A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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09 July 2014

Almost There.

My engine hoist was in an uncooperative mood when I came to it, consequently I was unable to lift the engine from the bench. Still, Learned Counsel has access to a small loader and volunteered to do the honours - in a couple of days' time. Meanwhile, I busied myself with the headlamps.

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Fundamentally, there's just three pieces to each lamp but the tricky bit is getting the old wiring out. Like the glass (which is staying put) the wire is sealed in with some sort of putty which is long past its best - as is the wire. It was a case of digging everything out but, before this, the hinge pins had to come out. These are aluminium so the problems associated with dissimilar metals are greatly reduced. There's also a pin which holds the sidelight bulb spring in and that's particularly difficult to get at square. With a pin chuck and fine drill it was a case of settling in and twisting the drill by hand.

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One of the headlamp bowls was in a pretty poor state but I've managed to tap most of the dents out and the silvering is still serviceable. Inevitably, the screws that held the bowl to the rim were either missing or seized in so drilling and re-tapping was also part of the restoration exercise. I couldn't quite work out whether the threads were metric or BA - both are very close so I opted for 6BA which I know I can get.

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Learned Counsel eventually appeared and we had the engine back in fairly smartly. With the clutch attached to the flywheel, it took a bit of jiggling but inside half an hour, the donk was tied down.

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In the absence of the radiator shell (away to have a cap roughed out and threaded) I moved on to the door which I was delighted to discover, still fits. Other little jobs included closing off the back end of the bodywork, re-cutting the threads on the spare wheel carrier and bleeding the brakes, the latter taking up a good couple of hours. The brakes work very well; a nice and progressive action but the adjustment on the slave cylinder rods is almost all taken up so I'll make new ones about an inch longer. When the shoes bed in, that'll give me plenty of latitude and, with the rear brakes helping out, I should have plenty of stopping power.

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There was a point at 10.00pm last evening when I thought that I'd have to take the engine out again to re-position the oil pump vertical shaft. It appeared that the slot in the top of the shaft was 90° out and thus the rotor arm was pointing at the wrong segment in the distributor cap when the timing marks were aligned. I couldn't believe that after checking and re-checking - especially as I was working with the engine at an odd angle on the bench when I re-assembled it all - that I could get it so wrong. I had to take the camshaft cover (and all the bits attached to it) off to check before I realised that I wasn't looking at the drawing properly. It was time to call it a day before I broke something.

I think I might tackle the angle of the exhaust first thing in the morning before I attempt to start up.


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