1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

All Princess models specific items.
Vulgalour
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 04/07 Welding

Post by Vulgalour » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:38 pm

The temperature dropped considerably today, so that made progress lots easier. After replacing the missing corner of the inner frame, I marked out and chopped off the bottom of the outer skin where needed. Repairing the inner frame wasn't too difficult, though the repairs even when dressed back are clearly not professional. Really, I needed to dismantle the door into component pieces and spend a very long time fabricating repair sections rather than just making it solid and I genuinely haven't got the time for that. I can redo this all in the future if I desperately want to win trophies at shows, but for a daily driver it's perfectly acceptable.

Anyway, after chopping out another enormous section of the door bottom I could get a section taken from the door I'd cut up and tack that in.
Image20180705-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Then it was just a case of spending an age putting tacks in. Then tacks between the tacks. Then tacks between those tacks. Then welding every third gap between the tacks. All in an effort to keep the temperature of the panel down. This worked, but my panel cutting skills left something to be desired so it's going to definitely need filler when I dress the welds down.
Image20180705-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Dealt with the two minor rust holes in the odd places and then doused everything in rust converter because I didn't have time to get paint on this today.
Image20180705-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180705-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I'm happy enough with it. I would have liked to have done a better job but I haven't the tools, skills or time to do that so I'm going to chalk this one up to experience with lessons learned for the next door I do. It's also only the second door I've repaired so I do need to cut myself a bit of slack. Next job is to dress the welds back, fill on the inside where required, and paint the inside only. I think I'm then going to fit the door to the car before foldiing the lower edge properly and before painting it so that I stand a better chance of getting a nice even gap at the bottom. Then I can drill the drain holes, paint the door, and build it back up again.

I'm fairly hopeful that realigning the wing and door and getting the paint work done will go fairly quickly and the car will very suddenly look very good all at once. I'm going to probably put off repairing the last door (rear driver's) until I've done the lower rear wing repairs and got the new rear lights in. It's all quite exciting now I've got this driver's door sorted.

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Gasman
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 05/07 Welding

Post by Gasman » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:46 pm

Part of me wishes I could weld. It must be a very satisfying job. All credit to you. However, I really don't think I have the patience even if I had the skill...
Martin
Club Treasurer


Owner of:
Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

Vulgalour
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 05/07 Welding

Post by Vulgalour » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:06 pm

Some days, I don't have the patience for it, believe me. Today was nearly one of those days. It's certainly less stressful when the metal behaves and you're not on a deadline to get the job done... suppose that's true of most of these sorts of jobs.

----

Today could have gone better, it could have gone worse. I only intended to do a trial fit of the repaired door and fold the outer skin over. That progressed into dressing back the welds and getting it as close to being read for filler as I could. It's not the finest repair in the world, but it'll certainly do the job. I was going to put the drain holes in, but Mike has the only working drill with him today elsewhere. Still, the door is as finished as I can make it before the pretty stuff now and it should do the job for a few ,more years, I hope.

Image20180706-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180706-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Since the driver's door was off, I thought it'd be a good idea to get the wing stuck on properly. I abandoned my idea of converting it to bolt on because, honestly, I cba. When I started this I could, but now I most definitely cannot, so if it gets replaced in the future I'll be cutting it off and may consider converting to bolt on then. After much faffing and clamps and more faffing and clamps I got the wing lined up as well as it would with everything else and welded it to the cleaned up wing rail. When I've got the drill I'll put a few more welds in on here, so don't worry about how few there are for the moment.

Image20180706-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Got the edge that joins the valance tacked together. I'm not going factory for the join, I'm just welding it smooth and flattening it all off when I'm done. I need to get this on the ramp or stands or something to do it properly, I hadn't the patience today to do more than tack weld it in place.

Image20180706-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The most satisfying bit was getting the headlight surround area stable again. The gaps on both my plastic headlight surrounds have always been terrible and they're about as good as they're willing to get now. The gaps on both are the same, so it's balanced at least. There's more work to do here, things are tacked together so it's stable enough, but there's some more welding and a little trim alignment fettling to be done in the near future.

Image20180706-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Then there was a problem. After getting everything all tied togther nicely I closed the door and... it didn't close. The panel gap between the door and wing had gone. Now, I went around everything and adjusted things and moved things and fannied about for ages to try and figure this out until I eventually admitted defeat and decided to instead slice the back edge off the repaired wing and weld it back on about 2mm further forwards. This was difficult and stressful to do because I was too hot, I was not taking the time I should to be making a really nice job of it, and I was a bit fed up. I was also really eager to get the car back in one piece properly so I could get home for something to eat.

Image20180706-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I sorted out as much of it as I needed to so that the door would open and close again, tidied up, and went home which is where I took the pictures in this update. I am at least happy that the panel gaps are better, not perfect, but certainly better. This job was still easier than the last round of welding, and the next job of dressing this back and finishing the welds will be easier still. Each job will continue to get easier, because each job is progressively smaller now. I hope.

Image20180706-07 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Vulgalour
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 06/07 Welding

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:07 pm

Welding did not happen today. Instead I stayed at home and did paint, getting regular football updates from the cheering of the neighbourhod. I gather we won. I don't care about that though, I care about getting paint on this door so I can fit it to the car and have a window that actually opens.

Image20180707-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I didn't do any filler work on this at all as the bits that are visible are going to be easier to do the filler work on the car and the bits that aren't visible, I'm not putting filler on. There is literally no point putting filler on bits of this car you cannot see, so I will not waste my time on it. At least not this year.

Image20180707-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180707-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Amusingly, I now have the drill but both times I've gone out today I've forgotten to get the drill bits (only got masonry ones here) for putting the mirror and drain holes in, and have also forgotten to get the door glass since I can't use the one in the orange door because of rotted out window guides. That's okay, it's the weekend and a scorcher, so it gives the fresh paint a bit of time to harden before I start bashing chunks out of it fitting the door back to the car. No welding happened either, it was almost too hot to be painting in the shade and it's definitely been too hot to be driving a car with no air conditioning and a window that you can't open.

Nearly there now though. I'm excited about how much better the car is going to look in a couple of days.

Image20180707-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Vulgalour
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 07/07 Paint

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:23 pm

Trouble with sharing tools is you sometimes have to put jobs off, that's why I haven't put the repaired door on the car today. Instead, I waited until it was cooler and headed over to the unit to see what jobs I could finish off. There was an incident with weld splatter going down my ear so that made me down tools a bit early. Even so, I got plenty of little fiddly jobs done. Jobs like the front wing seam I hadn't finished (this was actually the last job, doing the underside is when I got the inside of my ear welded). There's a bit more to do on this, I have to let in a small 2"x4" patch where the wing is a bit thin underneath but I'll do that on the lift when it's free to avoid ear-weld interface.

Image20180708-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Flattened off the welds on the other end of the wing and did a little trimming at the bottom so it follows the line of the sill better. The panel gap disappears at the bottom as the bottom of the wing isn't actually secured yet, I need the drill and suitable drill bits so I can get that attached with bolts or weld and then the gap will pull something like again.

Image20180708-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The biggest job was doing the rear lower quarter section. My repair piece is a little crude, I couldn't get my head around the bit of the panel where the curve of the wing meets the flare of the arch so I got it as close as I could and I'll profile with a small amount of filler. Also welded up the bumper hole which will be on the receiving end of some filler as well. There's a small piece of arch to replace here too, something I can do later since it needs thinking about for the best approach. I also need the car up in the air a bit so I can do the join between the outer and inner wing underneath the car that I couldn't easily get to today.

Image20180708-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

There's very little welding to go now:

- driver's rear arch return

- passenger's rear wing lower corner

- new rear light buckets

- rear window surround repairs

- upper C pillar trim holes (6 of, easy job)

- rear driver's door lower corner repair

It all feels a lot more managable and definitely more in the realm of tinkering than slogging now, so I'm starting to really enjoy myself.

Vulgalour
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 08/07 Paint

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:52 pm

Got a little further today. I've been very patient about getting a pair of Austin A30 sidelights for an idea I've had for ages which I nicked from the Citroen DS of old. High level indicators.


Image20180709-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Image20180709-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


They're only designed to be supplementary at a level more common for modern drivers. The high level brake light made quite a difference so high level indicators felt sensible. I wanted something that would blend into the rest of the car and options were very limited. I didn't want to go modern and had tried a few things before settling on these. The only issue was the price, with pairs often going for £50+ which is frankly insane. My pair cost me about a tenner It took a while to find a spot I liked them, I wanted them to be fairly invisible, even though they're a substantial chunk of chrome, and to flow from the line of the gutter as much as possible. This was the best location for them to go so that everything could be installed. I still need to add some grommets/rubber washers to prevent water ingress, I just have to wait for some of the correct size to arrive. Inside the car you can access the nut on the back by simply popping the interior C pillar trims off and the wires can run straight down into the boot since it's open from the gutter all the way to the bottom of the wing. Routing the wires is really easy with lots of space to work in.

Image20180709-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Image20180709-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


It's been pleasantly overcast and cool today so between other jobs I did what filler work I could before it got late enough that I had to get paint on. The areas I've done are presentable but, like a few other small spots, will need me to go back later to make them perfect. For now, I'm happy that the areas painted look smart. The rear wing is lots better now there's no a hole in it. Not really sure how I got overspray on the rear tyre, everything was covered up.

Image20180709-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Top of the wing just over the side repeater had a dent. You can't see it now, of course.

Image20180709-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


The paint wasn't drying fast enough to mask so I did a rush job to just finish this corner. I can redo the overspray bits when I've a bit more time.

