Donate to Remove ads

Got a credit card? use our Credit Card & Finance Calculators

Thanks to ExFM,ErroneousBee,GSVsowhat,Shelford,Hypster, for Donating to support the site

Modern cars too clever by half!

Passion, instruction, buying, care, maintenance and more, any form of vehicle discussion is welcome here
88V8
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1529
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 11:22 am
Has thanked: 261 times
Been thanked: 481 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359561

Postby 88V8 » November 24th, 2020, 10:27 am

swill453 wrote:
bungeejumper wrote:Damn those ultra-reliable electronics on modern cars. They've taken all the old-fashioned skills out of motoring. And my faithful Colortune kit lies abandoned and friendless in my garage. Not to mention my decoke-in-a-bottle (more clouds of smoke, but black this time). Anybody ever use those? :cry:

No, but I've still got the orange plug thing that you put between the HT lead and the spark plug so you can see it sparking. And feeler gauge for the points.

I have eight of the HT lead thingies.
And a Colourtune although I never found it much use.
And a Gunson gas analyser.
And a carb balancer.
And a vacuum gauge for setting fhe idle.
And the remains of a bottle of Redex.
And several sets of feeler gauges.

Only the carb balancer is redundant, and that only because currently neither of my cars has multiple carbs.

Cold starting... wait for the fuel pump to calm down, then crank the engine a few seconds with no choke to start pumping up the lifters, then three deliberate strokes on the throttle, then with the choke knob just so crank it again, then immediately it fires push in the choke just so.
Yes, progress is wonderful, you will note that I haven't even needed to mention the starting handle.

And so far this year, I haven't needed to fit the radiator muff.

V8

ReformedCharacter
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1583
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 11:12 am
Has thanked: 993 times
Been thanked: 501 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359583

Postby ReformedCharacter » November 24th, 2020, 11:24 am

One skill that doesn't seem to be needed - or perhaps used - much these days is that of listening to the moving parts. For me it's a habit that became ingrained from an early age. A couple of years ago my OH was giving me a lift in her car and I said I thought I could hear a slight intermittent whine from the gearbox. OH said she couldn't hear it. A few months later she had a replacement gearbox and a large bill.

RC

Breelander
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 3499
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 9:42 pm
Has thanked: 647 times
Been thanked: 1352 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359626

Postby Breelander » November 24th, 2020, 1:27 pm

bungeejumper wrote:... my faithful Colortune kit lies abandoned and friendless in my garage....

swill453 wrote:... And feeler gauge for the points.


I still have the deluxe Colortune kit I bought in the '70s to tune up my '69 Mk2 Mini 1000, but the feeler gauge got more use for setting rocker clearances than the points.

Now in my retirement and having a Mk1 Mini in the garage I still get good use out of them (well, not the original feeler gauge, that got replaced when the thinnest one tore).

ReformedCharacter
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1583
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 11:12 am
Has thanked: 993 times
Been thanked: 501 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359635

Postby ReformedCharacter » November 24th, 2020, 2:19 pm

Were the Colortune kits actually any good? I had one once - bought for my 1950 Triumph Renown, but it seemed less useful than checking the colour of the sparkplugs for getting the correct mixture and I don't think I ever used it more than once.

RC

staffordian
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1385
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 4:20 pm
Has thanked: 825 times
Been thanked: 384 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359643

Postby staffordian » November 24th, 2020, 2:52 pm

88V8 wrote:
swill453 wrote:
bungeejumper wrote:Damn those ultra-reliable electronics on modern cars. They've taken all the old-fashioned skills out of motoring. And my faithful Colortune kit lies abandoned and friendless in my garage. Not to mention my decoke-in-a-bottle (more clouds of smoke, but black this time). Anybody ever use those? :cry:

No, but I've still got the orange plug thing that you put between the HT lead and the spark plug so you can see it sparking. And feeler gauge for the points.

I have eight of the HT lead thingies.
And a Colourtune although I never found it much use.
And a Gunson gas analyser.
And a carb balancer.
And a vacuum gauge for setting fhe idle.
And the remains of a bottle of Redex.
And several sets of feeler gauges.

Only the carb balancer is redundant, and that only because currently neither of my cars has multiple carbs.

Cold starting... wait for the fuel pump to calm down, then crank the engine a few seconds with no choke to start pumping up the lifters, then three deliberate strokes on the throttle, then with the choke knob just so crank it again, then immediately it fires push in the choke just so.
Yes, progress is wonderful, you will note that I haven't even needed to mention the starting handle.

And so far this year, I haven't needed to fit the radiator muff.

