Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas wishes

To all who are restoring J-vans, to those who would like to restore a J-van, and to those who have absolutely no intention of ever restoring a J-van, a very Merry Christmas to you all! May the jolly ol' fat fella be kind to you all, and stick something under the tree that you really really wished for! And may 2011 be kinder to you than 2010 ever was!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The new door shut sections

The "door shut" sections lie across the back of the front wing, and extend from the front of the door opening to the bottom of the step. The outer face extends the swage-line along the side over the wings, so is visible to the outside. The section that the door slides into is also visible when the door is open.

The first photo (although an upside-down shot) shows the part that will form the swage-line, and is the finished face it the new panel.


The next photo is a view of the top of the door shut section that will be visible once the door is opened.


And the final photo shows that the individual sections were not clamped tightly together before welding. This will allow the ingress of dust, dirt and moisture into the intenal box-section part of the structure, promoting early rusting and deterioration. Installation of this item will require the welds to be ground off, the pieces clamped up tight, and then rewelded.


All in all, these parts were poorly manufactured by Fairmile Restorations. Unlike Charlie's "Victoria" J-van however, at least I can use the new items. Was it worth waiting 23 months for what ended up as second-rate items? I think not, and in fairness to other J- or JB van restorers I could not recommend Fairmile Restorations for the supply of panels.

The new rear wings

My earlier post said that I was disappointed in the finish in the manufacture of the new wings. Here are some photos taken of one of the wings, which shows the finish. In the grinding of the welds, Iain was rather heavy-handed, leaving severe grinding marks in the panel surface. I consider that the wings are really only about 80% complete, as each wing now requires substantial additional work to fill all of the welds and grinding marks. The wings were made in five sections, each having two outer facing pieces, one curved top section, and two end pieces to extend the top section.

Firstly the outside view ...


... and the inside view ...


... and the weld to the two outer facing pieces ...


... and the two pieces to extend the top section:


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The rear wings have arrived!

I have finally received the rear wings and door shut sections for Bugly. Iain McKenzie of Fairmile Restorations finally despatched them on 30 November, and six days later they were delivered to Humpty Doo in rural Darwin, Australia. FedEx, I'm impressed! But I DID have to wait 23 months from my first enquiry.

I was also a bit disappointed in the finished product. I thought that the finish would have been a lot better, but perhaps I'm a bit naive ... I probably expected them to have been like off-the-shelf parts with at least an undercoat to protect the steel. Never mind, I will finish off the welding after fitting them to Bugly.

But at least I have them now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More on the fuel

Remember a couple of posts ago I was having problems with stale fuel? Well since I replaced the fuel with fresh unleaded fuel and added the fuel stabiliser Bugly has started absolutely effortlessly. I have been starting her up probably weekly, and the engine has fired on the first engine revolution every time, without choke. After it warms up a little, it runs sooo beautifully!

So if you have a vehicle that is NOT the daily driver and does a lot of sitting around unused, I would certainly recommend the same treatment.

Fairmile Restorations panels

I have just received an email from Iain McKenzie of Fairmile Restorations in the UK which said: "Yes your parts are ready and waiting to go. I'll clean them up and pack them up today when I go in for sending out on Monday."


Yahhooo! Bugly's restoration has just been ticking over while I have been waiting for these bits. I guess the up-side of the delay is that it has given me time to ensure that the mechanicals are all ok though.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NOT a Morris JB front badge!!


There is at present advertised on eBay UK item number 130449980833 by "inconspicuous-ian" of what is purported to be a Morris JB van front badge. Be careful if you are considering buying this badge, as it is NOT a Morris JB front badge! The correct JB van front badge is shown below. I contacted the seller to point out my concerns about the badge, but his response (shown on the listed site) was that it had simply flattened slightly in the post. BEWARE!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fixed the fuel problem!

