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14725 - Black Phase Ii Auto - Rewind!

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#1 RichardK


    Another filthy Mac User

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 11:42 AM

History repeats, it seems - in 2006 and 2007 I was in a pretty good place in life, and 2016 was utterly brutal. 2017 was promising, but amongst some of the crap my modern-ish car got written off on a roundabout.


At the same time, Phill Wright was selling one of his Seras, so I thought it would make a nice project (giving up on a Mercedes 500 SEC that was just too big and heavy for me to tackle) and get me back into Seras. Weirdly, co-incidence also resulting in my buying an RX8 for £350, and getting a battered Volvo estate, so I have the same 3 cars I had around a decade ago... Time to stick The Postal Service on, throw away the iPhone and party!


So what's 14725 - as yet un-named - like? 5 previous owners, last one being from Northampton, the car has been stood for ages. Both doors are dented, the passenger side worse than the driver's side, and there's the usual front right light shunt damage - bumper bar needs replacing or straightening. Sills, floor and rear arches look good though. Minor dents on rear below hatch and the bonnet is a mess, but probably fillable if I can't find a perfect replacement.


It has SLSS, black with blue interior, centre cubby. Roof is the mirrored tinted style. Roof blinds present, but peeling slightly, likewise for shelf and divider.


I have four original wheels to go on in place of the rather generic spoked ones.


Mechanically, it's showing 147,000km and mostly works well - the autobox is behaving nicely. When viewed it seemed to be running will aside from a howling water pump bearing. When picked up, it seemed a touch steamy - condensation and a lot of water in the exhaust - but once warmed up it settled, but tellingly we had to top it up. It blew the coolant (and a lot of rust) out on the M1 when parked getting fuel - and despite cooling down a touch and carefully topping up the temp wiggled up on the motorway so it got limped to Loughborough, cooled and carefully refilled before making it back home at 50mph to keep the revs down. Seems that at less than 2000rpm it's okay, but over, it pressurises the cooling system.


So what was expected to be a "swap water pump then use it as a rolling restoration" has got a blown head gasket - the cooling system was really silted up, looks like OAT and EG have been mixed (thanks, whoever did that) and the steam from cold is unmissable. I'm running some flush through it, having flushed as much silt as possible out (it gathers in the expansion bottle at least), and will then get into a new gasket and timing belt. The water pump arriving had kicked off the flushing and discovery that it's a head gasket!


These things are sent to... well, try is probably the wrong word. I have four cars needing work right now so it's a bit unwelcome - Twingo in the middle of an engine swap (head gasket, but I found a new engine cheap enough to be worth doing), SLK in the middle of gearbox service and cleanup, RX8 waiting for new brake pipes and caliper service - and now the Sera.


Trim-wise it needs a new seatback for the driver's side - I have a spare foam and cover from a Phase I, that material is so lovely I'd be tempted to swap over - and most plastics have some damage - the dash has a sticky patch left on which means the paint will be thin on that side, the centre console is cracked near the gear selector, the instrument cowling is damaged where someone's snapped a pin off, the steering wheel is falling apart. The wear on the seat and wheel do make me wonder if 147000KM is right - I've had Seras with more miles and they carry the wear well - but it's irrelevant on cars this age.


Doors have one James Espey strut that is too strong for the mechanism (but does dampen nicely at the top) and one tired strut that holds it. Doors will be stripped and the balancers checked and pivots freed off. The seals need doing, as does the trim along the bottom of the window, so I'll see what is still available to sort that, get the window aligned and look for a scratch-free blue driver's side drop glass.


T-section is repainted badly - they painted over the sticky part for the Sera logos, then glued the Sera logos on. What the actual... This is partly why I bought it though, as I'm leaning towards going with an '80s future theme of matte grey and yellow two-tone. I might make an '80s font Sera logo for the B-pillar.


And the windscreen is scratched. ARGH. CHANGE YOUR BLOODY WIPERS PEOPLE. I would literally go back in time, find the person who kept using a wiper with a dead blade until the windscreen was scored, and make them pay for a new windscreen if I could. It's £12 or something for some cheap blades.

Rubbery spoiler on the rear hatch doesn't feel like it fits quite right.


I bought a roof spoiler on eBay described as "Sera Toyota factory spoiler" but it looks like one of those replicas now I've seen pics of the replica. Chances are that won't be going on the car. It cost £50 so I'm not particularly upset, just annoyed the listing didn't state it was a replica.



It's MoTd and I'd like to do the Sera meet in June, so head gasket will have to be done soon. Just really annoying!

170 cars in 25 years - 4 of them Seras!

Sera: 1991 Black Phase 2 Auto - 14725
Not Sera: Yellow 1998 SLK 230K, 1993 500 SEC (for sale), 2006 RX8 192, 2002 Twingo, 1989 Volvo 740.

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