Saturday, 13 May 2017


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.


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.

Saturday, 29 April 2017


The garage that the previous owner always used for servicing and MOT has moved to Caterham and although I was prepared to drive the five miles or so for an MOT as they knew the car intimately, I was told that they no longer carried out MOT's but they did recommend a garage close to where they used to be and B & W in South Croydon were happy to book Stella in for last Tuesday. After the usual 45 minutes I was given the thumbs up, with just the advisory of oil leak from gearbox, something I am well aware of that will be sorted when the ZF 4 speed box is fitted latter this year. Very satifying, and a lovel smug feeling welled over me.

The next day my friend Gerry and I drove to Faversham in deepest Kent to South East Trimmers where Jim had a pair of re-foamed and re-covered front seats ready for me. I had made contact a couple of weeks earlier and he said that rather than dropping off my seats with him for a couple of weeks he could fit an exchange pair, so that is what we did. Very smart they look and supportive. I will now vacuum the carpets as previously it hadn't been worthwhile as they were forever covered in yellow crumbs of old, dead foam.

Monday, 24 April 2017


I forgot to mention in the last post that I fitted the new rear shock absorbers, before I fitted the stainless exhaust and for once it was as easy as predicted.

I had several oportunities to go for a run in Stella over the last couple of weeks, one drive was a fast run around the M25 to Staines and she drives as if on rails. no more wandering from one side of the lane to the other and absolutely no sign of overheating. This was also probably the first long run since having the extra boss fitted to the radiator and it seems to have paid off.

Anyway, Sunday 23rd of April, as well as being St Georges Day was national Drive It Day and at the last minute I registered with the Croydon Rotary Club for its organised run from the large vineyard in Dorking, Surrey to The Chatham Dockyard in Kent. The route was through many lovely villages and the sun did its best to shine, so it was roof down for the whole 60 miles.

Approximately 68 classic cars did the run and we were in a small convoy of three cars and the six occupants of those three cars spent several hours enjoying the attractions of the dockyard. The Ropery and a cold war submarine took up most of our time, before we set our sat navs and raised our hoods before setting of for home.

130 miles and no problems at all, GREAT!!!!

Friday, 7 April 2017


I started off bleeding the rear brakes using the vacuum tool that I bought when I was building Marjorie, my replica Morgan three wheeler kit car. The right hand brake bled quickly with the fluid being drawn through via the vacuum, but when I transferred to the left brake I only drew through bubbles. I called on a chum to press the brake pedal in the time honoured manner and after a few pushes just fluid was coming down the clear plastic tube, but as I closed the bleed nipple brake fluid poured over the back of my hand. A quick nip up of the brake pipe connector to the brake cylinder and the leak stopped and my chum said the brake pedal was firm, that was obviously why I only got bubbles when the vacuum was trying to suck the fluid through.

I adjusted and connected the hand brake cables and refitted the wheels. With the wheels back on the ground the engine started first turn of the key, which was very satisfying. Whilst sorting out a non working horn I left the ignition switched on when I went indoors for a cup of coffee, on my return Stella refused to start and the coil was to hot to touch. Robsport had a new coil with me next day and I was able to drive the car onto my hydraulic ramps and pumped up in readiness for replacing the exhaust system.

Much to my surprise none of the many nuts clamping the exhaust failed to undo, although I did cut through the long lengths of pipe with my disc cutter to make its removal easier.

I started fitting the new stainless system, front end first, leaving all connections loose. That was enough for one day and on the next I jacked up the back end and completed the installation. When everything lined up I tightened all the clamps.

Out for a test drive once I had the front wheels tracked at my local tyre depot and it was all I had hoped for. No more clonks, creaks and groans from the back end and the front now steers perfectly with no more wallowing and wandering, fabulous. Ready now to enjoy the dry, bright weather we are currently expierencing.

Monday, 27 March 2017


The new drive shafts arrived from E J Wards, a huge box full of plastic balloons, bubble wrap and scrunched up cardboard and there they were, nestled right at the bottom of the box were the two shafts.