I was still having problems with the carby float needle valve sticking closed, shutting off the fuel supply and not allowing Bugly to start. I drained the fuel, which was very dark coloured, and a bit gummy and stale smelling. Thinking on the problem, I was pretty sure that the fuel was probably well past it's use-by date.

I replaced the fuel with a fresh supply of unleaded, and added STA-BIL fuel stabiliser. The manufacturer says: "The addition of STA-BIL Fuel Stabiliser to fresh fuel will keep it fresh for 12 months. With double the recommended STA-BIL dosage fuel will remain fresh for more than 24 months. The ideal solution for cars and motorcycles not in regular use is to add STA-BIL Fuel Stabiliser to a full tank of fresh fuel and be ready to go for a quick start." Good sales pitch? We'll find out!

Sounds like just the thing for an older vehicle not in regular use though! $24.95 for a 236ml bottle from SuperCheap Autos, enough to treat 74 litres of fuel at the recommended dose of 30ml per 9.4 litres.

And how did Bugly start? Instantly! And ran better than I can remember her running before! And I've still got 364 days left to use the 20 litres of fuel I put in Bugly!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Even more progress

Sunday saw some more done on Bugly's engine. The timing was checked with a timing light and found to be steady at 5 degrees before TDC. The good book says 7.5 degrees, so a little tweak brought it spot-on.

I also had a slight fuel leak at the bottom of the Solex 30-AHG carburettor, so I removed it and stripped it down. Lots of jets and screws and things, but pretty basic all the same. I noticed that the float needle valve was sticking, and wouldn't shut off properly. A hit with the compressed air and operating it open and closed a few times brought it right. This would most likely have been most of my problem.

The carby was reassembled and reinstalled, and the volume control screw opemed 3/4 of a turn (this figure is not written anywhere, it came from the archive section of the memory banks and may or may not be correct. It just rang a bell is all!)

I started up Bugly again, and adjusted the idle speed ... it was running a tad fast. The fuel leak seems to be OK now. Just one remaining job to do "under the bonnet" and that is to fix a slight leak where the exhaust flange is clamped to the manifold. That's a job I'll leave for "Ron" ... later ron.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Well ... didn't expect this!

I continued with Bugly's fuel modifications today. I ran a new hot wire to the pump, and connected an earth wire. I drained the petrol tank, and it was quite clean, just a bit of debris in the bottom of the bucket afterwards. Fuel back into the tank.

Then ... the moment of truth! Without the radiator installed, I started up and ran Bugly for about half a minute to 'run in' the new water pump seal. BUT WAIT! While running, there was quite a clatter heard and a vibration felt. With the new engine and gearbox mounts, everything is now sitting up higher, and the generator pulley was just touching the cross-shaft of the accelerator. I should have picked this up earlier, as the photos a couple of posts ago of the new water pump clearly shows the shaft pretty close to the generator pulley!

Simple fix though - unbolted the accelerator pedal bracket and slipped a galvanised washer under each bolt before tightening it up again. Now there is just enough clearance to miss the generator. Problem solved!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New fuel pump and pre-filter


I fitted the new SU fuel pump to Bugly this afternoon, and also fitted an in-line Cooper WZ14 fuel filter. I had noticed that the old SU pump had a gauze filter on the bottom of the pump, and the fuel line to the carburettor also had a filter screen at the carby. Both were full of crud and debris, which made me decide to fit the in-line filter. Far better to remove this debris BEFORE it gets to the pump and carby.

I cut the 8mm (5/16") OD steel fuel line about 100mm before the fuel pump and connected a piece of rubber fuel hose to each section of pipe, clamping the hoses with 8mm spring clamps. Next I mounted the filter under and in front of the fuel pump, and connected the hose to it. In this location, the filter sits under the panel which crosses above the radiator and hides the engine and fuel pump. It keeps the plastic filter away from the heat of the exhaust, and may easily be serviced once the front grille panel is removed from Bugly.

