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

Monday, 8 October 2018

0069 Roll bar, windscreen and more dust

9th October 2018
Slow but steady progress

Hydraulic jack in boot
The final completion of the roll bar is proving a little troublesome - Every time some welding is done on it, one of the four mounting points moves very slightly with the heat, and it then needs to be straightened again.   When I got to JH Restorations one evening this week, there was a hydraulic jack in the boot spreading the rear mounts slightly, and Brett had a chain hoist on the roll bar itself, pulling the legs in by about 2 mm.  It is almost there, but is very fiddly.  If the bar was
Roll bar sitting in position
just welded permanently in place, it would be easy, but making it removable means everything must line up with absolute precision otherwise it will not be, well, removable. And the fit of the sleeves into the 4 pipes cannot be loose otherwise they would rattle around in there. The final problem is that because the car itself is not quite perfectly symmetrical inside, the mounting brackets for each side need to
be shaped independently.


Red dust filling a bump stop
While fitting the rear roll bar brace mounts in the boot, Brett had removed one of the rear bump stops, and we found it was full of red dirt !  This was also the situation with the original units when we first took the car apart, and when full of dust, once they get wet, the dust turns to mud and then the retained moisture ends up weakening and eventually rusting through the bottom of the bump stop.  I think the solution will be just to seal a thin metal "lid" on the box section using silicone sealer, thus preventing either dust or moisture getting in there.


Clean seat backs ready to fit

The seat fabric is now repaired, and after using upholstery cleaner, they have come up looking really
smart.  Just waiting on Andrew to finish the base plate for the second seat so we can mount them in the car.  After I collected the seats from ZZ Trimming (who did an excellent job at a very good price, I might add), I raised the issue of a radiator muff, as I believe they were called when popular in the '50's and '60's. I will take the car down to him as soon as I have it back and we can work out a way we can fit it so it not only warms the engine up on cold days, but also prevents water ingress when we ford rivers.

Roll bar from the front
The roll bar itself is now looking good - The shape of the main hoop has been determined by the shape of the roof which has to fit over the bar.  Looking from the front, the hoop is only slightly above the height of the windscreen, which will ensure we have
Roll bar side on
sufficient clearance above our heads.  There is space between the rear uprights to strap our camping gear, while the soft top roof and frame will strap on the outside of the rearmost uprights - The bar will certainly be performing 2 or 3 extra functions in addition to being a roll bar !


A plug-in heated seat pad ?
One of the issues that we have is that we have no heater in the car.  Healeys are renowned for having "hot cabins" due to both the engine bay heat coming through, and the exhaust running directly under an unsealed floor.  In rebuilding Gidget, we have been very aware of this issue, and have added lots of heat shield between the interior and both the exhaust and the engine bay.  Additionally we are running a better radiator, improved fan, and increased oil capacity (courtesy of a re-engineered sump). However we may have gone too far, and we are now finding we have insufficient heat both in the engine and in the cabin, so have been considering an electric heater in the car.  However today I found one of these - $15 at Supercheap !!  I think they might be absolutely perfect on those cold days !!  Heated Seat

Support brackets for windscreen
Another standard item on the early Healey 100/4's is the lay-down windscreen, ideal for achieving slightly more speed on that weekend visit to the race track. However, the mechanism for lowering the windscreen is not the tightest even when new, and after 64 years, it is even less so.  While we were in Alice Springs,
Windscreen support in place
a previous P2P winner suggested we should try to make it slightly stronger as he felt that incessant corrugations were likely to break it completely.  So following up on his suggestion, Brett at JH Restoration has fabricated a shaped piece of angle to fit over the hinged A pillar, and, utilising the existing bolt holes, bolts the pillar firmly in place.  It will certainly stabilise the windscreen considerably, and hopefully prevent any problems during the P2P - As with so many of the things we have done to our car, once again, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first time this has ever been done to a 100/4, so we have nothing to compare it to.

Roll bar top coat
We have a few days of rain forecast now in Queensland, but as of today the bar is now painted and ready for final fitting, so should get the car back to the house on the 11th and we can work on the many remaining important issues, even if they are seemingly minor compared to actually getting the car completed.  In the meantime, I continue to work on getting quotes for European Insurance and shipping back to Australia, so that I can move on to other issues.

Photos are here :-  https://photos.app.goo.gl/pxjEwQ7kfrTE9FnD6


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