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Old 2nd March 2017, 02:49   #1
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Default My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider

As some of you are aware, we lived and worked in Delhi, India, for four years from mid 2012 till summer 2016. So, I have been back in my home country, the Netherlands, for a little over a half year. During my four years in India I shared some of my stories and experiences with my (classic) cars. Back in the Netherlands I picked up my old hobby, fiddling with my cars. Don’t get me wrong. I do like driving my cars and I actually drive them quite a lot. But part of my interest and enjoyment is also working on my cars. That could be a simple cleaning job, or some more elaborate maintenance and or problem fixing. I have a lot of tools and I wrote about them here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...-them-too.html

How you enjoy a hobby or interest is very personal. When it comes to car I like:

- owning several second hand ones, rather than buying one new
- driving them all, all over Europe,
- joining car clubs, helping out with the various club chores
- buy/read (classic) car magazines
- collect every brochure, manual, parts list available of the cars I own
- clean them
- get every tool known to man
- fix the cars, do some restoration jobs
- visit classic car shows and meetings

I’m less interested in stickers/posters/badges/key rings and all those sort of things. That sort of car paraphernalia doesn’t really interest me much.

Currently I own a 2002 Jaguar 2002, a 1982 Mercedes W123, a 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider, a 2015 Ford Fiesta (wifey) and a very, very boring company car (some Volvo/BMW I don't know, they look all the same to me)

I have a number of friends who also own (classic) cars. We often team up, working on a particular problem, or just for fun. One of my friends, Peter, is my regular ‘spanner mate’. He has owned over the years just about any car that you can think of. He is a professional car appraiser. So he is out on the road five days a week looking at cars, writing up appraisal reports for mostly insurance purposes. In the Netherlands most classic cars will get insured against their appraisal value. Sometimes I tack along to help out a bit. We get to see some very interesting cars! You would be surprised how many big time car collectors there are in the Netherlands. Guys who own 10-30 cars or so.

Here we are at the workshop of a mutual friend of us. He deals more or less exclusively with Alfa Romeo’s. Peter is often asked to come over and to look at cars, meet up with the owners etc. It’s a 35 minute drive from where I live, so I often go and meet him there, we have a chat, I might help out with some of the paper work and so on. Good fun, very relaxing, often very interesting.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13087577_580132785477910_2906958398351125668_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13124608_580132738811248_9114873769270972679_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13138976_580132735477915_111958654815929397_n.jpg


The two of us used to be the Technical Committee of the Dutch Alfa Romeo Spider club. Which meant we would provide technical support during our drives in the Netherlands and trips in Europe. We would organise technical seminars, workshops and write technical articles for the club magazine.

At least once a year the two of us take our Spiders out for a couple of days driving. See http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...es-eiffel.html

Peter owns two Jaguars, a relatively new X350, an old XJ and two Alfa Spiders.

My next door neighbour Toon is also a car enthusiast. He used to work for TNO research facility at the engine department. For the last couple of years he is teaching car/engine technology at the Rotterdam University. He owns, just like me, a Mercedes W123. His is a 280 Coupe. One of the first things we did together when I got back to the Netherlands was to participate in the Guinness book of World Record attempt with our respective W123s. See http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/beyond...ld-record.html Good fun and we broke that world record!

Over the years in India and on TeamBHP I have been asked all sorts of questions on my cars and the various jobs I have done on them. So I thought I would put together the last six months back in the Netherlands from a “car fiddling” point of view. There is more to come as there are various jobs on the near horizon. I will try to take some more detailled photographs going forward.

Hope you enjoy and if you have any questions, just let me know.

So whilst we were in India, my three cars were in storage. My wife’s Fiesta was always in front of our home, ready to roll. When we arrived back in the Netherland we traded in the old Fiesta for a near new one. See http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/intern...ion-fleet.html

Really enjoying this new Fiesta. We have done nearly 12.000km in it in the first six months back home.

So the first thing when we arrived home was to pick up my cars. And I mean the very first thing. At the airport I put my wife and all luggage in a taxi home and I took the train to Utrecht to pick up my Jaguar. Drove it home and went back again, and again, so I had all three cars at home again!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13516622_604262793064909_5086957304161027257_n.jpg

Very happy playing with my cars. At long last I have them all sorted again. I keep a very specific set of tools, fuses, light bulbs, spare parts and some cleaning stuff in each car. For the last four years everything was piled up in the garage. At long last sorted and every car is ready to go with a boot full of stuff. If we travel anywhere by car, my wife is allowed the glove compartment for her luggage.

One of the first jobs on my W123 was to fix the instrument cluster light. This is a known weak point of the W123. Weak being a relative term here. After 20-30 years the dimmer wears out. Even German ‘“Grundlichheit” doesn't last forever. Truth is, even with the dimmer dialled up to its brightest setting the dashboard lighting is pretty minimalistic. Dimming just isn’t required. So, the easy fix is just to solder a wire across the dimmer, effectively bypassing it. Very easy job and it keeps the car original too. I like that too. On these W123 taking the instrument pod out is a few minute job.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13532817_607408089417046_8557302711301663528_n.jpg

You need to take away the bottom panel covering the foot well, just three easy to reach screws. Next you can push your hand upwards and behind the instrument cluster and just push it out! You might have to slacken up the speedo meter cable a bit in the engine compartment. You can push the instrument cluster out far enough so you can reach the electrical connections from the front/top. You also need to undo the oil line for the oil pressure manometer. Then the whole instrument cluster comes out and the dimmer is easily accessible at the rear. Soldering takes a few minutes and fitting everything back a few more minutes.

Toon’s W123 had been suffering from some sticky brakes. So we decided to completely overhaul all four of them. So we jack up the car, put it on axle stands and remove the callipers. Clean everything, take all the rubber protection covers off, wriggle the pistons out, more cleaning and put everything back together.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13522052_607408086083713_6284138495516551535_n.jpg

Before removing the callipers we take the brake pads out first, then insert a narrow piece of wood and apply some very gentle pressure on the brake pedal. The idea is that you try to get the pistons to stick out as much you can. Once you have the calliper off the car it’s difficult to get the pistons out. So the more you get them to stick out before disconnecting the brake lines and removing the callipers the better it is.

When rebuilding brakes there are a couple of things you might want to take notice of:
Brakes are what stands in between a nasty accident and a long and prosperous life. If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t touch the brake. Leave it to someone who knows.
Ensure you have a very clean worktop. Best is just a proper bare metal workbench. You don’t want any dirt or particles to be left behind on any part of the brake system, so cleanliness is everything.
I always replace just about every part when I take them apart. That is, all new seals, covers, pins etc.
Preferably get hold of the official workshop manual and follow step by step the instructions. You cant go wrong that way.
On some brake system (e.g. my Mercedes and my Spider) the piston needs to be re-installed with a particular orientation towards the calliper. Failing to do so, might result in squeaky brakes, or worst, brakes that bite abruptly
Make sure when re-installing the callipers you use a proper torque wrench. These are the bolts on your car you want absolutely make sure they are properly tightened.

The biggest challenge we faced on this brakes were getting the new rubber dust covers on. Very fiddly, you really need to be an octopus with at least 8 arms and 8 hands to hold everything. Remarkably, the first one took a few minutes. But the second one took us more than an hour and a half to fit the dust cover. Just a very fiddly job. After a while we got the hang of it and it went a bit smoother.

We bleed the brake system with a pressure bleeder. Very simple, very effective!

When I picked up the Spider from storage it started first time, it always does (knock wood!). But I noticed that even after 20 minutes of driving the cooling liquid temperature was remaining way to low. I have had this problem several times on my Spider and numerous times on other people’s Spider. So far it has always been the thermostat that seems to get stuck in one postion after 6-8 years.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13718562_613806955443826_1675139121860353785_n.jpg

I have written in several of the TeamBHP threads on the importance of ensuring your engine reaches normal operating temperature quickly, without straining the engine. Engine wear is high when the engine is still cold. So if it doesn't warm up properly, your engine will incur a lot of wear and tear. So, this is one thing you don’t want to be driving around with for too long.

Replacing the thermostat is fairly straightforward. Make sure the engine is cooled down, I just loosen one of the lowest hoses near the radiator so you can drain some coolant liquid. As the thermostat typically is mounted quite high up the engine, you don't need to drain too much. I just drained it all, as I thought I might as well refresh the whole system. Make sure you get coolant with the proper specification. In the past you could rely on getting the same colour. Upon my return to Europe I found that is not the case anymore. Could be any colour these days.