A purist may say that I no longer have the fuel rising all the way to the fuel pump, as it falls back down to the filter. As the pump is a diaphragm pump, I think it should still lift the fuel OK. The next task before I test it all is to drain the fuel from the fuel tank and check this too for cleanliness. After all, don't want to clog up the new filter straight away!

The strange article above the fuel pump is the back (front?) end of my Donaldson air cleaner, and the rubber elbows connecting it to the carby air intake.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The fuel pump has arrived!


All the way from the UK! The new SU AUA25EN fuel pump is here, so as soon as I have some time I will fit it to Bugly. I will also fit an in-line disposable fuel filter in the fuel line below the fuel pump, as otherwise I am totally reliant on the little filter screen in the SU pump. I'd prefer to filter the fuel and remove any solids BEFORE they get to the pump!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The J, J/B & 101 Register website has been updated

Follow the link to the new J, J/B and 101 Register website now! What an amazing transformation!

The intent of this website is to capture a picture and details of all known Morris J, J/B and Austin 101 commercial vans known to still exist ... a marathon task indeed, but well worthy of this particular marque! And yes, Bugly is already listed on the site as a 1958 Morris JB van. Today's challenge, should you decide to accept it, is "find Bugly!"

Congratulations Harvey and the team on the new-look website!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New fuel pump ordered

I was still unsure if Bugly's SU fuel pump was a high- or low-pressure pump, so I have ordered a new AUA25EN pump from "The SU Carburetter Company" at http://www.sucarb.co.uk. Price GBP-105.00 which included GBP-25.00 postage. I added a replacement cap for the broken one on Bugly, plus three filter plug fibre washers too for a further GBP-3.90. All up, A$192.00 which I though was OK, and cheaper than I could have bought it in Australia. The AUA25 is the standard pump, but the AUA25EN is (E)lectronic as opposed to the normal contact type, and is (N)egative earth.

What worried me was that it looked like the carburettor had been flooding in the past, and this is a sure sign of an incorrect high-pressure pump fitted. The SU high-pressure pumps are designed to be fitted just outside the fuel tank, and require the higher pressure to pump the head of fuel to the carburettor. The low-pressure pump is designed to be mounted within 150mm below the carburettor, and therefore require a much less delivery pressure. They are 'pullers' rather than 'pushers'.

If the high-pressure pump is fitted at the carburettor end, there is a danger of over-pressurising the carb with fuel, resulting in flooding and a potential for fire. This I certainly DON'T want! So I erred on the side of caution. If one day I check the pressure on the existing pump and find it is low-pressure, at least I'll have a spare.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New water pump fitted


I decided to have a look at Bugly's fuel pump, as it had stopped 'clacking' a while back. I also had a new water pump to fit to the engine, so out with the front panels and radiator. I was very impressed with the clarity of the radiator coolant and the state of the water galleries in the engine block - it appears that the Penrite Coolant Conditioner is really doing its job well!

Once the old pump was removed, the visible staining of the water leaking past the bearing was obvious. the area was wire-brushed and repainted with Wattyl Epoxy Gloss Enamel, as was the water pump. The new pump was fitted, and all looks good!


The SU fuel pump was removed, and the contact points were found to be quite severely pitted - little wonder it has stopped pumping! The contact points were dressed up, and refitted with the adjustment checked before the pump was refitted to Bugly. Now when the key is turned, that wonderful 'SU' sound can be clearly and strongly heard once again. The pump has a broken cover, which I will need to replace. It is stepped, and not flat like the AUA-25 pump should be, but I think that the later AUA-25 pumps had a capacitor fitted across the points, as this pump has. I don't think it is a high pressure pump, as the HP pumps had a bulge in the cap for the capacitor.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Clutch and brakes again

While I was waiting for the clutch hose to arrive (the one between the master cylinder and slave cylinder) I removed both the clutch and brake pedal assemblies. They had quite a lot of play about the pivot shafts, and I wanted to see what I needed to do to remove some of the slop in the pedal pivot.

