Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

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johnnyjoejoejr
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Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Tue Oct 23, 2018 9:37 am

Hi guys,

Firstly, thank you for sharing your collective wealth of knowledge with the world. Not much is free these days, if the information here was monetized somehow it would be worth a lot.

I've been lurking here for a few months with the intention of buying a Brumby as it perfectly fits the criteria of what I want and need:
- Small car, easy to park and manouver in the city
- simple older car, easy to maintain myself, cheap to insure, satisfy my craving of 80's nostalgia
- Manual, deterrent for potential theives, fun to drive

With the going prices of Brumbies at the moment I was tossing up wether to go down that path or spending the money to get my old car roadworthy again (Leyland P76). Then I stumbled upon a gumtree ad and made an emotional, on the spot, impulse purchase, a 1987 L Series Wagon for $500.

The Good:
- Straight, clean, no rust, all original
- 1 owner, old lady (now deceased RIP), mostly driven on highways, was registered at the time of sale
- $500, plenty of change left over in the budget
- Potential club rego
- Similar cargo space to a ute, room for bike, camp gear etc.

While I haven't physically seen the car yet, the Bad:
- 422,000 kms
- EA82 engine with carby
- 2wd only
- Engine revs drop and stall with clutch engaged, fingers crossed just a carby tune to fix

After doing a bit of reading on the reputation of EA82s and complications around EJ conversions, now I'm a bit spooked that I've made a dumb purchase. I want to invest my time and money into a car, but I'm now worried that I've picked the worst possible car as a starting point. My dad was a mechanic, I have some basic mechanical knowledge (oil change, replace radiator etc.) but I don't have off-street parking in the city, and dad's health isn't that great at the moment so I don't have much access to free skilled labour.

Sorry if this is more of a blog entry than a query, but I guess my questions are:
- How much more life can I expect out of an EA82 with 400k+ kms if driven and serviced well?
- Could I downgrade to an reconditioned EA81 without having to modify crossmembers, use adaptor plates etc?
- Have I f*cked up?

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Gannon
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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by Gannon » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:11 pm

How much more life can I expect out of an EA82 with 400k+ kms if driven and serviced well?
While that does seem like a lot of kms, a well serviced motor still should have a reasonable amount of life in it
Could I downgrade to an reconditioned EA81 without having to modify crossmembers, use adaptor plates etc?
Yep, the EA81 will pretty much bolt right in, you will just have to adapt any differences in the wiring to the alternator, carby and distrtibutor
Have I f*cked up?
Not at all.
Carby probably just needs a rebuild and retune, or you could put a weber 32/36 (I think) on it, but it will still need tuning properly to make it run right

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L-Rex
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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by L-Rex » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:19 pm

The Hitachi carbs are well known for being shite.
I do have a good spare that came off a running car, with all the solenoids working.
Come and pick it up, you are welcome to it.

I also have an EA82, with 150K on it, that was running well when I pulled it out.
Once again, come and pick it up, and it's yours.

If you really want to get some awesome happening, I have a 4WD conversion available, but that will cost you :lol:
L-Rex

1992 L-Series Wagon, which used to be EA82 auto.

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El_Freddo
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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:14 pm

$500 and you really can’t go wrong with these unless riddled with rust! The 2wd bit sucks a little, but would be better on fuel overall with less rotational weight to move.

Engine issue could be a number of things.

Check for vacuum leak(s), ensure the throttle cable is reasonably tensioned up but still with some slop for correct idle.

Check for wear in the dizzy shaft.

All the best with and let us know what you find ;)

Cheers

Bennie

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:53 am

Thanks for the feedback, I'm feeling a bit better about taking the plunge.

Aiming to pick it up next weekend and hope it makes the drive from Wodonga to Melbourne. If roadworthy goes well and the stalling issue is a simple fix, I'll get a mechanic to do a compression test and give it a thorough look over. Will come back with an update soon.

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:34 pm

Before you leave Wodonga grab a 10L bottle of water, some heater hose, rad hose and 5mm ID coolant hose. Check the oil, top up as necessary.

Pack flat and Phillips head screw drivers, socket and spanners in 10, 12, 14, 17 and 19mm, and a pair of pliers.

Temp gauge should sit on about half IIRC.

