Well, Mr Willie Mackenzie at Austin Repro www.austinrepro.com made me a lovely new magneto strap for a mere £30. I'm having to use the nasty old bolts but the new brass ones are the wrong size (my fault) and the heads would be too large in any case.
So with the coupling being properly fixed all I had to do was determine Cyl 1 TDC on compression stroke, refit the mag with the rotor arm pointing near Cyl 1 and bolt it all up. This done I fuelled it up, set the timing to full retard, full choke and a touch of throttle and ignition on and off she ran! The mag is now very firmly seated. Job done.
In this photo you will notice the lovely enots brass hose clips which are also from Austin Repro and just set the engine off perfectly.
That was earlier last week and on Thursday I sat in the sun post lunch appointments and washed the car and set about polishing off the winter's tarnishing. Quite a job as you can imagine and it will take a few days of pottering to get it finished.
So I thought, I'll just go collect the kids from School in the Alldays as it is such a nice day. Started her up, went for a very short test drive up the [steep] hill from my house, turned at the top and came down again only to find NO BRAKES and I mean no brakes whatsoever!
I was only in 2nd so by the time I reach the drive I had lost enough speed to stop it using residual foot brake (transmission - still unfixed!). I popped off the floor plate, took off the offending part that needed welding and used my nice TIG welder to sort it. It now works to the manufacturer's spec ... ie not very well at all!
Problem was that the main braking is using the hand brake which operates the drum on the rear axle. Well, I was not collecting the kids with basically no brakes in a very hilly part of town at rush hour!
Roll on to today (Saturday) and I lifted the rear end, took off the n/s rear drum to find it well fouled with oil which is not unusual but the o/s was hell to remove and when it finally came off several small parts of broken brake shoe fell out at the same time - oops!
Out with the welder again to try and stitch the shoes back together and .... I run out of gas! Just as well as my dodgy eyesight caused me to angle grind my hand a little which is Carma for breaking the shoes in the first place as I tried and failed to check the wheel bearing last weekend!
All 4 shoes have been welded up at several points in their history so I see 4 news ones being made sometime soon.
I may have mentioned that my carb has been pissing fuel from the float bowl and has resisted all attempts to be sealed? Well, I've had some success!
First I watched as petrol dripped out the float bowl at £1.40 per litre and noticed that it was coming from the gasket AND through the sides of the lower casting!
I took the float bowl off and cleaned it thoroughly and removed the gasket. Got some chemical metal and glued up the porous bits after removing the 2 lower blanking plugs. A wee bit of threadlock and new fibre washers for the plugs and a line of hylomar (posh instant gasket) for the top and together it went. RESULT! no leakage but it will not last forever.
With help from a few experts I identified the carb as a Zenith 36U, not made by Zenith Ltd but as a UK made branded version of the US carb which became the basis for Zenith Ltd in 1927. This one was made in ~1912 - 1923 so is actually period if not original. As luck would have it I found an almost 'as new' one in New Zealand and for a mere £200 it is winging its way over to me as I type.
Been for a couple of drives and the clutch is NASTY! very grabby and means I get lots of practice in starting it after stalling!
I've tried re-adjusting it and after talking to the guy who relined it I'm going to try oiling it ... seems as daft as greasing your brakes cos they squeak but most veterans run leather cone clutches that are heavily oiled so perhaps my fibre one will benefit from a bit of slippage!
Next outing is Sunday May 6th at the Museum of Rural Life, East Kilbride. Come and say hello. _________________ Richard
I identified my carb (British made Zenith model carb 36U) and did a google search. Hans Compter in New Zealand has 2, one complete and almost like new and one in need of restoration. I pay by paypal and 10 days later it arrives.
The icy weather has returned to the UK so my car has been drained of water and is being polished and paint touched up (wooden bodies vibrate so much!) until the frost goes over the weekend and I'll get the clutch oiled and tested.
It really is the last major problem to be resolved and then I'm simply accessorising, fettling and enjoying. _________________ Richard
Paint looking lovely
Polishing coming along a treat
clutch oiled with some 20w50 I have lying around and 3 mins of painting the pads with oil have transformed the clutch into an almost normal driving experience.
