Marcos Diary - Trials and tribulations of living with a 30 year old car!

Subj: 2014 - Still crazy after all these years!

The current tax disc on CLE 100H reads 02-2004!

CLE 100H was lasted taxed in early 2004!

Back then the mild steel exhaust rusted through and I decided to spend a bit of money on a stainless steel system for the car.

I decided to add a little more noise and had the system made 1/2" wider than the factory system, but I forgot to take into account the fact that this would leave a gap at the manifold!

I put up with the popping on lift off until the car was due its MOT, when I knew it would fail due to a non-gas tight exhaust and put the car in the garage with the intention of sorting it out 'sometime soon' and getting it MOT'd.

Well, like many people I found a decade of my life just vanished as my kids grew up, jobs came and went and other commitments and interests demanded their share of my time.

I kept air in the tyres and a few times, rolled the car out of the garage to dust it off, each time being slightly surprised that the brakes hadn't seized on.

One day I lifted the bonnet and noticed a strange pile of dust on the top of the inlet manifold. A pipe that took water from the heater matrix back into manifold had just crumbled to nothing, leaving a hole with bits of corroded alloy in it. The hose that used to run from the water pump to the inlet on the (long defunct) heater matrix had been re-routed to the pipe, but now had nowhere to go.

Demoralised, I let the car linger and probably spent even less time thinking of it, letting my daughter's Prom (stupid American idea we could well do without) pass without taking her in it as I'd promised and having to attend the marque 50th Anniversary rally in my regular drive, until earlier in 2014, when I noticed that there was to be a 50th Anniversary event for the Adams GT, the first 1800s being built in 1964.

CLE 100H emerges from its long slumber

This seemed a good target to aim at and the fact that it reminded me I'd owned my car for 25 years spurred me into the long delayed action.

First purchase was a high amp battery. I cleaned and adjusted the points and plugs, but there just wasn't enough kick to turn over the big V6. So, the next purchase was a jump-starter unit, which to my mild astonishment, not only provided plenty of power to spin the engine, but allowed it to fire into life once a bit of fresh petrol was added to the tank.

The fact that the engine was running encouraged me further, but the fan belt was making an awful scream and it soon became clear that the water pump was seized solid.

I removed the inlet manifold and popped it around to a local engineers who capped off the now rendundant hole in the top of it for a nominal fee.

The inlet manifold is at the welders!

I had acquired a number of items to fit to the Marcos over the years, including some alloy rocker covers and a replacement sump, mine having been crushed flat (and EVEN lower) at the front many years ago and these were fitted as part of the refurb.

The engine oil was changed, replacing the thin black goop with something golden and silky.

The water pump proved a bit of a problem. I found that Burton Power had replacements, but unfortunately they only had ones without a backplate in stock. I figured this wouldn't be a big problem and I'd use the old one.

The first two bolts holding the old pump on came off easily, but the third is captive behind the pulley and there was no way any of my trusty Metrinch sockets were going to get in there. Sadly, the usual ring spanners couldn't get a decent purchase either and I was on the verge of getting a local garage to tow the car in and replace the water pump, when I noticed a set of Metrich Combination (ring one end, open the other) Spanners on RS-Components' website for a decent price. They were ordered and delivered the next day and within 20 minutes the old pump was off the car!

Sadly, this revealed the horrible mess that was my water pump. The impellor had disolved into a solid lump of rust and the backplate was terminally corroded to the point of having a hole in it!

The horrible mess that was the old water pump.

My first thought was to try and swap my backplate-less pump with Burtons, but they still didn't have the backplate one, so I trawled eBay looking for a decent condition used backplate when I found a company selling brand new ones for a fair price! One was swiftly ordered up. It cost me a little more overall than getting a pump with a backplate from Burton would have, but as they didn't have any, it was a bit of a moot point.

Fortunately, the backplate fitted the pump perfectly and it all went back on, along with a silicon blank to stop off the outlet that used to feed the heater and a set of shiney new Stainless bolts after the system had had a good flush through with clean water.

And what a water pump SHOULD look like!

with those jobs done and a few electrical gremlins out of the way, I decided it was time to put the car in for an MOT and find out what other problems lurked.

The engine bay - Not pretty, but it works!

It was with considerable pleasure (and much surprise if I'm honest - On my part and the testers) that it only failed on 5 things.

  • Wipers not clearing screen - fixed with new blades.
  • Driver's side washer not reaching screen - cleared nozzle and adjusted
  • Passenger door wouldn't open from outside - five minute fix.
  • OS headlamp aim too low - 20 seconds with a screwdriver
  • OS rear brake binding - mmmmmm...

With only a few days to go before the 50th Anniversary, the brakes looked a bit of a problem. The rear brakes on a 1969 3 Litre are from a Corsair GT and are drums with no external adjustment.

The car was jacked up, fiddled with and soon the brakes didn't bind. However, on re-presenting the car it soon became clear that they didn't bind because they didn't work anymore!

The brakes being worked on

I'd run out of time, but it had always been a bit of a long shot to get the car ready in time for the 50th Anniversary rally, but to be foiled by a single fault was, I'll admit, a little frustrating.

More time was spent disassembling, adjusting and reassembling the brakes with no positive results until I came to the conclusion that the main problem was the handbrake cable.

more work on the brakes...

A new one was ordered from Marcos Heritage (and promptly delivered the next day, good service!) and it improved matters, but didn't entirely resolve them.

Suddenly I had one of those "Eureka!" moments, stripped the handbrake mechanism off the car (the cable pulls on a rod assembly which supposedly pulls both sides) and shortened the rods on both sides. The brakes were adjusted to not bind and then I pulled the handbrake lever. Whereas I'd had full travel and no effect, I now had about an inch of travel and the car was held firm.

I called the testing station and the car was back for a retest - At first it didn't look that good, but then there was a ping and something clearly released in the mechanism and all of a sudden I had acceptable reading on both drums for foot and handbrake.

It was done! After 10 years off the road, CLE 100H was road legal again!

The work pays off!

A few minutes on the DLVA website and it was taxed (it was already insured) and I was ready to go.

It was a bit of a shame to have missed the 50th Anniversay of the Adams GT rally, but that event had spurred me into action and finally got the car running.

Ready to go!

There are some jobs that still need doing. The exhaust is held on with wire(!), there's a brand new Mini van fuel tank sender to resolve the fact the car always claims to have 1/4 tank of fuel and I've ordered up an electronic ignition kit to improve things (and it needs tuning generally).

At the Bracknell TVR meet

Next step is to make some use of it!

Back Home Diary Page Forward