One pissed off banana

So, someone, I’m fairly certain, said that you could swap cylinder heads on a DAF 44 with the engine in situ. There’s not a great deal of space in there, but it appeared like, certainly on the R hand cylinder head it was feasible.

I spent the entire day stripping apart the car – documented here, for posterity, on flickr – only stopping when I realised it wasn’t actually possible to do it at all. That would be when the rockers were off and I slid the head up the studs and realised that ‘no; no amount of wiggling is going to make this come off’. Part way through reassembly the builder arrived. He says he rang, but he didn’t, not any number I’ve got. I scrabbled the exhaust back on and we pushed Jejy out onto the road. I then completed reassembly of the DAF on the road, and contemplated that the skip needs loading with rubble.

This evening I need to move the motorbikes and mark out the curve for the driveway.

Tomorrow they make the driveway wider and hopefully we can stop being quite so antisocial.

Kicking my heels

So, today I’m hoping to whip the head off Jejy and replace it with a new one (sent by the ever lovely Rich) – unfortunately he needed to send it urgently and discovered, somewhat sadly, that the exhaust was stuck. Apparently he’s lopped it off so it’ll fit in the box.

So I need to get that off.

Before I do that I need to work out why the minor’s not running – I suspect the hot weather’s evaporated all the petrol – and means that I need to prime the petrol pump. A new and novel fault. But she needs to go out on the road, anyway, so the DAF can go up on the drive…again.

I also need to find my battery charger, because both Rebecca and the Motorbike’s batteries are suffering from sitting. I looked in the attic – I was fairly convinced it was up there – but I can’t see it anywhere. I now have a selection of places where it’s not (where I thought it was) – and am wondering where’s left to look.

So, all in all a fairly busy day; which is why it’s a bugger that it decided to rain last night because while the rain almost certainly did the garden good (albeit somewhat late, since we watered it last night) it didn’t help with my sleeping – when the huge flash of lightning whipped across the sky I was suddenly awoken – and it wasn’t raining at that point – so I couldn’t lie there and listen to the rain. I just led there listening to rumbles of thunder and the whiiiiiirrrr-squeek of the desk-fan upstairs and contemplated that I’d just woken from a rather horrid dream where I’d been about to be shot; again*.

Trying to get back to sleep was accompanied by a return to that dream, which left me not really wanting to sleep for a while :(

At any rate, it’s now morning and I’m waiting for it to be late enough for me to go and be noisy. 0830’s a little early to be antisocial. 0900, then I’ll go and persuade Rebecca to start :)

I’m still hopeful that I might be able to cancel the hire-car this afternoon.

* I think that was about the third replay of that bit. The interesting thing was I wasn’t scared about being shot, I was worried about what’d happen to Kathryn after I was shot but the assailant. Fun fun fun.

Juicy Tasty Defeat

DAF Service Manual Cover

So, having discussed a variety of options for getting the piston rings compressed it came down to ‘you need a ring compressor’. Since the ring compressor I’ve ordered from e-bay is the same as the one I bought it’ll be going back on e-bay as soon as it arrives. I’ve ordered the correct ring compressor now (it’s a splitable ring compressor) and will have another go as soon as that arrives.

Which left me in the challenging situation of, well, not having a car.

Or a bike.

Yet again I’m down to renting – I’ve reserved a car – so I can literally take back the van in the morning and come back with a rental car. :-/

Nikki commented on the fact that at the moment I don’t appear to have a reliable car between the three of ’em; somewhat distressing though it is, and true though it is, I hope to remedy the situation; in so far as I’ve arranged for Rebecca to go back to JLH and have much more work done. New king pins, trunnions, new gearbox, new, new, new. Anyone for a philosopher’s axe?

She’s currently languishing outside the house, and the DAF is stuck on ramps. I’m praying – with all my heart – that once the engine’s sorted we can get a bit of peace and quiet on the DAF front – although talking to Matt yesterday didn’t give me great hope.

I still need to source a new accelerator cable for Jejy – and I need to package up and send off the shoes for Vixy (can do that on Monday too)… Anyhow, today is; instead of previously planned engine and DAF work, cleaning the house.

Fear the whining next week as I have to drive a modern car.

To the middle of nowhere and back again

So, the other reason for hiring the van was collecting 8 old clutch shoes, 5 13″ rims for the DAF, 2 exhausts, and a partridge in a pear….no, that’s not right, one DAF Workshop Manual (none of this faffy autodata nonsense). I finally got to meet ‘Matt’ who so far has lived entirely on my phone with his stock of spares and his place in the middle of no-where containing a huge number of DAFs and DAF parts.

We were a bit late, but he was very nice – supplying us with tea – and we chatted DAFs and other classics for a couple of hours before we piled all the bits in the van and headed back. After a small navigational faux pas (twice) we managed to find the route back…

…there was very little traffic – and we arrived home at about half 3.

