A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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29 March 2020

Some Concerns.

I forgot to take a picture of the front brake cylinders whilst the drums were off but I remember that they were all heavily corroded. I don't expect the rear to be any different.

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The front hub back plates look solid enough and the various pipes all loosened satisfactorily. The rear hubs are even more corroded and certainly the adjusters and handbrake mechanism are going to need careful attention. The joy of magnetising is that it allows time for the research and development of ideas. So with one eye on the cable and computers, I can busy myself with trawling the net for brake bits and pieces. The Riley RM series are well catered for in this department and there’s a choice of sources though I suspect they might have the same original supplier.

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One of the reasons I converted the Hillman to disc brakes was that the ‘new’ cylinders I bought and arranged to hydraulically assist the old mechanical system, never performed as advertised. One side was always more powerful than the other (full opposite rudder input required on emergency braking). Learned Counsel and I spent several hours over several days trying to correct this tendency. In the end it defeated us. We suspected the cylinders. I can’t remember now if they were refurbished, New Old Stock or pattern parts. Either way, they weren’t up to scratch and the vendor refused to get involved in any sort of conversation, technical or otherwise.

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Brake pipes I can make up myself – the Other Wright Brother has an old and at the time, expensive pipe flaring tool which works consistently better than more contemporary offerings I've tried. Nipples are widely available and, as some of the original brake pipe junctions look recoverable, that will reduce the cost. While I'm at it, a dual system would be a wise plan and I've time to investigate how to set that up. I occasionally toy with the idea of converting the Riley's front brakes to discs, but I can’t find any gen on the exercise. That might indicate that the brakes are perfectly adequate - there's twin leading shoes at the front on the RME’s - or there’s some difficulty about the job that I’m not seeing.

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Sitting in my draughty hut, another thing that occupies me is the coupé body’s internal structure. I’ve mentioned this before. Doodles demonstrate that I may have to wait until the model is re-scanned and a second scale cardboard buck produced before deciding in 3D how it’s all going to work. I’ll definitely incorporate a roll bar in the frame – a handy seatbelt anchorage and ‘B’ post - and make use of the original chassis body mountings as far as possible.

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Like all complex work that we may not have tackled before, there are always plenty of questions to which only getting on and doing it can provide the answers – right and wrong. The other trap that’s equally easy to fall into is over-thinking the whole thing – something I could be doing here. It’s all a worry.

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