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1977 Princess 1.8 HL


phil_lihp

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OK, I'm a muppet, I took the lid off and the float bowl comes out with it.

Two issues I can see immediately :

20200531_113738.thumb.jpg.72986c10cde15ac03b886d4ecc317a5f.jpg

1.  the float bowl moves freely but is half-full of petrol so I do need the above kit

20200531_113759.thumb.jpg.1e051890513c93830e082da7ff4b8507.jpg

2. the bottom of the float bowl is full of crusty nastiness.  I am frankly surprised it ran as well as it did!

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1 hour ago, somewhatfoolish said:

Clicky SU fuel pump should not overcome a needle valve; the needle valve may have grot in it or be knackered; they're cheap so you might as well replace it. The NOS pump might be DOA; is it dismantleable?

That's very useful to know, the 'new' NOS pump is sealed but the one that was previously fitted - which frankly I have not tested - was dismantleable.  I did take it apart and it seemed fairly OK inside from what little I could tell, the diaphram, or what I took to be the diaphram, had a lot of white powerdy stuff on it but was intact.  I may clean it out with some brake cleaner and give it a try but for now if the electric one is OK I will leave it in situe.

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You've probably mentioned it above, but do you have an inline filter between tank and pump or between pump and carb?  If not I'd fit one to avoid too much crap making its way through.  Although as commented on in RobT's Morris 1300 thread, even with such a filter tiny bits can get through that will stick the float valve, particularly with a car put back into use after a long lay-up.  Just ask CraigThePrincess about the fun he had with his yellow Allegro estate!

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To add to this, if I'm ordering from the above company anyway, who seem to be the go-to place for SU carbs as I have found other people linking to them recently, would it be sensible to get a rebuild kit at the same time and do the job properly?  I think it would, will happily receive opinions on whether this is a good deal and a decent kit (this is the one their site says is correct for a '77 1800 Princess):

http://sucarb.co.uk/carbspec/carburettor/essentials/id/465/

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4 minutes ago, BeEP said:

You've probably mentioned it above, but do you have an inline filter between tank and pump or between pump and carb?  If not I'd fit one to avoid too much crap making its way through.  Although as commented on in RobT's Morris 1300 thread, even with such a filter tiny bits can get through that will stick the float valve, particularly with a car put back into use after a long lay-up.  Just ask CraigThePrincess about the fun he had with his yellow Allegro estate!

It did not have one, when I tried reinstating the mechanical pump yesterday though I did add one between the pump and carb.  Probably why the bits have got through, the tank has clearly been out of the car recently as the bolts are new and the fuel coming through smells fresh and looks clean but I had thought it was inevitable after 43 years that there would be some muck still in the system.

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6 minutes ago, phil_lihp said:

OK, I'm a muppet, I took the lid off and the float bowl comes out with it.

Two issues I can see immediately - 1.  the float bowl moves freely but is half-full of petrol so I do need the above kit and 2. the bottom of the float bowl is full of crusty nastiness.  I am frankly surprised it ran as well as it did!

Good that you've found a probable cause of the fuelling problems.  When ethanol laced fuels were introduced, there was much debate about its effects on older cars with copper and brass components in the fuel system. Although most official lab tests reported only minor tarnishing rather than actual corrosion, they may not have considered a time span of circa 50 years for a (BMC!) car, more like 10 years to be on the optimistic side.  Your new float will avoid that particular problem. A decent sized in-line filter will prevent too much crud getting in to the carburettor.  My Reliant is still running a mechanical fuel pump which certainly dates from the 1980s and may even be the original 1961 item. I have read reports saying that the diaphragm material reacts to ethanol by getting less flexible and ultimately puncturing. My pump is weak but the car runs fine at all speeds* except when the ambient temperature exceeds 22degC when it will vapour lock - my fuel line is clear plastic and I can see the fuel turning to gas (vapour, for US readers) in the hot engine bay before reaching the pump. If I slightly pressurise the tank, the car will restart.  After a long rest in my garage, usually many months, the mechanical fuel pump will take 10 to 15 seconds of continuous turning on the starter before the fuel system re-primes. I intend to convert to an electric pump near the tank to overcome my problems (around 3psi is the best delivery pressure for carb systems, not 10psi or more which is for injected engines.).

