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Meet Tilly the Time Bandit..


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That's the problem with salt on the roads. The diecast case of the original pump was very pitted and some of the steel mesh braid just crumbled to dust. I've given all the natural bright steel a sprayed coat of Clear varnish so they have some protection and still look natural. I'm trying to keep the car as original (parts wise) as I reasonably can. The car when finished will be kept garaged so it should keep fairly smart, but it will be used. I've always been an all weather sports car driver.

 

Things are a bit slow at the moment as in addition to my aging spaniel Lucy we're looking after my daughter Alex's idiot beagle Pippa who's favorite snack seems to be horse s.....

 

I think I need to change my personal light bulbs to diodes.

John

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I forgot to add that late yesterday when I had fuel flow I turned the engine over a couple of times as it hadn't been run for for over three months and it fired up on the third and ran very sweetly.

 

Now comes the big one, getting the new axle fitted single handed. I can't wait to get Tilly on the road again.

 

John

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What a great thread, and what a great car.  As you say, you can tell what bits do what on an older car, and fix them when they break down rather than having to get a teenager with a laptop to tell you that it needs a new module that will be £1200 plus VAT just to get the indicators working again.

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14 hours ago, John Aero said:

I think I need to change my personal light bulbs to diodes.

Like it. Much brighter ideas while using far less brain power compared with standard 'light bulb' moments. I could do with some myself.

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Onwards and upwards.

 

The single handed refit of the rear axle couldn’t be put off any longer, so I cleared the area under the rear of the car of tools and clutter so the axle /trolley rig would push in smoothly.  The rear spring shackles which allow the leaf springs to flex were removed and the leaf springs were allowed to droop down to their maximum of about 6”. The front spring single bolts were left in place as the springs are very heavy.

This gave me a much better clearance to enable the axle to clear the springs. The rig jacks were lowered as far as they would go so the differential case would go under the petrol tank.

 

The axle/ trolley rig was pushed in slightly askew as I pulled down on the right hand spring and raised the right side axle jack, the end of the axle moved over the topside of the right hand spring. The trolley was pushed further to the right until the left axle tip was clear of the inside of the left spring.   

The left hand jack was then raised for the axle end to clear the top side of the spring. The axle/trolley assembly was then centered and all the trolley borne jacks were extended raising the axle up into bay, well above the springs.

 

This whole positioning operation, I had worried about took less than 10 minutes so I was very pleased with my axle trolley rig.

 

 

IMG_2980_zpsl8nwtdr5.jpg

 

 

Each spring rear end was now free to be lifted by hand so that four new rubber half bushes could be fitted per chassis side and each half bush was given a coat of washing up liquid soap so they pushed easily into either side of the spring and chassis eye holes.

The shackle bolts links (like big versions of the links in a bicycle chain) were also coated in the liquid soap and simultaneously pushed by hand into the chassis and spring outer rubber bushes. The corresponding inner half rubber bushes were pushed home, then the loose outer link plates were fitted onto the protruding ends of the bolts and the retaining nuts screwed on. Both springs were now linked to the chassis.

 

IMG_2989%201_zpssfgnvdo2.jpg

 

Before the axle was finally lowered onto the spring centres, the top and bottom locator plates (which locate the axle onto the leaf springs with four U bolts), were levered off to change the four rubber compression pads. These are sandwiched above and below the springs between the locator plates and the springs. New rubbers were pressed into place and the steel locator plates refitted. Two U bolts per spring were now positioned over the axle and pushed down each side of the springs through the centre locator plates.

 

The Armstrong shock absorber link brackets were the last items to fit onto the ends of the U bolts and finally the nuts were put on and tightened, finally fixing the axle onto the springs.

 

 

IMG_2988_Copy.JPG

 

 

These last operations took just around 1.5 hours.

 

Tilly has a rear axle again, now there only remains to fit the shock absorbers, brake units, hand brake cables, hydraulic pipes, the check straps and the new splined hubs for the wire wheels.

 

John

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Nice job there John, that jack trolley is a creation to be proud of. I'm really enjoying watching your progress on this, would that I had the time & space to tinker with an old car like this. :)

Steve.

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Thanks Steve, it was a case of necessity, as my friends can't come to play during lock-down.😀 Thanks to all the other interested parties. I trust it is something different to read over this miserable time.

