August 27th, 2014

Haven’t posted in a while since not much is happening on the car and I have to go to work again these days! But a few small things have happened. First I welded up the redrilled the holes in the valances. They now fit better. Not perfect but the rubber strip takes care of that.

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I’ve also been trying to get the materials I need to do the block mounting mod where you use two long studs right through the crankcase attached to a hefty aluminium bar across the bottom where the oil strainer gauze bolts on. I got the aluminium from RS no problem. It’s a 1 inch by 1 inch by 24 inch bar. More than I need but I need some ali for other things.

The long studs are proving a real problem. The issue is you can’t get EN16T (or 4140) high tensile steel in 1/4 or 5/16ths of an inch anywhere in NZ that I have found. No one brings it in!  I’ve tried steel importers, engine rebuilders and nut and bolt type people. No one has it. I think for the long studs I will just get some 8mm and turn the ends down. Or else use two brake pedal rods, which should be HT steel.

I’ll also need some socket head screws to attach the aluminium bar inside the bottom of the crankcase. I can’t remember if they are 1/4 BSF or BSW. Either way they’ll be hard to find here I imagine so I will get them overseas too. I did find these clowns called Steelmasters. They aren’t worth linking to (except to show why I call them clowns in a second) who say on the first page of their web site they make fasteners and provide steel. So I emailed them only to be told they don’t sell steel. I replied to point out their web site was wrong but got no reply. Probably wise though when they sell things like this: http://www.steelmasters.co.nz/1-4-x-1-bsf-socket-capscrews/afa.asp?idWebPage=41063&CATID=&ID=113436&SID=674455503

It’s a 1/4 by 1 inch BSF socket head screw. For $NZD28! For you UK guys that 14 quid. Each!

So if you’re in NZ and looking for nuts and bolts and things avoid Steelmasters!

So, I need to do an order to the UK for some parts very soon. I did receive some though recently.

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The first is my fancy Grasshopper style blower drive from Dave Dye. It’s a lovely piece of work and is the correct thing for making a proper Grasshopper style engine. The drive is a V belt that matches the one on my blower already. The ratio is correct for 5-6PSI of boost, right what I was aiming for, and it has mounting points for a plate to hold the blower. Tensioning is done (on the proper side) via the fan pulley.

I also finally received my SU carb rebuild kit and new spring and jets from Burlen in the UK. It took so long they’d actually refunded my payment so I had to pay them again. Now I can rebuild the carb properly though. New spindle, bushes, throttle disc and so on and so on.

As well as working I’ve been distracted by model railway dining  tables and other things (mainly work). I am visiting London for Christmas and New Years this year so if anyone knows of any interesting Austin 7 or old car things around there and then let me know. I definitely want to go see Brooklands as the only bit I have seen is a small chunk sitting on Joss’ mantlepiece! Funnily enough I was born less than 20 miles from there.

Brooklands, not Joss’ mantlepiece.

I also got this small device:


It’s a little sonar sensor. Way back in June you might remember I posted about the railway crossing light I restored and stuck on the wall of my garage.


I am going to make a little parking sensor with it and an Arduino. It will detect when a car is approaching the wall of the garage and either flash or come on when you drive the car in and are at the right point to stop. Seems like a worthy use of it.

I also stuck on the cardboard bonnet again to get some idea of the lines of the car.


So, I need to get moving again. I think I should maybe sort out the clutch/flywheel so I can then get the rotating bits balanced while I work on the crankcase.

Body on (temporarily).

August 5th, 2014

Joss popped in so we temporarily put the body on the chassis. First time since it’s all done. It looks good!

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A couple of things I have noticed. The brake cables touch the body – just. You can adjust the body to centralise it but the cables just brush the skin. It’s not affecting the brakes at all but the body would get scratched. I can either try to tweak the body at that point (with a big hammer maybe) or sheath the cables in plastic so they don’t rub through the back of the aluminium eventually.


The other thing is the holes in the valence panels are no longer in the right place. They are 1/2 an inch too high in the panel. So if I try to screw them on as they are the panel is crooked. I am not sure yet exactly what’s happened there. The floor is in the right place. I can only think that the firewall has moved slightly now that the aluminium skin is on.


