Warning-Light Provision & Cold-Air Vent Relocation
Well I still think it's TOO much information! But your car, your rules!
It’s all about making oneself aware of a situation, before it becomes a serious or even a critical problem.
It kinda reminds me of a warning label that was popular when i was a young lad, usually applied to the glove box lid of go-faster and rally replica Anglias and Escorts (the sort that ALWAYS had a huge spotlight on the back) It said, as near as I can remember, in best fake German.
My 1973 VW “1600” Type 2 campervan has some factory-fitted warning stickers in genuine German; such as “Sitz nicht wahrend der fahrt benutzen” and “Fahren nur mit veriegelter shiebatur”. Having taken GCE “O” German at school during the early-1970s, I can better understand genuine German (including the Austrian and Swiss varieties) than fake German.
I remember seeing Ford Escort Mk.1s with a single high-level, rear-mounted circular spot-lamps, which I presumed was intended to aid night-time reversing!?! In Sweden, an extremely safety-conscious country re motoring, 55W quartz-halogen reversing lights (auxiliary or otherwise), appear to have been legal for a long time, and have been openly advertised in Swedish automotive mail-order catalogues as such.
I also remember various cars being adorned with prominent white & black striped stickers, bearing the words DISC BRAKES, as though these cars needed to be given a wide berth or greater following distance, as an extra precaution against running into the back of them.
I much prefer the rear-panel sticker which states, “This car might be old and it might be slow, but it’s paid for and it’s in front of you”.
On the brake light warning light, this doesn't tell you that the brake lights are working, only that the switch is. And your idea of a momentary switch to put the brake lights on is also thoroughly illegal. I actually know of one or two people who have been prosecuted for this! I'm also not sanguine about the actual usefulness of this device, but that's just me.
It would be interesting to learn, for what offence or offences the drivers were actually prosecuted, which might have been for the manner or circumstances in which they had activated their brake lights, rather than the method by which they had been activated.
In what statute if any (e.g. Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations or Construction & Use Regulations), does it specifically state that brake lights may not be capable of being activated independently of the brakes?
I agree that a brake-light warning light only tells one that the brake-light switch is functioning, but this is also true of the headlamp main-beam warning light and possibly various other warning lights. Even when firmly depressing the brake pedal, one cannot be certain that the brake lights are functioning!
As part of my weekly maintenance program, I commonly tested the functioning of my various obligatory lamps, including the brake lights. Reflected images, of the illuminated, rear-mounted lights, were clearly visible in the glass doors of the Urban District Council Offices opposite my driveway, so I could quickly and easily check all of these on a daily basis.
One should note that the original factory-fitted brake-light switch, is a manifestation of a momentary switch, rather than a latched switch. Even if I do not retro-fit a separate supplementary, finger-operated brake-light switch, I can still activate the brake lights using the brake pedal, without activating the hydraulic brakes. I fail to comprehend the fundamental difference between activating brake lights using a foot-operated switch or finger-operated switch, if in both cases the brakes are not being applied!?!
On too many occasions, when approaching roundabouts or other junctions with GIVE WAY lines, I have needed to slow down but not stop, which did not require any use of my brakes, but did require a warning to the drivers behind, who were following far too close and/or not paying proper attention. I needed to draw their attention to the fact that I was slowing down, either by use of the appropriate hand signal (which few drivers seem to comprehend and which is no longer included in the driving test!) or by activating the brake lights.
If one uses cadence braking on a slippery surface, which is a legitimate driving technique, then the brake lights will flash on and off, that some following drivers might find distracting, but would the use of a hand-operated momentary switch, to flash the brake lights on and off, be any more or less distracting!?! It might however, wake up the dozy driver behind, who is half asleep or is too busy with the illegal task of using their mobile telephone, laptop or tablet computer.
On the low water sensor and light, I agree its a good idea, which I will probably be incorporating into the dash of my current Dolomega project. However I reckon that a bigger washer bottle is a better solution than a warning light to tell you the tiddly one is empty!
As you are probably already aware, it is an offence to have an inoperative windscreen wiper and/or washer system, the latter of which might simply be attributable to an empty windscreen-washer reservoir. I recall reading about one motorist who was stopped by police for another reason, during which they also discovered his empty windscreen-washer reservoir, for which he was subsequently fined.
