Sunday, 18 June 2017

FHC resto nr. 57; Various small jobs

Over the past few weeks days I have been busy with various small jobs on the '76 FHC. To start with some work on the heater. First of all, the newly coated flaps that hide inside the heater were fitted with a new foam backing ...


But while trawling through the various parts of the heater I was reminded of the fact that the original design of how the heater matrix is connected to the rest of the coolant system is not very impressive. To put it mildly! And the fact that the rubber seals between matrix and pipes are made from unobtanium these days doesn't help either ...


So I visited H&S Speed equipment again. It's the same local firm that provided me with a new alloy radiator for the DHC shortly before the 10 Countries Run in 2013. And they will eventually supply the new radiator for this car, but that is one of the last parts that will be needed. But as they are specialised in all kind of alloy motorsport products they should be able to help me here. And they could! This means that the heater's matrix will be fabricated in alloy, using an of the shelf matrix block. But also normal ø16mm pipe ends, to get rid of the unreliable push connection. Sadly it won't be ready till the middle of July. The only disadvantage of a small local firm with a good reputation!

Also resumed preparing the parts that will (hopefully soon) be sent of for galvanising. Initial plan here was to have them all treated in an oven to remove oily grime and other muck before shot blasting and galvanising. But I was advised not to use this heat (±425°C) treatment for any springs or spring clips as it could damage the structure of the steel used for these parts. So some parts will need a different approach here. Not these parts, these are ready to be sent of for coating ...



But before that is going ahead, this seemingly small batch of parts needs to be sorted and prepared ...


And to end this write up, a major part of the time this weekend was spent in front of the television, watching Le 24 Heures du Mans. And during those many hours I also spend some time on the fluid reservoir from one of the brake's master cylinder from the spares hoard. Not overly difficult but fairly time consuming to get it cleaned properly ... 



Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Rétromoteur Ciney 2017 (B)

I visited this rather rural car and motorbike show over the Whitsunday weekend in the Belgian town of Ciney (famous for its similar named beer). A few pictures from the cars in the parking lot ...

Lotus Europa S2:

Rather weird Spanish built Renault Siete (or 7).
It's actually a Renault 5 with a boot:

 Renault 8 Gordini:

 The cars surrounding the Renault 8 Gordini clearly
show the wide variety of cars that were there ...


Porsche 914 in my favourite colour ...

The stylish rear end of a Citroën DS21:

Pretty old Citroën 2CV with a lovely patina:



Absolute gorgeous NSU TTS.
I am probably biased because of its colour!



And finally looking at the stuff some people try to sell!
Really makes you wonder ...

Saturday, 3 June 2017

FHC resto nr. 56; Fuel tank refurbishment

It is already well over a month ago that I collected a car load of freshly coated parts from Habraken in Best. And amongst these parts was the fuel tank for the car. When I removed it from the car it was in rather mint condition, both outside and inside ...


But time hadn't been kind to it. This is how it looked when I pulled it out of the shed over three years later ...


The outside still didn't look too bad, but the inside was worse. But it looked like it was only surface rust. As there were no signs of something resembling serious rust damage it was sent of for paint removal, shot blasting and powder coating together with the other parts. But with the strict instructions to give me a call if they found a leak. But no call came and it looked rather nice from the outside when it returned with a fresh new black coating ...


Which meant I could start with the last stage in the tank's refurbishment, coating the inside. For this I used a special 2-pack epoxy coating from Tank Cure. As the tank had been put in an oven to remove most of the old paint and muck, I didn't expect there would be much grease or dirt left inside. There was only a handful of blasting grit inside, which was easily removed with a vacuum cleaner with a slim hose attached to it. After which the actual treatment could be carried out. I decided to use the full treatment just to be safe; degreaser, rust remover and coating ...


But not before I found myself this odd collection of items to plug the various openings in the tank ...


As the instructions clearly state that after degreasing and rust removal the tank should be thoroughly flushed and dried I waited for some sunny and warm weather to aid the drying. But while flushing the tank after degreasing I found there was water coming out of somewhere. Turned out to be a very small hole in the lower part of the tank! Luckily the instructions also state that the epoxy coating can plug small holes. So I taped over the hole and carried on with the rust removal. But not before I had a good look inside the tank ...



