When I rebuilt my front suspension, I noticed that the steering box adjustment was pretty much all in. The adjustment screw was almost flush with the top of the lock nut. Since I have a right hand drive, I thought that I had better make a start in finding a replacement since they are no where near as common as left hand drive versions. The right hand drive steering box is a direct mirror image to the left hand drive. The machined worm gear spiral actually runs in the opposite direction as well - I can’t believe that BMW didn’t just arrange the same steering box on the opposite side of the car rather than get ZF to make an exact mirror copy.
After posting a ‘want to buy’ on the UK board and Australian Facebook, I struck lucky with a good box from the UK with lots of adjustment left and a smooth action. This was bought for a quite unreasonable sum (plus shipping) and sent to Adelaide. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of planning an interstate move and a 9 week tour with a camper trailer, so I had little choice but to pack the new steering box and ship it on to Sydney where we were moving to.
The (fast) drive from Adelaide to Sydney in my car reinforced to me the need to get the steering box changed out. While less noticeable when puttering about town, sweeping bends at 80mph we’re a bit unnerving as I waited for the steering to catch up with the input I had just given it. The rest of the suspension (all new) has performed well but the steering had some room for improvement.
I got a seal kit from Walloth & Nesch which also comes with a paper gasket, a new pitman arm nut and a tabbed lock washer. I know that I could get the seals individually for a lot cheaper from a bearing / seal supplier based on the dimensions on the seals but I saw the benefit of getting a complete kit. The pitman arm came off first, I used a puller and some judicious application of heat from a MAPP torch after spinning off the nut with my long breaker bar. The arm wound off with no dramas once the heat had expanded it and it lost its grip on the shaft. The box came apart easily, revealing the worm gear and sector rollers as perfect, no galling or obvious wear. The ball bearing cages were intact and no obvious wear on the races or balls. The shims were scrubbed clean with a scotchbrite pad. The housing was cleaned up and given a coat of ‘silver galv’ paint before the new seals were gently tapped into place with suitably sized sockets. The marks on the shaft were aligned with the marks on the case and then the box was reassembled. 300ml of clean SAE 90 oil was added and the box worked back and forth a bit to distribute around the bearings.
Removing the old box was relatively straightforward, though I did elect to remove the whole drag link and steering idler so that I could get the Pitman arm in the vice and give it a good whack with a BFH. I could have used a ball joint tool but I was conscious that I didn’t want to damage the rubber seal on the base of the ball joint so the ‘hard whack’ method was required. Removing the lot was the next logical step as I didn’t have enough room underneath the car for a good swing of the hammer.
I didn’t do anything to the steering idler apart from cleaning it up and topping up its oil. The RHD idler was common with NK and CS coupes (as are a number of RHD only parts). The unit is actually adjustable but I left mine alone as there was no appreciable play in any direction and yet it turned very smoothly. I am going to assume that is OK as I can’t find any instructions as to how it may be adjusted.
I renewed the flex joint after cleaning up the parts. The braided strap for the horn appears to have been working long term by just rubbing against the heat shield (RHD joints have a heat shield to protect the joint against the heat from the exhaust). I added a crimped loop of wire that I protected with heat shrink and installed within the heat shield to protect it.
The new flex joint is quite a bit smaller than the original (no date mark unfortunately, marked Jurid and SKF). I am hoping that there is no compromise in terms of strength longer term.
You can see the comparison between the old box and the replacement in terms of how much adjustment is available. I will give the replacement box a tweak once I have the car back on the road.
When I get a chance, I will tear down the old box and see what state it is in. It definitely felt a lot more rough than the replacement. I am hoping that the worm and roller are OK as I will get it rebuilt with new bearings if it is possible since they are getting pretty rare now. I will update this post with whatever I find.
Having given up replacing the wheel bearings when refurbishing the rear suspension, I returned to the task once I had rearmed with two new axle-end castle nuts. I couldn't move the nuts at the time, so having limited time to complete the work, I left the bearings in place to be replaced another day.
I bought a new impact wrench as my old, single hammer wrench didn't touch the nuts. Sure enough, the new wrench, after working away for a while, removed the nuts as requested. As I was removing the right hand side nut, the hub came free from the stub axle. This seemed a lot easier than the usual script, which sees pullers and even heating the hub to get it off.
The bearings were knocked out with a punch easily once I realised that the internal spacer could be displaced to give access to the outer race to apply the punch evenly around the outside. Once both bearings were out and everything cleaned up, I realised that there was no spacer shim included. This is likely to explain why the hub separated from the stub axle so easily (though equally I didn't have any obvious bearing problems). I greased one of the replacement bearings and installed it from the rear using the bush /bearing pulling tool that I have plus the gland nut for a stock front strut that fits nicely on the outer race.
Having installed the inner bearing, I took my vernier calipers and measured the depth of the installation shoulder to the face of the bearing (61mm) and measured the length of the inner spacer (64.2mm) so with an end float of 0.1mm, I needed a shim of 3.1mm. Unluckily for me, the 3.1 shim is NLA so I purchased a 3mm shim from the local BMW dealer. This cost me $53 AUD for a part available in the states for $11USD but I could get it quickly (10 days) so I went with that. I figure that it is better to have a slightly larger end float of 0.2mm than none at all.
Having obtained the shim, this was installed with the outer bearing which was tapped and pulled into place using my bearing puller. The greased seals were then installed on both sides, followed by the stub axle slid and tapped into place. I put the hub and castellated nut in place and finished it off by pulling the stub axle into place by tightening with my impact gun. Once the drum was back on, I added the wheel and lowered the car of the jackstands. Then after doing some arithmetic on my weight and the length of my breaker bar, I proceeded to tighten the stub axle up to its final torque. This saw me tighten using my torque wrench to 150lb ft (as high as it goes) followed by me hauling on my long breaker bar until I could applying my full body weight (250lb) to the measured length of my bar to give the required 295lb ft.
A further small project also needed to be completed as a follow on from the suspension work. The right hand shock, lower mounting stud had disappeared and the PO replaced it with a bolt which was undersized. I had put it back together using the bolt pending arrival of the correct parts from Blunt. The correct stud is a press in design with a knurled section similar to a wheelstud. To install, I got it started in the hole with a few taps from a hammer before installing the shock and then pulling the stud into place with the nut and some judicious use of my new impact wrench to tighten and pull the stud into place.
Old bolted connection for lower shock mounting.
New knurled bolt, washer and nut.
Bearings removed and old grease cleaned out.
New lower mount installed.
Bearing being wound into place with puller (and stock front strut gland nut).
Stub axle back in place, just awaiting drum and a good old tighten.
The rear suspension on my car was pretty tired looking and like most things where I don't have a detailed knowledge of its history, I was not prepared to take any chances with it. Certainly we are planning an interstate move to Sydney before the end of the year so I wanted to finish up on the big jobs that would keep the car from getting a Road Worthiness Certificate in New South Wales. South Australia is more relaxed about testing old cars and as long as you keep up to date with your registration then they don't test you.
There was no obvious play in the suspension but the bits of bush you could see projecting outside the trailing arms looked cracked and perished. It looked like this was the original suspension, at least as far as bushes are concerned. The shock absorbers were, I think, 80's vintage KYBs. I say 80's because the rubber bushes were heavily perished in the same manner as the trailing arm rubber. While the bushes may have been shot, the shocks themselves seemed fine in terms of consistent pressure when depressing them and they consistently returned to their extended position. People criticise KYBs as being too harsh ( they may be) but they certainly seem to be pretty well made. Out go the KYBs and in come the HD Bilstein shocks to match those up front.
While doing the bushes, I also decided to rebuild the rear brakes - so shoes, drums, handbrake cables (my old ones were well stretched with small sections of pipe to keep the threads useful). I also bought rear wheel bearings but I set myself the task of completing the work over a weekend and over stretched myself a bit. I couldn't shift the 36mm hub nut with either my air impact wrench or a breaker bar with a long cheater pipe, so short of getting destructive to shift the nuts (I have no easy replacements) discretion was the better part of valour and the bearings lived to fight another day. I had quite a haul from Walloth & Nesch, especially in terms of weight, so it's good to take advantage of their fixed rate shipping. When I opened the box, I was impressed that they included a nicely bound parts catalog. Of course it's only marketing but I am a sucker for the hi-res exploded diagrams.
Everything other than the hubs came apart as it should. After slowly releasing the tension on the springs by jacking up the trailing arm and disconnecting the shocks, the springs and shocks came out. I then stripped the drum brakes, carefully removing the rear wheel cylinders. These are 'only' 6 years old and in perfect condition so they are getting reused. The drums were pretty worn and right on the wear limit plus the shoes, while not that worn, were showing some troubling cracking. I got a pair of rear flexible hoses since I wasn't 100% certain I wouldn't destroy them on the way out. In the end the existing ones, also replaced 6 years ago, were in perfect condition so I left them in place.
Having removed the springs and shocks it made it easier to reach in from the side to get the halfshaft hex bolts. Not wanting to risk stripping any of the bolts with my air impact wrench, I cobbled together all of my 1/2" socket extensions until I could extend beyond the body to get a good swing with a breaker bar after giving the hex socket a good smack with a hammer to make sure it is seated. On one occasion this still wasn't enough given prior damage so I ended up having to drill the head off with an 11mm drill before winding the stub out with vice grip pliers once the half shaft was removed. I placed the trolley jack head on the flat plate in front of the diff and took the weight. I removed the 'push rods' from under the floor and then undid the large nuts on the body to subframe studs. These came off without any undue problems and with some care the subframe was lowered to the ground and dragged out from under the car. The strip down went quickly and I moved onto tackling the bushes. With the combination of the screw and nuts from a professional bush installation set and some half arsed pieces of PVC pipe, I pulled the old bushes out having followed Toby's tip of heating them with a torch until they smoked to release the 'stiction' between the trailing arm and the bush. Toby also said that most bushes are actually in good condition internally, and these were exactly that.
The subframe and trailing arms all got a standard treatment of jet wash, degreaser, jet wash again, knotted cup wire brush in an angle grinder followed by scrubbing with wax and grease remover. The parts were then given two good coats of epoxy machine enamel before reassembly. Nuts and bolts not due for replacement (I replaced all of the hex hardware on the half shafts as well as the sway bar mounts and fasteners) were degreased, wirebrushed and shot with a little zinc galv paint to clean them up.
The rubber subframe mountings were date marked as December 1972 which would align with the build date of my car being March 1973. See this post
They showed some deep cracking but again felt quite solid for something that is 44 years old, off to the neighbour's pool! While these bushes looked like being original, it was obvious that my rear suspension had seen some work over the years as the left hand trailing arm is a standard 'open' style and the right hand a plated tii trailing arm. Accident? Rust? Who knows. The subframe beam appears straight and the trailing arm tabs look perfect so who knows? I did think of plating the other side but I have heard stories of this warping them and it increasing the rate that they rust out, so I am sticking with my mix of arms for now.
The handbrake cables caused some swearing due to their awkwardness, a dark spot and difficult working angle through the passenger door. The old cables came out relatively easily but the new ones took some fiddling to get in. I pulled out the hand brake lever to get access to the new ends and the guts of the ratchet mechanism flew out and the button took off and struck the windshield. I then had to research how it all went back together on the FAQ. I got a bit of practice reassembling that handbrake lever until I realised that I needed to pull the cables far enough through the hole that the threaded section was completely clear and the handle was only bearing upon the cable themselves. Locking pliers, zip ties and levering with a screw driver gave the required cable extension while I squeezed the handle into place without dislodging the ratchet mechanism. Cables firing back into the tunnel, buttons shooting out, swear words flying. Thankfully done now; another job that I would pay money to have seen demonstrated on a moving production line in Munich.
While the rear suspension is out, I cleaned and repainted the rear wheel wells and panels under the boot floor. I jetwashed and scraped the collection of road dirt, loosened undercoat and hardened oil out before treating it to two coats of white epoxy enamel with a brush. The existing paint was in excellent condition in general and this served to clean things up more than avert any kind of structural crisis. This car, apart from the issues around the edge of doors, boot and bonnet has really proven to be structurally perfect and free from major rust. One of the benefits of spending your time inland on one of the dryest continents on earth.
Reassembly went back together fairly smoothly, the swaybar mountings took some juggling to get right. I had to think hard about how to reassemble but at the same time not torque anything up until back on the wheels. New shocks were installed, springs and pads refitted along with the bumpstops (these were all cleaned up and were in good shape).
Well it's been a while since I have posted (again). As before, the tempo of work has slowed and now I am tackling things as they arise and as the opportunity presents itself. Since my last post, I have fitted my 123 Tune + distributor which I am now having fun (in a good way) playing with the tune. I should probably write a post on that on its own just to document what I have done installation wise plus, of course, how I have tuned it. Bear with me if you are tuning in for that, I will get to that later on.
While investigating a no-start condition, I idly triggered my multi spark CDI ignition having blindly been cranking the engine for some time. The bang as the cylinder full of fuel and air mixture ignited was massive. My ears rang for the rest of the night and it took a few minutes for the smoke to clear. My wife came running out of the house, convinced that I had finally killed myself as I came blinking out of my shed.