Once you have replaced the thermostat put everything back together, top up the radiator or coolant reservoir. Start the engine, but not before double checking that you have taken all your spanners, screw drivers, rags and what have you out of the engine bay! Start the engine. On most cars, the coolant system will de-air by itself. Sometimes you might see a few de-air plugs. Open them up carefully until liquid comes out. Make sure you open up the heater controls fully in order to ensure the heater core is filled completely. Keep an eye on the coolant level and top up if necessary.

Anorak fact:
On my Jaguar XJR you can not open the heater controls manually. It’s all electronically controlled and automated. You can’t simulate it. So when the system is flushed or re-filled there is no other way to actually just drive the car. When the temperature rises the system will notice and the electronics will start opening up the various heating valves. You will notice as you will get a low level coolant warning. Just fill up once or twice and everything will be fine.


Back home I quickly discovered the Jaguar needed new tires. I put new tires on the Jaguar about 3-4 months before we left Kansas City. That was in 2012. Tires are cheap in the USA. First time I took it for a drive in the Netherlands one got punctured. So it needed replacing. That's when I found out Michelin Sports in the USA are different from those in Europe. So I ended up with 3 USA and 1 Europe Michelin Pilot Sport. I didn't like it, but then I wasn't going to drive the Jaguar much as we lived in Delhi.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13707535_616744828483372_7537442080241473035_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13782188_616744831816705_8952921146519080182_n.jpg

Back in the Netherlands in 2016 I find there is a problem with the old USA tires due to the long storage. Deformation, the car kept vibrating at speed. So three new Michelin Pilot Sports to compliment the other one. The USA set, cost about 60% of the European one, but unfortunately did not get much use of them. Back on the road again, alignment done as well and new tires!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13690766_613614808796374_9003864790221304767_n.jpg

Putting new tires on, alignement, these are some of the jobs I can't do myself. Alignment, still even with all this specialist gear it does remain a bit of a black art.

My eldest son Luc and me had a great time at the Oldtimer Grand Prix in Germany In August 2016. See http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/intl-m...g-germany.html.

The Jaguar did great on the run down to the Nurnburgring. We hit the Autobahn very early morning. With no traffic and no speed restriction I put the hammer down. Lifted at 251 km/h on the GPS and the car was still accelerating! But there was some traffic and in all honesty I ran out of bottle!
On the run back home the Jag did fine too. Fine being a relative term of course. This is an old British car filled to the brim with wonky electronics. Sure enough it threw a few wobbles. Such as, blinking the head lights switched off the radio and the traction control!

So the next morning I fired up my old trusted Auto enginuity OBD analyser on my wife’s laptop and dove into the electronic depths of the Jaguar.
Couple of error codes that could easily be resetted with the OBD analyser.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13912492_627365894087932_134153524687062713_n.jpg

One of the codes indicated problems with the voltage. As I had only just installed a new battery I suspected more a problem with corrosion on electrical terminals. So I took every connector apart, every earthing point, pulled and pushed back every relaid and fuse. This car has well over 100 fuses in six different fuse boxes in six different location scattered all over the car. More than fourth earthing points! Dozens and dozens relais scattered all over the car in some very unusual and inaccessible locations.

Anyway, after taking everything apart, cleaning and putting everything back together with dielectric grease, it fired up first time with no error codes and all electrics appeared to be working. Good start, keeping our fingers crossed.


One nice summer evening end of September, I got a call from my spanner mate Peter: 

Houston, we have a problem!

Peter has two Spiders. One of these is used by his son Marco. For some reason Marco could not get it to start and he and his wife were supposed to set off the next morning on a holiday touring for a few days in the Spider. So both Peter and me loaded up our respective Jaguar with as many tools and parts as we could put our hands on and drove over to Marco’s home, about 30 minutes from where we live.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14034837_629110403913481_8417270558571656690_n.jpg

Peter and Marco had fixed a fuel system problem a few months earlier and at first glance it appeared we were not getting any fuel at the injector rail. (Easy to check, just undo a bolt or so, loosen the pipe/tube, turn on the ignition and see if fuel sprays out. Which it did not. Car was turning over fine, just not starting. Spark plugs were sparking too.

So we started by checking the fuel pumps. The spider has two. One inside the tank and one underneath. So we jacked up the car, put it on axle stands, few tires under it for extra precaution. Took the fuel level sensor and fuel pump out of the tank and fixed some wonky wiring.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14055066_629110383913483_6352596329219817231_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-13934728_629110377246817_7993988865309268683_n.jpg

It took us a while, but in the end we figured out that Marco, who had been fiddling with the car before we arrived had taken the distributor cap off and put it back 180 degrees turned. I was actually surprised to find it would fit like that. Learn something new. Getting the distributor cap clips undone is a major headache on a Spider. There is no good access. Peter and I have done it many times and we know exactly where we put our hands, underneath which pipe so the two of us can exert maximum pressure on these blasted clips. Truth be told, every time it gets a little bit more difficult. We are not getting any younger and it is beginning to show.

The next topic is one often seen on car forums all over the world. There are multiple YouTube video’s about and our own TeamBHP has at least one thread on it. It’s all about the ratchet mechanism on your hand brake. When you pull the hand brake, do you let it go, clickety, clickety, clickety, or do you push the little knob? Does it or does it not wear out if you don’t push.

Well, based on my experience with my Alfa Romeo Spider it does wear out! Because this is the third or fourth time I’m working on the ratchet mechanism. I like the sound so I don’t push the little knob in.

Bear in mind that this is just a hobby car, it doesn't do that much mileage and still I have managed to wear out several parts. Till date, just replacing the ratchet fixed the problem. However, this time also the pawl needed replacing. You can still get all these parts without any problems. These days I order just about anything for my cars on line. Gets delivered the next day.

The pawl is fixed with two rivets! Where do you find two rivets these days? I could only find places that wanted to sell me a minimum of 10.000 rivets!
At long last I managed to find a proper old fashioned hardware store in Delft that sells anything. One nail, one little bolt, one washer etc. They only had one size rivets. Luckily my size! Two rivets please. They even put them in a little paper bag.
Getting at the ratchet mechanism is a bit of a fiddly job. To be honest, on the Spider most jobs are a bit fiddly. I don't think anybody on the Alfa Romeo Design team gave maintenance any thought at all. The main challenge when removing these sort of panels are the electrical systems. You might end up fixing your handbrake, but introducing several electrical problems. So always take very good care not to bend, crack the wires, double check all connectors when putting everything back together. Clean all contacts etc. etc.

So this is how it starts, everything in place

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14329930_642130372611484_3104697151468265829_n.jpg

Next, move the console out of the way and take the middle console of.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14322754_642130382611483_5830658447316863669_n.jpg

This shows how the ratchet is positioned. Note the hand brake switch!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14233190_642131015944753_7508278824714674652_n.jpg

With the ratchet removed

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14322524_642130852611436_238630175158466479_n.jpg

This show how the mechanism inside the tube of the hand brake works. The pawl sits clamped in between these two long metal bracket and hold against the ratchet.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14344915_642130552611466_3623694162920652763_n.jpg

Here you can see I have just filed of the two heads of the old rivets. Next I’ll punch them out.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14238073_642130992611422_6293209915185573845_n.jpg

Here you see the old en the new brawl. It’s difficult to see, but the old one is worn down.

Click image for larger version

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So wonky hand brake fixed . Very happy that all is well again

Another Nice easy relaxing job on the Alfa Spider: Over the years the front bumper had picked up some scratches, dents etc. Partly due to my enthusiastic driving style but primarily because a concrete pillar did not give me the right of way some years ago. Nothing major, but still time to get it fixed.

Got some help from various Spideristi friends. Earlier this week we took it off and brought it to a mate of mine here in the village who runs a paint spray shop. Managed to source some new parts to replace some broken bits. Today it went back on. In all. I must admit it was one of the easiest jobs I have ever done on any car. Everything came off easily, all bolts and nuts turned freely, nothing snapped, nothing got stuck. Amazing.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14725694_663508027140385_27255687136024239_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14681850_663508030473718_403163176926642627_n.jpg


The one thing you have to be very careful with or weary of is plastic bit breaking. Over time, the plastic gets brittle. In case of these bumper, I did brake the side reflectors on both sides. They might have already been broken to some extend, could not see it properly. But I tried to pry them out and they just came away in 2-3 pieces. Luckily, I could just order a new set on the Internet.

