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Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)
Nice build..:tup:
Can you show more of the steering setup with the damper connected?

Is this what you want Sqweaka? - let me know if there is something specific you need. I assumed you referred to the steering damper/idler. This is an Armstrong damper fitted to a special Ballamy bracket so it is bolted in the LHD steering box holes and corresponds the action of the standard steering box drop arm. The damper has had some mods done to the valve to make it, I think, equal force in each direction. I have looked into it but dont understand it yet. Cheers, Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
Some quality metal work going on there.

Keep the pics coming
From you Sir - praise indeed and much appreciated. I am still pondering a new front suspension but to be fair to Mr Ballamy will give his set-up a try before changing. The thing about this assembly is the camber which seems wrong to me. I think the centre bracket lifts the radius arms in the centre more than the original beam so giving the bow-legged effect. I may make another centre bracket with greater centre drop. Cheers, Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I have discovered the best way to keep moving forward with a car build is to start at the back and go from there and you can't go wrong. Well I did do the wiper motor and a few other bits first but I am on a roll at the moment and at last ready to take the engine out and finish the firewall, paint n all. I want to make a good job of this as we all like a well turned out engine bay. More pics and chat soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
Engine is out and getting some paint on. Matt black (water base) inside the firewall as I will probably be sticking some foam stuff on it later. Satin black in the engine bay but the pedal boxes are silver (aluminium coat). Gloss chassis black on the chassis rails and cross members. Silver on the A-frame wisbone part and gloss chassis black on the axle beam. Idea is not to make it all the same colour so it has some appeal to those who like to peer underneath.
This is the engine bay view - looks rough as there were plenty holes to fill. In hindsight a new firewall would have been flatter but still trying to keep as much original metal as possible.


This is the inside. More pictures when the fixtures and fittings go in.



22nd october 2013.
Well the engine is back in and the master cylinders in place. I changed the brake master for one with a smaller size reservoir with a lean back to match the clutch unit as I am on drum brakes it should be fine. I also dug deep in the coffers and bought a pair of stainless steel master cylinder brackets. Just got to make up some brake lines. I am ordering a complete braided stainless flexible hose for the clutch.




I have decided to start getting the rear wings ready for paint. I already welded the flanges some time ago so now for some serious rubbing down, dent 'erasing' and filling. They are not too bad in general, at least they are metal and have a beaded edge arch. The person who had the wings before me had put lots of filler in some bad damage at the back and to help the filler stick had drilled lots of 3mm holes. I welded up the holes and knocked out most of the damage with just a smigeon of filler to make good. Pics to come later.
I had a reasonable set of bumpers but they were the later type fitted to post war cars. The earlier type had more pointy ends so out with the angle grinder. Luckily I had a spare 'project' bumper given to me some time back so it was used for practise. Pics to come later.
30/10/13 - And here they are. The bumper on the left is the standard later shape.

Can you see the difference, its not a lot but to the connoisseur....................
Now the exhaust system is back on I am wanting to get the engine running but will wait till the clutch is operating so I can check it has not stuck as its been standing for a few years now.
30-10-13. Got the clutch system piped, filled and bled out so wedged the pedal down with a wood block, put the box in gear and tried turning the crank by hand. The car moved forward on the ramps so tried the other direction and the clutch plate freed off - happy day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Got a hickup with the front Ballamy suspension. It appears the axle beams are either bent or were badly welded in the first place. When it was all bolted in place the front axle beam pivots in the centre were out of line and to describe the amount I would say if they were lowered about 2" they would have lined up. The whole assembly is now off and a standard 'A' frame back in for the time being till I can ascertain what the problem with the Ballamy is. I thought it looked wrong as the wheels were canted out - sort of bow-legged look. I'll take some pictures soon to illustrate the problem and maybe one of you will be able to suggest the way forward.
 

