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Daily Driver Challenge
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 2769
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alanb wrote:
Perhaps this goes to prove the theory that cars are more reliable the more they are used.


So true. I used to drive my GT6 every day for many years. When I stopped using it on a regular basis I had no end of reliability problems.

Likewise, my old Marina 1300 may have been primitive and far from impressive in almost every department - but it was the most reliable car I have ever had and we covered over 100,000 depressing miles together.

I think old cars that are used regularly have a way of letting you know if something is not right and usually give you plenty of warning that they are going to play up. Wink
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peter scott



Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 5981
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it applies to most things in life, "use it or lose it!"

Peter
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 131
Location: Middlesbrough and Kent

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's ever been the case with all the cars I've owned. The more they're used, the happier they are. Keep on top of the small jobs and the big jobs just don't seem to happen.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 2769
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course if you go back before WW2 cars were generally more susceptible to instant catastrophic failure. The Austin Seven for example would trundle around for many miles without trouble and then the crankshaft could break without warning. It is a thought that crosses my mind when ever I take out my Swallow.

I think the reliability of the Morris 8 series was something of a revelation in it's day.
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Ashley



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 1431
Location: Near Stroud, Glos

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ray White wrote:
Of course if you go back before WW2 cars were generally more susceptible to instant catastrophic failure. The Austin Seven for example would trundle around for many miles without trouble and then the crankshaft could break without warning. It is a thought that crosses my mind when ever I take out my Swallow.

I think the reliability of the Morris 8 series was something of a revelation in it's day.


It was a successful repís car, which is a good way to ensure reliability. I think they were one of the best prewar cars.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 2769
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being a garage owner, my Dad knew more than most about cars and he had several Morris 8s. He started with a series one open tourer then a series one saloon, then a series two saloon then a couple of series Es. I learned much from the 8 and I still have a soft spot for them.
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 131
Location: Middlesbrough and Kent

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It must have been the 1950s or 1960s that my late grandparents ran a Blue Star garage. My gran used to tell me about how she'd operate the pump to fill up customer's cars, and how to change a tyre with tyre irons. She was very hands-on like that, no-nonsense sort. The first 'proper car' I remember her telling me they had was an Austin Sheerline, something my grandad traded in for a removal van, much to my gran's annoyance, because it was cheaper than paying someone else to do the house move. I don't know that my gran ever had a driving license, I certainly don't remember her driving a car, but I do know she used to drive a crane in, or shortly after, the war. She wasn't qualified to drive a crane, she just said she could do it and they gave her the job and, as she put it, she made sure she learned how it worked pretty quickly.

---

Princess Update end of Week 12:

All systems normal, as usual, with one exception. A peculiar wubwubwub noise and a vibration through the passenger floor, an occasional vibration through the brake pedal under heavy breaking.

Today being the first day of Week 13 means the following are identified as part of this week, rather than last week. The peculiar noise and vibration could be a failing wheel bearing as there is some slight play in the passenger front one and the noise is localised there. The other peculiar thing it did was on setting off home today, the starter motor decided to drag after the car had started, and then behaved normally once I got moving, I'll keep an eye on that and hopefully it won't require replacement or another rebuild and was just a random occurence. I'm not superstitious, but this is Week 13 of the experiment so...
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 131
Location: Middlesbrough and Kent

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

End of Week 13. Late again, this time because I've been unwell.

No oil and coolant usage as I've come to expect.


Don't panic! The suspension hasn't broken, we just decided to give it a check. We'd both noticed the rear passenger side sometimes seemed to be sitting a little lower, by maybe an eighth of an inch, if that. I'm a firm believer in doing my best to do preventative maintenance if I can so the bills can be kept low and big repairs avoided. So, Mike got out the dalek and started by flushing the displacer on that corner. The fluid that came out was green, but had some brown-ish sediment in it. Reinflated back to the requisite pressure with fresh fluid and it seems fine. The other corners were done as well and while the driver's side was very clean, the passenger side fluid was noticeably dirtier. We're putting it down to being the side that does the most work, what with it being curb side, so it's likely just flushed more stuff around inside.

It's about the right sort of timescale and mileage to do a check after the last service on the suspension anyway and we found it had all settled out a bit lower than it should. Reinflating all four corners to the requisite pressure has improved the ride and appears to have levelled the car out again, so we're hoping it was just that things had settled from use and needed a refresh. Certainly something to keep an eye on, other things keep getting in the way of me affording to get a set of displacers regassed, though that is on my shopping list for the future.

