January - December 2008

Jan 08 has seen a new (or rather very good second hand) servo procured and fitted to Blue Bess, after a quick rub-down and splash of black paint. A quick bleed of the system and now the braking is great, or at least much better than it has ever been. This is a wonderful thing!

It is now early Feb 08 and a constant worry in the back of my mind, the wheel bearing noise, comes to a head. What was a fairly quiet, wobbly sound at around 40 mph becomes a bit of a roar at the legal limit and is even more noticeable when steering. A few more days driving the car as daily transport (admittedly for quite long journeys) finally seals the bearing's fate and its now roaring like the clappers at only moderate speed. So its back into the garage for Bess to have her driver's side front wheel bearing renewed....and there are a couple of spares from when I knackered the seals last time.

Mid-February 08 has seen the offside front wheel bearing repaired by removing the wheel hub and brake disk. A quick nose around the inner works revealed that it was the outer race which was knackered with all rollers scored and 3 of them were badly pitted. I was tempted to replace the inner bearing too but trying to remove the rubber seal seemed too dodgy so in the end I decided to replace just the above mentioned race, which could have been done without removing the hub, but I will be wiser the next time. Anyhow, anyway, and above all, the car now runs quietly and can be driven at motorway speeds without a deafening rumble from the front, and this is a car that just loves those motorway speeds!

This month has also seen a new blue boot board aquired from the internet and, apart from one cigarette burn, it seems to be in really remarkably good condition. I'm not sure the colour will go well with the grey interior trim but the plan is to do some very minor repairs, patching the burn and a quick dose of dye to the scratches in the black paint. It does not look very blue below, but it definitely is a hypnotic blue colour.

Very early March 08 has seen Bess's dark grey boot board replaced with the new blue board. The latter was given a wash, a bit of glue, a dash of dye on its underside and a tiny patch repair to the carpet. The end result is the very best boot-board Bess has ever had....but is it the colour right?? It looks good with the hatch down to see a blueish carpet through the rear window but I'm not sure it looks quite right with the hatch open. Anyhow these a mere trifles and what matters most is that Bess finally now has a decent board that isn't patched up with papier mache and other such horrors!

No news is good news, as Bess soldiers on as everyday transport into mid-June 2008. Apart from an araldite repair to the reversing light switch, some calliper knock from the front driver's side and another mystery suspension knock from the passenger side, all seems to be going along just fine. A wash and polish seems to bring out new colour in the beast and, as always, makes the engine run much smoother ;-)

Its now late Sept 2008 and Bess has just passed her MOT with flying colours this time. The preceding weeks have seen Bess taken off the public road for removal of the front bumper to facilitate replacement of the broken nearside headlight and the little wiper motor underneath that was not working properly - work aided greatly by strawberry Volvic, as shown. Prior to that the oil was changed at about 102k and the oil levels checked in the gearbox and diff. The MOT showed up some play in the nearside track rod which the garage put down to a worn steering box. However, I remember from having the suspension apart many times that this particular track rod is from a different car, judging from the fact that it has been shortened at one end with an angle-grinder and is on the side of the car which has clearly been involved in a collision at some stage in its illustrious history. This may account for the slight steering wobble at motorway speeds and if I can source a replacement tie rod, it might get slotted in at some stage over the next few months, who knows. Anyhow Bess has been used regularly all through most of the year up till now, during which time the only niggles to show up are the knock from the offside front which I think is due to the front door restraint and a knock from the rear nearside suspension. Anyhow the garage put all this down to the worn front strut top rubbers - a conclusion which I am a bit doubtful of, but time will tell.

The finishing touches to 2008 include another oil change (at 103k). I foolishly had decided to use marine diesel 20/40 oil but the top end sounded distinctly clacky at certain revs so this was replaced with normal 20/50. The suspension now makes knocks on both sides (the nearside especially in the wet) so in the long term I will have a careful look at that and possibly replace the front strut top mounts. Still puzzled why the nearside knock seems to come from the back, but can be triggered by the front wheel going over a bump. The car seems to sag a bit low at the nearside rear! What does it all mean?

So what next? top