Wednesday, 6 September 2017

COSMETIC OIL

I checked my notes and saw that it was time for an oil and filter change, up on the ramps and all done with minimal spillage.At some point I will convert to a be able to use a 'spin on' filter, but at the moment I still have to undo and remove the canister that holds the filter and give that a thorough clean before inserting the new filter and carefully bolting it back into place ensuring it sits correctly onto the new rubber sealing ring.

The bright, calm days continued and prompted me to start on tarting up Stella. I had a nasty surprise when I went to a couple of specialist car sprayers and asked what it would cost for a respray, provided I stripped all the trim, door handles, lights, bumpers etc, both estimates, allowing for a couple of wheel arch repairs were five thousand pounds. Three thousand was what I had in mind, but that was from watching two many episodes of Wheeler Dealer that were probably recorded ten years ago.

Generally the panels are OK its around the trim edges where black mastic has been used and the lower sills so I decided I would have ago with spray cans. I started on the drivers side sill, there was no rust, it just looked very cruddy and the slim stainless trim that ran the length of Stella was already starting to flap about.



 As well as this piece of trim, I removed the TRIUMPH engraved tread plate that had also been stuck down with black mastic and the stainless section that holds the carpet and fuzzy rubber door seal in place and then peeled back this rubber seal. I cleaned all the gunge away, thoroughly rubbed down with 600 wet and dry paper, filled the surface cracks and rubbed down again with 1000 grade paper.



I carefully masked up with newspaper and applied two coats of white primer. The next day I again rubbed back with 1000 grade paper, I made sure all residue was wiped away and sprayed on three coats of Rover White. I carefully removed the masking tape and news paper. I waited a couple of days for the paint to harden during which time I cleaned and polished the trim and then fitted it back into place with new clips and screws. Not bad even if I say so myself, trouble is, it now makes the other side look so much worse, but it will get done in time.



A previous owner had also used black mastic behind the door handles and as elsewhere this was drying and coming away so I decided to remove the handle and fit a proper black rubber gasket behind it. I quickly realised that I would have to remove all of the locking mechanism to get at one of the bolts holding the handle to the door skin, a deep breath and I unclipped the operating rods and unbolted the lock, hoping I woild be able to get it all back in. Handle removed and all the gunge cleaned off the handle bolted easily back onto the door looking so much neater, but it took a couple of goes to get the lock mechanism operating correctly. When I come to do the same to the passenger door it should be so much easier.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

RELAY

Most of the mechanical jobs are done now, I still have the front brakes to refurbish and new timing chains to fit, no rattles at present, but just in case as a failure would wreck the engine. Really just cosmetic jobs now, but I did want to fit a relay for the Kenlowe electric cooling fan. I had found the the wiring to the overide switch on the dash got quite warm when I used it and the warning light didn't come on.


I thought fitting a relay between the radiator and front grill, where it would be out of site would be a good idea. I had already removed the air horn to this area and I knew there would be space.

I worked out how I would run the wiring and tried it out by temporarily connecting the relay to make sure it all worked, with a relay only a very small negative current would run to the thermostatic and dash override stitch, but a separate live supply would be needed for the dash warning light.


 All worked as I had hoped, so I measured out the correct lengths of appropriate cable and crimped on insulated spade connectors and connected them all to the relay switch, I then permanently fixed the relay to the other side of the thermostatic switch.


I ran the wires up to the engine bulkhead in split corrugated tubing, clipped it into place and fed the wires under the dash to the new switch and LED warning light.


Great, now I will know exactly at what temperature the fan switches on and will be able to adjust the thermostatic switch accordingly, because at the moment I think it might be coming on a bit early, no bad thing, certainly much better than overheating.

Friday, 4 August 2017

BLOOD SWEAT & GEARBOX

Stella and  I have been to a several local car shows this summer and good fun they are, but they can get a bit tedious and I only stayed a few hours at the last one in Chelsham, called BLOOD SWEAT & GEARS. It was in a lovely rural setting near Waringham Surrey. On the way in however I pause for a professionally posed photo and later I went to their little tent and bought a hard copy of the picture, which also allowed me to download an online copy, here it is below.


