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Old 18th May 2018, 14:28   #91
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Back to the Mercedes W123 again!

So I had finished the rubber seal on the right/passenger side. But I still needed to finish the left/driver side.

The paint respray I did looks good enough again. Earlier this week I had already removed/stripped the old rubber from the metal strip. So last night I had a few hours to spare and I decided to glue the rubber on the strip again. Every time you do a job you tend to learn something, so the second time around you can do the same job better or at least more efficient.

Glueing the rubber on the metal strip was a bit of PITA. So this time I was better prepared. I had bought extra glue (which I all used up) and I had several tools and other pieces ready. The rubber really needs to be pulled around the edges on the metal strip. Which is difficult with glue on it. This type of glue you put on both surfaces and then leave 10-15 minutes to dry before putting the two parts together. By that time it is really, really sticky. Also, this metal strip is well over one meter long, so it is not so easy to clamp down the rubber on the strip over such a length. But a bit of improvisation and experience from before goes a long way.

So this time I made sure to spread the glue even better, especially around the edges on both side of the metal strip. Made sure the glue was everywhere on the rubber.

Put the two together and then put the whole lot in this make shift rig to keep it all together:

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5173758.jpg

Iím very pleased with the end result. I am waiting for the little plastic clips to arrive so I can re-install it.

One thing, as you start these sort of jobs that improve the visuals of the car, other imperfections start showing up more. Or become more noticeable and subsequently annoying.

One of the strips on the right rear passenger door was damaged. Actually, I bought the car with it looking like this:

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5173752.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5173753.jpg

It never really bothered me much. Also, I knew Mercedes did not supply these parts anymore. But with the rubbers now looking new and fresh I decided I would have to replace this bit too. And my search for the rubber and clips also introduced me to some new companies. So I checked around and quickly found one who can still supply these bits. And surprisingly, at a very reasonable price.

It arrived yesterday and straight away I took the old one off. Having the new one in hand was handy. I could not figure out how this piece was attached to the car. None of my drawings were clear on it. Once I saw the new piece, it was obvious. One nut to undo, hidden in the corner of the door.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5173754.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5173755.jpg

Next I could just peel it off and it also showed some of the same retaining clips I have used before. Luckily this time I ordered extra, so I can replace these no problem.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5173756.jpg

My usual check of the old versus new part to make sure they fit identically.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5173757.jpg

As soon as the clips arrive I will re-install this bit and the rubber gasket. Next job is to have a look at the play in the Steering Gear. Bit worrying. I had the steering box overhauled some years ago, it has done maybe 25.000 km, it should not have worn down at all.

Jeroen
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Old 21st May 2018, 11:40   #92
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

At long last the little clips arrived!Happiness is knowing you ordered enough spare parts, even when you mess up some, you still have enough to finish the job!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5203770.jpg

Getting the rubber attached to the left side went a lot faster than the first attempt on the right hand side. Experience shows! Managed to get it back on in about ten minutes!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5203771.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5203772.jpg

Next I also replaced the strip on the right rear door. Again, went on without any problems. 5 minute job. Quick final clean where the parts go, pop the clips in and mount the part.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5203773.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5203774.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5203775.jpg

Next the play on the Steering Wheel. The W123 has one unique feature; you can open the bonnet a full 90o. Very useful for jobs in the engine room!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5183759.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5183760.jpg

The bonnet has a special ratchet mechanism, so you can open the bonnet into different positions. Mine are a bit wonky, so I don’t fully trust them to hold the bonnet in the 90 degree up position anymore. But one of my recently bought tools comes in handy as a make shift lock.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5183761.jpg

When you notice play on the steering wheel, the first thing you need to do is try to figure out where the play comes from. That usually means also getting underneath the car and checking all the various bits for play. You do so by tugging and pulling hard on all the steering gear components. Preferably you use some of these sort of tools, where you can really put some leverage on those components:

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5183765.jpg

This is the right side underneath the car. You can see the slave steering box. I replaced the bushings some 20.000KM too. No play.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5183762.jpg

This is the pitman arm and in the back you can see the Steering box itself.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5183763.jpg

And some more bits

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5183764.jpg

Always look for tell tales, such as damaged rubbers. Once the rubber on these joints get damaged, water gets in, ruining the lubrication and you will very quickly wear out the joint.

In the end everything check out and my conclusion was that the play was indeed in the Steering Box. Mercedes specification allows 2.5 cm of play, measured at the outer rim of the Steering Wheel. I had about that. Interestingly enough, the Dutch APK (Dutch version of the UK MOT) allows 15o play on the steering wheel, which is considerably more.

