Toggle Sidebar
Recent updates
  • Post is under moderation
    Graeme Hurst
    Graeme Hurst is now friends with Ruben Mellaerts
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Graeme Hurst
    Graeme Hurst is now friends with John-Joe
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Graeme Hurst
    Graeme Hurst is now following John-Joe
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Graeme Hurst
    Graeme Hurst is now following Ruben Mellaerts
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Graeme Hurst
    Graeme Hurst is now following Ben Barry
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    MERCEDES-BENZ 280TE
    RUN BY Graeme Hurst
    OWNED SINCE November 2011
    PREVIOUS REPORT Jan 2017

    / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic-S123 / #Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic / #1982-Mercedes-Benz-280TE-Automatic-S123

    The TE has put some miles under its belt recently, mainly with trips to the Cape coast or the inland Karoo – it being the only ‘dog’ and ‘tow’ car in the fleet, so perfect for weekend adventures. The trouble is, a faulty odometer means that I have no idea how many miles, so have to judge the service intervals by the colour of the oil.

    My mates in the Mercedes-Benz Club are rather horrified by that arrangement, along with the sort of use we give the car. Which highlights a dilemma: the wagon variant of the #W123 is super-rare on South African shores and they’re increasingly coveted by collectors, but ours is very much a working classic in daily use because I simply don’t have the space to keep it for high days and holidays.

    Mind you, as classic daily drivers go, a 123 wagon is perfect for the job, although the maintenance does start to rack up on a car that’s likely covered 300,000km-plus. It’s all been minor stuff, such as a faulty start-inhibitor switch on the gearbox (meaning that the car would only start in neutral) and a weeping power-steering hose. Both were easily sorted by local specialist Allan Ketterer of JFT Motors, who also suggested having the radiator flushed and ‘rodded’ to ensure that the cooling system is in optimum condition. This was after the temperature needle started creeping towards the red on a trip up the west coast last Christmas.

    To be fair, the journey involved towing a trailer with the car four-up in 35ºC heat, but I was conscious that, as a full import, the TE has a standard European-market radiator and not the larger item our locally assembled sedans enjoy. I thought of installing a local version, but wagons were fitted with an oil cooler, so there isn’t space. Ketterer suggested fitting a relay to hardwire the electric fan on whenever the air-conditioning is running; with that and a clear core, the needle is now stable on hot days. Another problem with daily use is the risk of knocks from other cars. Or in our case rather more than just a knock, after the back of the Merc was clipped by a Range Rover at an intersection. Fortunately the impact was directly on the offside tail-light lens, so the metalwork emerged unscathed, but replacing the lens was a reminder of why these cars are increasingly finding their way into cotton-wool-wrapped collections: second-hand estate items are non-existent, and a new lens (in a dusty Stuttgart box that looked to be new-old-stock) cost a whopping R5480 (£322!) from the main agent. Thankfully the guilty party was properly insured, and even still made her yoga class on time. Namaste!

    A true ‘lifestyle’ estate doing what it does best, as the Merc hauls dogs and kayaks to the Palmiet River in Betty’s Bay. Getting hot under the collar on west coast. Altercation with Range Rover proved costly New power-steering hoses cured weeping. ‏ — at South Africa
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    CAR #Ford-Mustang / #Ford-Mustang-MkI / #Ford
    Run by Graeme Hurst
    Owned since September ’1999
    Total mileage 66,678
    Miles since August 2014
    report 252
    Latest costs £580

    ROUGH RUNNING FINALLY SOLVED

    On paper, my Mustang is the most reliable car in my fleet. Pushrod V8, points ignition, mechanical fuel pump and a live rear axle with non-servo brakes. What’s not to like? It’s Car Design 101 when it comes to classic reliability and DIY ownership. Yet, over the past few months, the ’Stang has frustrated me with a series of mechanical and electrical maladies that had me convinced it was possessed enough for a role in a Stephen King film. It all followed a fresh set of sparkplugs, but that simple task – to cure a cold-start issue – seemed to disturb a hornets’ nest of issues.

    And the plug swap had me baffled on two fronts. First, I noticed that the box of AC Delco items I bought on a parts haul in the US contained only seven plugs. Perplexing, until I recalled that my luggage had contained an inspection note from the TSA (the US’s Transportation Security Administration). I’ve since learnt that sparkplugs are a red flag to their screening software and need to be sampled.

    The omission was sorted with an NGK equivalent but, even with all eight refreshed, I suddenly had an engine running on seven, as if the 289 was under the TSA’s spell. Oddly, there was a spark from each lead, albeit not a very bright one.

    A set of leads and a new coil (the existing one looked to be the original) was my next move to beef up the voltage. Still no joy. Must be a compression issue, then? Nope – when tested, all eight cylinders measured between 130 and 150psi. That was followed by a blast around the neighbourhood in the hope that it would ‘come right’, but my efforts resulted only in a few spectacular backfires.

