January - December 2021
Jan to Mar 2021 were spent in another jolly old lockdown which
allowed the garden, front bedroom and loft to be tidied up a
lot, thankfully, for the first time in decades.
I had noticed that
the 360 had an occasional issue of idling too fast (2000 rpm)
which I couldn't easily sort out. It turned out that the problem
was due to the plunger at the side of the carb (which is to do
with float chamber ventilation) kept getting pulled into the
down position by the plastic lever. However, a couple of hours
fiddling about revealed that it had a *very* simple cause - the
choke cable had become a bit bent in all the previous
shenanigans and was not allowing the carbie cams and levers to
go fully back to ground-zero when the choke was pushed in.
However, after a bit of straightening, I can sleep peacefully
In early March I found that the car started after 2-3 weeks
standing with fuel level in the filter really low and on a
fairly flat battery. This seem to suggest that the non-return
valve seems to do the business. The mixture is a bit rich,
though. Maybe, a tweak of that well-hidden screw is needed.
The 360 gear-change died on 5th April 2021 so she was brought back
by the AA on the back of a lorry. The gear lever was incredibly
loose but I couldn't see anything wrong apart from the fact that
the rubber seal with the chassis beneath the two gaitors had given
up the ghost. Turns out that its due to a well-known weak point in
the linkage and it gets welded up by the garage for £531, which
sounds like a lot but they had to drop the gearbox, so its not too
bad really. All that remains to be done is to repair the
waterproof seal with the chassis which sits under a plastic frame
beneath the two rubber gaitors.
It turned out that the plastic tray can be removed by tapping out
little plastic pegs which sit in the 0-shaped holes, one of which
is visible in the above right picture. Removal goes quite well,
although the rubber seal turns out to be unobtainable and not easy
to duplicate. There's even a bit bona fide
welding visible on the linkage below.
Mid-April 2021 and it's coming back together with Gorilla tape as
a substitute for the original rubber moulded seal - just want a
bit of waterproofing at that point in case I have to drive through
floodwater again, although I have to make holes in the tape for
the plastic pegs!
As can be seen, the pegs tap back into their holes to about the
right depth quite well, I think. Now moving towards the end of
April 2021 and the car is back in everyday use.
Effort is now concentrated on Red Ness whose boot floor was given
a hasty coat of red paint in the autumn that didn't match too
well. However, a coat of black Humbrol enamel, diluted a lot with
white spirit, has toned it down quite well.
Blast, it looks like a second coat overdid it.
Anyway, after much cursing and climbing in the boot, I got the
back seat re-fitted, but my back was telling me I should not try this
Still a bit unhappy with myself over the colour so I went over it
with some original Volvo touch-up paint, thinned-out with tons of
acetone (shown below right). Dried very quickly so I am happy with
the result, but now it's too red again, but I think its OK.
I then got the boot boards back in place, etc, so now (mid-May
2021) it's time to show off my latest restoration piece: a
3-compartment toolbox hand-painted to match, I hope.
Now, it's time to start freeing-off the rear brakes so the car
goes up onto wooden blocks again and, thankfully, the drums came
off fairly easily. You can see my slightly embarassing over-spray
on the exhaust pipe and spring shackles from 2 years ago. I just
assumed they'd be rusted-up by now ;-0
All came apart pretty well on the first side I tackled. The lever
was totally seized-up since the garage had used brake-cleaner to
remove all the copper-ease I had put on it to stop it seizing-up.
However, it freed-up fairly quickly with some hammering and WD40.
A spot of copper grease and it's all gone back together on the
driver's side. I think it's alright.
The other side came apart and the lever was found to have
seized-up, but not as badly as the first one. Freed-up and copper
greased, it's going back together in mid-May 2021.
Got it back together, adjusted the handbrake and back on the
ground again. Seems ok now. All the while, the deep blue 1.7
soldiers on out to the wild bogs as reliably as ever, touch wood.
Next up, servicing Deep Blue herself. She needed a new fuel
filter, but, as can be seen in the second picture, the dizzy cap
was in good condition compared to how it usually looks (third
picture), so, like the rotor arm, it was simply cleaned-up and
refitted. Waste not, want not.
Oil change, plug-clean and air filter change all done. The current
mileage on Deep Blue is 95k. There are a couple of jobs that need
doing over the Summer, namely the speedo needle keeps jittering
and the left-indicator does not self-cancel when the weather is
hot!! However, it makes a loud enough click to tell me that it has
not self-cancelled, Mr Insurer, so can be remedied by hand.
Everything went well with the 360 until the middle of May when the
welded repair to the rear exhaust hanger broke, so limped home
with piece of string holding the rear silencer up. Back to the
newly serviced deep blue 1.7 for a bit. Meanwhile, the garage
re-welded the 360 exhaust hanger and put on a new exhaust rubber
but when I drove it back to its garage, guess what, the mounting
broke again and the rubber O-ring went flying somewhere on the
route. Need to find someone who knows how to weld. Hope the gear
lever has been welded better, hmmm....