…And I set to on the DAF. Well, actually, I went off to get a ring compressor because the e-bay one I bought hasn’t turned up. I realised, however, that although it looked like it would split, the way I need it to, it probably won’t. Anyhow, I went to Halfords and Jagdev. Neither of them had a suitable one. So I went back and got a couple of jubilee clips – and then I went back and got the right size of jubilee clips, by which time it was 5.

So I set to on the DAF. With Kathryn’s help I got the new rings on in place of the old ones; but no amount of coaxing, swearing (there was a lot of it), depressed whining (tried quite a lot of that) would get the rings compressed enough (using the jubilee clips around the leaves from a feeler gauge) to get them on. I’m swinging wildly between dropping the engine off and having it done for me and ordering one from e-bay (they’re moderately expensive). Tomorrow at 10 I’m going to ring the ever illustrious Millards and see if they have one, with luck they will, and the utterly awesome Nikki and Kate shall ferry it to me.

new rings

If they don’t; well; that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of piranhas.

I have to say, this week’s left me feeling very demoralised. The DAF’s in more bits than when the week began, the bike is no-where near ready, the other DAF is in the garage…

Unless tomorrow brings more good fortune than a bucket load positive of fortune cookies then I can’t see me ending this week with a running vehicle. And my lipoma looks like it’s got bigger. *Sighs*

Today is…

I dropped off Kathryn’s DAF (Vixy) at the garage this morning, which went fine. I’m praying that I’m right and that the clutch shoes are worn out… Anyhow.

One of the cooler things about owning a classic, or one of the things I enjoy anyway, is getting packages through the post that have fallen through a hole in time. Such was my experience today when a ‘Cords’ brand 1970s package popped through our postbox. I’ve recorded the ‘unboxing’…

the cords box

There’s something terribly cool about opening things that have sat for decades. Something fun about encountering design intended for a different generation (and they got the swoosh!*). Anyhow, so they arrived; sadly the ring compressor doesn’t appear to have arrived. Hopefully it’ll arrive tomorrow. However, what did arrive was the clutch shoes. I am so unutterably impressed by Jim Jack Services – they had the shoes arrive yesterday – called me to check on the details – and had sent them back by the evening. They arrived today – and look like they did when I last got new shoes.

Despite not having a manual I guessed my way through replacing the drum (it looked easy) – and eventually got it right (it was about 3mm out when I first did it) – and got the clutch back together. Then I made the mistake of having lunch.

Well, technically the lunch wasn’t the mistake – no – it was sitting on the rug in the lounge. I’ve done this every day, but I’ve not been dealing with something quite as dirty as the contents of the clutch. And I was silly enough to clean out the flywheel too. So there was a lot of dirt.

It was on my jeans. Now it’s on the rug.

Then I made the mistake of starting on the bike. I started in quite a good mood, despite the fact that the manual (and therefore my notes on how to wire the rev-counter to the old-style wiring, the circuit diagrams, and the explanantion of where the clutch should be adjusted to) remained elusive. I started stripping down Cherry Red ‘zed, carefully working my way through noting where the wires went from the switchgear – and then it dawned on me…

I’ve got three partial looms from three bikes with three separate wiring and connection schemes. Seriously.

MZ changed their wiring for the later bikes, with their electronic ignition and electronic regulator; Kanuni changed the wiring again when they started building bikes, because they didn’t do with the nice clicky MZ connectors. Oh no. They went back to the good solid DDR connection blocks with 55 wires going in and out of each one.

After a while it dawned on me that I had an impending disaster on my hands.

I needed a diagram, or something, to give me some idea of where I should be looking. The front end is more or less wired, the alternator is partially reconnected to the rectifier and regulator. I plodded through assembling it – discovered in the process that I really do need some obstruction wrenches because I can’t actually get the Bing Carb (better, faster, more efficient) off Cherry, so Charlie’s stuck with my old BvF (proper DDR, and has covered 120k miles). I sprayed the side panel (badly, I didn’t have any primer, so it went straight over the blue paint. Fluo-Pink as it’s called is not big on coverage). I also found a patch where the paint’s flaked off the frame – I couldn’t afford shot-blasting when I did it – so I wirebrushed and sanded the old paint, but perhaps I should have stripped it all off – because there’s a small patch where it’s flaked off.

When I spray the DAF I’ll touch up the frame :(


Poor Kathryn arrived home as I stood in a rotten mood contemplating how in hell I was going to work out the wiring on the bike. Feeling like I’d taken 2 potential runners and made one impossible to fix vehicle.

But then I remembered this website – and a bit of dinking – and here we are with simplified diagrams and what each of the connectors actually is. Thank fuck.

