MOT & Odds & Ends

(For non-UK readers the MOT is the annual safety test required for all UK cars over 3 years old)


There were a few failure points at the MOT a couple of weeks ago that Iíve now rectified and the tatty but super Subaru is now back on the road.


As you know, Iím working from a low ceilinged standard single domestic garage (Iím clawing my way back from bankruptcy due to illness about 5 years ago Ė hence the low budget modus operandi) and so itís easy to miss things underneath the car when thereís no room to get it high off the ground. After all the welding, the almost total remaking of both rear wheel arches and the numerous other jobs outlined in the Nagara Car Pages, it did not occur to me that I might have missed more rust. But I had. The MOT man with his trusty pointed hammer gave it all a good bashing (annoyingly chipping some brand new red paint on the rear of the sills) and, under some old under-seal, found some more rust patches near each rear suspension sub-frame mounting and a leaky rear exhaust silencer.


Well, after getting the car home, I rooted around the problem areas and found they were really not at all worrisome.But because one patch of rust was close to the fuel pump I decided to remove the rusty fuel pump carrier/assembly and sort out a dodgy-looking petrol hose Ė it wasnít leaking but I was terrified ofaccidentally putting a red-hot welding wire through it or setting something alight with the angle grinder and blowing myself up.Having clamped off the better of the rubber fuel hoses (the dodgy one split as soon as I tried to clamp it and spilled loads of petrol into the drip tray via my shirt sleeve and elbow) I removed the offending mounting bracketry. It was covered in rust and mud. After removing all the loose delaminating flaky bits, this is what it looked like:



(Above) As I was not sure of the fuel pump would still work once all the rust was removed I ordered a new one from an e-bay seller but, as it happens, the old pump worked so I refitted it Ė though, on the way back from the MOT station (The Subaru agents in Woodford) the car coughed to a halt on the Stratford flyover and then didnít re-start for a few minutes so I think Iíll fit the new pump and filter.



(Above) The mounting plate was very thin and rust holed in many places so I welded a reinforcing piece underneath. After wire-brushing, some rust inhibitor, some paint and new mounts (stainless steel fixings and rubber grommets) the car ran again as it should.


(Above) the old pump mounting studs sheared off when being undone and the mounting bushes were crumbly so I removed them and replaced them with some stainless steel bolts, some Ďpenny washersí and some rubber tap washers.



(Above) with grommets fitted to both brackets and to the suspension cover plate, the pump is effectively rubber mounted.A new fuel pump has now replaced the one above.


Before re-fitting it, there was the welding to do. I made up some small repair pieces for the rusty patches.



(Above) this one for the thin sheet covering the right hand rear sub frame mounting..



(Above) tacked and then seam welded and painted with black Hammerite (red paint is from overspray, I was tarting up the sill that had its paint chipped). The same area on the left hand side was somewhat more corroded:



(Above) this area is one where several factory panels meet and there are some edges of former repairs tooÖso a rather odd shaped piece had to be made to fit over them all.As Iíve said before in these pages, I donít normally use cover plates because I like to remove all rusty or damaged metal and replace it with new. But sometimes the extra work becomes way toocomplicated so, on this occasion, I decided to break my own rules.††




(Above) I made sure the seam welding was substantial and added two thick coats of paint. Hopefully, not enough moisture will get in there to do much damage for a few years. As the mounting cover plate was also painted and the bolts were torqued up, the bolt holes should not be exposed to the elements at all.


(Below) I also had to make a repair piece for the rusted out floor drain..




(Above) in these situations, the MIG really is far superior to the oxy-acetylene Ė the carpet and underlay would have had to have been removed and the rubberised floor paint would have caught fire with the oxy. But with the MIG the heat is much more instant, intense and localised. Nevertheless, I always have a garden spray bottle full of water to hand to damp down combustible material and keep a full buck of water within easy reach.That reminds me, I need to get myself a new fire extinguisher too.



