Starting the rebuild

February has seem some progress in a number of areas and some setbacks.
First, I collected all the bits that would benefit from powder-coating and sent them off. I had chosen grey for the wishbones and black for everything else. Here’s the group before coating:-

and here they are when they came back:-

The black parts came out pretty well but there were some issues with the wishbones. The sandblasting had shown up quite a bit of weld spatter from the original manufacturing process and one bad weld that should have been spotted and fixed before powder coating.

A quick discussion with the powder-coaters and they agreed to re-work them to grind off the weld spatter and re-weld the void in the rear lower wishbone at no extra charge – so hats off to them.
All this meant a delay in re-assembly since I had ordered and received the poly-bushes and was raring to get them fitted. At least I was able to experiment on the front upper wishbones which did not need re-work at the powder-coaters. Soaking the bushes in hot water and using the supplied assembly grease made insertion into the wishbone relatively easily using a vice to press both bush and tube in. The biggest problem was making sure that they were pressed in straight otherwise they would cock-over and not go in. I found there was a bit of a knack to holding them straight and in the end the job took only a few minutes.

The next problem was getting them to fit to the chassis. The front upper mounts are closed at both ends and the gap is identical to the length of the bush tube. The powder coating had added a few thou to the metal so that the gap was smaller than the tube. No amount of pushing was going to get the bushes inside the mount so I had to shave off some of the powder coating. I found the easiest way to do this was to knock though a spare inner tube from the back of the mount. Drifting this through with a wooden drift shaved off enough of the coating to get the gap right so that the wishbones and bushes could be pushed in. Once started manually, they still needed knocking into place with a wooden drift but eventually I got them into position so that the bolts would go through.
Earlier, I had sorted out all the bolts I was going to re-use and sent them off for blasting and zinc plating. These included the 1/2″ UNF bolts for the suspension which I used with new stainless steel washers and nyloc nuts on re-assembly.

In parallel with the powder coating excitement, the engine rebuild was progressing slowly but surely. The cylinder heads have now been converted to unleaded and a new set of valves fitted …

… and a few other bits cleaned up ready for re-assembly. The mechanic doing the re-build has recently invested in some soda-blasting equipment and has done the inlet manifold and timing chain cover to a first stage finish using glass beads.

They already look pretty good but a blast with some softer and finer media should get them pristine.

I have also spent a bit of time looking for replacement parts for various things that might not be able to be re-furbished. The heater blower motor housing snail was ready for the scrap heap since it was extremely rusty. However, replacements seem to be unavailable and alternatives very expensive so I’m looking at repairing this. The motor itself still works but the dropper resistor mounted inside the snail had a corroded contact that broke off. A replacement power resistor should be easy to find as will a new steel mesh to cover the aire inlet..
The door handles are quite pitted but die-cast material doesn’t lend itself to re-plating – a fact that the plater confirmed when I showed them to him. This led me to ebay and luckily I found a pair from Cortina Mk III new old stock on offer at an affordable price. Similarly, the re-chroming of the wheel nuts was going to be expensive so another ebay search turned up the right ones for the Wolfrace wheels and included the steel wheel insert washers in the price as well.
Another job that had been holding me up was also completed this month. The front discs just would not come off the hubs even after using a blow lamp and a size larger lump hammer. Over the weeks, I have been squirting WD40 into the joints (front and back) and this seems to have done the trick. I also changed from hitting the hub with a wooden drift to re-inserting the 4 bolts and using a metal drift on each of them in turn. This did the trick so I now have two bare hubs ready for painting and eventually to have new bearings and brake discs fitted. Once I get the front lower wishbones back from the powder-coaters the re-assembly of the front suspension can start. The rear suspension is going to be held up by the rear uprights which still need the pivot rods replacing.
Finally, I managed to get the windscreen glass out of the frame by using a Stanley knife to get between the glass and the seal. There were some stubborn areas which needed a lot of effort to break the seal but most of the seal length was no longer adhering to the glass so that it came away easily. This may explain some of the leaks that I had when last used! It also explains why most of the frame is badly corroded since water had got behind the glass and the seal and started to rot the frame. Next up will be to get the frame off the body and find a way of fitting new mounting tubes.

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3 thoughts on “Starting the rebuild

  1. Hi oldgeebee,Nice rebuild. You are really cracking on with it by the looks of it. I must say I don't envy you the prospect of rebuilding the windscreen! The cylinder heads look neat. My Vixen kit of parts apparently has a rebuilt engine ready to go in, but it's been sitting around for about 20 years and so is rather tatty looking. I was wondering how you managed to clean up the engine before painting it?I am hoping to get to the powder coating stage sometime early next year. Your chassis looks very good. Luck to have escaped the tin worm so well!Cheers Matt (Astacus)

  2. Hi Matt,thanks for your comments – only just seen them as I start to write my March blog. My feeling is that its going slowly but I recognised at the beginning that it was going to be at least a 2 year project so probably just about on schedule. You're right the windscreen is going to be a pain so I'm putting that off as long as possible!The engine block was basically degreased and wire brushed and came up pretty well. The heads and inlet manifold have been bead blasted. A few people have said that powder coating a chassis is not the right thing to do since if it chips it's difficult to repair. I'm not sure – paint chips as well and I don't see why a repair would be any different for powder coat.Cheers,Graham

  3. Hi Graham,Thanks for the tip re the engine cleaning. I have used it on my Gearbox and it came up really well, using a wire brush attached to my grinder.Re powder coating, this is a perenial topic of discussion on any resto thread. Some people swear by powder coating as long as the metal has been pretreated with zinc, so that any minor nicks dont instantly rust. Others prefer some sort of two part polymer coating that is sprayed on, because it is slightly more flexible. Personally I am going for the powder coat. I have seen powder that lasts very well, so I am hopeful!Your hinges look the same as mine – Ford Anglia I think. Mine will probably also have to go away for re pinning too. One of your pictures finally solves the puzzle of what one of my bits of mistery metal is! I knew it had something to do with preventing the door opening too far, but had no idea how it worked. Now I know – cheers!

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