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FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron ***Non-BX related content 17/4***


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On 04/11/2023 at 23:44, fatharris said:

When I got the Rover from the roffle, I was informed that the clutch biting point was a bit high but otherwise was fine. Obviously, the events that unfolded trying to get home from Silverstone had showed that the clutch wasn't going to get any better. Luckily, a new clutch was included in the generous spares package supplied by @montytom. With the MOT looming, and the OSF CV boot split all the way round, it made sense to kill two birds with one stone and get the car into a work package to aid its chances for a pass.

So, up on axle stands and wheels off, and gearbox oil drained:


I was following a guide supplied on an MG-R owners forum 13 years ago, which highlights the merits of keeping forums in lieu of FB groups. I didn't get many photos of the first day's work, as a) I was keen to get cracking, and b) I was ill as fuck with D&V and having to rush to the toilet every 20 minutes to add to the Poo Count. Called it a day early as a result.


It wasn't until day 2 that I started to encounter problems, and oh boy, it was a doozy. The lower engine steady bar needed to be removed to lower the engine to facilitate gearbox removal. First bolt for the small bush came out with minimal fuss. The big one? Different story altogether. The bolt shank had corroded and seized itself into the metal bush insert, and when the bolt was turned, the entire bush turned within the dogbone mount. 

In the coming hours that ensued, I tried a whole manner of things to get this to play ball - penetrating oil, hammers, chisels, even got my hammer drill involved, whilst hitting it with a lump hammer!

Eventually, it became clear that nothing was going to work, so it was time to fire up the angle grinder:


First two cuts were on the mount itself in order to get it out of the way - I'd already accepted this was going to have to be sacrificed at this point. The next set of cuts involved trying to cut through the big rubber bush, the sleeve, and the bolt. I chose to cut it about a centimetre inboard, to give a bit of clearance between the disc and the subframe etc. The plumes of smoke this generated in the garage was impressive! Eventually, the cut went all the way through, and I was able to remove a large section of the bush, leaving the remaining centimetre.

Did that bit come out easily? Did it bollocks. More hammering, and lubing followed, which was getting me nowhere. Eventually, I opted to used the air file to wear down the shank of the bolt a bit more. After more of this, I was then able to use the pipe wrench to grasp the bush sleeve and using a wrench, I cracked the corrosion and the remainder of the items fell out. An absolute arseache.


It was only that evening when I got onto the owners groups, that I realised this mount was very hard to get hold of - as in, impossible. No hits on Rimmers, eBay or anything else. I eventually got lucky by commenting on a breaking post on a Facebook group that was over a year old.

Finally, for £40, I had a replacement mount on the way - I was informed that the bushes were toast on it, so I started the hunt online for those - surprise, surprise, they aren't available. Eventually, I resorted to ordering a set of Powerflex bushes from eBay for £80 - they come is sets of two, to do the top and bottom engine steady.

With that awful escapade behind me, the disassembly continued. I got to the point of disconnecting/wirelocking the clutch slave cylinder to prevent the rod inadvertently popping out, and found a contributing factor to the sloppy clutch pedal - check out the wear on that clevis pin!


Finally, that evening, with MrsH in the garage as a safety rating, the engine was lowered, and the gearbox removed before I called it a night:


Whilst this was being disassembled, I noticed the OSF bottom ball joint had play in it. The hub was duly removed (with a seized track rod end still fitted) and sent up to Phill and Dan to be replaced and the track rod end to be removed.

In the meantime, I decided to do some of the other jobs whilst awaiting the parts in the post. First up was the OSF CV joint - the boot had been torn since I got it, and there was a clicking when turning on full lock. Again, two CV joints were supplied in the boot with the car, so another free fix! Thankfully, unlike the last time I tried this with the Fiesta, the CV joint actually came off!



Whilst it was in bits, and I had the free spares, it made sense to do the nearside shaft too - this turned out to be a wise move, as the boot was held on with tywraps instead of the standard metal clip, which had allowed dirt to get in underneath the boot and contaminate the grease!


Finally, it was time to turn my attention to the star of the show - the clutch itself.

Somebody clearly cared for this car, as there was a LUK inside!


Once removed, there was clear evidence of overheating - probably from the Silverstone fiasco!


The friction plate itself seemed to have plenty of meat - Vernier calipers deployted and confirmed 7mm of plate thickness - the replacement one only has 1mm more on it! Clearly, this wasn't slipping for a lack of friction plate thickness.


