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Dull thread for idiots: all cars broken all the time.


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Things have been happening!

My last actual update was when there was still a threat of snow, not it is juts raining all the time which is less than excellent when you only have space outside to work on cars, but there is nothing quite like rolling around in a puddle with a cold spanner in your hand and rust flakes falling in your eyes to remind you how nice central heating is. 

Firstly, I changed the fuel level sensor on the BMW E46 and that got the fuel gauge working. Lovely stuff. 

Not long after, just as the snow melted I turned out of the end of the road and there was a clunk followed by scraping noises from the centre of the car and clunks from somewhere at the back. The car was still driving fine so as I had to get to work and after a couple of stops to check nothing major was falling off, I decided to turn the radio up. By the weekend the noises had lessened but were still there. Despite the rain coming down and it still being fucking freezing I got underneath and found an exhaust rubber hanging down and the hanger completely missing. I made up a new one out of a U bolt and managed to find a dry 5 minutes to weld it into place with a welder that was (at that point) utterly kippered. This was a very unpleasant day of being very wet and very cold. New bracket in place, I took it for a test run. All bad noises still there. Bollocks.


I continued to ignore the noises for some time, mostly because it never seemed to stop raining, and eventually they seemed to disappear. 

The handbrake had always been a bit crap thanks to the ratchet mechanism having worn down, but getting stuck in traffic on a long, steep, uphill and making repeated hard use of the handbrake turned it from being a bit rubbish to almost pointless. This has one of those handbrake shoes inside the disc setups that never seem to stay adjusted for very long and require seemingly endless fannying around to get functioning properly. It was much easier to get the adjustment nearly right with the disc off and then make the final adjustments with it in place. I stated on the passenger side and it went quite smoothly.


When I moved to the drivers side, I found what had been causing all the noise issues of months past.


A bit of rust on the backplate had allowed a retaining pin to pull out and all the springs and clips to go rattling around the drum, with one spring getting stuck and scraping against the hub. With a new rebuild kit ordered and a small repair to the back plate, this went back together nicely. With a new handbrake lever added to the mix the handbrake was working better than at any point I'd owned it and all bad noises were gone.


The BMW was now really nice to drive, if a smidge dull so it was time to sell.

Meanwhile the Fiesta was getting a little love. A sunny weekend gave the opportunity to get some underseal on the underside of the drivers front wing and get it bolted on.



With a bit of filler and some paint, this now looks pretty flipping good, much better than in this progress photo.


Next up the passenger side wing got a tickling with the (now refurbished) welder. The thin metal and awkward shapes make these difficult to weld but it was very nice doing it with a fully functioning welder that didn't fall apart in your hands as it was running.



Once again, a gap in the relentless rain was found to pop it into place, get it bolted up and start on the paint.


As can be seen above, it was late in the day and I managed to catch the last layer of primer with my watch as I turned around and put a big scuff in it. No amount of faffing about with filler primer, thinners or anything else was making the mistake less obvious, so I ended up having to wait a day to sand it back and start that area's paint again. This put me back quite a bit as I then didn't have time to polish it back and get the lacquer on before the next seemingly endless band of rain came through.


It seemed to take forever to find a gap in the weather to get the top coat on but when it did  and the paint was on and dry it was very satisfying to put its face back on for the first time in ages.


With a jump from the MR2, it fired up nicely and settled down to a vaguely decent idle, not bad considering how old the fuel is. With a couple of bulbs changed the the fox light emptied of water, it seems basically ready for an MOT. All I need to to stick the front number plate on and find a new passenger door mirror and we should be good to go.


I'll also need to make sure that the temperature gauge and fan switch is working. If I remember correctly back in the mists of 2019, the fan wasn't cutting in when it was getting hot.

In between fixing the Fiesta, another car based adventure occurred.

The Corolla that briefly made an appearance earlier in this thread was for sale, and a deal was done with @yes oui si to take it to Carlisle train station, which I did and then got on a rail replacement bus to Edinburgh and then two more trains to Kingussie where I picked up a new car.IMG_20210501_082429940.thumb.jpg.dcdba76a99e41c48524b2d10561a3582.jpg

This rather lovely E39 530D! 