Image20180709-07 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Front end looks hugely better. When I've finshed the wing-to-valance seam underneath I can get this all painted properly. It's just nice having it look fairly uniform at last.

Image20180709-08 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Vulgalour
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 09/07 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:28 pm

Hey look, that scabby old orange door is gone!

Image20180714-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

It was a bit of a faff, as always, to fit the door. Fortunately Mike was here to help so getting it aligned wasn't as bad as doing it myself. Even got it opening and closing and fitting as well as the orange door it replaced, so that's a big bonus. I didn't get everything back on, just enough to get it operational, as I still have to fit the door mirror. It's a bit late to be drilling holes and painting raw metal edges so I'll do that bit tomorrow, for now this is fine and will keep the weather and local cats out of the car.

Image20180714-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The door fit about as well as it did when it came off the car, though my repairs needed a little fine* adjustment with a rubber mallet in a couple of places. That exposed a crack on the outer door skin, presumably where the metal is a bit thin as this isn't an area I repaired on the outside. I'll clean it back and give it a buzz of weld when I'm at the unit next, it's not a big job.

Image20180714-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Got the B pillar gap as good as it ever gets on this car. Good old BL panel gaps here, not a great deal you can do about them apart from live with it.

Image20180714-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

BEHOLD! An opening window. Since putting the orange door on temporarily I've not been able to open this window which, let me tell you, has not been fun in the recent warm spell we've been having! You haven't really lived until you've driven a car with untinted glass, no air conditioning, and no windows you can operate from the driver's seat while the UK is experiencing a heatwave. It's quite something.

Image20180714-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Finally, the scruffy paint blend on the front wing was tidied up properly and I got the majority of the filler work done on the back edge of the wing so it's now all nice and presentable. I'm a bit fed up of working on doors so my attention will turn to the other jobs on the car now, rather than fixing and repainting that rear door.

Image20180714-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Tomorrow I'll get the mirror fitted to this door and the door card reinstated, then it'll be time to give it all a much needed bath.

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Gasman
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Location: Shawford, Winchester, UK
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 14/07 Update

Post by Gasman » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:56 am

The red does blend extremely well with the Champagne Beige. The trouble is that the rear door does now stand out a little....
Martin
Club Treasurer


Owner of:
Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

Vulgalour
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 14/07 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:25 pm

It's easier to ignore than the orange door, so that's what I'm doing ;) It will get repaired and repainted soon, all the same.
---

Today, I ended up doing some welding. I didn't want to, but there you go. I had gone to unbolt the nut that goes on the bottom of the driver's door mirror so I could both clean up the base easier and mark the holes for drilling in the new door easier. Unfortunately, on the first turn of the socket it sheared the threaded end off the mirror stem without any warning nor excessive force. Oh well, I guess that meant my easy day of fitting the mirror and washing the car would involve sweating while welding instead. First thing I tackled at the unit was the bit of split outer skin. This actually went very easily and when I've finished adjusting the bottom edge of the door so it sits against the sill a little nicer, I can now get all of this cleaned up and in filler properly. For now, it's just got paint on to keep it stable.

Image20180715-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Inside the door I'd noticed, like on the orange spare, there were two stress cracks. This is I think from the door having sagged in the past and needing to be slammed to close for years and it's the nearest weak point to the grab handle. I don't think it's a design flaw that's caused this as the passenger side doors haven't suffered from it, just the front driver's. Welded them both up, sloshed some paint on, but didn't waste time grinding it down since it won't be seen and this way it should be stronger. The door handle did feel more secure after having done this, previously it felt like it had a bit of flex to it and now it doesn't.

Image20180715-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Repairing the mirror stem was a fussy job. I used a bolt that I ground the head down on and then welded to the stem. There's a plastic insert this side where on the other stem it's just plain metal, and I couldn't get the insert off. That made the job a bit more awkward since I was trying to avoid grinding or melting the plastic bit. Still, on the second attempt I got the bolt somewhat like it needed to be and a trial fit on the bench proved it to be good enough. I also used a nyloc nut on the bottom to prevent it coming undone as opposed to the plain nut that was there before and had rusted solid.

Image20180715-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I made the decision to mount the mirror slightly further back on the door this time, which means the A pillar/gutter doesn't obscure the top inner corner now. What I also managed to do was align the top hole in the most awkward way possible so it's nearly impossible to get a nut on the back of the bolt because it sits exactly behind the window runner guide. The other two were much easier to access.

Image20180715-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180715-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I also noticed the GB grille badge was not only wonky, but now loose. To save it falling off somewhere, I popped that off and discovered it was only just held on with one of the bar clamps on the back. The front end does look tidier without it, but I think I'll get some new fixings and reinstate it anyway because I quite like it.

Image20180715-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

After all that it got a quick bath to get rid of the filler dust but really, it was too hot and humid to do a decent job. That was also the point I realised that after building up the inside of the door I'd totally forgotten to refit the moisture membrane. A job for another day. Happily, this front door now closes almost as nicely as the passenger front door and certainly better than it ever has before, so I'm quite happy about that.

Vulgalour
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 14/07 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:22 pm

I suppose I'd better do this water pump. It's not a bad job, and the knocking from the old one had been getting worse, so it was definitely a job I shouldn't put off any longer. Pleasantly overcast today, so there wasn't the stress of being blasted by the giant angry yellow face. To start, the coolant was drained. I wasn't thrilled about doing this because what was in was still blue but as I flushed the radiator it proved worthwhile as it was holding onto some brown sludge that definitely needed flushing out. Something about Princess radiators means they silt up really easily.


Once the water is flushed out, the pulley needs to come off the water pump, the timing belt tensioner unbolted, and the alternator (which serves as the tensioner for the auxiliary belt) slackened off. Then the belt can come off and you can inspect everything.

Image20180721-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Happily, everything was pretty clean. What I had thought might be an oil leak seems to actually be some stubborn old oil deposits slowly running off the engine when it gets hot because all the points oil can come out here are nice and dry. I scrubbed it all down as best I could anyway and will of course keep an eye on things but there were no fresh oil deposits, just ever so slightly runny old bits. When you get a new pump, you need to transfer all the old bits and bobs onto it from the old pump, or buy new fixings. I went with the former because they're still all good. I also dunked the bolts in thinners because the bolt heads on the water pump pulley had been painted red for some reason and I'd never got around to cleaning it off. Now was as good a time as any to do it.

Image20180721-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


The belt was still in great shape, as well it ought to be considering how new it still is, but the tensioner pulley isn't so hot these days. It still spins freely, but the pitting on the bearing face has got worse and the bearing is just starting to feel a bit rough. These are NLA as far as I'm aware so I'm just going to continue using it until I can replace or refurbish it as I don't think I have a spare. Also shown here is the water pump pulley which I didn't repaint because I can do that in the future if I feel I really have to, it looks perfectly fine for now.

Image20180721-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


With everything in bits and the waterpump face of the block cleaned up, I had my lunch and left it all to dry. Assembly is fairly straightforward, order goes waterpump (and gasket), timing belt tensioner, water pump pulley, auxiliary belt. You finish off by tightening the timing belt tensioner and lifting the alternator to tension the auxiliary belt. You don't need to remove the timing belt, everything feeds into place around it if you're careful and patient.

Image20180721-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Then it's just a case of refilling with fresh coolant. I was happy that once things started circulating there was no detritus or sludge coming through so things must be fairly clean in there, which is how I hope it stays for a while.

Image20180721-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Started running it up to temperature and kept an eye out for leaks. I'd replaced the one jubilee clip that wasn't quite clamping tight enough on a hose join with a smaller clip, and that wasn't weeping at all now. Then I started getting a rather large and regular drip under the car.

Image20180721-07 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Image20180721-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


That turned out to be the thermostat housing cap again. The thermostat housing is pitted, as they always are, but there's not enough material to safely file it back smooth because they made these housings out of the poorest material they could get away with. Ideally I need to replace it, or at the very least get some metal epoxy and a rotary file on it to reprofile it. For now there's a knack to getting the cap to seat just so and seal things so I fannied about with that for a while. Eventually the leak stopped.

Image20180721-08 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


The system bled really easily this time and the temperature climbed up to 3/4 to trigger the fan and then dropped to half gauge where it sat quite comfortably. Heaters blow lovely and hot (not that I need them to at this time of year), and all systems seem as normal as they ever are. Fuel gauge even woke up a bit today. I'm pretty sure the gauge issue is in the dashboard, I'm just loathe to pull the dash out at the moment and instead keep an eye on my miles to gauge when I need to put fuel in.

Image20180721-09 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


While I was checking for leaks I heard something down at the front of the car rattling. A sidelight bulb had jumped out of its socket and was jiggling about in the cluster. Easy enough to pop it back in place, but this might happen again because I noticed it doesn't really sit firmly in place like it does the other side so I reckon general vibrations will work it loose again in a few hundred miles.

Image20180721-10 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Finally I got rid of the first bit of purple in the engine bay in favour of some copper. It's not as rich a copper as I was hoping for, it works well enough all the same. Wasn't in a mood to get the starter motor on and off or to faff about with the oil filler tube, I'll redo those another day. Then I can look at doing a more detailed clean of the engine bay which it needs with all the bodywork I've been doing.

Image20180721-11 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The knock I'd been worried about is now gone and I'm left with the noise of the tensioner bearing and the normal mechanical noise of a running engine.