The flywheel itself was removed for a check - there were signs of crazing on the surface, but on the whole, it seemed fine, so it was cleaned up with IPA and popped on the pile of bits to refit,


Whilst in the area, with the flywheel off, I noticed the rear crank seal was letting a bit of oil drop. This was removed, cleaned thoroughly, the rubber seal insert flipped and re-inserted with a bit of blue Hylomar. Let's see if that works.


The inside of the gearbox was cleaned up and the release bearing removed. When removing it, I noticed the clutch arm was really stiff. Think I've found another contributory factor to the whole thing not working.

Took it out, and wouldn't you know? The shaft was heavily corroded:


Further inspection highlighted an elongated hole for the clevis pin - yet another factor in the poor clutch operation:


Knowing that I'll never find one of these for sale, it was time to fire up the welder again. I'd measured the diameter of the clevis pin on an unworn section - 7.9mm. I filled the hole with weld, and re-drilled it to 8mm.


Quick test with the clevis pin confirmed the fitment was spot on.


The clutch arm was then thoroughly de-corroded, lubricated and refitted - now it operates very smoothly! The release bearing was fitted at the same time.

At this point, with so many concurrent jobs going on, the workbench resembled a disaster zone:


But I pressed on, fitting the flywheel, aligning the clutch by eye, and torqued the pressure plate bolts. Borg and Beck were the OE supplier for Rover clutches back in the day!


Finally, MrsH was in the garage again as safety number as the gearbox was lifted into place and secured, calling an end to Day 3. I was back to work the following day and had a bit of a break from rolling around on the floor whilst I awaited bits to come in.



Hmm that's interesting, same box as my Maestro by the looks of it. I also had stiff clutch pedal and high bite point. 

I debated whether to remove the release arm shaft but in the end I settled for squirting a load of GT85 around it and letting it creep in overnight. I then worked it back and forth and it got much lighter. 

Like you I found the clutch plate and friction disc weren't badly worn at all. I think my problems were probably the release arm and maybe an old cable. 

I was a bit pissed off to find the clutch not worn out but then again I don't know how I would have improved it without removing the box, plus my crank seal was starting to 'go' like yours so I replaced it. 




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On 05/11/2023 at 00:36, fatharris said:

We pick up over a week later - the postie starts bringing treats, such as my Powerflex bushes, and the lower engine mount (not pictured):


The lower engine steady had the new bushes fitted, and was fitted to the engine, which was now jacked back level and the gearbox mount re-fitted. The gearbox earth lead was cleaned up prior to refitment as well.

The upper engine steady was next - the big bush just popped out, but the bottom one needed a bit more persuasion:


The slave cylinder was refitted, reconnected with a new clevis pin, and bled - this now worked a treat, much lighter and smoother than before. This was then absolutely lagged in grease.


The offside hub came back with a fresh balljoint and was fitted - albeit with me being daft and thinking the wheel bearing had failed during the balljoint change - I was then reminded that they need to be tightened up via the hub nut to take the play out. A new track rod end was also fitted as the rubber boot on the old one was damaged.

Whilst working in the area, I noticed the brake calipers on the front hadn't been lubricated, so both front calipers and pads were removed, cleaned and lubricated - this ended up clearing a juddering under braking, which is a winner.

Then obviously, the next step was to stop all reassembly work, and take the front bumper off for further secondary jobs. Garage looking more and more untidy as the day goes on.


One of the persistent faults present with the car was the bonnet catch had to be manually reset every time the released was pulled - this was diagnosed as a sticking bonnet release cable.


Again, new ones aren't available, so a used one was sourced - prior to fitting it, I held it vertically in a line and fed oil into it until it came out the other end and ensured the operation would remain smooth for years to come. It was a bit of a faff to fit, but matching the run highlighted an opportunity to kink the outer sheath, so the run was slightly changed.


The main reason to remove the front bumper was to sort out the bumper corner misalignment from the time it rolled into the wall. Didn't take too long to remove and straighten the crash bar in the vice, although it has highlighted that the crash bar needs replacement soon anyway - it's pretty corroded. I didn't get an after picture, but you'll see in the other photos at the end, it worked a treat!


With the rest of the reassembly done (again, not pictured), it was time to prep the car for filling up with fresh gearbox oil, but first, the car was jacked at the rear to get the car level.


With 2.2 litres in and everything bolted back up, it was time to turn the key and try the gears whilst still on stands. Success! The clutch engaged correctly, and all gears were selectable. Onto another secondary job, namely the washer jets being weak as piss. This was narrowed down to a kinked washer pipe, which was subsequently replaced and the jets re-aligned.


Next, in a move considered pretty silly, I took off the plastic sill covers and inspected the metalwork for grot - always a daft move on a 20+ year old cheap car. However, with the exception of two jacking points showing a bit of surface rust, it was in really good condition! Whilst underneath, I took the opportunity to rustproof some more exposed areas with Dynax corrosion preventative.

