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Decker Dave's Decluttered Dross Dribblings


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Just a little bit. Tyres passed the MoT but I'll get 4 new ones and an alignment when I get it home. Single tone diaphragm horn is being replaced with a pair of Fiamm AM80s. Headlight aim is probably due to sagging suspension components. Emissions are high probably due to engine rebuild and poor subsequent re-tuning.

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  • 1 month later...

Update time I suppose, eh?

The 740
The 740 is the most recent post so let's catch up with that.
MoT fail points:-
The horn : Fixed. Dual tone Fiamm snail shell horns fitted.
Emissions: Injector seals leaking. Mixture adjusted to JUST scrape through the test. More on that in a bit.
Rust near rear suspension arm: Fixed. 20p sized hole within 30cm of a suspension arm.
Headlight aim: Fixed.

MoT advisories:-
Four new tyres fitted. Alignment checked but found to be in spec. Must have been old wear on the shoulders of the tyres which have then not been put on in the same place when the wheels got refurbed.

Sooooo the biggest issue...
Oil leaks: Crank rear main seal, distributor (which is also the cam rear) seal, sump gasket, also suspect crank front and cam front seals leaking oil. Injector seals leaking so ingesting too much air.
Kilmarnock Engine Services will require phoning. I've been busy with a family death and other stuff so will hopefully get that sorted soon. 4000 miles and pissing oil from almost everywhere is not a good look and before anyone asks no, it doesn't have mega crank case pressure from blow by. I took the oil cap off at idle and it actually has crank case vacuum.

While on the subject of Killie Engine Non-services, I noticed when going to Festival of The Unexceptional last year that even though the timing belt had been sorted, it was still a bit... flat. Seeing the distributer is on the back of the cam, a timing check was done with the assistance of @captain_70s and @juular. It was found to be running static timing of 8 deg before top dead centre. Spec for that engine is 12 B-TDC so guessing Killie retimed the belt without checking the ignition. These are pretty rookie mistakes for any mechanic never mind an engine builder. I kept the Captain's timing light in the boot for further tinkering seeing as modern fuel should handle more advance I could tweak it here and there. First advancing it to 14 then 16 deg B-TDC. It now runs better and more economically on E10 than it does on super. Go figure. Seeing as the timing light was in the boot, this also led to a Scotoshite group chat series of pictures titled, "Tony's Timing Light on Tour":

Great Yarmouth:

IWM Duxford:

Cannock Longford House:

Glasgow Central Station ScotRail Car Park:

tl;dr: MoT passed with repairs. Killie Engine Services useless. To be phoned.

The 205
Nothing much to report here. It was last fuelled in October and it's not been used much since. It got used a bit while the 740 was in for MoT but it got quite damp inside during the heavy rain over the winter so it's been living in the lockup mostly. I did manage a new indicator relay and wiper stalk while the cowling was off for the ignition barrel replacement so at least there's that. I'm going to have to re-time the injection again. Mr @Talbot done it another degree or two at the last Field of Dreams I attended and I reckon we've gone a bit too far so it needs backed off. It's far too crackly and bogs down when cold. Needs to be kept at high RPM until it warms up to counter the high degree of advance.

The V70
Not hellish much here either. It went for underseal after the 205 was in for it's annual check up of the same. I had been under the back and noticed the spare wheel tub looked a bit crunchy so I booked it in. The man said he was shocked at how crunchy it was for a 12 year old Volvo that had spent most of it's life in the far south.
Usual script - needle scale, steam clean, rust converter, Dinitrol underseal and this one also got all the welded seams treated with a seam sealer. All in, £840 but it's much nicer now.

The Chrailer
I found last year between Shitefest and Field of Dreams that I am very heavy on the leccy in the trailer. Luckily Shitefest had a mains supply I could hook up to but the FoD doesn't and even with tactical switching off of the fridge overnight and not using the heater, I still didn't last my full visit without draining the leisure battery. The battery had two charging methods - mostly through the towbar electrics when driving or via the hookup. As an addition I decided to add a solar panel to the roof.

Sizes and details were queried with @juular  and I decided to go for a single 230W panel from craigsolar.co.uk at £170 and a Victron 20A MPPT bluetooth charge controller.


I also added a Ve.Bus bluetooth dongle to the order so I can talk to the inverter via the Victron app on my phone.

Some re-jiggery of the electrical box on the trailer was required to find somewhere to mount the charge controller:
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The big black box is a fuse panel direct to the battery via the isolator switch. It has a 100A fuse for the inverter and 4 x 30A fuses for the 12V and I'm using Wago 221 blocks for the 12V DC charging from the car. Two wires come from the car through the 5 core cable to the split charge relay and 12V system which then go through 2 wires to the fuse box. A third wire goes to the solar charge controller and the 4th with 20A inline fuse goes to the 12V DC bus in the trailer for the lights, USB and 12V outlets.

