Jump to content
NebulaicToaster

"Birtha"- 1989 mk2 for a European Road Trip

Recommended Posts

NebulaicToaster

So I bought Birtha from a guy in Surrey without seeing her for very little. All I had to go on were a couple of videos and a phone call. After getting her trailered to Wiltshire I embarked on the long process of restoring her. The plan is to drive her from England to Portugal and back in April and May this year. I had very limited mechanical knowledge starting off (beyond working on tractors) so with my Hayne's manual and a lot of help from the forums (especially @dvderlm, with the pesky pierburg) I set out to get her running.

 

She arrived in Wiltshire not running and missing plates but chock full of spare parts (some of which have been useful). Cosmetically there was some rust on the sills, a ding on the front from hitting a bollard and a very "patina" roof.

A first look

 

My mate had a mk2f in his shed which he used to keep sheep feed in until the rats got to it so I figured I would have a fair number of spare parts to hand. This was a little naiive I admit.

The previous owner said it didn't need much work, just a manual choke fitting because the auto on the pierburg was broken. While the autochoke may have been duff, the main problem was that the base gasket was leaking air like a sieve. 

 

My first cry for help to the forum: 

 

After fitting a new base mount (to date I've managed to get three duff units, though I didn't know at the time. The threading sheared out of the rubber twice. The threads on the original bolts and the ones off a scrap car were a different size to the new mounts so in the end I managed to source some m6x100mm bolts which fit perfectly) I spotted a cheap manual choke pierburg on ebay I could skim a choke fitting from. When it arrived it was in much better nick than my pierburg so I decided to redo the gaskets on that one and put it in. This was a mistake, my lack of knowledge at the time caused a few wild goose chases down the road.

 

I parked up the car for a month while I went on a trip. Out in SA I saw a few cars in worse shape which bolstered my confidence a little:

 

IMG_20171007_151158.thumb.jpg.ee29e53147219aa578c55f423d9ca392.jpg

 

When I got back I did a bit more investigating with the car, she was idling now but there was an oil leak somewhere. Initially I thought it was the sump gasket but getting the torch out showed some very poor easygasket spreading on the front right side of the block. The head gasket was leaking. I decided it would be both wise and a good learning experience to sort this out properly. I resolved to replace the head gasket.

My second help thread:

 

I was very paranoid about messing up the timing but with all your help I didn't mess it up too badly. I decided to do the water pump and belts too. This proved to make the job twice as hard because of the pesky plastic back cover. I couldn't for the life of me work out how to get the cover off so I took to it with the hacksaw. It's now much easier to get at the belt and mostly covered up. 

A mate of my dad's runs a head reconditioning shop and did a full skim and rebuild for a couple of bottles (I tried to pay him but he wouldn't take it!). It came back absolutely spotless:

IMG_20171217_172747.jpg.aff1f5352227b2e1dbbaba317124f89d.jpg25593521_1713716372014459_1349816151_n.jpg.c47160bef03ddbfa953882d763fb414a.jpg

 

 

Managed to get it all back together, timed up (timing gun is my favourite toy, second only to colourtune) and idling (though still a bit high). After doing the discs, pads, ARB mounts, TCAs and rear wheel bearings I felt sure we were nearly ready to go. But then she sprung a leak. The radiator bottom hose had split. After another parts wild goose chase I replaced the hose with a flexi and all the jubilee clips someone had put on with new spring clips. I felt a little silly when I found a replacement bottom hose in one of the bags of parts the previous owner had left for me (it wasn't with the other hoses though :| ). I also replaced the thermostat housing and thermostat (which was non-existent when I opened it up, a clear red flag for head gasket going!)

All leaks unsprung I thought we were good so I sanded down the horrible patina on the roof and painted it with (don't crucify me) Hammerite Wild Thyme:

IMG_20180214_091928.thumb.jpg.0cdf23f0a5260a6e93342073c9788ab1.jpg

I also did the wheels in some metallic blue I had knocking about.

