1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

All Princess models specific items.
Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:37 pm

End of Week 16 - Unidentified noise finally identified when wheel bearing play was found. At the same time, it was discovered one of the CV boots (on the opposite side to the problem wheel bearing) had split. Parts ordered.

End of Week 17 - couldn't undo the hub nuts because they're on far too tight for any of the tools and people I have access to. For the first time ever I've had to book the car in at a garage to have work done and, since the MoT is due at the start of April anyway, decided to get it all done in one go. Car was dropped off on Thursday and I've been without personal transport since.

I don't know whether or not to regard this as the end of the 6 month experiment. We've done four months and this is the only thing I haven't been able to sort out myself. It's also the sort of repair job even much newer cars require, so it's not like it's a strange Princess-specific failure, or even an old-car-specific failure.

I'll keep logging the weekly reports (when I remember) until the six months are up and then do a review, assess things on balance at the end of it.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:38 am

End of week 18.

Oof. This week. As I reported previously, the Princess was booked into an actual garage to have the repairs done and the MoT, since I couldn't do the former due to the hub nuts being way too tight, and could do the latter because I'm not an MoT tester.

The hub nuts I really genuinely wouldn't have stood a chance with. The passenger side one came off eventually so that the wheel bearing and CV boot that side could be done. The driver's side, however, put up much more of a fight and took some tools out along the way. Annoyingly, of the two wheel bearing kits I'd bought only one was correct, and since there's nothing wrong with the driver's side bearing, it made no sense to damage it if possible since it was only boot replacement on the driver's side that was required. Fortunately, the garage knew what they were about and drilled the castle nut off after acquiring a suitable direct replacement castle nut and then the job went okay. This side will need a lower ball joint replacing, there's enough play in it to warrant an advisory, not enough for a fail, and had the part been more readily available it would have been done along with the rest. Instead, I need to track one down, which I'll do in due course.
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Tools broken, new parts fitted, car back together, all good. MoT passed with an advisory on the aforementioned ball joint and a little play in the steering column top bushing/bearing which again, is an advisory rather than a fail and unlikely to get worse. I'll replace the problem part when I can find out where to get one. All that done I could get a lift over and drive the car home. My next job would be brakes since I had a verbal advisory - wasn't serious enough to warrant an MoT advisory, but I do like to know about things that might be a problem soon so I can address them in plenty of time, keeps the car in the best health possible that way and focuses my attentions on what needs it - on one front disc which was a bit off, but not bad enough that it could be considered dangerous.

Set off home and all was well at first. Then the brakes started to feel very odd. When the work had been done, since the calipers had to come off to do the boot, the usual thing of resetting the pistons etc. was done before reassembly and it seems this highlighted a problem I didn't know about, or rather, did know about but couldn't pinpoint. I've never done any work on the front brakes other than bleeding them in all the years I've owned this car but recently I've been having a sort of thumping sensation through the pedal that we thought was the worn out wheel bearing, since the two things happened about the same time. Here's a video to explain in full:

https://youtu.be/YQ-DbWR688M

NOTE: Fixed the video with a re-upload.

Mostly it's a video of interest to me because I never see myself driving my car, for obvious reasons. Anyway, after a while the brakes felt very strange, the thumping had gone but they just didn't feel right. Sometimes they'd work really well, sometimes it felt like they weren't doing anything, after a few miles I pulled over, we called the garage and took it back to find out what was wrong. A quick look underneath showed a very hot disc which was also obviously warped.

Presumably, resetting the caliper meant it was working properly but the disc was already warped, unknown to me, so it just made matters worse very quickly after a few miles. Because the garage wasn't really open today, only for me to collect the car, it couldn't be fixed and since I had broken down, I called the AA. Rarely for me I lost my temper on the phone. AA wanted to send someone out to investigate the problem before recovering me, even though they wouldn't repair the car at the roadside and even though it was already diagnosed. That seemed a waste of time but fine, whatever. Then, because I was on the street outside the garage where we'd inspected the problem they determined I was 'at a place of repair' and wouldn't recover me home. The parts I needed to fix the car were at home, not on the street outside the garage. I had, or thought I had, suitable cover to choose to be taken to a place of repair or home. But because of some daftness with terms and conditions, they flat out refused to recover the car. Great. Suffice to say I've dropped them like a hot stone because over the years I've been with them I've called them out 3 times, of those only once was I recovered (head gasket failure) and they wouldn't dolly the car because they didn't believe it weighed as little as it did so they faffed around with relay instead, which took FOREVER. I'll just use whatever my insurance offers, because it can't be worse and it's way cheaper. So much for the fourth emergency service.

