Fuel tank repairs

Ah its a funny old game. Restoring old equipment is fun and frustrating in equal measures… take today. Little one was at orchestra practice, dearly beloved was entertaining her mater in foreign climes so i had a couple of hours free to play in the sunshine. You may remember the fuel tank had a horrible repair to the area surrounding the drain plug so I removed all the old body filler and then cut out all the rust. I then cut out a new ‘bottom’ section of the tank and brazed on a 10mm brass nut – into which will go a 10mm brass bolt. Simples.

What I hadn’t banked on was when i tried to braze the repair panel to the tank that the seams in that area would all melt as they were simply sealed with lead. Aha I thought, i know how to lead following the restoration of my Etype Jaguar (another blog entirely) now so I was pretty confident I could reseal those seams again. So i took what felt to be a drastic measure and heated up the damaged ‘panel’ on the tank until it came free. NOW I could braze the repair panel into place which was harder than i thought as the tank metal is MUCH thinner than my repair piece.

Cutting a long story short, the repair panel and the damaged panel were combined together knowing full well I could seal any micro holes with lead and the whole section was re-united with the tank itself. That took more time than i thought due to the metalwork retaining heat and remelting the lead I had placed previously. Eventually it was done though. Now to test my handiwork. I will be cleaning out the tank and resealing it internally with a modern ‘tank sealer’ from those gold old boys at POR so I was not too concerned about filling the tank with water. At first it was a a joyous moment as the tank did actually fill with water. My repairs were good. However the rest of the tank is not as good as it looks and there were a number of pin size holes around the various seams that projected beautiful little jets of water in all directions. I dont doubt the tank sealer will actually do its job and seal them all permanently, but  i will do a belt and braces job and seal them one by one with more lead. A job for another day though :)….

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Cool vintage stuff…

I am always on the lookout for period items to build into the car but they have to be at the right price – i.e not a ludicrous overhyped price just because they are old. With this mind-set, I had a very enjoyable day at the Beaulieu International Autojumble. I had a few things on my list to keep an eye out for. Last year I found a genuine pair of driving gauntlets (the ones with the huge wide cuffs) and an exceedingly cheap pair of driving goggles that will need a little loving to be usable. This year I know more about what is cheap, what is genuine vintage and what is nigh on fraudulent. I had a great day and could have spent a lot of money, but I purposely didn’t take very much with me.

However I got 3 great finds… a pair of aluminium step plates with “Riley” moulded into them (needed to climb over the side of the car into the seats), a genuine pair of period racing windscreens (oh yeah!!!!) which merely need the glass replacing and finally an original alloy ‘lever’ style radiator cap as used on the Bentleys. All the above are rare items which I negotiated down to a good price.

The radiator cap has been restored with very nicely polished aluminium which for me is a pity as now I have to age it again… I love these caps… you can very quickly undo them when the engine is hot without burning yourself

Replacing the broken glass will cost me £14… so it was well worth buying the windscreen as a broken item… I have to wonder just how efficient a 12″ wide windscreen actually is – one day I will find out. I rather suspect I will be needing the goggles 🙂

I will post a picture of the step plates another day – they are in the garden being “aged”….

1 step forwards… oh. 3 steps back

An interesting time right now. I have been playing with the height of the radiator and was aware that lowering it meant that i had to buy a new (smaller) dynamo, which i was okay with until i found out that vintage dynamos cost a fortune, are pretty useless anyway and my one had the starting handle running through it. Lowering the radiator meant that i lost the starting handle and I think i want to keep that as a feature. So the radiator will go back close(ish) to its original position once I have the old dynamo rebuilt which is a fraction of the cost of buying a new one.

Second step back is the bodywork design. Raising the radiator affects the design of that AND the height of the steering wheel etc etc. So I mocked up what i thought would be the height of the side of the car and discovered that if i DID build the coachwork at that height then it would be pretty difficult to get into and out of the passenger seat. I was a little disappointed at this stage seeing all my plans go downhill. It was at that point that Learned Council across the road popped his head into the garage and said the side of the car was asthetically too high (by about 4 inches). Lowering that down to his suggestion did the entry/exit easier for sure and put the side of the car at about the height of an arm resting comfortably on the side.

I also realised that if I try to install the rear seat where I thought it would go – there would not be any space for the rear suspension to ‘bounce’ which would give the rear passenger an interesting driving experience every time we hit a bump… so i have to raise that up concepptually.

I have now installed some 3d modelling software on my PC so that i can mock up a few designs and play with the look… my car will definitely now be unique… watch this space for news on that.

This weekend I go to Beaulieu auto jumble, looking for a few things, a period rev counter, a temperature gauge, a starting handle and anything ‘interesting’. Mind you all these bits need to be cheap 🙂