Vulgalour
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 21/07 Waterpump

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:29 pm

Right then, I kicked my weekend off by disabling my daily driver, because that's sensible of me. I wanted to find out why the fuel gauge wasn't working properly and the suspects in this were in-tank sender, fuel gauge, and voltage regulator. Since I didn't want to disturb the sender unless we absolutely had to and I wanted to do some jobs on the dashboard, pulling the dashboard made more sense. I shan't bore you with yet another photo of the dashboard in bits on the drivers seat because you've seen that about forty times this month already (or so it seems). Suffice to say it's a job I know how to do well now and, on pulling the dashboard, what we identified is that the voltage regulator appeared to be doing its job just fine, but power wasn't getting the gauge. Swapped out the spare gauge I fortunately have and same issue, but then I didn't know if that gauge was good or not so we couldn't rely on that. Next job would be to investigate the sender with the multimeter, which wasn't at home... so while Mike sorted that out I cracked on with the other thing since the dash was in bits again.

I stripped all the trim and instruments from the fascia so I was left with just the wooden fascia and the clips that are riveted to the back. Dismantling the dashboard fascia fully wouldn't be sensible, it's not the most robust thing in the world and while I have got a spare, I'd rather keep it for emergencies/future restorations/other Princess owners in need. Fortunately, the veneer on my dash fascia wasn't in great shape before I painted it, with some cracks and signs of lifting here and there, so it was fairly easy to actually just peel it off the backing plywood.

Image20180729-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Well, most of it at any rate.

Image20180729-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

a little bit of sanding later to clear the last of the stubborn old veneer and glue residue, and then some filling so I could redrill the extra warning light - BL wired in a bulb for the headlight on the standard loom, but didn't make provision for it on this phase dashboard for reasons unknown, so I reinstated it with a spare telltale - and we were ready to go. The radio blanking plate is likely quite a rare item, but the veneer on it is damaged from when the person stripping the car it came from (not me or anyone I know) took to the dashboard with a crowbar. Still, it's useful for me and I'll come to that later.

Image20180729-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

With the hole re-drilled, I smeared everything with suitable white wood glue, put the slightly oversized piece of veneer on the fascia and blanking plate and left it to set overnight. Because of the various blocks and sharp trim clips on the back of the fascia, combined with the fiddly shape of it, I couldn't really use a vacuum bag or clamps so relied on gravity, books, old brake discs and a cast iron casserole pot to put the pressure on. Cling film is used to both protect the table from glue and because it doesn't bond with wood glue so will come free of the fresh veneer without damage.

Image20180729-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Next day, we had this. At this point I'd started trimming areas back. Note the blanking plate matches the fascia, that's because it's cut out of the same piece of veneer, something I was very particular about and was glad I spent the time to do. There were a couple of pieces that needed a little extra glue where the pressure of the night before wasn't quite enough and the skinny bit under the blanking plate needed the plywood base regluing where it had delaminated, even though the veneer had taken extremely well here.

Image20180729-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Little bit more trimming to get the rough shapes cut out now. I already knew I was using the dremel with a sanding drum to take the veneer edges back, but I wasn't sure on how to do the telltale holes since they're small and likely very prone to splintering on the edges.

Image20180729-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I ended up using a pointy file tool in the dremel to make a pilot hole and then holding the board down while Mike drilled the hole just under sized for me. I could then get the small dremel sanding drum in and open the holes out to the correct size. This was the scariest part of the hole project because there's 7 holes and they're very visible on the dashboard so I couldn't afford to make a mess of it. In the end, nothing to really worry about, they turned out quite well.

Image20180729-07 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

By 8pm I had the first coat of varnish on. There's a couple of spots that look a bit dry in person, I'm not sure if this is glue residue I missed or if it's just slightly thirstier bits of the veneer. I can see at midnight when it's ready for the second coat, or stripping back and a new first coat applying. It's a very different colour to what BL ever used, I wanted something stripey with a red or orange hue to it that would both match the colour scheme and the 70s styling of the car. So far, I think I got that right. The finish will be satin rather than gloss, both to match the era I'm going for and to reduce any potential glare. I'm hoping when it's finished and back together it looks like I haven't done anything.

Image20180729-08 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The blanking plate is actually going to serving a purpose. The blanking plate has a chamfered edge all around and rests against two metal plates screwed to the back of the dash fascia. To hold the plate in place, it then has two more plates screwed to the back of it, sandwiching it to the plates on the fascia. I've got rid of the metal plates on the blanking plate (hopefully you're still with me here), so it's removable. I'm going to be putting two small magnets on the back of the backing plate, since the fixing plates on the fascia are steel. I'll also add a tiny piano hinge to the bottom of the blanking plate and a subtle nubbing or handle to the top edge. Then, I can hide an MP3 decoder behind the blanking plate since I shan't be installing analogue tunes, and an inexpensive amplifier will be wired under the back seat to some adequate speakers front and rear. Nothing super fancy, just subtle and, most importantly, hidden. When the blanking plate folds down, in theory the decoder will be attached to it perpendicularly a bit like pop-up headlights work, allowing you to plug in a USB stick and fold it all away again out of sight.

Image20180729-09 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

That's the theory at any rate. Another cosmetic fettle was redoing the paint on the blower direction knob since the old paint had mostly flaked out.

Image20180729-10 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Mike went through all the dash wiring again, dealt with any items he was unhappy with and then wrapped the whole lot. This actually made reinstalling for testing loads easier because the wires go where they live now, rather than trying to turn into a plate of spaghetti. It also looks hugely nicer.

Image20180729-11 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Well done, you've made it to the end of this post. What was the problem with the fuel gauge then? Annoyingly, something I could have fixed even at the fuel station when it happened. The plug that goes onto the sender is a little loose, a wiggle and a push and the fuel gauge was working again. We had a good look at this and a couple of the pins/sleeves are not as tight as they should be so a little time with some tiny pliers will see this resolved.

Image20180729-12 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I'm not mad about pulling the dashboard, it's forced me to do some cosmetic fettling that I would otherwise likely have put off for a long time and it's really the only interior job to do on the car. Providing the varnishing goes well, I should have everything back together again on Monday and then by Tuesday the putty to repair the thermostat housing pitting should have arrived to cure the one leak that worries me since I don't want it spitting all the coolant out at short notice.

beiderbecke
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 29/07 Veneer

Post by beiderbecke » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:08 pm

I've got three thermostat housings for O series.

One is NOS with heater outlet: one is used with the outlet and one used without.

Used tops are good.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 29/07 Veneer

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:47 pm

Mine's the one with no heater outlet, just a cap on top and an arm for the radiator top hose. I also can't get it out of the head, I assume I'll have to get physical on it and break it out. I'd like to replace it at a later date so if one of your used ones are suitable and available, please let me know. I'm going to try a suitable putty/filler repair first since I need something in the short term and I think just getting the shape back properly and a nice smooth sealing face will help.

----


Today it is time to get the dashboard together and in the car. Three coats of satin varnish got the veneer looking just how I wanted. I could have gone the usual restoration route and applied heavy lacquer or had a go at French polishing but that felt wrong in this instance. Besides, gloss varnish on dashboards creates glare and the Princess dials are bad enough for that. So, with the last coat of varnish on and cured, I refitted all the trim items. I considered removing the silver I'd added to the black plastic trims, but when seen against the new wood it actually worked really well, so I left them as is.

Image

The only item that now bothers me is the cigar lighter, I'd like to get something a bit more elegant, something in solid plastic with an indented smoking logo would be ideal. On the back of the blanking plate I fitted some tiny, very strong, magnets. These serve to stick the blanking plate against the metal brackets. I may have to redo this though as one side seems to stick better than the other so it might drop out when I'm driving, we'll see what happens. I'm saving the full modification of this plate into a door for when I've got the hardware to do it.
Image

After fighting with the dashboard's four million components to get it back into one unit and then a couple of bulbs that didn't want to play ball, I eventually got the dashboard reinstated and tested. On using the blower controls I was covered in tree seeds. I have no idea where these were hiding, I thought I'd flushed them all out! There's no vents on the back of the dashboard piece I removed so they weren't hiding in there.
Image

fffffffff. That's INSIDE the clock!
Image

Fitted my spare steering wheel which has better leather than the one that was fitted, but needs restitching on the bottom seam. Also fitted the best of my two crash pads. I'm actually genuinely delighted with the way the dashboard now looks. It doesn't look like I've done anything, which is exactly what I wanted.
Image

Image

Image

That's the interior finished now really, with the exception of cleaning since there's dust everywhere in there at the moment. It feels very right at the moment, I feel like I can enjoy this now without wanting to twiddle with stuff.

beiderbecke
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 30/07 Dashboard Done

Post by beiderbecke » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:07 pm

Yes they are still available.

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Tony c
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 30/07 Dashboard Done

Post by Tony c » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:07 pm

I’ve got to say that you’ve made a brilliant job on the dash,it looks really really good,your right about the finish,it would have spoilt the whole job going glossy.
Tony

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Gasman
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 30/07 Dashboard Done

Post by Gasman » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:39 pm

I agree - brilliant job. You may be right about satin v gloss but I must say I've had too many Jags and like glossy but whatever my personal likes it looks fantastic (it'll be even better when you've got your duster out!). Well done.