Death and Rebirth

And in a totally unrelated to motorbikes, cars, or anything else I normally ramble about, I’d been contemplating writing something about Barack “Change we can’t believe in” Obama’s release regarding the DoMA. The problem is it’s likely to come out as an depressed rant. I’ve been unimpressed with Obama for a while; his stance on abuse photos, on individual privacy, on illegal wiretaps; it’s all been bad. So I guess the DoMA announcement seems like more of the same. Anyhow, so it was going to be a rant, but then I read this over Kathryn’s shoulder, and it was articulate; intelligent; and it said everything I could have considered wanting to say, were I feeling anywhere near as good at expressing myself as this writer. So go read.

In final other news, after much work I’ve finally found a builder who has at least actually turned up, and quoted for the work on the driveway, and moreso has actually agreed to come and do the work. So next week for a day or two we’ll have to get the fleet off the drive. Once it’s done though, we should be able to get two cars on the drive. Which will assist in making-other-people-happy. :)

* I remember, years ago, when Amazon’s swoosh was new and shiny there was a website snarking about everyone having swooshes which enabled you to design your new e-logo for your new e-business. It was swooshtastic.

You can’t fit better’n a fuel filter

Somewhat tardily I put in a fuel filter on both DAFs today. I say somewhat tardily because after quite a lot of investigation I found this in the carb on Jejy:

Which I dug out with a screwdriver, tissue paper, and cotton buds – giving me this:

Yes it does look like fine-brown sugar. Yes that did go into my engine. Yes I have sod-all compression on one cylinder.

I realised I was possibly screwed when I looked at the butterfly in the carb and saw a layer of crudy-rusty-dirt the same as was in the float chamber. I did everything correctly all the same; popped in an inline fuel filter before I started her, somewhat hopefully. The erratic idle’s gone, but the engine still runs like pants on a stick. I’ve no idea what ‘healthy’ values are for the compression on a DAF 44 – on the minor I think it’s around 140lb/in2. Jejy returned 110psi and 70 psi. I know 70 is too low.

There was also a cheerful line of sooty oil sprayed out the exhaust when I moved her.

Tomorrow I shall ring places and obtain quotes. I may as well get them to do the clutch shoes as well, frankly, since the engine has to come out. All please pray.

I’ve also asked JLH for a quote for the minor. That needs prayer too.

Anyway, now it’s time for me to convince Cardiff to let me be a postgrad despite my attrocious grades on my BScs :(.

Plan != reality

Plan: Motorbike to be transported here, put together, MOT and tax bike. Work on Vixy and sort the top speed, ideally change clutch plates and fit new exhaust. Same to Jejy but with added possibility of new rings.

Reality: Motorbike’s not here yet. Jejy completely unusable. Vixy not really right.

Running vehicles: 1ish
Off the road: 3

I need money/time/energy/DAF specialist.

Time for bed.

Moments of weakness

So, nights are bad. They stress your body, they stress your mind, they leave you drained and overtired. I find that I get into the ‘swing’ fairly quickly, for the most part; but I’m not quite there yet, and was feeling undeservedly pissy at the vehicles. Mostly because despite throwing most of a tin of gun-gum at Vixy she was still clearly blowing a huge amount. Ironically, Jejy seems much quieter – most of her exhaust now consisting of gun-gum.

However, a moment’s tired contemplation reminded me of the unreasonableness of this. Between the two (DAF) cars and the motorbike I’ve spent around 1k over the year. For that we’ve acquired 2 MOT’d, Taxed vehicles which – while not exactly show-winning and certainly requiring more work – are being cajoled, poked, prodded and coaxed into being vehicles we can used daily.

The fact that they have some reliability issues, and some of the flakey 30 year old parts are disintegrating is not really unexpected in cars being run on a budget appropriate for push-bikes.

So. That in mind, I spent a little time laying under Vixy with the gun-gum this morning – and found that the exit from the silencer appears to be…mostly gone, and is now mostly gun-gum :-/

Really I think I need two complete exhaust systems – but we’ll patch it up as long as we can, eh?

As a side point, this made me want to build my classic EV again. I even poked at to see if there were any cheap left-hooker DAFs on there, but I think I really want Hey, it was 3am, I can’t afford it, don’t have the time or space, but I can imagine eh? CVT EV DAF? Got to be done.

An update from the mines

Work’s been suprisingly pleasant of late; perhaps everyone’e scared of Swine Flu and haven’t been coming in? Can we please keep it that way? I’ve had some odd ones though, in triage. People who’ve broken things days/weeks ago, not really in pain, slight, possible, deforimities and off to Xray they go, then we find out they’ve completely broken their humerus or fractured radius/ulnas… Also sick people who’ve actually been sick. It’s been quite like actually working in an emergency department.

