Saturday, 29 May 2010

DHC report nr. 94; Two steps backwards

In the past week it was mostly sorting various problems. The first problem I tackled were the two faulty brake pipes on the back axle. These were supplied with incorrect end fittings ...

As the fittings were too short they not only were very difficult to fit (and remove ...), they also didn’t seal properly. So after a phone call a new set was collected from C&C Parts earlier in the week, after which it was again time to get the little brake-pipe-bending tool out and bent them in the correct shape.

With the pipes in the correct shape fitting them to the axle turned out to be a much easier exercise with the correct fittings.

The other problem, and a serious one, was the central dashboard vent. One side of which didn’t seat properly, as a result of which the upper right hand corner stuck out some 5 millimetres. Not very worrying if you don’t notice it, but I did. And every time I looked at the dashboard it irritated me. So this one needed to get sorted properly. After two unsuccessful attempts over the past week I decided to go for a little bodge job, but for that I had to dismantle part of the dashboard. Also loosened all mounting screws and bolts to give me as much freedom of movement as possible without having to remove the complete dashboard ...

With all necessary parts removed I found out that there was no room for the bodge repair I had in mind. But I also found out what caused the problem. It was actually a combination of several alignment problems (heater, instrument panel and dashboard) combined with the new rubber seals. To cut a long story short, I removed the vents completely, removed the seals and replaced these with thinner ones. And after reshuffling everything were possible the vents clicked in place as they were meant to do. Will probably sleep much better tonight! 

Next job was fitting the oil cooler and connecting it to the engine. I wanted to re-use the old oil cooler but with new hoses, as the old braided ones were looking rather frayed and scruffy. But while trying to remove the hoses from the old oil cooler, to measure the fittings, the spanner, supporting the fitting on the oil cooler, slipped off. As a result of which the full force of the 24mm spanner I was using to undo the hose fitting, was released on the alloy cooler, which it didn’t survive. So a new one was ordered together with new hose and hose fittings ...

Making up the new hoses went pretty quickly once I worked out how best to tackle it. And fitting everything to the car was rather easy. Although I was glad when everything was connected without shearing of one off the cooler’s fittings ...

And with the hoses connected to the engine I could at last put the air filters back on the carburettors.

Only the smaller coolant hoses remain to be fitted, together with the exhaust clamps and the bonnet lock. After that filling her up with all the necessary fluids, bleed the clutch and brakes, check all systems, bond in a new wind screen, fit wipers and ...

Sunday, 23 May 2010

DHC report nr. 93; After the wedding ...

With the engine fitted last weekend, I had the opportunity to spent my time on all kinds of small jobs. I now could go over to the shed in the evening and work for an hour or so and return home. Which I found rather relaxing after the rush of the two weeks work holiday before that.
The first job to tackle was the gearlever. Should have been straightforward, but I had to dismantle part of the centre console because the carpet at the back of the gearlever opening was in the way. The offending carpet can be seen in this picture ...

But with the console out of the way the carpet could be trimmed easily, after which everything fitted nicely. Love the looks of the interior ...

With the interior bits sorted I switched my attention to the engine bay, to finish everything there. First job was finishing the engine itself, by fitting some freshly coated parts to it. I did have some mixed feelings about using the engine as it is, but that was mainly because of its looks. Due to its age it proved rather difficult to get it cleaned properly. And I didn’t want to take it apart because it is a very sound engine which produces 135 BHP with good torque and fuel economy. So I was well pleased with how the internals underneath the cam cover looked ...

When I removed it to replace it with a nicely coated black item ...

Followed by connecting up the accelerator and choke cables to the carburettors. Even though the choke cable is very slightly frayed at the end connecting the cables went very smooth indeed. I’ve made a mental note though, to sort out a good linkage in the (hopefully near) future and have it zinc plated, together with a set of refurbished SU’s maybe ...

Next on the to do list was fitting the alternator. But before that I used the opportunity, and the remaining bolt hole on that side of the engine, to fit an extra earth strap between the engine and the car’s body. As good earth points are essential for a cars reliability I usually add a few extra ones. Another one is connected from the bell housing to the transmission tunnel.

Sorting the wiring to either the alternator and the starter motor properly took slightly longer though ...

Due to the loom’s new tape wrapping it had lost its original shape, resulting in a bit of a puzzle how it should go around the back of the engine. But with a bit of reshuffling I got all connectors lined up pretty nicely, so I could fixate them with the ties at the back of the engine.

After that it was the turn of the various coolant hoses to be fitted. But I forgot to get the proper jubilee clips to fit the smaller diameter ones. So those have to wait till that slight omission is sorted.

And to finish the main bulk of connecting up everything, I turned my attention to the exhaust manifold. As I have had some pretty bad experiences with tubular manifolds in the past I tackled this job with some reserve. I had a tubular manifold on the car, but that was well and truly past its prime by now. So I was going to use my spare manifold, which I bought from S&S Preparations a few years ago. I shouldn’t have worried, it dropped in with very few problems indeed ...

