A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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28 April 2019

Spring Clean.

There comes a point when the rationalisation of 'stuff' is an urgent prerequisite to progress.

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So, the first thing was to heave the Alvis TD21 engine onto the bench to get it ready for a new owner - the Morris 6 engine being the favourite to go into the Teardrop Special. I didn't know anything about this engine, but a check in the Alvis Archive revealed that no. 26023 was the 77th of around 1500 TD21's produced. A cursory investigation before showing it the spanners, suggested that it had been removed from the car as one lump and never touched since new.

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Off came all the ancillary bits and bobs and after a scrub up in the parts washer, my guess that the engine hadn't been interfered with was looking about right. I had only 3 studs break off on me - the usual suspects attaching the various cooling system components - and after a couple of hours of careful drilling and re-tapping, all was as new again.

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The TD21 has its timing chain at the back of the engine so to get at it, the gearbox (the same as used on the Austin-Healey) flywheel, bellhousing and backplate had to come off. No horror stories in there - apart from 1/2" of sludge in the bottom of the sump.....

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... another customer for the parts washer.

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After which I was able to take a snap of the mains and big-ends by slipping my phone camera underneath the block - the block was too heavy for me to put on its side on my own. Again, it didn't look as though anything had ever been touched.

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Off came the head - that's the Morris 6 head behind - to reveal all the original numbered valves...

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... standard pistons and very nice condition bores. A de-glaze with a honing tool would see them right as rain. I may be able to persuade Counsel to drop by and help me put the block on its side so I can whip off a main bearing cap and a big-end clamp. It would be interesting to know what sort of shape the shells might be in. After that, I shall loosely reassemble the engine and produce a report.

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The other day, I borrowed a truck from one of the boys in the yard and (as part of the Spring clear-out) took a couple of old lawn mowers over to Awkward. On the truck and about to go to the skip, was an electric reclining chair. As the chair was on its back with the cantilever mechanism facing me, I had an idea. It was also in the perfect position for me to remove the linear actuator, mains lead and remote control - two split-pins and a tie wrap was all it took. Back in the workshop, I set up the actuator to assess its power and speed. It moved at slightly slower than snail's pace and I couldn't hold it back. Perfect! I'm thinking of adapting it to raise and lower the anvil on the wheeling machine.

Rubbish out, rubbish in!

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