Looks great again!

Last edited by Rehaan : 2nd March 2017 at 15:31.
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Old 2nd March 2017, 03:05   #2
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Default re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider

Another little easy project done on the Jaguar.

When I bought it in the USA in 2009, I registered it in Kansas first. No registration plates required on the front of the car. When we moved to Kansas City Missouri I had to re-register it and the DMV gave me two plates. Never bothered with the front one. Never a problem.

Then we moved to the Netherlands and it had to be registered here. And of course it needs two plates. Luckily my car is exempt from the regular huge Dutch plates and I can use the smaller Plates, known as American plates.

At first I just screwed it to the bumper. Not a huge success as the very first car wash ripped it off right away, damaging my freshly resprayed front bumper. So the search for the correct front bumper registration plate holder was on. The Jaguar's front bumper is beautifully curved so that makes it even more challenging. I found one, but it was really for a different size plate.

Never the less that's what I put on as I couldn't find anything better. Functional, car wash proof, but not very pretty. So I took to modifying it. Took the saw to it, cut out a piece, glued it back together, some filler, lots of sand papering and three coats of spray-on paints . At long last I have a very nice looking, perfect fit, registration plate holder on the front bumper.

Hereís how this original plate holder looked like. It fitted well to the bumper, but was way to big for the actual registration plate.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14915627_672616336229554_4220312486484258637_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14947740_672616322896222_2511429270966605968_n.jpg

On the right the original plate holder. Left the modified one, with the piece I cut out.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14956591_672616496229538_9044420123550193562_n.jpg

New plate holder from the top en the front. Perfect fit, if I say so myself.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14955934_672616499562871_3531998482562172137_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-14963240_672616536229534_6042480177809379531_n.jpg



Ok, for the next story I need to explain a little about Dutch road tax and recent classic car road tax legislation.

It used to be that any car over 25 years was fully exempt from road tax. At the time both my Spider and Mercedes were exempt. Then they changed the rule. Politically, because oldtimers were environmental unfriendly. However, endless research in the Netherlands and other western countries shows that the typical classic car does very limited mileage per year. (approx 1500 km/y) However, there was a group of diesel driven cars (e.g. Mercedes W123, 124) that was used as essentially a regular daily car, clocking up huge mileages at no cost!

So they changed the rules. Cars from before 1st of January 1977 (so over forty years) are exempt. For petrol (not diesel) cars build between 1st of January 1977 and 31st of December 1987 they came up with an transition regime. Cars from 1st of 1988 or later will simply have to wait until they reach forty years before they are exempt. Until then, they pay normal road tax.

My two cars, (1982, 1986) that had been exempt fully, all of a sudden became part of the transition regime. Which meant I would get a reduced tariff of one quarter with a maximum of approx Euro 120, BUT it also means you canít have your car on the public road from 1st of December till end of February. If you do, you will have to pay normal road tax, i.e. four times as much. And public road is just that. So you canít even park in front of your house if that is public road. Which for most people it is. My cars are parked in a parking garage some 500-600 meters away so I would have to drive them on the public road to get them on my drive.

The nett effect of this arrangement has been that all owners with petrol cars, previously fully exempt, now under the transition regime either pay the quarterly tariff, find a parking/storage space for three months or pay the full amount. I have yet to meet anybody that is paying the full amount.

Owners of a diesel driven car less than 40 years have no option. They will have to pay the full normal road tax. And on diesels that has and still is, a lot more than on the same petrol car. It did mean that since they changed the rule some 30.000 old (classic) diesel driven cars have been taken of the Dutch roads, nearly all of them have been exported. (Mostly Mercedes W123 and some 124s)

To be honest, I have always approved the government going after the classic diesels that were used as regular daily drives. If you use your car as a daily drive you should be paying all normal fees/tax/insurance etc. The original road tax exempt rule for cars over 25 years was based on the understanding that classic cars do very limited mileage. This stupid legislation affect several hundred thousand classic car owners like myself. I donít even mind having to pay a bit of road tax. But it also means I canít drive them three months out of the year (unless I pay the full, normal amount) I find ridiculous. Admittedly, like most classic car owners, I did not do much driving in the winter. But I always did do a few tours, and I did park at least the Mercedes on the public road and I could work on my cars on the public roads without having to shell out!

Anyway, on November 30th, by the end of the afternoon, I washed, dried, cleaned my Mercedes and Spider. Put 0.5 bar extra pressure in the tires, filled up the petrol tank to maximum capacity, parked them in the garage and put their pyjama on. I do take the batteries out and they go on trickle charge for the next three months.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-15202686_692014084289779_7716295476748255840_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-15203254_692014054289782_3968879750396328131_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-15284906_692014057623115_4245190653373109111_n.jpg


So from 1st of December to end of February Iím down to only one car, my Jaguar and my wifeís Fiesta. Had to take my wife to Gatwick. Nice blast in the Jaguar across the Netherlands, Belgium, France, onto the Ferry and into the UK. Back to Dover to catch the ferry. Slight detour through gorgeous South England. Guess what I stumbled upon. Last time I was here was about 15 years ago with the Alfa Romeo Spider Register on our way to Landsend. The UK Alfa club had invited us for coffee at the old control tower.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-15672725_710345342456653_3629278981594218767_n.jpg

Sometime early January with spanner mate Peter. His Classic Jaguar XJ6 had not run for the last two years.

Amongst others, problems with the ignition. We managed to get the ignition sorted. Started the engine alright, but petrol was spraying out of both carburettors.
So we took them apart, looks like some o-rings were completely perished. New ones ordered. So far we have had lots of hours of fun with this car. Although admittedly more hours underneath it or under the bonnet. Before we went to Kansas City we spend a lot of time on it too, cracked cylinder head. Actually, come to think of it, I don't think I have ever driven this car, ever! Only fiddled with it.
Peter bought this car in the USA, which means that the already crammed engine compartment has a whole host of emission bits and pieces added. You need a degree in plumbing to work on this car and very tiny hands. To be continued.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-15826358_713312728826581_3951616034830217071_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-15873448_713312688826585_4053280475203042558_n.jpg


A few weeks ago, I noticed that some rubber grommets on my Jaguar holding the hydraulic reservoir, were perished. So I went online and found new ones. I paid about Euro 0,50 a piece. Which probably means these are the cheapest part I have bought for any car any time. Easy job replacing it. Whilst at it I decided to clean up the engine compartment a bit more. Also took the head lights of and polished the chrome. I love doing these sort of jobs. Nothing strenuous, but very rewarding when done. Jaguar looks absolutely stunning!

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

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-16730390_739041972920323_172136083575812992_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-16711932_739041952920325_2837837449021646104_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-16807031_739041946253659_5159604112091062099_n.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-16649315_739041522920368_7527044432371382663_n.jpg


Some call me anal when it comes to the details of my cars
I like to call it attention to detail.

So the battery tray and the inlet air filter housing of the Mercedes W123 were a bit rusty. So a few months ago, whilst my cars were off the road, I took them apart. Actually, my inspiration came from TeamBHP Bowman excellent thread about the restoration of his W123.http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/vintag...ml#post4095780

When I read it, I thought, hey, good idea, maybe I should have a go at my air filter as well.

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

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

First, I shot blasted the tray and filter house and all brackets. First time I ever tried my hand at shot blaring. Found a company nearby. DIY Shot blasting would you believe it. You just rock up with your rusty bits. They have all the machinery from little shot blasting cabinets to massive shot blasting enclosures that could hold a complete truck. You pay them Euro 7,50 per 15 minutes of shot blasting. Works a treat!Took me one hour to get all the rust of. One thing, you have to make sure there is no grime and oil left on your parts. It would be absorbed by the grit and very quickly clog up the blasting machine!

Next, three layers of zinc primer.

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

Then three layers of hammerite black and matt black for respectively the tray and the filter housing.

The main challenge were the original Mercedes Stickers on the filter housing. One, the high tension warning was still available from Mercedes. The other one, showing a warning as a new type of spark plug was used on this engine was not available.

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

I learned this particular sticker had only been used for a few months early 1982. In fact the original Mercede W123 part number on the sticker could not be traced by anyone. I must have called and mailed at least fifty clubs, friends, forums etc. Even contacted the Mercedes Benz Classic Centre in Stuttgart. They could not help either.

