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:


Boot wired.

July 22nd, 2014

Today Joss popped up and showed me how to wire the boot edge. It would be nice to explain how you wrap the aluminium around the wire by hammering it but really that’s pretty much all there is too it. You hammer it round the wire. Was too busy doing it to get pictures but you start by bending the wire to the approximate shape then clamping it in place. Sheet metal welding clamps worked well. Then you hammer enough of the flange over to hold the wire.


Then you use the tail end of a comma dolly to hold the wire in place against the fold as you bash the metal over it. Once the flange is 180 degrees or so around you can switch to a dolly underneath and bring the flange right over. As you hammer the metal around you shift the dolly around on the opposite side of the wire so you are always hammering against it with the wire in between.


Once it is mostly over we switched to a square faced panelbeating hammer. You can slide this flat across the body of the car to flatten down the last bit of the metal over the wire. This leaves lots of scratches on the surface but they are slight and sand out easily.


To get the last little bit really tight I made a tool. I went for a walk to one of the many $2 shops in Avondale and got myself some $8 wire cutters. They are obviously quality because 1), they cost more than $2 and 2), they came with some great packaging.


I ground the edges off a little so they wouldn’t cut and I used these going around the whole wire to squeeze the last little bit under.

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I gave everything a quick sand with a random orbit. I will be sanding the whole body at some point before painting so I only did a quick little bit to see how it would come up and it looks pretty good.


I can’t believe how much difference it makes to how the body looks. Not sure that’s not just psychological though as it’s been in progress for so long and now I am seeing it more or less done. It also adds so much rigidity to the body.

After doing that I took the steering wedge off and gave that a few coats of paint as well as things like the brake pedal lever and the steering drop arm.

And tomorrow it’s off to see Ian and work out what to do next on the engine. I am also looking at getting from the UK a real Grasshopper type drive system (well, modern replica). That is the best way for me to drive the blower for when I want to supercharger the car. It is the proper Austin way to do it and will look a lot better.


Boot edges.

July 21st, 2014

Today I finally did something I have been putting off for ages. I tidied up the split boot edges with some welding then filed it all smooth and trimmed it to the right size. I did some playing on scraps of aluminium and found I could weld right to the edge if I clamped a backing piece of copper behind the aluminium. Like when MIG welding the weld won’t stick to the copper. It also worked as a heatsink so the aluminium wouldn’t melt as fast and suddenly blow holes.


I then used marking blue around the edge and made a little scriber from a scrap of wood with a nail through it. I was able to use that to scribe the line I needed to trim to by running it over the body so the nail scratched the correct line on the lip.

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I was then able to trim things then file and sand the edges smooth. I did find though that the corners weren’t long enough to give me the full 16 mms I need to fully wrap around the wire. These I trimmed back slightly shorter but with a smooth transition. There is still plenty to wrap around the wire to hold it in place. I then annealed the edge and it is now ready for wiring.


I still need to make the brake cable pulleys and fix the middle guide (the hole need bushing) but with the rear cables in place (although not fully adjusted) I was able to roll the car out and park it on the driveway with the handbrake stopping it from rolling away.

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