Adjusting the play on these Steering boxes is a simple affair. Loosen the retaining nut on the top of the Steering Box and slowly adjust the bolt inside it with an Allan Key, turning it counter clockwise. Go slowly. 1/8th of a turn at a time!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5183767.jpg

Always a bit of an iterative process. Turn the bolt, lock the nut, feel the steering wheel. A bit more, a bit more, too much, back a bit!

In the end I was satisfied and the play was mostly gone. The official Mercedes procedure for adjusting the play is a little bit more complex and calls for a special torque wrench to be mounted on the steering wheel. Different torques are supposed to be measured dead centre position compared to 20o left or right. I have never seen this procedure used, not even bij Mercedes!

So another job finished. The Mercedes is all ready for its long drive into Germany in a couple of weeks to participate in the Guiness Book World Record attempt to put the most W123s on the road. Just need to clean and wax it. But first a test drive. But before I go for a test drive I always clean up my tools and sweep my garage. It is amazing how much dirt falls of these cars when you are working on them. I like to keep my garage floor as clean as possible. When I started as an apprentice engineer in the merchant navy, that is the first job you get to do, multiple times all over. Sweep and clean the floor on the engine room. It’s partly for safety (fire and tripping hazard), but also a clean floor allows you to quickly spot any leaks from any fluid and to notice any bits that might have come unstuck!

So I have all the cleaning tools ready at hand in my garage too!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5183768.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p5183769.jpg

We had my sister staying with us for a couple of days. It was an absolute gorgeous day, so we decided to combine the test drive with a nice little tour around our new stomping grounds and visit a nearby castle.

On one of the ferries we found ourselves behind this nice 1931 Ford A. I had a little chat with the owner. It is in really good condition. The colour is somewhat unusual for an early Ford of course. But apparently this car came from Puorto Rico and was painted red from very early on in its life. It is the only red Ford A in the Netherlands and there are still more than 600 Ford As in the Netherlands!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-img_2896.jpg

Test drive went fine, all jobs done on the W123. Let’s see what will be next. I will need to service my Spider.

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 21st May 2018 at 11:41.
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Old 27th May 2018, 21:37   #93
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First thing this Sunday morning at 06.30am, washing, waxing and cleaning the W123.

As I said before I like cleaning my cars. Just one more aspect of fiddling! 😊

Also, it allows you to spot any problems with the paint, rubbers etc. Came across a few small rust spots. Fixed them right away. Also one of the door rubbers had come unstuck. So I glued it back in place.
I always leave the doors open after I washed the car. Water collect at all sort of odd places. This allows me to dry it out a bit.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-imageuploadedbyteambhp1527436768.222980.jpg

I rarely use a chamois these days. Micro fibre cloth comes in many different variant and is so much more convenient.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-imageuploadedbyteambhp1527437156.932273.jpg

Looks good again. All ready for my trip to Germany in two weeks time to participate in the Guinness Book of World Record attempt to bring the most W123 on the road in one ride

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-imageuploadedbyteambhp1527437190.239817.jpg

Really looking forward the trip. About 500km drive to get there!

Jeroen
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My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-imageuploadedbyteambhp1527436991.034539.jpg  

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Old 29th May 2018, 20:27   #94
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post

The bonnet has a special ratchet mechanism, so you can open the bonnet into different positions. Mine are a bit wonky, so I donít fully trust them to hold the bonnet in the 90 degree up position anymore.
There used to be (still are, I guess) quite a few articles about this overengineered mechanism. (The other was the W124 jumping wiper). But all seemed to agree that the chief cause of problems was mishandling by a not in the know user! Check with the original owner!

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Sutripta
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Old 29th May 2018, 21:25   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
There used to be (still are, I guess) quite a few articles about this overengineered mechanism. (The other was the W124 jumping wiper). But all seemed to agree that the chief cause of problems was mishandling by a not in the know user! Check with the original owner!

a

True. One thing, the mechanism works well inside a garage. But outside with wind blowing they are just putting too much force on the mechanism. It just snaps. No easy fix, as it will involve welding.

Jeroen
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Old 29th May 2018, 21:57   #96
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
But outside with wind blowing they are just putting too much force on the mechanism.
Do W123s habitually break down in a storm?

Regards
Sutripta

Last edited by Sutripta : 29th May 2018 at 21:58.
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Old 30th May 2018, 10:59   #97
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Do W123s habitually break down in a storm?
The W123 other than popular as a classic (hobby) car is also very popular as a cheap old car. Especially the diesel version. You can buy one for less than a thousand Euro, used to be no road tax, very cheap insurance, easy and cheap maintenance. So a lot of these W123 spend their life on the roads, simply parked outside and they are worked on by their owners on the streets. Also, many private garages are not high enough to open the hood to the 90o position.

