Bye Bye Blogger…
I’ve had enough of you randomly turning my posts to escaped html.
Last weekend I picked up the donor bike!
A good condition Ducati Monster M750, the vid really doesn’t do the sound justice - all the bass is missing it really does roar like thunder when started up.
I picked it up from Leicester and travelled the 100miles up north to store it. Of course there are always problems - I arrived and there was a little bit of smoke, thought it was just because I’d give it such a long run but then I went to pick up my little sister and there was lots more smoke. Then the missus wanted a little trip… a quick 20-60 in about 4s left me bear hugged to within an inch of my life and slightly deaf from the screaming, and worse - more smoke.
Fortunately with such obvious problems there’s usually an easy fix - the oil filter hadn’t been screwed in properly at the last service, I replaced it and topped up with oil and it’s running perfectly! So perfectly I think I might want to keep it and find another donor bike! The plan has always been to run the bike until the end of summer, maybe I’ll find another engine before then.
I hit 7777 on the way home - about 500 miles per year!
All the correct gear
It’s bloody freezing outside so I’ve been finding jobs I can do inside. Maastricht is certainly a bit colder than Pune - where I spent most of last year:
So, I quickly dismantled the door by taking the door cards off from the inside - it’s a couple of screws and a bit of wobbling and it pops off. I’ll take some pictures of the process when I replace them with new ones but for now I’m working on the locking mechanism:
First things first, it needs a good old clean. 40 years of dirt has gunked it up.
One toothbrush, half a roll of tissues, half a bottle of lighter fluid, half a bottle of washing up liquid and a scouring pad later it’s all ready for fixing…
Except, once clean, it all just works. Nothing more to do, brilliant! Everyone likes an easy job, except those writing blogs looking for something interesting to write about.
So instead I went to the natural history museum in Maastricht and here’s a pic of something interesting:
No idea what it is, answers on a postcard (or the comments section) there’ll be an official piece of ducati 500 memorabilia as a prize - the next bit I pull off and don’t put back on :)
Sizing up the new brakes before I install them this weekend so I thought I’d post something useful. Fairly simple stuff, but a quick explanation of how disc brakes work.
Disc brakes consist it two separate pieces, the disc (and mountings which attach to the wheel) and the calliper (which holds and moves the brake pad and also has a mounting, this time to attach to the car).
The parts are quite easy to identify - the disc is round, like a disc and the calliper is the bit that’s usually painted red by Porsche drivers to show it off through alloy wheels.
To make it simple we’ll ignore the bits in between the brake pedal and the callipers, but essentially you press on the pedal which forces fluid into the calliper. The calliper then pushes the pad against the disc and you stop. The pics below may help it make a bit more sense.
Full disc brake assembly. Red arrow is attached to the wheel, blue is attached to the car.
The disc itself just slips out when not mounted on the car.
With the disc removed you can see the pads (the black rectangles). The bolt s are used to mount this to the car.
The brake pedal forces hydraulic fluid into the calliper pushing the pad against the disc.
Finally I have some bits! Worthwhile post on it’s way…
(blogger app on the iPhone again ate a post! Avoid it like the plague, sorry for the repost to RSS)
Small box for €800 of parts.
The brakes - custom front disks. Green powder coat for them maybe?
The boring rest of it - oil hose, fuses and seat supports
I’m already feeling a little behind with the classic fiat. Nothing’s been posted in nearly a month. I blame it on christmas, PayPal and most of all G, who let me get so drunk on new years eve a floor seemed like a good place to sleep.
To assuage my guilt I decided to actually fix at least one thing on the 500 this evening. So whilst driving home (yes I’m actually driving it! Four four mile journeys this week!) I looked around, realised there’s no internal light so decided to fix the rear view mirror. Not quite as daft as it sounds as you’ll see…
Steps, in case you’re following along at home:
1. Pull it off:
3. Realise there’s bits missing:
(no bulb holder, no cover)
4. Use ingenuity to fashion a template part out of a business card:
5. Request (via blog) that girlfriend makes you a part exactly this size:
(Transparent Perspex, 2mm thick, no ears necessary)
6. Realise you can’t fix it tonight and go to pub instead!
7. Contemplate over beer how to fashion the bulb holder…
Finally a productive day! Oh, plus I ordered the brake kit and replacement oil breather hose so some genuine work may get done soon.