Anyway, the car was left at the garage, the parts will be collected/delivered to fix the brakes - fortunately I have spare discs so I don't need to fork out for new ones - and once fixed it'll come home. I'm surprisingly not angry about this, it's a thing that happened, fortunately I was with friends that could keep the car safe and get me home safe, and it'll sort.
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On the plus side, since fitting the new carburettor the emissions look very good, and overall the car is behaving itself so apart from this minor annoyance, we're still good.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:43 pm

Addendum to the Week 18 update.

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Got the call from the garage to collect the car. A test run had been done to make sure the brakes were behaving properly and all systems seemed good. A good run back of about 40 miles or so. After a few miles it was very clear the brakes were indeed much improved so I decided to see just how much the Princess really would let me put the hammer down once we got onto faster roads. It was quite blowy on the A1M so it was a bit of a handful at 70mph, and clearly the car is happier in the 55-65mph bracket so I dropped down to that after a short time. It also became clear that the driver's side front wheel bearing will need replacing soon, at higher speeds it's just started to make the same sorts of noises the passenger side one had. It would have been done at the same time as the other one had the kit I bought not been incorrect, so I'll order a new kit and DIY now I stand a chance of getting the hub nut off. There's also a slight vibration at 70mph that feels like one wheel is slightly out of balance, which is either that or the wheel bearing that I'll need to replace.

Certainly, no real causes for concern on the way home and it was nice to be able to drive it again. One quirk I didn't realise the car even had was when it was mentioned to me that it was a bit awkward going from second to third gear, sometimes requiring a double de-clutch. I paid attention to my own gear changes on the way home and it turns out I automatically knock the car briefly into neutral when going from second to third, because if you try and force it straight from one to the other, it doesn't want to. I tended to have issues going from third to second, turns out I don't automatically drop into neutral between the two when I do that. I'm not really sure what could be causing this, perhaps something synchromesh related, but it's not a problem for me and certainly not something that makes the car dangerous in any way, so I'll leave it as is.

The used spare discs I had were perfectly servicable once skimmed. I would still like to overhaul all of the front brake components and get them in the best health all the same, I just have a bit more breathing space on that now since it's £150 minimum to get the parts needed to do it all. Once shown the disc that was causing the problem, it was very easy to see the issue and clear that it was indeed warped as well as having a small piece missing just at the point of the warp.
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It's nice to have that sorted properly and it gives me a bit of education on what a warped disc feels like to drive with, and what it looks like, should it happen again.

beiderbecke
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by beiderbecke » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:21 pm

Good news the brakes are fixed - dodgy disc that. Any parts you might need for the brake overhaul we might possibly be able to supply. We're here to help.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:46 pm

I need to figure out what parts exactly I have and what I need. I do have a spare pair of calipers I can rebuild and I believe I have a rebuild kit too. I would like a pair of new discs and a full set of new pads. I'll also need a front wheel bearing kit, a lower ball joint (is this the same as Metro?), and an upper steering column bushing/bearing which I'm hoping is shared with something more common.

Made a crude little video of the drive home, making use of housemate's dashcam.

https://youtu.be/TGH1eoVUYVc

Princess1800s
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Princess1800s » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:08 am

There’s a front wheel bearing kit on eBay if you need it.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:59 pm

End of Week 19 report.

Not a lot to report, the most exciting thing I did this week was vacuum the cabin and order parts. I've got new front brake discs and pads, I'm going to rebuild the spare calipers so they're good as new, a pair of lower ball joints are on their way and a new wheel bearing kit is heading over for the driver's side which has started grumbling. Thanks go to Beiderbecke for the help with the parts.

I had a trip to York to do today, about 120 mile round trip, and while I trust the Princess could do it I didn't want to tempt fate with that grumbling wheel bearing given the distance and the higher speeds I'd be travelling at so I chickened out and got a lift in the housemate's Range Rover. This turned out to be a good idea as I wasn't feeling too well on the way home so it was nice not to have to do the driving.

The trip to York was to collect a few interior bits for the BX and if I'm feeling better tomorrow, I'll be working on that for a little bit. Princess is still doing my regular duties, I'm just avoiding any sort of 50mph+ long drives until I've done the wheel bearing.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:45 pm

End of Week 20 Report

Coolant - no noticeable usage
Oil - 400ml required. This is likely down to the motorway mileage done recently, does tend to consume a bit when doing higher speeds.

