The only place for a coil spring is up Zebedee's arse
Gilbertd's Avatar
6830 posts

Further to Dave’s comment in this thread https://rangerovers.pub/topic/3016-ac-leak-test-at-home?page=2#pid38452, I’ve had a bit of time on my hands today. The car is ready and loaded up so I’ve spent the time waiting for Dina to finish work so we can set off before driving to Spain to write this.

I would like to think that at least some of you understand how the AC system in your car works, but in case you don’t, a little explanation. Everything has 3 states, solid, liquid and gas, the only thing that differs is the temperature that they change from one to another. Water, as we all should know, has a boiling point of 100C, the temperature where it changes state from liquid to gas (and 0C when it changes state again from liquid to solid, aka ice). However, if it is under pressure, the boiling point increases. That is why your cooling system has a pressure cap and the increase in pressure means it doesn’t boil (change from liquid to gas) until around 120C. That is why, as long as you don’t have a leak anywhere, your cooling system can run at 105-110C without boiling. In the same way, if you run on LPG you fill your tank with a liquid (Propane in this case) at around 10bar (145psi) so it remains a liquid but, as Propane has a boiling point of -44C, as soon as it is no longer under pressure, it becomes a gas.

So, what does this have to do with AC? Because it uses this to move heat from one place to another. It is filled with R134a gas, Tetrafluoroethane (CF3CH2F) with a boiling point at atmospheric pressure of -26.1C. Your system also has what are termed a low side and a high side signified by the pressure in the system. Starting at the low side, the system is full of a gas at a pressure of around 2.6 bar when operating. That gas passes through a compressor which raises the pressure to around 10.3 bar (at the High side) at which point it is fed to the condenser (the one in front of the radiator, the one that leaks with monotonous regularity) where, it condenses and becomes a liquid. That generates heat which is dissipated by the airflow though the condenser. This liquid then passes through a small orifice where it vaporises as the pressure drops on the other side of the orifice and goes through the evaporator (see how the names of the various components start to make more sense now?). At this point it gets very cold (although strictly speaking, in thermodynamics there is no such thing as cold, only a lack of heat, so the correct terminology is that it ‘draws heat’, something it took me ages to get my head around when I did the FGas course) in the evaporator, air is blown through it and that is the nice cool breeze you should get out of your vents. At that point the cycle starts again as the gas gets to the compressor to be compressed and turned back into a liquid. This is just the same as a Calor gas bottle getting condensation or even ice forming on the outside if you have your barbecue/patio heater/ blowtorch running flat out for a while. The liquid in the bottle is vaporising so is getting cold (sorry, drawing heat).

OK, so that is an automotive AC system and a domestic AC system works in exactly the same way. You have the compressor and condenser in a box outside your house (along with a load of control electronics). That is linked by two copper pipes (liquid and gas) to the indoor unit. These come in a variety of forms but the most common ones are the wall unit, the rectangular box on the wall up near ceiling height, or the ceiling cassette, the square units set into the ceiling that (usually) have 4 outlets blowing the cold air out in different directions. There’s multiple different designs but they all work in the same way. The big difference between a domestic system and that in your car is that they are reversible. The flow of the refrigerant can be reversed so the condenser becomes the evaporator and vice versa. That way, when the flow is reversed, the indoor unit gets hot and the outdoor unit gets cold. That way they can provide heating as well as cooling. Different units differ in how they achieve this, with some of the cheap Chinese made systems you have to manually set them for heating or cooling. The better systems, like the Fujitsu units I prefer and install, have an Auto setting. You put it on Auto, set the temperature and it reverses the flow as and when it is required. That way you can set 21C and no matter if the ambient is -5C or 30C (or higher as it has been recently in some areas), it will automatically maintain an indoor temperature of 21C.

On a decent quality system working correctly, with an ambient temperature of 25C when set for maximum cooling, the air coming out of the indoor unit will be down to 2-3C. When set for maximum heating, it will achieve 55-60C. If the ambient is cooler, this will be a bit lower but the Fujitsu systems will still provide 50C down to an outdoor temperature of -15C. This is spread around the room by a fan so is much the same as using an electric fan heater. The big difference is that it can achieve the equivalent of 3kW of heating (or cooling) while only drawing sufficient electrical energy to power the compressor, which will normally be around 600W, making it a cheap way of heating a room. Multiply that by the number of rooms in your house and it adds up to a considerable saving. The outdoor units can supply a single indoor unit or up to 8 but the install does get pretty complex…….

That brings us on to air source heat pumps (or ground source heat pumps for that matter, they work exactly the same). They are configured just the same as an AC system when using it for indoor heat as they aren’t reversible. The difference being that instead of giving a source of heat which then has air blown over it to distribute the heat throughout the room, a heat exchanger is used so that heat is used to heat water which is then sent around the existing pipework to your radiators.

