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As my project car heads towards an MOT I thought it may be worth documenting its journey with me. I always had more than a passing interest in the VR6 and even pulled one out of a Vento (Mk3) with a view to dropping it in my Robin Hood 2B kit car but I eventually sold it to someone on here as the conversion was proving much more expensive than I was willing to pay (I'm naturally quite frugal/tight/broke). But when a customer of mine was unwilling to spend the required cash to get his VR6 4 Motion though an MOT and then offered the car to me for £300 it was too good an offer for me to ignore (even though I didn't really have the space for it at the time!). The MOT list was quite long but all straight forward tasks that I've tackled when I've had spare time in between paying jobs and jobs round the house etc. The picture shows the area I had to create behind my garage so I would have somewhere to work on it. There are some cosmetic issues that will need addressing, slight dent it N/S sill, both N/S doors and at some point its had a "new" front bumper from a non headlight washer equipped car and it just doesn't sit right. The interior is okay but needs a new gear lever gaiter and the steering wheel leather repainted. I have already replaced the detached glove box lid. The wood panelling is showing its age with cracked lacquer and I have had to replace the window switch assembly in the door.

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The MOT list was as follows:

Seized N/S/R caliper

EML light (caused by a noticeable mis-fire)

CV joint gaiter

Serious engine oil leak

N/S/F wheel bearing excessive play

Exhaust leak

 

When I came to actually start working on the car, of course the list got longer, and longer! A compression check and code read had me slightly concerned with multiple misfires and a very low dry compression reading on one cylinder. This came up with some oil down the bore so a quick glug of diesel was chucked down the bore to see if that would loosen any stuck rings. After soaking for a few days the compression came back up and 2 new coil packs cured the miss-fire and allowed the EML light to dis-appear. The engine sounded smooth both cold and warm, starts on the button and sounds really nice, but you know that already. Having removed my concerns about the engine needing big work I decided it was time to invest in some bits. Starting with the oil leak I knew what the likely cause was but I pulled the front of the car off just to confirm and was greeted by a disgusting oil mess the vaguely looked like it might be an oil filter and housing? There was also signs that when oil had been put into it not all of it went in the filler hole!

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With all the gaskets ordered and delivered the front of the engine was cleaned and the filter housing and oil/water heat exchanger were all removed, cleaned and re-assembled along with a new oil filter off course. It all looked much better post assembly.

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Whilst messing around with the oil filter housing I noticed that auxiliary air pump mounts were all broken so that the housing was resting on its bracket and buzzing rather loudly when running. I could have replaced these with new but the dealer wanted some ridiculous amount for them and I have had success with fixing these type of bobbins before with Sikaflex. Whilst this was being done I gave the rather crusty support bracket an good clean and a lick of paint.

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As I want the car tip top mechanically it was sensible to change the thermostat as the coolant was drained and access to it would never be better, the parts were ordered. Someone had been here before and had slobbered gasket sealant everywhere. The whole are and housing were cleaned before re-assembly.

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The battery wasn't holding charge nor was it able to deliver the right current under load so I borrowed one from my stash just for testing but the retaining bolt snapped off as it was badly corroded as was the clamp. I removed the battery tray, drilled and tapped the bolt hole and found a suitable looking bolt from my spares box. The bolts and clamp have of course since been de-rusted, cleaned and painted. The battery didn't even work after using my clever recovery charger so it has been replaced with a new one.

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A rather pricey air pipe had been "repaired" by someone with gaffa tape so a new one was ordered. It clips into the engine cover and this had been broken at some point by someone who presumably didn't know it was there when the cover was removed. The new pipe was the best part of £90! The engine cover was cleaned and I glued the pipe support clip hole back to the rest of it. I may revisit the repair as I now have a plastic repair staple gun and will probably reinforce the joint.

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The engine under-tray was not fitted to the car when I got it but the PO kindly dropped it off for me later. It was cracked and grubby so was thoroughly cleaned and stitched back together with wire ties. Again the plastic staple gun may be used on this. The side panels this is bolted to are missing some of its fixing so I still need to source those.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In between "important" jobs came the little nice to do ones. The aerial grommet had almost completely disintegrated and was replaced with one of eBay for next to nothing. The roof was given a good clean before it all went back together.

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One of the PO's MOT fails was for a sticking N/S/R caliper. This was probably due to a seized slider pin and although it was easily fixed I decided to replace all the seals in all the calipers anyway. The bleed nipple on this caliper was stuck solid and despite lots of heat cycles and penetration fluid it refused to budge and had to be drilled out. It was replaced with an adaptor and new nipple that came as part of a caliper repair kit. The iron based parts were cleaned with a needle gun and the alloy rear calipers were cleaned with elbow grease. New discs and pads were fitted of course.

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