Once I had figured out my problem with the 123 and got the car started, I detected a changed quality to the exhaust note plus a notable 'chuffing' from underneath. The explosion had knocked a hole in my down pipe and blown a chunk out of the sealing flange between the down pipe and resonator. To be fair, both were in terrible condition. The resonator had seemed solid enough but was red with a granular rust all over. The downpipe looked like it was related to Frankenstein as it showed the scars of being welded many times. As the RHD downpipe has been unavailable for many years, this had been patched over and over to get through. I had always had a small exhaust leak somewhere up front and this had been my number 1 suspect for some time.
Since I had finally killed my exhaust, this gave me an excuse to get something better. I am a big fan of stainless steel exhausts on classic cars so this was my chance. I considered getting the Ireland stainless exhaust but then rejected it for a number of reasons. Firstly, as I needed a new downpipe and Ireland did not make a RHD version, I would need to get this from Jaymic in the U.K. From some limited research I am happy to declare Jaymic as the sole source of RHD exhaust down pipes in the world. Rather than double up on shipping it made sense to ship from a single source and get their exhaust as well. Secondly, the overall price was OK - not because it is particularly cheap but because the pound sterling (GBP) was getting hammered due to Brexit. Export trade being a silver lining for the Brits. Thirdly, I am not really looking for anything more than a mild upgrade. The Jaymic system does this through decent mufflers but uses stock sized piping. This means less problems in getting it to fit using stock hanger locations, brackets etc and no gaping 'coffee can' at the rear, just a nicely polished tip.
The exhaust itself is well made, fits well and sounds good. Jaymic gets them fabricated by Larini Systems Ltd in the U.K. Looking at their site they obviously know a few things about performance exhausts. https://www.larinisystems.com/technology/lightweight-mufflers so I am expecting a reasonable life out of this exhaust. For various reasons, I did not fit the exhaust myself as I would normally do. Instead, I dropped it and the car off at a local Mom and Pop exhaust specialist for the fitting and to get a bung welded in to the down pipe for a wideband O2 sensor as I am planning an AFR meter to assist with tuning sidedrafts later in the year. I also dropped off a fitting kit, bought separately from Jaymic, with gaskets, hangers and clamps within. The mechanic used the supplied bolts in the flanged joint between the down pipe and the resonator. This joint is crucial, not just for leak free operation but also as a means to keep the exhaust in adjustment and not knocking. After a few return journeys with knocks and rattles, I realised that the problem lay with this joint and the ability to clamp tight enough to stop the exhaust from rotating. The supplied boots were 'necked' and had been tightened until the threads bottomed out. I replaced these with hex head set screws with thread down their whole length. This allowed me to get more bite on this joint when tightening, fixing the problem before I had to get in an argument with the specialist who wanted to tack weld my exhaust. No hard feelings, I would go back there!
When the exhaust was off, we discovered that the existing exhaust manifold had been broken and bodged in the past. A large chunk of the flange had come away surrounding one of the downpipe studs. This had been bodgied up with exhaust cement and was another late entry in the category off suspects for exhaust leaks. I needed a new exhaust manifold so I got him to get his cement out and bodgie it up again until I could replace it. Hitting the FAQ wanted board, Facebook Australia and eventually, the U.K. board wanted, I got hold of a great replacement for my 'rare as rocking horse shit' manifold (at least in Australia). I got a good deal on one shipped from the UK. Wire brushed and coated with Eastwood high temp paint, it was ready to fit. A new cylinder head gasket (finally got an E30 one with the heat shield) and we are all good.
Label on the centre section
Detail of the down pipe.
Detail of the centre resonator.
Polished tail pipe tip.
Replacement exhaust manifold.
Break in the original manifold and welding on back. There was no stud installed prior to removal.
Reinz E30 exhaust gasket. This hangs up slightly on the threaded bosses on the RHD manifold for the long lost heat shield. A few punched holes with a screwdriver sort that. Note that the right hand threaded hole is actually straight through to the exhaust runner. I scratched my head for a few minutes as to where the exhaust leak was coming from. M6 bolt fixes it ( though I need to trim it down).
A view from below showing the flange between the manifold and down pipe. Much better than the lash up of exhaust sealant and leaks that I had before.
Having put up with a succession of worn distributors, I enquired about the cost of rebuilding my distributor with a local Adelaide specialist. After being quoted $650 AUD to rebuild, I took this as a clear sign that I needed to get a 123 Tune distributor as this was exactly how much I had been quoted for a 123 Tune by the Australian distributor for one. Entirely coincidentally, 'The Great 123 Group Buy of 2016' was on and despite getting a haircut on a few foreign currency conversions, I still came out about $200 AUD ahead. Nice work @Captain Manly!
The distributor arrived in good time from the Netherlands and I got around to installing it. Don't do what I did and actually read the instructions. I hadn't closely followed the instructions with regard to rotating the distributor in the correct direction to find the point when the light comes on relative to the normal direction of rotation. It seems that this actually informs the distributor whether it is is a clockwise or anticlockwise rotating distributor. I think I may have also needed to enter the factory PIN of 1234 as well. Suffice it to say that it was only when Imfollowed the instructions and stopped thinking for myself did I get it started.
The mechanical installation was straight forward after finding TDC for number 1 cylinder. Electrically it was slightly more complex as my car was fitted with a Summit Racing Multi-Spark CDI ignition (See https://www.bmw2002faq.com/blogs/entry/524-ignition-investment-updated/) . This had been installed without any permanent wiring alterations so that I could easily revert to standard points and condenser by swapping a few connectors over at the side of the road. I wanted to maintain this ethos with the 123 so I could ditch the CDI or the 123, if necessary in a road side situation. My installation was also further complicated by having an MSD external tachometer adapter installed in the ignition wiring as the tachometer output of the CDI would not drive my tachometer. Ordinarily I would have obtained a multi-way weatherpac plug coupler and prepared two looms to connect between the 123, the CDI and the cars own wiring but keeping it all reverseable meant finding another way of terminating the wiring.
The wiring scheme I came up with at the time took advantage of the multiple connections already in place and added extra using piggyback connectors to allow three wires to be connected at a single point in a manner that allows disassembly.
Here is a wiring diagram altered from the MSD / Pertronix diagram. I have marked on the tacho adapter, the additional ground wire that the 123 has and where the piggyback connectors are used to allow three way connections at those points. The MSD tacho adapter basically has two leads (red and white), each of which have two Faston connector terminals crimped on from the factory. I also have a diode wired into the white wire into the MSD. This came with the tacho adapter and i think is to protect the ignition box from the voltage spikes on the white wire from the adaptor damaging the ignition box.
Installing the the wiring and crimped terminations, I took the opportunity to install some heat shrink tubing over the wiring as it leaves the 123. I undid the nicely specified cable gland and installed the tubing underneath to properly finish the cable entry.
I crimped on the piggyback terminals to the red and black and a 6mm ring for the blue ground wire to go under the coil mounting screw. Each one was treated to additional strain relief using more heat shrink tube.
The wiring is installed in in a single location above the coil in the engine baywhere it can be returned to a previous configuration at short notice. Note the three connections using the piggyback terminals and the diode installed into the white wire (in the black heat shrink at the blue terminal).
Short sections of plastic hose were added over the piggyback connectors to help strain relieve and insulate from shorting out.
Here are my initial curves, not final but based on the max advance I want to run and a reasonable initial advance. I also added a point at 25 degrees BTDC at 2,000rpm to allow me to dynamically set the timing to the ball.
If you have any questions then let me know.
It's been a while since I have written anything for this blog, mainly because I haven't been doing much but enjoying driving it. I had intended to press on with my conversion to twin Solexes but as you can imagine, using the car in anger has raised a few more pressing issues. The first, and most minor, is I readjusted the driver's side window and trimmed the Uro door seals to get a better fit. This was just partially successful but I will keep my eyes open for a deal on BMW replacements.
The second thing was I swapped the diff for a better second hand one. The original had terrible pinion bearing noise and I wasn't sure if it was that or the gearbox. Starting on the assumption of fix the cheaper things first, I was lucky and found that replacing the diff fixed the noise.
Driving the car and digging around underneath had brought the suspension to my attention. It was a bit of a mixed bag with some things being obviously shot, some things being surprisingly OK and some in an unknown, yet to be revealed state. With this in mind I set out to fit new Bilstein HD strut inserts, new strut bearings, new wheel bearings, new control arms, new ball joints and new steering rods. I also had a set of bushes and hardware for the anti-roll bar. I was going to adjust to the steering while I had everything off before replacing all the rods and checking the steering idler for play. The steering box is on its last legs in terms of available adjustment and oil leaks. Nothing done about this at this point but I will be looking out for a replacement or will spend the cash on a Jaymic rebuild. The idler was funny, no play whatso ever but almost zero friction. I couldn't fault it for what it does but it felt strange none the less. The RHD steering idler is a more complex beast to the LHD version with its own oil (same as the steering box) and the ability to adjust any play. Since I couldn't shake any play from it and I have no specific info on it, I left it alone. I may see if Jaymic have bushes and info about it when I eventually get around to dropping the subframe.
Removing the struts and control arms from the car was uneventful but with the usual rusty bolts, stuck tapers etc.. Nothing that an air impact wrench, long breaker bar and MAPP gas couldn't fix. The Pitman arms separated from the strut tubes OK and then from the Control Arms which I then junked (the bushes were OK but couldn't have been reused anyway).
Stripping the driver's side strut, I found this without a dust cover or bump stop and consequently an eon's worth of crap had managed to make its way down the tube to stick the insert within the strut. Not good. Penetrating oil, heat and suspending it in a vice by the rod while pounding on it with a soft face mallet was the only way to shift it.
Peaking out from under the crap was a Koni sticker. When stripping the passenger side strut the insert came out easily and revealed the trademark red paint and that it was an 'Adjustable' model. Unfortunately these had long been adjusted to dead weights with shot valving and little resistance or return when compressed. Guessing at the meaning of the numbers stamped into the bottom they last saw the light of day in either 1986 or 1988. The passenger side was a lot easier to strip which goes to show how effective even the stock dust cover is at keeping crap out of the tube to prolong their life and help stripping later on.
Everything that wasn't new got a good wire brushing and then several coats of a flat black machinery epoxy that I like for these sort of things. I also pulled the anti-roll bar (sway bar) to treat this to a coat of paint and a new set of bushes / hardware kit from W&N. All that new cadmium plating looks sexy but I didn't have the cash to replace all of the hardware so the rest was cleaned throughly before giving a thin coat of SilverGal zinc based paint.
The obligatory money shot. I had originally wanted to wait until I was dropping the front subframe for an engine rebuild but I am glad I did this in advance. I do work on the assumption that as long as everything has been shiney and like new at one point while the car is in my ownership that is easier than trying to get everything new at the same time. I try and be realistic about the finish and painting too avoiding a bling paint finish. Ultimately this stuff is going to be installed in a grimy, oily place and as long as it it doing its job I am happy.
Thanks for reading, any questions please feel free to comment.
Following on from my blog entry on fitting these carbs and the various things I had to work around (mainly related to the Cannon inlet manifolds) I thought I would post a separate entry on rebuilding them and a third for tuning and adjustment. There is so little information available on these carbs, I am hoping that someone else may find it useful.
The FAQ of course but specifically a few diagrams posted by CD and JGerock. The Haynes manual has some information on the PHH, strangely given the TI was never sold in the UK but TII, which were, does not get a look in as far as adjusting the K-fish is concerned.
Before we start...
I started off by examining the jets and other calibrated parts that are fitted. It may seem obvious but I will say it anyway, twin carbs can only work properly if they are truely a matched set. This includes all of the calibrated parts like jets, chokes etc but also things like the transition holes and the knife edge angles on the throttle plates. My pair of carbs look physically different to each other as the casting seems to be stained to different shade and minor differences such to some of the fasteners show that they are different ages. The guy that I bought them off supposedly ran them on on a Targa rally car but obviously not that successfully since he apparently wanted to change to Webers. I actually intend to rejet the carbs to match my car since I have a number of different variables to the original TI, so while I want to check what is installed, I only really care about making sure it is a matched set between both carbs at this stage since it will only form a baseline for future tuning.
When I looked closely down the throats of my carbs I could see 'Solex' and '40-30' peering back from the chokes. Oh-o these carbs have 30mm chokes and have therefore come off a 1600. Apart from being an item of rarity, they would be no use for my 2 litre. I also noted from a quick check of the jets on both carbs that the idle jets on the front carb are smaller than those on the rear. Not a great testament to their previous life. I had better pull them apart and see what else I can find. The following is the detailed disassembly procedure I followed on the rear carb. I have also included some pictures of the front carb where different.
Top plate removed to reveal air correction jets (155) at the top of the emulsion tubes.
Idle jets (52.5)
Top cover removed including float and emulsion tubes. These are fixed into the carb and don't appear to be easily replaceable (I didn't want to force them out of position and break them). Both carbs are fitted with the same tubes.
Needle valve assembly removed from the top cover. The inner section is removed by unscrewing from the outer section before the outer section can be unscrewed from the body. Crush washer in place between the inner and outer sections.
Needle valve assembly showing constituent parts.
One of the float pivot posts fell out from where it was swaged into the top cover.
Staking it back into position with a centre punch.
Removing the accelerator pump jet tube. Undo the banjo bolt, crush washers either side, I had to pick the lower one out with a sharp point.