So, the todo list was…
Good news is that the tyres are good, meaning I probably don’t need those. Despite really liking the look http://www.fiat500club.org.uk
Bad news is:
i. Oil leak - this project is fairly long term so while I could just replace the engine I really want to be able to run around in it for now.
ii. Driver’s door lock is stuffed - need a new one.
iii. Heating is screwed - need to figure this out as it may also affect the cooling of the engine. Plus these Dutch winters are terrible - I was shivering despite wearing 2 tshirts, a jacket, a coat, a hat and gloves.
iv. Electrics - someone in the past has had a bit of a play around with the electrics - there’s a number of switches that don’t work and a few new ones (some of which also have no apparent function).
Windscreen washers - who’d’ve guessed a classic fiat 500 doesn’t have window washers? well, not me until I’m following a truck with a low winter sun and all I can do is spread the muck around the windscreen.
Hurrah, it does have windscreen washers! there’s a hand pump under the steering column, looks like it’s broken though - only the passenger side washer works. So that’s only half a job less to do:
pump the button in the centre of the pic for water!
vi. Window seals - the aluminium is going on the drivers side.
vii. new soft top - there’s a small tear that I missed on the test drive :(
So that’s more than doubled the list, best get cracking! and one more pic showing just how small the thing is:
parked next to the boss’ X5, can barely see it over the bonnet!
Well, there was quite a delay between my initial deposit and finally getting the fiat 500, mainly due to the Dutch insisting that I become a burger before I can register it, but yesterday was the day. And what better way to find out if a 40 year old car truly works than a 250km roadtrip?
I decided to pace myself - 50km then park in a McD’s have a quick look over the thing. While I’m checking the engine bay a Polish guy started shouting Dutch at me from his car (I’m guessing he was Polish based on the license plate) then pointed at the car and smiled - my Dutch is terrible at the best of times, something about big man, little car but the accent threw me so I replied “sorry, I’m English”. “Ah!” he grunted and pulled out a camcorder box “I’m selling these cheap”.
Back on the road and feeling good, hit a little over 100km/h (60mph) and the engine lets me know that’s as fast as it’s going. This makes the journey tricky - trucks tend to be limited to 80km/h which means I have to do a bit of overtaking but can’t pull out without a clear stretch, especially as the acceleration sucks. At one point I started overtaking, gradually making my way past. I was almost alongside a truck’s cab until there was a slight incline… then a head wind… then the truck was going faster than me. Cue a rather embarrassing abort and a trail of angry drivers scowling cos I’d slowed them all down. Good excuse for another 5 min check and fill up.
Filling up was tricky as the tank’s under the bonnet - only problem with that is the release spring has gone, meaning I have to pull the catch below the steering wheel whilst lifting the bonnet from outside. Fortunately I managed it, losing only my dignity in the process - I’m pretty sure I looked like I was trying to hump the thing only the door was in the way. I had to add some flash lube which I managed to pour all over myself as well as the standard unleaded - the Dutch only seem to have 95ron fuel, but a beast like this really needs 97.
Back on the road, only 60km to go. Then the problems started… A little splutter from the engine, then another, then a few. Oh balls, it’s not gonna make it, I reduce speed to a steady 80km/h and it appeases the old engine for a little way, but a short while later it starts again. Loads of options are going through my head - is it the low octane fuel? did I put too much additive in? Has something clogged the fuel lines? is the engine just screwed? and then the big choice - do I pull over and risk not getting started again, or push on and risk permanent damage?
I pulled over and made a rather simple diagnosis - there’s oil all over the engine bay. It’ll be losing oil then, found the dipstick in the dark and yup, on min. Obviously a little Texaco motorway service station doesn’t have any mineral 10w50 in stock so I bought a litre of the closest rated synthetic I could find - some oil is better than none! I’m guessing it had lost a litre, although I didn’t put it all in so that I could still have some left in case it happened again - the stupidity of that thinking only hit me once I’d started moving again, and now I feel even dafter writing it down.
So that’s it, journey done - my plan of action has changed. There are some essential jobs now that I wasn’t even intending doing. Next post will be a little more geeky based on what I’m actually going to do. That’s if fuel additives, oil and petrol grades weren’t too much for you!