Thursday, February 5, 2009

1984 Toyota Corolla 1.3 GL

I'm back now, I've had a little break from cars for the past month.

I saw this ugly 26 year old looking thing yesterday going for scrap metal money with road tax and MOT, and immediately wanted it.

It's 1298cc Toyota Corolla 'Liftback' on carbs. It has a brown interior. It is lacking creature comforts like air con, electric windows, power steering. In fact, it doesn't have a radio, and the wiring scares me. And it's green. Also, I haven't put any pics up of the REAR, because - goddamnit, it's beyond ugly, the ugliest rear end on a car I've ever seen.
Other than that, it drives perfectly, starts instantly on snowy, cold mornings, the ride is soft, it has no knocks, the bodywork is in A1 condition, and I think it's economical (though after 50 miles, it's not looking good from 3/4 to 1/2 tank). It also has those springy sofa like seats which I'm not used to.

Another thing is, the MGF finally passed it's MOT a couple of weeks ago.
The failing handbrake was beyond my control it would seem. I had -another- garage look at it, and they said it -might- be the brake pads and discs (which is understandable, with it losing the 'pressure'). So I did this, and then put it through the MOT at the garage that advised me. When I arrived, the man said 'it's failed on the rear brakes'.
ARGH! I could've just thrown that stupid car into the river. But then he said 'only joking, it passed'. Bastard!
I think it's now a problem with the MOT centre, and not with the car. Don't think I'll ever be going there ever again. What tester fails a car because the parking brake -WORKS- 100%, but is a few percent off the suggested level. It worked on the steepest hill I could find!

The brake discs were an utter pain to remove. Talk about 'corrosion', every nut on the back was stuck, but the brake discs were STUCK TO THE HUB! Literally welded with orange hatred.
I had to use an angle grinder, and a big hammer to crack it off. I thought I'd damaged the hub! It was a horrible job that need new bolts etc. The second side was easier as I knew what not to do. I cut a groove into the disc on both sides and drove a screwdriver into it with the hammer to crack the disc open like a nut. It worked, and everything was cleaned up and re-brakeified. This car has eaten up three cutting discs so far!

Prior to this, I drove down to London on New Year's Eve in the Astra. I never worry about the car on journeys like this, it's always proved to be fine in hot and cold weather over high miles, whatever, it just does it without complaining.
Not tonight though! While sitting in extreme traffic, I watch the temp gauge climb as usual. It was bouncing off 100 with the fan kicking in. However, one time it didn't bounce, and went right over. "The car is overheating" I said, and a minute later, I hear a WHOOOSH, assuming someone's crashed their car behind me right? The plume of steam that engulfed my car had me worried though. I lept out and pushed it to the side of the road with the assistance of some friendly Asian lads. "It's the head gasket," I though. I'm 200 miles from home on New Year's Eve, and my head gasket has gone.
I checked the oil cap. It was oily. I checked the expansion tank. It was dry, but no sludge.
Maybe I had been the luckiest man that night. A quick check with a torch, and I find a split pipe. Luckily again, I had my big tool bag in the boot. We were minutes away from a 24 hour Kwik-E-Mart place that sold big 5 litre bottles of water for 1.50 each. I bought two, repaired the pipe (it had split right next to the terminal - lucky), and filled it with water. I started the car up, and it drove again.

Returning to the car a number of hours later, I wearily drove the car home, keeping an eye fixed to the temp gauge, chameleon style. The heat from the vents was really hot, I had to keep the sunroof open to keep it bearable. Fortunately, the gauge didn't rise over normal, but it didn't stop me from being 100% paranoid all the way home. We pulled into a service station 100 miles from home to swap over, and it was then I realised I could change gear. It wouldn't even go into gear, the gear stick was loose like an arm, it could no longer be defined as a device to change gear with.
Once again, I lept out and examined the problem. The pin that holds the lever to the gear linkage had disintigrated. I despaired once again. It took 1/2 an hour to get it working again - I removed the pin that holds the rear seat in the hinge and it did the job. It didn't stop me from going through red lights to avoid changing gear though, I didn't stop until I was in front of my house.
Unlucky, but lucky I had the sense to take all my tools with me!! Amen.

I took all the interior out of the Astra as it was full of water. The holes in the bottom had lost a cap and had taken all the filthy water in over the past two years, so hopefully, it's now going to dry out.

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