An MGB Rebuild


This is the story of our MGB roadster restoration project. Our existing B is a í68 model which we have had for about 6 years now and taken across Europe and on numerous trips to Le Mans and elsewhere.


Itís in fairly standard trim, with Rostyle wheels and a four branch exhaust manifold already fitted when we got the car. Since then Iíve added an electric fan to cope with Le Mans heat, removing the standard engine driven unit at the same time, and a pair of K&N air cleaners to replace the previous pancake units which seemed to prevent getting a balance between good acceleration and a decent tickover from the engine.


Internally, I added a 2Ē Smiths clock to the top left of the centre console and, to balance it, an 30-0-30 ammeter. The latter item has caused a bit of trouble, with one going open circuit on us and stopping the car dead. Since that time, I now carry a small rectangular piece of brass to which the ammeter leads can quickly be connected should be same happen again. I know ammeters are a source of trouble, and a 30A unit is arguably too small anyway, but Iíve never seen it at full scale deflection and a bigger unit wouldnít be as good to watch. Also in the centre console is a cigarette lighter Ė used exclusively for the electric pump which we use to blow up the camp bed.


Other than the ammeter incident, the car has been reliable. Iíve replaced the alternator regular, a brake cylinder and hose, and the rear springs & bushes over the six years, which isnít bad for a thirty-five year old car. However, some problems are looming in the shape of a noisy top end, for which I suspect worn valve seats despite the use of fuel additives, and increasing clunks from the rear axle. The final decision though was the increasing evidence that tin worm had taken hold, and despite scraping through one MOT with a bit of welding, it was looking that something would have to be done!


We were fortunate enough to find, in the back pages of one of the MG magazines, an advert for a restored í67 bodyshell together with a number of other bits and pieces, including a 3 synchro overdrive gearbox. Apparently the body was professionally rebuilt, but another project came up before it could be properly painted. As a result, the inside was an orange/red colour but the outer in primer. It had been with the current owner for a year or so before he realised he wasnít really going to get around to doing anything with it, so it may as well be sold.


A couple of trips to Herefordshire later, we had our old MG sitting on the patio, the new body shell in the garage and a collection of boxes to sort through. Let the story beginÖÖ..


Oct 2


Bodyshell taken to be painted.


We go through the boxes, which contain all sorts of bits and pieces though certainly not enough to build a car. Mind you, whatever it would build might be quite warm with the three different heater boxes!!
















Oct 9



Opened up the 3-synchro overdrive gearbox which came with the shell, but has otherwise unknown provenance. Everything inside seems clean, with no metallic swarf or rust. Changes gear, turns ok, canít feel any bearing play. Canít find reverse, but this is probably a function of using a screwdriver as a gearlever. Difficult to be sure of a gearbox without really using it, but this one looks worth a try so we decide to go ahead.


Bolt on side of selector mechanism is a real sod to remove and requires a hacksaw to cut a square head onto it before using stilsons to finally shift it. Looks like the selector mechanism only has one electrical switch for the overdrive interlock and no reversing light switch.


Opened up the overdrive. Again, looks good though some gunk in the filter. Solenoid appears intact when tested with a meter.








Oct 16

Adjust overdrive solenoid, as per the workshop manual, such that a drill just fits through the solenoid arm and into a hole on the case. Not having any Imperial drills, a 5mm seems to do the trick. Measured the resistance of the solenoid, looks to be a couple of Ohms when extended, rising to 13 or so when the plunger is pushed in as though it is actuated, so the dual contact arrangement inside is working ok.


Refit gaskets and so to the overdrive and gearbox. Drain plus from Moss doesnít fit Ė it has the right threads per inch but the threads are much thicker so it wonít wind up and I donít feel inclined to force it. Have also discovered Moss donít do the abused bolt on the side of the selector mechanism, so make a note to find one at a show.


I also find that fitting a reversing light switch needs an unusual type of selector mechanism, as reversing lights were only an option for the last few months of 3-synchro box production. It also looks like retro fitting is harder than simply drilling and tapping a hole for the switch, so if we want reversing lights, then it looks like a dashboard switch unless we are lucky enough to spot an appropriate selector casing at a show.


Also fit new bushings to clutch release arm Ė itís a tight fitting copper sleeve which needed to be placed dead straight and carefully pushed in with the bench vice. Break the spring clips holding the release bearing so make a note to get two more of those!


Oct 23


Time to start on the inside of the old car. Getting the seats out isnít too bad, though the underfloor bolts are mostly hidden by underseal. The hardest job is moving the seats back and forwards to access the four bolts per seat.


The runners are unbolted, clean with a wire brush on the electric drill, greased and refitted. The seats themselves get a good clean and leather food. They show their age, but are basically in decent nick so are put upstairs in the garage ready for refitting.


Next the seat belts and trim panels come out. No major problems, but I wonder if the new body has the captive threads for fitting the belts Ė time will tell. Finally, the access cover, battery and associated mounting hardware are removed in preparation for the next stage.




Oct 30

Dashboard removal this weekend. First out are the switches, knobs and gauges. The heater controls are very stiff but are eventually persuaded, though not without some fear of breaking them in the process. Once the knobs are off, itís simple to remove the control mechanisms and unbolt the cables.


The choke is a pain, as the securing nut behind the dash is tight and the cable has to be detached at the carburettor and then pulled through. Similarly the dual gauge needs its water temperature sensor to be detached from the engine but after much WD40 and an increasingly brutal series of implements itís having none of it. Finally, out with the pliers, a single cut and the gauge is free, but dead. I have heard of these being repaired though, so one more item to research at a show.


Everything else is simple, though sometimes fiddly. I donít mark the wires, as it will be a new loom on the new car anyway Ė though I may come to regret this, who knows.


The dash itself is again straightforward to remove but fiddly. The glovebox needs to come off, which is 8 or so screws which are obviously not originals and in some cases donít seem to have associated nuts. The Ďbox itself is a fairly pathetic cardboard construction, though not in bad nick considering. From the diagram it looks like there is supposed to be a bracket supporting it at the rear, but we donít have one and Moss donít supply. Shouldnít be too hard to make one up when we come to rebuild though.


Nov 4

Not much time spent this week, as weíve been away for the weekend. Clean up the dash, instruments and switches, in particular making sure electrical connections are clean. The previously non-working dash board light dimmer switch was restored to life by cleaning and a healthy dose of switch cleaner into its innards. Now sweeps from 6 Ė 30 ohms, not that the dash lights ever seemed bright enough to need dimming in the first place, but with new clean connectors, who knows?


The speedometer presents an interesting challenge. As weíre using an overdrive, web research shows we need one geared at 1080 turns per mile Ė the number is printed on the dial. A suitable unit came with the new body, but the input shaft is seized, so time to take it apart.


This is new territory, but interesting. First step is to prise the lugs on the chrome surround and remove it with the glass. The gubbins can then be removed by undoing the small screws at the back of the case. The pointer is removed by holding it at 60mph and pulling gently, after which another couple of small screws allow the dial to be removed.


The worm drive at the back of the unit is corroded, which is why the input shaft canít be turned using a small screwdriver inside it. This cleans up by a combination of scraping and WD40, after which the mechanism begins to turn. Celebration is short lived, however, as it turns out that one of the nylon cogs which drive from the worm and determine the 1080 tpm figure is split, causing the drive to bind on each revolution. Of course, the existing working speedo has a different number of teeth on its cog, so I will need to see if I can pick up a old unit at a show and hope itís not broken for the same reason.


Out of interest, I dismantle the odometer and trip mileage recorder, which are simply held by small screws and the spring which holds the driving pawl in position. I can now Ďclockí the odometer to zero by gently pushing the numbered wheels just far enough apart to free them from the driving pins. However, whether I can reassemble it all again, with a new cog, remains to be seen!


Nov 11

Went to the South West classics show at the Bristol and Bath showground Ė smaller than I remember and somewhat disappointing in terms of MG bits for sale. Got a few bits though, including a dual gauge to replace the one I had to destroy a couple of weeks ago Ė at £55 it didnít seem worth looking into getting the old one repaired.


Also bought a load of UNF washers, which meant that the gearbox could finally be moved off the workbench and so get some space back. Reassembled the dash, excluding speedo and a couple of switches, mostly so as to keep the various bits together. The rubbers holding the green indicator tell-tale lights didnít hold want to hold the green discs anymore, but a small dab of glue fixed that.


Stripped the rear of the car, including badges, lights and rear bumper. No major problems, but the bumper doesnít look like it will want to come apart easily. We got some spare rear light clusters with the new body-shell, so put together the best of the set which now gives us a fully matching set of connectors. Jo cleaned up the units, and then the studs in search of a decent earth, but we will need to look at this carefully when reassembling.


Stripped the heater air hoses and various body vents from the interior, together with the trim panel in front of the heater. Also took off the floor mounted dip switch and throttle stop. A mounting screw for the dipswitch rounded, so left it Ė will buy new if itís cheap. Also removed the wiper motor and gearboxes, which is easiest by pulling the wiper arms off their splines, which was surprisingly easy, and then undoing the chrome nut underneath them. One of these was already badly rounded, so a new one is called for.

Nov 18

Family business this weekend, so not much time to play.


Nov 25

Cleaned and Hammerited the body vents, plus identified new screws for reinstallation.


Cleaned up the old propshaft that came with the body shell. The splines were ok and the collar screwed easily onto the stub shaft at the back of the gearbox. However, the universal joint is sticky in one direction so needs to be replaced, Unfortunately, a couple of the retaining circlips break rather than coming out. I use an old socket as a drift to hammer the joint out of the yoke but although it moves, there isnít enough travel to release it from the shaft. Not looking good Ė I will have to think of something or invest in a new shaft.

Dec 2

Not much time again, compounded by needing to fix the suspension on the Xantia. The wiper motor, drive mechanism and gearboxes are dismantled and cleaned. Other than being dirty, everything looks ok and there is plenty of life in the brushes so these can be used.


The self-parking switch has never worked and, as luck would have it, Moss no longer supplies them. On removing the sealed for life plastic cover, it is clear that a spring has broken away and the moving copper arm is bent. I try an alternative spring and bend the arm back into shape, but itís difficult to make reliable contact. I suspect it will be difficult in practice to make a reliable repair, so I will need to look out for a repair part.


Dec 9

Never enough time, but starting to make progress again. The wiper motor and gearboxes are lightly greased and reassembled, using the original, broken, self-parking switch until a replacement can be found. One of the fixing screws doesnít have a thread to tap in to, and one of the bolts on the gear case has the same problem, but it does warrant any particular action at this stage.


Remove the headlights, which seem basically ok although the rear locating frame and rubbers look ropey. Releasing the lights from the wiring seem easiest with the grill removed, so out that came together with some wiring clips.


Removed the front sidelights. The backplate on these is secured by a stud with a bolt on the rear, accessible through the headlight hole once the lights are removed, or from underneath. Either way, exposure to years of road dirt means the nuts are reluctant to move and one on each light shears off.


The front bumper is unbolted at the sides, and the over-riders are also unbolted. Removing the bumper itself needs the bolts holding the struts behind the over-riders onto the chassis legs, but rain gets the better of me before these are done. Next timeÖÖ..


Dec 16

Xantia now decides its time for new rear discs and pads Ė not surprising after 180K miles, but still takes a bit of time. Calliper mounting bolts also hold the two halves of the calliper together Ė Gallic logic no doubt, so must remember to rub the discs with garlic before fitting!!


Front bumper off, along with the remaining spring bar from the rear which for reason had languished on the car.


Closer inspection of the lights shows that the inner reflective coating is being eaten by rust, so time to replace those as well. If not much more expensive, we may as well go for one of the halogen upgrades.


Bumpers are cleaned are look ok so can be stored for reuse. Other pieces are hammerited and made ready.

Dec 23

The newly painted body is back!! Time is spent tidying the garage to make room for it, but time for no more than that.


Jo spots that Moss have a sale on Ė 20% off. The website canít cope with the excitement though, so itís back to the phone and order the headlight kits, wiring loom and a few other bits. I decide on a í71 loom, as it supports the alternator and steering wheel horn push which we have. Whether that causes other problems remains to be seen.

Dec 30

Assemble the headlights ready for refitting. Not sure the chrome trims are fitting right, but difficult to tell without the lights being on the car so weíll worry about that later.


Remove a few odd bits which were left on the new body Ė dynamo control box and a new looking brake pipe junction block from under the bonnet and the heater flap from the body, which needed to be threatened with the impact driver to shift the rusted and painted in screws. Weíve already got this cleaned up from the old car though, so this bit can be discarded straight away.


I have another go at the propshaft which has been sitting there for a few weeks. This time I can get the bearing cups to spread sufficiently using a chisel on the UJ itself and then break up the needle rollers, which gives me enough clearance to wriggle out the main piece. Once everything is apart, the edges of the yoke look a bit battered, but the bearing holes clean up nicely with a small wire brush on the drill so it looks good enough to reuse.



With father in law Roy staying with us over the new year, we aimed to dismantle everything in the engine bay, leaving just the block and head intact. Roy took out the carburettors and inlet manifold, and unbolted the exhaust manifold, whilst I started on the ancillaries. Most things came apart fairly well, needing just the appropriate level of persuasion. However, after a fair bit of fiddling to undo the clamp plate bolts the distributor refused to come out or even turn. A few taps with a hammer, using a socket extension against the Ďearsí of the units, managed to turn it a fraction but not to free it so currently it remains in situ.


