Sabotaged by badgers.

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This is the most likely explanation for today’s occurrences. Whilst my plan was to service the Mog – in a limited way at least – grease all the grease-points, adjust the drum brakes at the back, repack the front hubs with grease (nearly forgot to do that), change the gearbox and engine oil, and that was about it.

But, being as I’m a well known tinkerer I had a little look under the distributor cap and found lurking (prior to any problems, thankfully) an almost completely disintegrated set of contacts. Several of which appear to have rotated to be at a jaunty, if inconvenient angle. The rotor-arm was also looking distinctly less perky than normal – being a fetching shade of black.

Also in the realms of unfortunatitude, I realised after I emptied the engine of oil that the oil filter I’d picked up was the wrong one. So off I went back to Halfrauds to get the right one (I have to come clean, they reckoned it was the wrong one, and they were right – I thought the A+ engine went into both the Mini and the Ital, but I was wrong; oh so wrong). It turned out that they no longer stock Ital* oil filters – but I went down to Jagdev Autos – who, it appears, do actually stock things – it’s just that the bloke (presumably Jagdev’s son) who I asked last time doesn’t know about how to convert from the old part numbers to the older ones to the modern equivalent.

In fact, they had everything except a fan belt and a rotor arm. If I’d’ve realised I needed a fanbelt I’d’ve got one – ‘cos he could have ordered one in – like the rotor arm which he did order in. He ordered in the Rotor arm and it arrived all of half an hour later. Well, I presume it did – I turned up having adjusted the brakes and repacked the hubs with grease – still wearing my ill-fitting boiler suit (with Singapore Technology Aerospace on it, oversprayed with Whipem Down Garage (back from Pride in 2005)) to collect the rotor arm, and at that point asked about the fan-belt only to discover it was too late to get it.

So I went back to Halfords who did have what is alledged to be the correct fan-belt for an ital. Only it ain’t. Even with the adjustor (which is, I’ll grant, the wrong adjustor) removed and the alternator hard-up against the engine you can’t actually get the fan-belt around the alternator, the water pump and the crank-shaft-pulley. The current belt (which has flung some of itself somewhere) is so long that even at the very end of the adjuster it’s still not taught (hence, one presumes, the occasional bouts of alternator-light-delayed-turning-offitude). So I’ll be taking it back to Halfords and asking if I can change it for one that’s "a bit longer").

The rest of the service seems to have gone okay. I want to stick up a shot of the Distributor cap at some point – see if anyone else has seen anything like it – the contacts do look to me like they’ve decided to wander off at some point and turn themselves round to face the wrong way. They’re corroded to buggery as well, one presumes that’s the salt-water on the roads.

As a side point, inspecting the under side of the car revealed a happy state of affairs where all the paint is more or less intact, there’s a couple of small areas which need some rust-killer/primer/paint attention which I’ve (for the time being) slapped old oil on :)

And amazingly, that which came out of the gearbox was not filled with great shards of metal, something which makes me feel better :)

And today, we have plans, so I must away with the fairies, get showered and we should get off.

* The engine in my minor is an uprated Ital** engine. The ital has a later (more developed, more powerful, stronger), larger version of the engine in the minor.
** Isn’t it amazing what you can find out from Wikipedia – apparently the Ital went on to be produced in China for years after it was discontinued here. Albeit with a different engine, transmission and chassis.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at