Buying tools.

August 8th, 2011

On Saturday I went for a drive out to the Toolbarn to see what old spanners they had there. Fascinating place. All sorts of old tools and bits and pieces there. I bought some nice wooden handled screwdrivers, including one that takes hex bits, some pliers, some Whitworth spanners of various brands and a really nice German made Whitworth socket set made by Matador. ¡Ole!

IMG_0444_1 Tools.

I also got two old grease pumps mainly because I thought they looked cool. Not sure how usable they will be but after cleaning and filling with grease they do work.  They are both Tecalemit pumps and I believe the little brass one is part of an old motorcycle tool kit. It looks small and cute enough for a lady of motoring persuasion to keep in her hand bag or perhaps held against her thigh under a suspender belt. Would keep the grease warm.

purdy Purdy.

I spent most of the rest of the day ‘restoring’ the tools which meant degreasing them, killing the rust on them electrolytically then finally a going over with a small wire brush on the Dremel. The socket tin was the most rusted but even that cleaned up alright and it will be given a new coat of paint.

IMG_0448_1 IMG_0452_1

Electrolytic cleaning (before adding water) and tools afterwards.

To electrolytically remove the rust you just need a plastic tub, a battery charger, some water, some baking soda and some clean(ish) sacrificial steel. You dissolve some baking soda in the water, the actual amount doesn’t matter too much) and this creates a conductive solution. You then put in your pieces you want the rust removed from and hook this to the negative terminal on the charger. The positive wire you attach to your sacrificial steel. Put them both in the water, not touching of course as this would be a short circuit. Turn on the charger and what happens is the rust is removed and the sacrificial pieces go rusty! A search online for “electrolytic rust removal” will turn up many sites explaining how it work.

Another job I did was to hang a line around the top of my garage for hanging dust sheets from. The line is a clothes line and hangs just under the roof beams and runs around the walls about 500mm away from them. By hanging plastic drop sheets with clothes pegs (wooden of course for the correct idiom) from the line I can create a little spray booth/dirty area that will stop dust, over-spray and mess going on the walls and shelves and so on.

IMG_0454_1 IMG_0455_1

Clothes line to hang drop sheets from.

On Sunday I got in a full day of car working. With my new spanners and sockets I started removing everything I could from the chassis so I can start restoring that. I still need to remove the rear axle off the springs then remove the springs from the chassis. The springs are held to the body with a U-bolt and a large bolt though the entire spring. Both of these were easily removed. You can’t however pull the axle off the chassis with the springs attached because of the A frame shape. So you need to remove the axle from the springs.

It is attached on big pins that extend out of the rear hubs. These pins need to be removed either by drifting them out from the front of the hub though a small hole or by pulling them out from the threaded side. I prefer to pull them out if I can. First a cotter pin needs to be removed so the pin can come out. The A7 uses a few of these tapered cotter pins in places. Basically they are like a little wedge with a nut at one end which when tightened pulls in the pin and locks things together. Of course these tend to rust in place and be a bugger to get out.

Even worse on my car is the cotter is inaccessible due to the bolts that hold the hub to the axle housing being in the way. To get to them you need to remove the hubs first.

IMG_0484_1 Spring pin cotter.

About now I stopped for a traditional part time Austin 7 mechanics lunch of beef sandwiches and champagne while I consulted the big red book.

IMG_0467_1 Lunch

The big red book is the manual you need for working on an Austin 7. It’s called, unsurprisingly,  ‘The Austin 7 Manual‘ by Doug Woodrow. There never was a factory manual but this book explains how everything comes apart and goes back together from a practical point of view.

Removing the hubs requires the use of a special tool. Which, of course, I don’t have. These aren’t expensive and now I am a new member of the Vintage Austin Register of NZ I should be a ble to order one from them. I will take some pictures showing how that works once I get it.

IMG_0462_1Rear hub and brakes.

In the mean time I removed everything else I could. The brake mechanism is held in place by a cotter and nut. I suspect these wedge shaped cotters probably came from old railway practice where they made a lot of use of tapered pins to hold various things together.

IMG_0474_1  Rear brake lever and another cotter pin.

I was able to remove the offside rear brake parts but not the nearside at all. There wasn’t enough clearance so they will need to wait until the hub is off. The Austin 7 brakes are mechanical and operated by a cable. There is a cam that is rotated in a housing into which fit two steel inserts. These inserts ride on the cam which is moved by the brake cable.  The other ends of the inserts push one end of the brake shoes out against the brake drum. The other end of the brake shoes fit against an adjuster that allows them to be pushed in and out. Using this adjuster allows you to take up wear in the brake linings.

IMG_0475_1 IMG_0476_1 Rear brake mechanism.

IMG_0480_1 IMG_0481_1 Brake shoes.

I am not sure how worn the shoes are. I’ve never seen new ones!

With the rears in as many pieces as I could manage for now without removing the hubs I turned my attention to the brake cross shaft. This runs across the middle of the car and is what the handbrake and foot brake attach to. Actuating the brakes rotate this shaft that have arms on the ends with cables attached to operate the rear brakes. The centre of the shaft has a compensator that operates the front brakes, also via cables.

This shaft is in several parts, has numerous linkages and levers held in place with yet more tapered cotters. There are bearings, felts washers, flat washers, a spring and god knows what else. Basically I again removed everything I could. This time I had to use heat as the cotters were well stuck.

IMG_0492_1 More shoddy welding.

When I removed the handbrake which has obviously been shortened by being cut and welded  the brazed weld on the ratchet linkage broke. Another faulty weld.

IMG_0495_1 IMG_0496_1 Heat and linkages.

Finally I had the whole things apart and off the car. This is most of the bits involved below. God knows how they go back together again!

IMG_0498_1 Brake cross shaft.

I then turned my attention to the front end which was already off the car. Again the problem is removing the hubs so I couldn’t do much. One thing I did was remove the radius arms and I suddenly realised these are not the correct ones for the car. Mine are held in place by one large nut only. It should have stronger arms held bolted to two places on the axle. You can see the extra mounting holes near the spring mounting point.

IMG_0502_1 Wrong radius arms.

I also discovered the king pin on one side has a huge amount of slop in it. Hopefully this is the king pin bearing and not the eyes in the axle beam being worn. The king pin is held in with another cotter. Well, supposedly. On one side I found it to be held with a normal bolt. I don’t believe this is correct.

IMG_0488_1 King pin cotter bolt.

I can further strip the front end once I get the hub puller. So the chassis is now a bit more stripped but she still has her rear end attached.

IMG_0500_1 Further stripped chassis.

With about as much done on the chassis as I can do for now I had a closer look at the carb that came with the car. This seems to be a 1.25 inch SU, the same size as the new one I bought. But, like everything else, it’s not in top shape. There is about a quarter of a mm of movement on the spindle shaft and it seems the linkages have been home made and welded together. It should be apparent by now I trust none of the welding on the car as it is so I am very glad I got that new carb when I did!

IMG_0485_1 IMG_0486_1 Bodgy carb linkages.




One Response to “Buying tools.”

  1. Austin 7 Special » Blog Archives » Stripping block. Says:

    […] then put the block into a bucket to electrolytically remove the rust (I described it way back here: . I haven’t removed the two stuck studs yet or the screw in end caps or brass plugs. I will […]

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