Sunday, 28 March 2010

Slow Progress

Had another day welding on the estate today, interrupted at various and frequent times by my sons who needed attention to various bits and pieces on their moderns.

The welding was really just finishing bits and pieces off, so no dramatic progress, but the passenger side is now finished apart from the rear lamp area, rear hatch to wing, and fitting the front wing, and of course the front drag strut mount. If I say it quickly it doesn't sound much!

Plug welded the rear wheel arch which is now finished

Got inside the car to attend to the welds on the cant rail joints, before

And after, I have left the square hole as I want to reinspect the internal welds made through this hole to the far side of the cant rail, but I haven't got a good view at present due to the cage.

On the driverside I started to do the rear wheel arch repair sections, and finally gave up after one interrruption too many. The rear repairs are fitted but need the welding finishing

In reality the driverside is nearly at the same state as the passenger side, finish the wheel arch repairs, fit the rear wing, plus a few other bits and pieces of plug welds to complete and then that too will just need the wing fitting and the lamp sections.

Work permitting I think I can complete the shell in a few weeks - but not the doors or bonnet, so I am contemplating booking it in at surface treatments, the remaining parts can go down later. Before it goes, it needs a good inspection and snagging session, anyone who wants to inspect it and help point out areas that I have missed will be most welcome, as its hard to spot your own mistakes!

Hours now worked 435 - 7 today.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Welding Again

First job of the day was to finish the bottom end of the engine, so I put the last 4 pistons in, oiled the unit and shrink wrapped it. That will keep the dust and dirt off, and moisture out until I am ready to do more work on it.

Back to the welding, first job was the unfinished bulkhead / floor pan on the passenger side, which looked like this

Repair panel made up and held with fasteners

and after seam welding, shaping, plug welding and grinding the finished result

I then did various bits of plug welding that have been left for a long time, floor pan

The remaining large holes need doing from inside the car as they are from or connect to the seat mount.

Then plug weld parts of the boot floor

And finally it was time to look at the drag strut mount. This had a small rust hole in the side, but this is what I found

Clearly shows what happens if you double skin metal and it gets wet. This unit is of altered construction to standard, as it is mounted below the chassis rails, and has been reinforced (presumably to cope with the additional stress of driven wheels), but the reinforcing consisted of extra plates welded on top of the original metal, the side plate can be seen here - complete with the original rust hole

When the side plate is removed you can see the welds where metal has been let into lower the mount

The other side of the strut also has a reinforcing plate, and again the original metal has some rust holes just visible here above the tube.

The question is how to repair it?

Obviously I can replicate exactly what was there before with 2 layers of metal, but its always got a potential rust problem, or can I use thicker metal say 3mm ? The problem with this will be distributing the loads.

The double box section at the rear of the strut can be dealt with by leaving a gap between the 2 flat skins of say 5mm so paint will get in and water can get out, but its the sides that are more of an issue. Time to put the thinking cap on! and ponder the problem. Still I have plenty of other jobs to do while I consider this!

Also I think I need to remove the top plate from the other strut mount and inspect. if there is hidden rust I might as well fix it now, the trouble is the other side seems sound with no trace of failure.

Hours worked now 428 - 8 today

Friday, 19 March 2010

Not Welding

In my last post I said that I would be welding next, but I didn't, I decided to have a different type of day.

There are still some mechanical parts that need attention, as my cunning plan is to get these items reconditioned / repaired while the body repairs are ongoing so I don't have to wait at the end of the body rebuild.

So first off were the disks from the fwd hubs, I have found a company in Oldbury who will make new ones

Then it was strip the struts, so the springs can be powder coated and the dampers replaced.

Had a small problem here, the uncompressed length of the springs was so large I couldn't remove my coil spring compressors, and had to get another set. Is it normal for 2000 springs to be so long, or was this a suspension modification?

I also need to compare the struts to my Stag ones and see if they are of similar length, spring mount height, and piston travel. if they are its some Koni inserts, if not I need to investigate alternatives.

Next front drive shafts, upon Adrian Turners advice I persuaded the CV joints to split from the front diff with a large hammer

These are going to Dave Mac Propshaft Services in Coventry.

Next project was the engine, I needed to get it built up to protect the machined faces from rust, so I intended a dry build before additional machining, here crank shells fitted

And crank in place checking end float - measured at 4 thou, which is the lower edge of the tolerance.

Crank turns freely by hand, no tight spots so onto the pistons, first check ring clearance, using rings off each piston in its bore, I set them to a "level" height using the piston.

All gaps were between 15 and 18thou, spot on for a Stag engine.

So pistons in

I had intended to deck height the block, to get the pistons level with the top of the block, but no need, unusually all the pistons were either level with the deck, or within 1 or 2 thou, so thats one job saved.

I shall do a little more work on the lower end, and then it will be oiled, wrapped in cling film and put away, until I am ready to fit the heads.

hours worked now 420 - 9 today
money spent now £8381 - £50 on powder coating.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Powder Coating

A short blog today, collected my recent batch of powder coating.

The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted that the studs are still in the trailing arms and also powder coated. I tend to leave the old ones in and replace them later, as it protects the threads in the holes, which are feeble enough as it is, with out needing to tap them again to remove powder coat.

The rectangular backet with the large hole is the servo solenoid mount.

I have had some luck on ebay recently and sourced some nice parts such as:-

3 nos interior door handles
2 nos A Pillar repeater indicator lenses
4 nos headlamps complete.

plus other parts I was after, such as a nice clean powder coated Air Filter, 2 Cam Covers powder coated, and the sill chrome trims I was missing. I must say saloon parts don't carry the premium that TR5 parts do.

more welding next.