Next investment is in the mag/coil conversion from www.austinrepro.com. My mag is definitely weak and despite being rebuilt, again, last summer the car does run like it should. In any case the cost of getting my newer spare mag set up for the Alldays (inc the cost of the mag) is nearly twice the cost of the conversion so in it goes.
I can't wait for easy starting (not that it is hard just now) and modern style timing adjustment and, above all, reliability. _________________ Richard
Well, despite a few misgivings and worries, the mag/coil conversion has worked a treat. The car needs a little fettling to get the timing spot on but it runs very nicely and starts from stone cold without priming unless I'm feeling tired in which case a spot of fuel in the bores makes life very easy.
The carb float bowl has turned out to be too far gone to be repairable so a lucky search found me a replacement in New Zealand. Upon arrival I found that one of the 2 side jets (starting/compensating) was missing and Mick at http://www.carburetterspecialists.fsnet.co.uk/ managed to find me 2 technical documents AND a couple of spare jets - what a star. No I can drive without peeing fuel all over my exhaust at £1.40 per litre!
To run the coil I've bought a 22Ah golf caddy battery which should give me a full day's running and a 4 hour recharge time. The battery is motorbike sized and lives comfortably under the driver's seat. At £33 each I'm getting a spare one and with a couple of accessories for my Ctek charger I've got the battery on a quick (dis)connect setup that plugs straight into the charger as well, The QD connector has a battery condition indicator so I can see, at a glance, what the state of charge is.
The cost of the conversion has mounted up:
Conversion kit - £465
black dizzy cap - £10
new leads etc - £15 (I have the bits and tools)
New mag strap - £30 (eventually)
Batteries - £66
connectors - £35
Total - £621
Cost of a better magneto - £500, plus £200 for a rebuild, £150 for a new coupling - total £850. Not forgetting I'd need to butcher a good mag to make it fit thus rendering it valueless makes the conversion economic and practical sense. _________________ Richard
On another subject, I took the Alldays to the Museum of Rural Life (East Kilbride) Classic Car Show last Sunday and it was a great day.
Firstly the car ran nicely with only a wee tweak to the timing to get it running better up hills and we arrived bang on time. The hill start through the car park was a bit dodgy (note to self: fix that sprag brake) but we got settled and immediately got a lot of attention.
Everyone was really friendly and there was only one ignoramus who was irritated at me telling their three 7 year old boys not to use the car as a climbing frame. Some people have rather overdeveloped senses of entitlement IMO
By lunchtime the judging had been done (not that I was aware that there had been any) and lo and behold, we'd won 1st place in the pre 1969 class! I got a nice rosette and a bucket with cloths and windscreen squeedgie! I had to drive the car round the site and frighten everyone with shouts of "no brakes! No brakes!".
By 4pm we had to head off and we drove home in 4th gear almost all the way including up some big hills so I was really chuffed.
Breakages for the day:
front number plate bar bracket broke, a victim of vibration and now the plate is fixed directly to the chassis. This has improved cooling somewhat.
The next outing is to Dumfries for a VCC and SSVVCA annual run in 10 days time by which time the car should be running sweet as a nut with no fuel leaks, reliable starting and stopping. Now, where's my good weather booking form
The replacement starting jets arrived in the post this morning so I got busy putting the 'new' float bowl together, got the hylomar on and installed it. Whilst I was waiting for it to set I fitted the ctek cables to the battery and before fitting the connector to the car side of the circuit I switched the fuel tap on to see if the bowl was leaking ..... And nothing! Result!
Wiring done, I test started the car and it is perfect.
Next I'll be marking up the flywheel for timing. I need to figure out what the current advance is and then maybe advance it a little more. Time for the string and calculator. IIRC the circumference of the flywheel is 1080mm which means each degree is 3mm.
It is good to know the car is ready for the next run out in Dumfries and I can fettle all next week. _________________ Richard
The VCC run in May was great fun as ever, this year in lovely weather rather than the storms of last 2011. Arrived in Glencaple on Friday evening and had the usual massed unloading and fettling followed by dinner.
