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1951 Lanchester LD10


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Sounds like a faulty switch, probably worth testing on the bench if you can. Dirty/corroded inside may allow the small current of a continuity tester to beep but not the load of a tail light.

Are the front sidelights working as well?

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L is for auxiliary lights- fog lights particularly. Despite the law allowing you to run just a single fog light with no other lights on, it was advised the fog lights are run with the sidelights only so you at least are forced to have marker lights on in poor visibility. 

It is inadvisable to have the wattage of 3 bright bulbs on the generator because that puts you over what it can put out, so it'll switch the fog light off if you put the headlights on.

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@Rocket88yes, same result.  Thing is, nothing changed between putting the car away when the lights worked and getting it out today when they didn't.  Also, the wiper motor will only run when power is supplied directly rather than off the switch as it did before (dashboard out job to get to the switch).  On the plus side, the semaphores at least work like they should.


@dozeydustman Switch has been bench tested and proved totally reliable, all functions operate as they should.  Indeed, it's getting power where power should be.  The issue comes in when you try and get things to work together and that doesn't really make any sense at all.  You can get the light unit to light up if you provide power directly.  We've got a healthy amount of volts getting to the light unit. We've got good continuity where it should be and nice good earths.  The trouble is as soon as you put any of it together, the rear lights just won't work.  It makes no sense at all.


Personally, I reckon the wiring is quitting time now.  Time to get someone else in with some experience.  We're not making any progress.

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1 hour ago, vulgalour said:

@Rocket88yes, same result.  Thing is, nothing changed between putting the car away when the lights worked and getting it out today when they didn't.  Also, the wiper motor will only run when power is supplied directly rather than off the switch as it did before (dashboard out job to get to the switch).  On the plus side, the semaphores at least work like they should.


@dozeydustman Switch has been bench tested and proved totally reliable, all functions operate as they should.  Indeed, it's getting power where power should be.  The issue comes in when you try and get things to work together and that doesn't really make any sense at all.  You can get the light unit to light up if you provide power directly.  We've got a healthy amount of volts getting to the light unit. We've got good continuity where it should be and nice good earths.  The trouble is as soon as you put any of it together, the rear lights just won't work.  It makes no sense at all.


Personally, I reckon the wiring is quitting time now.  Time to get someone else in with some experience.  We're not making any progress.

You say the switch is working - but is it?  I'd want to test to ensure that you do NOT have voltage across the pins involved in operating the relevant item when it should be powered.  Wouldn't be the first time I've seen contacts in something work absolutely fine according to a test meter, but when asked to conduct a couple of amps of current they just can't handle it.

If you probe the switch contacts when the accessory in question is turned on and you see there's anything more than a couple of hundred millivolts there there's most likely issues with the switch.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

In real world time, rather than Youtube time, it's been a while since Pat or I have done anything on the Lanchester.  There simply hasn't been time.  In some ways that's been a good thing as we've been able to step back and assess possible issues that we were struggling to work out.  We've come to the conclusion that the wiring issue probably is a duff ignition switch and given the fact that the kind of switch we need is available, as soon as we have some spare pennies (the other reason Lanchester progress has ground to a halt) we'll get a new one, wire it up, and see if it magically fixes things.  If a new switch doesn't resolve the issues then we can be pretty certain the old switch is fine too and move on to more expensive potential failures like the voltage regulator.  Process of elimination and all that.

In good news, I finally managed to find a replacement rear light lens for the one I dropped and broke.  The car came to us with a Lucas 464 lens on one side, and a later Lucas 464a lens on the other.  464 lenses have a thick ribbed glass and no built in reflector or focus dot.  464a has a flat face to the lens, built in reflector and a single focus dot (there are some variants with two focus dots for light units with two bulbs inside, ours has a single bulb hence the single focus dot).  As far as we can work out, our car originally had 464 lenses on the back which is why it has the reflectors screwed onto the boot lid, something that wouldn't have been needed with the 464a.  Both types of lens are hard to find now, and expensive when they do come up since they were used on prestige stuff and end up with the badge tax applied as a result.  They're also glass, and while apparently they are being reproduced in plastic, I'm yet to find a supplier.


So when I found the above entire unit for about half the usual asking price of just the lense, I thought it'd be rude not to.  Yes, I could have invested that money in a new ignition switch - they're £70-100, depending on seller, even though they're always the same switch - but since the lights are far harder to acquire, it seemed the more sensible purchase at the moment.

There is a new Lanchester video arriving on the channel this coming Tuesday, and while it's not wiring it is wiring adjacent and you'll get to see the inner workings of the wiper motor.

