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

Monday, 27 November 2017

0031 Electrician, Mechanic, or Trimmer ?

21st - 28th November 2017
Or am I supposed to be a Navigator ?

The wiring loom again
Rebuilding a car really is something rather special - You truly do have to be a Jack of All Trades, and  hopefully instead of a Jack I am becoming a Master of at least a couple of them !!  The last week has seen me doing a lot of work on the wiring loom in preparation for a visit to a (real) autoelectrician with a long list of questions.  The plan is to get him to point me in the right direction, but for me to do the work, because I need to know this stuff in case the lights fuse in the middle of the night in the Gobi !  Today (Monday) was supposed to be the day I visited the electrican, but unfortunately he didn't answer his phone today - Maybe tomorrow !  The joys of rebuilding a car and relying on other people .......

Cotter pin passes trough too far to tighten
While Ashton was here last week, we got most of the front hubs on loosely, but there was a problem with one of the cotter pins that holds the lower fulcrum pin in place - It fell half way through which left some unthreaded section visible below, which in turn meant the pin couldn't be tightened. After a while
The offending cotter pin
on the internet with the supplier in the UK, their experts agreed that they had sent us the wrong cotter pins, so they are sending 2 correct ones (hopefully) out ASAP.  Meanwhile the front axle completion comes to a halt..........   It is so annoying - this one supplier sold us the entire front stub axle assembly parts - King pins, stub axles, fulcrum pins, the lot, and they STILL manage to send us an incorrect part !!   Don't they every check ?  No ISO certification there, methinks.

Old corroded connector
But this then freed me up to start work (again) on the wiring loom, which was very fortunate because I also had to go in to hospital this week for a quick "procedure" to make sure everything was still working properly, and this meant I was on a special diet and also needed to stay fairly close to "amenities", so running all over town and working in Classic Car workshop was not really viable ! So the loom
Cleaned up connector
got spread out again on the table, and, armed with the new electrical connectors (another saga of another UK  supplier sending the wrong parts !),  I set to work.  I know my way around the loom quite well now, with only a few things still mystifying me, but I am removing all the old connectors and replacing them with new.  Many of the connectors are either rusty, or corroded, or both, but the bullets themselves usually clean up really well, while the rubber outer connectors I am just replacing all of them with new.  Where the bullets either don't clean up or are obviously too old to instill confidence, then I replace them with new.

Original brake pedal
In the meantime, I picked up the brake and clutch pedals off the
Cleaned up brake pedal
car, which looked very sad and worn, and held together with glue and plastic zip ties !  After cleaning them up, I started looking around various suppliers for similar sized rubber pads, with no luck.  I eventually asked Mark at CCC and he said "Oh, they are standard Healey pedals - Just by the rubbers from AH Spares in the UK" !!  SO I have added these to a short list of last minute items that I am finding I need, and will order them in the next day or so. I am trying to delay the order as much as possible because I know as soon as I submit the order, I will find some other part I need !!

Possible oil storage in tubes ?
To give you an idea of how our minds are working on this project, I woke up one morning and realised that the two 1 inch square tubes that were a metre long and had been inserted under the spare wheel to support its weight were about to be welded up - EMPTY !   As each of them holds almost 1/2 litre, that would be a litre of storage - More if we put more tubes in there !!   We could store oil in there !  Or maybe make a new tank and fit fuel in there, above the rear axle.  Or maybe even find a way to fit a spare half shaft in there ?  Lots of ideas - We simply cannot afford to leave 1 sq inch of space unused as we have so little !  On later inspection, the idea of a fuel tank was ruled out, but the option for using the tubes to store oil, or to find a way to attach a half shaft in there for storage is still very much on the table.  

Bottom of new pax door
Meanwhile Andrew has been working on the doors, especially the passenger one which had to be shortened for the exhaust.  This whole bodywork issue is quite complex, and every issue is linked to the next.  For instance, as you saw in the last post, the front wheel arch needs cutting out to allow space for the wheel. But because of all the bog in this wing,  and the fact that other panels and the door hing A pillar have now changed shape after the work that has been done to straighten the chassis,  it needs to be fitted up first before it can be cut.  But this cannot be done until the door
Fitting up front wing panel
is fitted properly, and in turn, this means the rear wing needs to be in place so the B pillar is in the right position and not flexing !  So just to get to the front wheel arch has required considerable work done on all the other panels - Which in turn means some other panel won't fit.  As an example, with the door on and the front wing virtually correct, it was found the the (supposedly) flat surface where the headlight mounts, which in turn is at the junction of 2 panels, wasn't flat, and therefore the headlight couldn't be fitted !  So all the panels had to be readjusted again !  It really is a bit of a nightmare, but we are getting there, but it isn't helped when we find bog between 5-8 mm thick over many sections of the front wings!

