Sunday, October 30, 2016

Gauge Theory

I didn't get much time in on the Midget this weekend, because a) I'm waiting for parts and b) I did a lot of car cleaning.  But I do try to do a little something each week, so this week it was the gauges.  I say 'theory' because their actual operation is mostly theoretical at this point.

I took Speedostein (the speedometer I built from the guts of a newer one that works with my 3.9 ratio differential) and put it together in the best case I had.  It looks pretty good.  It works, too... though I don't know how accurate it will be until I actually get to use it.

The mileage is correct, too.

I then put the new heater knob on the unobtanium-made heater control.  Here's the original and the new one from Ashley Hinton.  There is an 'H' on the original knob, if you look closely.

Then I cleaned up the rest.

From top right: speedometer, heater/fan control, headlight switch, wiper switch, dash switch, (center: fuel gauge, oil filter warning light), flasher unit, oil pressure/water temperature gauge, and tachometer.

That's the whole shebang.  Other than the floor high beam switch and the turn indicator control, it's all in this picture.

The oil filter warning light won't be used for that purpose because the spin-on oil filter is sufficiently advanced technology to not need it.  But it would make a great alarm system warning light... I like that.

Then I packed it all away.  Now I'm back to waiting.  I did find some chrome bits... maybe I'll polish them while I wait.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Shiny Carbs

I spent most of the weekend cleaning up our Saturn Vue for sale.  (Who do you know, wants to buy a car?)  Anyhow, since I'm stalled waiting for parts I am doing what little I can, which is cleaning what I have.

I bought a gallon can of parts cleaner and dipped all the carburetor parts to get rid of the gunk.  It worked well, so I'll be ready to assemble when I get stuff to assemble with.  However, one thing that deserves to be a bit shinier is the carb dashpot.  (OK, two things.)  They aren't supposed to be polished like a chrome finish, but a nice gleam does show things off well.  So I got out the polishing compound and then metal polish.

Here's the result.  Before, and after... (Well, after, and before...)

And All Done.  Like I said, shiny, but not too shiny.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ashley Hinton

While browsing through the eBay, I found a seller that I knew from Victoria British--Ashley Hinton.  I have a bunch of their body panels (which you've seen me painstakingly install), and I was surprised to see that they had their own eBay store.  So I checked them out.

Way cool!  They're making more than just body panels.  They are 3D-printing reproductions of original parts!  They have most of the tooling to produce all the heater parts and a bunch more.  So I bought some stuff.  I'm sure I'll buy more.

From top left:

  • Window stops (impossible to find until now!  I figured I'd have to make mine.)
  • Strap for heater inlet tube
  • Demister (defroster) elbows
  • Heater control knob
  • Battery tiedown
And the big tube is the heater inlet tube, the correct part (versus the dryer hose I used before).

I'm a happy guy.
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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Carburetors II

While I wait for rear axle parts (on order from LBCarCo), I did some figurative damage to the carburetors.

There really isn't much to the Skinner Union (SU) carburetor.  You can read all about it at Wikipedia here.  I can't do better to describe it, other than that I have two of them at 1.25" inlet diameter (HS2).  It really is an ingenious design with few faults, and when kept up are very reliable.

I also have a set of HS4 (1.5" inlet) carburetors for rebuilding some day.  More powerrrr, Captain!

Here's what I started with.  (Some reassembly was performed for photographic purposes.)

And here's where I ended up:

It really didn't take long to strip them down--about a half hour.  As you can see, they are quite simple in construction.

I will need:
  • New jets (the things with the tubes sticking out of them)
  • New floats and float chamber gaskets
  • New float chamber spacers
  • New fuel lines
  • New carburetor to manifold gaskets
  • Retaining clips for the jet actuators
  • New springs (maybe--I'm pretty sure I did what I did to them on purpose)
I was hoping to get away with not having to buy jets because they are so expensive, but that would have been foolish as one fell apart while removing it.  Believe it or not, the floats are original and still float (we all float down here, Georgie!), but I figure it's time to stop pressing my luck.

One thing I won't need are float chamber needles.  The float works by floating (um, yeah) in the chamber to regulate the flow of fuel from the pump into the jet.  When the chamber fills up, the float closes a little needle valve to stop the flow from the pump.  (The front chamber has a bypass to send fuel to the rear carburetor.)  It's a low pressure system, maybe 3 psi, so this works very well.  Unfortunately, these needles wear rather quickly.  

In my case, I don't have them.  I have a replacement that uses ball bearings instead.  They work great (still do) and won't wear out.  They are called "Grose-Jets", probably after some guy named Grose.

Anyhow, lots of cleaning to do and then reassembly once I find some coin for parts.  I already blew what little I squirreled away, so I gotta sell more stuff.  I am reaching the point where the parts I need will either be really cheap or really expensive.  Unfortunately, I need lots of the cheap parts, which gets expensive (like every single piece of rubber on the car, and tons of nuts and bolts and funky little fasteners you can't buy locally).
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Rear Axle III

All painted up, and waiting for bearings.

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Shelf Space

Apparently, the parts pile in the living room has gotten a little out of hand.  And by that, I think I mean "way out of hand".

So I moved what I could to a shelf in the garage that I've had for years in the attic.  I think it will be fine since the weather is finally cooling down; my concern was that things would get ruined if stored in the 140-plus-degree attic over the summer.  But theoretically, this won't be a problem by next summer.