This is where the problems start. First of all you have in inherent loss in the heat exchanger dropping the water temperature down to around 50C, many of the more modern houses have 10mm microbore pipework, perfectly adequate when the water is being pumped around from a gas boiler at around 70 degrees but too restrictive for water at a lower volume and 20 degrees cooler. Then a radiator will have been specified for the size of the room. Radiators tend to be specified in Btu’s (British Thermal Units), as are many AC units. You take the volume of the room in cubic feet, multiply by 5 and that gives the size of the unit or radiator you need in Btu. So an average living room or bedroom of 5m x 4m with conventional ceiling height is 16.4 ft x 13ft x 8ft, giving a volume of 1,705 cubic feet. Multiply by 5 gives 8,528 so I would install a 9,000 Btu AC unit. Radiators are also rated in Btu but that figure assumes they are fed with water at 70C and at the sort of flow rate achieved by a central heating pump. As the water from a heat pump is cooler and the flow is lower, in virtually all cases larger radiators (and often pipework) need to be installed. This is why people are having to spend in excess of £20k for an installation only to complain that the house isn’t as warm as it was with a conventional gas boiler. Radiators aren’t that efficient anyway, as all you have is a hot spot in one place in the room and the heat is spread mostly by convection with a little by radiation. That’s why it is recommended that the insulation properties are improved, to keep what feeble amount of heat you have from escaping.

Is it cheaper to run though? No not really. Let’s take the average 2 storey, 3 bedroom house. You’d be looking at a footprint of roughly 30ft square, so that is 900 square feet per floor so 1,800 square feet floor area. With 8ft ceiling height, that means you need around 72,000 Btu in total heating capacity or 28kW equivalent. OK, so AC units and air source heat pumps are pretty efficient so won’t be drawing that amount of power, but they will still draw in the region of 6kW as there’s one serious compressor in there (anything over a conventional house system will need a 3 phase supply). At today’s average electricity costs of around 30p per kWh, that’s £1.80 for every hour it is on. Not that cheap compared to a gas boiler, even at today’s prices, without taking into account the purchase price and the modifications needed to what you already have.

The only time a heat pump system will work adequately is if you have underfloor heating (and walking on a floor at 50C is a little more comfortable than one at 70C!). Although even then I have installed an AC unit into a house with underfloor heating fed by a heat pump as it would kick in as soon as the temperature dropped but if, after a couple of days the sun came out, it would switch off again. The owner of the house wanted AC to fill in the gap between the weather getting cold and the underfloor heating starting to work properly and also to give him the benefit of cooling in summer.

The irony of the whole thing is that you can get a Government grant of up to £5k to install a heat pump and they have a lower VAT rating too reducing the cost to buy and install. Although as they are so damn expensive in the first place there’s still a considerable outlay, particularly when you consider you can replace an existing gas boiler with a more efficient, modern one, for a couple of grand. But, even though it works in the same way and is probably better in many cases, you can’t get a grant for AC (and the systems are still rated at 20% VAT) as it gives you cooling as well as heating, so you are getting a bonus which the Government won’t pay for.

Personally I think Hydrogen fuelled boilers are the way to go but technology moves a lot faster than Governments so when they first made their recommendations that we should all be going for heat pumps, Hydrogen fuelled boilers weren’t around. Much like how they advocate we should a be driving battery electric cars when hydrogen fuel cell powered ones , or even a near conventional internal combustion engine running on Hydrogen, seem a much more viable, and ecologically friendly, option.

Got sent a link to these and thought they were worth sharing.


Rather than allowing this discussion to get lost in a totally unrelated thread, I thought I'd move it to it's own dedicated thread. Some forum software allows posts to be moved to a new thread but if it can be done on this one, I can't see how, hence the multiple quotes.

Gilbertd wrote:

I've been using P&O for years and have a season ticket (fixed, cheap price, irrespective of time of year, school holidays, etc) with 3 return Dover-Calais crossings left on it. In the last year or so they have removed the restaurants so you could no longer get a proper meal on the crossing and other things that suggested they were cutting costs. Going over to Paris in the morning and was going to call them to book it against my season ticket when the news broke. They are advising people with a P&O booking to go to the DFDS check in so figured that would be booked solid and almost certainly delayed so I checked the price with Irish Ferries who have been running a Dover-Calais service since last year and have booked with them. Cheaper than DFDS and only slightly more than my pre-paid season ticket would have been but shouldn't be any problems. P&O are saying they will be back up and running in 7-10 days but I very much doubt it, I suspect they are dead and gone and even if they aren't, they will be very soon. If I can get a refund on the unused crossings on my season ticket, I'll just use that to buy a DFDS season ticket or an Irish ferries one (if they do one). I too won't be using P&O ever again either.

Lpgc wrote:

It's a bit alarming to hear about P&O, I don't know all the ins and outs but on first consideration it doesn't seem legal re UK employment law what they're doing. I also see this as likely the end of P&O. Not that it's really relevant or an important factor but I have to wonder if this could also have minor impact on my business, because if people wonder about being able to get their LPG converted vehicle abroad in future (and since they can't take their LPG vehicles through the Chunnel) there's the possibility a minority of customers could be put off LPG conversion.