After which I moved underneath the car to fit the rest of the exhaust system, the prop shaft and the speedometer cable.

Only real problem so far is that a nipple from one of the back axles brake pipes is incorrect (to short), as a result it doesn’t seal properly. So I’ll have to get myself a new one. Also as you can see the cable between coil and dizzy is too short ... But all in all well pleased so far. The car should be ready for its MOT within the next one or two weeks.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

DHC report nr. 92; The Marriage ...

Today was the last day of my two week May holiday. And although there has been a fair amount of progress on th ecar over the past two weeks, today stood out. It was time to put the engine back in its designed habitat, the engine bay.
But first there were some small jobs to complete, like fitting wheels, cleaning the sump, fitting the lower engine mount and repairing some of the threads from the exhaust manifold bolts. Turned out I misjudged the situation slightly yesterday evening. All threads had already been re-coiled in the past and were fine safe one. This one had come out of its designed hole, as a result of which it got damaged by the bolts thread. I only needed to remove the old insert, clean up the thread and insert a new one. And by lunch time the engine was in the hoist, ready to be dropped back into the engine bay.

After lunch it was time for the big moment. With the engine at the correct angle in the hoist, the rear of the car jacked up as high as possible, and some wooden blocks under the front wheels for extra clearance the engine slid in pretty easily.

Only thing that took some time was aligning the two engine mounts properly. But after we agreed how to tackle this one, it slid onto its mounts fairly easily. After securing the engine on its mounts with some loosely (hand tight) fitted nuts, I fitted the rear mount under the gearbox. And while I was working underneath the car René found my camera ...

By now Robbie had come in to have a look at the progress and bring us some coffee, so time for a well deserved coffee break. After the break we fitted the ventilator and the radiator. And to finish a nice days work we fitted the bonnet. Now it really is coming together nicely. Can't wait to get her on the road!

Plan is to connect up everything and finish her over the coming week or two. And hopefully after that an MOT ...

Saturday, 15 May 2010

DHC report nr. 91; Engine preparations ...

But before starting on the engine I first finished the steering wheel, by fitting the spoke's padding.

Over the past few days I have been working on the engine and gearbox. The engine was fully rebuilt and slightly tuned quite a long time ago. Actually it was fitted to the DHC in June 1993, and between then and the summer of 1998 (when the car was taken off the road) it covered some 50.000km. The gearbox is the original ‘box from ‘t Kreng. Have forgotten when I fitted that to the car, but probably in ‘95 or `96. By now it has covered somewhere between 100.000 and 120.000 km.

When I last drove the car both engine and ‘box behaved as they should. Only the clutch had a tendency to stick when the engine was cold. So that was the first thing to check. With the ’box removed there wasn’t anything obviously wrong with the clutch or the release mechanism.

OK there was some dirt on the splines and inside the release bearing carrier but not enough to cause the sticky clutch in my opinion. But when I took the release fork out I found that the slipper pads needed quite a bit of force to rotate them due to excessive contamination. With all parts cleaned thoroughly and with a thin film off grease on the moving surfaces everything moved freely so hopefully it should be OK now.
The clutch cover and driven plate were in pretty good condition (and with only 60.000 km behind them they should) so they were cleaned and put aside to be re-used, together with the various engine mounts I prepared.

With the transmission and mounts sorted I set to work on the engine itself. I first attacked it with some degreaser in an attempt to clean it up a bit. Result isn’t brilliant, but then it is a well used, but also very sound engine, so it’ll have to do as it is. Next on the to do list was getting a fair bit of play out of the throttle linkage. Original design isn’t brilliant so I adapted an old Weber linkage I had lying around. Hopefully it is going to work as putting the old linkage back will be quite a fiddle with the engine in the car. But first impression is that the action is much smoother.

And to finish on a high note I ended this working the day with refitting the gearbox. First thing (of course) was refitting the clutch assembly. Which isn’t that difficult as long as you use on if these simple, little and cheap tools ...

And with the clutch assembly in place and properly aligned, putting the gearbox back on was fairly straight forward.

Would have been quicker and easier if I had some help, but that is for tomorrow, when René is coming over to help with putting the engine back in the car.
And to finish a good days work I found out that several of the threads in the head for the exhaust manifold have been stripped, so need a recoil. Luckily I have a Helicoil set at home, so that is on the to do list for tomorrow too ...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

DHC report nr. 90; Interior finished

With the seats in place the “only” thing left to do on the interior was the centre console. The console itself (the part with the heater controls) wasn’t the problem, that slipped in place very easily. But before it could be fitted I first had to adapt it a bit to accommodate a simple radio. This is always a bit of a problem with the limited space available in a TR7’s console. First I just put the radio’s mounting sleeve in place and bent a few of the tabs to keep it in place. But due to the angled position that was not going to work. So plan B was put into operation, I glued the sleeve in place with some heavy duty window sealant/glue. And with the sleeve in place the centre console was put aside for the time being, so the sealant could cure a bit.

