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Polar White and Rust - a restoration epic, can it even be done?


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Been slacking this week as I’ve been struggling with a bit of a cold, err I mean man flu of course - it’s the worst as everyone knows :)

Anyway, got a few things done/organised tonight:

- thanks to the lads, ordered a refurb kit for the front brake calipers, hopefully that will be here soon.

- ordered the 10mm hex bit on a 1/2” Drive, so fingers crossed I can get the retaining bolts out.

- gave the badges another couple of coats of clear lacquer and they look even better now.

- cut and fitted the new heater hose I had on order, so now the heater matrix is back in the circuit.

- adjusted the hydraulic tappets to quieten them down.

- fitted the rocker cover again with a new gasket.

- reinstalled the air filter box, new filter and associated vacuum, breather and hot/cold air feed hoses connected etc - all good.

So tonight the engine appears to be oil and water tight again and starting on a flip of the key - a major step forward.

They engine bay now looks like it should again, for the first time in a month....

Next up is to complete the basic/initial brake refurb to make sure they are all free and working before getting more serious with them further down the line by making and fitting a complete set of new rigid brake lines. I did that on my last Cav Coupe, only takes an afternoon and then you can forget them for a few years.

There will be plenty more to report over the next couple of weeks - provided Santa comes through will a few items off my wish list :)

Cheers all.

Edited by IanMc
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Good news - today the caliper refurb kit and the hex bit arrived, so all systems are go for the caliper work over Christmas.

Just need a set of pads to grace them once done - anyone have any recommendations?

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Slightly frustrating end to the day today, but we will keep battling on...

Everything started off well, couple of simple jobs done:

- fixed the glove box catch (seized open)

- painted the globe box release button as the silver paint had worn off over the years.

- used a well worn scourer and some warm water to try to tidy up the engine bay a bit - I hope that you will agree that it looks a lot better now than it did when I got the car...

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(As per my post in the Basic Tech Help section), I did some good work around the alternator this morning - generally tidying up and cleaning the connections and wiring itself. The battery/charge red lamp has been illuminated since the car has been running, so I suspect an alternator fault - but need to do some tests. Mine is a Delco Remy alternator and this morning I noticed that the plastic two wire connector that plugs in the side had bared wires, allowing the two to touch each other - now that cant be good. So could this have fried something inside?

Then I moved onto the passenger side front caliper. Armed with my newly arrive 1/2" drive 10 mm hex bit and breaker bar the two cap head bolts came out effortlessly - result :)

With the caliper removed I stripped everything off, what a mess!

The piston was seized, but after about an hour of in/out, push pull type work, I managed to get the piston out - phew. My new caliper overhaul kits have arrived, so I had hoped to get at least one fitted and working correctly, but sadly that was not to be.

During the strip down process I noticed that the bleed nipple had been sheared off - great... So the only thing to do was to drill the remnants out, order some new nipples and a suitable size of tap - sods law says that I had every size tap but the one I needed of course - oh well.

So I finished off by simply double checking that everything else was fine and present for reassembly of the caliper, then treated it to a coat of fresh black Hammerite and left it to dry.

Unfortunately the calipers will have to wait until the New Year now before they can be finished (as I am now waiting on more parts), but they will at least all be done correctly and looking smart in a new coat of paint. 

Note to self - must get some brake fluid in!

Merry Christmas to all.

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Another early start today, I must get my sleep pattern sorted out lol

Pottered about for a few hours, mainly focused on the electrics today - something different.

Sorted out the wiring in the area of the passenger headlight. The earth point was crusty and the wiring stripped from the connector, so cleaned and reconnected that.

For some reason all of the lamp wiring had been cut off the loom and chucked in the boot - weird. So managed to rejoin all of those again and insulated the joint with heat shrink tubing. The I then realised that I had left the rubber grommet off that seals the rear of the headlamp, so cut it all off and did the job again lol  :)  On the plus side when I stumbled across the aforementioned grommet in the boot, it was stuck to the headlamp rubber 'L' shaped gasket that I thought was missing - result! The net result of all this fumbling about is that I now have two front side light and dipped beam bulbs that work at the required time...

I then turned my attention to the 'simple' matter of getting the interior light to work, something tiny, but another job to be done. The festoon bulb was rusted to the spring slips in the roof and the wiring connectors were rusted to the spring clips - so no wonder that didn't work. After cutting off the old connectors I was able to ascertain that the power was there and remedial action began. About an hour later, all sorted.