In the end I trawled all photographs of every 1982 W123 Mercedes for sale on the internet. Let me tell you, there are still a lot of W123s for sale. Luckily I found one, that had the exact same sticker on the filter, nearby at Garage De Veiling, in Schiedam, only 17 kilometers from here.
They were happy to let me take some photographs.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p2242239.jpg

Based on those photographs, a friend of mine, who is a whizz with Photoshop managed to make it into a very presentable picture. Subsequently, I had the picture made into a sticker. So my 1982 W123 remains very, very, very original!!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-jeroen2.jpg

I think the battery tray looks really good in the Hammerite paint. Itís more scratch resistant then regular paint and it has this sort of speckle metal look that I like. I replaced all the bolts, nuts, washers on the tray and the filter with stainless steel ones. These are not as strong as the original ones, but they do look very smart and they donít need to hold much, so thatís fine.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3012340.jpg

The Air filter house came up nice too. After I sprayed on the top coat I took some rubbing compound and rubbed it down just a bit. Looks really smart. And of course, applied my stickers.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3012347.jpg

Iím very pleased with the end result

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3012351.jpg

More jobs to come in the next few weeks on the Mercedes W123. I need to do an oil and filter change. Also, the front shock absorbers need replacing.

In particular the right front one is not working properly. You can actually see the car bouncing a bit more on the right side then the left. Whenever I need to do a job on one of my cars, I will research it to bits, on the Internet, the club forums and with the various manuals I have. The Mercedes manuals are hugely elaborate. I have, amongst others, the American workshop manuals, which read a bit like the W123 workshop manual for dummies. They will mention and show photographs of every little detail you can think of and then some more!

Whenever I need parts I usually phone and mail around a bit. On the Mercedes, actually I still get quite some parts from Mercedes Benz themselves. But sometimes their prices are just silly. They were asking over Euro 400 for a pair of shocks. In the end via a friend on the W123 forum I found an Internet shop in Germany. They sold me a pair of original Monroeís at Euro 75. That also included delivery to my home in the Netherlands. To put Euro 75 in perspective. Euro 75 will get me a full tank of petrol on the W123.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-16700695_738255192999001_1065930411916773063_o.jpg

I was surprised to read that Mercedes advised to replace shocks one by one. I have always replaced shocks on any car by pair (left/right). Anyway, at this price Iím not going to be cheap. Iím replacing both. Should be very straightforward as the shocks sit next to the springs, not inside them. One nut on top, two bolts at the bottom is all. Or so the manual suggest. One thing I have learned, when working on cars theory and practice are two very different things.

Also, my eldest Son Luc, VW Golf GTI needs a service and we will be doing that in the next few weeks.

On April 1st, Peter and me are flying over to Birmingham for the day to attend the Classic and Car restoration show. http://www.necrestorationshow.com

We will probably bring a few suitcases for all the tools and bits and pieces we are likely to buy!

Going forward I will try to capture some more details on the various jobs.

Enjoy Jeroen

Last edited by Rehaan : 2nd March 2017 at 15:30. Reason: Rotating a pic :)
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Old 2nd March 2017, 23:28   #3
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Default re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider

When I recommissioned my Mercedes W123 after itís three months winterstop I noticed that the oil level was quite low. Pretty much on the minimum level.

Normally I do my own oil changes, but as this car had been in storage since 2009 with the occossional week or so per year on the road, the last oil change had been done by my friend where the cars are stored. When we checked the paperwork we were not quite sure what kind of oil he had put in. Most likely a 10W40 semi or full synthetic oil. I would never have done that, but thatís what we could trace.

No matter what people say about oils on the internet, I just donít like the idea of mixing. So if I add something on top of something Iím not quite sure what it is, I get uncomfortable.

So I decided to do a quick oil change. There are various reasons I like to do even these sort of pretty mundane kind of jobs. I actually do enjoy them, its part of fiddling with my cars. The other thing is when you work or your car, or clean them yourself regularly, you will notice things. And you can start fixing things before they develop in major headaches and become a major drain on your wallet.

So I went out to get some oil and a new oil filter. According to my manual it requires 5.5 litres, so I got 6. Notice the oil filter, this is a so-called cartridge filter element that fits into a permanent filter housing on the engine. These days most filters are of the canister type, that simply screws on to the engine.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022353.jpg

I do most of my jobs simply in front of my home.

Here you see my W123 on our front drive. I put it with itís wheels close to the edge of the pavement. Which means I can get underneath the front of the engine very easily. The oil drain plug on the M102 engine is located on the left side of the sump.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022357.jpg

In order for the oil to drain properly you need to ensure that the oil is at working temperature. Which means drive your car for 15-20 minutes and then drain the oil immediately. In order to facilitate draining the oil, most manuals will advise you to remove the filler gap as well. That is good advice. However, I would add, put a rag over the oil filler opening. Your working on the engine and you donít want anything dropping into your engine by accident!!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022354.jpg

Next make sure you have something to catch the oil. I have several of these oil drain tanks. Slip them underneath, some more rags and old papers and undo the drain plug. Make sure the oil doesnít spil. Itís bad for the environment, but in general I believe in not making a mess. Also, if I spell oil in front of our home, my wife is likely to get very upset with me!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022355.jpg

This is how a typical drain plug (should) look. Notice the copper O-ring which is how it seals the drain opening. Always check the drain plug for dirt and or particles. Some are magnetic at the end and if you find any small metal particles you know you might have a big problem!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022356.jpg

You should either replace the copper o-ring for a new one, or do a very simple heat treatment. I have boxes full of spare parts. But a very simple and effective way is to heat the o-ring till itís red hot and then throw into water. That will ensure it will be restored to itís more or less original properties. The copper needs to be slightly plyable. After it has been compressed, it will have lost that. Simple heating it and cooling it down in water restores it.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022362.jpg

Actually, sometimes on the newfilter you might also get a set of new rings.

Here is what the oil filter looks like on my W123. Simple job of opening it up. Just undo the bolt on the top and out it comes.

If your engine has one of these modern canister filters you have to unscrew the whole filter. Sometimes this type of filter can get pretty much stuck. It usually means they were overtightened when fitter. You tighten them just be hand. To get them off you can buy all sorts of handy filter wrenches. If all fails, just ram a screwdriver through it and use it as a lever to rotate the filter.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022358.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022361.jpg

The old filter was very dirty. Not sure if you can tell from this picture, but at the left you can actually see a lot of debris caught in the filter. Not sure, but this could well be the effect of using a (semi) synthetic oil on an engine that used to run on mineral oil.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022360.jpg

Here the bottom of the filter top, next I have replaced the O-ring. This filter comes with all copper and rubber O-rings. Very convenient.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022363.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022364.jpg

Once all oil is drained, old filter removed, make sure you clean around the drain opening and the top of the filter. Put the drain plug (donít forget the o-ring) back in and start filling up! I always pour a few litres through the filter housing as well. I will run through as the filter is quite high up on the engine. But at least the filter will get properly soaked and some oil will remain behind. The thing is, when you start you wonít oil pressure to build as quickly as possible. With an empty filter that takes a few seconds. If your engine uses these canister type of filters itís easier. Just pour oil into it, also apply a bit of oil on the rubber sealing and screw it back in place.

Check the oil level, fill up to maximum. Close the oil filler cap, make sure you take away all rags and tools from the engine compartment.

Start the engine. If you have a pressure indicator, it should start to move within a few seconds. Check for leaks at the filter and the sump. If all ok, take the car for 20 minute test drive. Heat up the oil properly. Stop and recheck the oil level after 5 minutes or so and top up if needed.

I noticed that my oil pressure, during idle remained fairly high. About 2.5 bars. On these engines at idle the pressure usually drops to 1 or sometimes even less. When you just touch the throttle it will get pegged on itís max of 3 bar.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022367.jpg

I hooked up one of multimeter that can measure engine RPM. Looks like my engine is running a little high on idle. About 960, where it should be around 800-850 RPM.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022368.jpg

So, that will be the next little job. If I lower the idle RPM will the oil pressure drop to itís normal idle value?

Anorak fact:
We have a thread about belt driven versus chain driven camshafts. How can you tell which one is on your engine? Well, there are some tell tales on the outside of the engine. But on some engine you can actually see the timing chain through the oil filler opening.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022366.jpg

Jeroen
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Old 3rd March 2017, 10:15   #4
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd March 2017, 11:54   #5
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Just read the article in one shot. I simply envy you sir. You have the dream lifestyle of many car lovers. Please keep sharing such wonderful posts.
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Old 3rd March 2017, 19:20   #6
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

I am just loving this journey and this thread. What a fantastic chap you must be Jeroen.
Must come and see you one day and your cars too, in the Netherlands...