It could be a good idea to carry a 10L can of fuel too.

Enjoy the drive, I hope it goes well for you. Not having cruise control on the Hume is going to suck though :/

Cheers

Bennie

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:11 pm

Quick update: I've finally sat in the Subaru I bought on Gumtree and survived the drive between Wodonga and Melbourne. Got a bit of work to do to get it roadworthy and reliable, but it doesn't seem like it will be too difficult, yet...

The Good:
- No Rust, panels are mostly straight and paint is in pretty good nick for its age
- Engine doesn't blow smoke or leak oil, Oil looks due for a change but not black or milky (if the service sticker is true it was last changed in 2010!)
- Lights, heater, air con and instrument cluster all work.
- Expected decent fuel economy on the freeway but still surprised (1/3 tank/300km, approx 6.7L/100km)

The Bad:
- Carby needs some work, tried a squirt of carby cleaner but still won't idle
- Rear wheel bearings feel a bit sloppy
- Bit of travel in brake pedal, not very responsive
- Radiator needs a flush and coolant
- Finding second gear is sometimes a struggle
- Seems to handle poorly on the freeway, bounces around a lot and wants to point off the road after hitting a bump or a cross wind. Tyres can probably use a bit more air but could also need new shocks, bushes or wheel bearings.
- Factory radio doesn't work well
- suspect I've got a leaking exhaust

Its booked in for a service and RWC on Monday, will update with progress

Image

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by Subyroo » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:54 am

- Expected decent fuel economy on the freeway but still surprised (1/3 tank/300km, approx 6.7L/100km)
That equates 900km's out of a full tank, for a 31 yr old car that needs some TLC I'd be over the moon myself.
That also equates to 42.1613 Imp MPG. :shock: :shock:

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:45 pm

Will have a more accurate idea of mileage once I fill up again, I suspect the fuel gauge is a bit of a guessing game

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:28 pm

The L series fuel gauge is certainly not accurate by any means!! It’s just an indicator and not much more than that. Having said that, my gauge when on half seems to be about right.

With the handling you’ll find your rear shocks are dead. If it does a “crabbing” type sensation when you hit a bump around a corner that’s a dead give away that the rear shocks are completely cactus!

Rust: check around the windscreen carefully, these are notorious for windscreen rust. Expect to find some if you have to have the windscreen replaced. Treat it before the new screen goes in otherwise you’re setting your L up for certain death by excessive nasty rust!

Rear wheel bearings will usually whine before they get sloppy - they’re not a normal bearing replacement job either. The “special” retainer nut is the biggest PITA on this job!

Brakes - rear shoes will probably not be automatically adjusting any more or are very well worn down. Old flexible hoses are also an issue. Get some new braided lines, RWC spec units are available or a any decent brake shop can make up and fit the set. That’ll give you some good brake pedal feel once again. L brakes aren’t the greatest to begin with - keep that in mind ;)

The EA82 is guaranteed to have oil leaks. This will probably be your main issue for RWC I reckon. Give the under side of the engine a good degrease, scrub, degrees then high pressure wash while avoiding the sealing areas with close high pressure nozzle contact - you don’t want to further damage any seals before the RWC!

I’ll leave it there and see what comes back on the report... best of luck with it!

Cheers

Bennie

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:43 pm

Checked in onto the progress on the RWC this arvo, few surprises jumped out at me but should be easy enough to resolve. Didn't get a written report but off the top of my head:

- Adjust rear wheel bearings
- Rear shock absorbers are cactus
- Exhaust leak near the engine
- Rusted out muffler
- Brake and clutch pedal rubber (seemed ok to me)
- Hand Brake adjustment
- Oil leak (somewhere behind timing case)
- Frayed seatbelt (very minor, seems a bit nitpicky)
- Lenses (replacements coming in the post)
- Power steering leak
- Tailgate struts regas
- 1 x tyre (hoping I can swap with spare)

Still won't idle, mechanics diagnosis is the carby has an air leak and needs a rebuild. I told him I was slightly relieved as it was an excuse to put a weber on it. He recons the weber would not pass roadworthy because of the emissions gear, will just have to wait until after its registered, hehe...

Overall the mechanic thinks its in pretty good shape for its age, it doesn't blow smoke and there's no knocks or rattles. He forgot to do the pressure test but will do that later this week. Got my fingers crossed I can get the work done and RWC for $1000, will find out in the next couple of days :/

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El_Freddo
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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:19 am

Just a short list! And very short in the oil leaks department!

Oil leak behind the cam cover could be cam seals, crank seal or oil pump seals (always do the shaft seal too).

Air leak in the carb could be from wear in the throttle shaft. If there’s lateral movement in the shaft it’s worn and will always suck air. New carb or it could be torn down and a machine shop fits some bushes at the wear points (if that’s even possible).

Only adjustment in the rear bearings is via the castlated nut. If this can’t be tightened any further then it’s bearing replacement time, which could still be needed anyway after tightening.

If the seatbelt fray is just a few hairs, use a cigarette lighter to gently melt them off. If it’s a major fray then you’ll need a new seatbelt ;)

Cheers

Bennie

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:41 pm

Got the results of the compression test, and I might be in strife. The two back cylinders are fine, they have 140psi. The cylinders at the front have 90 and 20psi. Getting the valve clearances checked but got fingers crossed its nothing too serious :|

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:35 pm

Hmmm... 80psi isn’t “too good” and 20psi isn’t very flash either...

You sure the test was done properly?

I doubt you’ll find any adjustment in the valves due to hydraulic lash adjusters.

Best thing it could be is weak valve springs or a burnt out valve. I’d be hoping for weak valve springs! But it’d probably still need a valve lapping to remove any crud that’s built up in the non sealing areas of the valve seat.

Side note, I’ve not known the compression to be a RWC issue if it’s running fine... edit: re-read the idling issue. That’s definitely a RWC issue :(

Cheers

Bennie

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:46 pm

I'm a little sceptical if his results to be honest, I would have thought the cylinder would not fire at all at 20psi and would have an occasional miss at 90. I'm hardly a mechanic but when I had a v8 I could pick a missing cylinder so spotting a miss on a 4 cylinder engine should be easy. I couldn't get it to ping or bog down under load, the only thing I can think of that would be of concern is down shifting into intersections didn't seem to slow it down very much.

Was hoping to put if off for a few years but I might have to start hunting around for an EJ sooner than I thought ...

**UDATE** Going to catch up with the Mechanic tonight but he has given the engine the last rites :cry:. Boy do I feel stupid right now.

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El_Freddo
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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:07 am

Do you know how to do your own compression test?

Or take it to a second mechanic to see what they say. I’ve seen an EA82 run on two cylinders when I did my cam belt incorrectly - it was a bitch to start and was gutless at best. To get moving low range was needed.

Also you’d notice the miss at idle for sure.

The EA82 doesn’t have a great deal of engine braking capacity from memory.

Find a decent engine and drop it in. Easiest solution if the engine is actually dead.

Cheers

Bennie

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:14 am

I've got the mechanic to source another motor, he's found one locally that he's going to inspect on Monday. It's still in a car and is running, apparently it's got good compression on all cylinders but he wants to test it as well. At least with an engine swap we get to to pick and choose the better components from both and keep the others as spares. I'd like to do a proper engine reco, wether it be an EA or an EJ but I just want to get it registered and on the road at this point. My little $500 wagon has quickly become a $2000 wagon and still not registered :oops:

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:59 pm

johnnyjoejoejr wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:14 am
My little $500 wagon has quickly become a $2000 wagon and still not registered :oops:
Mine was kind of the same. $500, trailered it from Yankandandah, got it home and found milky oil. Started head gasket replacement and found a cracked cylinder bore. Threw that engine out and started an MPFI conversion with an engine rebuild on the side. Add 18 months and it was finally registered (also treated rust under the windscreen before rego).

Now my $500 wagon is a bit of a monster that’s cost me a lot more over the last 10 years but I love it :D

Cheers

Bennie

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:24 pm

We rarely take these on because they're economically viable, do we?! I've had an itch that couldn't be scratched since I parked my P76, driving late model cars is comfortable and convenient, but it's also really boring and there's nothing to learn or be challenged by.

