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1986 Vauxhall Carlton CDi, Daily use of a 37yr old car. Now haz tunes!


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Small ish update. Took the relay to an electrical specialist in my old home town. He’s just rung to say he’s fixed the relay. Lots of “dry” joints in it. Hopefully it might do what ever it is it needs to do now. Can’t pick it up till Monday. Watch this space. 

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On 7/1/2022 at 9:13 PM, sutty2006 said:

I used to have a Haynes manual for a mk1 facelift but can’t remember if I gave it away or not in my last “I’m never having another one of those!” Episodes. 

Got this one here FOC if you'd like it m8.  I'm never having another....


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Well, it’s running again. 

I got the mystery relay back from the electrician this morning, fitted it, checked for spark again and this time spark was there. But it didn’t fire. Odd. Next i pulled a fuel pipe off and turned it over, no fuel. Got the wife to crank it while I lay under the back end and the pump would clunk when initially firing just once.  Then once again when it stopped. So I nipped up to my unit where I have had a spare fuel pump used for getting fuel out of scrap cars. Got home, tested it (works thankfully) and loosely plonked it in place and now she runs again! 



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  • sutty2006 changed the title to 1986 Vauxhall Carlton CDi, RUNNING (AGAIN!)
8 hours ago, Schaefft said:

Apparently it sold already! Nice job on the diagnosing part, the car is looking great!

Wow that was quick! At least that gives a good valuation as there’s been a gold GL for sale for a while was 3500 dropped recently to 3000 but still for sale needing work. £2500 for that CDi is a good price. I recon I’ll be close to that by the time it’s road worthy. 

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I’ve had a small amount of time to look into why stuff doesn’t work. Today I’ve pulled the Sharp radio out. Fuse is blown. Takes some tiny glass fuse, so I’ve ordered a box of 5. It works if I connect the power direct, the radio aerial goes up and down accordingly. It even picks up a local MW radio channel. Shame it doesn’t have FM….. will have to dig out some 80s tapes. 



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While the weather is good and the wife is out I have it it’s first bath. Only a quick one mind, it’s too hot out here!

It appears to be missing the chin spoiler off the front end. And the tape holder from the centre console. Hopefully I can locate replacements. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Work has commenced on the welding of this fine steed. The front strut tops (renowned for rusting) have been repaired in the past, and need doing again. Starting on the offside, I really need to remove the wing to get better access. Some hard to reach areas proved worth it, finding a 1/2 inch extension under the headlight. 

dont you just love bolt on wings? 

not when 2 are hidden behind the ECU inside. 

here’s the previous repair. 



it’s still quite solid, structurally but looks a mess. 


wings off. Some clean up and treatment needed of high salt gathering areas. And the scuttle drains need unblocking while I’m here. 



more to come

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this part of the inner wing was damp and crusty when I took the wing off. Obviously an area that gathers standing water. 



Better get cracking then. 

re made the curve on leading edge and a large part for the inner wing



plugged it in and hammered it round to suit then glued it down. 


and this area had to be done slowly as plenty of sound proofing behind it. 





*disclaimer. I am in no way shape or form a professional fabricator or welder. I just have a stab at stuff. Better now 0.8 wire is used. 0.6 was shit. 

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17 minutes ago, sutty2006 said:

*disclaimer. I am in no way shape or form a professional fabricator or welder. I just have a stab at stuff. Better now 0.8 wire is used. 0.6 was shit. 

Coulda' fooled me; the dimes on that last picture looked superb.

Good stuff, looking forward to seeing it back on the road.👍

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I’ve lost my tin of seam sealer. Almost certain I bought a new tin of it but can’t for the life of me find it. Going to have to buy another tomorrow so packed up early. While tidying up, and the sill covers are off, I’d better check the back of the sill…….. 


YAY more welding! 

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Loving the great progress on this. I really have a soft spot for these cars. When I was a kid a neighbour had a 2200i Estate in this colour, pretty sure it was a GL model with wheel trims. The dark velour interior was a real cut above the Ladas and Astra L models that were generally on local driveways.

I remember the guy was into his tech and had a car phone and fancy Alpine tape player fitted.

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I’ve found more work to do. It’s now back on its wheels. A 3 hour charge of battery and it fired up first time with the working fuel pump now securely in place and wired up. 

I wanted to run it up and down the driveway a few times to “wake” the auto box up. It goes backwards fine, but going back into forwards is delayed by about 3-4 seconds, and the take up of drive is jerky and slushy. Sometimes it works fine, others it takes a bit of throttle before it jerks into life and moves forward. I’m hoping another fluid change may resurrect it, but I’ve no idea how it drove before it was layed up. 

Temp gauge crept up to 3/4 and kept on going. There isn’t much coolant in it, but no point putting any in as the water pump is going to be changed next. 

brakes are shite. Need to change the fluid when the front wheels come off again. 

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I ordered a new water pump this morning. Should get that next week maybe. I moved it this morning so I could service my mates Astra on the drive. Then moved it back…. 

And it left this…




Which looks to be this loose hose clip 




good job I’m having the front end down next. 

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More work done today. Removal of water pump in anticipation of new one arriving just before I go back to work. 

Hoses off and coolant drained. Top hose from thermotwat housing full of gunk. Lovely! 


can see a new thermostat in order. 



pump easily acessable 




pump off. Someone’s cut the cowling for easy removal



and the gap. Before 



after. Quick clean. 


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  • sutty2006 changed the title to 1986 Vauxhall Carlton CDi, Cooling system overhaul.

Ooooo that’s greasy

Top side of the top hose/thermostat housing. You might get a biro width of water through it. Taking that to work tomorrow to clean up properly. 


im surprised no bolts snapped off, but I was very gentle in their removal. 

the thermostat was stuck in good n proper. I think there’s a spare one in the box of spares. I’ll have to have another look. 


There doesn’t seam to be much more inside. Odd how it’s all congealed after the stat. 



will be using stainless bolts to refit. 

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Aaaaannnnnnnd it’s broken. 

the corrosion must have been keeping this together. It’s also gone thin in places and weak. Now the hunt begins for a replacement. That’s gonna set me back I recon. 


thought I’d clean it anyway just incase I end up having it ally welded back into place. 



this is some of the gunk that came out of it. 


finding parts for these cars proves difficult due to its undesirable status and because no one really restores them apart from a couple of us 🤣

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What’s all the crap that’s congealed inside the alloy castings?  Anti freeze beyond its sell by date?

I take the path of least resistance with old VW’s.  You can get all this sort of stuff delivered next day.  I used to have to hunt around for Alfasud stuff.  It was always hard work finding parts and that was a decade ago.

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