Saturday, May 30, 2009

Doubling Dame Zara's horn factor

Amongst the box of spares that came with Kathy's Morris 1300 Nomad was a pair of Lucas 9H horns -- something that Dame Zara lacked. I could only make the 'Low' one work, so I wire-brushed off the rust, gave it a spray of satin black, and voila!

Parp, parp!

Now, I have two broken 9H's (and a pair of older Windtones as well) -- how do I fix them?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

busticated bracket fixed

I'm happy to report that the broken alternator bracket has been repaired and everything refitted.

My neighbour Jason is making a 500bhp drag-racing monster out of some old grandad's mid-60s Ford Falcon. The Falcoon of Doom is fitted with all sorts of shiny hot-rod bits, many of which have been fabricated in aluminium by one of Jason's mates. So I handed over my broken bracket and two days later Jason knocked on my door with it all fixed.

Next up I couldn't find studs to replace the two broken ones on the rack at my local Burson's parts place, so I bought some long 5/16" UNF bolts and gave them to my Daimler club friend Michael, who was kind enough to cut the bolts down to the correct length and cut UNC threads on the other end.

The studs screwed in easily, with some Loctite on the threads, on Friday night and I left them overnight to cure.

It is a freezing cold, wintry Saturday, but after a bracing walk back to Burson's to buy some spring washers (why is it you *never* have all the little bits you need?) I was ready to get going.
Firstly I had to drain the radiator -- which of course meant I got as much coolant all over the garage floor as in the bucket.

Then it was surprisingly easy to undo about 8 bolts to get the top branch of the water pump off.

The four bolts to hold the alternator bracket were easy to get to with a socket once the water pump branch was off, and from there I put everything back together, refilled the radiator and started her up.

There was one small coolant leak at the small-diameter pipe that takes coolant from the water pump into the manifold, but loosening and re-tightening the clamp seemed to cure that.

So that's another problem solved: next up it'll be time to take off the rocker covers and do the tappets (there's a nasty tappety clatter on start-up on the left bank), and I need to check the right-hand exhaust, as I think it's blowing where the manifold joins the downpipe (which is of course directly under the steering box and hence almost impossible to get at!)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Broken alternator bracket

I haven't updated in ages and I have a huge backlog (I assume I can fiddle with the dates and post in reverse order? I'll find out ...)

But to the present: Dame Zara made it back from a 450-mile round trip to The Grampians in western Victoria last weekend without incident, but by the time we got into the outskirts of Melbourne and it was dark and rainy, one couldn't help but notice that her fanbelt was squealing like a stuck pig every time we had to stop and pull away from traffic lights. In the past this has just been due to a loose alternator belt, so this afternoon I set to to tighten up the belt.

However, the alternator was at the top of its travel and the belt was still rather loose, and I'd noticed before last week that the whole alternator seemed to be moving back and forth more than it should, so I slackened off the alternator altogether and found that indeed there was lots of movement of the alternator on its bracket. 'No worries,' I thought, 'I'll just have to tighten up the bolts that hold the alternator bracket onto the front of the engine.' No such luck .... I soon found that the bracket itself is comprehensively broken (as you can see by the pix below).

It could *possibly* be welded up, but I'm not confident it would stay together for very long.

So I'm hoping that someone out there might have a spare alternator bracket hanging around in their shed (I'm not even sure if the V8-250 one is the same as the earlier 2.5-litre, as the earlier cars had a generator), or have an inkling where I might find one. Even if I do find a spare, the fun isn't yet over: as I have a Bosch alternator not the original Lucas, the bracket needs to be modified to suit (as you can see by the welds on the old one), so I'll need to find someone prepared to do the required welding.

Even more fun: two of the four studs that hold it on to the front of the engine are broken -- and I suspect previous owner/s haven't been bothered to fix them as it seems I'll have to take off the whole fan/water pump assembly to get to them and to re-fit the bracket. Oh the joys!

But on the upside, I did get the chance to clean up the front of the engine that's usually obscured by the alternator ...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Brochure scans

SP250 engine
2.5-litre saloon engine (side view)
2.5-litre saloon engine (front view)
Majestic interior
Majestic front view

2.5-litre saloon engine from the first fold-out brochure

Majestic Major -- from a brochure; below, Majestic Major (4.5-litre) engine

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tunnels and ... Daimlers

Today's little Sunday drive was a jaunt to Yarra Glen, Yea and the Cheviot Tunnel.

The keen-eyed may note that the white car to the left isn't a Daimler, it's a Jaguar 240. (You may now play spot-the-difference.) It belongs to David and Aimee, who are friends of our friend Ann (keeping up?). David has only just bought his Jag (partly from his winnings from a 30-minute appearance on a TV gameshow!) and aside from a small issue of getting up hills (likely to be due to some fuel pump &/or distributor problems) I think he enjoyed tagging along with a bunch of Daimlers on a mad 150-mile jaunt!

Ian and Joyce's SP-250 heading toward the maw of the Cheviot tunnel ... it's an impressive all-brick tunnel, built in the late 19th century for the railway that serviced the growing pastoral and logging industries in the area. Actually, the scene reminds me of one of the classic Heidlberg School paintings ... is it a Tom Roberts? ... of a the entrance to a mine. I won't claim to be any great shakes with a camera, but this shot captures the colours of a hot Australian summer day in the bush ... set off nicely by the British Racing Green sportscar, of course!

Marilyn and Dennis in Marilyn's SP half way through the tunnel. Needless to say, the SPs sounded fabulous in the confined space!