 

Anyway after driving her a bit I started getting coil problems:

So I swapped it out, though it turned out to be the hall sender arcing, so I swapped that out for another dizzy I had about. She drove well for a while, we went all the way to Wells, then to Wales!

Birtha looked a bit ridiculous with a roof rack (also 4 up with a full rack and a dog caused the back wheels to rub so we had to go in 2 cars):

received_1776685345717561.thumb.jpg.ced2c154fb4cfdca8e82cee788136e7d.jpg

It developed a problem about half way to wales, idling out of gear caused the motor to cut out. Not good but I had to nurse her back to Wiltshire like that.

This was quite the saga. She broke down for ten minutes 5 miles from home, but I got her in. It turned out another carb bolt had sheared the thread out of the base rubber because the original bolts had different threads to the threads in the rubber. I was driving using the engine vacuum to keep the carb sucked down. Risky. I got a replacement and some new bolts. They went on perfectly and the seal was solid. I thought that solved the problem so I headed off to work. She wouldn't start at work for a bit but I managed to get it going and nurse it home all the way until the big hill with a junction at the top. At which point the car in front decided to stop and I stalled. She wouldn't start at all so I had to call the AA. While waiting it not only started to snow but the police stopped by and helped me push birtha up onto the flat. Big up the wiltshire feds:

IMG_20180227_164439.thumb.jpg.c95d9212ef4bf9a2dcb3a0b13769b336.jpg

Sadly the pub was no longer in service so I could only offer a handshake. Mr AA turned up and promptly turned my fuel filter around and chucked a load of grime into the carb. @dvderlm suggested it might be a blocked part load enrichment.

Turns out that at some point in servicing the carb I had replaced the gasket on the #13 plate spring bit:

1b3partthrottle.PNG.9780720577fa3abf6b6d82a88857fad0.PNG 

And not put it back on the pin properly. The nub was rattling around in the cavity, blocking the hole when on a hill causing the car not to start. I cleaned the whole carb, replaced the fuel filter and replaced the low load enrichment unit as a whole from the old carb. The car drives perfectly now. 

 

We head off down to Portugal in April. Very excited. Stay tuned for nice pics and more updates. Cheers for all the help. You guys were ACE

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dvderlm

That's great news and nice write-up. Looking forward to the pics.

What spares are you going pack?

How far down Portugal? Obidos and Batalha are worth a detour. Was in Batalha when Portugal won footy world cup.. it was crazy!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NebulaicToaster

Birtha, my brother, and I set off for the Alps on Friday (the good Friday traffic was awful in the tunnel) for the first part of the trip. After an overnight stop in Dijon we made it up into the mountains by Saturday afternoon! 

700 miles of nearly faultless driving, only breakdown was 20km from the end. I'd put in some E10 and having been warned that the ethanol sometimes acts as a solvent and breaks up the gunk in the tank i was not too worried when the car stalled at idle a couple of times. We pulled off the "motorway" (they're really just dual carriageways over here) a quick blast through with cleaner and compressed air fixed it. 

 

I had a go at fixing the gear linkage before I left because the stick was very wandering. Never found the correct size shift finger, mine is the older four speed, so did the "stick it in a vice" and degrease trick. It's worked a charm. It took me a while to work out the gear selection putting it back together but it's great now. 

 

Speaking of shifting, the only other potential problem I've uncovered is a slight knocking when the clutch is in and the shifter is in 1st when idling at a standstill. Any ideas what that could be, it's intermittent I think and seems to happen after driving a long time. Otherwise the rattles and clunks of the road have me plenty paranoid, but I'm sort of resigned to the fact that it's an old car and it's going to resonate and rattle at certain speeds.

 

Onwards through France over the next few weeks then down to the very bottom of Portugal! (My browser isn't letting me upload pics :( )

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dvderlm

Enjoy the trip. Glad the compressed air is working!

