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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2022 7:45 pm 
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Car Models: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T & Several Others...
Cleaning time has begun for the new arrival.

Interior only as I'm currently without a pressure washer - and they've literally just driven past our house and dumped about five tonnes of salt on each of the roads in our neighborhood so it would be pretty pointless.

Looking forward to dealing with the likes of this though...

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Really will be better for a good scrub up. Plus there's about three quarters of a forest worth of leaves in the windscreen scuttle.

While the exterior is a task for another day, the interior looks a bit better for an hour's work this afternoon.

The dash plastics in particular were really dull and lifeless. There's a very clear line where I'd got to visible here.

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The seats really want to come out so I can give the carpets a proper scrub, and the seats would really benefit from a wet clean themselves too. Both jobs which will be waiting on warmer and drier weather.

I did note that both front footwells are a bit damp - I'm not reading too far into that though until I've cleared out the scuttle drains as given the amount of organic matter under there they're almost definitely clogged up. The headlining would also benefit from a deep clean - that will need to come out to deal with the rust at the base of the window over the cab anyway so those things will probably happen at the same time.

Only other item of note done today was getting the fuel filter and the feed lines attached to it replaced. Simple enough job.

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Think I'm going to go back and do the ones on the return too, just didn't have enough hose clamps to go round today (I despise those spring type ones with a passion - especially the ones VW use as they have really tiny tabs on so are nigh on impossible to get hold of if you don't have the proper tool). Given I was able to pull the one on the feed side straight off, the hose had obviously been squashed enough under the hose clip that it was no longer doing anything.

One of the O-rings on the return line stub was cracked, so definitely think this was due changing.

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Hopefully this will put a stop to air being pulled into the fuel system. Time will tell I guess.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 6:23 pm 
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Having run out of daylight yesterday today's quick task was oil & filter change.

Set the oil draining, then realised something...the Caddy is modern enough to have one of these strange plastic caps over the oil filter.

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...Which I've never had to deal with before. After wasting half an hour trying to get it unscrewed without the right tools I gave up and went round to Halfords and grabbed one of these.

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Even with the right tool, holy hell that was tight. I wound up basically hanging my bodyweight off the thing before it eventually started to very slowly come loose. No way it was coming off without the special tool for it.

I then made a horrible mess and spilled oil everywhere when lifting the old filter out.

New one in - which helpfully has the top marked as I didn't realise they weren't symmetrical until after I'd put the old one down and lost track of the rotation.

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New filter also comes with new O-rings for both the cap itself and the feed tube assembly which drops down through the middle of the filter. I made a definite point of lubricating the outer seal with fresh engine oil before reassembling. Tightening it precisely as much as necessary to snug the seal up and a smidge more. Hopefully I won't have such a fight to get the cap off next time round.

The old oil smelled quite strongly of diesel and seemed quite watery (it is 5W40 though so not all that thick anyway), which isn't a huge surprise given the van was chucking clouds of unburned fuel out the back on the overrun because of that vacuum leak I found a couple of days back. By no means the worst I've seen, but it was definitely ready for a change.

New set of floor mats have also been thrown into the cabin to tidy the floors up a bit.

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I may get a set of properly shaped ones ordered at some point, but these at least seem to stay put. The rubber ones that were in there before had virtually no grip on the carpet and I'd nearly died getting into the driver's seat about half a dozen times because of that, so these are an improvement in that department.

Hard to believe I've done just over 500 miles in this thing already! Still thoroughly enjoying driving it too.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 2:02 am 
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This afternoon I decided to have a look at the key to see if I could do anything to tidy it up. I also wanted to get into it to confirm if it had an immobiliser chip in or not so I knew which type of spare to order. Currently I only have the one key and that's always a recipe for stress in my mind.

The key looked like this...which is why I was determined to try to tidy it up a bit.

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The fact that the tape was decomposing and sticking to every bit of pocket lint (or in this house, the omnipresent dog hair) was also rendering this high on my to do list.

