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Old 28th March 2017, 04:55
Mick O'Malley Mick O'Malley is offline
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Default Up in Flames - Almost

Sunday at last provided an opportunity to go for a first non MOTdrive so, having loaded my tool wallet and Machine Mart towing bar into the passenger footwell (paranoid, moi?) I set off to visit a longstanding kit car friend who I met through the Dutton Owners' Club back in '82. He's a very early member and won the competition to design the club badge.

It's about 14 miles and everything went well initially. However, about ten miles in I stalled her at a lights controlled crossroads and the cranking motor started playing silly buggers. I jumped out and began pushing but the hump where the uphill road to the left joined defeated me. Luckily a kind gentleman came around the corner and assisted, unlike some of the motorists behind, one of whom started angrily sounding his horn! There was a handy bus pull-in so I parked there and pondered solutions. There was a fairly steep downhill section to my front but I thought I'd try the button again and it behaved . Typical!

I pressed on without further incident and spent a very pleasant hour helping my friend decide the way forward with the leaky diesel tank he'd removed from his LDV based camper and departed. I'd earlier noticed the fuel was low so popped in the station at the bottom of the hill where he lives. 15 litres should be OK, I thought. Completely forgetting the right angled bend in the filler neck (it's in the fin, and the only previous filling was from a can) and with my eyes glued to the spinning numbers I proceeded until the petrol blown back stared to splash my hand - aaaaaaargh!!! Stupid boy!

About half a litre was swilling about inside the fin and a wide dribble was coming from the bottom of the boot lid, which I opened to reveal a thin stream coming from a tiny hole under the rear of the fin inside the boot. This proved serendipitous as mopping up inside the fin would be impossible. I pushed her backwards a couple of feet so the dribble was over the gulley and fetched a sand bucket. Once the dribbling ceased I pushed her further back into the sunny bay for non-fuel customers and sanded the spill.

There was still about a cupfull in the boot so I grabbed a few handfulls of paper towels and mopped up. This was very messy as the petrol was dissolving the black paint on the boot floor. I then sat in the sun for half an hour (after paying) with the fin flap and boot lid open until everything dried off in the heat. This interlude was punctuated by interested parties coming to ask about the car, with some very flattering comments.

There were no further dramas: I went to my sister's nearby, but she wasn't in. At the T junction at the bottom of her hill traffic was very slow having been diverted from the M5, a section of which was closed after a crash, and I spotted one front seat passenger videoing me with his hand held device as he passed. The car certainly draws attention, even when it's not going up in flames. Headlines like 'Petrol Station Destroyed in Kit Car Inferno' are best not generated!

I was lucky, and it's definitely not a mistake I'll make again.

I investigated the cranking motor connections yesterday and, sure enough, both ends of the solenoid to motor lead weren't fully tightened. I cleaned and remade them tightly which should prevent a recurrence.

Regards, Mick
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