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FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron ***Bank holiday fixing bonanza 27/5***


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Gut feeling is the idler pulley that was grumbling has degraded beyond safe driving now. These engines are too expensive to source for me to risk driving home on it, as a full failure on these engines is catastrophic.

Going to plead with the breakdown fellas not to start the engine at any point now.

Luckily, MrsH is inbound to take the boy home so he's not stuck here with me forever.


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Spirits were high in the car


MrsH has just come to collect the boy, naturally she's overjoyed with the entire event


Been sat here for a couple of hours now. Still no big truck, or indeed little truck, but she brought my cable, and I'm glad I installed the USB socket earlier this month


I am however regretting shaving my head this morning as the roof skin has shrunk which means a lovely cold breeze keeps running past my bald dome

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Big white van arrived, so we pushed it into position. Mercifully, the recovery fella took my word for it that it wasn't going to be fixed by the roadside and didn't crank the engine.


As we moved it, we noticed it's shat out some coolant.


Either way, we got the Beat on. The recovery fella had loads of questions about it and seemed chuffed to be dealing with an oddity.


Finally home and parked up.


Thankfully, whilst awaiting recovery, I got in contact with a friend of@ruffgeezer who just happened to have a timing belt kit for a Beat, including the water pump for his own car.

However, he wasn't planning on doing his for a few months, so he's very kindly offered the kit to me for the cost of him getting another kit shipped in from Japan. Absolute win there, as I get the parts by the end of the week and his stuff will arrive before he wants to do his belt change anyway. Top bloke!

Right, where's the gin then?

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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris' Life of Shite ***Downbeat 26/2***

Payday beckoned, so I actually managed to fill up the Laguna. Two things:

1. The Laguna is now past a hundred quid to fill up.

2. 36.9MPG is...not bad. Not brilliant, not okay.

Filled Herman up too (Both cars were on fumes) and that cost £135. Together, if granny footing it, that's £235 for approx 850 miles, so 27p a mile in fuel alone. Mental.

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6 minutes ago, fatharris said:

Payday beckoned, so I actually managed to fill up the Laguna. Two things:

1. The Laguna is now past a hundred quid to fill up.

2. 36.9MPG is...not bad. Not brilliant, not okay.


I often think whilst filling up.... where else would I routinely splurt over a hundred quid a time.

Mine averages low 30s so I feel your pain.

I have found myself seriously considering something with a small diesel engine and half the fuel bill.

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Two dumb question where the wheels with the holes in and is the black panel on the back a thing or did you do that
The wheels that are on the car came with the car, I would rather have the factory ones myself but they're rocking horse poo and these have got new tyres on.

The black vinyl was applied post respray by Tony, I spotted it on a different Beat online and liked the look of it on that one. Still unsure if I like it on the bright yellow, but maybe it needs to be Matt/satin effect instead of gloss?

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Right, there was no point in delaying it, so the following day, the Beat went up on stands in preparation for the parts.


Luckily, having observed @twosmoke300do it a few months prior (Whilst I was v.hungover - I was, quite literally zero use that day!) I was roughly aware of the correct order to do things. 

Things were going well, with only a few stumbling blocks on the way:



Keen to avoid the heart-stopping moment of it running wrong like last time, the HT lead paint dots were re-applied 😂


The exhaust put up a fight (as it did last time!) but eventually came off.


Alternator and A/C belts - these were clearly past their best when we did the timing belt change back in November but we didn't have spares. Got a new Alt belt but the A/C one is still eluding me - not overly important as the A/C  doesn't work in this car.



Eventually, after more faffing about, I got the timing belt covers off and was greeted with  a shard of metal resting at the bottom. Uh-oh.


Turns out the idler pulley hadn't let go, but the water pump had, there was excessive amounts of play in the pulley suggesting a failed bearing. This was on the 'to-change' list as we discovered a coolant weep back in November, but as the water pump is unique to this engine, it was an import from Japan job - which I did not have the spare funds to do at the time. Thankfully, the engine turns fine so there should be no permanent damage once a new timing belt kit and water pump is fitted. Now the car appears to be in yet another maintenance package, I'll be looking to do some of those other big deferred jobs I was leaving until after the show season, including a near-full rear end change, de-corroding the rigid cooling pipelines causing small weeping leaks, more rustproofing and a service.




Herman has also gone in for the MOT today, so fingers crossed that's not too painful!

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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris' Life of Shite ***Get pumped 1/3***

Whilst at work, MrsH received a parcel:


Gavin sorted me right out, with everything I needed to repair the Beat, at a great price and delivered quickly. Top bloke!


It also came packed in some authentic Japanese newspaper, but I forgot to get some photos of that.

Satisfied I had the required parts, I wasted no time in whipping the belt and pump off.

The damage marks were evident, as was the evidence that the previous owner had just run it on pure water for a while!



The play in the pump was immediately apparent, but the pump was also sticking at points:

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And the bearings sounded like a children's maraca:

 <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/l-u3vhb5Hh8" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The old pump had a hole drilled out to allow removal of the locating dowel:



A tiny smear of hylomar to hold the seal in place,


and a smear of grease on the mating face of the seal


And that bolted back in nicely.

