Saturday, January 30, 2010

What have I done?

I've only gone and bought yet another Acclaim. At £100 with a short tax and test it was well worth a punt and I would say that it is between condition 1 & 2 which makes it worth a lot more that I paid. The car runs perfect and starts first time on the button. There are a few minor niggles that I will deal with but the car is usable as it is. The previous owner had a brand new exhaust fitted which cost more than what I paid for the car. The only thing that I'm not happy about is the 15 inch alloys but the tyres are good and I can sell the alloys later on. I have a few spare steel wheels which will need fresh rubber but I can use Becky's front wheels as the tyres are good. (I've already robbed the back wheels for Margaret) I'm sure that Becky II (as I've called the car on account of the plate) will pass another MoT without any major grief as the car is virtually rust free and is in better condition than Margaret.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Good news, bad news

The good news was that I was able to renew my insurnce with Footman James for only £291 which is well worth it for all 4 cars. (3 Acclaims and the Dolomite) The bad news was that I've 3 points on my licence and £60 lighter (ouch!) which isn't nice considering that I'm unemployed. The other good news is that it won't affect my insurance premium. It happened back in November when I went down south. It was on the trip to Bournemouth. As I was coming out of Sailsbury I'd been snapped by a mobile camera doing 37mph in a 30mph limit. I never saw the van and I thought I'd been following speed limits. The evidence was there to view online and the photo was a good one showing me and Anita who was in the front passenger seat.

Earlier on this week I towed Blue from in front of the garage to further up the drive and parked it in a position to where I could jump start it from Margaret. This has the added advantage of being able to jump start Brown of which more later on. I tried to jump start Blue and with the last of my EasyStart the car would fire up so ignition problems have been ruled out. I removed the fuel pipe where it goes into the carbs and cranked the engine. Nothing. The problem is with the fuel pump. This car is going through fuel pumps like nobody's business. I might end up replacing the fuel tank as well as the pump. The fuel line is fine as most of it runs through the interior of the car so it is well protected from the elements. The first thing I'm going to try is to remove the fuel pump and operated it by hand to see if it works before I condemn it.

Brown had new points and condensor costing me £8. They were fitted and the points gapped. With Blue out of the way I was able to attache jump leads from Margaret but Brown wouldn't fire up. I'm going to start again from scratch and use the "dizzy out" method to set the points gap. This has the advantage of being able to clamp the dizzy in the vice which makes it easier to se the points gap otherwise I'd need several pairs of hands to do the job.

My planned trip to liberate some Acclaim parts has been put back because the owner of the car has been delayed by work commitments so it has been arraged for Sunday which is better for me as I'm kept busy during the week as the family taxi.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Trying to get Brown running again...

Last night I had a try at getting Brown running again. Staring from scratch I set up the static timing and the points gap but the car refused to start. I removed the points and upon closer examination they've seen better days so I'm going to get replacement points and condesnsor. When I was in the garage I noticed the courtesy light switches that I'd salvaged from a scrap Acclaim and I decided to turn my attention to Margaret instead. The courtesy light switches for the rear doors were corroded and getting them out had proved difficult because the screws were also corroded. I was able to get the passenger side switch out and fit one of my spares. The driver's side was a bit more difficult because the screw just wouldn't budge but the courtesy light will now work on the rear passenger door so I've got one more thing working on Margaret.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Clutch troubles

In my last entry I said that Margaret's clutch didn't feel right. After reading the Haynes and looking at Becky I realized that Margaret's clutch cable wasn't fitted correctly. Once that was rectified and the cable readjusted the clutch pedal feels a lot better. The road test has shown that all is well. The heated rear window does work so I'm on my way to eradicating all of Margaret's minor niggles.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A couple of more probems fixed

I've managed to fix a couple more of the niggles on Margaret. It all began when fellow Acclaim owner Craig was having problems with his car. He's now got a CityRover as a daily hack so the Acclaim as been out of use. I fetched some tools, jump leads and some EasyStart and we managed to get the car running. I took it out for a spin (he's swapped his insurance over to the CityRover so he's not covered) and lo and behold it ran perfectly. It even started up again on the button so all is well with this car. One thing I noticed that the clutch is light but Margaret's is stiff. I wonder if the cable's not been refitted correctly or is still maladjusted. He gave me the clock out of his Acclaim for Margaret so I now have a working clock! After I fitted the clock I decided to swap the rear glass. I didn't have any major problems but the finishing strip took AGES as you need to take your time to avoid any scratches as I was only using a screwdriver. Eventually, I got it in without mishap but I won't know if it has worked until the rear glass steams up next. The seal that came with the replacement glass was in better condtition than the one that came out so it is still an improvement. Paul has got in touch with me about the Acclaim that he'll be scrapping and I've arranged to go over next Friday to liberate the bits I need. Craig will be coming with me as he's after some bits as well.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New battery bought

I bought a new battery for Margaret and it has cured my starting problems. I can leave the car overnight safe in the knowledge that it'll start the next morning. I've even tried starting the car with the headlights on and it doesn't let me down. The instrument panel looks bright enough with the lights on so all is well. I need to get in touch with Paul who has an Acclaim which I can cannibalize for spares. He's been in Egypt on business since before Christmas and he said he would be back around this time so I need to give him a call soon. I can then sort out Margaret's remnaining niggles and have her 100% working.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Running again

I was able to get hold of a clutch kit for Margaret for £42 from Champion. Working outside in the sub-zero condtions I was able to get the gearbox off in just over three hours. While it was off I took the opportunity to clean it up with the wirebrush attachements for my drill and it looked a lot better. The release bearing was a absolute pig to remove and I ended up cutting the old one off with my angle grinder. Replacing the clutch was the easiest part but getting the gearbox back on was just as bad as removing the release bearing was. With the help of an extra pair of hands I got it back on and it was plain sailing from there. When the time came for starting the car it wouldn't even turn over. One of the terminal for the starter motor wasn't connected properly but once that was rectified Margaret fired up without any problems. I still wasn't able to get up the drive and I ended up getting towed out by a 4wd pickup truck which was being driven by the guy who helped me with the gearbox. He was a big help and I couldn't have done it without his help. Margaret's battery was put on charge when it was off the car and after letting it stand overnight after I'd finished charging it I checked the voltage and it had lost some charge so it defintely needs replacing. I've also noticed that if she stalls there's not enough power to start the car when I have the headlights on so I have to turn off all the electrics (heater, radio, etc) and sometimes that's not even enough. Fortunately, Margaet has a manual gearbox so I can bump start her. With all this cold weather I need to get a replacement battery sooner rather than later.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Last night when I was about to set off for work I couldn't get up the drive due to the icy conditions. To top it all the clutch has burnt itself out. I've had a look through the service history and there's no record of a clutch replacement so Margaret was probably on the original clutch and I've brought forward the inevitable. The clutch kit won't be too expensive but the hard work will be removing (and replacing) the gearbox. They weigh a ton and I haven't forgotten the time when I had to replace Becky's gearbox in May 2006. I'll have to do the work outside because Brown's in the garage, Blue's parked outside the garage doors with an immobilized Margaret in front of Blue but I'm no stranger to working outside in the fresh air.