Like a complete and utter idiot I didn't wear gloves while pulling this to bits...and of course the mixture of electrical tape and duct tape had both well and truly started to decompose into the stickiest goo known to human kind. Said goo is now all over my hands, desk, keyboard, mouse, phone, probably in my hair - and all over everything within about a 500 metre radius. Rookie mistake.

Oddly when I pulled it apart I couldn't see anything wrong...all three bits of the assembly click together firmly, and the flexible membrane on the side with the remote buttons on isn't split.

Testing the two CR2016 cells showed they were both fine, so I just reassembled everything after a good clean. Oh, and yes it appears the van does have an immobiliser as there's a chip in there.

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Sure enough, the light on the key did flash when buttons were pressed...so I went out and walked through the key synchronisation routine, resulting in...

https://youtu.be/0VEnmLg7pOU

We appear to have fully functional remote central locking again.

I'll take that as a win!

Though I did notice this mess in the engine bay when doing a check for oil leaks following the change yesterday...

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Which is moderately concerning. I know this van did at one point have an aftermarket alarm (which doesn't appear to function), so I wonder if this was a result of a refusal to shut up one time to often - the loom tape does make it look different to the main vehicle loom, which is why my first thought was alarm. I will definitely be checking to ensure there's not power there shortly.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:12 am 
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Taking a closer look at that wiring mess reveals the tail is attached to the aftermarket alarm sounder...so that's definitely thoroughly dead then. Good thing I erred on the side of "I don't think so" when asked by the insurance company if it had an alarm. I'll pull that out then and see if I can find the other end of this to at least confirm that there's no power going to it.

Yay, I get to stand on my head under a dashboard again!

On the running theme of seeing if I can get vehicle systems back up and running I made a run over to Formula 1 in Newport Pagnell so this could happen.

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While the AC system was totally flat when I got the van I had noted on my first inspection that both service caps were loose, plus the condenser looks way newer than 20 years and 100K miles...have to wonder if a new one was fitted at some point and they just never bothered gassing it up? I still have a bottle with some dregs of dry nitrogen from goodness only knows how many years ago, which in its last gasp shoved around 40psi into this system a few days ago. Checking this morning showed the pressure hadn't visibly dropped. Having something in there had also allowed me to check that the compressor clutch worked and the compressor ran - albeit only for a couple of seconds as I had no idea if there was any oil left in the system.

It was a tense 30 minutes while the system ran the vacuum decay test (which basically is a leak check to see whether any air leaks back into it) was carried out - zero decay reported. Which says the system should hopefully be gas tight. It also shows it's reasonably dry (as water boiling off from the drier core etc would result in a *small* bit of vacuum decay).

Machine was happy with all of the tests and charged properly. Real test was going to be starting up, pushing the button and seeing what happened.

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I should really have had a camera pointing at the service gauges to video it, but suffice to say they behaved exactly as expected.

It's a bit hard to tell you'd think when it's all of 6C outside, but the system was definitely working. Suction line definitely got cold and there was heat quickly apparent on the liquid line. Definitely colder than ambient air coming out the vents too... exactly what we were after. No nasty noises from the compressor (that I can hear over the rattle of an SDi idling next to it anyway...though I'd by lying if I didn't admit it's a lot more refined than an XUD).

Having working AC should really help me deal with the bit of damp in the cabin. Basically we'll run the heater at "as warm as I can deal with" on recirc with the AC on for a while and see if that helps. As the air con dehumidifies the air passing through it, that will help actively pull water out of the cabin.

Next significant jobs in mind:

[] Exterior clean.

[] Dismantle and clean EGR system as it sure it's thoroughly sooted up. Especially given I've no idea how long that vacuum leak had been playing havoc with things. Can't see any obvious signs of it having been apart before, so it and the intake pipework will be well due a clean if that's the case.

[] Paint front bumper so it looks slightly less scruffy.

Longer term I have an idea in mind regarding the paintwork as a whole...open to inspiration that others might have too though. I'm already finding myself really quite attached to this little van so I'm going to try to make a reasonably tidy job of things. The rust around the window over the cab will be getting sorted and we'll see what we can do for the offside rear quarter too before the aforementioned larger scale paint job too.

