Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Hell Razor5543 » 21 Aug 2019, 07:37

When you do replace the spheres I have found that, regular loosening of the spheres (every six months or so) makes it far easier to remove them when it comes time to replace them in the future.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Gibbo2286 » 21 Aug 2019, 08:48

Other than the mask Zel there's another hazard, all that stuff lying around the floor. :)

Seriously, one of my motor trade colleagues blinded himself when he tripped on tools left on the floor and stuck the screwdriver he was holding in his eye.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 21 Aug 2019, 10:14

Yes, the garage is a death trap.

The problem with it is twofold.

Firstly is that there's no proper storage in there. I need to invest a non trivial amount in kitting it out with epic amounts of shelving before I've any hope of bringing any order to it.

Secondly is just the fallout from having had to clear not one but two houses at zero notice when my mother and then my father passed away. There's probably a car sized like of stuff at the back of the garage which was thrown in there following that debacle back in 2015 which I need to do something with - if I can ever find both the time and emotional energy to tackle. The way that all unfolded and the amount of things I really would have rather kept that had to be abandoned has left me quite a state which makes binning even a box of paperclips nigh on impossible without making me a gibbering wreck.

Problem is that I really can't see that happening until I've seen a therapist to try to sort out the emotional wreck my head is just now, and while I'm in the queue... that's unlikely to happen before 2022. If I've not imploded before that (or fallen to my death in my own garage) before then anyway.

As it is just the sheer amount of clutter in there ensures that it's a mess half an hour after you tidy up as you can't do anything without knocking things off what little shelf space there is. Especially if you're trailing an extension lead or air line. The area immediately to the right of the door is by far the worst for that.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 22 Aug 2019, 01:04

Definitely feel I'm somewhat getting the feel of this now. Got the spray gun working nicely within a few minutes today, and it behaved perfectly throughout the whole loading of paint.

I think we're pretty much at the stage now where I'm happy to more or less to call the paintwork "good enough for now."

The aim has always been to get the car into a state where it looked like a somewhat scruffy but well loved creaky old classic car rather than something which looked like it had literally just been driven out of a scrap yard. That's a state which we're getting towards now I think.

The bodywork will be seeing professional attention at some point in the future - but it shouldn't be a barrier to the car actually being used in the real world now.

Here's a bit of before & after fun.

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No, it's not fantastic...but it's a means to an end. I want to use the car...and hopefully this should scream "there's no way this is road legal!" slightly less loudly at any passing traffic police having a bad day that might otherwise see me as a target.

The engine cover and doors might want another coat ideally as they're still a bit patchy. Realistically I'll get a better finish on the doors if I lay them flat for the last coat anyway. The rest of it I'm calling done for now - at the very most I might throw one more coat on.

Tomorrow's task will be to pull all the masking tape off and put stuff back together. The interior is still half full of blasting soda too, so an interior clean will also be on the cards. Keeping fingers very much crossed that the paint hasn't found its way in through too many gaps as I'd rather not have to go over everything with the thinners! I did throw a sheet over the seat at least though...so hopefully that will still be black.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by daviemck2006 » 22 Aug 2019, 23:14

van ordinaire wrote:
20 Aug 2019, 23:32
Always intersted on your views on tyres, Davie, in fact one of the reasons for me thinking about RainExperts was I recall them figuring in your "top 3" a while back. However, a little surprised you are thinking of getting some before Winter - as they're Summer tyres. (& I'm still uncertain now they are no longer "A" for wet grip)
I have, in nearly 40 years of driving have only ever on 3 occasions bought winter tyres, and once all season tyres. I have never got stuck in snow, in fact on one occasion I towed my bosses jeep Cherokee out of a snow drift with my c5 on summer tyres. Her problem was that once she had got stuck, with her silly 20 inch low profile, she gave I'd far too much gas and dug all 4 tyres in. We dont actually get much snow where I am, certainly not enough for me to spend out on winters which may only help me one or two days a year. Never had a problem with uniroyal, vredestien summers, or Falcons, and these are the only makes of tyres I would consider. I tried vredestien quattric once on the front of a 107 and they were a compromise, which means they were crap at everything. Full winter vredestien snowtrac were much better.

Zel the invacar is looking much better. It does now look like it is being cared for and looked after and that it is safe on the road. It maybe is not perfect body wise but it's not looking like rescued out of a field after being abandoned for years. I'm actually thinking one would be an absolutely perfect thing for me doing the hot food deliveries! My c1 is close to perfection, could an ancient invacar be better than a modern c1? I would love to try one to find out!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 23 Aug 2019, 03:44

She'd be great so long as you could figure out somewhere for stuff to sit. Good turning circle, flat floor, sliding doors and being so narrow is a boon in tight spots. Dynastart means no starter motor to be hammered with lots of stop-start use too.

