Mk2 Cavalier convertible - new owner queries

I have just acquired a tidy 1986 Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2 convertible with FSH and one previous owner. it's done 123,000 miles and importantly, the body is very solid and the hood is sound. My understanding is that of circa 1500 cars sold in the UK, only around 40 are recorded as being still used on the road. With care, it should be an appreciating value classic besides giving me a lot of driving pleasure. With that in mind and having just acquired it: 1) What tips would you give regarding any immediate attention and checks? Receipts indicate a cam belt change at 98,000 and last MoT shows no advisories. 2) The handbook shows no information on care and erecting/taking down the hood, but browsing forums it appears that there was an accompanying pamphlet on this. Any idea if it's still available (main dealer?) and I gather there's supposed to be a hood cover to hold the folded hood in place when it's down - should I get a custom replacement made via an auto trimmer as I've read they aren't really a standard fit because of production variations? 3) After test driving the car I asked for the wheels to be balanced as there was vibration through the steering wheel even at low speed, but it disappeared at around 60mph. Balancing made an improvement but there's still vibration, not "shaking and teeth rattling" but rhythmic and the steering wheel pulsing clockwise. Could this be a problem with the existing wheels or the drive shaft? Anything else to look for if not?
Congratulations on the purchase of an up and coming classic. The first thing we'd do with any car is give a good once over - if you're not confident here, maybe you could ask a mechanic or take it to a decent garage locally - see our Good Garage Guide ( for recommendations.

Once an inspection has been carried out, you'll have a decent 'to do' list. A basic service is always a good place to start - oil, filter, spark plugs, etc. Then you'll want to check the condition of the brakes and work your way around the car. When was the cam belt replaced? It might not have covered the miles to warrant replacing, but the time period may have elapsed (check the condition of the water pump while you're at it). You can read a bit more if you check out our buyer's guide:

As far as the hood goes, we've never seen this leaflet. But remember that every convertible roof on the Cavalier Mk2 is different as the conversion was carried out by Hammond and Thiede in Germany. So you can't take one roof of a car and put on another and it is bespoke to each one. However with regards to the the cover that holds the hood in place when it is down, if this is missing a good auto trimmer should be able to make something up.

The last point is bit tricky. Kevin at the Cavalier and Chevette club says, 'It is possible one or both of the wheels have a buckle in them causing the vibration at low speeds but disappearing at a higher speed. I would see about getting the rear wheels balanced and swapped to the front and seeing if that makes any difference. I would also suggest checking that the power steering fluid is correctly topped up. The other thing that comes to mind is if the car has been sitting for a while the tyres my have gone slightly square and this could be causing the vibration. If the vibration happens under breaking it could be warped brake discs which can be replaced easily. Other things that can cause a vibration (not just specific to a Cavalier) is a change in exhaust system (changing muffler/tailpipe), a bent pipe that touches the chassis, or a broken pipe.

Also, if the original tuning weights have been removed or are missing, an annoying vibration may occur. There could also be an issue with the inner CV Joints. This only occurs at a high speed 55mph+. Finally it could possibly be the left or right drive shaft, but I would check the simple stuff above before suspecting this.'
Answered by Keith Moody on

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