The following day, the wheels were bolted back on, and the car reversed out in the pissing rain, so far, so good!


It then went on a quick test drive which involved a couple of miles of down the dual carriageway, which confirmed everything was working - the clutch biting point being a lot lower than the previous incumbent.


Once back, it was time to stow away all the tools and tidy the bombsite I called a garage. At the end, I got a lesson in why you conduct tool checks BEFORE the test drive, when I couldn't find a socket, extension and ratchet handle:



The car itself was absolutely filthy - covered in greasy handprints and ingrained rust filings into the paintwork - someone's been grinding around this car :lol: and the paintwork was gritty to the touch.


So, it was thoroughly washed and brought back into the now-tidy garage (you can see the front bumper corner alignment is now spot on!):


And attacked with a claybar. This ended up taking a good few hours based on the sheer level of contaminants on the paintwork, so I ran out of time to polish or wax it, but it feels much nicer now, and I've managed to get a few scuff marks out too, which is a bonus! This was the state of the claybar after a few passes of the OSF wing, to give some idea of the mess:


After that, I used the Rover to commute to work for the rest of the week, just to give it a bit of a shakedown - there's still a bit of clonking over speedhumps, which I can probably attribute to the worn ARB 'D' bushes - I found a set of NOS Rover ones on eBay for less than a tenner delivered, and will fit them this week.


Today was the last day of the MOT so we went out in it one last time - it's booked in for the 20th, along the the Beat, which is taking the slot before that, so fingers crossed!


With the Rover out of the garage, the BX under a sturdy cover, and a hefty storm on the way, the MX5 and the Beat have taken refuge inside for now, along with anything in the garden that could blow away! We got away with no damage to the house or any of our stuff, but I did have to clear the river storm drain outside our house from all the debris - the river level was a lot higher than usual!


So, roll on the 20th I guess - fingers crossed it won't be heartache!

Thanks for reading! :mrgreen:


Is the car much noisier inside with the Powerflex bushes in the torque mount? 

I fitted one to my Puma once and the noise inside the car was unbearable so I changed back to standard. 

Appreciate you didn't have much of an option with the originals seizing up and needing the angrywheel to remove. 

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5 hours ago, grogee said:

Is the car much noisier inside with the Powerflex bushes in the torque mount? 

I fitted one to my Puma once and the noise inside the car was unbearable so I changed back to standard. 

Appreciate you didn't have much of an option with the originals seizing up and needing the angrywheel to remove. 

If it is, then I've not noticed it, it seems about the same. Enjoying not having the engine lurching back and forth when starting up on those knackered bushes though!

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On 05/11/2023 at 21:29, fatharris said:

...The one remaining website that the forums used to link to has long gone too.

Have you tried seeing if that website was cached on archive.org?  That's saved my behind on a couple of occasions looking for oddball documentation from websites that have long since vanished.

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10 hours ago, Zelandeth said:

Have you tried seeing if that website was cached on archive.org?  That's saved my behind on a couple of occasions looking for oddball documentation from websites that have long since vanished.

I didn't actually!

Sadly, the website I hoped would be the smoking gun only gave information for previous ABS systems. Onwards I guess!

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Still waiting on bits to fix the Rover's ABS snag, so onto the Laguna, which has decided to not ventilate any more.

Was liveable during September, but now it's getting colder, and thumping the dashboard isn't making it cough into life, MrsH has said she'd really rather have it fixed.

Back into the wiring diagrams it is then. 🤣 Most likely a loose connection but I've been disappointed before.


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It's been a bit manic this week, with illness and other factors taking my time.

Firstly, after a lot of investigating and questions, Phill kindly provided some diagnostic information for the Bosch 5.0 ABS system used in the 620ti, along with some further information kindly provided by a Polish gentleman in one fo the Rovers groups - I'll be collating and sharing this information here at some point as a dedicated post to hopefully let Google pick it up on search results.

It transpired I'd been going down the wrong path, as I'd mis-interpreted the fault code as '18' (Rear left signal implausibility) when in fact, it was '81' (ECU fault)

So, a lot of investigation was carried out, with only a loose earth stud being found on the unit - whilst this was rectified, the earth strap and points were cleaned up either side. 


The ABS ECU is part of the ABS unit itself - albeit removable if required. Using the information from Autodata, the plug was dismantled and wiring checks carried out:


All the fuses etc were found to be in good order, and the wiring checks found nothing untoward in that regard, so the next step was to remove the ABS ECU for further testing....