These new ones are a major advance on the originals, the two UJ's have grease nipples fitted and the splined shaft is Rilsan/Teflon coated which means that even under accelerating loads the shafts will still slip and stop the Stag twitch. The splines are also concealed within a metal tube, rather than just rubber bellows and also have a grease nipple fitted. There is no big rubber boot fitted over the inner UJ which means that there is easy access to all the nipples for subsequent servicing, something that the old shafts had never experienced in the previous 40 odd years.

 However before I could fit the shafts I used the transmission jack to push up the the underside of the trailing arms to compress the road springs, the arms are then held in place and the springs in compression by bolting the arms to the bottom end of the  shock absorbers. For the moment I connected the old shocks as getting to the top bolts to remove them is difficult in the confines of the garage, but it will be easy peasy when she is back on her wheels and out of the garage.

Without the rubber boots the new shafts slipped through the large hole in the trailing arms easily, ensuring that the brake back plates were correctly placed on the six studs first. Then it was just a case of gradually tightening down the six lock nuts per trailing arm and then the four nuts and bolts to connect shafts to differential.

The above photo of the connected left shaft was taken laying on my back, looking directly upwards.

I forgot to take any photos whilst I puzzled out how to refit the brake shoes to the near side brake. I constantly referred to my photos and printed off diagrams from workshop manual and eventually worked out how the self adjusting ratchet operated, which way round and which holes the three springs hooked into. The right side brake shoes took no time at all and soon the drums were both  back in place.

The above is a fairly crap photo, you can just about make out the new copper brake pipe connecting the SS flexible hose to the rear slave cylinder. Bleeding brakes tomorrow. Oh by the way my garage creeper, seen in above photo, came in very handy whilst I was tightening the shaft to differential nuts and bolts, saved a lot of neck ache. Bleeding brakes tomorrow,

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


Whilst I was waiting for the differential to be rebuilt and suspension parts to be resprayed I tidied up the garage and saw lying on the floor in the gloom, the brake back plates, I then realised that I should have included them for spraying. Out with the bench grinder and then into my paint booth for several coats of spray Hammerite black.

Finally Hardy Engineering at Leatherhead called to say the diff was ready, They explained that they had to fit a replacement rear aluminium plate, I knew when I removed the rear steel mounting bracket that is attached by four nuts on studs to the cast back plate, that there was a lot of corrosion between the steel and the alli, so I was not surprised, but there she was looking very smart and just needed oil to be added. Next job was to collect all the suspension parts from the sprayers as I had by now had a call to say "Job done"

 Russ said he had a transmission jack that I could borrow, I took him at his word and went to collect it, bloody wonderful, I strapped the diff down onto the lowered jack and attached the rear mounting bracket, but first I smeared grease between the contact surfaces, the bracket now having a thick coat of paint I hope that there will be no further corrosion.

I bolted back onto the suspensions arms the two brackets to each one, these support the trailing arms. I made sure I got the brackets bolted right way round with the correct set of packing shims fitted behind the correct outer brackets. The two big new poly bushes were also bolted in place and the two arms were then bolted to the front of the diff housing.

I pushed the new bushes into the trailing arms in readiness for attaching to the suspension arms.
I had also decided to fit new SS brake hoses and also a complete set of copper brake pipes, so before the diff assembly was in the way, I removed the old rubber hoses, one needed to be cut off with the angle grinder and a bit of heat applied elsewhere to remove the rearmost copper pipe connecting the two hoses. When all was replaced I trundled the transmission jack and strapped down diff assembly under the car and started to jack it up.

I got everything located, but before I jacked it up the last four inches or so, I filled the diff with oil and started to attach the trailing arms. the innermost bush on both arms slipped, with a bit of encouragement with my rubber hammer, into their brackets, however the two outer bushes just would not go in. My length of M12 studding, two very large substantial washers and two nuts were employed to very slightly spread the two brackets and hey presto, again with a little persuasion all the bushes slipped into their respective brackets and with a bit of levering the bolts slipped into place.

A last lift of the jack and with all the bushes and bolts lubricated with silicone grease and with new lock nuts everything is now firmly in place. As with the front suspension I am not tightening down until the car is back on its wheels and the suspension is settled. The new drive shafts are on order and when they arrive I will move onto the next stage of assembly.