A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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06 October 2020

The Buck Stopped Here.

You may notice some differences in this blog’s presentation. As is the way with tech companies, WordPress has taken upon itself to ‘upgrade’ its blog editor and leave no choice but for everyone to adopt it. In so doing, like Sage accounting, WordPress have contrived to make their new editing page convoluted, non-intuitive and unfathomably complicated. ‘If it ain’t broke, fix it’, seems to be the progressive way. Old dogs and new tricks may also have something to do with my exasperation. Anyway, it’s a two-man job trying to get all the bits of the buck together, so Awkward came along to help. That was just as well as the numbering system was almost as incomprehensible to me as the new editor. It’s obviously a computer thing.

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I’m going to have to open out a few of the slots as a number of them were too tight…..

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…. witness the hammers! And this, I’m afraid, is as far as we got; not much further than last week’s efforts. I’ve taken it all apart again because I can’t really concentrate on it until I’ve completed the rolling chassis.

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And I couldn’t start reassembling the head until I’d sourced these neoprene ‘o’ rings for the valve stems. They prevent oil from the camshaft chamber working its way down the valve guides and entering the combustion chamber. Mr Holmes had a good tip – don’t bother with them on the exhaust valve stems as they benefit from lubrication, and looking at some of them, he’s right. When I eventually found the correct size and material ‘o’ rings, the minimum order was 89 so I’ve got a couple of spares.

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Here’s an example of someone cutting costs where they shouldn’t. For years, the castings used in this particular application were of the highest quality, though not inexpensive. The bean-counters decided that having them manufactured in another country would be a smart move. 16 months later, as leaks started to appear, they have seen the error of their ways. My task is to reproduce a number of these ‘T’ pieces in stainless steel which will be less expensive than recasting and happily, keeps me busy.

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And something else to keep me busy – a pair of Zenith 150CD carbs from something like a Triumph 2000. I’m wondering if they might be a better bet on the twin manifold than the SU’s. I had a look on the web for pro’s and cons and there seems little difference in performance between the two other than the Strombergs are less prone to icing “in cold weather” (slightly misleading – icing mostly occurs in a normally aspirated engine when the temperature and the dewpoint meet and is more likely on a humid autumn evening than in the winter).

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As you may recall, my measuring can be somewhat erratic and quantifying different aluminium extrusions for one job whilst at the same time trying to work out where precisely the various frames will sit on the Riley chassis, has been testing. If it’s wrong, at least I’ll know who to blame.

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