Front damper removal

This weeks work was getting a closer look at the side of the engine block where water could be seen weeping down the outside. On closer inspection the repair by the previous owner(s) was not as good as it might have been. Apparently this area was susceptible to cracking if the coolant freezes. Allegedly antifreeze wasn’t as good in  vintage days.

In the picture above you can see the weep. I have now removed the exhaust manifold so that it is a little easier to work on. The coolant in these cars is not under any pressure (unlike modern cars) so the fix simply needs to be water tight. Historically this was resolved using a 50/50 lead/tin mix with the engine block being heated up using oxy-acetylene sufficiently for the lead to flow into the crack. Thats a job for another day although I have picked up refilled gas bottles in readiness…

Next job, get those horrible  front shock absorbers off the car as they will be visible at all times and although they are ‘period’ they simply look wrong. Below is what they look like…

And below is what all the race boys used in the 1930’s – “Andre Hartford friction shock absorbers”. Basically they are circles of wood that are tightened onto brass or aluminium bracketry – seriously basic!

They are adjustable but not particularly effective as they create high friction initially then when they start slipping as they move there is less friction and hence less damping but hey thats what the car needs. Anyway the ones I took off are only fit for the bin as they have no damping whatsoever – although I bet someone out there wants them…. eBay…

Getting them off was reasonably simple except of course none of my usual spanners or sockets fit – whitworth nuts and bolts in those days you see (not AF and certainly not metric). Luckily my brother in law asked me a while back if I wanted his grandads tools? I said yes without having a use for them at the time but having sorted through them a tool box full of old spanners is proving to be a huge bonus.

Oh and boy – did I laugh when I dropped the retaining bolts inside the chassis rail imagining that meant a rattle for ever more, luckily I could get my little finger inside a mounting hole and push the bolt to where i could grab it with a pair of pliers.

So thats it, old dampers gone… old wheel arch supports gone…. radiator off…

and this is what we have left to clean up… what appears to be a 20mm cannon fitted in the front of the car just below the radiator – or it could be where the starting handle goes? I like the idea of a cannon as the brakes will be rubbish and i might need to clear the road…


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