Solid weekend.

December 9th, 2012

This weekend I mainly worked on the car and made good progress. Just minor breaks to mow the lawn,  photograph Steed, paint a toy oven and make a device to measure camera shutter speed!

Last week after work I was rushing home and working on the car. I managed to get the front end assembled and the wheels on! I did have trouble with the core plugs on the ends of the stub axles. These are there to seal them so that grease, when squirted in, makes its way down through the king pins to the bushes. Without the plugs it would all just flow out the top and bottom. Earlier cars had screw in plugs. The later ones have little core plugs and they are a real bugger to get to stay put! I ruined my initial set fitting them and had to buy some more from a parts guy online as none of the local car places had any (some had never heard of them). In the end I did what the manuals suggest and used Araldite. The bottom ones have sealed fine but the top ones still leak a tiny amount. Will keep an eye on those.

IMG_3119_2 IMG_3130_1 Wheels on!

That was Thursday night I got the wheels on. I wasn’t happy with the fitting of the hub nuts though. They use a castellated nut and split pin and I had had to back one nut off slightly to get the pin through. I prefer to tighten them up and have them align properly (and that’s a must on the rear hubs – no backing off there).  This is a picture I took early the next morning.

20121207_062125 Morning car!

To sort out the nuts I just needed to file a small bit off the flat back side of the nut to allow them to align properly but I needed to pull things apart again. That’s when I came unstuck. Or rather not unstuck. The wheels wouldn’t bloody come off! Both front wheels were tightly stuck in place and I couldn’t shift them. In the end I had to make up a giant puller from scraps of steel and use that.

IMG_3136_1 IMG_3139_1 Wheel puller.

It simply went through the spokes and the little arms at the back  hook behind the wheel. I wrapped tape around the arms to protect the paint (needn’t have bothered it turns out – I’ll be repainting soon). That worked great and I got the wheels off. The reason they got stuck became apparent.

Seems when I had them blasted and painted they used a lot of primer. I then repainted them black so added even more thickness. Turns out the inside of the wheels were too tight for the hubs. You can see below where the paint has been scuffed.

IMG_3144_1 IMG_3145_1 Stuck wheels.

I have now wire brushed off the thick paint. They’ll need a light coat of paint to stop rust but will be fine now. I also discovered one of my wheels has a bent centre so it wobbles horribly. Luckily I have five wheels so one is spare. It pays to test the wheels with an old hub off the car to make sure things are flat and will fit easily. I imagine this is particularly important if you had wheels powder coated as that adds quite a thickness. The puller didn’t really survive having bent in the middle but it became useful again as you will see later.

That done I finished assembling the business end of the torque tube. I machined the spacer till the ends were square then worked out what extra washers I needed to bring the length back to the correct 3/4 of an inch. I needed a thick washer and two shims so I made those up too. I also made a new lock washer since the original was mangled.

IMG_3122_1 IMG_3149_1 IMG_3151_1 Torque tube.

I then started on the rest of the differential. I made more lock tabs from steel sheet. Then to get my crown wheel to fit I had to put the differential carrier in the lathe and CAREFULLY run a file around the machined face. Unfortunately my lathe is too small for me to machine it myself. It only needed a tiny amount of filing before the crown wheel would fit in place.

IMG_3152_1 IMG_3154_1 Differential.

I fitted the bearings using a large socket and a rubber hammer. They fitted on easily but are tightly in place. The bearings are thrust bearings, that is they take side loads, and need to be fitted the correct way on the housing. The thrust face goes away from the diff (towards the wheels). You can see how the bearings have different sides below and how the thrust face is clearly marked. You can’t see it here with the bearing in place but there are two tiny holes under the bearing that allow you to hammer the bearings off again later using a thin drift. If you try to lever them you’re likely to pop the bearing apart (balls everywhere)!

IMG_3156_1 IMG_3158_1 IMG_3160_1

With the bearings in place I was able to bolt the differential together with the crown wheel in place.  This can fit in three different positions and you need to minimise the run out on it. I recycled my hub puller to make a little stand to support the diff while I used a dial indicator with magnet base stuck to my steel plate to measure the run out.

IMG_3162_1 Differential run out testing.

The books say the maximum run out should be 0.003 of an inch. I got close to 0.004. That was in the best position. It was 0.005 and 0.006 in the other two. So I am a little over but it’s the only one I have so will go with it! Will see what it is once it’s done up tight with the half shafts in place. Since the drive gears are fixed to the half shafts you have to insert the shafts while the differential carrier is in two halves then bolts it up.

Here I hit another snag. The half shafts won’t fit though the carrier bushes. I measured it and they were too big by about 0.4 of a mm! Turns out the size of the half shafts changed at some point in the Austin Seven history. Checking the green companion book (thanks to Ian for reminding me I have it!) it seems that happened in 1931 when the shafts changed from 7/8ths to 57/64ths of an inch. That a 1/64th of an inch difference or 0.3969 of a mm. So all I need to do is fine someone who can ream the bushes out 1/64th of an inch for me.

So, putting the diff aside for now, I started on redoing the steering wedge. I bent up a new wedge adding in the extra height previously set temporarily with packing washers.

IMG_3169_1 Steering wedge.

Following what Joss suggested I then mounted the wedge about 1/4 of an inch closer to the centre line of the car. That gives just a touch more foot room for the accelerator pedal in the foot well and brings the steering wheel in a little. I needed to file clearance for the clutch pedal at the back of the wedge and also drill new holes in the chassis rials to mount it all.

IMG_3171_1 IMG_3173_1 Steering wedge.

IMG_3172_1 Original position marked with tape.

With that in place the steering wheel is now better in line with the side of the body too. During the day I also bolted the front shock in place and that looks great. I also gave the radiator surround a bit of a polish up.

IMG_3177_1 Current progress.

Knowing the wedge is right I pulled it apart again and painted it. I also welded up the spare holes in the chassis and ground them flat. I was able to use the angle grinder and sanding pad on the top but needed to use the air die grinder on the inside of the chassis rails. I then repainted the chassis.

IMG_3181_1 New steering wedge mounting holes.


One Response to “Solid weekend.”

  1. vincent Says:

    I ve been following the rebuilt of your very tasty MG and was very impressed by the work you did ! I am now even more impressed by your work on the seven ! you will be able to open a garage after its completion !
    I like your taste in cars, and i have a few picts of what i considere to be one of the nicest seven “special”. What’s your mail to send you these picts ?
    Best regards
    Vincent – France

Leave a Reply