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 (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.
Solution turned up to be easy, will post shortly.