V8


You've forgotten the neon strobe for checking the timing. Always difficult finding a dark enough place to actually see the flashes properly...

Breelander
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 3499
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 9:42 pm
Has thanked: 647 times
Been thanked: 1352 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359644

Postby Breelander » November 24th, 2020, 2:59 pm

ReformedCharacter wrote:Were the Colortune kits actually any good? I had one once - bought for my 1950 Triumph Renown, but it seemed less useful than checking the colour of the sparkplugs for getting the correct mixture and I don't think I ever used it more than once.


Yes, when used inside a garage so you are shaded from daylight and can clearly see the colour of the flame. The big advantage of a Colortune is that you can adjust the mixture while the engine is running to get it spot on (and don't have to drive miles between adjustments to see if there's new soot on the plugs).

88V8 wrote:...You've forgotten the neon strobe for checking the timing. Always difficult finding a dark enough place to actually see the flashes properly...


Got one of those too, that also works best in a darkened garage.

bungeejumper
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4986
Joined: November 8th, 2016, 2:30 pm
Has thanked: 1501 times
Been thanked: 1975 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359704

Postby bungeejumper » November 24th, 2020, 6:01 pm

Breelander wrote:
88V8 wrote:...You've forgotten the neon strobe for checking the timing. Always difficult finding a dark enough place to actually see the flashes properly...

Got one of those too, that also works best in a darkened garage.

Aye, that as well. Essential for tweaking the ignition timing on a 1950s motorbike, which was quite amusing because strobes hadn't been invented in those days. Or at least, not for the mass market.

Before strobes, you were supposed to turn the crank very slowly while adjusting the points so that they just opened at the desired mark on the flywheel. The trouble being that by the time you'd spotted them starting to open you were - by definition - already a couple of degrees too late, so you'd have to do it all over again. And again. And again. Until you gave up and resorted to trial and error.

At which point you discovered that your points were all hollowed out inside, and not capable of delivering an accurate gap anyway. :lol:

BJ

jfgw
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1553
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 3:36 pm
Has thanked: 380 times
Been thanked: 493 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359727

Postby jfgw » November 24th, 2020, 7:35 pm

staffordian wrote:You've forgotten the neon strobe for checking the timing. Always difficult finding a dark enough place to actually see the flashes properly...

Presumably xenon (like a camera flash) rather than neon (red). It's still a noble gas but a bit further down the periodic table.

Julian F. G. W.

staffordian
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1385
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 4:20 pm
Has thanked: 825 times
Been thanked: 384 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359729

Postby staffordian » November 24th, 2020, 7:41 pm

jfgw wrote:
staffordian wrote:You've forgotten the neon strobe for checking the timing. Always difficult finding a dark enough place to actually see the flashes properly...

Presumably xenon (like a camera flash) rather than neon (red). It's still a noble gas but a bit further down the periodic table.

Julian F. G. W.

Pretty sure the one we had, late 1960s or early70s was red, and a rather paltry light output too.

It was similar, but not quite identical to this one. More like holding a torch than a gun, which later ones seemed to be styled on.

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/ ... -526002706

jfgw
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1553
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 3:36 pm
Has thanked: 380 times
Been thanked: 493 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359734

Postby jfgw » November 24th, 2020, 8:07 pm

staffordian wrote:
jfgw wrote:
staffordian wrote:You've forgotten the neon strobe for checking the timing. Always difficult finding a dark enough place to actually see the flashes properly...

Presumably xenon (like a camera flash) rather than neon (red). It's still a noble gas but a bit further down the periodic table.

Julian F. G. W.

Pretty sure the one we had, late 1960s or early70s was red, and a rather paltry light output too.

It was similar, but not quite identical to this one. More like holding a torch than a gun, which later ones seemed to be styled on.

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/ ... -526002706

I wasn't familiar with those. I imagine that the light really was dim.


Julian F. G. W.

AF62
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1216
Joined: November 27th, 2016, 8:45 am
Has thanked: 21 times
Been thanked: 343 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359745

Postby AF62 » November 24th, 2020, 8:59 pm

It was some of the things you take for granted these days which were missing. I remember fitting one of these to a rather shabby Mini I owned - https://www.holden.co.uk/p/screen_heater_12_volt

An awfully unreliable car. Fiddling around with the electrical system to work out why there was no spark at the plugs, to eventually discover the lead to the points had broken internally. The solenoid for the starter had long since stopped working, so to start it you had turn the ignition key to 2 and then open the bonnet and press the rubber cover of the solenoid to get it to turn over. The heater control was broken so could only be turned on or off with mole grips under the bonnet. The subframes were patched to death with welding to pass the MOT. Lights, well two glow worms more like, with a foot activated button for high and low beam, not that it made any difference. Wipers that were utterly ineffective. The bodywork dissolving with rust. Dropping all the coolant when one or other of the radiator hoses failed.