I chose to mount the panel to the roof bars mostly because they are there but also it will allow air to circulate around the panel to keep it cool.
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The panel uses standard solar MC4 waterproof connectors and the place I got it also had wiring kits with pre-made conections at one end down to bare wire at the other. I got a 5m kit which was enough to run the cables down the outside, through the tailgate seal, under the tailboard and up through the floor. I also added a second isolater switch to isolate the solar supply as the charge controller would prefer battery connection before the panel but said controller is capable of charging a battery that has been drained to 0V so it shouldn't matter too much.
I'll need to get Sikaflex or something to stick the wires to the outer parts of the trailer so they don't drift loose.

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With that it was time for a test. The Victron app immediately found the solar charger and dongle for the inverter. As is the way with modern life, both of them needed a firmware update so that was completed.

On an overcast day in February at ~1400hrs, the panel was putting out ~30W of power. A lot more than I was expecting for this time of year.

I also ran the wee electric heater to put a draw on the battery so that any power the solar did generate would all be utilised. 39W 'cos it brightened up a bit.

Then the sun almost came out for about 5 mins. Still masked in by some thin cloud cover though...

In February.
Under cloud.
That's quite impressive.
5.4A going in to the battery is more than some cheap smart chargers you can get.

I shall conduct experiments when the sun is significantly stronger round about March / April to see how much I can expect to get of the rated 230W but I reckon whatever it gets, it'll be more than enough. My compressor fridge draws 60W at full power or 30W in eco mode... and it isn't always running. It cycles on and off to maintain the set temperature. The little electric heater draws about 50W from the inverter so I'd guess that's probably 60W from the battery. I reckon the heater will discharge the battery over night but if the sun is strong enough, it should easily charge back up during the day.


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  • 2 months later...

Wednesday ramblings mostly consist of the 740. As mentioned above, it had oil leaks noticed from the MoT and Ron Sealey inspection. It was duelly taken back to Kilmarnock engine services with the following list from Ron...

Cam main rear leaking
Dizzy / Cam rear leaking
Suspect crank front leaking
Suspect cam front leaking
Sump gasket leaking
Injector seals leaking (letting in air)

So they said they'd take a look at it. Also when taking it to them, they said they never done the injector seals as part of the engine rebuild. It's literally 4 bog standard O-rings. After they had it for a month (they lost my phone number then I went on holiday) I phoned them to see what the script was. They came back with...

Crank rear bone dry
Dizzy / cam bone dry
Crank front not mentioned
Cam front not mentioned
Sump not mentioned
Injector seals replaced
Rocker cover gasket leaking at the rear and pouring oil down the back of the engine making it look like cam and crank rears leaking. Also a choked PCV system. New rocker gasket fitted.

The car was picked up and booked back in to Ron Sealey to get re-tuned. It had been tuned for leaking injector seals to get it through the MoT emissions test so it all had to be reset now the injector seals were sorted. He also said on the phone he checked the crank rear via the access panel and it was wet yet Killie said it was dry. Hmmm. Anyways I did the brake clean test to make sure they had actually done the injector seals this time. I also asked to check for oil leaks again. Ron came back with...

Crank rear dry
Dizzy / cam rear leaking
Cam front leaking
Crank front leaking
Rocker cover gasket leaking (yes the new one)

Fuck. Sake. Sooooooo it won't be going back to Kilmarnock again and I will not be recommending them to anyone. Ron will get the work to do the leaky seals. It's not pissing out and it's no worse than any other red block of it's age but considering it's had money and time spent to rebuild it, it should be dry.


In Other 740 News...

The brakes have devloped a shudder and after a bit of heat, a constant squeek when the pedal is released so today I did an investigate.

As usual I fetched far too many tools for the job...

No photos of the work. Everyone knows what brake pads look like. Off side pads were welded to the carrier with rust and shite. Near side pads? Ehhhhh....

Well at least one of them is alright. The inner one is considerably thinner and not exactly parallel with the backing plate. These weren't as tight either. All pads got a flap disk to the ears that hold them in place, copper grease and refitted. Long distance test to be carried out this evening.

In Computer Failure News...
The AI on my phone detected this picture as "Historic Building" and optimised the settings for ancient architecture


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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a couple of proper camera pics from the latest trip. Just a wee one nighter at Invercaimbe Camp Site near Arisaig.

Pre-flight checks

The Rest and Be Thankful, A82

Invercaimbe Camp Site and silver sand coral beach
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Notes for my own future reference:
Trailer hubs fit neither 50, 51 or 52mm caps. Had to get a 50-51 and flare it out a bit with the help of a heat gun.
Trailer NS suspension has drooped giving the trailer a noticable but not too significant lean. Suspension units are Knott Avonride 550KG Extended Shaft C77102.003/004 cheapest from Western Towing.
Solar power peaked at 207W on the Friday. Peak generated was 470Wh on the Sunday.