I then turned my attention to the passenger headlamp that had been hanging out and its guys missing since the car was delivered. Spurred on by the new wiring in that corner, it seemed appropriate that this job was next. Thanks again to OMOC member 'Hatch' for providing me a wonderful selection of lamp cases, lenses, bulb holders etc I set about trying to make one decent N/S headlight out of about three rubbish ones. That's still a work in progress at the moment - paint drying etc, but that little job is also shaping up nicely. I will then do the same to the drivers side lamp assembly of course.

ps surprisingly little rust was found in the lamp recess after it was withdrawn, all that is needed here is a little wire brushing, a coat of Kurust and then some white Hammerite probably - nobody is ever going to see it anyway.

All the best guys - Happy Christmas to all.

Edited by IanMc
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Got a bit more done this afternoon.

- removed both reg plates as: 1) the rear one had a cracked '1' that was threatening to fall off and get lost, so needed repairing,  2) in preparation for the body work marathon that is fast approaching... and 3) My Wife had gone shopping lol...

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As I had to move the car a little - it reversed on its own everyone!! - to get a table out for tomorrow (you know how it is), I also maneuvered it a bit further away from the wall so that I have access to the drivers side now. This allowed me to jack up the front so I could remove the wheel for painting and access to the front caliper - which is also seized solid, preventing the car from going forward - but curiously it will reverse OK'ish.

As I forgot to take a photo of the front wheel before painting, here is one of the back to make up for it - if anything the front one was worse!



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Obviously once it is dry I can fit the centre cap and the chrome ring to complete the look.


Almost put the headlamp back together again, then thought that I would be rushing it, so will leave that for another day.


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Quick photo of the reinstated wiring from this morning.

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Other stuff to be sanded and painted in the coming days - wheel nuts and reg plate mounting brackets/back plates.

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Edited by IanMc
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41 minutes ago, Monaco Blue said:

Blimey, you do keep yourself busy! :) Liking the refurbished headlamp body. Hopefully it will be suitably reflective. 

Are you leaving the wheels completely black? Silver spokes would look better (and more OEM). 

Anyway, keep up the good work! 

Thanks MB, much appreciated.

I am keeping the wheels completely black, take a look at one of the first jobs I mentioned near the top of this project. When you add the centre and the chrome rings, I think they look a bit different and maybe, dare I say it, classy? Lol. :)

When I start putting the headlamp back together I will take two or three photos, so you can see if you think If will be ‘MOT friendly’.

Merry Christmas!

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Your Polar White Cav is just one year younger than mine, so I expect you will have the same poor headlights as I have had, I changed the bulbs in my car a couple of days ago, I fitted a pair of "Ring"  Xenon bulbs, it says on the box that they give 130% more light, and they really do give more light, the light is more whiter, if that makes any sense!!!! am that as you are renovating in that part of the car now, you may want to change the bulbs, if you do, don't handle the new bulbs by touching the glass. And as Martin has just mentioned, You are keeping yourself busy, and I like the way you report every detail, even a mention of a slight mistake, or a lack of concentration ie like leaving the grommet off!!  Keep up the good work, you will get there in the end.

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Thanks Julian, that’s a good idea to fit brighter bulbs.

I have used Nightbreakers on other cars and always found them excellent.

Project threads should be a fair representation of what actually happens I guess, the good and the bad.

We all hope that everything goes to plan, but we know that it rarely does in the real world.

Its good for morale to keep the project going forward, so even when a problem or two are encountered, I just start another mini project and think about how to fix the other ‘difficulty’.

My car isn’t costing any real money at the moment, so even problems are just inconveniences really.

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement lads, much appreciated.

Have a great Christmas everyone!

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Today's mini-update.

Since I have started to investigate and (hopefully) solve a few electrical problems recently, I thought I would have a quick look at the lamp that should light next to the automatic gear selector position - that has never worked...

After the center console was removed the cause was obvious and very simple to fix - the earth wire had come away from the bulb holder:

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Curiously the two connections are not the male/female spade type, they are simply two short prongs that sit in a slot to rub against the contacts of the bulb holder - a bit weird to be honest.So basically it is relying on friction to keep the wires in place/from sliding down and off. I appreciate that normal connectors are also friction fit, but of course the difference is you have one part 'sleeving' over another over a decent length - these legs are just 2-3 mm long.

