around the Isle of Man TT course, at 20mph, with a mate.

To save my dramatics, I've put them in the shed - can't blow over in the shed.

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The Volvo was being a right ungrateful bastard after lavishing out on the bodywork - and was not running very well at all. 

Diagnosis (murder)

Always misfiring when hot

Misfire is on cylinder 4 (when pulling HT leads)

Misfire stays with cylinder 4 when swapping leads over

Identified oily around the base distributor cap (cylinder 4 at the bottom)

The cap is full of crap

Dammit!

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To be honest, I’m not even annoyed it was breaking down now, not even the memory of it - I’m just amazed it ran as well as it did, let alone at all. The state of that oil. Oh dear.

Anyway, this is AutoShite, so you’ll be pleased to know I scooped out the crud, washed it in WD40 and didn’t address why it got like this. It’s running bob-on now though. 

I think it’s probably some sort of failed oil seal from the camshaft to rotor arm spindle. 

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage

The Focus gained another year’s MOT earlier in January. Days before the test it gained an exhaust knock. 🙄

  • Central Front Exhaust mounting defective (6.1.2 (a))

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Annoyingly this is on the expensive bit of the exhaust, with all the catalysts, so it was going to cost over £700 to replace. I then didn’t get around to taking it for a welding quote and thankfully Wesacosa showed me an AutoShite approved repair approach.

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Mint.

It has also developed a bit of a wobble after a walloping with a pothole.

  • Nearside Front Road wheel slightly distorted (5.2.2 (c) (i))
  • Nearside Rear Road wheel slightly distorted (5.2.2 (c) (i))

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These are steel wheels too! No worries though, Facebook MarketPlace to the rescue. 

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The new tyres are old, so I’ll get the garage to put my tyres on. 
 

So it’s 190k not out, as Bornite would say. There are some Eyersey mileage moments coming up to keep me interested in the Focus. 192k=doubled the mileage since purchase, 196k=100k with us and finally the big 200k. 

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The cycle of neglect continues, …but jumpstarting off a spare battery in gear has freed the stuck clutch. Win. I should just book an MOT to make me have to get it ready.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 16/04/2023 at 06:56, rob88h said:

Replacing the heater control cable on the diesel Focus “NGOB” (silent G) was possibly one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had to do on a car. 

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Oh bum. The Focus has lost heat control. This was a truly horrid job to fix on the other Focus. 
For now I’ve just gone elbow deep in the dashboard to make it hot behind the scenes. If I’m lucky it’ll stay winter forever and I won’t have to fix it. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 05/02/2024 at 18:09, rob88h said:

I should just book an MOT to make me have to get it ready.

I did book an MOT yet I didn’t get it ready! So that plan didn’t really work. Last night was pretty fraught as a result. Things that needed doing included: reinstalling the battery, de-bioharzarding the interior, reinstalling the carpets,  preflight checks and delivering to the MOT garage. Changing the alternator can wait, we’re down to essentials, and yes, the interior clean is essential  

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Home Bargains mould spray and Detol (because panic) were liberally applied to the interior surfaces with reams of kitchen roll. Now the interior smells of bleach and not that kind of textured furry smell that makes you want to cough. 
The battery plopped in nicely and I could only hope that it’ll hold charge overnight after completely draining it over the last few months. The carpets went in (they pretty much only go in once a year for the MOT these days). I checked all the simple bits like lights, horn, screen wash, “stuff”, ran a sponge over it and declared it suitable to take to the Tester. 
It started up easily enough but I couldn’t select gear again like a few posts ago. Bugger. So, I started it again in gear, hopping on the starter and it gave-in just before I crashed into the side of the BX it was facing on the drive. This is not going well.

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It did make it to the MOT garage whereby I left it with one of its children for company (in this weird Blair Witch esque photo thanks to life in head torches)

Well, next day, imagine my surprise to find out that this little Mini Schitty passed its MOT with no advisories! Again! A very pleasing turn of events given my ill preparedness and general neglect over another winter out in the open for the poor thing. In theory this was the last MOT this wee beasty needs as well, but I’d still like to get it annual checks. 