Another consideration has been on the lighting, which is to convert it from the existing headlights to halogen equivalents.  This would allow us to move the sidelights into the headlight bowl and have the indicators in the original sidelights.  This would make wiring a lot easier, and eliminate the need for special dual-function bulbs in the sidelights to do sidelight and indicator.  More research is required here to find a suitable conversion kit that doesn't look like absolute trash.

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Oh, just went out and measured and the Lanchester uses 7" headlights.  That made things a whole world easier and cheaper.  There's a lot of choice, including headlights with domed lenses so they still look original, and for the price of 3 standard Lanchester headlight bulbs we could have a halogen headlight conversion kit that contains new bulbs, wiring, and headlight bowls where the silvering isn't bubbling.  How handy.

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It's payday so an additional little Lanchester update here.  Because the Lanchester uses 7" headlights it does mean I can upgrade what's there.  The original lights are 40/50W BPF bulbs and they're... rubbish.  It also doesn't help that the silvering on the bowls is bubbling in places and while we're not likely to drive at night a lot, having your headlights on does make you more visible to other road users who might not otherwise see you so an upgrade makes sense.

Originally I was considering re-silvering the headlight bowls and getting new original style light bulbs.  The cost of this for what you end up with seemed prohibitive in all honesty.  Given how easy it is to acquire a good H4 upgrade kit, and how affordable, it made more sense to modernise.  I've gone with the same sort of kit I used on the Princess which I've had no issues with, and while I did have to buy some extra pigtails since the Lanchester wiring hasn't got the modern three slot plug for halogen bulbs, it still came out at a meagre £35.

I also opted to go for headlight bowls that have sidelight bulbs in them.  Nothing fancy, no LED rings or anything like that, just a single bulb pushed through into the bowl.  There's no real need for the sidelights to be separate from the headlights on the Lanchester so it doesn't really matter where they're located and if I move them into the headlights that frees up the original sidelights completely.  This then makes wiring up the front indicators a lot easier since I can reuse the original bulb holders and fit some nice bright amber single function LEDs in there.  It's a really good location for the indicators since they're high up on the body and very visible and because we'd not be adding any other lights anywhere, it keeps the front of the car looking completely standard.  Funnily enough, the sidelights are mistaken for indicators by younger (folks under 40) people anyway, so it makes sense to put them in there for that reason too.

What I'm not sure of is whether or not I'll need to fit a relay for the headlights.  The H4s will be brighter than the original BPFs but I'm not sure if the draw on the system is going to be such that it will be an issue.  I'd welcome opinions and recommendations on this one since I want it to be safe but I also don't want to be adding complexity if it's going to be perfectly fine without them.

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If it was my car I wouldn't worry about the extra current drawn by the H4 bulbs, 60W/55W is little more than an extra amp increase on the original bulbs.

With the bulbs lit, check the voltage at the bulb connector and if there is a significant voltage drop anywhere, sort it and then I think you can trust the wires and their connections.

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If it were my car I would fit relays.

So that the original (elderly) switch gear is only switching the low current to trigger the relays and also I could fit some fuses.

I would wire the relays so the high current side is fed by a fused connection direct to the battery.

There is a company making just such ready made Headlamp relay wiring harness called Boomslang

(Why they are called after a poisonous snake I have no idea)

They have become fairly popular on old Land Rovers.

Linky to a retailer selling the kit

Wiring diagram


Easily removed should you want to return to "as it left the factory".

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New headlights arrived, new wiring arrives in a bit.  I'm not up to much today, off sick at the moment (nothing serious, happily) but I needed to get some movement and fresh air so decided to have a look at these headlights and how they fit.  They're a straight swap.  Wiring aside, you literally take the old headlight bowl out and fit the new one in exactly the same way.  Could not be easier.


You can see the bubbling the silvering on the old bowls here, they're both like it for most of the bottom half which is hardly ideal.


Chose domed lenses rather than flat ones so the shape would be correct, I really dislike the look of flat lenses on classics, especially when it's in the teardrop shaped headlights like these.  The sidelight bulb sits in the bottom in line with the headlamp clamp and there's so much room inside the headlight bucket that wiring those up isn't going to be an issue.


If you know what you're looking for you can tell the difference between old (on the left) and new (on the right).  To the casual observer they look totally normal, only the H4 branding and the lens pattern really gives the game away from normal viewing distance.  It's a pretty stealthy upgrade really.