This week some goodies arrived. New brake pads, new discs, pair of lower ball joints, and a correct wheel bearing kit. Delivered, this was around £120, so a fairly big spend by my standards. The discs are one of the most expensive items to acquire, and one of the most needed.
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I also had a look at cleaning up my spare gear selector box. The one on the car has had a bolt in place of one of the pins all the while I've owned it and you need to periodically tighten said bolt if you want to keep gear selection. I was hoping I could simply clean down the spare and swap it over.
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Here you can see the pins that push into the casing. These are used to locate the bayonet-slot cup that holds the gear level ball and spring in place. The pins had a reputation for snapping off and while it's not terribly difficult to put another pin in, most folks seem to have bodged whatever they had to hand in there instead.
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One thing I noticed on my spare was that the base plate had been whacked from the side. I'm not entirely sure how you'd manage to do this other than perhaps hitting it with forklift arms when moving the car around, so perhaps that's what happened.
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Unfortunately, when I finally cut through the thick layer of gunk on the casing I found that it's very badly damaged with several cracks. It's realistically beyond repair and certainly not suitable for swapping with my original so I'll just have to look at getting the original repaired properly with a new pin when I have an opportunity to take it all apart.
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The other thing I wanted to find was a new steering column bush. Thankfully, Beiderbecke of the www.leylandprincess.co.uk club had the part number available (along with those goodies at the start of the post) and I've since learned the same bush is used on a variety of BL stuff and is still readily and cheaply available. I can get the bottom bush too. This was an advisory on the MoT and I'd like it not to be on the next one so I'll get some new replacements since they're only a couple of quid. Fortunately my spare steering column helped me see what parts I needed without taking my car apart.
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Today, I tackled the wheel bearing that couldn't be done at the garage because one of the kits I'd bought was wrong. I'd been told the job is fairly easy and it is, especially when the garage has already undone everything and put it back together again, so it was really about as pleasant as any job with your head in a wheel arch can get.
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The most difficult part was getting the old oil seals out, the rest of the job was very straightforward. The old bearings felt a little bit gritty once removed and the noise it had been making made it clear it was ready to be done.
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I would have liked to do the ball joints next but I didn't have a socket that was the correct size, all the imperial and metric sockets I had access to were just a little too big, or just a little too small, so I'll have to go and buy a socket just for this job. That's fine, more tools is good. Instead, I turned my attention to the spare front hubs and removed the calipers ready to rebuild them. I noticed that the caliper on the car that was on the warped disc is sticking a little as suspected, so the new brakes are going to sort that out before it becomes a bigger problem any time soon. The front flexi hoses looked in reasonable condition so I'm hoping I don't need to replace those since I'm not sure I've got a set of fronts, just rears. I noticed that one of the spare calipers looks to have barely used pads in and one caliper is much cleaner and newer looking so I wonder if the car they came off had brake work just before it came off the road in the 90s. Don't worry, I won't be re-using the old pads, it's merely an observation.
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The drive home revealed all the bearing noise is now gone. Now the loudest thing is the noisy speedo cable, (I have been given a suggestion on how to improve that which I'll be trying soon), the tyres, and the wind noise from the driver's door window seal, so I'm getting down the list. I even found the reason for the tyre rubbing on the arch liner, which is that the liner had cracked around one of the fixing screws and the screw had fallen out, so the liner isn't sitting as far back in the arch as it should. There's always jobs to do, they're just not big scary jobs any more.

beiderbecke
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by beiderbecke » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:15 pm

;) Thanks for your kind remarks and to say the balljoints fit either top or bottom arms.

Never known the pins in the gear selector housing to break. Might be a good idea to use roll pins instead? Just a passing thought...

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Gasman
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:09 pm

A shame about your spare gear selector casing. As you say, very odd damage and I can't think of any other explanation other than your supposition about it being forklift damage.

As you so rightly say, with a classic car there's always something to do...
Martin
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Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:44 pm

The selector pins are something that family members that experienced cars with that told me had a reputation for breaking. That said, other folks have said they never had a problem. Perhaps there was a bad batch. I have seen one where the bayonet cup had sheared a locating tang off completely and couldn't figure out how you'd manage to do that.