The main reason for the smile on my face is that a month ago I drove Stella up to Evesham in Worcestershire and left her for two days with a gentleman called Clive Tate. Clive removed my clunky old BW 35, 3 speed auto gearbox and replaced it with a ZF 4 speed with lockup, autobox. Clive manufactures the casting that allows this box to mate with the Stag bell housing and other parts necessary to complete the installation. The new box was a fully reconditioned ex Jaguar box and everything works perfectly.

Clive collected me from Evesham railway station and immediately I felt the difference, silky smooth changes and the acceleration up to 80 70 MPH was so much quicker. the revs at that speed were 1,000 lower than before, making for a much more relaxed high speed cruising, or would once I had the wheels balanced as a substantial vibration set in over 50 MPH. Wheels now balanced, they were considerable out and now very smooth, hence as I said earlier, accounts for my smile. No photos obviously as I had no part to play apart from paying for new gearbox, conversion kit and labour, but well worth it

Thursday, 13 July 2017

IGNITION

Whilst on a short run out in Stella, on one of the hottest days, I was almost home when Stella started to back fire as I was coming down the hill just before the turn into my road, I swung into the road, and realised there was no power steering and the engine had died. I was able to roll along and stop just short of my drive, well that was lucky. I first thought it was fuel vaporization, or the fuel pump had failed as I couldn't hear it clicking, but when I removed the fuel line from the pressure regulator/filter, petrol poured back from the carbs, so no shortage of petrol then. I then checked the HT lead fron the coil to the distributor and no spark. My recently fitted coil, end of March, had failed. Bless em, Robsport got a replacement one to me next day and I could then drive up the drive to the safety of my garge. Robsport immediately refunded the cost when they received the dud one back.

Confidence boosted a slightly longer run, again on a very hot day and in heavy traffic and the same problem I had expeirenced in Wales, only more often. When I  came to a standstill in the traffic, if I didn't immediately put her into neutral the engine would die, she would restart immediately, but it was a bit disconcerting to say the least.

I had done a lot of research on electronic ignition systems and to my mind the Pertronix Ignitor came out on top with relaibility and simplicity of installation. I was pretty sure the problem was point related as it must have been at least a couple of years since the points had been adjusted whilst under previous ownership. I hadn't adjusted points for probably 40 years I didn't want to start now and Pertronix Europe got a system to me the next day and it was fitted in an hour or so.

The two sets of points, condensor and base plate were quickly removed. I checked and lubricated the bob weights at the base of the distributer housing and ensured that the vacuum advance mechanism was working, I fitted the new base plate, ignitor module and pressed the circular magnet sleeve down onto the eight pointed cam. It was a snug fit but evenually it pushed all the way on.


The rotor was also firmly pushed into place and dizzy cap replaced and wiring connected, the only slight complication being that I had to run a fresh, ignition switch controlled, 12 volt suppy to the ignitor, as the original set up only supplies 6 volts to the coil and distributer, too long to explain, but I understand why that is. Stella started immediately and I went for a run to check it out and all was fine. I noticed on return that the dizzy cap was wriggling about and that shouldn't be. When I removed the cap I realised that the carbon brush had been pushed right up into it's housing, the nose of which was rubbing directly onto the rotor, which was why the cap was jiggling about.



I resolved this problem by grinding a few mm from the underside of the rotor as I realised that the magnet sleeve had raised the rotor by 2 mm.


However, as I couldn't get the carbon brush to come out of the housing, I assume that it had been worn right down, but again Robsport to the rescue and a new dizzy cap arrived the next day and now Stella appears to be once again extremely reliable with a very steady tickover. Another job ticked off.

FOG LIGHTS AND HORNS

Shortly after our wonderful trip to Wales we drove down to the South of France, but not in the Stag. Hopefully next year Stella will be ready for such a journey, when I have completed all the things I feel that still need to be done. One way or another we have been away along time and I have only just been able to get back to work on Stella.

First job was to complete the installation of the neat little fog lamps that came from Gil at www.bettercarlighting.co.uk. These high powered red LED fittings replace the rear number plate bolts, so are almost invisible when not lit.