....aaaand typically, one of the securing torx screws has rounded off, so the entire unit would have to come out for further investigation. By this point, I was content that the ECU was at fault anyway and ordered a replacement from eBay - should be here Monday.

So to console myself, I replaced the front indicator bulbs that had shed their coating and turned white and ran a compression test on the engine - happy with the figures.



So with that waiting, it was onto the Laguna. The garage was emptied of the Beat and Mazda now all the stormy weather had passed.



I photocopied the Haynes wiring diagram and got my head wrapped around it. Never seen a heater resistor unit contain two relays. One is to send power ultimately to the fan speed switch/to the second relay contacts, and the second relay is energised when the fan speed is set to max. 


All fuses and power supply lines were checked - no issues were found. Not surprising, as it had suddenly decided to start working properly the day before.

The fan itself was removed and checked for obstructions etc - no issues found, and bearings lubricated and exercised whilst I was there.


Eventually, some overheating had been observed on line A3 of the heater resistor unit - this is one of the main power supply lines.




Em mentioned that just prior to the fan coming back to life, there was an extended period of clicking coming from that area before a thump brought it back to life. 

Suspecting the relays, I then knocked up some flyleads to manually change it over and check for continuity - the old MX5 battery may not be good enough to start an engine now, but it worked fine for this!
Unfortunately, the wiring diagram differed massively from what results I was getting - I could get both relays to change over, but I still wasn't content with the pin out locations or the wire colours to aid the diagnosis. Found out there were at least three different types of heater resistor fitted and the diagrams were just typical ones.

Eventually, I refitted the system, and started mucking about with the fan speeds and ignition switch to try and make it fail.


Once again, it was working fine at all speeds and all modes initially, Eventually, the fault came back when it went back to 4 and you can hear a relay chattering in the video, which went away and the fan resumed when clicking back down to 3. Earth returns etc were all checked with no fault found, so the heater resistor itself was deemed suspect and I've started the hunt for one - tricky, but I think I've got a good lead on one. In the interim, I've left a rubber mallet in the footwell for MrsH, along with instructions on where to 'tap' it back into life effectively.

When it comes back into the garage to get fitted, I'll be removing and lubricating the bonnet cable at the same time, as it's very stiff and I don't want it to snap! Will investigate the cable routing and popping the wing dent out whilst I'm at it.



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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron ***MOAR FIXING 12/11***

Another somewhat busy week.

First off, the Honda was occupying the garage again so it made sense to get underneath and give it a bit of a clean and checking over prior to the MOT on Monday. Getting underneath it found nothing too shocking thankfully, a couple of small scabs here and there, which was quickly coated in Dynax UC. Despite being parked in a dry garage for a few days, there were signs of dampness on the underside of the rear sill pockets.

Assuming that rainwater had gotten into the rear quarter cavities again via the side grilles and was struggling to get out, a small gap between the rear quarter skin and the sill was found and 'percussively enlarged' with the help of a small hammer and a flat point screwdriver.


Wow. Other side was no better.


Thankfully, the inner cavities had been well-protected in the past so I don't think any corrosion has set in. Both new drain holes were protected with Dynax UC once fully drained. Since then, the Beat's been parked out in the rain and you can see the water leaving it correctly!

Lastly, I gave the car a once-over for the MOT, lights, levels etc. All seemed well, except the rear fog light wasn't working. found the fault with the earth return spade connector, which was replaced, bringing light back into my life!


There were only 2 other things I observed. First was the coolant level had dropped slightly - those steel coolant pipes still not allowing an effective seal to the rubber pipeline. Given how many miles I did this year and the amount I topped up, it isn't worth worrying about. Secondly, the clutch fluid was flushed through early last year, and checking it this time showed the level was very, very low and looked like mud in the reservoir. Guess it's time to start sourcing parts for the clutch hydraulics change.

With the Beat parked outside and ready for a wash on Sunday, it was time to bring the Rover in to the bombsite garage and get it up on ramps for some more work:


First job - fit the OE replacement ARB D bushes - very lucky to find these, and at a great price too! Despite replacing the bottom balljoint last month, there was still a clonking occasionally heard over speed bumps.


I'd already loosened and tightened all the bolts when I did the clutch change, so I knew they weren't seized, making this job a piece of cake :mrgreen:

This part of the vehicle was very corrosion-free - a testament to the T-series sweating oil from every pore!


Look at the difference in size between the left and right bushes - the constant exposure to oil has caused it to swell and go spongy, whereas the other one has gone dry, hard and crack/split in several places.


The new bushes and contacting surfaces were given a light coat of rubber grease, to hopefully prevent any annoying squeaking. Whilst underneath, I applied more Dynax UC to exposed metal areas - when in Rome.

