Author Topic: Microcar MOT experiences  (Read 8084 times)

Bob Purton

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Microcar MOT experiences
« on: January 04, 2012, 10:53:48 AM »
Its an interesting subject so I thought a new topic was warranted.
Let us know your experiences with your microcar down at the MOT testing station.

I will start the ball rolling. My old examiner is well past retirement age, he tells me that when he started as a youngster he was testing model T fords!
He is very understanding and makes appropriate judgments when testing old vehicles, he will not pass anything that is badly worn or dangerous but understands that if you have a couple of inches free play on your Isetta steering wheel the car most likely left the factory like this when new.
My only complaint is that he always manages to damage something, on my Schmitt in particular, every year I had to get out the touch up paint on my return from its MOT test. People do not appreciate that you cannot pull some microcars around and man handle them as you can other cars, I refer to pulling and pushing them in and out of the rolling road dip, another local schmitt owner pal had his engine cover severely damaged just after a fresh restoration by a couple of hefty mechanics lifting the back up by its boot!

We had a great laugh the other year when he tested the washers sitting in the schmitt with the canopy up and washed his own face!
It would appear that some of the rules are open to some interpretation, my pal took his Reliant Ant truck in for MOT and this firm is owned by father and son, the Father insisted that the Ant had to be emissions tested, the son also a qualified examiner swore that it didn't need one, a row broke out much to the amusement of my chum. In the end no emissions test was submitted and it passed all the same! Right now its your turn!

Big Al

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2012, 11:32:32 AM »
It is worth searching out a test station that has a inertia brake testing plate rather than a rolling road.

Many Microcars are not suited to rolling roads which do not really test the brake efficiency since they spit the car out. In fact the testers ought to be using a Tapley meter but many testers really prefer not to get this equipment out though they have to have one. It technically means the tester should drive the car which with odd ball stuff is not always ideal. If you have a belt drive variomatic system you must insist it not be placed on a rolling road. This risks serious damage to the drive systems of the vehicle.

Effectively the inertia plate is a car sized tapley meter connected to a computer. You simply drive onto it and brake using the required option brake fitted. The computer works out the figures and if the car is on the 'system' it automatically gets graded, passed or failed with advisory. Not on the system means the Tester has to use additional data or his judgement. These units are fine for all vehicles and the risk of damage is minimal. The car does not even need to run if it is light enough to push. 

The advent of computer dominated MOT testing means you need a tester who really understands older cars. He can over ride the system if he adjudges a car not on the system as safe. Clearly there needs to be a degree of cross information. It pays to take data sheets in so they can be consulted. This builds trust and gains the respect of the tester so discussions on such things as king pin play can be looked at, the design discussed and often the benefit of the doubt obtained. My tester always asks me if the car is for me or to be sold. If sold we apply a greater need for compliance and I would not have it any other way. If given advisories I sort them and next time I have cause to be in the garage I show him the bits I removed and if we were correct or not. We both learn.

Pays to know your testers pet hates. They all have them. Mike is very hot on brake pipes. Thus I nearly always clean them and grease them up. Vasaline is about as much as you can do to flexis. He likes this but still looks for pitting and degraded flexis. To many times I have replaced a brake line way before need so it is worth the effort, which is not wasted anyway as the lines last longer. He is also no fan of Citroen suspension though he likes the cars. Its all those pipes he has to check!
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

Bob Purton

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2012, 10:23:40 AM »
I was wondering why nobody had added there mot experiences and anecdotes to this thread, then I got to thinking of the small nucleus of regular forum contributors and the answer suddenly dawned on me NOBODY DRIVES THEM!

marcus

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2012, 10:57:13 AM »
When my brother and I bought a Velorex from my neighbour I phoned around MOT centres and found one in Bermondsey who would do a 3 wlr; several places did Reliants but would not do a 2 front-wlr. I checked the rules applying to a 3wlr of that age (1967) and made a check list which I took to the MOT tester to discuss before making the booking (the car was not yet running, but getting close). We took the car to the tester in our van so he could compare it with the check list and tell us exactly what would need to be done.  As there was still a lot to do, running it on a quiet local road would be good to get everything tested and running properly during the rest of the restoration work.

