Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Farewell ... Goodbye

A bit of a sad day today. After almost eleven years of faithful service it was time to say goodbye to Baerke, my much beloved and rather faithful little Land Rover Defender pick up. And to replace it with a new work horse.


I have been looking for a decent second hand Defender for almost a year now. And the brief I gave to  local Land Rover specialist Bas4Cars looked rather easy at first glance. A Defender 110 Station Wagon, model-year 2007 onwards, with full creature comforts (yes I am getting older). In any colour as long as it wasn't black or pink, and with more or less the same mileage as my current car. Needless to say I was rather sceptical when I got a call to view a car they just got in from Germany. Mileage well over 10.000 km more compared to my old car, and it's colour ... yes ...black! And to make matters worse it was fitted with some options that I really disliked ...


Yes I hate silly/bulky A-bars and side bars, but I also don't like silver chequer plates and alloys on black cars. But beside that all the important bits seemed to be OK. Only some minor dents and  scratches on the bodywork, a decent interior, and the mechanical bits also looked in order. And it came with an original G4 roof rack. Quite handy for transporting larger TR7 body panels like unmolested TR7 roof skins which from own experience don't fit through the rear door...


So after a few days considerations we agreed on a part-exchange and to pull some of the parts from my current car (wheels (fitted to Baerke) snorkel, track rod protection and Moto Lita steering wheel) and have them fitted to my new car. But not before they were coated in a colour similar to the original grill and head lamp surround colours. End result together with some rock sliders to replace the sills looks rather nice indeed. Needless to say the afternoon was spent getting a feel for the car ...







There are a few minor issues that need sorting but overall quite happy with it. And it's first decent trip is planned already, into the Alps in the second half of September ...

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

FHC resto nr. 37; Slow progress


Been a while since my last update on the restoration of the FHC. And there has been a very good reason for that, as there has hardly been any progress to report. Lots of reasons for that but luckily none related to the car itself. Mostly by a few interesting projects at work like this one for Trade Port Noord Venlo ...




Aerial pictures courtesy of Van den Heuvel Aannemingsbedrijf BV

But also taking up one of my other hobbies more seriously, playing the Trumpet. And as I received a nice and rather unexpected bonus from my employer earlier in the year I decided to invest part of that in a new trumpet, custom built by local instrument producer Adams. Which means I am currently putting some extra time in practising to get back to my old level, while waiting for the trumpet to be finished  ...


Then there was the search for a new daily driver, but that search has ended recently. And finally we had a spell of very hot weather which stopped work on the FHC completely. But there has been some progress with the paint preparations, the final sanding down ...




But as a result of the long period that the car had been standing, some faults appeared underneath'. Turned out that the sealant needed some extra attention and some new paint ...


With the holidays upon us now the final painting will probably take a few more weeks. So we'll have an anniversary :-)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Renovating the Revolutions


When I restored 't Kreng in the mid nineties I fitted a set of brand new Revolution 7Jx15 Modern Line wheels to the car. At that time I fitted them with Michelin Pilot SX-GT 195/50 tyres. But that turned out to be a rather problematic combination. Over the next few years I had loads of problems to get them balanced properly. I even went as far as removing all tyres so I could check the rims' tolerances. The measurements did show some flaws, both axial and radial, but not enough to justify the problems. To cut a long story short, I got fed up with it all and I removed the wheels and replaced them with a set of Compomotive ML 7Jx15 rims with the original offset. But they didn't look right ...


But despite that the Revo's were dully put away for future use. But when I bought the DHC (JL-GX-37) from a friend in 2006 I put the Revo's on that car as a stop gap solution so I could fit some larger front brakes.


To my surprise there were no vibrations at all, even with the by then rather old Michelin tyres. As these tyres really were far to old now I replaced them with Dunlop Sport SP01 (195/55 R15) tyres in the summer of 2007. But during the final reconnaissance for last year's Nachtrit it became clear that, despite the tyres having a fair amount of thread left, they really were starting to deteriorate. Even in the dry their grip had become rather ... euhh ... challenging (read no grip at all).
And with the new valuation for 't Kreng scheduled for the end of June, early July, I decided to replace the "flintstone" Dunlops with fresh rubber and at the same time use the opportunity to have the wheels renovated. Time to remove the wheels from 't Kreng for renovation and a new set of tyres. It was clear that use, time and lots of road grime had taken their toll. And especially the outside rims, which were corroded or (lightly) damaged, as can be seen in the pictures below ...




But when I was at a local tyre shop to remove the old tyres, and told them I was on my way to a company I used earlier to renovate the Wolfrace wheels on the DHC, I was told that due to an accident they were no longer in business. Luckily he could provide me with an alternative, Piet Dam's Velgenreparatie in the rather small village of Cillaarshoek. So I dully made an appointment and drove across half of the Netherlands to drop the wheels of at his workshop, to get them powder coated and have the rims repaired and polished. But when I told him about the problems I had in the past I was met with some scepticism. And taking some measurements made things worse. As they were, it would not be possible to get the outer rims machined in their lathe to get rid of the corrosion. Unless the rims could be straightened. We agreed that he'd try straightening one of the rims and give me a call to inform be of his findings. If it would not be possible to straighten them it would still be possible to get rid of the corrosion and have them coated. But my chosen colour wouldn't work there. That really needed a polished rim. In that case I'd have to choose another colour.
I needn't have worried. Earlier this month I received a phone call, the wheels were ready. Straightening the rims hadn't been a problem so he had finished them in the colour scheme I had chosen. And he was rather pleased with the result. Sadly I wasn't able to pick them up immediately, but more on that later. This gave me a few extra days to look into the tyre choice. In the end I decided on a set of Yokohama S.drive AS01. Being a fairly soft road tyre these should be a good mix of the Dunlops fitted earlier, and the Yokohama semi slicks extensively used on this car over the years. But today I was able to pick up the wheels and have the chosen tyres fitted ...




And in real life they look even better than in the pictures. The coating and machining is top quality. This also applies to the straightening that has been done to the rims. There were hardly any balance weight necessary to get the wheels balanced. Hopefully I will be able to fit them soon and see how the tyres behave.