BrianH wrote:

The ferries generally aren't a problem - Stenna Line say nothing about LPG and I've used them multiple times, Irish Ferries or DFDS (one of them can't remember which) Just say something about it needing to be shut off when on the ferry (Can't remember exact wording, but it didn't seem like they wanted you to manually operate the shutoff on the tank, and not something they could easily check). The impression I got at the time was that if the gas was shut off when the ignition was off then this was good enough (so the electronic valve would do this).

May be different on the routes to Europe rather than Ireland, but it didn't seem to be a problem. Might have changed in the last few years as its been a while since I've been out that way.

I can't see P&O surviving this, it seems a desperation measure as they would be forced to try and compete on price to attract any custom. Seems odd they removed the restaurants as my experience of them is theres very little to actually do on the ferry whilst your crossing and it seems an easy money maker. Though I guess a 90 minute crossing is a bit different to a 4 or 8 hour one to Ireland depending where your going from/to.

nigelbb wrote:

All the ferry companies are OK with LPG conversions. It's only the channel tunnel that won't take them as they aren't licensed to take them. Apparently as LPG wasn't a big thing when they were designing the tunnel they didn't get carrying LPG powered vehicles signed off as safe & now it's too much hassle & expense for them to get it done. Maybe after the P&O debacle they might open to some lobbying. If we travel Dover->Calais we always use the tunnel as it's so much simpler & a little quicker never mind nicer during winter weather. Our place is in Brittany so we always prefer to use Brittany Ferries especially the Portsmouth->Saint-Malo route. It's a 12 hour overnight trip but you get a good night's sleep & then it's under 1.5 hours drive to our cottage whereas if we go via Calais it's a six hour drive.

I too will never use P&O & agree that they will go out of business They have misjudged the outrage their actions have caused

As most of you know I regularly use the Dover-Calais route (only got back in the early hours of this morning) and for a number of years I have been using P&O season tickets which were good value. You buy a block of crossings, 3 returns, 5 returns, etc at a fixed price, so the price is the same irrespective of whether it is school holidays, bank holidays, etc which would normally push the price up. It is also fully flexible so you get on the next crossing irrespective of what crossing you are actually booked on. I've often been asked why I don't use the tunnel as it is quicker but, ignoring for the moment the fact that I'm running on LPG and they don't allow LPG powered vehicles, while the actual crossing time may be quicker, overall there isn't a lot to choose. Loading takes longer, unloading takes much longer and apart from anything else, it is boring sitting in your car, in a train, in a tunnel with nothing to look at for the crossing time. My other, and main reason, is that while the tunnel may be better if you are just nipping over to Calais for a booze cruise, if you've got any distance to drive once the other side of the Channel, you're going to have to stop for food at some point. So why not use the ferry where you can sit in a restaurant, browse the duty free shop, sit down and relax in one of the lounges (unless there's half a dozen coachloads of schoolkids on a school trip) and generally relax out of the car? There was nothing better than a P&O full English to set you up for the drive ahead of you.

The P&O ferries used to have the Food Court, a cafeteria style restaurant with a choice of 4 or 5 meals in the afternoon and evening or various breakfast options in the mornings, and the Brasserie, a waitress service, a la carte restaurant that, while a bit more expensive, was excellent. With the Covid restrictions on travel, changes were made over a period due to the much lower level of tourist traffic. When restrictions started to be relaxed around September 2020, the Brasserie was closed and rather than having the food pre-cooked in the Food Court, it would be cooked to order. By August 2021, the Food Court was closed but tourist passengers were allowed to use the Routemasters restaurant that normally would only be open for freight drivers. Food was, if anything, better quality and cheaper than the Food Court (full English and a mug of coffee for a fiver). By December last year, the Brasserie had been removed and the Food Court renamed the Food Market with a choice of pre-packed sandwiches or, the only hot options, a soggy panini or probably the worst pizza I have ever had. Non freight passengers were no longer allowed to use the Routemasters either, so no proper food. They had however, opened the Club Lounge (taking the space that used to be occupied by the Brasserie), an extra cost option but with unlimited food and drink. Tried it in January and while it was very nice and comfortable, with help yourself tea, coffee, beer, spirits, etc the only hot food options were a bacon roll or the aforementioned panini or pizza. This despite the kitchen that had formerly been used by the Brasserie was still there, just not being used. When I spoke to the staff, they didn't think it a good idea at all and while there weren't too many tourists travelling at the time, once restrictions were lifted then things should return to normal. Although I was told that the staff that used to run the restaurants had already been made redundant so reinstating things wouldn't be as simple as just opening up the doors.

