Thursday, 26 June 2014

FHC resto nr. 15; More Speke woes

Although the car is putting up quite a fight the body work is progressing steadily. But as mentioned in my last resto-post it is clear that quality control wasn't high on the priority list at the Speke factory. Biggest problem we encountered this time were the fill panels between the front of the sills and the inner wings. With the outer wings and doors fitted there was no way we got decent shut lines. The outer wings wouldn't go back far enough resulting in rather large gaps between the wings and the front of the doors. Not to mention the alignment with the nose panel. The left hand side was fairly easy to correct. Removing the spot welds between fill panel and sill enabled the rear of the wing to be persuaded with a hammer to move backwards enough for a proper fit. After which the rust holes in that area could be dealt with properly. As there are three panels joining there we cut out a piece of metal from the inside of the A-post for decent access to the rear of the inner wing ...



Also the top edge of the inner wing was adapted slightly. The anoraks amongst you are invited to tell me what we changed here ...



The right hand side put up a bit more resistance. But as there were some rust holes hidden underneath the battery tray, and it would be rather difficult to remove the tray, it was decided to remove the inner wing together with fill panel mentioned earlier.




At the time of writing this is still very much a work in progress, together with the passenger foot well.


In an earlier post I mentioned that the right hand rear wing, were it meets the sill, was also pretty badly aligned. Did some more work there to get a better fit. It is much better now but the rear is still not as it should be, to be continued ...



Luckily these were the only manufacturing faults we found this time. But those who follow my ramblings here will know that the previous owner decided to attack the transmission tunnel to fit a Dolomite Sprint gearbox with overdrive. Looked fairly easy to rectify, but needed a few card board templates (CAD) to get it right.



Next items on the to do list are the doors. Some problems there to ...

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

New MOT for the DHC

Dropped of the DHC at a friend's workshop early this morning, for its bi-annual MOT. Or APK as it is called here. As expected there were no issues. The brakes were fine and well within the maximum margin between left and right of 20%. Same could be said of the engine with all emission parameters being spot on. And as ever it was a good opportunity to inspect the car's underside properly. Found some oil drops underneath the rear of the gearbox. At first I thought it originated from the engine. But that turned out to be completely dry ...scary. So the gearbox was inspected a bit closer. And as expected the adapted seals from the rear flange and selector shaft also were completely dry. Turned out that the connection for the speedometer cable was the culprit. Strange as I did renew the O-ring and oil seal there when I rebuilt the gearbox. On the other hand glad it is there as it is easy to reach. But as the leakage is fairly minor it has no priority yet. There are other priorities ...


With a new MOT for the car and because I received the cloth for the seats early this week, I also paid a short visit to the guy who will re-trim the interior. Although he is a pensioner, he's still very busy. But he nevertheless suggested I bring all the stuff over to him as soon as possible so he can use it as stop gap work. Very happy with that and something to do this weekend. And after tearing of two of the mud flaps while reversing the car into a parking lot, cutting new ones and fitting these, it was time to enjoy the fine weather. Added bonus was that there was hardly any traffic in the early evening. Probably something to do with football. Was nice to drive some great roads in the area which usually are so clogged up with tourists that I tend to avoid them. One of my favourite spots, looking over the valley of the river Maas ...



Saturday, 14 June 2014

FHC resto nr. 14; Don't Speke to me ...

One lesson learned so far with this restoration is that next time I restore a TR7 I won't use a Speke built body shell as a basis. Why I can almost hear you ask? Well fairly simple, because they are so badly put together in the factory. Instead of repairing rust holes, most time so far has been spent rectifying badly fitted (read aligned) panels. I already mentioned the right hand chassis leg, the rear-light-panel, the rear edge of the left  hand rear wing and the rear deck. But a few other panels can be added to the list.

By far the worst so far was the right hand rear wing, were it meets the sill. If fitted correctly it should sit flush with the sill. On this car the  rear of this joint stood out from the sill, while the front where it meets the B-post stood slightly inwards. The difference between front and rear was about 5mm. Not good when you are looking for decent panel gaps. Only way to rectify this was by removing some spot-welds giving some room to manoeuvre. After which that part of the wing was fastened with some plug welds.


But also the nose panel is affected. Although the front chassis legs are pretty much where they are supposed to be, the nose panel itself was fitted almost 5 mm out to the left. Or maybe we are just too much of a bunch of perfectionists :-). At least when finished this car won't win any prizes in a concourse, as the panel gaps will be far too even in comparison to the original factory tolerances! And hopefully this will be the second to last TR7 restoration. The last one scheduled at the moment will be 't Kreng, and she has much better panel fitment. But not that far yet as with the paint and all filler removed another little problem emerged. What is there on the right hand A-post is the imprint of the front of a door.