No visible problems! After draining the rust removal after a few hours turning the tank over regularly it was time for the final flush with water. Sounds easy, but with the temperature reaching 30°C it was rather hard work shaking the tank with some 15 litres of water inside. But every disadvantage has its advantage. Due to the very hot weather the tank was dry within a few hours. Time for the final stage and the actual coating. Thoroughly mixing the two compounds, pour the mixture in the tank, turn the tank for 20 minutes and finally drain any surplus fluid . All rather easy, except for the last part. Getting the surplus fluid out turned out to be a bit messy. But at least the tank's outside wasn't affected. Time to put the tank aside and let the coating cure properly. And this is how it looks now. Not a very smooth finish but most importantly all areas of the tank have been coated ...



Wednesday, 31 May 2017

FHC resto nr. 55; The shape of things to come ...


I spend some time on the exterior of the car today. With the boot lid fitted and the bonnet transported to the shed, I thought it a good idea to have a go at applying some of the striping and decals. I designed and fabricated these for the car almost two years ago. Time to see how some of them look in reality when applied to the fresh paint job. To start with the slightly adapted "Triumph TR7" boot lid decal. Was a bit fiddly to apply due to the various tiny sharp edges and very small "loose" parts. But after 15 minutes of carefully fiddling about it was in place. And it looks rather nice in my humble opinion. Spot the difference with the original decal ...


Next were the TR7 decals that are below the black grill-like inserts in the rear wings. Rather straight forward, though getting their alignment right wasn't ...


And to finish the day I had a go at fitting two parts of the actual striping, to the bonnet. I thought these would be the easy ones, sadly not. The adhesive backing foil, meant to keep all parts in the correct position had a bit a mind of its own. So it was all a bit of a challenge to keep the lines parallel while removing the backing foil. Yes I used soapy water to aid positioning, but the backing foil was slightly more sticky than anticipated. So rather difficult to keep the parallel alignment of the three stripes correct while removing the backing foil. But I got them positioned more or less in the correct position in the end (yes not 100% satisfied) ...  


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

FHC resto nr. 54; More pedals & boot-lid

Two weeks ago I fitted the throttle pedal to the car. And over the past few days I prepared assembled and fitted the pedal box and the footrest to the car. All rather straight forward, so nothing much to tell about. Time for a few pictures, the various loose parts ...


The assembled parts ...


And the assembly fitted to the car together with the footrest ...


Together with the pedal box I also reassembled the bootlid's hinges. The two parts they consist of are held together with soft metal rivets. And these rivets have a tendency to wear out after more than 30 years! So I adapted them in the same way as I did when I restored the DHC. Which meant replacing the rivets with bolts, nylon washers and nyloc nuts. And with the hinges fitted to the car I was able to fit the first major part: the boot lid. Though the alignment might need a little adjustment after the seal and lock / striker plate have been fitted ...


Last job of the day was cleaning the original bulkhead insulation pads. Was rather pleased to see that they were totally undamaged. But more on them later. Although the pad for the driver's side can be seen in the picture above. Loosely fitted to car, awaiting newly coated spring clips to hold them in place.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Engine bay DHC finished

With the freshly coated cam cover fitted last week, there was one item remaining to finish the under bonnet area of the DHC. As with the cam cover the car's header tank had also been coated using VHT wrinkle paint. And on the header tank it had faired the same as on the cam cover, it had started to peel off. As it looked after removal from the car ... 


So a spare from the shed had been prepared a few weeks ago. And this weekend I had some spare time to fit it. I rather dreaded this job as it means draining part of the coolant from the engine, which is always messy. But I managed to keep the coolant spillage to a minimum. To start with the coolant level in the system was a bit low. And by slightly undoing the clips from the hose between the header tank and the radiator, I was able to move the header tank to the other side of the bonnet stay, while still being connected to the radiator. This way it was above a drip tray, strategically placed on the chassis beam This enabled me to remove the header tank from the hose and turn the hose upwards without any spills, thus creating a high point. This very effectively prevented the remaining coolant from draining away. Only a few drops of coolant escaped from the radiator side of the hose, while I performed the next stage of the job, fitting the refurbished header tank.


