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1980 Austin Princess
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 307
Location: Kent

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah yes, the hot-starting issue... we'll come to that later in the catch up, at the moment we're still in 2012 here. I did forget to mention that when we looked up the pump specifics it was rated for the 1100/1300 A series engine and that it was mounted upside down, so it was all sorts of wrong.

I wish I had a fuller history of the car than I do, I can piece a few bits together. In the 90s it appears to have been restored by Fenwicks of York and owned by someone with the Fenwick surname, presumably the business owner. It used to live with a white Austin Ambassador for a time too, something I discovered when I found an old eBay advert for the car. It had quite a bit of money spent by owners previous to me at garages. Clearly, the car was loved by a few people in their own way, which contradicts the condition of much of it. I do know from experience just how much of a mess one owner can make of a car in a short period of time so it's possible that things like the bad fuel pump, the brush painted red caps in the engine bay and the copious amounts of silver paint on aluminium parts was down to one 'tinkerer'. Or that could all have been part of the restoration work in the 90s since I never saw the state of the engine bay from that time.

Suffice to say, it's certainly kept me busy!
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Bitumen Boy



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 1499
Location: Above the snow line in old Monmouthshire

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

alastairq wrote:
Quote:
To this day I have no idea what was on the outside of the distributor cap.

Probably the heat-dried residue of countless sparayings of WD40.


Not sure if it's still floating around or if I chucked it out in the end, but for a long time I had an old aerosol can of something or other that claimed to add a thin layer of plastic insulation to ignition components like distributor caps and so on, to "eliminate" problems caused by damp. I don't know if it worked; it never seemed a terribly good idea to me and so I never tried it.

As a stopgap while waiting for a new distributor cap once I did slather the old one along with the HT leads (also due for replacement) with a thick layer of Waxoyl. Looked horrible but it did keep me moving until I received the necessary parts Smile
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 307
Location: Kent

PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

April 2012 and I finally get my first proper look underneath the Princess. The reason for this was trying to get to the bottom of why the exhaust kept blowing at the manifold to downpipe joint.


The exhaust clamps themselves were these fiendish bent metal contraptions that are an absolute nightmare to align and tighten up properly in the space available.


With the exhaust removed from the car, it quickly became clear why it wasn't sealing properly, the flanges on the old downpipe being quite badly distorted.


After some effort, the flanges were straightened out and, thanks to there being more than one pair of hands available, the exhaust was reconnected and the exhaust blow, for a time, was cured.


It wasn't to last, and the exhaust would continue to blow after only a few days/miles before I just resigned myself to getting it nearly sealed and leaving it alone. In the meantime, one of the steering rack gaiters split.


And I restored the text on the fusebox with some enamel paint and a tiny paintbrush. Sometimes we all need an easy win.




Then, at the start of May 2012, I managed to reverse into the house, as you do.


In the course of fixing that, I learned just how thick the respray was on the car and of course, found some more historic bodge.




Happily, the steering rack gaiter was replaced this month too.


To help with the exhaust blow, the missing cast metal bracket was replaced with a bit of copper beaten and bent to shape and this helped the most in preventing the exhaust blowing again.


By June 2012 everything was tidied up again, the paint had been given as much of a polish as it would take after extensive hand sanding with fine wet and dry paper, and it was behaving itself moderately well and doing the best it could as my only car.
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 307
Location: Kent

PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

June would be the month that electrical gremlins began to appear and I would learn that most problems with wiring are down to a poor earth. It was hardlys surprising we were having issues due to how the wiring had been attacked in the past with some interesting solutions to fitting aftermarket items like the tape deck and the rear fog lights.







That was sorted as best we could and the gremlins evicted for a while again. Our first car show to be attended was RAF Waddington and the car performed fine there and back and drew an interesting assortment of opinions. Before the show, a thorough clean was undertaken and a little surprise found under the front bumper.


It still had the key inside and while I didn't keep the little box there, it was nice to have a spare key. The day at RAF Waddington was very mixed weather.


The electrical gremlin reappeared again at the end of July so another go through the wiring was in order. Some extraneous wiring was removed from the old electric fuel pump installation since we now had a mechanical pump installed.


A few smaller items were repaired, and yet we still had bizarre disco lights at the back of the car with no clear cause. Eventually, we removed a light cluster and inspected it to find the chrome plating was the cause of the issue, these clusters ground through the chrome plating on the plastic rather than a separate earth wire.



Since I didn't have a better light cluster to use, the solution was aluminium foil tape and that worked really rather well.
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 307
Location: Kent

PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

August 2012 and the fan had started to make an horrendous noise occasionally. We had thought it was bearings in the motor gone bad. The difficulty was that it was an intermittent issue, so trying to find or make the noise reliably was proving difficult. The cause was a little confusing, somehow the fan blades had made contact with the shroud. I never did get to the bottom of how this happened.


The problem was resolved by fitting a Rover 200 fan which served well until I could replace it with a replacement Princess fan some years later. Then a little later in the month there was a failure to proceed.


Happily not a serious cause. The sealant I'd used where the mechanical fuel pump bolted to the head was the wrong sort and it had started to leak some oil which had then got hot and made alarming smells and some smoke. It was easily resolved with correct sealant and almost completely stopped leaking for a while.

Then there was a little bit of an incident where the Princess wrote off a Corsa.




The Princess was parked on my parent's drive at the time, normally I would park on the road but on the last few visits, I'd had my wheel nuts loosened while I was visiting and because we didn't know who was doing it, deemed it safer to park on the driveway.

Unfortunately, their neighbour managed to completely not see the Princess while reversing onto the drive (shared access), and smacked into the Princess hard enough to shove it several feet down the drive and cause enough damage to his Corsa that it was written off. This is the opposite corner to the one I'd just repaired after my own mistake with distances.

Fortunately the damage was superficial to my car. A bit of a dent, some damaged paint, and a bent bumper bracket. Some time with improvised hammer and dolly, paint stripper, and sandpaper, and I had the rear end somewhat back to the original shape again.


Before I could repaint it, I was finding other areas were the old respray had failed too, it was all quite disheartening at the time. It turned out the old respray had been done badly, it was coming off quite literally in sheets in places where it simply hadn't bonded.




There was nothing for it, this was one of those jobs that was going to get a lot worse before it could get any better and very soon, the car was looking like this as I tried to get to the bottom of the problems on just one panel of the car.
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