Do you believe in fairies?

Vintage Alvis Maintenance

Do you believe in fairies? - 2015

  • Another year (two and a half actually), and my compressions have disappeared again!

    After a winter spent putting in a starter solenoid and rerouting the battery cables the car started first time and I drove it out of the garage to tick over. I got out of the car to check things over and after about five minutes it started to run slower and slower and as I lent in to adjust the hand-throttle it stopped.

    There followed the usual check list of things to do:
    - Switch to reserve tank, and try again
    - Clean spark plugs, and try again
    - Put in new spark plugs, and try again
    - Check magneto, and try again
    - Mentally calculate the cost of an engine rebuild, and PANIC.

    But could history be repeating itself? I turned the engine over with the handle and realised that the compressions had disappeared, again.

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    In need of moral support I phoned Peter who lives on the other side of Brighton and owns a four-seat tourer of the same age.

    We poured some petrol into each cylinder, went through the start up procedure and…not much happened but we did it again and again and finally it started, sounding perfect. We let it run for a bit, took it for a drive and then checked the compressions again and the fairies had replaced them.

    So, what happened? Well, during the winter I keep the Alvis in my partner’s garage and to stop the exhaust smelling the mews house out I fix an exhaust hose - I’m guessing that the exhaust hose (which was kinked) had choked the engine by not allowing the gases to escape and that the valves had carboned up…

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    This website contains my personal Maintenance schedule based on the late Micky Radford's "The Vintage Alvis Manual" and is supplemented by Lubrication charts from the Alvis TJ 12/50 Instruction Book. These notes are not intended as advice or guidance to the reader.