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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

I thought I had better start putting some of my build on here as I find others interesting so might as well put mine up for scrutiny. I wont be in strict order as I can only add little bits when I get the time.
Electric wipers I converted the wheel boxes so they had the same size spindle tubes as the original vacuum setup as there is not much room on the scuttle for the larger 5/8" spindle housings. I turned new ones from some phosphor bronze I had in stock. I soldered the tubes to the steel backplates of the wheel housings. I made new stainless spindles as they needed to be shorter - these are knurled and pressed into the wheels. I bought new drive gear from Stafford Classic to give a greater sweep than the original 2 speed motor I took from a Triumph Spitfire. I cut the steel tubes to fit and had to sleeve joint them as I dont have a flaring tool, which I did with a steel tube loctited in place on the car to get the length right. I found the standard motor bracket had matching diagonal hole centres to my bonnet hinge bolts so I put in longer bolts so they projected inside behind the dash and then made a 3mm spacer plate to fit. The motor slotted in nicely and lined up perfect. I will use the Triumph wiper switch and I recommend you fit a new parking switch/socket to the motor if using the same type as if they develop a fault you can get wires melting. They are about £12 new. Dave


When I saw the car advertised it was described as "Almost a complete car". This reminded me of the comedian Billy Bennet of the Variety Theatre days who liked to be known as "Almost a Gentleman". Anyway, it was certainly a big almost - no back wings, no engine or gearbox and a box of various nuts and bolts many from another vehicle I assume. Good side was it had new floorboards and number plates plus all the documentation going wayback. Most of the metal was good and fairly clean. The seller had been meaning to renovate it so got it dismantled then found another car to do. It sat in his garage for 30 years waiting for me.

As you may have guessed I have a 1953 Prefect but I am fitting an early front end. I was lucky enough to find good wings, grill etc. 'Found' the front quarter panels in New Zealand.



The bonnet has been damaged by someone or some thing landing on it so will get this straighted out or replaced later ( see "Denterazer" in technical Features). Engine is a 1500 Spitfire, rear axle 105e Anglia, front suspension is period Ballamy split axle. Brakes 105E super. Scott of Scotrod fame welded the axle and ladder bars. I am currently hand beating and wheeling the fill-in panels where the early wings dont quite match up with the body. The problem lies where the late wing flange take a different trajectory so have to be removed and new inner wing and the above mentioned in-fill blended in. As it happened the area I needed to remove had been damaged anyway so no regrets there. I will insert some good pictures later.
August 2013 - here are the pictures of the little panels I have hand-beaten and wheeled to blend the 39-47wings to the 48-53 body. They are still not fitted but hopefully will get on to this soon so thought I'd better take some pictures before I get to the serious bit. If anyone is interested I will do a piece on making these in the technical section as it was very basic, ie I dont have very much specialist equipment.





Here is the new body/inner wing section.


So far everything I have found for this car has been broken or has a fault so lots of work for me to do but it is satisfying nonetheless. I feel another picture coming on.................


This is the handbrake relay lever and balancer assembly. This is located under the front end of the propshaft. The original handbrake lever is fitted in more or less the original position beneath the parcel tray but had to be skewed to the left to allow the cable to exit away from the rocker cover.
08/10/14 handbrake update - I have now made the handbrake relay lever over twice as long because there was insufficient leverage to make the brakes hold efficiently. Now the umbrella stick has a longer pull and the rear wheels hold better - real test of course will be when I get it on an incline.
The original Spitfire speedo fits snug in the Bakelite dash using a brass ring plate attached using the three bosses behind the dash. The ring has four upstanding tabs rivetted to it so a jubilee clip can grip these to the speedo case. I made the ring in the lathe so when I assembled it the speedo sat plumb central and looks like it belongs. Hopefully the reading will be something similar to accurate but anyway I will use the satnav to get a percentage inaccuracy when the time comes.



I hope to use most of the Spitfire wiring loom after cutting out any damaged or unwanted sections and re-taping it like new. I already have a battery which is dual voltage, ie is a 12 volt with a 6 volt tapping to power any 6v parts like semaphores and petrol gauge. I already have 6 volt flashing semaphores on my running original 53 Prefect - solenoid is 6 volt but the bulbs are 12 volt and this works fine. On this one I am fitting flashing stop lights from PopBrowns to supplement the semaphores.
Another thing I found - a bench seat that used to reside in a prewar E93A tourer. The owner of the tourer decided to fit bucket seats so I asked to have first refusal on the bench seat and in due course I got it. I was repairing his choke and starter cables for him with new stainless cable inserted. The seat looks perfect although needs a bit of renovation to get me going before the full re-upholster. Somewhere to rest the lunchbox if you get my drift. I had to use heat on the gearstick to give it a forward lean to clear the seat which made the midway rubber damper smoke a bit.

