Block progress.

February 4th, 2017

I need to be quick with this update as I am expecting the Vodafone man to come and upgrade my Internet to fibre sometime this morning.

Since we have lots of free time at work I got playing with my 3D software and did a 2D design for some little metal bits to cut out on the plasma cutting table. I wanted to make a valve spring compressor. I started with a cheap G clamp and cut off the bottom.


I then drew up and cut out some arms. I actually did two sets, the first in 2mm steel which was too thin so I went up to 3mm. Luckily we have a job on at the moment using tons (literally!) of 3mm steel cut into funny shapes so there are plenty of useful offcuts that just go for recycling. The plasma cutting table is just a big table with a motorised X and Y head on it with the torch attached. You send it the files, do a little jiggery pokery on the ancient software it is running to work out tool paths and then it just follows the path cutting the pieces out. Very handy! I am going to use that to make a windage tray for the crankcase when the time comes. And possibly cut out pieces for making the Riley brackets I need.

The 3mm steel arms are bolted to the clamp body with two bolts. Attached to the bottom of the arms I found a 25mm brass core plug that I machined on the little lathe to fit the valve spring holder. I drilled a holed in it to provide a place to get the keepers into. I bent the 3mm steel arms to wrap around that and brazed it in place. I got a little careless and melted part of the core plug (brass melts easily with Oxy-acetylene) but it didn’t affect it’s use in the end.

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I ground down the arms where they wrap around the core plug to make them thin enough to not foul on the block. The compressor works very well, just like a proper Austin one and I was able to finally get the valves fitted, not forgetting to first fit the tappets and cam followers first!

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So the block is done now. I next need to start on the crankcase. I need to make sure it is clean, insert all the plugs and oil take offs. Add in the oil jets and work out the windage tray. I also need to install the cam so I can work out where I need to machine a little clearance into the two long studs I am fitting to help keep the block on.

I’ve been busy cleaning more parts too. I found the toggles for the clutch and also found a complete set of usable tappets and followers I forgot I had so I could have saved myself some money there. I do need to get the clutch linings and rivets but they should be available from the local spares department. I should really start thinking about the release bearing and the gearbox too. Still no money for close ratio gears so I will have to hope the box I have is serviceable.

I was cleaning up more Riley parts too. I went into work last weekend to use the big sandblaster and did the  front axle and hubs and so on. They came up great. Of course everything flash rusts quickly but I finally managed to track down some Kephos to wipe on the metal until I can paint things. I have the details of where I have it but they are at work of course (and I am not). Apparently it is a mixture of phosphoric acid and xylene. I used gloves and try to use it outside while wearing a mask as the fumes of it are very strong.

The hubs came up great. There seem to be two diameters but the wheels I have only fit the smaller ones. I had to use the 12T press at work to remove the end cap from one of them as the ends of the hub were a bit battered. That popped it out easily and cleaned up the hole nicely. Interestingly the hubs are handed as the threads of the wheel studs are handed depending on what side of the car they are on.

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Unfortunately the hub retaining plates are well battered (with hammer and chisel by the looks of it) but I should be able to clean them up and press them flat again.

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You can see the flash rusting on some of the parts. I simply wire brush it off (again using the cheap dollar shop hand brushes) then wipe it in Kephos.

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As an alternative to sandblasting I am putting other parts into the molasses tank to see how that works. I took apart the Riley brake assembly (and I really hope I can get it back together as it is as bad a puzzle as the Austin brake cross shaft) and put the pieces of that and also the brake drums into the tank. I removed the non steel pulley wheels as the molasses can affect non ferrous metals. I will pull the parts out today and see how they look (that will be 2 weeks later).

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You can see how much rust there is on then so it will be interesting to see how they come out. They need a good water blasting to get the (stinky) molasses off then a wire brush then Kephos again. It is nice to start collecting a pile of clean metal parts that are ready for paint then storage until it is time to use them!


3 Responses to “Block progress.”

  1. renaud in Brittany Says:

    Progress! Good Simon!

  2. Christian Says:

    Delighted you’re updating your blog and making progress. I’ve read all your austin 7 pages! Great stuff, inspiring!

  3. admin Says:

    I need to order new clutch linings then I can assemble the clutch then work out getting the whole lot balanced so I can start assembling the engine.

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