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phil_lihp

1977 Princess 1.8 HL - Saggy Brown Joy

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5 minutes ago, lesapandre said:

Not sure if you can get a Princess door under the seat on an Easyjet flight!

https://www.milanuncios.com/venta-de-coches-clasicos/austin-princess-2-000cc-95625842.htm?

 

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Quite possibly yes.  My friend moves all sorts of stuff between Ireland and Tenerife thanks to Easyjet.  He's moved a full 24 channel broadcast mixer before as "Sports Goods" so it's probably ok!  You have to pay, but it's cheaper and more reliable than shipping.

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What a shame, that would yield a few decent parts.  It'd be fun to go and get it on a trailer and bring the whole thing back but even if you could at the moment I doubt it would be remotely worth it.   Looks to be on its original numberplates just like mine so given the DVLA have forgotten about it, it has probably not seen UK shores in a very long time.  Another one for VA's Wedgister.

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They do keep popping up in the most unexpected places.  That one looks to be Reynard which is another of the really nice metallics they put on Princesses.  You probably could repair that one too, if you really wanted to, all the damage seems to be well behind the structural bits.

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Got a couple of hours on this today.  I ordered some new weather strips from Woolies Trim as recommended by someone on the Princess club site and they're a perfect fit - the old seals have lost some of their flexibility.

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I only did the front passenger one today as a test - takes some fiddling as you have to cut out around the trim clips and the old seal was hard work to get off as it had gone rock hard and brittle and had glued itself to the frame.  It's not perfect but I'm pleased with the end result.

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Just three more to do.  I had a tinker with the indicators as my new relay turned up but no life out of them yet, still working out the wiring and found a couple of issues including a chafed and very corroded wire in the loom by the bulkhead in the engine bay.  I cut back and repaired that with a heatshrink connector but no improvement, I have tested the wires and am getting some nice volts through the right wires but as of yet I've not got working indicators.  The hazards work fine so I know it must be the switch, the wiring or the relay, some further perusing of wiring diagrams in the Haynes is needed.

I've also refreshed the cooling system - I got a bit of a surprise as when I removed the crusty bottom hose, all that came out was dirt and some rusty powder, it was bone dry.  That would explain why it got stupendously hot when ticking over last weekend - I assumed a blockage somewhere as the header tank contained lovely green coolant and did not move a millimetre when the bottom hose was off.  Anyway, two new hoses, a new waterpump, tightened the belt correctly and filled it up.  The thermostat housing has welded itself to the block so I gave up and left it alone for now - the stat appears to be working fine anyway.

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The old waterpump was definitely worn out, it span very easily whereas the new one feels much tighter, but it did work.  I want to sort as many things like this now for peace of mind anyway, once I get it out on the road I am hoping to pre-empt as many issues as possible by doing plenty of preventative maintenance now.

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Just before I went in for some food I ran it up to temperature and to my surprise, after it warmed up the header tank started to bleed out air and changed from a lovely green colour to murky brown so I have no real idea why it stayed full when the rest of the system was empty.  It's good to see anyway, I will chuck some detergent in there tomorrow and bleed out some more air, the heater did sort of work but I suspect there's a lot of muck and air still in the system.  Leaving it running for 10-15 minutes showed no obvious leaks, it ran nicely and the temperature gauge sat nicely in the middle. 

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I had a brief moment of alarm when I left it ticking over to talk to a friend who walked past when a loud whining noise suddenly started - I turned the engine off while I finished talking and then went back to find out what had happened.  I eventually found it was the radiator fan which evidently has not taken kindly to waking up from a 28 year nap, it was working fine last year as I have video of it running fine but now it turns slowly and makes a horrible noise so I will look out for a new one.

Annoyingly my new oil filter hasn't turned up yet so I can't change the oil and then get it out for a little test run.  Never mind, patience is a virtue.