I dropped both units off to Justin of JNL Crankshaft Services in Palmerston, who was only too happy to make up a bush for the pivot shaft if necessary. In the end it was a simple repair, as once stripped down it was found to be already bushed. The bush was a standard size and able to be simply replaced. So no more slop!

This afternoon I finally refitted the pedal assemblies, which allowed me to also continue with the clutch and brake master cylinder installation. After filling with hydraulic fluid I pumped the pedals a few times to push out some of the air, then bled the clutch. It appears to work fine (remember, I had replaced the clutch while the gearbox was off and the ring gear replaced, but had never tried it as at the same time I had also removed the clutch master and slave cylinders).

I'll let the brake hydraulics sit a day or two before I bleed them.

JNL Crankshafts did the reconditioning work to Bugly's head a while back, and they look forward to helping with anything that may be required in Bugly's restoration. Justin says that to work on an older vehicle offers them something completely different from their normal work-day activities. It's good to know there is that sort of support out there!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New panels arriving soon!

Great news! I received an email from Iain McKenzie yesterday confirming that my wheel arch (door shut) sections are done, and that the rear wings are finished except for the wired edge. Iain hopes to finish the wings this week. After that ... the big trip half way around the globe! Sort of re-enacting the original trip in a box full of parts and panels 52-odd years ago!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Clutch slave cylinder again

I had a bit of spare time today between other chores (truth is whenever SWMBO came looking for me I had snuck back into the shed!) so I decided to strip down the clutch slave cylinder. The piston inside refused to budge, little wonder the clutch never worked. There was much prodding, blowing with compressed air and tapping the unit on a piece of timber before the piston finally moved. After the unit was finally stripped and cleaned, I found that the bore was corroded part way down, about where the seal would slide. A bit of gentle work with some 80 grit wet-and-dry paper got rid of the corrosion and all is now free and ready for reassembly.

Alas, I also found that the rubber hose from the master cylinder pipe to the slave cylinder was quite perished, so I have decided to replace this before I put it all back together. So another parts order tonight from MG Owners Club Spares! I would probably save a fortune in postage if I waited and compiled a list of parts and got them all shipped together!

With re-kitted master and slave cylinders and the new rubber hose I really must consider using the DOT 5 silicone brake fluid in the clutch system. Apparently this fluid is much better for the seals and rubber hoses, and helps to counter the effects of corrosion in the system. It cannot be used with the DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluids though, so can only be used where the system has been completely stripped, cleaned and flushed, and new seals and rubber hoses installed.

Edit (the next day): After reading a bit more on DOT 5 brake fluid, I don't think that I'll gain much advantage by using it, so I will stick with DOT 4. No chance then of possible mistaken cross-contamination.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Brake master cylinder

I was unsure of the correct size of the Lockheed brake master cylinder for the JB Van, so I dropped into Darwin's Winnellie Brake Centre today on the off chance that they had a kit listed somewhere. Sure did! Old mate picked up the Lockheed stock catalogue, and flicked through a few pages to "Morris - JB".

The book showed that the master cylinder bore was 7/8", the same as the pre-1962 Morris Minor. In fact, a cross-check showed that the seals were identical, having the same individual stock numbers. The only difference was in the external rubber boot, the MM kit having a plain boot, and the JB kit having a "concertina" type boot. Tongue in cheek I asked him if he had a seal kit on the shelf, at which he smiled and produced a JB one, and said that he always carried one kit. The price was AU$24 which I thought was most reasonable. So I got my master cylinder seal kit, and he is going to get another in for me for the clutch. The only difference between the brake kit and the clutch kit is that the one-way valve is not used.

So, coming up shortly is a master cylinder re-kit for both brake and clutch, and for the clutch slave cylinder.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Clutch slave cylinder

In a post on the weekend, I said that I was looking for a new rubber boot for the slave cylinder, and wouldn't mind a service kit if anybody knew what the unit actually was, and who stocked the kits.

