A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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16 March 2013

Look Over There!

No, don't look over there; this is a hand signal and I'm turning right.

When someone's on the phone and right up your 6 o'clock, it can be difficult to get their attention without indicators and brake lights so, on the Model A, I stumped up for a set of LED indicators to resolve the problem.

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They were absolutely fantastic; neat, unobtrusive and a piece of cake to fit. The operations side was a magnet-backed box of tricks in the cockpit with 2 small buttons - one for left, one for right and both together for hazards; couldn't be beat. However, apart from being a not inexpensive import, the one small snag was that indication was accompanied by the squawk of a strangled parrot and at traffic lights it always attracted odd looks from passers-by. You never forgot to cancel the indication but, something had to be done.

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I gave the box to Sparks and he opened it up to find a real rats nest of stuff, most of it designed to prevent anyone understanding what was going on. He gave it back in disgust. Anyway, at my request, Sparks designed a whole new wildlife friendly system and all I had to do was source compatible indicators. It took me almost a year on and off until I finally tripped over what I was looking for. So in the end, the new system will be as neat as the one I had on the Ford and equally simple to fit - the control box will be half the size, hidden under the dash somewhere and silent. The operation will be by 2 small 'push-on, push-off' buttons which won't look out-of-place on a vintage dash. On the Hillman I'm going to use the advance and retard lever (now redundant) to push the buttons.

The other distraction this week was prompted by the advancement of the radiator construction. The original Hillman badge that was on the radiator shell is showing its age and some of the enamelling has chipped off.

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It seems that I can have the badge restored or a new one made. After some thought, it occurred to me that if I have a new one made then the artwork will exist for a replacement if the new one gets damaged. I'll do that and just put the original away for the time being.

The next batch of powder-coating - the friction dampers and a few sundry items have gone down to the yard to be dealt with.

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It was a bit difficult dealing with the friction dampers because I needed to get in between the leaves to prepare the surfaces after the bush retainers were braised in. The bead-blasting outfit at work came up trumps for this and I hope the powder will be able to get into the tight bits.

New plugs and plug leads have been purchased and I'm gathering together all the materials to complete the radiator installation, the brake and clutch arrangements and finish the engine mounting. This is in readiness for the long Easter weekend when everything closes down and that vital part that I forgot to order takes another week to arrive.

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Returning to the subject of hand signals, I remember that when I first had the Ford, as a left-hand-drive, hand-signalling was a bit of a game and sometimes I had to shift across to the passenger seat to flap my arm about to make sure dopey behind was on the ball and not looking over there.

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