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Is this what you want Sqweaka? - let me know if there is something specific you need. I assumed you referred to the steering damper/idler. This is an Armstrong damper fitted to a special Ballamy bracket so it is bolted in the LHD steering box holes and corresponds the action of the standard steering box drop arm. The damper has had some mods done to the valve to make it, I think, equal force in each direction. I have looked into it but dont understand it yet. Cheers, Dave
thanks for the picture.. id never heard of the steering damper, but get the idea now. thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
Brake pipes

I had a difficult start to my brake pipe making and fitting as the basic tool I had bought earlier was not gripping the Kunifer pipe. I later found the pipe was undersize and that was after buying a Sykes Pikavant tool that is much better anyway. I got over the undersize pipe by making a split tube from 2 thou steel shim and wrapping this round the pipe before inserting in the die. Thanks to Bone at Swifts Motorcycles Basildon for this tip as he had same problem and cured his with Bacofoil. Anyway, here is the first section done. Bone also suggested making a little tool to bend the tube round. He said get a piece of broom stick and turn a groove in it, a good fit on the pipe. I found a piece of tapered ally rod, a rejected wheel spacer from the Kawasaki, and used that and it works fine.




I am fitting a line lock to the front brakes as an additional handbrake. The valve will be engine side and the shaft will fit through a 25mm hole in the panel to make the handle accessible under the parcel (or junk) shelf. This will entail drilling and tapping the valve to take 4 x M4 screws and I will add a backplate in 1mm stainless to make it more rigid. Advantage of making a backplate is I can use it as a template when making the necessary holes in the panel. When the stainless braided hoses arrive I will be able to fit this on the pedal box deck, out of sight where the wife cannot find it - she may be tempted to do a few burnouts behind my back. Have you seen the U-Tube clip "No Woman No Drive"? - Brilliant.
Just tapped the 4 M4 holes in position as suggested by Guy/Bigyellataxi.


And below with the two backing plates screwed on ready to take to the garage for final fitting.



Here's the valve fitted, just visible on the right of picture.

Well, the system is now filled and air bled out. Trouble is there was too much pedal travel so I changed the 5/8" master cylinder for a 0.7" and it was better. I have ordered a 0.75" master cylinder so hopefully the pedal will have the right feel when it is fitted. There was also a bit of play in the clevis so with a new one it should be a lot better.
19/11/2013. The brake master cylinder is now a Willwood 0.75" bore unit and the pedal has good feel. There was an unusual problem with the banjo fitting on the master cylinder as it would not seal properly, even with aluminium washers. I checked the banjos and one had a discrepancy across the faces of almost 0.002". I contacted the suppliers, HEL, and they immediately sent a replacement and this has corrected the problem. Brakes all done apart from minor improvement needed to the cable handbrake although the hydraulic one works perfectly.
Little clip for the speedo cable.


And another for the clutch pipe.


Unusually, the Spitfire doesn't use a flexible hose between engine and master cylinder just a coil of of copper pipe much like used on vintage fuel systems. I think in time I will change this for a braided hose throughtout.
When I started doing the brake pipes I watched U-Tube clips and the demonstrators de-burred the pipe with a file. When I used to work as an instrument maker, a sort of production toolmaker and general do-it-all, I made this de-burring tool for a job and luckily it was still in the tool cabinet.




Now I am getting down to some detail work I decided to make some stainless nuts for the exhaust manifold, a little longer to be easier to get at and keep a spanner on when its time to remove them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
Engine rattles

Before I took the engine out of the donor Spitfire, I had the engine running for a while as it had been mothballed for a few years. The engine was fairly quiet when cold but as it warmed up it had a slight tinkle on tick-over which went as it was revved. I started the motor yesterday for the first time in this car and the rattle was there but I thought even louder but as before it went as the motor was revved. It sounded to me like timing chain so off with the cover and there it was - a very slack timing chain and a tensioner showing signs of being fitted incorrectly. Sprockets out of line as the crank one was worn at the front and the camshaft one worn at the back. Also, the two bolts holding the cam sprocket on were loose. So its a refit for that department. Parts now ordered from James Paddock. This timing chain department seems very weak compared to the humble Ford sidevalve - simplex chain and no dowel on the camshaft sprocket.
Started the motor today - smooth and quiet and exhaust note just like a sporty pre-war car should sound like. Next - out with the tuning kit as it seems a bit on the rich side which could be partly due to the pancake air filters.

