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I don't think the V8 is particularly starved of air flow so a high flow filter is not required unless an uprated engine has been installed pumping out lots more horse power. The only time I have ever replaced a paper filter was on a 'sleeper' car I built with very uprated engine and, even then, I didn't use a fancy filter, I just used a small pancake filter filled with gauze atop a large twin choke carbytooter to stop the big rocks getting in the engine! Suffered 30k miles of absolute abuse with no detrimental engine effects. The rest of the drive train though, well that's a different story!

Water leaking under driver side dash and, sure enough, the pollen filter on that side was wet . . . again! Removed and dried out the filter as well as the housing and checked the cover gasket which all looked good. Reassembled carefully checking positioning of the cover gasket but the next bout of rain proved the leak was still ongoing. Completely sealing off the cover with tape made no difference.

Removed all the plenum covers but all looked good underneath and could see no obvious source for the leak. The plenum seemed to drain OK without any leak into the pollen filter housing. Removed all the plastic captive screw screw 'nuts' but they all looked OK although on some of them the rubber seal had detriorated but replaced them with new anyway as well as new screws using a (belt and braces) touch of RTV sealer on each 'nut'. Checked the bolts across the top of the filter housing and all were tight apart from the middle one of the three . . . on both sides! Ran a bead of sealer around the edge of the housing upper plate, even though the gasket all looked OK, and nipped up the 'loose' bolts (they took an extra eighth to quarter turn).

Reassembled the plenum covers, pollen filters and filter covers and . . . success! Still mystified as to where it leaked and which action solved the problem but it's all tickety-boo now . . . until next time of course!

When replacing the NSR half shaft oil seal back in August I noticed the bracket for the mud/dust shield had rotted through and the OSR bracket had done the same in exactly the same way. In addition the OSR shield looked decidedly worse for wear as well. Time to change the brackets and shields on both sides so having acquired new brackets and shields I set to work.

Firstly the OEM brackets are a bit pricey and the OEM shields are a bit eye watering from what are essentially pressed steel plates. However, I obtained a couple of OEM brackets and aftermarket (Britpart) shields which were still massively expensive for what they are.

I won't bore you with the struggle of the bolts being stuck (pretty much welded with corrosion) in the hub so had to be drilled out which I expected. I had toyed with the idea of drilling them out and re-tapping but there is plenty of space behind the hub so just resorted to drilling them all out and using through bolts with washers and locknuts on the back side of the hub - easier to implement and easier to cut off if they prove 'difficult' in the future! Not concerned with the bolts in the shield captive nuts as they were being junked anyway.

The real surprise is that the aftermarket shields initially seemed good quality and of pretty thick steel but didn't fit! Firstly they wouldn't go over the hub without some significant 'panel beating' and then the locating holes didn't line up requiring the bracket holes to be opened out somewhat to line up with the shield captive nuts and the non captive locating hole on the shield to be extensively 'modified' to fit! What should have been a reasonably quick and painless job was anything but. However, all is now back together and calm has been restored.

I procured and fitted a Double S stainless steel cat-back system in 2009 through Rimmer Bros for a little over £600 which was a comparable price to the mild steel systems on offer back then. It came with everything, all nuts, bolts, washers, clamps and, IIRC, the rubber hangers and a lifetime guarantee! It is still on the vehicle although it is somewhat akin to Trigger’s broom in that the centre section has been repaired once and replaced once completely free of charge as per the guarantee. Can’t fault either Rimmer Bros or Double S in standing up to the guarantee and both the repairs and the replacement were furnished within 48 hours of reporting the problem - brilliant service.

All the rubber hangers have been replaced at least once as have the mild steel clamps as they have rotted out and split flanges were required at both ends of the centre section to affix it back on - these are now stainless steel as well. It has now accrued a minor crack where the near side tail pipe finisher is welded on - just a minor job for a professional stainless steel welder when I get round to it - not worth the hassle of taking the rear sections off to claim under the guarantee.

The U clamps at the back part of the exhaust came as the only advisories at the last MoT in May so I replaced them and took the opportunity to thoroughly inspect the exhaust and it remains absolutely solid and good, it seems, for another 14 years!

Gilbertd wrote:

My Ascot is on Triple Spokes.....

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The everyday is on 16" Futura.....

Richard, do you find a significant difference in ride quality between the two! Mine rides on the 18” Hurricanes and, for the majority of time, the suspension copes admirably well except for rutted and broken surfaces where the air suspension can’t filter out the resulting ‘vibrations’ and I’ve always wondered if the lower profile tyres on 18” rims might be part of the problem.

Admiral have obviously changed their business model this year . . . and lost a bundle of customers in the process, including me. They claim increased profitability in that the increase in prices has sort of exceeded the lost revenue from those departing. Well, that may hold for the first year but it appears that they are shedding low risk customers (who but only high risk will pay their prices now) so Admiral will see whether their new business model ‘holds water’ over the next few years as the repair costs come in!