They also broke another mounting in their efforts, but thankfully
the third one survived intact.
Needless to say, a day or so later, I was able to retrieve the new
but, by now multipli-runover, O-ring (shown below) by carefully
retracing my steps. Set against a backdrop of Murder Most Foul,
the full enormity of these pigeon poo dramatics is plain for all
to see, but a hole is a hole...
to the rescue with some
super-high quality welding (below left). I managed to get a new
exhaust hanger from Dafhobby
and this was welded on
by Tony who realised that the old one had been welded on in the
wrong place, before it broke off!! The hanger should be bolted on
but the captive nuts in the chassis box section were long, long
gone, so welding it on was the right answer. The other mounting
that was broken (below right) has been repaired quite
innovatively, too. Could that be a bolt-on solution ;-?
So now its 12th June 2021, but lets call it 1st
, and all Red Ness needs is a new
twin-tailpipe exhaust and some stylish alloys.
You might detect some failry rubbish pixel editing by a
photoshop-style program there and you'd be spot on. Anyhow, the
idea came from this
which I remembered fondly from my mid-secondary modern school
days. Yes, no 11-plus here, sorry! Well, I wouldn't be into 340's
if I had the brains to pass ;-0
Anyway, the full enormity of my lack of IQ came to the fore when
trying to locate where this item left-over by the welders two
years ago should really go.
Finally, with help from the volvo300mania forum, I found it on the
deep blue 340 next to where the radiator goes. So lets see how it
looks on the red 340. OK its there, but hang on, its also
different, facing forwards rather than backwards!!
Oh well, its definitely missing on the other side of the red one,
so we'll fit the left-over one in its vacant slot.
All's well that ends well, but the niggling worry is whether it's
really right? A look at the other side of the radiator on the blue
340 leaves me baffled in the extreme since its definitely facing
the other way to cover over the air inlet. In one of those eureka
moments (that rarely happen to me) I realised that the welders may
have fitted the trim panels back on the wrong sides of the
radiator, so off they come for a clean-up and a bit of a silicone
I then experimented with fitting them the other way round. Nice
one, top one, sorted and I think that they are finally back in
their right places.
Later in June 2021, I am getting niggled by the bangs from the
exhaust still so I adjusted the angle of the rear section and have
been juggling rubber mountings about to get the best effect on
bumps. A bit more juggling of exhaust rubbers has allowed me to
come up with the perfect (sounds dodgy doesn't it) solution in the
form of some self-adhesive heat insulation padding which was cut
to size and stuck on in a couple of places.
But still the knocking persists as evidenced by the dent in the
ali-cated padding, and, sadly, a whump up the backside is received
from a coach on a roundabout one sunny arvers in mid-June 2021.
Thankfully its just a matter of cracks in the bumper paint which
are filled in with a few goes at the Captain Tolley's.
Now into the end of June 2021 and Red Ness fails the MOT on brakes
and emissions, but the garage got it back to me for a couple of
hundred quid which doesn't seem too bad, but for sure they have
removed all the lovely copper grease. Never mind. Got her back
into storage without incident but the side trim panels next to the
back seat were cheesing me off since they rattle like snakes, and
have done since the welder worked on her 3 years ago. So what is
going on? Took the offending panels off and underneath is a black
strip of bendy metal which the top of the trim panel should
However on one side, the bendy strip was too close to the window
for the panel to hook over and on the other side the strip was
horribly deformed and bent miles away from the window so the trim
panel wasn't catching. None of this requires an 11+ to put right
so just bend the strips so that they're about the right distance
from the glass to hold the trim panels tightly and away you go. As
you can see, the interior trim is really VGC and the wheels and
exhaust have been reverted to standard items ;-0 ;-0
End of July 2021 and we're back on Deep Blue again, trying,
against another backdrop of Murder Most Foul, to fix cracks in the
Also, trying to clean out dust or grease or anything at all that's
causing the speedo to jitter so much.
Now, in a trial run with a couple of spare items I am trying out a
glue gun that uses those plastic rods and melts them at the tip,
so you get drips of hot black gluey plastic. Thought I'd give it a
bash as I always find that superglue and araldite don't really
stand the test of time. So here we go pigeon pooing with a glue
The more you can bulk it up, the stronger the mend (!) and it
seems promising so lets try it on the steering column bracket for
the indicator and wiper switches.
All of this is being done because the indicator switch on Deep
Blue has a habit of not self-cancelling in hot weather when
turning left (Mr/Ms/Mrs Insurer) so I am trying to put this right
and a couple of days reassembling everything will allow us to try
I got the deep blue 340 back together and did a spot of respraying
here and there. Unfortunately the hot weather more-or-less
disappeared soon after so there wasn't really a chance to see if
the self-cancelling problem with the indicator switch is sorted.
