After the decision was made to tackle LEJoG in his partner Karin and his ADO16, Alexander finds some unexpected prep-work was needed.
Words and photography: Alexander Boucke
Where to start? Faced with a wide choice of small to medium jobs that could or should be done on the Princess before we actually start the journey. The starting point was a fuel leak on a flexible hose near the tank – discovered by me when I wanted to move the car from an underground parking in October last year. Since I did not really fancy crawling under the car in this place the job was postponed once and again – until two weeks ago when I got myself up to at least do a temporary repair.
With the car now home I went through some improvements in a more or less sensible sequence – like starting to fix the sunroof, where two of the old seams had split and again postponing that certain job involving to lie under the car in a cloud of petrol fumes… Sunday evening came and I had done all those things I considered essential for the trip. I was happy…
At least until Monday morning, when a friendly fellow motorist pointed out to me, that the car was out of test since last December!
Bummer – I thought I still had time until next December. So a spontaneous visit to the testing station followed. It passed – first time with a single advisory – but it was a chore. The tester insisted that the dampers were malfunctioning and even put the car on the shock absorber testing facility.
Unsurprisingly (to me), it did show the high amplitudes coming with low damping, but equal on all four corners! It took me most of the time I spent there to explain the way Hydrolastic works and why it works as it should on this car. My mother’s Rover 114 GT was once declared failed on the claim ‘hydraulic suspension without function’ when in fact everything was perfect!
With this in mind I was:
- a) sure that this would not happen this time and;
- b) probably too close to blow a fuse myself.
But to be fair to the engineer: He took my explanations – and Hydrolastic is not the most trivial thing to understand. And the advisory? There is some oil-mist on the gearbox casing, this was close to fail the car, as any oil forming drips is an immediate fail since the last change in testing regulations this year… Phew!
Aftermath: Since writing down these lines I intended to go on a good test drive – 90 miles during the worst rush hour traffic to Cologne. But when I went to the car, I was greeted by a leaning stance… As it turned out the valve had ripped from the tube in the front left wheel.
Now we’re awaiting the delivery of a new tube duly to be fitted tomorrow.
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