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Project Lucas, WOF Time

After the last big update, not much has happened with Lucas, except for me setting a deadline to have the car on the road again.

I decided a couple of weeks ago that it was time for Lucas to go for a WOF check, with the plan being that at least then I would have a list of what I needed to get the car on the road and could chip away at it.

A couple of obvious things I knew about needed to be sorted, one was the passengers door card which had been sitting on the roof of the Marina for a few weeks waiting for me to refit it, and the other was the power steering pump.

The door card was easy, it just clipped back into place and a couple of screws later it was done. The back edge no longer caught the seal since I had used the PVA glue to hold it into place and reshape it. Unfortunately I later found that the window switch on that door wasn’t working, despite me cleaning it… I had forgotten to plug it back in. Damn.

The power steering pump was more of a pain. I wanted to try changing to a spare pump that came with the car because the current pump makes loud groaning noises and surges in assist when at low speeds. I tried sucking the fluid out of the pump and replacing it when I got the car and it made no difference.

The pump lives down here, and although it’s very visible and quite accessible, it sucks to change.

Access is best with the air filter removed, but you’ll still find yourself bent almost upside down trying to lean down into the engine bay to get at it. I can only recommend a proper flare spanner for the pipe fitting, and ratcheting spanners for the mounting bolts, it would be an even worse job without them. When refitting I suggest starting with one of the two adjustment bolts (closer to the engine) than the outer pivot bolt, as they seem easier to line up without the pivot bolt in place.

I drained the pump, unhooked the two lines, removed the three bolts, removed the belt and pulled the pump out. Swapped the replacement in, fitted it all up, filled it with fluid and started the engine to bleed the pump. In the garage, lock to lock, it was stiff but seemed to work.

The pump was nice and quiet, but wouldn’t you know it, once outside and not on the smooth garage floor, it had zero assist when stationary. It was perfect once moving, but without that assist when at idle you had to really tug on the wheel to turn. It wouldn’t pass the WOF like that, as one failure condition is if the Power Assisted Steering system isn’t working correctly.

So that was that, I ripped the pump out and refitted the old one. It’s still knocking at idle when under load, but no longer surges as it did. Let’s just call it a good flush for the PAS system then…

Since I was there anyway, a new correct air filter was fitted to the original canister and refitted

You can see how the correct one above, differs from the incorrect carb filter when fitted

I also swapped the fuel filter out since it was looking a bit old and I had no history on it. I was surprised to find the filter wrapped in sandpaper under the retaining strap. No idea why, it was the correct part number filter, and the replacement fit fine without that extra grip wrapped around it.

Finally, I replaced the viscous clutch for the fan. The one that was on the car was locked when cold, and actually seemed to unlock when warm, so although it wasn’t overheating, I had no faith in it.

The fan looked weird, and I was lucky to have the offset 32mm fan spanner as this cleared the fan which seemed to be sticking further back than I remember from previous ones I have worked with. A couple of quick taps with a hammer (remembering its reverse thread) and the fan unscrewed from the waterpump.

The fan was indeed weird. It’s mounted to the back of the viscous coupling, instead of being inside the hub of the fan

I expected it to look a bit more like this (from Effie)

Neither fan are correct for an EFI car, it should be an 11 blade fan, but it’ll still do the job with the right viscous coupling (which Effie didn’t have, originally).

As it turns out, from my research, the fan I have is for an Air conditioning spec car, whilst the one on Effie was a non-AC carb car. For whatever reason, the AC fan is mounted further back from the radiator, despite the coupling still being close to the radiator.

The new coupling was the same P/N as the one on the car, so was a direct bolt-on. You can tell it’s a correct EFI spec coupling due to the big single female nut for the waterpump on the back, and the bimetallic spiral locking coil on the front.

With that installed, the engine bay was looking mostly the same, but with a couple of nice new shiny bits if you know where to look

Of course, being Lucas, you just can’t make this up. I went to start the car to bleed the power steering pump (the original one after being refitted) and was met with the sweet sound of repeated cranking and no signs of firing. A quick check with a spark tester showed I had no spark.

It turns out, this bastard, the GT40 coil, has failed.

I had previously dug out a spare Lucas coil, just in case, and sure enough it was sitting ready to be fitted.

I popped the replacement coil in and the car fired up on the first turn. I don’t know how or why the coil failed, but I’m glad it did it in the garage and not when it was out and about, especially either driving or when it goes for the WOF test.

There were a couple of other small nice-to-haves that I wanted to get done. First was to finish reassembling the interior, and tidying it up. This included the boot, which for months had been full of bits I had removed from other parts of the car.

I emptied it out and refitted everything, but before I could finish putting the boot back together I wanted to secure the spare properly. A previous owner had done their best, using a manky old ratchet strap.

But from my spares I produced an original strap, so cut the ratchet strap off and fitted this instead

Now I could put the boot boards and carpet back into place. The carpet is very stained, so I might see if the spare I have is any better, but they all seem to end up in this state.

Of course I couldn’t leave the weird mismatch of wipers on the car either, as that really bothered me

A nice new pair of matching 400mm blades were fitted. Unfortunately for some reason the drivers one is shuddering badly on the downwards stroke, but it’s better than nothing.

And there we were, ready for the WOF inspection, well, as ready as I thought it could be.

To celebrate the work I gave the car a much-needed clean, for the first time in my ownership. I will say, it shines up alright.

I forgot how nice the lattice wheels are to look at, but how horrible they are to clean >_< I need some more Mag Monster to try and eat the old baked on brake dust.

Obligatory petrol station shot, gassing up ready for the WOF the next day.

Oh, so what happened with the WOF today? Well, much to everyone’s surprise, Lucas just went and got himself a clean sheet WOF!

Or near enough clean sheet, anyway

I haven’t changed the old service sticker yet, which says it was due for its next service over a year and/or 1000 miles ago, so I don’t blame them for thinking it was overdue a service, and it’s British, of course it has an oil leak.

So there we are, a couple of days over 5 months to the day that Lucas arrived on my drive on the back of a truck, no reg, no wof, clattering like a bastard, with rust in the floor and electrics that didn’t work, we have a Rover SD1 that is running, driving, road legal and everything (almost, damn window switch) works. We’ve come a long way.

I took Lucas for a bit of a drive around town this evening, and the engine and trans are working great. The engine does seem to stutter and break down at really high RPM (near redline), but I think it’s best just to not rev it that high. A new distributor cap and rotor are on the cards anyway which might help.

His first trip on the open road was a surprise too; dead straight and smooth at 100kph, he just glides along.

The engine still taps a bit when cold and the oil pressure is slow to come up, but when warm the oil pressure is good, and the engine makes no noises it shouldn’t. Obviously it’s enjoying having a bit of care and attention spent on it, and I’m sure not sitting around being neglected is doing wonders too.

I still have some more work to do on the car, regarding things like the injection pipes and thermostat, but otherwise, I will just be using the car as much as I can over summer. Once the Marina is on the road, I will likely start looking for a new home for Lucas, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

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1 year ago

Well done!