Monday, 18 February 2013

Oil control

    Wonderful stuff, Redex. Never heard of it? It's one of the great row of Magic Bottles of Stuff you'll see down at your motor parts store, all designed to make your car's engine run smoother, have more power, or attract more girls or something.
    Redex though really does work. Its job is simple, removing "coke", built-up deposits of carbon and whatever else is left behind in your engine, and you can either put a bit of it in your fuel tank or pour it directly into your air intake.
    Or in my case, directly into a cylinder. Number three on the Wreck has been isolated as the cause of the huge clouds of smoke that have beset the vehicle since I put it back on the road a couple of years ago. Or more specifically, the oil control ring on number three. It stops stray engine oil finding its way into the combustion chamber, or in this case it doesn't.
    A long conversation with the World Expert on Wrecks resulted in the suggestion of using Redex in this slightly unusual way. It seems Wreck engines are notorious for oil control rings sticking if you leave them standing, and the Wreck stood for quite a few years before I put it back on the road.
    So yesterday in a very welcome day of February sunlight, I squirted a shot of Redex into cylinder number three. Then tightened the fan belt. And sheared off one of the dynamo bolts, resulting in an hour's sorting out a replacement bolt.
    The car will sit for a week, then with luck when I next start it there will be a huge cloud of smoke as the Redex and all its associated crud blows away, then there will be no more oil problems. Alternatively I'll have to have it apart and replace number 3's oil control ring, something I don't fancy at all.
    I remember the days when I didn't care about ingrained oil under my fingernails. A long time ago.


  1. I never liked working on cars but when my dad had motorbikes I used to help him mend them and then, after teaching him to drive a car helped him with problems with his car! I have long-since taken my vehicles to be serviced by others unless the tasks are the simplest to do, I just can't be doing with oily engines. Anyhow, as I remember, I used to get a shot of Redex in the fuel tank whenever I filled it with fuel as an upper cylinder lubricant with all the side benefits you mention. I figured that with petrol engines left standing for any length of time the oil. if any, would drain to the sump leaving the chambers dry. That is ok until you start the engine so I was told. It is when you start the engine that most of the damage is done in wear and tear. Diesel engines don't have the same problem do they? Hope The Wreck starts ok and blows away all the crud.

    Shirley Anne x

  2. I try to remember to scrape nails over a bar of soap before heading out to garden or ***** forbid fixing the bike. I only refill window wash bottle now, the days of replacing big ends lying on the ground or cylinder head gaskets, whatever they are, at the side of the road, are long gone I hope...

    Having said that modern motors lack that je ne sais quoi, the aroma, the excitement of not knowing that you will arrive, the terror when you think the brakes lines have been cut when little deceleration happens, going sideways round roundabouts, good times...

  3. I like that you can buy Redex in Asda now, no need to seek it out - just get your weekly shot with the shopping. Does still work wonders though.

    Suzie x

  4. Ah, Redex... I remember that from my first car, a 1978 Fiesta (older than my 'classic' Spit!) that used more oil than petrol at one point!

    The V70 gets treated to garages. It's too new for me to play with it (and has a guarantee at the moment), though I fully expect to be keeping the Spitfire on the road when it comes here as I (mainly) do for the bike.

    Success when you start it again!


  5. Like Caroline, a simple refill of the windscreen washer reservoir is my limit. On Fiona (a Volvo XC60 with the D5 engine) there is nothing else to do, except maintain tyre pressures. The engine is encased. The special synthetic oil is electronically monitored, and never seems to need topping up. Clearly self-maintenance is discouraged, and why would you, when the car is basically a computer with a few moving bits hidden away. Apart from the fact that getting dirty doesn't thrill me one at all! Let the technicians do it.


  6. Jenny, too darn cold here to tinker on old cars unless I wish to loose a few fingers to frost bite. I hate getting greasy too now...but a little old car time is still a zen experience when it goes well.


  7. Yes gone are the days when ingrained oil was a proud sign of my masculinity, I was once given the tip by a motorcycle repairing chef when hands don't come clean with swarvega, make whole meal bread

    1. Any kind of baking where the hands have to do the mixing does the trick... No body has ever died eating the results...

  8. Hi everyone, thanks for all your comments.

    I've just taken the Wreck out for a turn among the villages, in 1 degree Celcius and very light snow flurries. There was a huge cloud of white smoke as the Redex came through when I started it, thereafter though it seemed to run well the jury's still out on the oil control ring. No huge cloud, but not entirely smoke free either. Of course, it's a 5 decade plus old engine, isn't it.

    Modern cars aren't as unservicable as their manufacturers would have us believe, they can still in a large part be fixed away from expensive manufacturer service. But they are undeniably a little less easy to do so though.

    However the difference between the Wreck and a modern lies in the development of much better oil and higher quality metalurgy, quite simply a modern will not need the attention a car like the Wreck would have. The Rollerskate for instance has done nearly 140k miles and is barely run it, it'll finally be put off the road by something other than an engine fault I'm sure.