Thursday, June 25, 2009

Molly Jolly

As you may know, the fleet scored a full set of MOTs at the weekend. Jessica (the Commer) was immediately pressed in to service at the Bo'ness Steam Railway. Given the choice I would have taken Molly - this isn't you know...

However being off the road for around 4 years, I really wanted to build up some confidence first (and of course the bikes might have been a problem). So Megan and I went for a little blast on Sunday night. Oh boy, what a fantastic ride that was! A little noisy (was it always?) but I had forgotten what the engine was like. Nipping through the gears pushing on the accelerator, and she pulled and pulled, very responsive and willing to move. Hitting the bends, the anti-roll bar kicked in, flattening it out, while the telescopic shocks gently smoothed out the bumps and lumps.

All in all, it was just as much fun as I remember - if not more!

So, after that little blast, I wanted more (who wouldn't). But of course the problem was - when. Well, the opportunity presented itself today - a trip to work. The furthest she's been in the last 4 years is the 3 mile blast on Sunday. So, with trepidation I set off early this morning down the back roads on the 24 mile trip to Edinburgh.

We made it intact - my nerves were a little frayed but we got there. So on the way back I decided a little photo shoot was in order.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Big Day out

To celebrate the raft of MOTs we scored yesterday, we decided to go to the Bo'ness railway where they were having a Mixed Traffic Gala. We had an open invitation from bmc_ecosse on the Morris Minor forum, so as it is Father's day and I can do what I want - steam trains and classic cars were the order of the day!

So the only thing to decide was which classic car to take (some dilemas are a good thing). It came down to Megan being a massive fan of cycling, so Jessica was today's vehicle of choice , bikes chucked in the back and off we went!

The weather stayed fine so after the bike ride, it was time to catch the train.

gorgeous wood paneled coach

...pulled by a stinky old diesel - actually I quite like it

is that Thomas? No its not (acording to the lawyers)

Jessica snuggles up to another 70's icon

beautiful Austin
I used to have one of them... well an Austin 1300 version

Saturday, June 20, 2009

...and the results are in..

Two passes! I'm absolutely astounded! Jessica has a clean sheet and Molly got a couple of advisories (weak brakes and cracked anti roll bar bushes).

Time for some fun in the sun I think!

Tick, tock, tick, tock...

Waiting ....

The girls have gone for their MOTs today and I'm a bag of nerves. I've done a much as I can (I think). I had a last minute panic over Molly's indicator display light (the glowing green end of the indicator stalk). Sorted....

As I was leaving the MOT guy came to take Molly in. I showed him where to put the key, and to pull the starter knob. I hope he finds the dip switch, and works out that Jessica's hand brake is on the front wheels...

good luck

Friday, June 19, 2009


Molly and Jessica are having their MOTs tomorrow. This week has been a blur of Ministry prep at little yellow towers. I'm not looking for a pair of passes or anything crazy like that, but I'm not up for any big surprises.
Jessica has had a good going over, the screen wash has been topped up, the brake lights have been looked at (and tweeked). All in all she's not looking too bad (please ignore the gaffer tape)

Molly on the other hand is a completly different kettle of fish (or wonderful box of emotive sounds and smells depending on your viewpoint).

As you know the brakes have had a good going over and lots of general putting together and sorting. The one thing I'm not happy with however is the wiring. For a 47 year old car she's doing very well, but lets face it, its expecting a lot for it all to work after all the love and abuse she's had over the years. The major problem is the corrosion of the wires. It seems to spread throughout the loom and make any kind of repair a real pain. The stuff just can't be soldered to and large chunks of wiring is simply too short now.

Last night I went round all the lights and checked them over. The rear offside light was tweaked (bad earth) and the front offside got a coat of looking at. And thats where the problems got a little worse. The black wires in the front side light / indicator are pretty nasty. Tonights effort was in getting decent connection (and I think its just about there) but having indicators on and the headlights without the engine running still causes a few problems. I wonder how the test is done?

Oh and earlier in the week I checked over the wipers and washers and found the wipers were good, but the washers weren't happening. So after a little investigation I discovered a distinct lack of tubing between the pump and the jets - oops! So a quick click on the ESM website and some tubing and other bits were speeding to the rescue ,good old ESM. Now we have working washers - phew.

So, 2 MOTs tomorrow - fingers crossed please readers.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Today I washed the cars

All three of them...

Megan got her way and we spend a lovely few hours riding our bikes in the Almond vale country park on the banks of the river Almond in and around Livingston. We were expecting rain, but as I had failed to organise the bike ride yesterday - it had to be today. We were very pleasantly surprised and the rain held off.
On our return I was inspired to wash the cars as a) they were all movable b) they were all very grubby and c) Molly has not been washed for literally years.

spic and span

less grubby

Of course you can guess what happened next... yeah that rain arrived. In the middle of the leathering process. I must admit I did feel a little daft leathering cars in the rain (and indeed thunder) but you guys out there in Readerland need some pictures of clean cars once in a while don't you?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Its a family affair

Another sunny Lothian weekend started with thick black clouds on the horizon, which put of any ideas of a long cycle ride on hold. So it was an opportunity for a spot of pottering (I like to potter you know). After a little gardening I took a sneaky peak at Molly to find this...

