Site update – outage

This site went down on Monday of this week without warning.   Apparently a provider of the hosting provider discontinued a server without giving them notice and they didn’t have adequate backups.   The site is now up and running, but unfortunately my last database backup was corrupt, so I am having to manually upload a few months worth of posts.    This is rather unfortunate, but ultimately, there are only 2-3 posts that will be lost.

This site started out as a way of keeping a diary of the things I do to my cars.   Ultimately I started making the site for myself as it is good to keep a pictorial record of what you have done.   Given I like similar sites, I figured others may have interest.   Certainly some of the posts around the DS interior in particular have been popular, so I guess that assumption was true.

The posts that I have backups for, should all be up during the next week or so.

Sometimes these older cars break down, and so is the same for the site that documents them.

MBCNSW Run to Sublime Point

The Mercedes club had a run today out through the Royal National Park to Sublime point.   It was an official club run, so historic plated cars were welcome, and in particular was focused on the 107 series.   Given this, I took the 450SLC.    There were 7 107’s at the start and at least one more met us at the venue.   5 SLs and 2 SLCs, mostly 380, 450 and 500 models.

107sThere was one 450SL that had just had its interior re-done from a kit bought in the United States.  It looked great, even to the carpet in the boot.   My SLC performed well, and on the hot day the open sided but closed roof pillarless coupe kept me cool, especially as the air-conditioning has become tepid over the last week or so.

The drive took us down through the Grand Pacific Drive, the sea cliff bridge and then up to Bulli Tops (Sublime Point).      As usual most cyclists showed courtesy and rode in single file, but there were the usual selfish packs that hold everyone up too.



I was also able to pick up the award for the 250SE for winning the display section of the Concours in 2014.

E-Type register new year breakfast run

The JDCA E-Type register had an unofficial new year run yesterday up to Dural, and a good opportunity to take the Jag out for a drive.   It was quite a hot day (around 34c), but the coolcat fan kept the temperature at or below 90 degrees, even in traffic or going up Galston Gorge on the way back.    As this was an unofficial run, club plated cars were not allowed, but there was still a good selection of cars, with around 10-12 E-Types on display.


In the photo above, there is an XK120, and two Series 3 E-Types.   The XK120 looks fairly stock, but it is actually a fairly heavily modified car, that includes air-conditioning, an automatic transmission, power steering and the like.   While I like to keep cars reasonably stock, well thought out modifications that result in the cars being used more are to be encouraged, as there is nothing worse than trailer queens.   Personally, If I were modifying an XK120, I would go with a 5-Speed manual instead of the automatic and probably forgo the power steering, but it is a lovely car and is used regularly.

The new year run is an annual event, I attended last year, but due to weather I didn’t take the E-Type.    The E-Type register is also proposing a semi-regular unofficial run.   I will probably try and attend one or two if I get the chance.

E-Type speedo bezel refitted

A while ago the bezel and glass that protects the speedometer had fallen off the E-Type.   I had tried to replace it in-situ, but the bezel fell off the next time I drove the car.    I later learned the correct way to do this and it is not very hard.

The panel under the dash that protects all the wires is easily removed providing access to the back of the instruments.   The speedometer has two thumb screws that hold it secure against the dash board.   They are hard to see, but can be felt.  They had slowly worked loose, letting the bezel rattle loose.  The fix is simply to un-tighten them, so the speedometer can be pushed out 0.5 cm, allowing the bezel to be twisted back on, then tighten up the screws properly.

Under Dash

I found it easier to move the steering wheel forward, and sit outside the car, leaning my head and arms into the footwell to reach up and unscrew/screw in the thumb screws.  The speedo needs to be held in place during the tightening so it stays straight.


After that, since it was a beautiful summer’s night, what better than to make sure the fix was given a proper test drive!

Citroen DS wouldn’t idle

I came to start the DS the other day, and it started fine, but would not idle properly.  Once the revs dropped below 1200 or so the engine died.   The car had been running fine before so it was quite perplexing.   I had some advice from the forum to try a few things, one was to check the float in the carburettor which was fine, and the other was to check the idle jet.   I wasn’t sure which was the idle jet and I didn’t want to mess with the settings, so when Jason who looks after the car for me offered to come over and show me, I was very happy to take him up on that.

Turns out it was the problem and I didn’t even need to take the top of the carby, the idle jets can be removed and cleaned from the sides.   One of the two jets can be seen on the side of the carby in the picture.


W123 Idler arm bushing replacement

The 280CE came back to the warehouse to replace the idler arm bushings.   The simple description of the idler arm is that it is the part that attaches to the steering linkage from the passengers side to balance the pittman arm which connects the steering box on the drivers side. Bad bushings in the idler arm mean that the steering system is not as ‘tight’ as it should be, can cause vibrations, poor alignment and so on.

The CE was not aligned properly, and replacing the idler arm bushings was important before an alignment was done.   There are many resources on the Internet that explain how to change the idler arm, but most of them do it in conjunction with the track rods.   This is not essential, and if the track rods are still in good condition, the idler arm bushings can be replaced without removing the track rods.   I found this writeup the most useful.