It seems obvious to me that the Dubai based owners don't understand how the ferries work. Yes, probably all operators have been running at a loss while they have had to rely on the freight traffic but give it another couple of weeks and tourist traffic will almost certainly return to the previous levels. The other operators, DFDS and Irish Ferries, who took over the Dover-Calais route in June last year after Sea France stopped running on the route (although they never really got started from what I could see), will now reap the benefits of P&O disappearing as I very much doubt they will be back. Even if they do come back in 7-10 days as they are saying, I suspect hardly anyone will risk using them in the future. If anyone is prepared to risk P&O they will only do it once after they discover they can no longer get something to eat and have to resort to French motorway services instead. Driving into the port at Calais last night, the overhead signs simply said "P&O, No Departures", not what you want to see if you've been away for a few days and not been keeping up with the news,

I had intended using one of the 3 remaining crossings on my season ticket to go over yesterday but the announcement came before I had called them to confirm the crossing times. DFDS are taking passengers that had booked with P&O so I figured they might be busy and, as I had a pretty tight schedule, couldn't afford any delays. Irish Ferries were about £30 cheaper than DFDS too so gave them a try. The ship, the Isle of Inishmore, was more luxurious than any of the P&O ships, all the restaurants were working (and busy), the only downside being the crossings aren't as regular as the others due to them only having 2 ships doing the crossing. Just got to see if I can get a refund on the unused crossings on my P&O season ticket now......

All the 4s.....

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There was mention of this really helpful quirk of the EAS diagnostic system in another thread recently (this one https://rangerovers.pub/topic/2698-dead-eas?page=1) but I think I might have found what is means.

I've been on the other side of the Channel (again) and just put another 2,000 miles on the clock. Arrived at my mate's house on Saturday and was leaving Sunday morning. As I was towing, the EAS was locked in Motorway as I normally keep it, but his 'driveway' needed a bit more clearance so turned inhibit off and poked the rocker to put it to Standard height. Up she came and I set off, only to notice the EAS light on the dash had come on and it was at High. Thinking I might have poked the rocker twice, I sent it back to Standard and carried on. About a mile later, the dash light comes on again and it rises to High, poke the rocker again and drop it down to Standard. By this time I'm trying to remember where the spare rocker I have somewhere might be as it looks like mine is showing it's age. Then, just as I was going through a toll booth, it does it again. As I'm travelling slowly, I ignore it for a minute and that was when it gives me the beeps, 35MPH MAX and drops me to the bumpstops. Pulled over, got the Nano out, checked the fault and there it was, Invalid Fault Code. Cleared the fault, everything went back to normal and I carried on, leaving the Nano plugged in so I could clear it while driving if it did it again. Which it didn't.

Then I drove through the sort of rain I have only ever found in France. Hammering it down, motorway traffic down to 40 mph, wipers on high speed, road surface with about 2 inches of standing water, spray everywhere. That cleared and I carried on for another half hour or so when again, it decided it was going to go to High without being told to (was locked in Motorway at the time too). Cleared the fault, carried on only for it to do it again a couple of minutes later, dropping me to the bumpstops again too. Cleared the fault (Invalid Fault Code again) and, just like the previous time, it didn't do it again.

Then I started pondering it and realised it had only done it after torrential rain. The previous afternoon, on my way to my mate's house, I'd driven through this......

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Which had subsequently turned to rain as I'd dropped down off the mountains. The car had then stood overnight and had started doing it as soon as I'd started it up for the journey home. Having the heater on to keep me warm may well have dried out any moisture that had managed to find it's way into the car. Then it had done it again after driving through more heavy rain. We all know that the multiway plug behind the RH kick panel can corrode and cause silly problems, but the wiring between the EAS ECU under the drivers seat and the rocker switch, runs through a near identical one behind the LH kick panel. I bypassed the RH one years ago but had never even looked at the LH one. So, having got home a few hours ago, I just have. I suspect Invalid Fault Code is caused by corrosion in the plug on the LH side as this is what I have found.

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Pins and sockets look good, not rotted away completely like some I've seen, and should clean up easily enough, so that is a job for the morning but I'll put a bit of silicone grease in there to protect them from any moisture in the future. It seems to be dry in there but I don't believe in coincidences and the green isn't going to help at all. As Bolt discovered some time ago, the rocker isn't just a switch, it has some electronics in there too so I'm thinking a high resistance connection between different pins would be enough to make the ECU think the rocker had been pressed. If it sees signals that suggest the rocker is being pressed up and down simultaneously, that may well be what triggers the fault.

We all know how expensive door latches are and how much grief they can cause, but it seems that if you have a GEMS with a dodgy drivers door latch, there's another option (as Marty is still away and not able to supply refurbed ones). Some may be aware that the MG TF uses the same latches as the GEMS P38, the only difference being that they have 6 + 2 way plugs rather than the 6 + 1 on the P38. Not a problem though as you only need to use the black wire in the 2 way connector and ignore the extra grey one that the MG latch has. However, while Rimmers have huge stocks of latches for LHD cars at ridiculously cheap prices (probably because there's not that many LHD MGs in the UK), latches for RHD MGs are around the same price as latches for RHD P38s. Every supplier seems to want £200 or thereabouts plus the VAT. All except one it seems, how about this https://www.ukmgparts.com/product/mgf-mgf14-exterior-bodyshell-panels/door-lock-rh-mgf-tf-rhd-fqj102262pma. There are two part numbers for the MG latch, the other one is FJQ000080PMA which you don't want as it is for the basic MG without central locking so doesn't have the microswitches we need.