Today I was hoping to get the brakes and balljoints done and have been thwarted by having to order things to get the jobs done. Things like the correct size socket which nobody carries in stock locally, and the brake pad shim/plate/anti-rattle things that I thought I already had, but didn't.

Lots of bumbling about today as a result, trying to find stuff and not getting very far. Car is behaving very nicely, it's probably entirely imaginary, but it feels like it rolls smoother than it did coming to a stop, and of course it's nice not to have that odd noise worn out wheel bearings make going on all the time. It's a jolly thing to trundle about in.

beiderbecke
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by beiderbecke » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:51 pm

I have some anti-rattle clips...and the balljoint socket is a deep 45mm

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:34 am

Both acquired and the massive socket has already been used in anger.

I'll do a proper end of week report later, but since I'm here I can tell you that the advised balljoint is now replaced, I had to swap the neverending spring from the old balljoint to the new one, because the bigger O-ring on the new balljoint wasn't strong enough to hold the boot in place. I'll do the same when I do the other side. Ran out of time to do the other side today before I had to be at work because it's in really tight and I need to fight a bit with it. Other side wasn't advised, but I like to do things in pairs on suspension if I can.

Distributor O-ring has failed again which is doing a great job of weeping oil down the front of the engine which I'm not thrilled about. That might go some way to explaining the apparent increase in oil useage and the slightly larger oil spot under the car recently. It's not pouring out and it's not fouling the plugs, but it's something I'll have to replace yet again, I've been having trouble finding a thin enough O-ring of the relevant diameter, usually I have to use one that's ever so slightly too thick because the next size down is too thin to seal.

Alternator/charging issue wasn't an earth issue as I'd suspected, it's the alternator itself. The reason I've not been able to pin that issue down is because the alternator is intermittently not charging correctly, we had to leave the tester hooked up with the car running for a little while before we saw the problem. The alternator is putting out normal charge most of the time, and then occasionally dropping to very little charge and even less occasionally providing too much charge. I'll get a new alternator. The one on the car was fitted just before I bought it since it was believed that was the cause of the other electrical issues at the time which were actually almost all bad earth issues.

Having done the balljoint and the steering column bush has helped tighten things up a little and got rid of some minor noises I couldn't pin down.

Feels like I'm having a bit of a big spend at the moment. It seems a fair few older components are just reaching the end of their life so I expect I'll probably have to do the upper ball joints next. I know I've got to do the oil and coolant soon too, they're almost due, and the brake fluid will get done when I get the spare calipers rebuilt. It's difficult to find the time to do it all while I'm using the car and while work has suddenly picked up a lot, so my free time is usually at this end of the day, which isn't exactly ideal, thanks to my odd working hours.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:09 pm

End of Week 22 Report.

I forgot to do an end of week report for Week 21, so I've rolled the two together.

On attempting to rebuild the spare calipers I've got, we learned that 3 of the 4 pistons in each caliper are completely stuck in place. We also learned the old brake pad retaining pieces are rusted away, like so.
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This is an ongoing issue, so far we've tried putting 300psi of pressure into the calipers and the pistons simply won't budge so it may be a job I have to farm out. I'm loathe to dismantle the brakes on the car in case something goes wrong and I end up without the car, so I've basically done nothing with the brakes since fitting the skimmed disc to solve the warped disc issue. This is fine as a short term solution, but not as a long term one and it's annoying to have the new parts to go on the car, but not quite be able to fit them because I want the calipers rebuilt to make the best of the job I possibly can. I don't want an old sticking caliper or similar to ruin a set of brand new discs and pads.

The massive socket I ordered arrived so I could do the balljoint that was advised at MoT. I re-used the old shim which seemed to be the correct size, fortunately. I've not done pre-load balljoints like these before so I'm hoping I did it right, time will tell of course if these wear out much sooner than they should. The passenger side wasn't advised but I wanted to do it anyway, I was thwarted by simply not being strong enough to undo the balljoint that's fitted, even with very long poles. It could do with being on the workshop lift, but that's been occupied for quite some time by a Rover 75 so I just decided to leave that side alone for now. Here's new and old parts. I did have to swap the spring-type o-ring from the old balljoint boot to the new one because the new balljoint boot had a rubber o-ring that wasn't strong enough to hold the boot in place.
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Next MoT item was the upper steering column bush. This is fortunately an easy part to get, shared with a plethora of BL vehicles. Removal is somewhat involved, requiring this scene to happen again.
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Eventually I had the inner column out of the outer sheath and had the old bush removed. It was very clear to see where the play was coming from once it was removed, the whole thing had shattered.
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I couldn't find a replacement bush for the lower end of the column but given how tight a fit the existing one is and how fiddly it was to reassemble everything as a result, I doubt that's going to be a problem. Unlike other BL stuff, the Princess has a narrower bush at the bottom of the column of a different design to the top one, and I couldn't find that part, so I'm glad the one on the car was okay. Assembly was fairly straightforward and I've now got rid of an occasional dashboard squeak and a dashboard rattle I couldn't place, so that was a happy little bonus. Steering feels more direct, and also heavier at lower speeds, the latter is less welcome than the former.