I had a full multi (four) vehicle and house insurance policy with them for many years the renewal premium of which they increased by 44% this year - no claims ever with them. I had become accustomed to ringing them up each year and going through the stately dance of getting renewal premiums reduced to a sensible level but they held firm this year believing they had done me a favour by getting the increase down to a mere 20%. So I went elsewhere for everything.

Comparison web sites meant I could easily get the same cover by doing a bit of work myself for the same cost or, indeed, much less. I then tried a broker and they came up trumps and say they will do the leg work for me each year - we’ll see. Cars and house insurance premiums 10% less than negotiated only 20% higher Admiral price for better cover all round.

Nearly all the diffs I’ve changed have been on old cars and quite a few years ago now. However, I changed the diff (to change the ratio) many moons ago on an Austin mini where it’s integral with the gearbox slung under the engine - that’s a third type!

Why change the ratios? It was my mate’s car and I swapped out the 850cc ‘A’ series engine in it for a full race prepared 1340cc ‘A’ series with twin Dellorto side draught carbytooters (that looked bigger than the engine). That car was rapid but 1st gear became redundant with only the remaining 3 gears remaining useable and could that thing post a 0-60 time! Trouble is it ran out of revs somewhere around 80mph so new diff gearing required so a) 1st gear could be sensibly used again; and b) a suitable top speed, appropriate to such a modified car, could be achieved.

I will probably employ the two jack / two stud method. Two lengths of studding in the diff casing. Two jacks under the diff itself. Lift both jacks in sync until diff lines up with studding, push jacks forward until diff is located on studding. Lower and remove jack closest to axle. Push diff on second jack along studding as far in as will allow. Lower and remove second jack. Push diff home. Locate with two bolts, remove studding and locate all othe bolts. Torque to spec. This also ensures that the sealant is not disturbed in all the ‘machinations, of trying to locate the diff.

Removal of existing diff will be by reversal of this method. I just hope the prop shaft can be moved sufficiently out of the way. It may be possible to do this with just one jack, we’ll see!

Victor Reinz sealant on order.

Thanks Richard. Ashcroft it is then and no need for pegged diff - it looked like another couple of openings in the diff housing to leak anyway!

Have changed many diffs in my time but all have required thrusts/preloads, backlash and pinion to crown wheel measurements/adjustments et al to be made. Usually meaning the damn thing has to go in and out at least three times! This looks to be pretty simple in comparison . . . except for the weight issue. I do have various jacks to help on that score though.

Final question - any recommendation on brand of RTV sealant for this job?

Recently changed my rear diff oil and on draining the old fluid noticed a build up of sludge on the drain plug magnet. This, combined with a worsening (but not 'serious) whine from, I believe, the rear differential has me perusing Ashcroft Transmissions in preparation for a possible replacement diff.

First thing are Ashcroft the 'go to' people for a P38 diff?

Secondly, I believe the diff on my 2001 4.6 Vogue is a 4 pin diff and 3.54 pinion/ring - is this correct (it hasn't been changed from new)?

Thirdly, Ashcoft offer a pegged diff - is there a significant advantage to this?

Finally, I've just been looking at RAVE - is replacing a rear diff on a P38 really that easy?

The ABS sensor came out by hand . . . mainly because I’ve replaced all of mine more than once and ensure they have more silicon grease used than you can shake an infeasibly large stick at!

One caliper carrier bolt would not come undone, its head seemed to be made of cheese. It only appeared to have slight corrosion but the correct sized socket just ripped the teeth of it, so did the half size down socket that was hammered on, and the Stilsons that got a good bite and finally an Irwin bolt remover which has never failed me before got a good bite but then proceeded to just chew the final teeth off the bolt head. Faced with a now almost cylindrical and very shiny bolt head the welder was broken out, an oversized nut welded securely on and the bolt waved the white flag and came undone. I have never seen a bolt head chew up so easily, I can only assume that bolt had not been hardened properly!

I have a proper sized ring spanner on order and will remove the mud/dust shield as the shield itself looks OK but the carrier bracket has pretty much rusted through. I can cut it off if necessary but am concerned about the bolts that screws into the hub itself although I can drill them out and re tap for bigger bolts if necessary!

Weeping NSR half shaft oil seal replaced. I couldn’t get a socket straight on the bolts holding the brake mud/dust shield in place without removing the hub, which I wasn’t keen to do, and I don’t have the correct size ring spanner to attack the very rusted little blighters. Nearly concede defeat whilst a suitable tool was obtained but then it dawned on me that I could take the whole half shaft and hub out with the shield still attached!

I’ve had a whine for some years now somewhere in the transmission which I suspected was the rear diff. I also replaced the axle oil whilst I was at replacing the oil seal and on draining the oil the drain plug magnet was covered in sludge. No significant metallic bits came out but it appears my suspicions are correct and a replacement rear diff is now on the cards!

