The only place for a coil spring is up Zebedee's arse
775 posts

I knew i'd need to replace the P38's exhaust ever since buying it. It failed its first MOT on major exhaust leaks from a hole in the rear box and a big leak from the flange between the downpipe and midbox. I'd stuck some epoxy putty on there to get it thru the test and started looking for replacement bits.

I wanted stainless and cheap. Not an easy combo. Kept my eye on ebay and found this:

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Not ideal being straight piped, but cheap at 50quid and despite the listing not mentioning it, looked like stainless steel. So took a punt.

It arrived and seemed fine, so i decided to sort it out with a silencer. I had a stainless mid box that i'd removed from my brothers 320d BMW when he upgraded the exhaust, and figured it would fit nicely.

Removed old the rear box, it literally fell to bits:

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Then dug the small silencer box out the garage and welded it into the rear of the new exhaust, had it on and off the car about 6 times getting the alignment right, but got there in the end:

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I also had a nice tailpipe from an Audi A6, so carefully aligned and welded that on:

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Having got to this stage i had a working back box and was quite pleased, but the mid box needed attention. The front flange was leaking, and there was a hole rusted thru it beside the hanger, which had got much worse with all the hacking about thus far.

I decided to get a bit silly, and so used a bit of the old backbox pipe, to create a streight thru mid box. I plated over the hole in beside the hanger with some scrap steel (not shown in this pic, you can still see the hole):

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Having examined the front flange, i realised it was leaking because the round part on the downpipe side had crumbled away. After scratching my head i found an Audi exhaust clamp in the garage. These are nice, as they're designed to sleeve over the pipe and clamp on. So i cut the remains of the busted front flange off and set about figuring out how i can use the clamp.

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The clamp was designed for 65mm pipe, but the downpipe was 55 and the silencer was 60. Luckily i had some pipe kicking around so sleeved the box and downpipe up to 2.5" to accept the clamp.

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I didnt get it fully finished, as i took the backbox back off to paint up the welds to protect them, and proceeded to drop the damn thing on the ground and get the wet paint covered in mud.

So maybe tonight i'll repaint it and get the backbox re-hung.

It is LOUD. I only took it for a quick spin around the block, and that was also before i fixed the leaks. As expected really, my plan is to get a stainless mid-box for it as well, so i'll have it apart again at some point to sort that out, and that will make it somewhat more sensible. In the mean time i figured i'd enjoy a bit of V8 roar!

So while trying to make the car actually run, i pulled all the LPG pipework out the engine bay.

The injectors were originally mounted above the exhaust manifolds which was stupid, so on reassembly i remounted them off the plenum.

The pipework from the evaporator was strange so i removed all that and want to re-do it properly. there was also no filter.

So i currently have this:

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Originally there was two short pipes off each side of the evaporator, each running to a Y connector. One branch of the Y went to a gas rail, and the other linked to the other Y.

I understand i should have a filter, and i've discovered filters with two inlets:


So instead of all the messing with Y pieces, can i just run the two evaporator outputs into that, and then run the outputs from that directly to each gas rail?

Do the electric seats have height adjustment?

I feel i'm sitting too high, I've tried to adjust the seats but pushing the lever down seems to tip the seat base rather than actually lowering it. Maybe i'm doing something wrong!

The bit thats really puzzling me is i'm sure it was fine until the missus drove it and spent about 5 minute pissing about with the seat control and now it feels jacked up! I need to figure out the memory functions so i can store my position!

Sorry for the seperate posts, but its better to keep each issue in its own thread i think.

Another issue i've got is the steering makes a sort of groaning noise when turning to the extremes of travel. It also feels fairly stiff especially at low speeds.

When driving its mostly fine, but navigating a car park for instance where your turning to full lock it makes a weird noise. I guess i should try to record the noise as its hard to explain!

So when i got the P38 the brake system was broken. The pedal was spongey and brakes were barely effective, one press of the pedal had the pump running and the lights on the dashboard flashing up. It did stop, but the travel was long and the brakes were really weak.

I replaced the brake accumulator, and did a full system bleed, and the problems seemed fixed.

However when driving the brakes dont seem all that powerful.

I've noticed that on startup, the brake pump runs for quite a while, then once driving, every 2 or 3 applications of the brake you hear it start up and run for a few seconds.

Once driving the pedal seems firm, but theres not a huge amount of power unless you really lean on it. Maybe its just an old car thing, and i'm more used to modern stuff. I dont remember my old trooper being quite as bad though.

Any thoughts?

