1969 Viva HB Patina wagon. Now with matching retro caravan..

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Re: 1969 Viva HB Patina wagon- now road legal!

Postby yoeddynz » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:48 pm

Cheers guys. Yeah Ians garage is pretty cool. proper oldschool place. Similar to the place in Oxford, UK where I took my other Viva for its first test after fitting the xflo...

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Re: 1969 Viva HB Patina wagon- now road legal!

Postby yoeddynz » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:29 am

I will now rummage through all my fading memories the happenings of the last few weeks since the wagon became legal, weeks of holidays, drinks, sunshine, fettling of various old car things. Hopefully as I type it will become clearer..

Since getting the car back into life I have just kept using it for all sorts of trips and its been fun. I love the looks it gets. Often I get thumbs up, usually from young folk who might not even know what it is but certainly like the fact its shabby. Older people often smile too. Many comments But it was never 'right'. I felt it had better potential and didn't believe that the engine was knackered. It was not using much oil but enough to make me look further than just the patches it left here and there. Every time I drove it Id discover afterwards a new fresh coating of oil mist over everything. I checked the rocker cover and sure enough that was loose. But still the mystery mist kept appearing.. hmmmmm…

Finally I worked out that it was spinning off from the front pulley. Luckily my stash of Viva spares had a new seal. I popped off the timing chain cover and swapped out the very very hard old seal. The nice soft new one stopped the mist. Yay.

But that rough idle was annoying me. More so the engine shal=king about and making the exhaust knock the crossmember. This I had to fix. It was too close and sat quite low as well..

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So I cut off the down pipe and while it was off I repaired my previous ‘repair’ to the manifold joining flange which had started to leak. Knock be gone but still the car idled rough.

I checked the compressions and they were all good @ 150 psi each (which is way higher than the 130 Mr Haynes tells me to expect so I either have a gauge that lies or someone in the past has skimmed the head?)

But still the car ran rough. I finally bought a new timing light. A self powered one. So good not having to plug in the battery leads! With my new light I was able to check the timing which turned out to be only about 5 degrees out. So I was happy that Id managed to get it so close just by ear but not happy that it was obviously not the cause of the poor idle.

I checked the valve clearances. Now things got messy… the manuals all say check them hot and many sources out there say the best thing is to check them with the engine running…..

NEVER AGAIN will I try using feeler gauges on a idling engine! What a kerfuffle and resulting mess! After I had spent many clean rags clearing up the oil from everywhere I set the clearances hot. They were all pretty good actually. I screwed the rocker cover down and started the engine. TINK TINK TINK TINK TINK….

WTF?!!! Where’s that coming from. Oh no.. have I dropped a valve? Sounds like piston slap or a broken piston top but higher pitched? Oh dear I thought. I popped the cover off and started the engine. Sound has gone! What? Looked at rocker cover and I could see marks underneath from where a rocker was just touching my altered breather gallery…

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Oh OK. So tightening the cover down further on a new hot cork gasket just pulled it down that bit more to touch. One swift smack with the hammer and the sound was gone

So what is causing the rough running then. I had been pulling the plugs after every few runs to look at the condition. Always the front 1 and 2 plugs were clean and borderline lean. The rear 3 and 4 always a touch oily. Hmmmm.

Then I looked at my servo and breather lines heading into my inlet manifold- remember back when I changed the positions?.. I popped off the servo one and sucked on it. Hang on… no resistance! What? Bugger me.. I have a split diaphragm in the servo causing an air leak. Which also explains the hefty brake pedal ( I’d just put that down to poor brakes bedding in or not being manly enough..)

I plugged the tee on the manifold and started the car. Wow!! What a difference!!!! So smooth. I was able to lower the idle speed right down. Then double checked the timing, tweeked the carb jet a little and it was heaps better. Next drive was way smoother, engine had more pull and no lurching. Heaven. But I knew it could be even better.

So I undid the breather pipe from the inlet and re-routed it down the back of the block, holding it in place by the bottom of the bell housing with a zip tie. I plugged the remaining takeoff on the tee and started the car… even better! Yes!! Having got rid of another ‘air leak’ helped no end plus was also explaining why the rear two plugs were constantly oily.

I will source another HC servo and for now just put up with a harder pedal. The brakes work well but just need a shove.
As for the inlet take off I will move the position to just after the carb in the middle so its even across all cylinders. The breather can remain to atmosphere.
Now I knew the engine was actually OK I gave it an oil change. The old oil was not too dirty but it did smell. It burns a little oil at start up past the inlet valve stems. I have found out that this earlier engine doesn’t have stem seals but a friend who owns many Vivas said they used to slide an O-ring down the stem so most oil ran over the o-ring rather than down the guide. Nifty idea I might try if I do pop the head off. Im now a little reluctant to take the head off as its running well..but I am a little curious to see how carboned up it might be?.