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Time for the boot lid refurbishment written update.  This was part of the car I was actually looking forward to investigating because it would give me a look at how the body was constructed  since the boot lid is an ash frame with an aluminium skin.  The first job was to remove the dozens of chrome plated flat head screws from the aluminium interior panel so that it could be removed and expose what was going on inside the boot lid.  Primarily the reason for undertaking this job was to find out what was happening with the wiring since there wasn't any present for the number plate light when we got the car.


We found some weird cocoons.  These are probably moth cocoons, they're on the same side as the one bit of moth damage to the wool covering the rear parcel shelf and the moths and caterpillars would have an easy route into the car between the two areas.  If you know what these are for definite I'd love to know, because bugs are interesting.



It all cleaned off very easily.  There was nothing living in the cocoons any more and no signs of any moths in the car or the boot lid so they've probably vacated the premises a long time ago.  No damage inside the boot lid either, the wooden frame is nice and solid and dry with no signs of insect damage, the aluminium is in excellent condition and the steel edge that runs around the wood frame and under the aluminium outer skin has little more than a bit of surface rust here and there.



The interior aluminium panel has some damage on it, one puncture from the boot lid probably being shut on something inside the boot before we got the car, and a curved line of missing paint that seemed to correlate with the old tyres that were being kept in the boot.  You can see the o-ring at the top of the panel here too, that's where the wiring should exit the boot lid.  When I drilled some of the chewed up screw heads out, the drill skipped and damaged the aluminium in places.  It couldn't be helped, unfortunately.




The old screws look to be flat headed chromed steel.  While most of them came out, some snapped, and some the heads were too soft from rust and just chewed up.  I had to drill some of them out.



Interestingly, we were made aware of some sale advert photos from eBay in 2008 when the Lanchester was wearing a differently coloured boot and bonnet.  It also sported a much nicer looking rear bumper.  When I recorded this video I didn't know about this and could only speculate about the extra bolt holes for the number plate and the chopped off bolt I found inside the boot that had been rattling about.  I wonder if the boot lid in the photos is actually a different one to what's on the car at present and the original number plate was swapped over.  The boot lid on the car does have a dent that doesn't appear to be there in the photo below and we do know the car was possibly a parts car at one point in its life so it's entirely likely we've got slightly worse parts on the car now than it had in 2008 because the good stuff was sold off or used in another restoration.  It happens.



Other discoveries were where the wiring should run inside the boot.  There's a guide staple on the central beam, and a couple of holes drilled in the frame for the wire to pass through.  More on this in a bit.


There's no grommet for the wiring to the number plate lamp which simple bolts through the outer skin.


I spent some time with an improvised dolly and a hammer to dress out the puncture on the aluminium interior trim as best I could.  It's not perfect, but it's not a hole, so it'll do.  I have zero experience doing any sort of aluminium bodywork so it is what it is.


It was then time to remove the broken screws from the wooden frame before I could refit things.  This took a while making use of a pair of pliers.  The vast majority of the remaining screws did come out, only a couple snapped inside the frame where I couldn't get to them so that's about the best outcome you can realistically have on a job like this.



Everything now cleaned up, it was time to rewire.  The wire for the number plate light isn't provided with the wiring loom so I had to buy some more.  Since this wire is for the most part hidden, which just a small part visible where it exits the boot lid and hooks up behind the trim under the rear window, I opted for a black vinyl sheathed 2-core since I needed a red and a black wire with a protective covering.  I ordered a couple of meters because it's a fairly long run since it goes from the bottom of the boot lid, up to the rear screen, across to the driver's side of the car, then all the way down the inner arch inside the boot to the bottom outer corner where the rest of the wiring loom enters the car.



Once the wire is fed through the hole for the number plate lamp, feed it under the vertical beam to the opposite side.



Then guide it up (boot lid is upside-down here, the shape meant I had to film it this way) through the hole drilled in the horizontal beam before tightening the bolts for the number plate lamp.



There's a staple to hold the wire down to the vertical beam, another hole in the next horizontal beam, and then the wire exits through the hole in the aluminium interior trim where the rubber grommet is in the earlier photos in this update.  Once the wire is threaded through, turn the boot lid over and put the push connectors onto the end of the wires.  This is very fiddly, there's not a lot of room for the wiring to go inside the lamp housing because of how it's designed.  It took me a while to find out what these connectors are called, I found them as Push-in Bullet Connectors on Paul Beck Vintage Supplies www.vintagecarparts.co.uk listed as 560-push on their site search function.  These are the same as used on the original headlights and semaphores.  To fit, you strip back the sheath from the wire, push the wire through the hole in the connector and then bent the wires back.  This gives a friction fit into the holder without need of soldering and works very well.  I took a guess at which way around the wires should go and got it right, remember our car is positive earth.