There is SO MUCH I am learning from this thread. Most of all, I am marvelling at Your Patience, Passion and Drive as a real Auto Aficionado/ Enthusiast!
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Old 4th March 2017, 23:53   #7
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Today was a bit of a grey, rainy day. The wife was busy doing her own thing, so I had the day to myself. Decided to pop down to Antwerp. This weekend they have a Classic Car Show! My wife is very strict, Iím not to buy any more cars!

I can look all I want, but I canít bring home any more cars. That is, untill we move to our new home, I hope. As you can imagine the new home is going to have a very large garage indeed!

http://www.siha.de/acs_uk.php?m=1

Antwerp is about 1 hour 15 minutes drive from where we live. Just pointed the Jaguar south and put the pedal to the metal! Easy drive, with one quick Starbuck stop at the Netherlands/Belgium border. No border stops. Even before we had Schengen, we had the Benelux who did away with the internal borders between The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg for as long as I can remember. So I passed the border doing 130-ish km/h.

It has been more than 9-10 years since I last visited this show. A few months ago I visited the classic car show in Brussels. That was a pretty big setup and some magnificent cars and lots of other stuff as well.

The Antwerp show was fairly small, only four halls. Some nice cars and the usual stalls selling all sort of stuff, from key-rings to tools, books to spare parts, clothes etc. And of course, lots of classic cars and some young timers too.

Obviously, I like looking at the cars. But I also enjoy browsing the market stalls.
My first stop was at Info-Instruments. They specialise in car instruments. From the ultra modern to the very old. They can do full restorations on any instruments.

When I bought my Alfa Spider the speedometer very quickly developed a problem. So I took it out and brought it to these guys, they sorted it and calibrated it as well. Been fine ever since. Theyíre a good and pleasant bunch, very professional. They always give me a free cup of coffee too!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042371.jpg

All cars, any cars will have a multitude of rubber seal around doors, windows, trunks, fuel cap etc. No matter how well you maintain your car at some point in time those rubbers will perish. And these guys can get you just about any rubber, any shape that you can think of.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042373.jpg

Then there are endless market stalls with car parts. Some specialise in say a brand (e.g. Peugeot parts), others might specialise in filters or electrical parts. And some just bring parts of undistinguished heritage by the bucket load.

I will always trawl through this baskets and these stalls. Never know what you might pick up. I found two nice sets of indicator lights for my Spider. Always good to have a spare set, but the guy was asking Euro 340 for the pair. Not sure what he was smoking. These bits arenít cheap but I can order them online, brand new for half. So that was a no-sale moment.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042374.jpg

All the cars I have ever owned are from the late 60sí or later. But I must admit I do like the older classics, pre-war. Some gorgeous details:

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042379.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042380.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042383.jpg

You might think that Ferrariís are rare. But at these classic cars shows you will always find more Ferrariís then you can shake a stick at. I donít pay them too much attention. They are out of my price range these days. There are only a few models I really like as well. (e.g. Dino, GTO)

Jay Leno (Iím a huge fan of him) wrote in his monthly column in the car magazine Octane that he has never owned a Ferrari and will never own a Ferrari either. Because they are just to fussy. This from a man whom we can regards as one true petrol head! Even so, Ferrariís or bits of them tend to be interesting if not at least photogenic. Guess what type of Ferrari this belongs to?

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042386.jpg

The one market stall I always spend considerable time at is Chater's. http://www.chaters.co.uk

Amazing collection of books about cars. As I was under strict instructions not to buy a car, I did the next best thing. Bought a book about buying a car. This particular serie is very good. I own several ones. Before I committed to buying my Jaguar XJR on Ebay in the USA I studied the Essential Buyerís guide Jaguar XJR extensively. These little booklets are written by well recognised marque expert. The guy who wrote the XJR version is still active on Jaguar Lover forum. Very knowledgeable. Very approachable, I have exchanged quite some emails with him over the years.

Anyway, I have been looking at Mercedes Pagodaís for a few months. I have begun to understand it needs to be: a European car (USA had different differential), the 280 version and a manual version.

As with everything I should have bought one at least a decade ago. Prices have been rising steadily. These days, I nicely sorted Pagoda will cost Euro 70 - 95.000. A really good one about 95 - 135.000 and the really, really concours like ones go well above that price range. If you buy your Pagoda at the Mercedes Classic Car Centre in Stuttgart, Germany, you will be looking at a price tag of well over Euro 200.000!

Once we get our new home, my idea is to find one that is a bit rough, but has all the essential bits and pieces, the right engine, the right gear box and transmission and buy it cheap and do a full restoration myself. A man must have a dream!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042388.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p30424022.jpg

Another gorgeous detail:

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042389.jpg

Now, these kind of VWís are not my cup of tea at all. When I grew up, several of my friends fatherís had these. I come from a Roman Catholic background and in those days, Roman Catholic families were BIG families!. My mum and dad both came from families with 9-11 kids. And these VW busses could pack a whole Roman Catholic family. Of course, this was all long before the days of air bags, seat belts, crumple zones etc. Nobody had heard of that. You just piled everybody in. Big kids first, then smaller kids in their lap and mum would ride up front with dad with the baby in her lap. As I type this, I realise this could just be India today. But itís good to reflect that in Western Europe it was very much the same only a couple of decades ago.

From a car enthusiast point of view; these VW busses are horrible to drive. They have got a little astmatic air cooled engine (from the early beetles), the engine is in the rear. They are very, very susceptible to cross wind, if not to say down right dangerous when hit by a cross wind. But if you own one, you are in the money! These VW busses are worth a fortune these days!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042391.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042392.jpg

For me, this MG was the star of the show. It was at the classic car club section, so not for sale. I just thought it looked gorgeous!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042393.jpg

If you are into model cars, these exhibitions are a must-do. There must have been at least two dozen of market stalls and dealers selling car models. From brand new, to second hand.

I always look at them. I am no model car collector. I have very nice models of the Spider and the Mercedes. Still on the look out for the Jaguar. Over the years I have picked up some car models that I just really liked. I donít care about the brand or the scale. If I really like it, I might buy it. Got some nice fire engines, lots of little tractors, two London route masters and a very nice steam tractor.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042395.jpg

For those who like that sort of thing, key rings, stickers. As I said earlier, not my thing, but I can see the attraction.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042394.jpg

And more parts

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3042397.jpg

You can meet some interesting people at these exhibitions too. I stopped at one market stall. It was actually more a bric-a-brac / brocante type of stuff, loosely related to cars. It all belonged to a couple well into their 60ís. The lady was Dutch and the gentleman was English. They lived in Yorkshire and travelled all over Europe with their market stall from exhibition to exhibition. They were very interested to hear about my stay in India and the fact that my wife and me still own property in the UK as well. They gave me, very kindly, some very nice old bike magazines and posters.

I might see them again in three weeks time as they will be at the classic car and restoration exhibition in Birmingham as well.

Looking forward to that.

Somehow I managed to take no pictures of the tool market stools. There were several, as usual. I always browse through all the tools extensively. Only bought a new torch. Very bright, LED, with a magnetic swivel base. So easy to stick on the car and light up the engine bay or so.
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Old 5th March 2017, 10:59   #8
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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 main challenge were the original Mercedes Stickers on the filter housing. One, the high tension warning was still available from Mercedes. The other one, showing a warning as a new type of spark plug was used on this engine was not available.

Jeroen
What a lovely thread!

The parts store: In developed nations you can find one such in any major city. Or at least you can take a tireless drive of 200 miles to reach there and come back with all you need. A day out with the boys! Feel like a kid in a candy store; for any hobby. Cars, angling, ham radio, aero-modelling....just say it.

Restoration, time-pass, general upkeep or build one: there is parts, bits and pieces for all. Hope someday India has stores like this too and the mindset; yes, and beyond Mayapuri junkyard.

One question though, why does the spark plug need a L handle and not the standard T spanner? I mean its all about applying a comfortable torque. Any particular reason?? And did you find that special plug? What was special?

Last edited by lapis_lazuli : 5th March 2017 at 11:01.
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Old 5th March 2017, 12:49   #9
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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 lapis_lazuli View Post
The parts store: In developed nations you can find one such in any major city. Or at least you can take a tireless drive of 200 miles to reach there and come back with all you need. A day out with the boys! Feel like a kid in a candy store; for any hobby. Cars, angling, ham radio, aero-modelling....just say it.

