Thursday, January 29, 2009

I say, I say I say....

What do you call a gearbox with no gears?


a box! HA!

No not very funny really, but seriously I need to know so I can sell mine on eBay.

Its all the spare bits of gearbox I have lying around, bolted together to help me test the new gearbox mount. Lots lighter than a full box.

And the holes line up too!

So once I had the mount fitting, I decided to put the spare overdrive on the end. It all looks nice, like its supposed to be there. I was a bit worried about the handbrake linkage being in the way, but no the gods of Rootes were smiling. The speedo cable is long enough too so I'm extra happy - one less thing to worry about.

However its not all good news, the propshaft, which I rather rashly had shortened on the strength of the (wrong) overdrive/gearbox adaptor length, is too short - there's a surprise.

On the electrical side, I had another crack at rigging up a dummy electrical system. First I had a go at the simple configuration - the one without the self-canceling switch - and that was fine. So the relay works OK. Back to the drawing board and the large pile of manuals then...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Mounting tension.

This week I have mostly been making the overdrive mount. This has required my most bestest 3D thinking. The mount needs to attach to the bottom of the overdrive adaptor, and then attach to the gearbox mount on the chassis.

So I made up a jig, using the old gearbox rear extension to mark it out.

Lined up the mounting holes with some pieces of wood for a datum.

And put some screws through the jig to capture the position of the flange. Then it was a simple matter of putting the overdrive adaptor onto the screws and building the new mount around it.

Zap zap with the welder and - hey presto, one proto-gearbox mount.

It's not finished yet, but its a good start. It needs lots more welding and the right hand side looks a little wonky (I'll check that out later). I've also been having a crack at sorting the overdrive wiring. And that was a pain, and it doesn't work properly. The spare solenoid doesn't work and I couldn't get the switch to do the right thing. Its supposed to toggle the solenoid on and off (returning to the neutral position in between). But it didn't do that so more work is required. To be honest, I'm not that bothered, I might even stick the gearbox in and roll Jessica like that and sort the wiring at a later stage. But then again I might not...

Molly has had a little attention too, I've been over the wiring again as the lights packed in - new loom required I think. I have changed over the fuse box too (2 fuses - cool) which might improve reliability a bit... maybe.

Nice to see all 4 wheels on the ground again. The todo list is quite short now. In fact I have to think quite hard before coming up with anything concrete.... I need to change the front offside wheel.... and bleed the brakes..finish off the seatbelts.... Is that it?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


guess what I've got... go on guess....

Yeah its a Commer PB gearbox, with an overdrive stuck on the end of it! The overdrive is mocked up at the moment (no gaskets etc.), but all the bits fit together - hoorah!

I fitted the overdrive lockout switch too, nice bit of bling...

The next think do do is sort out a mount. I've been doing some sketches and taking some measurements, and it looks like it shouldn't be too tricky. Stick to imperial measurements and I shouldn't go to far wrong.

Davinci -ish

And I even have the raw materials in stock (am I a proper amature engineer or what?!)

materials in stock

Finally (tonight was a busy night....) I put Molly's brakes back on and replaced the rear brake pipe - the one that got squashed.

brake pipes shouldn't be like that...

Busy busy busy!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And the prognosis is...

erm... good and bad.

Took a good look at the overdrive/gearbox combo and came to the realisation that the input shaft I have doesn't match the overdrive adaptor. The overdrive mainshaft I have needs a longer adaptor, which is really annoying as I got them as a set. Its not the end of the world, I have the one I need (see it pays to be a hoarder). Problem is, I need to make up a mount and may need to shorten the propshaft again. This is really turning into a nightmare! I may be getting the opportunity to buy a full overdrive gearbox, which to be honest is a massive relief. Even if I do manage to get this lot together, I'm going to have to do a lot of miles to build confidence in it (shame that!). Got the rest of the box together though.

Overdrive adaptors. Left bad, right good.

The selector assemblies. The original one (left) has no fitting for a reverse light switch.

Gearbox together at last. Just need a bellhousing, overdrive adaptor and overdrive.


Last nights garage session wasn't the best. I had a crack at sticking the overdrive on the back of the gearbox and it just wouldn't go. I'm going to have another go tonight....

As if by magic - to cheer me up - my Father in law came up with the goods and the new (old) bunk brackets me made arrived. Very nice! I'm looking forward to fitting them!

Monday, January 19, 2009

tippy toe tippy toe

Easy does it... The geabox rebuild continued today. Little baby steps. Not rushing anything. All by the book.

The laygear went into the bottom of the gearbox. The main shaft went in (along with the first gear and its baulk ring). Then the bearings went into the end of the input shaft (turns out the bent bit I got machined doesn't have the bearings on it... meh...). Input shaft was gasketed up and bolted down. Then the (bloody) layshaft was pushed through. Finally, the big nut on the rear end of the mainshaft was done up.

Thats it so far. No pictures - I was concentrating too much!

To do? Tighten and lock the big nut, selectors and shafts, top cover/selecter. Then its time for the bell housing and the overdrive itself.

One thing I haven't got round to yet is the mount (pretty important!) But I have a plan.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

'boxing clever

Weekends are all about the family. So lots of chasing kids, having meals together and going out swimming. And to be honest those are my favourite things in the world. Playing with old cars however does come close, but it is rare that I decide to forego the family in favour of my dirty little pass time. However this weekend was different. Round at Ruairdh's yesterday got me all inspired, so once tea had been consumed, the kids were in bed and the Mrs was ensconced in front of the Antiques Roadshow, I nipped out to the garage.

Now there is one thing I have to do, the thing that is keeping me awake, the thing I kinda wish I had never started, dear Reader you know what it is. The GEARBOX.

Well tonight, bullets were bitten, and I jumped in feet first.