Lots of parts do not have to work if they are not fitted, including headlights, so off they came. Although this is sometimes referred to as a "Daylight" MOT, it is actually just a normal MOT, but if you are found driving the vehicle without lights in darkness or bad weather then you will be charged with "Construction and Use" offences. We had to fit a screen washer, so into the foot well I cable-tied a trigger-squeeze sprayer with a piece of thin plastic tubing pushed into its nozzle, the tube fed from the footwell, through one of many holes in the fabric body covering (!) and was glued near the windscreen, it worked fine and was never replaced.  

The Tester told us we would have to fit a steering limiter to stop the pinion being damaged by going beyond the threaded part of the rack. As bought, the pinion did have a missing tooth caused by over-running the rack, and an engineer/welder friend of mine hard-welded a new tooth; for limiters each side I just added a bracket and adjustable nut and bolt to the steering mechanism.

The car had not been fully wired, but we did have to add a brake light circuit to the ignition circuit, there was no charging circuit, but the MOT station was only a mile away. There were no other electrics.

We had to get the speedo working, so I constructed a cable and fittings from several old cycle cables, and from the cables I used for the tuning gauges on the timpani which I make. This worked intermittently, and needed frequent wiggling to work properly, but it did work fine at the time of the actual test.

We had also put on new tubes and tyres and a new windscreen wiper. We tidied up the wheels, apart from some fairly heavy rust they were just good enough to use.

All brakes were serviced. The car came with some new cables. The only starter was the Lever pull starter which was a total pain, and I later put a gear on the crank rod end and added a normal car's starter motor to engage it, as the flat wiring in the PAL dynastart could not be repaired by anyone, but for the MOT it was just down to brutally tough hand lever.

Emissions had to be "No worse than other vehicles of its type and age", the tester had owned old two stroke bikes in the past and reckoned that it was about as smokey and noisy as them.

The rear body work was absent, but as none of it was structural this was not a problem.

Having consulted the tester and done all that he asked (plus a few other improvements) we booked it in, drove round and obtained an MOT. We could then drive it on a quiet local road to test its reliability, and make and road-test other improvements. Later we did a full re-wiring, adding all lighting and other electrical items, including wires for Christmas lights!

We used the car for several years then I bought out my brother's share and part-exchanged it for a Trojan needing complete restoration. By the time the Trojan was ready for MOT my local Tester had closed, so GOGGO told me about his, and that is now where I always take DUF. They are very conversant with 3 wlrs and pleasant to deal with. They also advise if anything needs to be addressed.

Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

NickPoll

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2012, 11:51:18 AM »
Hello Bob,
     My regular use schmitt  ( WYF909 ) was last M.O.T.'d in 1981 when I owned it first time round. It's not a problem now I'm here in France as 3-wheelers & motorcycles don't need an M.O.T. regardless of their age.  When it comes to 4-wheelers some examiners are strict, others a bit forgiving. About a month ago I took my 1923 car for it's M.O.T. ( I wont say what it is for fear of being called a snob twice in one week ! ) I thought they would be easy on it, but it was put through the vibrating pads that check the dampers, the brakes were done on the rolling road. All this had to be up to the computers standards, luckily it past, just.
Years ago when I had a Goggo saloon on the road in Hampshire there was never a problem getting an M.O.T., as the examiner had a Goggo in the early '60's and thought they were the best cars in the world. In many respects I agree with him. They're certainly the best made and most reliable microcar. That's why they sold about 330,000 of them.
Messerschmitt Tiger 500, KR201 roadster, 1955 KR200, 1958 KR200, 1959 KR200, 1964 KR200, Nobel 200, Morgan Super Sports, Goggo Coupe, Isetta 300, Velorex 350, Bond mk D, Lomax.

Bob Purton

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2012, 12:04:27 PM »
Thanks guys, I forgot you guys DO drive them, its the others! :D :D
Well as John Steed drove both a Bentley and a Schmitt we wont call you a snob[or was it Emma Peel?]

Anyone had problems with the schmitt brake light not being red? Or not having a number plate on the front?

