1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

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Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:12 pm

I'm very pleased with the Suzuki mirrors I've fitted in place of the original Tex offerings, they might not be the prettiest mirror but they do make all aspects of driving much nicer. To fit Ambassador ones you'd have to fit Ambassador doors, or at least Ambassador glass and the little triangle the mirrors mount on.

I'd been advised against using 20/50 due to it causing gear change issues in colder temperatures. I run semi-synth 10W/40 year round and I find that's perfectly fine, with a stiffer gear change only when it's sub-zero temperatures and only before the engine has warmed up. Most of my oil use seems to be from leaks I'm still trying to resolve so I won't know what the actual consumption is until I've been able to resolve those leaks. I've also found the car leaks less when its in use than when its left stood.

A couple of minor issues today. The first was that on doing a lights check, the hazard telltale has decided to stop working, even though the hazards themselves function perfectly normally. Shall have to give the bulb/wiring a wiggle and see whether or not the bulb has blown. At least it's the easy bulb to get to.

The second was that for some distance I was driving with my reversing light on without realising it. The new switch was not provided with a locking ring and I'd lost the old switch so couldn't swap it over. As a result, the new switch has self-adjusted into a position where it's permanently on. Since it's dark and very wet, Mike and I decided to unplug the bulb and sort it out tomorrow, especially since I've since found the old switch so I have the ring to swap over and stop this happening again.

Headlight aim is too low. I had set them at home on the drive but forgot to account for the slight incline of the drive. An easy enough job to raise them up a bit now that I actually have working adjusters.

So realistically, everything is fine.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Dec 01, 2018 5:30 pm

Hazard telltale - now fixed. Pulled the bulb, tweaked the tines out, plugging the bulb back in and it now works normally. It's either the bulb or holder that's a bad fit, or both, this seems to have fixed it.

Auxilliary belt - squealing. I thought it was because of the wet weather until I checked and it's gone a little slack. I'll tighten it tomorrow when I can see what I'm doing, it's probably stretched a little.

If it ever stops raining I'll get the reverse switch and headlight alignment sorted.

Last fuel up has returned nearly 22mpg over the last 150ish miles, all of which have been urban. That's not too terrible, all things considered.

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Gasman
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:00 pm

It’s interesting about using semisynthetic oil. I’d always been told it was a No-no and never really questioned it. Fully synthetic is not a good idea as it stops working if it gets fuel admixed into it which is highly likely on a BL engine! SMG doesn’t use any oil since it’s rebuild so will stick with mineral for the time being. Kwakers doesn’t use any either but that’s only done 13k Miles

I would have expected more than 22mpg from the 1.7. That’s 2200 auto territory!
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:04 pm

If 22mpg was my average and I was doing motorway miles, I'd be inclined to agree. However, 22mpg for stop-start traffic at speeds no greater than 40mph in damp, cold weather seems pretty normal to me. I've not had any call to drive any motorway miles lately, though I know it does mid-30s when I do, so I don't think anything is amiss other than the sort of driving I'm doing not being the best for fuel economy.

----

- Auxilliary belt. Retensioned using a couple of 13mm spanners. Charging improved and screechy belt noise gone, predictably.

- Headlights aim. Improved by adjusting the aim higher. I'm not entirely happy with where the headlights are pointing so I will get a local garage to set them properly for me in the MoT bay rather than make a best guess.

- Reverse light switch. Reinstalled the old switch. Reason being, the new switch has collapsed internally (broken spring?) which is the actual reason the reverse light wouldn't turn off. The old switch actually works perfectly fine, the problem wasn't with it, the problem was with a broken wire which we resolved before the experiment began. The new switch managed to last all of about 30 miles, which is frankly rubbish.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:06 pm

This week has seen me do less miles than usual, but on faster roads, and with two other people in the car. The Princess certainly felt more at home plodding down the A19 and A66 than it does pottering about town and kept up perfectly well with modern traffic. I have noticed that the occasions of people pulling out on me in everyday driving is reduced drastically compared to the Rover, it does still happen of course, but with much less frequency. I feel more visible and as a result, safer, in the Princess than I do in the Rover.

Occasional Misfire - Only when the car isn't up to temperature, and only when under load/putting your foot down. At idle it's perfectly normal, and once warmed up it behaves perfectly normally. I shall go through the various ignition components and check all the settings are as they should be, my suspicion is that the timing or a gap is slightly off somewhere for winter conditions, especially since this was last checked in more clement weather and has only become an issue now that we're starting to get sub-zero temperatures.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:08 pm

I'm sticking to a weekly check regime, and it being Sunday that marks the end of Week 2.