So you have a lot of W123 being maintained Ďout and aboutí and subsequently a lot of the latching mechanism on the hood hinge getting buggered because of wind! Happened to my sonís W123 one day.

Just a bit of more Ďnerdy factsí on running old cars: New legislation had meant the old diesel versions are no longer of interest to those who want to run a cheap old diesel car. You have to pay the full road tax till the car turns 40 years of age. And in the Netherlands, road tax on a diesel is always very expensive. In general in Europe running an older diesel can be a problem as more and more town have environmental zones. The older the diesel, the less likely you are to be allowed in.

Although it is perfectly legal running an old car as your daily runner it posses problems for those who see old cars as more of a ďclassic car hobbyĒ (i..e. me)

Classic cars enjoy certain advantages over other cars, different road tax regime, different MOT regime, different (lot cheaper) insurance. All of that is/was based on the fact that typical classic car do very limited mileage. (Various research across Europe shows the vast majority of classic cars doing less than 2000 km a year). So all these advantages come under debate, either from a legal and other points of view.

So for instance, is a classic car exempt from environmental zones. Most people would probably not have a problem with say a T-Ford entering Rotterdamís environmental zone a few times a year at most. But if someone drives a beat up 40 year old diesel W123 belching out thick black smoke as his/her daily commute, people might think differently.

Iím part of a (lobby) group that is aiming to get proper legislation and recognition for real classic cars as opposed to old bangers being used as daily runners. We have had some succes, (including several court cases against environmental zones) and a lot of set backs. Till now every Dutch town can decide themselves if, how and when to introduce an environmental zone. So we have an endless variation of different rules and regulations. I can drive my W123 into certain cities, others I canít. At least as part of our new government that was elected/formed a few months ago, they have expressed the intent to regulate this on a national level. Which will also allow us to have a more crisp definition of the position of classic cars. Big problem is there is no definition on what a classic car is. Most insurers will go by limited mileage and age.

Back to tinkering with my cars. The Alfa Spider needs some regular service. Have already bought most of the parts. So Iím replacing oil/fuel/air filter, new plugs, oil change. I need to double check brake fluid.

I have just ordered both V-belts as well as I realised they must be over 15 years old! So better change them out before I find myself with a broken belt stranded somewhere.

Jeroen
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Old 5th June 2018, 12:57   #98
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Over the weekend my eldest son Luc came over with his Golf GTI. We are still in the process of sorting through all the various DTCs that popped up earlier. The most annoying problem, the speedo isnít working and his fuel gauge isnít reliable either. This is likely a problem with the speed sensors. There are actually two. One is the ABS left front wheel sensor and the other is mounted somewhere on the tranny.

Next, a bunch of codes suggesting all sort of electronics mishaps and also the low level indicator of his window wiper fluid was on permanently.

So we spend a few hours. We took the left front wheel off and took the ABS sensor off, cleaned it, checked the wires etc.

We did not see anything obvious, put it back together. Did a full OBS scan and reset all the codes. All codes are gone for now. Although the speedo still doesnít work. But to get at it, we need at least 4-5 hours or so. One of the engine mounts need removing to gain access. The low level warning light for the wiper fluid remained on as well. I checked the connector and actually it was loose. So I took it off, cleaned the contacts and pushed it back on: Presto, working properly again!

Resetting DTCís might cure all problems. The older the car, the more likely it will help. Unless of course there is a real problem and the respective code will pop up very quickly again.

So at least some progress on this car.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6033814.jpg

Next, the regular service on my Alfa Spider. I decided to start with the air filter first. You can see the air filter housing here on the left. On top of the air filter housing is the air mass sensor.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6033809.jpg

The filter top and bottom are held with five metal clips, you also need to undo the air inlet duct that runs across the engine, but then the whole thing comes off very easily.

When checking the old filter it did not look too bad.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6033810.jpg

But put it next to the new one and you see the difference!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6033812.jpg

I noticed quite a bit of rust on the filter housing. So I took it off. Cleaned it, brushed it with my pneumatic tools, and resprayed it.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6033813.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6043817.jpg

Did both the bottom and the top of the filter housing. Looks good!