Big Al

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 12:07:43 PM »
No and no. The numberplate at the bike has to be a bike sized one. Cars have plates either end.
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
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marcus

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 12:13:01 PM »
Steed drove a Bentley, Mrs Peel drove a 'schmitt briefly, then a Lotus Elan. Emma Peel = M appeal = Man Appeal, that's what she had, and that's why she got the name.
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

Bob Purton

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2012, 01:24:39 PM »
No and no. The numberplate at the bike has to be a bike sized one. Cars have plates either end.

Well mine had an amber brake light, a car sized rear plate and motorcycle front one . Passed every time.

wilksie

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2012, 03:09:27 PM »
Steed drove a Bentley, Mrs Peel drove a 'schmitt briefly, then a Lotus Elan. Emma Peel = M appeal = Man Appeal, that's what she had, and that's why she got the name.

Great ride. I wonder if the registration number is visible in the original program.

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mharrell

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2012, 04:53:13 PM »
...NOBODY DRIVES THEM!

Ahem.  Some of us have no stories because we live in jurisdictions which do not require any sort of periodic inspections, thank you.  Somehow we manage to drive and survive without them.
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Bob Purton

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2012, 06:36:39 PM »
...NOBODY DRIVES THEM!

Ahem.  Some of us have no stories because we live in jurisdictions which do not require any sort of periodic inspections, thank you.  Somehow we manage to drive and survive without them.

I know I know!! Just trying to wake you all up!

Jonathan Poll

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2012, 07:14:33 PM »
Hello Bob,
     My regular use schmitt  ( WYF909 ) was last M.O.T.'d in 1981 when I owned it first time round. It's not a problem now I'm here in France as 3-wheelers & motorcycles don't need an M.O.T. regardless of their age.  When it comes to 4-wheelers some examiners are strict, others a bit forgiving. About a month ago I took my 1923 car for it's M.O.T. ( I wont say what it is for fear of being called a snob twice in one week ! ) I thought they would be easy on it, but it was put through the vibrating pads that check the dampers, the brakes were done on the rolling road. All this had to be up to the computers standards, luckily it past, just.
Years ago when I had a Goggo saloon on the road in Hampshire there was never a problem getting an M.O.T., as the examiner had a Goggo in the early '60's and thought they were the best cars in the world. In many respects I agree with him. They're certainly the best made and most reliable microcar. That's why they sold about 330,000 of them.

The bentley took about 15 mins to pass the brake test, the MOT man made it try until it passed. Loads of times etc, in the end it worked.

A great story with the Goggomobil brakes, my dad will probably post it.
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burford57

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2012, 10:09:55 PM »
I used to own an AC Acedes Model 67 invalid tricycle.  I took it to my local garage for an MoT where it was found to be too narrow to fit their rolling road for the brake test.  The examiner had me driving up the road outside the garage with a Tapley meter on the floor with him following behind in the works truck.  When he flashed his lights, I pushed the brake lever as hard as I could and he would rush round to note the reading on the decelerometer. 

We did this three times to get an average reading before the garage owner, mindful of the time that his mechanic was taking, told him to write me a f***ing ticket, get the f***ing heap of s**t out of his garage and f**k off.

Happy days.  I now take my Poirier to a friendly garage where the examiner says something along the lines of "Oh God, not you again!" and "How the f**k am I going to guess the brake figures on that?"  He then takes it for a spin up the road, comes back with a grin a mile wide and asks where he can get one before issuing the precious ticket.
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NickPoll

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Re: Microcar MOT experiences
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2012, 10:27:24 PM »
A few years ago I took my Goggo Coupe to a Control Technic  ( M.O.T. ) here in France. I put the car on the rolling road to test the brakes. The car was too light for the equipment and he wheels kept locking up. The M.O.T. man sat on the back of the car to add weight, but it still didn't help. In the end he suggested we take the Goggo off the rolling road and put a Peugeot 106 on that was nearby just to get the computer reading. He's now on my Christmas card list.
Messerschmitt Tiger 500, KR201 roadster, 1955 KR200, 1958 KR200, 1959 KR200, 1964 KR200, Nobel 200, Morgan Super Sports, Goggo Coupe, Isetta 300, Velorex 350, Bond mk D, Lomax.