This week I finally cut the mini roof panel out as the weather was fine and I could get outside with the nibbler. It is about 0.5" over all round so just the final trim to go but it looks perfect laying in place on the car - a bit like a toupee. The roof hole is same size as Pop although the car is about 4" longer.


Th black tape is to keep it in place but it sits so tight I dont think it is necessary.

Roof now trimmed ready for final prep and fixing. I have decided to solder and lead-in abit like a Sardine tin.



I also got on well with the exhaust - all sourced on ebay from a company at Oulton park circuit. The parts are by Jetex and I chose 1.75" which is just a tad bigger than the original 1.5" of the Spitfire. The silencer is a neat cylindrical stainless item by Simmons. I also got the rubber mounts on ebay. I couldn't believe how well the system lined up as I had to lower the header outlet pipe so the system would clear the front A frame. The header points about 13° to the near side and when I linked all the parts up up the tail end was right under the chassis for a hanger mount. The silencer lies in line with the left side ladder bar and the up-and-over pipe clears everything. I just need to shorten one handbrake cable to keep it away from the pipe. The ladder bars look very close to the back heel plate so may need to cut some away and build pockets.



Next thing is the floor cross member which needs to be moved back, widened and raised in the tunnel area. The original is in good condition and I have another centre to use for inserting sections so its out with the hacksaw and welding torch.
 

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looks like it'll be a cool little car but should be in the 'garage' section surely. this is tech discussion.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Done - no reply yet, Cheers, Dave. Ps I think Scott has dropped his phone down the toilet. Hope to speak with him in near future.
 

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his daughter washed it along with his wallet too in his trousers :shake:
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
keep it going. Not many of these in the build threads.
I certainly want to but how do you get through to the moderator, I've tried three times - I would like to put this in The Garage. Just need a bit of help from the moderator. Perhaps he is on holiday ...........
Just had a look today and my car is now in the garage - thanks to the moderator. More pictures in the can ready for the weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
At last the exhaust is sitting pretty and the front floor x-member has been cut and shut to give it 1" lift in the middle and widened as it has been moved back 2". Object here was to make it with original metal and keep it in a nice curve with no thrupny-bitting (50 pence-bitting for the younger guys). I had to cut the centre about 2" past the centre-line then notched out to lift it like a Bobby Charlton hair comb-over to give the 1" lift. Then more or less same notch on the other side. Finally cut a bit about 2" long from another cross member to bridge the gap with about the right curve. The welding was all Oxy with a few little clamps to keep it in line but it was still like freestyle wrestling with a gas-torch. Anyway it turned out alright. the top piece is the donor section and the lower is the main member with the Bobby Charlton already done. It still needs some attention to the flanges but that can wait till I marry it to the tunnel.





Next - the prop tunnel using original metal and getting last few dents out of the bonnet. If I get time I will finish the A post repairs I started last year.

Had some spare time yesterday so cut the prop tunnel down, flattened the sides and made up new flanges. The tunnel is same way round as original but now kicks up at the front to meet the raised cross member.


And this is it rivetted and welded in place with some matt black water base paint ready for a layer of vinyl to be glued on later.



Also had some time to make a prototype pedal box platform. This is a tight space for the Spitfire master cylinders but it is promising. Mini type vertical cylinders would have been easier but I am determined to use as much of the donor car parts as I can, being a registered tight wad. As you might notice I am setting out to use edge welds where possible as I have oxy welding kit and is therefore very quick, uses less or no filler rod plus easy to clamp the work tight in position. This method also forms a good stiffening rib when complete. I used edge welding a lot in my time repairing and modifying old WD BSA B40 motorcycle petrol tanks and turning them into Gold Star tanks - happy days turning up at the shop with 12 Goldie tanks and taking away 12 more battered WD tanks.



Another 'little' fill-in job has been adapting the Triumph Spitfire column stalks to fit on the standard Ford column. I had some 2" exhaust tube as a basis as this just passed over the end of the column. I cut slots in it lengthwise halfway down and also some cross slits so I could form up the basic lugs for the switches. The lugs needed lengthening about 1/2". I also added some fillets to locate the switches closely - dont want them flopping up and down involuntarily. Then I added some brackets so I could use the original Spitfire fairings. I turned up some collets that fit each and of the tube, a tight pair for the top and easy for the bottom but secured with a stainless toggle type hose clip. The picture shows the completed adaptor but I will take another of the assembly when it has been painted - Nut Brown Hammerite garage door paint matches the old column paint colour.