The filter housing is attached to the left from inner wheel arch with three bolts and three rubbers. The rubbers are in not that great a shape. So Iím trying to find new ones, but no luck so far. If need be I can still use these, I guess.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6043822.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6043823.jpg

Next the little metal clips needed a good scrubbing. Left them overnight in some petrol to get rid of all the mug and grime.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6043818.jpg

Next job, the spark plugs. Amongst Alfisti the debate about which plugs are the best is similar as to some of the oil threads on car forums. Endless debate, but very little real data to go by. In 1986 Alfa specified the four electrode plugs. For a couple of decades everybody was using Golden Lodge. If you took your Alfa maintenance serious thatís what you would get. I still have an original, in the plastic wrapper set of four. Not sure what 20 years of shelf live does to a spark plug?? Anybody any thoughts. I wouldnít think anything, but I still put brand new NGKs with a regular electrode in.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6043819.jpg

These NGKs are now the regular ones as the original Golden Lodge arenít available anymore.

When putting new spark plugs in, always check the gap! The owner manual should state the correct gap. I have this very nifty little tool that allows you to measure the gap very easily!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6043824.jpg

I make it a habit to also check the old plugs. Have a good look at them and measure the gap too.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6043825.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6043826.jpg

The old ones look quite good. The gap had increased by 0,05 inch. I really donít know how long these plugs have been in the engine. One thing, even though my classic cars do very little mileage, especially when we were living in the USA and India, these sort of parts might start seizing up. Three of the plugs came out with no problem, but one was really difficult and took quite a bit of brute force! You want to be very careful with Spark Plugs. If you damage the thread in the cilinder head it is a PITA to fix. So easy does it. When putting the new plugs in, make sure the hole is dry and clean. I use some compressed air to clean it. Use special paste on the thread, or just copper paste will do as well.

Use the right tools, one of these special spark plug hand tools is good. (the one with the yellow T-bar). Just hand tighten it, or better yet, use a proper torque wrench and a special spark plug socket.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6043827.jpg

A few more jobs to do; I have to replace the fuel filter. Which means jacking up the rear of the car and getting underneath. Also, I would like to replace the V-belts. This car has two. One drives the waterpump, cooling fan, dynamo. The second one drives the AC compressor. To replace them the radiotor needs to drained and taken out.

I still have two spare ones. But I have had these for at least twenty years! So I prefer to get new one. The first one is no problem, but the V-belt for the AC compressor is more difficult to find. I donít want to spend a lot of time only replacing the first one. So it might have to wait until I find the AC belt.

Again, Iím not sure what twenty years of shelve live does to a V-belt. But Iím sure it does something and none of it very good. Although V-belts are amazingly resilient. Rather keep these as back up spares!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6043821.jpg

Last job will be an oil and oil filter change. In a few weeks the Spider will need to go to my new mechanic to get the rear shaft seal replaced. A day job for which it will need to go onto a lift, which I donít have. I will do the oil job afterwards.

So for now, once all paint is dry I just need to put the air filter back, hopefully with new mounting rubbers.

Jeroen
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Old 11th June 2018, 13:49   #99
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Just came back from my W123 World Record attempt in Bremen. I will put up a seperate thread on it, because it was quite the occassion!



My W123 performed flawlessly. This is my on the way home. What you see here is a so called eco-duct (as opposed to a viaduct). The eco-ducts are purpose build to allow animals (only) to cross the motorways.





It was just over 440km from the venue back home. Apart from a few roadworks early on I managed to keep the W123 barrelling a long at 130 km/h on the cruise control all the way. Stopped twice for a short leg stretch. Made it home in under 4,5 hours, which is pretty good considering this is a 36 year old car!


Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 11th June 2018 at 13:56.
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Old 18th June 2018, 17:07   #100
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Hey Jeroen ,

Wow , you are leaving any car enthusiast's dream life. You have all the resources , will , attitude , skill , patience , cash , time , fitness ,luck , space everything . Since you have been in India for few years , I am sure you can imagine how difficult it would be to have a hobby like that for any common man from India like myself. I can easily call it a Maharaja's ( King's Hobby) hobby. Keep it up and keep writing so that we get to know amazing things that you are doing there in Netherlands.
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Old 19th June 2018, 12:28   #101
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Since you have been in India for few years , I am sure you can imagine how difficult it would be to have a hobby like that for any common man from India like myself. I can easily call it a Maharaja's ( King's Hobby) hobby. Keep it up and keep writing so that we get to know amazing things that you are doing there in Netherlands.
Yes, it isnít easy. Mind you, there are some members who still manage to do some DIY work on their cars too. Anything from a regular service, replacing brake pads etc.

Before I had my garage, I had to do all the jobs out in the street as well. Worked on my cars for years like that. But having my garage is so much more convenient.

Also, parts availability is so much easier and convenient here. I can order just about anything online and i will have it the next day delivered.