Friday, 12 March 2010

The Estate has turned Turtle.

I started today continuing with the roof welds. I got very sick of molten weld splatter down my arms, and it was almost impossible to see what you are doing when grinding the welds back, so, as I have a spit I decided to roll the car upside down. At least now the roof is on, there is enough weight to balance it and do this, before I couldn't get it more than 90 degress.

This was a good plan except for 2 issues:-

1). I hadn't removed all the rubbish from the interior, so what didn't fall out as it rotated ended up in the roof
2). I hadn't taken the doors off the passengerside, so it wasn't exactly balanced, and the doors are not easy to remove upside down!

While rotating it I spotted other jobs that I kept forgetting to do, so ground off the weld penetration on the rear valance, boot floor join

  and seam welded the reat of the passenger sill - it was only tacked in bits

and finished welding the outrigger on the passenger side

Then the roof / gutter rails, easy now and painless! So the roof is now completely welded on apart from a few spotwelds on the passenger side windscreen pillar, which can wait until its the rightway up again. Its easy to show the before and after here, the grove between the cant rail and gutter normally has a flexible joint filler in it, and is spot welded higher up befoer the roof goes on.

I am welding in the V of the joint

Thats it, I am now going to work on the underside of the car, front to back and try and complete the work underneath.

Hours worked 411 - 8 today

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Fettling and Welding

I thought getting the roof on the car was the easy bit. I spent the first 3 hours of today adjusting the fit, grinding off metal on the C posts, and bits of the windscreen pillars. Then I still couldn't get the gutter rails to sit at the correct heights on the A, B and C posts, Nothing in the way, it was all about 10mm proud, with gaps between the cant rails and the rain channels, so the problem was how to pull or push the roof down, you could do it by hand, proving it would fit, but there was no way to weld it and hold it down at the same time. Weights on the roof would probably have dented it, and I didn't have any mole grips that would fit. So a trip to my local ironmonger, where I purchased 6 turnbuckles, the hooks on these fitted into the gutter, and the other end was attached via rope to the lower part of the birdcage. Rotate the buckles, and pull the roof down. Simples!

Good fit too

So started to tack weld it in place, not easy upside down! - and then a continuous seam weld

And when its ground back it looks like this (A pillar)

Plug welded the windscreen surround - I didn't use my spot welder because there are 3 layers of metal here, and there was no way of cleaning the existing layers before welding the top part on, which could have left weak welds.

And good penetration on the welds too

 With the rest of the welding and grinding to be done on the roof I think it will take 2 more days to complete, before I move on to anything else.

I will be able to remove the birdcage soon, once I finish the roof and complete some of the seam welding on the sills. I need to get the cage out, so that I can weld up the joint in the cant rails, and also the roof reinforcing bars. With the extra bits of cage that I have added as the project has gone on, I can barely get in the car now.

I will be making a trip to the powder coating firm tomorrow to drop more parts off.

Hours worked now 403
costs £8331 - turnbuckles and some shackles £20

Friday, 5 March 2010

The Estate has a roof !

Started off today by preparing the other side of the roof.


Then started to prepare the car by removing the rain gutters and parts of the A post
drivers side

I then cut off the rear section of roof frame on the car upto the passenger doors, but leaving the C post

3 of us, then lifted the new roof on


It fits pretty well, but won't align until I "fettle" the metal at the top of the C posts - as its the join, I intentionally left spare metal to ensure a good joint.


Once this is done all the remaining gaps will close up, and it can be seam welded under the gutter, spot welded round the windscreen etc etc

Don't worry about the gap in the A post in the following picture - I still have the original metal that I cut out





I am really pleased with the result, the job wasn't as bad as I had feared. There is probably another 2 days work to finish the roof off, with the welds and grinding, so I won't be in a hurry to do another one.

How long to the RBRR?

I might make it at this rate.

Hours worked now 395 - 9 today

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Cant Rails and other bits and pieces

A mixed day today, cut the roof off the blue estate and loaded it on to a trailer. The engine still ran, so I have now driven a convertable 2000 estate!

The rear lamp housings are still attached to the roof, as I need some panels from them, and I wanted to carefully separate them from the roof.


No rust in the roof either, and only a little surface rust in the A posts


The plan for this roof is to cut out the cant rails forward of the "estate" modifications, leaving the rear hatch and window rails in place on the roof, reverse this process on the car, and then marry the two together. Sounds easy.....
Started cutting out the cant rails on the new roof, the cut is up to the gutter (rainchannel), leaving this attached to the roof, so I won't have to fabricate the parts that hold the trim strip on.

Cant rail removal


and now all gone, leaving the front of the A pillar - windscreen surround.


Next windscreen header rail removal


It just remains to repeat this on the other side.
While I was doing this, and waitng for the trailer to collect the old car, I also dismantled the rear trailing arms.

I got the bushes out with my favourite method - a blow torch, easy, if a little smelly and smoky and no risk of damage

Strangely on inspection one of the trailing arm spring mounts has a rusty metal spacer fitted, which was under the rubber spring mount. Both springs seem to be the same length, I intend to remove it and see if the car lists to one side upon the rebuild. The trailing arms, and other parts will now go for blasting, and powder coating where required.

If its dry tomorrow I intend to continue with the other side of the roof, and then start preparing the roof on the car.

Hours worked 386 (9 today)
Money Spent £8311 (engine work cost £750)

Where am I?