And the icing on the cake was the 'one sided' key to open the doors, except if you put it in upside down it would still unlock. If you had pushed a bent spoon into the lock it would have opened.

Still rather fun to drive though.

ten0rman
Lemon Slice
Posts: 420
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 9:16 pm
Been thanked: 106 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359755

Postby ten0rman » November 24th, 2020, 9:57 pm

In addition to all the stuff that have been mentioned, I also had a dwell meter (still have as with its 15V scale it's quite useful for 12v electrics) and a vacuum guage. That one needed a 2BA hole tapping in the inlet manifold somewhere and you set everything such that the vacuum was about 3/4 of a division below the highest reading obtainable. Also useful when driving as the aim was to keep the vacuum as high as possible for the best economy.

Incidently, I always found that the BMC vehicles fitted with the SU carburettor was probably the easiest vehicles to start in cold weather, or indeed at any time. No need of "having to catch it" as my parents used to have to do with their Fords. Indeed I once started a Maxi by letting the clutch out in 2nd gear after the car had rolled 1 meter on a very gentle slope.

Heel & Toe - that brings back memories of assisting two girls in a Mini on the Buttermere side of the Honister Pass. The driver had failed to get into 1st early enough and stalled. And of course, the Mini handbrakes were just about useless so the poor lass was sat there trying to hold the car with the footbrake - her leg was visibly shaking. I took one look, said put it in 1st gear, switch off the engine, let the clutch out and jump out. And of course the engine compression on the front wheels combined with what braking there was on the rear was sufficient to hold the car. I then proceeded to show her how to heel & toe and thus restart on the hill. And away they went, happy ever after.

ten0rman

bungeejumper
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4986
Joined: November 8th, 2016, 2:30 pm
Has thanked: 1501 times
Been thanked: 1975 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359877

Postby bungeejumper » November 25th, 2020, 10:44 am

AF62 wrote:And the icing on the cake was the 'one sided' key to open the doors, except if you put it in upside down it would still unlock. If you had pushed a bent spoon into the lock it would have opened.

When I was teaching in the late 1970s, somebody bet that he could open his mate's Montego with pretty well anything. And proceeded to do so with the key from his caravan, which was a miniature with only a short blade and maybe four notches. And when my bro-in-law had his Montego burgled, the CID turned up but didn't even bother checking the car for prints because they knew you could open it with a stick of dry spaghetti. Well, almost.

The usual answer to a reluctant starter motor on a BL Austin Rover was to whack the end of the Bendix with a lump of wood. Using a large spanner also worked, but there was an excellent chance of cracking the casing.

The references so far to using a strobe has reminded me how dangerously we all used to live. Peering down into the engine bay with the engine running and all the belts and pulleys whizzing. Some of us had long hair, too. I did once have to stop somebody adjusting his timing while wearing a tie. I may have saved his life.....

BJ

bungeejumper
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4986
Joined: November 8th, 2016, 2:30 pm
Has thanked: 1501 times
Been thanked: 1975 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359888

Postby bungeejumper » November 25th, 2020, 11:16 am

I'm also surprised at the number of us who had Minis, but who haven't mentioned its number one claim to fame. Namely, the bypass hose. (Unless I've somehow missed it?)

For the innocent and the uninitiated, Austin had saved itself a few pennies in the manufacturing process by using a two inch bit of thick rubber hosepipe to connect the water supply from the cylinder head to the rest of the engine block. It was thin enough to perish every few years, and thick enough to be un-removable unless you first removed the cylinder head. It was just jammed in too tight to be taken out and replaced in any other way. :(

Most of us learned quickly enough that the quickest solution was to slice through the rotted rubber with a Stanley knife and then buy an "unofficial" concertina-type bypass hose that was much thinner and would only last a year or two. That, we figured, was reward enough for not having to take the bloody head off and renew every damn gasket in the top of the engine.

There was a reason why they called it the bypass hose. Its favourite moment for exploding was when you were gunning it up the bypass. Usually while trying to impress some girl or other. Waiting for a tow truck with a dripping, steaming engine was never a particularly aphrodisiac experience.

