A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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25 May 2020

Used, Good.

Actually, excellent. The gentleman in the Riley club who kindly sent me a 1954 RME steering rack, also happened to stumble across a speedo which came from the same car.

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It read 22,000 and judging by the look of the stem gear and rack, it certainly hadn't been once around the clock. Even the taper rollers and their bearing surfaces on the shaft looked untouched. There were a couple of minor repairs  - a bolt sheared off in one of the support brackets that attach the whole assembly to the subframe and replacement of a missing screw, but after a good clean up of all the parts and then reassembly, all that will be required is a couple of new gaiters - on order from the extensive spares list provided by the Riley RM club - and it'll be good to go.

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This is one of the four camshaft journals that run in shells - I have some internal diameter measuring do-dahs and none of the shells show any wear - well, a couple of tenths of a thou, so nothing we can't live with. The other three journals are shiny. I checked the diameters of the journals and they too are within acceptable limits, so I don't know why this has occurred. It could be that the other three were a swire on the loose side?

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I moved on to tackle the four sheared off bolts on the end of the head that secure the water jacket cover plate. I found that the best way to approach this was to strap the head to a leg of the bench and sit on a stool that put me at the right height so that I'd have a fighting chance of a. getting the centre punch to behave, and b. keeping the drill vertical or as near to vertical as would make no odds.

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Three out of four - not bad for a teenager. This was the first drilling.

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The second shot opened them out to 5mm which is roughly the tapping drill size for ¼"BSF - in fact technically it should be 5.1mm, but by the time the drill wobbles a bit, it was going to end up about right. I knew the threads would be BSF but I was surprised to find they were 26tpi. The cam cover bolts are the same. Fortunately, I've a good selection of cycle thread taps and dies and the ¼" tap was among them. Notice one of the corners dangerously close to uselessness.

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Staying with the head, I set about cleaning up the combustion chambers. They were in a poor state and there was quite a lot of carbon to chip off before getting down to bare metal. One or two new valve guides might be needed and the manual gives measurements for turning up a drift for knocking them out. It also gives the dimensions for setting the new guides at the right depth in relation to the machined surface of the head as the exhaust and inlet guides are slightly different. Soon be good as new new.

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