Thursday, 25 January 2007
Nb, I have subsequently played with the doors and think that a mould line could actually be included after all and was probably not done originally just to save time.
I had considered reversing the hinges and having the doors concertina outwards, which would have the added advantage of giving greater room within the cab; a passenger will find this cab extremely cramped as, unlike a van, this cab does not open back into a cargo area, and as the engine takes up lots of cab-space. The doors could then have been secured back against the rear of the cab...and would have stuck out less far even than the wings, thus making them safe. But I want greater authenticity than that. I need doors which open inwards but can still accommodate the protruding moulding lines. Suggestions would be appreciated.
Click here for more about my plans for the 101
Wednesday, 24 January 2007
Eventually, I had the cheek to ask a local garage whose manager is keen on Morris Minors (and who I confidently hoped would be sympathetic) if I could use his 30 Ton press....and he agreed. I had wondered if he'd say that for insurance purposes, one of his blokes would have to do it...but he just let me get on with it. Good man.
The reamer is tapered, with the narrower end at the bottom, furthest from the handle…so as to pilot the hole. But it is important to pass the top of the cutter all the way through, as this is the widest point in the cut, and the part measured to ¾” (0.75”).
It took a bit of practice measuring the cut, even with the accuracy of my digital vernier scale because the measurement could change so easily by just altering the calliper slightly against the edges of the blades which, like helicopter rotors, are not symmetrical (except in rotation)
As the long shaft on my reamer is at the handle end and the cutter at the bottom, I passed the blades through the old bush (as a guide) and down into the new bush below, then cut clockwise all the way through using lots of lubrication...[and reversing the cut periodically, I seem to remember, so as not to put the job under too much pressure]. This meant forcing the bushes closer together in the stub end than they normally sit, because my reamer is not very long. As the widest part of the cut is at the part of the cutter nearest the handle, it was sometimes necessary to turn the piece over to widen the bush.
I had marked the old bush by putting it in one stub-end hole and marking it with a piece of plastic coated wire wrapped around a near-by lug, so that I would always widen the new bush and use the old one as a guide.
Finally, there was a bang like a rifle shot.....and the wrench turned. It was a good method for a difficult situation, but to avoid that leverage problem, I'd recommend anyone dismantling any vehicle, getting the wheels apart before removing the axles from the vehicle (rather as you loosen nuts on a car wheel before jacking up the car to change a tyre)
Once the wheel centres had been loosened , using the hydraulic puller was a straightforward matter; goodness knows how it could be done without a piece of kit like this.
Sunday, 21 January 2007
On the left hand side of the dash a section of the channel about a foot long had to be surgically removed. This will be easier to replace than the right hand channel, and as the latter was not too hard to make, this is not a major job......and of course all this surgery will be covered with panels in the end anyway.
Below you can just see a patch in the front of the cab below the widscreen, where the original metal had rusted away completely.
A closer view (left hand side of picture) of the panel patch and the filleting plate. This gap in the channel will be covered by my replacement channel shown at the start of this post. Smaller holes drilled in other inaccessible sections will make it possible to squirt Dinitrol into channels etc.
The near-side screen pillar has a horrendous tinworm infestation and will need surgery. I have cut a section from the Gislingham salvaged van to provide a replacement.
Once this surgery is complete I will feel that a very substantial obstacle has been overcome. It need only be a month before this stage is out of the way.
Click to read about surgery to replace badly rusted channels with parts cannibalised from the Goat Lady's van.
Tuesday, 16 January 2007
Thursday, 11 January 2007
It felt fantastic to see the wings on and the ex-stock 101 panel fitted. I was particularly glad to see that I had lined the bottom of the wings up with the valance level properly. Incidentally, I removed the valance with a view to repairing its many shunt distortions...but I think this is a part I shall get Iain McKenzie at Fairmile to make.
Dismantling the wheels
In the late Summer of 2005, while the concrete was drying on my workshop, I took some photos of my de-mounted cab, an audit as I called it in my notebook at the time, detailing all the rust and trying to work out what to surgically remove and what to replace. It was incredibly daunting. I took pictures which I annotated in PAINT with a view to taking them on a disc to Iain McKenzie to discuss.
Soon afterwards I went up to Iain’s Fairmile Restorations workshop in Worcestershire, stayed at a B+B for a few nights and spent the days with Iain, picking up tips, taking pictures and joining in as much as possible in the construction of some replacement inner arches to replace the metal under the scuttle (picture above). I learnt about shrinking and stretching metal and spot welding.
There isn’t an official name for the inner arches because originally they were part of the pressing that makes the side of the cab’s scuttle over the wheels and the wings were bolted up into them. On mine, as you can see in the picture, these were beyond repair. Iain came up with the idea of putting a flange on the side of a replacement inner arch so that it could be welded to the inside of the cab wall in place of the rusted-away one.
Here I am giving stretching a go.