> Coolant - no apparent loss
> Oil - no apparent loss
> Wheel arches hosed out, bottom half of car hosed down, including sills and under the front and rear valance.
> Corrosion check - no noticeable advancement except for one area. On hosing out the rear inner arches it looks like at some point this week I lost a chunk of old underseal and it's revealed some rust I was unaware of.

Image

The upper circle marks where there's a small hole and some heavy pitting. The lower circle isn't crumbly, but does look like it might be flakey rust or a crack. Thankfully the area is easy to access and repair. I should be able to repair this area without disabling the car for more than a few hours so when I get the next opportunity to do so I will clean this up and sort it out. I'll also clean all the old underseal out of this inner arch and redo it. Once I know it's solid, I'll do the other side too and that should see us good for a while longer.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:29 pm

Today I got the Princess over to the unit so I could fix the inner arch holes I uncovered. I also removed the cold air feed pipe to the air box and found that the cold running was much improved. It took me longer to clean off the underseal than it did to do the actual repair. Happily, the damage wasn't much worse than what was visible and was an easy fix as a result.
Image

With the rear seat removed it was easier to see just how the rust had occured. There's a seam hidden under some goop under the rear seat and this had blown. The inner arch side of it was rotten, the bodyshell side was still solid enough to weld to, so the repair wasn't too bad.
Image

I also found a small hole on the seam of the inner arch tub while cleaning off the underseal. It's a little awkward to repair since I can't get many tools in at it and will require a patch about the size of a pound coin.
Image

After a little bit of time I got some new steel let in where required and seam welded.
Image

Image

Since I'm still running the experiment, I'm avoiding taking the car off the road and doing these repairs piecemeal. The bulk of the time today was really stripping everything back to see what I had to repair. Now that I've done that, getting everything cleaned back and freshly painted and undersealed will be much easier and something I shall be making time to do over the course of this week.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:34 pm

Good work. I wish I could weld. I have done a bit in the past but I'm not very good. It would be much more satisfying than getting in a man who can.
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by 100 Club » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:19 pm

Gasman wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:34 pm
Good work. I wish I could weld. I have done a bit in the past but I'm not very good. It would be much more satisfying than getting in a man who can.
My thoughts too. Finding a good yet affordable welder is getting harder nowadays.
Princess 2 2000HL, Reynard metallic
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:13 am

Welders and fabricators are a rare breed now, affordable or otherwise. The Princess is also the only car I've owned where I've been turned away by numerous businesses because they didn't want to get involved with British Leyland rubbish. That stigma persists, sadly, so DIY is often the only solution.

Personally, I'd much rather be able to get someone in to do the work for me. At this point I'm pretty fed up of welding and all the grime associated with it, I can see why it's a job nobody actually wants to do.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by beiderbecke » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:00 pm

:roll: I've never welded in my life and have had no desire to do so! It is a mucky job and that is why I get other people to do it...and the spraying...perhaps my outlook is wrong but other people make a bit of cash - keeps the economy rolling?

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rovamota
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by rovamota » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:06 pm

I find it hard to believe that a business would turn away work because it's a BL product. I would think it says more about their lack of skills rather than them fobbing it off as unworthy of their attention.
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:16 pm

I can only tell you what I was told. Everyone's experience is different, of course.
---

End of week report: Week 3

Weekly checks:

Coolant - no noticeable usage

Oil - no noticeable usage

Fuel filter - New one fitted today as the old one was looking grotty

It hasn't been a good week though. The mystery misfire/stumble has been getting worse and I'm no closer to finding the cause. I had thought it was fuel related since the fuel mixture screw has taken to unscrewing itself and, once reset, the problem seemed to go away. Then it reappeared and became worse. Today, I reset the mixture screw again, just in case, and replaced the fuel filter since it was behaving slightly like it did when the previous filter collapsed. I also checked the points gap, which was a little large, and went for a drive. It seemed much better until the car got up to temperature and then I struggled to get above 30mph. Another go through the various settings to make sure everything was where it was and on my last run I was struggling to get over 20mph.

I'm baffled at this point.

