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Phil's 1977 Princess 1.8 HL - Time to Sell


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Bench test it using your car battery, pair of jump leads and an extra length of wire if needed.

Like this: https://www.discountstarterandalternator.com/blog/basic-guide-to-bench-testing-a-starter/

Should prove the motor and solenoid. Keep your hands well clear of the gear end though! 
I used to do a cruder version of this with big old motors at work to prove them before having them re-wound. Just be a bit careful.

 

Were all your connections tight when you removed them? It could have been a coincidence that a bad or loose connection was enough to kill the volts when put under load (trying to crank)?

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I would have used a jump cable to test both the live and ground connections between the battery and the starter and the car’s body - that would have identified whether the motor itself is at fault.

All the times I’ve ever had the symptoms you describe, it has turned out to be the battery leads not making a good enough connection to handle the large current draw needed.

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Cheers, the connections were tight but somewhat corroded so definitely worth a go.  I did try rocking it in gear which didn't help, it's meant to rain all day today but I'll give the bench test a go and if it seems to behave I'll clean everything up and stick it back in to see if that sorts it.  Thanks for the advice!

 

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So does the starter work?

Yes it does, so well done to everyone who suggested testing it, I'd never tried that before.  To make sure it had the best chance possible, I attacked it with a wire wheel on a drill and removed and cleaned up every connection. 

20210503_114934.thumb.jpg.f4c1b4913cf66c7b80624faf80bf5cff.jpg

I then moved on to the engine bay and unbolted the earth cable, used the drill to wire brush every contact point until it shone, did the same with the power cable running to the starter, then bolted it all back together.

Result?  No change, still just a clunk.

I then tried bridging the signal wire to the + terminal and...

How easily does that start!  That's about the 4th time I'd tried it in the last 10 mins so it wasn't stone cold but also not warmed up, choke was off.  I think the starter's spinning faster now with all those nice clean connections, perhaps that's just my imagination though.  Certainly can't have hurt.

So now I can drive it at least - it would appear that there's no signal going down the small lead to the starter.  Ignition switch?  The wire looks fine as far back as I could trace it into what passes for a wiring loom.  Everything else works but it clunks with that wire on or off the starter, I must be hearing a relay hidden somewhere as I cannot see one but the sound comes from under the bonnet.  I will consult the manual.  If I can't find a quick fix I will probably wire something temporary up so I have a button or something to start it for now, I think I have a spare one knocking around somewhere.

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  • phil_lihp changed the title to Phil's 1977 Princess 1.8 HL - Starter Shenanigans

Fixed!

I checked the two relays under the scuttle, one was definitely the starter relay as I could feel it clicking.  Both had crusty contacts which I cleaned up, but no improvement. 

I then realised I hadn't plugged the signal wire back in to the starter solenoid after my last tinkering session.  Still nothing, but I realised it made no difference so had that wire broken?  I followed it back and it led to this plug sat out on the inner wing.20210505_181326.thumb.jpg.362d544e8a0b69909fb0a540d4d0b259.jpg

Bingo!  It was full of green crusties ((c) South Main Auto) and after a bit of cleaning, I tried it again and the starter works perfectly.

Hooray for a simple, free fix!

When I first got the car I cleaned this plug up and repaired a damaged wire to fix some sort of electrical issue.  It would probably benefit from some dielectric grease or something to keep it from corroding, it's a bit exposed where it lives.

I took it for a run and it's running really nicely.  The manifold join is quieter but still not 100%, the alternator belt is currently quiet and all in all I think I can currently say it's as good as I'm ever going to get it.  The starter seems to be enjoying its squeaky clean connections and earth points as it's definitely spinning faster, it certainly starts quickly even from cold.  I'm pretty happy with it as it is right now, I just need it to stay that way for a few more weeks!

 

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  • phil_lihp changed the title to Phil's 1977 Princess 1.8 HL - Fixed

 

48 minutes ago, phil_lihp said:

We discussed the merits of a drivetrain swap - an electric Tesla-powered Princess would be quite something, albeit it'd cost about £25k to achieve.  The B-series powered Model S would perhaps have limited resale value.

I like the Princesla idea, I’m considering a conversion for the Granada as it needs a new/rebuilt engine anyway. Be nice if the price of used parts came down a bit though.

A photo I’d love to see is a Princess with an Ioniq 5 — someone at Hyundai is clearly a Harris Mann fan:

A2212A74-47CE-47E3-A532-BB7D2CEC4B18.thumb.jpeg.2f17d49f8b5b68099c3f6233d4b78f31.jpeg35335575-AFCE-4BDE-A655-462D94E2F109.jpeg.ae6204aba5d69f29ee84b67de5c92caa.jpeg

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5 hours ago, Skizzer said:

 

I like the Princesla idea, I’m considering a conversion for the Granada as it needs a new/rebuilt engine anyway. Be nice if the price of used parts came down a bit though.