Next Summer will tell.
Into mid-Aug 2021 and have been tangling with the callipers on a
Rover P5 which failed the MOT. The garage broke one of the brake
pipes, too. They say its the callipers which need refurbishing but
they can't do it themselves so I'll have to sort it. Better than
have them leaving it parked on the street for weeks!
Anyway, the callipers have come off OK, between bouts of
Montezuma's revenge. It doesn't help to have a colon being more
productive than Niagara Falls ;-0 ;-0
Now into early Sept 2021 and have been trying to fix the indicator
switch on an old Hyundai which, when the lights were switched on,
caused them to flicker on and off. Cured it for now with a second
hand item, but what was causing this problem in the first place?
To answer this question, I had a bash at taking the original
It seemed to come apart OK and showed some blackening of the
copper terminals which were cleaned up. I needed to replace the
dielectric grease and was going to use vaseline, but I found a
plumbers grease at the new local Toolstation (Rectorseal or
something) which has higher melting point and is insulating! I
decided that cleaning out the base of the switch probably wasn't
going to cure a problem that was definitely linked to twiddling
the rotating knob at the end of the indicator stalk. So a trip to
the local car shop led to the suggestion to drill out a little pin
holding the knob on and also turned-up a promising new pin that
might go in its place later. The picture on the below-right shows
an attempt to drill out the pin. Sorry the drilling is a bit ratty
as it damaged the surrounding plastic a bit. Anyhow, subsequent
use of a needle file in the drill allowed the pin to be removed
(well, to be more accurate, it flew off and got lost in the
OK, so the rotating switch cover then came off and this allowed
the innards to be cleaned-up after removing a yellow clip (swear,
slight breakage occurred with this, but its not too bad at all,
The copper contacts were cleaned-up. Knees up Mother Brown.
Everything re-greased with Rectorseal and clicked back together!
The new hinge-pin (shown below) was sawn to size and slotted into
place with a touch of Captain Tolley's added to hold it firmly,
hopefully. Then with a cheapie glue-gun, a bit of molten black
placky was blobbed into place and given an authentic textured
finish with a thumbnail!
After trying a few paints with a fine brush, I found I got an
almost completely invisible repair with a tube of acrylic paint
from an art shop. Meanwhile, the exhaust on the 360 keeps banging
away so its back to a bit of late September smithy work and then
refitting the newly hammered in exhaust. I struggle and strain it
back into place with one or two bits of spongy tin foil to dampen
the knocks, hopefully. Yes, it's looking pretty well hammered-in
but I think its exaggerated by the photographs, arf.
This does turn out to solve the banging-on-bumps problem and I can
confirm that the non-return valve in the fuel system has
completely cured the non-starting problems which affected this
car, particularly in the hot weather. Indeed after not being
started for 2 - 3 weeks in Oct 2021, the 360 was again in
'refusing to start' mode so this had to be the ultimate test of
the non-return valve. Yo! Persistence paid off and after about
12-15 turns of the key, she started. In previous years, she would
have resolutely refused to start till the battery ran flat. So now
its back to tidying the rear-brakes on the Rover P5.
One of the linings had fallen off. Need to test the cylinders
somehow. Pretty sure the handbrake mechanism is OK, but will
copper-grease it all up.
Grease them all up and put it back together again and test, if not
working, go back to start (brakes and ladders) ;-0
Then shock horror, a spare couple of hours suddenly materialises
and so we can whack on a new pair of shoes each side.
Late Sept 2021 and working on Deep Blue again so its time for
another how not to guide. This time it's repairing the hazard
light switch. When removing or refitting, remember to press down
on the surrounding plastic frame as hard as possible or the spring
clip on top of the switch will break the surround. Done that and
heard it's very common. Lucky this time, though. When it's off the
leads you can pop it open with a finger nail and all the little
springs and contacts inside go sproing everywhere, so be quick to
catch them all in the dog's water bowl, not.
There was plenty of greasy verdigris to be seen. Scrape it all of,
well carefully, like. There's a little spring-loaded ball bearing
under the white plastic tab and 3 springs on the other side which
support two contacts (2 springs for the biggest contact, one for
the smaller one). Then regrease it all with plumber's grease (e.g.
Rectorseal, my favourite word these days) or some other
non-conducting metal-free (dielectric) grease, partly because it
helps to keep the springs and contacts in place in readiness for
the great click and leap of faith when you snap it all back
Now into Oct 2021 and on the Red Ness front, I've been trying to
cure the wind-noise issue of her big heavy doors, in spite of them
having new seals and the window frames being bent back a bit by
hand. A bit of black draft excluder certainly works but it comes
off a bit too easily really with general handling of the doors,
but it's not too bad actually. I might leave it on unless anyone
knows of a more permanently sticking draft excluder material.