When cold, the car fires up normally with choke, as you'd expect. It runs moderately well with the occasional cough if the choke isn't just so. Once up to temperature with the choke off the car will run fairly happily for about a mile or so and, as it get closer to full operating temperature, the problems really begin. If you're really slow on the throttle you can creep the speed up but if for any reason you need faster acceleration or prolonged throttle usage - pulling out of junctions, climbing hills, etc. - the misfire/cough gets worse and worse, the car begins to kangaroo and the only way to resolve it is to back off the throttle and gently creep it up.

Once up to full operating temperature even creeping the throttle won't let you accelerate much. It's like something somewhere is restricted once the car warms up. This isn't a problem its manifested in this way before. Monday, therefore, Mike and I will go through the timing, the ignition components, the fuel delivery, and see if we can locate the problem. Fortunately my spare carburettor is with a skilled friend who is currently doing a top notch job on making it like new again and I hope a freshly rebuilt carburettor will help with some of these problems. I had hoped to drive over to see him and fit it at his place, but I can't imagine the car will be any fun to drive for two and a half hours running like it is at the moment.

At the moment this doesn't end the experiment. The car hasn't left me stranded and has always got me where I need to go. However, if I can't resolve this problem promptly the experiment will have to be restarted. At present I regard this more as a general problem, as can afflict any car of any age at any point. Until I know more about what the problem is, I'm not prepared to bring the experiment to an end.

Here's a nice picture of the Princess a few days ago, when it was running much better.
Image

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Dec 15, 2018 3:35 pm

After posting the above update, I had a recommendation for how to unblock the fuel jet which may well be blocked. I removed the air box and covered the intake while increasing the throttle, making use of the vacuum created to suck the jet clean of the blockage. As a result, the car is now properly driveable again, with acceleration when required and without kangaroo habits. It's not perfect, so I'll remove and clean out the carb tomorrow (it's just a little bit cold and dark to be doing it right now) to hopefully completely resolve the issue and then we shall reset everything as it needs to be.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:07 pm

Clever - I haven't heard of that top tip before. I was going to ask whether pulling the choke out again once you started having the problems made any difference but this tip has cured things. Wonder why the jet was blocking when you had a functioning fuel filter in place.
Martin
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Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:39 pm

Pulling the choke out tends to make matters much worse. I suspect the filter fitted had started to collapse the same way the one it replaced did and I suspect that it's bits of that filter that's got into the carb and caused the problem. I'll know better when I take it to bits and clean it up.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Sun Dec 16, 2018 3:25 pm

Oh! That's not what I was expecting. If it's running very weak because the main jet is blocked I would have thought pulling the choke out would improve the situation not worsen it. Shows how little I know..
Martin
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Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:21 pm

We failed to proceed today.

I started off by removing and cleaning out the carb. This revealed there was indeed sediment in the float bowl, though I'm not sure how it got in since I always run a filter before the carb, so it lends credence to the theory that the filter had started to collapse and get sucked into the carb. Anyway, we tested the car on the drive at home and everything seemed fine so I decided to go for a quick test drive around the block.

Foolishly, I tempted Fate by forgetting to take my manual with me and inevitably coming off a roundabout the car just died. I could get it to fire up but not idle, and on opening the bonnet there was just petrol pouring out of every part of the carb it could. Not great. With my tools but no manual I wasn't really confident I'd be able to fix a problem if I found one so, since the car was in a good visible location, I stuck the hazards on and walked home.

Informed Mike what had happened, trekked back to the car and started to dismantle things. Mike had a couple of jobs at home to do and once done, he headed over in his car just in case I needed towing home. I have AA cover but it seemed a bit daft to use it since I could practically see my house from where I'd broken down.

On dismantling the carb there was nothing obviously amiss. Nothing was stuck, there was no dirt lodged anywhere that I could see, so everything was cleaned and reassembled at the roadside and a restart attempted. This time there was no fuel overflowing but without rather more choke than normal, it wouldn't idle either. After letting things warm up a bit I tried moving the car under its own power and found that any use of the throttle beyond the barest brush would make the car try and stall, so we creeped into a nearby church car park to turn around and creep home, with Mike providing cover by following me home.

On the same roundabout the car died, it suddenly got its act together and ran normally. It was like someone had flicked a switch. Normal acceleration returned and the car was behaving as though absolutely nothing was wrong. I can only surmise that there was some sediment or a component was sticking for some reason which became dislodged once the car had been running for a few minutes.