Is the knock with clutch pedal to floor. Clutch release bearing worn? Quiet in neutral?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NebulaicToaster
2 hours ago, dvderlm said:

Enjoy the trip. Glad the compressed air is working!

Is the knock with clutch pedal to floor. Clutch release bearing worn? Quiet in neutral?

 

Knock with clutch to floor fine in neutral. Is there anything I can do on the road without an engine lift/proper jack, or do you think it'll make it the trip if I'm careful

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
steveo3002

not much you can do ...check the oil level and c.v joints are tight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NebulaicToaster
9 minutes ago, steveo3002 said:

not much you can do ...check the oil level and c.v joints are tight

Engine oil or gearbox?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dvderlm

Gearbox oil. Truly hard to check without ramps, axle stands. Not a "widow maker"  tyre change jack.

 

17mm hex key opens fill port (on back of box?)  and the level is right when it nearly overflows and car is level, so lifting at front makes gearbox not level.

A wheel bolt will fit if you can get two 17mm nuts to lock together 

I find filling needs a tube and a funnel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NebulaicToaster

Birtha has made it 1500 miles! After making it to the Alps and doing some skiing we headed down through the Italian Alps to Turin. I highly recommend the Automobile Museum, it's bloody great. We then pootled to the northern Italian coast and are now jetting around the volcanic region of France. It's been a blast! So far the gear knocking has stopped too, though I will be putting some more gear oil in later to make sure.

Here are some pics from the journey so far:

IMG-20180411-WA0005.thumb.jpg.5cacdc1304721d0a14e5243ae5384c61.jpgIMG-20180411-WA0006.thumb.jpg.7ede8f9beccdedfe1af14973f1bc83e3.jpgIMG-20180411-WA0003.thumb.jpg.eca382cdebd837ad1e2acf4b0e4b99c7.jpgIMG-20180411-WA0007.jpg.dd78d8c3ba53d51eeacd5da2879bdeab.jpgIMG-20180411-WA0016.thumb.jpg.ea7ffaad025f49023dbb758b92951fc8.jpg

 

in terms of current faults, the idle has dropped by about 50rpm since leaving altitude peculiarly. The only other thing is a light rattle at 20-40mph coming from the wheels, it happens in or out of gear and stops if you touch the brakes. I think it could be loose or missing caliper clips? Any other common causes of such tapping, it changes with speed 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
steveo3002

yeah does sound like pads rattling ...if you have the spanners make sure the calipers /wheel bolts are tight though

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NebulaicToaster
15 hours ago, steveo3002 said:

yeah does sound like pads rattling ...if you have the spanners make sure the calipers /wheel bolts are tight though

Had a look and one clip is missing. Anyone know if the clips have a proper name because I couldn't find them with a search on eBay. The part number on oemepc I've found is 191615270A but for a set of four they seem pretty pricey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • silver
      By silver
      Wanted mk2 breadvan front bumper near nottingham
    • Westbury93
      By Westbury93
      Hi people, I’m sure this question has been asked many times but I’m looking for the general idea. What is the best gearbox to fit to an afh in a 1990 mk2? Any help is appreciated
    • NebulaicToaster
      By NebulaicToaster
      During a long drive my polo has developed a sort of gentle slow regular tap when the clutch is in and first gear is selected. Could this be a case of low gearbox oil or perhaps the clutch release bearing? No whine or grinding and it seems intermittent, as in I can't replicate it on short drives. I'm in the middle of a very long trip but potentially could get some parts shipped out with a friend in a week. Also what's the stock gear oil volume and rating? Haynes says 2.2L SAE80, is that right and is there a modern equivalent?
    • YOUNOOWHO
      By YOUNOOWHO
      What we saying about this panel? Anyone used it ? Any good...

    • YOUNOOWHO
      By YOUNOOWHO
      Help me please guys I’m fed right up of the poxy peirburg shit box carb where can I find a Weber jetted for my 1.3 
×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.