A Special Builder's Notes


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25 October 2014

520 Miles...

... in a day is quite a lot on English roads but, more anon.

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One of the bits that I was going to have to make to complete the Morris Minor gearbox rebuild was the front cover which sits inside the bell housing and supports the transfer gear. Happily, a reader of this blog was able to supply a cover - thank you Andrew, your help is much appreciated. This cover doesn't, as you might expect, go over the layshaft bearing so I might just tap a couple of holes and fabricate a light aluminium plate that, with a bit of sealant, should prevent any gearbox oil leaking onto the clutch. I'm not concerned about the selector shaft bearings because they're at the top of the box and probably won't leak anyway.

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On the racing car I'm using a Merlin rear axle and that doesn't locate exactly in the axle mounting castings on the rear springs - the circumference is just a gnat's too big. So, rather than remove the mounting plates that are welded to the axle, I'm going to think about fabricating replacement spring plates that'll make use of the axle plates (here shown upside down).

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And while I was thinking about that, I thought I'd just pop the kingpins out of the front axle and see what was needed from stores. 3 hours and a 12 ton press later, I still hadn't got the second pin out...

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... and all I had to show for it was a buckled high tensile 1/2" bolt. I had to resort to drilling the pin from either end leaving about 1/2" in the middle of the pin so that a decent size drift had something to bear up against. I still had to use an old exhaust pipe to get useful leverage on the hydraulic press arm (I was also keeping as far away as possible from the whole exercise) before there was an almighty crack and the pin moved about 1/4" and stopped. Some more penetrating oil and a bit of heat saw the pin moving again, albeit very reluctantly.

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The 520 miles was originally a trip with Counsel down to the Richard Edmunds auction at Castle Combe and which featured a zillion tons of Austin Seven spares but we kept on saying 'well, while we're in this neck of the woods, we may as well go to....' We didn't stay too long at the auction - endless boxes of  A7 bits and floors covered in axles and whatnot has a limited appeal - but there was a nice little Le Zebra which might have suited The Great Collector and in the car park, this beautiful Bristol pictured above.

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Next stop the South Western Vehicle Auctions where we looked at a very original and untouched A7 but, more interestingly, this rather splendid Lea Francis sports car.

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This is just the sort of car that would go well with Learned Counsel's Jowett Jump Start; it's green, it's made of aluminium pots and pans and is reputed to go at about 90mph. Even the number plate stands for 'Jowett Racing Team'. That's a clincher in my book.

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