BJ

wilbobob
2 Lemon pips
Posts: 105
Joined: November 7th, 2016, 4:03 pm
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 30 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359924

Postby wilbobob » November 25th, 2020, 12:42 pm

I locked myself out of my car in the 1970's in Guildford, a long way from home, and for want inspiration went to the local police station to see if they could offer some suggestions about who locally might be able to help. The desk sergeant fished out a big ring with dozens of keys on it from under the desk for me to try, and bring back when I'd finished with them.
Things were different then.
It was a bit nerve-racking trying key after key and expecting the heavy hand on the shoulder and the 'Hello hello hello whats going on then'
I did find a key that was close enough.

AF62
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1216
Joined: November 27th, 2016, 8:45 am
Has thanked: 21 times
Been thanked: 343 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359935

Postby AF62 » November 25th, 2020, 1:03 pm

bungeejumper wrote:
AF62 wrote:And the icing on the cake was the 'one sided' key to open the doors, except if you put it in upside down it would still unlock. If you had pushed a bent spoon into the lock it would have opened.

When I was teaching in the late 1970s, somebody bet that he could open his mate's Montego with pretty well anything. And proceeded to do so with the key from his caravan, which was a miniature with only a short blade and maybe four notches. And when my bro-in-law had his Montego burgled, the CID turned up but didn't even bother checking the car for prints because they knew you could open it with a stick of dry spaghetti. Well, almost.


My mother had a Mk1 Ford Escort, came out of the shops one day, put the shopping in the boot, and started to reverse out of the parking space, before realising her car was actually the car parked a couple of spaces down to the one she was in... The one she was in was the same colour as hers. Hastily re-parked it and moved her shopping and hoped that nobody had noticed.

bungeejumper
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4986
Joined: November 8th, 2016, 2:30 pm
Has thanked: 1501 times
Been thanked: 1975 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359938

Postby bungeejumper » November 25th, 2020, 1:05 pm

wilbobob wrote:I locked myself out of my car in the 1970's in Guildford, a long way from home, and for want inspiration went to the local police station to see if they could offer some suggestions about who locally might be able to help. The desk sergeant fished out a big ring with dozens of keys on it from under the desk for me to try, and bring back when I'd finished with them.

Anybody used the old packing tape trick in recent memory? You folded it double, then slid it past the door seals and then tried to snag the push button on the driver's door lock. Doesn't work so well in this age of electronic deadlocks, I suppose.. :(

Top prize in this department ought to go to the first version of the Rover 200 series, which had an ingenious solution for the locked-out. Just inside the rear wheel arch was an unobtrusive little connector block. You shorted a wire across the two terminals, and all the doors sprang open. Why didn't anybody else ever think of that one?

Reader, I owned such a car. And quite nice it was too, apart from the fuel filler cap. Rover eventually had to call the whole lot of them back, because the breather pipe would make a regular noise which even the manufacturer officially described as "farting". I took mine camping in France, where it caused endless amusement among the locals on its first night. By the second night, I had learned to leave the cap loose. :lol:

BJ

kiloran
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 2862
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 9:24 am
Has thanked: 1600 times
Been thanked: 1506 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359942

Postby kiloran » November 25th, 2020, 1:13 pm

AF62 wrote:My mother had a Mk1 Ford Escort, came out of the shops one day, put the shopping in the boot, and started to reverse out of the parking space, before realising her car was actually the car parked a couple of spaces down to the one she was in... The one she was in was the same colour as hers. Hastily re-parked it and moved her shopping and hoped that nobody had noticed.

Similar thing happened to me and a mate in the early 70s...... came out of a pub in Richmond (the Yorkshire one), got into his car, an Austin 1100, just started reversing when we noticed that there were some bits and pieces by the passenger seat that weren't his. Same coloured car, same interior. Perhaps the pints of Theakstons Bitter had fuddled our brains.

--kiloran

swill453
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4695
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 6:11 pm
Has thanked: 416 times
Been thanked: 1641 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359951

Postby swill453 » November 25th, 2020, 1:39 pm

I think it was Audis in about the 1980s that had some kind of pneumatic central locking. Put half a tennis ball over one of the locks and give it a punch, and all the doors popped unlocked.

Scott.

kempiejon
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1790
Joined: November 5th, 2016, 10:30 am
Been thanked: 510 times

Re: Modern cars too clever by half!

#359960

Postby kempiejon » November 25th, 2020, 2:18 pm

swill453 wrote:I think it was Audis in about the 1980s that had some kind of pneumatic central locking. Put half a tennis ball over one of the locks and give it a punch, and all the doors popped unlocked.

Scott.


Hoax https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/can-u ... nnis-ball/
Mythbusters gives it a go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ1jfha ... e=emb_logo
You might have a different example if from the 80s though
Last edited by kempiejon on November 25th, 2020, 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Return to “Cars, Driving, Motorbikes or any Transport”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests