The Old Lady

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Vulgalour
Club Member
Posts: 716
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:02 am
Car Ownership: Rover 400 Mk1 (R8) Saloon

Re: The Old Lady

#31 Post by Vulgalour » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:06 am

My sunblistered nodding tiger got a friend today. I'm now the owner of two lumpen nodding tigers. I'll be repainting the purple one again. The sun through the rear window is pretty fierce, it's bleached the black velour parcel shelf I retrimmed and stripped the original flock off the purple tiger, then stripped the paint I applied! I'm going to have to get a UV tint or something on the rear screen to resolve that so the tigers won't be going back on the parcel shelf until I have. I'd actually love to get a rear window louvre, I've seen TWO on other Princesses and I'm pretty sure they were made by Autoplas as they look that style, but I've been totally unable to find any for sale anywhere.
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The important thing to arrive today was a new speedo cable. It's slightly longer than the one that's fitted to the car but seems otherwise correct. In fact, it seems more correct than the one that broke and given the measurements of it I do wonder if the previous one was actually from a Mini since they're incredibly similar. The important thing is that it works, as I found out on a test drive to the shops tonight.
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I also found out why one of the rear brake lights was out. Somehow the bulb had come out of the holder, so I simply put it back in and all five of my brake lights work properly now. All four running lights, all four indicators, both fog lights, and both reversing lights also work fine. The really exciting arrival today was a rare bit of kit in the form of a 1700 downpipe complete with a flexi-joint that actually flexes and the stay that holds the downpipe steady against the gearbox. I'm REALLY hoping this resolves the blowing exhaust which is properly getting on my wick now. Hoping to get it fitted tomorrow if this cold I've got backs off enough to let me.
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Once that exhaust is fitted, the Princess will be in better shape than she was when she passed her last MoT, at least as far as I can tell, so I'm hoping for a clean sheet this time around. We shall see.
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

User avatar
Vulgalour
Club Member
Posts: 716
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:02 am
Car Ownership: Rover 400 Mk1 (R8) Saloon

Re: The Old Lady

#32 Post by Vulgalour » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:05 am

Good news!

This is now my daily driver. I'll do a more detailed update later.
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

User avatar
Vulgalour
Club Member
Posts: 716
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:02 am
Car Ownership: Rover 400 Mk1 (R8) Saloon

Re: The Old Lady

#33 Post by Vulgalour » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:43 pm

Proper update time then. We got that new exhaust piece fitted and what a revelation! It needed a bit of a trim at the end that slots into the central slip joint under the car, but other than that it dropped into place like it was made to fit, which if you'll remember the old one absolutely didn't!
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Found and retrieved the remains of the old exhaust downpipe stay, long since snapped off in the past. We fabricated a new one out of a piece of bent steel to join the C-clamp on the new exhaust to the old stay's location. This prevents the exhaust moving independently of the engine and makes sure, in theory, that the manifold-to-downpipe joint doesn't break.
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The really astonishing thing after doing this was just how quiet the car was! The loudest thing in the cabin was the speedo cable whirring and the blower fans. Apart from a minor hiccup where I had to plug the speedo cable back in because I hadn't quite got it the first time and it came unseated, the car has behaved impeccably well. So well, in fact, that it's now my daily driver so that I can deal with any potential MoT problems before it goes in at the end of this month. It was a little chuntery on occasion but having put fresh fuel in and driven it a bit, that's gone away, so I suspect stale fuel was the cause of that.

That meant I could just use the car and any jobs I did were ones I was looking for that were non-vital. There's a minor oil leak definitely coming from the end of the oil pressure switch, so I've ordered a new one of those to resolve that. Otherwise, the only other oil leak I have is a minor weep from the distributor O-ring, which is pretty normal and a nuisance to resolve. The throttle cable that pretended to be an earth strap worked okay, but certainly had a couple of spots along its length that meant some speeds the pedal got a tiny bit stiffer. It didn't stop the car being driven safely or anything like that, I just didn't like it feeling like that. On removal, it was clear that the heat through the cable had warped it out of shape which was causing a not-entirely-smooth operation. I replaced it with a new one and the throttle is lovely and responsive and smooth now.
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Other than that, she's been out at all times of day in all weathers and not put a foot wrong. It's taken a little getting used to manual choke and waiting for things to warm up after being cosetted for so long with the Rover's luxuries and I can't always find the manual window winder on my first grab for it. Other than that, it's just been really good at being a car and being there when I need to use it. Now, if it would just stop snowing...