Undo the screws on the choke plates. These may be tight and peened into position. I usually try and unscrew first with a sharp screwdriver and steady pressure. Be prepared to mangle and have to drill out.
The choke plates wiggle out of the shaft but remember to push in the poppet valve on the plate as this wraps around the shaft.
The throttle plate screws could not be moved, so I had to grind off the peened threads from the inside and drill and use an EZ-out to remove the screws having mangled the slots.
Screws came out quite easily with a satisfying crack as they loosened.
[Genius / Bastard] linkage that allows you to balance individual cylinders. This is held in place on the ends of the two throttle shafts by pinch bolts.
I undid the bolts to allow the shafts to be wiggled free of the housing in an outwards direction. The outer linkages could actually be left on the shafts if desired, though you will probably want them off for cleaning.
The auxiliary venturi (or pre-atomiser as Solex like to call it) in position.
These are clamped into position by conical shaped screws through the carb body. Mine were very tight and held in with locktite (I think they should have lock nuts on them). I will add new nuts when reassembling.
Shot of the venturi showing the fuel port and an anti-rotation dowel. This needed to be lightly gripped with needle nose pliers and pulled away from its mating hole in the carb body. When reinstalling, the screw needs to be fairly tight to jack the exposed section of tube into the body of the carb.
Choke showing how it had been bored out. Chokes are a good tight fit in the carb, no air leaks.
Measurement puts the choke bores at 33.89mm and 33.88mm respectively so 34 is what we are shooting for.
Unscrewing the main jets.
130 main jets fitted, screwed in to the main jet carrier and sealed with a crush washer.
Pump jet cover removed by undoing screws. Pump jet rod disconnected by undoing the lock nut and then removing the adjusting barrel nut.
Solex branded diaphragm - when were they last made? To be fair, it still felt pretty pliable.
Pump jet block removed. More Solex branded parts.
Unscrewing the pump jet ball valve. Clean until it rattles and add a new crush washer.
Organisation. Quite a lot of parts for one carb.
The body was scrubbed with a small wire brush and carb cleaner. All passage ways were flushed with carb cleaner with a straw fitted to the can and then blown clear with an airline. Watch your eyes! All of the individual parts were cleaned with wire brush, scotchbrite and carb cleaner before reassembly. Reassembly, as they say, is the reverse of removal but care was taken to work cleanly, replacing seals and crush washers as you go. The only tricky part is to ensure that the throttle plates are centred in the throats properly and are covering the progression holes.
Detail of plate / progression hole interface.
For some reason both of my carbs have one throttle plate with a small hand filed dip on the edge, just where the progression hole appears. Not sure why that is there and only on one throat in each carb. This may be an attempt to dial out a slight misalignment due to the split throttle shafts and some lost movement in the [genius / bastard] linkage. Time will tell if it is noticeable when trying to tune and get the carbs to idle. I elected to flip the plates around (making sure I get the knife edge on the edge right) to move this to the other side of the carb. Playing with the carbs off the car, I had no problem using the [genius / bastard] linkage to dial the plates so that the progression holes were equally covered and opened in tandem.
After shopping around for new throttle plate screws, I determined that the thread was the same for both Solex and Weber (M4 X 0.7). Weber screws, which are easily available, have a pan-head Phillips design as opposed to the countersunk Solex screws, they also have a massively variable price up to $4.95 AUD each! Since I was resigned to not matching the countersunk design, I elected to buy 100 button Allen headed screws from eBay in the appropriate size. At least they are slightly more streamlined than the Weber equivalent.
The front carb was stripped and cleaned in the same way. Here are some of the highlights / differences to the rear carb.
The idle jets in the front carb are different to the rear carb 47.5 vs 52.5. That can't have done anything for driveability. I did wonder if they had been drilled but after checking with the shank of a 0.5mm jet drill, they obviously hadn't. All the other jets were the same and were tested for size using the shank of appropriate jet drills to 'go / no-go' the jets so someone was obviously aiming for stock TI jetting. Seems like an obvious issue for someone running a rally car. I bought a new pair of 52.5s and 4 X 55s for tuning if I need to richen the idle circuit. The rest of the jets I will drill initially prior to buying replacements in the ball park.
The linkage on the front carb.
Here is the rebuild kit bought from Alfa1750. There is an address and contact details on the front in case you want to cut out the middleman. Ruddies of Berlin are also another good source of parts.
A few weird things about the kit. The accelerator pump diaphragms are double skinned. The rubber, while pretty tough, is notably thinner than the original. It also seems to be missing the crush washers for the accelerator pump jet delivery tube. Be prepared to save yours or try and find generic ones locally.
The off centre hole in the pump block gasket was too small and in the wrong position.
I had to enlarge this with a scalpel.
Replacement throttle plate screws - when installed crush the exposed thread end with needle nose vice grips to prevent them backing out. Don't use locktite as they are bathed in fuel. The traditional method of staking the ends is also OK but risks bending the throttle shafts, needs a long punch and must be done before assembling the auxiliary venturis and chokes.
What you are NOT looking for. The plates actually can move around slightly in the slot in the throttle rods until pinched into position by the rod when the screws are tightened. Play with this and the rotation of the shaft at the [Genius / Bastard] linkage until the plate snaps shut cleanly and very little, equally distributed, light is visible when shining a light in from the rear. If it feels 'woolly' then it is not quite right. Make sure that the [Genius / Bastard] linkage is in the middle of its adjustment when doing this. This way, centre is both plates closed fully. Unwinding the screw from the centre position opens one plate and screwing in from centre opens the other. Play with it off the car and you will get the principle.
The throttle shaft (and choke shaft) end nuts are then tightened. These are only nipped up tight, no leaning on them with a breaker bar. As you tighten, then keep flipping the throttle (or choke) open and closed. You will feel when it is too tight as you will lose the crisp snap as it shuts and it will move into woolly again. When you have them as tight as you can but retaining the snap, then stop. At this point, the anti-rotation washers are folded tightly over opposing flats of the nuts. This shot also shows the new lock nuts on the auxiliary venturi securing screws.
Before reassembling the choke plates, check the direction and aim of the pump jets as they are tricky to reach once the choke plates are installed. One of the diagrams that CD is famous for posting shows the spray direction in two different planes. Basically the stream of petrol should be aimed at the lower side of the throttle shaft at the outermost side of the bores. After reinstalling the main jets and accelerator pump valve, fill the float chamber with petrol and operate the throttle until it squirts. If aimed correctly this should actually pass cleanly through the open throttle as the stream continues for a short time after the throttle is fully open. Don't worry too much about quantity at this stage, I reset the adjusting nut on the pump arm so that the same number of threads are exposed as the untouched front carb. This will serve as a baseline for tuning.
That's it, they are relatively straight forward to rebuild if you are well organised, work cleanly and do one at a time so that you can refer to the other. Take lots of pictures of the linkages as well as this will aid reassembly. My carbs may not have a bling rebuild with all new / replated parts but I am certainly a lot more confident in them now and have learnt a lot about them along the way.
Any questions, let me know. Thanks for reading.
I had bought a pair of Solex 40PHH carbs a number of years ago which did a great job of gathering dust on my garage shelf. As is typical with me, I often seem to do things the hard way. Not because I am some kind of perfectionist who looks for tricky solutions to easy problems but more because I am impulsive and optimistic about the effort involved when it comes to cars and parts.
Want to put side draft (or draught) carbs on your car? Sure. Going to buy a pair of Weber DCOE or even Dellortos? No, I will go with Solex carbs.
I don't think that the PHH is an inherently bad carb but given the scarcity of components and support there are definitely more obvious choices. I had been going cold on the idea of fitting them as I am actually quite happy with the performance of the car with the 32/36 and since most of my driving is quite slow, using only the primary choke, I figured what is the point? I had a long discussion with a guy at work who is an enthusiast of hot 70's Japanese cars and he convinced me to have another go with the Solex carbs and to look on it as a learning experience. Worst case would be that I would need a day to remove and go back to the downdraft carb. So here we go...
The carbs are in overall good condition, having been taken from a Targa rally car in Queensland. I have bought rebuild kits from the eBay seller Alfa1750, who I will ultimately buy new jets from as I go about tuning them. I will write a separate, detailed blog entry on rebuilding them as there is so little information available about the carbs. You are welcome, crazy Solex people!
The previous owner said he only pulled them as he wanted to go with 45 DCOEs ( but then what else would you say when you are trying to sell some carbs?). He also had the correct BMW manifolds but he hummed and hawed about keepin them so I ended up having to get my own. Again, I could have gone the easy way and bought a pair of BMW manifolds but I ended up with a pair of Cannon manifolds off eBay. These are ok but there were a number of minor issues with them that expanded the work required.
The first problem is that the carbs didn't actually fit the manifolds. Think that all sidedraft carbs are the same? Think again. The Cannon manifold runners actually have far too much material between the two bores and the Solex PHH has a small linkage that extends forward between the chokes to allow adjustment of the two part throttle shaft to balance flow between the two chokes. This feature is either brilliant or terrible, allowing (along with the individual idle mixture adjustment screws) each cylinder to be perfectly balanced / tuned regardless of compression OR... It just gives me another set of frustrating adjustment points to get wrong when tuning. We shall see...
First task was to clearance the manifolds to allow this centre linkage on each carb to swing with the throttle. This was completed by scribing the gasket outline on the flange (didn't want to remove too much) and then cutting a chunk from each flange with a hacksaw. A bit of clean up with a file and the carbs can finally slide down the studs fully and fit the manifolds.
Hacksaw cut - first vertical through the flange before horizontal.
A shot of the freshly clearanced manifold and the offending [genius / bastard] linkage.
The manifolds brought their own issues with regard to hardware. I could tell at first glance they were quirky enough that I decided to build the assembly offline on an old head as far as possible to avoid getting to a crucial part of the installation and find I am missing a part.
The studs in the manifold were not M8 as might be expected on a manifold for a German car, they are 5/16". OK, no problem, I will get some hardware from the local store. I remove one of the studs to take with me and then promptly lose it. No problem, I will find a replacement... Seems the stud is not that easy to find (in local stores here). The manifold end, with the short thread is 5/16" UNC and the free end, which passes through the carb is 5/16" UNF. Why? The fine thread would have worked on both ends (the coarse would be ok too) but instead we have a combo that complicates its replacement. Can I contact Cannon and a buy a spare? No, they seem to be like Keyser Söze and either don't actually exist or they are so well hidden underground the FBI couldn't track them down. I ended up having to buy a set of studs with nylon nuts from the Australian Weber carb specialist http://www.weberperformance.com.au . These studs actually came with a whitworth thread instead of UNC on the short thread but UNF on the long. Whitworth and UNC thread forms have exactly the same number of threads per inch but with a different angle of thread. With steel studs wound into aluminium manifolds this seems to have made little difference.
The next issue that I would love to have been able to contact Cannon about was the brake servo vacuum take off. The manifolds came with a bare threaded hole into one of the runners and after establishing that the studs were an imperial size, I fully expected to be finding an imperial pipe thread size to take a hose tail piece. After applying my vernier calipers and imperial thread gauge I was none the wiser as to what fractional size and thread it could be. While idly flipping through the Ireland Engineering website, I was reading their page on the Cannon double barrel downdraft manifold. This, I was advised, required the BMW vacuum take off from the factory single barrel carb manifold. Surely this won't be the case here that I would be reliant on an ancient BMW factory part with a parallel metric thread? I promptly ordered one from Blunt as my car with a factory double barrel manifold has a pressed in vacuum port so I can't remove it. When I got the part, it seems that my original idea was correct. The BMW part was too big, M22, so I was back looking at hose tails with a pipe thread. I ended up with a 3/8 BSP but I suspect that it is actually an NPT thread (less common in Australia) which means that the thread will not run all the way in. Since this is not under a lot of pressure, I will fit this with some Teflon tape and will call it a day.
When fitting up the manifold to my old head, I noted that the available clearance between the head studs and the manifold runners was limited and variable. This meant that standard M8 nuts that require a 13mm spanner, or even worse the current flanged style of manifold nut were out. I bought some smaller but still flanged nuts from BLUNT that still wouldn't quite fit the lower studs. I took my air belt sander and ground the flanges off from the lower 4 nuts to reduce their diameter. I also relieved the runners in rear of the lower studs with the belt sander. This made them a lot easier to install both on the bench and when bending over backwards to get them on in the engine compartment.
The next issue to be addressed is coolant, or more accurately the lack of coolant. The downdraft manifolds are heated with coolant returning from the heater to the back of the water pump. My 32/36 Weber also was fitted with a water choke so there was a large amount of hoses that needed to be addressed as part of the conversion. I ordered the E21 bypass pipe and reducing hose from Blunt. This connects between the returning heater hose and the back of the water pump. This includes an additional take-off which runs to an expansion tank but I just sealed this up with A short section of hose clamped on a bolt to seal.
The water neck, or divider, which provides the outlet from the cylinder head to the radiator, also needed to be addressed as this has an inconvenient take-off positioned to foul the nearest manifold. Some people treat this by cutting this off and welding this shut. I chose not to do this, mainly so that I would have the ability to revert back to the 32/36 if my experiment with sidedrafts was a failure. I tried to order a new E30 water neck from Blunt but BMW had just posted them as NLA so after trying local Adelaide scrap yards (don't know why I bother) I ended up buying one from Echappe off this board (Ernest). This has two sender ports (probably E21) so I will fit the temperature gauge sender to one and may fit a fan switch to the other.