Monday, October 22, 2007

10,000 miles with Dame Zara

Another highlight of last weekend was watching Dame Zara's odometer pass (1)61,700 miles, indicating that she has carried us for 10,000 trouble-free miles* in only 21 months.

(*well, there was that one time when she conked out at dusk, in the rain, but only 200 metres from home due to a dodgy alternator--but luckily I cruised to a halt at the 7/11 petrol station where all the local African cabbies hang out, and I got a jump-start straight away then crept home through the last two sets of lights and up the hill with just my sidelights on!)

A nice view, a hint of the transatlantic and a diplomatic Sceptre

More pics from the Rootes GT Day/Hillman centenary at the Point Cook Homestead.

The view from behind the wheel of an early Alpine—one day, Roger Phipps!

A 1936 Humber Hawk demonstrates that even before WWII Rootes’ styling mixed British tradition with hints of brash Americana--maybe even a hint of Mercedes?

We’ve always coveted Leighton’s perfect 1966 Humber Sceptre—it was a special order for the wife of the then Australian High Commissioner in London and comes with every option: automatic, tinted glass, special upholstery, etc, etc.

Getting back to our Rootes

Last Sunday morning Kathy and I climbed into a very dirty Dame Zara (the combination of water restrictions and a dark colour makes for a very spotty car after the merest shower) and set off a few hundred metres up the road to Melbourne University to meet up with an assortment of Rootesmobiles—on this occasional all either Sunbeams, Singers or Humbers—who were setting off on an observation run.

Our destination was the historic Point Cook Homestead (est. 1857) south-west of Melbourne, where the Hillman side of the Rootes family was hosting a big display to celebrate their marque’s centenary.

We set off among the numerous Alpines (including one 1954 Alpine that possibly had a Grace Kelly connection!), two Singer Gazelles (including our RGCC friend Helen in her rare station wagon ‘Essie’), a Sunbeam-Talbot or two, a cute pre-war Singer and a big 1940s Humber Snipe on a torturous route through Kensington and Footscray, then into the windy flatlands down Laverton/Hoppers Crossing way.

We were clearly an inner-city bunch, as everyone got progressively more lost the further we headed into the industrial backblocks and suburban developments—led astray mainly by a red Harrington Le Mans Alpine, which we kept seeing coming on the other side of the road. ‘Where’s he going? Are we lost?’ was the cry as the stragglers stopped at each intersection and roundabout.

It was the first really hot (30-degrees-plus) day of the impending summer, and everyone’s windows were down and many an anxious eye was directed at temperature gauges—even the normally cool-running Dame Zara was getting into the middle of her gauge.

Eventually we all got back on track and ended up on the long, dusty, corrugated dirt road that leads to the homestead. At the end of the drive we were greeted with dozens of Hillmans lined up around the open ground between the homestead buildings. Most of the observation run participants aimed for a shady spot under the trees by the water.

Enough words, some pics:

From top to bottom:

  • Did Grace Kelly once sit behind the big steering wheel of this 1954 Sunbeam Alpine?
  • A racy-looking Singer Gazelle fitted with Alpine wires (I note that it wasn’t just Gussie who had something a bit odd about how her rear wheels fitted under the arches!)
  • Red ones go faster, as the convertible Super Minx and pair of Alpines (including a rare Harrington Le Mans coupe) show
  • Hillmans everywhere! Husky aficionado Neil looks determined to get … somewhere (into the shade, most likely).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

In which he recaptures some lost Lucas Magic Smoke

Many moons ago (over a year, actually), I scared myself half to death by accidentally shorting out one of the Lucas Fogranger lamps that adorn Dame Zara's snoot and releasing a big cloud of acrid Magic Lucas Smoke in the process.

Today I finally got around to fixing it, taking out the melted, crispy wire and replacing it with fresh new wire, well-soldered connections, a new globe and ... wait for it ... an in-line fuse! Oh, the technology. After a little bit of fiddling with some pretty rotten (hence highly original) wiring connector blocks under the bonnet, both fog lights worked again!
While I was in an elecktrickeral frame of mind, I also half-succeeded in fixing the windscreen washer, whose motor had refused to work the last time I hit the switch ... it now buzzes away again and sprays the driver's side convincingly enough, but barely widdles on the left. The left-hand nozzle must be blocked somewhere - I poked a fine pin down the end of it, and it seemed clear at the nozzle, but who knows where it could be crudded up.
I also plugged the radio back in - the experiment with the portable CD player was pretty much a failure, and until I get around to doing something elaborate and rather expensive with an iPod, a power amp under the seat and hidden speakers - not to mention refitting a period Radiomobile in the centre of the dash - AM radio is better than nothing.
But one little gremlin continues to elude me: the inside light on the driver's side went bung the other week and I can't for the life of me work out what's wrong with it. The bulb's OK; it gets power; the other two lights work fine, so the door switches are working fine ... it's a mystery.
Speaking of gremlins, I gave in to temptation and poked a screwdriver into the little patch of bubbly paint next to the front bumper on the right-hand side. Unsurprisingly, bits of paint flaked off, but I was somewhat reassured to find that there is solid metal underneath and not air! It looks as if the previous owner who repainted the car more than 10 years ago had used quite a lot of filler around a part of the car that I understand was originally pretty heavily leaded in order to get a smooth line.
To repair it properly, I'll have to take off the bumper and sand/grind off any loose paint before rustproofing, priming and repainting ... this could take some time, so at the very least I'll give the bit I exposed a coat of POR15 rustproof paint to protect it.