From 2015 all posts are in English too. Feel free to comment, all posts are open for that – Appreciate any feedback or questions. This blog is about a fine -64 P1800 with four owners including me since a couple of years and I hope someone find it worthwhile reading. Thanks for visiting!
Tack för att du hittat hit. Det går utmärkt att kommentera, ställa frågor eller ge kloka råd. Under varje inlägg finns en länk ”leave a comment”, all feedback är bra feedback och gör i bästa fall denna hobbyblogg läsvärd. Det har blivit mycket mer trafik än jag trodde så du är nu en av ca 300 besökare denna månad, så verkligen – Välkommen!
This Sunday me and a friend drove down to Skeppsholmen, a tiny island in central Stockholm. Plenty of tourists all around in best summer weather with 25 celsius. Two nice young beautiful women approached and asked if they could take some pictures of the car. Of course they could and today she came back with some images.
Last summer I had the infamous clock mechanism replaced by quartz. When installed I fed it by separate cables from the car battery, something I needed as I have a main breaking switch when I leave the car. The upside with a separate feed is that you dont have to set the clock every time you drive. The potential downside is the introduction of new sources of short circuitry or voltage leaks and things like that. And having had various battery problems since then – albeit now solved – I decided to replace that separate feed with a simple replaceable battery. Found a battery holder on ebay for a few Euros including a 12V A23 battery.
Note that the quartz clock is (…or should be if you decide to convert) electrically isolated from the clock housing. The housing ground need to be intact, otherwise the clock light wouldnt work. Removed the old cables, fitted the holder with cable shoes and some isolation tape to protect it – and then fitted the packet on a ventilation hose with cable ties below the instrument panel. 30 minutes work – sits well and works fine. Have no idea how long the battery will last, but given that a quartz clock use very tiny amount current it will probably last for years.
Had my car fitted with expensive whitewalls rather than the fake sides that I’ve had for a couple of years that quickly turned ugly. On my car the fake walls grinded themselves against the tire producing unwanted noise – and started to turn brown/orange on the edges after just a few month. What I got now is BRGoodrich 165×15 (80).
It was also time for toe-in adjustment and overall checking of the steering. My steering wheel was slightly off-center and that can be fixed at the same time – if not too far off. Happy with the result. An added bonus is that I finally have a a functional spare after many years crossing my fingers not to have a flat tire. At the shop:
So after 9 days it was time for the workshop to take a look. When I came to the car that morning it started fine – and engine running normal. What? So 2 weeks earlier I had a dead battery and last week the engine felt like running on 3 cylinders. And now it just decided to repair itself. Anyhow I drove to the workshop. Bertil was very busy and had hardly time to listen to my story that morning. I told my story and asked him to check any plausible clause for the strange problems I’ve had – and asked him to change the battery cables on both poles. Just in case.
I collected the car the day after. Battery cables were just fine. What Bertil found was that the main ground cable (earth-lead, ”stomkabel”) between engine and body was loose. He made a new and re-fitted it. I’ve heard about that cable before but never checked it. It is crucial for the engine as it can provide ground for things like generator, starter-engine and essentially (in my last case) for the sparks generated at the plugs. With a faulty cable any of the three can potentially go wrong – fully or partly. Here’s an image from the workshop manual. It should be found far down below the battery above the exhaust – connecting the bell-housing (”sprängkåpa”) to the chassi.
Now, that cable have probably been loose:ish for some time. So what has it to do with an empty battery and an engine that lost 40-50% of its power? Here’s my explanation:
Empty battery: though I’ve been measuring 14V+ over the battery with engine running, the generator failed to deliver enough current for the charging. The volt-meter doesnt require any current (really) so the lack of Amperes passes unnoticed. Another possibility is that sometimes – but not always – it has not been 14V+ when engine running – and I have failed to notice the charging lamp. Either way, the car has been running on battery charge eventually emptying it during this spring.