What colour do *you* think she should be painted?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 6:40 am 
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Monte Carlo Yellow

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:58 pm 
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beardydave wrote:
Monte Carlo Yellow

... in a Raptor coating


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:21 pm 
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You could always bring it bang up to date, as it is basically a Polo by painting it Harlequin. :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2022 2:31 pm 
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old cabbie 1945 wrote:
You could always bring it bang up to date, as it is basically a Polo by painting it Harlequin. :lol:


That is *exactly* what I was considering...though it will require a little thought on how to execute given both the Polo and Golf iterations of the Harlequin were 5-door cars and this van lacks any cargo area doors. Treating the rear quarter as the rear door doesn't work without further changes as the rear bumper is normally the same colour as the rear door - fine on the car as there's a bit of bodywork in a contrasting colour separating them which isn't there on the van. So my current idea there is to change out the rear bumper colour.

This was a very, very quick photo edit I did yesterday just putting thoughts down on paper so to speak. Obviously colours would be way more vibrant in reality as I've just overlayed stuff over silver here.

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Yes it's silly, but I'm just not a "resale silver" car sort of person!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2022 4:17 pm 
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Well that must be a first to have someone agree with my suggestions on colour. I have no idea with colours, I do not have an artistic bone in my body.

Just a suggestion but you could break up the rear "box" structure by having contrasting colours dividing the 2 windows even if it means having a two tone fuel cap.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 2:12 am 
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old cabbie 1945 wrote:
Well that must be a first to have someone agree with my suggestions on colour. I have no idea with colours, I do not have an artistic bone in my body.

Just a suggestion but you could break up the rear "box" structure by having contrasting colours dividing the 2 windows even if it means having a two tone fuel cap.


You don't need artistic talent to appreciate something that's visually fun. If my car makes someone happy, that's my day been a success. One of the reasons I love the Invacar, aside from the odd grumpy person who says they should all have been hurled off a cliff the vast majority of folks love it. Likewise the big van - which in particular seems to make kids go mad for some reason I've never quite fathomed. It's great fun at shows though, as I remember being that kid 30 years ago.

The issue with additional breaks in the colour is that there's nothing to define them. One of the reason the Harlequin works so well is that it's a very clean design, despite the colour contrast. All of the borders are defined by panel edges. I don't want to go introducing artificial boundaries, I think keeping it looking clean is the way to go.

-- -- --

Didn't have a huge amount of energy available today as I'm still feeling like death, nevertheless I was determined to get a few things done.

First up was getting the interior of the S123 back into a presentable state. Calling it clean would be overselling it, but it's a heck of a lot better and I'm not embarrassed by it any more. Sadly attempts to find a working jetwash to do something about the outside were fruitless. Nevertheless, the interior is better at least.

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It's no longer approximately 87% dog hair by volume at least.

Should be off to a new owner in the next couple of days.


Moving onto the Caddy it was time to have a look at the EGR valve to get an idea of how funked up the system was.

My the standards of most modern cars it's thankfully pretty easy to get to. The arrow is pointing at the vacuum actuator rather than the valve itself, but you get the idea.

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Given the position of the securing collar I don't reckon it's ever been off. However the innards weren't anywhere near as bad as I was expecting.

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Yes it's pretty grim, but I'm not unused to seeing these things totally choked solid on far newer vehicles.

Probably about 0.5mm worth of caked on gunk the whole way round.

The other side of the valve is more disgusting as it's sticky, tarry crap as the PCV system feeds into the EGR circuit right next to the valve. I did dig an appreciable amount of gunge out of the valve body, but it definitely wasn't totally choked nor did it seem to be sticky.

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I'd also been able to confirm that the valve is sealing completely and consistently when closed.

Reassembled everything...and absolutely no difference. Very slightly surging engine speed still there (it does exactly the same at any engine speed I found, regularly once a second), along with excessive smoke on light throttle.

Definitely have vacuum at the EGR valve, and you can hear it physically snap shut if you pull the vacuum line off. It however doesn't really have any noticeable effect on the running of the engine either way.