Anyway, whilst trying to extract the little green plastic retaining bracket that the bulb holder slides into it was clear that somebody had been here before as both legs of the green part had visible cracks in them and some old adhesive on the inside edges. Of course as I tried to get it off the inevitable happened and the thing lost one leg and the other was very wobbly. A quick visit from Charlie cable tie and the bracket was back in place and nothing was being fouled or obstructed by the cable tie.

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By the way, the wetness that you can see is WD40, I thought that it would be a good idea to give all of the pivots and contact faces a lube and clean up while I was in there. The whole mechanism runs and feel really smooth now, although it was already pretty good to be honest. 

While I was in there I took the opportunity to take all the components parts off the center console and gave them a good clean up.

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A quick check of the lamp before everything went back together proved that the lamp now worked as it should. 

Not exactly a major milestone, but a useful fix in the hour that I had to spare  :)





Edited by IanMc
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Got a bit more done this afternoon, while my Wife went off shopping - well the shops were closed for one whole day.... lol  :)

Encouraged by my 'electrical success' this morning, I carried on trying to get as much of the system working as possible:

- N/S door switch stripped and cleaned and now working (so the interior/courtesy light works now of course. To be honest I really dont know why I wasted half an hour on this, should probably have just hit eBay instead - but thgats me, I just have to try to get things working again if possible - original is best for me :)

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- cleaned the body earths next to each rear light cluster and some of the lamps sprang to life, but not all. Encouraged by this I decided to remove the rear lights and clean them. As you can see they started off in a bit of a state.

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- each bulb removed, tested and then cleaned - all were working.

- cleaned each lamp holder to ensure good contacts.

- cleaned the tracks on each light cluster to again ensure a good contact.

- refitted both clusters, now all lamps were working - and brightly!

- the number plate bulb was flickering, so that came off and got the treatment it needed (as usual, the screw heads were mangled and rusty...), but now that shines brightly too.


Then caught up with a few odd jobs left over from the weekend:

- painted the number plate bracket and back plate.

- painted the wheel nuts from the front wheel that I took off the other day.

- painted the battery clamp and bolt that I had found in the boot earlier while playing with the rear lights. The boot of this car is turning into a right Aladdin's cave.

- assembled the NS headlamp. I am pleased with the result - just need to get it fitted and see what the MOT man thinks (assuming the car ever makes it to a test center lol)

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It still needs some tidying up, but I had to let that adhesive/sealer go off fully first.

- stripped out the OS headlamp as the glass on that is smashed and needs replacing. I have an excellent Hella lens (thanks again to 'Hatch''!) that is standing by - probably a job for tomorrow.

Then I will be able to get both headlamps back in and connected again.


Other electrical systems/devices known to not work, but have not yet been investigated are:

- NSF indicator (screws rusted and mangled, so I need to drill those out first).

- NSR indicator - this is probably related to the front? - I seem to recall that the sides are individually fused, will check the manual later.

- Heater/blower fan

- Heated rear window - thinking about it, I haven't even tried this yet.


That's it for today, have a good evening everyone.

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Good evening all,

Today's little update, not too much done today as my Son wanted my help viewing and buying a new car. Nice car and he will collect it tomorrow :)

Anyway... this is what I have squeezed into today:

- removed drivers seat to be able to access the door panel.

- while the seat was out I lubricated all of the moving bits and bobs of the seat as things were a little stiff/gummed up. That all works beautifully again now.

- ran a smear of grease along the seat runners/rails to ensure smooth forward and back movement.

- got the drivers door panel off to take a look at the door lock/unlock mechanism. Ever since receiving the car that door has never worked. As the external handle just felt completely loose I assumed that a rod or catch had become disconnected inside the door cavity. With the door card and membrane removed it was obvious that the whole mechanism was rusted and probably seized or at least very stiff from standing for all that time. A good dose of WD40 and continuous working of the various rods and the general mechanisms has everything working again - so I now have a fully working drivers door :)  :thumbup

- refitted the drivers seat.

- removed the OSF brake caliper in readiness for strip down and refurb

- refitted the chrome ring and centre cap to the OSF road wheel, so that's three out of four wheels finished now.

- removed and painted the OSR road wheel.


Tomorrows jobs (hopefully):

- refit the drivers side door card, cleaning everything up as I go.

- assemble the OS headlamp again after its mini refurb.