Powerless engine: without proper grounding for the engine the sparks wont ignite the fuel/air mixture as it should. Also accounting to a certain smell of fuel which I hadent noticed before. The loose cable was affecting the grounding un-regularly so (just a guess) every 3rd or 4th spark went bad whereas the other were ok.
A nice side effect is that my usually quite un-stable idle (around 800-850 rpm) has now become rock steady. Most likely caused by the varying ground condition caused by the cable.
This explanation may sound like bleeding obvious to some, but it wasnt to me. Here’s a shot of the culprit and the solution, much in the same position as above. The metallic tube below is my single exhaust pipe. The spiraled tube is the oil temp sender and the transparant tube in the foreground is drainage to an air inlet. Bottom of Engine to the right in faint red – and cable bolted to the bell-housing.
So I’ve been to Prins Bertil Memorial a couple of years now and EVERY time my car has gotten a new problem. This was the third time and there’s a saying in Sweden ”If you fail twice, third attempt will work” (in Swedish, ”Tredje gången gillt”). But it wasn’t to happen. All packed, coffee in thermos, sandwiches and everything ready to go. But when we got to the car nothing happened when trying to start the engine. Apparently dead battery or faulty starter engine. Just a couple of days ago the car ran like a clock – and all of the spring and has done so since last summer. But now it was the day of Prins Bertil Memorial and the ghost arrived exact day again.
We roll started easily and off we went. At the scene along with a couple of hundred other cars we met with a few other P1800’s. Among them this beautiful E. My car is visible behind with open bonnet trying to figure out what was wrong. Behind my car is a third red P1800 and this guy had a Voltmeter with him. Perfect.
Battery read 12.1V whereas a fully loaded one should usually read 12.6-12.7V. Now, this was strange as the battery was new (last summer) and generator got new coals after last Prince Bertil (a year ago) and with engine on the loading charge measured 14V+. Which should mean battery is loading. But still the reading said battery was close to empty – not able to power the starter engine. A lot of helpful people came around and the possible clause was – we concluded – a bad battery.
So after the weekend I had the battery checked. They charged it over night and performed some tests. They said it was ok. And when re-installed in the car everything worked just fine again. And with engine on I again read some 14V+ over the battery so apparently no problem with generator (or voltage regulator). Sigh.
Motorhistoriska Dagen, Stockholm, Edsberg Castle
End-of-story? Sadly no. Next weekend it was another big gathering coming up, Motorhistoriska Dagen – ”Motor History Day”. This particular morning it started fine, but when pressing the pedal it lacked power. Felt like running on 2-3, rather than 4 cylinders. Some fuel fumes now and then too. At first the new problem appeared all different form the previous but eventually – 1.5 week later – the source was found.
Anyway, we went to the place and here we are at Edsberg Castle north of Stockholm, running – but badly. 2nd image shows Max, one of the helpful guys (driving a PV 544, previous depicted in this blog) and last a nice Ford (who’s owner, BTW, is the out-of-focus woman in the shot of Max). Love the look of that Ford.
Again a lot of helpful people gathered and all kinds of things came up as what could be wrong. Main contenders were something with the ignition – or – with the carbs. So for ignition I checked the cables, the plugs, the breaker points and all seemed fine. Perhaps something with the carbs? Lifted the lids to the floater chambers and no dirt there – and valves ok. Fuel flowed too so no apparent problems with the pump. Later, with the help of a video I found: ”Dylan’s 544 #3: Setting those SU Carbs!” I checked all what he talks about. I can’t recommend videos like that enough, there’s a link under ”links” (or just google the title). Love guys like this Dylan sharing his experience like that – lowering the threshold for guys like me to do the same thing. So I lifted the vacuum clocks, checked the needles and inlet valves and so forth but nothing looked bad there either.
In summary nothing appeared to be bad with the ignition with all voltages looking ok and nothing bad with the carbs. Hence still a mystery. So I threw in the towel and got a workshop appointment with Bertils garage. His workshop is cramped this time a year so I had to wait for 9 days, but was pretty confident he would found something.