Next, the big job loomed - the ABS unit.  With the deadline of MOT day looming ever-closer, salvation arrived in the form of this box, presumably delivered by Ace Ventura:


Fortunately, the ABS unit itself was unharmed. The pipe fittings were snipped off at the breakers, so I applied a 50/50 ATF-Acetone solution to them to soak before they came out - this solution was applied to the unit pipeline fittings on the car too.

Spot the difference!


Thankfully, this job was a breeze - the only irritating thing was the plastic pipeline guides broke at two positions, causing two pipes to touch - this was resolved by tactical application of tape, and pipeline clearance was achieved!

With the old unit out, I separated the ECU to carry out resistance checks on the pump, to see if I could confirm the component at fault.


All the resistance checks came back fine - there are no checks documented on the ECU anywhere, so I'm confident that's where the fault lay.

With that confirmed, the ECU was fired into the bin and all four wheels removed for a vacuum bleed - the Autodata page and the Rover factory manual suggested two different bleeding sequences.

Simple solution? Do both sequences and hope for the best :lol:


Moment of truth:



With that done, it was time to reassemble the boot, which had been partially stripped when I was incorrectly chasing the NSR sensor.

Whilst in there, I noticed an excessive amount of water in various parts of the spare wheel well, and behind the CD changer trim. Didn't take long to find the culprits.


Four of the steel floor bungs had either lifted due to failed adhesive, or had rotted through! The remains were removed and the area de-greased.


Suspicious of another area where water could come in, I shone a torch towards the rear light around the grot spot, hoping I couldn't see any light:


Arses. A closer look inside revealed there's going to be some rather intense work required soon - nothing structurally concerning, but cosmetically it's poor. It's clearly been Kurust'd before - if the car is still with me when I can afford it, then it'll get sorted.


For now, it was a case of whipping the rear light unit out:


And applying aluminium exhaust tape to the compromised areas to environmentally seal them. The missing floor bungs have been done in the same manner until I source replacements.


With everything reassembled, and the wheels re-fitted, it was time to take it for a quick couple of laps around the village - the bleeding procedure stated that at least two ABS-invoked stops were to be carried out before another bleed. Just to be safe, I carried out six, which confirmed the ABS system was fully functional, with no ABS warning light present.


Once the second bleed was carried out, it was time for a slightly longer lap, which confirmed everything was now working successfully.


I did notice a top end tapping at idle that eventually clears - I think a sticking tappet is at play there - will look into it when I eventually get to the cambelt change.

That's me back up to date for now - had some more parts delivered yesterday. Was planning to fit them yesterday evening, but beers with @twosmoke300 proved far more tempting, even if he was being a fanny and not partaking in the Karaoke :lol:

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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron ***ABS work 18/11***

Sod it, I plowed on and did some small jobs today:

The varnish on Hermans knob was chipping and flaking off - a painful situation, I'm sure you'll agree!

Found one online for a fiver - the varnish is cracked, but not peeling off yet, so an improvement.



Next up, the Laguna.

Passenger airbag out. Rested it on the pink bucket to avoid straining the cables.


Two connectors on top, then prise the bugger out!


Out with the old, in with the also old.


Quick check with the multimeter before connecting it all back up - all seemed well, and it worked perfectly in all modes when connected to the motor!


Naturally, with my to-do list looking a lot smaller, the Laguna reminded me that cars are never actually finished:


Balls. Job for another day there.

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Well, one MOT done.


Sadly, it wasn't to be.



Luckily, the MOT tester was clearly fond of the Beat, showed me where it was leaking (the mid section aft of the cat has been on borrowed time for a while) and gave me the number of a local fabricator. Luckily the Honda is off the road now for the winter, so I can assess all my available options.

Rover has been dropped off, should hear from that dreckly too.



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As it has been precisely approximately 12 months since the last big job was carried out to the garage (insulation in between the roof joists with two layers of celotex), it was time to do this years job. I'd bought an infrared heater last year, which was lovely when on, but wasn't a lasting heat. With 'leccy prices remaining high, it was time to search for an alternative solution, and a diesel heater was routinely touted as the answer to my prayers. I waited until summer this year when prices would be lower before pulling the trigger on one.

I didn't want it to be at floor level, or to be in the way at all, so it had to be elevated, and I wanted the exhaust to be out of the building as soon as possible, without the entire unit being outside. That left just one location - the shelf above the garage door. The location for the remainder of the kit required was mocked up to get an idea of what would be required, and where:



The intended routing of the exhaust marked in orange - proper technical drawing skills on here!

So, onto the very first job - fitting the vertical pickup fuel pipe in the tank.