A photo I’d love to see is a Princess with an Ioniq 5 — someone at Hyundai is clearly a Harris Mann fan:

 

Ten points to Mr Skizzer for "Princesla" which needs to be trademarked immediately. 

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A 160 mile round-trip to the Haynes Motor Museum breakfast meet this morning was completed with zero issues, it did fantastically well.  It's perfectly happy cruising at 60mph although a 5th gear or overdrive wouldn't hurt it.  Didn't get hot, no weird noises and no leaks so I'm calling that a qualified success.

Almost done now, just the pre-MOT checks & hopefully full test on Wednesday and then it can go up for sale.

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35 minutes ago, phil_lihp said:

Almost done now, just the pre-MOT checks & hopefully full test on Wednesday and then it can go up for sale.

I'm surprised after all this work on it, you're not going to use it for the summer season. Classic cars have the big advantage of giving free or reduced cost of entry to shows too!

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19 hours ago, phil_lihp said:

A 160 mile round-trip to the Haynes Motor Museum breakfast meet this morning was completed with zero issues, it did fantastically well.  It's perfectly happy cruising at 60mph although a 5th gear or overdrive wouldn't hurt it.  Didn't get hot, no weird noises and no leaks so I'm calling that a qualified success.

Almost done now, just the pre-MOT checks & hopefully full test on Wednesday and then it can go up for sale.

Shame I missed you I did have a ticket but couldnt be arsed with 200 mile plus round trip when weather looked bad. Turned out nice though so I should have got out of bed 

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On 5/9/2021 at 1:34 PM, phil_lihp said:

A 160 mile round-trip to the Haynes Motor Museum breakfast meet this morning was completed with zero issues, it did fantastically well.  It's perfectly happy cruising at 60mph although a 5th gear or overdrive wouldn't hurt it.  Didn't get hot, no weird noises and no leaks so I'm calling that a qualified success.

Almost done now, just the pre-MOT checks & hopefully full test on Wednesday and then it can go up for sale.

Happy cruising at 60mph? These things will do 70 all day - 4th gear is so high that from memory that’s still less than 4000rpm and the car will still be pretty quiet if the exhaust is full gas-tight and the interior is all in place - I think you’re cosseting yours in its old age (that’s no bad thing mind if you’re not in a hurry).

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Vulg that may be true in the case of 1.7 O series (I will bow to your much-superior experience there as I’ve never driven an O series), however the two Princesses I’ve owned with the 1.8 B series like this one were genuine national speed limit cruising machines no bother - and (one assumes due to the shape and high gearing), were still capable of returning decent fuel economy too.

This to me is one of the many reasons these cars genuinely deserved to sell much better than they did. If only they had been properly tested and screwed together right from the beginning and weren’t associated with the worst period of industrial strife of BL - thereby endowing the car with the whiff of failure - I think they would have done a lot better than they did even without a hatch (though that too would have undoubtedly boosted their showroom appeal also).

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On 09/05/2021 at 07:09, phil_lihp said:

We discussed the merits of a drivetrain swap - an electric Tesla-powered Princess would be quite something, albeit it'd cost about £25k to achieve.  The B-series powered Model S would perhaps have limited resale value.

Well, you may have 'missed the boat' on the originality of that vision....

 

*4cylinders would be a 'First!'

;)

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The "whiff of failure" is something I have always found fascinating about the BL output of this era, it's like they just could not get their heads around what people wanted.  The Princess should probably have been a CX contender, they were launched in the same year with much the same ethos (large car, new edgy design, clever suspension) but with problems like the hugely variable build quality and the looks that just didn't quite sit right, it was never going to work.  And they still didn't get it when the Ambassador came out - from what I can tell the build quality actually declined and the engine choices were dull.  You can tell nobody really had any idea what they were doing given the messy model/brand setup in the first few years!

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You mean the Austin / Morris / Wolseley choice of versions that were withdrawn from sale after only 6 months? Yes I agree partly - although I think the Princess brand was a good way to go, they really should have kept the wolseley, it looked good and sold well, unlike the lack of differentiation between the other two, the Wolseley brand and trimmings definitively put it a cut above.

But anyway, we’re definitely thread swerving now!

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  • phil_lihp changed the title to Phil's 1977 Princess 1.8 HL - Time to Sell

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