So my once rough running Viva is now a very smooth little car to drive. In fact its an utter joy to drive, allowing for a general lacking in power. My fears about driving up hills have been removed. Yeah it’s a bit slow but only on one very steep section do I need second gear, otherwise its third gear and cruise. Its ideal about town and fantastic for popping to the beach, a trip it has done many times now.

I like it. I like it a lot. I just cruise. Windows down. Chilled out. Lifes a breeze. I love the way the car handles with the tiny engine up front. Steering is very light and it fun to flick around.

Many more little things to tidy up now and make it a nicer place. Hannah’s mum is over from the UK on holiday so I made the most of her baggage and got her to bring over lots of stuff I got cheap on ebay Uk. See here…

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New dizzy cap, rotor, a full set of mint Vauxhall service manuals (only £1.50 ), full head gasket set (cheap), a few magazines, adjustable electric fan controller, a chrome air filter which doesn’t quite fit but I’ll sort that.

So that’s where I’m at now. Just using it. Transporting mountain bikes (easy pesy)..

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Going to the beach..

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Sitting pretty in the afternoon…

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Taking me down to my local village for moonlit strolls along the beach..

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Just generally being a very good fun wee classic daily.
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Re: 1969 Viva HB Patina wagon. Reporting in...its great!

Postby jpsmit » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:03 pm

great update - great pics - great solutions and, summer.... sigh
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Re: 1969 Viva HB Patina wagon. Reporting in...its great!

Postby Johnboy HB » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:28 pm

Glad you're enjoying your estate, err sorry, wagon, all the enjoyment of a classic car coupled with the practicality of good cargo space
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Re: 1969 Viva HB Patina wagon. Reporting in...its great!

Postby yoeddynz » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:24 pm

Its been really handy with all the room in the back for sure!

I filled the tank up again yesterday. Even with lots of hilly driving plus lots of parked up tuning I managed to get 31.7 mpg (I have checked the speedo and its reading bang on!)

Pretty happy with that! I'll get even better results next time I reckon.
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Re: 1969 Viva HB Patina wagon. Reporting in...its great!

Postby Johnboy HB » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:56 pm

Sounds about right, I get roughly that from my HB's, used to get a few more MPG from my old Brabham funnily enough
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Re: 1969 Viva HB Patina wagon. Reporting in...its great!

Postby yoeddynz » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:09 pm

Im hoping to break past 35mpg :-)

I still know I can get better from my V6 Viva too. Its still too rich at idle and on cruise.

Petrol aint gonna get cheaper!
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Re: 1969 Viva HB Patina wagon. Reporting in...its great!

Postby yoeddynz » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:24 pm

Update time on Viva two.... Lesson learned. Don't leave Vivas parked up for two months on damp ground. I went to move it the other day and the clutch is stuck ! :-( I have tried all the usual things to fix it and no luck. Its now sitting out there with a stick holding the clutch pedal down. Funny thing is that I have only recently worked on a mates Viva HC and it had come in with the same problem, which meant we had to remove the box and free up a very corroded clutch.

The reason for this mighty wagon of mine being laid up? Well it ran out of WOF at about the same time as I had picked up a genuine Viva '90' engine. I had plans to fit it but its not happened yet. Hannah went to the UK to see family and brought back some parts, seals etc so next week we will tidy it up and fit it soon.

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My wagons chassis plate states in the options that it came with one of these engines but at some point it has been stolen from the car. The engine I have scored actually came from this ropey old car here...

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...which Slacker Sam had bought and then sold on to the fella I bought the wagon from. He split the car down as it was rusty as (although some of its shell has also made its way into my wagon) , hung on to the motor and I managed to score it a few years later for $100. Its been rebuilt and apparently goes really well he said, useful for towing other Vauxhalls around etc ...

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Came with all new ignition parts too. Pretty happy with this lot and looking forwards to fitting it!

I have cleared a little area in the workshop to work on it....

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Re: 1969 Viva HB Patina wagon. Stuck clutch... but new engin

Postby 1972nail » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:01 pm

Now that is a clear workshop..... at least you can keep all your tools within easy reach.

Stuck clutches are common. When preparing my winter lay up I jack the car up and get someone to press the pedal, then cable tie the clutch lever to the block. Saves stretching the cable. :goodideasign:
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Re: 1969 Viva HB Patina wagon. Stuck clutch... but new engin

Postby yoeddynz » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:35 pm

That is a good idea. But I shouldn't have laid this car up. It's such a good daily so I should have just put anot her 6 months wof/mot on it and kept using it. Lesson learned :-)

I'll need to look after it because I'm going to now sell the v6 one !
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