Been having a bit of a think/restructure of my automotive fleet and would appreciate some thoughts.
I had a 90 project in the garage that i've not touched for 6 years. I decided to get shot of it, as it really doesnt fit with having a family now. So thats gone barring some bits and pieces i need to shift. My thinking was that the P38 fits much better as a "family 4x4" than the 90 does. I also had a track car which has sat unloved on the drive since the kids arrived 4 years ago, so i parted that out and got shot of that. I've ended up with a TT convertible (swapped it for another car i ended up with), had planned to give it a quick tidy up and smoke around in it for the summer months, but ofcourse these things always take longer than you plan, so its currently sat with no timing belt waiting for some nice weather to finish it. My other cars are an A4 i've had for years, and a Nissan LEAF which fits the "modern, reliable, keep the wife happy" box. The A4 needs to come off the road for some TLC, but i can use the TT while i do that.
So back to the P38. Its not the cleanest example, but i've done various bits on it over the years to keep it going. However it feels like jobs are mounting up, and its reaching that point where it needs a massive overhaul. I'll try to give a brief summary....
Starting in the engine bay, its had a new radiator, and a new brake accumulator, so thats good. Its also had a sprinkling of new coolant hoses and new LPG injectors and petrol injectors. However the engine itself is a sieve. It leaks coolant from the front timing case, inlet manifold, various hose fittings and the LPG vapouriser leaks from its central gasket. The PAS line is rusty and seeps fluid from the swaged joint. The engine oil cooler is also leaky. The engine also leaks oil from everywhere, front and rear oil seals, sump gasket etc etc.It also burns a bit of oil, a hard rev after starting it (when the cats are still cold) will get a nice cloud of blue smoke, and it fouls spark plug 8 quite badly... AC system worked until all the gas leaked from the ORings on the compressor, the condenser looks pretty wrecked though.
Underneath, i fitted new balljoints to the front axle, and its had the brake disks/pads/calipers done all round. I've also done the front shocks. But its needing bushes all round as it drives like a pig. It also has an appetite for axle end oil seals, presumably because the balljoints arent properly centred any more. It probably wants brake hoses, and the brake lines themselves have been replaced previously by a blind monkey, so while they work, they're a bit shonky. Rear axle i think has pinion issues, its a bit noisey on overrun, but hasnt really gotten any worse in the years i've had it. Air suspension all works as it should, Infact its one of the things thats worked perfectly since i bought the car. I did have to replace a height sensor but otherwise its sound.
Moving inside, the headliners knackered, but i've got a kit to sort it out. Various bits of trim are iffy but everything does work. Climate control knob is a bit finicky. Remote locking doesnt work which is infuriating especially after i spent money on the remote filter kit from the guys on here. Cruise control works fine after i replaced the hose. Grey leather is in reasonable nick, though i really fancy some Tan leather for it, have rage with myself that i didnt pick up the interior i saw at U Pull It some years ago.
Exterior is varied. The wife smashed the front bumper, so i got a new one nicely resprayed for it. The rear tailgate was rotten so again i got a nice one all painted up. The upper tailgate is a rusty mess though, and theres a horrible patch of rust at the rear of the roof panel where it meets the tailgate thats particularly worrying. Additionally, it originally had the light guards fitted, which have since been removed but have left holes (and broken off rivnuts) in the rear quarter panels. A couple of the doors could do with replacing, and a lot of the black trim really wants replaced and/or painted.
Theres probably more, but i figure you get the idea. And i'm kinda stuck. The engine clearly needs sorted. And it feels like one of those jobs that basiaclly ends up with a almost complete rebuild... By the time its out and you've got the sump and timing case off to sort those gaskets, you might as well pull the heads and sort those out... with the heads off and timing case off, it probably wants a new camshaft and associated parts... and then, once stripped to that point, do you reassemble the block and hope the liners dont move? Theres also the cylinder 8 issue... It could just be valve stem seals and thus fixed in the head rebuild, but if its piston/bore related then its highly likely at that point its needing liners and basically a complete rebuild. And that feels like a LOT of money to be pouring into an old car, even if i can do all the work myself... and i know once i start the job, i wont want to half-arse it back together with known faults... It also needs all the pipework sorted and a new oil cooler rad, stuff that can be awkward and expensive to source.
Mechanically, its not tooo bad, if i can get a spare set of radius arms i can get the bushes swapped out in my spare time and i can probably tidy up the brake lines (though i do hate working on those!). Rear axle i'll probably jsut ignore unless it gets worse, but it probably wants rear radius arm bushes and rear shocks.
The bodywork is a sticking point, i dont like working on body, and i feel tarting up the exteriors the last job that really should be done when all the other stuff is busted. But putting a lot of money into a rotten shell also makes no sense?!
I sometimes wonder, should i try to find a better one? But knowing these cars, the question is then, am i better with the one i know, rather than potentially buying into a whole host of new issues? If i do plan on keeping this one, then i need to start sorting stuff thats actually broken, rather than just ignoring it. But its difficult to figure out what to do... Thoughts much appreciated!