I am fitting the carbs to the manifolds with some 9mm DCOE phenolic carb spacers and gaskets since Solex have a problem with being overheated and warping. As I have a RHD, there are no issues with clearance from the brake servos but I do need to relocate the dipstick bracket so that this will project through between the carbs.
For a linkage, I went with the replica TI linkage that LarsAlpina on this board sells. This is a beauty of hand fabrication and fits perfectly, apart from needing modification for the RHD linkage arrangement (which to be fair it was never designed for). Instead of having a linkage from the pedal which runs vertically on the same plane as the linkage lever arm, the RHD has a rod that extends horizontally across the bulkhead from a bell crank that comes through the pedal box on the other side of the engine bay. This horizontal rod passes underneath where the rod pivot is attached to the bulkhead. This means that the crank on the bulkhead end of the carb linkage rod was pointing in the wrong direction. After grinding off the welds I removed the crank from the rod with the idea of re-welding it at the correct angle but I noticed that an adjustable crank with a pinch collar from an old side draft rod linkage set fitted perfectly. This allows me to adjust its rotational position on the rod to make adjustment easier. The existing horizontal rod on the bulkhead has a threaded end to allow a threaded fitting to be positioned for attachment to the existing down draft linkage rod. Since the linkage rod is moved closer to the engine by about 80mm, the point where the horizontal rod and the crank intersect will move by the same amount, outside of the threaded length. The simple solution is to reduce the length of the horizontal rod and cut a new thread to use the same fitting. This doesn't fit with my ethos of a fully reversible swap since the RHD throttle linkage is getting hard to come by these days. I bought a 6mm male rod end and some shaft collars. Threading the collars and rod end along the shaft, I can secure the rod end exactly where I need to intersect with the linkage crank. A couple of nuts and washers and the linkage is complete and fully adjustable.
A further issue with using the Cannon manifolds but the stock (replica) linkage is that the throttle return spring has nowhere to go. Armed only with minuscule exploded diagrams and poor photographs it wasn't clear to me where this spring attached either to the carb linkage or at the 'other end'. JGerock from this board (who is building a beautiful TII tribute car) put me straight in that there is a small stud inserted into the flange of the front manifold which accepted the spring and the other end attached through a hole in the front carb linkage. This places the spring towards the front of the gap between the carbs and the drop rod for the linkage towards the rear. Since I don't have the factory manifold I had to fabricate a plate suspended between the top studs to secure the spring on the front side, directly opposite the carb linkage.
This will be painted and finished along with the rest of the linkage before figment.
I will wrap this entry up now at the point where I am able to move into fitting the carbs. Part 2 of this blog will cover rebuilding the carbs and part 3 will be actual fitment to the car and initial tuning. I will retrospectively add some pictures of the linkage when painted to complete.
Any questions, let me know.
When I took the glass out for paint, I knew I would not be reusing the front and rear windscreen seals. The old ones were throughly perished and the filler strip hard hardened into a brittle state. After reading the many reviews of Uro seals Vs BMW windscreen seals, I elected to go with BMW even though I went Uro with the door seals. My reasoning, apart from saving money was that the door is capable of adjustment but the windscreen is not.
I started with the rear screen first and tried to follow the Blue Book method of installing the filler strip into the rubber before pulling it into the frame. I was somewhat hampered by it being a relatively cold late winter night in Adelaide (about 12 degrees C, 53 degrees F) and the filler strip had just been taken from the packaging where it had been coiled up for who knows how long. Not only was it in a lazy spiral it had a twist along its length. Every time I tried to feed it into the rubber it would often turn over in the slot and all of the pushing and shoving was either pulling the rubber off the glass or risking sliding the whole lot off the boot lid onto the floor (I had a polar fleece blanket on the boot lid to protect the paint and the glass). I thought that by not being installed I would be able to install the filler without a special tool - so confident was I that I ignored an opportunity to buy a new tool.
After lots of swear words and failed attempts I decided to make my own tool by twisting up some brazing rod and trying it the 'old fashioned way' of installing the glass and rubber before the filler strip. I had made up the other recommended tool of a few metres of 3.5mm nylon ripcord and a piece of old radio aerial that the cord would fit through. After bell-mouthing one end so that the cord would run through easily this made the perfect applicator for the cord. The aerial piece is just inserted into the slot and run around the outside, installing the rope deep into the slot. After centering the screen on the opening, some careful slapping with my hand and pulling the rope, the seal and glass slid into the opening. A few areas where bits of seal needed pulling over the lip with a plastic trim tool but no dramas.
Once the seal was in place the filler was relatively straight forward to install with some dish detergent and water for lubricant and my homemade installation tool. So much for the Blue Book! I learnt my lesson for the front screen and took the filler strip out of its bag and left it hanging from a rough truss, weighed down by some bulldog clips with old head bolts.
When I first pulled my new Uro door seals from the bag, I was wary about their fit, mainly from what I had read but also because the lower door parts looked so alien. After stuffing the top section into the aluminium profile around the top of the door, the lower sections were glued into place using 3M weatherstrip adhesive. The surfaces to be glued were roughed up with sand paper and cleaned with wax& grease remover to remove any residue. A thin line of adhesive was run along the seal and spread thinly. A matching bead was run and spread on the door frame, both were then left to go tacky before being stuck together. After the adhesive, the pinch weld mouldings were replaced around the door and refitted 3/4 windows.
After adjustment of the vent window and door glass, I had a few exploratory slams. Definitely needs a good shove but not as bad as could be expected. The upper seal section could do with being reduced in thickness (or made of softer material like the rear vertical section). I am tempted to trim this area back by a few millimetres to allow the vent frame to sit better in the seal. Overall it's not too bad though so I am going to give it a chance to compress before I do anything drastic.
Homemade tools and the world's most useful tool.
The bushes were shot in my alternator, it was quite noisy and the 'L' light would glow slightly while the engine was running. To be fair, it had no charging issues and this could be high resistance somewhere in the wiring. I had tightened the fan belt as this was quite slack and I could see the alternator deflect due to the poor bushes which had turned to mush. Following this I had noticed a small dribble of coolant coming from my water pump so I assume that the extra load from the fan belt may have pushed the bearings over the edge. Pushing on the fan, I could feel some play in the shaft. Time for a new water pump and alternator.
I bought a new Graf water pump from Blunt and on an impulse bought an AL41X alternator as an upgrade since this is supposed to be a bolt in upgrade. The alternator was a Bosch Premium rebuild and came without a pulley. When compared with my original alternator I could see that the shaft was longer than the original. After stripping the pulley and trial fitting I could see that I was going to have a few issues fitting it beyond just the length. Firstly the woodruff key on the new alternator was much wider than the old and the unthreaded portion of the shaft was wider which would prevent the existing pulley, fan and spacer washers from being compressed by the nut. Certainly from what I have read the AL41X is liable to come with a longer shaft in some cases but I am conscious that I don't want to bodge it into place. I need to get the correct pulley and spacers to fit so I am going to put this on a shelf until I can find one at a scrap yard.
I really didn't want to put my old alternator back as it was in a sorry state so I elected to get mine rebuilt by a local specialist in Adelaide. If I do get around to fitting the AL41X at some point then I will keep the rebuilt one as a back-up which can't be bad.
I removed the radiator, kidney grill and the left side grill to get access to the water pump. The fan, water pump pulley came off easily after easing back the locking tabs on the bolts and unscrewing the four bolts. The 6 and 8mm bolts around the water pump came out next though a few of these had corroded slightly in position so needed a firm hand to withdraw them once loosened. The mating surface of the front cover was then treated with gasket stripper, scraped and finally brushed using a nylon abrasive brush in an electric drill which is good for cleaning things without gouging or removing too much material. After a good wipe clean, I applied a thin scrape of Permatex Ultra Black to the surface before pressing the paper gasket into place. The Permatex is not really there to provide a seal, more to stick the paper gasket into place to help assembly. The new pump was inserted and the bolts run up by hand before torquing in a criss-cross manner.
I reinstalled the hoses with a few new hose clamps and reinstalled the radiator. I had given this a reverse flush with a hose when removed but it was already pretty clean as I try and keep my cooling system in good condition as it gets pretty hot here in Adelaide.
Overall, one of those non-sexy jobs that needs to be done but it does improve your confidence in the reliability of the car.
OK, so I heard back from my alternator guy. My original alternator had somewhere along the path of life lost a diode from its rectifier pack. This explains the dull glow of the 'L' light which I have had since owning the car but never done anything about since the battery never had any issues with charging. In fact, in the 10 years I have owned the car, I have only replaced the battery once (recently) after leaving it uncharged for several years. Whatever that alternator was doing, the battery was happy enough.
Missing diode in the centre.
Looking at the rest of the stripped parts, it was in a pretty sorry state. The commutator rings had worn badly and would need turned in a lathe plus both bearings were pretty noisy. Recommendation: get a new alternator, I didn't disagree.
When I explained what had happened with the AL41X, he said he would have a look at finding a pulley to fit. After some rummaging around and the sound of an impact wrench he came back with my original pulley fitted to the new alternator. He had widened out the key way in the pulley and added an additional spacer. Price for stripping and diagnosing my old alternator, adding the pulley to the new including an additional spacer plus testing the new alternator? No charge - can't say fairer than that and I will definitely be back again.
After reterminating my wiring and bolting into place, I spun the cooling fan to its closest position to interfering with the pulley. Even here there is approximately 1/2" clearance and since the fan blade tips are supposed to bend towards the radiator at speed, I guess this is OK, revving the car hard has not revealed any issues.
All finished and buttoned up, the car started and the 'L' went out quickly leaving glorious blackness in the instrument panel. I checked the output voltage 13.65V and called it a day. I am also going to claim, as a few others have, that fixing my alternator has improved my idle. Really accept that this could be my imagination, as I am not sure I understand what the mechanism might be. This is especially so after fitting the CDI multi spark ignition since the coil output doesn't really have any connection to the battery voltage any longer (plus I had measured the voltage output on many occasions). The only other thing that could have an impact being the presence of unrectified AC 'ripple' from the alternator and this has an impact in some way. I need to sit down and work out what the impact of only half-wave rectification might be. Overall, very happy with the project.
Having spent some time sorting out my ignition, I was pretty happy with how my car is running. The idle is a lot more stable than it was before but I can still detect a slight miss fire occasionally. Coincidentally to finishing the ignition I noted that I had a problem with the water choke on my 32/36. This was normally as regular as clockwork but for some reason had stopped engaging.
I took the air cleaner off to watch the operation of the choke and while I was there I looked down into the primary choke. When the throttle was opened a fine mist of fuel was present as the engines vacuum pulls the fuel from the auxiliary venturi in the primary along with the output of the pump jet (this was a nice healthy squirt when seen with the engine off). When the throttle was returned to idle, the visible mist disappeared as the engine is now running from the idle jets but periodically a big drip of petrol would fall from the auxiliary venturi and drop on the back of the closed throttle plate. Looking at the carb in general there was some seepage from the top cover so, along with the choke issue, I figured this would be a good time to pull it for a rebuild.
I had previously rebuilt the carb about 3-4 years ago and put in new jets to match CD's jet prescription. At the time I noted that the base flange was a little warped but I didn't do anything to correct it as I wasn't convinced I was going to keep the carb then. I do have a pair of Solex PHH carbs, manifolds and most of the linkage necessary to fit. I had been holding off, awaiting a rebuild of my engine but now I am cooling on the idea of the side drafts.
Most of my driving is around town, with pretty low speed limits common (60km/hr - approx 40mph). At this speed, I find that the car in its current state of tune seems to sit at this speed in 4th somewhere between idle and the throttle barely open - just at transition. This makes it a little bit annoying to drive - I often find myself rolling along in 3rd gear just to get the revs up and get off the idle circuit. If I rarely use anything other than the single 32mm choke then why would I move to 4 x 34mm chokes? I might reconsider that depending upon how far I go with an engine rebuild. I will have 9.5:1 compression ratio pistons (I have NOS that I picked up off eBay for a steal!) and the engine is already fitted with a 292 cam following a head rebuild a few years back. I will stick with the 32/36 for now and take a view on it when I have the new engine fitted.
My carb is actually a Spanish 'Bressel' licensed copy of the 32/36 which dates it as pretty old since this was made at the factory in Spain that Weber now use to make carbs. The carb is simple to pull, though you need some patience and long fingers to get at the nuts past the various obstructing hoses. Once the carb is off, it is straight forward to strip - removing the top cover first. I checked the float level first and this seemed OK. I had been confused slightly as to whether I had previously set it at 41mm (the factory figure) or 40mm (as quoted by CD) - I appeared to have picked the factory figure as this was pretty much bang on 41mm. Subsequently I worked out that the 40mm CD quotes includes an allowance for the gasket. I needed to slightly tweak the height of each float so that they are perfectly level (there was a hairs difference between the two) but I will need to look elsewhere for any internal flooding issues. I swapped the needle valve even though the one in place had no visible wear. I was already committed to using parts from the rebuild kit, so I may as well do the whole thing while i am there.