It’s not a big deal if I need to weld up and redrill the holes. I just want to be sure that’s the solution first.

Chassis complete!

July 27th, 2014

Today is my last day of freedom before staring my new job tomorrow. And today I finally got the chassis complete!

I first attached my painted brake cable wheel covers so they are now in place. Then I finally filled the rear axle with oil. I am using Penriote Transoil 140 which is specially for vintage cars. The manuals all say the rear axle needs 7/8ths of a pint which is about 500mL but I think these days people say that’s too much and so recommend half a pint. That’s close to 300ml which is how much I put in. It’s actually a bit tricky getting it in there so I emptied my oil can of normal oil and used that to squirt in the axle oil.

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Lots of squirts but eventually you get there!

I also went and found the special rear shock bolts. They are dome headed a bit like coach bolts (without the square) but with a small bump that fits into a slot on the shock arm to stop the bolt turning. These were completely worn away on mine so I added a decent blog of MIG weld then carefully filed it down with hand files and a little diamond grinder on the Dremel.

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I was then able to finish bolting on the shock arms. It can be tricky pushing the bolts through the new rubber bushes so I used a clamp and a box spanner to pull them through.

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So now the chassis is done except for filling the steering box with grease. I need to get a big syringe for that I think so I can squirt that in. Bob popped in and noticed a small amount of movement up and down on the steering shaft when turning the wheel. That was easy to fix by screwing in the brass collar thing one more notch.

So, after five months of practice retirement I now have a body and a complete chassis!


Brake cable keepers.

July 26th, 2014

After last night post Ian emailed me saying I might want something to restrain the brake cables in the case that they bounce about and jump off the rollers. I was wondering about that. Jumping up and down on the chassis showed no sign that the cables would move off the roller but that’s not the same as driving it and real life bumps.

So today I made two little bracket things that fit over the wheel and will stop the cable jumping off the rollers. They are just bent 1.2mm steel. I was thinking I could make a little brass block to screw under the top as a cable guide but I really don’t think that’s needed. As these are if the cable does bounce up it can’t then fall off the roller as it’s fully restrained.

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These just need painting then I can call the brakes done apart from adjustments. I can check the paint to see if it gets scratched and that will tell me if the cable ever does touch the brackets at all.


200th post!

July 25th, 2014

Today is my last week day of freedom before starting the new job next week. So I wanted to get lots done. Over the last few days I have finished the steering and the brakes and they all work apart from minor adjustments.

The little front brake pulley needed repairing. It is aluminium and the hole in it wears out eventually. I drilled it out then machined a piece of brass to make a new bush that I pressed in.


That should last a lot longer I hope. I needed new clevis pins for it and other parts of the brakes. I went into BNT, this one not this one, but it turns out that the latter might have been just as useful as the former didn’t know what clevis pins were! I bought a little kit of them online this morning on TradeMe and they were delivered this afternoon so tomorrow I can fit those.

For the rear brake pulleys I made up little steel brackets very similar to the Austin ones. I used some square tube cut and bent to shape.

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The first one took me ages but the other side that I did today was much easier to do. I spent a long time on the first clamping it to things to try to bend the side to the right angle. On the second I drilled the mounting holes, bolted it to the chassis then bent it on the car. MUCH easier.

I have the cable running over the pulleys since otherwise they rub on the rear of the chassis cross member. The brackets have been painted and are drying now.

I also today bolted on the rear shocks although I still need to find the bolts to attach the shock arms to the aluminium links.


I also bolted the new, painted steering wedge back on.


All the brake cables are run but they need adjusting to be correct. All the wheels lock easily though already. Properly adjusted I can’t see why the semi Girling brakes won’t work very well.


Tomorrow I will put the pulley brackets on and add all the final pins split pins and lock nuts and so on and adjust the brakes. And once I put the bolts through the rear shocks then the chassis is done. I just then need to fill the diff and the steering box. I bought the correct fluids way back at the Roycroft earlier in the year.

I’ve got a lot done in my time off which was one of the main reasons for taking the time. When I started I was way back here: http://www.asciimation.co.nz/austin7/?p=900


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