Restoration, time-pass, general upkeep or build one: there is parts, bits and pieces for all. Hope someday India has stores like this too and the mindset; yes, and beyond Mayapuri junkyard.

One question though, why does the spark plug need a L handle and not the standard T spanner? I mean its all about applying a comfortable torque. Any particular reason?? And did you find that special plug? What was special?
Thanks,

Living in India it might be s difficult to imagine what the spare parts situation is like in a country such as the Netherlands. Because it is so different.

For modern cars, most dealers will store quite a few parts. Next, there is a very well developed logistical system in place as well. Spares are kept in central locations and can be on site within hours. Main stream garages will get at least two deliveries per day for stuff they have ordered this very same day. All fully computerised. If you punch in your order by 09.30 it will be delivered before 13.00 or so.

If you are very unlucky the part will arrive the next day as it would have to come from somewhere else in Europe. So it’s really unheard of, other than in exceptional circumstances that you have to leave your car at a workshop overnight waiting for parts, let alone for days/weeks.

Then there are parts shops such as Brezan http://www.brezan.nl (sorry all Dutch). Every town will have at least one of these, sometimes several and a few like them. They store vast quantities of parts and consumables. Some of these actually supply the mainstream dealers as well. Again, everything is computerised. When I bought the oil filter and the oil for my Mercedes is bought it at Brezan. There are 4-5 of those within a 30 km radius from where I live.

All you need to do is to remember your car registration number. They type it in their computer and they will see which car you have, VIN and all relevant parts. It will come up with various suggestions for the filter and the oil too. Very convenient. All shops such as Brezan also run a very extensive web shop. Again, on most you just type in your registration number and it will provide you with the exact correct parts for your particular car.

Then there are endless companies, some with real shops, some with web shops only for the classic car enthousiast. I’m lucky, there is a specialised Italian car spare part shop just round the corner from us. So a lot of the spare for my Spider I just go and get on my bicycle! But it always pays to do a bit of research online before going somewhere or ordering online. For instance, fuel filters. My Mercedes and my Spider use Bosch fuel filters. The exact same filter might come in three different packaging, a Mercedes box, a Alfa Romeo box, or a Bosch box. It might even come with three different part numbers as well. And you guessed it, it comes with three different prices as well. For the exact same part, apart from the packaging. (And sometimes you will get the part in the original manufacturers packaging and with only say a Mercedes part number sticker over the original manufacturer.

This thing with entering your car registration number only works in the country itself. Dutch registration plates don’t work on the web sites of German part suppliers. So you have to click your way through various menu’s to find your part. Very tedious.

A then of course, there are car clubs who sometimes stock their own parts. In particular classic car clubs might stock or even commission manufacturing their own parts, especially if it is something very rare. I remember, many years ago when the Dutch Volkswagen importer and mean dealer Pon, donated all the Beetle spare parts to the the Dutch Beetle Club. They sell to their members only.

Same with manufacturer specific tools. Some clubs might purchase them, or a dealer might donate them. And the clubs makes them available to their members.

I’m a member of a Jaguar club. One of the sponsors is an unofficial Jaguar workshop. I know the guy who runs this shop. Extremely knowledgeable, his workshop you have to see to believe it. It’s unbelievable the amount of tools he has. He makes for instance his OBD analyser available to members. You call him, he sends it by courier, so you receive it the same day.

Especially when you own a classic car it pays to know a lot of people. In the club, marque specialist etc. So when you have a problem you can call around, get some advise, or get somebody to help out.

We live in a small village. But there are several garages and a paint shop. I know them all. Around the corner is the dealer from whom we have bought at least 4 Ford Fiesta’s over the last 23 years. I can just walk into their workshop and they will help me or lend me their tools.

Getting to know all these places and all these different people is one of the things I enjoy as part of my hobby as well.

I used to frequent junk yards as well. Even those are fully computerised these days. And there are few left where you are allowed on the premises itself and take off your own parts. It’s big business, so they pick these cars apart, label them, put them in the computer, sell them online or over the counter. Have a look here:
https://www.onderdelenlijn.nl/?gclid...jeChoCqivw_wcB See the big yellow box? That’s where you punch in your car registration number and the computer will tell you what second hand (junk yard) parts they have in stock and how much they cost!

Sometimes your insurance might give you a discount if you allow them to repair your car with second hand parts. It can be a good alternative, or at least cheap. For instance things like headlights, rear lights are ferociously expensive from just about any mainstream car dealer. You can pick them up at 40% of the new price at a junk yard. However, junk yard are the domain of the modern cars, you will not find parts for classic cars.

When we lived in the USA I got a lot of my parts for my Jeep Cherokee from a place called picknpull. http://www.picknpull.com/what_we_sell.aspx

Junk yard as it should be! You rock up in your own car, with your own tools, you pay one dollar to be allowed on the premises and then you come roam around all day. You take off the parts you need by yourself and when you leave you show the parts and they tell you how much you owe them! Spend many happy Saturday’s there with some of my American spanner mates!

I’m not sure why this particular spark plug tool has a L shaped handle. The biggest mistake people make when fitting spark plug is over tightening them!
The only thing I can think of, as Mercedes wanted to draw attention to the fact they had change the spark plug type they made sure the tool looked very different too, in order to ensure people remembered it needed different torquing.

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 5th March 2017 at 13:02.
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Old 9th March 2017, 22:16   #10
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Time for a few more jobs on the Mercedes W123.

Two jobs in pursuit of the perfect engine compartment, a sequel to the work done earlier! I was browsing the internet and I bumped into some beautiful stainless steel clips for my air filter. The ones fitted are pretty old and rusted/corroded. I had not seen these sold separately before, they only costed one Euro a piece, so I immediately ordered a set. Two days later, today, they arrived.

Unfortunately, they are not the correct size. Way too big. Checked the website and my order one more time, but everything looks correct. So Iíll be contacting the seller, see what can be done.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3092410.jpg

The other little job was a hose that had come apart. looked very sloppy.

Itís the hose that connects the air filter with a special attachment on the exhaust gas manifold. Inside the air filter inlet is a thermostatically controlled valve. At ambient temperature below 12-13oC, the valve closes and which means inlet air gets drawn in from around the exhaust manifold, so itís preheated. On some (older) cars you would have to switch this valve manually for what was known as winter operations.

Anyway, the old hose looked really poorly.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3092403.jpg

First place of call, the Mercedes Dealer. Sure they still stock it, but at a whopping Euro 55 (INR 4000).

My quest for original parts was somehow cut short. So I popped over to the local car parts store and bought a very similar hose at Euro 6.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3092404.jpg

Cut it to the right length and voila, instant visual improvement!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3092405.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3092407.jpg

Next I filled up the damper oil reservoir on the carburator. This car is a Zenith-Stromberg CD-1. This type you will find on many cars from this era. There are endless variants, but if the type starts with CD, the adjustment is always identical.

Checking and filling the reservoir is easy, just undo the orange cap on top of the carburator, check and fill with ATF is required so. Mine does use up the oil. But I have never noticed any problems due to it running out of oil.

So the question begs, should or should I not overhaul it. Apparently the most common problem is a leaky membrane, which is fairly easy to replace. You donít even have to take the carburator of the engine. So itís something I will put on my list of things I might want to do.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3022370.jpg

Next, adjusting the idle RPM. As per my earlier post, I felt the engine was running on a too high idle RPM. Which also resulted in a too high idle RPM oil pressure.

So I looked up how to adjust the idle RPM on this particular type of carburator. Fairly straightforward, it has a simple so called idle throttle stop screw. As long as the carburator is adjusted properly you can adjust the idle RPM without having to re-adjust everything else. It doesnít get any simpler than that.

So, I drove the car for about 20 minutes to get everything up to normal operating temperatures. Hooked up my special multimeter, and it showed idle RPM at around 965. Oil pressure at 2.8 bar

This multimeter is a great little buy. I bought it several years ago at Maplin in Ipswich, UK. Maplin is an electronic store and for some reason this one was for sale for, I believe, UKP 10. An absolute steal.

It measures all the usual voltage, amps, resistance etc. But it can also measure frequency, dwell angle and RPM. For the RPM it has a special clamp. You just clamp this around one of the spark plugs leads and thatís all. Simple induction principle, works a treat!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3092412.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3092413.jpg

So I found the idle stop screw. IMPORTANT. When you start adjusting stuff like this, make sure you remember how many turns into what direction you make. If for whatever the reason it doesnít work, itís easy to get everything back into its original position setting.