I do still have a few things in the house, like the windscreen (because it's fragile), the transmission (because it's cool! and I have no place to put it in the garage!) and some smaller boxes I'm still sorting out / working on.

I guess I found and exceeded the limits of tolerance for in-house car part storage, so I'll try to be better from now on.  You gotta admit, though, that was one heck of a pile.  It means I'm making real progress.  All that's really left is the steering rack, quarter windows and trim, and some smaller miscellaneous stuff.  Hopefully, after the rear axle and carburetors and that stuff, it will be cool enough to work on the body (and then, maybe paint!).

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Rear Axle II

I got the icky cleanup part over with.  And it was icky.

I also rebuilt the hubs.  That was interesting.  The seal sits behind the bearing to keep the oil in the hub (and the axle tube).  There is a gasket on the front where the axle shaft seats, and the bearing is lubricated by oil that runs in from a hole in the axle tube housing between the bearing and the oil seal.  It's not what I call 'effective', because it appears both seals were bad and I need at least one new bearing.  There is a hitch in the passenger's side bearing as I spin it that means it's toast.  The bearings have only 15k miles on them or so, and I'm disappointed (and broke, car-wise).

Anyhow, here's what I did.  I pressed out the bearing (again, homemade press with a 1 5/16" socket and two smaller sockets in the vise):

I then cleaned the hub.  The new seal is also pictured.

I pressed the new seal into the hub by hand.  It really wasn't hard (with a little gear oil to help).  If it's hard to push in, I think you're doing it wrong.  The open end faces inward because the seal is sealing the hub.  The old seals were worn out after 15k miles.  Again, not impressed.


Double result!

It's a shame I have to replace the bearing.  I'll end up replacing both because that would make sense.  Ah well, it might have to wait.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Lookie What I Got

I found something I needed online, and it arrived today.  Guess what it is?

It's not that big... but what is it?

Hmmm.  No clues yet...  

Oh, I can't stand the suspense.  Here it is!


It came the way from sunny England.  It's one of what may be the last NOS light switches on the planet for the Midget and a few other British cars.  50 years old and never used...  I hope that won't be the case for too much longer.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Rear Axle Takedown

OK, I can't put it off any longer... time to take the rear axle apart.  It's a messy, icky job, but somebody's got to do it.  And since I don't see anyone else around, it's going to be me.

Here's what I started with.  This was clean and shiny not too long before I took the car off the road.  It doesn't take much, I guess.  Heck, my workbench is cleaner.

I removed the differential...  And it's a 4.22 ratio (9 pinion teeth and 38 crown teeth... 38 / 9 =4.22).


Most of the small stuff came apart easily and the halfshafts came out without a problem.

A couple of pictures of the handbrake linkage to help me put this back together...


And it's time to remove the hubs.  I KNEW I had bought that big socket for something!  It turns out it was for the hub nuts.  1 7/8".  That's a Big Socket.  I've used it for so many things besides its intended purpose, I had forgotten what it was for.


Once the nut was out of the way, a homemade puller using a 21mm socket and a 3 arm puller did the trick.

After removing the other hub, I had a completely disassembled, quite dirty rear axle.

There really aren't that many parts (well, there are, but most of them are in the differential).  I have all new seals and gaskets for the hubs.  The bearings appear to be fine, if I can remove them without destroying them.  The oil seal is inside the hub, so I have to remove the bearing to change it.  After a good cleaning, I should be able to put this back together pretty quickly.


I'm sure I just jinxed myself.
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Carburetors I

I've been avoiding the big messy job that is the rear axle.  So, I took down everything else in the attic that needs cleaning.  It's not a big pile any more.  The first box I found had the carburetors in it, so in the spirit of avoidance I started cleaning them up.

They don't look too bad.  They're really dusty, of course.  The dashpots in the carbs still move.  I'll have to replace the jets, fuel lines, maybe floats, and float needles... but these were in good shape otherwise when I put them away.

I did start cleaning up some stuff...


From top left: The intake manifold, the PCV valve, and the heat shield.

The PCV valve is an interesting thing.  The engine only keeps oil in it when it's running by virtue of a scroll seal on the rear main crankshaft journal.  It needs some help to do that.  Hell, it needs all the help it can get... it's a 'seal' in name only.

Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) draws a partial vacuum inside the engine block, which keeps combustion pressures that leak past the piston rings from pushing oil out of the crankcase through that so-called seal.  The vacuum is drawn from the intake manifold through the PCV valve.  It's a one-way valve so as to not allow outside air (from backfires and such) into the engine block.  The valve draws from the crankcase through a tube off the timing chain cover, which also has some steel wool to (try to) catch oil vapors.

It's simple and pretty effective, when the engine's running.  When the engine stops, there's no more vacuum and the little bit of oil in the "seal" leaks out, giving rise to the infamous drip under every British vehicle of the era.  There is an aftermarket kit that fits a proper rubber seal to the crankshaft, but it's expensive and I don't think I care enough to install it.  It's "character".

I have a little problem with the heat shield, though.  It's cracked.  Not easy to see it, but the crack is under the holes on the right side of the shield in the picture.  I have to at least spot weld it to keep it together, because I don't want to have to buy another one.  I also have to clean up the other side before I do that.
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Window Winders

Well, that was easy.

They work fine, and just need a little grease before installation.  I'll have to dig up the screws.

I am not looking forward to the wrestling match that will ensue when I go to install these with the windows.
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