I've been pondering a solution to the business of putting twice the hp through the Hillman rear axle and was about to try to find a Morris Six or, more likely, a Wolseley 6/80 rear axle and sort out the engineering side of keeping the brake arrangement as it exists on the Hillman - twin shoes and cables. I'd probably have to cut off the ends of the Hillman axle casings complete with backplates and re-attach them to the shortened casings of the 6/80. Of course, this assumes that the 6/80 axle is wider than the Hillman's to start with - shorten halfshafts yes, but it's a bit of a nonsense to try to lengthen them without starting again.
As I contemplated these options I decided to re-visit the Hillman diff and have another look at the broken halfshaft. There was something odd about it that I didn't really pay a lot of attention to at the time. When I looked more carefully....... What?!
I can't think why anyone would want to go to the trouble to dismantle a back axle and saw off a perfectly good halfshaft. It's completely bonkers.
Have a closer look...
It's definitely sawn off. And, why didn't they just undo the bolts holding the crown wheel and diff together and take out the halfshaft; it would've been a lot easier and quicker than sawing through it. Or, maybe they did just that and popped the end back in so's no-one would notice? No they didn't, there's witness marks on the bearing carrier. Well I don't know; there's some rum folk about.
Anyway, just looking at the internals of the diff, the size of everything and the virtually unmarked condition of all the components; it makes an Escort diff, through which a lot more hp passes, look delicate. I'm going to stick with the Hillman components and just to give me an extra margin, I'll put an Imp doughnut in the propshaft. The 'new' halfshaft gear is not quite as good as the sawn off one, there's evidence of it being used with a duff wheel bearing - you can see the ends of the teeth are slightly distorted. I can tidy that up with the draw file.
As it's the only one I've got at the moment it'll have to do.
I went back to the radiator people today and set the exercise in motion. On their advice I'm adding a couple of things to the core, a) a thermostat switch and b) a water filter which will dump all the old iron block rubbish into a basket that can be emptied from time to time and the unit is set into the top tank so it doesn't look unsightly. That's clever. They're going to add tabs to the frame so that an electric fan can be added at a later date if needs be (hence the switch). Also, by extending the top tank back a few inches, we'll increase the volume of water being pushed around the system. There's an option to add a small in-line electric water pump if the engine pump isn't doing its stuff. I think that's covered all the bases on the cooling front (except I've got to source some honeycomb mesh).
I still haven't put the Little John lathe back together and it's something I must address this weekend - before I forget where everything goes. I was shown a second-hand Myford Super 7 yesterday but the bore of the spindle shaft was only 3/4" - I need 1" minimum really, preferably even more.
It would be a handsome replacement for the Portass of course......