Other problem areas were the after market electric windscreen washer pump, where the pipe connections broke off when I remove the plastic pipe, and the mounting bracket for the washer bottle which also didnít want to let go. Removing the cover for the brake and clutch master cylinders was tricky, as a lip prevents sockets or ring spanners being used and needed me working in the drivers footwell and Roy holding the bolts at the top. Eventually it came off, however, whereupon the rest of the unit came apart fairly easily. The clutch hydraulic pipe was seized to its union, but as I planned to replace the pipe anyway that wasnít a problem.


Jan 6

Have booked Le Mans ferry using the registration number belonging to the collection of bits in the garage Ė the clock is ticking!!


Started to clean a few things up, starting with the inlet manifold which appeared to have some red paint from a previous respray. The worst of the dirt was also taken off the carbs, but proper cleaning will be easier when they are apart for reconditioning. Also took the heater box apart, which isnít in bad condition, and removed the air control flap assembly and motor. The air control flap was very stiff, but after removing the control cable and a good dose of WD40 it now moves freely. The felt pad on the flap was reglued where it was loose using Superglue. The fan didnít look like it would come off its axle without damage, but access to the motor is possible from the other end. This showed the brushes in good condition, so everything was reassembled. In the inevitable way of these things, a spring from under the brush plate got loose, so this turned out to be something more of an exercise than first planned!


Jan 13

Cleaned and painted the brake/clutch pedals and housing, and also cleaned and dismantled the master cylinders. They came up quite nicely, revealing for the first time in a number of years the ĎLockheed Made In Englandí embossed writing. After removing the inner circlip it needed a few taps of the cylinder on the bench for the piston to come out, but no major drama. Also dismantled, cleaned and painted the heater assembly, but thatís about it for this week.

Jan 20

A bumper haul from Moss this week, so time to get fixing. Fitted new seal kits to the clutch and brake master cylinders and reassembled the pedal box assembly with a set of new bolts to replace those which had suffered during removal. At least one of the pedals will need to be removed again to fit everything to the car, but this way keeps everything together. We also added a couple of washers to each bolt so that the bolt head protrudes above the lip around the pedal box cover, making it much easier to get a spanner on it


The heater box was also assembled, with some thick new foam parts which Iím sure werenít there when it was taken apart. Fitted the metal sleeved control cable to the air control flap, now freely moving, and attached the assembly to the bottom of the heater box. This just uses four self-tapping screws, so I had to use some oversize items to ensure a sufficiently tight fit.


Also attempted to fit the universal joint into the propshaft, but the bearings donít seem to want to go in square. Investigation shows a ridge in the yoke of the propshaft which will hopefully file out. In addition, the cover plate over the pedal box hole on the passenger side of the old car was removed ready for painting and the windscreen unbolted ready for replacement. The car looks somewhat odd with only the side windows rising above tonneau level!


Jan 27

Rebuilt the carburettors, with new No. 6 needles which are supposed to increase the mixture and compensate for the effects of K&N air filters and free-flow exhaust. Iím not sure if this was the problem, but with the standard needles it seemed impossible to get a setting which would consistently give a good idle and good throttle response, so we will give this a go. After installing the jet tube, piston, needle and top cover the jet tube on each carb is twisted this way and that to get the jet and needle aligned such that the piston moves freely along its travel. Some people suggest centring the jet before fitting the top cover, but I found this didnít work on one of the carbs. I also found that the seat for the jet retaining nut needs to be scrupulously clean to avoid slightly tilting the jet as the nut is tightened.


Having fiddled around to get the throttle and choke linkages in position, we find the kit contained only 4 gaskets rather than the 6 necessary to attach everything to the spacer blocks and heatshield, so we park that for next week.


The propshaft is finally clear enough to fit the UJ. A deep 17mm socket seems to work well as gauge to ensure that the bearing caps will fit nicely. I use a vice to fit one cap and push it almost all the way through such that I can make sure the opposite cap is firmly located on the cross of the UJ. Keeping the cross inside both caps whilst closing everything up ensures that none of the needles gets pushed out of place and prevents the caps fitting properly.


Whilst Jo starts on dismantling the brakes from the old car, I take the alternator apart. I thought from ammeter and ignition light it wasnít charging properly and, sure enough, thereís a loose connection from the field coils to the rectifier pack. My fine tip soldering iron isnít really up to the job, but I manage to make a joint Ė just hope it holds. The case was also a bit shabby so I decide to dismantle the whole thing and clean it up, which took longer than expected due to the need to borrow a friendís pulley puller, mine having gone awol. Cleaning up with the wire brush and rebuilding is straightforward though.


Next up is the clean the brakes. The front callipers are heavily coated in dirt and brake dust, which the wire wheel liberally sprays over me and everything else in the vicinity. The bleed nipples need serious persuasion to come out and will need replacing. To rebuild the callipers, we had unbolted the two halves, whilst on the car ( easy to loosen the bolts whilst fixed to something solid ) and the pistons were removed by gripping the exposed part in the jaws of the vice and then using a screwdriver either side to lever the calliper body gently and evenly upward.The pistons arenít too bad, but there is the beginning of corrosion and the chrome plate on one is peeling, so itís best to replace.


Feb 3

After cleaning up the brake callipers and blowing them out with the airline, itís time to fit the new seals. This needs a metal ring at the top of the cylinder bore to be removed by tapping a screwdriver into the join and then fitting a new ring. Despite everything being cleaned up this is a troublesome process as the rings are an interference fit and really donít want to go in straight. I manage to bend one quite badly in the process, but find that actually it doesnít really matter. The technique seems to be to get two thirds or so of the ring in place, then hold it there with the vice whilst pushing the remainder in with fingers and the blunt end of the pliers, aided by gently pushing on the obstructing outer edge with a blunt screwdriver. Iím sure thereís a better way, but it got us there!!


The inner seal is simple to fit, but a couple of the outer ones needed to be pushed hard into the groove and moved around in order for the last bit of the seal to fit snugly into place. The pistons can then be fitted by pushing them in, by hand at first and then with the vice. Some clean brake fluid would probably have helped here to lubricate the seals, but Iíve carefully thrown away the last old bottle so have to go without. The remainder of the rebuild is simple, and I have new discs and EBC Kevlar pads to fit.


Next up are the rear brakes. The springs are fiddly to clean up and one of the handbrake arms is seized and takes a bit of time to come loose. The cylinders were replaced a couple of years ago and look in good condition so we leave those alone. The self-adjusters are also seized, but free up with WD40 and working the adjuster peg back and forward and look quite good by the end. The units seem to be different, in that the pegs are of different lengths, but as both have come up clean and serviceable we can live with it.


Finally, the drums are cleaned up ready for painting.

Feb 10

Remove the fuel pump and sender unit from the old car. This is corroded on the outside and the earth terminal has broken off so although it seems to work ok with the meter probe on the inside body, I think a new one will be needed. Might get a sensible reading on the fuel gauge though!


The handbrake cable is next. Itís already released from the brakes themselves, but the mounting bracket takes some shifting though this also frees up the rear brake connector piece. Finally, itís necessary to undo the cable from the handbrake lever end, which involves winding a nut down a long rusty thread, whilst keeping the cable itself from rotating, all whilst laying on the floor under the car. The end piece of the cable is then unbolted from inside the car Ė thatís what that nut is for then Ė but it turns out the trunnion is also threaded and needs to be wound off, so off comes the lever arm from the handbrake pivot itself to allow everything to be taken apart. The handbrake itself comes away easily from the transmission tunnel.


Examining the cable shows this has probably been a wasted exercise, as it looks past its best and the threaded end is bent. As luck would have it, there is a cable on the new shell, fixed to the brakes though not attached to a handbrake. I decide to remove it and, reasoning that it has to be done anyway, also remove the old brake assemblies as well in preparation for fitting the cleaned up assemblies from last week. Easier said than done, however, and itís a significant fight to remove the left drum, finally involving a small segment of the drum cracking off. The cotter pin on the handbrake clevis pin is corroded in place and already partly sheared off and wonít move, so needs filing away before using a hammer to drive out the clevis pin. The right side is easier as there is only one brake shoe inside and the cotter pin is still intact.


Feb 17

Visit the Classics show at Shepton Mallet and pick up a few useful parts and tools, including a self-parking switch for the wipers which Iíd lost hope of ever finding.


On Sunday, back to the garage and having now seen the condition of the rear axle mounting on the new shell, in particular the saddle plate rubbers and pedestals, then it was time to start work. The assemblies on the old car are in better condition, and it has the newer Salisbury axle, but as this axle has the wire wheel hubs and matches the propshaft we have then it seems to be the one to use. Also, there doesnít seem much slack in the drivetrain and the other diff definitely has the traditional Ďclonkí on taking up drive.


After supporting the car on axle stands ahead of the rear spring mounts and removing the wheels, the diff is supported on a trolley jack whilst everything is undone and the bolts removed from front and rear fittings. I hoped to be able to lower the jack and wheel the whole assembly out, but as luck would have it there wasnít quite enough clearance under the fuel tank so we lower the jack, and lifted the axle and springs out as a unit.


The nylock nuts on the U-bolts needed a lot of effort to move, and the bolts were shot so new units required. The check strap bolt on one side also sheared off, but it looks like thereís enough thread left to go through a nut so we should get away with that. The springs themselves look ok other than the front bushes as does most of the axle, although it does seem like some metal may have rusted off around the right side mounting area. On the plus side, the drain plug and filler undo easily and there is oil in there. Jo gets everything painted up and it looks good.

Feb 24

Dismantled the fuel pump, finding what looks like a broken condenser and worn points, so it looks like it wasnít too far from a failure. Everything else looks ok though and the valves and filter are almost spotlessly clean. Having got everything apart this far, Iíll replace the diaphragm as well as the points. It would be nice to do the plastic diaphragm and O-ring in the chamber on the side of the pump, but Moss doesnít do these so Iíll keep a look out at a show. For now though, reassemble these bits and wait for the new parts.


I also decide to fit the new front bushes to the rear springs. Getting the old ones out involves drilling through the old rubber, using a hacksaw to cut through the metal outer of the bush where the spring wraps round and then an old screwdriver to pry the metal away from the inside of the spring. Once started, the bushes can then be pushed out and the rusted inside of the spring cleaned up with a file. One spring has a very sticky residue inside, which may have been oil used on fitting Ė not a good idea and takes ages to clean off.


Having got a clean surface with no ridges, fitting the new bush is a matter of pushing it home in a vice. It looks a horrible thing to do to the rubber but given the abuse needed to shift the old ones I figure theyíll be ok. A very large spanner between the spring and rear of the vice allows the bushes to just push through and so make a proper fit.


Mar 3

Moss also doesnít do the condenser which, following some investigation on the web, may well in fact be a diode disguised by some unusual packaging. Either way, a 1N5406 diode ( 3A, 400V ) from Maplin will do the job. The diode is connected across the coil, rather than the points themselves, by attaching to the same locations as the coil leads Ė the cathode is marked with a band and connects to the main input terminal. The device is small enough that it fits under the cap and sits just above and to one side of the top piece of the points.


The rubber band which fits over the pump and cap is broken so Iíve got a messy looking piece of insulation tape there at the moment, and some tape is also used over a hole which looks to have been burnt into the cap Ė maybe by the previous failing condenser / diode. Not ideal, but ok until I can source the parts.


More energetic work is inhibited by the successful use of my ankle as a pothole detector, but Jo and George reassemble the springs to the rear axle. However, I will take advantage of the space and fit brake lines, fuel line and battery cables under the car before the assembly is refitted.


Mar 10

Time for the underseal. Weíve got some from Wurth through a friend, and quickly find it works best through the spray gun when the cans are warmed in hot water for 20 mins first. After that, it sprays on the underside easily, and I cover from the rear of the car to the front end of the floor pan. Iíll do the rest when the front suspension is removed and I have access from that direction. A bendy tube from another friend allows access to the chassis rails, doors, front inner wings and heater box area but isnít small enough for the holes in the cross member. That will have to be done later.


Reassemble the brake mechanism to the axle. The clips holding the cylinders in place are difficult to fit Ė would probably be easier on the car with something more solid to push against Ė and one of them breaks, so we wonít get finished this weekend! Jo fits the brake pipes and handbrake mechanism to the axle so, clip notwithstanding, itís ready to refit.


Lay out the brake line, fuel line and battery power cable under the car and look to fit into the mountings. This not only gets me covered in still tacky underseal, but is fruitless as it doesnít look like the fuel line will fit. Examining the pump shows Iíve remember the fittings wrong, so everything is ok Ė the flexible pipe goes onto the output side. I can now fit the line between tank and pump, although this seems too long. I route it from the tank, up to and around the bump stop, and then use the excess tube in a large ĎSí shape down to the pump, taking care to stay inside of the spring location. Letís hope the pump has enough suction to pull fuel through the pipe, and a good enough electrical earth through the pipe to operate Ė the body itself is isolated by the rubber mount.


The fuel sender is removed from the new tank and seems a bit sticky but otherwise ok. It is reinstalled such that its resistance is higher when the float is lower. That seems the logical way round, but weíve been wrong before!!