The auxiliary venturis were slightly loose in their slots and could be jiggled slightly. From what I have read, this is likely to be the cause of my problems. I can't remember how loose they were last time I rebuilt it but I don't remember reading any special advice beyond making sure I got them the right way around and checking that the feed tube in the centre had its slot facing the bottom as they have been known to rotate. The bottom of their housing slots had some 'bright' wear visible, so it looks like they have been vibrating in their slots for a while.
The body of the carburettor was sanded flat using #80 paper held on a sheet of glass. This took a while to get all of the warp out (I wonder if the carb had been overheated in the past, I think the warp contributes to the loose venturis). Note: I actually did this before disassembling completely as, depending upon how effective it was, I would have junked the carb if it didn't work. Having got the base flange flat, it makes the body a better base for the rest of the rebuild.
I took the rest of the carb apart, including the throttle shafts. I bought replacement bushes as there was also a little play in the bushes and these are another source of vacuum leaks. The shafts had the linkage removed from the outside and the screws were carefully undone. Since they had been previously peened with a chisel to prevent loosening, I was able to back the screws out carefully to allow their reuse. Other advice is to grind the projecting ends of the screws with a point in a die grinder but this seemed too risky if I could get them out without destroying them. Once the shafts and bushes were removed the body and the top were cleaned with carb cleaner, scotchbrite and a small wire brush. All of the passages were flushed with carb cleaner and then blown out with compressed air.
When reassembling, I first needed to address the loose auxiliary venturis. There seems to be a number of techniques to resolve, including staking with a centre punch and even gluing with epoxy. I chose to add shims to the blank ends to push the open ends up tight against the corresponding passage in the carb body. I cut the shims from a soft drink can as the aluminium is thin enough that multiple layers can be used to dial in the thickness exactly. I followed this up with a single touch with a centre punch to stake everything in place. The venturis needed to be carefully aligned and pushed into place, definitely no wobble so they should be much better.
The problem with the choke seemed to be related to the choke diaphragm and its actuator rod. For some reason the whole rod in mine had been replaced with a similar but different part which was incomplete. Someone had previously ground a slot into the rod, within which the operating lever that controls the stepped cam and butterflies runs. This had subsequently worn further and instead of pulling the choke butterflies open with engine vacuum the operating lever had wedged on the rod, binding the whole linkage up. I did a quick examination of the local Australian Weber parts specialist (http://www.weberperformance.com.au) who don't stock the choke diaphragm / rod assembly. I had to order one from the States. Since this would leave my car stranded for a week or so while I await delivery from Pierce Manifolds, I decided to have a go at a repair.
Part of the issue is that the rod on this diaphragm is much thinner than the correct part so this allows the rod to be displaced away from the choke operating lever as it is unsupported within the housing. To minimise this, I added a small section of rubber hose at the end that the rod can run in and it would keep centred. I rotated the rod, relative to the diaphragm, so that there was more steel facing the front where it meets the operating lever. I then filed a new groove into the rod, ensuring that there is a nice hard edge for the operating lever to act against when the diaphragm pulls the rod forwards. The small vacuum passage on the body was also blocked, so I cleared this out as well. There are two styles of choke pull down diaphragm for different 32/36, the one with the thin rod which, when complete, has a couple of washers and a spring retained by an 'e' clip which act upon the choke linkage and the solid rod style where the linkage runs in a machined slot. I ordered a solid rod diaphragm from Pierce Manifolds before removing the choke body from the carb in situ to swap the rod. This time I didn't touch the coolant pipes, I just removed the three clamping screws and pulled the water choke and spring body clear of the choke body.
I struggled to find a lot of information regarding adjustment for the choke pull down via the adjustment screw at the end of the diaphragm. Similar style chokes on different carbs are adjusted based upon setting a given size opening in the choke plates when the vacuum is strongest at idle. After fishing around on several old Ford websites I found out that the opening should be 7mm and this is measured by levering the diaphragm backwards up against the adjustment screw. This is done after refitting the choke body to the carb but not the water choke / spring body to allow access to the diaphragm rod. Set the choke by opening the throttle and manually shutting the choke plates (no choke spring fitted to close them for you). You then lever with a screw driver the diaphragm rod towards the back of the car and up to the stop. The choke plates will pop open to give a 7mm gap. In my case, it was a few millimetres wider so I removed the diaphram end screw and screwed the adjustment screw in a few turns before checking again. Refit the water choke / spring and adjust the rotation of the choke plates and then check the fast idle screw setting and your done.
When the car is first started, the choke plates are tightly shut. Once the engine fires and develops a vacuum, this pulls the diaphragm and opens the plates to the 7mm position to prevent the engine from being over choked.
7mm drill in position to measure plate opening when diaphragm is levered towards the rear of the car and up against the adjustment screw.
The original 'thin rod' diaphragm
Comparison with new 'thick rod' diaphragm
Auxiliary venturi shimmed with Pepsi can and staked with a single centre punch 'dot'
'Bressol' licensed from Weber
After reading good things on the FAQ and reviews around the web, I decided to invest in a Summit Racing 'MSD' CDI ignition. I have to say, this is an impressive package. EVERYTHING about this product (build quality, instructions, part numbers, specification, installation kit etc) screams that this is an MSD product. If MSD are not making this, or getting a cut out of Summit, I would be very surprised and I would suggest that MSD need to get a better lawyer.
Opening the box we have the sturdy unit (Aluminium heat sink case), wiring harnesses with good quality sealed plug couplers at the one end and well installed crimp terminals at the other. There is a comprehensive fitting kit with all manner of small parts that someone may have thought would be even vaguely useful (it even comes with a small screwdriver for adjusting the rev limiter pots). They really have tried to think of everything here. The installation instructions I have given below are really the same for a real MSD branded product as there is no difference that I can see between this and a MSD 6AL digital or similar at least as far as configuration, if not performance.
I have been slowly modifying my ignition system in advance of future engine modifications and in an attempt to rid myself of a persistent low RPM misfire that gives me an unsteady idle. Ultimately I intend to get a 123Tune distributor but in order to try and delay that, I have gone down this road (with a view that this can be perfectly switched by the 123 at a later date). At the back of my mind, I am concerned by reliability and while the postage from Summit to South Australia was pretty quick, I don't want to be completely stranded if the box should go on the fritz so I needed an installation that would allow me to revert to conventional points / inductive ignition at short notice.
I had originally intended to use my original, well worn, vac advance distributor with a Hot Spark Pertronix knock-off to switch the unit but gave up with the Hot Spark when I went to all of the trouble to fit it, just to find that it was not working. I gave up and pulled the whole distributor, replacing it with a distributor that I had on the shelf that someone had modified its curve and removed the vac advance. This is in better overall condition (less jumping of the timing marks) but I had put it to one side as I really wanted the advantage of vacuum advance for my (currently) mildly tuned street motor. I will take the vac advance distributor to a local specialist to see how much they charge for a rebuild (or put the money towards that 123Tune).
The CDI box works without a condenser, with the points acting as a simple low voltage switch which then trigger the firing of a capacitor which charges quickly, quicker than the difference between each cylinder firing in turn. This removes all of the concerns about the reduction in time for the coil primary field to charge as the revs rise. It also allows, in the case of a 'multiple spark discharge' ignition like this one, multiple sparks for each cylinders compression stroke under 3,000 rpm. This improves the ignition at low revs through extending the 'burn time'. With a CDI ignition, the coil works more like a conventional transformer, transforming the now raised primary voltage of approximately 480v to up to 40,000v (depending upon the coil primary to secondary ratio).
The first job was to mount the unit in the engine bay and plan the routing of all of the wiring. I chose an area on the front of the right hand inner wing. After drilling the mounting holes, I used the included resilient rubber mounts in the rear. The jury is still out as to whether these are entirely necessary - the concept seems to be for 'high vibration' applications, which mine probably isn't and some people say that they allow circulation of air in rear which may be more important for longevity. The unit has two plug couplers and flying leads for battery + and ground. The battery + wire was run around the front of the engine compartment to connect to the battery positive terminal. There is no fuse in this wire so to minimise risks of short circuiting causing it to overheat it was given secondary insulation with some loose plastic wiring sheath and tied to existing looms running behind the radiator. The ground was extended by soldering in a new length of 4mm2 wire and run with the battery + around to the battery negative terminal direct. No problems with poor power connections here.
The wiring loom with the small plug coupler is run to the ignition coil. Here the orange and black wires connect to the coil + and - terminals respectively and the red wire is connected to the green switched ignition12v wire (which is now disconnected from the coil) using a male 1/4" terminal. The orange and black wires will be live at up to 480V so it is best that you stay away from them when the ignition is on - I added rubber boots from an electric fuel pump over the wires to avoid accidental contact. It is also worth remembering that you will not be able to measure 12V at the coil terminal any more as this will only be live in pulses when the capacitor is delivering the 480v into the coil primary since it does not need to charge an electric field within the coil.
The second loom, from the large plug coupler, runs toward the distributor. One section of loom is the 'magnetic pick-up' wiring (green and violet) this is terminated on a two pin plug coupler and in my application is unused. There was a lot of this to 'lose' tidily within the wiring so I cut the wires off short and insulated with heat shrink.
The white and the grey wires from this loom were initially run around to the distributor before I established the need for the tacho adapter. The white wire was directly connected to the points at the distributor which are switching the CDI box's connection with ground and the grey tacho wire was run around to connect with the black wire that was previously connected to the terminal on the distributor. The section of black wire between the distributor and the coil was left disconnected previously at the coil and secured out of the way / insulated.
I wanted to retain the distributor through body connector with the two male 1/4" terminals associated with the condenser so I took an old spare condenser, cut the wire off flush with the plastic terminal plug and hacksawed the capacitor cylinder off from the fixing bracket. This was then reinstalled with the fixing screw to secure the through body connector plug to the body of the distributor.
If I have any problems with the box that needs a quick reversion, I will: add a new condenser to the distributor and reconnect connect the black wires back onto the condenser terminal. Disconnect the orange and black leads from the coil and reconnect the green switched 12v currently connected to the CDI red wire to the coil + terminal. I will then disconnect the black wire at the coil from the CDI box white wire and reconnect to the coil - terminal and I will be back to points. I reckon this would take me about 10 minutes and can be accomplished at the side of a dark road.
From reading posts about this and legitimate MSD ignitions, it appears to be a pot-luck as to whether the grey tacho wire will work directly with our tachos. The tachometer works by sensing the coil flyback voltage pulses when the points are opened. The Ignition provides an 'artificial' square wave output at 12v to simulate the flyback voltage pulses which has an equivalent dwell angle of 86 degrees (or 24% duty cycle as described in the instructions). Variations in the components within individual tachos may be less able to discriminate this input, instead the tacho is looking for the 'ringing' of the coil and so the tacho adaptor is required. My tacho did not work, with it staying resolutely at zero.
After looking for some time on Summit's site I could not find the tacho adapter listed in the instructions. A Google search on the part number took me to a page which said it was unavailable and suggested a Mallory part which looked exactly the same but... also unavailable. The Mallory page then suggested the equivalent MSD part so I emailed Summit technical support who advised me to use the MSD part. These tacho adapters are basically a coil wired with just an equivalent to the primary winding which charges and collapses its field as the points close and open. This will then provide a sufficient back EMF pulse to trigger the tachometer. This basically fits between the switched 12v and ground via the points. They also include a diode which is installed between the white wire and the points to presumably protect the ignition box from this pulse. I drilled two holes and screwed mine to the bulkhead behind the coil where the wiring was easily within reach of the usual cluster of terminals at the coil.
I needed to rearrange the wiring from the original configuration to accommodate. The red wire was connected to the green switched 12v wire and the jumper used to connect the red wire on the ignition box. The white wire from the adapter was cut short after teasing out of its protective sheath, re-terminated and connected to the black wire that was previously connected to the coil - terminal (which was hanging disconnected with the earlier set up). The grey tacho wire from the box was disconnected and insulated with heat shrink and left running parallel with the loom across the top of the bulkhead. The grey wire isn't used with the adapter but I left it in place as it can be used to drive other, rpm dependent equipment.
The unit includes a rev limiter which is set by adjusting two potentiometers concealed behind rubber plugs next to a diagnostic LED that lights when the points are opened. The rev limiter pots are set, one for the thousands of revs and one for the hundreds by turning with a small screwdriver. I set mine at 6,200 rpm which gives me some safety margin against the factory red line. This can be adjusted up to 9,900 rpm so this gives me a bit of leeway for future modification. The unit needs to be configured for operation with a 4 cylinder, it comes out of the box set for an 8 cylinder engine. There are red and blue loops of wire projecting out of one of the wiring grommets -These are both cut. I insulated mine with heat shrink so they could be spliced and soldered in the future - jusssst in case I ever decide to swap the engine for a 6 or 8 cylinder - it pays to be prepared.
I took the opportunity, when ordering the MSD tacho adapter, to order a Pertronix Flamethrower coil. This maintains a 3 ohm primary resistance which matches the stock Bosch coil and is probably a mild upgrade. I did consider something like an MSD Blaster II coil but this has a low impedance primary that would definitely need a ballast resistor to run with points. This is an added complication for my reversion strategy so I will stick with the blue coil that doesn't need an external resistance as the total voltage, even with a stock coil is likely to be overkill on this engine.
