Invacar – almost alive!

At the weekend, we finally managed to haul TWC the Invacar into the garage, after a frantic tidy-session that allowed me to squeeze her in there with Elly the 2CV – off the road for the winter.

I’ve been on a print deadline for Retro Japanese magazine, so actual tinkering time has been minimal. However, yesterday, I first decided to try and free off the engine. I’d already got it to turn, but a full revolution was out of the question. I’d tried squeezing oil into the bores, but with little improvement. Then I found my penetrating oil, and decided to give that a go. It even still had the little straw! Amazing.

Yes! We have revolution.

Finally! The engine now rotated freely. At this stage, I decided it was time to get some electricity in the car. I started with a battery I’d taken out of the Omega, when it became clear it was no longer up to supplying the necessary cold cranking amps to start a 2.5-litre turbo diesel. There was life…

Whoa! She lives!

The only thing that worked was the headlights. Odd! Then the windscreen wiper deigned to behave. The indicators were having none of it, and the ignition wouldn’t turn on. Then it did! I managed to find the fusebox, gave it a squirt with electrical contact cleaner and rotated the fuses, and that got the sidelights working.

Getting better!

Well, actually, it got me the nearside one. The offside one took a little longer to come on. It was all very odd. It really did feel like electricity was slowly making its way around the car. I then got brave and tried the starter, but it just clicked. So, I pinched Elly’s battery, a fancy li-ion item, and gave that a go. Same. So, I gently ‘stroked’ the Dynastart unit with a hammer, and you know what? It actually began to turn! It makes a gentle electric hum, and sounds nothing like a conventional starter motor.

A further brief spell of experimentation today delivered less satisfaction. Yes, it turns over nicely, but there’s not much hint of firing up yet. Still, the fluids are circulating, the oil pressure light goes off with cranking and I certainly feel like I’m a step further forward. Tomorrow, I plan to play ‘hunt the spark’ to make sure it’s actually reaching the spark plugs, and I might explore the carburettor a bit more too. The spindle was seized and I’m concerned that the air filter housing may have been dropping rusty crumbs into it…

To be continued!

2 thoughts on “Invacar – almost alive!

  1. Slowly slowly ……catchy…..
    I’d of been over the moon at this stage too its gonna fire up because it wants to.
    Its looking good so far a good wash to any vehicle makes it look miles better
    Keep up the good work gonna be following with interest as i nearly brought one of these for a joy ride on private land over 20 yr ago..
    But got a Honda 90 instead !!!???
    Good luck can’t wait to here it run !

  2. Oh just a memory flashback… I remember helping to push one of these back up the right way one time while out with friends one weekend a fair few years ago , as i can recall they had a habit of tipping over …. And thinking now they were a bit on the wobbly side when going along the road
    Good luck !

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