No wonder the door I choose to use on this side didn't fit. But with the door out again the alignment was quickly rectified with a 5 kg hammer. This was used to good effect on the hinges' mounting points. Added bonus is that the shims used on this car to align the doors can now be discarded.

And to finish this post, another problem that reared its ugly head was the original left hand door. After paint removal it became clear that some work had been carried out on this door, with some nasty dents around the edge of the door skin. Probably caused by improper or incorrect use of tools. So the skin was only good for the bin. Which was a good thing as with the skin removed it became obvious that more bodge repairs had been carried out. Expertly hidden from the outside but immediately clear ones the skin was of. The lower frame edge is badly affected over its entire length, either badly fitted repair section or only a very thin strip of metal remaining.



And as repairing the damage properly would be fairly time consuming, we opted for a rather different approach. To be continued.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

FHC resto nr. 13; Dent removal

With the welding of the boot area complete, it was time to rectifying the dents on the roof and right hand rear wing. As ever with the proper tools and someone who knows how to use them, it was easy. And it immediately looks much more like a car again :-)




Also the small panels between rear wheels and bumper needed some fresh metal welded in, as the original metal was rather thin in places. Luckily they have a pretty simple shape, so easy to carry out some patch repairs. CAD as in Cardboard Aided Design springs to mind ... 


Saturday, 7 June 2014

FHC resto nr. 12; Boot area completed

Some real progress with the welding, resulting in a boot area that is more or less finished. There are only a few surplus holes that need to be welded up. And as mentioned earlier, having to unpick all the welds of the boot floor panels, all the panels could be re-fitted properly. As a result the seams between floor and outer valances, which stood open a few miles is now a perfect fit. Sadly the spot welder couldn't reach the front of the seam, so we had to revert to a chain weld.  


But there were also some rather unexpected surprises. The first one being the rear light panel that was too far out in the centre section, as result of which the inner edge of the boot lid touched this panel. I now know why the boot lid was aligned so badly when I bought the car. But with the proper tools it was fairly easily rectified, although a bit time consuming.


Next panel that wasn't as it should be was the left hand rear wing. With the boot lid in place all panel gaps were equal, except for the rear edge of this panel. Only solution here was to undo all the welds between the rear light panel and wing. This enabled a far better fitment between the two panels but still not the panel gap we wanted. It widened considerable at the rear edge. Finally sorted by adding some metal in the area.


The final panel and problem in this area was the rear deck. But before that could be welded in place a few thin edges and rust holes had to be repaired. All fairly straightforward. But while trial fitting the rear deck and checking the measurements for the rear window we found out the "gap" was too small. On the outside they were more or less spot on, but in the middle the gap was too small. Again by a few millimetres. Easily sorted by taking of the required amount from the central support bracket.


After that fitting the rear deck was the proverbial piece of cake.





Welding etcetera to be continued for the next few weeks or so ...

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

New front pads for the DHC

As mentioned in some earlier posts the front brakes needed sorting sooner rather than later. When in regular use on (shorter) trips here in the area they behaved as they should, giving enough stopping power. But when they were cold they lacked bite and needed a second or so before they really started to work. I fitted these pads (APEC brand) a few days before the 2011 edition of the 10CR.


During this run they performed as they should, giving good stopping power. But fast forward two years, and during the 2013 edition of the 10CR it felt like the brake pedal would lock up. Applying the pedal would give no reaction from the brakes. Pushing harder on the pedal always solved the problem. And as the problem didn't reappear when I drove the car after the last 10CR, I forgot about it. But the problem reared its head again during the Taith o Amgylch Cymru. Comparing it with how the brakes behaved in Wales and during the last 10CR I could only conclude that there was something wrong with the pads. Time to get the spanners out. And with the pads removed it was clear that there was nothing wrong with the callipers. All pistons moved freely and all pads were fairly evenly worn. But the pads surfaces didn't look as they should. The surfaces looked glazed, cracked and pitted, so removing the glazing was no option ...


They clearly are not suited to my driving. And comparing them with a picture of the rather burned Mintex M1144 pads they replaced, they definitely don't look good ...


Time to get back to decent pads. Wanted either Mintex M1144 or Ferodo DS2500 pads. But in the end I opted for some very old school Mintex M171 pads. Actually they are de predecessor of the M1144 compound pads. Found them at a local brake specialist, and I couldn't resist them ...



And as you can see (when you have read some earlier posts here that is) I was a bit undecided how to fit the spring clips. Have tried them both ways round and can't see any difference in how they work so I have gone back to their original position when I bought these callipers many years ago. Hopefully I will have time to take the car out for a little test drive in the next few days or so, to see how these pads behave and to get some miles on them in preparation for the cars MOT.