 

It's a bit chaos in No 2 garage, which was the household junk and odd garden furniture store and I only had one hour to create enough space for Tilly before she arrived on a transporter vehicle at 21.00 on a Sunday night . When Clare flew in from Singapore a couple of days later, it was a fait accompli .  But she approved.

 

John

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Ah, the old 'sneak it in when she's out, then say you've had it ages' ploy! :nono::giggle:

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That axle trolley is a work of genius! Simple and obviously very effective. 

 

I can still remember the first time that I tried using liquid soap to fit metal parts into rubber bushes on the Traveller that I used to own. I was astonished that a task that had previously seemed almost impossible was suddenly quite easy. It works well for exhaust hangers on more modern cars too!

 

Jon

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Yes, the soap is an old mechanics trick. it lubricates beautifully, then it just dries and restores the material friction, unlike a greasy substance which can stay slippy.

John

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We used to fit window rubbers on the Wessex using Swarfega. They had a sort of U channel in them for a pullout emergency strip which was a pig to fit.

Years later I used the same stuff to fit new silicon bushes onto a Range Rover when I was in Saudi.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Saga continues..

 

The old and the new fuel pumps

 


Pumps_zpssl7kh3ea.jpg

 

 

The axle though now secured to the springs still needed to be raised approximately 3” so the downwards movement check straps could be fitted. Also the axle needed to be “dressed” with the copper hydraulic lines, Armstrong links, hand brake cables and their associated brackets.  The rebuilt brake units and new wire wheel hubs would be fitted later.

I decided that as some of the pipe clamps and the handbrake compensating lever had to be bolted onto the differential case, it looked easier if these were done with the axle at its lowest point due to its proximity to the fuel tank. The only item which I found could not be fitted was the flexible hydraulic line which connected to the chassis mounted pipe work, because the axle was too low.

 

My axle jig was rolled into place again for what should be the final time; to raise the axle up against the springs to fit the check straps. The straps were duly fitted and then followed by the flexible pipe.

 

I have stripped, cleaned and painted the original rear brake back plates in my other workshop garage. 

 

 

After..

 

IMG_2994_zpsc7kupmkh.jpg

 

 

 

 I now had to rebuild both the units with largely new components. I’ve replaced the brake cylinders, brake shoes and some of the return springs. The adjusting mechanisms were found to be serviceable, so these were cleaned and greased, as were the handbrake bell cranks.  The fitting of the rebuilt exchange Armstrong shock absorbers is next up then the brake units will be fitted to the axle.

 

 

IMG_3003_zpsij5maisb.jpg

 

Ah yes, the Armstrong’s. I was advised to ‘cycle’ them before fitting to the car, in case there was any air trapped in the oil filled internal damper pistons.

‘Cycling’ them entails bolting them to a vertical surface (in this case my woodwork bench) and working the lever arm up and down.

 

Now I know why they are called “Armstrong”.  After about two dozen cycles I was knackered!

 

I had then to work the two at the same time to check that the lever arms were coincident. They weren’t. The right hand one had markedly less resistance.

So Friday, last, I called Rimmer Bros at Lincoln for replacements and a charming lady arranged for my original units and the faulty exchange ones to be picked up by courier and for two brand new Armstrong’s to be delivered later this week. This means that I will have to ruin what’s left of my arm muscles, all over again! 

 

I rue the day I laughed when Clare said “it’s not a car, it’s a gym”.

 

Rimmer Bros’s premises by the way are the old WW.1 hangars at Bracebridge Heath near Lincoln.

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1 hour ago, John Aero said:

Now I know why they are called “Armstrong”.

:laugh:

 

My place of work is about 200 yards from Rimmers.

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Great progress! That brake drum backing plate looks really good, and it's always satisfying to replace manky old parts with shiny new ones.

 

Your brake rebuild description reminded me of a project I set myself on the Morris Traveller that I used to own, partly to address an MOT advisory that it carried when I bought it, partly to replace tatty parts with shiny ones and partly to teach myself something new. I replaced the master cylinder, made up new cunifer brake pipes and bridging pipes using a flaring kit I had been given and replaced the front brake shoes, slave cylinders and flexi-pipes. It was a great learning experience as I had never done anything like it before.

 

I also drained and flushed the front Armstrongs by bouncing the front of the car up and down (judging by the disgusting fishy oil that came out, it hadn't been done for years), but I was able to remove the rear dampers and bolt them to my workbench exactly as your photo shows. The improvement in the damping, just by flushing out the old stinky oil and replacing it with fresh, was very satisfying.

