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N19's fleet - plodding along


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  • N19 changed the title to N19's fleet - nailed it

Finishing work at 4, without the need to do overtime, does mean you get a bit of a window for tinkering before it gets too late/tired/cold.

Mondeo buzzers wired in, now no indicators on the board. I had assumed that a 12v buzzer would still pass enough current to allow the indicators on the trailer board to flash... hmmn. Maybe I should actually read the instructions...

Bluebird spare wheel was just as buggered as the punctured one. 


punctures also too close to each other to patch. Hey ho, new tyre time. More expenditure I don't need!

Meanwhile, got home to find someone's parked an AX outside.


only one neighbour has so far asked if it's anything to do with me. Reputation much?!

With darkness falling early I went down to the lockup to put the wheel with the fresh tyre on. The LED system works wonders at these times, especially with one set of LEDs being on a long board, perfect to take outside to do a job. 

Some timber was being thrown away at work recently, so I nabbed some of it from scrap to add another cubby-hole shelf, this one by the door to save traipsing to the back every time I want a spray of something simple.


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What time of year is best to get your air con sorted? November on a Saturday night, naturally.


A low priority, bit-by-bit job. The duff condenser was replaced a while ago, and recharged today. Freeezing! If nothing else, the drying effect will be good in the wet weather, although given how I feel the heat I'd not be surprised if I use it...

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  • 2 weeks later...

A bit of bluebird exhaust gasket bodgery happened. The gasket in there had a metal bit and a card one. The card was mullered, so I replaced it.



It's better, but the exhaust is still leaking somewhere.

I also discovered a rubber mount buggered for the radiator. Temporary repair completed.


Looking downstairs, there's a metal L bracket that seems to have gone, which has presumably put extra weight on the rubber and caused it to go. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

There's an advert on a local page for a double garage to let about 20 mins away, at a good price for the area. The issue is they aren't keen on car storage as there are cars parked in front, so any movements pre-arranged. I can imagine that being a real pain for tinkering, so realistically not a goer, but still a shame as a double garage would be very handy.

Fleet is plodding along, Mondeo doing most of the miles at the moment as the heated windscreen/heated seats/air con are very useful in the current weather. Bluebird may well still be letting water in from somewhere.

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5 days into December and I've already done 468 miles in the Mondeo - last month in total I did 484! A trip up to South Yorkshire and back to see family. Again, a competent waft up there with cruise control on for most of the time.

Whilst up there, I picked up a little haul of mk2 Mondeo parts courtesy of @sierraman who had no further use for them - v much obliged.


An earlier than expected return to the deep dark south lead to a bit of tinkering down at the lockup, first up an oil and filter change.

Followed by some fiddling around with the n/s headlight. image.thumb.png.9061fd49152a19dc4ae78146c856f6b0.png

There's been an intermittent issue with main beam on the o/s, pulled the whole unit out today. One of the connectors doesn't like sitting home properly, there's one missing retaining clip on the loom, either way swapping it with one of the spare headlight units gave a much more positive connection and it's now working fine. Hopefully that'll be it, if not I'll solder the other connector to the loom. Also changed over a severely flaky orange bulb in the indicator.

Definitely can see me coming, that's for sure!



Time for it to have a bit of a rest and let the Bluebird do the work for a couple of days.

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The rear of the Bluebird has gone into impromptu fish tank mode again, which is delightful. Some tracing later and it's another bit of the foam that was around the lights, which has perished. Silicone-tastic.


The MDF spare wheel cover appears to have given up the ghost entirely following the latest flooding, so that'll need replaced. I think I'm going to keep the boot carpet out for a while until I've confirmed it is actually staying dry anyway.

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What idiot washes a car in December outside..... me.



Thought the Bluebird deserved it. Only done 40 odd miles this month.

That's probably pretty much it in terms of fleet news until after Christmas. What will 2022 bring? I have no desire nor need for any fleet expansion at the moment - I've settled well into each car having a niche. If the ULEZ did come out to the M25, I'd have to buy something compliant, but even if that happens it won't be for another couple of years - I hope.

I'm still on the lookout for a double garage, if one comes up at the right price. We shall see.

Thanks to everyone who's read this thread over the year, I am definitely not one of the skilled tinkerers that you see on the forum but I still thoroughly enjoy pissing around with the fleet, wielding sockets and doing jobs that probably could wait. All part of the fun - we say to ourselves!

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2 hours ago, N19 said:

What idiot washes a car in December outside..... me.

That's brought back a memory! Late 1980's, I was a private hire driver and bought a brand new Bluebird 2.0 dizzle. Lovely car, same colour as yours. Washed it one cold and wintry day, went indoors for a warm-up and coffee, went to get in the car and slipped on ice from the water I'd used!