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Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

User avatar
Vulgalour
Club Member
Posts: 716
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:02 am
Car Ownership: Rover 400 Mk1 (R8) Saloon

Re: The Old Lady

#34 Post by Vulgalour » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:27 pm

MoT's are always a bit scary, especially when it's an older car and one that you've decided to rely on as a daily as I have with this one. I couldn't really find anything amiss so I got in the car to set off in convoy with Mike only to find the dash-mounted cigarette lighter won't power the sat nav, which is a bit odd because it didn't have a problem before. That meant convoying without knowing exactly where I was going and Mike not realising that his fuel injected straight six turbo Supra has just a little better acceleration than my carburettered straight four Princess. The drive out was a teensy bit stressful. As was rediscovering Princess blind spots, made worse because I couldn't take the time I would normally for fear of losing where Mike was going.

We arrived without drama, happily, and the weird chuntery hunting thing the engine has been doing was still happening. One look under the bonnet and Scaryoldcortina noticed that one of the spark plugs was loose! I'd checked this several times and completely missed it, when I went to tighten it up it was only finger tight. Glad we figured out what was causing the chuntering and resolved it before an errant spark plug could cause any damage. Princess went through the MoT first and decided not to play nice with Scary and not let him have gears without a fight, behaved perfectly fine once I got in. This car is a character like that.
Image20180329-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I assumed I'd missed something somewhere really obvious and while I did get a mild ribbing for the Arrowspeed (circa 1992) tyre that's on because the Camac (second hand from a Porsche, of all things) for that corner has a leaking rim, she went and passed with flying colours. I was actually surprised at this, I had expected an advisory on something even though we've only done a couple of hundred miles since the last MoT because of breakages.
Image20180329-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

So here's to another year of happy motoring, I hope! On the drive home we did get caught in the sleet and rain, which was less than pleasant, and the whining speedo cable is pretty annoying at motorway speeds. Oh, and the hazard switch celebrated the pass by now not working, so I need to fix that. Clean sheet though! I'm really happy about that, it makes all the hard work feel like it's been rewarded properly.

Had a flash of inspiration and looked in the fuse box. I reckon I've found my issue with the non-operational hazards and cigarette lighter.
Image20180329-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

User avatar
Vulgalour
Club Member
Posts: 716
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:02 am
Car Ownership: Rover 400 Mk1 (R8) Saloon

Re: The Old Lady

#35 Post by Vulgalour » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:22 pm

Been a while since I updated here. Since the MoT I've just been using the Princess pretty much every day while the Rover waits its turn. There hasn't been space at the unit to get on with the Rover interior swap and upgrade so I've been focusing on anything else I can do instead. The blowing fuse issue in the Princess turned out to be an iffy boot light switch and/or boot light, with those disconnected the problem is fixed. You can't really notice any difference in boot illumination with the light disconnected anyway, it's pretty poor and on my upgrades list for when I do the custom boot trim panels.

Of course, I didn't find out that it was the boot light until I'd pulled the passenger seat out, lifted the carpet and removed the dashboard. I can remove and refit Princess dashboards at the Olympic level now.
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The boot badges went back on, which would prove to be a mistake (more on that later). After finding the cause of the fuse blowing, the interior was put back together too. No radio at present, I'm still working towards the best solution for something hidding and modern, I'm nearly there with that now, I think. It'll mean taking the dashboard out again, so I'm in no rush.
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Managed to put the jack through the bottom of my drivers door because what I thought was tender was actually rotten. It's normal for Princesses (and most cars of the era, in fact) to go right where the outer skin folds over the inner frame and mine was no exception. Luckily, I have a spare which is in terrible condition but just good enough to work as a door and keep the weather out. This will allow me to repair my original door without taking the car off the road.
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When we had that really nice weather recently, I had a go at a driveway sprayjob. This turned out better than anticipated, especially since I'm just using Rustoleum rattlecans.
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Not going for perfect, just going for smart. This car has been an ugly patchwork for so long it's started to get me down. I like cars with character, with patina, but this car was looking like a mess and not at all what I wanted. It should look like it's been cared for and while it has some lumps and bumps (who doesn't as they approach 40?) it's overall a cherished old thing. Today I had time to finish off the boot lid and front wing to this same smart standard. A few trim holes to weld in the front wing before a little filler to deal with the worst of the imperfections, and then paint.
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I'm loads happier with that. What's more, now the paint is shiny I can wipe the bird poo off easier. Sodding birds.
Current Fleet:
1972 Austin 1100
1980 Austin Princess 2 1700 HL
1994 Rover 414 SLi

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