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Working on it

Minor update

This past week I (with some help from my dad):
  • Fitted the new lock barrel to the driver's door mechanism and put the door back together.
  • Reattached the petrol tank and bent the new fuel pipe to the correct shape.
  • Got the engine running again - for about three minutes before it died and wouldn't run properly afterwards. The problem turned out to be that tiny rust flakes from the inside of the petrol tank were getting through the filter in the fuel pump and causing the carb to malfunction.
  • Cut the bottom strip off the slightly rotten part of the crossmember, as well as the driver's side jacking point. I'm going to replace the bottom of the crossmember with a new strip of metal and patch the crossmember itself a bit. I haven't decided yet whether to bother fitting a new jacking point - if I did it would just be for aesthetic completeness, as I don't trust them enough to use them. They have a bit of a habit of snapping off and dropping the vehicle onto the ground (that happened with my old Moggy - luckily I hadn't taken the wheel off yet when it happened).
  • Decided the radiator definitely was leaking, quite slowly but from several places, indicating that the core was generally rotten. Bought a nice rebuilt one from a company who trade on eBay as radiator_specialists.
  • Removed the heater and dismantled it. The matrix was rather blocked up with 43 years worth of rust, and it appears to have a couple of pinhole leaks at the bottom which I'm going to have to try to repair somehow. I managed to fix the dicky rheostat that was stopping the fan from working, and I found the missing demister duct splitter widget in among the boxes of junk that came with the car. I still need to locate some suitable air hose for the new demister ducts.
  • Modified the brake master cylinder filler cap so it will connect up to my Eezibleed.
  • Rebuilt the carb and fitted a disposable inline fuel filter between the pump and the carb. The filter has a transparent case so you can see the dirt as it gets stuck in the filter element, and there's obviously quite a lot of it getting past the filter in the pump.
  • Changed the engine oil and filter.
  • Set the tappet clearances.
  • Fitted the new radiator and hoses, and temporarily hooked the heater matrix back up so I could fill the cooling system.
  • Started the engine (with no difficulty at all), let it warm up, then adjusted the carb settings for the right idle speed and mixture. It appears to run very nicely indeed, and starts instantly with no choke; in fact pulling the choke all the way out makes it run poorly because the mixture becomes far too rich. It'll be interesting to see how well it starts in the depths of winter.
  • Replaced the spark plugs, HT leads, coil, distributor cap, rotor arm, points, and condenser. These parts were all working but I don't know how old they were (the coil and distributor cap looked like they may have been original) so I thought it prudent to change them for the sake of reliability, since I want to use the car for everyday commuting. Had a bit of trouble with the coil HT lead, as the supplier sent me one that was designed for a plug-in type coil rather than a screw-in type. When I emailed them about it they suggested just cutting the clip off the end, which clearly wouldn't have worked because then there would have been nothing to hold the cable in, and little to no electrical connection. I managed to modify the clip and the screw thing to make them fit together, but in hindsight I would have been much better off changing the screw-in coil for a plug-in one (especially since the plug-in type was a couple of quid cheaper).
  • Chose the six best wheels of the ten that came with the car, and removed the tyres from them. For those who have never had the pleasure of manually removing car tyres with only a few big screwdrivers and a mallet, let me tell you it's bloody hard work! My hands are all bruised and scraped, and my right wrist (the one that gets tenosynovitis if I type too much) feels a bit dodgy, but in a different way to the RSI. I think I probably strained it a little. Those will be getting sandblasted, then we'll pick the best five of them, paint them, and fit a set of new Bridgestone 145x14 radial tyres to them (already ordered). The remaining four rather rusty wheels still have tyres that appear to be holding pressure, so I'll be using those for the time being to allow me to move the car in and out of the garage.

In summary, Fenchurch now Goes; the next big job is to make her Stop (ie. rebuild the brakes).

I nearly forgot: I've received the new registration document from the DVLA. Slightly surprisingly, she only has one prior registered keeper, and it doesn't appear to be the chap who last owned her. I suspect he bought her 15 years ago as an MOT failure intending to do her up in his retirement, and he planned to sort out the paperwork once he was ready to put her back on the road but never got that far.

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