If you have a Thor the plug is different. It uses a single 8 way plug but the latches are the same as on the GEMS so if you need one and don't mind getting involved in a bit of soldering and swapping the plug over, the MG one will work in a Thor too.

Nigelbb is a new member here after being rescued from the other side but has a 2001 4.6 Vogue which he's had for some time. It's been 'maintained' by a local to him LR specialist but he was asking about an engine rebuild as it had been pressurising the cooling system. His specialist had dealt with that by adding 3, yes that's right 3, bottles of Steel Seal. Although the car ran fine (other than a knackered cam follower so it sounds a bit tappety) after driving it for a long distance and then letting it idle for 15 minutes while waiting to get on a ferry, it got a bit hotter than it should. He had taken the header tank cap off and lost quite a bit of coolant as that was forced out due to the pressure but after letting it cool a bit and topping it up, it had been fine for his journey home. I had previously asked him to check if it was combustion gases by running the car until hot, then leaving it to cool down and see the state of the hoses then. If they got hard when running but went soft again when the engine had cooled down, that meant the pressure was down to thermal expansion of the coolant, if the hoses remained hard then extra pressure was getting in there from somewhere else, most likely combustion gases. Once cold there was no pressure any longer so simply thermal expansion.

He also had an intermittent fault with the EAS but EASUnlock simply gave him a page full of errors that wouldn't clear. I went to have a look at it and we found the hoses were getting rock hard when the engine was running but my Nanocom wouldn't connect and his EASUnlock wasn't getting good idle. Thinking the OBD port could be corroded dropped the panel to find it wasn't corrosion but the pins were loose in the socket so were being pushed out as soon as you plugged anything in. Having got diagnostics to connect, found a few things that weren't as they should be. To start with, after idling for 20 minutes, it was running at a steady 107 degrees C. Now with a pressurised system that could be considered OK but there's no headroom left in case it gets too hot and the hoses were rock hard too. While it was sitting there idling, the EAS was randomly rising and falling so had a look at that too. The settings were all over the place. It looked like someone had programmed it with a bunch of random numbers, best of all was that the Motorway heights were actually higher than Standard, so rather than drop at speed it had been raising! Then I looked at the drivers side footwell and the stains from leaking coolant could clearly be seen.

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Seems like a set of heater core O rings are required.

Then turned our attention to the high running temperature and with the aid of an infra red thermometer worked out that it looked like the radiator could well be clogged. Which, after 3 bottles of Steel Seal isn't really surprising. So it was arranged that Nigel would get a new radiator and an OBD port and drop the car off with me for a couple of days while he was working not far from my house. I ordered a pair of genuine LR heater core O rings and once it was at my house (and Nigel had driven off in the Ascot so he could still get to work), work commenced.

Figured the first job should be the OBD port so one that had been ordered from eBay was duly fitted. It was actually better quality than the original with plastic shields that pushed in to stop the pins from backing out as had happened on the original one. Then I moved to the other side to start on the heater core O rings. The carpet was absolutely sodden

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so I put an old cloth over the carpet to try to soak some of it up (and to stop me getting soaked in OAT when leaning on it) and set about removing the panels. It soon became pretty obvious that somebody had been in there before, the holes in the side panels to give access to the ducting screws and the cut ducting poorly sealed with masking tape were the immediate giveaways. The small stalactites of, what seems to be a mixture of OAT and Steel Seal, were interesting.

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The joint between heater matrix and pipes clearly showed where the leak was.....

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The screw came out easier than I had anticipated and the O rings were removed. One was split but the interesting thing was that they were obviously not genuine, or not even aftermarket, heater core O rings as they seemed to be being dissolved by the OAT and were also thinner than the new ones I had to put in. The black on my fingers is from the O rings themselves.

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So whoever had been in there before had obviously fitted some generic O rings that just weren't fit for the job. Cleaned everything up and fitted the new O rings. Before putting it all back together I started the engine to run it and make sure they no longer leaked. As soon as the engine was started, there was a leak. Not a big one but a steady drip, drip, drip. Slackened the screw off to see if giving the pipes a wiggle would reseat them and stop the leak but as soon as the screw was even slightly slackened, I got a jet of coolant sprayed out showing pressure in the cooling system. As I had topped up the coolant as soon as the new O rings were in I knew there was no pressure in the system and it had been running for less than 30 seconds so not even remotely warm but where was the pressure coming from? Switched it off and checked to find a solid top hose and pressure in the system. Figured that the system was so clogged with something, probably the Steel Seal, that the pressure was coming from the water pump trying to circulate it.

