Sunday 29 January 2023

Finished (Again)

After another day cutting, filing & poking my head up the rear wheel arch, the filler cap is done. In theory today was a simple assembly job, but it's never simple is it & I had to trim the hole in the rear wing just a little, paint the brackets & rivet them on - which turned out to be a nightmare job where the rivet gun wouldn't fit in the boot in any orientation (sigh) But it's done now & while the cap is only about 10mm lower than it was, it looks part of the car rather than looking like an add on.

If I ever get round to re-painting the car I'll sink it deeper, but that would require more bodywork.

So once again, the car's finished ready to be taxed from the 1st of next month. As luck would have it I have work jollies on the 1st & the second, so there's not much opportunity for road testing, but fingers crossed it'll all work nicely.

Saturday 28 January 2023

Filler - Again

I probably mentioned last time that the filler looked to be sticking up too much. Today I set about sinking it a little. Job 1 was to cut down one of the cake tins I received from Linda in exchange for some fine ale from the local brewery - two tins for two tins as it were. It was surprisingly thin, less that 0.5mm, but with careful cutting I trimmed it to size & shape. Then I started making a pair of brackets to support it just under the skin of the rear wing - I used an angle-finder tool I made in the Hawker apprentice training school FORTY FIVE years ago. Hmm, bit of a shock to me too.

It was all a bit difficult as it was impossible to correctly position any of the parts without all the other parts being in place, so I took a brave pill & cut the body.

Getting the position took a few attempts (as you can tell) but I finally decided on the red outline.

The cap is supposed to be retained by a lock ring which is 10mm thick & screws onto a 54(ish) diameter thread - this same thread also screws into the cap, making the part with the thread very heavy. The cap has three M5 threads in the base, so I decided to turn down the threaded item until there was only enough thread to hold the cap, then retain it with the M5s.

With the hole cut & the cap nestling in it I was able to position the cut down cake tin & then the brackets, drilling them for large head 4mm pop rivets given to me by Duncan some time ago (proper team effort this).

Later on I turned up at my Brother's (see what I did there) & reduced the thread on the threaded part down to something that would allow the M5 threads to be used.

So with the studs fitted it now looks like this & as a bonus is 160g lighter.

So the rear wing currently looks like this, but tomorrow I'll be fitting the cap & pulling the rivets & if all goes well, the car will be finished (again).

Sunday 22 January 2023

Waiting - Waiting

 Still waiting for the 1st Feb & getting some road tax on the Stylus, yes I could just tax it from 1st Jan, but it's very very cold & there's a great deal of salt on the roads.

But in the mean time I've spent the day at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon. I visited once before, maybe 15 years ago, at that stage it was VERY DEFINITELY the British Leyland museum, awash with minis & Land Rovers & a few interesting prototypes. That's all changed now & there are a couple of Lotus', some Vauxhalls & even a Ford or two!

So you'll be wanting some photos I expect?

The second British built Model T - no instruments. At all! None

Mr Weasley's actual Anglia - it was remarkable for not flying while we were there

How cute is an A30 soft top?

Vauxhall concept car. Stunning, but missing a few things - like mirrors, a rear 3/4 view & any chance of having wipers, 

BL's equivalent car. A much more realistic proposition, what a shame they never made it.

Aero TR2 speed record car

Lotus XI - It may look like a barbeque-with-a-bonnet, but it spawned all the sevens.


Yes, yes I know most folk prefer the "long nose" D-Type.

I don't.

Weirdness on Wheels.

A two-stroke engine pointing out the back, no rear suspension at all (the body was mounted on springs), suicide front suspension, with no shock-absorbers (or brakes), I can only hope it was very slow indeed.

Looking exactly like a prop from a Wallace & Grommit film, the "Octopus Electrical Service" machine was built to test "rotating electrical equipment" - distibutors, dynamos etc 

Vauxhalls - I told you there were Vauxhalls

Monday 9 January 2023

It's Done Really!

 Yes, not an "ish" in sight, the Stylus is ready for re-taxing on the 1st Feb. This momentous event came after a dreadful day's spannering yesterday - one of those days when every time you put a tool down it vanishes - only to return 20 minutes later in a place you'd swear you'd looked three times. Compunded by working right under the car, so every little thing means wriggling out, standing up, laying down & wriggling back.

But the car now has a functioning handbrake - YAY! The handbrake was truly appalling, I could push the car along with the brake on. This opinion was backed up by photos I found on-line of the car outside the previous owner's garage with chocks under the tyres.

I've been tinkering with it on & off for months, I replaced a pulley seemingly made from play-doh, mounted on an M6 bolt made of cheese, in a 10mm hole, changing it for a proper aircraft control pulley mounted on a proper bolt, with spacers made to suit. I also improved the mounting of the cable stop bracket so it didn't distort the transmission tunnel bracket & changed a balance bar that was far too short to work with another aircraft pulley. All that was good, but still the handbrake was next-to-useless.

Thinking that the problem was the lever being designed for drum brakes, but actually driving discs, I'd re-drilled the lever to move the cable nipple closer to the pivot - it improved the brakes, but now they jammed on.

So yesterday I properly checked that all the individual parts in the system traveled easily & smoothly, it seemed to be so & the brakes mostly disengaged, but still not properly on the near side. I checked everything again & even removed the near side caliper, stripped & rebuilt it, to make sure it wasn't binding up. Then I found I couldn't adjust the cables properly because there wasn't enough travel to release the pads - so back under the middle of the car, remove the lever (again) & move the nipple back where it had come from.

Around this point I also added another return spring to the the balance bracket, so the springs on the calipers ONLY return the caliper lever & the rear bit of cable, the new spring returns the front cable. Now the brakes come on such that I can't push it, with a couple of "clicks" to spare AND they release as well.


So what was the problem? Hard to tell precisely, but I think the poorly designed system & the car's lack of use (700 miles a year for 20 years) meant that most of the force from the lever was lost distorting various parts of the system & didn't really get to the calipers to move the pads, so the rear of the system got gummed up & was even less inclined to move. Certainly the levers on the calipers had to be "persuaded" to move over their full travel with a hammer & punch, whereas I can now move them with finger pressure alone.

The proof of the pudding of course will be be out on the road, but it seems SO much better.

Oh & also, the nice people at Protec shocks put my cat on a FaceAche post.

Saturday 7 January 2023


Happy New Year people!

I have to say, last year was pretty good for me, the work came back with a brilliant new project - right up my street, everything went well with the car, I gained a new baby granddaughter. 2023 has a fair bit of potential too, with three road trips planned & a family holiday with my son & his family, several museum trips with friends, so fingers crossed for good times coming.

On the car front I've just come in from the garage after installing my birthday present to myself. The "aero" filler cap on the rear wing - which was perfectly adequate, but kind of jarred against the look I was going for - has been replaced by an alloy flip cap. In the fullness of time I'll sink the cap into the wing a bit to blend it like I did on the Fury, but for now, it's on there & to these eyes looks better on a '60s style car.