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It sounds like there was a blockage in the cooling system, would be worth back flushing with a hose or running up to temperature with a dishwasher tablet in? I look forward to your updates, It is great to see the car being brought back to life.

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Today the mouldy carpets met with some G101, a brush and a pressure washer, most of the nastier bits look a lot better now and there's a bit more pile showing, not much I can do about the fading but it will match the rest of the car.  I'll give them plenty of time outside to dry but they won't be going back in until the windscreen seal has been changed.  All the insulation dried out so it should smell a bit nicer inside when it's all back together.

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I've chucked some detergent in the cooling system which should clean that up a bit, I'll flush it through with a hose pipe and give it a few miles to check for leaks before it gets refilled with the correct green stuff.

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1 hour ago, phil_lihp said:

Today the mouldy carpets met with some G101, a brush and a pressure washer, most of the nastier bits look a lot better now and there's a bit more pile showing, not much I can do about the fading but it will match the rest of the car.  I'll give them plenty of time outside to dry but they won't be going back in until the windscreen seal has been changed.  All the insulation dried out so it should smell a bit nicer inside when it's all back together.

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I've chucked some detergent in the cooling system which should clean that up a bit, I'll flush it through with a hose pipe and give it a few miles to check for leaks before it gets refilled with the correct green stuff.

It is possible to gently dye carpets. I have seen it done somewhere (maybe here). Nice to keep the original carpets - all part of the character.

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1 hour ago, lesapandre said:

It is possible to gently dye carpets. I have seen it done somewhere (maybe here). Nice to keep the original carpets - all part of the character.

It was @vulgalour who cheered up a faded carpet and returned it to ORANGE! status.

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Yup, used Simply Spray which lasted reasonably well.  That said, this is a car that can pull off a faded carpet and, if the carpet is in good shape other than the fading then it's not something to worry about.  Problem with the indicators will most likely be a poor earth for the relay, or dirty contacts in the indicator switch, or both.  Sometimes, just leaving the stalk switched to one side or another for a while gets them to wake up again, not always, just sometimes. Fan probably has a dry bearing, I'm not sure if you can repack/replace the bearings on these or if it's a full fan motor replacement job.

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Been playing with the wiring this evening.  No idea if it's related to the indicators or not but there's some electrical gremlins in the dashboard anyway, when you switch the ignition on a lot of times the seat belt warning sign doesn't illuminate and I found the voltage on the indicator power to the relay was barely 1 volt, cycling the key a random number of times eventually gets the sign to light up and 11.5v or thereabouts on the indicator relay power wire.  Still no indicators on old or new relay though, the earth and power wires are fine so I think it must be the switch.  The hazard lights work fine.

The brake warning test switch/light doesn't seem to work but pretty much everything else does.  While I was fiddling with the wiring under the dash another dash light lit up, it's red and stays on with the ignition so I am assuming it's the oil pressure light.  I've been carefully unpicking scotchlocks related to the tow bar wiring, there's some bodged in spotlight wires and the radio wiring isn't much better either.  I've repaired a damaged red wire under the dash but it hasn't made any difference to the indicators yet.

The battery has gone a bit flat so it won't start this evening, I'll put it on charge tomorrow and try again.  There's a few other issues which might be earth related, one headlight only works when the full beams are on, the sidelights don't work at all and the rear fog light comes on with the rear lights.  

Fun!

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The chunky black rocker switches on the dash can be carefully dismantled and cleaned.  If you put your hand up behind the ashtray on the right, you can push the switches out of the dashboard from the back, then you can unplug them and prise open the casing carefully by getting a screwdriver between the body and the D shaped bit (makes sense when you see it).  The copper contacts inside go fuzzy and can cause weird intermittent faults.  Or the plug has come adrift, or the little bulb in the switch has blown.  Indicator issues is seeming to be more likely the switch itself from what you've said, could be dirty contacts, could be completely worn out.  I do have a spare stalk that's untested, again willing to donate if it's of use since it's the earlier design like your car has rather than the later design mine has.  I'm sending Thoughts and Prayers after your mention of scotchlocks. 

