Sunday, 29 April 2007

The engine has moved...


The engine has moved from the back of the garage where it has been since we arrived here.

In the last house it was rebuilt in the conservatory. The head was modified for unleaded use by a company in Brighton who also gave it a rebore and supplied the pistons. I assembled it all with new oil pump and timing chain and all sorts of other stuff.

The gearbox was stripped and inspected a few months ago, a few things looked a bit loose so new bearings were fitted and they were just as loose, so that must be the way they are... I made a little mistake with the clutch plate as it was used to hold the mainshaft to undo a nut. A replacement was more expensive than I recall from the last one I bought. Ho hum.
I also seemed to have lost a spring, I'm convinced it wasn't fitted but It probably was and is on the floor somewhere. This spring isn't available from the shops but a friend of a friend came to the rescue and gave me one from an old 'box. Thanks Iain.

The Flywheel was covered in rust, as was the important part of the clutch cover plate. These were wire brushed as best as possible. Next time (ha!) I'll grease them before laying them up.

With flywheel and clutch fitted, the gearbox was added and all is ready for fitting.

Thanks to Russell for lending me his Haltrac engine hoist. All assembled and ready. Just need to get the wife out, to lend a hand removing the bonnet.

Other jobs today.
Bled the brakes again, now feels as good as new. Problem being the front offside is binding slightly. I'll ignore it for a while, hope it goes away. Also fitted the steering column seal. Best done as the steering column is fitted not as an after-thought several weeks later.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Bleeding Brakes

Bought the last tin of silicon fluid from and filled the master cylinder. I pumped away on the pedal and nothing happened.

Left it over night and tried again this morning. Much the same.
Found my old Gunsons brake bleed kit. The one you can pressurise with a car tyre. The last time I tried it I had brake fluid spraying everywhere, so this time I just connected it to the cylinder and to the tyre.

With 30psi in the tyre, I expected somthing to happen but nothing did. Even pumping the pedal had no effect. I had another look a the bleed nipples.

I bought these fancy bleed nipples ages ago (like most things for this car) . These nipples are complete with a mini non return valve fitted. So you have a nipple, plunger and spring. It seems you need to loosen the nipple a long way before the 30 psi will push past the valve - or I probably had a little blockage that just needed more pressure or time.

Naturally, I had released it too far and when the blockage released, the spring and plunger shot across the floor, followed by lots of expensive fluid.

Brake bleeding seems to be back to normal now. All 4 slaves bled, still lots of bubbles but time to let it settle and read the paper.

The small stuff

I should be fitting the engine this week but I've been doing the little things.

The radiator was tested to see if it leaked. I had an accident with it in Truro. I was cutting of the wing and while the disc cutter was slowing down, I turned and caught the radiator a glancing blow. Two of the pipes were ruptured. These were resoldered and still seem to be holding out.
A small leak was coming from the top where it had been soldered before so this was sorted and the cooling fins seem to be a bit brittle.

it was rubbed down, de-rusted, and painted in quick set enamel from the trusty payless/focus/do-it-all (whatever they are called this week).

An electric fan was found at Billy Bridges scrap yard. It was from a Range Rover but just fits the front after some plastic was cut away. A thermostat switch (dual-temp) from a BMW is also planned to be fitted.

Other things done, 8mm Copper fuel pipe finished from pump to engine bay.
Removed the heater box to fit new solenoid. Heater box doesnt line up with fan so another bodge needed.

Also started fitting eDead sound deadening to the inside. Not sure if this is a good idea or not. I had a Midget ages ago that had the sheet of black dimpled sound deadening in it, this stuff is similar but with an aluminium top layer. I've decided to fit to most inside panels but to leave the seems free so they can be inspected in the future for rust.


Decided it would be good to fit the brake calipers at the front.
Like a lot of things, these were stripped and painted many years ago.

Wisely I decided to test them before fitting. I applied the air gun to the hole and nothing much happened. I tested the next one and a small movement was observed. I squirted in a bit of WD40 and tested it again. The vapourised WD40 covered most of the desk now - but both pistons are moving.

On the first caliper, this method only moved one piston. I stripped it down and found the culprit. The seal between the halves was too wide and covered both ports. The seal was modified too look a bit like Mickey mouse and all now works fine.

Fitting the calipers was fairly easy - but the Disc dust shields needed a bit of a tweak to allow the calipers to fit.

It looks quite good now with the copper pipes and Aeroquip hoses. I'll get the silicon fluid and start to fill the system later in the week.

Fuel Pump

I "restored" the fuel pump, probably 18 years ago, with seals and diaphragm and re-restored it last year with new points.
Finally fitted it today.
Then took it off again as it would get in the way of fitting the Spax shocks. The Spax kit was purchased for Jemima but used on a different Midget for a while, hence they don’t look pristine.

With the shocks and the fuel pump on, I bought some hose and copper pipe from the local Strand Motor Spares shop and plumbed in the pump ready for testing. The output was directed into a 5l container.

The tank was drained of a few litres of storage oil and re-filled with petrol/diesel mix I had handy from a recent event at the local garage.
30litres of unleaded was added accidentally to my daily diesel runner, fortunately it was fairly empty and I spotted my mistake while reading the advert on the filler handle. At the end of the advert was the word "unleaded" in SMALL letters. Oops...

Anyway it has come in handy to clean the inside of the tank and test the fuel pump.

Fuel pump didn’t work until the usual light tap with a hammer. Rather disappointing but I guess to be expected after 20 years. It clunked away for ages and starts every time now.

When I thought I had finished with the work for the day I found that the tank was still draining slowly through the pipe. I would have thought the pump would have stopped the flow but it doesnt. Had a big puddle on the floor before I spotted it and raised the level of the end of the pipe.
Drained the tank properly again now.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Twenty years!!

The 3rd April past without fanfare.
I forgot.
Twenty years Jamima has been off the road. But she is getting closer to the next self-propelled journey.

This week I have been finishing off the wiring. Despite a new loom, it has needed many modifications. An Ammeter was fitted, an interior light, door switch and a cigarette lighter (destined to be a charging socket). The super loud, twin horns, were also fitted and the plunger screen washer wired up with new "hidden" switch which operate the washer and starts the wipers Almost like a new car.

Then, I thought would be a good time to test it all. I plugged a battery charger and connected to earth and solenoid and switched on.

No smoke, no bangs or pops.

The lights worked, indicators were a bit "buzzy", the wipers wouldn't stop but so far so good. A new flasher relay fixed the indicators (and an earth lead on the left rear). Adjusting the wiring of the wiper switch sorted the wiper - after blowing several fuses when I got it wrong. The toad powerkey light flashed and the system armed when the key was near the spot. But the solenoid refused to click.
Another dud.