Friday, February 27, 2009

First floor...

.. classic car parts.
PoundStretcher has come up with the goods and the big pile of Hillman hunter parts, Commer gearbox part, Morris minor parts and "stuff" has magically reordered itself into a super duper department store of Classic car parts. Its like Are You Being Served all over again. Bye bye Wendy.

Oh and the wine is ready - apparently a £4o kit has produced a £2.99 bottle of Argentine Chardonnay... I like it though - just don't take too big a mouthful. Apparently after a few - its quite quaff-able though....

They're playing my tune

If you know-know-know me, you'll know that Big Monkey Man is a fave tune of mine. It turns out that the Mrs had to play it on repeat all the way home for the kids today - top taste seems to be hereditary!

This (and a few cider and blacks) have managed to lift my mood after the van popped out of gear on the test drive. Yeah - months of rebuild and it pops out of gear. On the up side, the overdrive works nicely. But poppin' just ain't good.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The wheels on the van..

...are on the ground!

I was going to put them down last night, but I realised that every time I got into the van I had been moving something out of the way. It was a tin of underseal. I had left it there to remind me that I needed to stick a coat on while the wheels were up. So last night I went round all the accessible bits and painted them with hammerite. Of course you can't see the underside of the van normally so I used the least usable colour I had - silver.

Cool huh?!

It also meant that I could spot the areas that needed to have underseal on. So tonight - on went the underseal and so there was no excuse, the wheels had to come down!

I also managed to fit the new/old bunks for the kids. These being original ones solve the problem of the kids being to big to fit through the tiny gap between them. They aren't rectangular, they are trapezoidal.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good, bad and ugly...

Its a little bit springy round here at the moment (I'm sure that will change) so Jess is out in the sun, and I'm thinking summery thaughts.
The good...

Overdrive switch is neat

overdrive relay works

Now I knew Jessica needed some bodywork but I had forgotten how much...

the bad.
the grille needs a bit of a tidy up

this dodgy seam needs redoing

Then of course there is the ugly. I knew this mess was here, but again - I had forgotten.

bad nearside door

bad offside door

and that rear corner mess.
None of this is critical (some may be MOT'able) so it can get done as and when the sun is shining and I'm not planning on being somewhere.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Grumpy old man

I am a grumpy old man - its official. Why I hear you say? Well, I've been getting the train to work since Christmas (why when I have 3 cars?!) and the relaxing 30 minute train journey coupled with the 45 minutes walk each way puts me into a chilled out state, and woe-be-tied anyone who spoils that. Oh and people have been winding me up. First, there's Edinburgh council, with their rather rash decision to install trams in the city. This has meant that most of the city's streets have been ripped up to allow the services to be moved. It was this ripping in fact that has caused my defection to public transport in the first place. Anyway this disruption was causing traffic chaos (unsurprisingly), but it has now spread to the foot paths, which is ridiculous. If no one can move around the city, what is the point of having it? Lets not mention the World heritage status...

The second source of grumpiness is some of my fellow rail travelers. Edinburgh Waverly station has an automatic barrier system. You pop a valid ticket in, the barrier opens and you get on the train. Except the idiots who choose to use the station seem to enjoy sticking invalid tickets into the machine, over and over again, preventing me getting to the train and enjoying another installment of New Scientist.

The third (but certainly not final) group of irritants are cyclists - not all cyclists you understand. I like to consider myself a cyclist (although that would actually require riding my bike wouldn't it?). Its the ones who decide to ride on the pavement. Its selfish, dangerous and illegal. Come on guys, we're all in this together. Its OK though some of them are getting their just deserts.

Anyway, this isn't about commuting or bikes - its about cars, so whats been happening in the garage? Well Jessica has had her cover removed (so it has started raining)- the new starter has been fitted (and works really well - thanks Martin!) The engine works and (because the wheels are in the air) the gearbox and overdrive have been tested and seem to be good too! The overdrive relay earth problem happened again and it took the fuse out (glad the fuse was there!) so I fitted the second hand one I got and it seemed to work fine. The earth for the trailer board is on now too, so I just need to sort the right hand side indicator wire, which could be a bit of a pain.

Once the wheels are on the ground, I can get Molly out of the garage and do the finishing bits for her, like bleeding the brakes, windscreen trim and finishing the seat belts.

Now I need to get some insurance, sort Jessica's interior and get out there and have some fun!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

good wood

Progress with Jessica is moving along nicely. The overdrive switch went in last night, along with the relay and associated wiring and it seems to work (I can't test it what with not having a working starter motor and all...). So tonight it was time for a bit of work in the living space. Now the problem with camper vans is they have room in side. So attract "stuff". So in order to get on with some of the jobs that needed doing there had to be some tidying.

Nothing got properly finished tonight, but lots of stuff got started. This included, fitting the sink (still need to resize the lid)

fitting the towbar and the electrical socket....

Not quite sure where all the wires go though. Finally, the oven hole reconstruction work began. I've never used a router before, but its pretty straight forward, and quite good fun.

After the routing was done, I turned it off and started tidying up, and I realised that it was a lovely still and warm evening - and the birds were singing! All I need now is to be in a field with a few ciders and my family around me. Am I looking forward to the summer or what?!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Drip drip...

