February and March have woken the "Black Cat" up from it's winter slumbers. The insurance renewal quote came from Adrian Flux, an increase of £75 on last year. As reported on the NSCC boardroom I negotiated a better deal in terms of mileage, breakdown cover, UK and European travel with Footman James. The major gain was FJ have agreed to insure the car for an agreed valuation. I had to get an independent valuation done by a friend of mine who is a Chartered Engineer. This was a simple process of completing a form and submitting 3 photographs of the car to illustrate its condition. FJ accepted the valuation and renewed the insurance for a saving of £25 on last years premium. Almost anyone can provide an independent valuation, an automotive engineer, a vehicle restorer, or club official are all acceptable.
The road tax was due for renewal at the beginning of March. 1 year after SVA meant that the "Black Cat" needed an MOT. I took the car out for a shakedown run before the test, since it had not turned a wheel since November. The car started first time and it was good to be behind the wheel again on a lovely sunny day. The MOT was no problem and the car passed. However during the test examiner drew my attention to the fact that the ECU wiring loom had at some time been rubbing against the prop shaft. In itself not an MOT failure but it did need attention. When I built the car I had routed the loom inside the car next to the transmission tunnel. During trimming the trimmer had decided route the loom inside the transmission tunnel and secured the loom with cable ties passing through holes drilled in the floor boards. Over the course of the year on the road the loom must have moved and front of the loom had come in to contact with the prop shaft. The solution was simple enough drill another hole in the floor boards and secure the loom, pulling it well away from the from the prop shaft.
By coincidence, once the above wiring problem was fixed I discovered speedo had stopped working. The speedometer is mechanical and driven by cable from a take off point at the back of the gearbox. The instrument was refurbished and calibrated by Speedy cables and up to this point had been completely accurate. The instrument worked if the drive cable was unplugged an operated by turning a screwdriver inserted instead of the cable. To test the drive cable I left it unplugged from the instrument and drove the car a short distance. It didn't turn. Reconnecting the drive cable to the instrument and disconnecting it from the gearbox, the instrument read it the gearbox end of the cable was turned. The fault looked to be either the driven gear of the speedo take off point in the gearbox or the right angled adapter between the gearbox and the cable. I ordered the replacement parts from SNG Barratt. They would be easier to fit if the car was on a ramp so I called Nostalgia to blag some time on their lift . The agreed and I took the car and parts down to them. We replaced the parts but it did not fix the problem. We retraced the diagnosis steps and it brought us back to the same conclusion. One advantage we had this time was that we could raise the car with the rear wheels free put the car in gear and observe the speedo drive at the gearbox. It didn't move. Removing the the speedo drive housing we could feel the the driven gear was not engaging with the drive in the gearbox. The failure was internal to the gearbox. For something so simple, we were faced with a major expense in terms of labour, alone, to remove the gearbox repair and refit it. Also parts for Getrag gearboxes are difficult to come by and Getrag gearbox experts capable of doing the repair are not easy to find. We decided on an alternative solution to replace the mechanical speedo with an electronic one. A new instrument and sensor from Speedy Cables was about £180 + vat. So here I am at Nostalgia Cars getting the new Speedo fitted.
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