. . . nightmare!

Carrying on from last month’s theme of getting the old windscreen frame tubes out of the body and fitting the new ones, I realised that if I was going to fit the new ones from the top by removing a section of fibreglass, then I could get the old ones out the same way i.e. without drilling them. Using a Dremel with the cut-off wheel attachment it was a simple process to cut through a rectangle of fibreglass from the top to reveal the old flange.

This revealed that the old flange had not been laminated in square so a bit more cutting was required to get a clear space around the flange. Once done, the flange and tube tapped out from below leaving the old fibreglass tube still in place. This was crucial for my plan, since this preserved the angle of the tubes so that the new frame would slot in at the correct angle – or so I thought!
A trial fit of the new flanged tubes showed that a bit more trimming of the fibreglass would be needed to get them to sit flat but that, basically, everything was heading in the right direction. On the near side, I spent a bit of time with an angle grinder fitted with a P60 disc to grind away the fibreglass so that the flange could be laminated over. The area required may need to be enlarged, but at this stage I was checking out the principles.

The next step was where things started to go wrong. A trial fit of the new frame showed up the fact that the wooden jig had not been thought through properly since I could not slide the new frame past it. The old one had come away easily since I had cut it off at the base of the frame but the new frame had to slide down the tubes and would not slide past the bulky bits of the jig. After some deliberation, I reasoned that, since I had kept the original fibreglass tubes in place, the jig was not absolutely essential since I still had the original angle. So I removed the jig and continued with the trial fit. The first issue I noticed was that the weld seam on the spigot of the new frame was stopping it seating properly in the new tube. There was also a worrying hint that there was something wrong with the angles, as evidenced by the misalignment of the frame flange with the body.

The weld seam was relatively easy to grind down so that it sat better in the tube but the angle looked a lot steeper than I remembered it – so it was time to get out the old side screens and do a check against them.

Since the door is off its hinges, there is some scope for misalignment of the door but I set it in place with an even gap around it and chocked it in position. The difference in slope is quite evident and can only mean that the spigots on the new frame have been welded on at a different angle to the old one. In principle, this means cutting off the spigots from the new frame and welding them back on at the correct angle. This requires knowing what the angle should be and making sure the angle is the same on both sides – neither of which I am confident of getting right. so time to pause and think and call in expert advice!

Whilst that problem is cooking on the back burner, I took a break by going up to Blackpool and then on to the Lake District. Blackpool was involved since I had been discussing the re-trim with The Trim Technician and took the opportunity of his open day to take up all the bits that will need re-trimming so that he could work on them over the winter. Hopefully that will mean they will be ready in spring so that they can be fitted to the newly finished body (assuming of course that the windscreen frame issues get resolved). Martin Lilley was asked to conduct the opening ceremony so I had another chance to have a good look round his newly acquired 3000S and take a few photo’s!

Whilst in the area, I took the opportunity to spend a few days in the Lake District and since the Sunday was pretty wet and windy we visited the Lakeland Motor Museum, home to TVR nr 2. This looked in pretty good nick so it was a shame that it was penned into a corner which made taking pictures of it quite difficult – here’s one of my better efforts.

In parallel with all this, I have made progress on several other fronts. I found that the oil filter fouled on the engine mounting stud making it impossible to fit. I knew that the new engine mount rubbers were round rather than square but what I hadn’t noticed was that the stud was much thicker and longer. The old stud was a 5/16″ UNF thread (~8mm) whereas the new one was M10 and at least 9mm longer. With careful measurement and checking beforehand, I cut the 9mm off the stud and, thankfully, a trial fit now showed that the oil filter would just clear the thread and nut.
The bonnet latch plate on the driver’s side had suffered some damage (not sure when and I don’t think it was me – honest) so I decided to practice my fibreglass grinding skills by removing the steel plate to see what was going on. The plate had been laminated in using a single piece of matting but had worked itself loose although it wouldn’t slide out. Grinding off the lamination would release the plate so that it could be repaired or replaced and re-laminated back in. The P60 disc on the angle grinder is a very aggressive medium and got through the laminations in no time. The plate turned out to be broken in the same place as the fibreglass mount so will need replacing. I’ve got some stainless sheet metal cut to size so just need to drill the holes, bend to shape and laminate back in – a job for the future.

After many months of trying to get my old starter motor refurbished, my mechanic found the exact model available as an exchange so plumped for that. A new fuel pump was also sourced since the old one was likely to have a perished diaphragm. The actuating lever of the new one is slightly short than the old one (which was fitted with a thick gasket/spacer) but more worryingly came without the nylon end cap that would have been in contact with the cam. This means the new one will have metal to metal contact on the cam which worries me but not, apparently, my mechanic.
The distributor has been stripped and cleaned and fitted with new points and capacitor (electronic ignition will be the first upgrade once everything is running as original) as well as a new cap. New plug leads are next on the shopping list once I have waded through all the different offerings to find the most suitable. Similarly, the carburettor has been stripped and cleaned and is ready to go back on.
With the cooling, vacuum and electrical systems to get to a state where the engine will run, there’s plenty to keep me off the streets while I work out what to do with that d@mned windscreen frame!

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