Wednesday, April 14, 2010

MOT sorted and modern fun

Well the PI passed the MOT and promptly let me down. Not strictly true, it didn't leave me stranded but it has decided that indicators are for other cars but not the PI. I have side repeaters and no indicators - all 4 have stopped.
Investigations all seem to point to the flasher unit. Here's my set-up and history. About 1 year or more ago the original flasher unit was playing up, erratic operation. It would operate OK for 2 or 3 flashes and then become fast/slow erratic. I bought a modern flasher relay and I put that in, problem solved.
I decided to have a play with LEDs and got an LED flasher unit and some festoons for the repeaters as they were quite dull with conventional lamps. I never did get round to putting LEDs in the indicators.
So the car sits with LED repeaters, incandescent indicators and a modern flasher unit good for LEDs and incandescent lamps.

So, back to the problem -
The repeaters work, the dash warning light works and the flasher relay makes the required clicking noises.
All earths seem OK, fuses are OK, same issues with engine running or just ignition on.
If I swap the modern flasher relay for the old (erratic) conventional flasher relay, I get the erratic operation again, this time much more random with the side repeaters not often working and the indicators flashing madly.
If I wire in only two of the flasher relay pins I can get sensible indicators but no repeaters and dash warning (the repeaters and dash are on the same circuit)

So, that's how I left it - bodged up old flasher, 4 indicators working and no dash warning or side repeaters. I've ordered a new modern flasher and will have a rummage for another conventional flasher unit and try a bit of swapping around.

Unless anyone has any bright ideas?

The modern fun was with the wife's Saab convertible and a disappearing clutch. It was so bad that selecting gears was touch and go. I couldn't figure it out and frankly under the bonnet of this 10 year old car scares the crap out of me! It's got a single fluid reservoir for brakes and clutch, annual slave and is generally a very tight for space. I couldn't see anything amiss, no fluid loss and plenty of fluid in the reservoir. I didn't have the time, patience, talent to do much else than go see my local independent Saab specialist - Simon at DCA in Upper Bucklebury.

After discussing possibilities ranging from about 900 quid for fitting a new clutch down to about 400 quid for fitting a new master cylinder I left the car with him and drove off in the loaner (always a free loaner from these guys, no question).

Then came the call -
"You know those phone calls you get when your heart sinks and your feel sick?" says Simon
"Err yes" says I in faltering, wallet tightening voice
"Well this isn't one! It's done, come and get it" he quips, smuggly!
It turns out that after a thorough inspection he could find nothing mechanically wrong with the clutch, the master wasn't leaking, in fact it was all in very good order. So he bled the clutch, tested it and pronounced it fixed. Apparently he'd seen it before and although he couldn't explain it fully I was happy with a fifty quid bill and a caution to "Watch it and let me know if it get's bad again".

I'm not expecting that to be the end of the matter but if it is then great! I was most impressed with DCA again, it's not much of a place to look at but there we have a classic example of a job where they could have riped me off and I'd have been none the wiser. That's why I go back there, even though I should have been able to do the job myself I wouldn't have been confident that it was fixed.

Cars. don't you just love 'em!?

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