Reliant Scimitar GTE SE5A 

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29th November 1999 (Heater Matrix)

I have been using the Scimitar a lot more recently and have had no real problems since the above episode. That was until last week  when I started having problems with the windscreen misting up a lot. I noticed this was a lot worse when the heater was on and on arriving home one night I noticed that the drivers footwell had rather a lot of antifreeze in it. I then had to bite the bullet and take out the dashboard, not one of my favourite jobs, to remove the heater unit. After I had removed the heater matrix from the unit I discovered that it had cracked where the matrix is attached via a bracket to the heater unit. I have managed to repair it with solder and it is not leaking any more. The following steps are roughly what I did.

  1. Drain the water (Bolt on bottom of rad.)
  2. Remove hoses to heater matrix (engine compartment)
  3. Remove centre console (Screws at front edge and under ashtrays)
  4. Remove side pieces of carpet trim either side of the lower dash
  5. Remove Steering Wheel
  6. Remove dash (instrument part). What I did was to undo the screws and pull the dash forward, after removing heater control knobs, giving access to remove speedo cable and oil pressure gauge pipe and undo wiring harness connectors.
  7. You can then remove the heater unit.
  8. Remove matrix and replace with new. Also replace any foam bits that have disintegrated or fallen off.
  9. Then as they say in all good manuals refitting is a reversal of removal.
  10. Refill with at least 33% anti-freeze mix and look for leaks.

18 March 2000 (Drivers Seat)

I took the car for it's MOT  and it failed on the drivers seat back going back if you exerted pressure on it. I managed to repair it by filing the teeth on the ratchet and took it back the next day and it passed. Unfortunately my repair on the heater has only lasted 6 months so this time I purchased a reconditioned exchange heater matrix from Scimpart for what I thought a very reasonable 47. The heater seems far more efficient than it was before but of course that could be because we are in the middle of summer.

24th February 2001 (Rotor Arm)

Whilst servicing the Scimitar I noticed that part of the rotor arm had burnt away. A triangular shaped piece about a quarter of an inch in size had gone next to the brass contact. Previously I had noticed a slight misfire which disappeared with a new rotor arm. I asked on the email group if anyone had any ideas why this might have happened and it was suggested that it could have been caused by a worn distributor, checked and OK, or possibly the plug leads which I have replaced. Time will tell if this has cured the problem.

6th April 2001 (Watts Linkage)

I have had a metallic creaking noise coming from the rear of the car that has been getting worse lately. After a lot of investigation I have finally traced it to the large Watts linkage bush. I only noticed what had happened when I removed the bush and bracket from axle. The inner metal sleeve had come away from the rubber and it was this that was causing the noise. To replace the bush the rear of the car has to be jacked up and placed on axle stands with the rear wheel of f the ground. The 2 radius arms can then be released where they attach to the chassis. The 4 bolts holding the Watts linkage to the axle can now be undo and the assembly can then be removed from the car. The radius arms can then be removed from the bracket containing the large bush and the nut holding the outer part of the bracket should then be undone. The bracket and bush should then be pulled from the shaft on the back part of the bracket that attaches to the axle. Next come the worst bit, yes removing the bush from the bracket. Mine was slightly easier as the inner metal sleeve was already separated from the rubber. I then cut through the rubber and outer sleeve using a hacksaw. You have to be very careful that you don't cut too far and start cutting then bracket. It was then just a case of drifting the old bush out. I cleaned up the inside of the bracket as it was quite rusty and lubricated it with some grease before squeezing in the new bush with the aid of a large vice. Fitting is just a reverse of removal. A new bush has solved the problem.

15th April 2001 (Lockheed Brake Servo)

I have been having a few problems with my Lockheed Servo. I was experiencing no response from the servo under light pedal pressure and after a split seconds panic and harder pressure from the right foot all would be OK. I had assumed that the problem wasn't with the servo as this was the second one I had tried and I had learned to live with it until I read an article in Slice (the RSSOC bi-monthly magazine) by Dave Stevens . He had similar problems but he decided to contact Lockheed and what follows is from his article in Slice.

The problem lies with the piston seals in that part of the hydraulic circuit controlling the air valve (the white disc on top of the servo brake cylinder). In order to prevent the possibility of of brake fluid (very rarely) seeping around the piston - a second 'O' ring had been fitted to it as a precaution. This can lead to the sort of problems I experienced when counter pressures in the system are not enough to overcome the pistons' 'inertia' and return it back to its start position.

Here is the corrective procedure.