Well, to answer my own question (sort of like talking to yourself, isn't it?) I looked up the MG Owners Club Spares website at http://www.mgocspares.co.uk and found that the Morris JB clutch slave cylinder is probably the same as fitted to the MGA. This is logical, as the MGA used the same engine and gearbox, so why not the same clutch slave cylinder? The master cylinders are different, as the MGA one is mounted up above the pedals. Here's a link to the spares page on the website for those who are interested: http://www.mgocspares.co.uk/acatalog/MGOC_Spares_PIPES_HOSES__MGA__257.html

I have tonight ordered an Item 54 - Repair Kit - Slave Cylinder GRK4016 for GBP 3.36 from MGOCSpares. I still haven't checked the clutch fluid, but I still need the rubber boot anyway!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bugly's motor is purring!


Have a listen to this photo of Bugly, can you hear the engine purring away? After I started her up late this afternoon, she ran a little ragged for a short time as it had been sitting so long, but after a few minutes it evened out and ran sooo smoothly! I took it up to running temperature and it held at 40 psi oil pressure all that time, so I'm pleased with that. Then it ran out of fuel ... I knew it was low, as the electric fuel pump started to pump overtime! I put some more fuel in it, and found that the fuel pump had stopped working. So I guess the fuel pump is my next chore.


I also noticed that the clutch slave cylinder is not working, but whether this is a slave or master cylinder problem I don't yet know. I haven't even checked the clutch fluid level yet! I am looking for a new rubber boot for the slave cylinder, and wouldn't mind a service kit if anybody knows what the unit actually is, and who stocks the kits.

Here's a neat little trick!

There is a clutch inspection opening in the top of the gearbox bell-housing. Originally there may (or may not) have been a rubber blanking plug to cover the hole, but I haven't been able to find a suitable one of the right size.

And my neat little plug to blank the hole!

I had bought a "gearbox top dust cover" from Bull Motif Spares (www.morrisminorspares.net) part number 10G200, on the off-chance that it would fit Bugly's bell housing inspection opening. Alas, it was way too big, and I haven't been able to find a suitable plug of the correct size.

Then like a flash ... a brainwave! (I still get them occasionally, they help keep the Alzheimers at bay!) Instead of putting up with a gaping inspection opening, I was more than happy to cut down the AU $6.08 rubber plug and insert it into the hole in two halves! Covers the opening nicely! I guess if I use any rubber sealant later on the window rubbers, I might even seal up the joint in the cap halves!

New gearbox mounts

The new gearbox mounts have certainly stabilised the engine and gearbox, and have lifted the tail end of the gearbox considerably. It can be seen in the photo of the old mounts that the rear gearbox extension was in fact resting on the cross member. It had actually worn through the lower gearbox mounting bracket fixing nut on the right side, and half worn away the left side!

Looks good now though!

And how they looked not so very long ago!

New engine mounts

Wow, what a difference! Here are photos of the new engine mounts, and then the original mounts. To have lasted 52 years they were obviously made with the best of British steel, and India rubber!

Note that at the time of the photo I still had to tighten the nut on the top of the right mount.

The engine mounts are identical to Land Rover 1954-58 engine and 1958-84 gearbox rubber mountings. Part number is NRC2053, and after-market mounts are available. Mine were the after-market ones.


The original mounts are stamped with the part number "M105"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gearbox installed

I managed to install the gearbox into Bugly today. Originally I was going to change over the engine mounts before I bolted the gearbox up, but the engine was too unstable not having a rear support. So I changed my mind and have bolted the two together.

The left hand engine mount is a curse to take apart with the engine and radiator in position, as there is room for either a hand or a spanner, not both. I figured that an alternative method was to remove the mounting bracket from the top of the rubber mount, and then take the mount off the top of the lower mounting bracket.

In the end I ran out of time, so I'll have to come back to this job later. Meantime, the new rubber gearbox mounts look great! The gearbox mounts are identical to engine mounts for Morris Minor, 1100, 1300, Marina, MG Midget, Austin A30, A35, A40 and quite a few other models, so are readily available. I bought mine off eBay a while back for around GBP 10.00 for the pair.