Trip was 421 miles from my parents' just outside Glasgow, to my house, to WOMAN_df2k's house in another bit of just outside Glasgow to Invercaimbe (towing) to Mallaig / Invercaimbe (not towing) then back to WOMAN_df2k to my house back to parents'. Average mpg was 43.9. The route north was wiggly - Glasgow - Dumbarton - Loch Lomond - Faslane via The Haul Road - Garelochead - Arrochar - Inveraray - Connel Bridge - Fort William - Invercaimbe. Southbound was much more direct via Fort William, Glencoe, Crianlarich and Tarbet.


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

Lots happening recently but first... trains.

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Right so the 205 has been demanding attention recently. First of all, the wheel bolts were truly making my piss itch so I got new ones.

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It has also had an oil leak for a while looking like the drain plug on the sump so I went and got a nerw sump, oil and filter. Then the alternator died. Running about 11.8v and pushing about 1 amp at the very most. Ordered up an alternator and while it was arriving at the factor, I took the regulator off and decided to try and source another. The old one looked healthy*

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A new one ordered from autodoc to try. I only had a week to take the new alternator back to the factor because it was special order. New one arrived by Hermes. Thanks*


Looks right


Turns out it wasn't quite the same as on the old one the mounting screws were quite sunk in, the new one has them flush with the body but some longer bolts were easily used

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Baws. I gave it a rev and it jumped to 13.6v and the clamp meter read 30 amps. Yay! Drove home, idle was 13.3v. Hmm not great. A few days later, the battery was still at 11.8v  and it BARELY started. Drove to the lockup then to WOMAN_df2k's place and the idle voltage was at 13.2v. Nah that's fuckt M6 so it was time to try deploying the new alternator...

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The battle was won...

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The rain was threatening...




Never seen it that high with the old unit so that's a win. The next day I decided to go over to @captain_70s to assist with the Dolomite's new engine...


...but instead blagged the ramps and some tools to do the sump. It took far too long and it still leaks variously. I'm hoping a good degrease and wash will reveal where. May be the oil filter housing. Who knows.

The Chrailer

tl;dr at the end.

More trailer electrical tinkerings. The recent trip to Arisaig and the Field of Daves Dreams showed that the solar panel was very competent at creating magic pixies but the battery had the potential to be easily drained. On the Saturday of the FoD I had to ration the kettle as the battery had went flat and it was still too early to make any real power from solar. An upgrade then?
The leisure battery I had in there was a 70Ah sealed lead acid (SLA). Problem with SLAs is that they are only good for about 50% discharge so in reality I was only getting 35Ah (factory numbers so probably more like 25 - 30). Cue a replacement lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) unit.

The problem though is that the trailer is wired so that the battery is charged from 1 - Mains via the inverter, 2 - Solar, 3 - The car while driving. Now 1 and 2 are fine, both the solar MPPT controller and inverter charger have lithium profiles in the software but car alternators are designed to charge SLAs which is fine to directly connect the SLA battery to the 12V output of the tow bar but that's not going to work for lithium. Much googling later, it turned out I had to install a DC - DC charger which would take the ~14.3 off the car and regulate the current and voltage for lithium charging. To be honest I should have used this setup for the SLA to get the best charge but, meh.

I chose a Renogy 100Ah LiFePO4 battery with a bluetooth module. LiFe batteries at 90% discharge so in theory I should get up to 90Ah (probably 85) rather than the 25 - 30 I was getting from the SLA from a unit that was the same size in all dimensions except 18mm longer. So that means I now have 4 bluetooth modules in the trailer to monitor power - Solar, Inverter, DC-DC and the battery itself. The 3 chargers are all Victron so all use the same app which is nice but the battery has it's own. Sake.

Cue some rewiring.

Old battery out
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The Solar charger can have it's charge profile changed in the app via bluetooth but the inverter uses dip switches so it needed set up before the battery was properly installed


After that it was just a case of pulling out most of the 12V system in the electrical cupboard and repositioning everything to get it all to fit. Then it was just a case of connect all the red wires together and all the black ones together. I also rationalised some of the wiring and dispensed with the split charge relay in the trailer. Now both the constant and switched 12V from the car are commoned in the trailer and the DC-DC deals with isolation of the trailer and car 12V systems...


All in, it's very cozy in there. Big test will be Shitefest but I did do a kettle boil (500ml) to see if it performed and it took 6% (yes, six) out the battery so things are already looking better. The DC-DC works well as does the solar. Took it back to my parents' at 100% state of charge. Nice. Will need to somehow drain it so I can pull huge amount of power via solar and have somewhere to put it.

The trailer battery was pants. Got a lithium one for more power and had to rewire everything. Is much goodlier.




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