Which was very straightforward. The only (small) issue I encountered was when I wanted to take out the drip tray. Turned out there wasn't enough room to manoeuvre to get it out without spilling the coolant it contained. Luckily easily solved by scoping out the coolant with a small cup.


With the engine bay more or less finished I went for a little experiment, bleeding the brakes by gravity! While replacing the rear brake cylinders I found out that the brake fluid drained very easily from the system when I undid the first pipe. So would it be possible to bleed the system in the same way? Well after undoing the bleed nipple on the back axle nothing happened. Which wasn't much of a surprise. Due to the air in the (narrow) system the resistance is too big for gravity to overcome. But pressing the brake pedal a few times to start the fluid flow did the trick. After a few minutes the first fluid emerged from the bleed nipple. And soon after that there were no more air bubbles coming out. Looks like it is working. But as I don't trust blindly on experiments with the brakes, a traditional bleeding session will be carried out to verify that all the air is out of the system. To be continued.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

FHC resto nr. 53; Nearly there ...

No not the restoration, far from that, but from a coating point of view! I have finished sorting through my spare parts and made a selection of the parts that I want to use for this car, and as such need a new coating.
The last items missing were the various parts from the back axle. Since last week that omission has been rectified. It was time to pull two of my spare back axles out of hiding to strip them of all necessary parts.



Only one brake drum put up something resembling a feeble fight. The last one of course! But that was quickly sorted with some penetrating oil and a hammer. But despite that slight set back all parts I needed from these axles were removed and boxed within 30 minutes ...


Only thing left before sending the parts off for coating is one final check to make a stock list and tie the small parts together as much as possible. Always good to have at hand when the parts return in one big heap. The big disadvantage of zinc plating/galvanising, as it is a bulk process.

And as I did have the hang of the rear brakes I used this weekend's fine weather to renew the rear brake cylinders on the DHC. A few weeks ago a check over of the back axle turned up a starting leak on one the cylinders. As they were fitted to the car well before I started its restoration in 2008 I decided to order two new ones. And with Club Triumph's 10 Countries Run just 16 weeks away I thought it better not to take any chances with repair kits.

For the rest it was all pretty straightforward. Safe for a small plug, meant to stop the brake fluid from running out with the brake line disconnected, not fitting! Luckily I had a drip tray at hand, otherwise it would have become rather messy on the drive. And it was the first time I could try this rather handy little tool. Makes fitting the spring clips that hold the cylinders to the back plate the proverbial piece of cake ...



Just need to bleed them, so waiting for brake fluid and an assistant. 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Cam cover DHC finished

Finally got round to fit the reconditioned cam cover to the DHC's engine today. I can hear you ask why it has taken so long. Well simple the sealant I got from a local supplier was incorrect! Usually sealant needs time to cure, but this variant also needs some heat from the engine to cure. Not very useful with a cam cover that is removed from the car. Clearly an alternate heat source was needed, which I found in the shape of the bathroom's central heating radiator. And to be safe I left it there for well over a week. But today it was time to take all the clothes-pegs off and see if the gasket was properly fixed and positioned. It was!


After that it was simply a matter of removing the old cover and cleaning all mating faces, before the new cam cover could be fitted. And to finish the work I fitted two newly covered lifting eyes and a few more rusty bolts were replaced  by stainless ones. And I found a chrome plated oil filler cap between my spare parts. Although I am no fan of chrome plated parts I have to admit that it contrasts nicely with the black finish of the cam cover. So I'll probably stick to it.



After everything had been fitted I turned my attention to the old cam cover I had just removed from the car. It is quite clear that the wrinkle coat finish has seen better days. The coating has come loose from the surface in several places. With a large area on top peeling off.


The inside of the old cover didn't reveal any hidden horrors. The gasket was still positioned correctly. But it was interesting to see that along the top the gasket is only touching over half its width ...