I don't know how you could possible think that the blanking plate might rattle out on the move. In a hydragas Princess. Never.
Martin
Club Treasurer


Owner of:
Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

beiderbecke
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 30/07 Dashboard Done

Post by beiderbecke » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:52 pm

:) Yes that is an excellent job, well done

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 30/07 Dashboard Done

Post by Vulgalour » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:41 pm

Thank you :) Had a short test drive today and the blanking plate stayed exactly where it should even on broken roads and over potholes so it should be fine, as you surmise. Hydragas, wonderful stuff.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 30/07 Dashboard Done

Post by Vulgalour » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:26 pm

Today I am dealing with the water leak. This is caused by the terrible pot metal the thermostat housing are made from just dissolving away until no seal can be made. This is after I'd sanded the top flat of corrosion to see if there was enough material to create a seal, there wasn't.

Image20180801-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

On this one, someone has hacked at it to get the waxstat out in the past, they have a habit of seizing in place and can be a real nuisance to shift. So there's a fair bit of damage to correct here.

Image20180801-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

With the various surfaces cleaned back with the soft wire wheel in the Dremel, everything was ready for trying out the ultra stinky (it really does smell bad, and the smell is unique) JB Waterweld I'd ordered online. I've used other leak sealant putties before and they didn't really work that well after a few heat cycles, just didn't want to bond with the metal of the housing for some reason.

Image20180801-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

It's a two-part epoxy deal so you chop a bit off, knead it until uniform, and wonder how anything can smell so bad. You then have to work fairly quickly with it as you don't get a lot of time before it starts to cure, and then leave it for an hour before you can sand it to shape.

Image20180801-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

It sands really nicely. Annoyingly, two big pieces just dropped off as I was sanding.

Image20180801-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

There was more sealing surface available than previously so I tried the cap on anyway to see what would happen. Predictably, it still leaked, just from a different location now.

Image20180801-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

On with another round of putty. Much better this time, though it was still having trouble bonding in one spot for some reason.

Image20180801-07 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

... aaaand still leaking. From a different point this time and much less so I had a bit of a think...

Image20180801-08 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

... removed the cap and reseated it, ensuring both surfaces were clean and dry. Leaking from a different place now.

Image20180801-09 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Final attempt I squished the cap tabs down a bit to increase the clamping force. That sorted it. No more leaks.

Image20180801-10 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

An original housing has been sourced through the club (thank you, Beiderbecke) which I'll be fitting to my original cylinder head with the knackered housing stuck in it and I'll then swap back to the original cylinder head for the car since that's the only thing wrong with it. That will also do away with the secondary oil filler cap that we had to seal shut. Doing the cylinder head on these is an absolute doddle, it's going to be more work to replace the thermostat housing than it is to swap the head.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 01/08 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:44 pm

I didn't do more Rover work today, instead I went on a little jolly to North Shields to meet up with some people on the internet in a car park. As you do. Hubnut https://www.youtube.com/HubNut was there reviewing and pootling about in some cars and he got a go in the Princess, unfortunately there wasn't enough light to record the occasion, but I was pleased to pass him the keys so he could have a play, even if the Princess was being, well, the Princess.

Image20180811-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180811-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180811-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180811-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180811-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

It was only a little meet, and that was perfectly okay. It's the first longer run I've done in the Princess for a while (about 80-90 miles there and back) and the furthest north I've ever travelled. The car performed reasonably well but has developed an occasional misfire that I can't replicate, as though the timing has wandered off a little. The headlights have realigned themselves to basically look at the front number plate, so that needs sorting. The tensioner pulley is worryingly loud at speeds exceeding 60mph so I'm going to have to get that sorted out too.

However, it's not all doomy gloomy! She did drive perfectly okay at a steady 55mph, so perfectly okay it was actually boring because the road we were on was so featureless, especially at night. The weird bobbly pedal thing I mentioned a while ago has completely stopped now, so whatever that was appears to have self healed. No oil or water appears to have been consumed. The wipers have stopped making a horrible noise since I claybarred the windscreen. The new mirrors are actually really good at night with minimal glare from drivers with ultrabright headlights. Overall, I'm happy with how the car is performing but giving it to someone completely new to it and its foibles has highlighted where I need to make improvements to elements I've got completely used to and didn't realise were problems.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 11/08 Mini-meet

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:51 pm

Update time again. Yesterday was a little North Shields chippy run and while the Princess made it there and back without drama, having someone new to the car behind the wheel highlighted some issues that needed attending. A hesitation and occasional misfire turned out to be a loose HT lead (a different one to last time) and pushing that home resolved that. The irritating noise that I had put down to the speedo cable (and which still might be that in part) got much louder on the drive over to the point that going over 60mph was horrendous to listen to. The timing belt tensioner pulley at fault here, which is NLA. The other issue was the headlight aim which was on the low side at MoT but it looks like they've dropped even lower, so I need to raise that up a bit so I can see where I'm going better at night.

Fortunately, I keep all sorts of rusty old rubbish and recently organised it all so I could dig out a spare set of headlight brackets in case I need to salvage the adjusters to replace any that might break when trying to adjust the headlights (a job for later when it's a bit darker), and I had a spare tensioner pulley. The spare pulley doesn't look great, but spinning it and comparing it to spinning the one on the car revealed that it was at least a bit better. The one on the car has a very slight wobble to it as you spin it, which is probably where the noise is coming from. Removal is fiddly, but easy, requiring use of a 13mm spanner on two nuts. You don't have to remove the belts to do this, you just have to be a bit patient with approach angles until the nut is finger tight.

Image20180812-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The pulley looks worse than the one that came off because of surface corrosion. A test drive on my usual route revealed that while this pulley isn't completely silent, it is an awful lot quieter than the one that came off. It saves me spending £30 on a potential replacement in the form of a Ford Sierra pulley that does look remarkably similar and which, I'm told, is a reasonably good fit once spaced with a couple of washers.

Image

I'll get one when I know I need it, for now the one on the car is adequate and not about to explode.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 11/08 Mini-meet

Post by Vulgalour » Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:05 pm

Nothing to report since the last update. Just chugging about, being a car. Do have an intermittent first-start problem where sometimes it doesn't want to that I'm trying to get to the bottom of, but because it's intermittent and only does it on first start and no subsequent starts, it's proving tricky to diagnose. It could be related to the oil-fouling on the points (though it was clean last time I checked it all the other day), or the mixture, or the carb being fussy, or it being Thursday. You know how old cars are. Some days it's grumpy, some days its not, and once it's warmed up and got a few miles under the tyres it's no bother for the entire day.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 11/08 Mini-meet

Post by Vulgalour » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:04 pm

POP

Image20180914-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Was a bit more difficult to remove than expected because there was some rust hiding that was holding onto the seal on the driver's side. The bubbling at the top of the seal wasn't too bad, thankfully.

Image20180914-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I wasn't aware of rust problems on the driver's side so I've a little more work to do, including this corner.

Image20180914-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

This flange was fairly damp and crusty (stop it) and once cleaned back the outer panel layer will need replacing while the inner it spot welds to looks okay. Shouldn't be too difficult to repair since it's a straight strip of metal with good access for cleaning up.

Image20180914-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180914-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The other top corner I did know about the rust from when I bought the car and has been dosed with rust potions and covered with tape for a while which has kept things from getting really bad. Someone had been in here before and squidged some putty into the seal on the corner so this has been an issue for quite some time. It's the main reason I wanted to take the screen out to do repairs.

Image20180914-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180914-07 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I'll be making a start on these repairs this weekend since this is the most difficult bit to do, the corners particularly are going to be very fiddly to get looking nice. Hopefully the screen goes back in without too much grief.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 11/08 Mini-meet

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:27 pm

Today was going moderately well, certainly made healthy progress with the surround repairs. I went around the surround and cleaned back anything that looked suspect, uncovering two more areas that needed small patches. Then I made cardboard templates for the patches, which you can see here in white, ready to be recreated in metal.

Image20180916-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Putting the new pieces in was much easier than taking the old rust out since I didn't have to worry about cutting through too much with the cutting disc. Welder behaved itself and apart from feeling awkward because this all felt like it needed to be done left-handed, it was looking reasonably good. I hadn't had any errant sparks go into the cabin or on the glass, all was well (I did protect things better than the pictures make it appear, photos were taken out of order).

Image20180916-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Then, just as I got the penultimate piece tacked in...

Image20180916-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

... black smoke EVERYWHERE. Something was very on fire. Something in the boot... the boot I'd forgotten to empty out because I forgot that there's a straight route from the bit I'm welding into the boot itself. Open the boot, or leave it shut? You know when an engine catches fire you're supposed to not open the bonnet because it can make things worse... Open the boot because otherwise how am I going to put it out, maybe it's just a lot of smoke and nothing else.

OMG THAT'S A BOOT FULL OF FIRE.

It's something behing the spare wheel, quick hurl that out of the car! Oh no, more fire, quick grab something to pull out the thing that's on fire! That's no good, that's a plastic door bin and that's on fire too now you idiot. Just take your welding gloves off and grab the edge of it. SHIT IT'S PLASTIC. Now there's bits of plastic in the boot on fire and bits of plastic on floor on fire. Grab that leather jacket, it makes a good fire blanket. Good, boot isn't on fire any more. Now put out the fire on the floor by stamping on it because... no don't do that! It's plastic you idiot....

... eventually the fire went out. I burned my hand a bit but not A&E amounts, just a couple of small blisters. I breathed in some plastic smoke, not very pleasant that. I'm okay though. No harm really done. Most importantly the harm to the Princess was really minimal with just some soot staining in the boot and a couple of blobs of melted plastic on the floor mat. The culprit was a welding spark going down the inside of the C pillar and setting fire to the front door moisture membrane and tool bag, both plastic, that were stuffed behind the spare wheel well.