Today was quite gratifying in that it has seen TPA suddenly starting to look like a car again.

While the finish is still abominable up close, at a glance from a distance she almost looks respectable now!

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She desperately needs a new set of number plates as they're utterly past it. Being relatively early examples of the "modern style" acrylic plates, they've not weathered terribly well and the originally reflective backing has turned transparent with age.

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It's an odd effect I don't think I've seen happen before. Once they're changed though (keeping with the correct pre-2001 typeface of course) and I've cleaned the not inconsiderable amount of overspray from the rear tyres...

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...She should pass muster as looking like she belongs on the road rather than the scrap heap I think it's fair to say.

Once the throttle cable turns up I'll get her out and take some better photos in actual daylight.

Or I get fed up of waiting for the new cable (ordered on August 8th...) to turn up and I re-bodge the already bodged cable back on.

The National Microcar Rally is this weekend. It's 120 miles away, on roads I've never seen. The longest trip I've done in TPA so far is 17 miles on roads I know. I have not completely dismissed the possibility of my throwing caution to the wind and trying to drive her there. Especially as I believe that TWC, the car she donated many spares to the restoration of before I took ownership of her, will be there...and it's always great to get the pair back together whenever possible I think as it's just a great conversation starter and a great story. Just goes to show that sometimes no matter how slim a chance a car has of being brought back to life, there can still be hope. This pair of little blue beasties now buzzing (well, screaming is more accurate...the cooling fan sounds like a supercharger!) about the countryside is testament to that.

The photo below was taken when TWC dropped by here on the way to another event a couple of months ago.

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Another one has recently been bought by another friend, pictured below, will also hopefully become a somewhat regular visitor to the area.

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This car was actually one of a pair that were sold together, the other (I don't have a photo to hand of that one) bought by another friend should bring our numbers to turn up at a few shows when we can coordinate it next year to four...should raise a few eyebrows!

The fun thing I think is that both of that pair look to be cars which their owners actually want to drive and use rather than just lock away in a garage never to be seen again, which sadly is the fate of a lot of survivors of this type of vehicle.

The more miles we get covered the more urban myths about them we can bust hopefully.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Michel » 23 Aug 2019, 06:33

Zel, the microcar rally is 5th-8th Sept according to their website...

Go via Reading. I'll follow you down on my motorbike :)

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 23 Aug 2019, 11:37

Michel wrote:
23 Aug 2019, 06:33
Zel, the microcar rally is 5th-8th Sept according to their website...

Go via Reading. I'll follow you down on my motorbike :)
So it is...where the bleep did I get this weekend from? No idea!

Oh well, makes it a bit more possible to happen then!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 25 Aug 2019, 00:25

With the paint stripping, sanding, soda blasting and painting that has been going on over the last couple of months, TPA's interior was in a right royal state.

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While I'm not always that fussy about the state of the outside of a car, a grubby interior will drive me spare in no time flat.

I'm honestly embarrassed to have had to display the car at the Festival of the Unexceptional with the interior in this state, but I just didn't have time to deal with it before that event.

We've some time now though, so let's sort it out.

You think rubber floor mats, you think "easy to clean."

Um...no...the ribbed texture does a fantastic job of capturing every bit of grime and even with a brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner it takes ridiculous amounts of scrubbing to get everything out of the grooves.

I've not discounted the idea of carpeting the floor in future. Nothing showy, would just be a dark neutral coloured cord carpet, same as I'll probably line the roof and transmission cover with to cut down on noise. Now I know of several cars in our neck of the woods all of which are in better shape than mine makes me a bit less reticent to make small improvements like that. Especially keeping in mind a possible long trip next year.

Speaking of long trips - I will NOT be able to make it to the National Microcar Rally. The date clashes with a family birthday and I'm very much required at home on the Sunday as a result. Saturday isn't an option as I've a dentist appointment 75 miles in the wrong direction from here. So it would be at least 1600 in the afternoon before I could get there, even being optimistic about travel times...and I wouldn't be able to stay overnight as I'm needed as of Sunday morning here. So just not happening sadly. Definitely an event I'll keep in the calendar though for next year.

After a couple of hours scrubbing the interior was looking a little more presentable.

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Somehow it appeared that the interior surfaces of the doors had been missed when I gave the car the first quick scrub over...much better now.

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The area inside the "door pocket" is another area which might get the carpet treatment in the future - not least to reduce the tendency for me to find up with glass fibres embedded in my knuckles when putting stuff in there. Any reduction in drumming would be a coincidental bonus.