After that it was the task of screwing all the dozens of screws in to hold the interior panel in place.  I decided against using any sort of sealant or adhesive in the end just in case I have to get in here again for any reason.  The first screws I got were just a bit too short so I had to undo them all and redo it with slightly longer screws.  I'm also using cross head wood screws rather than the original style of chromed flat head screws.  This was a practical consideration since I couldn't get hold of the chromed ones at the time of recording, I may go back and correct this in the future.



All back together and looking like none of this ever happened.  Sign of a job well done is that.  I opted not to repaint the interior trim to avoid project creep.  Next up, to do something about the missing trim that goes over the latch mechanism.  I have no reference for what this should look like and limited materials so used some hardboard.  Trial and error got the shape I wanted.  Eventually I'd like more of a pressed blister shaped panel, possibly in steel or aluminium, to full enclose the mechanism since what I've done is okay but I don't think is right.  If anyone knows what this should look like, I'd appreciate reference images.


I didn't like the colour. I had wanted to use millboard to match the other original bits of trim but didn't have any and couldn't get hold of any at the time of recording, so I just used some satin black spray paint and it got me close enough.


With the boot lid now ready to go back on the car, the next thing was to sort out the hinges.  We'd knocked out the brass pins to remove the boot lid and found one was bent.  Later we learned about the location of the hinge bolts which would have made removal a lot easier.  I spent some time straightening the pins as best I could and turning the burr on one end of each into a mild chamfer using a hand file.  This would aid in refitting.


When we got the car, the hinge pins weren't flush but after some effort, Pat and I had them seated properly and looking much better.



The panel I'd made for the interior was cosmetically a waste of time.  Practically it should protect things from going into the boot lid a bit more so I don't feel it was a total waste.


The other thing we noticed on refitting is that the bolts holding the hinges to the boot lid are incorrect.  Instead of a countersunk head, they're a flat bolt head.  I don't have any of the correct fixings so just put them back in. 



With that all finally back together and the wiring ready to be hooked up - which we now know is correct, but I didn't at the time of recording - I could demonstrate how horrible the boot is to use on this car.  Lift the boot by the handle at the bottom, it is at an awkward height.  Then hold the boot lid with one arm while pulling out the hinge on one side with the other to lock the boot in the open position.


Do your very best not to hit your head on the boot lid when putting items in the boot, or removing them.  Everything is at the wrong height to make this easy to do and the boot lid will usually get you on your way out.


To close, merely brace the boot lid with one hand, push the hinge in without trapping parts of your hand in it, and try to gently lower it to close.  You'll probably end up slamming it because you're not expecting the weight and at one point the balance of the whole thing changes and if you're not careful it will try and slam whatever you do.


It's a terrible bit of design, both in function and appearance, definitely not one of Barker's finer moments.


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      1993 Mercedes 190e. L795 COJ. I've admired these cars since I was a child. In fact, one of the very few toy cars I still have from my childhood is a Mercedes 190e. Regular readers of "Memoirs from the Hard Shoulder" will know what a PITA this car has been since day 1, but I get the feeling it's a keeper. We'll see!

      1983 Ford Sierra Base 1.6 by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1983 Ford Sierra Base. GVG 510Y. Not explicitly my car, but it should be documented here for reference. Oh - and the V5 is in my name. The story is online for all to read as to how five of us acquired what is believed to be the only remaining Ford Sierra Base. Make a brew and read it, it's a fantastic story.

      1982 Ford Sierra L by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1982 Ford Sierra L. LCR 503Y. I accidentally won this on ebay for £520. Upon reflection, I shouldn't have sold it - but short stop of saying I regret it. I could never get truly comfortable driving it and, in fairness, I could scratch my Sierra itch with the base if I wanted. Sold it at a stupid profit of £1250. It is believed to be the oldest remaining Ford Sierra in the UK.

      1979 Volvo 343 DL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1979 Volvo 343 DL. DBY 466T As you'll see above, I'd had a 360GLT as a younger lad and fancied one of these earlier cars. The variomatic is, frankly, terrible but amusing. This car has just 8000 miles on the clock and inside was absolutely timewarp. Sadly, the huge bill for the Mercedes 190e cylinder head rebuild meant I had to sell this car shortly after acquiring it. Since then I've had a bit of money luck, and now realise I didn't need to sell it after all. Typical.

      I think that's it. My arthritis is playing up even more now. I've left out a few cars that were actually my wife's, but if I find pictures will add them in at a later date. I'll run this as an ongoing thread on cars and what's happening.