The trickiest bit was running the supply cable from back to front of the car, this necessitated removing the left hand seat belt, seat and carpets and feeding the cable through some tight,obscure apertures.  I managed to get access to the lighting switch for the power supply, so the fog lights can only be switched on when the lights are on and very effective they are.


In preparation for repainting the under bonnet area, I decided to move the, good sounding but unsightly air horn from the inside of the right wheel arch. There was a black horn, a red compressor and a blue relay and a mess of wiring and it all looked a bit scruffy.


In front of the radiator and behind the grill, on the left side, the old hooters were still bolted. I had to remove right side main beam head light as well as the grill to get access but the old hooters soon came out and using the same bolt holes I fitted the three components in their place. I replaced and re-routed the wiring and all now neat and tidy.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

ROAD TRIP TO MID WALES

We have just returned from the most fantastic trip to Mid Wales. Jacquie and I drove up on Sunday to the Cotswold's to meet up with Jacquie's sons In Laws, Dave and Sue who we get on extremely well with. David has a couple of classic cars and he chose the more powerful MGR V8, so we should be well matched. on the way up we stopped in Marlborough and the day was so beautiful I dropped the hood for the rest of the journey, this was to be a pattern to be repeated over the next four days.

Our first day took us around Gloucester to Ross on Wye and eventually to the market town of Rhyader. This part was lovely enough, but the next day we were immediately into the Elan Valley and all the reservoirs that supply Birmingham, amongst other places.



The scenery just got more amazing as we continued onto Machynlleth for a late lunch.



Both cars were going extremely well and we eventually arrived at our second nights accommodation at Llanon, right on the coast, just before Aberaron,


For our third day, the sunshine was with us right from the start and we visited another beautiful cove on the way to Cardigan where our little dog thoroughly enjoyed himself, he being quite comfortable, in his bed on the back seat for all of the driving.



We had a very spirited drive in the afternoon, again amazing scenery across the Brecon Beacons. At last our hotel hove into view, unfortunately we had been downgraded to a lodge in the grounds, as the hotel wasn't dog friendly as were the previous hotels.



A final goodbye with Dave & Sue, over coffee in Chepstow, before we went our separate ways. Ours was a long blast down the M4 and M25, fortunately I put the roof up at Membury Services as shortly after ward  the promised heavy showers arrived. I have to be honest, Stella did miss a few beats, almost certainly electrical and I will fit electronic ignition probably sooner rather than latter. Otherwise she ran perfectly, never overheating and although Jacquie has a sore back after the seven to eight hundred mile, I found the new seats very comfortable. What a few glorious days, we will certainly be going back to Wales for some more.
 

SOLENOID STORY

When I was returning from Faversham having had the new seats fitted, I drove through a substantial hail storm and after that the starter began to play up. Previously, some times the solenoid clicked a couple of times before engaging the starter, but she always started very willingly, now I thought I was going to have to call the breakdown people, When at last she started after about twenty attempts. I think the hail storm was just a coincidence, but a day or so later Stella was back on the ramps and I eventually got the solenoid of the starter. There was plenty of information on the Forum as to how to re-condition the solenoid

So I took it apart, which entailed unsoldering to contacts on the plastic cap, I emery papered the large copper contacts and reassembled.



 Russ had told me I would almost certainly need to remove the starter to allow me to properly engage the solenoid. With the starter off I thought I had connected the two correctly and refitted both starter and solenoid to the car but as soon as I attached the last battery cable there was a horrible whirring and smoking negative terminal. It took a trip to Rus to show me how to properly connect the solenoid's plunger to the leaver in the starter. This time I got if fitted right, but sadly it still clonked a couple of times before engaging.

I decided as we were shortly going on a trip to Wales, I should play safe and I ordered a new solenoid which arrived the day after May Day. I got it all connected together and refitted to the car with no problems, except the top bolt, which is notoriously difficult to fit. However the bottom bolt is more than tight enough to keep it in place and when the gearbox is replaced latter this year, that bolt can then be fixed properly, but no more clonking, starts firest turn of the key every time.