One thing I did notice is that when this behaviour is present, the rev counter also behaves slightly erratically, randomly twitching upwards from the actual engine speed - and it seems to do it more when on the throttle than off.

Then out of nowhere, the engine completely smooths out. The note deepens (because the flap on the intake, which I assume works in partnership with the EGR valve is now fully open), and the diesel clatter becomes a little sharper, so something has obviously changed - I'm guessing with the injection timing. Checking the EGR at that point shows there's no vacuum present, so the ECU isn't calling for the EGR system to be in operation. It's also noteworthy that after this point when things decide to behave that the rev counter twitching also stops I'm increasingly convinced these two symptoms are connected in some way.

So I don't think the EGR valve is the cause of this issue...bit it's definitely *involved* in it. Think the next step really will be to find someone locally with VCDS and get a look at some real-time data. Everything being fly-by-wire here makes guessing pretty pointless... imagine on a newer car we'd have a check engine light illuminated - but this car doesn't have one!

The rev counter misbehaving being clearly tied into it is making me think camshaft/crankshaft position sensors? Or however else the ECU gets the engine speed/position data...makes sense though if there's a disparity between the requested and reported engine speed, it would throw the fuelling all to hell.

Think it's likely been like this for a while so I'm not worried about it really, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to try to get to the bottom of it. Especially as the van drives so much nicer when this fault is staying out of the way.

We got any SDi experts on here?

Oh...and I've ordered a replacement engine cover. Looks quick and easy to fit/remove unlike many, so I'm not adverse to its being there.

Something which may well be getting changed in the not too distant future - which is a shame as they're only a year old - is the tyres. I had to brake moderately hard to avoid a suicidal pigeon this afternoon and discovered that these tyres really aren't great on a cold, damp road. Also the front ones have way more grip than the rears...great, aside from when all four wheels lock up, then the front regains grip well before the rear - which by then has started to try to overtake the front. It was a moderately firm braking manoeuvre, but I didn't expect quite *that* degree of upset. Even the big van would have been okay.

Methinks some Uniroyal rubber may be in the future. I will get the tracking checked in the meantime though - not least because the steering wheel is slightly off straight and means I can't see about 2/3rds of the warning lights on the dash when driving straight ahead. Bit of a daft design there from VW. Likewise the switchgear most of which is hidden behind the steering wheel.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:27 am 
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It can only be something fuel or air related, and its probably not fuel pump or injectors as it sorts itself out when the EGR is closed. That only leaves air.

Is it possible there is an air leak before the EGR valve that is allowing air into the exhaust, throwing off the ECU's calculations, and when the EGR valve is closed its stopping the leak? Exhaust leak might do it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 11:52 am 
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beardydave wrote:
It can only be something fuel or air related, and its probably not fuel pump or injectors as it sorts itself out when the EGR is closed. That only leaves air.

Is it possible there is an air leak before the EGR valve that is allowing air into the exhaust, throwing off the ECU's calculations, and when the EGR valve is closed its stopping the leak? Exhaust leak might do it.


I don't *think* an upstream air leak would do it, as forcing the EGR closed (pulling the vacuum line to the actuator) has no effect.

I think more than anything I need to familiarise myself with the method of operation of the system so I can see under what conditions the valve should be open/closed etc. I don't think there are degrees of opening for the EGR like on more modern vehicles, I think it's just open or it isn't.

Live data is going to be useful either way I think as it could be something daft like a coolant temperature sensor causing this. I also have no idea is the system just getting itself slightly confused when it's playing up, or is it missing/getting a nonsense input somewhere and going into a full on failsafe mode? Worth noting that this must be one of very few cars from 2002 that doesn't have a check engine light on the dash, so it won't tell me if something is awry with the emission control side of things.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 2:24 am 
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This surging behaviour seriously has me intrigued. Managed to catch it doing it again today and got a better video properly catching it.

https://youtu.be/JT0X3XLBsCw

This clearly shows how it's essentially a regular "blip" approximately once a second that happens irrespective of the engine speed - and that during this behaviour she chucks out a shedload of smoke.