Got a lot further with the pedal box this week. Bought a Spitfire master cylinder shelf repair panel as a base and then turned it upside down and left to right, cut it bent it and it fits ok. Also had to cut more out of the bulkhead to clear the reservoirs so then had to make a piece to fill in the hole. Most of it is joined up with edge welds and the sub assembly shown will be welded in using the same method tomorrow. This was a major part for me to work out as so much depends on this for sizing up. A bit like the wiper motor which really is the starting point for making a car.


All the extra cutting into the bulkhead means the parcel shelf needs cutting a bit at the back to clear it. I have just started on a small sub-dash-board to take the tacho, hazard flasher switch, oil pressure gauge, power socket, indicator warning lamp flush fitting fuse block and 2 speed wiper switch. I am using a piece of brown SRBF (synthetic resin bonded fibre) which blends in nicely with the bakelite dash. Will post a picture when it is all gauged up. It fits snug in the area between dash and parcel shelf.
Heres the picture - sub dash is sitting there without brackets but these are made just need some hank bushes to finish them.


White Prefect steering wheel just creeping into shot - a lucky find.

Pedal box all welded in so took a day off and went down Southend Pier. It looks rough because the black paint has burnt. Must give it a coat of primer soon.



Added a triangular brace and a 14g dural backing plate just to make it all rigid. A lot more work than I imagined as there is a fair bit of planning involved both under the bonnet and behind it with all the extra dashboard components I am putting in.



Now you wouldn't think it difficult to locate the horn. Just stick it somewhere out of the way maybe? No, not in this case. I tried all over the front area of the car and it just seemed to get in the way. Not a small one, I even thought about putting it at the back somewhere. One last try - holding it up in various places and then at last it slotted into place. Not ideal but it fits and doesn't get in the way of anything.


Its a close fit but thats the way this car is working out - everything is a close fit - even the driver.

So now onto the firewall. I have just started this section and cant wait to get it all filled in so I can start painting the chassis and engine bay.


A few little bits to fill in before the whole bit gets welded into place.


When this is all tight and welded in I will make a gearbox tunnel. I had thought of buying a glass fibre one but getting the right fit is impossible and the tunnel is not so difficult and its good for access. Worst bit is getting a good blend into the firewall section. The tunnel will be removable, fixed probably with self tappers into U nuts or perhaps screws into hank bushes.
More progress on the firewall section - welded and ready to weld into the shell when the engine is out for a paint job.



Last job today was check the fit of the radiator and hoses. I found a 107e Ford bottom hose that is a pretty good fit after a bit of trimming. I have also been advised a Fiat Punto bottom hose will fit. The top inlet tube of the standard Prefect radiator was damaged so I decided to shorten it and make a new one to solder inside the old stub and this will make the hose same diameter throughout - 35mm. A standard 45° silicon hose is a good fit. Just need to turn up the new tube. Luckily I have some cored bronze bar that needs a job so this will be used for a sleeve.





I found a beaded tube the right size at a local radiator repairers who was winding up. I made the bronze sleeve adaptor and here it is all nicely soldered. I filled the rad with water and leaned it at an angle to dissuade the nearby seams from melting.


The original steel floors were still good and already painted so all I needed to do was extend these back by 2" to catch up with the cross member I moved earlier so it should appear fairly standard to the casual observer.



The gearbox tunnel is progressing. I had planned to make it in one piece but I realised I dont have the tooling so its in three and will be either rivetted together or perhaps might get it migged. I plan to cover it in vinyl or ribbed rubber like the running boards so rivets wont show. I also want to put a caddy on the top as I have lost some of my parcel shelf to the sub-dash. Got to have somewhere to put the sandwiches and sunglasses and perhaps a holder where I can put a coffee cup.


I am using the original cover toggles in my policy of keeping things as original as possible as long as they work. If the fit is not good enough I will use self tappers and U nuts or hank bushes.



Here are the hardboard patterns. The first set were cardboard. These patterns are well worth the effort when designing and making, even the simplest things as you get a 3-D view and sort any problems before cutting metal.



