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A pair of decrepit 309’s


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16 hours ago, stevek said:

@morrisoxide Ah yes that was a few years back, only convoyed there that one time but it added to the entertainment. Trying to remember what was in the mix. Erm, Fiat 126BIS, big obscure yank tank, Volvo turbo brick, some 70s Vauxhall possibly a royale, montego estate. Don’t tell me I’ve missed whatever you were in!

That was me in the big obscure yank tank, probably slowing everyone down with frequent fuel stops. But like you say It does add to the entertainment.

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Welcome to the forum @stevek I'm sure your commitment to saving apparently hopeless cases will meet with plenty of approval here!

I had a D reg 309 GR Profile a long time ago when they were just cheap bangers.  It's fair to say it wasn't a good example and became bean tins over twenty years ago.

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SEATMad - yes there rot and quite a lot of it. All 4 sill ends and also in both sides of the boot area. Nothing beyond tackling I don’t think but I’m choosing to slightly gloss over that aspect for the time being. 


Tenmil Socket - Use it as you like, whatever floats your boat I guess LOL. I can even attach a higher res version, unless you prefer it lo-if.

EDC2CC30-CD3D-4B2D-A44F-BB087618550B.jpeg(just realised that’s not much higher res, oh well, it is what it is)

fatharris - oooh I don’t think I’ve ever been a human interest before, thanks, I think.


adw1977 - Cheers, there can’t be more than a handful GR Profile left now. I like the particularly half arsed fuel economy adjustments they went for, can’t have made much real world difference. Might add a little list of the quirks for the uninitiated.


Jim Bell - oops sorry. 


Carl1981 - DOoooo it!


leakingstrut - I vaguely remember the Style models, funky seat piping comes to mind, maybe green or yellow or some such jazz. Like you say good first cars.


stuboy - cheers.

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This arrived for the gold one yesterday…


So I suppose a catch up on that one is in order. 

About a year ago, the same day as the blue one’s first start, I also got this one fired up. This one needed a little more coaxing in to life, but not much.

A fresh battery of course, the starter needed a few smacks with a hammer to engage and it needed a little fuel directly into the carb as it wouldn’t pull from the pop bottle of fuel. A few cranks and it coughed in to life and after a few repeats would roughly idle from the pop bottle, again spraying fuel from perished hoses.

Since then I have followed the same basic list as was tackled on the blue one to get the front end moving:

  • Front up on stands.
  • Pull the discs off and knot wheel them clean.
  • Crowbar the calliper pistons back in.
  • Threw the disintegrated pads away and put the old but serviceable ones from the blue one in.

Fingers crossed that will do for the front. I’m sure the rear end will throw up some problems but I haven’t looked there yet.

On the engine side I have:

  • Replaced the fuel  lines
  • Connected the little plastic fuel can up. 
  • Put some water in the radiator, although I think most of it has escaped.
  • Cleaned the cap and rotor contacts.

It starts okayish now but it shredded the aux belt meaning it gets hot pretty quick so hasn’t really had chance to blow the cobwebs out yet. 

The new belt arrived yesterday (£6.09 eBay next day delivered) so I tried lobbing that on last night but ran into complications when the alternator tension adjustment bolt sheared it’s head off, bummer not the quick afterwork win I was after!

The nut came off ok so there was decent thread protrusion to ‘ave at’, but I couldn’t get a good hammer blow on it. So the alt had to come out, surprisingly the pivot bolt came out ok but the positive terminal nut was fused on hard and started turning the terminal. Using force on this one didn’t look promising so I stripped the wiring out at the starter and up to the battery clamp instead.


Even with the alternator free, the application of much heat, Plusgas, and a right old battering this was one stubborn bolt.


I took stock before deciding to wield a bigger hammer, yeah that got it!


Hopefully the alt will still work but at the very least it should work as a tensioner to get the water pump spinning.



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1 hour ago, stevek said:

enmil Socket - Use it as you like, whatever floats your boat I guess LOL. I can even attach a higher res version, unless you prefer it lo-if.

(just realised that’s not much higher res, oh well, it is what it is)

You're probably not aware, but the forum software (in order to save storage space and bandwidth) compresses jpeg images fairly hard, and reduces their size down to something useable-but-not-huge.  This saves us a LOT of money, but does mean that images are there for context rather than photography prowess.

If you want to show off a high-res high-quality version of some of these (and you should... they're good!) upload them to an alternative provider (photofuckit, flikr, wherever) and link them here.  As soon as that's done, it moves the cost onto the photo hosting company.

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Also to add, the image you see on the page is a lower quality thumbnail. Clicking/tapping on the image will bring up a higher resolution image. Useful if you want to zoom in for more detail. 

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@Talbot - I’m still learning the foibles of this place but it doesn’t surprise me that your using site wide image compression to save forum costs, sensible really. I have been uploading already compressed pics as a matter of habit (eg taking a 2mb image down to 150k before uploading) as it’s all pretty disposable illustration really. But it looks like even a small 150k image is compressed again, which I didn’t expect. So the original, lets call it ‘rear lights’ pic, was crushed to just 48k but the 2nd post without pre-compressing it ended up at 263k. That’s still a fraction of the original but should still look a fair bit sharper that the double compressed one. Maybe I should just upload uncompressed and let the web site sort the compression out? 