What is the impact? I had not expected it to be too dramatic in terms of performance enhancement but it has certainly crispened up the throttle response and I would swear that it has gained some power at the low to mid range. The unsteady idle has improved a lot. So much so, I am willing to think that the ignition is now 'sorted' and look to fueling for any other improvements. I checked the timing and found that it was slightly advanced from its setting of 36 degrees at 3,000 rpm. I tweaked it back again and had to play with the idle speed a little (though I seem to be having coincidental water choke issues with my Weber 32/36).
Overall I am pretty pleased with the kit. It is very well made, with good instructions and easy to fit. The benefit is noticible, I will be interested to see if I can detect any improvement in MPG. It was a bit disappointing that I needed the tacho adapter as it is a little bit clunky and it required some rework to fit. This seems par for the course though with many people reporting different results, even with the same cars. I can see that this has kicked the purchase of a 123 Tune off over the horizon a bit - at least until I rebuild my engine to seek a little more power. At that point I will be interested in the tune ability of the ignition but having the CDI means I will not have to worry about 'the amount' of spark available.
Now my car is worth something (it was always priceless to me) I figured I should probably add an alarm and immobiliser with remote locking. I am in two minds as to the effectiveness of alarms in a a lot of cases, particularly if a professional is targeting your car. That being said, most (potential) car thieves are opportunists who will look for the easiest target and may move on to easier pickings if confronted with difficulties. As the old joke goes, you do not need to out run the lion, only the other slowest person running.
I was mainly keen to get the benefit of remote door locking at the touch of a button. Mainly because this would increase security since I would be more likely to use it every time I left the car and both doors were sure to be locked. Prior to the rebuild my locks had felt a bit delicate (my wife broke a key in the door lock a number of years ago) - I had hoped to limit reliance on the key in the lock to minimise risk of this happening again. After stripping the doors, cleaning, lubricating and adjusting the locks, they once again popped up with the key just like new. By this point I had committed myself to the remote locking but it was not strictly necessary (apart from me being lazy).
Having installed a few car alarms in my teens semi-professionally, it was pretty straight forward. I deliberately chose a relatively simple model from a reputable local company since the electronics are not always the best and I wanted the support of a local firm if I needed to return anything. I chose a Rhino GTS alarm system and an add on Mongoose central door locking kit. The alarm is featured here:
I fitted the door lock motors first after reading several posts here at the FAQ and my2002tii.com I could see the easiest way of fitting the motors. I drilled the door shells and pop-riveted the mounting plates provided with the kits to the shell. The actuation rod was then bent to fit and secured using the provided clamp. With the door locked (rotate the locking clamp on the door to simulate it being shut) and the lock motor compressed, this then set the height to secure the motor to the mounting plate. My lock motor kit had actually come with 4 motors for a 4 door car. I carefully cut the rear door wiring from the loom (they had basically been spliced together with soldered joints) and insulated the bare ends with heat shrink. You can identify the rear door cables since they are longer than the front. The drivers side has 5 wires so that the lock sensing contact in the drivers door motor can sense the position of the lock and drive the other(s) to match when using the key. I cut opposing holes in the door shell and the A post door pillar using a stepped drill 'unibit'. Into these holes I installed grommets to protect the cabe where it passes through. The grommet in the pillar is sized to be a good fit on the cable and the one in the door the next size up to allow the cable to pass through as the door opens and closes.
I fished the door motor cables through the kick panels using a thin plastic fish tape before pushing the grommets into place. The system works using 'negative pulses' from the alarm via two wires to open and close the locks. The relay box has its own live feed and ground wire which were connected to a secondary 4-way fuse box that I added under the dash on a new 30A fused switched feed from the fuse box. I will add a new stereo head unit at some stage and will take my supply from this. The ground was the right hand side heater box stud.
The alarm wiring was pretty straight forward. Firstly there was a bunch of wires that I would not be using for various accessories. Sodd's law says that as soon as I cut them off flush, I will establish an immediate need for them so as long as I keep them viable, I will never need them. These had their ends insulated and were neatly bundled up out of the way using zip ties. The rest of the wiring was run into the vicinity of the ignition switch area to interface with the direction indicators (two wires), the feed from the ignition switch to the starter motor to kill cranking, the wire to the drivers side door contact and power /ground. There is a nice bright flashing LED which I installed into the padded top cover of the steering colum, just in front of the instruments. This is clearly visible from outside the car and probably provides 90% of the deterrent ( with the window sticker providing the rest).
The siren, which is battery backed, I installed in the heater plenum. It is reasonably protected from the elements here plus there is an existing hole been drilled by a PO for a clumsy spot light installation. They actually installed the relay behind the dash, spliced the relay operating coil into the wiring for the high beam at the switch and run the high current wire from the battery, around the engine compartment, through the firewall to the relay. The line was then run back again by the same path to go to bumper mounted spotlights. I have currently removed them but you can be sure that I will not be using a similar method to wire them.
All connections are either insulated crimp terminals (where wiring direct to a terminal) or soldered splices where I am tapping into an existing wire. Depending upon access under the dash and the amount of slack in the existing wire depends which splicing method I use. I will try not to cut the existing wire if I can help it ( so that if the soldered joint is 'dry' then it will not effect the underlying function and its reliability. If there is lots of slack and easy access, I will run a sharp blade around the insulation in two places approximately 1.5" and strip the insulation in between. The wire is then folded in half and a length of heat shrink passed over the top of the two wires. The wire to be added is then stripped and wrapped into the folded exposed wire from the existing wire. The wrapped wire is then soldered and then the heat shrink pulled over the top of the joint and shrunk into place with a heat gun. If there is less slack then I will not fold the wire, instead I will strip the existing wire in the same way, solder the new wire when wrapped around the exposed copper of the existing wire. This is then wrapped in good quality insulation tape and finished with a small zip tie to strain relieve the added wire and prevent the insulation tape from unravelling.
I have not quite finished the wiring and installation under dash. I am planning an interior refurb and when I do I will remove the dash and refit the centre console. When I do, I intend to mount the alarm box and relay box using double sided Velcro to the firewall (try and minimise drilling holes). The boxes are currently zip tied to the top of the steering column (which is what the manufacturer actually recommends). I also want to take the chance to wrap the wiring tidily in insulation tape along the whole loom to minimise the ease of tracing wiring. Again, this is not the most secure arrangement but it would be (literally) a headache to sit inside the car and try and unpick the wiring while the alarm is blaring. Once wrapped in this way you would need to be pretty familiar with the cars wiring to differentiate the alarm wiring from anything else. I will edit this blog to add pictures under the dash at a later date.
A further thing I tackled was the ignition lock. When I first got the car, somebody tried to break into it with a screwdriver into the door lock. Luckily for me (I guess) they only managed to break the drivers door lock barrel and departed empty handed. One of the first jobs that I did on the car was to fix this. At the time, pre- FAQ for me, the only replacement that I could find was a full set of door handles and ignition lock from Jaymic. Not cheap. I swapped out the door handles but left the ignition lock on the shelf for years as I could be bothered drilling out the security bolts and stripping the steering column. After doing some research on the FAQ, I worked out that I could remove just the lock barrel and replace it with minimal effort. The new lock assembly had the roll pin pulled out. I found a small self tapping screw and drove it in just enough to bite. I then gripped the screw with mole grips and then pulled the pin out by levering with a screw driver. The old lock, I basically just tapped the roll pin under the surface of the lock shroud and the barrel just pulled out. Put the new lock in its place and tapped the roll pin removed from the new lock assembly to secure it. Nice new, tight lock finishes the job ( plus one less key to carry around!).
Lock motor attached to the door.
Operating rod secured to the door lock.
Cable and grommets installed.
The end result
Well, almost finished. Out of the list I gave in my last post, I only have the front bumper to finish (struggling with enthusiasm for this job somehow), fit the waist moulding and now definitely complete some mechanical tasks that I was hoping to put off for a few weeks.
Having changed the engine oil and filter, I swapped the fuel pump for a new one and replaced the fuel filter. Add some petrol to the tank and what else was there to do but fire it up? I had a a fully charged, new battery (so I was ready for some cranking) and dropped some petrol into the throat of the primary. I turned the key, the oil light went out and then it coughed into life. Once the fuel pump had caught up and dragged the petrol from the tank the engine smoothed out. I let it warm up at a fast idle while I checked it for any leaks or strangeness. I noted a slight knock from the exhaust tail pipe and remembered that the rear most exhaust hanger had disappeared at some point but I had bought a replacement. Fitting the hanger meant pulling the rear silencer away from the angle it had been sitting in for a while. Shaking the exhaust showed that the knock in rear had gone but I could now hear a faint knock from further underneath where the centre resonator was now touching something. Obviously I would need to rotate this to gain some clearance. Starting the car up again I found that I now had quite an urgent knock that had moved forward to the transmission tunnel. Assuming that this was the same small but annoying knock from the exhaust, I took the car out for a quick blast around the neighbourhood. As I drove, I felt more and more that this was something more serious (it felt great to be driving my car and it seems to be running well considering its time off), so I cut my drive short and headed home to put it over my inspection pit.
Once I got underneath I could see that the knocking was coming from a broken up guibo which had ended up in x pieces. Before I had taken the car off the road I had noted some cracking in the guibo and had already obtained a replacement. I had intended to put of its replacement for a few weeks after starting to use the car again but obviously it had different ideas. Nothing else for it but to get straight into the mechanical repairs that I had planned to put off.
First off, get the driveshaft out to replace the centre bearing and check the condition of the U/Js. The nuts and bolts at the guibo end were extremely tight. I had to rattle gun the bolts out in the end. The bolts at the diff were not nearly so tight (perhaps not as tight as I would like). I will use thread locker when I refit and make sure that they are nice and tight. I have some crowsfoot wrenches, I might see if I can fit my torque wrench to get them torqued to a known value.
I replaced the centre support bearing on the driveshaft. My 24mm combination wrench fitted the 12point nut without any grinding (bonus) but I noticed that the nut was not that tight and there was some slight movement in the splines. The U/Js were in perfect condition, not like the literal dozens I had replaced on different Land Rover driveshafts over the years. I guess that is the benefit of having no real deflection or articulation to cope with.
The other job completed while underneath is renewing the exhaust bracket at the rear of the gearbox. The existing rubber isolation pieces had liquified and distorted so I pulled the bracket out to clean and repair. The U bolt proved difficult to remove so I replaced this with a stainless steel version that I happened to have on hand. With new bolts, washers and rubbers in place it was bolted back onto the gearbox and adjusted before everything was tightened down.
The last thing I did for this instalment was rebuild the shifter. I had a kit of parts from Blunt for ages and this was the perfect time to finally do this. No dramas removing it from car and stripping it. The top hat bushes were definitely shot plus the top donut was unrecognisable. The rest of the parts actually weren't in bad shape. No regrets swapping them out though as now I know that everything is in good order. The gear change now feels pretty slick- very happy with the result for the effort.
Change of gearbox oil (no chips on the magnetic sump plug) and I will be ready to refit the driveshaft.
My overarching target for completion was based upon entering the 'Bay to Birdwood Classic' a well attended classic car run and show here in South Australia. http://www.baytobirdwood.com.au
As time went by, the actual entry date passed before I got the car back from paint so I conceded that I would not be entering this year. That being said, i am still trying to complete the car for Sunday 27th September- just because. I may be too late to enter but I want to feel like I could have if it wasn't for tiny administrative details like being too late to enter. I have put in a lot of hours, working till midnight most nights after my son goes to sleep and my wife hits the sack. I have reassembled the car except for the following ( it is easier to say what I am yet to do):
Realign the bonnet
Fit the various catches and buffers to the bonnet
Fit the upper waist moulding
Refit the horns
Refit the radiator and engine wiring loom where it crosses the engine compartment
Refit the headlights
Refit the indicator lights
Drop the new battery in and connect up
Change the engine, gearbox and rear diff oil
Flush the brakes / clutch and bleed
Change the coolant and flush
I also have a few mechanical tasks to do including:
Change the guibo
Change the driveshaft centre bearing
Rebuild and fettle the gearshift
Replace the rear gearbox mount
Replace a few exhaust mounts / hangers
I may put these off for a week or two ( my wife is visiting her parents in NSW for a week in October before I join her for a long weekend).
A few pictures of where I am up to
Bonnet insulation added (5mm closed cell EPDM rubber with Mylar cladding)
Interior complete, all glass and seals refitted.
I had intended to put the rear static seat belts back in the car as who rides in the back anyway? The problem is that since having my son, some of my priorities had changed. He is currently just under 3 years old and while not very practical in a two door car, I needed to fit a child seat in the back. Australia is a great country in many respects but some of the legislation here remains from the days when the Australian economy sat behind a high wall of trade tariffs and protectionism.
One such area are the Australian Design Rules for motor vehicles that cover what is legal both for new cars and existing. Some things are quite sensible but are probably the equivalent to many other countries but some things are stupid like the way they treat standards. Many of the design rules are couched in terms of equipment complying with specific Australian standards. New cars are assessed for compliance before they can be sold but this then limits (in theory) how you can modify them subsequently without getting an independent professional engineer to assess, write a report and certify the modification as safe. It also means that many aftermarket components, even from reputable companies which have been tested to other international safety standards are illegal to fit to Australian cars. Some of the rules are assessed in a fairly arbitrary manner by the individuals who do the 'road worthiness inspection' and of course, each state has their own interpretation of the rules and what they expect.