Decided to leave the O rings for the time being and move on to fitting the new radiator. That didn't put up too much of a fight but what was surprising was how heavy it was compared to the next one. It must have weighed at least twice as much and not only did it appear to be clogged internally, not a lot of air would have been flowing through it either......

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New radiator was fitted and the system refilled with nice new OAT. Made sure there was no air left in the system and started it up. Still had a drip every couple of seconds from the heater but ignored that for the time being and concentrated on the pressurisation and temperature. After 30 minutes of running at idle the temperature was sitting at a steady 99 degrees, still higher than I would like to see, but as soon as the revs were raised it immediately dropped down to 94 degrees, far more acceptable. What was more pleasing was that although the hoses were hard due to thermal expansion, they were nowhere near as previously and after turning the engine off and slackening the header tank cap, there was only a small amount of pressure in there. So the pressure was almost certainly been the water pump trying to force the coolant through a clogged radiator. Went back to the O rings, tried reseating the pipes but still couldn't stop the drip. Dried everything off so I could see exactly were it was leaking from only to find it was coming from a tiny crack in the matrix body just behind the screw. Whoever had been there before had overtightened the screw and cracked the heater casing. Bugger......

Nigel was due to collect the car the following afternoon so next morning I leapt into mine and drove to Rimmer Bros, a one hour each way journey. Well it would be one hour each way if Lincolnshire County Council hadn't decided to dig up at least 20% of the roads I wanted to drive on. Got there, picked up a new heater matrix and headed home. Attempted to fit it and despite having seen various people say it can be done without taking the dash out, it may be that it can be but you do at least have to remove the steering column and, as Nigel was there by then, we decide to bypass it for the time being and have the dash out at a later date.

We got my blocks out and recalibrated the EAS, the settings were miles out, and it sat nice and level and would at least drop at speed now. Nigel reported that on his drive home it behaved perfectly and no longer does a little dance every so often while standing still so that was a success.

I have a theory on the sequence of events that had led up to the specialist's conclusion that it had a leaking liner. The heater matrix, or O rings or both, were leaking so allowing air into the cooling system. That meant there was an airlock in there which would expand far more than coolant so cause pressure in the system when it got hot. That fact that this pressure dissipated when the engine had cooled down again would seem to confirm that. Quite why they thought they had cured the problem with 3 bottles of Steel Seal when, if anything, it had made it worse, I have no idea. The overheat when he was waiting for the ferry would have been a combination of the high running temperature, the almost fully clogged radiator restricting coolant flow and the crud clogging the outside of the radiator meaning that there wasn't a lot of air managing to get through it either. I suspect that the still higher than I would like to see running temperature may be down to the Steel Seal restricting flow elsewhere, possibly the thermostat, so when it comes back for the new heater matrix to be fitted, I'll drain the cooling system completely and reverse flush it which should get rid of any remaining gloop that could be clogging anything else. Should be a fun way of spending a couple of days.....

I followed another P38 today a couple of cars in front of me, S plate but with amber indicators making it a late 98. Got up behind it and as I overtook it, looked at the badge on the tailgate and saw it was a Vogue 50. New one on me, I know of the 50th Anniversary and the Vogue and Vogue SE but not a Vogue 50. Bumpers were body colour but the paint was that sort of green that looks like it could be blue under different light that I think they used on the Holland and Holland. Have I just found a really rare limited edition?

Been out for a few hours, came back and saw we'd been hit by a spammer who had somehow got through the protection. Started deleting the spam posts only to see the number of them was going up not down. Looked at the spammers profile to see that he had posted 71 posts which rose to 76 while I was looking at it. By the time I'd clicked the Ban Member button, he was up to 78! At 3 mouse clicks to delete spam, it's normally fairly simple but when there's 78 to get rid of......

I currently have a set of Vredestein Quatrac 5 tyres on my car and have been very happy with them but they are getting towards the end of their life so I figured I would get another set. As I have the 7"x16" poverty spec wheels, I need 235/70x16 tyres but when I checked oponeo.co.uk where the last set came from, they were shown as out of stock. None of the other online suppliers listed them but I have read elsewhere that certain tyre brands and sizes are in short supply at the moment with a combination of Brexit and Covid being blamed. So I emailed Vredestein to ask if this was a temporary problem and when would they expect to have them back in stock, only to be told that the size I want has been discontinued. They are still doing them in other sizes but I'd rather stick with standard and the alternative all season tyre, the Quatrac Pro, is only available in 17 and 18 inch.

The closest equivalent I can find is the Kleber Citilander which is available in the size I want, has the same C, C, 70dB rating and the 3 peaks marking that I need. I seem to recall a similar discussion a couple of years ago when they were mentioned but did anyone buy them? If so, what are they like?