You can always *smell* that something is off when it's doing this, the smell from the exhaust lingers for ages. If you're in a car following it, it makes your eyes water apparently.

Physically disabling the EGR valve by removing and plugging the vacuum line to the actuator has no effect. I know the valve is moving as you can clearly hear it snap open or closed - and it sealed well enough that carb cleaner wasn't even seeping through the orifice while I was cleaning it yesterday. So I think the valve itself is innocent.

However if I unplug the *electrical* connection to the solenoid valve which controls said valve, the problem completely goes away. Idle immediately smooths out perfectly (it sounds to me like the injection timing or duration also changes as the engine note itself does change too), you hear the throttle valve in the intake snap fully open, and the throttle response becomes perfectly smooth through the whole rev range - and we see absolutely zero smoke aside from the expected tiny initial puff of black if you absolutely boot it, and that's not enough to be visible in the headlights of a following car. Also notable that any noticeable smell completely vanishes too...it just smells like an early 00s diesel VW.

Now I'm sure unplugging that would trigger an engine management light if I had one and I'm sure will have logged a fault code, and disabling an emission control device like this is illegal, so it's not a permanent fix...however it provides me with useful data to add to my diagnostic process and *definitely* puts the van in a less polluting state while I get to the bottom of the root cause. You've seen the cloud if you've watched the video above!

I need to make my reading today working out exactly what the sequence of operation is for the various bits of the emission control system on this engine and how the various parts interact with each other. I get the impression that understanding how that lot works will shed some light on what might be happening.

Decided that the Caddy could have a day off as errand running workhorse today.

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Which went absolutely fine until I heard a suspicious "ding" at one point and saw something small and round disappearing into oblivion behind me.

When I eventually found somewhere safe to pull over, the cause didn't take long to find.

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Ah. That's sub optimal. The air filter element was still present, wedged between the chassis and suspension arm thankfully (as they're surprisingly expensive), however the cover plate and wing nut are long gone. Even if I could spot it, as with so much of MK there's nowhere safe to pull over to retrieve it safely as it's on a 70mph dual carriageway with no pedestrian provision even vaguely nearby. So I'll need to find a replacement. Thankfully it's a bit of standard Steyr-Puch engine rather than a bespoke bit of Invacar so shouldn't be difficult to track one down, even if it may mean getting a whole new air cleaner assembly.

Guess we need to add "check air filter element retaining wing nut is tight" to the weekly checklist!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 9:54 am 
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We had wingnuts vibrating loose on stuff at work. The operators were all ex-merchant navy engineers. Their solution, which I’ve used since, was to roll an O ring up the thread behind the wing nut. It might loosen a bit, but it won’t fall off.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 10:18 am 
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a trick for applications where the vibration isn't big amplitude (computers for example) is a dab of nail varnish over the screw head and onto the surface it's on. It's just enough to stop it loosening, but not too difficult to deliberately undo.

I like the o-ring one though.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 1:02 pm 
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Just use a nyloc nut, it doesn't have to come off very often.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2022 1:31 am 
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sgould wrote:
We had wingnuts vibrating loose on stuff at work. The operators were all ex-merchant navy engineers. Their solution, which I’ve used since, was to roll an O ring up the thread behind the wing nut. It might loosen a bit, but it won’t fall off.


That's a nice "I'm sure I've got something suitable rolling around the garage" sort of solution.

-- -- --

Today's automotive task:

Get rid of this bodgery behind the heater controls in the Caddy.

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This is a close up of the broken bit of plastic on the back of the heater control assembly.

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Which SHOULD look like this.

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Thankfully as I expected the base units are identical, just mine has a few extra bits on being from an AC equipped car.

Mine:

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New (used) one:

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Underneath:

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These (plus the white plastic lamp cover I later realised) are what need to be transferred over - and the faceplate obviously.

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The greenish plastic thing in the middle is the light pipe which illuminates the indicators in the AC/Recirc buttons green when the headlights are on and the controls are off.