1. Swap the lids from the brake and clutch reservoirs (providing your car isn't an Auto) - this will enable you to trap a piece of  polythene sheet under the brake reservoir lid (screw it down tightly), which will reduce fluid loss.

2. Remove 5 screws to separate the valve body. Inside you will find a rubber membrane - worth checking for holes.

3. Remove 3 countersink screw holding the valve body to the the servo master cylinder.

4. You will need help here - someone will need to gently depress the brake pedal while you hold a clean cloth over the exposed face of the cylinder. The piston (it's only about 8 - 10mm dia.) should partially pop out.

5. Inspect the piston and note that there are 2 'O' rings. I removed the one furthest from the 'pointy' end. Clean the piston surfaces with meths. an re-insert.

6. Re-assemble as above, remove the polythene sheet, swap the reservoir lids back and top up the fluid if necessary. Mine didn't lose much fluid and didn't require bleeding.

Thanks Dave.

As mine was an auto I couldn't swap the lids of the master cylinders but I didn't lose and fluid at all. This only took 30 mins. and has totally transformed the brakes.

8th July 2001 (Front Wheel Bearing)

I had noticed that the brake pedal was noticeably nearer the floor after the car had been on full lock so I decided to check the front wheel bearings. The drivers side was quite badly pitted so a new bearing kit was purchased from Graham Walkers. When drifting out the old bearings it's worth cleaning out the old grease from the middle of the hub so that you can see the 2 opposite cut outs behind each bearing. These are there so that you can put your drift behind the bearing in these positions. A friend of mine, a few years ago, spent over an hour trying to drift out an old bearing and he couldn't move it so he gave up and took it to a garage. When he got the hub back without the bearing he could then see the cut outs and of course he had been hitting the hub not the bearing and all he had done was to ruin the end of his brass drift.

When refitting clean out all of the old grease from the hub. After fitting the new hub bearings you should put the hub assembly on to the stub axle together with the D-washer and the castellated nut. Then tighten the nut until resistance when turning the hub is felt. Slacken off the nut by half a flat and if the split pin hole doesn't line up slacken it until it does. You should then mark the position by centre punching the nut and the stub axle. Next remove the hub assembly and fully pack the space with multi-purpose grease. Then using jointing compound attach the felt seal to the seal retainer and wait for it to dry. Next soak the seal in oil and remove any surplus by squeezing. Refit the hub D-washer and nut. Tighten until the marks align. Fit the new split pin and the cap. It's also worth checking the end float again after 100 miles to see if the bearings have settled.

17th March 2002 (Engine Hoses + Headlamp)

Whilst doing a service and pre-MOT check (It passed with no problems) I discovered that the silvering had all but disappeared on the offside headlight so a new one was ordered from Graham Walkers along with the hose that goes from the water pump to the heater and the hose that goes from the water pump to the thermostat housing as these were both showing signs of splitting and going soft.

7th July 2002 Water Pump

First symptom was a dry gravely type noise coming from the engine compartment. On investigation I noticed that the pump pulley had some play in it and it was dripping slightly from the small hole beneath the bearing. I had a spare pump sitting in the garage so I decided to fit that. The first thing to do is to drain the anti-freeze. The easiest way to remove the pump is to remove the spare wheel and the cover that is bolted to the radiator which gives you access to the front of the pump and also to jack up and remove the drivers side front wheel which gives you access to the large radiator hose on the side of the pump and the heater matrix hose on the rear. It's then just a case of loosening the alternator and removing the fan belt, removing the hoses and then undoing the 3 bolts that attach it to the block. Then as they say in all the best books re-fitting is a reverse of the removal process. The whole job took me less than an hour. One thing worth remembering is to make sure that you don't have the fan belt too tight as it will ruin the water pump bearing or too loose so that it will fall off.

4th April 2003 Indicators

I was checking the car over for the MOT when I noticed that after switching on the Hazard Warning lights the indicators no longer worked. This was quite easily solved as I assumed correctly it was something to do with the Hazard switch. I removed the switch and dismantled it. It's just a case of removing the part that stops it falling through the dash by pressing in 2 clips and then  gently prising off the rocker part. I then gently cleaned the contacts and put some Vaseline on them and reassembled it. The indicators now work perfectly. The problem is caused because when the Hazard switch is operating it disconnects the "normal" flasher power feed. Switching off the Hazards reconnects it. I discovered the two plain green wires on the Hazard switch are the ones that need to connect together within the switch for the normal flashers to work. They do this when the Hazard switch is in the off position.