I know the thermostat is supposed to open at 88 degrees, but mine is obviously opening sooner than that. As mentioned a few days ago, my temperature gauge has gone intermittent and as I had a trailer towing trip over to France last week, I plugged the Nanocom in to keep an eye on the temperature. Seems I'm running at a steady 85 degrees, saw 87 once while slogging up a hill and 81 when coasting down the other side but even after being stuck in traffic for an hour (in the UK, that sort of thing doesn't happen the other side of the Channel), it sat at a steady 85-86, never getting any hotter than that. OK, so I've got the Direnza alloy radiator that has 50% greater capacity than standard, it's filled with the required 50/50 mix of Ethylene Glycol anti-freeze, a relatvely newish (about 3 years old) Airtex water pump and a two year old viscous coupling. So the cooling system is in good nick but is running at these sort of temperatures something I need to do anything about?

I remember those words from Sloth when we were trying to get the old Poly bushes out of my radius arms back at the last summer camp. At some point in the past, my car had been fitted with Orange poly bushes which had survived pretty well I must admit. They put up a real fight trying to get them out of the radius arms, we couldn't press them out, cut them out or drill through them hence Sloth asking if there was a blowlamp in the workshop so we could burn them out. As it happened there wasn't so we had to continue with brute force and ignorance. When they were eventually out, we found that moisture had got between the bush and radius arm so the hole in the arm that we intended pressing a new, OE rubber, bush into, was covered in rust scale. I spent ages with a hammer and punch knocking the scale out to clean up the hole for the new bushes.

Although it hadn't felt bad before it felt much better with the correct bushes in, so a good job done. Just recently I noticed that the rear panhard rod also had orange poly bushes in it and they weren't looking too good. I'd also noticed the odd random clunk from the back end at times too so decided to do those.

The end that attaches to the chassis was badly worn with a good 5mm of side to side slop in the centre steel bush. That fell out and the poly bit eventually came out after lots of prising with a big screwdriver. Inside was, again, well rusted so needed a lot of work to clean it up enough for it to be possible to push the new rubber bush in. However, the axle end hadn't really worn at all. Tried pressing the steel centre out and it didn't want to know. The poly is so flexible that it just springs back to how it was when pressure is taken off. Tried cutting the outer lip off so the whole thing could be pushed out. Same problem and it was at this point I remembered Sloth's words and picked up a blowlamp. He was right, it can't fight back when it's a liquid but even that wasn't simple. Heat the poly up and it goes black, bubbles a bit but doesn't quite reach the liquid stage and had to be dug out a bit at a time with a screwdriver. Once out, I had to spend even longer cleaning up the hole as it now had melted poly in it as well as rust scale. Pressed the new bushed in and fitted it back to the car.

What surprised me was how much difference two seemingly insignificant bushes make. With the sort of mileages I do I want my car to feel 'tight', no slop or play in anything and it had, but now it feels even better. So yet another reason why poly bushes are a bad idea.

Went out for a bit of (essential) shopping earlier and as I pulled into the supermarket I heard a little pop, looked down and saw this had appeared.

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A few weeks ago I heard something hit the screen but didn't notice an extra stone chip (in addition to the 3 or 4 that I already have). Seems that I didn't notice it as it was obscured by my sat nav mount and it had decided to change from a stone chip to a crack.

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I've got windscreen cover on the insurance so that isn't a problem and the heated screen has only worked in odd strips for a long time so a new screen will be a bonus. Wondering if it will be better to leave it until the weather is a bit warmer before getting it done, any thoughts?

Both my cars are GEMS and both have singlepoint LPG systems on them so there is a mixer bolted to the throttle body although I'm not sure if this is relevant. The MAF sensor on the Ascot had gone intermittent so some days it would be fine but sometimes it would give no readings (current airflow 0.0 Kg/Hr irrespective of revs) which meant it was a bit of a bitch to start unless I forced it to start on LPG. Bought a replacement MAF sensor, genuine Sagem with a manufactured date of 10/07, so a recent one. The MAF on my car was an aftermarket one so decided I would fit the replacement to mine but would check the readings I was getting before swapping them over.

Checked the readings on my car and found them to be about right, around 22 Kg/Hr at idle, rising steadily up to around 60-65 Kg/Hr at 2,000 rpm. RAVE tuning data says it should be 20 plus/minus 3 at idle (so within limits) rising to 60 plus/minus 3 at 2,500 rpm (so a little on the high side) However, when I checked the Calculated Load Value, it was hovering around the 23-24% mark at idle in Park and not the 2.8-3.8% that RAVE says it should be. Initially thought that maybe there was a decimal point in the wrong place error in the Nano but at 2,000 rpm I was showing a calculated load value of 35-40% and not the 10% at 2,500 rpm I should be seeing. Swapped the MAF sensors so I now had the genuine Sagem replacement and checked again. Readings were damn near exactly the same.

Then fitted the known working aftermarket MAF I had just taken off my car and put it on the Ascot. Fired up immediately and left it running to warm up. Then checked the readings and they were almost identical to on mine. Airflow within limits at idle, slightly high at 2,000 rpm but still with a calculated load value far higher than it should be. I reset the adaptive values on both cars so had a baseline to work from but that made no difference to the calculated load value.