No not brake fluid - oil. Bum. So it was time to fit a new seal. Now, after many years of Morris minoring I have come to expect this kind of thing, so I had a seal in stock!

I was a Scout you know...

That meant it was time to rope in my little helper to get the half shaft out, replace the seal and put it back in.

Just before I put the wheel on I remembered to check the handbrake adjustment, but it wouldn't adjust - seized cylinder. Bum. Fortunately, last time I had to deal with a seized cylinder, I cleverly ordered two (see I have done this before!).

With that lot together again, it was time to enlist my little helper once more for some pedal pumping. Unfortunately it was a little boring for him and he kept getting distracted, so his big sister stepped in to finish the job.

Finally, Razor7 was interested in finding out how a front bunk in a Commer PB goes together, so I had to find out myself. The brackets went on really easily, I just need to sew the bunk itself now.

either goes with everything, or clashes with everything...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The fastest morris minor ...

... parts. I order the brake parts I needed for Molly late on Tuesday night, and they arrived today! Now that is service. East Sussex Minors (and their superb website) saved the day. Whenever I talk to people about old cars, they usually say something about "can you get the parts?" well this just goes to show you can - and quickly too.

Sometimes parts just look too shiny and nice to fit! I also got myself some brake adjuster hole plugs. Completely unnecessary but hey its all in with the postage...

So all in all, anothe good nights work. That MOT could be happening any time!

So the todo list looks like this:
  • sill trims
  • tighten up the wing bolts
  • finish the seatbelts
  • a bit of a cleanup underneath and some underseal
  • fit the towbar
  • bleed the brakes
  • sort the passenger door catch (it suddenly stopped closing properly)
  • check over the lighting circuits.
Sooo excited!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Brake Broke

So today I was geared up to bleed the brakes. I went off to Halfords to get the bleeder, had everything layed out ready to go. Last thing was to run round and loosen off each of the bleed nipples to make sure they were free.

You can guess what is coming next can't you. Yup, the bleed nipple snapped off. Bum.

So its a quick trip to the East Sussex Minors website for the required parts - and a bunch of spare spares, for next time (oh and there will be a next time). As I was unwilling to waste the rest of the evening a couple of other things got sorted, and of course I found a few more things to do.
  • sill trims
  • tighten up the wing bolts
  • finish the seatbelts
  • a bit of a cleanup underneath and some underseal
  • fit the towbar
  • bleed the brakes
  • tighten the seat bolts (a little easier said than done)
  • sort the front light wiring (again)
The wiring is a bit of a sore point. I am going to get a new loom, but I was wanting to wait until after the MOT. I'll just need to have a fiddle under the bonnet before the test.

On a more positive note, it looks as though the brake fluid leak was just down to a loose bleed nipple (I didn't tighten it up when I swapped the cylinder).

Getting there!

And thanks to Ruairdh for the offer of the EZBleed adaptor!


a bit more progress
  • sill trims
  • tighten up the wing bolts
  • finish the seatbelts
  • a bit of a cleanup underneath and some underseal
  • fit the towbar
  • bleed the brakes (and sort the rear nearside corner)
I got ready to bleed the brakes last night, but the EZ Bleed I have doesn't have an attachment for Mollys remote fluid reservoir, and I'm not going to bother with that manual bleeding, so it'll be off to Halfords for a one man bleed kit.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

one up one down

Good progress here today. Jessica got some attention today and the engine got started! Yay! The exhaust/manifold combo seems to be gas tight, so after a little more fiddling we could be looking at a go at an MOT.

Molly got some attention too. All four wheels were put up in the air and the seatbelt bolts were tightened up. I also popped on the sill trims (but they're going to need some more tweeking)
the todo list is like this:
  • sill trims
  • finish tighten up the wing bolts
  • finish the seatbelts
  • a bit of a cleanup underneath and some underseal
  • fit the towbar
  • bleed the brakes (and sort the rear nearside corner)
then we could be looking at another MOT!

time to fit the towbar, so I can stop falling over it!

Oh and we have a new addition to the fleet ;o)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Happy place

Everyone has a happy place. A place (you may have more than one) where you feel at one with the world. I have one, its here...

Yes its under Molly. Its a little bit dark, quite cool and remarkably clean. I popped under there tonight to tighten up the shock absorber bolts.

Unfortunately there was a bit of a nasty surprise...

Yeah a little pool under the wheel and a soggy tyre - that's there is brake fluid and it shouldn't be doing that. Hopefully its a loose connection (its the corner where I replaced a brake cylinder a few months ago).

'twas a busy evening and I managed to get a little work done on Jessica too. A few months ago (again) I got a modified inlet manifold so I could fit an SU HIF 44 carb. These carbs are much more efficient that the existing Zenith, so should improve performance and reduce fuel consumption. As the manifolds are off (due to the failed gasket and cracked exhaust manifold) , I could think about fitting the new carb and manifold.

Looks nice doesn't it? There are a few things which need sorting before it can be properly fitted. Like how to fit the air filter. There ain't a lot of space, so a cheeky card patten was required to make up a plenum chamber thing to allow the filter to be fitted at a right angle to the carb.

I can't fit it yet as I have a bit of a problem with the exhaust manifold. The existing one needs some modification and I don't have the facilities to braze cast iron, to its going to have to wait. So the old manifold/carb combo is going back on. Its all pretty clean and works well so it should be OK for a bit.