Well finally taxed the rangey today and took her out for a spin, only 6 miles over to a nearby cafe then home again, but enough to make sure everything worked.

It Lives

Theres still an arm-length list of niggles and no doubt some other things will pop up as it starts being used. Some notable things from today:

The steering feels a little wandery, i know these are steering box cars and they arent as direct as racks, but not sure if its normal or showing signs of wear. MOT tester didnt mention any play anywhere in the suspension. Steering also makes a strange groaning noise when manoevering at the extremes of travel, i half suspect the damper for that, but unsure.
Doesnt feel hugely powerful. I guess its a heavy car, but i'd expect a bit more from 220hp. I didnt thrash it, infact only applied full throttle once for a short time, but less urgent than i'd have thought. My old Diesel Trooper i think went just as well and it reportedly only had about 120hp... :/
Theres a whine from the transmission. Again, maybe normal, sounds exactly like a public service bus gearbox. I topped up the oil before i went out, as there was nothing showing on the stick when it was idling, put maybe 1.5L down the dipstick hole, but was really struggling to tell what the level was. Maybe it got quieter after that. I plan to replace the sump strainer anyway and give it some fresh new oil, so maybe that will help.

Anyway the thing that stuck me as "i should really fix that" was the air compressor. It was replaced not long before i bought the car, as the old broken one was in the boot. I've noticed it acting oddly after its been parked up, and i'll do my best to describe what it does. When you start the car after its been sitting a while (despite it having been parked in "normal" mode) the Access mode light is on, and the normal mode is flashing. It sits like this for ages, several minutes, before eventually the light goes solid normal. As i was planning to drain the trans oil, i then put it in high mode, and it raised up just fine without any delay. It started lashing down, so instead of draining it i decided to simply top it up. Left the engine running and went under the bonnet to pour oil in the dipstick hole. Noticed that the compressor seemed to run for the whole time i was under there, though no clicking of valves, and obviously got quite hot.

I figured it might just be due to me jacking it up from high, so went out for a drive and decided to keep an eye on it. When we got home, the compressor was properly toasty-hot. I'm not convinced its a leaking bag. I've parked it with the EAS relay removed for a week, and it didnt really seem to "deflate" itself. though its parked on a bit of wonky gravel so maybe one of the rears was deflating.

Any words of wisdom?


I've got a pair of nearly-new Britpart front shocks from my P38.

When i bought it, i thought the front shocks were blown, so ordered some new ones. When i went to install them i realised the bottom mounting for one of them had come undone, and there wasnt anything wrong with the shocks, they just werent attached.

I fitted my new ones anyway, and when i removed them realised the shocks were almost new looking.

They're cheapy britpart ones, but i figured they'd do someone to get thru an MOT or whatever. I've had them on ebay for 99p and they didnt sell, twice. So before i chuck them in the bin, does anyone want them? Just cover the postage and they're yours.

As per the other thread, i've various running issues that i'm trying to resolve. If i'm going to replace parts, i tend to buy new, as then i know i can rule it out. However the MAF's are ludicrous money, so i've got a used one.

So i'm wondering if i can send my MAF to someone on here with a GEMS car that actually works, and swap it in and see if the MAF is actually working properly. That way i can rule it out as a possible issue!


Can anyone with a Nanocom or similar tell me what these engines display normally for their long term and short term fuel trim?

Can anyone also suggest what the device means by a "positive" trim?

In my mind, a positive trim = Adding fuel, but i'm not convinced thats correct given i've fitted slightly larger injectors yet the trim is jammed at 38.75 and the sensors are stuck around 1v.

Long term trim was showing at -154, which i thaught was way out of whack, so i reset the adaptions. But then it went to -160... surely reset should be 0?!

First of all some background. When i bought the P38, it came off ebay, with one listed fault, a bad crank sensor. Apparently the engine would run for about 15mins, then die. The bloke told me the rear seal was leaking and that had contaminated the sensor. Sounded fishy but the cutting-out-when-warm i'd seen before with crank sensors, so i figured it probably just needed a new one.

When i got the truck home, i put a new crank sensor in it, but discovered the one i took out really wasnt all that old. Hmmmm!

So, take the P38 in for its MOT today, Drove it up and down the dual carridgeway probably 6 or 7 miles to make sure it was all running fine, then dropped it in for its test. Went back to collect it and the boy tells me he couldnt test it as it wouldnt run, kept cutting out. Great.