Put the idle RPM at around 800 (meter show 798) and the pressure dropped to 2.0 bars.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3092418.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3092419.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3092420.jpg

Job done! So now Iím going to see if I can get the correct clips for the air filter. Also, I do need to check the valve clearance. I seem to recall that last time I did it, we had a problem with one of the valves. It was a little high on the gap, but worse, we could not adjust it as the little adjustment tappet on the rocker arm was stuck solid. Which might mean I will need to take the rocker arm assembly off. Which is a bit of a job. Stay tuned for more!


Anorak fact:
It takes quite a while for the oil of your engine to heat up to normal operating temperatures. Few cars have an oil temperature gauge. Some have one for the cooling liquid. Once your cooling liquid has reached normal operating temperature it could take another 5-10 minutes before all the oil is at the correct temperature.
When in doubt, drive for at least 15-20 minutes for everything to warm up properly!

On quite a few cars/engine you can actually observe the first opening of your thermostat. As the temperature builds, you will notice the temperature dial going up and up and up. Very often it will overshoot itís normal operating temperature by a few degrees. You will see it creeping past the position it normally sits and then drop back. That is the exact moment the thermostat opens and starts regulating!

On my Mercedes the normal operating temperature is 85oC. But on warming up the engine after stand still, it will go to about 88oC and then drops back to 85oC where it will stay.

Jeroen
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Old 10th March 2017, 08:13   #11
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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 Jereon,

That was a detailed post and thanks for the update! Your passion for cars is awesome and infective. Love how you highlight the car culture in the Netherlands and those are some beautiful cars you got there. Some of the collections you got there reminds me of my visit to my local ducati chapter presidents place. He had a barn full of bikes, majority ducati and was collecting any and every part he could get his hands on. The only difference is your pictures has a more organized collector than him.

Looking forward to more updates and congrats on your guiness world record.

Maddy
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Old 12th March 2017, 00:01   #12
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Today another Mercedes Fiddling day. Neighbour Toon and me tackled a few jobs on our respective Mercedes.

First job, replacing the front shocks on my W123. I had noticed that the shocks had become poorly, especially the right front one. A search across dealers, part suppliers, forum led me to home in on a very cheap, but still very original, set of Monroe shocks, supplied from Germany.

I always research any job first. On line and in the various manuals I own. Typically I will copy the pages I need, so I don’t get my manual dirty. Replacing the front shocks on a W123 is a fairly simple affair it seems.

The tools you need for this job are pretty straightforward (or so we thought). A good jack, axle stands, spanners, torque wrench. No other special tools were mentioned in the manuals, other that one special tool to undo the locking nut on the shock, whilst holding the spindle. But I know, based on experience we can without that tool.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112428.jpg

First things first: Safety: In order to get the shocks out the cars needs jacking up. My driveway slopes towards the road. So I put the handbrake on, put the car in gear and put something in front of the rear wheels.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112425.jpg


So here we go:

First you undo the shocks form within the engine comportment. Very simple, two nuts.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112427.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112430.jpg

Next, you need to jack up the car, so the shocks get drawn out from their top mounts.

Car jacked up in the middle so both front wheels are off the ground. I have a very sturdy hydraulic garage jack. Even so, once jacked up I always put axle stands underneath the car, you never know, safety first.

Jacked up the car and took off the front wheels. With the wheels still on the ground undo the wheel bolts first. When the wheels are off the ground take the bolts out. It’s difficult, if not impossible to undo the wheel bolts with the wheel off the ground!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112431.jpg

Next, undo the bottom mount of the shocks. Here we stumbled on a problem. As far as we could see from the various manuals, the foot of the shock was held in place with two simple hexagonal bolts. Sure enough two bolts, but not hexagonal! Luckily, between Toon and myself we raked up a multitude of different ring spanners until we found one that fitted!.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112433.jpg

So here you see an old shock and the new shock next to one another. Whenever you work on a car, take very good notion (better take pictures) on how things come apart!

In this picture I have taken the top half of the old shock off. The sort of pink part you see is the end-stop which prevents the wheels smacking into the chassis, so it limits suspension travel. On the new shocks we could not check this, so I trust this is built in (!). You will also notice various bushes, nuts, washers and rings. Make sure you understand where each part goes and how it is mounted. We made a mistake with the rubbers at first. The new shocks come with two rubbers. At first glance they seem identical. However, one has a more flatter part on one side and this is the one that is mounted on the underside of the shock absorber mounting plate. We got it wrong and I only noticed when I was installing the second shock. So we had to redo the first.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112432.jpg

Also, you will notice that the mounting bracket on the old shock sits at an angle. So we had to put the new one into a vice on Toon’s work bench to put it into the exact same position. It would have been very difficult to mount the shock and put the retaining bolts through otherwise.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112434.jpg

Here is me working on getting the new shocks in place. Bit tight, but I managed!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112436.jpg

Once the shocks are attached at the bottom, you lower the car again, ensuring the spindles poke through the chassis mounting plate. Put the appropiate rubber in place, plate and locking nuts. The whole things get torqued down at 20Nm.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112439.jpg

Job done!

I drove my car for a few kilometers and was very pleased with the result. However, with new shocks at the front, it also became more apparent that the rear ones are in need of replacing as well. So I will research that this week on what I need and how to do it. Stay tuned!

Next, we took to Toon’s car. His is a very nice W123 280 Coupe. By sheer coincidence we bought our Mercedes from the same place. Have a look:

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

Toon bought his W123 some time after I bought mine. He liked the idea of owning an old classic car, he also wanted to have a car to fiddle with and to drive with. Classic Mercedes it is then!

Toon wanted to refresh the cooling liquid. However, when he tried to start his car, it wouldn’t fire up. It took several tries and a lot of throttle to get it to fire up and to keep it going. We suspected the cold start mechanism.

But first we decided we wanted to change to cooling liquid. Again, a straight forward job. It’s best done with the engine not warm. Also, open up all cabin heater controls!

On the W123 there is a simple plug at the bottom of the radiator you simply undo: Toon unplugging the radiator

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112440.jpg

However, on many Mercedes engines the engine itself would also have a drain plug. It’s really important to undo the engine drain plug as well, as most muck and grime is likely to collect in the engine.

So here Toon is getting ready to slide under his Mercedes. Notice the jack and the axle stand for safety. The engine drain plug is a bit of a fiddle to get at. In the end I managed to undo it from the top and pushing my arm down the exhaust manifold. It does mean cooling liquid sprays everywhere!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112443.jpg

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112444.jpg

Cooling liquid is nasty stuff. It’s also toxic. So in the Netherlands you are not allowed to flush it out through the drains. You have to collect it and take it to a (chemical) waste disposal.

Toon likes to get the original Mercedes coolant liquid. Still needs mixing with water. According to the instructions this could be regular tap water. Which I thought was a bit odd. But that’s what zhe Germans say, so we follow it to the letter.

Here is Toon refilling the system. Note that it is not mandatory to do so by using an official Mercedes bucket. Toon was given the bucket as a freebee by Mercedes. He must be using more Mercedes parts than me!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112449.jpg

Once the radiotor is filled to the appropiate levels, close the radiotor cap, start engine and let it run for a minute or so. Check coolant levels and add if needed.
Normally, you would take a test run and get the engine up to normal operating temperatures, thus ensuring the thermostat opens as well.

However, we wanted to investigate the difficult cold start problem before doing the test run. We both suspected something amiss with the various cold start components. This engine has various bits that help the cold engine start. There is a valve that injects more fuel, another one adds air, various other sensors and lots of tubing and even some electrical bits and pieces.

In order to get a better view of all these bits, the air filter needs to come off. On this engine a 30 second job. Toon took the air filter off and I noticed that a hose had come off that shouldn’t. So the question was, had that hose come unhooked before, or did we accidentally pull it off as we took off the air filter.

Only one way to find out. Re-attached the hose, re-installed the air filter and started the car. Fired up right away. So, this particular hose must have come undone. (despite the hose clamp). So the engine was drawing a huge amount of false air.

So all was left was the test drive. After refilling the cooling liquid make sure you leave the heater controls fully open and drive the car till it reaches it’s normal operating temperature. Thus ensuring the thermostat has opened as well. See my earlier comments on how you can check/verify the opening of the thermostat.

