OK, now its two months ago, and I return home, just before the MOT and Tax ran out. Incidentally it is also about three days after the end of my degree, so I’m also busy looking for jobs and desperately trying to find an excuse to not attend the ceremony.
Now, PetroVich has been used, at least occasionally since I moved to Manchester and has therefore developed a nice little list of faults for me to fix prior to it’s MOT. Most notable are that I could fit a spanner thought the rust hole that had appeared in the drivers side A Pillar, and the clutch master cylinder which had (due to it having the wrong threaded nut given to us) been suffering from a leak on the inlet. Not that it actually made much difference you understand, it worked fine as did the brakes, it’s just any MOT examiner seeing fluid kicking about up top would fail it instantly.
The A Pillar is “easy” to fix, and was actually done last. It did however require welding, and having neither the experience of welding, nor the welder itself matters were, for the time being a little complicated. However, soon it was Billing time again, and judging that I might possibly have use of a welder again I decided to take the opportunity to purchase one. As it happens this looks like a good decision, and after a little practice it took me a day to remove the old a pillar and attach the replacement, a weld here, a weld there and the jobs a good one. Admittedly perhaps I went a little mad, having welded it to just about any nearby piece of metal, but I was having fun and it all adds to the strength of it…
The other task was more interesting; remember the objective is to replace the Clutch Master Cylinder. Anyhow, whilst trying to get a replacement I discover two things. One, nobody has the series two variety in stock and two; I could really have done with not buggering the reservoir tank when I took it off. Well to cut a long story short, a series three reservoir tank (for the brakes), series three clutch master cylinder and several bottles of brake / clutch fluid later, the entire thing is now all ship shape and Bristol fashion again.
It’s around this time (much to Franks glee) that I decide to repaint him too, the petrol stainable, mucky blue was really beginning to get to me, and he somehow “still” didn’t feel mine. Frank stops talking to me for a while when I choose a colour other than matt army green, still I like it, and doughnuts can cure the Frank problem.
So I take it for it’s MOT, which it promptly fails, For Five reasons, which are quoted below.
1) Both Rear Drums contaminated by oil.
2) Three holes in Chassis within 30cm of the suspension (both sides)
3) All Four Tyres badly worn with tears on inner walls
4) Brake lines not attached to chassis at front.
5) Excessive Blue Smoke from exhaust.
There follows my reaction to these, in order.
1) Drat, we replaced the axle oil seals when we did the brakes, was hoping that the shoes were ok…
2) Doh! perhaps I should have actually looked at the dumb irons at some point.
3) Darn, not too surprising perhaps, those tyres had been on bills 6 wheeler at some point…
5) Shit, Drat. Bugger, how much is an engine nowadays?
Well, I was annoyed and upset, but realistically most of these were easy to fix. The welding was easy enough, once I had taken the bumper off; taking the bumper off was interesting enough though. Remember those U-Bolts? Well, it would appear that “Mr Weldy” was just as scared of the bumper falling off, as he was the axle, three hours with a chisel later and another line goes through his name on my Christmas card list.
Invested in a can of WD40, a can or spray paint, some red-lead, and a wire brush to clean up the rear drums, then fitted a new set of shoes. The brakes work perfectly at the back now, and don’t appear to have any oil near them anymore so, I’m hoping that’s sorted.
Distracting Father long enough for me to nick the SAT’s off his lightweight cured the tyre problem (well I say, nick, he actually took them off whilst I was prating around with my brakes, but it sounds more macho and amusing to say that he isn’t aware of the fact I’ve half-inched them :) and a fair number of lengthy tie wraps fixed the brake lines.
The final problem was that excessive blue smoke thingy… Enter Bill once again.
We decide that it might be valve guides, or more precisely Bill does. As replacing these require taking the cylinder head off only he suggests that we rip the head off anyhow, with a view to changing the valve guides. Should the rings be cream crackered we can ascertain this when we’ve got the head off and see how we go from there.
As it happens the rings are knackered, and once again my heart sinks to the “bugger, there goes the engine” pit in which it’d been nestled for the last few days. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and as it happens there is not much scoring or damage to the cylinders themselves. The Rings have probably been worn as a result of it having had bad shells in it some years previously.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the engine is still on it’s original pistons and stuff, without having ever had oversized rings fitted, nor does it appear that it requires any…
So Dad and Bill disappear off to find some rings, whilst I take the sump off in preparation for removing the pistons.
They apparently call at Steve Parkers first, where several things happen. Firstly Steve and company find it difficult to believe that a series2 engine (an early one apparently, which is odd as it’s actually a 2a) wouldn’t need oversized rings, or a re-bore at the very least. Understandable, as we had spent several minutes looking at it in disbelief thinking very similar things some forty minutes earlier. The second thing that happens is that Steve declares that he doesn’t have any rings anyway.
A quick tour of Lancashire later and Father and Bill return with a set of rings. Where they eventually got them from is beyond me, but it took them about three hours to find them, they might have half inched them from a spare motor for all I know, but wherever they came from they appeared to fit. The engine is rebuilt, the following day (most of this happened on a Friday) and I do all the other bits and bobs that I wanted to do, like fit a water temperature sensor (Admiral Alan-Key) had replaced it with a blanking plate for one reason or another, as well as recheck all my switches that I had moved to the cubby box for good keeping (and so I can reach them with the seatbelt on)
So, yet again, my heart filled with trepidation I pop down to the MOT station, and leave the motor for the afternoon to see what it fails on this time. Arriving at around five, he’s parked in a different place to where I left him (he’s not that hard to find) so I wonder in with cheque book in hands, my heart in despair and a box of tissues on standby.
Now, I’m kinda shocked by this, perhaps too shocked as it wasn’t until later that I realised that the mechanic had told me “I only put that engine thing in there to make sure you did all the other jobs, most people like to push their luck”, had I realised at the time I might not have driven Petro home, having inserted at least the high-lift up the blokes nose.
Still, with joy in my heart, and the rest of the documentation in my hands I bounce across the street to the post office for a brand spanking new, free tax disk (how much was that again? I don’t think the people at the back heard it, what ZERO Pounds? Is that twelve months or six? You mean I get TWELVE MONTHS ROAD TAX FOR FREE!!! )
A Few days later I’m playing (once again) with the motor, deciding to do something practical with the back door, which, much to the amusement of others has a habit of opening when turning left.
Frank is knocking about (being helpful, thanks Frank, see I told you those doughnuts would work) and we decide that the problem lies in how the door is mounted, well, actually we decide the problem lies with Admiral Alan-Keys parents for not being more careful, however the “mechanical” problem is with the door mounts.
The rear door, for those of you who don’t know is held up by two hinges, and when taking the weight of the spare wheel, is actually prone to buckling, with a great deal of strain on the bottom hinge. The Bottom hinge in Petro’s case had been moved up three inches so that it didn’t get in the way of the number plate. It was therefore not using the correct holes for the hinge, and therefore not fitting properly.
The solution to this had been, to pad the hinges so that the door stood proud of the rear of the vehicle, this also meant that it needed a custom striking plate, and when cornering (as the back body flexes) it was this plate that let go of the door, causing it to open. Quite “why” this had seemed easiest (as oppose to moving the number plate) is anybodies guess, still ours is to wonder why.
Frank and I replace the back door completely, the hinges are goosed, and as oppose to buy new ones (and a new striking plate) we opt for fitting the up and over tailgate option, which is nice, and should I ever decide to take the roof off, somewhat beneficial. I also had one in the garage.