Piece of cake, right?




Yep, somehow I got all turned around, measured zero, drilled once, and didn't realise my cockup until I went to mount the tank.

No worries, solution procured, courtesy of the ratchet strap that was holding the Laguna's fuel tank a few months ago :lol:


Eventually, with no photos because I was actually quite busy on it, but eventually I had everything all plumbed in - the power cables were extended to allow the battery to be mounted adjacent to the fuel tank - this has a smart charger fitted 24/7 as well - the units require a cooldown programme prior to shutting down, and in the event of a power cut, the unit could become heavily damaged as a result due to overheating, this makes the battery an essential bit of kit.

The ducting will be replaced for longer items in due course - this was just to test the system - ideally the heater output will be at floor level to allow the heat to travel through the full height of the building.





A longer exhaust ended up being used - still not 100% happy with the routing of it. The battery used also wasn't up to the job, so was swapped out for my mate's surplus Shogun battery. 



There was not a lot of wiggle room with regard to the routing of the fuel, exhaust and intake pipework.


With the work done, it was time to fill with diesel, prime it and give it a test run. How did it work?

Bloody lovely, is how. Even with the shoddy duct routing and on the lowest setting, the back of the garage thermostat reported an increase of about 5c in four hours. The fuel pump was initially mounted into the underside of the shelf via a rubber mount, but the constant 'clicking' sound was incredibly loud - following advice from other users, the rubber mount was suspended by a cable tie, which has lowered the noise considerably. It's still very noticeable though, but isn't a problem as I always have music on in the garage.

My biggest concern was the exhaust routing and proximity to the wooden shelf - I've removed as much adjacent wood as possible and it clearly didn't burst into flames, but I will be adding some form of metal heat shield around the area, to allow better heat dissipation. I want to try and change the routing at the other end too, to route the tail end of the exhaust round the corner from the garage door to reduce the risk of the fumes being blown back in. I'll also be investing in a smoke and CO alarm, because that's just common sense.

If anyone was planning to have one of these Chinese diesel heaters, I'd recommend upgrading the jubilee hose clips (the factory ones are shite), and reading the installation instructions of a similar Webasto equivalent - the instructions for installation are largely the same, with the control panel operations are well covered in Youtube videos.

Either way, I'm looking forward to working in a warm garage over the winter months, with the insulation in place to keep the heat in!

As a final billy bonus, I used the Laguna for the school run today, first time I drove it in the dark since the heater repair - was happily greeted with this sight:


Yep - the heater control backlights - they'd never worked in the time we owned the car, and I simply assumed they weren't a thing on Lagunas, so clearly the new heater resistor has rectified further dealings with the system than I thought!


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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron ***Turning up the heat 22/11***

Few small jobs this weekend - firstly, the Beat has been booked in for a custom exhaust section that links the downpipe and the backbox - £240 all in, including fitting, I'm not going to argue at that price, hopefully that'll enable another MOT.

In the meantime, the Beat has been evicted from the cosy garage, because it's the turn of the big grey pain in my ass to have another spell of residence - I'm hoping to have a chance to work on it in the coming weeks, but that's always subject to life/work/kids/other cars/pints. Didn't bother trying to start it - it didn't happen last time, I presume its out of fuel. Pushed easily enough uphill though:


The following day saw a day trip up to Plymouth with the family in the Rover - all worked nicely with no mishaps. Noticed some fluctuations on the boost gauge when going through the rev range, I think there's a small leak somewhere. Still pulled lovely though.

Today, with my assistant building something for his playhouse - think he was making a 'water pump' :lol::


I knocked up a heatshield for the diesel heater exhaust - I added the nuts as spacers to give the plate some clearance from the wood for better heat dissipation, and to prevent the screws from piercing the unit:


And screwed it in place -


Had it running on max chat for over an hour and all was fine - it won't be run for that long at that heat level during normal usage, so I'm calling that a win. Did notice the diesel pump has started leaking from the body though, so a new one will be ordered/fitted.

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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron

A monoxide alarm is essential  wherever a diesel heater is used, there have been several deaths in the boating community due to faulty exhausts or even exhaust fumes finding their way back into the vessel.

They have an additional bonus (which they don't mention) in that they also pick up on when a battery is overcharging and venting hydrogen, as I found out in the middle of the night with no CO producing equipment being used but the batteries being recharged by shore power.

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Busy week, like. Will try and split it into days:


Taking a step back, I wasn't happy with the installation - the exhaust pipe was in pretty close proximity to the wooden shelf, mostly the jubilee clip. Took it back off, and expanded the hole.


