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

Post by Zelandeth » 26 Feb 2019, 19:11

Funny, I don't remember the parking spaces in Sainsbury's car park seeming so huge...
IMG_20190226_161142.jpg
TPA out and about..
Last edited by Zelandeth on 27 Feb 2019, 22:37, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Zelandeth » 27 Feb 2019, 00:48

So in addition to the photo taken out and about in the Sainsbury's car park (a whole 0.8 miles from home!) earlier, here's the rest of the update from today.

Continuing with the general theme of ticking one little task at a time off, I attacked the door runners and latches with grease.
IMG_20190226_144836.jpg
Door runners greased
Main hope there had been that it might help the offside door slide properly as it has a tendency to stick on the runners. Sadly it still does, though not quite as badly.

While I was there I securely reattached the door seals at the bottom of that door.
IMG_20190226_144850.jpg
Offside door "seals" refitted
Though I always feel that I should use quotation marks around "seal" when referring to those around the doors of an Invacar given the degree of daylight that you can see around them. Reminds me of a Series Land Rover...
IMG_20190226_144901.jpg
Panel gaps which even Lada would consider excessive
I reckon that if I find myself using the car I may well look to install a slightly wider seal as these are pretty useless.

The heater during the first couple of runs out (despite my efforts to clean it out) had thrown finely atomised rust all over the cabin, so it was time to hit it with the vacuum cleaner again.
IMG_20190226_154210.jpg
Interior de-dusted...again.
Much better. I suspect this will be a regular task for a while.

Enough of this faffing around though...a car is meant to be driven, and I'd been trying to kick myself into taking a brave pill and actually taking TP out of our neighborhood and going somewhere...

On the way home from Sainsbury's I stopped by my GP surgery to pick up a prescription - I have to wonder if an Invacar has been parked up here before?
IMG_20190226_155935.jpg
Invacar in the GP surgery car park again after 16 years
Back home, another five miles covered.
IMG_20190226_162937.jpg
The miles keep ticking up...
Oh, and some groceries retrieved...wonder how many years it is since she last actually did useful work...
IMG_20190226_163023.jpg
Earning her keep again!
Glad to report that she didn't miss a beat. Only gripes were the rear service hatch coming loose (again - hence my plans to improve the securing arrangements), and that there really is far too much free travel in the brakes. Think for the sake of £50 odd I'm just going to pick up a new master cylinder. This one came with my original Invacar and was "NOS" - but looked to have spent quite a bit of time stored in poor conditions, and has never felt quite right, and as such I don't think I'm ever going to fully trust it. Not as though I'm driving around with no brakes mind, she's more than capable of locking all three wheels up, and the handbrake is also more than capable of stopping the car quite rapidly. I'm just not keen on the size of the dead zone before braking starts to happen.

Checking the oil after the trip out today, glad to see that it is still nice and clean.
IMG_20190226_164523.jpg
Oil still nice and clean
Hasn't used any either I'm glad to see.

With regards to the rest of the fleet, tidying up the heater wiring in the Activa had been on my to do list ever since the blower motor was changed - about a year ago! This has been poking my OCD ever since.
IMG_20190226_234445.jpg
Dangling wiring
Much better.
IMG_20190226_170116.jpg
Fixed.
Poor thing really needs to be valeted soon, she deserves far more pampering than she gets...with the salt hopefully nearly gone now though the van can go back on the road soon and the Invacar will hopefully take some of the local runaround strain off her again to help with that.

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

Post by Zelandeth » 27 Feb 2019, 22:34

Annoyingly no photos to show for it as I forgot to take my phone with me, but she's been out to the pharmacy again and stopped at Aldi on the way back (to grab a hole saw to allow me to refit the number plate light) without any issues.

When I got back, before putting her back in the garage I hooked TP up to the exhaust gas tester. Before the actual test drives started, she was pegging the thing off scale high at idle for the CO % reading.

Today?
IMG_20190227_172731.jpg
Pretty good indication right there of just how much better an engine can run after doing a bit of actual work.