Poor condition of driver's door
Meanwhile I looked at the driver's door which is yet to be fitted - And found so much bog and rust in the bottom, as well as splintered wooden support struts inside the door (presumably broken in the original accident which caused most of the damage in the first place), so this will need some work.  And looking at the rust in the doors, where Andrew has built a new lower section for the shortened passenger door, he has drill some drain holes so hopefully the same thing won't happen again !  I will make sure I POR15 inside the door too !!

Wiring loom in sections
Then it was back to the wiring loom again.  I now have it just about sorted, and have picked how I am going to install it.  Most of the wiring will be inside the cabin for protection, with only the wires to the headlights going down the front LH side through the engine bay, and the few wires to the start motor, coil, distributor and alternator going down the right hand side.   If you can make out the crazy drawing on the photo, Sectin 1 are the head light wires so go down the front left side ; Section 2 are all the rear lights, fuel pump etc so they come through the cabin and into the boot ; Section 3 are the wires for the coil, alternator etc so go down the front RH side, and then Section for as actually all the
Dashboard being cleaned
dashboard wires and lights.  So the green slash designates the point at which Section 1 wires go through the firewall to the headlights, and the blue slash designates the point at which the Section 4 wires go through the RH side of the firewall.   Simple, isn't it ?  And why are the wires all in plastic bags ?  Easy - I have tidied that section up, so to save having metres of wire everywhere whenever I have to move it off the table, I bundle them up into bags to protect them and make it much easier !

Corroded witch terminals
Then I got the dashboard out, and found most of the gauges and
Clean switch terminals
temrinals were a bit of a mess - Corroded, rusty, and generally sad looking.  So with the help of my Dremel and the little wire brushes, I managed to get most of them at least looking as though they might be able to make a good resistance free electrical connection, while simultaneously becoming more familiar with the layout of everything, how switches come apart and knobs come off, because next time I need to work on them I may be upside down in semi darkness !!

Different sized bulbs

I then pulled Ashton's original spotlights apart in an effort to find a more efficient candle that would fit inside them to make them worthwhile carrying all around the world - Only to find that they are so slimline that there is no room to fit an H4 bulb in there.  So I am going to have to put my Purchasing Manager hat back on and go and find what is available that might improve their efficiency.

Rubber joint cushioning
On the original car was a metal "chrome" strip that ran between all the panels to cover up the joins a bit.  But with so much "non standard" bending of the panels having taken place over the years, this chrome strip is looking a bit shabby, and we are considering replacing it with a black rubber strip that is available locally cheaply, and being rubber may well provide a better cushioning between the panels when the flex on bumpy roads.  Additionally we reckon the black beading will look really good against the cream paintwork........

Fixing up trim panels
Then it was on to the internal trim panels that have been stored in the corner of my garage ever since ?? was it really March ??  We do not plan to do too much to them, but of course the passenger door trim will have to be cut down to match the shorter door, so I have to take than in tomorrow an make sure it will fit OK.  Much of the trim was coming unglued, so it took a while to re stick it all and make sure it was as sound as possible.

So that was the week - Waiting on parts from the UK, and then doing 101 other seemingly small things, both on the car and off it, without which many of the other things cannot proceed.  It seems very simple before you start on it - Just put this bit on or move that bit, but each piece of the puzzle has to be done in its turn, or else it has to be removed again later !   And I have also realised that putting the car back together often takes far longer than taking it apart !  A quick blow with a hammer or turn of a spanner had a piece off the car, but putting it back together is so much more time consuming, especially when you are trying to ensure that it won't fall apart again in the Gobi !
But it is coming together, and it is really exciting to make all this move forwards to completion.

Rest of the pics are here :-  https://photos.app.goo.gl/t7dLJzALps3pTkTm1

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