    Then I discovered that the vacuum advance on the distributor wasn’t working. I couldn’t see how that could result in a misfire but I scrounged one off the old dizzy from the Cobra my brother Kevin built up. The Windsor still ran like a pig, and by then the frequent bouts of cranking were putting a strain on the car’s high-tension circuit because the starter solenoid cooked. That was easy to replace and, with cranking restored, the electrical gremlins moved on to the low-tension circuit – specifically the ignition barrel, which cried foul and came apart under the dash.

    Taking out the instrument panel revealed a shattered housing. Here on the southern tip of Africa, sourcing bits involves a 10-day delivery process plus punitive courier and customs charges. All of which turned a $14.95 barrel into a 1500- Rand (£73) purchase, on a car that cost only 20,000 Rand in ’1999.

    With the new barrel in place, the engine was back on seven cylinders but I was at my wits’ end. Fortunately, there was another diversion because the accelerator pump called time with a fan-shaped spray of unleaded over the engine when I blipped the throttle. Local specialists don’t stock FoMoCo carb bits

    In fact, even the Mustang parts suppliers in the US are light on them, so I opted for a new 600CFM Holley. Luckily, those are a dime a dozen here thanks to the hot rod scene. Swapping it couldn’t have been easier – it’s the most bolt-on bit I’ve ever fitted – and I only had to reposition the fuel feed.

    Of course, it still didn’t solve the misfire but stripping the distributor showed up some play in the shaft – perhaps that was causing an intermittent contact across more than one pickup on the dizzy cap?

    That was just before Christmas and my brother Kevin, who was coming over from Australia, suggested a fix by simply adding a new dizzy to my list for Santa, who was due to shop at a vast #V8 parts specialist in his part of the world. Done, along with a request for a high-power MSD coil. Thanks to a packaging error, though, the dizzy-shaped item that I opened under the tree was not for a Ford small-block!

    By then, I was so desperate to get the right bit that I simply waved the credit card and ordered a stocklooking, Pertronix electronic distributor from Mustangs Unlimited. I then waited for salvation in the form of a courier van.

    And when it came it was salvation indeed. Installing it was an absolute doddle, and bingo – a spark that was probably fat enough to register on the TSA’s surveillance systems across the Atlantic, and a Ford small-block running on all eight. Result!

    Now that its mysterious misfire has been sorted, the Mustang is finally fit enough for Hurst to enjoy on South Africa’s stunning coastline.

    Shiny new coil and starter solenoid fitted. The ignition switch had seen better days. Holley carb proved a welcome distraction. Pertronix distributor was an easy solution.
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Graeme Hurst
    Graeme Hurst joined the group Mustang first generation club
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    CAR: #Austin-Healey / #Austin-Healey-100/6 / #Austin-Healey-100
    Run by Graeme Hurst
    Owned since 1979
    Total mileage (1) 66,561
    Miles since May 2015
    report 286
    Latest costs £410

    BELTING AROUND SOUTH AFRICA

    Residing out in the colonies has its benefits when it comes to enjoying classics (weather and great roads!), but the distance, cost of freight and our punitive import duty can make buying parts a trial. That is why, on my annual trip to the Goodwood Revival, I inevitably arrive in the UK armed with a shopping list.

    Last year it was the Healey’s turn, and first priority was a set of periodstyle seatbelts. Middlesex-based Quickfit SBS installed bespoke inertia-reel units in my XK150 10 years ago and so was the obvious choice, but this time the car was 6000 miles away. Not a problem: the firm has done belts for most classics and has the measurements on file, so sets can be made up and dispatched by post. Only I couldn’t decide on the colour, so stopped by to peruse samples before ordering. It was just as well because there are lots of options, including aircraft-style buckles as well as clip-and- eye anchoring points. The latter allow flexibility in locating the belts – handy for cars that have been modified or those assembled abroad (like ours) and which possibly harbour construction anomalies.

    I didn’t get a chance to fit them until Christmas, by when I had forgotten the verbal instructions from Quickfit’s foreman Pawel Podchorodecki. Luckily, the belts (which came neatly packaged with all the fasteners, spacers and anchor plates) included fitting advice, so it was just down to the choice of drill bit and deciding where to aim it Seatbelts weren’t mandatory when Healeys were rolling out of Abing don, but if specified they wer usually Britax items in light grey, so that’s what I went for. Their shiny appearance does jar somewhat with the patinated interior, though.

    Also looking overly new were the second big ticket items on the list: set of sidescreens from AH Spares. When my late father bought the car, the originals were intact but the Perspex was too opaque for them to be used. Fast-forward 37 years, and they were even worse, hence the purchase. Unfortunately, installation wasn’t as easy as the seatbelts.

    I don’t know if the measurements on CKD cars are different, but the locating hole on the tie-bar was ¼in out when offered up to the door. Some serious heat and a press would have been the only way to adjust the shape, but I had the bright idea to unearth the bars from the old sidescreens. Besides fitting perfectly, they had the bonus of making the new units less shiny!

    THANKS TO AH Spares: 01926 817181; www.ahspares.co.uk / Quickfit Seat Belt Services: 020 8206 0101; www.quickfitsbs.com

    New sidescreens replace cloudy originals. New seatbelts replicate those often fitted by the factory in period, and were straightfoward to install.
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Graeme Hurst
    Graeme Hurst joined the group Austin Heley
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.