Recommissioning Checks

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Last seen: 4 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 17/04/2014
Recommissioning Checks

A young family and the acceleration of the space/time continuum as one gets old have meant that it's now around 8yrs since my 7 turned a wheel (and I think longer than that since I was last on here - thanks to the admins for rejuvenating my account).

My youngest (5) has now shown a strong interest in the cars under the covers.  So the time has come to get it back on the road.  Plan is to get it ready and MOT'd by next spring.  Then to tax it 6mths of the year for annual use (I'm no longer as hardy as I was when I used it in all weathers).

And for the first time in pretty much ever my plan is to do the spannering myself, roping the boys in to "help".

First job is therefore a checklist of recommended things to address before driving it and getting the precious cargo onboard.  First stab as follows.  Critique welcomed!

  • Wheels and tyres (start easy) - car had MB mags wheels.  Have bought a set of R500 8-spoke 13"s to use initially, and new tyres coming in (Avon ZZS).  I'm going to get the MBs crack tested I think before deciding what to do longer term
    • The rear wheels I've bought are 8" wide which are fouling slightly on my overslung ARB droplink.  I have new droplinks (old ones rusted) and am planning to put them on the other side of the ARB/deDion pickups which I'm hoping will give enough clearance
  • Bodywork and interior - general clean and spruce up.  Especially as the cats seemed to have used the inside as a sleeping location and I'm not partial to the cat hair seat cover!
    • Any tips on getting harnesses clean?
    • I think I also need to remove the passenger seat as I want to fit monkey tails to the harnesses on that side too (I have them on the driver's side already)
  • Brakes
    • Caliper refurb necessary?  Or just try them and see (slightly reticent on that for brakes)
    • Discs have plenty of surface rust on them - vented discs.  Worth just replacing or try a reskim?
    • New pads (or just check the old?)
    • New flexible lines?  (Current ones are braided)
    • Brake fluid change and bleed
  • Suspension - anything to do here?  Or just see how it runs?
  • Electrics
    • New battery bought - couldn't get a direct replacement for my old Redtop 700 which I thought was nice and light and compact.  Bought an Antigravity 12-cell Lithium battery.  4kg saved!
    • Most electrics working fine
      • Hazards not - will be replacing all switches anyway as the old ones are now 25yrs old and faded (if anyone knows of any funky switches that fit rocker switch holes, let me know).  Will also change the flasher relay as needed
      • Stack dash - bottom row of the LCD display isn't working...have a quote from Stack to repair.  Ouch.  If anyone knows non-Stack places to repair these let me know.  Will live with it initially I think (if I'm going to get it repaired I want a custom dial, which Stack won't do)
      • I also have one of the stack buttons not working - can't recall what it does :)
      • Rear fog isn't working
      • The rest works (including the original immobiliser which is pleasing)
  • Gearbox - worth doing anything?  
    • Oil change?
    • Clutch seems to work OK (stationary at least)
    • I've bought a selection of gear knobs as have never been happy with this touch point!
  • Fuel/tank
    • The fuel smells OK, so am going to syphon some out and see what it's like.  According to the dash it has 17l in it so a bit under there an additive that can be used to liven it up?  Or best to take the tank out (car has a full cage so please say not!), drain it and clean it with new fuel?
    • Anything to do with the pump (engages and sounds OK when powered up) or filter?
    • Should I change all the flexible fuel lines?
  • Engine
    • Oil/filter/coolant changes of course
      • Whilst stood it's leaked a bit of oil - not sure how much, possibly 0.5 litres...not sure how though?  Sump gasket shrinkage or something?  Pipe leak?
      • There was also around 5ml of coolant under the external exhaust joint...which is making me suspect a potential head gasket issue?  (Or is that paranoia)
    • Plug change?
    • Leads change?
    • Air filter change?
    • Hoses?  It has silicone hoses on...are these more robust?  Run it and see what bursts/leaks?
    • Cambelt change?  And tensioner? Can this be done without taking the engine out?  (Which I'd rather avoid, but if I have to...
    • Other belt changes?
    • Head gasket change?
    • Engine start process...
      • Manual turnover
      • Then on the starter?
      • And then stand back and see what gives?

Anything missing from the above?