Even after this repair and an alignment the CE still pulls to one side.  The alignment place suspects one of the front tyres which need replacement anyway.

2014 ACT Terribly British Day

I had to be in Canberra today, so I swung by the ACT Terribly British Day.   It was quite a nice little car show with a decent mix of British cars.  I was glad to go as the Sydney show was rained out this year and I had not taken the 450SLC on a good road trip for a while.

Some of the cars I liked were a very original looking Bentley S1 Continental, a couple of nice Jaguar XK140 FHCs, and a former vice regal Rolls Royce Phantom V that took Sir William Kerr to make his announcement that he had dismissed the Whitlam Government.

An interesting piece of information I overheard was during a discussion by some Jaguar Owners, one of them mentioned that there is a man in Melbourne who is making 5 speed gearboxes that are a better fitment than the ones out of the UK and America.

Retrosound model 2 knob adjustment

Previously I had started re-looking at the faceplate of the Retrosound Model 2 I have installed in the DS.    The biggest issue is fitment of the secondary knobs.   In my first attempt, I had tried to file away small holes in the side of the cubby housing for them to fit, but I found that they jammed easily and interfered with the primary knobs.

My next attempt was to file down the knobs so only the small handle would be left.   This is a design that has been used in many other radios in the past, but Retrosound don’t seem to have a knob design like this.   See the example below from a Becker.


To achieve this I used a small hacksaw and a file, to remove the excess plastic from the regular knob.   The photo below shows a modified knob on the right and an unmodified one on the left.   The size issue is apparent as the LH knob extends significantly past the end of the face late.


Retrosound Model 2 in a Citroen DS – Revisited

Last year I installed a Retrosound Model 2 radio in my Citroen DS.   Overall, I was happy with the result, but there were one or two small things that were not working as I expected.   This was mostly down to so little space for the unit in the DS, as it is hard to get the radio face and knobs to fit inside the original cubby in the dashboard.   My goal was to install the radio without cutting into the dashboard, so I had to come up with a creative solution.   This involved cutting up the little plastic cubby (which is fairly easily replaceable) and separating the face of the radio with the chassis.   This generally worked well, but the knobs were hard to use and got stuck, so sometimes the radio would find a life of its own and advance tracks.  In addition, where I glued the face plate to the chassis, I had not done a good job with the glue so residue was quite obvious.

Old Face

Face 2

Subsequently to that, a few other members of the aussiefrogs forum were also installing Retrosounds in their cars.   In particular, one member produced some great looking face plates.  I was lucky enough to get one, so since I was not 100% happy with my original install it was a good opportunity to try something different.   I also ordered a some different knobs from the retrosound range.   There is still a fitment problem, as if you look carefully in the aussiefrogs thread, the knobs are mounted out the outside of the cubby and stick out a long way.   This is not what I wanted for my radio, so I will have to come up with a creative solution.   In the meantime, I have a few cubby from ebay France and have been trial fitting the new face plate.

New Face

There is still quite a bit to do here.

  1. Finalize the fitment of the shafts, faceplate, screen and front knobs
  2. Find a solution to the rear knob not fitting problem (my current idea is to cut one of the plastic ones I have down to size)
  3. Cut the cubby in half and fit the assembled unit to the cubby
  4. Reconnect the unit to the chassis and fit to the car.
  5. Test and make any necessary adjustments

The Devil in Disguise drive

On Sunday, I attended the Devil in Disguise drive with the Citroen Club.   So the story goes the drive is named in memorial for a member of the club who is sadly deceased who was apparently a mild mannered man, until he got behind the wheel of his DS, when the Devil in Disguise came out!

On this trip, the Devil was the weather – being around 35C, a bit too hot for old Ds.   Of the about 10 cars on the run, most people had brought a more modern car, apart from me in the DS and a 2CV.   Despite the conditions, the DS did pretty well.   The temperature was in the high range of the gauge most of the way up, but it never got out of the normal zone and I was able to cruise along the old Pacific highway at 80km/h with no problems.   Even up the hills, dropping down to 3rd gear provided more cooling capacity with higher RPM as there is no ram air effect with a 3rd nose DS, the air is sucked by the fan.   The Velour seats were a great change from the vinyl that I had last summer and made the trip fairly comfortable despite the weather.

As I had done the same drive in the 250SE just a few weeks before, the comparisons were quite interesting.   The 250SE being an overhead cam straight 6, likes to rev and does its best work in the high rev ranges.   The 250 also has shorter gearing so it feels a bit faster despite the additional weight (and being almost 50% more powerful).   The DS likes to waft along, ironing out the bumps and the motor is happier in the lower rev ranges.

On the way back, the temperature was up even more and there was more traffic on the road.   To keep the temperature down, I had to keep to about 70-80km/h on the motorway, and I had to stop and let the car relieve itself for a bit after some heavy traffic on Pacific highway.

UrinationOverall the cooling is much better than before the radiator was cleaned out and the new water pump fitted, but not perfect.   I need to check the heating valve, as I tried to turn the heater on to help the engine a little and wasn’t able to get any heat out.   It may even be worth trying something like water wetter to give the cooling system that little extra help.