Since the photophuckit debacle some yrs ago, that spoilt so many forums, I haven’t used another image hosting site. I’m not after photography awards, just telling a silly shitbox story, so compressed is fine with me.


@SiC - Thanks for the tip. 

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I’ve been working in that there Laaandon for a couple of days which was an interruption but I managed to squeeze in a quick hour and a half this evening. 

I started by attacking the OS rear drum again, but it just laughed at me. I took the peekaboo plug out of the backing plate and tried releasing the hand brake but nothing. So I decided to remove the handbrake cable in case that was sticking and causing the shoes to bind.

All I can I say is what a pain in the arse. Getting the handbrake cover off took far too much effort, come on that should be easy!


Then getting the cables out through the floor pipes was nigh on impossible too. It went dark and rained on my legs while I tried to prise them out by phone torch light, but I got them in the end. 

Not much, but as Tesco would say…


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The blue one - One hand brake cable has arrived, hopefully the other one arrives in the morning. I discovered that GSF Doncaster had the rear hub nuts I need in stock (none of my local shops have them) and since I was working in Retford today I made a diversion to pick up a pair.  £1.50 each.



The gold one - I refitted the alternator and auxiliary belt after work and tensioned it up.


That done I chucked some water in the rad and gave it a start. It reluctantly coughed into life but once it going it idled ok so I let it warm up. The temperature got quite hot on the gauge but I’m not 100% sure if the rad fan should have kicked in or if I bottled out before it got hot enough, that’ll need some investigation. The radiator got hot so the water pump must be moving water around. I tested disconnecting the battery while it was running and it didn’t cut out so I’d say the alternator is ok too.


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On 16/03/2024 at 00:11, Scruffy Bodger said:

Maybe a good idea to try the pop bottle trick on the rad to see if you've got any air locks in the system as it's not got a separate reservoir?

Not entirely sure what trick you mean. Had a quick Google and do you mean making a raised header funnel for the rad cap out of a cut off pop bottle?

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Yesterday’s update…


The blue one - Tried really hard to remove the right hand drum, as this is the hand brake cable I have, the other hasn’t arrived yet. It spins freely so the shoes are off, and I have got it about 10mm pulled which has unseated the outer bearing but the inner bearing must have stuck on the stub hard. Remember this bearing stub was open to the elements for years so was rusted up, I did clean and sand it back before fitting but perhaps not quite enough. I tried using the wheel as a slide hammer, tried chocking the drum agains the back plate and hammering the opposite side, tried packing out the centre and crowbarring  against a wheel bolt. No joy at all, it didn’t even feel that close so I have ordered a hub puller. This setback kinda knocked the wind out of my sails yesterday morning as it is the car I wanted focus on but it just wasn’t to be.


The gold one - Started by trying to drop the coolant/water but the most obvious bottom hose was held using single use bands rather than jubilee clips. Ended up choosing a water pump hose which was harder to get to but did the job. It was the most brown and silty coolant I’ve ever seen. Warmed it up and did 3 water changes.



Got it properly hot today but the radiator fan definitely doesn’t work. Stuck a screwdriver thought the grill and and tried turning it but it feels seized. Oh well not too big a deal. 


Next I decided to see if it could move under its own steam. Pumped up the tyres but one wouldn’t hold air so I swapped it for the spare before dropping it back on its wheels. Started it up, put it in gear and it went forward! It didn’t even drag the back wheels, they actually turned! Shunted it back and forth 3 or 4 times and now I can push it by hand, could do with some brakes though. No pedal at all, handbrake applies and releases but only with low effort.



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17 minutes ago, stevek said:

Not entirely sure what trick you mean. Had a quick Google and do you mean making a raised header funnel for the rad cap out of a cut off pop bottle?


Yes, exactly that. I scrapped a perfectly good 405 engine many moons ago after replacing a rusted hose behind the front wheel. I thought I'd bled it but I obviously hadn't. The test drive was only 3 miles and  I'd  fucked it, blowing steam like a kettle 😕

I'd been nagged into changing it. I'd been happily tootling round refilling it when the low coolant level light came on 🙃🤣

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Today, the gold one:

Pulled the radiator off it’s mounts to make access to the fan shroud. The rad fan was seized solid. Wd40 and gentle persuasion got it to turn a little bit but it was really really tight, this motor requires surgery.

Getting fan and shroud unit out requires the slam panel to be detached, which means taking the grill off. Got two of the three fragile plastic grill screws out intact, one broke. Grill removed along with a headlight lense that fell off when disturbed. Gave up removing the slam panel when the first two captive nuts mangled the captive clip thingys. With the access so far I could get onto the three bolts holding the motor to the shroud. First one sheared the end of it’s stud off, the other two came out ok. Couldn’t for all my might undo the inline electrical connector. Gave up and pulled as much slack wire through as I could so I could work on the motor.