Mar 17

Complete fitting the brakes to the rear axle and fit the main power cable, brake line and fuel line under the car. Itís a bit of a guess where some of these should finish, but there seems to be enough length in all of them to allow some tolerance. The fuel pipe in particular doesnít really want to bend around the body crossmember, but should be ok.


Refitting the axle and springs goes well, with just a bit of a push to get the front mountings in place and then using a jack under the diff to bring the rear into position. The bushes on the left rear put up some resistance, but a little nylon lubricant works a treat. Fitting the dampers needs a hammer to persuade the mounting bolts through their holes, before I realise Iím out of stock on nuts to go with them. With the arm bolted in place they will be ok for this week though.


I find that the tank to pump fuel line is now too close to the operating area of the damper lever so needs to be rerouted. Iím not really happy about it, as the pipe now seems too long and tightly bent. Must take a look at another car and see if Iím missing a trick here. The flexible brake pipe is fitted next, fixed in its mounting bracket and connected to the previously fitted brake line under the car. Finally, the handbrake cable is secured under the car, though this needs the drill to enlarge the mounting hole on the transmission tunnel as the bolt at the end of the cable outer is blocked by the fold of metal coming up from the floor.


The car is now lowered to the ground, wheeled out of the garage between showers of hail and turned around so that work can start on the front. The steering column and UJ come out easily, but the tie rod ends are seized solid and so the ball joints are unbolted from the steering arm to allow the steering rack itself to be released and extracted from the lower front of the car. One of the gaiters is split as well, but the rack itself looks fine so replacing all the ends should do the trick.


The plan is next to remove the front suspension and cross-member, so the anti-roll bar is also disconnected at the top of the link arm and removed. Work then starts on the right hand side, removing the brake callipers and loosening the various pivot bolts in the suspension to make subsequent dismantling easier. The cotter pins used in the castellated nuts are inevitably rusted solid, so have to be twisted off and either hammered out or simply use brute force to turn the nut and break them off.


Finally, the grease cap is removed from the hub, the hub nut removed and the hub more or less falls off the shaft, with the bearing ending up on the floor.The backplate is removed, and the brake disc separated from the hub by gripping the disc in the vice, undoing the four bolts and then tapping the rear of the hub with the hammer.


Mar 24

The trolley jack is used to push the spring pan slightly upwards, so we know the spring wonít escape once we started undoing things. The pin at the end of the damper arm is then hammered out of its slot and the swivel arm assembly pulled out. The trolley jack is then slowly lowered, allowing the tension to be taken off the spring. The spring can then be removed, although this one needed a bit of persuasion to be pulled down out of the upper mount. The damper itself is now also removed, along with the swivel axle itself.


Removing the wishbone needs the spring pan bolts to be undone such that the two halves can be pulled apart from the cross member. The bolt holding the anti-roll bar arm is solid, but the two bolts on the other side give in so the rear wishbone arm is removed along with the spring pan and the remaining bolts undone on the bench.


Also on the bench the top trunnion can be removed by holding the body of the swivel arm in the vice and using the hammer on the body of the trunnion. The old bushes are removed by cutting the rubber from around the central steel tube and then hammering the tube through. Once the bush on the far side starts to move itís easy then to pull them out.


. Jo starts to clean all the rusted parts up whilst I start on the left side. This is much the same as before, other than having to make a bracket to fit over the thread of the grease cap in the hub in order to be able to pull the thing out Ė a classic case of the simplest of jobs taking the most time. The spring pan nuts are also a problem, although one shears off which at least means that things can be removed from under the car. The anti-roll bar link bolt does not want to play ball, however, despite an amount of heating and hammering, so I finally resort to the angle grinder to cut it off and weíll have to get a new one.


Having removed the front suspension, the cross-member is supported on the jack, unbolted and lowered down. I can now bend the fuel pipe into approximately the right position, coming upward past the steering column hole and then turning across the car.Not sure Iíve got this 100% right, and the pipe is difficult to work with, but weíll see how it ends up.


That done, I set about undersealing the front half of the car. This should have been straightforward, except the spray gun has got gummed up somewhere and doesnít want to work. Canít see any blockages, and thereís plenty of air, but still no underseal! I resort to using the other gun which has the pipe and nozzle for poking into sills etc, which allows me to get the job done but is very messy as it sprays everything in sight Ė me included







Mar 31


Need to get the front suspension back together in order to be on track to remove and install the engine over the Easter weekend, so the pressure is on. The front crossmember is reinstalled using new Nylock nuts where the previous ones were removed, noting that this would also benefit from an internal spray with underseal. Fit the new bushes into the A arms using the vice and attach them to the car, both operations being helped by a small amount of nylon lubricant. Assemble the king pin, swivel axle and top trunnion mounting, the latter needing a bit of lubrication and some force to seat properly, ensuring the indent on the king pin matches with the top trunnion mounting to allow the bushes to the fitted. Fit the dust caps over the ends of the lower bush and mount between the A arms. The spring pan can now be bolted into place.


Looking at the top trunnion bushes, it is evident that in their new expanded state they will not fit between the arms of the damper assembly. The solution is to remove the central bolt on the damper arm, and use a nut and bolt between the arms to force them apart by undoing the nut. A suitable washer or two can then be inserted in the middle, where the central bolt normally runs, to keep the arms apart. The dampers are then fitted to the car.


Finally, the spring is pushed upward into its mounting, rested on the edge of the spring pan and secured to the car with some stout rope, just in case it slips. The pan is then manually lifted to get the jack under the lower trunnion and then the assembly slowly jacked upward. There are a couple of heavy clunks from the spring as it aligns itself, but nothing else untoward. Without an engine in the car, the jacking ultimately begins to lift the car body itself, so an additional human weight ( Jo! ) is deployed on the front bumper mounts to hold the car down which then allows the top trunnion bolt to fit through the damper arms and top trunnion mount.


Release the jack and tighten everything up, other than the A arm bushings which Iím told are best left until the car is under its own weight as otherwise it causes excessive twist in the rubber.


The second side is a repeat of the first, other than finding we have no lower trunnion bolt and the old ones are unusable as the remnants of the sheared split pins are still in place. We decide to use an old bolt to allow progress now, and replace later before the car goes into service. Finally, fit the anti-roll bar.


New gaiters and locknuts are installed on the steering rack. It needs about a third of a litre of gear oil, so I use some EP80/90 from the local parts shop. Putting the rack vertically in the vice allows the inner end of one gaiter to be released and the oil poured straight from the can into the gaiter, which is then refitted. The rack is then removed from the vice, turned the other way around and moved lock to lock a few times to distribute the oil.


The rack is then fitted to the car, noting that unlike the parts book suggests, there appear to be threads welded onto the crossmember at the upper mounting points. However, the tie rod ends sourced from E-bay do not swivel far enough to allow easy fitment, and when I do get them on by lifting the spring pan with the jack, moving the steering is impossible so these also need changing out.


Next is fitting the stub axles. When they were removed, the inner bearings stayed in the hub but the outer bearings came loose and were clean and in good condition. For speed, and it remains to be seen if this was the right thing to do, I therefore decided not to swap out the bearings and leave the inner in place. It was packed with new grease, as was the outer bearing, starting at one side and slowly pushing the clean grease through. Takes a few minutes, but eventually grease starts to come through the other side.


The oil collar can then be mounted on the stub axle, making sure you get it the right way round. I didnít first time, which results in the hub sitting further out than it should and the brakes not fitting properly. This gives a clue how far we got before I realised!! The collar should fit snugly to the main swivel axle assembly. At this stage, it is also worth trial fitting the outer bearing to the axle to get a feel for it. I found a small burr on the lip of the axle which needed filing off to allow the bearing to slide on, but it should be a snug fit.


Push the hub and inner bearing onto the axle. Working with outstretched fingers you can then push the shims and outer bearings onto the axle. This can be done in one go, greasing the shims to hold them in place, or separately Ė whichever seems to work easiest. The thinnest shims should be sandwiched between thicker ones where possible to make this easier. As I had not disturbed the bearing races, I didnít need to tighten up without shims first, so simply used the existing shims as a starting point to set the end float. Once the main bolt is tightened to 40ft lb ( around 50Nm if, like me, you have a modern torque wrench ) then the hub should spin freely and there should be detectable end-float; a just perceptible fore and aft movement as you push and pull the hub along the line of the axle.


Tighten the hub nut until it is possible to insert the split pin. In light of the difficulty I had removing the original pins I opted to use a slightly shorter pin which, when straight, still just fits inside the diameter of the hub. Finally, push fit the grease caps.


The brake callipers and pads are fitted next, which is straightforward. I would also have liked to fit the brake pipes, but Iím missing the nut and washer to attach to the mounting point so that will have to wait.By now, the new track rod ends have arrived so these are also fitted. With sufficient flexibility in the ball joints, it is a simple matter of winding on to the steering rack and then adjusting the angle of the ball joint so as to be able to insert the bolt into the steering arm. I am told that there are a wide variety of ball joints and that ones with a smaller ball are often easier to fit in this respect, though Iím unsure if there are any downsides.


April 6


Start by building the engine crane. At £120 Itís not much more expensive than hiring and you can always sell it on or keep it to use again. Father-in-law Roy arrives to help with the big push Ė getting the engine out of the old car and transplanted to the new.


The initial thought is that it will be easier to free the head whilst still in the car, so we remove the top cover and outer set of cylinder head nuts. The head is still tight though, so we remove the studs by using two bolts on the visible portion to loosen them with no major problems. After some attempts to lever and otherwise persuade the head to let go we decide on a different tack and aim to lift it out complete and deal with it later. The engine mounting bolts are also unbolted.


The gearbox bolts come out easily enough, albeit with some fiddling around, so we attach the lifting brackets to the top of the engine. The idea is to lift the engine such that the front pulley clears the cross member, allowing the engine to then be moved forward and separated from the gearbox. However, the bolt to which the lifting bracket is attached has other ideas and shears off, so after swift evasive action we go back to using straps underneath the sump.


These allow us to slowly move the engine out, supporting the gearbox on chocks of wood to allow the block to be moved forward and up. After removal the gearbox is supported by some old heavy duty wire through the bolt holes, to allow the car to be moved later. Back on the deck we realise that weíve left one of the head studs in place Ė hence why the head doesnít move. Once the nut is removed, it comes away easily.


Next is to turn the block over and remove the sump, which comes away easily. The oil strainer is clean and the bearings look good, so the decision to reuse the bottom end looks sound. We set about cleaning things up and painting the block in preparation for refitting.





It makes sense to fit things which will be harder to access once the engine and gearbox are installed, so I fit the rear wiring loom from the boot up to the front of the car, alongside the brake and fuel lines. Should really have done it when I fitted these, but I didnít know where it ran at the time. Whilst the car was in the air, I bolted up the rear dampers, which had been waiting for the right nuts to arrive, and attached the fuel line to the pump. The flexible pipe supplied had no coupling, so I sawed the end off the pipe and slipped the tubing over. Itís at something of a tight angle coming out of the pump, but should be fine.


At the front, I fitted the copper brake pipes back to the main union, fitting the remaining pipe intended for the master cylinder with a bag tie-wrapped over the end to stop ingress of dirt before the cylinder gets fitted.


Meanwhile, Roy had cleaned up the face of the block in readiness for fitting the head, and had also removed some carbon from the piston crowns, so that it nearly looks like a new engine. We have to swap out a couple of bent or missing studs on the new, unleaded head before its ready and also flush the coolant channels in the block through with the hose, though the water coming out of the cooling bores at the top is clean so nothing to worry about there. We lightly grease and wind in the studs to the block and then insert the cam followers and pushrods, carefully preserved in the right order by pushing them into an old piece of cardboard. Finally, the head is laid on top and torqued up as per the Haynes manual.



We then fit the clutch, first trial fitting the plate over the gearbox splines and then for real next to the flywheel. That done itís time to mate the gearbox up to the engine, which reveals a slight problem with the cunning plan. The problem is that the flywheel on the engine is too big to fit inside the bellhousing!! It turns out this is due to having a later revision of the 5 bearing engine which has a revised backplate and flywheel, and logically following on from that also a different starter design.


Itís time for a brew and to consider our options. The old 4-synchro gearbox doesnít have the desired overhead and in any case would need modification of the transmission tunnel in the new car to be able to fit. The flywheel which came with the new shell has badly chipped teeth and in any case the bolt heads are rounded and in some cases broken. So it looks like we need to stay with the original idea, but re-plan the order of events in order to stand any chance of achieving the deadline.


First step though is to remove the flywheel. The bolts are tight, and the thin heads mean that itís necessary for Roy to chisel back the retaining clip so that I can get good traction on them. One by one they give way, and then the wheel itself comes off easily using a couple of cold chisels either side to start it moving. The backplate is soon loosened, though we leave a couple of bolts keeping it in place and the dirt out until a replacement is found.




Removing the distributor from the engine showed that it was seized to the drive housing, which shatters when force is used to try separate the two. Fortunately, the distributor and drive housing on the otherwise useless engine comes out and apart easily, so the housing is put to one side for later use.