Todays job - fitting the gearbox tunnel sides now they have the top flanges formed. The flanges had to be hand formed over a 3" square bar suitably clamped in place. When these are sitting right I will be able to mark off the top plate that is already rough cut with gear lever hole in place. When it is pinned in place I can decide - weld or rivet? - that is the question.

Go to page 2 for the next bit ...................
 

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hi there and welcome to r+s, your s seem to be progressing quicker than mine keep the updates coming cheers..........................
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I keep motivated by giving myself a list of tasks everyday. Usually end up doing some or none of those but something that I just take a fancy to but without the list I'd just waste my time on something else........................ What is your project?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I had a good week and finally got the prop tunnel cut in and ready to rivet.
Also cut the 18mm plywood floors to length, 2" shorter than standard, so I can now set out the front bench seat and get the pedal box area under way.


The original way of securing the floor panels was self tapping screws through J or U nuts on the floor supports. I found some natty fixings called T-nuts used in furniture making and these fit into 9/32" holes from the top. They are threaded 1/4" UNC so I can use hexagon set screws from underneath which makes a neat job. I counterbored the boards just one ply to make a perfect flush surface for the new carpets. I didn't like the self tappers as there was a nasty lot of points sticking out under the floor supports.



I also got some welding done on one of the A posts. I made the fabrication pieces about a year ago and its been sitting there waiting to be done when I got inspired.



Here's a picture of the new centre bracket I made for the Leslie Ballamy independent front suspension. The original aluminium bracket was cracking where the u-bolts had been over tightened or maybe the material was not up to the task. Anyway I bought a short piece of steel angle about the same proportions and filed and drilled to make this. Just need to make some longer u-bolts unless someone out there has some to spare.


Getting on with the gearbox tunnel. Here it is with top laid in place ready to pin and rivet.

Needed something to fit the new leather gearstick gaiter over so rolled a tube on my little slip rollers then swaged a bead around the top to keep it in place. I am getting this migged in place today.



Here is the tunnel pinned with the swaged tube migged in place. Strange thing happened when I rolled the beads in the top panel - it warped badly but I suppose not surprising really. Anyway, had a good think about it and studied the way the stress had affected it. I laid the panel flat on the levelling plate and gave each bead a medium tap all along with a wooden mallet as if trying to flatten the bead and reverse the stress. It did the trick and the warping disappeared.

And later with the back end plate cut and the arch piece that will eventually bolt to the cross member. The back plate will fix to the cover with two lugs I left on when I cut it out and then bent them over to go inside out of sight. There will also be a few tack welds too. The arch piece will have the front edge cut to leave lugs that will fit into slots cut in the backplate. It seems complicated but it all needs to fit together accurately. Final welding and assembly will be completed when I take the engine out and finish the firewall, hopefully pretty soon.
The upstand at the back of the top plate aligns with the top of the backplate so are easily clamped and then edge welded with Oxy'.

The cover is finished now and it has taken so much longer than expected but I am very pleased with the result although yet has to get a finish coat - could be paint or maybe vinyl. I need to consider some sound deadening and this could go underneath. It is held down with 1/4" bolts, 2 at the front, 2 at the back and 3 down each side. I decided to leave the toggles there for that original feature look.





I have welded blanks in the original pedal holes and made a new seal plate, without pedal holes to clamp the rubber round the steering column. All very belt and braces. The firewall insert is now finished and clamped in place so that will be tacked next and final welding when the engine comes out for engine bay and chassis paint. Plenty to do in the meantime.

Had a look at the Armstrong lever dampers that came with the Ballamy suspension and they are standard units that dont reach the lug provided because the suspension is about 3" wider than stock. It is wider because it is made from a standard A frame with centre split and bush tubes added and the above bracket. All this makes it wider. Anyway, I just experimented with a little heat on the arms and re-shaped them so they now resemble cycle cranks and they more or less line up ok. All the old dampers are leaky so I am intending making a tool to get them apart and fit new seals. More on this later. Here is the finished art-work.


.......and what it looked like before..................



The radiator that came with the car looked good and water tested sound with zero pressure. It had a small drain tap and as these always leak a little I decided to remove it and fit a plug instead. I turned the tap to unscrew it and it turned and turned and..... The threaded boss had parted company from the bottom tank but was still trapped in place as the rad has a steel strap along the base that is riveted to the tank and the boss is bigger than the hole in the strap. There is lots of solder around. Luckily there was a gap between the strap and tank near to the tap. I cut off the tap and drilled out the boss 1/2" and managed to remove all the bits so leaving a view of the solder area.



