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A Special Builder's Notes

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The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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25 May 2024

Fitting Everything In.

Having put a new exhaust system and a set of plugs on The Great Collector's 1919 Humber, there was a marginal improvement in its performance, but it still wasn't what it used to be.

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A compression test - something we should have done before we struggled with the almost impossible manifold to downpipe connection - returned about 50psi per pot.

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The head came off, and out came the valves. Both the valves and seats were completely covered in a nice shiny lacquer, almost as if the valves hadn't been ground in at all. Grinding in the valves is an easy job; the worst part, the Humber being a side-valve, is tappet adjustment with the engine in situ. The Hillman Minx took three hours to get right, and the air was blue!

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A chum called by the other day with this Riley Monaco on a trailer. A new radiator, rebuilt chassis, and engine, and lots of new woodwork was too tempting for him to pass up. I've always quite liked the fabric-bodied Monaco; there was a red one up for grabs for not much money some time ago, but unusually, The Great Collector didn't take the bait. Riley's are absent from his stable since the RMB was moved on.

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I had supper with another chum who had completed this electric Gee Bee R3. After last year's successful flying day at the farm, another will be scheduled as soon as the weather warms up. The Other Wright Brother is making steady progress with the Precedent Bi Fly, the build taking more time than usual because of the quality of the wood - it's forty years old - and the various pipedreams in the plan. With the advent of CAD and laser-cutting, things have definitely moved on in the kit world.

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Staying with the aviation theme, my old hangar has been used to store fertilizer over the last ten years or so, and the doors have suffered at the hands of contractors. The wheels were always the weak link in the system and a lack of attention - a grease gun - had caused some of them to collapse. I might see if I can't increase the diameter of the wheel within the existing structure, and at the same time beef up the bushing.

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More ROV sensor frames took up the better part of the week and my new 3ph welder performed faultlessly. However, in the middle of what would be a passable weld, suddenly the arc explodes. I'm not sure if this is due to impurities in the base metal, or the filler rod; not discounting the third option - operator error.

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Talking of CAD, I have some small weather protection vents to make next week. Sorting things out in cardboard first is always a good plan.

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The Buick's 3" and 4" starter wheels are now complete. I tried to get the rubber belt off the 6" wheel; it wouldn't budge. Loctite 400 is good stuff.

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The 3" wheel would entail some major surgery to the dynastart mounting bracket, whilst the 4" wheel needs only one new hole drilled and the enlargement of an existing hole to accommodate the plunger mechanism. I hope that the 1/3rd reduction in diameter is going to do the trick; it's also a neater fit.

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