Being somewhat more blessed with ambition than talent at most things, I fully expect needing to post separate topics on each of the above, but wanted to check the accumulated wisdom of all on here before getting anything really wrong :D

Jonathan Kay
Jonathan Kay's picture
Last seen: 1 hour 55 min ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

Private Message sent.

Last seen: 2 hours 9 min ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

Presuming it's fuel injected as I'd add a couple of extra steps for carb's.

I'd syphon the fuel out if it's that old and fill with fresh.  A check of the rest of the fluids, tyre pressures, a couple of big stamps on the brake pedal, check the fuel hoses for cracking, unplug the injectors and spin it on the starter a few times, injectors connected and start it up.  I'd podge the brakes a few times as I pulled away, you'll know if they don't work.

I think you can make this far harder than it needs to be.


anthonym's picture
Last seen: 1 month 5 days ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

After mine was stored for seven years I took everything to bits and refitted, in the process thus inspecting and fixing as necessary. Only took me 80 days full time... ;-)

That rear wheel binding, it's not a balance weight catching is it?

What car is it? If you say, I missed it twice. What mileage? Vehicles don't like doing nothing. Clean the tank and lines (new filter?). Replace brake fluid. Replacing diff, box, sump (new filter) oils sounds wise. New fuel of course. I put old stuff in my tintop to burn it off. 

Have it looked over checked by those who know. Then tell them it's been off the road for years and have another look. That's when they lift it. 

Welcome back Murph.


Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

I'd change the cam belt before doing anything after standing still that long.  Change the oil, drain as much fuel as you can, fill with fresh, having first checked the hoses just in-case.

Then fire it up - not too sure about slowly spinning on a starter - you want oil pressure up fast.  If its carbs, I'd be dropping some fuel into the throats before trying to make it fire.  

Surface rust on discs will clean up with a few careful operations on the MOT brake rollers maybe.  Change the fluid before gettig the brakes too hot.

Hazard switch- cycle it a good few times - wipe the corrosion off the contacts - spray with switch contact cleaner maybe.  The grey discolouration will come off with elbow grease of trim cleaner.

Fog light needs headlamps on don't forget. . .

If it was my 91Pug 106, I'd just make sure the throttle spindle returned to idle (previous experience!) and then just start it and use it - as its done many time after long periods inactive - but then it was 400 quid car 20 odd years ago . . .


Last seen: 4 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

Thanks all (keep the feedback coming :)).

Anthony - no, not a balance weight (none on the wheels yet).  Just the ball of the droplink catching the inside of the rim.

From what I can see the nut side of the droplink is something like a third of the depth of the ball, so hopefully popping them on the reverse side of the ARB will cure it.  Either that or an underslung ARB will be needed, or spacers.

Last seen: 2 hours 52 min ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

I fitted 8 inch SLR wheels to my 1996 car with over slung ARB by a bit of grinding of the de-dion ear. but also swopping the droplink to the inside as you suggest.  I noticed some witness marks on the tyres from rubbing against the residual thread of the bolt holding the ball socket on the inside of the ARB, so ground a bit of the threaded section of the ball and fitted a half height nyloc. I hope it will be ok when I fit new ZZS tyres in the spring which are a touch wider the the 205 section CR500. 

Last seen: 4 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

I'll let you know how it is when I fit mine :) (I have 215 rears).

I'll probably use a washer to ensure the droplink threaded part doesn't protrude from the nut and see what that gives.

aerobod's picture
Last seen: 2 hours 2 min ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

My track slicks are equivalent of 225/45-13 on the standard 8" wide wheels and have no problem with rubbing on a 2012 S3, this picture is 195/50-15 on 6.5" wide wheels. I do have the spacer on the deDion mount and the ARB ends on the inside of the ARB, though:



timb2117's picture
Last seen: 16 hours 48 min ago
Joined: 26/04/2020

Couple of old injun tricks, drain all the fuel you can and also add a litre of methylated spirits, it'll dry out the condensation and raise your octane, harnesses remove and pop in washing machine, if you cant remove buckles put a sock over each and tie off.

fresh coolant then change again at 500 kms after using heater too.

Fresh rubber fuel hoses and carry silicone tape in case any others die on you.

Last seen: 4 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

If I'm looking at that picture properly I think you have the later style ARB where it picks up on a bracket on the deDion ears...on mine it picks up where the rear arm attaches to the deDion.

Will post photos once I set to it with a spanner :)