A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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25 January 2013


I revisited the dashboard drawing (more jobs by the fire) and realised that I'd missed out the horn button and the exhaust selector. With these additions I think that's going to be about it.

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After a further 3 or 4 inches of snow which again sent me scuttling to the fireside, I thought that it was about time I got on with something so I stole the towel rack from the bathroom, set up shop in the sitting room and put some undercoat on the various bits I bead-blasted last week.

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The universal joint is for the steering column but I can't settle the angle of the steering wheel until I've made a seat. I can at least mount the steering box once the 2 washers, hanging on the middle rung, have had a coat or two of black. The other find I forgot to mention was a couple of complete period door mechanisms. I need only one but to have a spare is no bad thing.

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This came complete with its nickel-plated cover - a bit of luck. I've also had delivered the laser-cut arms for the shock absorbers. I think they're going to be a great success. I need now to source some suitable tube for the bush holders, weld or probably braze the sections in and bend the arms so that the discs are at right-angles to the chassis bolts. To position and retain the discs within the sandwich, the originals used a series of washers riveted to the plates but I think I'm going to experiment with some nylon washers with the internal diameter a snug fit over the centre bolt. I've checked in the come-in-handy box and I haven't got enough of the spider shaped spring plates so, as they seem only to afford the shocker some degree of self-adjustment, I can bolt the assemblies up with a castellated nut and split pin and just keep an eye on them until such time as I've found another couple of spiders.

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Aha! After taking advice, I'm going to open out the centre bolt holes and put in a bronze top-hat bushing. As the arms will be almost constantly on the move, grooves will quickly appear in the shafts of the bolts. I've ordered up a few spares - including new rubber bushes and inner sleeves. I was trawling the web and trying to weigh up the pro's and con's of nylon bushes - dead easy to turn up and self-lubricating to boot - but further discussion flagged up the fact that some lateral movement would be a good thing. Nylon would be too stiff. And I must remember that with the bush tubes in, as the arms are cranked, the existing centre bolt holes will fall out of line so a jig to effectively line-bore the plates will be required. All this excellent gen came from Vintage & Classic Shock Absorbers Ltd of Croydon.

And, having donned eighteen layers of clothes, I ventured out to the workshop and took the plunge with the steering box. The first thing was to assemble the drag link and get the drop arm in the vertical to establish the centre line of the sector shaft on the chassis rail. Then mark up with a piece of chalk and clamp the drilling jig on the rail. After drilling, offer up the spacers and slap on the box. Simple.

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And it would have been if there hadn't been a squillion ways to get the combination wrong - all of which I tried - before I got it right.

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It all seems straightforward enough on paper but the spacers align the box in 2 planes, not immediately obvious from the drawing. Anyway, half-an-hour later, I finally got the box pointing in the right direction; laterally...

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and horizontally..

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I think the cold addles my brain.

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