Anyway, you are methodically tracking down and curing problems.  Always good to see a Princess coming back to life. 

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1 hour ago, BeEP said:

They do cause bad running when stuck open.  I'm not sure why, as I'd have thought the same amount of fuel would go from the float chamber to the jet (again I'm sure someone will have the explanation).  I got very adept at jumping out, removing the float chamber top and blowing through it with an Allegro estate I had about 10 years ago.

The effect is uncontrolled richening of the mixture; the level in the float bowl is mirrored to an extent within the jet, with the manifold vacuum finishing the job by sooking the fuel up the jet and past the needle, spraying into the throat and mixing with the air being sucked in. Some carbs also have vent or metering passages between the throat and the float chamber and if the chamber floods the throat floods also(which older posters may remember doing deliberately with some Amal carbs, they were fitted with a button that allowed you to push the float down and flood manually to help with starting).

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While I'm waiting for carb bits to arrive, I thought I'd try and fix her squint.  

Dipped beam on - only the driver's side headlight comes on:

20200602_190135.thumb.jpg.c78647089056345305555ba13f835eea.jpg

Main beam on - the passenger side headlight comes on, but not as bright as the driver's side:

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Sidelights do not work but the passenger side is very crusty and the wiring has disintegrated, probably no better on the driver's side so that will all need pulling apart.  The cover's fallen off as well, I will probably just replace both units if I can find new ones on eBay.  Indicators and rear lights work perfectly, I tried bridging the main earth strap with a jumper cable which made no difference, although I will be changing that as a matter of course anyway.

I have cleaned every earth point I can find, I've pulled apart several plugs for the lights and cleaned up the contacts, some of which were indeed green and crusty but the passenger headlight remains stubbornly uncooperative.  I have found earth points behind the headlights which appear to only be for the sidelights and indicators, an earth point on the driver's side wing and of course the main ones on the battery earth strap to the body and engine block, all now pretty clean.

Any thoughts?

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Sounds like you have done the obvious stuff - if the bulbs are several decades old I would renew those first to see what happens.  I would also check the correct bulbs are in the correct places as Angry Dicky and I found the lights on the Sierra Base did all kinds of wierd stuff which we traced back to incorrect bulbs at the rear

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Well the headlights are sealed beams, they're the original items, nothing has been changed and the wiring is more or less OK, visually at least.  The plugs and sockets are a possible point of issue but I've cleaned them as best I can.  I do wonder if I have missed an earth point somewhere but the earth wires for the lights run back towards the battery area anyway.  They did work OK when the car was first revived last year so my money's on some damp or corrosion having got in somewhere while it's been outside.

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If the sealed beam units on the passenger side are on their way out, which they probably are by now, that would explain what's happening.  Sealed beams go dim as they get towards the end of their life, if you start to see fogging inside the light, that means the filament isn't long for this world.  Sometimes the metal bits on the back of the sealed beam bulb become corroded and weakened, causing a poor connection, and even if you clean the corrosion off that you can see it can sometimes be too late.  Sidelights are also probably down to bad connections and old bulbs, it all stacks up.  You can occasionally get odd things happening with the lights if the conductive chrome plating (or whatever it is) on the rear light units has failed around the bulb holders, which you can fix with aluminium foil in a pinch.  Sometimes the plating on the rear light clusters flakes off and then behaves like a bad, or intermittent, earth and can cause all sorts of weird issues with the other lights.