The other item I wanted to resolve was the interior light. I'd had a problem with the old festoon bulb melting the holder, which is also integral for the rear view mirror. I had a spare, and that too had obviously suffered the same issue since it had a partially melted spot where mine had a melted hole. To resolve this I ordered a warm white LED - this was a pain to find, ended up going to my local motorfactors and special ordering it - since I hate ultra bright LEDs in cars. The light quality isn't as nice as the old incandescent bulb, but now it never gets hot so I'll never have the melted holder issue.
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Next up was to try and identify the cause of the minor oil leak. Normally, I'd just take this opportunity to wave my hands in the vague direction of the car itself. However, I wanted to be a little more methodical so I started by giving the engine bay a quick clean down.
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That highlighted that the wiring that runs across the front of the block needed to be re-wrapped. The old electrical tape someone had used has gone brittle and isn't sticky on the inside any more so it just flakes off. This had been hidden when the engine was much oilier on the outside than it is these days.
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The main oil leak at the front is the O-ring for the distributor shaft. I've had recurrent problems with this as finding an o-ring that's the correct size is surprisingly difficult and after a while, they seem to stop being effective which means it weeps oil all down the front of the block, into the spark plug wells, and onto the floor. You can see from the cleaner portions where the oil has been seeping.
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The other oil leak was a surprise. The engine used to be very oily on the passenger driveshaft side and I'd assumed this was the driveshaft seal. It's not, the oil is actually seeping up from the speedo cable. Another o-ring here should fix that and might even fix the rattle it has.
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Happily, the rebuilt carburettor is staying spotlessly clean, never sweats fuel, and never gets oily.
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I gave the fluids a check too. Brake fluid isn't terrible, though will be changed when I do the brakes. Coolant has gone from being quite blue to now being very pale blue, the gunge in the bottle is just residue on the bottle itself, I could do with chucking the whole bottle in a dishwasher really. Oil is getting ready for a change, it's not terrible, but it's due June/July time anyway.
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The underside of the engine used to always be slightly greasy looking. Now it's mostly dry apart from the aforementioned leak points. This is a huge improvement over when I bought the car and I'm happy about it.
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Another irritation has also been solved which was something rubbing on a tyre on full lock and certain suspension articulation points. Turns out, one of the arch liners had got broken and an edge was catching the tyre. I trimmed that back and the problem is now gone. Shown here is the good side and the now-trimmed broken side.


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Other than that, the only problem its thrown at me is that the alternator is sporadically charging incorrectly, not at all, or too much.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon May 13, 2019 6:11 pm

Right then, the Daily Driver Challenge got derailed somewhat by a BX but that doesn't mean I haven't used the Princess at all. I'll be collating the info and experiences from the experiment today and will have a write up on that a bit later. For now, it's alternator time. Shiter Danthecapriman very kindly sent me his old Capri alternator to use on the Princess. We were unsure as to whether or not it was correctly handed but knew it was otherwise a suitable swap. Worst case, we could always use the good bits from one to fix the bad bits on the other. This was going to be a little How To on doing the repair, my camera had other ideas unfortunately, so you'll have to use your imagination a little bit.

With both alternators on the desk we could see one was left handed, and one was right handed. This is to do with where the pivot bolt and adjuster bolt holes are on the casing, they're otherwise identical. Fortunately, if you unscrew the bolts holding the casing together you can dismantle the whole distributor and swap the casings over. You also have to desolder three wires that connect the regulator to the commutator ring. The intention was to use all of the internals from the Capri alternator and just the outer casings from the Princess alternator, this changed when we inspected the various components and ended up Frankensteining one alternator out of the two to make the best of the components available.