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Here we are back at home, again at night in Blair Witch mode. 
I feel like I owe this car some love, or at the very least more maintenance in thanks for putting in a good performance. Roll on daylight. + free time. + no rain. 

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  • rob88h changed the title to Harrison's Garage - Mini City, back on the road!

easy clutch change on them did one outside police station.drove yellow one all the way to stranrae and back...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 16/04/2023 at 06:56, rob88h said:

Replacing the heater control cable on the diesel Focus “NGOB” (silent G) was possibly one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had to do on a car. 

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The secret to its frustration is the simplicity of its intended procedure: two push in clips, two peg and hoop connections. The reality is there is so much the-rest-of-the-car in the way. 
The entire dash I think is supposed to come out, but my level of commitment wasn’t that bold and I didn’t want to mess with the airbags, steering column, binnacle etc etc. 

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With a head torch donned, I lay in the footwell with my back breakingly arched diagonally over the sill and used a pick to tease out that white block. Over about an hour of experimenting with contortionist hand and forearm shapes whilst dropping various tools on my face there was really only one way onto the b@stard and eventually… it was out. 
Putting the new one in was just as hard. Quite probably another hour of being in a horrible position elbow deep in the sharp plastics side of the dashboard. I could either get good alignment or go pushing force, never both, until I summoned all my inner thumb phalange strength and sent it home. 
The other three connections were a doddle. Thank God. 

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I can now request heat of whatever temperature I want! Finally everything I had to strip out went back in the dash. Great success. 

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Less than a year has passed but I had to do this job again; on the other Focus this time. It's still just as hateful, even with the practise. One improvement I made was to use even more padding for my back as a lay upside-down across the sill with my head in the footwell  and my hands behind the dash for an hour doing a job akin to pulling a kidney stone through a urethra. 

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Hot and Cold can be requested and provided now. Lousy Smarch weather.

I also took the opportunity to strip out the digital radio as the signal was just as pants as the main radio.

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20 minutes ago, rob88h said:

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Less than a year has passed but I had to do this job again; on the other Focus this time. It's still just as hateful, even with the practise. One improvement I made was to use even more padding for my back as a lay upside-down across the sill with my head in the footwell  and my hands behind the dash for an hour doing a job akin to pulling a kidney stone through a urethra. 

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Hot and Cold can be requested and provided now. Lousy Smarch weather.

I also took the opportunity to strip out the digital radio as the signal was just as pants as the main radio.

I've done similar:

1) Passed a kidney stone

2) Crawled around in the footwell area to fix HVAC. There comes a point where it becomes easier to remove the front seat, put down a foam camping mattress and lie on the floor of the car.

Smarch is lousy. It's lovely and sunny here at the moment with shit rain forecast for the next few days. My shed project is half built and in danger of blowing away.

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Good for nothing, this weather.

Jobs like that which involve lying under and dismantling large parts of the dashboard are heading towards grounds for scrappage for me. Or at least paying someone else.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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I often forget how much and why I love my alternative motoring-lifestyle.

Running* six heaps is all too often just a never ending barrage of jobs of varying priority and can easily leave you wondering “why?!”

</fate_tempted> The Mini is a joy and recently I had to make a 150 mile journey - in the words of Ewan McGregor, Choose Shite

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2 hours ago, rob88h said:

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I often forget how much and why I love my alternative motoring-lifestyle.

Running* six heaps is all too often just a never ending barrage of jobs of varying priority and can easily leave you wondering “why?!”

</fate_tempted> The Mini is a joy and recently I had to make a 150 mile journey - in the words of Ewan McGregor, Choose Shite

Calendar shot!

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I love seeing slightly ratty old cars on the road. Ignoring the fact I'm a Mini fanatic it's great to see it out and about!

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