So i drove it home, just. Last half mile it was acting very strangely, missing and cutting out and not wanting to idle, before finally stopping right outside the house. I managed to coax it onto the drive, and sat there pondering what was going on. Tried ot start it a few times and it would start, rev up a bit then you could hear the engine had simply stopped firing. Adding more throttle would sometimes help it pickup but it would fart about for a few seconds then die.

First thing i did, somewhat randomly, was pop the petrol cap off, to be greeted with a loud and pronounced hiss. Hmm, vacuum in the tank perhaps? I started it, and it fired up perfectly and dropped to a nice idle, revved fine, ran fine, all seemed fine. OK i thaught, somethings wrong with the tank breather. But lets be sure, i'll take it for a drive and see if i can repeat the same fault.

Drove to the petrol station, no dramas, removed cap and there was a small hiss. Put a tenner in and drove home. About a quarter mile away this time, it just dies. I coast into a side road and try to restart, but nope it starts revs abit, pops farts and cuts out. OK i thaught if its a fuel delivery issue, i'll see if it'll switch over onto gas. Started it, revved it a bit and hit the gas button. Once gas came on it suddenly sounded much nicer, revved up nicely, but it was short lived, as a few moments later it starts missing on gas as well before stalling.

Scratching my head and wondering how i'm going to get it home, i sat about a bit, tried it a few times, then after some pondering, unplugged the MAF... It fired right up. Waited a moment to see if it was shortlived, but nope, kept ticking over. But hmm! its done exactly this before with the petrol cap.... So set off home and it drove home just fine. Much like the trip to the petrol station, it drove with no issues and all worked perfectly.

Back at the house i ran it on the drive for 10 minutes with no issues.

Sooo, whats going on? MAF failure? Fuel tank cap a red herring?

While bleeding my rear brakes, i discovered the bracket that holds the rear brake pipes to the axle case just floating in thin air:


I tried to see where it had come off, but couldnt figure it out. There was no witness marks or remains where it had broken off. I also noticed the metal shields that are covering the abs cables were only attached at one end, and were just floating at the other end with nothing to bolt onto.

I started wondering what on earth was going on, and today managed to get a photo of the rear axle on a '95 P38:


Slightly different angle, but you can see the same hose bracket, and also can see that its bolted to a small "platform" thats part of the axle case. You can also see the wire covers are bolted to a tab on the axle. These features arent present on my axle.

Sooo, i suspect my axle has been swapped out for a later one, as later trucks didnt have the centre mounted flexis, and instead had a flexi at either end.

I want to fix it properly, leaving me two options. Fabricate a platform on the axle case to properly mount the bracket, or convert the pipework properly to the later spec.

Can anyone get me some pics of the later pipe layout? I believe theres some sort of bracket at each end of the axle, then a flexi upto the chassis to another bracket.

I need to have a look on my axle and see if the axle brackets are still present!

Has anyone come up with a decent alternative source for these?

One of mine wasnt catching and failed the MOT, and ones missing its cover. I managed to find a replacement one in the scrappy for the MOT failure side, but it too has already been glued together, and its latching doesnt feel particularly positive. Of the three P38's the scrappy had, they were all in the same state, with cracked/broken/missing covers.

Hoping that some other car might be able to offer a compatible clip?

As per my other thread about my new P38, when i took it for its MOT it seemed to be running very rich, reeked of petrol, had no power and was generally pretty rough.

In an effort to cure the thing running like a burst arse I've ordered some new spark plugs. They havent arrived yet, but i decided i would whip the old ones out and check them over to see if any of them gave any clues to it running poorly. Started on the left side of the engine, first three plugs were dark and sooty with a white tip, then i discovered HT lead number 7 sitting next to the plug, on top of the exhaust manifold... I think i've unplugged it when i was changing the crank sensor, and havent put it back on! Pulled number 7 spark plug and sure enough its wet with fuel as you'd expect. Fairly happy that i'd found something actually wrong, i started on the other side. No missing leads this time, but plug number 6 was also wet with fuel. Hmm!

At first i wondered if 6 and 7 shared a coil (being wasted spark i figured the disconnected lead might have disturbed the other cylinder) but no, 7 shares with 4, which was fine, and 6 shares with 1, which was also fine, so i'm unsure its a coil issue?

So 6 not firing is currently a bit of a mystery, but at least i'm getting somewhere with it. I'll maybe pull number 6 lead off completely and check it over for damage, they look like fairly new magnecore leads. I guess its also possible that number 6 injector is dribbling or otherwise not spraying properly?

Just signed up after chris pointed me in this direction.

Need to get some pics of the new bus, only got this one for now: