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Grogee's spannering (Puma & MG Maestro)


grogee
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Also in doing the throttle body I noticed the hose clamp from the air meter was loose, so it was probably running a bit lean which would explain the slightly 'fluttery' running I noticed on the way back from Sunderland. 

Anyway with that all cleaned and fixed up I'm hoping it'll run a bit better, what with new plugs and air filter as well. 

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Put on my big boy pants today and tackled the headliner. Reason I was putting it off is because I had visions of it going wonky and then having a big crease in it and basically looking worse than the one I've tried to fix.

Anyway the first job was to cut the new material to size using the old material as a template, by pinning the old to the new. Fine, but the old piece has loads of dessicated foamy dust on it, so it made a mess of the new material. Anyway it was nothing that the Hoover couldn't handle. I used a craft knife to cut out the holes for the grab handles and interior light. And yes I did stab my own finger. 

Then the delicate task of glueing it into place using trim adhesive. I decided to do this in stages, rather than spraying the whole surface and attempting to line up the fabric.

It's on there, the holes are a little skew-whiff but I'm hoping the trim bits will cover it up. Glue now drying, then I'll staple the excess on the 'hidden' side just like the factory original. 

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Bit of tinkering because Master Grogee is sleeping in the living room; his room is being decorated tomorrow so the house is upside-down. I sought refuge in the garage and put the battery back on the 9000 with its new snazzy* clamp. 

Also taped the interior wiring loom back to the roof. Interestingly when we had the really hot weather, the factory tape melted off and fell off the roof - presumably old and unable to hack 100 degrees of sun baking. 

I need a second pair of arms to help me get the headliner back in, so I'll be enlisting Mrs Grogee who will be delighted* to help as she always is. But not tomorrow - we've got a child-free evening and will be celebrating with a cuzzah.

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The headliner is in. Not perfect but passable, and in truth only I'd notice the imperfections - how many times do you look up at your headlining?

I've also fixed* the front wing with gaffer tape. I did find a replacement but not only is it the wrong colour, it's also £175+post. And if I was doing that, I ought to do the doors, and and and. I don't need this project now, it needs to make way for the Maestro.

Then treated the Saab fleet to a wash WITH a hosepipe (take THAT, South-Easterners).

Truth be told I didn't do a great job washing them but they're less dusty than they were. 

Next up, door cards swap, hoover the interior and stick the 9000 in for MoT. It's one of those ones where there is corrosion at the back, but it's not terminal or weakened. I'm hoping for an advisory rather than 'must fix'.

Despite its shabbiness I do like the 9000. There's something appealing about no cat, no airbags, no ABS. It is an ideal 'starter classic' as the tradeys like to say, and an eye-opener in terms of how much has changed in 35 years.

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There has been some difficult Life Things going on for me recently. This has resulted in covering about 800 miles in the last week in the Saab 9-5.

In amongst this drive-a-thon I stopped by the 9-5's previous careful* owner @djoptix who very generously gave me some wheeeels for the Saab and some steel toe boots. 

Then I threw caution to the wind and filled up with Sainsbury's 95, which will make the Saabheads faint in horror. Having been "gently dashing" across country I recorded an average of 32.0mpg, not bad given the heat and AC use.

There were no ill effects to or from South Devon but that wasn't really pushing the limits of combustion efficiency, with nose-to-tail traffic Saturday morning on the M5 south.

Basically I've covered a lot of miles at a gentle canter and have just filled up again - a new record of 35.0mpg, which is outstanding for something so big and fast (and petrol).

The difficult Life Things going on have meant that (with HUGE regret) I am having to come to terms with selling my beloved Puma. The timing is terrible - Pumas are about to rocket in price, I can feel it. But I need to downsize the fleet and the Saab is just too damn useful to get rid of, especially in the winter.

I may list on here, but it won't be a bargain. The cash has to fill a hole, and the car has been absolutely doted on in the last three years. Losing this car will be like losing a limb, but it's to make way for the Maestro project that has a family connection and is something I've been wanting to do for years.

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They don't do a sympathy emoji either. I feel your pain in letting the Puma go but we can't keep them all and it's good to hear it'll be making room for another project - I look forward to seeing/hearing how you get on with the Maestro.

Hope the Life Things resolve themselves for you with out causing too many other difficulties. Let me know how much you'll want for the Puma, I love mine but I've got to decide whether to sink a load of money and effort into it sorting the rust (it's on 123k) or if I'd be better of cutting my losses and getting a better example. PM me if you'd prefer. All the best.

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I managed to sneak out for a quick test drive in the definitely* insured and taxed 9000 yesterday, mainly because I didn't want the MoT man to be testing the brakes without them having been bedded in. 

Anyway it sounded a bit farty so I made a mental note to get underneath and check for leaks. There are several... Which I've patched up with gun gum for now, but I fear the MoT man will see past these sticking plasters. 

Trouble is it's leaking from basically every part of the system: downpipe, front silencer, middle silencer and rear silencer. (Saab seem to like their silencers). I've managed to find replacement parts, all four sections will be £200.

So I've decided to bung it in for MoT and fix the zorst if it fails on that. 

The other thing I've attended to was a loose steering adjust - the lever didn't clamp the column tight enough. Had to think laterally to tighten the 17mm nut which is obscured by the ignition barrel, but I remembered a top tip from a scrapyard mate and bashed it clockwise with a hammer and screwdriver. Hey presto, a nice firm column (oo-err Mrs).

I've managed to bork the 'computer' somehow, or it's died on its own. A replacement is £15 so I'll bung it in.

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Well the MoT man did indeed see past my exhaust stop-leak attempts, but being a Great Guy he also added his own wrap to a leaking portion of the centre part which I'd missed, thus it's now patched up to 'leak free' standards. He also adjusted the headlamp aim which was a bit boss-eyed. Total bill £74, inc the test which I'm happy with.

I got my measuring tape out to measure my council lock-up length, thinking it'd be too short to stow the 9000 in. Fortunately, it measures around 4.9m long, just enough to squeeze a 9000 saloon into - as long as I give the back wall a gentle biff with the front bumper. Anyway it's now safely tucked away in there so I can get on with forgetting about it trying to sell it.

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Meanwhile in Puma news, I've got it on stands to extract the (front) HEGO sensor.  For once, the aftermarket exhaust manifold was kind to me, as the sensor sticks out on the side in an easily accessible way. I got my crows-foot adaptor on there with a 3/8" breaker bar, then slid over an old seat tube for extra leverage. Didn't even need any swear words, it came undone without a fight - I'm telling myself that's thanks to the ceramic anti-seize I put on when  I installed it.

It's a bit of a fiddle threading it through over the subframe but it came out in the end. Out of curiosity, I continuity tested the wiring from just above the sensor to the green connector using a sharp pokey multimeter probe that cuts through the wiring insulation - I won't be using this one again so nothing to lose. Wiring seems all good and the heater coil reads about 8 ohms, which seems 'about right' although I don't have a clue really, other than it's not open circuit.

I've got some good high-temp sleeving and some less good heat reflective tape, but it's survived so far so I'll probably not mess with that format.

While I'm under there I will give the underside a good going-over with underseal/gloop. There are a few small patches that will receive the Wire Wheel of Abrasion beforehand, but it's generally healthy under there. I want to keep it that way through the winter if I can.

One thing I could use some advice with - the subframe keeps getting scratched up on the part I use to jack the car up. The paint I'm using just doesn't want to stay attached. I'm not sure how to best protect it, any ideas?

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I've given the Puma underside a damn good seeing to. Anywhere where there was rust starting to happen felt the full force of the wire wheel. Then Kurust, then zinc primer twice, and finally a splosh of Waxoyl Black Underseal stuff. 

That waxoyl stuff is very satisfying to apply. It's very gloopy but also clingy, and goes on well with a paint brush.

I also took the back wheels off and gave critical bits a spray of waxy stuff from a aerosol (I forget the brand). Pretty sure I've done this before but it doesn't hurt to do it again. 

Anyway the primary reason it was on stands was to swap out the HEGO sensor. That involved crimping on the harness extension, as the OEM Ford cable is only about 10" long. I've also invested in some heat reflective sheath (yes I said "sheath") which went on to give it some protection from the hot zorst.

Took it for a spin after clearing codes and it's come back all clear. (The C1967 has always been there, it's bollocks and there's nowt wrong with the instrument cluster).

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Serviced Mrs Grogee's Alfa at the weekend. Was slightly* alarmed at the NSF tyre. To be honest we've been having problems with it chewing tyres and I'm going to have to sort this. 

I've ordered a lower arm on the basis that a) it's basically a service item, b) I changed the other side last year and c) there does seem to be some wear to the big bush at the back. Once it's on I'll throw it over my tracking whatsit and see if it's out.

The Alfisti say you have to use the £500 OEM item so obviously I've gone for the second cheapest, a Meyle item, £140. Saying that the other side has been ok and she's done a few miles on it. 

Also it seems to need a couple of turbo hoses as these are covered in oil and there doesn't seem to be anywhere else for the oil to come from.

Beginning to think she'd be better off with a petrol (because the glow plugs don't work) and auto (because she is never in the right gear). But I should just fix this and STFU.

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Changing the offside front lower wishbone on Mrs Grogee's Alfa. 

Had an 'oh shit' moment when the bottom ball joint wouldn't fit in the knuckle, but turns out that there is a steel collar with an internal taper that sits in the aluminium knuckle. It had come out with the old ball joint and was stuck on there. 

Bit confusing as it looked like the ball joint and collar were all one piece but I figured I had nothing to lose by heating it up with blowtorch and bashing it with punch. Sure enough it came off. 

Tomorrow I'll change the front brake pads, they're not terribly thin but I'd rather not have to make a separate job of doing it down the line. 

