Driving a 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 from Peking to Paris in the June 2019 ERA Rally.

Friday, 28 July 2017

0014 Work starts on LH side

22nd - 28th July 2017
Finally we start to see everything moving forward !

New inner sill in place
After all the delays working on the driver's side caused by the panels all being out of alignment due to a previous accident. CCC finally managed to move on to work on the passenger side this week, and as expected everything has moved a lot quicker.  I have been busy working on cleaning up a lot of the parts removed from the car earlier in order to see if they were still usable, so I have not been over to CCC workshops all week.  So it was a pleasant surprise to walk in there today.

Inner sill with reinforcing tube in place
The LH sill and rusted floor panel had been cut out in one piece - A lot quicker than the other side which had to be cut out bit by bit. The new inner sill is in place, the strengthening bars welded in, and a new lower section of the rear inner guard fabicated and inserted to replace a rusty section.  In addition, the new 100M manifold was in place, and Andrew has designed the piping to ensure that minimal body supports need to be adapted.  To join the pipe lengths and flex section he is using a V-Band clamp, which is designed so that if the exhaust needs to be removed or changed, it can be done very simply, and the pipe itself only needs to move about 5 mm once the clamp is removed. This will enable the manifold to be removed through the bonnet if required.
V-Band clamp
Additionally, the plan is to make the end plates of the passenger and drivers foot well removable so that it is easier to access the exhaust or the pedal box and master cylinder from inside the car. 
We also planned how we will insert the heat shielding around the exhaust as efficiently as possible in order to minimise the heat that will be transferred through to me in the passenger seat !  Most important !

Mesh to cover muffler
Andrew also has got some grill / mesh he will use to cover the outside of the muffler in order to protect people from the hot metal.  While it is a bit rusty, this will be cleaned up and coated once it has been formed into its final shape.

The new door strikers show why the doors didn't close properly once they are compared to the old ones - The old ones are so worn that it is obvious the door was only latching on the first catch, and then rattling, and it never reached the second latch.  Even sitting in the garage, these make a noticeable difference.

Also looked at the brake, clutch and accelerator pedal fittings - The accelerator was previously positioned so close to the right hand bulk head that it was almost impossible to use.  This can be fairly easily corrected once the new floor panels are in.

Trial fit of new 72 spoke wire wheel
Today our first new 72 spoke wire wheel arrived - We only ordered one to start with because many people have suggested they might not fit on our uprated axle and brakes.  The good news is that it fits just fine !  So once I had finished at CCC, I took it down to Action Tyres & More in Southport for Matt Kingsley and his boys to fit one of our chosen tyres - 195 / 80 / 15 Yokohama Geolander AT/S.  I will then take that back to our car on Monday and make sure there are no clearance issues in the wheel arches or in the boot.

Rusty sill section removed
Discussed the use of inner tubes in our (tubeless) wheels and tyres with Matt Kingsley, and he suggested that we should go tubeless, and just carry a couple of tubes as emergency. Reason for this is that if you have a tube in the tyre and you get a nail or something through the tread, you will need to take the tyre off in order to mend the inner tube. But if it is tubeless, it will be possible to just insert a plug in the tyre without having to remove the tyre itself, thus making it a lot easier and quicker.
And of course, with our new external jacking system, this will be even easier and quicker to accomplish, even in the most difficult circumstances.

Also this week we received our new aluminium fuel tank, a weight saving of some 6.5 kg compared to the 65 year old steel tank that was in there before - A major weight saving when it hands out over the back of the rear axle. This is not loosley positioned in the car so that Andrew can finish work on the boot panels and make sure nothing fouls the tank.

Old seat vs New
Finally this week we received our new seats from Corbeau, via their Australian agent Simply Sports Cars down in Sydney.  The old original seats were very uncomfortable and falling apart, and there is no way we could have sat in them for 36 days on dirt roads.  So Ashton tracked down these classic style (but modern manufactured) seats, and they look to be perfect.  A couple of kg lighter than the original seats too, so more weight saving there.  I will take one in next week so Andrew can work out the best way to mount them and bolt them to the (new) chassis !

Door strikers old and new
In the meantime, I will continue to work on cleaning up the older parts, either to sell in order to recoup some of our outlay, or to take as spares on the rally.  A lot of rotary wire brushing means my garage is now covered in a light film of black dust that gets everywhere.  And strands of wire from the brush come off occasionally and embed themselves in my clothing so at the end of  session I look a bit like a hedgehog !

Now really looking forward to seeing where we get to by the end of next week - Some real progress being made here.

Remainder of pics are here :-  https://photos.app.goo.gl/YjgYmuIEwbCqi4Yp2

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Ashton & Giles welcome any visitors, support, and comments as we prepare for our Adventure !