Small jobs.

November 9th, 2014

Except they always take longer than you think! This weekend I removed the fuel tank so I could clean it and fit a fuel filter. That should prevent any more blocked jets I hope.

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Like most bits on this car it is home made. The main part is galvanised but the end is normal steel so there was a little surface rust. I also tipped out one very large lump and many smaller lumps of solder. The cap on it is actually a radiator car wit a hole punched in it.

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I shoved the hose in the tank and flushed it out for half an hour or so to dislodge any loose bits hopefully. The tank was dried in the hot sun then finally I swilled about half a bottle of meths about inside it to remove any remaining moisture.

I also decided to take the steering box out and since the floor isn’t removable as in my special it had to come out downwards. Joss suggested taking the whole front off to give access to everything. You unbolt the valance panels and the bonnet hinge piece, disconnect the radiator hoses, remove the starting handle and pull off the whole front. I also had to cut the wires to the lamps as they were hard wired through.

First I drained the coolant. I put a tub under it to catch the water and completely missed.

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The water was quite rusty. I then realised there is actually a drain plug of some sort in the bottom of the radiator so I didn’t have to drain it by removing the hose. Then I had issues with rounded off bolt heads. The guards were held on with 10mm bolts. I got new ones to replace the rounded one. One day I will replace all the non standard bolts with the correct ones but for now I will go with what’s on there and what fits!

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But eventually the front came off.

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That allowed me to get the steering column out. It was pretty grubby and there were no lock washers at all. One of the cover nuts was half off. Inside was some pretty nasty old grease.

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It was in pretty bad shape. It’s been repaired in the past, you can see the welding on it. And none of the cover studs were tight at all. Each of their threaded holes was cracked. The gear itself was in really good shape once I removed all the old grease but the worm gear has chips and pitting on it.

While that was out I flushed the radiator (and back flushed it) a number of times until the water ran clear. I also flushed the block in the car by rolling the whole thing outside and shoving the hose into the water outlet.

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While the car was outside I gave the engine and front end a good degrease and clean. I put plastic bags and tape over any sensitive bits so no water could get in.

One thing I might do is the same trick I did on the special and make up slightly longer front damper arms. You make them about 1/4 inch or so longer and at the ends braze in a short length of tube into which you can insert a rubber bush. That end then goes straight over the axle mounting pin instead of into the shackle. This works like a panhard rod and stops the side movement of the front axle in relation to the body.

I also fitted bullet connectors temporarily to the headlight wiring so I can attach and remove the front easily  easily later. We will need to do an engine out at some point to get to the clutch and rear crank bearing (which rumbles) and it is so much easier if the whole front of the car is removed. The special is designed so that can easily be done. I also fitted rubber grommets in the holes in the valance panels so the wires weren’t just rubbing on steel which would be bad if they rub through as I haven’t found any fuses on the car so a short would probably end in a fire!

This morning I went to see Joss and saw how his special is coming on. It’s looking good now and the body should be ready for painting soon. There are still some tweaks to be made and the boot end to be finished, new firewall made and so on. Joss has designed this body to be easy to make more of so if anyone is looking at building a special and they want a body get in touch!

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I also got from him another steering box. One assembled from parts itself. I took that home and took it apart and cleaned it up and was able to assemble one good one from all the bits I had. I set it all up and put it back in the car. I am using good steering grease in the box now. The steering still has quite a bit of play but apparently on a Chummy that’s a good thing.

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The mag wheel cleaner again worked great for cleaning up the casting. I didn’t go mad painting anything as I am not doing a full restoration on this car. The idea is to just maintain it as a running vehicle. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just be drivable. Joss popped in late this afternoon to see how I was doing and was able to give me a hand refitting the steering control levers. The advance one moves the whole distributor body. Mine is a later distributor modified to have manual advance. The advance lever at the bottom of the column seems hand carved from a solid block of brass. The throttle lever is an original early XL part.

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The levers are in place but I forgot I will need to reset the ignition timing. I will have to ask Ian what that should be.

I still need to replace the SM5 switch panel with my better one. I will do that while the scuttle tank is out so it is easier to get behind the instrument panel. Looking behind there you can see the wiring and the odd speedo which seems to be some home made conversion.

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I really need to start working on the special again. I need to rebuild the carb (and get it off my dining room table so I can work on the railway!) and start making a seat. I borrowed a wooden seat inner as a template and will copy that I think. Then I can make the outer in steel and make a suitable back shaped to fit the car (and me). The chummy will hopefully be running again early this week. I still have to save money for my trip and my elbow is still buggered and I am meant to rest it (oops) so progress is slow!

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