I really wish I had a wet and dry vacuum cleaner as the driver's seat could really do with the attention of one. Though given how warm it's forecast to be over the next week I'm considering just taking it out and hitting it with the pressure washer and leaving it in the sun for a few days to dry.

A couple of the cushions in the van lack removable covers too, so it would be really helpful for cleaning those. Oh, and the velour door cards, the driver's one is a bit grey at knee height.

While I had the cleaning supplies out I took the opportunity to give all the glass a good polish to help get rid of any remaining overspray (it got under the paper in a few locations).

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This windscreen wiper blade does look much more in keeping with the stylistic period of the car.

Given how much the sweat was pouring off me today (the garage is actually one of the coolest places in the house in the summer due to the lack of windows) and we've got a local forecast even worse at 32C tomorrow, I can't honestly see me getting much done. Might see about getting the silver paint out to touch in a couple of details as I can probably retreat to somewhere cool to do that. Engine cover hinges and air intake grill being the main targets there. Would like to get the bulkhead down at foot level cleaned up from where I dripped paint a while ago when I was tidying up the handlebar yoke.

Really looking forward to getting some driving done again...will be interesting to see how much psychological effect knowing the car is less scruffy at a glance will have on me...reckon it will make it feel far less stressful for me as I won't be silently having to remind myself that the car really is roadworthy, irrespective of what it may have looked like. Bit less shy of showing people the interior now it's less of a tip now.

If I don't immediately die of heatstroke when I step out the front door of the house I may see about refitting my throttle cable. I've soldered my bodged end onto it now, so am declaring it good enough to serve until my package of new cable eventually materialises... assuming it ever does. The end is very slightly frayed though, so not 100% certain it will be possible to get it back through the liner...we'll just have to see.

Enjoyed getting to do some interior valet work though, I always enjoy that sort of thing even though it's something which a lot of folk hate doing.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 25 Aug 2019, 18:07

Today I Managed about half an hour outside before retreating inside due to passing out becoming an increasingly real hazard.

Offside rear wheel was target number one. This had lost a lot of paint while on KPL due to a leaking brake wheel cylinder. Nearside one was painted a couple of months ago

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Painted and back on the car. Sorry, forgot to get a photo at the intermediary stage.

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Next up was the grill covering the engine cooling fan air intake. This was originally bare aluminium, and if I'd realised how easy it was to remove I'd have just taken it off before painting the engine cover...every day's a school day!

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It was a bit tarnished anyway so a quick blast of alloy wheel silver wouldn't have gone amiss anyhow. While I had the silver paint out I used a small brush to touch in the hinges on the engine cover silver too. Small details, but they all add up.

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That photo does a good job of showing how knackered the rear plate is.

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I may switch those hinges out for chromed ones at some point for no reason other than because I can...and so they would match what is on the front.

One thing I cannot seem to find for love nor money is the little metal cap for the number plate light...I know it's in the garage. Somewhere. That is the extent of my knowledge!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren » 26 Aug 2019, 20:11


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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 26 Aug 2019, 22:50

Throttle cable refitting was an utter fail.

Turned out that having now soldered my end onto the cable it wouldn't fit in the twist grip any more. De-soldering it to adjust then made the previously crimped on end fall off.

I then managed to drop the back part of the twist grip and watch it disappear down behind a pile of stuff in the garage. Retrieval of this took about half an hour.

I decided to call time at this point before I made things any worse!

Literally as I was walking back inside though I got a notification from Royal Mail saying that my package from China (which I have to assume is my throttle cable kit) has finally been received and is now passing through the UK network...so hopefully I'll have the bits in hand in the next day or so to properly change it anyway rather than bodging things.

Still kicking myself for not just bailing on that order and reverting to an actual UK based seller rather than one which just has UK in their name...never dreamt it would take so long to arrive.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 27 Aug 2019, 22:45

Took some measurements today for future reference if I decide to go down the route of adding carpet of trimming any areas. Roof is the obvious one along with the shelf on the transmission cover. The purpose there is twofold in that it would both help with sound deadening and help stop stuff sliding around so much. Lining the roof should do a lot to help dampen the general echoes in the cabin.

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Front bulkhead is probably quite bad for drumming too as it's one huge flat surface.

Would probably make sense to do the floor and front bulkhead in one section.

Not putting too much thought and time into this right now as there are way higher priority tasks...just interesting to plan for what might be future improvements. Most carpet rolls are 4m wide I believe so need to factor in any wastage to the calculations for how much would need to be bought. Guessing two metres from a 4m roll would be sensible. Will give plenty of wriggle room, even taking into account the inevitable wastage, even of I were to do the lot.