If all goes to plan tomorrow I will be able to get her out for a bit again, and I think the plan will be for a few high speed runs to confirm that nothing will fall off. If all goes well there, I think I can start considering actually making runs out to a few places around town beyond my local supermarket.

Looking forward to having a few tens of miles covered as that will do a lot for my confidence I'm sure. I would just go out and drive if it wasn't for MK being such an aggressively unfriendly place to break down at the side of the road due to there being so few places to pull over on any distributor roads.

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

Post by Zelandeth » 28 Feb 2019, 22:20

One thing the Invacar is drastically lacking in is sound insulation. As in there isn't any. At all.

I'm not about to plaster the whole car in it, there are a couple of places where it can be pretty easily added which should help a lot. One in particular is the cover for the transmission service hatch. A large portion of the racket in the car comes from the CVT belt (one of the criticisms the system has faced when used in passenger vehicles).

The cover is essentially a giant bass drum as it comes. This is immediately apparent the first time you put it down on a hard surface and it settles with a reverberating boom.
IMG_20190228_172852.jpg
Damping added to transmission service cover
Adding some flash band to the back of it has vastly reduced the tendency for the panel to behave like a drum, and a fresh seal round the edge should help it seal.

With it back in place it's definitely done something... haven't had the car out since this was fitted yet, but there's a definite drop in noise level when you close the door with it idling now. Before this work was done there really wasn't any difference.

Not going for Rolls-Royce refinement levels, but if we can shave a couple of decibels off driving noise levels that can't be a bad thing and surely will make the car less tiring to drive.

Might at some point look at addition of some sound dampening on the front bulkhead and the doors, but I think helping isolate the engine bay will probably be the important one.

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

Post by Zelandeth » 01 Mar 2019, 22:06

Had the Invacar out for a run to the shops today and can confirm that the sound deadening has made a huge difference. It's still loud in the cabin obviously, but far less uncomfortably so...and it's much more honestly mechanical noise, was largely just white noise before.

Today we confirmed two things. 50mph is definitely achievable, alarmingly easily actually. Secondly, she can outrun an ADL Enviro-200 up to 30mph, much to the embarrassment of the driver!

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

Post by Zelandeth » 03 Mar 2019, 19:22

Encouraged by the difference that my sound damping has made to the noise levels I figured I would add to it a bit but not by actually adding more sound insulation as such - but just improving on the frankly laughable sealing arrangements around the doors.

It was really obvious that a significant chunk of the ambient background noise from outside was coming in through the gaps around the doors - especially at the base. The amount of daylight visible makes it obvious - and results in draughts blowing up your trouser legs above 30mph or so.

Nearside Front:
IMG_20190302_163906.jpg
NSF standard weatherproofing
Offiside Front:
IMG_20190302_163939.jpg
OSF standard weatherproofing
I do have some new seals, but the ones on here while looking somewhat dog eared in a few places are actually in decent condition and replacing them wouldn't really achieve much I reckon. What would would be getting the base of the door to sit closer to the body - but I dontd really see any way to do that which wouldn't make the door foul on the body when opening. The top bit just seems to be an afterthought - relying on the gutters to keep rain out for the most part.

What I did think might help though would be the nice thick weatherstripping I had on hand, which while quite thick when in open air squashes down to pretty thin, and is sort of like memory foam so good at dealing with irregular gaps.

My plan was basically to go over the edges of the doors where it contacts the main door seal, helping to make a better contact with it.

Like so.
IMG_20190302_175138.jpg
Closeup showing added secondary seal strip
The results tell the story I think...

Nearside front:
IMG_20190302_175021.jpg
NSF with secondary seal added
(I need to fasten the main seal to the door rail cover at the front properly, hence the bit of daylight still visible there)

Offside Front:
IMG_20190302_174952.jpg
OSF with secondary seal added
Nearside Rear:
IMG_20190302_175014.jpg
NSR with secondary seal added
Offside Rear:
IMG_20190302_174959.jpg
OSR with secondary seal added
Offside upper rear - used to be about a 1/4" gap here.
IMG_20190302_170535.jpg
OS Window frame with secondary seal added
It is really noticeable now that closing the doors results in a very noticeable drop in the ambient noise level from outside now, so it must have improved things to some extent. The other thing it's helped with a lot is reducing the amount to which the doors wobble and rattle.