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Sidelights are at the very least down to bad wires, both of them have broken off on the passenger side one, that whole light unit is knackered anyway.  I'll check the rear lights as well although they're working perfectly.  I'll order in a replacement sealed beam unit, can't hurt to try, the ones in there look very good but appearances can be deceptive.  In the photo above I have noticed that both the passenger-side lights look a bit dimmer than the driver's side, hadn't noticed that when I was stood in front of it.

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On 5/31/2020 at 11:24 AM, phil_lihp said:

My concern would be making sure I get the right parts to rebuild it and also making sure I can put it back together in a manner that doesn't cause me more problems than I started with.  It's an SU HS6 single carb.

I had a bit of apprehension when I first dismantled the HIF carbs on my MGB. So much so, I bought a second hand HS carb to pull apart first. Once you've disassembled one, you realise how beautifully simple they are. Only a couple of moving parts and a handful of actual parts. I'm the box and a few bits on the table are all the bits in the HS2 carb I cleaned up the other day on my 1100. 

IMG_20200530_181638.thumb.jpg.a5f6312345ef9800a26bbd6459d632f1.jpg

Take photos as you go, but pretty much the main complexity is the choke/jet arrangement which is all accessible and visible on the outside. I actually find it quite satisfying and rewarding pulling one apart then cleaning up. 

Don't forget to buy a can of carb cleaner too! I tend to get thru most of one when cleaning one up. 

I often wonder why anyone would want to go for the complexity of a Weber or similar when the SUs work very well and are so simple. No wonder the same basic design lasted so long and was used so extensively. Not just on British cars but the Japanese stuff did too. 

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Not sure what size your headlamps are, but a set of four new sealed beam lamps is usually about £50 if you shop around a bit. I'd say well worth changing the whole lot for that sort of money, at least you know your lamps are in tip-top shape and not at fault and it'll save you faffing about cleaning up connections and stuff on the lamps you've got. Sealed beams are annoying when they die, but on the plus side so many cars were fitted with identical lamps they are really cheap and easily available from any 'old car spares' place online.

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I must admit I'm not finding a lot online!  I need 5 3/4" ones on this car, the outer ones are labelled 2 and the inner ones labelled 1, I assume there's different models for different applications.

Not too urgent, mind - they do at least work and I'm not likely to be doing any night-time driving in it any time soon, I'll keep shopping around until I find what I want.  I had seen the Halogen conversion option on eBay but a lot of people seem to say on various forums that they aren't very good.

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3 hours ago, SiC said:

I had a bit of apprehension when I first dismantled the HIF carbs on my MGB. So much so, I bought a second hand HS carb to pull apart first. Once you've disassembled one, you realise how beautifully simple they are. Only a couple of moving parts and a handful of actual parts. I'm the box and a few bits on the table are all the bits in the HS2 carb I cleaned up the other day on my 1100. 

Thank you, that is good to know.  I ordered the rebuild kit and new float so that should hopefully be here soon, one step closer to a working car!  I am quite looking forward to it, I've not done a carb rebuild before unless you count the tiny one on a petrol strimmer and that was more just cleaning it out with lots of brake cleaner until it worked properly.  Good shout on the carb cleaner, I think I'm out.

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Thank you, that is good to know.  I ordered the rebuild kit and new float so that should hopefully be here soon, one step closer to a working car!  I am quite looking forward to it, I've not done a carb rebuild before unless you count the tiny one on a petrol strimmer and that was more just cleaning it out with lots of brake cleaner until it worked properly.  Good shout on the carb cleaner, I think I'm out.


I've been using both on the 1100 carb as I was short on carb cleaner. Carb cleaner is definitely a more powerful solvent than brake cleaner when removing carbon build up. Both seem to eat up protective gloves. I've yet to find any that survive being covered with carb cleaner.

To be honest, they're not a lot more complicated than carbs in a lawnmower. Only fiddly bit I found was trying to get the spring back in place for the choke mechanism and remembering what direction the bits moved in. All very simple and clear what it's doing when it's off and you're playing with it on the bench.

