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Morris Minor, Fenchurch

Minor update

I've just realised that I haven't posted yet about getting the new Morris Minor home. In fact I've hardly posted at all in the past couple of weeks. I must try to remedy that - it's not that I'm doing nothing, it's that I'm not getting around to writing about it.

Last Sunday dad drove me down to Liverpool to pick up the free Moggy. We thought we'd escaped the rain but we got invited in for a cup of tea and a chat first and it began to pour down just when we were ready to go back out and start preparing the car for the journey home. I stuck the battery from Fenchurch on it, replaced the plugs, leads, distributor cap, rotor arm, and air filter, poured a fresh can of petrol in, and checked the fluid levels, tyre pressures, lights, etc. There was no water in the radiator - this turned out to be due to a slow but constant leak from the water pump. The engine took about a minute of experimenting with the choke before it fired up, but once it was going it ran fine. I drove along the back street and did a gentle stop from 10MPH, then reversed, accelerated hard up the gears, and did an emergency stop from about 30MPH. The wheels locked on the wet road so I judged the brakes to be good enough to get home.

The journey home went fine. Above about 60MPH it developed a bit of a wobble in the steering wheel - I suspect one of the front wheels is probably out of balance. The heater was useless (I've since figured out why), which was only a problem because I was soaking wet and the windows steamed up (with a saloon you can't do the trick I learned in Fenchurch of opening the back windows a crack to get a constant draft going through). The brakes made a scraping noise under light braking - I still haven't figured that one out (none of the shoes are worn out). The engine vibrated quite a lot (turned out to be a broken stabiliser bar and perished rubber mountings), and the exhaust was blowing from the manifold joint (probably because the engine was vibrating too much). The driver's seat was absolutely awful, due to broken straps allowing the bottom and the back to sag, plus a metal bar had been welded onto the base to raise the height, which tilted the back even further forward (I've made a start on rejuvenating them with new straps and foam).

On closer examination, the bodywork is in a fair bit worse condition than Fenchurch was when I bought her. The worst problem is that a number of very poor quality repairs have been carried out, some of them quite recently by a supposed "classic car specialist" who charged the previous owner £75 an hour to do work that an ape would be ashamed of. Rather than bore you with the details here, I'll just point you to this thread on the MMOC forum. The bits of the car that have never been touched with a welder are generally pretty good, but the previous repairs leave much to be desired. I am going to put it right eventually, but for the moment I'm just going to do the minimum necessary to get her back on the road and running reliably until the end of this year's rally season. I want to have her as a backup for Fenchurch in case of major mechanical failure shortly before one of the rallies I'm planning to do this year, and I won't be able to do that if I'm half way through a major rebuild.

I was originally planning to call the new car Arthur, but after feedback here and elsewhere, I decided to give it a female name instead. In keeping with the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy theme, I'm calling her Lintilla, after a character who was cloned billions of times due to a moral dilemma (the cloning machine had a technical fault which meant that it was impossible to turn it off without murdering the next clone in the sequence).

Further work on Lintilla is probably going to be limited for the next month because I'm very busy preparing for this year's Eastercon, which will have just finished three weeks from now, and I'm probably going to go on a MMOC forum rally at the classic car museum at Gaydon the weekend after. ETA: just realised I got totally confused about the date for some reason. The rally is actually on Star Wars Day (May the Fourth).

Comments

Good stuff!

Re: the scraping brakes ... most of the car brakes I've seen have some sort of caliper arm over the top of the disc which the pads are connected to and the pads get pulled in to the disc surface to slow the car ... is there any chance that in doing so it pulls the entire caliper assembly down/closer to the disc and so the edge of the disc is scraping? It would (obviously) only happen when the car was moving ... a fairly obvious thought, sorry!
Good thought, but standard Moggy brakes use drums on all four wheels, not discs. I think it might just have been some flakes of rust trapped between the drums and the shoes. Normally you don't get a significant amount of rust in there because it rubs off every time you brake, but the car had been driven very little in the past year.
I had a bicycle that had drum brakes (no, really!) ... disc brakes have always worried me as it looks so easy for oil, mud and other stuff to get on the disc and lower the efficiency of the braking system, but obviously I must be wrong!
You could almost have bought my car, by the sound of it.