Then, to make things even more strange I was working in the Resus area; normally when I’m there it’s like there’s a neon sign that goes up outside and we get overdoses, cardiac arrests, infections-gone-septic and the odd bit of major trauma (at least potentially). I am like a magnet for the very sick and accident prone to go and be ill and fall off something. But on this occasion I had one person who was very sick who was there when I arrived – and some potentially sick kiddies who improved (one of whom kindly vomitted on my top).

I was quite confused. Why wasn’t the red phone ringing constantly? Why was I stood there doing regular obs on people instead of running past going ‘oh crap! His BP is 60 systolic! It was 120 before!’ en-route to administer some drug to prop some other patient up for a bit.

Not that I’m complaining mind; I’ve quite enjoyed it. I’ve been riding my little red bike to work and bike, slow as it is, and now it’s got a brake light working again I’ll be much happier* (so it is, of course, raining today). Ironically, the MOT and Tax run out next month, so I’m contemplating using it as a spares bike to build up Charlie. I looked on e-bay and MZs aren’t worth anything anymore. It’s rather sad. They’re on there really rarely, and now the company has gone, completely, as opposed to just being bought by new people every 3 weeks, they seem to have disappeared.

I’ve also wired the exhaust back on to the DAF – there’s only about a foot between the missing exhaust hanger and the next one, but really… I’ve ordered bits of Morris Minor to use to hang it all back together properly(ish) – and will hopefully get a chance to do that this weekend. I need to get Vixy up on ramps and check the belt tension on her… but… the weather forecast looks attrocious. Which does not bode well :(

Vixy’s booked into my local garage for the rear brakes to be done, too. I just need to actually source the parts. My local place can get them but they’re more expensive than getting them shipped from Holland, although he’s having a look through his personal stock and will give me a ring back with a price for that… apparently. Although he’s yet to ever actually ring me back about anything.

I’m hoping, also, that the bits of car for Jejy will arrive before too long and Jejy will get a new clutch drum and new shoes, and an inlet manifold without a huge crack in it.

The garden continues to progress; lots of things are flowering and producing a great deal of pretty, we’ve got more Swiss Chard than we can eat, the beans are growing into great tall bean-stalks; we picked up some more plants when my mum was here (some more dogwood, and some other things which I’ll journal about later) – which have gone in. I’ve clearly found an effective way of making it rain though, which is to remember to water the new plants. Then it pours with rain for the rest of the week :(

Anyhow, Lunch and then Work.

* My initial assumption was that the contacts were dirty &/or sticking, and would clean with a few uses. That has occured before, but having ridden to work it wasn’t working. Riding it home, I presumed the bulb had blown; but no. I checked that and it was fine. Finally, in a fit of enthusiasm (and desire to not be squished, and having got fed up of doing hand signals) I dug around the foot brake switch on which both wires had broken. This made me happy because 10 minutes later they were resoldered and the bike has a brake light again :)

The Usual Uselessness of Slough

So, I went to Allparts, complete with nice printed diagrams, and they looked at me like I was some kind of talking fish. Having wandered off with them for a minute they came back and informed me that one part number didn’t match anything current and the other they could order specially at around 40 quid for the pair.

The conversation about ‘right ends but different lengths’ did not go well. In fact, it went the way most conversations I have with motorfactors go, unless I go in there and ask for what I need very specifically*. Fundamentally it seems based on ‘you’re a girl, you must be wrong’**. I should’ve borrowed one of my right-sexed friends to go in and ask*** :-/

Having informed me that it could not/would not fit; was totally impossible and please could I now go and take my difficult requests elsewhere I gave up and tried my local autofactor who stocks the past 25 years of auto parts manuals on their counter. Unfortunately, the knowledgeable teeth-sucking ‘you-want-what-well-I-suppose-I-can-probably-get-it’ guy is on holiday, and the wee bairn staffing the shop was unable to (a) find the right catalogue and (b) unable to help (though he did at least *try* and they know that when I go in and say ‘I want such and such’ that I’m usually right about what I want).

I’ve spent and uninformative hour trawling the internet trying to find an equivalent parts match, now I’m hunting for an online cataglogue of brake hoses so I can find something appropriate myself. I’ve posted much the same as this message on the DAF Owner’s Club forum, in the hopes that someone can be more specific about the parts. I’ve asked an online brake part supplier for a quote.

I wanted to spend the day reading the book that I’ve stolen from Kathryn (I didn’t expect her to leave it behind when she went to work today, but she has…).

I have another post to do, but it’s shower time now…

* By which I mean, lie. When I order bits for the Minor I rarely say I want ‘Ital 1275 parts’ instead saying that it’s a Mini from 1983 or somesuch, since Ital doesn’t seem to cross reference anymore.
** I do have a chip on my shoulder about this. It took months to build up a working relationship with my local autofactor in Bristol where I could ask for something and they’d trust that it was right.
***See; Chip. Shoulder. It just gets old