Image20180916-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180916-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I'm normally really careful, I have no idea why I didn't think to empty the boot today. I'm just grateful the damage wasn't worse or lasting to me or the car. Be careful when you're welding, kids, it's a dangerous hobby.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 16/09 Flaming Idiot

Post by Gasman » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:52 pm

I'm not an ardent supporter of H&S but I do try to be more pedantic about it when dealing with the cars and am sometimes teased a bit about that as a result. However, it is SO SO easy to have a moment's inattention/stupidity and there be potentially disastrous consequences.

I'm so glad you're OK which, despite what you say, is the most important thing, secondly that the car is OK & thirdly that you didn't burn the building down.

A poignant lesson to us all never to be complacent about H&S.

Perhaps less seriously, what were you thinking not taking any pictures of the conflagration?
Martin
Club Treasurer


Owner of:
Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 16/09 Flaming Idiot

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:31 pm

I was a little disappointed I didn't get a snap of the conflagration! Funny what your priorities are in a crisis situation. :lol:

Wake up call for sure though, I'm just glad I was on the ball enough to think fast and get the fire put out. It was a bit alarming pulling the burning plastic out of the boot (why on earth my brain thought removing the welding gloves before doing this was a good idea, I'll never know) and having globs of sticky fire going seemingly everywhere. Definitely not my smartest moment! Hopefully my misadventure will help others to avoid the same.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 16/09 Flaming Idiot

Post by Vulgalour » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:38 pm

Today went better, there was much less fire and hardly any swearing. First job was to empty the boot and get the fire extinguisher in the workzone, because we're learning from yesterday's mistakes today.

Image20180918-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180918-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The most awkward repair was the simplest looking of them all, which was the long strip that had rotted away. Before welding this in, I cut a long strip to size then drilled holes so I could puddle weld it in place. Then I found that the welding tip could have done with being chisel shaped to get into the line where I'd made the cut. There's probably a better way to do this repair, inexperience meant I approached it in this way. I don't have a finger-file either so I had to improvise by using a grinding disc, flapwheels have spoiled me because grinding discs seem much louder and aggressive and just hurls tiny bits of metal filings all over the place.

Image20180918-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The top outer and inner corners went reasonably well. Getting into the inside corner to clean up the welds smooth is very difficult with my tools but the weld doesn't protrude so much it's going to make the seal sit wrong. I've cleaned back what I can and then I'll use some seam sealer just to smooth out the uneven surface to prevent this being a water trap and causing the rot again. I also welded up the extraneous trim holes along the top of the C pillar since I shan't be using those again.

Image20180918-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

It looks okay. It's certainly free of holes now, which is good.

Image20180918-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I was very much taking my time so by the time I was putting rust treater on everything there wasn't time to really do any of the next jobs. It will give the rust treater time to do its thing and when I go back in I can clean everything down again and get the sealant and filler work done where required, then strip the paint off the C pillars and get the whole lot painted freshly ready for the screen to be reinstalled. After that, it'll be new lights time, which should be a fairly quick job since I know exactly what I'm doing on that now.

Image20180918-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 18/09 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:52 pm

More progress on this today. I've decided to do the rear lights ahead of the filler work on the screen surround so that I can do all the filler work in one go when the lights are installed. First up, disconnect and label the old light units, this should make wiring up for the new light units much easier.

Image20180920-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Then take the flapwheel and very carefully buzz the seam away where the buckets meet the back panel. This was slightly easier on the inner buckets because I could wiggle them about since they're going straight in the bin. The outers required a more measured approach. I did a good enough job at putting these in that they were annoying to remove. I'm also glad I made the decision to use just a couple of spot welds and seam sealer on the backing plates because that meant they weren't too difficult to remove and realign for the new lights. This saves me buying and waiting for a new pair of cake tins to arrive to replace the outer buckets, so I can just crack on with the job.

Image20180920-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The reason for removing both pairs of buckets is that the outers needed realigning. The BMW lights have an angled back so the buckets for those weren't installed straight. The new Ford lights have completely flat backs and are considerably easier to install. Mocked up with a new bucket.

Image20180920-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I do lose a bit of depth on the outer buckets, but not so much it's a problem. The central chrome piece will stick out from the buckets with the red brake light buried behind them, which is the look I want. The back panel has a curve side to side and leans out at the top so there's no straight edges to work with on the car, everything has to be aligned mostly by eye to begin with and then tweaked afterwards. Here you can see the new bucket pushed into its new home and the old outer bucket, both will need material trimming off once they're welded in. I found it easier last time to weld the buckets in place and trim the excess off afterwards rather than trying to trim them exactly to shape.

Image20180920-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The two holes matched in size does look better than the previous staggered arrangement. This is no surprise because this is how I originally wanted to do it but had to improvise when I couldn't get a second pair of the Ford lights I wanted to use.

Image20180920-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Got some tape out and mocked up the new lenses. That's why it looks wonky in the second picture. I'm happier with this, it fits the panel shapes better and is much more what I had in mind.

Image20180920-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20180920-07 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Next job is to make all the backing plates match and weld those into the buckets before welding them into the car. That will allow me to screw the lenses in place which will help with alignment. I'm not sure I'll get this all done over the weekend but I should get a good way with it.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 18/09 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:05 pm

I lost the weekend's progress to a cold, unfortunately. I started today by cleaning off all the stuff that needed cleaning off the old backing plates and the old buckets and then measuring to find something the right size to cut the backing plates out to. As luck would have it, the back of the smaller lights I'd fitted is the correct size for the hole I need to cut out and that just so happens to be the same size as the hole already cut out in the old outer buckets I'd cleaned up.

Image20180925-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Then, using advice offered I scrounged around the unit for a stick of something to put across the back of the buckets to get them in line. It was a bit of a challenge to find something that wasn't too long to go in the boot or too short to reach the back of both outer buckets, and not having a saw didn't help matters. Got there in the end. I also couldn't really screw the wood to the back of the buckets because they had nothing to screw to and I didn't have a suitable sized piece to put in the hole from the outside to sandwich the backing plate to the wood on the inside to keep things secure. So I improvised with masking tape and a ruler. It was a lot of tweaking and moving and measuring, and re-measuring, and measuring again. I got everything as close as the car would let me and the whole process took rather longer than expected. Oh and I welded the backing plates to the buckets before installing them, which made life a lot easier, I'll go around the seam with seam sealer as I did before which proved both a great way to prevent water ingress and a good way to give a nice smooth finish.

Image20180925-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


Satisfied everything was lined up it was surprising just how far the buckets had to be moved from the original position when they were accomodating the slanted back BMW lights. I did try one of the new buckets in the hole to make sure I had the maximum depth I could get just in case buying new ones for the outer would make more sense and the difference was only 2-3mm so I've just reused the old ones. The new lights will have the chrome sticking out a little bit with the red lens frenched back and I'm absolutely fine with that, it looks pretty good in mock up.

Image20180925-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


I had enough time to get the outer buckets tacked in place, and you can see here where the holes for the fixing screws of the old lights have been welded up since they don't line up with the holes needed for the new lights. Things welded very nicely, the welder was behaving and I was relaxed enough that this wasn't a stressful job today. I'm optimistic that the final welding will go fairly well. I'll be trimming a bit of excess off the buckets just to make it easier to weld around the bottom edge, but I won't trim them flush until I've seam welded the whole circumference.

Image20180925-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


I ran out of time to go further than plonking a lens in the hole and I'm quite happy with it. I may do the same measure, align, and tack weld of the inner buckets just to make sure all the lights line up properly with one another before seam welding things, that way if I do need to make adjustments, it won't be too difficult.

Image20180925-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 25/09 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Sep 29, 2018 7:12 pm

This is an important update because it's the first time the idea in my head has been realised in the meatspace. This is what I wanted to do before I chose to compromise with the BMW lights and this is what I'm happy with. I had to untack the driver's side outer bucket and reposition it, on checking alignment today I found it had moved, probably when I was tacking it in, and I hadn't noticed. This was very obvious when lining up the new inner buckets. The backing plates for the inner buckets were easy to cut the middles out of, weld into the buckets, and get installed into the back panel. I also found that it wasn't too bad trimming the panel out to accept the larger inner buckets now I've got a feel for the shapes and how they stretch and distort across the panel. Before too long, I had a nice uniform rear end shaping up. I've welded the top two-thirds of each bucket here, and trimmed off most of the excess material but ran out of time to finish the bottom third.

Image20180929-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

For marking up the fixing holes for the lights I found I couldn't use the marker pens because they were too fat to get through the screw holes, and the skinny pencil I had didn't show up against the bare metal of the backing plate. I could have driven home and got a skinny pen that would fit and work, or I could grab the roll of masking tape next to me and improvise.

Image20180929-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Centre punched, small pilot hole drilled, and then a larger hole made for all 16 fixing holes and that was that job jobbed, allowing me to finally see if my measurements were good enough and if all this work had been worth it.

Image20180929-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

It very much is. I'm really happy with how this looks, it's exceeded my expectations. The only issue is the passenger side outer light which sits pointed every so slightly up. I suspect this is because I bent the backing plate a little when drilling the fixing holes, the drill went with a bit of a bang on the top two holes, it will be an easy fix at any rate. That's also the replacement lens, which is a slightly paler red than the others, combined with the camera lens distortion and, well, you get the idea. It's just a teensy bit off and I'll sort it.

Image20180929-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The chrome centre pieces stick out just enough to be interesting, but not so much they look goofy, sitting almost as far out as the waist line of the boot lid, which is pretty much ideal.