More jobs to come. I just got a message that the V-belts for the Spider have arrived, so I can finish its service. Also, my wife banged the mirror of her Fiesta, so that needs fixing. Look like it is completely shattered with just some wires hanging out of the door!

Jeroen
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Old 26th June 2018, 19:34   #102
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

It was time for the Jaguar annual MOT or APK as it is called in the Netherlands. For the time being this car will need an APK every year.

Most people will have the APK done together with a regular service. Most shops won’t charge you for the APK if they can do a regular service. As I do all my regular servicing myself, I typically end up paying for it. Not a big thing. It cost on average about Euro 25.

If everything checks out ok, they will go into the national Car Registration Database and approve the car for another year. There is a more or less random system where the workshop might get checked. I don’t think it has ever happened to me.

All in all it takes around one hour, including the various administrative parts. I like to use my regular workshops. They know the car, they know me, so that usually helps. But, I don’t have anybody for the Jaguar near to our new home yet. So, I just went to Profile Centre. The guy had never done a Jaguar before, so that was interesting for him as well. And I had to help him out a bit. For instance, they need to check the VIN as it is stamped into the chassis. And on these Jaguars it’s done in a bit of an odd place.

I always check (and fix when necessary) anything that could lead to an APK failure. Even so, we came across two problems. One of the side lights wasn’t working. I had checked that before, so it must have blown on the way to Profile Centre. Also, there was a slight difference in colour between the righthand and left hand main beam light. Has been there for many years, never a problem before. However, they wouldn’t budge and I had to buy another new build. A few Euro’s for an H7 bulb, so not to bad.

Otherwise the car was in perfect order and the guy kept complimenting me and asking more and more questions about it.

Here you see the Jaguar in their workshop. At the front the brake test bench, the dial is at the far wall.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-img_3026.jpg

Emission testing, came up completely clean!! The guy was amazed.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-img_3030.jpg

Checking for play on the suspension, steering, wheel bearings. You will notice the mechanic is wearing a Suzuki coat. This Profile Centre was combined with a Suzuki dealership. Usually, these sort of tyre/MOT/muffler/balancing places are independent, but here they were co-located and apparently owned by the same guy.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-img_3031.jpg

Up on the lift

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-img_3032.jpg

So, we passed with flying colours, good for another year!!

Happy cruising again

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 26th June 2018 at 19:36.
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Old 26th June 2018, 20:02   #103
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Back to the Alfa Spider and its service. As shown in earlier post I had begun to do a regular service. After taking the air filter off, I decided that needed a bit of tidying up as the filter housing had quite a bit of rust. I also decided to replace the V-belts, with the air filter out of the way there is somewhat better access as you will see.

But last week our daughter got married and as you can imagine, I have been very busy with the wedding. But I had also made arrangements for the Spider to go to the workshop to get its reared seal replaced and some other stuff for which it absolutely needs to be on a lift.

Long story short. In the end it became a bit of a rush job to get the Spider at least road worthy so I could drive it.

First things first, according to Italian design rules, if it looks good and it sounds good, it is a good design. Nothing else matters. Which means that on a Spider in order to replace a simple V-belt the radiotor has to come out, the fan has to be removed. And in my case, if AC is fitted, you also need to remove the V-belt of the AC compressor.

So here we go, draining the radiotor. Spider has a simple plug and you just collect the cooling liquid. Got most of it out.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253837.jpg

This is how it all looks, a bit cramped at the best of times. The radiotor itself is just held by two bolts. But there are three hoses and the bottom one is impossible to get at.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253838.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253839.jpg

Had to use my very special very long screwdriver to undo the hose clamp!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253851.jpg

The radiotor could do with a bit of cleaning too! When fitted you can not get access to the front as the AC condensor is in the way!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253840.jpg

Next the fan needs to come off. Straight forward, five little bolts. you just need to be careful not to damage the AC condensor with the tools or your knuckles

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253841.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253842.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253843.jpg

Next the V-belt of the AC. The crankshaft is fitted with a pulley with two grooves and the front one is, of course, the AC. Which makes no sense at all. Because it will always be the other regular V-belt that drives the alternator and pump that wears most.

Anyway, out it comes. Itís impossible to get a good image, but here you see half of it. The tension of the V-belt is set by adding or removing shims, so the two halves clamp closer to one another

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253844.jpg

So at long last I could take the old V-belt off and put the new one on. Which means undoing the mounting bolts of the alternator. Which are very difficult to get to in a Spider. But in the end I managed to get the new one back on. I forgot to take an image but the new belt was distinctly shorter and wider. All due to wear and tear, so I am glad to have replaced it.