Today I reamed three of the door hinges, taking them out to 7.5mm from the original worn 9/32" size. New pins made from 14mm stainless rod but not fully driven home yet as I may need to remove the doors before I am finished. I would like to incorporate a way of lubricating the hinges without letting the weather in. Current thinking is a tapped hole in the centre section to fill with grease then fit a small screw to make it weather tight.
Stock fuel tank also replaced after a clean out and coat of silver paint and now connected to the front with nice shiny copper pipe. Hopefully will start on the roof fill next week. I am thinking I will need to make some roof bows as the ones from this car were used on a standard E93A I am restoring. These will need to be a bit taller anyway as the mini-roof doesn't have any wadding under it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
I did a small house clearance today and among the furniture was a pine bed base. Some of the frame would be the basis for the extra-tall roof bows so these have been put aside for a rainy or a cold day when I need something energetic to keep me warm. I've been thinking (again?) about the design of the bows and how I have found some that are split at the ends where they thin out. Perhaps I could slot my new ones and insert aluminium strip each end which would be fixed with screws right through to clamp up the aluminium.

12/03/14. Did another house clearance last week and I saw something that will sort the roof bows. have you seen those steel vertical channels that you screw to the workshop wall and are slotted to take shelf supports at whatever height you need. Well, there were some of these in the shed I was clearing and they look just right section to fit on the ends of the bows - say 4 o5 inch lengths - so they slip over the wood and make a strong end. Will try it and let you know.
 

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for flattening out panels that 'pop' when bead rolled, i made up a scalloped punch, its about a 6th of a circle, ground up and polished then hardened, and i dress the ends of each swage to a radius, by hand with the punch and a hammer. you can just see the end of one here, doing this returns the panels to flat again, and in my eyes gives a much nicer finish too-

 

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Discussion Starter · #32 · (Edited)
Well, its time to start on the roof fill and although I had considered both Mig welding and Sikaflex I have decided to stick to my plan to solder the mini roof. First job is to remove the material that is packed into a channel around the roof hole. I still dont know what the material is - looks like something dug up from an ancient roman villa like a piece leather. It could be a solidified mastik but it sure took some digging out but it was clear after about 2 hours work. The roof panel has about 12mm overlap so that means I need to tin about a 65mm wide area all round. I first tried a small area using some flux I got from Homebase and while this works ok to some degree I dont think it is chemically strong enough for steel as the result was a bit patchy. I have sent off for some solder tinning paste which has a Zinc chloride content and which is sold as being suitable for body repairs. The solder joint will be in 2 strips that are either side of the channel where the original sealing rubber engaged. As soon as the panel is tinned to my satisfaction I will do the same to the corresponding roof area.
The mini roof has some light rust spots on the underside so before it is finally fitted these will get the Kurust treatment plus some primer as its easier to do that on the garage floor than upside down in the car.
While I am waiting for the solder paint/paste to arrive I will get on with the front wings that need grommet holes punched where the front brake hoses pass through plus I will start fitting the transformer panels that link the '53 Prefect scuttle to the '39 wings.



20/12/13. The transformer panels are taking much more time than I thought at first but one side is well along the road. I decided to finish the one side first and learn from my mistakes. This one had a bit too much trimmed hence the pretty weld-heat colours but even so I am pleased enough. I was not sure how the swage line of the side panel would merge with my new piece but even though it is different it doesn't look so bad and may just need a tad adjustment of the side panel swage to blend in. What you think?






11/03/14. Just finished the other side and this time no welding required. Morals are; dont rush - think carefully before you start swaging - if in doubt stop - good lighting - dont give up.

Have you seen those mini weld clamps being sold at jumbles. I only found them this year and they are real handy for single handed jobs like holding my new panel behind the wing flange.

29/12/2013. Tried out the solder paste today - called Nealetin - its magic so on we go and hopefully pictures of the soldered roof soon.