I certainly feel inclined to substitute a larger-capacity windscreen-washer reservoir. It remains to be seen, whether I can find or make, a suitably large capacity windscreen washer reservoir, which can be readily mounted in the Toledo’s engine compartment. Hopefully, in the meantime, I can avoid running out of windscreen-washer fluid, on any long journeys I undertake!
The Swedish specification, 1974~79 VW Type 2, is factory-fitted with a combined windscreen-washer & headlamp-washer reservoir of 8•0 litres (14•08 Imperial pints or 1•76 Imperial gallons) capacity, which I shall retro-fit to my British specification, 1973 VW “1600” Type 2 campervan, when and iff I can find one, at a price I can afford.
On the brake pressure warning light, the very late Dolomites with dual circuit brakes have a pressure differential warning sensor with an earthed switch which illuminates - wait for it - the handbrake warning light! Which was suitably relabelled "brake" rather than the earlier "hand brake".
The pressure-differential warning sensors that I salvaged from two late-model Triumph Dolomites, both seemed to have two electrical connections, so I presumed there was no Earth through the housing. This is something I shall check. Both cars also featured a separate, rectangular red-lensed “brake” warning-light unit, of the same configuration as the “fasten belt” warning-light unit. There was a separate “brake” warning light (rather than “park brake” warning light) in the Lucas 6WL 8-segment warning-light cluster.
Looking at the electrical-circuit wiring diagram (marked MTO195/2) & associated key, for LHD Dolomite models, on Pages 86.00.06 & 86.00.07 of the BLMC Triumph, of the official loose-leaf, 2nd edition (© 1973) Dolomite Repair Operation Manual (Publication Part Number 545206) that I borrowed from Essex Libraries, it appears that some LHD vehicles had the option of a “tandem brake circuit”, with Item 73 – “brake line failure switch” and Item 72 – “brake line failure warning light”.
To say the least, the associated electrical circuit, including the oil-pressure warning light and oil-pressure switch, appears decidedly weird, although it might be intended as a means of testing the “brake line failure warning light” when the ignition is first switched on! In effect, the oil-pressure warning light & switch are connected in series with the “brake line failure warning light”; the oil-pressure circuit being short-circuited when the “brake line failure switch” closes.
It’s possible that the late-model RHD Dolomite might have a different circuit, but I have yet to find an electrical-circuit wiring diagram for one of these.
Fluid level sensors in the reservoir caps that are common on moderns always have 2 terminals and it really doesn't matter whether you feed one side and earth the bulb, or earth one side and feed the bulb, it's only a simple switch!
It still remains to find suitable modern-car donors, of two fluid-reservoir screw-caps, with fluid-level switches, of the appropriate thread size for my Dolomite & Toledo brake-fluid & clutch-fluid reservoirs!
The only modern cars with which I have had any acquaintance, were a 1986 Ford Sierra XR4x4 (with optional ABS & air conditioning) and a 2004 SEAT Leon Cupra 20VT. The former I did quite a bit of work on over a 20 year period, but on the latter, I did only basic weekly maintenance checks until my father died in 2011, after which we disposed of this money pit.
I am well acquainted with “simple switches” and how to design, analyse and build simple DC and AC electrical circuits. In bygone years, I also had practical experience of 3-phase AC electrical equipment.
Finally, onto the business of reading instruments. Am I the only one who does this then? As a young man, i learned to fly light aircraft and it was impressed on me from the start that you check your instruments frequently till it becomes habitual.
Being a mildly myopic spectacle wearer, I wasn’t able to gain entry into the University of London Air Squadron during the mid-to-late-1970s. During the early-to-mid-1980s, I could have taken flying lessons at Cranfield Institute of Technology (home of the College of Aeronautics), where I was a student in the School of Mechanical Engineering (formerly the Department of Propulsion), but even with a student discount, flying lessons were about £22 per hour, which was well beyond my means!
However, I did have some involvement with the technical aspects of aircraft and later tutored some aspiring commercial pilots in the physics & mathematics of flight and flying.