I'll test everything again tomorrow and see how we get on. I've always thought there was something wrong with this carburettor and now I'm sure of it. Fortunately my spare is being rebuilt and should be with me soon which I'm hoping will resolve this bizarre running problem.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by rovamota » Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:54 pm

If the large sealing ring on the bowl has lost any of its flexibility it will easily fail and fuel will, as you say, pour out of everywhere! It will also cause poor running and won't idle, even if it's leaking slightly. A good seal is paramount.
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:57 pm

The seal is still nice and supple and the size it should be. It was replaced a few years ago since the old one had stretched somehow.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:04 pm

Today, the Princess was incredibly difficult to start. So much so that a neighbouring workman popped his head around the hedge to ask if it was always so difficult to get going. I was beginning to doubt the Princess' ability to fire myself until, eventually, it did. Then the difficulty was keeping an idle.

As usual, I went through the usual suspects to try and find a problem and there was nothing apparent. I was getting fuel, a good spark, the points hadn't closed up, the carb wasn't flooding... it was almost as if there was a massive vacuum leak somewhere which seemed unlikely since on the roadside repair I'd checked for that and there wasn't one.

I had nowhere else to look so started checking for possible problem areas when I spotted the gasket between the carb and the spacer block had a bit of a tuft. A quick squirt with carb cleaner (it's what I had to hand) highlighted that this was indeed a massive vacuum leak.
Image

On removing the carb I found that there was a big chunk of the gasket missing, it looked like it had just been blown out. I also noticed the inner hole of the gasket was breaking up and the carb had quite obviously been sucking little fibrous bits of it in. Perhaps I've also found what was blocking the carb internals up and possibly the root cause of the fuel starvation issue. It would explain how stuff was getting into the carb without going through the fuel filter. Perhaps I damaged the gasket at the roadside when I did the repair, perhaps it was already damaged and recent fettling was just a bit too much for the gasket.

Out with the Flexoid to make up a new gasket. This gasket paper has helped Mike out with difficult to find gaskets before so I know it should be up to the task.
Image

With the new gasket made I reassembled everything and the car, predictably enough, was much happier. A short test trundle proved that things seem to be okay, I'll know better when I've gone on a longer run, I just didn't have the time for that today.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:35 pm

That's the join between the carb and the manifiold isn't it? In which case if any debris was sucked in through that leak, which is more than enough to cause your problems, it is distal to the carb and can't possibly block up any of the jets in the carb. It would be sucked into the engine.
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:39 pm

Interesting. I had assumed any debris could get from there into the rest of the carb, but if it's isolated maybe that isn't how stuff was getting in. A situation to monitor at the very least.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by beiderbecke » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:38 pm

Hmm...carb flange looks a bit bowed to me - or is it an optical illusion? A check on an engineer's table or a piece of plate glass may be in order...

But then, WDIK...

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:00 pm

I did check it on the flat and it's good, the picture makes it look bowed, I also checked for cracks just in case I'd overtightened things.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:02 pm

Good spot Beiderbecke. I accept it may be an optical illusion but it looks to me as though when you put the carb back on, the gasket may have been damaged at the bottom allowing the carb to be tightened nearer to the manifold, if you see what I mean. The gap between carburettor face and manifold face definitely looks less at the bottom than the top. I reckon the sooner you put your re-conditioned one on with new gaskets, the happier the car (and therefore you) will be!
Martin
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Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:20 am

I see what you mean and yes, it looks like that was the case.

Today has been rather trying. After replacing the gaskets the car drove really well when I went out on my errands until I was on my way home. Poor running began and then the car just died on me, fortunately in a place where I could coast into a car park. I got the car to fire up again but with a wandering idle and a reluctance to rev. Creeping around the car park I found that I could use the choke to counteract the wandering idle enough to limp the car fast enough to not be a hazard to other road users so made my way home again.

Within about a mile of home, the problem got worse. I was struggling to maintain 15-20mph doing a dance of pedals and choke and, since I was slow enough to be a hazard I put the hazard lights on and deployed hand signals. I hope the learner driver behind me was educated or knew what hand signals were, certainly they were kind enough to give me plenty of space and I was blessed with clear roads to make the journey home safely.

Once home I could investigate more properly and I found that the points are burned badly enough that they need replacing. That, combined with the way the car was behaving, leads me to believe the condenser has failed, especially so since the problem is worse when the car is up to operating temperature which is when similar symptoms appeared with my previous condenser failure. I could purchase a new condenser and a new set of points but I decided that instead I should put electronic ignition to the test to see if the recommendations given really would pay dividends. Personally I still find points and condenser systems perfectly adequate providing you can acquire good quality versions of both, I just haven't had a great deal of luck with condensers over the years.