Image20180929-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I did think I'd want to remove the fog lights from under the car but seeing it all together I'm not so sure I do. They don't look out of place on the back. I will unbolt them to see what things look like without to make up my mind for certain, but I could well be keeping them. It's one less bit of wiring to work out if I do.

Image20180929-07 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Suffice to say, I'm very happy with the result so far and I'm looking forward to splashing some paint on the finished bodywork very soon.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 29/09 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:49 pm

Finished the welding for the lights today. I had to make a second pass to catch up some pinholes and a couple of spots where I'd been too aggressive with the flapwheel, as usual, but it all went fairly smoothly. I dropped the foglights off the bottom of the car and my indecision has been cleared up and I will be keeping them off the car. As had been mentioned, and I suspected, it does clean up the rear end a lot with the benefit of making things look a bit wider than they did what with the split colour and the matching lights. I will incorporate the fog into one of the inner clear lenses, making use of the red bulb I bought for just this purpose. I also sorted out the slightly misaligned backing plate, which was bent from the drill impact, and moved the paler lens to one of the inner buckets which helps balance everything out better.

Image20180930-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


I've got to trim down the backing plates next since they serve as bulb holder and reflector. They have a bucket shape to them that I can't use so I just need to trim the walls off, which is easy enough since they're aluminium. They stick out barely further than the buckets in the boot which also look much smarter now than they did previously and will be lots easier to panel in when I get to that point in the future. Making custom boot trims is going to take me a bit of time, and is a job for after the house move when that finally happens (long story, for another time).

Image20180930-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


After getting as much of the welding done as was needed and dressing everything back to filler standard, I got busy with the filler, and then the sander, and then a dusting of primer so I could see where I'd been. The last time I did this rear panel I had to rush the finishing off because the space was needed for other things and I never got to revisit it. This time I'm able to do the job properly. The only irritating thing was that the filler on the passenger side seemed reluctant to cure, it was a different brand to the stuff on the driver's side so it could be that, or that I didn't use quite enough hardener... or any number of other factors. If it's still soft when I next go in, I'll dig it all out and redo it, though I'm hopeful it will be okay because it had started to harden by the time I was packing up today so it may just have been that the unit had got a bit too cold.

Image20180930-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


I'm using the primer as a guide coat because this rear panel has lots of wibbly wobbly bits, much of which is historical damage presumably from reversing into a wall, and some of which is from a very old panel repair. I could have stripped it all down and built the panel from scratch but there's really no point, judicious application of filler will be perfectly adequate in this instance. This is after the first fill and sand, you can just about make out the imperfections under the light units. I could get away with leaving it as is because it's a difficult part of the car to see, I'd just rather do it right while I can.

Image20180930-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr


I'll be spending this week sorting out the filler and paint work on this panel so we can get everything back together again

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 30/09 Update

Post by Gasman » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:43 am

That’s an awful lot of work you’ve put into the rear lights. With your revised light layout and with no bumper IMO it’s much tidier without the standard rear fog lights.
Martin
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Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 30/09 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:06 pm

Slightly more work than expected in some ways, and required a lot of patience to get everything together for it. I'm on the long bit now of getting all the bodywork filler done. I really dislike doing filler work.

---

I was having trouble finding the correct incandescent bulbs (no LEDs here, thank you) in amber for the high level indicators so opted to get plain ones and some Tamiya 'clear paint' to turn them into amber indicators. This is handy because I do miniature painting and the Tamiya paints are useful for that.

Image20181002-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The filler I'd put on the passenger side that wasn't behaving hadn't all cured. Some of it was fine and sanded perfectly normally but large chunks were still soft and half-set. I'm putting it down to it being an old tin of filler since I'd mixed it thoroughly and applied it the same as the other stuff. Dug out the bad stuff, flattened back the good stuff and slapped a dusting of primer on everything. Already looking smarter.

Image20181002-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

This side is much worse than the other because of the drunk neighbour that reversed his Corsa B into the Princess a few years ago and there's some dents from before I bought the car. It needs a lot more work and there's not really any access from the back to knock things out so I'm opting for filler here since it's the best option in my circumstances.

Image20181002-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Second round of filler work went better. Unfortunately I ran out of time to do anything once it had cured so I'll go back in to do some sanding and applying more filler later this week.

Image20181002-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20181002-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20181002-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

There is a lot of sanding to do. I hate sanding.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 02/10 Fill and Sand and Fill and..

Post by beiderbecke » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:33 pm

Me too. I thought body preparation? With all that sanding and filling? Nah! I'll cheerfully pay somebody else to do it for me.

Fair play to you, though, for doing it yourself. Have a cough or two for me...

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 02/10 Fill and Sand and Fill and..

Post by Vulgalour » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:05 pm

I'd love to trick someone else into doing this for me... er... pay someone. Yeah, pay, that's what I meant >.>

More of the same filling and sanding rigmarole today. Some of the filler hadn't cured at all, I'm putting this down to the Stevens brand stuff because I've had this issue with it before. It doesn't matter how well you mix it, the prep on the panel, the temperature... sometimes it just doesn't work. After today's efforts I got myself a tin of reliable P38 because there's more to do but I want a filler that I can actually trust.

Driver's side C pillar and window surround is ready for paint.
Image

I got some new sanding pads for the vibratory machine and since they actually fit it properly, it works much better. That allowed me to get the whole back panel flatted back and the next round of filler down. Lots of long, shallow fills on this. Hopefully when I take this back it will be much smaller areas to do.
Image

Dug out 95% of the filler on the passenger C pillar and redid it. There was one small area that had cured perfectly fine and sanded really nicely, the rest was like it had no hardener in it at all. Very strange given how much effort I put in to making sure the filler and hardener was well mixed and to the suggested quantities.
Image

I'm really hoping I get this all good enough for paint this weekend.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 02/10 Fill and Sand and Fill and..

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:37 pm

Right then. Switching from Stevens brand filler to good old Isopon P38 was a GOOD THING. I suspect they've changed P38 and, unusually, it's for the better. It went on smoother, gave me a suitable window of time to work with before it cured, it actually cured, and was a doddle to sand. The P38 was like spreading butter on toast where the Stevens had been like trying to spread toast on butter, if you follow my meaning.

I have not made everything perfect. I have made it good enough. There are some small imperfections just as on every other panel of the car and I'll go through these at a later date, one panel at a time. It's my way of making the whole task a bit more manageable. Great joy was achieved today because after filler and sanding was done, I even had time to splosh some paint around! The C pillars and rear window surround were all painted in gloss beige before the satin black was applied which should prevent any porosity issues the satin might have in the future, though I'm aware satin is not as porous as primer, I wanted to play it safe given the amount of work involved.

Image20181006-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20181006-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

That's the best that bit of the car has ever looked while I've owned it, so I'm dead chuffed with that. Next thing I got good enough was the back panel. Likewise, there's some imperfections still to sort but nothing that requires dismantling the car, so it's good enough for now, and it's not a wavy wedding car style finish so it'll do.

Image20181006-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20181006-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Having that back panel all uniform colour is an enormous improvement. Next up is seam sealer where required and a little bit of paint in the boot to protect the back of the buckets. Then it's wiring and reassembly.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 06/10 Paint

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:20 pm

Small update. It was pretty cold here, we had a frost last night, so any sort of painting wasn't really an option because of drying times, if nothing else. First job was splosh some rust potion about, especially in the now dry tool compartment which has been letting water in for years even before I got the car.
Image20181007-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I knew that wasn't going to dry quick enough for me to do any of the seam sealing (which I want to do all in one go, rather than in two stages), or any of the paint that would be needed afterwards. Instead I had a look at the wiring and found all the new rear lights have bullet connectors so it should be a simple matter of snipping those and the spade connectors off the car's wiring loom and replacing them with relevant matched connectors. Even to my eye it looks a fairly straightforward operation. The high level indicators will require more effort since they need completely new wiring installing. I took my time laying the parts out and trimming off the excess material on the rear light reflectors. I had thought these were just polished aluminium but I found when cutting them that they're plated with something, possibly nickel since it doesn't seem as bright as chrome normally is, but then it also doesn't have that slightly yellowy look nickel usually does, so I really don't know.
Image20181007-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The other thing I noticed was a slight hiccup in the plan for fitting the light units. Up until now the reflector was going to go behind the flange because the reflector has captive nuts, while the lens would go in front of the flange and the whole lot would screw together, sandwiching the flange between them. If I do that the flange gets partially in the way of the main reflector bowl and there's no shiny silver surface behind the reflector rings, so I'll have to mount them as Ford did. This isn't really a problem, it pushes the lights out by about 0.5mm and the new fixing bolts I got are long enough that I can use the same nuts on the back of the flanges that I was using during mock up. It also means the light units are a bit more secure since you won't be able to unscrew the light lens without going in the boot to hold the nut on the back.
Image20181007-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Tomorrow I'll do seam sealing and hopefully wiring and if that all goes smoothly enough, I'll get some fresh paint in the boot too so the job looks that little bit more finished. We shall see what the weather and associated temperature has to say.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 07/10 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:47 pm

Another little update, sadly no wiring today so if you were here to see things lit up, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. Instead I was focusing on the last of the paint needed after seam sealing and some other small jobs to get them off the list. First up is that I finally remembered to take a photograph as best I could of the windscreen seal profile where the trim inserts, and the back of the trim itself, to hopefully work out the best way of getting the two to talk to one another. I know how the trim is supposed to fit in the seal, I'm just not sure on the best approach to do it since you can't use the regular skinny plastic-chrome tool because the stainless trim covers the seal almost completely once fitted.