I'm currently pretty much doing to my 1100 what you are doing here. Replacing/cleaning/rebuilding any areas that wear and cause unreliability. I ended up doing it piecemeal on my MGB and it was a frustrating experience with chasing problems.

This time I'm going through it by sorting the fuel system (pump, carb and rubber lines), ignition system (points, condenser and timing), cooling system (flush, caps and hoses) and brake system (rear cylinders, flexis, fluid and replace rusty hard lines). Hopefully then when it goes onto the road (soon ideally!) it will be a more fun experience than waiting till what fails next.
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9 minutes ago, phil_lihp said:

I must admit I'm not finding a lot online!  I need 5 3/4" ones on this car, the outer ones are labelled 2 and the inner ones labelled 1, I assume there's different models for different applications.

Not too urgent, mind - they do at least work and I'm not likely to be doing any night-time driving in it any time soon, I'll keep shopping around until I find what I want.  I had seen the Halogen conversion option on eBay but a lot of people seem to say on various forums that they aren't very good.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5-3-4-GENUINE-SEALED-BEAM-HEADLIGHT-HEADLAMP-CLASSIC-CAR-CASE-TRACTOR-RHD-UK/322293854810?_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26algo%3DHOMESPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D225076%26meid%3D524135b9374b4a358859e8121ee843ff%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dsb%26sd%3D184262283795%26itm%3D322293854810%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DSimplAMLv5PairwiseWebWithBBEV1Filter&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851

Found this, looks like just what you need. The outer ones are 3 pin, dipped and main beam. Inner ones will 2 pin and be main beam only. 

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The other thing I've learnt with these old setups is things can be set way out but still work! Ignition timing and accuracy can be all over the place when looked with a timing gun but it still chugs on happily. Likewise setting the carb you could have it rich or a tad too lean and it'll still run happily. Obviously not great for the long term health of the engine but you realise not only do you not need to, it's very hard to get things setup exactly right.

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8 minutes ago, 2flags said:

Thank you, that is extremely helpful!

@SiC that's good to know, once I have it basically functional it's going to my mechanic for suspension and a bit of welding so I will get him to adjust the timing/carb to perfection while it's in, he's good with old stuff and has all the right kit.

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On 5/31/2020 at 11:42 AM, phil_lihp said:

OK, I'm a muppet, I took the lid off and the float bowl comes out with it.

Two issues I can see immediately :

20200531_113738.thumb.jpg.72986c10cde15ac03b886d4ecc317a5f.jpg

1.  the float bowl moves freely but is half-full of petrol so I do need the above kit

20200531_113759.thumb.jpg.1e051890513c93830e082da7ff4b8507.jpg

2. the bottom of the float bowl is full of crusty nastiness.  I am frankly surprised it ran as well as it did!

Forgot to mention that looks similar to how my 1100 looked. Shouldn't be full to the top as that would signify it's overflowing. If it's an electric pump, I would expect it to be clicking away pumping to fill and then stop. Leaving on for a bit shouldn't have it pump again for a while. You may get the odd click as it leaks pressure back out of the inlet of the pump. 

IMG_20200526_154407.jpg

Even though it's best to put an in-line filter on the fuel line, the bottom of the float bowl is clearly designed to mostly catch this sediment. 

IMG_20200529_232509.thumb.jpg.8a2b460f90b5e15246f851e8cde1ba2a.jpg

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Yes there is quite a bit of sediment in the bottom but there's a filter in place now, hopefully that will prevent too much more cack getting through.  The pump always just kept running with a slow, steady tick if the ignition was left on and overflowing the carb, I know why now!  

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Parts are still on order so I spent a few minutes tonight permanently fixing the back seat, which is grimy, stained and pretty much destroyed along the top.  It looks awful, raises clouds of powdery dust if you so much as look at it and probably, were I brave enough to find out, smells bad too.  I've already pulled out the parcel shelf, a mildewy piece of chipboard which had torn up pieces of vinyl scattered across it, as I have a plan for fixing that.

