Almost, but not quite! The wishbones are back on the chassis and the hubs and uprights mounted but the springs and shocks still need to be fitted. The springs will probably still be OK but will need powder coating whereas the shocks are completely seized so I will need to source new ones. It’s only when I go back and compare with some of the original photo’s that I can see how far I’ve come in just over a year.
I used new bearings when assembling the hubs but noticed on both sides that they would not fully seat on the stub axle meaning that the castelated nut would not tighten up enough to expose the hole for the split pin. I eventually traced this to the oil seal for the inner bearing. The old seal was just a felt ring but the replacement had the felt ring inside a cup washer and this needed tapping into the hub. Once that was sorted the hubs went on and seated correctly. I’ll need to check end-float and disc run-out at some stage but decided to leave that and do it at the same time as the whole steering/suspension geometry is set up.
The lower wishbone polybushes went into the chassis mounts without too much of a problem although I did need to use the bush assembly grease to ease them in. I used the original bolts (which I had had zinc plated) but decided to use new stainless steel washers and nylocs.
The top ball joints are TR6 types but I’m suspicious of the quality. They are quite stiff and the boot circlip on one of them was misplaced and needed a tricky bit of surgery to coax it back into position. I’m on the lookout for better quality but for now they are at least holding the upright to the wishbone!
I also used polybushes on the steering rack and again, the before and after comparison makes me feel that progress is being made at last – even if there is still a long way to go.
I’ve also sourced new TR6 track rod ends and had originally found a re-greasbable pair but these proved to have the wrong size taper joint. I eventually found some with the right size taper but then they didn’t have the grease nipple. I might need to look around for better parts at some stage but for now at least they are joining the rack to the steering arms!
When assembling the lower steering rod, I discovered that there was a plastic bush inside the chassis bearing which I didn’t know about. This means it has gone through the powder coating process at 200C so is probably not in the best of condition. This seems to be a special TVR bush but Adrian Venn stocks replacements so one is on order.
The steering rod looks quite worn and scored in the area of the bush but Adrian doesn’t think this is an issue. I’ll need to see if there is any play once mounted and if so, invest in a new rod at this stage.
There were also problems with the ARB drop links. I had decided to buy the rose-joint drop links manufactured by Steve Heath Engineering but when I came to fit them they were obvioulsy the wrong vertical length and maybe also the wrong horizontal length. After contacting Steve, he found that there had been a change in ARB design (not sure if this is for all M’s or just the S) so he has offered to modify them. These were sent back to him a few days ago so should have them back for next months blog.
I had also sent off the brake master cylinder and servo to Past Parts for a refurb but got a call from them to say that the servo was not the type that could be taken apart and that they would look round for a replacement. In parallel to this, a posting on the TVRCC M Series forum related how J&L Spares had been able to recondition his M series servo so I gave them a call and they seemed to thnk that they could recondition it. Once I get the original back from Past Parts I’ll send it off to them and see what happens.
As a side activity, I have been collecting bits and pieces that could be included in the next powder-coating batch and decided that parts of the hood frame needed freshening up so started to dismantle it. The frame had always been a bit tricky to assemble back into the car once it had been removed since the hinge plates were a poor fit in their holders. It’s the first time that I’ve looked at these plates in detail but it’s clear that these were poorly made originally. This close up of the nearside plate shows that the central bolt, which should have been captive, was just a machine screw and rectangular washer and the top captive bolt (shown here bottom left) was fixed with just a weld since the corner of the plate is missing.
I’m tempted to get new plates made so will start looking round for someone who can do this.
A further difficulty is that a couple of the cross members are screwed to brackets attaching them to the side members but are also tack welded into position – shown here at the top, just right of centre. Without breaking this weld, the parts are a bit unwieldy for the powder-coaters so need to understand why they are welded in the first place. It could be that the screws aren’t strong enough and they had a lot of breakages.
Finally, there still seems to be a problem with getting the pivot rods replaced in the rear uprights but hopefully there will be some better news to report next month otherwise this will be holding up the project since the next step will be to get the wheels on all 4 corners to give me a platform to re-mount the engine and drive train.