A good example of this are seat belts. These must comply with a specific Australian standard that includes specifications as to the pattern of stitching and must be tested for compliance by an accredited Australian testing agency. 'No' to cheap Chinese eBay knock offs (fair enough) but also 'no' to UK made, quality Securon belts and also 'no' to seat belts hand made with love by our very own Bluedevils on this board. If I bought OEM BMW seat belts then these would also be a no unless I could prove that they complied with the standard ( no label? Tough luck). Instead I had to spend over $400 AUD on two Hemco inertia retractor belts and one static lap belt for the centre of the back seat when I could have got belts of easily the same quality from elsewhere for half the price. Rant over.
Anyway, I wanted to upgrade the belts with my new found enthusiasm for little guys riding in the back seat so I looked into adding inertia reel seat belts in rear. This was aided when I found the previously hidden seat belt mounting points on the C posts under the head lining. I had seen pictures of the arrangement using a 0-0 retractor (basically retractors are specified based on their mounting angle) bolted to the rear hat tray mounting point and a sash guide mounted to the C pillar mounting.
A pair of these retractors and their plastic covers fits nicely up against the rear seat back on the shelf. This replicates exactly the optional belts supplied by BMW in the past so this is good enough for me. The belt manufacturers hummed and hahhed about the arrangement initially. They wanted me to not have the sash guide on the C post and have the belt go directly to the shoulder from the retractor. When I pointed out that this was a better arrangement that wouldn't compress the spine of a taller person in an accident (since the downward slope to the retractor would force the torso downwards) they gave in and endorsed the fitment and added the sash guides to the belts. The proof will be when I have to get a roadworthy inspection completed and what the examiner thinks. At least I can point at the little piece of fabric stitched on the belts that show they comply with the Australian standard.
Seat belt angles
I hadn't intended to do anything to the interior at this point in time (my reasoning being that I would do a mini restoration of the interior at a later date) but having taken all of the glass out for paint I figured now was the time to do the head lining at least. As usual mission creep has set in slightly so along with the head lining, new rear seat belts and the door card refurbishment, I ended up repairing a weird issue with the drivers seat.
The driver's seat had always had a weird 'list' to the seat back and I had noted that a PO had put a small chunk of wood onto the inside horizontal plate to take up the slack between this plate and the bottom of the seat back pivot bracket when leant against. Of course, this also meant that the inside catch was inoperative as it was unable to hook under the plate - not good in a crash I expect. I was fully expecting to have to weld the frame as I assumed something had previously broken. When I got the seat up on the bench and examined it i could see that somehow the two geared pivots that control the seat back angle had some how got out of step. The two sides are linked by a steel bar with splined ends that is supposed to rotate with the geared portion of the pivot and ensure both sides rotate by the same amount.
I removed the pivots from both sides of the seat, rotated both to the same equivalent position and then bolted them both back to the seat with the connecting rod in between. Voila! The list had gone, I could finally sit square in the seat and, more importantly, the seat back catches on both sides would be effective.
I replaced the head lining using ClayW's method with about 200 1" bulldog clips. I actually discovered that I had foam insulation installed under the head lining that looked stock. I was surprised as I thought that there would only be painted steel up there. Not complaining as it may help with hot sun on the roof in summer so I left it in place and buttoned it back up again.
The head lining went in ok and I replaced the black vinyl covers over the A and B posts using the same bulldog clip and contact cement technique. The sun visors were in great condition except for the white side having some weird staining /discoloration that I could not remove. In the end I masked the black half off around the seam and gave them a couple of light coats of matt white acrylic spray paint. They don't quite match the head lining which is more creamy white but at least they look clean.
When I removed the old head lining, I noted that a PO had glued the interior dome light to the head lining, presumably as they had managed to break all of the mounting clips off at some point. Something else to add to the list for replacement.
Displacement of the seat back pivots.
A post vinyl being glued in place.
The roof insulation that looks factory
Head lining goes in.
Sunvisor before and after.
With the car back safely in my shed, I wanted to start the reassembly in a fairly logical manner. The doors, bonnet and bootlid had all been off for paint so they needed to be realigned. I had read on the FAQ that the gap between the bonnet and the upper part of the doors needed to be matched to the gap at the bootlid to the rear quarters so the boot / trunk seemed to be the logical place to start. I started by removing the bootlid again, the body shop had made an attempt at lid alignment but hadn't got it quite right. I also wanted it out of the way for ease of reassembly so I started by stripping the car further.
In went the cleaned and repainted fuel tank along with a new o ring for the sender. Didn't especially have problems with fuel smells but I like things to be buttoned down tight and they are only cheap. I used a strip of self adhesive EPDM seal section around the outside of the tank aperture in the floor before bolting it down and connecting the fuel hose and wiring.
I completed a permanent install of the wiring for my third brake light by soldering in a splice to the brake light wiring and adding a new ground connection to the inner panel of the rear quarter. I also scraped and cleaned the boot ground point under the trunk board of the lovingly applied paint and primer. A new self tapping screw and star washer to finish that along with a dab of copper based grease.
The wiring loom was re-wrapped in places and installed into the folding tabs. The cleaned and re-sealed tail lights were installed and connected up. Replacement triangular covers added ( thanks to Roundeie - Ben for them) to finish them off. I replaced the piece of vinyl installed on the flat panel between the wheel wells as well as the weird strips that only cover the bottom couple of inches of the inner arches. In went the recovered floor panels and the only things left to do is secure the tank board with screws (I want to get some cup washers) and fit a boot carpet by Esty.
Prior to taking the car off the road I mocked up a hidden speaker installation for the hat shelf. The holes for 6"x9" speakers were already present but I cut a 3/4" thick piece of MDF to match the underside of the shelf. This was painted satin black and the speakers were secured to the bottom of the board. The board was then subsequently screwed to the bottom of the shelf with screws from above. I cut a new hat shelf board from Masonite by carefully scribing around the old one. Into this I cut holes to match the speakers and painted the board black. To support the speaker cloth that I was eventually to cover the board with I added some metal fly screen mesh over the holes. This was glued on the back side after being formed to be flush on the outside using the cut out pieces of Masonite. The speaker cloth was then stretched over the board, temporarily secured using the bull dog clips I originally bought for headliner replacement (used for countless other small trim jobs now) and glued down with contact cement. This will be finally installed along with my new headliner and rear inertia seat belts (stay tuned for that one).
A new Uro boot seal which disappointingly did not seal the boot as the seal is the wrong shape and does not have the right upstand to the sealing lip to actually contact the lid. I was prepared for this after reading a few posts on the FAQ so added another, larger EPDM seal to the underside of the lid. Seals perfectly now though still annoying. The seal is a little tricky to install but I went around the perimeter in 4" sections giving both seal and body a thin scrape of 3M weatherstrip adhesive, waiting for it to go tacky on both before pressing into place. A few minutes secured with more bulldog clips (bigger this time) before I felt confident enough in the adhesive to move on elsewhere. The last corner was the hardest since this needed a slight stretch into position but this got the whole night with the bulldog clips in place. The whole thing was well secured in the morning.
Fuel tank in place and test fit of new hat shelf board
Boards in and vinyl complete.
The back side of the speaker board showing the cut out used to form the screen mesh
Mesh secured and prior to speaker cloth. Test fit over the underside board with the speakers.
Semi artistic shot of a refitted tail light. Might make this my Avatar.
So, my paint work was finally finished. This is a short entry with a few shots. I took some better ones with my SLR but it is amazing how quickly simple things like downloading pictures from a camera can feel like a drag when you get used to snapping something with your smartphone and immediately uploading it here / to Instagram, Twitter etc. Please enjoy these taken with my Android phone and I will upload others when I get chance.
Edited to add some pictures from my SLR.
Paint work is on the home straight now so I am cleaning things up, adding new seals and shooting stuff with black / silver / galvanise spray bombs to get as many things ready as possible to just bolt back onto the car.
Headlamp buckets have been cleaned and painted. These were bought second hand from the states to replace the Euro buckets with corroded reflectors. These are fitted with H4 inserts with a side light. I had to relieve part of the bucket frame to fit the sidelight and since these will be a pain to access once fitted (the H4 insert would have to be removed from the front) I fitted LED bulbs so I shouldn't have to go back in there for a while.
Looking at the trunk boards was depressing, with the oil stained original vinyl. The side boards were also scratched and not very attractive so when I was in the upholstery shop buying some black vinyl for the A and B pillars when I change the headlining, I bought a bunch of grey vinyl to do the boards. This is in no way a match for the original but it is clean and consistent. After stripping the old vinyl I glued the new on, I also covered the side boards which were obviously painted before. Again, not original but it looks good.
The front grill is in okay condition (especially considering the cost to replace). I covered the black slats with wide, black, insulation tape which gets them all a consistent shade of black and the same texture. It looks pretty good for the cost / effort expended.
The tail lights were sprayed on the outside with my favourite SilverGal paint which looks like new aluminium and the inside sprayed with chrome paint after scrubbing with a Scotchbrite pad. A polish of the chrome ring and a new seal to complete.
Both door locks and boot lock were degreased and scrubbed with a small wire brush. A fresh coat of spray on grease where needed and they are good for another 40 years. These will be reassembled into the doors with a new set of grommets on the operating rods.
A sort through the various small parts throws up a number of small brackets that got wire brushed clean before paint. Old overspray and crap scrubbed off with a Scotchbrite pad. Struggling to remember what they all do and where they go. Will have to spend some time looking at under bonnet, door and boot shots for reassembly. I also seem to have lost a baby formula tin containing some small parts, bolts and brackets from my original bootlid. I luckily kept the equivalent parts from my replacement boot lid but I think there are at least the rectangular rubber buffers missing. My technique for disassembly usually sees bolts returned to their opposite threaded part to keep them together as an assembly. Where this doesn't work or is impractical they get put in a labelled ziplock bag and stored in either a baby formula tin (I have dozens) or a cardboard box as a group for an area or major component. For example I have a cardboard box for each door, a tin for boot hardware and a tin for bonnet hardware.
The fuel tank was solid enough when it was removed so I used a wire cup brush on an angle grinder to clean it up before painting with etch primer followed by black anti-rust machinery paint. A new o ring for the sender / pick up and that was complete. This will be refitted with closed cell foam to seal it to the body.
Left to do: cleaning up the knee moulding trim and the stainless sill trim. I have new sets of fasteners for both (though I refused to pay BMW's price for the seals for sill trim - i will figure something else out there). I am also, controversially maybe, planning on replacing my waist line trim with self adhesive trim. I have 8 metres of 15mm wide trim. It doesn't quite have the same depth as the real thing but compared to my bashed and gouged original trim it looks great.
My bumpers are a mixed bag. The front bumper had some peeling chrome on the lower half so I ground this off with a Reloc abrasive disk and touched the plain steel underneath up with SilverGal paint. Not perfect but it looks OK. The rest of the front bumper polished up ok but the rubber pieces may need replacing if I can't clean them up or get them to lie flat. The rear bumper did not have the same issues with peeling chrome but has tarnished heavily. I need to try a proper polishing wheel and rouge before I give up but I am tempted to pull the trigger on getting them re chromed. The front will do at a pinch and I have a back up strategy of running without a rear bumper until I can get it back. I speculatively bought some license plate bolts with LED lights so that I won't get pulled over without those in the bumper.
Will come back and add some photos when I get a bit more time.
My door cards were suffering from the age old problem of warped backing boards. The vinyl was in an ok condition but the fake chrome strips were shot. As ever there's not exactly a glut of high quality replacements available in Australia and I am not quite at the point of wanting to commit to new replacements without working out what to do with my seats.
Luckily, for a change, we have in Australia Beaner7102 (Shaun) who has manufactured CNC cut replacements from a form of high density foamed plastic board. This has all of the good properties of Masonite compared to plywood like thickness but is fully water proof, relatively light and appropriately stiff.
I ordered a set and they quickly arrived, beautifully wrapped with sheets of self adhesive film to seal up the inside of the doors. Perfect. Having arrived at my place they then sat for a year or so until I could get to the point of attempting this job.
Anyway, I started by pulling the old staples off the back of the cards. The glue had mostly separated all the way around so it was simple enough to peel this off. Having gone this far I was confronted by the wadding type material between the vinyl and the card. You can choose to either peel the vinyl off clean and leave the wadding stuck to the card or dig through and pull the wadding from the card with the vinyl. I suppose if you are really doing this properly then you could renew the wadding, even bulk it out a bit more for a different look. I cheaped out and chose to reuse mine, transferring the vinyl and wadding still mainly stuck together.
The top section is attached to the board via circular rivet type arrangements with 'petals' that are swaged over. Most of mine were broken clear of the board so it was just a case of bending proud again with a screwdriver, pliers and brute force. I laid the vinyl and top section down on a flat surface and slotted my new plastic board over the top of the rivets. The new board is a closer match than thin plywood to the board so it easy to secure the rivets by peening the petals and tabs over with a hammer and punch.