This is the Princess alternator internals, and you can see at the front the three wires with white-with-green-dots wire that are soldered to the regulator. On the Princess alternator, most of the componenents were in reasonable condition, but it was the regulator that was shot. We cleaned up the commutator surfaces, checked the bearings, and decided against splitting the commutator ring from the casing since it was in better shape than the one in the Capri alternator. The bearings in the Capri alternator weren't quite as good either, though that's not too surprising since the Princess alternator dates from about 2011, where the Capri one is from the mid-80s, so had a fair few more hours clocked on it.
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The Capri regulator design was slightly different. It was the same where it mattered, it was just the quality of parts of soldering, etc. was better overall and the regulator on the Capri didn't have a condenser added on, presumably because there was no need for it as there was on the newer Princess one. To make things extra confusing I've made sure that this part is photographed from a completely different angle to the Princess one above.
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Now I have no more alternator rebuild photographs because the camera ate them all. Essentially, we used the commutator ring, the main spindle, and the metal casings from the Princess alternator, with the regulator, and Lucas branded plastic cap from the Capri alternator. We also used the best of the various bolts from both units in rebuilding the new Frankenstein. The net result is that the alternator now works properly, which is what this was all about. So a bit thank you to Danthecapriman for providing the spares, and to Mike for basically cracking on and doing the magic soldering work.

With the alternator off the car, I could address a couple of jobs I'd wanted to do for a while and hadn't had a good excuse to get done. First up was the alternator bracket which has always been a bit crusty looking. Treated it to wire brush and black caliper paint, it should bake well since it does get quite hot being bolted straight to the block. Cleaned up the bolts for the bracket, and the wiring loom, while I was in there. I also cleaned down the grease that had been hiding behind the alternator.
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With the wiring loom removed I could unwrap the brittle old electrical tap and use a few cable ties (cheers for that idea, Project Binky!) to keep things where they needed to be for when I re-wrap it. I also degreased it so the new tape had the best chance of sticking.
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Typically, found another bodge in the form of a half-cut wire under some electrical tape that had been added after the rest of the loom was wrapped. This is the only bit of the wiring loom I've not had off the car (that I know of), so it's hardly surprising there was yet more damage to it. Mike splice the wire back together with fresh solder and new heatshrink since we didn't have suitable connectors to remake the whole wire.
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Again, I'd show you progress but the camera ate a bunch of illustrative images. Fortunately there was exactly the right amount of loom tape in the drawer to wrap this section, and not a millimetre to spare. I repainted the steel P-clips that hold the loom to the front of the block and we extended the electronic ignition wire with a new piece so that it could be more tidily incorporated into the loom. The wiring on the front of this engine needs all the help it can get when it comes to being tidy.
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With all that reinstalled, we started the car and tested the alternator to see what it was doing. We now have a reliable, steady, predictable charge that will keep up with system demands as and when required. It was good to get everything cleaned up a bit too, removing all the historic grime really helps keep everything look much nicer and means I can see when there's a problem that much easier. The Lucas branded end cap on the alternator is quite pleasing for reasons I can't explain.
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Didn't have time to crack on with the brakes today. I'm not in as much of a rush to sort those as I was since the BX can pick up the slack. Mike and I are hoping next Monday can be brakes day, providing our schedules don't get all clashy.
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Vulgalour
Posts: 1652
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon May 13, 2019 7:40 pm

The Daily Driver Challenge - Conclusion.

I decided to end the DDC at the point that it was clear the BX I acquited at the start of this year would be distracting me from using the Princess every day now that it's fully road legal, and it didn't seem fair continue the experiment if I wasn't using the Princess as my only car. The DDC took place from late November 2018 until early May 2019, a time of year when most forty year old cars are bundled up safe and warm waiting for the show season to begin again. It was the least ideal time to be using a classic car and likely to be the most challenging, certainly the best way to get a fair estimation of the car's abilities and reliability over that period of time.

The short version for the 24 weeks of the DDC goes like this:

13 weeks of trouble-free boring motoring

1 failure to proceed: warped brake disc. AA less than useless and refused recovery because I'd had the temerity to break down on the road outside a garage that was closed.

1 failure to proceed that was repaired at the roadside: carburettor issues

Various servicing and minor repairs.



The long version is that overall, a car with a reputation for being incredibly unreliable and being asked to drive in all weathers, at all times of day, including in the snow at night, proved itself capable of getting me where I needed to go whenever I needed to go there. Had I needed to use the car for long distance commuting, I would have done more to prepare the car for use than I did. Instead, I was asking the car to do between 50 and 100 miles a week, and to be able to go out whenever I needed it to almost every day. The majority of the mileage was urban only, though there were some longer distance motorway runs and faster A road trips taken as well. It was used in rush hour on occasion, late night runs, and got caught up in school traffic several times, all of which it coped with perfectly fine.

