Bonnet hinge finished.

June 28th, 2015

I finally got around to finishing the bonnet hinge. I made the mounting block that holds it to the car from a srtip of the same metal the hinge pieces are made from. I just bent it around the hinge pin then made a block from steel that it was attached to. I filed the top of the steel block to make a groove for the hinge pin.

IMG_3919_1 IMG_3921_1

The sheet metal was soft soldered to the steel. I used an 8mm bolt (same diameter as the brass rod) with some tin foil wrapped around it so the solder wouldn’t stick to it. A stainless steel bolt would have worked too but I couldn’t find one! Lots of flux and lots of heat and then I applied the solder from the top of the join.  The solder pulls itself into the joint through capillary action. I could tell when it had done so the by small drops of solder around the rod. When cool I pulled the bolts out and ran an 8mm drill though it to remove any remaining solder.

I drilled and tapped the bottom of the blot for a 1/4 BSF stud. That holds the hinge to the rail attached to the car. You can simply remove the single nut holding it on and remove the bonnet in one piece.

IMG_3935_1 IMG_3936_2

Joss is getting set up for some aluminium work in a few weeks so we will make the bonnet then too. I do need to get some smaller diameter brass rod though for the side hinge pins.

I also did more garage tidy up and put things up on my new shelves I made last weekend. There is a shelf running along the back wall now where I can put things up out of the way. A lot of it is stuff that is of no use but too cool to throw out.

IMG_3940_1 IMG_3939_1

I also cleared the corner where I will be putting up some proper shelving. The cheap $20 galvanised things are pretty useless really. I’ll get some decent shelves to the ceiling and then I will have a lot of space to store things.


The other interesting thing was an old chap who lives down the road popped in. People are always stopping to talk to me about the cars and what I am doing. I have chatted to him before. This time he bought me presents! First is a Lucas ignition and light switch. It’s never been used! He said he has had it in a drawer for over 40 years so was pleased to find someone who could use it. It’s exactly the same as the old one in the special so I can use this instead of the worn out one. The other thing was an interesting little spark tester. It’s called a Brolt Spark Gauge. It’s about the size of a lip stick and has a brass cam on one end and some kind of bulb in the middle. I haven’t tried it yet. I will have to test it on the Chummy at some point.

IMG_3923_1 IMG_3925_1 IMG_3926_1

Speaking of the Chummy the wheels are all out for blasting. I am having them media blasted then just phosphate coated so I can  adjust and replace any bad spokes. I am getting 6 wheels blasted so there should be enough rims, centres and spokes to make up a good set of 5. If I need to respoke a wheel I will need to make up some kind of jig to make sure everything is centred I guess. Once the wheels are done I can paint them and refit the tyres. I also ordered new tubes to use in them.

I also finally finished fixing the front of the MG. I repaired and repainted the front valance. Looks much better now although it’s the cleanest bit on the car, the rest of it badly needs a wash and wax!


I had just posted this then had an idea. I could test out the Brolt Spark Gauge with my plasma lamp I made years ago. It generates a high voltage, about 15kV at about 16kHz, and can make bulbs and fluorescent tubes light up from quite a distance away. So I fired it up and yes, it makes the spark gauge light up too. It lights up orange so I guess inside there is just a little neon bulb. So it should work fine on the Chummy.


You could probably make such a gauge using an ordinary neon pigtail lap I think.


More tidying.

June 7th, 2015

I have been tidying more and also working on the bonnet hinge. I need to get that done as great maneuvers are taking place so that Joss has space in his shed to start doing some aluminium bodies for people and when all the aluminium work is happening we can also do the bonnet for my special.

With some thicker steel from Joss I made new bonnet hinge mounting pieces. I had made one mistake on my hinge and that was I forgot that everything has to be flush with the rubber in place so I made a few tweaks to get it all to line up. Need a bit of tiding up but it’s looking better now. I still need to make the blocks and tubes that hold the actual hinge to the stay then I can paint it all.

IMG_3826_1 IMG_3827_1

IMG_3828_1 IMG_3831_1

I am still slowly sorting out the big garage so I have more room. My parents are remodelling their kitchen so I jumped in and got rescued what I could before it was thrown out. I even got the kitchen sink!

IMG_3836_1 IMG_3838_1

IMG_3839_1 IMG_3837_1

The drawers were quite knackered. The backs of them was chip board which crumbled like Weetbix so I replaced all that with plywood. The plywood offcuts from the special’s floor as it happened. One side was open so I tidied that up, nailed on some strips of wood to stop stuff falling down the sides and stuck a thin piece of MDF over it. The MDF was the original template for the specials floor. There is a lot of recycled special in those drawers!


The top is the bit of plywood that was covering the hole in my model railway dining table but now I have the glass for that the ply could be reused. Since the red tool box is on castors that can be wheeled about anywhere.

I am still sorting out all the rubbish I have in the garage and making slow progress. One thing I did do today that Joss suggested was make a tyre/rim rack in the roof space. That gets them up out of the way. I need to take the Chummy rims off to be blasted soon so I can fit the new tyres and get that mobile again. It will be good once the old Chummy tubs are out of the way (hint! hint!) then things won’t look quite so full! They are up out of the way for now though.

IMG_3855_1 IMG_3854_1

So more tidying to do. Need to get the block out of the special so I can go see the engineer to get my mods done. Need to get Chummy wheels rebuilt and need to finish my bonnet hinge. I don’t think I have progressed that far from last time!



May 25th, 2015

I’m not dead! Even though I have been very slack I had good reason. Am settled into my new job now (working from home). Have several pay packets behind me too. I was unable to do much for quite a long time due to an elbow issue which meant I couldn’t do anything physical with it. But that’s come right now so back into it.