Then stop the car/engine and check the level one more time and check for any leaks on the two drain plugs. On Toon’s car the cooling liquid level had dropped just a few millimetres so we just left it. Here a final picture of the W123 280 engine with the air inlet filter removed. One of the old Bosch injection systems. Very reliable, near indestructible. Over the years I have come across several problems. But in 8 out of 10 cases it’s a hose or similar becoming dislodged or brittle and therefor cracked that causes false air to be drawn. In many cases it can be diagnosed by letting the engine idle and shaking and tugging at all the bits and pieces. If the engine RPM changes, you have likely found the leaking part/connection!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112451.jpg

Job done!

Tomorrow my eldest son Luc is coming around with his Volkswagen Golf GTI for a regular service. So stay tuned!

Jeroen
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My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3112450.jpg  


Last edited by Jeroen : 12th March 2017 at 00:06.
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Old 12th March 2017, 23:21   #13
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

Today my eldest son Luc came around with his 1999, Volkswagen Golf GTI. He bought it about two years ago from his friend Mike. We have known Mike for a long time as Luc and him went to the same primary school and Mike still lives in our village. All of Lucís old school mates used to spend many hours at our home. We must have fed them a billion times as well. Nice to see them coming to visit us from time to time. I still see Luc, Mike and all of their friends as ďboysĒ, but of course these lads are all in their 30s! Shows my age probably!

Anyway, Mike is very, very particular about his cars. So this Golf was maintained to incredible high standards. Even at 235.000 km there is nothing wrong with it. We more or less followed the standard VW recommended service items.

First we changed itís oil. The one problem is this car is lowered and even before that it was a low car. I could not even get my workshop garage underneath it. We used the VW jack and put an axle stand underneath it, safety first. Car leans over to the right, which is fine, because thatís where the oil drain plug sits on this car.

Again, we do all these jobs, just on our driveway/front of our home. We do need to make sure we catch all the oil and get it recycled.

The oil filter was difficult to get off, I had to use one of my special oil filter wrenches. See below picture, you see it lying on the newspaper. Always fill the new oil filter with oil, put some oil on the gasket and screw it back in place, only hand tight!!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122453.jpg

Next was the cabin filter. Very easy to get at and high time it got renewed!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122455.jpg

We also took the air inlet filter off. Obviously, at some point in time when Mike still owned this car, he had replaced the regular filter with a proper K&N filter. Now the car forum on the Internet are full of endless discussion on whether these K&N re-usable filters are any good. Either you think they are, or you think they donít. There is no middle ground.

I like them and I have one on my Jaguar as well. You have to use special filter cleaner, wash the filter in clean tap water, dry it out and re-oil it. That little job alone takes 3 hours although most of the time is waiting for the filter to dry out. So itís one of those jobs you want to do first. Or at least get it to the stage where you are leaving the filter to dry so you can tackle a few other jobs in the mean time.

It was very much Luc and me doing the jobs and Mike supervising. It used to be his car, but he still wants to make sure it is looked after well!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122457.jpg

Next we took the engine protective cover off, and checked the spark plugs. Actually, there was quite a lot of oil around the plugs, which indicates a leaking seal on the rocker cover. Itís not a big thing, so we decided just to leave it for now.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122459.jpg


I just got myself a brand spanking new OBD scanning tool. Prior to Luc arriving I had already experimented on my Jaguar and my wifeís Ford Fiesta. Hooked it up to Lucís Golf and run all the diagnostics. Came up clean! Then we used it to reset the oil change /service/ interval indicator. I can actually, via the scanner set the interval time in kilometers and or weeks. Pretty cool!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122460.jpg

As I said earlier, whenever I do a job on a car, I like to research it on forehand. This time I left that to Luc, it;s his car after all. Just to stimulate him in this approach I got him a Haynes Workshop Manual for Christmas last year. Here he is checking something.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122464.jpg

This engine really needs it drive belt replacing, but that was one job we didnít do yet! On the list to be done. We did do all the usual checks under the bonnet. Various levels, hoses etc.

Also, I wanted to make sure all the brakes were ok. So we took of the front and rear left to measure the pads and rotors for correct thickness.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122466.jpg

Luc had never used a caliper, so I showed him how to read it:

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122467.jpg

Actually, depending on the state of the actual rotor this type of caliber might not be ideal. It all depends on how deep the rotor has been worn down. But they were fine. So were the pads.

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122470.jpg

Truth be told, you really donít need to measure that precisely. When you get anywhere near the minimum thickness I go for better safe than sorry and will replace the respective parts. But the rotors and pads were all about 75% thickness compared to new. So a long way to go.

Once you have the wheels off, you also have good access to the the various cuffs on CV joints etc. Important to check for wear and tear. These things tear and very soon afterwards you will have a problem as grease will drain out and dirt and grime will build, ruining the couplings. Also, check every piece of rubber for wear and tear. Grab hold of every component of the suspension and give it a couple of good tugs and pulls to check for play. Everything was fine!

So we put the wheels back on. It was actually difficult to undo the wheel bolts. Somebody overtightened them. They were also corroded. So I cleaned the bolts properly and had Luc put them back on and torque them properly at 120Nm in accordance with the Haynes manual

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122474.jpg

In the end it took us about 3 hours to complete the full service. That is probably a bit longer than a VW dealer would take. In our defense, they would put the car on a lift for easier access and they would have a pneumatic wrench for the wheel lug nuts.

Even so, it always amazes me, that even on the simplest of jobs, I end up going through a lot of my tools!

My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Spider-p3122475.jpg

Nice morning with my boys, teaching them a few things and general having a very pleasant time and doing a nice enough job!

Jeroen
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Old 18th March 2017, 18:07   #14
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Default Re: My Car Hobby: A lot of fiddling, and some driving too! Jaguar XJR, Mercedes W123 & Alfa Romeo Sp

This thread is a real treat for a DIY enthusiast like me Thanks for sharing Jeroen.
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Old 18th March 2017, 21:20   #15
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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 R2D2 View Post
This thread is a real treat for a DIY enthusiast like me Thanks for sharing Jeroen.

Thanks, I’m glad you are enjoying it. If you have any question or would like to see a particular job or part or tool let me know and I will see what I can do.

Several jobs and a lot more car fiddling on the horizon:

Spanner mate Peter has received all the parts for his Jaguar carburators. So now we need to agree a day and put them back together and see if the car will fire up and run properly. And check whatever else might need attending. Remember, this car has been sitting idle for over two years.

I have nearly completed a very small modification job to the wind breaker screen on my Spider. Just to please my wife. Without the wind breaker she feels she gets to much wind in her hair. End of April we are heading for France, together with friends from the Dutch Alfa Romeo Spider club. We are all driving Spiders; we will have Coda Tronca’s, One Serie 4 and two Series 3. We will be staying with friends who also belonged to our club but have opened their own Bed And Breakfast establishment. Should be a blast!

I have just ordered new shocks for the rear of my Mercedes and they should arrive this coming week. Also, I need to revisit my front shocks. I noticed I installed the upper disc upside down! Check out the first photo of the top of the shock and when the new one was installed. These discs are curved on the outside. The curve is supposed to go upwards, so the rubber has room to expand. Not a big thing, but I still want it fixed.

I really ought to check the valve clearance on the W123 and most likely will have to replace a rocker.

On my son’s Golf we need to make a decision on the timing belt. I was under the impression it had been changed not to long ago. But his friend and former owner clarified that he had the drive belt changed, not the timing belt!

So we are checking how big a job that is, what special tools we might require and so. When we tackle that job, we will also fix the oil leaks on the spark plug.

This morning Peter and me went to the British Car and Lifestyle exhibition. I have visited this exhibition a number of times in the past and wrote about it earlier:

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

Always very nice. Peter needs to visit these sort of events as part of keeping his market insights current.

Tomorrow my wife and me are visiting another great event:

Capital cars and classics ( http://www.cc-c.nl/#home )

A great event in a unique location in Amsterdam. We are meetin up with another couple from the Spider club. Couple of hours drooling over old and new (super) cars and then a nice lunch.

On 1st of April Peter and me are day-trippin to Birmingham, UK for the classic car and restoration exhibition. Really looking forward to that. And of course, a few weeks later the largest, most amazing Classic Car show in Europe, Techno Classica, in Essen, Germany.

See http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/beyond...ow-europe.html

So, lots of things happening and lots of things to enjoy. For me all part of my hobby and fiddling with and or about my cars!

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 18th March 2017 at 21:21.
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