With no engine to fit, we start on refitting items elsewhere on the car. The wiring loom is put loosely into place, and then the rear lights fitted. We need to manufacture an earth point at the rear, for which a fuel tank bolt seems best placed. At the front, the pedal box is bolted into place and the pedals fitted. Fitting the box reveals some sheared studs left in the bodywork though which take time to come off, and the pedal box cover has different sized bolt holes to the previous car, so more items on the shopping list.




I finally fit the pedal box, whilst Jo finishes the rear lights and trial fits the rear bumper. A final fit proves more challenging than expected, as to get a half decent alignment needs unbolting the supporting arms and inserting a couple of washers. Shouldnít be that hard, but these bolts are solid and also covered in underseal, so I think thereís another lesson there in terms of the order of events.


There isnít an immediately suitable hole for the fuel pump breather, but I manage to wriggle the tube into a hole in the floor above the fuel tank. Not sure itís ideal, but will do for now. We also need to source a number of grommets to finish things off at the back.


Jo starts work on the front lights whilst I set about wriggling the wiring forward to suit the new starter solenoid Ė another result of the change in flywheel is the new starter, which has a separate solenoid mounted on the front wing, and therefore requiring the main power lead to be moved forward again. Iím getting far too good at moving things around under the car!!


Whilst the car is on the jacks, I take the opportunity to fit and adjust the handbrake. We also fit the bonnet release, which needs the inner part of the cable to be rethreaded into the outer once the control knob is located. The horn is also fitted whilst wiring of the front lights is completed, and I attempt to bend the clutch hydraulic pipe around the various obstacles to produce something which misses all the various obstacles on route Ė not as easy at might first seem!!




First job this morning is to repeat the pipe bending process with the brake master cylinder to union pipe, which is a little easier as the pipe is thinner and a bit more flexible. The system is now ready for filling and bleeding, but not enough fluid in stock so that can wait.


Start to look at the engine bay electrics and figure out what goes where. The coil fits easily into pre-drilled holes, but there is no hole for the fusebox so rather than drilling into the bodywork I fashion a bracket from an old coil mounting bracket and locate it neatly under one of the front wing bolts. Connecting the wires to the fusebox is interesting as we have a í71 loom, which will fit the alternator and steering wheel horn push but wants four fuses in the box rather than the two available. The additional fuses are for front and rear lights, so I bridge the connections for now and will fit an in-line fuse later.


Another difference is in the wiring for the starter solenoid and unfused feeds, as the loom expects, as did I, the starter solenoid to be adjacent to the starter and a starter relay to be fitted. The input and switched wires are bridged as the relay isnít required, and I will need to shorten the solenoid feeds or loop them around so they terminate adjacent to the solenoid location.


The loom inside the cab is looped around into its mounting bracket and tidied up a little, before I set about installing some of the heater components. The front and tunnel vents are fitted, using oversize self-tapping screws to achieve a solid fit, and then the heater box mounted at the back of the engine bay. This needs the air control cable to be pre-attached and fed through a grommet next to the cover plate containing the demist air tubes before the unit itself is squeezed into place.


The demist air tubes are a poor fit into the unit and, so far as I can see, are best dealt with by pushing them into the holes in the main heater unit and then using outstretched fingers to locate them in the rubber elbows as the cover plate is moved into position. We did have a trim panel in between the cover plate and bodywork, but this seems to prevent the tubes fitting properly, which may help explain why the demist was never that good!!




Washer jets and tubing are fitted, with the tube exiting via a hole in the side of the transmission tunnel. The previous car had the bottle and motor on the front wing, but there are no holes on this one and I seem to have developed an aversion to unnecessary drilling. Instead, the motor mounts neatly on the side of the bottle supporting frame and the frame itself mounted top left of the engine bay using the holes for the steering column support bracket on left hand drive models. The bottle just clears the bonnet hinge, has a shorter pipe for quicker response, and looks a tidy installation.


The wiper mechanism is next, starting with fitting a new self parking switch. The new switch has a clip mounting, rather than the screw mounting of the original, so an alternative solution is required. The clip is bent out of the way, and then the switch superglued and held to the body using a bolt through one of the original screw holes and a large washer over the top of the switch. Unfortunately the other screw hole is blocked by a ribbing on the switch body which looks to hold the electrical connections.


The three motor wires are attached to the connector, after some playing around to see which is which Ė should have remembered or written this down when I had the thing apart. It seems like red is a common ground, with yellow for slow speed and blue for fast. Then the motor is introduced to the body, at which point it is evident there are no mounting holes as early bodies put a different design of motor on the other side.


After installing the rack separately and playing around with possible locations, once again trying to avoid drilling the body and also in this case because access to the other side for attaching nuts looked difficult, the solution was to use the hole in the bracket welded to the underside of the bulkhead. A matching hole was drilled in the wiper mounting spacer, and a distance tube and washer used to tightly locate it. The motor is then held in place by the hoop and seems secure. Time will tell.


The rest of the day is taken up with odds and ends, cleaning up and fitting the starter solenoid and using the grommets and bullet connectors bought the previous day to complete wiring of the lights etc.



April 14th


Some more odds and sods for today, first fitting the throttle pedal, cable and pedestal. The latter is close to where the wiring loom comes through the bulkhead and should really have been done before the loom and pedal assemblies were fitted. Hence it is a pain to get to and needed the pedal assembly cover to be removed. Easy enough once this is done though, and some copper grease to ensure the screws arenít too hard to remove next time.


Spend some time looking at wiring and seeing what needs to be done. Having the loom to suit the alternator with integral regulator helps in one way, but it also comes without washer motor wires and has the dip switch on the steering column stalk rather than on the floor. Thereís probably going to be some other similar problems as we go Ė nothing insurmountable, but all takes time.


As we want to fit an ammeter, I manufacture a connection stud using a long bolt which has half its length covered with insulation from the end of a battery cable, which is then held in a rubberised pipe clip, itself attached to a small bracket. This will be attached to one of the bolts holding the steering column in place. The idea is that the power distribution for the car, other than the starter, is moved from the solenoid to this stud and the ammeter wiring will then bridge between the two. As a ďget you homeĒ feature, we will carry a short piece of wire which will connect spade terminals on solenoid and stud should the ammeter fail, which is not unknown.


Before fitting the dash it makes sense to fit the windscreen, as otherwise it becomes a fiddly kind of operation. Ensure the packing pieces are lined up with the holes and that the screws which secure them donít protrude Ė we had to add a washer on each side for this. Wriggle the mounting arms into their holes in the bodywork to ensure they fit and then lift out by a couple of inches to allow the two bolts through the bracket at the centre of the screen to be fitted. The captive nuts into which these fit have some movement, once the grot has been cleared out, and another bolt turned in a couple of threads from the bottom can help position.


Checking the rubber is laying correctly, gently tighten the centre bolts so they are clear of the frame but still allow some movement and then reposition the screen so that the main bolts can be inserted. Tighten everything down and weíre done.


The remainder of the week is spent cleaning up the new engine backplate and flywheel ready for use. The flywheel looks pretty good itself, although some of the teeth need filing smooth and are a bit damaged where the starter has engaged. Hopefully be ok though.


Weíve decided to install our additional gauges Ė clock, ammeter and vacuum Ė using a three gauge mounting plate we found at the Shepton Mallet parts show. This looks to fit fairly well where the radio is supposed to go, but needs to be mounted somehow. The solution is to drill a couple of holes in the dash mounting bracket above and use a stack of nuts as spacers on the fixing bolts to get the height of the gauge mounting right. A bit of black plastic glued to the corners of the plate disguise the small chink of light where the plate is rounded to be slightly inside the radio mounting hole at the lower corners. Clock and ammeter are mounted, but weíve yet to source the vacuum gauge so that will need to be fitted later.


April 21st


The weekend task is to install the dashboard. This involving fitting the additional grommets, pipes and cables for oil pressure, windscreen washer etc through the bulkhead and also laying the permanent live cable from the battery box to the dash for the clock. This uses an inline fuse at the battery end, to protect things as it will need to be directly from the battery and not via the main isolator switch, and for extra protection is first protected in spiral wrap and run inside the car along the passenger side of the transmission tunnel.


The dashboard instrument lights are also wired up together before installation, with a final connection ready to link to the loom. To make wiring easier once the dash is fitted, each group of wires for ignition, wipers, lights etc is tie wrapped together so itís easy to see what goes where. A final set of earth connections is also needed.


To fit the dash itself, we first support it on a couple of plastic boxes just in front of its eventual home, which then allows the various cables and wires to be connected and things like the temperature sensor wire to be passed through into the engine bay. It takes a while to get everything in place, but then itís time to finally mount the dash. It turns out that the bracket under the glove box needs to be removed to allow the dash to be inserted and then it pops into place. Fitting and tightening up would have been easier without things fitted to the dash, and not fitting the speedometer gave some precious access, but overall I think this was still the right approach.


One problem though is that fitting the dash has twisted it slightly, causing a gap between our auxiliary gauges plate and the main dash on the passenger side. Need to think how best to sort that, preferably without removing the whole thing again!


Meanwhile, Jo was also attaching the various poppers and studs around the rear of the car for the hood. The screws holding the chrome fasteners which hold the rear hood rail are a real pain though, and need a few attempts before we work out the technique. Our approach was to superglue the cup washer and then use a long bolt to allow it to be fixed in place. The correct bolt is then screwed into the fastener just a couple of turns, which allows enough free play for the front bolt to be able to get started in the fastener thread.


Finishing off, we discover that it looks easier to attach the rear glovebox bracket to a hole on the cross member passing underneath the dash. More fiddly jobs include tidying up the oil sender pipe in the engine bay as, like some of the brake pipes, itís simply too long for the job. Conversely, the heater valve control cable looks too short and needs rerouting behind the dash to stand a chance. The ammeter wires are trimmed and connected between the terminal on the solenoid and the insulated stud terminal I have mounted above the steering column plate. The brown supply wires from the solenoid are also reattached to this stud, thus putting the meter in series.


Drilling a hole for the battery isolator turns into a problem as the hole cutter I bought turns out to be completely ineffective and succeeds only in skating over the panel. I resort to the old trick of drilling a circle of small holes and then filing the hole up to the right size, but itís slow work.


Apr 28th


The size of the battery means it is very tight in the hole, so to avoid more drilling I route the battery earth cable down to one of the fuel pump mounting bolts. The mounting bracket for the dip switch is finally removed from the old car by drilling out the bolts and is then painted for installation in the new chassis. This needs holes drilling as there are no existing holes or captive nuts visible. The width of the panel to the left of the clutch is also narrower on the new car, but fortunately just wide enough for purpose.


Whilst waiting for the paint to dry, I fit a new seal to the engine backplate, which needs to be knocked home using a flat piece of metal across the top and gentle taps with the hammer. The backplate is then bolted into place, with new gasket and plenty of Hermatite Red sealant. I couldnít get a new gasket for the top of the plate, but the old one had stayed in place and will the sealant hopefully all will be well. Tighten up the main bolts in diagonal pattern, with new knock over lock tabs on the bottom four, and finally fit the oil seal retainer. Whilst in the area, the cork gaskets on the side covers are also replaced.


I also look at options to straighten the mounting of the additional gauges. Nothing looks easy without removing the dash again, and I donít want to do that given the time pressure we are under. The solution for now is to use a thin sliver of black metal to wedge between the chrome ring of the left hand dial and the main dash. This forces the dial into line with the main dash, and pulls the mounting plate up as the screw on the gauge fixing bracket is tightened. Not ideal, but will work for now.


Itís time to tackle the speedometer, as I would like to start with zero mileage showing. It comes apart by twisting the chrome ring until the lugs line up and then removing. Worryingly, my pointer appears to stick at around 60mph with a gentle grating noise.


Getting the works out requires pulling off the pointer and then two small screws to remove the face plate. The circlip holding the reset rod in place can then be removed and the rod remove. Care is needed at this point to keep the tiny shaft against which the nylon reset cog is held. Itís hidden under the cog normally, and I didnít realise it even existed until too late so I had to take another old unit apart to salvage one. Resetting the numbers is simply a matter of using a small screwdriver to separate the toothed rings, enabling them to be rotated forward. Start at the right hand side to avoid accidentally moving one you have already reset.


The grating noise appears to be contact between the drag cup, which is attached to the pointer, and the rotating magnet driven by the input cable. Thereís a bit of dirt in there which I clean out and it seems a bit better but definitely not 100%. It would be possible to recalibrate my known good unit with the correct gearing from this one, but that will be fiddly and possibly error prone, so I decide first to try this one in the car to see what happens for real. Probably pointless, but you never know!!


Everything reassembled, it is fitted back into the dash and the drive cable routed through to the engine bay. The purpose bought grommet is too big for the hole though, but fortunately I have an item in stock which can be persuaded to fit. A quick test shows movement of the pointer as I turn the cable so that will do for now Ė donít want to go putting miles on!!


Jo has cleaned up the hood whilst still fitted to the old car, so we now remove this so that she can get the frame painted. As space is tight, I finally achieve the goal of getting some car parts into the house!! Removing the hood also allows the rear crash roll to be removed for fitting on the new car.


The dip switch and bracket are now attached to the car and wired in, with the individual connections fitting into the multi-plug on the loom. That done, we then do an initial check of the wiring using a multi-meter to check for shorts and then attach the battery. First check is the clock, which is alive and we then work through each control in turn. Most things check out ok, but there is a short circuit when the wipers are used after being allowed to park plus I had interchanged the slow and fast motor speeds when connecting the motor itself.