Photos dried up a bit here, but the idler pulley and tensioner pulley were replaced.

The old timing belt had clearly been scrubbing on the lower cover, presumably when the pump pulley allowed some lateral movement!


A new belt was fitted:


....and removed, and refitted several times as I'd never done a timing belt before and I was absolutely cacking it about messing it up and lunching the engine!

Once fitted for the final time, the crankshaft pulley was refitted and the engine rotated on the pulley what felt like a million times - everything felt all right, so I think any potential damage has been avoided.


Whilst everything was disassembled, it seemed daft not to work my way through the pile of parts sat on the shelf as part of the service.

Starting with spark plugs (gaps checked before fitting!)


And the fuel filter. Fiddly little bugger. (Photo is of old one coming out)


This item is, again, usually a Japan import jobby, but after a bit of digging, I managed to found out the part number was shared with one from an early 90's Civic Shuttle 1.6, which was showing as in stock at ECP.  There were slight variations in the angling of the banjo union support brackets, so one doesn't sit in a bracket, but otherwise it's a perfect match and proved itself to be leak free. Result!

This means the only thing left to do in the service at some point is the air filter - again, a Japan-only part, but I'm investigating other options for this.

Progress shot:


This marked the end of Friday's efforts, as I had to pick the boy up from pre-school and be a dad for a while. Normally, the next step of the job would be to re-fit the exhaust etc. However, I had a lend of an electric impact wrench from a neighbour to remove the crank pulley (My air one wasn't strong enough) so whilst I had use of the wrench, it made good sense to dig this lot out of the garage rafters for Saturday's job:


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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris' Life of Shite ***AN BIG FIXT THREAD 09/03***

So, having filled myself with breakfast, I climbed into the same filthy overalls and drained the transmission oil into a clean drip tray - but not before ensuring I could undo the fill plug first!



1.2l is bang on for the amount expected in there - looks all right too, so it's going back in until I can afford to replace the MTF.

The nearside hub and arms came off relatively easily with only four bolts and a big flatpoint screwdriver to pop the driveshaft out. Brakes were another matter. Sadly, the handbrake cable was rusted into its mounting arm on the hub, but thankfully, Honda thought ahead on this, allowing them to be removed with 2 x 12mm bolts. It needed further unseizing on the connection point on the caliper arm too - this took quite a bit of oiling and beating with a hammer to eventually come out. 

Eventually though, I was greeted with a cavernous space where a hub should be:


The offside was a much bigger pain in the ass. The handbrake cable had also seized in that arm, but one of the bolts was particularly crusty. Not wanting to risk rounding it off, I used the only 12mm, six sided socket I had, a 1/4" drive one, along with a step down socket to allow me to feed the torque in a bit better with a 3/8" ratchet handle.

Which went well.


Eventually, after digging through my spare tools, I found a near-death 1/4" ratchet handle, and used that with large ring spanner on the handle to give the leverage required to crack the nut without rounding it off. Clearly, I need to expand my socket selection to include six sided sockets at 3/8" input.

Aside from that, almost all the bolts came out with no fuss.

I say almost...


When I received the Beat back, I was informed there was a small amount of play around the hub to shock clamp, despite tightening it as much as it would go - this is what necessitated the hub change. Sadly, as soon as I put any real torque into the clamp bolt to undo it, it sheared. 

No matter, it sheared at the right point so I was happy I could still remove the hub:


At this point, there were car parts littering the floor:


But you can clearly see the rear calipers were not up to the job these days, with barely any contact being made on the inner disc surface.


The new hubs, arms and calipers are in much, much better condition - I'm going to suggest they came from a relatively fresh imported Beat as there is no rust at all anywhere! (Spot the freebie Bluepoint socket set that gave up its step down socket earlier - sheared in a nanosecond :mrgreen:)


Disassembly work continued, with the engine re-supported on a jack and the rear mount disconnected, ready to undo the four large bolts holding the rear subframe on. Sadly, the electric impact wrench could only undo  the smaller 2 of them, leaving it up to sheer bodgery - step forth me, a tyre iron and a 17mm impact socket - you could see the car squirming around on the axle stands as I undid them! Eventually, they gave in and I received my prize - the difference in condition is plain to see!




A bit redundant, given the scale of work being done here, but I marked the camber adjustment nuts and their relative subframe position on the rear arms and transferred the marking s over, in a naive attempt to get it 'kinda' in the same zone.


'lOaDs Of RoOm FoR a K2o SwAp LoLz' 🙄


Anyway, time to rebuild.

Subframe back in, bolts threadlocked and biiiiig torque applied. Creep marks applied and I'll check on them in a few hundred miles.



Nearside hub next - a bit fiddly when you're the only one in the garage! Thankfully, the rear engine mount being connected freed up a trolley jack:


Notice these have brake dust shields fitted, unlike the old ones!

