December saw plenty of distractions in the run-up to Christmas so progress has been sporadic. I had difficulty finding a way to get the chassis to the powder-coaters but have now found the proverbial friend of a friend with a van that will take it – so this will be going off to Cullompton in early January. The last job to finalise the chassis for coating was to fix the rusted up captive nuts in the nearside outrigger. Both disappeared inside the tube as I tried to drill them out and this left a nice 10mm diameter hole that looks like it will take an M5 RubNut to fix the inner wheelarches with. If not, then a standard M6 RivNut will almost certainly do the trick.
Dismantling the rear suspension assembly progressed slowly with the upper wishbones coming off farily easily and the bushes eventually being persuaded to come out – using a 6″ vise, a large socket and plently of WD40. The large socket wasn’t quite deep enough to take the whole bush but, with more than a squirt of WD40, I could push them far enough out to use molegrips to pull it out the rest of the way. The lower wishbones are going to be a different matter since the lower pivot rod is firmly stuck in the alloy uprights. Best advice so far is that the pivot rod will need drilling out – ouch!
Turning attention to the front end, I developed the bush extraction skills on both upper and lower wishbones. The trick seems to be to get the WD40 between the bush and wishbone by displacing the rubber with a screwdriver at several points around the circumference. This made the bushes slide quite easily in the vise and most didn’t need final persuasion with the mole-grips. I also managed to disassemble the uprights and hubs but haven’t found the trick yet to separate the discs from the hub. The bolts holding the steering arm to the upright also needed drifting out and on the first one, I wasn’t alert to the danger and managed to damage the plating on the stub axle in the vise – see photo below.
The remaining items to remove are the trunnion bolts (which seem rusted in on both side so will need some persuasion or hacksawing to free up the rear lower wishbone) and the taper joints for track rod ends and top ball joints. The joint splitter I have wasn’t big enough to clear the top of the taper (which seems to be around 5/8″ diameter) so a new, larger one is on order.
Better news on the engine front. Having stood unused for 22 years I feard the worst but, once the plugs were out, a spanner on the crankshaft nut turned the engine quite easily implying no major rust issue. This was confirmed once it had been stripped down – the bores look in good condition with no discernible lip at the top.
The rest of the block looks in good condition so cleaning and painting should have it looking good in no time.
The pistons also look OK but the little ends are a bit stiff so might need replacing if lubrication doesn’t sort them out. The crankshaft and camshaft also look in good condition so new shells and piston rings are probably all that’s required to be replaced.
The starter motor looks a bit sorry for itself but there is a local mechanic who does nothing but refurbish starter motors so we’ll see if he can restore it to its former glory.
Hopefully, January’s blog will have pictures of the powder-coated chassis and might even show the re-assembled engine – watch this space!