It needs to sit in front of the main light pipe assembly, but thankfully that unclips easily enough.

The one on the right illuminates the legends on the aforementioned buttons...and getting that sucker into position here is a royal faff, especially as you're acutely aware of what a tiny, fragile bit of plastic it is.

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Really glad I had the sense to photograph the order these sat in before pulling anything apart.

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This is what the top of the switch assembly looks like.

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Whole new unit back together now with my AC specific bits added.

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I initially didn't realise that the white lamp housing is slightly different, as the AC specific one is slightly shorter to allow it to fit over the additional light pipes.

The part numbers are different, confirming I wasn't just being daft.

AC one:

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Non-AC one:

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Though if you're doing this job you've likely got a complete but broken assembly in front of you anyway, so really not an issue. If robbing bits for an AC conversion though worth knowing you do need it.

After a small amount of swearing at cables (they are *precisely* as long as they *need* to be). I wouldn't be at all surprised if that's a large part of how that bit got snapped in the first place. Wouldn't be hard to put a load of strain on there when installing a stereo or routing any wiring behind the dash.

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Having all four mounting lugs now present both the heater controls and the black surround on the front of the dash is far more secure.

While I was in there I pulled the cigarette lighter out to replace the failed lamp in that.

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That has to be one of the most frustratingly difficult to access lamp holders I have ever come across. I did eventually though manage to extract and replace the lamp. Result being (finally) all of the dash illumination working.

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Albeit with a moderately annoying amount of light leakage from the vicinity of the cigarette lighter. It really needs some assistance in the light-tightness department.

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Next interior target will be the offside outer heater vent which is missing a large chunk of itself.

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Which I have a suspicion will end up coming from the same breakers I just got the heater control panel from. I'll probably do the headlight control panel too as it's not securely fitted, I'm assuming because a mounting tab has broken or something like that behind it. The little storage cubby for documents under the dash being screwed shut with self-tappers may make it onto the list too as I can't unsee that now!

Small steps, but nice to have fully working heater controls again without needing a cable sticking out under the dash. For the sake of £12 of parts and maybe an hour of time, hard to say no really.

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90 Merc 208D, 86 Merc 230TE, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12, 85 Sinclair C5, 83 Citroen BX14, 73 AC Model 70.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2022 11:49 pm 
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Location: Milton Keynes
Car Models: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T & Several Others...
Been a little while since I had the time to do a proper update so let's have a catch up.

The Caddy passed a nice milestone while we were on the way to an appointment a few days ago. Thankfully I had my other half with me so was able to get evidence of it...as I was on the M1 at the time I couldn't exactly pull over to grab a photo.

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Hopefully many more to come.

Despite suffering from a lack of a working pressure washer I needed to get the Mercedes cleaned up ready to be handed over to the new owner - this meant the best part of an hour driving around in circles until I found a jetwash that was actually working. Was the most horribly rushed and patchy job in the history of self serve car washes, but at least I had most of the moss out of the window seals and brightwork, so it looked a lot better.

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Still one of the classiest looking cars I've ever owned I think.

The car rewarded me for cleaning it by blowing the offside rear indicator bulb. Of course I didn't have a spare in stock...so wound up nicking one from one of the repeaters on the van. It won't be going anywhere until the salt is gone from the roads anyway. Plenty of that a out just now...the corner of this roof was silver before a 20 minute run up the motorway a couple of days ago!

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With the cleanup complete though I was able to pass the car on to its new owner. Only a few miles up the road and someone I know, so I'll still see it now and then I'm sure.

Off she goes.

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The space will be filled again soon though, some of you may remember this one being mentioned a few months back.

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Which will be quite a rewarding revival hopefully. They're pretty simple cars and this one by and large is exceptionally solid. A friend on another forum has already offered me use of their car roller which will make the bit of welding on the offside sill inner several orders of magnitude easier. Will also make doing a decent job of rust proofing it easier - though I may well still just farm that out to a specialist.

Revival work is what I tend to enjoy the most, so I'm quite looking forward to it.