While Mike was doing the suspension, I was sorting out the rebuilt carburettor that a friend had done for me. This was originally so covered in grime and muck I wasn't entirely sure it was salvagable, but after replacing basically every part that can wear out, it was returned to me as good as new. Perhaps even a little too nice! Certainly made the rest of the engine look like it could do with a clean.


The only issue was the float wasn't set quite right - EDIT: actually, this wasn't the case, just what I believed it to be at the time, as you'll see shortly - and rather than faffing taking the carb on and off (which is incredibly annoying because of where it's located), I cheated and took the new float out and refitted the old one which is set correctly. Ideally I was going to fit this new carb and set it up at my friend's place, which would have made things easier, but after weeks of clashing schedules it was determined to post it out to me. At some point I'll either swap the new float in set to the correct height, or I'll totally forget and leave it as it is.




One annoying thing I noticed on cleaning the car recently is that the paint around the side repeater on one side is lifting. I have no idea why, it's not doing it anywhere else, I'll just have to clean it back and repaint it. EDIT: it was probably less than perfect preparation, though I don't recall rushing this particular area any more than the rest of the wing.


Everything sorted, we could go home. I was having an issue with the throttle not being very responsive, which was a little strange. Disconnected the throttle cable and held the engine end while Mike operated the pedal end and the cable sorted itself out. Not sure how, but it seemed to have got bound up inside the sheath somehow. Once reconnected, normal throttle was returned. With the suspension serviced and the new carb, the car rides much nicer and accelerates much better. The occasional hunting/flutter thing that it would do is gone, and there's no hesitation setting off. I will of course monitor things over the next few miles to see if things stay like this, but initial signs are promising.


The biggest change this week was fitting that newly rebuilt carburettor at the start of the week by way of preventative maintenance, which led to some problems. Initially this was a little frustrating as the float behaved as though it was stuck, initially solved by swapping out the new float for the original. However, a drive the following day resulted in several failures to proceed with the same sticking float symptoms. A simple matter of pulling over, letting the excess fuel drain out of its own accord, restarting the car and driving for as long as it would before the needle stuck again. Tedious, but not particularly dangerous since I was so close to home when it happened on slow roads. Fortunately, because it was a friend that had rebuilt the carburettor, it meant we could have a chat about the potential issue and both agreed that while nothing looked amiss it did sound like a sticking float or float needle, so he popped some new ones in the post for me and once they arrived, I could remove the carburettor yet again to have a look.


Initially, nothing appeared amiss at all with the float he'd installed, nor the seat. Everything was still spotless and free moving. It wasn't until I got the replacement needles - fluted type, rather than triangular type - that it became apparent that the needle he'd used for the rebuild was ever so slightly off centre. Honestly, on its own you couldn't really tell, it was only when compared to another needle and in photographs that you could make out the slight deformity. I took three photographs with the needle resting on each side of the triangular body to show how minor a flaw this was.


With the replacement float needle and seat fitted, I also refitted the new float and checked the various measurements before reinstalling on the car.


The result was 10 minutes of happy idling followed by a day of trouble-free errand running. A frustrating problem initially but one that was thankfully easily resolved, it appears. With the new carburettor fitted I can get the car to idle at about 800rpm, the book suggests 750rpm. If I drop the idle below 800rpm, the engine cuts out so the next suspect item is the distributor which discussion has led to the theory that the advance springs may be weak. Fact is, the car is happy enough at 800rpm idle so, for now, I'm happy to leave it alone.

Next on my list is the front wheel bearing, a replacement kit - 2 bearings and an oil seal is required - is £15-20 delivered per side and the workshop manual makes it look like a fairly straightforward job. I have a couple of complete spare front hubs in my stash and I'll strip one of these to get an idea of how difficult the job might be before digging into the car, at least that way I'll have some idea of how likely it is I'll end up immobilising the car.

Since servicing the suspension the car rides much nicer on broken road surfaces and is considerably less bouncy, so I'm glad we did that too. Fuel economy is I suspect improved, but the figures likely won't show this because of the float needle issue, so I'll have to drive and fuel up a few more times before that becomes apparent. Certainly the car accelerates much more smoothly now and slightly more rapidly, which is welcome.
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 131
Location: Middlesbrough and Kent

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

End of Week 14 report.