Dismantled the motor and found the metal casing was heavily rusted and pushing the magnets inwards and jamming it up. Removed each magnet in turn and cleaned the rust off before reassembling and fixing it back into its shroud.





Warmed the car up again and still no fan, disappointing. Bodged a direct battery feed to the motor with some mains cable and bingo the fan runs great.


Put it back to normal and bridged the temperature switch, still nothing. Reinstated the bodge but only the positive wire this time, fan still runs, so it’s a live feed issue. Traced the live wire and found an inline fuse that I don’t think was standard and it was blown. New fuse and we might be in action! Ran engine up to temp and the fan kicked in and cooled it back down nicely. Probably spent too much time on this arguably optional fix, it takes about 5-10min to get too hot so I could have shunted it about without the fan really.

So can I get brakes too? Brake fluid header was nearly totally dry. Picked up some dot 4 (1 litre £7.25 at Halfords) and glugged it in, still no pedal, that would be too easy! Didn’t fancy trying the calliper bleed nipples today. Called it a day at that.



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Calliper nipples. My go to was soak them as long as possible before attempting in WD or plus gas or whatever. Get a copper hammer, beat the shit out of the surrounding area as close as you can. Get a good 6 sided spanner that fits well and put it over the nipple. Hammer the the fuck out of it with copper hammer till it's mullered. Then tighten it very slightly, hammer on spanner. Wind out and in then out then in infinitum until it's out.

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Not really any progress 😔

Stuck waiting for the hub puller for the blue one. The other handbrake cable did arrive yesterday. 


Still soaking the bleed nipples on the blue one as @Scruffy Bodger rightfully recommends. The minor damp patch has turned into a steady drip from the radiator since disturbing it doing the fan repair. Shall I just ignore it or try a bottle of magic leak repair stuff. I’ve used Radweld before with some success, but now there’s the traditional blue bottle at circa £5 or the gold bottle at around £10, humm, probably just ignore it.


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It’s been a emotional rollercoaster the last couple of days. The hub puller arrived and seemed decent enough. 


So I put that to work and it pulled, great stuff, I might actually be able to crack on.


Then I noticed it had left half the inner bearing stuck on the stub, bugger. (I later realised it’s all going to end up in the same place when tightened back together so probably not such a big deal)


Then I saw that the stub threads are screwed. Started thinking this might just be a job too far to sort out right now given i’m time pressed to shift them and skint right now. I mean thats gonna be a pain to remove even if I manage to find a replacement.



Couldn’t find any cheap stub axels, in fact I couldn’t find anything for 309’s with drums it was all GTi’s with discs. Roughly measured it to be 127mm long and 25mm diameter, so it could be one of these, possibly:


… alright price but out of stock.

Went to bed pissed of with it all. Woke up thinking, what if I just mash a nut on again to hold it together just to move it and deal with it properly later, which then morphed into ‘can threads be fixed’. Cue a Google session.

Found some options:

  1. Thread file https://youtu.be/9y_Sdk1lFm4?si=0sAIY4T6SLUE7d9j
  2. Thread die (didn’t know you could get them big enough)
  3. Thread chaser tool https://youtu.be/xOtx1z7cmyk?si=84kAg5w7Q0Cdb18o

And got some prices (looked at various places but eBay seemed best deal for all three):


Ruled out the ‘Thread die’ because it’s the outer threads that are knacked so it would probably just cross thread and mash it up more.

The ‘Thread chaser’ tool looks good but more than I want to spend right now given there’s a cheaper option.

So I’ve ordered a file, how hard can it be! It might be a temp fix or might end up fine. It’s the outer couple of threads that are worst where the hub nut staking has ravaged them taking the old nut off but hopefully there is enough OK thread left. The long and short of it is I just need to be able to get a hub nut on without cross threading it.

…so I’m waiting for the postman again.


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Surprise surprise! The postman came with the el cheapo thread file. (eBay £8.90 inc 24hr delivery)


Yesterday I exclaimed ‘how hard can it be’! The answer is VERY, but not in a tricky or technical way, just gruelling, knuckle bashing and tedious. It needs enormous pressure applying to cut any material, light filing just skates over the top achieving nothing. I spent the best part of 2hrs attacking the thread but finally I can thread the hub nut all the way on by hand. Hopefully there’s enough good threads to achieve the required torque, I’m hopeful.




I should be able to refit the handbrake cables and reassemble the drums tomorrow if the car cooperates.



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On 22/03/2024 at 21:11, junkyarddog said:

I hate to tell you this,but that bearing needs to be replaced,they shouldn't separate like that.

Thanks for the heads up. I know it’s not supposed to separate like that which is what worried me initially, but looking at it logically the bearing inner, outer and needle rollers all end up back in the same place when it’s all done back up so should be fine. The main issue I can see is that the inner seal has been compromised so it will have a shorter lifespan due to crap getting in. I’ll worry about it later, along with the ancient brake flexies, perished bushes and the big rusty holes.

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