The other issue that has been becoming apparent lately is that the rear suspension is firmer and bouncier than I'd like. I suspect they require a re-gas so that's a job for the new year. I'm hoping the pivot shafts in my spare rear suspension assemblies aren't seized as I'd far rather send those out for rebuilding so I can at least use the car while I wait for them to come back. I'll do the fronts at a later date as I don't have spares and they're in good order, so I'd rather wait until a time I can comfortably disable the car for a while.

This has certainly not been the best week of the challenge. Thankfully, I have very little driving to do between now and January so I may well get through the next few weeks without having to stop the challenge. We shall see.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:11 am

I am a firm advocate of electronic ignition. All my cars have had it from my first car in 1969. Condensers are a bit of black magic to me. On my parents' cars (A35 and Fords), before I had my own, the condensers seemed to fail quite frequently with the symptoms being a failure to provide a spark whenever the engine was under load, usually when the engine had warmed up. I could never understand why but replacing the thing seemed to cure it all. Much better to invest in transistor ignition, as it was called then. Also I prefer a system that does away with the points albeit they are a lot more expensive. You get easier starting, smoother running, better power, better fuel consumption (if you don't use the extra power!), maintains tune better as you don't have to faff with the points and so on.

If your ride has gone hard, continuing to use it may irreparably damage the displacers. Firstly, if there is no or very little gas in the chamber the rubber membrane between the liquid and gas will be stretched to follow the shape of the sphere which means it is under an awful lot of not-designed-for pressure and secondly, again if there is no gas that rubber can be rubbing on the inside of the river at the top of the dome weakening it. It's pretty expensive to have them re-gassed but will help (but not guarantee) to prolong their life at the same time as restoring the USP.

It's not a difficult job for a skilled welder! Drill out the rivet in the sphere, make a hole, weld in a Schrader valve, test it doesn't leak and then fill it up with nitrogen to 275psi. Simples (but way beyond my expertise though)!

There's nothing worse than an unreliable car. It's why the poor old thing got such a poor reputation when it was new...
Martin
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Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:52 pm

The suspension hasn't gone hard yet, it's just a little firmer than it ought to be and certainly firmer than the front. It's not at the point I'm getting horrible noises or a crashy ride. If I believed I could do a gas-tight weld I'd have a go at it myself. It will be a lot less faff to just send them off to the Kennedys to get done and the cost isn't too terrible for a solution that should last a good few years. This year and last have been a bit frustrating working through the issues, happily for the most part the items I've fixed have stayed that way, there's only a couple of items that have caused any real issues, it's just annoying how often a small cheap part can stop the entire car from being usable!

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:57 pm

We have reached the end of week 5.

This week began with the installation of an Accuspark Stealth electronic ignition kit to replace the condenser that failed the previous week.
Image

Image

Initially I had set everything by ear and got things close so I could use the car until Mike brought the relevant tools home to set the timing and idle correctly. The Princess doesn't have a rev gauge, so it's necessary to set it with a tool, like this strobe thing from Snap-on that Mike's had for years. The boot of the Rover does make a very good tool table, it's just the right height and size.
Image

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Since doing that, the car starts no better or worse than usual. It does, however, drive much smoother with no hesitation. In retaliation, the choke cable has decided that it doesn't always want to lock so I have now had to employ the 1980s staple of a wooden clothes peg for certain choke pull positions.

The other job that was almost completed was the bottom section of the rear wing that had rotted out. It's a difficult profile to replicate so I made do with a section of the old front wing I replaced to give me the rough shape I required. I'm not as happy with the repair as I could be, it's not my tidiest work. That said, once filler and proper paint is applied, you'll never know. I ran out of time to do any more work on the inner arch cleaning and repair work so that will have to wait for another day.

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Coolant - no noticable consumption
Oil - no noticable consumption

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:42 pm

End of week 6. I'm a little late on this, meant to do it yesterday and got somewhat distracted by a French car.

Coolant - no noticeable loss
Oil - Put about 200ml in to keep it above the minimum on the dipstick

It's been a productive week. Finally got the front arch liners fitted, which is a less than pleasant job. They do catch on the tyre sometimes on full lock, but only a little so I'm not terribly concerned, they probably just need massaging into the arch a little more, or an extra fixing putting in.