I cleaned up the solder area and did my best to tin it. I made a new boss with a 1/4" UNC thread in the centre and tinned that. next the tricky bit - I plugged the water pipes and filled the rad with water up to just below the part where I needed to heat it for soldering. I dropped the new plug into place and using my smallest bullfinch gas nozzle heated the new boss adding flux and solder. I knew it was hot enough when the solder ran on the boss without a flame. Important to avoid over-heating a solder joint especially with other solder joints nearby.
And here's the finished job. I will find a more suitable plug and add a wire locking facility.

 

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hi,
just read from the start, great project an excellent work, nice one.:tup:
looking forward to updates.
cheers chris.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
hi,
just read from the start, great project an excellent work, nice one.:tup:
looking forward to updates.
cheers chris.
Thanks Chris. This site is so encouraging - especially with comments like yours but also I can look back sometimes and see all the little things that are easily forgotten if you dont take a few pictures. It helps remind you why it all takes so long to do. I must let my wife have a scan soon as she keeps asking where I keep disappearing to. Cheers, Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I just finished re-sealing the standard Ford steering box plus a couple of spares I have. I found metric seals, from memory 27 OD x 20 ID x 6mm metal backed. I did away with the old gasket under the top plate and sealed it with Yamabond I still had from when I raced a TZ350G. The boxes are now finished with Hammerite garage door paint in nut brown.
Another job needing an oil seal is the dampers and again I found some 27mm OD seals that are pretty much identical to the original inch and sixteenth seals. I prefer to use metal backed but these are not available in that size so its rubber backed instead. Some of the original dampers are still oil tight so I will run with them but a couple leak plus the one that is used on the Ballamy suspension as an idler which I would prefer to make oil tight as possible. The lever arm is pressed on a spline and the end of the shaft appears to also be swaged so I ground off the swage. The early dampers have vertical valve chambers that inhibit the use of a bearing splitter. The spline fit is mega tight so I decided to try cutting the end of the arm and using a chisel to split it. This worked so now I can access the seal. Objective is to change the seal without major dismantling on the hydraulics side of things. If I use this method I will weld a pich bolt type of thing to make the lever grip the spline.

Then I had another idea...............

This is another way - using a cutting disk as far as possible and only slightly cutting into the shaft - split the end with a narrow angle cold chisel and pull the arm off. Next prise out the old seal and press in a new lipped one. I put a turn of insulating tape over the splines to protect the seal. Next press the arm back on and take it to local welder for Mig. Had a bucket of water handy so it was cooled before any heat got to the new seal. Works fine.




I also tried a hydraulic press my friend had made and using a bearing splitter I managed to remove the arm from the Ballamy steering idler which is the later pattern with horizontal valve chamber. I picked out the old seal and pressed in a new oil seal. I managed to replace the arm using my No. 4 flypress. So far no leaks. This seems the best way to go but I might try making a strong puller to get the arm off when I get more time.
This is the repaired idler ready for a paint job - I think silver as there is too much black dowstairs.


Another job I have been avoiding is the bottom-of-the-C-post repairs. There wasn't much left to copy so I am making my own design.


If you have had to repair one of these it might make sense to you - there should be metal connecting the C-post and front inner wheel arch to the chassis. The holes are where there was once rivets but I will use bolts - M5. More detail as I progress.
August 17th 2013.




These are the pieces I have made to repair the bottom of the C-post. The horizontal harp shaped bit is the closing plate at the base of the post and will have a drain hole swaged down slightly with a ball bearing. It will be welded all round the edge to finish it off. The crinkly bit fits up the inside to be welded in to the first bit of sound metal remaining. This assembly will be held in place to the chassis with a thicker stiffening plate and bolted through with 3 off 5mm HT screws and nyloc nuts inside.
05/09/13 - This the off-side repair done. I had not realised how much lead was used in the wing arch and as soon as I started welding the closing plate it started pouring off. When it stopped 'raining' I carried on welding but the weld has lead in it so weaker but this is not a stressed area so maybe it will survive.


Some while ago I made up a boot floor with a trap door because the wider tyres wont fit through the original spare wheel cover. Here is the finished work and below that the fixed cover that will retain the original look.


The cover is a skin that someone had make to repair a spare wheel cover but it wasn't a very good job so I removed the skin and junked the old rusty cover that was under it - it doesn't look too bad. It is held in place by 8 welded tags that pass through slots in the seal bed and then turned over inside. This makes the cover removable if necessary. It will be sealed with body sealer so should be leak-proof.

 
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