Monday, November 07, 2011

Weary Usefulness

The day-to-day automotive activities at little yellow towers have built up a critical flow.

The Mrs has a new job, and I have a new job - and the pressures of family and work life are such that both parents need to be at different places, neither of which has a decent train line. So the automotive arrangements are thus:

  • I ride the bike to work.
  • Mrs uses the Skoda
  • at the weekends when kids need ferrying around Molly gets a lot of action - and I mean alot!
So as Mol is out and about and as such needs a little more TLC than she is used to. Tonight I managed to get round to one of those jobs that will cause problems if left too long. I noticed that now the evenings are drawing in and we're doing more nighttime driving, there is a little screech from the fan belt when accelerating with the lights on [that's physics that is- more load on the electrical system makes the dynamo harder to turn so the fan belt squeals]. Now I've been doing this for a long time and I know that she will decide to let go at the worst possible moment (maximum electrical load, i.e. in the dark and in the rain) and the least opportune moment (most journeys have the kids along at the moment).

So the plan was to swap out the
fan belt for the one in stock (I like to have one in stock). Easy to do on the drive, a pain on the road, in the rain. that's the theory. However it turned out I was right to get it sorted as soon as possible. The adjuster had lots of slack in as I'd used a screw that was too small (actually it was the right size for the dynamo, but too small for the tensioner arm. So I drilled out the dynamo (sounds brutal but it needed to be done). Once the whole lot was cleaned up and ready to go, I managed to set up the fan belt properly. Now I won't know for sure until the next run out, but the initial go sounded good (squeal gone!) and the lights were nice and bright.

Next on the list is a nice winter
oil change and a quick going over with the anti rust wax and we should be good for a little more autumn action.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Now I wasn't expecting that...

Molly's MOT that is, all was fine except, well it was all bad. Over a sheet of failure. Now Moll is no garage queen, she gets used in the rain and not maintained enough, but a full page?! It turned out that most of the failure was due to a coincidental Morris Minor feature. Morris Minors have two fuses, one for all the things which are on all the time, and one for all the things which are only on when the ignition is on. It turned out that the ignition one had corroded a little between the house and the MOT station. So she failed on wipers, indicators, brake lights etc. etc. you get the idea. Well that lot was easily sorted, however there was a more worrying item on the list. And it involved that most scary of substances - MOT man crayon. For those of you without older cars (what are you reading this for?) when a car has a structural defect, usually due to rust, and the MOT man finds it, he circles it with his scary crayon.

Well Molly was unlucky enough to endure the embarrassment of the crayon. It turned out to be a previously bodged repair (not by me I hasten to add).

It was in the region of the rear nearside spring hanger - a notorious rust spot. As it turned out, when the nearside sills were repaired, they hadn't done a very good job, and left a very small gap inside the hanger, and this was what the MOT man had found (not very rusty at all). Being me, I decided to do the job properly and change the spring hanger completely. Which was just as well as it was actually a little tatty - the MOT man couldn't see as the Owen Burton anti tramp bars were covering some actual grot.

With that done (and the fuse cleaned up) we were back to see the man- this time he was more than happy so we were given a ticket to drive for another year.


A few weeks ago I decided to get out and spend some quality time with the kids. So how better to do that but to take them crab fishing! I remember doing this as a kid and pulling loads of the things out of the sea. So ebay supplied some crablines,  half a pound of bacon from tesco along with a picnic and we were off to Fife.
I don't remember this being so hard but after a couple of hours without a bite, we gave up and headed for the beach.

Again with the mots. ..

Hardly seems like a year since the last bout of mot madness, but here we are again. Jessica was done a couple of weeks ago. She got a fail on the brakes which was quickly sorted. So Molly is in now and I really have no idea what will happen. My pre-checks were ok but you never know. Neither of the cars have had much use over the past few months, mainly due to the new arrival being in the way. Yeah the bike. A suzuki gs500 to be precise. It seems to fit in the niche between the classics. An interesting and fun vehicle which i can work on and use for getting to work. Problem is, it is parked on the drive in front of the cars. So what to do? Monoblock the front lawn! Just need to sort the budget now.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The beast is stirred from her slumber

So the past month or so has seen Jessica getting gently re-commissioned. We have had a couple of issues to sort. Firstly, the overheating problem came back. I put some effort into this last summer but as its very hard to pinpoint,I was never sure if i had cracked it. Turns out i hadn't. So i went through a full refresh of the cooling system and so far so good. I swapped out the fan belt too and it turned out it was much needed!

The other issue was the overdrive. After being stood all winter its kinda expected that something will go wrong. And it did. The overdrive started dropping out after a short while, especially when the radio on. It turned out that the inhibitor switch and the relay had died. Again new ones are on now and so far so good. We've not taken her away yet but it can't be long now!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Winter Woes

As some of you may be aware, we have had a little snow in Scotland. Well to be honest we've had a lot of snow. Now Scotland is known for the rubbish weather, but this is ridiculous.



I've spend the past couple of weeks shoveling snow and ice. I had planned to switch the cars around and get Molly in the garage so I could get some work done on her. Oh the best laid plans... The quantity of snow is quite remarkable, I had a crack at digging Molly out but had to come in as it was getting too cold. I'm probably going to have to wait until the weekend now.

Snow Monster

I managed to get a set of (very expensive) winter tyres for the Skoda which really seem to be making a difference. While the people of the Lothians are spinning their wheels I am (so far) maintaining a little more control. Now I really want to try Molly in the snow, anyone got some snow chains or town and country tyres?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bug in Snug Rug Shocker!

It's about this time of year I like to wrap up Jessica ready for winter. Don't get me wrong, she's not going to be forgotten about for the next 6 months. The cover comes on and off about 10 times between now and the spring. But what with weather being what it is, its best to get these things sorted sooner rather than later.

Oh and yeah its a spangly new cover from Just Kampers. Cool.

It even has some swanky zips at the front that lets you get in to the van when the cover is on. Cool or what?!

Also a large parcel arrived from Martin which included some lovely fibreglass panels to repair Jessica's tatty rear end, along with some nice new rear screen rubbers and some wiper blades.

Oh yeah and there is the new steering wheel. Ok it's not new but I have painted it!