Repairs were needed. Mostly this was simply down to parts wearing out, as parts do. Before the test, a new main earth wire was fitted along with brand new tyres for reliability and safety. I also used the DDC to highlight any issues I may have overlooked when the car was being used much less, and that meant quite a few small items were replaced that didn't absolutely have to be, things like the reversing light switch (which collapsed after a handful of miles and saw me refitting the original after cleaning it up), the oil pressure switch to cure a minor oil leak, an in-line fuel filter, a new carburettor gasket, a steering column upper bush, and new CV boots. More serious items required were a lower ball joint, the front wheel bearings, electronic ignition (failed condenser also saw badly burned points), a brake disc, a rebuilt alternator, and some welding to a rear inner arch. Other than that, a little oil was required since it consumes a small quantity.

Overall, I don't regard the items replaced as being that out of the ordinary for any car of this age and mileage and most of the items were quite old and had done quite a few miles. At the close of the DDC, the only outstanding issue is the brake rebuild and the reason that hasn't been done is simply a matter of finding the time to strip down and rebuild everything. I've never done anything with the front brakes in the seven years I've had the car, other than bleeding them, and I imagine previous owners were much the same, mostly because nothing needed to be done until this year.

Would I recommend using a forty year old car every day? Generally speaking, no. The problem with an old car is that it's an old car. Unless you've gone through the whole thing and replaced every consumable item with good quality new, or as good as new, items, you're going to have a bad time. Parts wear out and you need to be aware that when you press an older car into service you running a greater risk than usual of cascade failure. I took the chance with this car because I've owned it for a long time and I thought I'd ironed out all the problems I was likely to face. Many of the parts I've needed have been awkward to acquire, though rarely expensive, and some of the parts have been incorrectly described. So if I was relying on the car to get me to work and back every day rather than just run me around on my errands most days, my attitude in closing on this experiment would likely be very different.

That said, if you're of the mentality that you want to experience this sort of thing, then go for it. Just have contingencies in place. If you're going to use a classic every day for a protracted period of time, it's wise to have a back-up car or someone with a back-up car, that can help you out if you do get stuck. Also, approach pressing an older car into service like going into a really slow endurance race. Replacing things like filters and hoses, ignition components, and making sure all your electrical stuff is in good order is very sensible. Carrying tools and fluids in the boot is also very sensible and, if you can, having spares such as ignition components and belts, is very sensible. One thing I've learned is that breakdown cover does not always mean breakdown cover, so you have to give yourself a fighting chance of repairing your car yourself to a standard that will get you home.

One positive of the DDC is how much more aware of other road users it's made me. When you haven't got the driver aids of blind spot monitors and electronic ignition, parking sensors and ABS, you find your driving changes. You look for and anticipate behaviour you might not otherwise notice. It makes the act of driving somewhat more tiring as a result because you're concentrating so much more. However, there were plenty of times that I found myself able to predict bad behaviour from other road users and prevent myself getting into trouble and those are skills I'll be carrying forwards. I'm not saying driving a classic car will make you a perfect driver, it won't. What it will do is make you more aware as a driver. Older cars are less insulated from the outside world too, so I did find I was much more aware of folks on two wheels, and generally speaking people are nicer and behave respectfully towards you.

Now that I've completed the DDC it has proven that I have absolutely no desire to part with the Princess (not that there was any doubt) and that it is quite capable of doing everything I need it to do. It's proven that I don't need a newer car, that I don't even need a radio, and that it's an affordable form of transport that makes me happy. If I had to, I could use the Princess as my only car and this experiment has allowed me to get the car in really very good shape overall. It's not perfect, it's not about to win any shows, and that's fine. It's a car I can use and that I enjoy to use, and that's all that really matters.

beiderbecke
Posts: 605
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:35 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by beiderbecke » Mon May 13, 2019 9:38 pm

:) Good show Vulgalour. I admire your tenaciousness in overcoming all the problems that your wedge threw at you.

I don't think I would use my wedge as a daily driver - although it has been reliable (I've had it 12 years now) it has failed to proceed just a few times (lack of fuel, electronic ignition malfunction, flat battery) things easily fixed so it hasn't caused me much grief.