While I had the weatherstripping out I also put a couple of bits under the front service hatch to stop it rattling, likewise the engine cover. The car is always going to rattle like a cement mixer full of ball bearings, but I may as well do what I can to help.

We had our six monthly dentist appointment this morning which meant a run up to Leicester, Activa was of course the vehicle of choice for that - no surprises that all three passengers dozed off en route both ways!

Did notice that something had failed on the way home though...
IMG_20190302_172810.jpg
Dead dipped headlamp
Annoying...those lamps only went in in October. Will need to get another set of H1s ordered in. I do have a couple of spares but always try to change them in sets, will see if I still have the receipt (was part of the last service, so should have) and see if Osram will stand by the warranty.

Headlight bulbs are at least only "awkward" to change on the Activa rather than needing half the car dismantled before you can get at things.

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

Post by Zelandeth » 04 Mar 2019, 23:20

This afternoon I mostly invented several new expletives while referring to whoever designed the doors of an Invacar.

Given I had been improving the weather and soundproofing it seemed silly not to try to do something about the doors.

Namely the gaping hole underneath the window runner.

Exhibit A:
IMG_20190304_155800.jpg
Daylight...far too much of it!
Having got the actual door seals into a state vaguely resembling useful was to be utterly pointless unless I were to do something about that - which is actually more important as water pours in through that gap whenever it rains.

Roughly two hours later, this is the same area as in the photo above.
IMG_20190304_174055.jpg
No more daylight...
For completeness, the front of the same door.
IMG_20190304_174116.jpg
None here either...
Originally the window rail was held onto the top of the door by (tiny) self tapping screws. Straight into the fibreglass. These screws, predictably, had next to no purchase - which allowed the rail to lift away from the door. This also allows the inner and outer door skins to move relative to each other.

My solution was to do away with the self tappers and replace them with M5 bolts. Simple enough - though INCREDIBLY awkward where actually threading the nuts onto the bolts was concerned. Hence the fact that the job wound up taking me a couple of hours of swearing to get completed.

The result though is a door which is now mostly weather proof and where the window frame is far more firmly attached to the base than it originally was, plus a door which now doesn't rattle half as much as it used to.

...On the plus side I now have the technique down so hopefully the offside won't take quite as long to sort out. Still no doubt will scrape my arm to bits and give myself as much of a glass fibre rash doing it.

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

Post by Zelandeth » 08 Mar 2019, 01:02

Nothing Invacar related today. Any work in the engine bay requires the garage door to be open, and the wind was blowing rain straight into the garage, so wasn't willing to mess around with that.

Instead though decided to get on with some of the stuff still waiting to be done inside the van well away from the weather.

Have now got most of the bathroom panelled in now. Just need to do the last foot or so and around the cabinet and a few fiddly bits. Then have wallpaper to go up (essentially glorified sticky back plastic) and seal the corners and edges.
IMG_20190307_174010.jpg
Bathroom panelling 80% done
Still looks a mess - but you can't actually see the innards of the wall any more, and should be fine once we have some decently thick wall covering over it.

Nice to get a bit of work done on this, it's been months since I really did anything on the van and the new holiday season is starting to enter my thoughts now.

Do still need to decide what to do about the exhaust...definitely will be getting a short side exit stainless system made up...question will be whether that happens before or after the MOT. The cost of the standard system may well make that decision for me. If it's expensive may just have to get it booked in to have a stainless system fitted before the MOT. Unless I can do enough to get this through a test...but with one hanger snapped off and a foot long split in the silencer that seems unlikely...especially as I will need to get the whole thing off to sort the hanger anyway as it's buried up directly above the middle of the expansion box, with the propshaft in the way on one side and fuel tank on the other preventing access while in place.