Disconnecting the park circuit at the switch confirms the problem, and further checks with the wiper motor removed to allow the slow/fast wires to be swapped indicated that the switch was at fault. A new switch subsequently solves the problem. Whilst doing this, the in-line fuseholder on the loom comes apart and shows itself to be of rather poor quality so l fit a couple of modern in-line fuse holders from Maplin in place of that and the missing lighting circuit fuse ( I have a two fuse box and a four fuse loom ).


Other fiddly jobs this week include attaching the overdrive wiring to the gearbox prior to fitting, as it looks to be much easier that way, and inspecting the new starter motor which seems to have a newish set of free moving brushes.



May 4th


Roy is here to help and the main task for the weekend is to get the engine in, along with as many ancillaries as we can. The first job is to replace the spigot bush, as the 3 synchro box has a smaller input shaft than the 4 synchro. The new bush, as supplied by Moss, is a bush within a bush and the outer looks the same size as the existing bush in the engine. This is handy because the old bush is solid in position and without some kind of puller small enough to fit the hole Roy reckons it will be easier to insert the new inner bush into this existing outer. The new inner was driven out using a suitably sized socket as a drift and then carefully tapped into place Ė so far, so good.


Next up was to fit the flywheel and clutch. There didnít appear to be any alignment marks on the crank, as some books have suggested, but there was a Ď4í inscribed on the flywheel outer which seemed to align vertically with that piston at TDC so that seemed logical. The clutch was a bit more difficult, as the alignment tool didnít fit our new, smaller spigot bush. Roy attached an old hole cutter of appropriate diameter to the tool, which though not ideal at least gave us a starting point.


Finally, it was time to attach the gearbox to the engine. We could at least clear the flywheel this time, but could get no further. Suspecting the clutch, we realigned it and finally removed it before working out that the spigot bush was not letting us get more than a few millimetres in. We also decided it would be easier to work with the engine on its end with the gearbox above it, held by the crane.


Examining the marks left by some copper grease proved the theory and so we borrowed friend Tonyís dremel (he wasnít in so he didnít need it!) so gently smooth the obstructing ridge inside the bush. That done, the gearbox slotted into place so we lifted again, fitted the clutch and finally got everything home.


During this time I also completed the overdrive wiring, most crucially including the wires to the gearbox switch and overdrive solenoid, which are difficult to access once the gearbox is in place. The circuit also includes a relay from Maplin, at £3.50 rather than the official unit at £28, but we still have to source a vacuum switch as these are no longer available. This inhibits disengagement on a trailing throttle in order to protect the unit, so everything will still work but we will have to be careful until we find the parts.


Finally time to get the engine and gearbox into the car. This is made easier by jacking up the rear of the car, making the angle easier to get the gearbox in, and removing the bonnet. The straps are also positioned such that the gearbox hangs lower than the engine from the hoist. The task is made easier by Jo and Kath who watch each side as I manoeuvre from the crane whilst Roy uses a jack underneath the car to hold the gearbox.


After successfully going backward and down an inch at a time and being almost there, we realise that the propshaft UJ, left on the end of the gearbox, will not clear the crossmember and needs to be removed. This is fiddly under the car, but probably easier than taking everything out again and, once done everything quickly slots into place. Using the engine hoist to take some of the weight and allow adjustment, the engine mounting bolts are put into place and bolted up. I should have remembered the additional earth strap at this point, so need to undo a couple of the bolts and fit this later.


The gearbox crossmember was a bit more troublesome. To get access to tighten everything up, we had to remove the mounts from the gearbox, attach them to the crossmember and then back onto the gearbox. The central retainer rod was also fed through the centre and the brackets fastened on. We then found there was no or marginal thread in the chassis rails where the cross member should bolt onto, so we had to tap these first before bolting it up. Hopefully it will hold, but if not then a tack weld will be needed as putting a captive nut into the chassis rail at this point is not really an option!


The speedometer drive cable was also fitted at this point, though the best routing naturally meant undoing one side of the crossmember to allow a gentler curve around to the front of the car.


We then set about fitting all the ancillaries around the engine. The alternator and its mounting bracket on the side of engine was a fiddle, firstly to get the alignment of the pulley correct and then the orientation of one of the engine mounting bolts had to be reversed to allow full travel on the adjustment. Even so, it was hard to fit the belt with the alternator pushed firmly against the block, so a slightly longer belt than the 900mm standard item would be better.


The performance manifold went on easy enough, but middle pipe section doesnít seem long enough at the front and doesnít seem to properly fit the indent in the crossmember. The rest of it fits well enough, but this section is touching the cross member at this point which is not ideal. I will need to look at this some more later.


It needs the carburettors removing from the inlet manifold before it can be fitted and easily tightened up, so we have to refit the carbs and figure out again which way round the various linkages go. The throttle cable is then attached, using a bracket attached to the top cover bolt to tidy its route. Finally the choke cable is fitting, routing around the back of the engine. Both of these will need adjustment later.


I donít intend fitting the standard mechanical fan, so the water pump is fitted using some short bolts to attach its pulley. The thermostat housing needs a couple of the studs to be realigned, gently tapping the hammer against a bolt wound onto the thread, until it slides on freely. Finally, we fit the steering column and universal joint, which allows us to steer the car back into the garage before the rain starts!!


Once inside, I attempt to refit the engine breather pipes but the Y piece breaks off so that is put on hold. Hoping for better luck, I move on to the fuel pipes feeding the carburettors. The universal kit of parts doesnít match the original set up, putting the T in between the carbs and requiring a fuel filter to be used to step down the pipe sizes ( there is no screw fitting on the end of the main supply line ). A solution is produced, however, aided by rescuing the T-piece which had been accidentally left on the old car.


The cooling hoses are fitted, before then securing the radiator mounting panel. This takes some time as the captive threads are full of paint Ė something which also affects the oil cooler mounts. The radiator is then fitted, although this requires the electric fan to be removed before it will go down into the hole to be then located against the mounting panel. The radiator is new and not a great fit, with some force being needed to align the mounting holes. We achieve, however, and also fit the foam seal across the top and overflow pipe. Iím not sure where this should route, but it seems easiest to squeeze down the side of the radiator and tidy with a clip added to the back of one of the mounting bolts.


In order to remove the fan from the old radiator I had to break the plastic retaining straps, but kept the pads which they pressed against. These can be used with decent size tie-wraps to secure the fan to the radiator. One tie is passed through fan, radiator and mounting pad, with the blunt end against the fan. The blunt end of a second is then chopped off and slid up the thin end of the first and up against the mounting pad. The control unit is mounted on a radiator fixing bolt, which also acts as the earth point, and fed from the fused, permanently live circuit. I figure this will allow the engine to continue to cool without being turned on, and will also save the ignition switch from the current load. It can always be switched off with the battery isolator when we leave the car.


Finally for this bank holiday, the oil cooler is fitted and the return pipe bolted into place. The feed will have to wait until I have the new seal for the oil filter adaptor. I was also going to complete the clutch hydraulics, but discover that having fixed the flexible pipe at the top end I canít screw it into the slave cylinder. Undoing the securing nut is much harder now the engine is in place, so can wait for another day. Whilst admiring our handiwork, we also notice that we donít have a front spoiler!! The new shell doesnít have one and the one on the old car is past its best.



Other little jobs included setting up the boot lid catch, putting in the trim screws for the tonneau fasteners on the dash ( which would have been much easier before the windscreen was in place ) and drilling out the missing rivet holes for the hood fasteners.


The next evening, the engine breather is fitted, the clutch hydraulic pipe sorted and the voltage regulator fitted under the dashboard. By enlarging the mounting hole, this can be fitted to the bolt securing the pedal box in place.



May 12th


The plan for this weekend is to complete a few other minor jobs and get to the point where the engine is started. My first task is to solve the lack of lighting on some of the instruments, which a quick inspection shows as being down to a lack of earth connection between the gauge and dashboard. Rather than trying to persuade the dashboard to act as an earth, I build a daisy chain earth wire with multiple eyelet style connectors which are held in place under the knurled nut which holds each gauge in place. Installation was made much easier by removal of the steering column. I was going to terminate the wire on the common earth bolt on the bulkhead, but itís harder to reach with the wiper motor in place, so I opt for a bolt on the side panel, already used for the voltage regulator. Once in place, all the gauges immediately light up.


Before refitting the steering column, the tracking is set approximately to try to ensure the steering wheel is correctly aligned. The tracking is set by sighting along the car at the outer edge of the tyres, just beneath the level of the hub. If the rear tyre is visible looking along the line of the front tyre then you have toe-out, so wind the track rod end into the ball joint until the edge of the rear tyre just disappears, thus ensuring an amount of toe-in. To adjust the track rod it is necessary to first loosen the lock bolt and the clip holding the gaiter in place, then tighten them again afterwards.


The ammeter feed mounting bracket bolts on to the steering column support bracket and in a bid to make fitting easier I secure the bracket before refitting the steering column. This results in the column not wanting to line up with the bracket and a bit of a fight before everything correctly goes together. Finally, however it is complete and we move on.


The oil filter mounting plate goes easily into place, with its seal being first located into its slot on the main block. Then the oil filter is fitted and the oil cooler pipework completed.


Next up is the distributor, so I first turn the engine so that number one cylinder is at TDC according to the timing marks, which are somewhat inconveniently at the bottom of the engine. At least we donít have a front valance, so access is easier. To avoid getting the timing 180 degrees out, I check that number one cylinder is on its compression stroke by removing the front air filter and blowing air from the compressor into the engine. None comes out of the number one plug hole, but number four blows nicely so all appears well.


Iím not sure of the best setting to use for the initial timing. Haynes recommends 10 degrees BTDC for early engines and 7 degrees for later models with the 45D distributor, but we have fitted an unleaded head which would usually need the timing to be retarded a few degrees. I opt to stick with 7 degrees BTDC, as this may have been compatible with unleaded for the US market, and in any case the B is hardly highly stressed. We will know for sure if we get any pinking under load once things are up and running.


Engine adjusted, I try to fit the distributor, initially putting a light coating of grease onto the drive and shaft. It doesnít initially want to go fully home, even after the rotor arm is turned to engage the drive, but it finally goes. At this point, I realise it is almost impossible to get the clamp bolts started and in any case it would be better to position the clamp with its tightening bolt uppermost and therefore visible. So itís distributor out, fit the clamp plate and bolts, and then reinsert the distributor. The rotor arm should be pointing at about 1pm, looking at the distributor top, and therefore at number one plug lead.


The distributor moves easily to set the timing and the points gap is checked at 15 thou. A multi-meter is used to determine the exact position at which the points open ( one wire to the wire coming from the distributor and one to earth ), and then the clamp bolt tightened. The ht leads are fitted to the cap, the cap fitted to the distributor and the fly lead connector to the connection from the main loom.


Spark plugs are finally fitted and connected, but the ht lead to the coil is too short. This is solved by unbolting the coil and mounting it upside down. Iím not sure if this is the normal way, but it shouldnít affect anything and it seems that the low voltage leads from the loom to the coil are also a better fit this way.


I spend some time messing around with the set up on the carbs. Iím still not totally happy with it, but the jets are wound down a couple of turns as an initial set up for starting. It also looks like the amount of exposed wire at the end of the choke cable isnít really long enough to really pull down the jets, which was probably the case in the previous car, so I will either need a new choke control and cable or try cutting back the outer sheath a bit.


With time moving up, we decide to put some petrol and in the tank and fill the engine with oil. The amount allows for the empty filter and oil-cooler so is initially well above the ĎMAXí writing on the dipstick. I also top up the carburettor dashpots whilst I remember.


The fuel pump clicks into life with the ignition, and after a few seconds fuel can be seen in the filter. A few more seconds, the ticking slows and then stops, indicating the float chambers and full and things are working correctly. After a couple of turns of the engine by hand, and with the distributor fly lead disconnected, the engine is turned over on the starter to get some oil pressure before moving on to more adventurous things.


After a fair amount of cranking, however, there is no sign of oil pressure on the gauge and the level on the dipstick isnít going down as expected. The battery is going down though, so is removed to be jump charged off the Citroen whilst we think about it. I crack open the feed pipe at the oil cooler, the one from the back of the engine, and find only residual traces of oil.


I wonder if the oil pump needs priming, and subsequent research shows this to be the case. I prime the pump using a small funnel to pour a quarter of a pint or so of oil back down the feed pipe, holding the pipe upright to get the oil down there before reconnecting. After another 30 seconds or so of cranking there is still no sign of oil pressure, but when I crack the joint the oil cooler is full and the dipstick level has also dropped. Another burst, and this time we see oil pressure climbing to around 40lbs as the battery begins again to die, but at least that problem is now solved.


One potential to note though is that a small amount of water has appeared in the casting of the water pump, so we could have a leak there. A brief attempt is made to start the car by reconnecting the distributor fly lead, but not much sign of life. Pulling a spark plug shows a reasonable spark, so ignition is ok, but no real sign of petrol on the plug.