As you say, a classic does have to be driven with awareness of the capabilities of your car in today's traffic and some drivers seem to think because it's an old car it can't get a move on. I daresay we have all had near misses with some misjudging the velocity of a car made with proper metal (especially the bumpers on wedges!).

Keeeeep on driving!

Vulgalour
Posts: 1652
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon May 13, 2019 10:52 pm

Having the patience to work through the problems has ended up with me having a much better condition car than I did... there's a glass half full statement if ever there was one :lol:

A lot of that assumption about old cars being slow comes from the way some classic car owners drive them. I can't really stand dodderers. Fair enough, if you're in an Austin Ruby, even when you put your foot down you're not going to be going that fast, but once you get into cars from the '60s there's not really any reason for you to be a rolling road block.

I don't think I'll use mine as a daily driver again now, as satisfying as it was to do this challenge, I reckon the car has proven itself and its worth and can enjoy semi-retirement and I can enjoy working through the ever diminishing list of jobs. I reckon we'll drop down to once a week treks now and let the BX take the strain for a while. After all, BXs love driving and hate garages.

Vulgalour
Posts: 1652
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Mon May 20, 2019 7:28 pm

Right then, these brakes. Princess started no bother as has become the norm, and we trundled over to the unit. Dismantling everything was actually surprisingly easy, in large part because Mike did that instead of me, but also because things weren't all rusted solid which made a very pleasant change. The old brake pads still have loads of meat left on them and aren't particularly badly damaged really. Even the pins and anti rattle/squeal plate things looked like they could be reused (they won't be). Before disconnecting the hoses to the calipers, Mike stuck a bit of wood in them while I operated the pedal and most of the pistons popped free.
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Annoyingly, 2 of the 8 pots are stuck, so Mike did battle with those on the bench while I dealt with that bit of flaking paint around the side repeater. It is not my finest painting hour, I must say, at least the rust and bare metal are dealt with and that's all that matters at this point.
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Removing the old discs was delightfully easy. In fact, none of this brake job has been a war especially, which Mike and I were both surprised about. To remove the discs you have to remove the split pin and hub nut, then clamp the disc in the vise to unbolt the outer hub part from the disc itself. I haven't yet torqued up the hub nuts or refitted the split pin, the new discs are just in place until we're ready to put the calipers back on.
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One of the brake caliper piston seals and retaining ring fell off which demonstrated the need for a rebuild (I have the kits, it's a job that will be done before reassembly) and the passenger side disc has started to warp with a very similar section of damage on the surface to what the driver's side had. Both calipers are ready for a rebuild, perhaps past ready, and while they don't leak and the brakes do meet the legal requirement, it's clear they've not been working as well as they should for quite some time. At least now we can fix that. There wasn't enough time to finish faffing with the calipers today and Mike's said he'll get the sticky pistons unstuck this week so that everything can go back together. The hoses and hard lines all look in good shape, which was nice to see, and while the calipers are scruffy they're certainly not in need of massive amounts of remedial work, just a quick tidy and new seals really.
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The Princess can enjoy a little indoor break for the time being.
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Vulgalour
Posts: 1652
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Fri May 24, 2019 12:34 am

Had a bit of a disappointment with the brake calipers. Mike managed to get the pistons out but, in the process, one of the bleed nipples decided to strip its thread when everything was under pressure. Some years ago, we had issues with this bleed nipple not wanting to go back in properly when bleeding the system. Mike did the only sensible thing and retapped it to take a new, larger thread, bleed nipple.

With that problem down, the new problem is that the pistons are all badly pitted. The calipers themselves are fine, it's just the old (presumably chrome plated steel) pistons that are the problem. It looks like the outer seals had perished and this in turn had led to the pistons sticking and then corroding. I already have all the seals and parts for rebuilding the calipers so I might as well order a set of the stainless steel pistons that are available. Trouble is, I've just forked out for the timing belt kit and fluids for the BX and learned I'm moving house by the end of the year, so cash is a tiny bit tight at the moment.

The other nuisance is that the driver's front displacer is a bit firmer than the other three displacers (I don't have the interconnection pipes, which is why I know which corner is at fault) so I suspect that's getting low on gas. It's not bad enough that I expect imminent failure but it's bad enough that I'm also saving up for a regas on the displacers I do have. I know the regas proceedure isn't 100% effective, but it's better than not doing anything at all.

Who needs money anyway? :lol:

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