A surprisingly large parcel arrived - even more surprisingly quickly given it came all the way from Germany - for the Caddy. Got here quicker than some things ordered from an hour up the road.

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Hardly mission critical, but definitely tidies things up a bit. Does make quite a noticeable difference to the noise level outside the van too so isn't entirely cosmetic. I usually hate engine covers, but this only takes about 90 seconds to install/remove and makes a good tray for putting things in so isn't a huge problem.

Does look like it's taken about ten years off the engine bay though!

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While I was rooting around in the area I dropped the new cabin air filter in. Dead easy to get to compared to many modern cars which require you to stand on your head in the footwell and/or dismantle half the dash.

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I'm quite used to seeing these having never been changed so was half expecting a solid black rectangle of unidentifiable organic matter to come out, but it wasn't actually too bad. Definitely due a change but it's definitely been changed sometime in the last few years.

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You may recall me noticing some horribly hacked wiring in the engine bay related to the obviously long defunct aftermarket alarm system a little while back.

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Which had also left a gaping hole in the bulkhead.

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I've now found that end of the tail (buried behind the heater box), and each of the wires has been taped, heat shrink covered then the tail as a whole treated the same way. The actual alarm module is buried up behind the centre console and I didn't have the patience to go chasing that further today.

This lot was pulled out.

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The above area now looks like this. By pure chance I found a bung sitting on the drive that was exactly the right size to fill the hole left by that alarm wiring.

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Much tidier.

A friend dropped by today with their fancy diagnostic gizmo to see if we had any fault codes stored which might give us a pointer on what's going on with the twitchy idle/EGR issues.

As we had hoped there were a couple of codes stored.

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The first of which is the interesting one.

"Motor for intake flap (V157) - sporadic - open/short circuit to earth."

The second code is expected as it's indicating the solenoid for the EGR valve being open circuit - because I've unplugged it.

This is really useful as it gives me a component to home in on with my investigation. First port of call is to make sure the wiring to it isn't obviously damaged as it is quite exposed. Then we'll give it a good clean, which it really wants anyway.

Tomorrow's task is going to be putting together the contents of this very heavy box, which arrived too late yesterday to do anything with...but should solve my pressure washer situation.

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Should be a decent upgrade from a fairly low end electric pressure washer...and having 30 metres of hose to play with will be a massive help in itself compared to the four I'm used to. Putting that all together will be tomorrow afternoon's task.

A silly little accessory arrived yesterday for the Invacar.

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Suitable replacement for the keychain that I somehow managed to lose back at the start of the pandemic.

Have also come up with a temporary solution to the air filter issue. This doesn't look in any way ridiculous...

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To be honest it's basically only there to keep crud out of there until I can track down/manufacture a replacement for the missing bit of the cleaner housing. I won't be driving it like this given the insurance company may declare it's a performance modification...must be good for at least a 30% power increase of course!

I think that brings us up to date for now.

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90 Merc 208D, 86 Merc 230TE, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12, 85 Sinclair C5, 83 Citroen BX14, 73 AC Model 70.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:22 am 
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Location: Colerne North Wiltshire
Car Models: GSXR1000 K2,CBTwo Fifty,OG Aero vert gone
Thanks for the update Zel been looking forward to it. The AC key ring made me smile as did the K and N filter. Good luck with your quest to discover the reason for your fault code on the VW.

Love the washer, what a machine, it looks big, it will need it's own garage! It has as much hp as a small motorbike. Be sure to add a fuel stabiliser if you are not going to use it regularly and keep it away from covetous eyes! It has so much power you could probably jet wash every car in your street from your front garden.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2022 3:09 am 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 9:03 pm
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Location: Milton Keynes
Car Models: 96 Citroen Xantia Activa 2.0T & Several Others...
old cabbie 1945 wrote:
Thanks for the update Zel been looking forward to it. The AC key ring made me smile as did the K and N filter. Good luck with your quest to discover the reason for your fault code on the VW.

Love the washer, what a machine, it looks big, it will need it's own garage! It has as much hp as a small motorbike. Be sure to add a fuel stabiliser if you are not going to use it regularly and keep it away from covetous eyes! It has so much power you could probably jet wash every car in your street from your front garden.