Getting the correct tension on the belt is important. To less and the belt will slip, creating electrical and or cooling problems. Too high tension and you might wear down the bearings to quickly. A rule of thumb is that you should be able to twist the belt a quarter turn in the middle. the Spider manual specifies how much you should be able to depress it (almost 1 cm).

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253845.jpg

I had to spend some time on the radiotor to clean it properly. I used a soft brush to get rid of all the debris collected at the front. Then I used low pressure compressed air to blow out all the dust and sand between the plates. Always use caution when working on or near radiators. They are easily damaged and not so easily fixed! New copper O-ring sealed it all.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253846.jpg

Getting it back in required some very careful planning, handling and gentle pushing. And of course my trusted very long screwdriver to fit and tighten that remote hose clip!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-img_3125.jpg

The rest was straightforward. Pushed the rubber bushings back into the air filter house. I have not been able to source new one. Looks good in itís new paint.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253847.jpg

Air filter back on

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253848.jpg

Top air filter back on, fit the air hose, make sure it is tight and not leaking or the engine will run rough!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6253849.jpg

Took the Spider for a quick test run along our dike. After a few kilometers I pulled over to look under the hood, add some cooling water, de-air a bit. I was parked in front of an old garage belong to an old farm house. Whilst I was fiddling with my Spider I guy pokes his head out of the second story window and starts talking to me. Very quickly it became apparent he knew a lot about Alfaís and Spiders. He came down, we shook hands, introduced ourselves, then he showed me around his garage. And what a garage he had. Several Spiders, Mercedes Pagoda, Ferrari Maranello and lots of Alfa GT in various shapes and formats. He and his partner race them. He has a mechanic that helps him two days a month to keep everything in running order.

As you can imagine, we hit it off and he and his partner are coming round our house next week to talk some more. He immediately offered me the use of his tools/lift etc. You never know when that comes in handy.

I took the Spider to the workshop to get fixed. I will pick it up later this week. What is left is an oil change, oil filter and fuel filter. I just ordered the oil on line and it will be delivered tomorrow. This Saturday our village and some near villages have organised a vintage car rally. My wife and me are going, hopefully in the Spider. Looks like the weather is going to be very sunny and 30o. Looking forward to the weekend!

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 26th June 2018 at 20:17.
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Old 30th June 2018, 11:43   #104
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Yesterday I picked up my Spider from the workshop. They had successfully replaced the end bearing seal and also the bushes on the wishbone. No more oil leaks and boy, a huge difference in steering and handling!

So when we came home, with the engine and the oil still warm I finished the last remaining parts of its regular service.

I put the car at the entrance to my garage, that allows me to get underneath easily and also to push my oil catcher underneath the Spider. The Spider is a pretty low slung car to start with and I have fitted a sump guard as well, so not that much clearance. But this works fine.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293852.jpg

When doing an oil change, you have to ensure that the engine oil is at normal operating temperature. That will ensure the oil has picked up any impurities and also it flows well, so you will get out most of the oil out. Most car need to be horizontal when you drain the oil.

Just undo the sump drain plug and let the oil drain. The one thing is that the engine and the oil are all hot! Most engine oils are, when at normal operating temperature, around 80-85oC. I use my special gloves. As you undo the plug oil will start running out over your hand. With the gloves on I can just about stand it for long enough to undo the drain plug!. Work fast!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293853.jpg

To get the oil filter off you are likely to need an oil filter wrench. They come in many different sizes and shapes. I have a few, but this one has never failed me!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293856.jpg

Let the oil drain, remove the filter, start cleaning the drain plug. Check the drain plug carefully. Often the drain plug will have a little magnet attached to it. Like this one. Check if you find anything attached to it. A little muck will get stuck here as well, but you are looking for bits that are stuck magnetically. Nothing on mine!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293858.jpg

Most drain plugs seal with a copper ring. Once a copper ring has been used and thus compressed, you can’t use it again. Use a new one. Although I have two boxes full of them, I did not have this size (Note to self: buy more boxes with copper O-rings!). A little tip, you can easily restore copper rings. Put them in a flame till they are red hot and then throw them in water. This process will restore the elasticity of the O-ring and they will be nearly as good as new. So that is what I did this time.

Although it is not necessary, or rather should not be necessary, I always apply a little teflon tape on the drain plug thread. The last thing you want, after putting new oil in the engine is the plug leaking!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293857.jpg

When you take off the old oil filter always check that the rubber seal ring comes off too! Once, it did not and I did not notice. Put the new filter on. Eventually that will start to leak.