- refit the NS and OS headlamps again and get a basic aim with them.

- remove the OSR drum

and then if I still have some time left..

- strip down, inspect and hopefully rebuild the OSR brake assembly, then adjust accordingly.

- check the handbrake operation and adjust if required.

Cheers all, have a great evening      :thumbup

Edited by IanMc
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55 minutes ago, Monaco Blue said:

There's no stopping you! Looking forward to seeing if you attack the body work with the same gusto! :)

The restored headlight looks good! 

Lol, yes Sir - Santa kindly brought me an air powered belt sander and a sheet metal nibbler, so that should help.

Just need to get myself a new welding helmet and a fire blanket (so I don’t set fire to my grubby old lounge carpet it the garage) oh yeah and some sheet steel :)

Stay tuned!

Edited by IanMc
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Quick five minute job tonight on the electrical side.

Checked out the blower motor switch - all good across both speed contacts using a circuit/continuity tester.

Then checked that power was reaching the motor itself via the black multi-connector - again all good there, so have to assume that the motor itself is either seized or jammed with some debris of some sort.

I did read earlier that if they sit dormant for some time in damp or wet conditions they can seize, so I guess that is the problem, but obviously more investigation needed here. Maybe another job for tomorrow?

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Yes they can get very stiff when not used.also the power connector can become a loose fit .if you remove the fan unit you should be able to free it off with some 3in 1oil. Dont use wd as its too thin and not realy a lubricant as such.also ive found that engine oil is too thick. The bearings are just self aligning sleeves so make sure the shaft is turning inside them rather than the sleeves turning in their housings. Also be carefull not to overdoo the brush end and get any oil on the brushes or commutator.

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Thanks CIH, much appreciated.

Funnily enough I have just finished doing pretty much just what you have described lol

Good news, the motor is now free and running nice a smoothly on both settings. 

I’m very pleased with that and also a little surprised to be honest.

Slowly but surely, the electrical systems on this car are coming back to life :)

So I just have to get both NS indicators to work now.

Oh yeah and check the HRW at some point, but that can wait to be honest.

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OK enough slacking - got stuck back into it today  :)

Here's a list of the small victories achieved this morning:

- Fitted NS headlamp - tested, all OK

- Fitted OS headlamp - tested, all OK

- Removed OSR brake drum (after a bit of a struggle)

- Painted OSR brake drum after a good clean inside and out.

- (As with the other side) one of the adjusters was seized solid - billy blowtorch to the rescue again  :thumbup

- Stripped everything else off/out and gave it all a good clean up - no evidence of any fluid loss or leaks, great news.

- Rebuilt the rear brake assembly and adjusted the shoes as required.

- Refitted the drum and the freshly painted road wheel (complete with chrome ring) - still missing a center for this wheel though... :(

- Checked handbrake operation (it was fine), but needs the under car adjuster tightening slightly as it was fully engaged on 8-9 clicks. If my memory serves me right, that should be 4-8 clicks - but thats a job for when I get underneath to tackle some of the underseal stripping etc.

- Refitted the drivers door card and cleaned/lubricated (again) all of the mechanism, glass guides and runners etc. The window now can be operated with one finger on the winder arm lol.

- Refitted the blower motor after last nights fix - all still working sweetly.

- Removed the nose cone chrome strip below the headlamps for cleaning and some straightening work.

- Bodged a fix to hold the rubber bonnet stay in place. This involved drilling a horizontal hole right through the block (below the piece cut out for the arm to sit in), and cable tieing it to the steel platform. Crude, but effective lol

- Removed the NS rear quarter glass to do my normal fix for the glass to hinge area - more details to follow on this when I get it done... Perhaps this might help others? - done this fix on my last two Coupes and never had one fail again yet - Doh, that jinxed it :)


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Here is my bonnet stay bodge....

Drill two holes: one right through the rubber block close to the base and another through the adjacent Steel.

You should find that there is a small gap on the right (as you look at my photo) to thread the tie through.

Unfortunately I only had 5 mm wide cable ties in my draw, but of course you could use ones that are far smaller than that.

I hope this helps somebody else  :thumbup


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By the way, I also have a spare block if anyone else needs one. Its the same as the one I fitted above in every way, including the missing 'push through' piece on the base that is supposed to keep it in place, hence my bodge.

Is this a common problem with this part? 

Edited by IanMc
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