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The sills and rear inner arches got a nice fresh coat of underseal.
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The whole car looked a lot smarter for that and it should help keep rust and stone chips at bay. I tried out a different local fuel station which I probably won't use again because it's incredibly small and cramped. Made for an okay fuel up snapshot, all the same.

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Ticked over another little milestone this week too, having now reached 77k.
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My attention then turned to the rear suspension displacers. All of the spares I've got have seized pivot shafts. This is a common Princess problem and unfortunately, the only way to get them out is to sacrifice the trailing arms. I did take the one liberated displacer to a local machine shop, along with a complete trailing arm assembly, and even they couldn't get the pivot shaft out. Fortunately they did free the stub of pivot shaft from the one displacer that had already been cut out of a trailing arm so I do now at least have one usable spare.

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Mike and I then refitted the stonechip guard trims to the sills. It's held on with polyurethane sealant and button head screws rather than the rubber seal and rivets the car came to me with. It helps make the car look just that bit more finished and should protect the doors from stone chips. I doubt there will be a problem using sealant rather than rubber trim.
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The Princess continues to behave really rather well and to do everything I need. Motoring has become somewhat uneventful, happily, so I've been able to focus on less essential jobs and just enjoy using the car for its intended purpose.

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Peter Laursen
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Peter Laursen » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:01 am

Concerning front arch liners: I have scrapped three cars, and all liners had wear from the tyres. And this goes for my present car too. I have not been able to fix this problem.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:40 pm

In that case, since it sounds like this is a normal problem, I'll wait until there's an obvious enough witness mark and trim them back where needed rather than trying to get them to sit better. I expect it's just that the liner has warped a bit with age, or never really fit properly from new.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:48 pm

Another week, another 70 miles under the tyres, and nothing to report. It has been totally uneventful motoring for week 7.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:28 am

End of week 8, only about 30 miles done this time, which is a light week even for me.

The only thing of note was doing a cold start video because everyone knows how unreliable old cars are when it snows (statement may contain some sarcasm).

https://youtu.be/GC7HB4ufcIM

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:47 pm

Princess Daily Driver Challenge - End of Week 9 report:

Another week down and I'm afraid it's another boring report. All systems normal.

In fact, the only thing of note is that the Princess had to jump start the Rover whose battery had gone flat due to me only using it to do 30 miles in 2 months.
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Had to jump start the Rover again today because for the first time in 8 years of car ownership and driving I managed to flatten the battery by leaving the headlights on. Ironically, the Rover does have a buzzer to remind you when the headlights are on, only it doesn't always buzz.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:58 pm

End of Week 10 (a bit late again).

Very little to report. I've not used the car a great deal this week, in part because of the snow and in part because I've had nowhere to go.

Fuel economy is slightly up. Since fitting the electronic ignition, on the advice from a racing friend, I switched to fuelling up only at the local Shell garage instead of supermarkets. I was dubious about this since I was of the opinion that fuel is fuel. However, I've noticed a very slight decrease in fuel consumption and slightly smoother running since doing it, enough that the slightly higher cost is offset.

My driving habits are very stunted lately, having nowhere other than local errands to go to has meant I'm in urban territory for fuel consumption which is around 22-23mpg. That is quite an improvement over the 19-20mpg I was getting before replacing the ignition components and switching to Shell for fuel, so I'm not dissatisfied with it, and it's perfectly within range for the book figures.

Other than that, over the last 10 weeks I've noticed a marked improvement in the braking efficiency and with the various bits of welding I've done the interior of the car is staying much drier. Regular use, as expected, agrees very much with this car. I am looking forward to warmer weather, all the same, if for no other reason than it will be easier to keep the car clean.

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Tony c
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Tony c » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:42 pm

I had continuous running problems when I first got my Ambassador, I put it down to it being laid up for so long, even after repeated replacement of ignition parts, it just wasn’t right.
Since fitting the Electronic ignition the car on that side of things had been all but faultless, I can’t recommend changing to Electronic enough.

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Gasman
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:35 pm

Nice to hear from you Tony C. You have been quiet on the forum recently! I concur with your enthusiasm for Electronic ignition.
Martin
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Owner of:
Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:05 pm

I must have forgotten my end of Week 11 report, and here we are at the end of Week 12!

Princess Update end of Week 12:

All systems normal, as usual, with one exception. A peculiar wubwubwub noise and a vibration through the passenger floor, an occasional vibration through the brake pedal under heavy breaking.