Image2018108-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image2018108-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I changed my mind back on the high level indicators and decided to paint the inside of the glass lenses rather than the bulbs. If it doesn't work I can dunk the lenses in thinners. That said, even after just one coat of paint they look really good and show fairly orange with daylight through them, hopefully they won't need multiple coats to be orange enough because I really like the concentric circles look they have now.

Image2018108-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image2018108-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

After seam sealing all the hidden side of the welding I sploshed some paint around to spruce up the boot. Beige on most of the floor, back panel, and inner wings, and black in the tool tray. I stripped out the unneeded bit of the fog light wiring too.

Image2018108-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image2018108-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Now I just have to wait for Mike to be free when I have my next bit of free time so we can crack on with the wiring and reassembly. The only other job I can think needs doing is regluing the headlining back to the rear window surround. Nearly sorted now.

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL - 08/10 Update

Post by Vulgalour » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:39 pm

My headlights have always had particularly bad adjustment. Last MoT I got through the test just and when Dollywobbler got a stint behind the wheel in the dark, it became very clear that I really ought to do something about them. The problem is the plastic plugs that the metal adjuster screws go into had just all failed. You could grab the headlights and move them about wherever you wanted, but they'd never stay put in anything other than the very lowest zone of the legally allowed area of alignment. The next problem was finding suitable fixings, it's another of those items that seems unique to Princess and is no longer made.

Image20181009-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20181009-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20181009-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Those clips above push into square holes in the headlight brackets, the bevelled piece to the front of the car. Over time they've gone hard and brittle and whatever thread was cut into them by the adjuster screws is now long gone. After removing all 8 original plugs I was left with a pile of useless broken bits of plastic. Well, useless bar having a reference for measurements.

Image20181009-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

That's when it got surprisingly awkward to obtain replacement fixings. You'd think finding what they were called would be easy, not so, they seem to have many different names. The most common is 'plastic expanding nut', but putting that in to any sort of search engine brings back a plethora of things that are not these. Trim clips, likewise, you'll get a lot of choice but nothing that fits. Added to that was the frustration of knowing the hole the new clips had to go in was 10mm square and when ordering clips that claimed to fit this size hole, finding out most were actually for 7mm by 5mm because people can't measure things. After a lot of searching, my mate Adam found the clips through one of the suppliers his employer uses, for not very much, and in a better quality than the wrong ones I'd been sent by other companies.

They're ostensibly a push-fit item. Unlike the original clips these just have one split and a hole through the middle, the sides shaped so they spread out to lock in place when you screw something into them. The only thing I need to do to fit them was file the holes a little because of corrosion distorting the size of the hole a little. A quick tap with a small hammer was all that was need to get them seated. I then had to drill the centre hole out slightly larger to accomodate the adjuster screws since they're a lot fatter than most of the fixings that would normally go into this plastic clips. Another thing that wasn't helping headlight alignment is three of the screws holding the bottom of the brackets to the car had disappeared, so I reinstated those as well.

Image20181009-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20181009-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

With that done it was difficult to get the adjusters to bite and tap a thread. Some of them were a little rusty so I cleaned them in the desk wirewheel which in turn warmed them up just enough to soften the plastic and make tapping the thread loads easier. On reassembling everything I found the adjusters are now very tight and if you try and wiggle the headlights you end up wiggling the car. Good. I stand a chance of getting properly aligned headlights now.

Other things I did today was sorting out the covering on the parcel shelf. The soundproofing stuff that was fitted had shrunk by about 2" each side which had in turn dragged the leather out of place. I disassembled and reglued it all before refitting it to the car. There's a thin strip of vinyl that glues to the inside edge near the window which isn't covered by the C pillar trim, as far as I can work out this is the vent solution rather than having more obviously visible vents and while it's a cheap solution, it's also quite effective. I reglued the headlining too, which I helped along with a waft of the heat gun to make the vinyl just a bit more pliable, it's old enough vinyl that I don't want it to crack and tear. Fortunately that all seemed to go very smoothly.

Image20181009-07 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image20181009-08 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Loosely fitted the high level indicators in readiness for wiring and to make sure that reglueing the headlining wasn't going to get in the way of them (it's not). They look better with the orange lenses than they did with clear, which I wasn't expecting.

Image20181009-09 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I also snapped the waist trim back into place and swept things down. When I stepped back to check I hadn't missed any other quick jobs, suddenly the car looked better than it had in years. I wish I had the words to express how this part of the build makes me feel, it's almost bittersweet knowing how much I've done and how little there is to do, no longer having that battle with Stuff and just being able to enjoy the car. I wonder if this is why people sell a project when they've finished it? It's a strange feeling.

Image20181009-10 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Since Hubnut deserves all the support it can get, and Dollywobbler is a thoroughly decent sort, there's one of these in the window. Visit the address to get yours and find out more!

ImageDSCF7367 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

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Gasman
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:55 pm

All these little plastic bits are a nightmare when they're 40 years old. They just get brittle & break. I think the answer is to remanufacture them with 3D printing.
Martin
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Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:40 pm

A 3D print would have been a really good solution on these, had I got the relevant set up I reckon that's what I would have done.

---

a tool tray that always rots out on the seams underneath so it can throw water up into it from the road and rot your tools out. If it doesn't do that, the rear screen surround rots out and the rain gets in from the top instead. Excellent foresight. Allegros have the same system.

----

Lights update! Yesterday I spent some time fettling with the trims on the front of the car, with the headlights now actually attached more securely to the car, things lined up much better. I've still got a bit more fettling to do on the front, the bar that holds the indicators needs a bit of a tweak and the bottom of the headlight surrounds need a small modification to replace the locating pegs that have snapped off the bottom of them so they don't rattle (they all do that, poor design choice there). There's also the paint that needs freshening up from unfinished work just to make it look that little bit nicer. I might even paint the bonnet eventually.

Image20181011-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Mike and I spent a bit of time yesterday fettling with fittings and alignment of the lights as well as running various wires into the appropriate places. One brake/running light holder didn't want to cooperate with the new bulb I'd bought so I stuck the old one in that it came with, which works perfectly fine. Looks like the nubbins on the bottom of the new bulb are just slightly too long to seat in the holder properly. The high level indicators got grommets fitted to the holes too so I shouldn't be getting water ingress issues there, they also serve to damp any vibration that might occur.

Image20181011-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Then we ran out of time. So today while I've been at my desk doing admin (urgh), Mike has been busy with the wiring. Only 2 bulbs are playing silly buggers, one being the reverse light (could be the switch again, could be an earth problem) and one high level indicator, which is definitely an earth problem. Both should be easy to fix.

Image20181011-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I am delighted with how the high level indicators have turned out. The colour is just right and because they're painted on the inside it makes it look like they're made from really nice orange glass and there's no risk of accidentally cleaning off the paint.

Image20181011-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Image

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:35 pm

Today, Mike finished off the wiring needed and got that recalcitrant high level indicator working. The reverse light checks out at the bulb, holder, and associated wiring so we're pretty sure that's a switch problem now. Since we also know the fuel guage plug at the tank needs fettling, both these issues can hopefully be resolved together when we get the car up on the lift. They're not vital for the time being. The other item of note was that the hazards stopped working, then started working, and after some investigation it turns out the telltale bulb seems to be the culprit since it likes to not quite sit in the holder properly, a little bit of aluminium tape on the bottom of the bulb should fix it since this is a problem I've had with other bulbs in the dash, at least it's an easy one to get to. There was a minor mishap when Mike had one of the high level indicator lenses break, in his words, "in my hand". He bought some glass glue so it could be stuck back together and now I'm shopping for a Lucas 513 glass lens to replace it, have a few complete units on my eBay watch list and hoping for something that's not going to cost me £15 just for a lens since that seems excessive. The reglued lens shows orange perfectly fine, it'll do for now.

Image20181012-01 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

With the wiring now done, we could faff about fitting the light units to the car. This was a little awkward, some minor alignment issues that needed a bit of hand filing here and there to get a good snug fit. I might revisit this in the future and fettle further to get a really nice fit. Changing bulbs is now quite difficult too.

Image20181012-02 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

The new wiring looks very nice and tidy. Happily we didn't need to undo what was already there, it was a case of rerouting a few wires, removing some extraneous bits, and fitting new connectors. It still has the original plugs on the original loom so if I really had to go back to factory for some reason, I still can.

Image20181012-03 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

My favourite boot addition is the new boot lights, which just makes use of the running lights shining into the boot space. This is actually more effective than the factory offering! It's incredibly tempting to make some flying plughole stencils for the lights that shine on the inner wings.

Image20181012-04 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Finally we're at a point where I could put the tool tray lid, floor mat, fuel filler neck cover, and spare wheel back in the boot. Once I get the new boot trim boards made this will look really smart.

Image20181012-05 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I'm amazed at how well the back end looks. I had this vision in my head that I didn't think I'd ever realise. I'm actually proud of myself for plugging away at this and getting it done, despite my own doubts and the doubts of others at times. Of course there's further minor tweaks to be done, the boot lid lock and badges really need smoothing off eventually, and I do have a remote boot and fuel door release mechanism salvaged from a Rover 200 which I may use since I trust mechanical systems more than I do electronic ones.

Image20181012-06 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

Also remembered I should probably get the number plate back on the car. Not enough time to refit the rear window today, that's really the last thing to sort before the car can be driven home, hopefully have that sorted over the weekend.