Just flying an aircraft in controlled airspace, requires regular repetitive attention to various instruments (e.g. airspeed indicator, artificial horizon, altimeter, rate of climb indicator, compass, propeller-pitch indicator and trim), in addition to monitoring the engines’ performance and operating condition indicators (e.g. fuel reserves, throttle position, engine-rpm, oil pressure, oil temperature, cylinder-head temperatures – each cylinder, exhaust-gas temperatures – each cylinder, carburettor & inlet-manifold temperature and fuel-air mixture).
If an aircraft system is in danger of failing, one needs to become aware of it before the situation becomes critical; particularly if it concerns the engine, its ancillaries or the control surfaces. Unlike a terrestrial vehicle one cannot simply coast to a halt at the side of the road when something goes wrong.
Carburettor icing is a well-known hazard on light aircraft, which can develop rapidly, leading to loss of power and engine stalling (in addition to aerodynamic stalling), as I similarly discovered with the VW Type 2’s air-cooled engine under certain weather & atmospheric conditions. If the engine dies, for one reason or another, one might have little time available to select a suitable emergency landing strip (e.g. Hudson River), especially if flying at low altitude, because most powered aircraft have a relatively poor glide ratio.
Although most aircraft (possibly excluding the Edgeley Optica and the Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer) travel much faster than cars, the three-dimensional sky is rather less crowded than the roads and require fewer and less frequent changes of direction and speed; allowing one a greater proportion of time to check instrument readings.
If you are really, really busy (e.g. racing), and you simply need to know if you can carry on racing or need to stop, very simple warnings are all you want and need. A big FO amber light (carry on, off the racing line, SLOWLY back to the paddock) and a big FO red light (stop instantly). Nothing more than that.
Think about the decision you have to make - what courses of action do you have? What information will actually tell you unequivocally which COA to take?
If you are going flat-out, do you need to know your oil pressure is 45psi when previously it was 48? 45psi is more than enough to feed the engine, it's only if the oil pressure suddenly drops to 20 that you need to worry. So a HP switch and a big light is more use in a race or rally car than a gauge...
Of course a data logger would be handy, if the big FO lights come on and you stop, to tell you what had gone wrong and what you have to mend - by stopping you will hopefully have avoided critical damage and only have to fix the original fault with no consequent damage.
I have never been a great fan of abbreviations and acronyms at the best of times; especially if I cannot find them defined earlier in the text or the glossary. I presume COA
stand for “course of action” and “high pressure” respectively, but I still cannot fathom what FO
In the context in which you were writing, I imagine that an LP
– low-pressure, break-on-rise, oil-pressure switch would be appropriate for indicating a sudden reduction in oil pressure from 45 to 20 psi. An HP
– high-pressure, break-on-fall, oil-pressure switch, might be appropriate to indicate the development of excessive oil pressure, as a consequence of oil-gallery blockage or lubricating oil that is too viscous, which could arise from low ambient temperature.
I like data loggers, having used them for my scientific experimental work in the past, but I think it would be VERY expensive to equip a Triumph Toledo or Dolomite with one of these, together with the necessary transducers.
On the Trolley (JJB) I fitted the Dolomite curved dash and the big multi-function warning light, I wired most of the warning light segments up so if anything important lit up, EVERYTHING lit up like a Christmas tree
I'm thinking actually of adding a loud buzzer/siren to go off if any of the warning lights come on, as I rarely look at the dashboard when driving...
Having a separate, single prominent flashing warning light, in one’s main zone of vision, to alert one to the fact that one or more critical-function warning lights had illuminated, would be preferable to having “EVERYTHING lit up like a Christmas tree”, because if everything lit up, one would not know which critical function had precipitated this event.
Lots of information but a quick sweep every few seconds ("are all the needles in the right place?") will tell you whether you are OK or need to worry about something. This is where some manufacturers will turn gauges round so that the "normal" readings are all straight up and down, all very simple ready for the quick sweeping glance every few seconds.
It would be considered normal practice, in the nuclear and chemical process industries, to orientate analogue gauges, so that for normal readings, the pointers all point in the same direction, which makes both positive and negative deviations from the norm, quicker and easier to detect with a brief glance.