I've forbidden myself from going near anything with a repeating pattern as trying to ensure everything is facing the same direction in such close quarters sounds like a recipe for insanity. Plus most patterns would look daft in a car. We'll be going with plain, solid colour short pile. Probably black or very dark grey for the floor, roof and rest of the panels will go for a more neutral mid grey.

Just a shame there are a lot of very rusty fasteners holding the roof on as that would be so much easier with it in the ground.

Not too worried about most of it, but I'd like to get the floor done as the existing flooring is in such poor condition. Imagine it would improve the refinement quite a bit too.

Given that my throttle cable package passed through a distribution centre less than 50 miles away yesterday evening I'm hoping it might arrive tomorrow.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth » 29 Aug 2019, 02:03

Things today started out in a frustrating way.

The throttle cable kit I had been waiting for since the sixth of August finally arrived today. However it immediately became apparent that it did not contain the parts I needed.

What I thought were the small barrel shaped cable ends in the tiny blurry images on the listing actually turned out to be ferrules (left on the image below), and the actual cable ends were the larger type. Shown to the right.

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By this point I was thoroughly irked given how long I had waited for it. This quite quickly turned into me refusing to be beaten given that I was holding a new length of decent cable in my hand.

The issue I had was that the barrel type cable ends supplied while correct in their length were roughly twice the required diameter. So they wouldn't fit into the proper retainer in the twist grip. I couldn't even wedge one in behind the holder because the clamshell sections which cover it wouldn't close with the cable end sitting so much prouder than the original.

That was until I gave it some thought and brandished an angle grinder at it. I cut a new slot just to one side of the original cable retainer like so...

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Which allows the larger cable end to sit like this...

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This drops the height of things to a point where the covers can be correctly reassembled. Having left the original retainer untouched means I will have the option to revert to the other type of cable end in the future if needed.

With the new end soldered onto the cable everything was put together and it worked. Action still isn't great so I may well change the cable outer as well at some point, but it is actually working now. The twist grip itself isn't the nicest thing ever anyway, so that too might be replaced in the future.

Which meant I could finally get the car out of the garage for the first time in several weeks.

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Answers on a postcard for the best way to shift overspray from tyres?

Before heading out though I made a point of properly setting the CVT belt tension - spacing the pulley centres 10.25" apart as per the manual (I'll probably find I've remembered the value wrong now) as I was pretty certain the belt was too loose when I was last out. It was very snatchy moving off from a standstill and sounded like it was flapping around a lot at speed.

Still a bit juddery moving off from a standstill, but definitely better. I suspect the engine/gearbox mounts I have are a bit last their best so may look to replace those at some point. It does to some extent seem to be something they are a bit prone to though from what I remember seeing.

Drive is definitely happier though, *far* quieter and especially so at cruising speed. Much less of a noticeable shunt when coming off the power too. Several points while out today I was having to back off the throttle due to the 60mph speed limit rather than due to running out of road or other traffic.

Fuelling up has shown us nearly touching 30mpg on that last tank - half of which was prior to fitting the new pulleys, so it's definitely heading the right way. Not expecting to ever see particularly great figures locally as MK is murderous on fuel economy because of there being a roundabout every 0.9 miles. Would be nice to see over 30mpg though, which hopefully we will on the next tank.

Obviously had to snap a few photos while out and about.

The heavens did open at one point, which revealed that I owe an apology to this windscreen wiper blade.

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I had expected it to be nothing but a pointless shiny bit of tat...but it actually works just fine, better than the Bosch one which was on there before anyway.

Even when the surface is horribly rough, you still get water beading on new paint which is always satisfying to see.

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At least I now have a few reasonable "stock" images of TPA I can throw at people when they ask what a Model 70 is now. Obviously I'll need to re-take these once the new number plates arrive though.

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...And back home after all the excitement of an actual run.

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The sliding doors still amuse me and seem to utterly confuse passers by.

I'll need to find an excuse to head out of town shortly so I can properly assess how the drive is behaving. Definitely seems far happier now though and there wasn't anything which felt like it gave me cause for concern during the drive. Never mind nothing actually falling off, it didn't feel like anything was even in danger of falling off this time.

Looking at those photos now it is slightly hard to believe that's the same car that arrived wedged in the back of a Transit van about a year ago...

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She's undergone a bit of a transformation I think it's fair to say!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Lada Riva, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Michel » 29 Aug 2019, 06:41

What diameter are the handlebars Zel? Spare throttle tubes (that twist grip bit you've ground out) are readily available for motorcycles, and cheap. You could even fit a set of heated grips over them for winter use :D