As usual check old versus new parts, just to make sure they gave you the correct part!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293859.jpg

The new oil filter is installed with a bit of oil added to it, only about 1/3 full. This filter is mounted horizontally at the side of the engine. So if you fill it all the way up prior to installation, most oil will run out. Some people believe filling the filter with oil prior to installation isn’t required. I still do, it doesn’t take much time and it means there is less air in the system at first start after the oil change. No matter what they say, that can’t be a bad thing.

Also, apply a thin spread of oil on the rubber gasket at the top of the filter. Only hand tighten, no spanners!

Next filling up with fresh oil:

I have 3 or 4 funnels and they don’t get used very often and they get used for all sort of liquids too. So always clean them thoroughly before its intended use that day!

I bough Shell Helix 15W40 oil online. I am not very particular on engine oil, as long it is in compliance with the original manufacturers recommendation. Which this is. It is still a mineral oil.

I have been using the oil-webshop for some time now. They stock just about every oil known to man. If you order before 17.00, it will be delivered the next day before 17.00. I ordered 1 x 5l and 2x1l. Obviously, the 5l canister works out cheaper per liter. So I was a bit surprised to see they send me all one liter bottles. Doesn’t matter to me, but they only put 6 one liter bottles in the package. So I called them and they immediately dispatched another bottle which arrived within 12 hours. I like that. Anybody can make a mistake, but it is how you deal with the mistake. Very good service!

When refilling with new oil make sure you know how much your engine requires. In the case of the Spider it is close to 7 liters. Which means I won’t start checking the dipstick until I have poured in 5-5.5 liters. Also, knowing how much oil is required between the lower and upper mark on the dipstick is useful. In case of the Spider the difference is exactly one liter!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293860.jpg

With the oil and oil filter change done, only one job remains. Replacing the fuel filter. Fuel filters will last much longer than oil filters for obvious reasons. I am not quite sure how long ago the old fuel filter was installed. If I go by my own records (I keep all receipts of everything done, I do, or buy for my cars) it might have been almost 20 years ago, some 50-60.000 km probably. So not a bad idea to change it out. On the Spider it is mounted underneath the car, next to one of the fuel pumps. Just in front of the rear axle.

So Spider on a jack and some axle stands underneath;

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293861.jpg

Here you can see the fuel filter. It is the canister shape thing. Behind it you can see the muffler.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293862.jpg

It’s held in place with a metal brackets (one bolt/nut) and both hoses are held in place with a hose clip. Sounds simple enough. But after twenty years it takes quite a bit of effort to get the hoses of the old filter. Enter one of my other very nifty and useful tools. These things work wonders on any hose. You just ease them in between the hose neck and the little metal pipe on the filter. Work them round. Still it took a huge amount of pulling to get them off!.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293863.jpg

Pushing the old fuel hoses on the new fuel filter was no problem at all. This is my experience with most hoses. No matter how difficult it might be to get them off, that is no measure for how they are refitted. Good thing too.

All jobs done. Took the Spider for a quick test blast along our gorgeous dike. Back home I checked for oil and or fuel leak, but everything was fine. So another job done.

We have a vintage car rally in our village this weekend. Weather is going to be gorgeous, so we are ready for it!

Those of you who have read my comments on the various oil related topics on the forum will have noticed I have a somewhat different stance on oil changes than many people out there on the net. As long as you use the oil with the correct specification you are good. I also tend to buy the cheapest oil I can find with that specification. What is sadly almost forgotten and overlooked by the collective internet is the oil filter.

We should pay much more attention to it.

So to illustrate I took my electric saw to the old oil filter:

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293866.jpg

This is what you get:

- Filter housing, obviously split into two halves
- Filter element
- Valve and spring

The function of the filter is to catch any solid matters over a certain size. Anything smaller is encapsulated by the engine oil. So the filter element is a crucial part. This particular filter is a high quality one. It cost almost as much as the 7 liters of oil! And it is money well spend as far as I am concerned.

There are many youtube video out there of folks splitting oil filters in two and comparing. You will be amazed at some of the poor quality of these filters.

The spring/valve assembly allows the oil to still flow through the filter in case the element is completely blocked. Again, you want to make sure these are sturdy well made parts.

As you can see, the filter is completely black. This is not a problem as such. Any new oil will turn black within a few hundred kilometers of driving. But in between there is also quite a bit of debris stuck!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293865.jpg

Some of it collected at the top of the filter element:

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293864.jpg

It is more pronounced on the valve:

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6293867.jpg

Whereas I am pretty sure my engine oil could have at least lasted for another thousands of more kilometers, the real issue is the filter.