We'll get to the bottom of the fault code. Just really useful having had the opportunity to see what error was being logged as that gives is an idea where to start looking at least. If it comes down to it I will probably end up throwing the van at a VW specialist to sort it - it runs and drives so sweetly that I reckon it will be absolutely worth it.

Looking forward to the salt being off the road again, as I'm missing driving the big van and properly driving TPA. If I don't immediately find a replacement for the missing bit of air cleaner it's hardly the end of the world as a flat bit of metal with a hole in the right place will do the job until I can find a proper one.

The problem I have with pressure washers is that having spent time in the valet bay at a used car dealer for several years and using their one (including the diesel powered and heated beast) meant I was all too aware of how pathetic most domestic ones are...this one while being probably a tenth of the price of the one I used there is much more akin to what I was used to.

-- -- --

Well this box arrived on Friday...

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What was in it then? Well after about half an hour's assembly, this:

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Assembly was about as simple as you could ask for - all the necessary tools and some PTFE tape were in the box.

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The biggest complaint I'd seen from people in reviews of this unit was that they were managing to melt the hose that runs between the pump and hose reel on the exhaust. Have to assume they had it routed over the top of the engine...

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Simple solution, route it down underneath and apply a couple of cable ties to ensure it can't get in the way.

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Yes the reel is very obviously an afterthought they just managed to find space to bolt onto the frame as it does make getting to the pull start a bit awkward.

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Really not badly though so long as you've uncoiled the hose, which you're meant to do before starting the engine anyway - and having onboard storage for the hose is worth it I think anyhow.

Speaking of the hose... I've got used to the pathetic four metre reach on the old cheap plastic electric one, so having twenty metres to play with feels like utter luxury. It basically used to equate to one side and a bit of a car before you had to pick up and move the whole lot. This is the new setup...

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That's not even using the additional ten metre extension that came in the box. That alone will make the job of cleaning anything far less annoying.

Fit and finish is a lot better than I was expecting to be honest. Just a shame the polystyrene packing has reacted with the paint on the frame in one spot. Everything slotted, clipped or screwed together nicely as it was mean to and I had no issues with sharp edges or burrs on anything.

Engine is your typical Honda clone which turns up on everything from go karts to lawn mowers to generators...and while I'd obviously prefer the real thing (or being me to be honest, a flathead Briggs), I've never personally had any issues with these on any of my equipment or anything I've helped others look after. If it was being used for hours on end every day, maybe. For a couple of hours every week or two it should be fine.

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It does have a low oil shutoff, which is always nice to have on a piece of equipment like this.

The detergent tank built into the base is a nice detail rather than just a hose dangling off to dip in a bottle (which inevitably gets either lost or broken) or an awkward thing you have to clip to the lance like the Nilfisk this replaces had.

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As for performance? Well you'd expect it to have more punch than the 1400W electric ones given the engine here is rated at 5500W if my math is right (8hp). Yep...that's definitely the case...you properly have to brace yourself when pulling the trigger on this and use common sense as even with the wider nozzles fitted I don't doubt for a second that this thing will strip paint off metal if you're not careful.

Hoping to give it a proper test in the week, today was just a run of a few minutes to make sure everything behaved, and allowed me to blast some of the worst of the gunk out of the gutters and after a dousing in degreaser, the engine bay of the Caddy. Not an oily engine anyway, just grubby from 20 years of use. The washer bottle is going to need separate attention, but it generally looks a lot cleaner now.

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Cars are much more likely to get cleaned now as this reduces the hassle factor massively!

List price for this is £379, though it was discounted to £330 when I ordered it - decided it was a good thing to stick the £100 or so of vouchers I've had sitting around literally for years to use for - plus my nan sent some money at Christmas too...so good excuse for a new toy I reckon!

-- -- --

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90 Merc 208D, 86 Merc 230TE, 85 Jaguar XJ-S V12, 85 Sinclair C5, 83 Citroen BX14, 73 AC Model 70.


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