 

Working on that car taught me a huge amount about how many vehicles of that era were constructed, although I then replaced it with a Citroën 2CV which is completely, eccentrically different in almost every respect! I know, however, that if something goes wrong I can probably fix it myself.

 

Keep posting the updates, John, as your problem-solving ideas are as interesting as your progress!

Jon

 

 

 

 

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Ha, many a slip..  The two new Armstrong dampers duly arrived, but due to a typing error on the invoice I got two right hand units.  I arranged to exchange one right unit for a left, but there were none in stock so it is a case of waiting,

In the meantime I decided to fit the rebuilt brake units so that I could get the hydraulics and hand brake systems working.

The completed brake units bolted on without a hitch. I now had to fit the new Wire wheel splined hubs to the half shaft splines, a job frankly I was not looking forwards too as the tolerances are very tight.

Each hub was given a smear of copper grease and once the splines on the half shaft were lined up with the internal hub splines and the split pin access hole on the hub with the corresponding hole on the shaft, I eased them onto the half shafts. I had expected a lot of resistance but once each hub was moving on the shaft a whack with a hard rubber mallet, cushioned by a piece of wood put both of them firmly into place, phew.

Finally, I now had to push a tapered collar over the threaded end of the shafts inside each hub. Then the large securing 1” and 5/16ths” castellated nuts were screwed on inside the hub. Before these nuts could be tightened the brake drums had to be fitted and the adjusters cranked up tight to lock the brakes so the hub nuts could be tightened to 150ft lbs plus also lining up the split pin holes.  I'll paint the drums when the chassis is steam cleaned. I need to get the car mobile.

 

The new hubs with the wire wheel 'knock off' nuts temporarily fitted.

 

IMG_3018_zpscagki8gd.jpg

 

I couldn’t resist putting the rear wheels back on, so that for the first time in over four months Tilly looked reasonably complete.  The hydraulic brake pipes were the next item to be fitted.

 

It was now time to fit the new handbrake cable and it soon became clear that there was a problem with slack in the system even though the adjuster was done right up. I checked my order invoice, and yes this cable was for an MG.B GT with a semi-floating tube axle.

 Armed with my chassis number I rang Rimmer’s, only to find that I had the wrong type of cable for an MG.B GT with a semi-floating tube axle.  I had an AHH7392 cable, what I needed was a GVC1005 cable. Silly me!  Err, no. I find that there are twelve different rear brake cables for MG.B’s!  

Oh, and there are twelve different rear brake cylinders for roadsters, but only one type for GT’s.  No wonder that BMC went belly up!

 

Today the new Armstrong, left hand Damper, arrived with the replacement brake cable.

Once again I went through the Damper cycling process, only to find that the damping rate of the two units were again not compatible. I’m beginning to suspect that the very stiff Right hand unit which I retained might be the faulty one. Oh bother, or some such epithet.

 

Today’s task was for me to fit the new hand brake cable. My only difficulty was to find a way of holding a spanner on some of the bolts on the outside of the transmission tunnel, while I fitted the nuts, under the car.  I used a ring spanner on the first bolt of which the other end of the spanner also touched the cockpit floor to hold against the internal spanner torque. The spanner was simply held in place by a piece of wood jammed across the width of the cockpit. A simple solution and so I was able to completely fit the whole cable single handed. The cable runs from the hand brake to a compensating arm on the axle differential case which effectively splits the cable to both brake levers on the back plates.

 

Where there's a will..

 

IMG_3020.JPG

 

 

A new Rimmer Bros catalogue showed me how to decipher my chassis and engine numbers, which are rather like the Enigma code.  The engine code in particular tells me, not just the engine number, but that I have a high compression 1800 cc, five bearing crankshaft, and twin carburetor feed breathing system. It's fitted with an alternator and the gearbox is the  four synchro box with overdrive. Now that’s telling you!

 

Next task, to bleed the brake and clutch hydraulics.

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All good stuff. Memories of spanner wielding in my younger days.

Regarding multiple handbrake cables, it ain't just BMC/BL - the Peugeot 405 has 14 different sets of rear brake shoes. Until the drum comes off, you don't know what you will find.