Next job, and the most dreaded so far, was getting the wiring for the radio and some extra interior lights sorted. This took me nearly all of the afternoon. But I got it sorted in the end!

Then came the most difficult bit, connecting everything up to the centre console. But after a bit of a fiddle I managed to get everything connected. And as I already stated the console slipped in place without a problem.
Left me with the centre piece of the console, which surrounds the gearlever. As space is tight to fit this one with the control console in place, I opted to put it in place loosely before fitting the control console. As the handbrake cable isn’t adjusted yet I could pull the hand brake lever right up enabling me to push the centre console backwards to give me more than enough working space. Only problem I encountered here was the seam in the centre of the transmission tunnel carpet which was to thick, so I had to cut part of the seam out. After which everything fitted quite nicely. And to finish the interior I connected the radio to its wiring and slipped it in place. Very pleased with the overall look!

Last bit, cleaning and checking the engine and gearbox and putting it in the car ...

Monday, 10 May 2010

DHC report nr. 89; Seats & more

Yesterday morning I took the seats for the DHC down from the attic, where they had been stored for nearly 12 years. First thing was to give them a thorough treatment with some hide food. And after wiping them of today, I brought them over to the shed to put them in the car. But first I had to finish the last bit of the dashboard, fitting and connecting up the dashboard loom to the instrument panel.

If I hadn't forgotten to look at one of the many pictures I took when dismantling the car, I wouldn't have had to return home to see how these four wires had to be connected to their respective warning light.

With the wiring and cables sorted, fitting the instrument panel and shroud was the proverbial piece of cake!

Having to return home meant a slightly belated lunch break, after which it was time to put the seats back in the car. Took a far amount of time, especially enlarging the holes in the floor carpets to accommodate the seat’s frame spacers. But with the holes enlarged, fitting the seats themselves again was pretty straightforward. Only the least accessible bolt on both seats put up a bit of a fight, which they both lost. And to finish a good day’s work I fitted the steering wheel and the arm rest, but the last one was fitted as an afterthought, so after I put away the camera.

And when I returned home there was this large package waiting for me, containing this rather lovely alloy radiator. Ordered it through Robsport, and have to say it took a little bit longer than expected but still in time to fit in the slightly stretched time schedule. But it’s been worth the wait, the quality of the work looks very good indeed.

Ordered this one with an update of 't Kreng’s coolant system in mind. See how the engine behaves, as this radiator should be more efficient than the original one.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

DHC report nr. 88; Fitting dashboard

After I finished the trim around the hood stowage area, I continued with fitting the hood pivot cover and the floor carpets. Although not very difficult it was rather time consuming, especially marking and cutting the various holes for mounting points, cable passages or steering column.

Visible in the last picture is a very useful piece of kit to locate screw holes behind a carpet, a pop-rivet. Also clear with flash photography is the amount of dust on the trim parts. Luckily it wipes of very easily with a damp cloth.

With the carpets sorted I went over the wiring in preparation for the fitting of the dashboard to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything (which I had ...) and fitted some extra interior lights in some strategic places like footwells and glove/fuse box. These will be switched through a normal but hidden switch. Gave me some headaches to work out how best to supply them with power (I wanted them to work without the ignition being switched on) but got that sorted by using a direct supply from the battery. Handy as I need power directly from the battery for the radio! But in the end I got everything sorted in preparation for the fitting of the dashboard.

And after a short tea break I started on the dashboard itself, although I nearly managed to damage the cars paint work very seriously first. While walking to the car wit the dash’ in hand I nearly lost my balance. This resulted in the dashboard hitting the side of the right-hand rear wing leaving me with a very nasty looking black mark on the paint. Turned out to be excess coating from the dashboard which luckily could be polished of quite easily, phew!
The actual fitting of the dashboard was a bit of an anti climax as it went in fairly easy. I think it only took me about half an hour to put it in place, get it aligned properly and put in all the screws. Looks lovely in “all black”.

Next on the "jobs-to-do-today-list" were the steering column switches and the switches’ nacelle. This one really put up a fight. Took me an hour and a half to get it in place. Whatever I tried the two halves just didn’t want to fit together properly. There was just to much tension on them. In the end I had to undo the steering column bolts and dashboard’s screws alongside the column to get the tension of. Which did the trick in the end, the nacelle slipped in without a problem and even the slim long bolts slipped into place as they should.

And to finish another day of spannering I fitted the mud flaps. As their mounting holes were drilled and fitted with threaded inserts before the car went away for coating this was a rather straightforward job. Only need to fabricate two small brackets for the inside mounting points of the rear mud flaps. And hopefully I find some decent stuff to make some new ones, as the ones I have on the car now have seen better days.