Image20181012-07 by Angyl Roper, on Flickr

I also took a really poor quality video, much worse than usual, so you can see the lights in action. Potatocam ACTIVATE.

https://youtu.be/nQosP5g9z8Q

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Gasman » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:15 pm

I really admire your persistence with these back lights and pleased you have reached your goals. The rear end of the Princess is its worst feature IMO so well done for your redesign and finishing even if it is not my personal cup of tea. It is certainly striking but you must, however, get those bloody badges sorted though or at least the 1700HL one!

Good job.
Martin
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Owner of:
Oldest known surviving wedge, hand-built 15th Pre-Production Wolseley in June 1974
Last Ambassador down the line in November 1983, Austin Ambassador VDP

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by beiderbecke » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:07 pm

Read your piece about the headlamp adjusters and I am having the same problem with my trapezoidal ones. I, too, am left with a pile of bits of no use whatsoever.

You have come up with a solution to this problem and I am keen to obtain some of these items in time for the show. Can you give me the address of the place where your colleague obtained them please?

Trappys also have a ball and socket arrangement and the sockets are all broken - not much hope of obtaining them I bet...

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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:58 pm

Hopefully I'm not too late to help with the reply, it's been a busy old time here at Vulgalour Towers. I do have a full set of the clips spare because I accidentally bought twice as many as I need and would be happy to post them to you. Chuck me a fiver and that should cover postage and the clips themselves.

Not been on just lately as I've had nothing to report, everything is being fine. I've made a start retrimming the boot and replaced the old bimetallic hazard relay with a new solid state one after the old one randomly burned out the other day. Other than that I just get in and drive it and enjoy it.

Vulgalour
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:27 pm

Well, Flickr have thrown a spanner in the works now since they seem to have decided to do a Photobucket, which is annoying. It's not on the same scale as Photobucket's cock up, but give them time and I'm sure they'll manage it. Unfortunately it means some of the images have had to be removed to meet their free account requirements, and I can't upload more without signing up. If it hadn't been for Photobucket pulling their exhorbitant fee nonsense to even paying subscribers (as I was at the time) I'd probably trust Flickr to keep the modest subscription fee level and I'd keep using them. As it is, I don't trust them, so I'm relying on Retro-Rides for the time being and keeping the pictures to a minimum.

I dug out my spare Princess steels, all of which were fairly crusty from having been sat on the orange Princess they came off for a long time, and for a year or two more after that outside in all weathers. Took a while to clean them up and then they got doused in rust converter before being repainted ready for the new tyres.
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I've gone for Uniroyal Rain Expert 3. I drove a Montego on the older version of these and it behaved very nicely indeed. That, combined with the glowing reports of other users of this new versions convinced me to invest the necessary to replace the ancient Runway Enduros that I was running. The car is utterly transformed by them. Cornering is improved with no fear of understeer, braking is much improved requiring far less effort at the pedal, and they're incredibly quiet. A worthwhile investment and a very nice tyre to drive on, well suited to the Princess.
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Because you have to put the original trims on before the wheel nuts I thought now was a good opportunity for a bit of a change. I'm also using the chromed rim embellishers I salvaged from another car. I do prefer the chrome trims and they will make a reappearance at some point, for now I'm happy to trundle about on the originals.
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Nothing much else to report really. Got a few smaller jobs lined up, none of it serious, and I'll report back as I do them.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Sun Nov 25, 2018 2:23 pm

Recently, the Princess experienced a failure to start. Plenty of fuel, just a total unwillingness to fire up. Initial testing made it seem the condenser was at fault and, having had issues with poor condensers, it seemed sensible to replace that. However, on fully removing the condenser in readiness for replacement, the earth wire inside the distributor decided to part company with one of the eyelets. The wire, which had been replaced many years ago to replace the bare wire wrapped in electrical tape the car came to me with, had gone brittle and fractured right at the crimp. This meant that the earth connection was incredibly poor. Over time, this has steadily been getting worse and visual inspection had revealed nothing amiss, the symptoms manifesting as though other parts were at fault.

The solution was simply to replace the wire with new. I'd already bought a replacement condenser but rather than fitting that straight away, we put the new wire and the old condenser back on just to be sure it's not the old condenser at fault. Happily, the old condenser is fine and the car starts quite willingly now. There's also no sign of the occasional stutter/stumble that's been bothering the car for the last year or two and that I couldn't track down so I suspect that's also been due to that poor earth wire.

I shall continue to monitor the situation, hopefully this has resolved the issue.

Vulgalour
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Vulgalour » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:03 pm

I had been, and still am, considering moving the Rover on. However, I'm being sensible. Sort of. I've decided to use the Princess as my only car for as long as it permits, or for as long as I want it to be my only car. Should I want, or need, to use the Rover within the next 6 months then it will get to stay. If I go 6 months without stepping foot in the Rover well, it'll be time to move it on.

25th of November was the official start point of this experiment, purely because it's a point at which everything on the car is working as it should so seemed a sensible point to begin the experiment.

So far, it's going very smoothly, as you might expect in the honeymoon period. I haven't yet dreaded getting in the car, no matter what the weather is doing. I do have some observations.


- Starting. Since replacing the earth wire, the car now starts, idles, runs, and generally behaves much better. The occasional stutter/stumble thing it was doing it no longer does. Less throttle is required to make progress and to accelerate from a standstill and a very quiet tick I couldn't place beyond 'the top of the engine somewhere' is now gone. Perhaps the tick was the old earth wire sparking out and earthing where it shouldn't, perhaps it's merely coincidence.

- New tyres are amazing. They're the best I've ever driven on and I don't feel like I've even come close to their limits. I'm continually impressed with them, especially in the rain.

- Oil pressure switch I replaced has cured an oil leak. Previously, I wasn't entirely certain if it was the cause of the oil down the belt side of the engine, now I am, because that side of the engine and the driveshaft are all oil-free. I'm pleased about this as it means I'm losing less oil than I was.

- Brakes are good. However, the braking habits of other drivers aren't so much. I find myself driving slower than I might normally because of how unpredictably, and how quickly, other drivers stop. The plus side to that is it means I'm paying a lot more attention when I am driving and therefore driving more defensively which has meant I've avoided situations that may have become a close call, or worse.


- Island style speed bumps are less of a problem because of the width of the Princess, in most cases the track is wide enough that it's like they're not even there. Bar type speed bumps are a little more annoying, especially the ones with a harsh drop off and rise, but no more so than in any other car.

- I feel generally less vulnerable and more visible to other road users than I do in the Rover. This in turn makes driving considerably more relaxing.

So now the problems, since I can't pretend it's been entirely plain sailing.

- My old regime was to check the fluids once a week or every 100 miles, whichever came first. Because the Rover never needed this attention, I'd slipped to a more loose once a month or every 500 miles and that doesn't stick with the Princess. Today, the gear change was notchier than usual and reverse became difficult to select when the oil had warmed up and on checking, the oil was barely at the bottom of the dipstick. Thankfully, a glug of fresh oil resolved this. I suspect the car is consuming a little oil, though not alarming quantities, and I know there are still oil leaks I haven't been able to find the source of. I suspect one or more of the gaskets that were replaced when we did the clutch are the culprit since the minor leak I do have is on that side of things, it's just proving difficult to find since it takes a while to manifest. I shall continue to monitor the situation, at any rate.

- Sidewinds are tedious. It can be easy to forget how much power steering compensates for small corrections, so you are more prone to a little bit of lane wandering when it's as windy as it's been today.

- Although there's no noticeable coolant usage, I did notice a very small spot of coolant under a pipe join today. It's something to monitor, the one spot wasn't even enough to constitute a weep, let alone a leak.

- Parking is still a chore. The biggest issue I face here is no longer the lack of power steering. The combination of the Princess' C-pillar blind spot and the sheer bulk of modern cars causing big visual obstacles can make reversing out of a parking space a bit of a gamble, especially when other drivers seem intent on paying no attention whatsoever to a car slowly exiting a parking space. The bodywork on most modern cars is so high that I can't simply look through the cabin of neighbouring vehicles to see if it's safe to exit a parking space, so it has to be done with caution.

That's it. Overall I'm quite happy to hop in and use this car. The biggest problem I encounter on a daily basis really is other inconsiderate road users, the sorts everyone else encounters too. If anything, being behind the wheel of the Princess again is making me think a lot harder about hazards and driving and, I hope, making me a better driver in the process.

beiderbecke
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Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by beiderbecke » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:48 pm

:) Pleased to see that your wedge is behaving itself at the moment. I agree with the comment about the brakes of a wedge - although they are good they are not as sharp as a modern car. And as for parking it is a bit awkward but I try to reverse in a space if I can and that can be a tad difficult using the wedge's hopeless mirrors (and the length of the bonnet when coming out is just as difficult!). Ambassador mirrors would be better but they're not right for a Princess are they? But hey-ho that's what BL supplied so am stuck with them.

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Peter Laursen
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Location: Denmark

Re: 1980 Princess 2 1.7 HL

Post by Peter Laursen » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:08 am

Concerning oil consumption: I use synthetic oil 5W/50 for all my (4) classic cars. I started with a test using the Morris 1800. With 20W/50 oil the consumption was about one litre in 1000 km. This was reduced to one litre in 5000 km. As I increased the interval between oil change from 5000 to 10000 km the extra costs of the oil was fully compensated. As I consider the synthetic oil to be superior to ordinary mineral oil, I have had no hesitations using synthetic oil. I can add that this is now 18 years since I started, and I have had no oil related problems.
Princess 2200 HLS 1975
Morris 1800 MK1
Wolseley 18/85 MK1
MGB Roadster MK1

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