Clutch in, gearbox ready to go in

I had some time yesterday, so I bolted the clutch back onto the flywheel, using the 10-spline clutch aligning tool purchased from Moss Motors USA. This was part number 387-250 and retailed for US$4.95, so was a "must have" at that price!

The nut welded to the left-side gearbox mount was missing, so a new one was sourced and welded to the bracket before painting. I believe that many of the bolts and nuts used on the factory assembly of the vehicle had Whitworth threads, which are now almost unobtainable. The closest is UNF, but it is not a match.

If I have time today, I will mount the gearbox.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The parts have all arrived!

All MGA spare parts ordered last April have now arrived.

In the end, Moss Motors USA were out of stock of the rear gearbox extension oil seal, so I sourced this from the "The Little British Car Company" in the US. It was part number 120-400 (RTC447A) and was fitted to the gearbox entension tonight. Looks good!

The new clutch plate from Moss Motors USA will be used, and the rebuilt clutch plate and pressure plate from eBay USA will be kept as a spare set. The boot for the clutch fork is spot-on!

The NOS 9-tooth starter pinion to suit the M35G starter motor is by comparison not so different from the existing pinion, so I will store this away as a spare, and use the existing one. I know it works, but have yet to try it on the new ring gear.

The dust cap to fit the clutch inspection hole in the gearbox casing bought from Bull Motif Spares UK, was in the end not the correct size, but never mind. I might find somebody with a Morris Minor who needs one.

In the mail today from the LRSeries shop (Land Rover Spares UK), 4 engine mounts type NRC2054 arrived. I'll replace both engine mounts so I know they're good, and put two away as spare parts. I'm convinced that the left side mount deteriorated due to the oil dripping from the oil-bath air cleaner, so it was a good move replacing it with my Donaldson arrangement. I'll fit the engine mounts while the gearbox is still off the motor.

This weekend I will be tied up on-call with the volunteer fire brigade, so I don't know how far I'll get with putting Bugly together again.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A week of buying!

This week I have bought a few items required both for the reassembly of the gearbox, and to fit missing parts. Most were sourced as MGA spare parts.

From Moss Motors USA, a new clutch plate, a clutch alignment tool, a rubber clutch lever boot, a rear gearbox extension oil seal, and a rubber boot and fixing ring for the gear shift lever.

From eBay USA, a rebuilt clutch plate and pressure plate to keep as a spare set

From eBay UK, a NOS 9-tooth starter pinion to suit the M35G starter motor. This will put a new pinion on the starter to match the new ring gear on the flywheel that was fitted last week

From Bull Motif Spares UK, a dust cap to fit the clutch inspection hole in the gearbox casing. This is a bit of a punt as it is a Morris Minor part, but the cover in the picture looks to be the same shape as my hole, and perhaps it is the same

From LRSeries shop (Land Rover Spares UK), 4 engine mounts type NRC2054. One of mine requires replacement (the difficult one of course, under the manifold) so this will give me 3 spares. I'll fit the engine mount while the gearbox is off the motor, it might make it a bit more manouverable

From eBay Oz, 6 rubber boots to suit Morris/Austin brake and clutch master cylinders

This weekend was spent cleaning up parts, and wire-brushing and painting with Wattyl Killrust epoxy enamel (I love Killrust, it's a great paint system!) The gearbox received a coat of Killrust etch primer, and then a coat of Killrust epoxy enamel in mid-Brunswick Green to match the engine.

I inspected the driveshaft, and all looks good. There is no apparent wear in the universal joints, and both ends were cleaned and greased, followed by a coat of Killrust in black.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ring gear and flywheel on

Had a win today. Used the oxy-acetylene to heat the incorrectly positioned ring gear, but being a tight fit as I heated the ring, so too the flywheel was heated. Stalemate situation.

