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TVR Tasmin, Plugs, Wheel and Wiper

More progress was made on the old TVR today. Just small, but important things, again.

I  had a weird thought last night as I was falling asleep. What if the alignment is OK, but the wheel isn’t on straight?!

I previously mentioned that the steering wheel is way on the piss, and I thought it was the alignment, but hey, with everything else wrong with this car, could it just be the steering wheel wasn’t positioned correctly at some point after being removed?

This is a reasonably easy thing to check. First I marked the center top point of the steering wheel, with the wheels straight.

Yeah, that doesn’t look right! Next, I turned from center to either lock and counted the turns. Both sides had the same amount of turns to each lock from center, so that indicates that the steering rack is centered. Hmm.

Also note in the above photo that the steering wheel bolt pattern lines up perfectly. I decided to take the wheel off and see if refitting it correctly would help, so I grabbed a hex key and started to remove the FINGER TIGHT screws from the wheel. Yes, finger tight.

The leather wheel is a genuine Momo from ’86. Not original to the car then, but still period correct. It’s in very good condition really.

Plot twist. I changed to the Momo Futura from Effie. I love this wheel, its so nice in the hand, and looks great. This is a much newer wheel, at ’96, but still works.

It looks sublime

Moving right along, before I spend way too much time admiring my wheel, I changed the spark plugs. I whipped one out earlier to check and it was both black as anything, and the wrong heat range.

Just a quick note on heat ranges. The number in the spark plug model is the heat range. The ones in the car were a BP6ES and I replaced them with BPR5ES (the R is for Resistor, to reduce electrical interference). Going to a lower number means the plug is “hotter”. A hotter plug transfers heat from the plug into the head slower, meaning the plug runs hotter. A hotter plug is better for lower performance engines that rev lower and don’t have forced induction. The higher heat in the plug helps to clear carbon and keep the plugs from fouling. There is a science to it all, but that’s the basic premise.

Love the ease of access. The old plugs came out with no issues.

Very black

The other bank wasn’t much better, and plugs 4 and 6 were wet with fuel

I had to remove the intake tubing and air filter to get to the plugs, so went the next step and also checked and cleaned the metering plate (silver bowl looking thing)

The intake piping has been split before, but sealed up and had no other obvious splits, so that’s good. The metering plate was nice and clean, but the throttle body was oily.

I gapped all the new plugs down to the correct 0.6mm and fitted

I haven’t run the car yet, so it will be interesting to see if the new plugs make a difference to how it starts and runs. I have my fingers crossed.

The next thing I attacked was the windscreen wiper. The original wiper arm was removed from the car before I got it, and I suspect someone had intentions to convert the arm from a pin fitting to J-hook (who knows how), as they had butchered the fitting on the end so it couldn’t be used. I had to find a replacement.

I knew I had a couple of arms from an SD1 in my piles of spares, so dug one out and had a look. The length was bang on, but it had a pretty solid kink in it, unlike the original one which is dead straight (come to think of it, the tailgate wiper is straight, I wonder if I have a spare still. I suspect its way too long though).

Hmm, not ideal. Sure, it wipes and works, but its pretty well in the middle of the driver’s vision when parked.

Apparently, the original arm is a rear wiper arm from some ancient version of the Ford Festiva or similar. I could probably order one online, but I wanted a more local and readily available solution.

I went to Pick-A-Part with one goal in mind; Come home with a new wiper arm.

And look what I found

A rear wiper arm from a MK3 (00-07) Ford Mondeo liftback. It’s not perfect; if it sits as low as the above photo the wiper will hit the bonnet. This is due to the arm being slightly bigger at the spindle, and if it sits lower, it doesn’t clear the cutout in the bonnet when its shut. I found this the hard way by taking some paint off the bonnet >_<

Raising the arm up on the screen slightly means it clears the bonnet, but puts it at the bottom of the driver’s vision

Even at that height though, it’s barely intrusive in the driver’s vision. I’ll see if I can live with it, otherwise, I’ll have to visit Pick-A-Part again. Its an option though, which is more than I had.

The last thing I had a go at today was the rear window. It’s cloudy as heck and almost impossible to see through.

I had seen on YouTube that you can sometimes polish the plastic clear using elbow grease and some Plast-X. I tried elbow grease a while back and got nowhere.

Today I tried a couple of different methods. First, as a proof of concept, I used a small buffing pad on my drill to polish a small section with Plast-X. It’s hard to see, but there is a slight difference. The arrow points to the line where the “before” is on the right and “after” on the left

So the concept works. Now to scale it up. I was meant to sell my spare buffer ages ago, as it just wasn’t as powerful as my bigger one for dealing with paint, but as it turns out, it was perfect for this work.

I started on the driver’s side, with Plast-X on the pad and this was the result

Still pretty cloudy, but now you can see through it. You can just make out the steering wheel, but if I move over slightly, no sign of the steering wheel

I worked it some more, but moved up to using Ultimate Compound. It’s more abrasive than Plast-X, but seemed to take a bit more oxidation off. Polishing both sides made a big difference, clearly it was oxidised on both sides of the plastic

Unfortunately as far as i can tell, the yellow sections cant be removed. It’s pitted into the plastic, and nothing seems to touch it.

I’ll just be happy if it’s clear enough to see a car behind me, as previously it wasn’t. It was like having a white sheet instead of a window.

And just because I can, here is a photo of one of the few times the bonnet has been down since the car rolled into the garage

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