30/12/2013. Started tinning the roof panel. The mini panel had been etch primed when new and was done well so took a lot of rubbing to get down to clean metal. Also, a few rust spots -those in the centre were treated with rust converter and others in the solder area ground out as far as possible but some also too deep and will just get sealed in. I reckon a 50/60mm wide band of tinned metal around the panel should be enough and then its the same treatment for the area surrounding the roof hole.
31/12/2013. This is a small part of the roof panel tinning and although it looks grey in the picture it is a nice silver colour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)
Still havent got the clutch lifting right although the stuck clutch plate has smoothed out after some dummy starts. I need more lift because the Prefect floor is angled more than the Spitfire so I cant get enough travel. I have an adjustable clevis to fit that should give a little more movement and if not then I could put a slight set in the pedal. If that lot fails then I suppose I will have to replace my lovely new 5/8" master cylinder with a 0.7". When the new flexi hose arrives I will spend a day sorting it all out in one go.
15/12/13. Fitted a 0.7" master cylinder and it is better as reverse goes in quietly but only about 1/4" pedal movement before the clutch starts to bite and I suspect the cylinder is naff as it is better after a few pumps. Now fitted a braided hose throughout.
21/12/13. Swapped my new 3/4" brake master cylinder over to try it on the clutch and it is about right although still seems a short take-up to the bite but the gears move in silently so thats the way it will stay for now. Maybe the short take-up is typical for a diaphragm clutch. The 0.7 master cylinder is back on the brakes - for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
for flattening out panels that 'pop' when bead rolled, i made up a scalloped punch, its about a 6th of a circle, ground up and polished then hardened, and i dress the ends of each swage to a radius, by hand with the punch and a hammer. you can just see the end of one here, doing this returns the panels to flat again, and in my eyes gives a much nicer finish too-
I think I get your drift but it would be nice to see a picture of the punch if you are willing to divulge your design.
06/05/14. Just did a few beads on my swager and as I was doing it I remebered I had a tool I used many years ago when I made a batch of BSA Gold Star mudguard stays for George Prew. This tool was for flattening the ends just like the end of a bead and coincidentally the stays were the same size as my beads - 1/2". So I dug it out and tried it as Dez described. Although meant for a press I just placed it and hit it with a hide mallet and it sort of did the trick. These beads are not very visible as they are in the inner wing so ideal for practising. I still finished by tapping the crown down with a wooden mallet and all is well.
This is the tool.

And this is the inner wing with beads.

 

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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
Started a new job today as I like to have about three things on the go in case one or two get stalled as they inevitably do. The windscreen frame on the upright Prefect is formed from a nice quality piece of brass extrusion but the lower section is joined to the upper section at the corners with steel links. These links rust in the course of time and the subsequent expansion cracks the frame. Luckily this one had only minor splits so I silver soldered these but in the past I have needed to make form blocks to re-make sections before splicing them in with silver solder. I am making new links in 5mm brass and if anyone needs to know the angle of the vee is around 77 degrees and the threads are 10-32 UNF.


A rusty one, a brass blank and one finished. The finished one is marked so it goes back in exactly the same position, ie o/s and B for bottom because the lower rail is a different width inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 · (Edited)
Got a hickup with the front Ballamy suspension. It appears the axle beams are either bent or were badly welded in the first place. When it was all bolted in place the front axle beam pivots in the centre were out of line and to describe the amount I would say if they were lowered about 2" they would have lined up. The whole assembly is now off and a standard 'A' frame back in for the time being till I can ascertain what the problem with the Ballamy is. I thought it looked wrong as the wheels were canted out - sort of bow-legged look. I'll take some pictures soon to illustrate the problem and maybe one of you will be able to suggest the way forward.
I managed to work out the problem with alignment. Mr Ballamy turned the axle round back to front so he could use the brake compensator boss at the rear of the beam. Because I am not using the cable brakes I put it together with the boss at the front where it usually goes, and this messed up the alignment in a big way. Happily, it is now all lined up ok except I still have to get the camber improved. Moral - take a picture before you take something apart that you are not familiar with. Anyway I can now go ahead and paint everything and get the spring overhauled and beefed up - I estimate by an additional 10% because of the heavier engine.
 

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Without going all the way back to the beginning of teh thread if you have boxed the chassis the spring will actually be too strong and you may find you have to deleaf rather than uprate. If still open rails I'd guess at the rate being pretty close by now . I'd leave it until in use before deciding (from experience ) :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Without going all the way back to the beginning of teh thread if you have boxed the chassis the spring will actually be too strong and you may find you have to deleaf rather than uprate. If still open rails I'd guess at the rate being pretty close by now . I'd leave it until in use before deciding (from experience ) :)
Fair enough Kev but I have read about this suspension and Ballamy softened the spring rate in the standard car. When I tried this out in the garage the spring looked very flat under static pre-load ie with an extra 40/50 Kgs of engine measured over the axle. I will paint it up and re-fit and post a picture of it under load and see what you think then. Should be ready during January.
 
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