So the snow is melting (boo!) but I can deal with that. Drip drip is the pace of work on Jessica. This morning (before my Motorbike lesson!) I snuck out and got a couple of hours under my belt. The reason I wanted to do this today (weekends are for the family - not cars - unless its a family attendance at a car show ;o) was because I needed the daylight to run the cables for the overdrive solenoid and cutout switch. It turned out to be pretty easy in the end, I just pulled them along the speedo cable, and up through the grommet in the cab floor - easy-peasy. The exhaust is back on now too, and I've had a crack at pumping up the flat tyre. All good progress.

Of course while I sitting in the cab I couldn't resist trying the starter, and she didn't want to go (that's what killed the gearbox in the first place...) so I'm guessing I need a new starter motor, and I know just the place to get one ...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Snow Snow Come back!

The snow is melting - aaaarrrrrgggghhh! What? I hear you say? Well, when its sub Zero, it's nice and dry, and because it's dry it doesn't feel so cold. Now its started raining, the snow is melting and it is cold cold cold. And wet. Not happy. Nevertheless I persevered and tonight I got the propshaft on and the gearbox full of oil. I've also got the speedo cable on.

So again lots of little bits and a smidgen of progress. The gear change feels pretty good (obviously without the actual engine actually running). I've been looking at doing the wiring, but with all that water sloshing around I didn't really fancy it tonight.

The to-do list is shrinking, but there are more things to do, if you know what I mean. There are things like fitting the sink, modifying the seat belt and fitting the new/old bunks. Oh and there's a flat tyre .. boo.

Lets not talk about the welding...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm not a Geek but...

If I were a Geek (and I don't think I am) this would be how to manage me. All those who don't want to be managed this way (with respect) say I... no didn't think there would be anyone.

Anyway that's not important right now. What is important is the wonderful world of garage projects.

The Commer gearbox project is moving along a-pace and tonight's done list is:
  • starter fitted
  • clutch slave cylinder fitted
  • bellhousing bolts fitted
  • Exhaust down pipe fitted
  • and finally (not finally but you know what I mean) the gear change linkage. And I tested it too, and guess what? I think I can get all the gears easily!
Got to remember to put some oil in the box before the test!

and for those of you keenly following Tool Of The Week, this weeks tool is...

Rubberized work gloves. Thin enough to be able to wield a spanner, but pretty warm (especially on top of 2 more pairs of gloves) and only £1.99 from the Spar!

Finally, the wine making project reached its third stage today with the addition of 3 sachets of stuff. None if which I really want to consume and one of which should be kept away from children. Oh yeah appetising.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


The box is in!

still lots more to do (like the starter motor, exhaust, propshaft, electrical system....) but its in! I wrestled it into position in the freezing cold on Thursday night. Not easy but its done now so I'm happy. I was absolutely delighted to see that the mount holes lined up perfectly with the bolts on the chassis!

Today's bin a no-car day so it have been fun in the snow.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Midweek madness

I was out in the snow last night under the van. Now that is weird. What was I up to? I hear you say. Well I was retrieving the overdrive spacer from the non gear gear box so I could do the build for real. And so here it is. I know you've seen it all before, but its a bit more special this time, and the mount is on.

Now of course I need to find something to fit between these two - and get them about 1" closer than they were before....

We live in Scotland, where it is cold and dark most of the year so I have learnt to be prepared for whatever mother nature is planning on throwing at me. Warm clothes and lots of them are the order of the day. But what of the darkness I hear you say? Well I would like to introduce the new little yellow feature-ette I like to call Tool Of The Week. And this weeks tool is.....

A £3 eBay LED head torch. Its cheap, its light and it makes things like messing about under cars in the snow a slightly nicer experience.

In completely unrelated news, I have been working on a side project . My brother kindly bought us a wine making kit for Christmas and today was siphoning day. It smells really nice - can't wait for it to be ready!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Cold comfort

ooooh its a bit chilly up here. Scotland is rather well geared up for snow, lots of gritters and snowploughs. But its all looking very pretty now. Problem is it is going to end up slowing down automotive progress. There is something really nice about cars in the snow. Now I'm not talking about accidents and tailbacks, but cars covered in a thick layer of snow. And the slush is horrible, and of course the salt is a nightmare

tucked up in the cold

I remember way back when I was young and foolish, the snow came down nice and thick across the little corner of the Midlands I grew up in. Still, I was determined to make my way across the snowy countryside in Molly to the rowing club disco - the 1/2 hour trip took 2 hours. Of course when I got there, no one else was daft enough to show up, so I had to just turn round and head home again. That's youth for you.

Anyway, back to the here and now. I don't have any classic cars on the road at the moment, but I'm doing my best to remedy that.

Tonight I had a crack at sorting the wiring system. I discovered, (after looking at the wiring diagram properly) that I needed to route one of the contacts to earth via a resistor. I didn't have anything suitable so I used a bolt. Seemed to work ok.

Slight problem with the resistor though.... can you tell what it is?!

I need to get back under the van, get the overdrive adaptor off, put the box together properly and fit it. I'll wait for the snow to melt first though...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

the bits between the bits

Little bits of progress this weekend, the gearbox mount is welded together and is getting a lick of paint, and the exhaust downpipe has had a new flange fitted too.

I also used the nice winter weather to have a bit of a tidy up. Does anyone what any morris minor body panels?!