Saturday was to be a 70 mile day (with a 40 mile route for the single cylinder cars) and I was all sorted and ready with two 2 gallon fuel cans from the 1930s mounted on the running boards and the new float bowl fitted and leak free although my rear brakes were not really working very well but I had some foot braking.
We set off and had an untroubled run to the morning coffee stop and then headed on the long run to the lunch stop and that's where the trouble started. The car lost power and stopped but would restart easily (mainly thank to the coil conversion) but would stop again within a few hundred feet. It became obvious I had a fuel delivery problem so at the side of a remote road in Dumfriesshire I started to dismantle the fuel 'system'.
I started with the tank, removing the pipe from the tap and opening the
tap for a second and the flow was fine. next was the other end of the pipe (about 2' away) at the carb and again it was fine. So off came the new float bowl and sure enough there was almost no flow. It seemed that there was enough to fill the bowl but as soon as that ran out it stopped. The next job was to sort the carb which meant it had to be removed along with linkages and rods. The whole thing took about 20 minutes and I found that the filter behind the float valve (which I was unaware of) was filled with fibres and could have been sorted in 10 seconds with a 13mm spanner! That was one for the file. So started again we drove on enjoying the drive, the scenery until we were on a high moor when the same thing happened again. This time it was float bowl off, valve off, cleaned and replaced in under 5 minutes and way we went again.
Lunch stop attained with 15 minutes to spare for grub (we were about an hour behind everyone else) we helped fix another couple of casualties in the car park and then headed back to base with only a total lack of brakes to keep us amused. At one point we headed downhill toward the busy A75 with literally no brakes and 2 juggernaughts looking like they'd sandwich us. Luckily I could drive down and round to point the car back up hill and slowed to a walk on the gears and timed it so I didn't need to stop. Jacqui was ready to jump just in case - oh ye of little faith!
Back at base I adjusted the foot brake which, to be fair, had only just bedded in and now was very effective but found that the rear brakes had shattered so we were ready for day 2.
The next day I checked the levels and spotted that the radiator was a little low so topped it up. Once we'd driven into Dumfries everyone noticed a water leak that I put down to it 'finding it's own level' but, as we arrived in Castle Douglas for morning tea a few hours later the car started to smoke from the engine bay so I ran it into a space and killed the engine, opened the bonnet to find the red paint had burned black and water pouring our the bottom of the radiator. I grabbed a more knowledgeable friend (the current Chairman of the VCC as it happens) who, as upset as I gently turned the engine over (after leaving it for 30 minutes to cool) whilst everyone held their breath. It was smooth as ever so I had been lucky and as everyone tried to calm me by telling stories of regularly seizing Mini engines I tried not to burst into tears! Taken back by modern car to collect my trailer, we picker her up and headed home, early again!
rear brakes shoes were knackered - new ones were custom made by Friction Components here in Glasgow and a lovely job they made of them - I even have 2 spare ones!
Radiator - The bottom outlet pipe had fatigued off the water tank! After getting estimates of £4,000 for rebuilding/replacing, I found a local guy who specialises in these things but when I went to drop the rad off I chatted to his Dad who was the real old time expert. They took the bottom tank apart, repaired the inside panels (one more rattle fixed) and reattached the bottom pipe so it will never come off again, fixed a couple of wee holes in the matrix and pressure tested it. Sorted for £100! RESULT!
So with 36 hours before the Biggar Albion Rally and regularity run (http://www.albion-trust.org.uk/events-calendar) I have proper brakes, lots of cooling and a bit of fettling done.
List of jobs:
rad refitted so the bonnet does not catch
number plate bar mounted below the chassis (exposes more of the rad for better cooling)
new rear brakes shoes fitted and adjusted
new rear oil seals
hand brake level moved back by 7" so I can reach it
Oil filler pipe removed, re-soldered together, painted and refitted
So last night, for a lark, Kezia and I went to Asda in the Alldays to do our shopping - got a few looks!!
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