From memory, the top row is green for dipped beam, blue for main beam, green for indicators.  Bottom row is red for oil, amber for ignition, red for... something I've forgotten hazard lights, amber for choke. Early cars have the brake test switch, later ones did away with it and replaced it with a handbrake warning light.

Was racking my brains to remember all the wiring problems I've fixed on mine and the only other thing I could think of that you haven't already mentioned (unless I missed it and you have) is a bad fuse.  I think the indicators are on a different fuse to the hazards, again from memory because I cba right now to go out to the garage to get the book or look under the bonnet at the actual fuse box.  At least the fusebox is easy to get to, sitting right at the top of the inner wing near the bulkhead in the engine bay on the driver's side, and it takes those bullet 'ceramic' fuses.  Sometimes just rotating the fuse can get them to work properly again.

If when you're doing the wiring fixes you do need to take out the dash, unscrew the speedo cable at the gearbox end first, you run much less risk of breaking the plastic clip at the back of the dashboard and much less risk of the cable disappearing and needing to be threaded back through to the speedo.  You'll need to pop off (literally) the vent trims along the top of the dash, outer ones first then the middle one, they're held on with spring clips.  Then you can get to the screws along the top that hold the padded bit on and the screw along the bottom.  You'll also need to pull off the heater control knobs if you're going that far, the slider knobs have a spring clip inside that you push in through a little square hole.  You can then unplug the whole dashboard from the black panel to the right hand side above the parcel shelf tray and lift the whole dashboard section out including the instruments.  Taking the steering wheel off makes it easier, but not vital.  Don't dismantle the wooden bit of the dashboard unless you absolutely have to, it's a ball ache to put back together.

Er...  Good luck!

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Thanks, fuses are all good and I have tested the power wires to confirm I have a good ground and power supply so will start pulling things apart to get at the indicator stalk.  I need to get at the dash top anyway to sort the ruined vinyl.  I'll drop you a PM about the parts, that's a very kind offer.  I have a lowly HL so no wood trim to worry about on this one!  Someone has already been at it as there's a few cracks in the silver panel around the switches but nothing major.

Thanks for the warning light tags, it's a bizzare design choice not to label them.  The car is missing its handbook so I have ordered one off eBay, Haynes has been strangely silent on the matter.

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I don't know if this will be of any help, but the Landrover 110 is of a similar vintage, 1985. The indicator switches are still available for not too much money. From memory about £25.00. I would imagine they would be a standard Lucas part. If you have the earlier ones, indicators on the right rather than the left, look at the series 3 stuff. Might help, might not.

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I got the battery charged up today and while it was out took the opportunity to vactan the battery tray as it was looking pretty crusty,  I also took the earth connection on the tray off and cleaned it up as I think it's the main body ground, there's a few ground wires bolted down further up on the inner wing which I've previously cleaned up too.  Hasn't really improved the electricals but it's definitely worth doing,   I've now removed most of the extra wiring that was thrown in for the tow bar and spot lights, neither of which are on the car any more.  I want to reinstate the tow bar eventually but will do it properly this time.

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It got a vigorous scrubbing with a clay towel which has significantly improved the roof, I think the rest of the paintwork is pretty much as good as it's going to get now,  Later in the day I held my breath long enough to extract the rear parcel shelf, what a delight that was.  Torn up vinyl on top, mouldy wood underneath and the top of the rear seat back disintegrating into powder every time I so much as looked at it.  I also took off the manky inner boot panel as the chipboard hadn't enjoyed getting damp via the rust holes in the bootlid.  I have a plan for both of these, just you wait and see. 

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I experimentally scrubbed down the driver's side door cards with G101 and they've come up fairly well so will get the others done as I start tarting up the interior a bit.  The carpets are bone dry now so ready to go back as soon as I am reasonably confident she's watertight,

Final task today was to add a few extra horsepower with some graphics.  I think these give you about 5bhp on regular unleaded, yes?  I will admit this shot does not perhaps capture the car's best bits.