I'm wondering if the restriction caused by the mixer in the intake is affecting anything and will see if removing it makes any difference (when it's a bit warmer outside) but does anyone have any idea why the MAF readings seem about right yet the calculated load value is much higher than it should be?

Someone asked recently if there should be a light on the dash to tell you cruise control was operating. The answer was that there isn't and that is confirmed by the owners handbook, but it looks like there might have been one planned at some point.
However, RAVE says:
Cruise Active Indicator
When the Cruise Control System has been activated the indicator will be illuminated. The Cruise System is interfaced to the Instrument Cluster (Z142) via the BeCM (Z238).
(Electricat Troublshooting Manual, Section E2 Warnings and Indicators).

While I had an instrument cluster apart to take pictures for the how to pull it apart thread, I noticed that the spaces for the warning lights are actually labelled on the main pcb. Interestingly, the labels don't match up with the handbook or the actual cluster displays.

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Looking at that (which is the rear of the RHS of the cluster) along the top we have, from right to left (which would be left to right as you look at the dash), Suspension (correct, the picture of the car with an Up arrow), Service E (obviously where the service engine soon light lives on those versions, or markets, that have it), Check E (check engine, so also correct) and Brk Pad (presumably for a brake pad wear indicator which we don't appear to have, the owners handbook doesn't mention and the overlay has no image, just plain black). Then if we look at the lower row, also going from right to left, we have a space where there is no bulb, then Trail (which is the trailer indicator repeater to tell you your trailer indicators are working), Spare (which is pretty self explanatory) and Cruise A (which I assume to be short for Cruise Active) yet that bulb is the one that lights up showing the gear symbol when you change range from High to Low and vice versa. So someone, at some point realised that they didn't have enough spaces for bulbs as they did warnings they wanted to show. That doesn't explain why they didn't decide to use the one marked Spare for the ratio change light or even the cruise active light......

I noticed something else I can't explain, on the front of the pcb, in the position where there isn't a bulbholder (far right, second row in the above pic) there's what looks to be a daylight sensor.

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There is a matching clear section in the cover that goes over it so it must be there for something but what? Is there anything on the P38 that alters depending on whether it is daylight or dark? Nothing that I can think of but maybe someone else has an idea of what it might be there for. It isn't for the dash illumination as that can be set at different levels depending on whether the lights are on or not, so what does it do?

I wonder what it will go for? 4.0 Bordeaux with LPG and looks quite tidy.


Or at least doesn't know it's left from it's right. I'm aware that it misreports ABS sensors as wrong but discovered a different one today. Fitted a Marty zebra strip to a HEVAC to get all of the display working and then set about checking why it had the book showing. Checking the faults and it showed RH blower as faulty, looking at the input values, it showed 0 as the feedback from the RH blower. So the blower was pulled out, the motor checked and the controller swapped for a known good one. Only to find it made no difference, still got the book showing. Figured this needed further investigation so decided to check the HEVAC before putting the console back together. Display checked fine (as expected) and then went on to check all the buttons. Poking the LH Temp down button and the Nano reported RH temp down, LH temp up showed RH temp up, RH temp down showed it as LH as did the RH up. So it has got them the wrong way round, what about the blowers? As the panel was still off, while the blower was running, disconnected the thin ground wire and the blower stopped and it went very quite. LH blower wasn't running and there was nothing wrong with the RH one at all. Found the problem with the LH blower, both now working perfectly and no book showing but had it told me it was the LH one in the first place I'd have saved an hour in pulling and checking the RH one.

It had to be done. I wanted to get a video of it changing over but as I was approaching a roundabout at the time, missed it.

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In the process of refurbishing a 2001 4.6 Vogue (OldShep's old car which two of us have rescued and are returning to it's original glory). When I picked it up as soon as I touched the brake pedal I got ABS Fault and Traction Failure pop up on the dash although the Nano showed no stored faults. It had recently had a new rear calliper fitted and it hadn't been bled properly so that has now been done (along with a matching new rear calliper on the other side) but when I checked with the Nano it shows all four wheels doing 1.7 kph while standing still??? As my mate was doing the drivers seat and steering wheel, wasn't able to drive it slowly to see if the problem was still there but why would it think it was moving when it isn't? It's the Wabco D system with 4 wheel traction control if that makes any difference.

Spending my time playing with the cars so have dragged my Maserati out of the garage to recommission it. Last time I drove it at least one of the brakes was sticking on so I'm pulling all the calipers off and giving them a bit of TLC but am running out of brake fluid. My usual factors are closed so I looked on the Halfords website. I've also got a set of seals to overhaul the front calipers on the ex-plod so figured I could do them too and flush through the brake fluid. In which case I'm going to need quite a bit of DOT 4. £24.99 for 5 litres seemed pretty good so ordered it online for a click and collect. They confirmed the order by email and text but said not to go to the store until I had received a text telling me to. That was at 10 yesterday morning. Spent the day twiddling my thumbs waiting for the text, didn't arrive. Now, over 25 hours later, still no text. Anyone else tried to order stuff and had to wait days for it?