Today being the first day of Week 13 means the following are identified as part of this week, rather than last week. The peculiar noise and vibration could be a failing wheel bearing as there is some slight play in the passenger front one and the noise is localised there. The other peculiar thing it did was on setting off home today, the starter motor decided to drag after the car had started, and then behaved normally once I got moving, I'll keep an eye on that and hopefully it won't require replacement or another rebuild and was just a random occurence. I'm not superstitious, but this is Week 13 of the experiment so...

The Princess now has a new friend to keep her company since the Rover has gone to pastures new (well, my housemate actually, to save me from the sort of people you find on Gumtree, etc.).
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:37 pm

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Don't panic! I haven't run Mike over, the suspension hasn't broken, we just decided to give it a check. We'd both noticed the rear passenger side sometimes seemed to be sitting a little lower, by maybe an eighth of an inch, if that. I'm a firm believer in doing my best to do preventative maintenance if I can so the bills can be kept low and big repairs avoided. So, Mike got out the dalek and started by flushing the displacer on that corner. The fluid that came out was green, but had some brown-ish sediment in it. Reinflated back to the requisite pressure with fresh fluid and it seems fine. The other corners were done as well and while the driver's side was very clean, the passenger side fluid was noticeably dirtier. We're putting it down to being the side that does the most work, what with it being curb side, so it's likely just flushed more stuff around inside.

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It's about the right sort of timescale and mileage to do a check after the last service on the suspension anyway and we found it had all settled out a bit lower than it should. Reinflating all four corners to the requisite pressure has improved the ride and appears to have levelled the car out again, so we're hoping it was just that things had settled from use and needed a refresh. Certainly something to keep an eye on, other things keep getting in the way of me affording to get a set of displacers regassed, though that is on my shopping list for the future.

While Mike was doing the suspension, I was sorting out the rebuilt carburettor that a friend had done for me. This was originally so covered in grime and muck I wasn't entirely sure it was salvagable, but after replacing basically every part that can wear out, it was returned to me as good as new. Perhaps even a little too nice! Certainly made the rest of the engine look like it could do with a clean.

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The only issue was the float wasn't set quite right and rather than faffing taking the carb on and off (which is incredibly annoying because of where it's located), I cheated and took the new float out and refitted the old one which is set correctly. Ideally I was going to fit this new carb and set it up at my friend's place, which would have made things easier, but after weeks of clashing schedules it was determined to post it out to me. At some point I'll either swap the new float in set to the correct height, or I'll totally forget and leave it as it is.
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One annoying thing I noticed on cleaning the car recently is that the paint around the side repeater on one side is lifting. I have no idea why, it's not doing it anywhere else, I'll just have to clean it back and repaint it.
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Everything sorted, we could go home. I was having an issue with the throttle not being very responsive, which was a little strange. Disconnected the throttle cable and held the engine end while Mike operated the pedal end and the cable sorted itself out. Not sure how, but it seemed to have got bound up inside the sheath somehow. Once reconnected, normal throttle was returned. With the suspension serviced and the new carb, the car rides much nicer and accelerates much better. The occasional hunting/flutter thing that it would do is gone, and there's no hesitation setting off. I will of course monitor things over the next few miles to see if things stay like this, but initial signs are promising.
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Gasman
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:35 pm

That's a very posh looking new carburettor. Wish mine looked like that. I like your style: to save you potential expense in the future you send someone else underneath to do the preventative maintenance!
Martin
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Owner of:
Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:24 pm

He volunteered!

On my errands today, the car behaved very well, drove very nicely, until on the way home I lost propulsion and gently coasted to a stop. After discussing with the friend that rebuilt the carburettor and going over symptoms, it looks like I've got a sticky float needle which is incredibly annoying, but not unheard of. This may also be why the new float he put in and set the same way he always sets it on these, wasn't behaving properly. He's sent me some new float needles to try out which will hopefully resolve the issue.