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Luckily Sainsburys sell repair kits for these seats, they call it a blanket but they're not fooling anyone.  It's a perfect fit.

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Only thing is the armrest is hidden but I can live with that.  The interior will start going back together shortly, I'll hoover as much horribleness off the seats as possible and live with the fronts for now, I may be able to clean them up a bit but don't want to go too mad on them as they're probably not going to stand up to much scrubbing.

On the other hand, the grimy, mouldy door cards came up pretty well with some APC and a scrub with a sponge, they're faded on top but not too bad for all that.

20200605_205212.thumb.jpg.16a7a4285555823d1d21c1a475bd86e7.jpg

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I received a delivery of carb parts this morning so I cracked on with that job this morning.  Dead simple to remove from the car, detached two cables, fuel pipe and a vac pipe and unbolted it from the manifold.  Everything came apart nice and easy, I've had no issues with stuck/rounded-off bolts at all on this car so far.

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New float and needle installed - part of a kit which replaces the nylon original that doesn't like ethanol in modern petrol. 

I replaced the piston and gave the whole thing a clean up, removed as much grime and grease off the outside as possible without going mad on it and cleaned out as much of the cack in the float bowl as I could.  Not entirely sure what this stuff at the bottom was, seemed almost like damp bits of cardboard but anyway, it's gone now.

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All finished, much cleaner at least and I didn't have any bits left over afterwards.

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Dodged the showers and refitted it.

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I then had to redo the fuel pump wiring as I'd previously repaired the scotch lock damage on the ignition wire, I used a crimp connector to splice it in which isn't tidy but is hopefully a bit more suitable, I'll heatshrink it properly and re-wrap the loom when I'm happy it's reliable.  Good first test was that after filling up the filter and fuel bowl, the pump stopped running which it'd never done before.

Of course the question is, did it work? 

Hubnut I am not but after a bit of trouble with the choke (not helped by the steering column cowling with the choke knob on it being in the footwell as I've not yet reassembled everything after fixing the indicators) and a flat battery (likely knackered, it was fully charged overnight a week or two ago) she got the idea and woke up.   Special guest appearance by my 198k miles Octavia VRS on jump start duty.

I took a couple of trips up and down my road, about 20 yards up and down hill, and it definitely drives a lot better.  Still feels very sluggish and not happy going uphill with the choke off, more popping back through the inlet but I have yet to touch the timing and with the choke on a bit it does run really well.

It needs an oil change now that it's facing the right way on the driveway and can get itself up on the ramps, hopefully that will be tomorrow and I will try and quieten down the exhaust which is very loud around the flexi joint.

A further issue that the neighbours probably didn't enjoy is the noise audible on the video - I think it's the alternator shrieking and as it warmed up it got worse, it's perfectly quiet at idle but the moment any throttle is applied there's a high-pitched squeak.  It does seem to be charging but I will have to investigate further before the car goes any distance.  

I also checked the cooling system and bled a ton more air out of it - it carried on belching out filthy brown water for a couple of minutes after I turned it off.

20200606_154716.thumb.jpg.a8c3348e68cf133beaa93f11744cad22.jpg

I hope it's now got all the air out after the initial refill from empty, the heater is working which it wasn't before so that's a plus.  I put detergent in the system a couple of weeks ago and that does seem to have had an effect, I've refillled it and apart from a tiny leak on the top hose to the heater, which is one I have not changed yet, all seemed to stay dry.  I had some concern that either the reason the car was parked up or as a result of the overheating incident back when I first got it the head gasket might be blown but there's no steam out of the exhaust and the oil is fine so I reckon it's just airlocked.  The squealing radiator fan is a problem, as it gave one quiet squeak and then stayed off so I will have to change that.  

Slow progress but it is at least now driveable in some fashion.

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  • phil_lihp changed the title to 1977 Princess 1.8 HL

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