As has become something of the norm, there's nothing of any real note to report. The new carburettor is working a treat and the fuel overflow issue appears to be resolved. With the milder weather, the car has been starting and running much better. Hopefully the new wheel bearing kit will arrive soon so I can get that done, I'm not having any real problems with the worn one on the car beyond the noise, so I'm keeping the use and speeds down as much as I sensibly can so I don't make the problem prematurely worse.

Other than that I get in and drive wherever I need to go, whenever I want to go there, and the Princess does it.
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roverdriver



Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 1095
Location: 100 miles from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Referring to some of the reliability comments, I'd like to mention that from late 1965 to late 1971, I owned and drove a variety of Model A Fords as daily drivers. Towards the end of 1971 my wife and I stripped the 1928 model that I had been using, and proceeded to fully restore it. We were on a very limited budget but managed to do most of the work ourselves apart from machine work on the engine. Once completed we attended the 1972 International Rally, then continued to use the car as a daily driver until 1990 when it was in need of a re-restoration having covered over 200,000 miles in that time. Some of our trips were fairly long ones, such as Melbourne to Perth in 1975 (5,000 miles return) and Melbourne to Cairns, a similar distance.

Yes we had the occasional, but very rare problem- such as the fan coming loose on its hub on the way to Cairns, but we rarely had an unscheduled stop, and when we did, it was easy to fix the problem on the roadside.

Nowadays we run two Rover P4's and a Rover SD1. All give similar reliability.

I believe that my regular maintenance is one of the reasons for the reliability of our cars, but recent health problems made it impossible to service the two P4's when they were due, so the first time ever, I had to arrange for someone else to do it.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 2769
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

roverdriver wrote:
Referring to some of the reliability comments, I'd like to mention that from late 1965 to late 1971, I owned and drove a variety of Model A Fords as daily drivers. Towards the end of 1971 my wife and I stripped the 1928 model that I had been using, and proceeded to fully restore it. We were on a very limited budget but managed to do most of the work ourselves apart from machine work on the engine. Once completed we attended the 1972 International Rally, then continued to use the car as a daily driver until 1990 when it was in need of a re-restoration having covered over 200,000 miles in that time. Some of our trips were fairly long ones, such as Melbourne to Perth in 1975 (5,000 miles return) and Melbourne to Cairns, a similar distance.

Yes we had the occasional, but very rare problem- such as the fan coming loose on its hub on the way to Cairns, but we rarely had an unscheduled stop, and when we did, it was easy to fix the problem on the roadside.


Nowadays we run two Rover P4's and a Rover SD1. All give similar reliability.

I believe that my regular maintenance is one of the reasons for the reliability of our cars, but recent health problems made it impossible to service the two P4's when they were due, so the first time ever, I had to arrange for someone else to do it.


Sorry to hear you are suffering health issues, Dane. I wish you well.
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 131
Location: Middlesbrough and Kent

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Model A story is an impressive one, and all done in the days before the support of internet forums and online parts ordering. It goes some way to explaining why the Model A was so popular, those who use them even now on a moderately regular basis do tend to report that they are reliable if maintained.

One thing this experiment has definitely proven is that I don't want something new. I'm happy with my old car. What I would like is the budget for something new but spent on this car instead, I can only imagine how exceptional the condition would then be.

New cars come up in conversation now and then when people find out I'm daily driving such an old, unreliable, car. It's not just the cost that's an issue, it's all the stuff. There's so many things on new cars I simply don't want or need that it would feel like a waste of money to invest in one. I get more enjoyment from a nicely engineered car than I do from touch screens and automatic driver aids and while I'll admit, in the winter it is annoying to have to play about with a manual choke, and it is annoying to have to open the window a little to stop the interior fogging up, and it is annoying to not have instant heat in the car... it's less annoying than an electronic handbrake. Besides, if I'm cold I can always put a coat on and that will keep me warm until there's enough heat in the engine for the heaters to take the edge off.

I am aware my attitude towards car ownership is not in step with the present day attitude. I still regard a car as something of a luxury, as something of a priviledge earned, because for me it is. Sadly it's also something of a necessity because of the state of public transport, but that's a story for another day.

Today, cars seem much more disposable. The prevalent attitude seems to be that once a car gets to a certain age it's worn out, regardless of actual condition. There's this daft notion that classic cars stopped being produced in about 1972, overlooking the brilliance of so many cars that came afterwards, and some of the absolute horrors that came before.