So...the Van (known) MOT to do list...

[] Fit new nearside headlight due to the current one having a tarnished reflector. Already have it, just needs fitted.
[] Replace brake pads (already in stock).
[] Repair or replace the sieve...I mean exhaust.
[] Replace rubber boot on steering drag link front ball joint.
[] Replace the weeping fuel return line.
[] Properly mount the fresh water tank (or remove it for the test).

Think that's it for the known MOT stuff. The brake pipes while serviceable are pretty old looking, so I may well get a set of flexi hoses in stock and change them while I have the wheels off to do the pads. I tend to like changing things like that on any new vehicle I get - especially one as heavy as this!

Immediate to do list that's NOT for the MOT:
[] Fit the new thermostat that has been in the glove box for several months.
[] Sort the heater blower.
[] Remove the fuel tank so I can properly clear out the vent line so it takes less than half an hour to fill the thing past 1/3 full.
[] Figure out what's squeaking up front. Keeping fingers crossed it might just be a crusty old belt.
[] Properly fit the new propshaft slip joint boot (it has had a highly technical plastic bag and cable tie substitute since a week or so after I got the van).
[] Figure out what the fluff the previous previous owner has done to the split charging system and return it to how the factory intended.
[] Finish putting the kitchen back together & plumb the gas to the fridge and cooker back in.

All stuff that can be done in nice little chunks.

Then of course there is the "sort the rust in the windscreen scuttle" which will be a world of pain.

Oh...and drive it again. Realised when sitting in the driver's seat today quite how much I'm missing wafting around in it. Yeah...Most people wouldn't class a 29 year old 78bhp 2.8 tonne van as something they would miss driving...but I am not most people.

Need to get back in here!
IMG_20190222_171220.jpg
Missing spending time in this seat!
Still kind of amused that that is the first thing I have to jump into straight after putting the Invacar away due to how the driveway Tetris works out.

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

Post by Pug_XUD_KeenAmateur » 09 Mar 2019, 13:23

Zelandeth wrote:
08 Mar 2019, 01:02
.....realised when sitting in the driver's seat today quite how much I'm missing wafting around in it. Yeah...Most people wouldn't class a 29 year old 78bhp 2.8 tonne van as something they would miss driving...but I am not most people.
Do like that, could apply it to myself similarly

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

Post by daviemck2006 » 09 Mar 2019, 19:00

I used to like driving stagecoaches old merc 25 seat minibuses. We had 3 in Macduff, 2 on an L plate, and one, which was the best one, M320 RSO if I remember correctly. Slow, noisy but something about them that was just right. Unbreakable too, co pared to the S reg jonkheeres.

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

Post by Zelandeth » 10 Mar 2019, 00:12

daviemck2006 wrote:
09 Mar 2019, 19:00
I used to like driving stagecoaches old merc 25 seat minibuses. We had 3 in Macduff, 2 on an L plate, and one, which was the best one, M320 RSO if I remember correctly. Slow, noisy but something about them that was just right. Unbreakable too, co pared to the S reg jonkheeres.


I loved those things as well...even though Bluebird insisting on sticking on on the 307 leaving the Station just after 1730 for weeks at a time did leave me seething at times...not as a duplicate or anything...it was just the vehicle allocated to one of the busiest runs on one of their busiest routes.

Imagine the engine in them (OM.606?) would go pretty well in a 208 which is a good third lighter though. Really distinctive noise they make too...

You could always spot an experienced driver in one - those were the ones who could find all the gears and wasn't phased by the clutch judder. Which mine has, but not massively bad yet, guessing baggy engine or gearbox mounts are probably a contributing factor.

- - - -

Having a bit of a tough time emotionally over the last few days so being able to just shut myself in the van and pretend the outside world didn't exist for a few hours was a good thing I thought.

Here is where we were left things today.
IMG_20190309_194056.jpg
IMG_20190309_194110.jpg
All walls are now "panelled" save for the top inch or two because I need to remove the shower curtain rail to do that bit. It's the work of ten minutes to do that tomorrow though. All the corners are now sealed up, as are the edges around the toilet. I still need to actually track down a period appropriate fold out wash basin from somewhere...or just give in and fit something modern.

