Wednesday 25 February 2015

Rewiring the Reversing System

Having proved the concept of the reversing sensors I spent today improving everything 

1.  New electrical spade connectors arrived so rewired the reversing switch and made it so it is now only live when the ignition is on and protected by a fuse.

2.  Tidied up all the wiring along the back using lots of cable ties.

3.  Changed power supply to the LED warning display so it comes off the reversing switch so is only live when reverse gear is selected.

4.  Moved the warning display up onto the scuttle.

Good day.

Monday 23 February 2015

Reversing Sensors fitted

I have found that when strapped in I cannot turn my head far enough round to see how close I am to parked cars.  And if I have the top up I am totally blind behind.  So the solution was to fix reversing sensors.

You have to be careful that the sensors have a completely clear field of view so I went for one sensor either side of the number plate and one on each wing.

Here are some closeups.
And then I mounted the display/buzzer at the bottom of the dash.  I may move it up to eye level after testing it for a bit.

This was taken in the garage with the door shut, with 0.8m from the back to the door.

Also in the future I will probably wire up the display to the reversing switch so it is only live in reverse.

Sunday 22 February 2015

Headlight fixed

When the offside headlight started to be much dimmer than the nearside one I assumed it was some corrosion on the bulb holder.  But when I took it apart I found it was a sealed unit.  But it turned out the tried and tested fixing method of "Take it apart and put it back together" worked in this case as it is now fine. 

So now ALL the lights are working.

Thursday 19 February 2015

Wednesday 18 February 2015

A Good Session in the Garage

Having done a lot of driving recently with little or no maintenance being done, culminating in total indicator failure again yesterday, I decided it was time to buckle down and spend some time fixing her.  Luckily the weather was nice and the temperature reasonably high.

First quick fix was to replace the flasher unit with my spare one.  Indicators then worked perfectly, so obviously the old flasher unit had been doused in water once too often. 

Major job was fixing the reversing lights so for the first time ever, I had the car up on ramps at the back and axle stands at the front allowing me to crawl underneath with no problem.   So I inspected everything I could see, and it all looks really good.

I can now see how to access the fuel filter, and replacing the petrol pipe will be fairly easy, although it looked perfectly fine and I haven't has a petrol smell recently with using her on a regular basis so I will leave that for now.

So first task was to find the reversing light.  Turned out to be obvious from underneath and the reason for the failure was also obvious as one of the wires has snapped off.   

Unfortunately it used a very small spade connector rather than the normal ones I have.  Luckily I managed a temporary fix by soldering the wire to the existing spade.  I will get some replacement connectors and do a proper fix next time the car is up on the ramp, as well as making the 12v feed ignition controlled rather than direct off the battery (Leaving her in reverse gear parked on a hill drains the battery at the moment).

 While I was under the car I decided to fit a guard over the handbrake mechanism.  As you can see from this photo it is totally exposed, and if I ever get around to replacing the exhaust mounting, it would be vulnerable to grounding.
So I riveted a small, shaped,  stainless steel plate over it, so that will hit the road before the handbrake mechanism.

So a really good session, although I need to figure out a better way of lifting the car onto ramps as it took 3 stages with the jack to get the wheels high enough up.   And for the first time in months, all the lights work.  Although one of the headlights appears to be brighter then the other, so will have to investigate that.

Monday 16 February 2015

The Mudflap Saga Continues

After the recent poor weather the car continues to get filthy.  And although the recent change to a 6mm mudflap was working it still wasn't preventing mud from accumulating on the body and the rear mudguard splashguard.   But then I realised that unlike most cars, where the mudflap is attached to the body of the car, mine was actually attached to the mudguard which was attached to the wheel.  

So whereas on most cars you need an appreciable gap at the bottom of the mudflap to allow for suspension travel  (and it still scrapes the ground on my Volvo on a sharp right turn), I did not have this limitation and could install the mudflap as low as I liked.

So here is next attempt.  I have stuck with 6mm rubber but now it is much longer and clears the ground by only about an inch. Will see tomorrow (weather looking good) if it works.  If not I might have to give up.
I also took the opportunity to fix the indicators, as technically I was driving illegally.  As expected (just the front offside wasn't working, the rest were flashing at double-speed and the bulb was OK) it was a loose connection just inside the nose cone where the indicator wires meet the main loom.  I also took the opportunity to mark the wires with coloured insulating tape so that I don't get the wires reversed when I take the nose cone off (next job on my ToDo list is to improve the lower mounting of the cone).

Later:   Mudflap very successful, dirt and muck along car and on rear mudguard much reduced.  Now I just need to do the other side.

Sunday 8 February 2015

The Weather Improves

At long last the weather was suitable to go out for a spin and do some small jobs on the car.  Still cold but compared with previous days, quite balmy.  

So a short blast through the country lanes.  Had to take it a bit carefully as some of the roads are still a bit damp.  In fact accelerating away from corner a bit too aggressively and I had a very disconcerting 'wiggle' from the back end.   With the car not having moved in 2 weeks, the expected petrol smell was there, but nowhere near as bad as I expected.  If my supposition is correct that the pipe between the transmission tunnel and the filter is absorbing petrol then evaporating off then that would be logical.  I shall see tomorrow if the smell has disappeared.

Checked all the wheel nuts and suspension bolts were still tight.   I never do that on the Volvo, just seems a good idea on a home-built car.   Gave the stainless steel a good clean.  After all the experiments it seems that Windolene is the best thing to use.  And also put Rainex on the windscreen.  The wipers are pretty pathetic so maybe that will improve the situation if I am forced to drive in the rain.

Only major job undertaken was fitting a new mudflap on the offside front wheel.   Back in September (See here) I had fitted a longer mudflap but I was a bit worried it was too flexible.

Turned out I was right, and at speed the flap lifted and even more muck was flicked back along the body and rear mudguard.
So I bought a new 6mm piece of rubber (the previous one was 2mm) and fitted a new stiffer flap.

Unlike a normal car, the wing and mudflap actually move up and down with the wheel, so in theory I could extend the mudflap down till it was almost on the road and that would really guarantee a clean body.  Unfortunately that requires a piece of rubber 230cms long, and it is normally sold in 200mm lengths.  If this still doesn't protect the body I might have to bite the bullet and buy some oversize pieces. 
Next day:   Nice long trip for a walk, and lunch, round Rutland Water.  And this was what the rear splash protector looked like when I got back.
Back to the drawing board.

And to add insult to injury the right indicators stopped working properly.   Narrowed it down to the front right flasher but the bulb is fine so must be a wiring problem.    What fun !  

Sunday 1 February 2015


Would love to take her out for a run, but is much too cold.  And if I did take her out I would have to spend an hour cleaning her as the roads around here are wet & muddy.

Taking of which, I have decided my experimental mudguard flap is too flexible.  At speed it swings backwards and allows all the muck on the road to cover the body and rear mudguard.   So I have bought some 6mm, much stiffer, rubber and will try that.

Also treated myself to a complete new set of fuses that have built-in LEDs that light up when they blow.   Seems like a much better idea than taking each one out to check it.

So when the temperature goes up a bit.......