Anyway, we're in for a complete change, it's a Johnson Evinrude
Seahorse 2 HP outboard with no compression. Thankfully, not mine.
Just trying to make out that I'm doing something and that I know
what I'm doing! Been a bit inhibited by the petrol pump lockdown
of Oct 2021 but it's getting better. Replaced the missing rear
mudflap on Deep Blue and did some rather poor paintwork on the
360, still it won't show too much!
The gear change on the 360 has been a tad difficult this year
since the repair to the coupling rod which was done by the garage
but it is ok now. I've got the hang of getting reverse but when
the lever is at its relaxed position in any gear it can be wobbled
like mad. Much more than on the other 300's I have driven. Purely
by coincidence, I'm sure ;-0, this is the only one which I had the
gearbox open. The selector plate is a bit fiddly to put back and I
am thinking that I may have not connected it right to a spring
which is supposed to tension it. As it's almost 20 years ago, I
might change the gearbox oil in the next year or so and check the
little spring which I think I didn't connect properly. You can
tighten it apparently.
Now, to the end of Oct 2021 when a semi-minor disaster strikes. I
was trying a trick to get into reverse easier which involves going
into 3rd first and I then found that I couldn't get it into
reverse at all. I realised afterwards that I was pushing the lever
down instead of up. Anyway, at the time I was so convinced that it
wouldn't go into reverse, I got out and pushed the car, which was
very foolish cos it was on a slope and it duly ran away, knocking
down two wooden posts, one of which made a hole in the rear
valance. You couldn't make it up. Just an old man trying an new
trick. Bizarrely the only thing that stopped it moving was a post
that got wedged under one of the rear springs. As a result I
couldn't move the car out of the mud and brambles because the rear
wheel was spinning in thin air. Daft, what an oaf. Anyway, I'll
take it back to the welder as there is tons of rust around the
rear valance and spare wheel well, not to mention the sills and
front valance, that needs looking at and anything that galvanises
me into action is a good thing but she has to get an MOT first.
Meanwhile, I have been tackling the petrol smell on Deep Blue
which was due to a dodgy overflow hose behind the trim panel in
the boot. Getting these petrol overflow hoses replaced and
everything back together involves fiddling about with hose clips
and rubber seals, inside and underneath, not to mention cursing in
Finally, after pursuing several blind alleys with the outbaord
motor, the cylinder head gasket is found to have blown and is duly
replaced after a cylinder-head skim, meaning that the beastie is
now working fine. Thankfully not mine.
Now into early Dec 2021 and time again for a slightly different
story: been trying to fix a jammed passenger seat motor in a
I don't get it, but there is a limit switch and when the seat is
at its furthest point forwards, the motor can try to move in the
forwards direction (i.e. making the collision with the limit
switch worse) but it cannot move backwards, i.e. its completely
stuck. I got it off the limit switch by disconnecting and
by-passing it with a bit of wire. The motor then got power to wind
the seat backwards again. This makes me think one of the
connectors is swapped over or something but I can't see any
connections where this would be possible. Maybe the limit switch
has been fitted the wrong way round or something but to remove it
is an absolute pain because the screws face downwards about 2
inches above the floor and are very tightly done up!! If the seat
is going forwards you can only stop it by pressing the limit
switch button in the direction that it would be pressed if the
seat was going backwards, and vice versa. Aren't mechanics
supposed to test this sort of thing when they repair things? Duh,
despair on Jon. Anyhow, the limit switch was eventually removed
with a Philip's screwdriver bit held in a tiny spanner. Turned the
switch round and now it's working perfectly and going back
together. However, I then found that to refit the side trim
panel requires removing the seat again. Another case of snakes and
ladders. As this job took most of a week (on and off), I am
beginning to see why mechanics don't bother putting this sort of
Anyway, all's awesome and back together again. Indeed the car is
used to acquire my next top secret, cold-war project - a Wessex
Lift Boy GB1 automatic garage door opener (shown above and below).
It's new, but 40 years old, so getting it going might need some
reverse engineering, whatever that is! Its 10 foot in length, so
transport took advantage of the Hyundai's split folding back seats
and prestigious dashboard. Indeed, more work on the Hyundai
switches has cured the passenger-side front window of its tendency
to stick open. It was just a pivot pin for the up-or-down button
which had popped-out. Anyhow, the final leg of the homeward
journey for the garage door lifter is by 340.
Into mid-Dec2021 and the 360 comes back from the welder. He has
been generous with the stone-chip but its looking good by my book,
Finally, getting very close to Crimbo and the red 3-door is taken
for a short run and all goes very well. OK, well, I left her
running with the choke out in carbon-neutral (not) for the photo,
so I guess we won't be in Greta's good books, but never mind too
Time for another: what's next!