I flipped the flywheel over, and drove the ring gear off with a punch, working slowly around the perimeter, and gaining a fraction at a time. Once the ring gear dropped off, we preheated the kitchen gas oven (the one I should have used yesterday) to 260 degrees centigrade, placed the ring about mid-oven, and turned on the fan. The ring gear was placed the right way up in the oven to fit straight on to the flywheel, which was sitting on the kitchen bench.

After 10 minutes I donned a pair of welding gloves, took the ring from the oven and placed it on the flywheel, where it sat down perfectly on the rebated seat exactly where it was supposed to sit! Sooo easy! Within about 5-10 seconds of sitting on the colder flywheel, the ring gear cooled and contracted sufficiently to grab tight.

Once it all cooled again, I mounted it back on the rear of the engine, and torqued the flywheel bolts to 4.8kg/m like the good book said. The lock tabs were then set against the flywheel nuts.


Compare todays photo with yesterdays photo and see what a great difference there is!

I checked the propellor shaft in the end of the gearbox extension for wear in the rear bush, and there was no detectable movement in the joint. So it looks like I just need the oil seal to make this task complete!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gearbox out, flywheel off

Bugly arrived in Darwin with the advice that if the starter wouldn't engage but just sat there spinning, then a partial rotation with the crank handle would fix it ... no problem! Does this sound like a worn ring gear to you? About 12 months ago I bought a ring gear off eBay suitable for an MGA 1500 engine, so decided to fit it over Easter.

The workshop manual said "Support the power unit (engine), which can be done with a small portable crane through the cab door ..." The reason for this is that the gearbox mounts have to be lifted off the rear cross member before the transmission can be withdrawn rearwards from the engine. So ... coming up, one dodgy overhead crane ...


I had already taken the front quarter windows out, so a wooden packer under the 50x50 RHS worked wonders! The chain ran through the back door and hitched around the left rear chassis member. Not much strain on the chassis, as most of the direct weight was on the window sills. I have great faith in Mr Morris's welding!

Once the gearbox was removed, the wear on the ring gear where the starter motor sat was obvious. I have heard that an engine will usually come to rest on the cylinder with the highest compression, which is why one position of the ring gear gets most of the wear.


Once the flywheel was removed, the extent of the wear was evident, and little wonder that poor Bugly had starting problems! Even the pinion on the starter motor was worn, although not too badly.


The worn ring gear was removed by supporting the flywheel clear of the work bench by some wooden packers, and driving the gear off the flywheel with a punch, working gradually around the perimeter. Actually, I used a cold chisel as it had a wider contact area.

There are two ways to expand the ring gear to allow a "shrink-fit" to the prepared flywheel. Firstly, the ring gear can be placed over the flywheel, ensuring that it is right way up, and the flywheel is adequately supported. Heat via an oxy-acetylene torch is then applied evenly around the ring gear, until it expands sufficiently to drop into place on the flywheel. Once in position, it can be checked and adjusted to ensure that it is seated correctly before it cools and shrinks. But BEWARE it is HOT and will BURN IF TOUCHED!

The second method will ensure that a more even heat is applied to the ring gear ... simply cook it in the oven at around 250 degrees centigrade for twenty minutes or so. Take it out using a good set of welding gloves initially, then by means of multi-grips or vice-grips or similar tool, carefully place it right-way-up in position on the flywheel, and check to ensure that it seats correctly. The same warning regarding "HOT" also applies here.

I chose method 2. Silly me ... I used our hooded BBQ, which usually cooks a roast at 250 degrees no problems. But today, it struggled to make 220 degrees (it has a temperature gauge on the hood). I though I'd still try it, but as it was not sufficiently hot it cooled quicker, and didn't quite seat properly on the flywheel before it cooled and shrank seated higher than it should be up the flywheel.

Therefore tomorrow, I need to find an oxy welding set and finish fitting the ring gear using the first method!