      Current SitRep:

      Purple Avensis: Just about to click over 185,000. Minor drama this week when an HT lead split but otherwise utterly fantastic, fantastically boring and boringly reliable.

      Granvia: Just done 1000 miles in a month around Norfolk, 6 up with suitcases. 31mpg achieved on the way up which is good for an old tub with a 3.0 Turbo Diesel on board. ODO displaying 175,000 which is a mix of miles and kilometers. Say 130,000 miles for argument's sake.

      Mercedes: Being a PITA. It's had the top end completely rebuilt after the chain came off. Now needs welding to pass another MOT and the gearbox bearings are on strike. It's about to go into the garage for winter until I can stomach it again. 151,000 miles on the clock.

      Sierra bASe: Still on sabbatical with AngryDicky who only took it bloody camping in cornwall! Legend.
    • By juular
      Old car - check
      Full of rust - check
      Siezed engine - check
      Cheapest on the internet - check
      Bought sight unseen - check
      No space for it - check
      Poo count - 1.5
    • By captain_70s
      I'm a masochist from Leeds who is running two rusty, worn out Triumph Dolomites as my only transport in rural Aberdeenshire. You might recognise me from various other forums and Facebook groups. Realistically I need to buy a modern car of some sort, but instead I find myself looking at £300 Citroen BXs and Triumph Acclaims on Gumtree and thinking "yeah, that'd fit right in with the rest of the broken cars I can't afford".
      On to the cars, the main attraction being my 1976 1850HL "50 Shades of Yellow" that I bought for £850 and is currently my daily driver, here is a picture of it before I sanded off some surface rust and sprayed it badly in the wrong shade of yellow with rattle cans:

      Within a month of purchase I managed to plant it in to a steel fence backwards after a botched gear change on a wet roundabout and ruined the N/S rear wing, although judging by the other dent that's packed with filler it looks like somebody had already done the same. I also managed to destroy a halfshaft and one of my Sprint alloys (good for an extra 15hp) in the incident, so now it's sitting on it's original steelies but painted black (good for an extra 5hp).
      It's only broken down on me twice. once with some sort of fuel delivery related problem which may or may not have been an empty fuel tank and once when the thermostat jammed shut and it overheated and blew out some O-rings for the cooling system. It has recently developed a taste for coolant and oil which is rather annoying, although it's done 89,300 miles which is about 80,000 more miles than BL engineering is designed to last, I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines... 
      I tried to keep ahead of the rust a bit by rubbing down the arches and re-painting them, but apparently rattle can paint isn't great when you are spraying it at -5C, it also highlighted how although my car might have been Inca Yellow in 1976 it's now more of a "cat piss" sort of shade. So I ended up with the wrong shade of yellow which has rust coming back through after 5 weeks. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
      The other car is the first "classic" car I bought, so I can't bear to sell it. It's a '77 Dolomite 1300 and it cost £1400 (about £400 too much) and has been nothing but a pain in the arse:

      It looks much prettier (from 100 yards) but that's most due to the darker paintwork hiding the rust. It lives a mollycoddled life in my garage, where it somehow still manages to rust, and is utterly rubbish. 0-60 is measured on a calendar, top speed is 80ish but at that point it uses more oil than petrol, it rarely ventures over 50mph and if you encounter an incline of any sort you can kiss that sort of speed goodbye, along with about £20 of 20W50 as it vanishes out of the exhaust in the form of blue smoke.
      One of the PO's had clearly never heard of the term "oil change" so it developed into brown sludge that coated everything internally with the next owner(s) blissfully pouring fresh oil on top of it. This lasted until about 600 miles into my ownership when there was muffled "pop" from the engine bay and the car became a 3-cylinder. The cause was catastrophic wear to the top end causing a rocker arm to snap:

      As this was my first classic car I'd assumed it was supposed to sound like the engine was full of marbles, it wasn't.
      I put the engine back together with second hand bits declared it utterly fucked and promptly did another 5000 miles with it. After about 3500 of those miles the oil burning started, valve seals have gone so it's been relegated to my parent's garage as a backup car and something to take to local car shows as the 1850 is now embarrassingly ugly. I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines (deja vu, anybody?) Oh, I also recently reversed it into a parked Ford Fiesta and royally fucked up the rear bumper, rear panel and bootlid. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
      There have been two other cars in my life. My first car, a 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.0 an it's replacement a 2012 Corsa 1.4T. I didn't really want either of them, but it's a long story involving my parents and poor life choices. Ask if you want to hear it!
      So that's a brief summary of my current shite. If you want more pictures or details of anything do say as I've got photos of almost everything I'd done with the cars.
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