A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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15 May 2013

Getting On.

I had a call from Sparks the other day; he's got my indicator set ready for collection. It'll be interesting to see how compact it is - the prototype wasn't the size of a credit card. I've asked for a couple of momentary switches, a couple of tell-tale green LED's (to make it obvious when hazards are on) and I'm going to adapt the old advance and retard lever on the column to operate the system (although operating the hazards might be a bit tricky - I'm going to have to think about that). The box of tricks will be behind the dash somewhere.

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I'm continuing to have success with the TIG brazing set-up. The brass water pipe that runs along the nearside of the Morris engine was pointing in the wrong direction for a neat join to the bottom radiator hose. I bravely cut the end off and brazed in its place a section from an unserviceable pipe. I say bravely because I wasn't sure that the pipe would survive my attentions. After a couple of trial spots, I got the amperage about right and off I went. It's interesting how you might expect brass to melt away very easily but in practise, I was using slightly higher amps than I would for a similar thickness of mild steel. It's also interesting what a difference a bit of blue sky makes to your day.

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So much so that I noticed that the leaf spring shackle pins weren't secured. Luckily, I'd saved all the castle nuts and a good clean up on the brass wheel made them respectable enough to use. It's always worth inspecting nuts, especially if they go on a bit too easily. I found one of the hub nuts was split down one flat - not visible until it expanded as I wound it on to the half shaft.

Talking of half shafts; there's a bit of a flap on because The Great Collector's organised a jamboree for a jolly bunch of French car enthusiasts and the small Darracq's axle that got itself in a muddle, needs to be at least jury-rigged for the beano.

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As you see, we have a drawing that although not particularly clear, at least tells us that no components are missing. I understand that these axles were designed and built with no adjustment in them - it was a case of renewing the unit if and when it broke or became worn out and I don't expect that Monsieur Darracq expected his cars to be extant into the 21st century. Anyway, the damage to the components is barely noticeable, in fact it's not entirely clear what happened to jam the axle up. A couple of the centre diff cage nuts came out when the oil was drained and when apart, it was evident that one of the bolts had got bent in the drama. You might think that the nuts got jammed between the crown wheel and pinion but there's no room for them to get into the side of the axle where the teeth of the crown wheel and pinion sit. More likely is that the now bent bolt (which can fall between the two if the nut comes off) was the cause of the sudden stop. Even so, the damage is almost non-existent if this were the case - the crown wheel and pinion are new and still look like new. What's more obvious is that in contrast, the rest of the components are showing their age but are nevertheless still serviceable.

It seems a bit rum to have renewed the crown wheel and pinion without attending to the rest of the show - after all, at 107 the car's getting on a bit.

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