Admittedly going from mid-Devon to Inverness and back for a car is a bit of a long way but this is one of the very nicest driving cars I've ever had. Full and very comprehensive service history, barely begins to describe the contents of its history file. It has been exceptionally well looked after, but was being sold as the Scottish weather was getting to it. The most notable rusty spots being the rear jacking points, but we all know I love a spot of welding.

Here it is sat with some of @Petrolize old rammel before I headed home.


That was a genuinely lovely journey home.

The MOT was short, only a month and a half, but the price was right and the drive good so it was pressed into service as the daily for a while, just before the MOT ran out I decided to get it on stands and attack a jacking point to decide if it was worth taking it for an MOT before I started the bodywork. It was quickly decided that it was not.



Some digging around the arch found some more slightly ugly metal work so it was dropped down again and pressed back into service for another week or so before the MOT ran out so I could find a temporary run around. More on that shortly.

I took the first couple of days of July off work to crack into the BMW. I have taken a bit more metal off the back end that I really needed to, but this is such a nice car that I'm determined to make a good job of it, even if my paint work leaves a little to be desired.



This was the state of play part way through day 1. I had planned to have the new outer panel tacked into place by the end of day 2 and the jacking point mostly repaired. The Mini, however, wasn't getting enough attention and had other ideas.

The boyfriend was driving it into work and got stuck in traffic when the coil pack failed.  As far a I can tell this caused a load of unburnt fuel to be dumped into the exhaust which ignited and then exploded the exhaust apart on a join in the first catalytic converter. I've never seen this happen before, and may never see it again but when I got to it, it was running really rough and loud. Checking the sparks found them very weak, so a quick trip to the motor factors for a new coil pack cured the rough running, but obviously not the noise. I drove it back, trying to avoid any vaguely hard acceleration to avoid going deaf but admittedly on the motorway it did sound like a spitfire at take off with almost no exhaust and the super charger howl.

On getting it back, I jacked it up and the problem was immediately clear.


The two catalytic converters, downpipe and manifold are all one piece so had to be dropped to be fixed and new gaskets bought. I made some tippex marks before I started to make sure it lined up right and set to work.



While this wasn't the biggest job in the world, with all the driving around in the morning to rescue it, it took most of the day up.  Add in that on getting it down, I removed one axel stand no bother and then on lifting it off the second the jack did a wee of hydraulic oil on the floor and then would jack no more. This lead to a seemingly endless amount of fucking about with an old bottle jack, the cars original jack and bits of wood to get it down again.

That evening I managed only a tiny bit of welding on the back of the sill of the BMW, but the Mini was fixed.


Now onto the temporary cars. The first one was this miserable wee Astra which you may have seen in the for sale section. I bought this mostly as I felt sorry for it, it had been seemingly looked after for most of its life and while the lad who owned it now was keeping it mechanically sorted, the bodywork was going down hill fast and I didn't much care for the 6x9s in the rear shelf.  


The rear arch and fuel filler area were particularly rough and there was a hole in the sill.





After running it around for a few days, a perfect car for my circumstances cropped up very cheap so I put the Astra up for sale. There was little interest so I set about fixing it up, and started with the MOT failure issue, the sill, which welded up quite easily.



Then the rear arch and around the filler has new metal let in and a smear of filler.


Not the neatest job of all time and the Silver is a Mazda colour I found in the garage so not an amazing match but still an improvement.

With the grill re-painted and a clean it sold to @Kiltox after a little while.

Finally the new daily. I'm moving house soon, and renting vans is expensive so I've picked this up for £150. Its got 125,000 miles, a leaky injector and is a bit minging inside but there is plenty of room inside with the back seats out to move bit bits of furniture and it still has its folding shopping trolley.


I surpringly don't hate this as much as I thought I might. I have had some much more unlikable vehicles in my time, although I know these have been historically hated on here.

Anyway, next up the BMW will be mended, the Fiesta will get an MOT and more fun for all the family!






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