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Although mine is petrol, I can see the appeal to taxi drivers of the time. Comfortable, reliable, all the bits like central locking, electric windows etc. The mpg I get is rubbish - about 23 around town - imagine a diesel would be better. 

Ironically the water is still out there, no ice tonight though.

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I unexpectedly had a bit of free time, so I decided to have a look at the rad mounts. The original rubbers are unobtainum, or at least not without paying ridiculous sums.

A bit of steel bar later, this is a trial fit.


I think there needs to be a repositioning of the upper hole. I'll do that, confirm it fits properly, then use that to make up two new ones of the right size methinks. Rubber washers should hopefully dampen any vibration. Total cost, £0 rather than £50.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A free day called for some frivolity - took the Capri on a 50 mile round trip around Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, nice to put some miles on it and weather isn't too bad.

Back at the lockup, and I'm looking at options for the lift. I can't drive on/off it with the Capri as it fouls the low exhaust and diff. And the garage is too narrow to slide it from the side.

So what I'm thinking is...


...make up some low timber ramps (imagine these, but up to 3/4 length of the garage). About 3" off the ground. Wide enough to reverse onto without being too precise.

Hopefully that'll mean I can reverse in, the low ramps take me up just far enough to be over the lift, which can henceforth live in the middle on the ground.


Sensible plan? Completely flawed?

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  • N19 changed the title to N19's fleet - lockup lift
  • N19 changed the title to N19's fleet - exhausting

Driving home from work today and I can smell hot brakes. Hmm, that's odd.

I stopped off at the lockup and can feel the heat coming from the o/s/f wheel...


Caliper sticking, dismantled but it will only retract with a thump with a persuasion tool. Fiddlesticks!

Naturally, this all happens around 6.30 once most of the motorfactors have shut, but Midnight Motors in Watford open late and should have a new caliper by tomorrow morning.

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I actually had a productive, enjoyable day without any real f*ck-it moments. This scares me!

A run to the motorfactors produced an exchange caliper :


taking the least broken fleet member



There was a bit of faffing to get the old caliper off, and I'm always super wary of rounding off the unions. But an application of crack-it spray worked just before I threatened it with a blowtorch!


Right, clean everything up, new caliper on,



work in progress shot inc mandatory lucozade



all back together, brakes bled, and behaving well. Hurrah!

After a quick drive around town to check things were how they should be, I then went back to Watford to drop off the old unit for the surcharge refund. Seeing the state of the car and as time was on my side, I stopped to give it a quick jet wash. It'll need a proper wash down to remove some of the winter grime, but it now looks less mucky.



Finally, back at the lockup as I'd got a brake light out, and there was the wrong lamp in one of the tail/fog lamps. So a bit of time spent checking and replacing and re-seating.



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  • N19 changed the title to N19's fleet - a productive day, what is this madness?!
3 minutes ago, High Jetter said:

At least you have warning lights telling you not only that a brake light is out, but which one. Any other '80s cars do that?

Mine doesn't! Perhaps that was only certain models?

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2 hours ago, sierraman said:

This late opening car spares shop sounds good.

It's wonderful! It closes at 8pm during the week, and is open full days (9 to 6) at weekends. It's not my closest parts shop, but it about 20 mins drive away. Got me out of a few problems!

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I should have known things were going too well. 

Having been called into work on a Sunday to put right some issues, I headed off in the Mondeo. It was not happy at all. Engine stuttering, revving but failing to provide power, really a struggle to do anything. Gave up and left it outside the local garage with the keys through the door after a nice text with the owner - manic week next week and no time to look at it. It's not the clutch (replaced last year, and the third-gear test gives a healthy stall). Idle is all over the place too.


So the Bluebird took up the mantle adequately (although, with the exhaust still blowing, noisily). Looks like the centre section of the exhaust can be had for £70 or so, so I'll order one up tomorrow and hopefully change it at the weekend. I had a session of WD40-spraying on the bolts earlier, and I'll do a couple more during the week to hopefully make the process a bit easier on the day.

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  • N19 changed the title to N19's fleet - exhausting
7 minutes ago, Dyslexic Viking said:


I am not familiar with the exhaust on these but I would assume that the joint at the top of the picture must have a gasket simlar to picture below?

Amazon.com: Walker Exhaust 31388 Exhaust Pipe Flange Gasket : Automotive

Yeah that's what I'd assumed it'd be! I may just have a nosey around the motorfactors on Saturday. I have some generic gasket material as well.

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  • N19 changed the title to N19's fleet - plodding along

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