A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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29 July 2013

The Work Of A Moment...

... is rarely the work of a moment. The fuel tank straps looked like an evening's work; a couple of strips of metal, some bolts and a bit of welding would fill an hour or two before supper.

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I made up 3 straps because, well, belt and braces so to speak and as there was a certain amount of measuring to do, the third strap would provide some back-up. I'd  initially thought of fitting three straps because 10 galls of fuel weighs in at around 72lbs and that's quite a lot of dead weight to support but, after I'd made up the first strap 1/2" too short, it became obvious that 2 straps would be more than ample - as the original.

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And I'd forgotten that the loop over the rear stretcher would share the load with the bracket on the tank. Splendid progress... until I put the second strap on...

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How could I be so clottish? In moving the gauge and tap housing, I'd omitted to take into account the position of the strap. Clearly this wouldn't do. When the air in the workshop became less blue and I stopped to think about it for a moment, there was a solution and it wouldn't affect the strength of the load-bearing part of the strap...

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So that was lucky. However, the work of a moment had turned into an evening and another half of a day. By way of a change, I went back to the Austin and set about getting that running. With everything hooked up, new fuel and a long exhaust pipe going out of the workshop door (I had the front wheels off so I could get at the engine) I fired it up and it ran for 10 seconds and stopped.

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Would it start again? No. Well, it's always something simple and my guess was that as the car had been standing about for 14 months and not run, it was bound to be the condenser but, I'd just check that the timing first - that was fine. The spark was a bit weak and intermittent at the points so, not having a spare condenser I popped down to the local motor spares shop - £24. I thanked them for their trouble and left it on the counter.

By the time I got back there was a puddle of water on the floor so I fixed a leak in the temperature probe housing and made up an exhaust manifold stud with a tighter thread to replace one which was also contributing to the dampness underfoot (the stud hole was drilled through to the water jacket so a blob of Milliput went in to help with the seal). Two condensers arrived the next day (at half the price including vat and p&p) and made not a jot of difference. Then Learned Counsel put his head round the door and told me to give the points a lick with the linisher. This I did and the engine burst into song.

And the water pump? It worked brilliantly, in fact, I think that in the winter I might have to blank off part of the radiator, such is the pump's efficiency. A steady 160°F seems to be its natural level and I'm happy with that. So off for a test drive...

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... and then I really should get on with the Hillman tourer's hood.....  which shouldn't take long?

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next post A Stitch In Time....


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