I digress. Fundamentally, what I mean to say is that cars are remarkable machines, vastly more capable than most of us realise, and even a rolling antique can get you to work and back every day without trouble if you're willing to do rudimentary maintenance and care, as proven by roverdriver.

I hope that whoever is looking after the Rovers servicing treats them and you well so you can relax, focus on your health, and continue to enjoy them for many more years to come.
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47Jag



Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 1458
Location: Bothwell, Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vulgalour,

Quote:
it is annoying to have to open the window a little to stop the interior fogging up, and it is annoying to not have instant heat in the car...


I ran a Princess 2200 HLS for 4 years and never had such a problem. I would suggest you check the carpets for dampness as misting suggests a water ingress problem. I donít remember the heater being inadequate either. Have you perhaps got a low temp. thermostat fitted? This also might explain why you have fiddle with the choke. Your engine isnít getting warm enough perhaps.

Just a thought.

Art
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 131
Location: Middlesbrough and Kent

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I know where the water is getting in, it's coming through the worn out windscreen seal and the worn out driver's door window seal. I've got a new seal for the former, I'm just waiting for warmer weather before fitting it to reduce the risk of breaking the windscreen since I'll have to reuse the one that's fitted to the car. The interior stays dry, and the fogging up only really happens on a very wet day for the first half a mile or so of driving in that day, after that it doesn't fog up again even with all the windows up. I had hoped to buy a new windscreen and get that and the seal fitted together, I just haven't found the £500-ish required for said screen from Pilkingtons, plus the fitting by professionals. I haven't the best track record with refitting laminated screens so I'm apprehensive about doing it myself, were it a toughened screen I'd already have it done.

The heater is perfectly good for the age of the car. Again, it takes about half a mile before there's enough temperature in the engine to produce excess heat for the heater to make use of. Once the engine is fully up to temperature the heaters are fierce enough that I rarely have the slider above halfway even on the coldest day, so I have no fears there, and the car sits happily at between half and three quarters on the temperature gauge no matter the kind of driving I'm doing.

The observations come more from the fact that most people that encounter the Princess are younger, and used to the instantaneous nature of modern cars. Heated seats, air conditioning, climate controlled zones, they all make a difference to the perception of heating efficiency in a car and it's surprising how impatient passengers can be. Even my Rover 414 took about the same time as the Princess to get up to temperature and the coolant system and heating in that car was in tip top condition.

The choke, likewise, works perfectly fine. In cold weather it's a nuisance, the Rover had spoiled me somewhat since it had no manual choke to adjust and since I haven't the patience every day to sit on my drive with the Princess idling, waiting for it to be warm enough to be fully off choke on a very cold day, I've got into the habit that many do of adjusting the choke on the fly until it can be knocked off completely.

Speaking of water ingress, that was a problem with the car and it did used to get very damp inside. After full exploration I've since repaired the rust holes in all four corners of the floor, the front inner arches, the rear inner arches, the rear screen surround, the C pillars, the lower outer wings (which allow water to be thrown straight into the boot when not sealed), and the boot floor. After doing that, the fogging up is only an issue after very heavy downpours when the car has been sat overnight, so it's not like it's a daily issue any more.

I expect your 2200 HLS was either new, or very well cared for. My poor 1700 HL is neither new and, until recently, wasn't particularly well cared for. We're getting there, though. There's been a lot to get through, but we're on the winning side now and I'm sure things will only continue to improve.
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roverdriver



Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 1095
Location: 100 miles from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the well-wishing, Ray, and the comments, Vulgalour.
Re health- I am over the worst of things. I had sciatica, a very bad back with pinched nerves that caused many other problems, then reacted badly to prescribed pills, and to cap it off was diagnosed with type two diabetes. The pill problem I attribute to having failed Potions at Hogwarts, most of the back problems have been resolved, and I now have the diabetes controlled purely by diet. The remaining problem is that at some stage, and I didn't notice it happening, someone swapped my perfectly good legs for a pair of poorly functioning ones which are requiring some retraining to get them to behave more like my old ones.

I am very fortunate in that the mechanic that I found has the hobby of racing historic racing cars, so is quite sympathetic to older cars and good at it, so the Rovers are being well looked after.

I am now able to drive distances again (at one stage five miles was my limit) and for our wedding anniversary my wife and I did a tour of part of Tasmania. I'll try to write up and post the story of that trip soon.
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