Rule of thumb:

Stick to the manufacturers recommended oil change interval at which you must also replace the oil filter. Don’t skimp on the filter, get a good one! That usually means the one that are expensive.

By and large the oil will last twice as long as the filter. Although the manufacturers will never say, the oil change interval is more related to the filter than the oil perse.

Whilst I am typing this, I just realised I have not cut open the fuel filter. I want to see what that looks like too. So I will go and get it out of the trash bin and have a go at it. Let su see what that looks like. I would (like to) think not to bad, as fuel is very clean here in Europe

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 30th June 2018 at 11:49.
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Old 3rd July 2018, 12:21   #105
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Last Saturday we took the Spider out for a very nice vintage car rally in our neighbourhood. Have a look here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/beyond...therlands.html

The Spider drove very well. Except I kept hearing a very faint, but distinct sound. At first I just could not figure out what it was or were it was coming from. My wife has learned to just denying hearing any odd sounds at all. Because she knows if she hears it too, I will make her help trying to find the cause of the sound. Which might mean I will ask her to stick her head in the footwell, climb into the back. Hold on to panel etc. etc. So these days whenever I say “I think I’m hearing a strange sound”, she will immediately reply I don’t hear anything.

So it was left to me to figure it out. I noticed it was mostly present when driving in 2nd and 3rd gear around 2-2.500RPM. I think it was probably present at higher RPMs as well as higher speeds, but then all sorts of other noises begin to drown out my particular annoying noise. Playing with the throttle, clutch and the brakes it became apparent the noise was only present when driving at a steady pace. Whenever I came of the gas pedal, or braked it was gone. With the clutch fully engaged it was gone as well.

In the end I found out that by pressing the clutch ever so lightly I could effectively turn the noise off or on by releasing the clutch. So that was a pretty good diagnosis, most likely something with the clutch mechanism. Knowing how the Spider clutch mechanism worked I suspected a few things.

Here is an overview image from the American Spider Workshop manual. The actual actuation mechanism of the clutch is very simple. In fact I always thought it pretty fragile and wonky. Even so, I don’t think we have ever seen any problems. The most common problem is the slave cylinder starting to leak.

Name:  Spider Clutch.jpeg
Views: 393
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My suspicion was that somewhere between the slave cilinder (8), the cap (9) or the fork (10) something was rattling, resonating. The worst scenario was a wonky throwout bearing. (12).

So after our rally we went home, my wife went to make tea and I went straight into my garage and put the Spider on a Jack and some axle stands.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6303979.jpg

From long experience, I know to get best access to the slave cilinder, just take the right front wheel off.

Here you see the slave cylinder

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6303981.jpg

It is held in place by two circlips. When I checked for play I noticed the whole cilinder could move axially and radially into its mount. That in itself isn’t unusual, but it did make a very metallic sound!

Not shown on the drawing, remarkably, is that the fork (10) pivots on a small leather cup. It is an awkward looking little part and many people wouldn’t know what it is when they take the clutch apart. So I thought I would check and see it it was mounted correctly. So out comes my digital camera

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6303983.jpg

I managed to slip it into the bell house. I could not get a great view, but I think it looks ok. So back to the slave cilinder. I have a nice set of circlip pliers.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6303982.jpg

My hypothesis by now was that the slave cilinder was rattling in its mount. So I tried to pry it out. Sometimes that is easy, I have done it many times before on the side of the road, on countless Spiders all along Europe. It did not work on my Spider I would also have to disconnect the hydraulics and I just did not have time for all of that.

So I decided to test my theory and came up with my anti-vibration device mod 1.
A simple elastic band.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6303984.jpg

Took the Spider for a quick blast along our dike and the noise appeared to be gone! So I decided to upgrade to my home designed anti-vibration device mod 2. Some string.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6303988.jpg

I know it doesn’t look nice, but nobody will see this. I managed to wrap the string tightly in between the circlip and the mounting ridge. Meaning it is now more or less fixed. I will test it out some further next weekend. I will probably still take the whole slave cilinder out, grease it. Also, the silly little string needs to go. I will need to find some O-ring that does the same job.

But for now, it appears the noise is gone!

As I was busy in my workshop I also had a quick go at the old fuel filter I replaced earlier. I am sure many of you have been wondering what an old fuel filter looks inside. Well, wonder no more, here is one I cut in half earlier.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6303989.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p6303990.jpg

I’m not quite sure how old this fuel filter is, but it could be anywhere between 15-20 years or so. Petrol in Europe is very, very clean and this filter is testimony to that!

Jeroen

Last edited by ajmat : 6th July 2018 at 10:27. Reason: typo correction
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