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Thursday is dedicated to getting the car hydraulic systems filled and bled. My neighbor Mark agreed to don PPE and act as pedal pusher.

We did the brakes first, and I allocated Mark the pedals and the oil replenishment up top, while I squirmed around under the car with the auto bleeder bottle and spanners for the bleed nipples, (different size front and rear).

The brakes bleeding went well and so we started on the clutch which should have been a ten minute job, but was going to be otherwise. The brand new aftermarket MGB clutch master cylinder (not purchased from Rimmer Bros) seemed reluctant to push out the oil to the clutch cylinder.

It soon became apparent that though the oil was getting to the clutch cylinder there was just no pressure to operate the clutch piston. Great! It didn’t take much head scratching with no pedal resistance or oil pressure to put the blame squarely on a duff (New!!) clutch Master cylinder.

I thanked Mark for his help and then I proceeded to take out the faulty item. This was made so much easier (about 20 minutes) by my modifications in the early stages of this odyssey.

Hydraulics seems to be the Achilles heel of this project.

So it was onto the Rimmer Bros website (again) and I hope to have a brand new genuine Lockheed original type cylinder on its way to me tomorrow. I think Tilly took the huff to a non standard part.

 

John

 

Before..

 

 

 

The smaller item is the offender.

 

 

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I hope to soon be able to put the inside trim, carpets and seats back, plus remembering to permanently bolt the steering wheel in, when all the clutch and brake work is finished. The items down to the left are not the "Flares of the day" but the un-leaded fuel additives.

 

John

 

IMG_2823_zpsgkknv5ft.jpg

 

 

 

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Good progress on this John, hell, sounds like a model build I'm commenting on, guess it is in a way, 1:1 scale. I do like the steering wheel, IMHO, the Moto Lita wheels are everso classey & their wood rimmed riveted ones the classiest of them all. :)

Steve.

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On 7/1/2020 at 10:52 PM, John Aero said:

Oh bother, or some such epithet.

That sounds remarkably familiar! I often surprise myself by my vocabulary when I encounter similar frustrations, then realise that I’ve said everything out loud and wonder what on earth the neighbours must think. Oops.

Jon

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  • 2 weeks later...

I Hate Hydraulics!

 

I think that the above says it all. Firstly there were the still un-resolved unbalanced Armstrong Dampers and now a clutch system which doesn’t want to bleed properly.

The new master cylinder duly arrived and was fitted, but still no go.  Where was the entrapped air?

 

I also looked at the pipe layout on my car. The first thing I noted was the huge curve where the original constructor had taken the pipe over the Hydraulics sub frame, so here was an air trap for a start. I then found another bow further down the pipe. The short answer was to take out the clutch pipe to remake and re-route it. This work can be seen from the two photos. 

 

This is the original layout.

IMG_2782_zpsplmnpxas.jpg

 

The refurbished hydraulics. (Cover off).😞

 

IMG_2825%20-%20Copy_zpsw8tygkzd.jpg

 

The re-plumbed cylinders. before the final assembly

 

IMG_3033_zpspydvdmxz.jpg

 

In the meantime the prop shaft was refitted so that I could now run the engine to check out the clutch and gearbox. The clutch operation still didn’t seem right and the gear change was

stiff and crunchy. So I was back to square one.

 

I decided to go on-line to see what others had to say about MGB Clutch bleed problems. One MG Expertise site gave me six pages of folk having identical problems. It would seem that the culprit is the Slave cylinder which can trap air in it.  There were lots of suggestions online on bleeding the hydraulic circuits from various sources and I spent a whole day variously pressure filling or reverse charging the system, all to no avail it seemed. I did have some movement in the slave cylinder but there seemed to be not enough movement on the slave push rod.

 

A friend had suggested a call to a local garage proprietor and owner of several classics including an MGB, who when I broached the subject he laughed and confirmed that MGB clutches were asinine. However he confirmed that I was doing all the right things and when I said that the gear change was bad to say the least, his reply was interesting. “What oil is in the gearbox?” My reply was that “I didn’t know”. So I was told to take out the gearbox dip stick and if it smelled like natural gas, someone had put in Castrol SAE 80 or 90 and that I should drain it completely and leave it draining for a day. Then I was to refill with SAE 20/50.

 

His other suggestion was to open up the slave bleed valve so that it just dripped and “go and have my dinner”.