Originally, I had the unit secured via screws through the wooden shelf AND the mounting plate - this was changed to a nut and stud setup through just the mounting plate, which was sealed all round with fireproof silicone and aluminium tape. The jubilee clip was also re-oriented to give maximum clearance, before the heat shield was refitted - I also added a vertical one to aid heat dissipation.



It was time to drop the Honda off to a local exhaust fabricator.


I popped in earlier in the week and they quoted me £240 for fabrication and fitting of a stainless steel linkpipe between the cat and the backbox. The bonus was they had enough space to fit me in within the retest period, which was a result!

Unfortunately for me, MrsH then let me know that the Laguna's cabin fan had packed up with the same symptoms again. No rest for the wicked and I started to whip the passenger airbag out. Because it was raining on and off, the BX stayed in the garage and I worked outside. Joys.


Decided to get access to the fan switch this time for further wiring checks, this needed the centre console removing where I found this cheeky little scothlock on the cigarette lighter - now removed.


Then the pictures dry up, but the gist of it was I couldn't fault the wiring to and from the fan switch, which left the replacement resistor unit as the suspect. Always the same scenario - sometimes worked, sometimes didn't, could hear one of the relays chattering. A closer look at the original circuit board highlighted one issue:


Yes, a dry solder joint - this was found on the coil for the first relay for initial power to the fan switch. An inspection highlighted the same fault occurrence on the replacement board, so I guess I just got unlucky. So, I got into the garage and fired up the soldering iron, and re-soldered all the available contacts on both boards. I then left it for the night as I had work in the morning, but there was more work to be done.

Emily took the Rover to work that day, and I had Herman. It was the first time she'd driven it since the clutch change and she is slightly more positive about it now!



Next evening rolled around, and by this point, I'd pushed the BX out of the garage (again) under cover, and brought the Laguna in, so I could at least work in a lit, heated workshop. 

So, I plugged the resistor unit back in, flashed up the ignition, turns the fan switch AAAAANNNNNNDDDDD.....

....fuck all. The relays operated correctly, with no chattering, but there wasn't a whisper of life from the fans. 

This was more reassuring that expected - this narrowed the new problem down to the power input for the fans, as the relay power side was now working fine.

So, remember what I found last time?



Eventually, some overheating had been observed on line A3 of the heater resistor unit - this is one of the main power supply lines.



For some monumentally silly reason, I decided at the time not to delve any further into it, as when the fan was working, it was working fine on all speeds - therefore, it's all probably cushty inside right?




What didn't look too bad on first glance looked absolutely bloody awful when the connector front cover was prised off, revealing heat damage to both contacts. Most of the physical damage you see isn't from the heat, it's from me unsuccessfuly trying to extract the connectors - every other one came out fine, so these had to be chopped off at the back. That connector block was totally buggered, and the Renault part number printed on it isn't recognised anywhere, so I elected to individually connect each contact. New spade terminals were crimped onto the fan power feed lines and a gave a satisfactorily tight interference fit. All the terminals were then covered in heat shrink tubing to give additional strength and support to the labelled contacts:


Before being individually pushed onto their respective terminals. This was all done with the battery disconnected as the fan power lines were 12V permanent live.


This has proven to do the trick! The fan works in all speeds perfectly, with no failures to run observed.

With that finished, I started to reassemble the interior, which was a bloody mess. 


Whilst doing that though, I did get the chance to replace a few blown bulbs  - firstly in the cigarette lighter socket:


And the instrument cluster backlight - there had been two that were blown since we got the car in 2019, and they'd been bugging me ever since. In for a penny, and all that.


Finally, I was all done!


With the Laguna fully assembled and fighting fit, I drove it out of the garage, and pushed the BX in. I was glad to be able to give Emily a fully functioning car with a working heater, just in the nick of time.

Why's that, you ask? Well, less than 9 hours later, the following morning:



The sleet and snow that wasn't meant to be coming anywhere near us, came to us. Em and the kids stayed warm and toasty during the school run and the fan worked fine, so dodged a marital situation there! :lol:

The 620ti's LSD definitely seemed to help with traction in the slippery stuff - going uphill in the queue seemed a lot less faff-y than the cars ahead of me.

On the way home I fulfilled my payday obligations and bought chicken food, and plenty of bits for the fire, to cover us for the Xmas period.

Made for a tall stack, but it all fit in the boot with some tetris-style action!


Definitely made the nose point up a bit higher too!


With all the ice and snow now off the road, it was time to pick up the Honda from the exhaust place, and arrived to some good news and some bad.

Good news was the pipe was all fitted and the car was ready to go.


The bad news is whilst they were replacing the flange on the cat, they found the internals had melted. Not sure what would cause this.


