Friday, July 25, 2008

MGF Hydrogas pumpage

Today I had a bit of driving round to do. I had to:
  • Go to North Wales and get some bits off a scrappy Astra GSi,
  • Go to Mitsubishi in Sandycroft and order more parts.
The GSi was completely stripped, apart from the interior and bits of plastic I will get at some point. They had a Lancer Evolution III in there though, with the engine ready to be taken for 400 pounds. If it wasn't for the out-of-my-league aluminium gearbox fabrication and the fact I've got to further damage my body doing hard work again, and the fact my dad will have kittens if he sees me with an engine crane on his drive, I would've bought it there and then. It's on the list though!

Mitsubishi was another experience as well. They are a strange lot, who don't like to give parts numbers away (even though I made a mental note of it - and forgot it), and only order parts on chassis numbers. The place is a bit of a mess as well - for a place that sells 30k+ Lancers, they should do a bit of tidying up. I waited for 1/2 an hour for them to find out the parts number, and was then told I wouldn't be able to bring it back if it's the wrong part - which sorta goes against 50 year old Trading Standards laws, and it'd take two weeks to arrive. I decided I would order my parts from Australia, it would be quicker.

I then took the MGF up to St Helen's to get the Hydragas suspension pumped up. The car doesn't use springs, it has a pair of dampers for the front and rear suspension which have nitrogen and fluid filled spheres which keep the car level. These had emptied over the course of being stood for so long, and I'm almost betting they will be empty again and need new spheres to replace the old ones.
The car ran fine, apart the bottom literally dragging along the road for some of the way - I had to avoid speed bumps, it simply wouldn't go over them at all, I didn't realise the car was so low!

The temperature gauge came pretty close to the red line, which had me thinking the head gasket had gone - argh. When we arrived, I checked the coolant, which was boiling, but there was no sign of whitish oil contamination - the coolant was still green after over a year! When I took the cap off (carefully), a lot of air bubbles came out of the system. I let it cool down as the people pumped the dampers up. They used some kind of primitive hand pump on a box which looked like something from WWII - this injected nitrogen and suspension fluid into the car, and they measured it all round to set to a standard height.

For 25 pounds they spent 1 hour doing this - I was expecting to pay around 100. I drove home and noticed the difference - it wasn't scraping the road for starters. I was worried the car was going to seriously overheat, but there was no fluctuation on the temp gauge at all - I think there was an air lock in the coolant somewhere, and the pressure and heat expansion managed to clear it. I even went down a one way slip road after being sent the wrong way several times by my Tom-Tom.

Next on the list is replacing the brake pipes and the handbrake and bonnet open cables. I will do this when I've had a rest from messing about with cars for a bit. Was nice to have a break from something as complex and ancient as the Starion, the MGF doesn't even have ABS or PAS, it's just an engine and a fuse box.


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