I followed these instructions and then I used an old brass oil syringe with a piece of plastic tube over the nozzle to draw a vacuum on the slave bleed, and then lock it off. Another thing he confirmed was that the clutch lever travel was “only a few millimetres”. This last comment was to prove very useful.

 

I  now had to wait to refill the gearbox oil. Being curious, that night I tried just moving the gear lever about and to my surprise I could dry select all the gears!  My fingers were well and truly crossed.

 

Perhaps the reader might recall that early on I had modified the gearbox dipstick and filler points’ access on the transmission tunnel. The access before was just a 2"/50 mm diameter hole at the top, accessible by a bung with the dipstick some 4"/100 mm below. The solution was to cut out the side as seen below.  I  have since fabricated a new rubber edged  composite panel incorporating the cutout fibreglass piece which was then backed by a slightly oversize curved aluminium panel, secured by screws. and the whole shebang covered by the carpet.

 

I think that most of the oil on the surface of the gearbox was caused by attempting to add gearbox oil through the original small access hole.  The foot well width at this point is about 400 mm.

 

 

IMG_2814.JPG

 

 The next stage was to make a 2” hole with a drill mounted hole saw in the top of the foot well, as near as I could get above the filler/dipstick hole.

This done, I made a bespoke funnel.  I pushed a 100 mm length of ½” bore copper tube into the end of an 18” length of flexible plastic tubing, to fit in the filler hole. The other end of the tube was pushed into the top of a plastic funnel down into the spout, until it met the resistance of the taper. I marked that point and then cut off the spout at the mark.

The inside of the spout was chamfered so that the flexible tube could now be pushed tightly up into the truncated spout. I now have a filler tube which enables me fill the gearbox from under the bonnet.

 

IMG_3040.JPG

 

The new hole would now need a filler piece so I found that the ideal thing was a plastic end bung from a postal tube which fitted perfectly and to finish this off, the waste piece, removed from the hole saw, was now pushed neatly into the hollow top of the bung.

 

IMG_3037_zpsfahpqxsn.jpg

 

On Friday last I went over to Rimmer’s at Lincoln to collect the long awaited Armstrong Shock Dampers.  So there was no possibility of a mismatch this time, I took with me a simple rig, consisting of a 600 x 200  plastic finished Conte board held  in a flat engineers vice, on which I could quickly bolt the new pair of Dampers side by side to check the rates were the same.  This proved invaluable and I returned home with a matched pair of Armstrong’s.

 

This picture will not be seen by the Memsahib, at least I put a catalogue under the vice.

 

IMG_3035_zpshgn4usub.jpg

Back to the recalcitrant clutch.  With the car still up on axle stands I decided to try out the gears.  To my disappointment I still got a difficult gear change. It was time to try something radical. If the slave cylinder push rod had the correct travel then the problem had to be with the clutch and release bearing?

If either of these two hidden items was badly worn, then the existing push rod travel would be inadequate. The only way to test this theory was to fit a longer push rod. This I did, by modifying an old master cylinder push rod for an extra 6 mm of travel. I refitted the rear wheels, started the engine and “bingo” I had a smooth gear change at last. However this means that the clutch and release bearing must now be replaced so this entails the engine and gearbox having to come out.

 

The Time Bandit strikes again.

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I've seen or read that trick of changing the push rod for a longer/shorter one somewhere else. I'm glad it worked for you.

Last Friday I was delivering the falling down water around Lincoln so we may have been close at one point. 

Besides which, The wholesalers I work for is pretty much behind the Esso station next to Rimmers.

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Well, that last post made for very interesting reading, John, especially the point about the lighter grade of gearbox oil and your filler cap solution (I've used rubber sealing grommet thingies before for a similar purpose). What a shame about the sting in the tail, though - I was expecting that you'd found another cunning way to engineer a 'fix'! Oh well...

 

A bit of a shame about the Photobucket snag. I gave up on it a long time ago.

 

Jon

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I've finally heard from Photobucket today and I've installed the new (quite different) version which after a shaky start, now seems to work fine, so I've restored most of the missing photos to this thread.

 

I'm afraid that the only way to "Getafix", (with apologies to Asterix), as there's no magic available, will be to split the engine and gearbox. I can also replace the oil seals and clean up the inaccessible parts easier. I think that Tilly might just be ready for next years Shuttleworth shows at this rate 😞

 

John

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