Sadly, with the re-test period expiring in a couple of days, I took it home and got it booked in for the retest the following morning.


There was a chance that the cat would still work effectively enough to get within limits, so it was worth a shot.


Sadly, it wasn't to be - the lambda was just about in range, but the CO was fluctuating wildly, so it looks like the cat is toast. That will have to wait until after the new year, Xmas for the kiddies comes first and the Beat gets parked up till March now anyway.

Already a bad enough day, then I get a phonecall whilst the Beat was bombing the re-test.

It's MrsH, she's at work and the Laguna is acting weird, randomly kangaroo-hopping and losing power.

Right-o. She's doing the school run and swimming lessons with the kids after work, whereas I'm sloping off to the works Xmas pissup like a degenerate, so the least I could do is ensure she has a reliable way of getting around.

Loaded up with tools, and headed up to swap steeds - it's much less important if I break down in it!


Had a quick look over it and couldn't find anything immediately untoward - it fired up fine and revved all right. A new exhaust-y noise has made itself known in the past week, but I couldn't attribute it to that, so I swapped the tools over, got in and set off for home.

And yeah, occasionally, it bucked, and felt down on power, typically on full throttle in any gear above 3rd. But it didn't happen every time, and within four miles, it disappeared entirely. So I made it home, got in the MX5, and headed off to my piss-up -  I won a Ninja air fryer, and MrsH collected me that evening. When I got home, I watched the highlights of the 1986 Birmingham motor show on Youtube - cracking night :D

That was Friday, and we've since been out in the Laguna all day Saturday and Sunday with no re-occurrences. MrsH did drive through a rather large puddle on the way to work so the working theory is that it got something wet and was unhappy until it got warm enough to dry out. 

So the to-do list is as follows:

Beat - Wash and park up until February - I've now invested in a proper all-weather car cover for it, as that silly rainhat thing was letting in loads of water and was almost useless. I'll get a new cat on it and send it in for another MOT when the salt season is done. Also need to source a full service kit for it for next year and run a compression test on it, to try and narrow down the source of the smoke.

Laguna - Source a replacement heater resistor unit power loom - this is proving to be tricky, but I've got a couple of leads. The most unlikely one is a local gym about 1/2 a mile from me - there's a Mk1 Laguna they own, that has been sat disused in the carpark for approximately 8 years! Perfect source of spares then :)

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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron **Another busy week summarised 03/12**

Had a wonderful day yesterday when I caught up with an old friend:


XV666 (Known to all as 'Damien') popped into work - I used to work on him and other Sea Kings for about 8 years - when they were decommissioned, a private company bought the airframes a couple of years later and returned them to a flying condition to train foreign nations in Search and Rescue training. A mate of mine is part of the visiting aircraft team and gave me a heads up when the cab was manning up and leaving - hearing all the familiar noises and that wonderful, spicy whiff of exhaust gasses turned me into a wide-eyed 17 year old once again. Very happy time.


Aside from that, all I've done is take advantage of a break in the weather to push the BX out (again), wash the Beat, and park it in the garage with the heater and dehumidifier on. It'll stay there for a few days until it's thoroughly dried out, then will get parked up under a car cover on the driveway until the beginning of March.


Typically, I hadn't used Herman in about 10 days, so the battery weakly kicked the engine into life once, now it's flat - presumably the cold snap has weakened it further. I've taken it off the car and will pop it on charge tonight. The battery has been slowly dying a death since 2019, so I can't get mad when it does eventually fail.

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Another swap around yesterday - Beat out (Cover on), BX in (Cover off and dehumidifier on).



The cover I got was a tad too long for the Beat, which was evident by the bottom of the rear of the cover collecting water like a bloody bucket after just one night! Will let it drip dry and take up the slack properly up the underside to try and stop it in future. Hopefully, the BX will be in here for a while now, so I can actually work on it!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Busy week ahead in the run up to Christmas, starting with a 450-mile round trip tomorrow to go to a family funeral, and incorporate a dog-leg for visiting both the in-laws who have been in hospital, before going back home for being duty at work the following day.


Naturally, the vehicle of choice is the Laguna - it has the biggest boot, Rides nicely, and is already filled with child detritus.

There's been a rattle on the exhaust for about a week so I took advantage of a break in the weather to get it up on ramps, presuming it was the shitey U-style clamp that had finally given up the ghost, or a loose heat shield.


Yeah....gonna take the Rover instead, that is a significant crack on the downpipe flange and I can't risk the exhaust falling off miles from home.

Replacement downpipes are £35 on eBay, GSF had them listed for £9 but were out of stock, naturally! 

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