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by Silverbullet » Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:55 am

johnnyjoejoejr wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:24 pm
We rarely take these on because they're economically viable, do we?! I've had an itch that couldn't be scratched since I parked my P76, driving late model cars is comfortable and convenient, but it's also really boring and there's nothing to learn or be challenged by.
Right on! :mrgreen:

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by steptoe » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:28 pm

Only 2WD ? Does this mean it has a FWD box in it? Rear drive gear deleted such as axles, rear diff, diff hanger etc gone?
So assuming FWD box it is an EA82 L Series 5 speed. Sounds like you don't care too much about paying someone else to maintain - these babies are pretty good for learning car maintenance and repair. Subaru dealers used too replace the Hitachi with a Weber when necessary due to cost so you would think it is an endorsed repair by Subaru so not a problem for rego inspectors. Never run an EJ in a Brumby before - but I have one and its gearbox sitting in one at the moment :) . I run EA82 in my daily Brumby in various forms and mighty happy with them, but never a single port carb EA82 - I prefer the twin port mpfi (with or without turbo - don't mind :) ) You didn't lose - think of it as buying a tailgate for $500 and getting the rest for free ! I don't kapisch the 20 and 80 psi readings at all - but they are only idle speed indications. As far as the tank fuel gauge - it is a rough guide to half, then rough again to empty. The 400,000 km is on the speedo? not the engine. Ute may have done 300 to 400,000 on the EA81 then had the donor shoved in. To go to EA81 would be an insult to your ears - unless you like chaff cutters

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:46 pm

Hey steptoe, thanks for the info. I think you've misread my original post, I didn't end up getting a brumby, I was looking at a few but I impluse purchased an L series wagon. I'd like to do work on it myself but don't have the space or tools to do major work and I haven't got it registered yet. I'm basically at the mercy of the mechanic until its got plates on it so I can park it on the street without getting a canary.

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:42 pm

@steptoe - the series one and some early import (I think) series two wagons were front wheel drive from factory.

I saw a few in the parts yards back when you could find a number of L’s in there.

And an EA81 would be an upgrade in the L series over the EA82... bullet proof without the rubber bands to run the cams ;)

Cheers

Bennie

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by L-Rex » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:53 am

El_Freddo wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:42 pm
And an EA81 would be an upgrade in the L series over the EA82... bullet proof without the rubber bands to run the cams ;)
An even better upgrade would be the Diesel. No rubber bands, awesome ECU remap potential, and mind-numbing torque off idle.

When they come down in price, I might look at sandwiching one into an unsuspecting wagon... :lol:
L-Rex

1992 L-Series Wagon, which used to be EA82 auto.

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by Subyroo » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:58 am

L-Rex wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:53 am
El_Freddo wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:42 pm
And an EA81 would be an upgrade in the L series over the EA82... bullet proof without the rubber bands to run the cams ;)
An even better upgrade would be the Diesel. No rubber bands, awesome ECU remap potential, and mind-numbing torque off idle.
You just need to get by the DPF issue. :evil: :evil:

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by L-Rex » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:58 am

Subyroo wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:58 am
You just need to get by the DPF issue. :evil: :evil:
It's city driving, and zero freeway driving, that kills the DPF

Nothing that a remap and a delete pipe won't sort out. :lol:

Or you can buy a reasonably inexpensive scan tool and do a force burn every now and again.
L-Rex

1992 L-Series Wagon, which used to be EA82 auto.

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:23 pm

L-Rex wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:53 am
El_Freddo wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:42 pm
And an EA81 would be an upgrade in the L series over the EA82... bullet proof without the rubber bands to run the cams ;)
An even better upgrade would be the Diesel. No rubber bands, awesome ECU remap potential, and mind-numbing torque off idle.

When they come down in price, I might look at sandwiching one into an unsuspecting wagon... :lol:
Yeah that would be awesome - you’ll definitely want AWD with that monster out front!

Cheers

Bennie

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:12 am

Update on the moneypit: got a second-hand motor from the wreckers to go in. The motor was in a running car, has good compression on all cylinders. Has been rebuilt at some point, it has the heat tags on the back of the block that fall off when the motor is cooked, and the block is very clean. Replacing all the seals, timing belt and thrust bearing while the motor is out, clutch plate from my original motor is the better of the two so we'll swap that over as well.

