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Damper failed

andydclements

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Well, since restoring this car I've not used it much. That's not much for a car that I planned to be my daily driver. I used the red one quite a bit until I finally traced the misfire issues and so had confidence in being able to get to the destinations and return under the car's own power. I used the Berlingo when the weather was cold as it has a heather that is effective in less than 10 mins of engine running. I've now purchased a Signum as I'm ferrying my elderly parents around a lot and they cannot fit in the Excel and my Mother had difficulty getting in the rear seats of the Berlingo, and the Signum is more reassuring to drive than the Berlingo so there's less of a fear issue driving the Signum.

The last few times I drove the gold Excel I noticed a knocking noise on uneven road surfaces. I tried the exhaust, driveshafts,. I tried spacing the damper further from the A arm so that they couldn't possibly make contact.
With the car on the ramps (supported by its wheels) I discovered that the knock was replicated if I merely applied a small amount of upward force to the subframe. I managed to eliminate the body/subframe mounting form the list of options and so remove the damper. On inspection I have discovered that the damper has a knock in it giving circa 5mm of longitudinal movement without dampening, almost as though low on oil I suspect something inside has come apart. As the dampers are probably more than 2 years old despite the low mileage I doubt I'll the the manufacturer to honour the warranty, and without finding purchase info I doubt they'll even agree to assist in the funding of the repair, so I'm going top purchase just one damper (which is something I'd normally not do) on the basis the other damper (driver's side) is very new and has had very little use so it should be a reasonable match to the new one.


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Well, the new damper arrived Friday and due to other activities on Saturday, I fitted it to the car today. Fairly painless job, given a decent spring compressor. 

I noticed two things while doing the job: 

1) Gaz had informed me the age of the damper is in a code on the unit, comparing old and new, along with a guess as to when I purchased, I'd guess that Q02 means Q= 2014 Feb, and N02 = Feb 2012, so they were 3 years old, some of which was time during the restoration, and some was time while I sorted the misfire so didn't drive it much, giving circa 3,000 miles life on the old unit.

2) The spring seat on the new unit is approx 6mm higher than on the old unit. This means there's no clearance issue with the lower suspension arm for the new unit, unlike the old one which almost touches. I plan to have the old failed unit rebuilt but will ask them to check whether it was built to the correct specification, and if not they will be asked to correct it (they or the credit card company will have to sort that). To make the old units not foul I previously had to put additional washers to move the components further apart, but that was only marginally successful moving from hitting to crushing any dirt between them.

 

 

I also found that, despite opening the doors in order to try and dry the car interior, the passenger footwell was soaked and slightly mouldy. Carpets washed and Vax used, I looked to the source and found the body wet where the seal attaches, so fresh silicone on, hopefully it will improve things. I do now need to replace the main front and rear headlining to remove the mould, but thankfully not any of the more intricate parts.

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Well, the car finally went back on the road today. Battery charged, so trip to the fuel station (that's nearly as expensive as a new damper) and more air in the tyres followed by a short blast on a dual carriageway then home. Engine running fine (despite being laid up), suspension seems a little bouncy on the short travel, perhaps I'll reduce the damping so the bushes are doing less of the work. Clutch bearing is noisy when the pedal is clear, which has been a fault for ages but being laid up has made it worse again.

 

Need to remove the interior trim, recolour the leather, replace the two pieces of roof lining that got damp and fit the front roof trim.

 

Then I need to use the car.

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