So, I had this simple plan for today: Get up early, take Rebecca for MOT. She passes MOT. I spend rest of day either pottering in garden or recording podcast.
Actually the day went: Drive to MOT. Fail on a few minor points (no pun intended), then drive back via parts store, then grab lunch, then reorganise the garage so there’s more space, then… well.
First up was the washer pump. The old pump’s been moderately pathetic for quite a while. It still sort of worked, but most of the spray was kind of directed onto the screen surround unless it happened to be in an astonishingly enthusiastic mood.
So, it was out with the old…
And in with the new. Which would have been awesome but for the fact that the generic washer pump I picked up has a substantial design flaw. One of those design flaws where you look at it and think ‘Really? Really? You didn’t think that was a problem?’. Can y’guess what it is?
Didja get it?
Both the holes for the screws are behind the supply and output pipes (which are moulded into the body of it) and, as a bonus, on one end they’re behind the power connectors too. Well done Generic Brand designer. Fortunately, because it’s made of cheap nasty plastic it was bendable enough that I could brute-force-bend it enough to get the screwdriver in to get one of the screws properly tight. The other screw is a bit more of a problem, but I’m really not sure how to fix it short of an entertaining bit of 3D printing to make the damn thing some kind of bracket with clips. Either that or tightening the screw edge-on using pliers :-/
Oooh, or I could replace it with a teeny tiny hex-bolt. Cunning. I might do that.
Anyhow, the washer fluid now hits the screen in a most vigorous way. Cleaning the screen with vim and enthusiasm. So I also changed the somewhat leaky windscreen-wiper-washer, which, it turned out was a bonus level challenge because the windscreen wiper spindle comes through at a subtly different angle than the chrome finisher is meant to fit, so the rubber doesn’t fit at all. In the end I used two of them on the one side to give me a bit more thickness in an attempt to make it fit. The other side doesn’t really leak, so I’m going to leave that for the minute.
Then we had to explore the brakes. There were two failure points:
- Nearside brake binding
- Brake imbalance
Now I could have assumed that the brake imbalance was due to the brake binding, but thankfully I didn’t. A quick look in the off-side drum revealed a partial cause for the imbalance; everyone’s favourite paper gasket had failed. Again. Oh ho.
So my brakes had a thin coating of oil on them. Again.
Although I’d picked up new brake shoes I’d not bothered to get anything else; I mean, why would I? So a quick dance with the stanley knife and the cardboard from a packet of ice-lollies later I produced a new gasket. This is, of course, the oldest trick in the book. Well, one of ‘em. I also popped a thin coating of silicone gasket sealant on it this time since I did that to the other side and that, finally, seems to have stopped the recurrent failures. I have a feeling though that I’ll need to repeat this with a paper gasket instead of the cardboard one I’ve made up because I imagine it’ll leak again :-/
Of course the plan is, as part of the EV conversion, to switch it for an Escort rear axle and a Sierra gearbox. So it would be amusingly ironic if I finally got the seals to both be perfect now.
Anyhow, having tweaked that and the brakes on the other side which seemed to be over adjusted-up (oddly, since I’ve not adjusted them since the service 2000 miles ago), things seem better. The handbrake is coming on at 4 clicks like it should. If it’s not good enough then either I or the garage will have the joy of replacing the shoes (I’ve got them, just didn’t really want to waste the barely used ones that were on the car, even if they’re a bit oil contaminated).
Then there was the misadjusted headlamps. They’ve been ‘a bit low’ since she was returned to the road, and every MOT has been kind of scraped through on that front. I don’t know if the suspension’s settled a bit, or if the guy today was a weeny bit more picky, or indeed, the simple fact that the fuel tank was all but empty was enough to tip the scales against her, but she failed on that too. I’ve tweaked them both up a bit, but it’s kinda guess work. We don’t have a flat area with sufficient room to back up that we can adjust the headlights properly. Unfortunately, this brought me into close contact with the plastic headlamp dome, which it turns out is a terrible fit. After several minutes of me fiddling, I managed to get the headlamp ring back on and screwed on, but it…well, it’s still loose and any degree of tightening in one area makes it want to pop off from somewhere else. Modern parts really can be quite rubbish.
The funniest thing about the day was I rang the garage to check up that I’d hit all the points on the MOT list, and the guy proclaimed “I thought you’d fix it, well, I hoped you would. It’d've been disappointing if you didn’t”. Hopefully we can trundle up on Saturday with the iMiEV and the Minor and come back with both of them sporting new MOTs.
To be honest I’d've quite liked to go out for my nice lunch at Hart’s instead of spending the day lying by the car. But hey, needs must… :-/