This week I've been continuing with the work on Toby's heater. I finished dismantling it, by removing the matrix from the main box. I said last time that I planned to "get it refurbished", which potentially could have included a hundred pound bill for re-coring. However,
it actually wasn't too bad. I pressure and flow tested it and, apart from a relatively small amount of rusty silt emerging, it's absolutely fine. Sure, the fins are a bit wonky but they're all intact. The money can be better spent elsewhere.
So, I turned my attention to the main body of the heater box. I blast cleaned and primed it with etch primer:
Then I gave it a couple of coats of the Eastwood chassis black, satin finish:
After this, it was ready for the matrix to go back in, padded with strips of new foam rubber. The original assembly was with a narrow strip of beige foam but I used black, stuck to the box.
Then it was back to the motor mount side. There was originally a part number sticker on this, which I had peeled off intact, albeit with a few nicks acquired over the years. For completeness I stuck this back on:
Then I re-fitted the motor and the fan, adjusted the position, and reassembled the casing with new self-tapping screws:
There are a couple of finishing touches still needed, including the original spec. black tape over the slots for the pipes.
Meanwhile, I also applied some coats of satin black to the cleaned-up screen vent finishers:
Following on from the last instalment, I've taken a break from plating things and turned my attention to the bits that have to go into Toby's awkward places, like behind the dash. In particular, I dug out the heater.
I'd already cleaned up the screen vents so here's a photo after a coat of chassis black. It's a bit glossier than I'd hoped. I may need some other satin black for a second coat.
The top part of those emerges through the dash top with a finisher piece. These were also in need of cleaning up:
The top one here is as it came off apart from a bit of blasting from being in the cabinet at the same time as the lower one, which has had the first pass but needs to go back in for a bit more blasting.
Then I started dismantling the heater unit itself. The box comes apart by undoing half a dozen self-tappers:
This is the rear panel, depending on your definition, that has the fan motor attached. It's the bit nearest the back of the car, anyway, which is most exposed to access. You can see there's a bit of surface rust near the bottom. The wings either side are where the footwell vent flaps open.
And here's the main body, the part that bolts to the bulkhead with an intake from under the windscreen. You can see the footwell flaps and the tubes for the windscreen demister hoses above them. The bottom panel is a bit rusty and the matrix looks like it's seen better days too. Given how inaccessible this is once fitted, I think I should get it refurbished now, while it's easy.
First, though, I started on the easy panel. The fan comes off the motor shaft if the centre nut is loosened. Incidentally, this seems to be an aluminium nut onto the plastic fan. I cleaned and plated it, of course.
This is the outside of the back panel after blasting.
And here's the inside view. This wasn't quite finished - some rust and old paint remained when I took the photo, as you can see.
Once happy with the blasting, I gave it a coat of etch primer in my slightly makeshift spray booth. Yes, it is just a cardboard box, left over from the last house move.
Then I gave the inside a good coat of chassis black. It's not actually fully dried in this photo. I'll do the outside when I next get out there.
Incidentally, for pieces of this size I would sometimes use a rattle can but sometimes, as here, I use a cheap modeller's airbrush with a small compressor I picked up off Freecycle a few years back. The airbrush is best for really small (I use it on model railway buildings, for example) but copes with this. It has two sizes of bottle - the small one doesn't quite hold enough paint for one coat of the heater panel, the larger will do that plus two screen vents.
There's a chap on the Club Triumph forums who's been writing about his GT6 restoration. Recently, he's done the handbrake cable, like I've recently done Toby's. However, this chap bought a nickel/zinc plating kit and treated all his bits with it. The results look good so I bought one myself...
After a quick practice on some scrap, I started with the handbrake lever. I'd had the body of it powder coated but the ratchet mechanism was all as it came off.
I cleaned them up in the blast cabinet, then with some sandpaper. I probably should have used the Scotchbrite wheel on the drill but they weren't to hand. Then I plated them, and clear/blue passivated.
I'm quite happy with the results.
Next, I started to assemble the mechanism, as a trial. It's not possible to assemble it off the car, like this:
You have to build it up in situ. Which can be a pain, especially as the cable bracket clevis pin is inaccessible once in place. Still, got it all together and it looks good.
Then I turned my attention to some other bits. The windscreen vents from the heater system needed a clean-up
so I blast cleaned and primed them.
Once that's dried properly I'll give them a couple of coats of satin black.
While I was at it, the end stops for the door drop glass looked a bit sorry.