Once the top was secure I pulled the vinyl folded lip over the rest of the board. The cover basically retained this shape so the corners actually needed to be gently pulled over the board. Once in place I added a large number of the 200 1" bulldog clips that I have bought for completing a headliner replacement (thanks ClayW). I then checked the fit from the front and then removed 6 at a time to paste contact adhesive into the folded seam before replacing the clips and removing another 6. After this was done they got 24 hours to dry.
The fake chrome on the front had done a good job of blistering and peeling off like the plastic film that it is. I took some 50 grit sand paper and finished off the job before switching to a Scotchbrite pad. The junction between the strips and the vinyl need to be gently scraped to get all of the residual foil out and any other crud hiding in there. Once I was happy with its cleanliness, I wiped the whole panel down with wax and grease remover and then masked the strips off from the rest of the panel. I had auditioned a few different paints for this role including silver paint and what is described as 'chrome' paint (slightly lighter silver). In the end I used 'SilverGal' zinc rich paint which is usually used for touching up galvanised steel when cut. No reason other than I preferred the finish.
After the paint was dry I wiped them down with a cleaner / restorer / preserver for vinyl, I then replaced the 'fuzzy felt' window strip that runs along chrome strip at the top and called it quits. The rear quarter panels were cleaned up and the 'chrome' strips painted in the same way. The boards at the back of these were in perfect shape so I gently removed the ashtrays by bending the tags in rear. The chrome on the ashtrays was marked by tarnish and who the hell knows what. These cleaned up nicely with a scrub with a wadded up ball of aluminium foil with a drop of penetrating oil. A polish with Autosol metal polish followed by treating the vinyl centre with cleaner / protector saw them finished and ready for another 40 odd years of people lazily stuffing candy wrappers into them.
I have a full set of new push fit clips, door lock grommets and cleaned / re-lubed locks to go back in the doors when I reassemble. I also have the upgraded door brakes to install so I am hoping that I can apply my self adhesive film over the door shell and not touch it again for another 40 odd years (I wish).
Beaner7102' door cards
See the thickness
What I started with
Rivets with spread petals
Straightening them out
The wadding under the vinyl
Fitting over the rivets
Choose your weapons
Masked up for paint
Cleaned and polished ashtray
Sprayed strip on rear card
I was aware of some rust bubbles on the drivers side door bottom corners. The passenger door appeared to be OK so I started with the drivers door. After stripping the paint outside I could see rust holes in each corner of the skin and a few small holes along the bottom of the skin near the seam.
The small holes I enlarged with a drill to get them back to clean steel. These were then plug welded with a flattened piece of copper pipe held in rear to support the weld and stop blow through. Once they were ground off, you cannot see the repair.
The holes in the corner required more significant repair. I had considered a replacement door skin bottom but people put me off due to the difficulty in completing a weld across the entire skin without introducing a lot of heat buckles into the skin - this is especially important for me as my welding skills are 'workman like' at best. Instead I elected to make patches for the skins that are confined to the corners of the skin. This keeps the length of the weld short but removes all of the problem steel.
Having marked the cut with a scriber, I cut across the skin with a body saw taking care not to cut through the door shell behind. This left me with a straight line across the corner of the skin. Since the skin has a slight compound curve in two directions it is not quite as simple as marking out the flat triangle, cutting it out and fitting / welding. Instead, using a single 'inter grip' welding clamp in the middle and clamps at the outer corners this allowed me to apply the curves to the rough cut patch. At this point I could scribe around the outside of the door shell underneath to get the external shape of the patch with the curve applied to the patch panel. once I had this outer shape, I could then add flanges to be turned over the door shell to complete fitting.
As the act of turning over the flanges would be likely to displace the position of the patch, I folded the flanges only part way. I then clamped the patch up again with the three clamps replaced to set the patch to the same curve as the skin. Once fitted up nicely I tack welded in place and then stitched across the length jumping back and forth from end to end to prevent heat from building up too much. Once the welding is complete, it was carefully ground down. No beautifully seamless merging of steels for me. The welds were strong enough but not too pretty. I sealed the welds both sides with GRP resin and then a thin scrape of filler over the weld and patch brought up the low spots.
The seams were flushed with Penitrol inside the door and left to stand with the door rotated to each side to let gravity asset with penetration. Final sanding with 80 grit on the DA followed by two coats of epoxy primer, inside and then by seam sealer to the inside and outside of the seam.
Rust hole in bottom corner
Rusted section cut off - door shell rusty but solid underneath
Door shell abraded clean and shot with weld through primer
Rough patch clamped in place and the curve set using clamps
Patch cut to final shape with flanges part folded
Patch placed in position
Patch clamped in place and welded
Flanges turned over and flattened with a hammer and dolly
Seam finished and sealed with GRP resin
Weld dressed on the front and sealed with GRP resin
Filler applied and sanded.
Anyway boot and bonnet were now complete, move on to the rest of the car. The next point of effort was the rear panel. I knew I had a small area of rust right at the intersection of the boot floor, rear wing and rear panel in the seam. I needed to fabricate some patches to weld in.
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures any more of the fabrication process but I cut out the rust (always more than first expected) and got out my tinsnips. What I could have done is replace whole panels of the boot floor, rear panel and rear quarter but this was a relatively small hole that mainly affected the area beneath the bumper and steered clear of the vertical seam above it. Normally it is best to keep your patch panels to straight edges for ease of fabrication but, in my case you can't have it all. If I had any chance of trying to minimise the extent of new steel required and avoid cutting into the more complex vertical seamed area where visible I would need an irregular shaped patch formed with several compound bends. Like I say, the majority of this was to be hidden by the bumper so I felt lucky.
2 days later I had finally snipped and pounded a mangled looking piece of steel that would fill the hole to the necessary amount to be welded in. I was surrounded by screwed up patterns cut from beer cases and rejected bits of steel that I have managed to trim too small. I welded a separate patch with a vertical flange folded into it into the boot floor before laying my complex patch over the top, drilling and plug welding to the flange and then welding, in small stitches around the perimeter. I dressed the welds on the outside where visible and sealed the welds on the inside and behind the rear valance with seam sealer. This was 'close enough' in my book. The only way I could have done it better would have been to piece together three patches cut from part panels at great expense.
After this the weeks and months flew by in a cloud of paint dust. Paint was stripped down the right side and replaced with epoxy primer. I removed the doors and front wings to address separately. The front wings and inner wings were perfect under the crap and old paint.
Stripped inner wing
I fully stripped the inner wings in the more inaccessible areas at the top and coated with epoxy. The area in the actual wheel arch I left alone (beyond cleaning, removing loose under seal / paint (not much, the BMW stuff was good) for a quick touch up. I plan to drop the sub frames at a later date so I will strip the remains paint where suspension and drivetrain currently reside at a later date. The wings I stripped inside and out, primered the inside surface before refitting and primering the outside in situ.
I masked off the engine bay but stripped the top panel of the front clip and all of the exterior. My car is remarkably free of structural rust. I guess this is an advantage to living on the driest continent on earth!
Just as a background as to where I am at I thought I would share some words at least as to where I am currently. I apologise for a patchy record of progress as not only would I forget to take pictures as I go I managed to go swimming with my old phone in my pocket, losing a heap of pictures. Such is life.
I have been slowly stripping my car of paint over the proceeding year or two using a combination of techniques including paint stripper (used with plastic sheet covering to maximise its potency) and various means of mechanical abrasion. Steel cup wire brushes, 6" DA sander, angle grinder with 'surf biscuit' type abrasives, flap wheels and a miniature belt sander have all played their part. I also discovered a new tool which was plastic circular brushes embedded with abrasive which were excellent for getting into tight spots like corners and rain gutters and less lethal than wire brushes.
First panel up was the bootlid (trunk) that had rusted out in several places around the edges. This was too far gone for repair so I looked to replace it. I would have bought new but shipping to Australia (and risk of damage) was prohibitive so I opted for a good second hand one shipped from Melbourne. I stripped the paint from the replacement and it was certainly better than my old one but I discovered that a large patch had been welded into it and covered with filler at some point. This had not been badly done so I ended up applying fresh filler but it was the first of a few delightful surprises I found lurking under the paint.
After stripping, I gave it a few coats of 2 pack epoxy primer to seal it away from the elements. It took me a long time to get my set up dialled in for this primer as I have a slightly undersized compressor for my 2mm HVLP primer spray gun. The bootlid was a smorgasbord of runs, dry spots and orange peel as I adjusted my gun settings on the fly. The main thing, I reasoned, was to get it covered up again. I could always strip it again at a later date. I did have an opportunity to try some block sanding so set to it. This dealt with the worst of the poor finish coupled with a further thin coat of primer to deal with 'sand throughs' saw it finished and put to bed for a bit over two years.
Next up was the bonnet (hood). This was starting to go the way of the old bootlid and rust through the outer skin. Again, replacement would have been my preference but blah blah blah. In this case I kept my fingers crossed as I sanded paint off the outside edge. Every inch that went past, increased my expectation of finding a hole. By the time I got all the way around and discovered no holes I couldn't believe it. I thought luck may be shining on me at last. Changing the abrasive disk, I ploughed on with the rest. As I was sanding the curved portion on the front left hand corner, I watched the dust change colour as I continued to sand. I realised that there was a big chunk of filler right in the corner hiding a small but deep dent. Once I had all the filler removed, I realised that there was little else I could do but get my own filler out and replace it. The dent was deep into the double skinned section so could not be reached from the rear plus the proximity to the edge and other tight curves meant it was not exactly going to pop out or be pulled with a welded on stud.
Just a word about filler: as you may realise, I am not anal about having no filler on my cars, in fact I am probably less anal about removing all of the dents than most but I think it does have a place when properly used. I would not have chosen to fill this dent ordinarily but the difficulties of replacing the panel force me to work with what I have. When I use filler, I am a fan of applying over the top of epoxy primer (which has, in turn been applied over bare steel with an 80 grit scratch provided by a DA sander). The primer itself should be sanded before application of the filler and once I am happy with the shape and surface texture it is again sealed in with more epoxy primer. This stops any chance of water being absorbed by the filler preventing problems later. No 'cave and pave' applications (except for noted areas) with anything over a few millimetres thick. We are talking thin applications over large areas to remove the wave from panels that are supposed to be flat (including new ones). Most of this should end up on the floor as you sand it back level with the high spots underneath. I may still have issues in the years to come with that boot and bonnet; they haunt me like something from an Edgar Allan Poe story.
Ok, I thought I would prepare a blog about the restoration of my car. I bought it in 2005 in Sydney NSW and drove it daily (sort of) until about 2 years ago. I had a sojourn to Bankok and London for 4 years work during that time, during which time my father in law dutifully drove it to lawn bowls once a week.
The car had always been in good structural condition with no serious rust but it had had a few dings in the past that had been repaired to differing standards. It also looked like someone had seen a lot of unfinished roads (popular in the outback) so was covered in stone chips all slowly starting to rust. I normally favour cars with a bit of patina but the paint flaws were so numerous, if I drove it much longer without doing something, the flaws would become something much worse. This coincided with the arrival of my son so I took the car off the road to strip, one panel at a time, back to bare metal. I did not expect it to be quick and with a new baby there is plenty to distract from progress. I am not expecting a show car, this is purely about making it look a bit better while I extend its life. I have used minimal filler; it is mainly warts and all for a 40+ year old car (fun fact: the car was built the same month and year I was, we miss sharing a birthday by a few days).
As I write this, I have the car completely stripped (top side, external panels and boot*) and sprayed by myself in two part epoxy primer. Having ground out hundreds of stone chips and a small amount of welding, I am not expecting the rust to be back again for some time. The car is due to go into a local paint shop for a final fettle and a fresh coat of Chamonix white. They have promised to get it back to me in two weeks (ok, maybe three...) and then the fun part of reassembly begins. I will also install a new headliner while all of the glass is out but the rest of the trim, bar new door seals, window seals will go back. I have a self imposed deadline, I may have to move back from Adelaide to Sydney in the 3rd /4th quarter of the year, plus I want to enter the 'Bay to Birdwood Classic' run in September which is a big deal in South Australia.
With this blog I intend to document for posterity some pictures taken during the bodywork stage plus the trials and tribulations of reassembly. I also expect that there will be a backlog of mechanical stuff I will need to do having had it stand for 2 years. Definitely need to swap the guibo and will rebuild the gear shift and replace the transmission mount while I am there. Nothing worse than getting a car back on the road and then slowly suffering failures as things are brought back to a rude awakening. Brakes are usually a good one. I swapped both calipers and both rear wheel cylinders over the years but I have not touched the master cylinder. I have changed the fluid yearly in the past but I am expecting to have to swap the MC at some point.
RHD master cylinders are horrifically expensive. Jaymic has them at over £400 which is $780 AUD. suffice it to say, I will be exploring other avenues here. Some people in Aus have some success in swapping them out for other manufacturers equipment. I have seen Mitsubishi and Fiat MCs grafted on. I may also investigate rebuilding myself, though I generally like to have new brake hydraulics for safety. Don't worry, Dear Reader, I will keep you abreast every step of the way.
That is enough for now. My next entries will be less wordy and more pictures. I promise.
*normally I moderate my language to accomodate my American colleagues but this is my blog so expect the Queen's English and no Websterisations.