While the gearbox was out, I checked and cleaned all components. The rear oil seal in the gearbox extension at the output shaft is well worn, and requires replacement. This was the reason for a substantial pool of oil under Bugly when parked. The seal presses into the cast aluminium housing, and seals against the tailshaft, or propellor shaft. The tailshaft bears in a long bush forward of the oil seal, which may also be worn ... I will check that tomorrow.


On the other end, the clutch drive plate is still serviceable but worn, and it would be a little silly not to replace it now while the gearbox is out. The clutch pressure plate has been replaced at some stage (it still has the "Coventry's, Perth" sticker on it) and appears to be in good condition. The carbon thrust bearing also appears to have been replaced at some stage, as it is a "Repco" part. It too is in good condition.

So the bits I am chasing are:

New starter pinion assembly (9-tooth)
New clutch drive plate
Rear gearbox extension oil seal
Rear gearbox extension tailshaft bush (possibly)
Clutch withdrawal lever rubber boot
Gearbox casing upper dust cover

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bugly's brakes checked out

I had some time available this afternoon, so I decided to sort out two things ... Bugly had two different size tyres, being 6.00x16 on the left, and 6.50x16 on the right! That's right, different sizes on each end of the rear axle! It also had the effect of putting a lean on Bugly to the left, which looked a bit silly.

Here's a photo showing the two different sizes against each other for comparison!


I decided to fit the smaller tyres to the front, and the larger across the rear axle, and at the same time remove the brake drums and check out the brake condition. When I bought the van, it had apparently had a recent brake recondition, so I wanted to confirm that all was good in that department.

Here's the front left brake assembly, after the drum was removed ...


The brake linings are like new, but note that the upper return spring between the two brake shoes is missing! I pulled the front right drum apart to check the other side, and found that the lower spring on that side had fallen out, and was just sitting there. This lower spring was a tad stretched, so I decided to fit the best two springs to the left side front, and I would sort out a set for the right front.

On stripping down the left side, there was the return spring, sitting in behind the brake shoes! So I had four springs after all, but two were a little longer by about 4mm or 3/16 of an inch. Brainwave ... there was a choice of two holes on each brake shoe for fitting the return spring. I simply reassembled both sides with the springs in the second hole, which put all springs into tension. The front brake shoe on the left front brake assembly was also bent in at the top, and sitting at an angle which forced the adjuster to also sit off-line. I straightened the shoe, and all seems to align correctly now.

Here's a photo of the right rear brakes.


After finishing the brake reassembly and changing the tyres around, Bugly is now sitting perfectly level!

Although the tyres are OK for moving Bugly around during the resto, they will require replacement before the van is registered for the road. As the original tyres were 5.75/6.00x16 I will see if I can get a set of 6.00x16. If they are too pricey, or unobtainable, I will fit 6.50x16.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Starting the restoration soon!

Bugly's restoration will start real soon! Darwin has nearly finished the worst of the wet season with the high humidity, so panel and paint will be able to be done without the humidity problems.

Also I'm hoping that the rear wings and the door shut sections will finally be manufactured and shipped from Iain McKenzie of Fairmile Restorations in the UK. Iain has finished making panels for Charlie in Canada and despatched them, so I'm hoping that my turn is next. I know that Iain is a follower of this blog, so maybe he will see this post! Please, Iain?

The workshop has been cleared to provide additional working room, and there's not a lot to stop me starting, except time to do it. But I am finishing off a few other odds and sods to allow me more free time! And with the onset of the north Australian "dry season", the grass will die off until next season, which will save mowing for 6-8 months or so.

But the biggest bonus of all is with my recent weight loss program "Bugly - Wannabe Loser". I can now fit under Bugly!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Another JB Van Blog!

Make sure you see JB Vanman's blog on his 1958 JB Van imported into Australia from New Zealand.

Great looking van, and JB Vanman is slowly working through the clutch and brakes to make sure it stops as well as it goes!

Follow this link to the new "Morris JB" blog!