Worth mentioning that the black bit in the above image is actually identical to the white panels, it's just the remainder of an earlier batch which happened to be black because it was what was in stock.


Next up will be to go over some areas with a quick skim of filler just to smooth out the surface, then wallpaper. Oh, and make a cover to go in the shower tray when it's not in use, hopefully that will reduce the propensity for me to nearly break my neck every time I walk in or out of the room.

It's a room I will be glad to call done as it's so cramped that everything takes twice as long as it needs to and involves at least 50% additional swearing - especially after I've just smacked my head on the cabinet for the fifteenth time.

The room very obviously rattles less now, even when just walking around in the van.

Tomorrow I'll probably finish sealing up the one edge left because I ran out of sealant, then move into finally pulling the carb off the Invacar to get it cleaned up. Have been jumping around between cars a lot this week.

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

Post by Zelandeth » 10 Mar 2019, 23:54

Today I learned a few things.

One, I do indeed still hate wallpapering just as much as I remember. Two, the bathroom in the van is precisely as awkward as I thought it would be to paper.

The reason for this is evenly split between the fact that the room is entirely devoid of 90 degree corners, or truly straight edges and the fact that it's such a cramped space to work in.

To add insult to injury once I did get the paper on the walls it appears to have stretched, leaving wrinkles all over the shop.

Crossing my fingers that things will shrink again and flatten back out a bit when it dries, but I'm not holding my breath.
IMG_20190310_174254.jpg
Granted, it's just lining paper at this stage, so no huge loss if I need to pull it off and start over. The actual wallpaper going in is patterned, and as such is going to be an absolute nightmare to get lined up right.

Oh, while I was in there I took the roof light out and renewed the sealant around it. I'd never seen any evidence of leaks from it while during my ownership of the van, but it has clearly leaked there at some point in the past. For the sake of ten or twenty minutes work I figured it made sense to just ensure it's definitely weather proof.

If the paper continues to refuse to sit right, I may well abandon the whole wallpaper idea and instead to and find some suitably 80s looking fake wood sticky back plastic and use that instead. Planning to install plastic panelling (probably white) up to about waist height anyway to help contain the shower spray.

Really do need to find a proper bathroom sink too...

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

Post by Hell Razor5543 » 11 Mar 2019, 00:15

Try a chandlers for the sink. Narrow boats have limited space (and sometimes unusual layouts of that space), so a boatyard might be able to help.

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

Post by Zelandeth » 11 Mar 2019, 00:58

Hell Razor5543 wrote:
11 Mar 2019, 00:15
Try a chandlers for the sink. Narrow boats have limited space (and sometimes unusual layouts of that space), so a boatyard might be able to help.


Not a bad shout that. I do have a tiny corner wash basin here I could fit, but it will be in the way when using the shower. Originally there would have been a folding arrangement allowing it to be folded away when you wanted to use the shower. As such it would be nice to find an original if possible - though I've been trying unsuccessfully to find a photo of the original setup so I know what to look for for a while now.

What I really need is to find someone locally with a rotten late 80s or early 90s caravan I can raid for a bunch of bits and pieces like that and the kitchen cabinets...plus it would no doubt provide a pile of other useful stuff to keep as spares.

Caravan preferable to camper as they're so flimsy it wouldn't be hard to essentially reduce it to a pile of useful stuff in flat pack form and a pile of kindling and scrap in a day or two I reckon.

Edit: Someone on another forum has just made the suggestion of using vinyl floor tiles on surfaces other than floors. That's a serious slapping myself in the face moment for not having thought of that myself. Unless the lining paper dries far flatter than it will I think, that room will be getting tiled instead. Far more appropriate for the type of room really anyhow, but without the ridiculous weight penalty normal tiling would bring with it. Could do with a splashback in the kitchen too...so can do it to match.

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

Post by Hell Razor5543 » 11 Mar 2019, 16:29