(Above) Ė Here the fuel pump assembly is re-fitted after another little triangular patch has been welded in and a coat of black Hammerite added.


Following an item over at USMB, I was reminded that there was another little job I needed to do. I had not been able to buy 6mm water hose from my local motor shop nor my local Subaru agent and Halfords did not stock it either. So I ordered some from an internet supplier. Meanwhile, Iíve been using 6mm petrol pipe for those little water-pipe jobs. But I know from past experience that petrol pipe is only rated up to 65˚C and the heat from the pressurised water system takes it over 100˚C. The result is that, when hot, the petrol pipe goes soft and can balloon out and split under pressure after only a few hundred miles of driving. When cool, the plastic becomes less soft and after a few heating and cooling cycles it goes rigid. So it can split when hot and split when cold after heating.


I had also been noticing a tiny, tiny weep of water from the newly-painted metal transfer pipe from the water pump to the heater hose; I really did not want to remove it because it can not be removed without first removing the inlet manifold which Ė somewhat annoyingly Ė also has a water jacket Ė in other words, I would have to disturb brand new gaskets and pristine mating surfaces. On the other hand, I hate running a car knowing there are problems and this car has had so much done to it that it seems a shame not to do it right.



(Above) the pipe in the vice is the weeping transfer pipe. Iíve wire-brushed the new paint and found several pin-holes (very, very small) that have rusted through from the inside. A few months ago, I had sanded this pipe prior to painting it and either I didnít notice the holes or they have broken through in the intervening weeks.There was also a pin-hole leak in the side of the small bore transfer tube.


Anyway, I decided not to attempt to weld up the holes because the pipe is pretty thin and weedy at the best of times. So instead I made a replacement from some standard 15mm copper water pipe and some pre-soldered fittings. I have not bothered to make a mounting bracket for it because it really canít go anywhere when itís in position.


Also, following a discussion on USMB, I did not bother to make a small bore junction because the consensus seems to be that the pipe going to the inlet manifold does very little Ė indeed, the Subaru agentís computer system doesnít even have a name or part number for it. So, either Subaru are so clever they have designed something we just donít understand or itís a left-over from something not fitted to my EA82 engine. Either way, the car will run without it unless it causes problems (unlikely).



(Above) here you can see the copper pipe fitted.




(Above) The other end of the small bore pipe, where it joins the manifold, has been closed off with a short length of tube and a bolt. Perhaps, in time, I might get around to removing the little metal tube altogether.



(Above) I also fitted a new silicone water pipe to the second small bore transfer that goes from the top of the block to the thermostat housing. At first, I thought I remembered this pipe being connected to the manifold but, in fact it seems to be a relief pipe on top of the block to prevent air-blocks in the system where the water jacket rises. By the way, having been rubbishing small diameter worm-drive clips for years, Iíve had to revert to them because my order of small wire (bale type) clips has not yet arrived.



(Above) Finally, I welded up the holes in the rear exhaust silencer, cleaned it up and gave it a coat of paint prior to bolting it back on. The second trip to the MOT went well and the car is officially legal again. I now have a vehicle that will, with luck, be good for another 20 years of use and another 160,000 miles - if thereís still affordable petrol in 2033 (assuming Iím not pushing up daisies by then!).


Itís great to be driving the Subaru again. The little Honda CRX Iíve been using while the Subaru was in pieces has been a really fun piece of transportation but it isnít practical for my needs. Anyway, the CRX will eventually lose me my license due to its ability to feel rock steady, and thus not really fast, at illegal speeds. The 0 to 60 in about 7 seconds is also a bit addictive. By comparison, the Subaru is fun to drive more sedately. Iíll miss the sound system in the Honda; the Subaru still has its original 1991 radio Ė not even FM, just AM and Longwave! I might treat myself to a new radio and a rev counter (tacho) Ė a reward when I sell the Honda.


The next job on my list is to get the Honda sorted. Not many jobs to do on it (famous last words!) so I hope to have it on the market soon-ish.


Best wishes all!