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That braided strap on the battery tray is indeed your main earth.  It's a good idea to supplement it with another thick earth cable, the braided strap needs the connection at each end to be perfect.  You'll know if it's not work as well as it should, the throttle cable gets hot since that seems to be the nearest path of least resistance, if it gets too hot the throttle sticks which is great fun.

For removing the rear seat, there's a single nut in the middle under the base so you can then lift it out once that's undone.  There's then 4 screws through brackets on the rear portion of the seat at the bottom, and four awkward hooks at the top that the seat pushes into.  You sort of have to push on the top of the seat to squash it back against the bulkhead and pull it down, and then sort of pull it forward, tilting the base out first.  Or just throw a blanket over it and pretend the disentegrating foam and fabric doesn't exist.

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I've cleaned the earth strap's connections at the block and body connections now so it should be pretty good but I will keep an eye on it's as it's not looking particularly fresh.  I may replace it if I suspect any further earthing issues.  

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I recall the indicator switch on mine was a right ball ache and required cleaning out with electrical cleaner and a light sanding about 4 times before it even began to think about working. Taking it apart also releases a jack in the box of small springs all over the place, so look forward to that.

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For the couple of pennies it will cost, change the earth. As it has already been stated, these braided earth straps are not the best. Get it done and save yourself a whole heap of grief.  

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7 minutes ago, 2flags said:

For the couple of pennies it will cost, change the earth. 

Is this something philosophical to do with "be the change you want to see in the world"?  You might be right, I'm working around every earth point I can find and cleaning them up anyway, fortunately, bar a couple of bits of damage which I have repaired the wiring looks to be in excellent condition.

 

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Thanks, that explains why it's in there!

I took the indicator switch off tonight and hussah, problem found.  

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Those three copper contacts and the spring that contacts them were very dirty, gave them all a clean with some fine sandpaper until they shone and tested to make sure I had power on one of them, then held the switch in place to test - I've never been so pleased to have working indicators.  I'd previously refitted the crusty old relay Noel mentioned above while trying to troubleshoot the issue and it does still work, however it's very quiet and doesn't sound right.  I fitted the new relay @vulgalour recommended which has a much better click to it.

14 hours ago, philibusmo said:

Taking it apart also releases a jack in the box of small springs all over the place, so look forward to that.

Sigh.  I can't say I wasn't warned, I managed to find all the bits but I ran out of time and patience for getting it to all stay in place for more than two milliseconds.   Also one tiny spring then quietly vanished into thin air while I was trying to reassemble the mechanism but I managed to replace it with a shortened spring out of a clicky pen.  It actually works perfectly and I have spares now for when the other one inevitably pings off into some dusty corner of the cabin.

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I'll have another crack at cramming the bits back together when I get time.  While I was under the dash I continued to extract the aftermarketing wiring.  This is quite satisfying work, I'm getting quite a collection of horrible old bits of wire now.

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In other news, I've spoken to my mechanic, he's digging out his hydragas pump for me so I now have a couple of weeks to get it running and driving nicely enough to make the trip across the river to him.  It can manage a short run down my road and back but I think the timing is off, it runs nicely enough but bogs down heavily under load and pops back through the inlet.  He's also going to weld up the hole in the passenger footwell while the carpets are out and get the timing spot on.

I'm still waiting on my new oil filter to arrive, then I can change the ancient oil and filter.  While it's on the ramps I can also try and sort the noisy exhaust joint, then play with the timing to get it good enough to make it properly driveable.  That will be a big moment as it means I can start putting a few miles on it and ironing out the issues that are bound to crop up.  The suspension has some travel in it but not much, it will be great to have it back up to the right height, I can then see if it's going to need more significant attention to the spheres.

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