These hubs came with calipers, discs and pads already fitted, and all of them looked to be in better condition than the old set. Seemed silly not to take the caliper off and clean/grease everything up to ensure it hasn't gotten stiff during its period of inactivity.


Once done, the caliper and, cable and banjo union was refitted.

The hub was then jacked up to what is approximately the level it would be when sat on the ground on wheels, and the suspension arm bolts torqued and creep marks applied.

Then, feeling confident, I cracked on with the offside, until I finished for the night at this stage:


I then went to the pub for the night. Many beers were imbibed, ready for a late start on Sunday 😆

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Sunday morning rolled around, and my 4 year old reminded my that, contrary to popular belief, I am not entitled to lie-ins, hungover or otherwise.

Painkillers necked, pancakes scoffed, and straight into it then.

The engine was fully reassembled up top, exhaust refitted (the studs/nuts need replacing very soon, as does the manifold to cat gasket), the brakes vacuum bled at all four corners and the gearbox oil replenished:


I also took the chance to remove the distributor cap and rotor arm for a quick check - it wasn't bad so it only got a light sand back to shiny metal.

A while back, I noticed the coolant pipes were weeping slightly at the join from metal to rubber - I couldn't remember which one it was so it made sense to do the lot. Did forget there would be the remainder of the coolant in the system, but thankfully there was a drip tray underneath to catch the fluid! 🤦‍♂️



Once the rubber pipes were off, the metal pipe ends were cleaned up and a very thin coat of grease applied. The rubber hoses were cleaned/scraped of all the rust deposits and some rubber seal 'plumping/conditioning' solution applied to make them more pliable/sealing (The stuff is for door/roof rubber seals, so they got done on the Beat too whilst the stuff was out).

Once the rear was done, it was on to the front - was then that I discovered that the front right axle stand was bearing no weight at all :shock:


Then (no pictures) there was evidence of more rustproofing required behind the nearside intake grille cavity on the rear quarter - unfortunately, I was getting quite frustrated at not being able to get a paintbrush down the crevices and resorted to masking off the surrounding area and pouring stone chip paint down into the cavity and using an air line to 'push' it around - certainly not a pretty or correct method, but I've not got many ideas left. The next option will be drilling a hole in the sill for drainage and adding a rubber threaded screw that can be removed for drainage.

With that done, it was time to fill up the cooling system - the system takes 4.7L so a fresh 50/50 mix of OAT coolant was poured into the header tank at the rear, with occasional assistance of purging the system by me blowing into the expansion tank to push it through 😆 I've noticed the expansion cap seal is perished, so I've coated the top of the expansion tank in silicone grease in an attempt to aid sealing.

So, how does it run?

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Fucking lovely, is how it runs! Initially it had a check engine light illuminated, but this was suspected to be oil contamination of the camshaft position sensor connector. Once cleaned, the code cleared, and the car got up to temperature nicely and the last of the air burped out of the cooling system.

A ten mile test drive revealed that everything was running nicely - it wasn't grindy or grumbly behind my head any more! The handling feels a bit off but the car will be going in for an alignment with Phill soon. The brakes take a bit of getting used to again as with the old calipers, I was not getting any brake pedal travel, which made it very hard to slow down gently. Not so the case now, it's lovely.

Parked it up for the night and had an early night for work the following day.


This car is so close to being done, the roof is the next big step, but I need to import some of the fixtures and fittings for it. I've got two roof frames to choose from too, so I'll be using the best one.

Dead chuffed, like.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Took Herman to the beach today with the family. MrsH has been using it to ferry the boy to and from Nursery, so it's averaging a pathetic 13mpg at the moment.

As we pulled out of the beach car park, the traction control light came on and the gearbox started behaving very oddly - felt like limp mode, stumbling and throttling back when applying light throttle. It also refused to kick down or rev higher than 3500.

Weirdly, it only did this in normal and sport modes - in manual it was working absolutely fine, pulling cleanly etc.

Luckily, my mate Dan was a stone's throw away and he was very kind to let me plug the car into the garages reader.

Got a shitload of fault codes throughout the car (hopefully induced by the low battery problems I had before) but most pertinent were these ones:



This was highlighted by one of the throttle quadrants randomly motoring through its full extent whilst we waited.

Still, the faults were cleared and a quick test drive revealed all was behaving again, but I'll be keeping a close eye on this.

Did spot this though, which would partially explain the poor MPG:


So I'm now on the hunt for one of those.

Bonus doggo - he never, ever gets to ride in Herman but we had the kids seats in there already so it seemed daft to move them around.


Nothing exciting anywhere else, although the MX-5 is going in for an MOT on 5th April so hopefully we'll get a nice easy to-do list!

As with most people, I've finally had enough of these sodding fuel prices and started using the bike a lot more now.


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Wow, haven’t seen a pair of bar-ends like that for a while!
They're only wee stubby ones, but really perfectly sized for light hooning the bike got fully serviced and recommissioned back in September whilst I was away with work.


I just chipped away at it a bit at a time and now it rides beautifully - I ended up giving my road bike away because I prefer this in every single way.

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