The first job was to clean off the remaining parts, then rummage though the bits and put together some sub assemblies. Those being the mainshaft and the lay shaft.

Well the main shaft was the biggest worry, keeping things clean, drifting the synchro mechanisms on without a press and doing up the big nut without a big enough socket. However with a little imitative, some bravery and lots of blind faith, I got cracking.

Going together. One cog at a time...

Layshaft and main shaft back together

Once Commer gearbox kit

Scrap layshaft (from the dead gearbox) glad I found that one!

Oh yeah and we watched the World's Fastest Indian last night. What a superb film! Loads of retro car action, salt flat racing and superb acting. Apparently its a chick flick for blokes....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Overdrive Reconnaissance

Operation overdrive is well underway and the secret to any successful mission is intelligence and training. Well this operation is no different. I've been using all the information streams available to me, the manuals, the forum of fun and the Internet. The one thing I hadn't actually done was had nosey round a real van with the a real live overdrive.

So in stepped Ruairdh with a kind offer of a look round his highwayman. I popped round this morning armed with my camera and got loads of useful info.

Unfortunately his overdrive wasn't working properly so the opportunity arose to actually play with the system and work out what was going wrong. It turned out to be a failed solenoid which was easily swapped over and a quick test run showed a great improvement.

The highwayman has had a lot work done on it and is really tidy, it has a Hillman hunter/Humber scepter engine and gearbox fitted (with overdrive obviously). It also has an SU carb fitted so it was a good opportunity to find out what needle is used (AAA it turns out).

SU carb conversion

tidy highwayman with extra modified bunk space!

After we got the overdrive working and tested, it was time for a bit more fun. We went for a quick blast in Monty the Austin 7.

Of course Monty isn't the only Austin 7 there....

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pros Prose

When its a bit tricky, you don't have the tools or you don't have the time, leave it to the pros. I didn't want to fit the towel rail in the bathroom. An expert laid the concrete on the driveway and some real engineers have sorted out some parts for the gearbox rebuild and overdrive fit.

thats why they do this for a living!

I took some pics of the brakes, they have only done about 10 miles since they were fitted!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Brake broke

So a little garaging tonight, I decided it was time to take a look at Molly's nearside back brake. This is the side that needs a new brake pipe, so off with the wheel, and off with the brake drum (to re adjust the shoes) but no the drum didn't want to come. The rear wheel cylinder was completly seized up so after a lot of swearing and grubbing around on the floor I was left with a rear brake cylinder in the vice. It was virtually new. So time for some more cylinders.

Moral: use your morris minor, don't leave it in a damp garage.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One man credit crunch buster

I have been doing my bit to combat the credit crunch. I have helping out small bussinesses, individuals and doing my bit for the environment. How? I hear you say!

Well I've been purchasing stuff (getting the cash flowing therefore fixing the credit crunch), preparing for holidays in the UK (sorting out that there global warming), recycling in the shape of classic cars (most of the carbon comes from the manufacture you know) and finally having a crack at reducing our carbon footprint when we do go on holiday.

First the recycling. Molly is getting frigteningly close to the road (lets not mention the broken van in the way). The horn and interior light work now. As do the indicators and all the lights. The new tyres are going on and the things to do now (that I know of) are the screen rubber filler strip and the rear brake pipe.

The purchasing has mostly been van related (with a few bargin CDs for re-living my childhood). First there is the trailer. She's an eBay beaut. And retro to the max, featuring wooden sides, steel leaf springs (?!!) and a rather natty hitch (may be an imperial size though?!). The plan for this is to allow us to pull the awning and luggage when we are off in the van, making the whole experience more pleasurable and tidy.

Then there is the fuel efficiency, the the standard stromberg carb on the commer is very thirsty and the existing inlet manifold is very restrictive, so CommerRacer kindly knocked me up this little darling. Designed for an SU carb and ported a little to help things breath a bit easier.

modified inlet manifold

Of course there had to be carb to go with it.

HIF44 - Fast Mini or efficent Commer?

Meanwhile, my father-in-law has knocked up a pair of bunk brackets so I can fit the new (old) bunks - thanks Richard!

And hopefully I'll be off to see Ruairdh and have a nosey around his van this weekend. The plan is to learn how the overdrive system goes together - I might get to drool over an Austin7 or 2 as well.

Finally, the machining work should be done on the gearbox conversion part soon so I can get on with the dreaded gearbox (and I'll be able to sleep at night again!)

Busy busy busy - I'll beat that credit crunch yet!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dark Dark nights

The first week of January is supposed to be the most depressing time if year. Christmas and new year are gone, the weather is cold and the days are still short and nights long. So in order to combat this, I've been getting up early - getting to work early, leaving at a reasonable hour, spending time with the kids and getting a few hours in the garage once they were in bed. All this has made me happy, but left me tired. Another thing that makes me happy is getting stuff for the cars (girls - think retail therapy). Molly has a new fittings and fixtures and an flasher relay, and Jessica has a big box of stuff for the gearbox rebuild/ overdrive fitting.

I haven't got round to fitting any of it yet, but it should keep me busy for a few weeks, by which time the weather may have improved (yeah right) and the days will be a little longer.

I've also found an engineering company willing to shorten the propshaft for the overdrive conversion, and I think I'm going to get them to take a look at the gearbox mainshaft too and see if they can unfatten the end where it apears to have been hit with a hammer?!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The big day is coming..

..the big gearbox day that is. So I've been shuffling around the garage making preparations. The place has been tidied, parts have been cleaned and laid out. The order for the consumables has gone in with Speedies, and I'm all ready to go...all clean and ready to go...

baulk rings (syncromesh) are consumables aparently...
practice makes perfect - sticking 27 needle bearings into the laygear. Not fun.

the end of the new mainshaft. Is it a bit squashed?