If there is an iffy height sensor does it shut down the operation of the EAS completely - compressor not running, no attempt to achieve height. I always thought that once the system decided not to work it lit the EAS lights up like a Christmas tree and gave the slow 30mph (or some such) warning?

The ‘T’ (or cruciform) seals prevent leaks around rear main bearing cap and which bypass rear crankshaft seal. Indeed a lot of people mistake leaking ‘T’ seals for a leaking main crankshaft seal because the symptoms are similar but the leak is actually via the sump to block interface and wonder why, after the effort of replacing the main seal they still have a leak! Let’s face it, they are there for a reason.

If you are absolutely confident that it is the main seal leaking and not the T seals then you can get away without changing them, but you’d better be 100% sure or disappointment awaits. If you do replace the T seals then follow the instructions TO THE LETTER or the seals will distort when everything is buttoned up and they will leak.

Definitely, particularly as they are pretty much insignificant in the whole cost of the job! . . . even at OEM prices, probably another £5 because there are two!!

The small ‘plastic’ pieces are the infamous ‘T’ seals for the rear most main bearing cap and, yes, they should definitely be replaced as well because it might just be those leaking and not the main seal. Besides which, even if they weren’t leaking before, on reassembly, having been disturbed, they may well then start leaking requiring the whole kit and caboodle doing again!

At start up if the air tank is fully charged then the pressure switch will not call for the compressor to run and the suspension will rise to ‘standard’ ride height from the air pressure from the fully charged air tank alone. The compressor will not run. If the vehicle doesn’t rise then it cannot be all the air bag solenoids have failed and may well be that the inlet solenoid and/or NRV2 may be playing up and working only intermittently and after the vehicle has been driven the normal suspension bumps/vibration shake either or both into action.

I don’t believe that the solenoids have a tell back as to their actual position and, therefore, NanoCom just reports what is demanded! This may be causing confusion.

When the suspension won’t rise I would switch off and then discharge the air tank by pulling the air line out of the valve block then reconnecting it. If the compressor then runs when the car is started then I would suspect the valve block NRV2 or inlet solenoid.

Mrs Garvin had a folding hard top MkIII MX-5. Initially thought we would keep it for 3 years but ended up keeping it for 8 years as a) it was a lot of fun; and b) it proved to be the most reliable car we have ever owned by a country mile. In those 8 years and £44k miles it only required, apart from annual servicing, a set of front brake pads (discs were still only slightly worn), tyres and a new battery with the latter only required cos Mrs E left the boot ajar with the boot light on when we were away for a couple of weeks. The 7 year battery never recovered from that deep discharge!

Other good points:

  • Great handling with not too much grip so fun to be had at sensible speeds. Very adjustable via the throttle.
  • Lovely steering feel, you know exactly what’s going on with the front wheels.
  • Slick, rifle bolt gear change
  • Good driving position with great relationship of steering wheel and gear shift and nicely positioned and weighted pedals but see item 1 below.
  • Boot capacity not bad and not reduced when the roof is folded.
  • The only drop top I have ever driven that didn’t leak even when it was chucking it down.

Not so good points:

  • Tight fit for 6 footers. I’m 6’1” and it was OK to drive for up to 30 mins. Long journeys a no-no. The foot well in the passenger side is far too small and a lot smaller than the driver’s side. I thought this odd and on investigation found a removable plastic wedge under the carpet. Once removed the seating position for anyone over 5’10” became OK but still not great.
  • Lack of power. Only had ~125bhp and needed just a bit more oomph.
  • Engine revved well but was a bit noisy/coarse.
  • Cost of spark plugs - when they were changed at service I initially thought they had made a mistake on the invoice but Googling them revealed the OEM ones were over £20 each, yes that’s right, over £80 for four of the damn things and that was back in 2012 or so.
  • OEM ICE was pants. Was changed PDQ.

Would we have another one? Well, by coincidence we have a latest version on order that should be with us at end October. I tried one out for size and I fit in it a lot better than the MkIII and an extra 60 or so horses should make things more fun - after years of high powered cars that were just too fast for UK roads I fancied having something I could actually ring the neck of again and slide around.

The top corner is a weak spot, I’ve had a couple go there. There seems to some weird interaction with moisture and abrasion at that point, probably to do with airflow. The last one I had fitted I taped around that corner and then cut a piece of soft foam for the corner and then taped that on. Haven’t had any trouble since.

Additional exhaust hangers arrived so the very two rear most ones have been replaced as have the four bump stops. Rear axle pinion flange seal was weeping so replaced that as well. The back end had seemed a little bouncy of late, certainly some skipping when cornering on broken surfaces so the 22 year old dampers were replaced all round. Oil and filter change plus new spark plugs finished the latest round of maintenance.