May 19th


A frustrating week, as the engine refuses to go. Presence of spark and timing looks good, there is petrol in the carburettor jets but no signs of life. Suspecting compression, I set number three at TDC and blast some compressed air through the plug hole. Nothing exits the exhaust or inlet, so the valves are good, but there is a hint of air coming out of the plug hole of number two.


Itís time to lift the head again and have a look. With everything recently bolted up and clean, this is a surprisingly quick job with the bonus of not having to remove the bonnet. It took about an hour to disassemble everything and begin to look for problems. Was that speck of dirt the problem, or did it arrive there as the head was lifted? Checked the block surface with a steel rule and it seemed flat although there was perhaps a touch of carbon build up around the centre right which I polished off with rag and carb cleaner.


I left the pushrods in place, so to get the head to go back down it was necessary to back off all the valve adjusters, lower it carefully whilst pushing the rods into their roles, and then go round the process of setting them all again. This needs a couple of times around when starting from scratch to make sure everything gets to the right point.


With everything rebuilt it seems like one of the throttle spindles may be binding a bit and the other has some excess play. This doesnít seem good, but shouldnít stop things firing up.


Meanwhile, the rear crash roll has been removed from the old car and a trial fitting done of the carpets in the new one to establish which piece fits where. A voltage stabiliser is sourced and fitted under the dash, again using an existing bolt for mounting and a few other odd bits and pieces get done, but it doesnít seem like much progress.


May 26th


Try a few more things on the engine Ė oil down the plug holes, petrol down the plug holes and finally the battery from the van. This is made easier by having left sufficiently long leads to the battery. However, nothing appears to make a difference.


Further investigation shows that when at top dead centre, air blown down plug hole number two will exit via plug hole number 1. However, this stops when the engine is rotated to close the inlet valve on cylinder one, which points to a poor seal on inlet number two. Valves not being properly lapped in may also explain the variable results elsewhere, so I arrange for the head to be returned and swapped out. Will be next week when the new one arrives though.


To avoid blowing the whole weekend on this thing, we decide to make progress elsewhere. Windows and door locks are removed from the old car, along with the guides and brackets, and cleaned up for refitting. Bleeding the clutch needs a lot of up and down on the pedal, but we get clear fluid coming through without much difficulty. The flow rate is such that itís necessary to recheck and top up the cylinder every half dozen pumps or so and the biggest difficultly is avoiding overfilling and getting the fluid all over the place.


Fitting the indicator stalk reveals that the steering column is too far down, causing the switch contact to miss the slip ring for the horn. This needs the bolts on the universal joint to be loosened and the column repositioned, making sure we have the maximum amount of spline contact from both shafts into the UJ. Once fitted, the wiring is then matter of mating up with the loom, using some additional connectors for the headlight flash and to take a feed from the fused permanent circuit (purple) to the cigarette lighter. Testing shows the indicators work correctly, but no sound from the horn. The meter shows voltage changing from 12V to 0V with the horn push though, so it looks like the horn has died.


Refitting the main windows is a matter of sliding one runner into place with the mechanism wound fully up, then winding it back down to allow clearance for the other running to engage. Once done, we loosely fit the rear guide and quarterlights, but need new rubber seals before finishing the job.


The hood clips are riveted in place, the rear crash roll attached and Jo makes a start on fitting the carpets. Meanwhile, I fight with the spring and clip to get the gearlever into place. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, I hit on the idea of using the molegrips to hold everything down whilst gripping onto the lever itself. This then leaves sufficient hands free to wrestle the clip into location.


We also make a start on bleeding the brakes. Fluid comes through to all bleed valves fairly quickly, but just as you think this will be a quick job, pressure disappears. It then comes and goes a couple of times on the front wheels, but the rears take an age with mostly air coming through.


Work prevents much progress during the week, but a new horn arrives and doesnít solve the problem. Further investigation using a sidelight bulb and flylead shows that it must be a poor connection on the supply side and, tracing it back, there is adequate power on one side of the fusebox but not the other. A bit of fiddling then restores power, so after enlarging the mounting hole in the wing the new low note and old high note horn are fitted together as per the original specification. Make a note to look at the fusebox area though, and see what may need cleaning up.

May 26th


Other than the remaining engine problem, we are now getting down to the last few pieces. New seals are fitted to the quarterlights and these are then bolted into place. The lower front bolt is a real pain to get started, particularly on the right hand door where, as a result of repairs, the hole sits right at the upper edge of the slot. A new window seal is also fitted to the top of the door, necessitating multiple holes to be drilled and riveted. Most of these go ok, but as always there is one that doesnít want to play and needs drilling out and refixing. The window is wound through its travel a couple of times before fixing the runners in place at the bottom of the door, allowing their position to be naturally determined by the window.


The trim seal around the body door frame is also fitted and the chrome caps screwed into position. At the forward end, one leg of the cap wants to go under the crash roll and there seems little point in drilling out a hole for a second screw or rivet fixing. The door locks are also refitted, using a metal fixing ring rather than the original bent piece of tin to hold them inside the body.


Meanwhile, Jo is making progress with all the various pieces of carpeting, allowing me to then fit the seatbelts. This is straightforward other than the lower bolt holes, which donít seem to have any initial thread so need a bit of encouragement to get started. Whilst the car is out of the garage, Jo also takes the opportunity to spray paint the new front spoiler.


Next day, the centre console is fitted with the cigarette lighter sharing one of its fixing holes. Itís not really an ideal spot, as the bolts donít go tight enough to hold it firm, but itís ok for its intended use, which is for powering the compressor used for the air bed! We then get on with the job of fitting the front spoiler, which takes much longer than planned as it doesnít quite fit and needs a bit of bending and filing. After this, the front bumper goes on without too much trouble.


Fitting the front grill also needs a couple of the fixing holes extending to allow for the shape of the front wing, but is otherwise ok. We then move on to fit the hood, which was easy enough to take off but definitely needed two of us to get the bolts aligned and fitted. The trick seems to be for someone to sit in the middle of the car, with the weight of the hood on their shoulders, whilst someone else actually fits the bolts.


At this point, we notice that the gap between the quarterlights and the windscreen is excessive and needs some adjustment, but where to adjust? Time for some research!!


The failing head has been sent back and is now due to be back with us next Wednesday Ė time is getting tight!!

June 2nd


Away for the weekend, but back in time to fit the seats. One of the new runners doesnít quite engage with the seat adjustment mechanism so needs to hole enlarging by a couple of mm with the drill. Once done, the adjuster clicks into the place and the seat is nicely fixed. I also tidy the wires under the steering wheel, using a tie wrap to the steering column and a large metal clip onto the wiper motor mounting bolt to hold the bulk of the loom connections in place.


Try bleeding the brakes again, but it seems that flow to the back is slow and so although air is coming out it is variable in amount and after what seems like an age we donít seem to be making much progress. The fluid level in the reservoir is going down slowly, although on one occasion it them takes a big gulp so Iím not sure if some more air has got in.Might be worth buying a cheap bleeding kit rather than having two of us doing the ďup, downĒ routine for hours on end. I wonder if a pipe may have got kinked on installation. I could crack open a joint to check the flow there, but that risks undoing what has already been done.


With the aid of a Gunsonís Eazibleed kit, more air is pushed out of the brakes, particularly the rear circuit, though the pedal still seems soft. It may be down to the adjustment though, so this can be checked. Also use the kit on the clutch, again pushing significant amounts of air out. From the web, there is a tip to disconnect the slave from the clutch arm and push back, so releasing air from the master cylinder. This works well, and I can hear air being released, until a lack of concentration with the bleed kit fitted allows the slave piston to escape from its bore!


A brief panic ensues whilst pressure is released and I push the piston and seal back into the cylinder and refit the actuating arm. Bleeding out any air introduced into the slave is, however, simple so in the end hopefully no damage done. Hopefully the fluid hasnít managed to damage the paintwork down there but itís difficult to see without getting fully under the car.


Fitting the chrome trim strips to the car is not to bad, though drilling and riveting through the pristine paintwork is a little nerve wracking. Drilling five or six holes per strip piece, 4mm I think, at evenly spaced intervals about 6 Ė 7mm below the bodyline crease is fine for the rivets.Each piece also needs a larger hole for the support bolt, at the front and rear of the car and in the middle of the door section. Fitting the strips is then a matter of sliding in the bolt section, fitting it in position and then using a hand pressure and a rubber mallet to fit the strips over the riveted fixings.

June 9th


The returned head is no better. Closer investigation shows that with pistons on top dead centre, both valves closed with clearance between valve stem and rocker, air blown down the plug hole is coming out of the inlet manifold. This would explain the bad compression, so the thing needs fixing properly. So much for getting a cheap part!!


This means that despite our best efforts, we wonít be taking the car to Le Mans. So near, and yet so far, so work is temporarily shelved.

June 16th


Le Mans has occupied most of the week, so progress is limited to fitting a couple of rubber bungs into the bodywork and replacing a couple of bolts from the door striker plates where the heads were on their last legs.




After the frustrations of not making it to Le Mans and without another deadline, plus holidays, gardening, catching up with other jobs and all the other distractions of summer, very little time has been spent. This, I suspect, is where many partial restoration projects get stalled.


The troublesome head was used in part exchange for a more expensive, but hopefully better one. A short panic ensued when unpacking it to find that despite the price it didnít come with rockers or rocker shaft, but that was quickly fixed. Fitting the head using a copper gasket resulted in low compression on the rear two cylinders. This made the engine very reluctant to start, as the inertia starter kept jumping out of engagement before the engine had enough speed to run. Once started, not only did it run as rough as a dog, but the cause of the low compression was made obvious as coolant was forced out of the pipe joints by compression pressure.



The head has been lifted again and this time a Payen type of gasket used. On a cold, unused engine compression was immediately up to between 120 and 130ft lb across all four cylinders. The engine was still difficult to start, but once running then all cylinder seemed to be firing, albeit somewhat unevenly, which I put down to mixture. There is also some valve gear noise from toward the rear of the engine, but this looks likely to be from the original engine and so, whilst not ideal, not an immediate cause for concern.


With the engine still running, coolant was quickly added back into the system and, as temperatures rose the cooling fan adjusted to cut in. I attempted to use the clutch, but remaining air in the system prevented full disengagement. Meanwhile, a small fuel leak was noticed from the rear carburettor and shortly afterwards the engine died to the sound of frantic ticking from the fuel pump, indicating an empty tank.


Removing the float bowl covers to check into the leak revealed that the rear bowl was full whilst the front was empty, suggesting we were running on one carburettor. This would at least explain the mixture issue, and further investigation showed the rubber seal between float bowl and jet supply pipe was fractured, probably both causing the leak and blocking flow.


A new washer and seal have now been fitted, and the clutch bled. The best technique seems to be to use the Eazibleed to produce a fluid flow and then, once a bubble free flow is established, manually push the slave piston back into the cylinder. This caused a whole load more air to be expelled from the slave, but after a few iterations all was clear.


I reset the carburettors to default settings and the engine started immediately and ran cleanly, albeit somewhat fast. After adjusting the tickover, we let it warm through, checking for levels and leaks. Other than some deposits burning off the exhaust all was well, and so we left it running for a while, fan cutting in and out, to let it bed in and put some charge in the battery. Later, when cool, I rechecked the head bolts and found a few needed a little tightening, probably less than a quarter of a turn.


Concern over the soft brake pedal also led to the piston being removed from the brake master cylinder, where it looks like the valve assembly may not have been installed correctly. On refitting, the Eazibleed was quickly able to push newly introduced air out of the nearest caliper at the front left, and the pedal firmed up nicely. I bled the system again, starting at the back in the approved order, and all now appears well.


Not so with the clutch though. Depressing the clutch with the engine running produced a metallic grating kind of sound and drive appeared to be maintained to the gearbox as it wasnít possible to engage gear. On a subsequent attempt, the noise disappeared only to be replaced by smoke rising from the bellhousing. An experimental turn of the engine with a socket on the crank pulley suggested things were seized solid!!


Some further experimentation with the clutch and turning the crank pulley both ways freed up the engine and allowed it to turn freely again. Removing the rubber cover from the clutch fork and inspecting with a torch showed that the release bearing was on the floor of the bell housing. That at least identifies the source of the noise, but the question is why Ė hopefully just a broken fixing clip or maybe the bearing itself breaking up. Either way, it will need the engine shifting to fix so that ideally needs two of us.


Working with some difficultly around the side of the dash, I loosen the windscreen fixing bolts to see if some movement here will help with the gap between screen pillar seal and quarterlights. It will help, but it isnít going to be the whole story. However, it will need one of us to push the screen firmly whilst the other tightens the bolts again so that will also have to wait.


A fine day gives us the opportunity to bring the car out and fit the door trim. This needs the hex head which fits under the window winder to be removed. These appear to be an interference fit, but after some persuasion the passenger side gives. The driverís side is more difficult and then brings the operating spindle with it. The pieces can be separated on the bench, and the spindle then refitted with the aid, on the second time, of a few sharp hammer blows.


The panels themselves fit over the window winding and door opening mechanisms and need holes cutting for the door handles. The door doesnít have captive nuts for one of the door handle screws on either side, so a suitable nut is superglued to a large washer which is itself glued to the inside of the door. This is then sufficient to hold the door handle firm, but we will see how long it lasts!


