A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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08 November 2017

It Looked Like Snow...

.... but fortunately the job finished in time for us to scuttle back home before it got to us.

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For one reason and another, we had to change hotels for one night and the only place left within spitting distance of the cable factory was a motel. The last time I stayed in a motel was in America, just outside New Orleans and it was grim. A thick, metal clad door with multiple locks spoke volumes for the neighbourhood and I don’t think I got a lot of sleep.

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Less threatening (we’re in Norway after all) but nevertheless equally bleak, chalet N0.8 had an uncared-for air of decay. A cursory inspection revealed the washroom shelf about to fall off the wall and some wag had given the artwork a whole new meaning. When you go into a hotel room, the last thing you want to see, smell or sense is evidence of the previous occupants. On the upside, no air-conditioning meant that I got a good night's sleep.

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I normally left the (regular) hotel at 7.00 every morning to walk about half a mile down to the 7/11 supermarket to get a few snacks to see me through the day. It dawned on me only a few days ago why it was that the town, though busy at that time, was so uncannily quiet. Electric and hybrid cars. Every taxi is a Toyota Prius; I’ve never see so many Tesla’s in one place and I’m pretty sure that every other manufacturer of hybrids is represented. As you know, American cars are a great favourite and a regular sight in Norway and in the semi-silence, you can hear them coming from the other side of town - but a bit later on in the day.

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News of Leon’s continued tweaking of his A7 Special arrived to break the monotony of life in a tent on a dockside on the Drammens Elva; the last week has seen him rebuild the Austin 4-speed synchromesh gearbox.

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He reports that it took a couple of attempts to get the box back together – like the Morris box which looks very similar – it was a bit of a squeeze.

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With new bearings and seals, the box should more readily withstand the rigours of being attached to the Climax engine.

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During the reassembly Leon and Awkward noticed that No.1 inlet valve was fully closed on TDC so by advancing the cam 10 degrees, they’ve now got 0.045 lift just before the start of the inlet stroke. I thought about that and wondered if this adjustment would, by effectively pushing exhaust gas down the inlet tract for a split second, have a detrimental effect on the incoming charge but, it doesn't happen like that. According to Learned Counsel, there’s a partial vacuum in the cylinder created by the high-speed exhaust gases flowing out past the exhaust valve which is taken advantage of by a slightly open intake valve allowing new mixture to be pulled into the chamber ahead of the piston's inlet stroke.

It looks like a winning tweak to me.

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