First, the felt pads had to come off. This revealed a fair bit of rust
So they went into the blast cabinet and got a good going over
In the past I would have then painted them but I thought I'd give plating a go. A decent layer of electro-plating ought to be more resilient than paint, after all. Of course, with all that pitting they're never going to shine but they can be plated. For these, as they're not visible, I chose the yellow passivate. I think I may have over-done that...
I may still end up painting them, too, but it may be overkill. Mind you, they do seem to rust more than most of the bits inside the doors, so maybe not.
Some while back, when Tessa was back running and driveable, I decided it was time to put the roof up for the winter. Naturally I went to wind the windows up. The passenger one was stuck, unwilling to move. I applied a bit more effort to the handle... there was a crack and the handle went loose.
Having dismantled the door and pushed the window up (where it stayed quite happily all by itself because the glass was jammed in the runner), this was what I found:
The regulator control arm is held on the winder sector by a rivet, which had snapped. This should be quite easily repairable, or bodgable with a dab of weld. However...
... I had a spare regulator mechanism. This was among the box of bits that came with Tessa, along with a left-hand door shell, so presumably there was a whole spare door that had been acquired some time. Coincidentally, Toby also had a spare left hand door.
Today, having replaced the offending felt bit in the front runner, and confirmed that this made the glass slide freely, I set about reassembling the door. What a pig of a job! The regulator can't be inserted through the tiny narrow gaps unless the quarter-light frame is unbolted and moved, but then you have to re-fit that and readjust it, which involves fitting a bolt through a "tie-rod" and bracket into a captive nut that isn't where you want it, through a one inch hole into a space you can't get your hands into unless you're built like a ten-year-old, and which you can't see into at all, all the while fighting gravity which wants to chop your arm off with the glass.
However, I managed it.
The glass is now correctly sliding up and down in response to the winder.
In amongst the hubbub of the Christmas season, I managed a couple of days in the garage working on Toby and Tessa.
Toby had returned from the painter without a handbrake cable. This was mostly my fault for not having the correct one in stock (I had two; one for a Herald and one for a 2500). Which was especially silly given that I'd assembled all the suspension with the body off, and that would have been the right time to fit the cable, as I discovered...
First I cleaned up the compensator sector. This is the bit that the rear cable runs through so that the intermediate lever can pull on it when the driver pulls the handbrake on. Sadly I don't have a 'before' photo - it was caked in grime.
I painted it in matt black, with a brush, because the can of satin black was hiding.
The next task was to fit the rear handbrake cable. As I mentioned, I really should have done this much earlier, because it needs to be fed through the guides on the chassis:
This doesn't look too hard to a casual observer, but the ends of the cable have a solid, threaded bit, about three inches long, which is somewhat longer than the radius of that guide. It is impossible to feed this through in one go. You need to feed it through one hole, pull plenty of cable into a loop, feed the end through the other hole, then pull it so that the loop of cable un-loops. On a bare chassis, that's mildly awkward. With a diff in place it's much harder, especially on the side not shown in this picture, where the body of the diff is right up close. With the half-shafts and UJs already fitted, working from underneath... it's impossible. I had to undo the right-hand UJ flange and pull the half-shaft out of the way. Even then I really struggled. But I managed in the end.
The other thing that would have been far easier while it was a bare (or, in this case, rolling) chassis... was attaching the cable ends to the levers on the brake drums. As you can see from this photo, the body and radius arm really get in the way. Actually, I hadn't completely fitted the radius arm until after the cable, so that wasn't too bad. The problem I did have, and haven't yet sorted, is that the clevis pin doesn't quite fit through the brake lever. The pin is new and, I believe, correct. The lever is old but had been blast cleaned and painted some years back when I built the rear axle up. Again, if I'd done the handbrake cable then, I could have drilled out that hole far more easily.
With the rear cable in place, it was time to fit the compensator sector. Unlike the chassis guides, this will slip over the middle of the cable, then over the intermediate lever, ready for the clevis pin to drop in. Yeah, likely story.
Actually the pin did drop in reasonably easily, as long as I simultaneously applied enough tension on the rear cable to line it up, while working with hands poking through the tiny gap between chassis and propshaft and entirely by feel because the pin goes in from above. In this case, though, I can't say it would have been easier on a rolling chassis, because the lever attaches to the body tub.
With the handbrake cable done, I fitted the radius arms that transmit acceleration and braking force from the rear wheels to the body. The brackets on the body tub should have shims behind them to set the toe angle. I have those somewhere but they need cleaning and/or renewing. Also, the final assembly with the correct number of shims will need to be re-done after measuring the tracking, to get it right.