The panels have holes for the later style of fixing clip, but our door is of the earlier kind so we simply drill some holes and use some small, black self-tappers to hold things in place. With all the handles back in place, it looks a neat job although the location of the panel means the driverís door now needs more of a push to close. Thereís no more adjustment on the catch, so for now we will hope the trim and seal will compress a little over time.


We have decided to reuse the door cappings, but the holes for the screws holding the end trims are oversize and offer little grip to the standard screws. I therefore use a larger size with the ends cut to the right length and, for good measure, use some cement type glue to help fix things in place.


Making arrangements for Roy to come down over Christmas to help fix the clutch, plus a visit to the NEC for the Classic Car Show, provide a boost in enthusiasm to finally get things finished. At the show we find the pipe work for the vacuum gauge, which is in fact some plastic piping originally designed for an oil pressure line, and a vacuum solenoid for the overdrive control circuitry. On closer examination, this turns out to operate the wrong way around, breaking the circuit with high vacuum rather than making it, but at least itís a vacuum switch and we can use another conventional relay to achieve the necessary operation.

December 3rd

I feed the vacuum line through the bulkhead and connect to the gauge, with the other end running alongside the fuel pipe in front of the heater to emerge near the inlet manifold. Sounds simple enough, but would have been 10 times easier to do at the same time everything else was being fitted!! A friend lends me a 1/8Ē BSP tap to put a thread into the 6.5mm hole I drill into the angled blanking plug at the end of the inlet manifold. As the threaded adaptor I got in Birmingham turns out to have the wrong kind of end (male vs female for the pipe connector ), he also donates a couple of modern push-fit connectors which I install as a temporary measure until I locate the right part.


The engine fires after a few goes but then fires and runs cleanly. Later inspection shows that the choke is not pulling the jets down properly and, as the cable is already somewhat battered I think that if it continues to cause trouble it will be up for replacement. Success for the vacuum gauge though Ė it is alive and providing interesting readings. At idle, it vibrates between 15 Ė 17in, but then increases and steadies as the throttle is opened. It also correctly drops and increases again if the throttle is blipped. There are various possible explanations for the vibration, including worn valve guides (itís a recon head!!), but I think itís most likely as a result of the lower amount of valve lift previously noted on one cylinder. However, as the carbs are not yet tuned, valve clearances could have drifted during the first couple of warn-up cycles, and the engine as a whole has not yet run for more than a few minutes we will leave that for future diagnostics.


On a different note, I decide to take a look at the clutch master and slave cylinders in readiness for Christmas. Without being held in position by the actuating rod, the slave piston has come out and is found sometime later. The rubber cap also comes out, but after draining the fluid is replaced at the end of the cylinder to keep dirt out.


Disassembling the master cylinder is possible whilst the body of the cylinder is still in the car, although getting the circlip back in place again took a few attempts. This gave me the opportunity to verify that the ďnewĒ type of piston in here has a small ridge where the secondary fits and so needs the narrower type of seal. Many of the diagrams are confusing around this point as they suggest the old style piston has a flat end, whereas my older piston has the same raised centre as the new one. However, all now appears well, so we can reassemble but wait until the clutch is fixed before filling with fluid.

December 10th


A cold but dry and sunny day allows the car to be wheeled out for some more work on the doors. In our enthusiasm to fit the trim, I had forgotten the fit the mirrors so all had to be dismantled again. One piece of good news is that the trim which had been making the door reluctant to close properly had now compressed so that everything closes properly. Disassembly was quick though, and after a bit of sizing up to see where best to locate the mirrors the holes were drilled and they were bolted in place.


Working on the passenger side, the window did not want to fully close, necessitating some messing around with the various runners. Some of the inner rubber material was loose and was glued back into place, but I suspect the problem may be more fundamental than that. It gets better, however, so this time I decide to leave it up to let things get used to that position. The nuts previously glued in place as replacements for captive items give up the ghost, so this time I decide to use a bit of give in the trim panel to get a hand in and attach a star washer and nut to the back of the handle screw. Itís fiddly, but finally gets there.


The last thing for the doors is to fit the wooden cappings. These are from the old car, and the drivers side one is bit warped but will be adequate until a reasonably priced better item shows up. From what I find, it seems like they used countersunk chrome screws to fix to the doors but as I have no holes I decide to drill and use self-tappers. There are only black ones in garage stock, but they do the job and can quickly be substituted when we find something more appropriate.


Another day and the windscreen is retightened, with Jo trying to persuade it to sit closer to the doors. Fit the new seals, which almost close the gap Ė but not quite!! The hood also needs two of us to close, though to be fair this hasnít been attempted before so it may just need some stretching into shape. Whilst doing this, we see that some rivets holding one of the hood clips at the side of the car have come loose so will need to be refitted with larger rivets. Inspecting the windscreen middle bolts from underneath the dashboard suggests there isnít much room for manoeuvre there, so we will have to bulk out the standard weather seals a little. A job for another day.


December 17th


We decide to move the cigarette lighter to the centre console and flank it with switches for reversing lights ( the new gearbox doesnít have the switch but the body has the lights ) and hazard lights ( need something to make the panel symmetric.


The hazard light kits seem expensive, given the apparent lack of complexity. Original factory circuits use a DPDT switch to interrupt the wiring to the indicators and feed from a hazard flasher unit instead. An alternative design avoids having to route all the indicator wiring to the switch by using a couple of diodes to prevent normal indicator signals feeding back into the hazard circuit and hence operating all bulbs. However, the lack of a cheap, matching DPDT switch prompts an alternative design, using a standard switch to control a DPDT relay, which then switches the supply to the indicators from the normal switch or the hazard flasher unit. Mounting the relay under the dash near the steering column will avoid all that additional wiring and total cost of the components ( switch, relay, hazard flasher unit ) is less than a tenner. As it happens, Maplin donít have a DPDT relay with appropriate spade terminals, but a pair of standard single pole switchover relays will do just as well ( and cheaply! ).


December 17th


The big day for getting the clutch sorted and Roy has come down for a second weekend of hard labour. First off is the radiator and mounting panel, taking with it as a unit the fan, oil cooler and associated pipework. Next, Roy tackles carburettors and manifolds whilst I remove alternator, distributor, heater valve and oil filter mounting in preparation for lifting the engine. Given memories the problems in locating the gearbox, we have decided to remove the engine separately and so set about undoing the associated bolts. Two of these run through the starter, which therefore is also removed. We then unbolt the engine mounts from the body.


The book suggests that should be sufficient, but after using a couple of hefty screwdrivers to separate the engine from the bellhousing there is insufficient forward movement to release the engine from the gearbox input shaft. The answer is to undo the track rod ends, unbolt and remove the steering rack. With gearbox supported by a jack, the engine can now be moved clear of the shaft then lifted forwards and away. This sounds simple, but needs the engine hoist, jack underneath together with some careful manoeuvring to achieve.


Once we can see into the bellhousing, it is clear that the release bearing is loose on the gearbox input shaft and there only appears to be one retaining clip at the bottom of the housing. After inspection, lunch and further inspection Roy sees that the release fork seems to be mounted the wrong way as it would be logical for the open ends of the fork to point toward the engine, thus meaning the fork would hold the bearing in position whilst under pressure ( rather than the clips ). Itís one of those things you have to look at two or three times, just to make sure, before deciding that really is the problem.


There follows something of a struggle to release the fork, fit the release bearing and push the clips into position, which is finally resolved by putting the fork in a bench vice, getting the clips into place, and then refitting the whole assembly. The bearing doesnít seem to be held as snugly into the fork as might be hoped, but hopefully in use the pressure will push it into the fork so this time all will be well. Now for those immortal words, ďrefitting is the reversal of removalĒ!!


No it isnít. Getting the engine to mate up to the gearbox, whilst avoiding putting the weight of the engine onto the input shaft, turns out to be a major pain and needs lot of repositioning, realignment, pushing and cursing. Is this still easier than removing the gearbox as well??


We continue the following morning, but it seems like although everything is lined up we can only get as far as the front edge of the flywheel aligning with the bellhousing. This is enough, however, to fit some long bolts in strategic places and using these we are able to step by step close the gap and there doesnít seem to be much resistance so it seems we have it about right. Having done that, we substitute the real bolts, including fitting the starter motor. That done, things go more quickly and Roy refits the manifolds and carburettors whilst I work on distributor, heater valve, oil filter mount and assorted plumbing and wiring.


Next is refitting the steering rack and UJ, plus approximately setting the tracking by simply looking down the line of the front and rear tyres and ensuring they are in line by eye. Then comes alternator and belts, followed by the radiator, oil cooler and associated pipework. Finally, the clutch slave cylinder is reassembled and fitted, including attaching to the clutch release arm. The system is then filled and bled using the Easibleed kit, pressing the slave cylinder back by hand to ensure no air remains inside. This works well and we soon have a firm pedal.


Finally, the engine is restarted and settles down to a healthy idle. The moment of truth comes, and I depress the clutch and make for first gear. There is a bit of grinding from the gearbox, so I guess the clutch is dragging a bit, but I can get the gear and inch the car forward in the garage. I can also move in reverse, and feel movement in the other forward gears so this looks like a success. On the downside, on trying to find reverse again the lever loses the spring action although forward gears are still ok, so there is clearly a problem with the lever mechanism. Hopefully though this is simply the spring detent and can be attacked from the top!


During warm-up, we also notice coolant under pressure escaping from where the Kenlowe fan thermostat enters the top radiator hose, and a small oil leak from the flexible hose serving the oil pressure gauge, so there are a couple of other things to attend to. However, we are hopefully now on the downhill slope.




The New Year ďThings to doĒ List

Getting close now, so time to list all the things needed to get us on the road. This list will shrink and then most probably grow again as work progresses. Fortunately, there looks to be plenty of time before the weather improves!


1)       Fix gear selector - done

2)       Fix coolant leak around fan thermostat Ė done, needs testing

3)       Replace leaking flexible hose feed to oil pressure gauge Ė awaiting new adaptor

4)       Fix or more likely replace choke cable so it doesnít stick Ė replaced and adjusted

5)       Align headlights

6)       Fix map light ( was working, but appears to have died since being removed to relocate windscreen ) Ė done

7)       Fit reversing light switch - done

8)       Refit cigarette lighter to centre console ( ok, not needed to be on the road, butÖÖ ) - done

9)       Fit hazard light circuitry Ė done

10)   Make windscreen / quarterlight seals - done

11)   Rivet hood clip Ė done

12)   Fix ( use a larger hammer! ) drivers side window winder - done

13)   Full check of all systems and road test


Thereís now time to work through the list, though frosty temperatures mean more frequent trips to the kitchen. After something of a fight the clip on the gear selector is wrestled into place, bringing back all gears including reverse. I can also now understand how it came out, and hopefully we can avoid this in practice by not pulling the gearlever against the spring in an attempt to find reverse. However, the real culprit appears to be the spring cap, which could do with being another mm of so larger.


After drilling the rivets out of the hood clip it looks like the underlying holes in the body may have been too large, thus allowing the rivets to pull through. Larger rivets will probably foul on the body of the clip though, so maybe I need to try something else. Moving on, the drivers side window winder is refitted with a heavy clonk and the non-functioning map light turns out to be a failed fuse, traced to the fan thermostat wire being pushed against a live contact on the control relay. Fixing the fuse, however, reveals that the horn is stuck on and this transpires to be because when refitting the steering column we managed to bend the spring contact which runs on the slip ring. Some judicious re-bending, followed by refitting the steering column sorts that one out. I also take the opportunity to centralise the steering wheel and ensure roughly the same amount of track rod end is visible on both sides.


The next job is to make holes in the centre console piece for the reversing light and hazard switches, which is done using a series of drills, finally using a 13mm and moving it around to enlarge the hole a fraction, allowing the switch to fit through. The cigarette lighter needs a larger hole altogether, so after an initial drill hole, a friendís Dremel is used to gently grind up to the right size. I want to mount the relays and hazard flasher unit underneath the dashboard, in the vicinity of the connector between indicator switch and main wiring loom. The cross-dash strut has a suitable mounting hole, which is used in conjunction with a suitably bent bracket to attaching the relays. The flasher unit has nothing to locate it by, so has to make do with a tie-wrap Ė what did we do before these??


The module is wired up prior to installation and then bolted into place. The wiring behind the console is completed, with all circuits taking their feed from a common fused purple available at the main loom / indicator switch connector. One reversing light works straight away, the other needing the bulb contacts to be bent so as to make better contact with the bulb. The cigarette lighter doesnít want to heat the element, but works fine on the camping pump which, along with phone charger, is itís intended purpose so thatís fine. The hazard switch makes the relays click, so now itís just wiring into the indicator circuit, for which I need a couple more bullet connectors.

January 4th


After a visit to Moss in Bristol we set out fitting what we hope will be the last few bits. First, the existing indicator circuits are broken at the connector under the dashboard and connected to the remaining wires on the hazard circuit. This then springs into life first time Ė so far, so good!!


Next, the radiator top hose is removed, the fan thermostat repositioned and the new jubilee clips fitted. This is all going far too well, so it was only to be expected that the new oil pipe did not want to fit onto the adaptor at the engine end. After a fair amount of fiddling, the adaptor was removed and seen to be lacking a decent thread, so this fix and testing the radiator top hose will now have to wait for another part.