Tuesday, 9 January 2007
Apologies for the formating. I don't know why,
but it reformated itself a year or two
ago and cannot be brought back under control
The wreck of the Morris had been driven into the ground and abandoned at the back ofI went to hunt for it in north Suffolk.
“the Goat Lady’s” farm
in Gislingham in 1964, where it had been seen by members of the
Cambridge-Oxford Owners Club about 15 years ago,
when they had rescued a similarly ditched A55. What this tipster in the pub thought was a
J had last been seen there about eight years ago and on the strength of this alone,
The postmaster at Gislingham was very helpful and filled me in on the detail. The Goat Lady, as she was known by locals died in the last eighteen months and had been in her nineties. The land now belongs to her neighbours. I was given directions.
When I eventually found the old lady’s property it was derelict with the hulks of various uninteresting seventies cars beyond hope in the front yard and throughout areas of copse and overgrowth peppered with goat huts. I gave up hope; there appeared to be nothing desirable here.
But as I drove out of the village I saw a Bedford RL peeping out above a garden wall and thought that if anyone would know of a local J type, this lorry’s owner would. I was in luck. He told me of a pathway following a stream which would take me to the woods at the back of the old lady’s property. Following these directions I eventually saw the familiar and extremely exciting sight of a J Type split screen through the trees.
I jumped the stream and nosed around between the hulks of two Bedford CAs an A55 and picked my way
to the J which, to my joy was not a J at all, but my type, an Austin 101. It was in a diabolical condition…
.with its back broken and almost nothing apparently worth saving on her. It did however have the front grille panel,
which is this poor man’s Holy Grail because my 101, curiously, has a Morris panel.
I wrote the landowner a letter telling him how delighted
I was to find that he had the wreck on his land and telling
him that members of the owners’ club would be interested and asking if it would be at
all possible to salvage some parts. And then I waited a couple of days,
jumping every time the phone rang.
When he did get in touch, Ted (name changed) was an absolutely charming chap and only
too pleased to help. He invited me to have anything I wanted. He said that it was nice to know that
there was someone out there madder than him. A couple of days later I went back and Ted and I
inspected the van more closely. He kept chuckling! It was incredibly sad. If someone had only
rescued it a couple of years ago, it might have been saveable. I cleaned up the wreck,
making two piles, one of interesting bits, the other of everything else.
Infuriatingly, having expressed my interest in the wreck, local yobs went on a wrecking
spree that night smashing every pane of glass on a vehicle which had been otherwise undisturbed
for 40 years.
I came back with a friend and we worked for a few hours removing the few useful bits.
On Harvey Pitcher’s advice I took the instruments and the casting between the air filter and the
carbs and a few other bits. Then we were invited to have a cuppa with Ted and his wife Mary and
their cat, Big Dick! They are a lovely couple, both retired teachers and we really hit it off; they are
probably the best find of the whole adventure.I returned a few days later on a whim and took the cab scuttle,
without any clear idea why because it disintigrated as I lifted it, but it has since yielded sections of salvable
channel to replace rusted sections around my windscreen.
Top right of the cab in this picture, for instance, is a useful section. (See this link on cab surgery).
The Goat Lady, Ted told me, was Miss Beatrice Journet, a rather eccentric goat farmer,
latterly, who had been descended from French Hugenots. Miss Journet had at one time
been a draughtswoman, evidenced by rolls of drawings found in the back of the van with her
name on them in stencilled letters. I also found a dress maker’s dummy and piles of mouse-nibbled
Practical Housekeeping magazines from the ‘50s and ‘60s and, very spookily, a shoe sitting
on the accelerator pedal. In the back of the neighbouring Bedford CA I found about two hundred
pairs of ladies’ shoes!
The 101’s bodywork had collapsed. The roof had an interesting roof-rack, which we rescued
and which a nice chap called Brian will put on his GPO van. Trumans came up with me last time
and we got him some pieces he’d wanted. It was good to meet him at last, because we have been
talking and writing for a little while now. We are agreed that it is important to help each other out.
Funnily enough, the day I found the wreck, he offered me an ex-stock front panel which has neverbeen used….and therein lies another amazing tale.
It is very sad indeed that this Austin 101 will never be saved, but it has been a useful donor and
just having found it has been a great adventure. I didn’t find its registration or its chassis number,
but its engine number was 15JD-U-L 2046. I found the remains of its tax disc with only the year
visible. Utterly typical that my “barn find” should be such a no-hoper, but that’s life and even a
terrible wreck can be a lot of fun. Also, it is encouraging to see an Austin 101 in even worse
condition than the one I am very slowly restoring.
I first wrote the above for the J-Type owners club magazine and sadly,
since then Ted has written to say that the land has been cleared for development
and what was left of the 101 is no more.
Just got off the phone to Ted, who tells me that now, less than a whole year since I discovered the derelict van, which had stood there all those years, 4 houses stand on that land! It seems incredible. What timing!