That was enough down-in-the-pit time, so...
I then fitted up the door latch mechanisms. I'd already fitted the external door handles and lock barrels but I actually had to remove both handles because they had been supplied (new, from a supplier on the bay of E) wrongly assembled. The push button has two bolts fitted, one to hold it in place and one with a lock nut to press on the door release pad on the latch. These had been swapped over. That's fairly easy to fix but it did seem they were ever so slightly different threads and weren't all that happy going in the right holes. Hmm...
I didn't manage much on the cars this weekend, mostly because of I's birthday. However, Tessa got her MOT on Friday, despite suffering a total electrical failure mid-test (fixed by waggling connectors) and then deciding to pour petrol out of the air filter on the way home.
Toby only got a bit of making way. When he came back from the painter, he had been stuffed full of the bits and pieces I'd sent down with him. As the photo shows, this was quite a lot. The seats and door innards were included because I'd (rashly) thought the trimming might get done at the same time. That wasn't sensible because, as the trimmer pointed out, I will need to assemble the mechanical bits far enough to get an MOT before the interior is done, otherwise things will have to come out again.
All of those boxes of bits got taken out and put on the side, waiting to be tidied away somewhere. In among them, as you may be able to see, is the front valance (painted and wrapped in bubble wrap for protection), which will need to be fitted using the brand new brackets that are also among the pile (but annoyingly didn't get painted).
I've also removed the boot lid. This is a new panel that got dented in transit and had to be rectified because the supplier wouldn't accept a delivery condition complaint more than one day after the delivery. The painter hadn't opened the box for several weeks. Oh well. He'd fitted it for transport using the original hinges but not the reinforcing frame because he realised after painting that there's "a problem". Well, the first problem I noticed was that he'd swapped the hinges - yes, they ARE handed - so that it wouldn't hinge open. Having unbolted it I checked the frame fit and the only problem I can see is that one of the attachment holes hasn't been drilled in the boot lid. I think that may have been a change in production - very early cars only had four of the five attachment points.
It's been a long road to this point. I'm hoping I can make better progress from now on.
After a long gap with no updates... there's a reasonable bit to report on the cars front.
The GT6 has been doing sterling service as our chariot for 12-car navigational rallies, and as second reserve for the Round Britain Reliability Run, which meant it's done it four times now. The only glitch this year was the windscreen wiper cable snapping, leaving the passenger side wiper non-functional. As the weather was mostly lovely, this didn't matter too much.
Tessa got evicted from her damp and dismal garage so that it could be demolished. She had to live under a friend's carport, unattended and undriven. It didn't help that she had persistently exhibited a hot fuel problem that left me stranded a couple of times. I traced that to heat in the fuel pump and fitted a cheap electric pump. That caused the front carburettor float valve to leak, resulting in fuel pouring out of the air filters. Trying to fix that caused her to run on only three cylinders and I didn't have a chance to dig deeper until I could get her home.
That brings me to the reason for demolishing that horrible garage (apart from its general crapness). The long process of sorting out a new garage finally reached the point where the builders started work. That was in late July. By the middle of November it was finally... almost finished. Close enough that Tessa and Toby could both finally come home. Toby should have been first but the chap who was doing the work got even slower when it came to painting. Still, on Friday he finally finished and Toby was brought to his new home, where I can start the process of reassembly.
I've managed a bit of time on Tessa again this weekend. I'm still in the process of sorting out the brakes (didn't post about the new wheel cylinders and calipers but she's had them, just need to persuade the stupid thing to bleed properly). In the mean time, though...
When I built the new engine, I removed the rather horrid capillary temperature sender, and put back the original spec. electrical one that actually fits. Unfortunately, that meant replacing the gauge, which was a dual water temperature and oil pressure job. And that meant I'd lose the oil pressure gauge (she already doesn't have a lamp). So, an extra gauge is needed.
First, the very thin copper pipe, which turned out to have different fittings from the new (second-hand off eBay) gauge, had to be replaced with the stuff I'd bought (off eBay) just in case. This was a kit for a Mini, but most BL cars used similar bits.