On the hood clip, the correct size rivet is loose in the body holes. As these appeared to already be oversize, I decide to drill out the holes in the clip itself to the next rivet size (4mm) and use the bigger rivets. Being bigger, these push against the raised portion of the clip so need gentle persuasion with a hammer in order to sit square over the hole. They are then riveted firmly into place using a small nut over the rivet shaft to allow the rivet gun to clear the clip. This works ok, other than the gun slipping on one rivet a putting a minor scratch on the paintwork, and the hood can now be fixed properly.


Next, the gap between windscreen and quarterlights is addressed using a small additional piece of rubber glued to the standard windscreen seals. This seems to fill the gap, though may put some additional pressure on the door and seems to make it a little harder to shut. It remains to be seen whether that will sort itself as the material is compressed over time. On reflection, a Ďpí shape piece would have been better than my flat section, but letís see how this one works out.


In replacing the choke cable, the difficult part is access to the fixing nut behind the dashboard, particularly as the radio slot which may previously have offered access is now fixed to the main dashboard holding the additional gauges. Fortunately the nut is only finger tight and so can be wiggled out by squeezing an arm up from the driverís footwell. After a similar struggle to fit the replacement, it too is tightened only by hand though hopefully the star washer will help to hold and I think I will try use a screwdriver to try to turn it around a fraction more. After a couple of adjustment attempts, including moving the position of the actuator on the connecting rod for easier movement, the control appears to correctly adjust between pushing the jets down around a quarter of an inch and returning to normal without the need for springs.


Having done as much as I can for the day, I decide to tidy the garage and workbench a little, bringing to light the protective rubber boot for the clutch fork. Without jacking the car up I can remove the split pin and trunnion to allow the boot to be pushed over the release arm, though it is something of a struggle. Having started, I need to get it at least to the point where the trunnion and pin and be refitted so that the slave piston doesnít try to escape. That done, discretion is decreed the better part of valour and getting the boot to fit correctly into the bellhousing can wait until another day when I have the time to jack the car up and do it properly.


So our list of things to do now consists of items 3, 5 and 13 along with a new item 14 Ė the clutch fork boot.

January 11th


It lives!!


The new oil pipe and adaptor were quickly and easily fitted, allowing the engine to be fired up and prove itself capable of retaining all the necessary fluids. The headlights were adjusted to a reasonable start point by noting the mid point of each lens with a mark on the garage door, pushing the car back as far as was practicable and then aligning the main beams to centre on these marks. The dips are then also effectively aligned. Itís not perfect, but will do for now until I get it to a proper machine at the local garage, much the same as with the tracking.


Saturday was a sunny day, so it was time for a first test. The engine fired cleanly from cold, so into first and away we go. The gear noise was quite loud, similar to an A-series set up, but not worrying and no nasty clunks or protects from the rear end. Second, third and fourth were quieter as we headed the mile or so to the local garage. One failure point is clearly the speedometer, whose needle moves erratically around the dial despite a constant speed, although the odometer seemed to be working correctly. I think I will give in on trying to fix this one and simply replace it.


Steering is light and positive, despite the approximate nature of the tracking set up, and the brakes all work although the pedal seems a bit soft. There may be some more air in the system, but it could be as simple as re-adjustment now that the wheels have been turning properly. Turning into the garage, the engine dies to the sound of a furiously ticking fuel pump, so I guess that was the end of the first gallon! The tank takes 48 litres, about 10Ĺ gallons, before the pump cuts out.


On the way home, I try the overdrive. The engine revs change and it cuts in and out smoothly, so one of the big unknowns of the build can now be laid to rest. Getting back into the garage requires reverse, which also works although engagement is a bit stiff. The passenger side wing mirror is next to useless though, so needs looking at, and the driverís side window winder is stiff.


Writing this, I now realise that I forgot to do the clutch fork boot before setting out, but hopefully nothing solid has managed to jump into the bellhousing during the shirt trip! Looking at the pictures taken for the insurance, I also see a straggling piece of wire in the passenger footwell which needs tidying and there are a couple of things to sort out ( speedometer, mirror, clutch fork boot ) but we are now definitely in business Ė it lives!!



Some more fiddling and adjustments are now the order of the day. The unsightly wire in the passenger footwell has been tidied and the passenger door mirror rotated to allow more satisfactory adjustment. Iíve also adjusted the bonnet release cable and moved the forks on the choke spindle inward a little to allow freer movement, which will hopefully allow a more reliable return to a normal idle. Adjusted the rear brakes, which did seem a little loose on one side, but I fear the drums may be slightly out of round.


January 18th


Friday night, prior to the MoT, I do a quick check round and discover the rear number plate lights are not working. A quick check shows voltage present, but there is no earth Ė I suspect they have never worked and we missed it. The quick answer is to attached a wire to the mounting bolt of the left hand light, route it through the grommet into the body and use a Ďjunctioní style spade connector to link it into the earth from the reversing lights. I also note the left side windscreen wiper appears to judder over the screen, but that canít be a failure can it??


January 25th


Yes it can!! Rick from the local garage rates the car as Ďnot bad for a first goí. He initially canít initially put it through the official test due to the lack of a chassis identification plate, which I had altogether forgotten about but Jo reminds me was carefully stored with the paperwork for the car. That sorted, the test identifies that the wipers are indeed a fail, as Rick feels they are too loose although the judder may be simply down to a new and dry screen. He also finds that there is too much play in one of the kingpins, and suggests that additional shims would do the job. Additionally, he fixes the headlight alignment and tracking as he has the equipment to do the job properly.


Although itís always disappointing to fail, this is not actually too bad. The wipers should be quick to sort, though the king pin will be a bit of a pain as I think it will involve another fight with suspension bushes and spring. Jo also reports that the troublesome driverís side window handle has come off Ė it was always going to be trouble, so maybe a proper fix is now called for!


February 2nd


Fixing the wipers is a matter of fitting the right blades Ė I had mistakenly ordered the wide fitting rather than the narrow. The drivers window handle is pushed back into its hole with the aid of a hammer, but the fitting is loose so that needs to be added to the jobs to do list.


At the garage, the wheels had been tightened to the point where it a fair amount of effort to loosen the front left and gain access to the offending king pin. The car was supported on an axle stand under the cross member, with a jack under the spring pan to take the tension as the suspension was dismantled. After removing the brake caliper and securing it to the damper arm with a tie wrap, I drove out the top trunnion bolt and released the king pin and hub assembly, with the idea that I could then remove the top trunnion and insert the necessary shims. However, this was not to be as the trunnion was held far too tightly and could not be forced off the pin.


Plan B was then to remove the hub and brake backplate, undo the lower trunnion bolt and get the king pin on to the bench. After some experimentation, the most effective method then seems to be to clamp the top trunnion and use a punch and large hammer to drive out the king pin. The extra shim(s) can then be added and the assembly rebuilt on the bench, with the idea being to obtain minimal up and down movement whilst allowing the hub mount to turn freely on the pin. The top nut must also be correctly torqued at this stage.


Refitting is then the reversal of removal! For once, it pretty much was, with only the top trunnion bolt needing a bit of leverage on the damper arm to allow to be pushed home. Plenty of fresh grease was also pushed into the king pin, wheel bearing and also the lower trunnion area where one of the rubber dustr seals has ripped, so that needs adding to the new Ďthings to doí list.


Having assembled everything, there was still a little play on the king pin, demonstrating that considerably more force can be applied through the wheel after assembly than can be applied on the bench. However, the MoT man deemed that it was acceptable, so on Feb 8th we got our ticket!! He also reset the headlights and tracking, although the line of sight method had got us to within a single turn of the track rod arm.


The next minor problem was tax, as the local post office wanted £180! It turns out that as the car had not been taxed or SORNíd since the historic vehicle rule had come in then it was still classed as a regular car. This required a trip to the local DVLA office, where it was reclassified, engine number updated and the disc issued.


February 2nd


Having got the ticket, thereís an argument to see the blog should stop here. However, the trials and tribulations of running in are probably worth a note, if only for the purposes of maintaining the Ďto doí list.


The car had seemed to run well on its 12 mile round trip to the MoT station, with just an occasional misfire to be tracked down. Feeling confident, therefore, we prepared for a trip out. After taking the hood down we found we no longer had the stowage cover. The old one had been pretty tatty, but neither of us could remember throwing it away. Something else to add to the list, along with the loose ( and therefore self-adjusting! ) driverís door mirror.


All was well for a few miles, but then the engine developed a serious misfire and lack of power, which seemed to go away at speed. There was also an odd noise at 60mph, which we thought may be wind blowing through the heater ducts or something similar. The misfire steadily got worse, and we pulled over to check for any visible problems such as loose HT leads. Nothing doing, so we headed for home, thankfully getting all the way without major drama.


Inspection of the plugs showed that whilst the rear one was darker than might be ideal, they got darker towards the front and number one was very black indeed. This seems to rule out ignition and points to the front carburettor running rich. The jet wasnít stuck, and there was no sign of overflow from the float chamber, but the piston did stick at the top of its travel. This was thus removed and some fine emery paper used to rub down the high spots inside the dashpot. I also noted that the top of the piston fouled the plastic dashpot cover at the extreme of travel, and not tightening the cover hard down seemed to overcome that potential problem.


The current list of things to do:


Fix exhaust bumping

Tighten driverís wing mirror

Fix driverís window winder ( probably needs new winder mechanism )

Tidy rear number plate light wiring

Check points gap on dwell meter


February 9th


Hmm. On restarting the car, it still runs rough. Turning the jet adjuster screws fully up took about 15 flats, and then after turning down six flats ( so theoretically lean ) the car started and run cleanly, albeit needing to idle at over 1000rpm. Taking the jets down another few flats increased the rpm, so allowing the throttle stops to be closed and a half decent idle obtained, with the car revving cleanly.


So we set off for another test drive and all was well, until after a few miles Ė roughly the same distance as last time Ė the misfire began again. No way as bad this time and power was fine at speed, but definitely still a problem. Despite the time spent with the engine warm whilst fiddling about before we left, maybe it is heat related with something sticking as it warms and expands. More investigation neededÖÖ.


February 16th


A visit to the Bristol & West show at Shepton Mallett nets us a few tools and other supplies, but no half-tonneau or window regulator mechanism. Talking to the guys on the MGCC stand, it sounds like sticking carbs are still the problem. To do list now enhanced with:


Replace speedo Ė trip doesnít work on replacement unit

Source half-tonneau

Replace nylock nuts loosened when fixing king pin and the split rubber seal from the lower trunnion

More work on carbs.


March 8th


Weather and work have conspired against us for a couple of weeks, but now is the chance to do a few jobs. The carburettor dashpots are polished some more, testing it by sealing the top with a thumb and checking it takes between 5 and 10 seconds for the piston to descend from top to bottom. Before more treatment, the piston would simply not descend but after some polishing it now appears to behave itself and, when refitted, gives a more noticeable click when the piston lands.


The exhaust knocking looks like it might be cured by turning the link section in front of the rear silencer, but it seems to be fairly solidly in place. So much so that I can neither turn nor remove it. Consequently, it becomes necessary to hacksaw through it in order to be able to split the system. Naturally, I now need to wait for another piece to arrive before putting it all back again!! The speedometer is removed to be sent back to be fixed.


On the plus side, the nylock nut on the king pin and the rubber seal on the lower trunnion are replaced and the number plate wiring fixed. Weíve also managed to source a new window regulator mechanism, but fitting that will wait until the weather is better so that there is space to work it.


March 15th


Welsh MG turned around the speedo on the same day, the window regulator has arrived and looks good, and there is also a pipe shaped parcel so it looks like we have work to do. Fitting the speedometer is easy, mostly because Iíve done it a few times now and know the exact way in which to lay my head in the footwell and get at the two bulbs, drive cable and fixing nuts.


The window regulator also turns out to be a fairly straightforward job. After removing the door capping, assorted handles and then the trim panel the regulator has two sets of bolts to undo Ė one for the main mechanism and one to the right for the extension plate. That done, the rear roller can be slid out of the back of the window channel whilst the window is lowered and the front roller can be slid forwards after pushing the window half way up. Thereís a small fight to wriggle the mechanism into the middle of the door cavity, at which point it can Ė just Ė be removed through the hole.


For once, refitting is the reversal of removal. It takes a couple of goes to get the front roller correctly in place, but then everything bolts up and works.I also take the opportunity to tighten the wing mirror before putting everything back in place. The hardest part of the job is carefully using a knife to enlarge the hole in the door panel for the top of the regulator mechanism to be pushed through ( this is where I went wrong last time! ), and cutting a couple of corresponding slits in the front fabric. The fabric is then pushed behind the top of the regulator protrusion which, together with the size of the handle, ensures nothing shows after final assembly.


Realigning the exhaust meant separating the various sections, which fortunately came apart with copious WD40, jiggling, twisting and pulling. Once apart, I could realign the front pipe to hopefully gain a little more clearance, and also extend the slots in the middle mounting bracket to allow it to hang a few millimetres lower. I also took the opportunity to ensure the clamps are fixed sideways to minimise risk of them grounding whilst maintaining easy access.


Other than tuning and testing the carburettors on a run, that should be about it. Shame itís raining for EasterÖÖ..