I first needed to clean my garages again to get some working space. The little one had been taken over by spiders!


So I had a good clean up in there and have started moving my Austin parts back in as now I have space to rebuild the engine and gearbox. I have a spare 3 speed box to play with too for the Chummy that Bob kindly gave to me.

I had a good tidy up, vacuumed up all the spiders and saved this one Preying Mantis.

IMG_3803_1 IMG_3799_1

I then started cleaning up the other garage. That’s the one I need more space in at the moment. I made shelves under my workbench to put tools and other things and will soon start clearing out all the old MG stuff I no longer need (old master cylinders beyond repair, worn brake linings, rusty water pumps and so on).

I have also taken the wheels off the Chummy and removed three of the five old tyres so I can have the rims media blasted, tweaked and then reassemble everything with the new tyres. Apparently others who got the Blockleys through Marcus say they are really good tyres and they are very pleased with them.

IMG_3800_1 IMG_3806_1 IMG_3807_1


Joss bought me some 18 gauge steel to make my bonnet hinge mounting brackets but it turned out to be 1mm instead. That might be thick enough although the one I already made is 1mm and seems a bit thin. 1.2 would be better. I also need to make the bonnet hinge mounting blocks. Then in a few weeks we will make the aluminium bonnet panels. Still to be made are a seat and a petrol tank. Once that’s done there is just the boot lid and the wings to be done.

I can’t drive at the moment (can’t wear my contacts for a few weeks until I get measured for new ones, my eyes need time to go back to blurry normal) but when I can I will go visit the engineer about the work I need doing to my crankcase. Then I can start assembling the engine finally. I should also find out about close ratio four speed gears to go into the gearbox.

There isn’t really that much more to be done really. Just need to crack on and do it!

Finished bonnet hinge.

April 6th, 2015

I finally got around the finishing my bonnet hinge this weekend. Some were a little tight but I found by clamping them in the vice like below I could loosen them up. I also cheated and rubbed the brass pin with sandpaper which helped too.


I ended up needing 11 hinge pieces.


Also the other week my new tyres arrived from the UK (thanks to Marcus for organising that). They are 19 inch Blockleys. The plan is to remove all the wheels off the Chummy, remove the old tyres and get the rims blasted then repair whatever needs repairing and fit the new tyres.


We also had a good meet up of our special builders group (special builders anonymous) and Steve was up from Wellington so it was good to finally meet up.

Still settling into my new job. Still need to get paid! So will be a while before I can start on any engine building. Next make the bonnet panels and a seat! My steering box is leaking too so I will need to look at that. That can wait until I pull everything apart for painting.

Bonnet hinge.

March 24th, 2015

After finishing that last update I felt guilty I hadn’t done anything on the car so actually went out and did something! First I fixed the ends of the bonnet hinge channel piece so the closed is is closest to the driver not the front of the car. I also played about with making a little jig for folding up the intricate little bonnet main hinge pieces.

The jig is just two bits of 6mm steel plate joined together with a section of square hollow tube about half an inch square. A piece of threaded rod with a nut on each end holds it all together but also allows some adjustment. Holes are drilled in the end plates through which a piece of brass rod, the same as being used for the hinge pin, can fit. The rod has to be accurately positioned in relation to the square tube to form the correct hinge piece shape. I originally drilled the holes in the wrong place hence the unused ones.

I start with a flat rectangle of a fixed size and bend a 90 degree fold on it in the vice.

IMG_3638_1 IMG_3639_1

I then make another fold on the short side around another piece of the same square tube as in the jig.  I have two little sort sections of this I use at various times in this process.

IMG_3667_1 IMG_3669_1

This fold is also done in the vice which is handy for tightening them up around the tube. This is then slid into the jig and the jig clamped in the vice. I then pull the long side around the brass rod. I tap it down using a piece of hardwood and a hammer.

IMG_3645_1 IMG_3646_1

Then the jig is removed, turned around, and put back in the vice so the metal can be bent the rest of the way around.

IMG_3647_1 IMG_3648_1

Next the jig is rotated again and the little end piece hammered around. Again I can make use of the vice to tighten the folds by moving and turning the jig.

IMG_3650_1 IMG_3651_1

The jig is then removed from the vice and the brass pin pulled out to reveal a partially formed hinge piece. I tighten it up a bit in the vice with my short square tubes if need be.

IMG_3652_1 IMG_3653_1

Next I take a critical little piece of metal. This is 2mm thick and half an inch wide and it is this that forms the critical part of the folds. It forms the slot the aluminium of the bonnet pieces will slide into. I use a small piece of angle iron and use that to clamp the hinge piece in the vice holding the flat piece in position. Then I fold over the two layers of metal. Again the hard wood block and a hammer helps here to fold it most of the way around. I replace the brass pin at this point to avoid crushing the tube part.

IMG_3654_1 IMG_3655_1

IMG_3658_1 IMG_3670_1

Next I simply finish the fold by crushing it in the vice. You can then remove the piece, knock out the little spacer and you should have a formed hinge piece.

IMG_3659_1 IMG_3660_1 IMG_3661_1

The hinges are all pretty much the same size but not identical. The amount of overlap I have on the end after the last fold seems to vary. But I think  as long as the actual gap from the hinge to the end of the fold is the same on all of them it won’t matter. And the differences in overlap won’t be seen because the bonnet covers that part. You can see how that works with the little scrap test piece I have below.

IMG_3666_1 IMG_3663_1 IMG_3664_1

I need to check with Joss if these are going to work OK. Each one takes about 10 minutes to make and I made a few just to get the hang of the process. I’ll need about 12 of them for the whole hinge on the car. I made three tonight and had a few other prototype ones that might be useable as well.

IMG_3671_1 IMG_3672_1

Next Page »