Serves me right for getting all cocky about preventative maintenance.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:34 pm

Oh I'm gutted for you. You go to all the trouble to get it renovated and then the damn thing lets you down. You're sure it's not a blocked fuel filter restricting fuel to the carb. As I'm sure you will be aware, if the fuel level gets low the pump can suck up all matter of crud from the tank m& quickly block the filter. I now carry a spare in KWaKers because I haven't got round to treating the inside of the tank & had just this problem going quite quickly on the M3 back from Brooklands a couple of years ago. However, I do seem to remember you saying you had replaced that recently.
Martin
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Owner of:
Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:48 pm

Today the replacement parts arrived and fitted and the problem appears to have gone away by fitting a new float needle, seat, and the new float I'd swapped out for the old one. The old needle did look ever so slightly miscast when held up against the new one, but perfectly fine on its own. Time will tell if this is actually the root of the problem, but I'm hopeful considering how well the car now drives.

Full end of week report tomorrow or thereabouts.

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Tony c
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Tony c » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:36 pm

Hope the car finally rewards you after all your efforts, old cars whatever the make, can be hard to get along with sometimes but(especially in your case) tenacity pays off, I think most would have lost the will by now!, well done and keep on keeping on.
Tony

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:59 pm

Got to take the rough with the smooth and, for the most part, it has all been very smooth with just the occasional rough patch lately.

----

End of Week 13. Late again, this time because I've been unwell.

No oil and coolant usage as I've come to expect.

The biggest change this time around was fitting the newly rebuilt carburettor. Initially this was a little frustrating as the float behaved as though it was stuck, initially solved by swapping out the new float for the original. However, a drive the following day resulted in several failures to proceed with the same sticking float symptoms. A simple matter of pulling over, letting the excess fuel drain out of its own accord, restarting the car and driving for as long as it would before the needle stuck again. Tedious, but not particularly dangerous since I was so close to home when it happened on slow roads. Fortunately, because it was a friend that had rebuilt the carburettor, it meant we could have a chat about the potential issue and both agreed that while nothing looked amiss it did sound like a sticking float or float needle, so he popped some new ones in the post for me and once they arrived, I could remove the carburettor yet again to have a look.
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Initially, nothing appeared amiss at all with the float he'd installed, nor the seat. Everything was still spotless and free moving. It wasn't until I got the replacement needles - fluted type, rather than triangular type - that it became apparent that the needle he'd used for the rebuild was ever so slightly off centre. Honestly, on its own you couldn't really tell, it was only when compared to another needle and in photographs that you could make out the slight deformity. I took three photographs with the needle resting on each side of the triangular body to show how minor a flaw this was.
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With the replacement float needle and seat fitted, I also refitted the new float and checked the various measurements before reinstalling on the car.
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The result was 10 minutes of happy idling followed by a day of trouble-free errand running. A frustrating problem initially but one that was thankfully easily resolved, it appears. With the new carburettor fitted I can get the car to idle at about 800rpm, the book suggests 750rpm. If I drop the idle below 800rpm, the engine cuts out so the next suspect item is the distributor which discussion has led to the theory that the advance springs may be weak. Fact is, the car is happy enough at 800rpm idle so, for now, I'm happy to leave it alone.

Next on my list is the front wheel bearing, a replacement kit - 2 bearings and an oil seal is required - is £15-20 delivered per side and the workshop manual makes it look like a fairly straightforward job. I have a couple of complete spare front hubs in my stash and I'll strip one of these to get an idea of how difficult the job might be before digging into the car, at least that way I'll have some idea of how likely it is I'll end up immobilising the car.

Since servicing the suspension the car rides much nicer on broken road surfaces and is considerably less bouncy, so I'm glad we did that too. Fuel economy is I suspect improved, but the figures likely won't show this because of the float needle issue, so I'll have to drive and fuel up a few more times before that becomes apparent. Certainly the car accelerates much more smoothly now and slightly more rapidly, which is welcome.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:31 pm

End of Week 14 report.

As has become something of the norm, there's nothing of any real note to report. The new carburettor is working a treat and the fuel overflow issue appears to be resolved. With the milder weather, the car has been starting and running much better. Hopefully the new wheel bearing kit will arrive soon so I can get that done, I'm not having any real problems with the worn one on the car beyond the noise, so I'm keeping the use and speeds down as much as I sensibly can so I don't make the problem prematurely worse.

Other than that I get in and drive wherever I need to go, whenever I want to go there, and the Princess does it.

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Gasman
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:20 am

Be wary of the wheel bearing. Rovamota had one (a relatively new one incidentally but presumably made in China) disintegrate on him causing the wheel to lock as he turned into his driveway.
Martin
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Owner of:
Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:08 pm

I'm always wary of new parts for just that sort of reason. This kit is supposedly British and Japanese parts, so here's hoping the quality control has been somewhat better.

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