A Special Builder's Notes


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03 September 2014

What A Chump!

Talk about dopey! The fuel consumption of the Hillman rose from 16.2mpg to 19.8mpg by the simple expedient of changing the app on my phone that I was using for the calcs, from Galls (US) to Galls (Imp)! Even so, another 4 miles to the gallon would be nice and I'm hoping that as the engine loosens up a bit, 24mpg might yet be achieved.

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A round trip to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden put a useful 125 miles on the clock. The sun was out and we bowled along the road at a steady 50mph without the slightest hiccup. A look round the museum - there were a lot of changes since I was last there with the Avro - and an excellent lunch saw us ready to depart when we heard that the only two airworthy Lancasters were due to do a couple of circuits over the field. It was a once in a lifetime event, not be missed and which was captured perfectly by The Ambassador's Daughter's camera.

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Our trip will have ensured that the Hillman will have clocked up over 500 miles by the time it gets to the rolling road - the total stands at 487 at the moment and there's another week or two to go. I've fitted a 1" bore brake master cylinder and, with Learned Counsel's help, got the brakes bled and balanced again. The pedal travel has been halved and the effort required to apply them has increased but the fact that the pedal doesn't go anywhere close to the floor inspires a certain confidence. The downside was that the reduction in travel meant alterations to the rear brake adjustment, involving some surgery on the brake and clutch pedals' mounting bracket. I couldn't get it off the car completely - well, I could have done but it would have been a long job - so I did the work in situ. Angle grinders with cutting discs are not nice to use in confined spaces but setting everything up and clamping the bracket down solidly was the secret. I took 1/4" from one side of the 6mm plate so the rear brake fine adjustment knob doesn't now foul the chassis.

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A check of all the vital fluids revealed that the gearbox needed topping up and the diff leak from along the halfshaft casing had shown signs of re-appearing. Fortunately, the oil doesn't reach the brakes. On the dipstick, the engine had used about 1 litre of oil in the first 300 miles - that's to be expected - and no water. Having said that, the only time the hoses leak is as they're cooling down; I usually find a small puddle of water under the car in the morning but nothing of any significance.

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And then I set about the headlamp grilles. making up a 10" diameter stainless steel ring took a bit of head-scratching until I hit upon the idea of a jig. The ring was wire-locked to the pattern, welded and afterwards tidied up. Then the mesh was welded to the ring and offered up.

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It completely ruined the look of the headlamp so that idea's been shelved. As I had a free moment, I thought I would arrange all the tools for The Monaco Dash in a tool box and see if I could fit everything in.

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The only thing I couldn't manage was the bottle jack but I'll magic up some space for that somewhere.


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