I've got two decent 2nd hand Bridgestones to put on to replace the chewed tyre, which I'll take to my tame wheel person Andy on Tuesday. They are run flats which I didn't realise but presumably they'll just be noisier and heavier which I can live with. 

I'm in two minds as to what to do with the Alfa. Part of me is thinking a pez automatic would be better for her (she's not great with gears) and petrol would be less needy.

It's got oil leak(s) as described above which I'm going to ignore, just as I'm ignoring the not-working glow plugs (the plugs are/were new Bosch items and the relay is also a new Alfa OEM one).

But I should probably just run it into the ground - it's a shit time to be buying a used car. And we sort of need a diesel estate for family outings and trips to Devon to see my Mum. 

I do think her next motor will be something less sophisticated though, I do like the idea of those CitPeug BerlingoPartner things - lots of space but still pretty simple and robust.

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Had a real battle getting the new arm on. The hardest bit was trying to align the two front fixings to be parallel with the subframe, otherwise the bolts go in wonky and you strip the threads. Eventually I managed it but not without resorting to a trick I saw on YT from an Irish fella: cut a vertical slot in the end of the thread with a hacksaw. This allows just enough 'give' to get the thread started. It doesn't affect the strength of the fixing, because the bit you've just cut sits outside the part once it's screwed home. 

On closer inspection the arm was definitely fucked. Trouble is, when it's on stands with no weight on it, the arm and bush sort of sit in a very 'neutral' state and don't reveal any of the wear. The tyre certainly did though. Apparently TADTS, if it's not the bush then it's the integral ball joint that fails. 

My theory is that a worn rear bush puts the arm into lots of negative camber and toe-in, which chews up the shoulder of the tyre as shown. 

Having achieved that I checked the tracking with my plastic Laser Tools gauge and it's now bang on - 0 Deg. I think factory calls for a little toe-in but The Internets forum nerds say 0 Deg is best for tyre wear. 

I've flip-flopped again on the brake pads, they're still ok for a bit but I'll probably need to do them early next year. 

Unfortunately my tyre man is busy until Thurs which means Mrs Grogee is using my Puma to get to work, something which fills me with dread. She's a good driver sort of but I'm just hoping there won't be a 'blond moment' where she mullers the bumper on a high kerb or something. 

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Well the Alfa is back on its wheels, I took it for a short spin today just to check all is well and the steering is definitely improved; before it was very fidgety and you had to make constant corrections to keep in a straight line. Now it seems much more able to maintain a set line, and the steering wheel has returned closer to horizontal (though obviously not completely straight, this is an Alfa after all).

The bad news is my tame wheel man has divorced me. "I'm just too busy to be doing wheels and tyres," he said. Fair enough, but it's cash in hand, and I always tip him too. He claimed the local tyre outfit would fit 2nd hand tyres but I know for a fact they definitely won't. To be fair he did fit the two Bridgestones I bought but that'll be the last I see of him I think. (His real business is refurbing wheels).

I would love to get my own tyre gear just to be able to do this without faffing about. 

I could do with someone able to properly diagnose the glow plug fault. It's never worked since we've had it despite new Bosch plugs and a new Alfa relay. I've spunked the parts cannon on it and I'm all out of ideas now. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Maestro arrives tomorrow and I must admit I'm unusually excited about it landing. 

I was going to borrow my semi-employer's race truck and drive down to Devizes to get it, but that was something of a ballache with it being 2 hours away (in a car), and not really having any time to do it.

It's been that long since I saw the car (July?) that the delivery driver that wasn't available due to ill health is now better, so he's driving it up on his truck for £150. It would have been £50 fuel (at least) so that seems alright value to me, for the time saved.

I've already been contemplating some 'improvements' but I'd like them to be invisible if possible:

- Cassette player upgrade. Would like to keep it cassette-looking while having behind the scenes DAB radio and Bluetooth input. 

- Electric front windows retrofit (but I can't find any genuine switches - any ideas?)

- Remote central locking retrofit with Chinese kit 

- Adjustable front dampers. I saw some Leda ones on the bay for £300, and seeing as standard ones aren't available it might be a decent choice. I offered £200 and the guy accepted. The car comes with new but standard rear dampers yet to be fitted. 

Jobs I know about:

- Headliner. Had good practice on the Saab, so happy to have a go at this

- Sunroof. Changed it on my Celica, easy enough once headliner is out and a good used one is included

- Roof corrosion. Prob just temp repair with wire wheel and some zinc primer for now

- Brakes overhaul. Some new brake bits are included

- Cambelt & water pump. I'm hoping it's not too bad on an O-series

- New zorst; a stainless system is included but not yet fitted

- Possibly clutch. Again, new one included. I don't know how bad the current one is.

- Service, filters, fluids

- Rear arches. Maybe I will use my local guy if he can do it for £affordable. Ironically I will be temporarily living very close to his unit soon

- Underside rust proofing

- Respray wheel covers (does anyone have any tips or a thread about how to do this?

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  • grogee changed the title to Grogee's spannering (Puma & MG Maestro)

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