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Alvis TD 21 DHC

Alvis TD 21 DHC Published: 30th May 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Alvis TD 21 DHC
Alvis TD 21 DHC
Alvis TD 21 DHC
Alvis TD 21 DHC
Alvis TD 21 DHC
Alvis TD 21 DHC
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Robert Couldwell wheels and deals on eBay to bring his 1950’s Alvis into the modern age with a Dynator and electric power steering that he could afford

I perhaps should have listened to Keith who looks after my Alvis, when he expressed some doubts about fitting an alternator that looks like a dynamo, otherwise known as the Dynator. As mentioned in the last running report, it was fitted and initially seemed to work fine. A problem came to our notice when I dropped in to Keith at K and N as one of the float chambers was leaking. While we were standing there, bonnet open and engine running, I noticed a slight rumble and asked Keith what it was. He had a listen and said it was the alternator. Off he went to f nd a mechanic’s stethoscope (large screwdriver to you and me) and told me to have a listen through it; sure enough I could clearly hear it. He reckoned a bearing was beginning to break up. No problem, I thought, I would just have to have a word with the supplier, AES who under its three year warranty would just send a new one.

I have obviously become too used to the customer service offered by the likes of Amazon as I really had to work hard with these people to arrange a replacement with their first offer being to ask me to send the old one back for testing. So they were expecting me to take my car to K and N for Keith to remove the alternator and return it to them and for K and N to store the car while it was being sorted. I started to become a little irritated at this point and insisted they send a new one and I would return the old one. This was finally accepted and after testing the unit they claimed nothing was wrong with the old one.

They had obviously misunderstood the complaint – it was not that it wasn’t working but that it was noisy, suggesting future failure. Eventually they reluctantly accepted there was a rumble. I then asked for a contribution to the cost of removing one and fi tting the other and needless to say have heard nothing since. I have told so many classic car owners this story which hopefully will be reflected in the company’s future sales. Customer service is not difficult.

Turn for the better

In the last running report I talked about my eBay efforts to collect enough money to fit power steering. Having been incredibly successful clearing out the loft and garage and selling everything from old cameras to a broken toaster, I had amassed a significant amount and started making serious enquiries about the cost of the power steering. The £4000 I was expecting Red Triangle to charge actually became “around £5500 plus VAT”. That is a cool £6600 minimum. The service manager would not give me a quotation until the steering had been inspected. So that was out. I really wanted K and N to do it as I trust Keith implicitly but he would not give me a quote. After much research and deliberating, I finally decided to use EZ which had converted several Alvis cars and, I was told at one time supplied Red Triangle. EZ is a Dutch company and the UK importer is in Dawlish, Devon who gave me a quote and needed the car for three days.

As we hadn’t had a summer holiday I persuaded my wife we should have a few days in Devon. I did a deal with a hotel and made an appointment with the EZ importer. They even offered me a Morris Minor courtesy car while we were down there which I was really looking forward to as I gave my wife learner-driver experience in my Morris Minor pick-up before we were married.

Fortunately, I made a check call to EZ the Friday before we were due to arrive there on the Monday only to be informed they had forgotten my booking and could I make it a week later to give them time to procure the parts from Holland, specific to my car? Unfortunately, to save money I had paid for the hotel up front and I was a day over the cancellation policy which is another story. Not wanting to forego three days hotel costs we went anyway, but in the ‘modern’…

Half and half

Not being able to afford another three day holiday or the price of trailering the car, I revisited the idea of buying the kit from EZ but persuading K and N to fit it. Grudgingly, Keith agreed and booked the car in at the end of October and suggested I ring him a week later. Oh dear! He was not a happy bunny. There were no instructions with the kit and when he contacted EZ in Dawlish he was told the instructions weren’t sent as they were wrong! He effectively had to work it out for himself as the job required the existing steering column to be cut and a new part column to be welded in. A ‘coded’ welder was required and it just so happened Keith had one in his extensive contact list.

Readers might think from my running reports that Keith is super-human but I now know that he is not. When he was refitting the bonnet after installing the new steering, he, as fastidious as ever decided the bolts were somewhat jaded and fitted new ones, one of which was just a little too long. I am glad I wasn’t there when he realised he had dented the bonnet – I think I might have learned some swear words even I didn’t know. Honourable as ever he said he would arrange repairs and I must say that having had bad experiences with four spray painters, I was a little concerned. Needless to say, the result was perfect and Keith even arranged for his man to deal with a scratch that was already present.

But now to the good news, in fact very good news in this saga; the power steering has absolutely transformed my car and when I phoned Keith to tell him that, I think it did compensate to some extent for the horrendous difficulties he experienced. The power assistance is electric and adjustable. I am gradually reducing the assistance as I only really need it at low speed and when manoeuvring in pub car parks. If the electric assistance fails it reverts to a normal unpowered state.

My next job is to properly carpet the luggage compartment. There is a piece of correct colour carpet on the boot floor but the whole area should be lined and the carpet leathertrimmed. Carpet sets are available but the better quality ones are expensive and trimmed in vinyl so I decided it was time to learn a new skill. My dear wife bought me a heavy duty sewing machine for Christmas and I have been scrounging carpet and leather offcuts to practise on.

I purchased a thick lining paper to make templates as there are some very strange shapes in the boot particularly around the pipe coming from the petrol filler. Unfortunately, having given me the machine, my dear wife has found various projects for me including making six napkins from the remnants of a linen tablecloth damaged by a candle fire. I didn’t tell her but it is good practice and I have been glued to You Tube ever since.

That was yesterday; having practised I actually started on the napkins and, after just one perfect seam, the machine jammed. I have to say that I hadn’t been that impressed with the quality of the Singer machine and I have discovered the description ‘heavy duty’ just means a higher capacity motor.

Certainly the rest of the machine seems a lot less heavy duty than the Jones machine I bought for my wife after we were married more years ago than I am prepared to admit. After several phone calls with the sewing machine supplier, collection was arranged by a very efficient DPD and I will either have a refund or if they don’t accept it’s faulty, a different replacement machine will be supplied under their change of mind system.

In the meantime I have discovered an excellent local haberdashery centre (rare these days) called the Eternal Maker (

I called in with our old machine which I couldn’t get to work and was told it would cost £70 to look at plus any parts required. I said I didn’t want to spend that much as I thought it just required setting up. The very helpful young lady said she would have a look for me and proceeded to rethread cotton and bobbins and adjust the various tension knobs until the machine worked perfectly. She also taught me a lot about sewing machines while doing it and refused to accept any money – customer service isn’t hard!

I made a point of buying an incredible fabric cutter (like a pizza wheel) which I could have bought more cheaply on the internet and some other bits and pieces which somehow compensated for the free help. Naturally, I have recommended the place to so many people and have now signed up for a beginner’s sewing machine course with her over 4 X 1½ hour sessions for a reasonable £75. During my efforts to sort the new Singer machine I did, without knowing at the time, end up speaking with a ’techy’ from Singer itself who said my machine wasn’t suitable for leather/carpet but my new sewing instructor reckons a decent domestic machine is more than capable. I am taking leather and carpet offcuts to my first lesson so time will tell – watch this space!

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