Only other change is going to be moving to a manual choke, the new motor has the better looking carb, the electric choke sounds like it has a few problems. Had a good look underneath while it was on the hoist, the advantage of being the 2WD model is it hasn't been bashed around so the undercarriage is pretty neat. CV joints, boots and bushes all look good, exhaust is good except for the muffler. Just trying to decide wether I get a cheap replacement of the muffler, or bite the bullet and put a new 2 1/4 inch system in. I don't want to spend more money than I have already, but I've already come this far...

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by L-Rex » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:30 pm

Glad you are getting some success!

2.25" exhaust is way too big, you will lose all your low end torque. 2" is just fine, even with a Weber, cams and ported heads.
L-Rex

1992 L-Series Wagon, which used to be EA82 auto.

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:15 am

Been a while and not much has happened, checked in with my mechanic to see how things were going. Replacement engine, reconditioned steering rack, rear shockers and muffler are all in, basically all thats left is to reconfigure all the vacuum hoses and paperwork for roadworthy. He's on crutches after knee surgery which would help to explain the delay, but I'd also told him I wasn't in a rush which was a mistake on my part. My girlfriend and I have split in that time so getting it on the road has now become more of a priority, since we're currently sharing a car.

With any luck it will have licence plates bolted on in the next couple of weeks, fingers crossed I'll have more updates soon.

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:55 pm

johnnyjoejoejr wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:15 am
... I'd also told him I wasn't in a rush which was a mistake on my part. My girlfriend and I have split in that time so getting it on the road has now become more of a priority, since we're currently sharing a car.

With any luck it will have licence plates bolted on in the next couple of weeks, fingers crossed I'll have more updates soon.
I hope it's on the road sooner rather than later! That doesn't sound like much of a fun :shock:

All the best!

Cheers

Bennie

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:02 am

The day that I thought would never arrived has finally arrived. Roadworthy, registered, and back from the dead. Everyone, meet Beatrice...

Image

The mechanic has done a pretty great job from what I can tell so far, he charged me a lot but was very thorough, fixed a lot of little niggles, threw in some freebies and kept everything neat and original. He even washed the engine bay and gave it the whole car a wash and vacuum.

The starter motor will replacing in the near future, it struggles to turn over at times, particulary when hot starting. Mechanic was aware of this, most likely a short in the starter somewhere drawing too many volts? The original AM/FM Radio barely works, tailgate doesn't always close properly, a few rattles here and there and a bit of cosmetic stuff, but it's all these little jobs that made me want the car in the first place.

Will clock up a heap of kms in the next few weeks, I'm aiming to drive her along the NSW south coast next month if everything seems cherry ripe.

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by El_Freddo » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:44 pm

Awesome! (Pics aren’t woeking on my phone - could be my phone having the issue though)

With the starter motor make sure the batter leads are in good condition. If they’re the skinny ones upgrade them to a larger gauge wire. Ensure there’s a direct negative cable from battery to engine block.

Do your tailgate struts still hold the tailgate up properly? I’ve got a set of regassed or replacement units on mine and they’re ace. I keep forgetting about the old falling tailgate saga when they’re basically dead!

Enjoy the ride!

Cheers

Bennie
"The lounge room is not a workshop..."
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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by EA82GT » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:11 am

Pics not come through on my lapstop hot spotted to my phone either.

Go the EA82!


formerly known as jono, then steptoe .....

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Re: Buyers remorse, need inspiration!

Post by johnnyjoejoejr » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:18 am

With the starter motor make sure the batter leads are in good condition. If they’re the skinny ones upgrade them to a larger gauge wire. Ensure there’s a direct negative cable from battery to engine block
Cabling and contacts all look pretty good, checked the part number on the starter and discovered it was from an auto, not a manual. You'd probably know, but the manual unit has a longer drive. Seems to have fixed the issue.
Do your tailgate struts still hold the tailgate up properly?
Regassed the struts to pass roadworthy, no issue there. The tailgate doesn't latch shut completely unless you really slam it, would probably explain the wheelbarrow load of dust I've vacuumed out of the back. There is a big split in the steel where the boot latch bolts in, which I would assume would allow the latch to flex and move when closing. Will weld it up and see if I can reinforce it with a bit of extra steel next time I'm on the farm.

Will try uploading photos using a different method, fingers crossed this works

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