Then I had to make up a panel for the gauge to fit in. Pods that hang under the dash are available, in nasty black plastic and at non-trivial cost. All the ones I found were ugly. So I got my box of scrap materials out. I had an off-cut of plywood, a bit of thin steel sheet, a section of vinyl cut from the back of a pair of Spitfire seats that needed re-covering and some tools. Cut the wood, make a hole in it, apply some varnish. Then cut a strip of steel, drill a few small holes and bend to shape. Glue the vinyl to the edge of the wood, add a layer of padding foam and tack the steel around it with a few nails. Then fold the foam and vinyl out over the steel and round the back. Staple in place and voila!
The position I chose gives decent visibility from the driver's seat when steering straight ahead. It also clears my knees OK. Which is useful.
Hmm... seems it's a good while since I posted what should have been the penultimate episode of Tessa's engine build. Life got in the way a bit, what with moving house (and losing the lovely workshop) and everything.
Tessa's engine went back in, eventually. The flywheel had to be changed because the bolts are bigger on the later crank. And then the fuel pump had to be replaced because it's moved (as I hinted at back in April). I've written a bit more about that for Club Torque so I won't repeat it here. Once assembled, though, she wouldn't start and it was less than a week before moving day. The plan of driving her up the road was scuppered. I borrowed a trailer from a work colleague (very decent chap) and a friend from church towed her up the hill.
Meanwhile, Toby was trailered to a little garage in Chesterton where he's getting the next few bits of his rebuild done. It was supposed to be just the painting and trimming but fitting up the doors has shown some anomalous profiles.
Once things began to settle down, I had a poke around. Tessa's inability to start turned out just to be a weak battery. Given a full charge she fired up first time. She then passed her MOT too.
That was in late August. Since then, the GT6 has done another navigational rally (in Essex) which was good fun. And I treated it to a more sensible ratio diff (the old one was a Herald 4.11 instead of the correct 3.89 but I opted for a late Spitfire 3.63 for better cruising).
And then everything went down the tubes. Tessa's garage is damp so I put her hood up and tried to close both windows. The passenger side one was stuck and my efforts actually broke the winder gear. I had to strip the door and partially remove the quarter light frame just to move the glass up to the closed position. The winder mechanism is dangling loose because in that state it's nigh on impossible to even detach it. But at least with the windows up she's drivable. Except that when I set out to pop into Cottenham for some shopping, I discovered she had no brakes. All the fluid had leaked out.
A week later, when the GT6 was going in for its second change of diff (the first having proved unbearably noisy), it too had nasty spongy brakes... because it too had leaked most of its fluid.
And then the other day, having topped up the brake fluid, we took the GT6 out for a Christmas card delivery round, and the garage door broke. The last time that happened (and in my experience it always happens - up-and-over garage doors just always fail) I replaced the broken one with a pair of side-hinged wooden doors. That's not an option here, though, because the drive slopes down toward the garage so there's no clearance for outward opening. Grrr...
No, it's not a rebuild any more. With so little of the original engine left it's a new build!
Anyway, with the crankshaft, con-rods and pistons installed, the oil pump went in. It was tight. That surprised me because the bush the top end of the shaft sits in was transferred from the old block. I think it just got very slightly distorted in the process of removal (needed to be drifted out). A bit of rubbing down and deburring (which is hard in situ but easier than drifting it out again) sorted that. So next up was the engine front plate.
When I got the gasket set I noticed there were two front plate gaskets. Initially I'd wondered if this was a mistake but on closer inspection:
This being a blog, not a puzzle book, I've marked up the answers to the "spot the difference" challenge. The one on the left is the early type, to suit my old engine. The one on the right is the late one.
In fact, the two extra holes along the bottom are for additional mounting bolts that fit the late version of an aluminium filler piece. I was re-using the old one, so my early type front plate is correct there. And the squashed D-shape of the big hole is OK too - making it circular was a simplification. The problem is the much less obvious difference in clearance between that big hole and the bolt hole above it. This is where it fits :
Actually, that photo was taken after I'd fixed the problem. The early front plate is machined to clear the early crank journals. With the later, larger crank it would foul. So I had to modify it :
Having ground off a few millimetres it then cleared the crank :
From there it was a simple reassembly. Surely?
Well, the timing gear went on fine :
I timed it up by the "valves at rock" method - set the crank at TDC and turn the cam until the valves for that cylinder are on overlap, which happens as the exhaust closes and the inlet opens, so the tappets are both slightly lifted. I then confirmed that the larger timing gear had a spot mark correctly aligned. The small one doesn't seem to have a mark.
Then the mounting brackets and lifting eyes went on :
Finally it was time for the flywheel and pulleys, but that's another story. Oh dear.