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Working on it

Minor update

Not quite on the road yet, but I've done a huge amount of work on Fenchurch this past week (I took two days off work, and my dad gave me a hand again today). The three main things left to do before Friday are: attach all the gubbins to the front doors (windows, handles, etc.), fit the sliding rear windows, and spray the rustproofing stuff underneath. We made a start on the rear windows today but soon discovered that it's pretty much impossible to nail the sliding channels on using an ordinary pin punch because the pins are so small they're hidden completely inside the felt-lined channel and you can't see or feel whether they're going in straight. Dad is going to go out tomorrow and try to find one of those special pin punches that have a spring-loaded sleeve which holds the pin straight. I'm sure I've seen them in shops before now and there's a picture of one in the Morris Minor restoration manual, but Google is drawing a blank on a UK supplier. They look something like this.

In the past week, we've:
  • Flatted down the bonnet.
  • Sprayed the topcoats on the bonnet (another batch of paint arrived - I'm not convinced it's a 100% perfect match but it's pretty close). I managed to reduce the orange peel in the final finish by spraying the last two coats using 70% thinners instead of 50% and not waiting for it to flash off completely between the two. That caused the surface to dry more slowly which let it flow better, but also allowed it to pick up more airborne particles. Swings and roundabouts. I suspect the dust stuck to the bonnet will be easier to polish out than the heavy orange peel on other parts of the car.
  • Reassembled and fitted the front and radiator panels.
  • Fitted the front wings.
  • Fitted the rear side panel that I stupidly took out a while ago when I thought it would be easier to spray the side panels if I removed them first. This very awkward job took a whole afternoon.
  • Cleaned all the seats and trim panels.
  • Re-fitted the boot floor, trim panels, and seats.
  • Reassembled and fitted the front bumper.
  • Fitted the front suspension bump-stops.
  • Fitted the rear bumper.
  • Fitted all the lights, wired them up, and fixed a couple of electrical problems. I've now got halogen headlamps and yellow indicators on the front, but I haven't yet fitted separate yellow indicators on the back (the brake lights flash instead - this was common practise when the car was built but I suspect may confuse many modern drivers). I've yet to set the headlamp aim properly because there isn't enough room to do it inside the garage.
  • Clamped the battery back down and attached the battery terminals with self-tapping screws. I've got some more modern clamp type terminals to fit but it was quicker to screw the old ones on.
  • Re-fitted the radiator and hoses and filled the cooling system with 33% Ethylene Glycol antifreeze. I fitted a loop of heater hose up to the heater connections again because I still haven't got around to building a new heater. I had to anneal the rigid copper part of the heater pipe and bend it a bit because it didn't line up too well with the bottom hose.
  • Fitted the bonnet complete with all the supports and trim, and got the latch working correctly. I've yet to paint the inside but that can wait until next week.
  • Painted a few other bits and pieces.
  • Adjusted the front door hinges so they line up better with the doorways.
  • Fitted the sill cover plates and finishers.
  • Replaced the rusty passenger-side quarterlight and the felt channels in both front door tops.
  • Cut the felt channels for the rear windows to length.
  • Cleaned up the rear windows.
  • Cleaned up the wooden trim pieces that fit on the inside of the car along the bottom of the sliding window channels.
  • Fitted the hinges on the rear doors, but didn't attach the doors to the car yet.
  • Probably loads of little jobs I've forgotten now.

I've just realised that we probably left the cabin light switched on when we left tonight... Doh. Better stick the battery on charge again in the morning.


I have such a punch if you can't find one, I can shove it in the post to you. Not sure how good it'll be though, the hollow up the centre of the barrel is about 4 mm in diameter!

I tend to hold the pin in needle nosed pliers and use the cross pein in tricky situations and finish off with a punch if needed
I'm wondering if I might be better off trying to screw them on instead. That's how they were originally attached at the factory, but the restoration manual I've got here talks about using small pins, together with one of those pin driver things. There isn't really enough room to get even a very small pair of pliers into the channel to grip the pin and there's certainly no room for a hammer, so I was trying to start it off blind using a plain pin punch - hopeless.

Thanks for the offer, I might take you up on it if we can't find a smaller one locally and screws don't work either.
Just tried drilling and screwing a test piece, and it's awkward but doable. Annoyingly the felt tends to get tangled around the drill bit.
What kind of bit are you using? some bits seem to snag more than others, using freshly sharpened bit might help too.

Oh just remembered that the current UK name for the tool you are/were looking for is a pushpin - obvious really!
It's just a standard 1.5mm HSS drill bit. The problem is that you have to drill through the felt that lines the channels, and you often have to try in several places before you find a gap between the steel bands that are moulded into the rubber backing. Then when you come to fit the screw, the felt has closed over the hole again and it takes several attempts to locate it. We managed to fit the windows on one side of the vehicle in about three hours tonight - a real pain of a job but we got there in the end. I'm not particularly looking forward to doing the other side tomorrow night.

Aha, pushpin, yes that does ring a bell. I'm tempted to buy one now but I wouldn't get it in time to be of use for this job and I suspect it's one of those tools that would come in really handy about once a decade ;)
Rusty quarterlight? I thought Travellers were all-stainless.. Mine most certainly are, and I don't recall ever seeing a traveller with painted frames to the windows, like the saloons..
The quarterlight frame was chrome plated and most of the plating had come off. The door top is too but that's only rusted slightly. I think the driver's side is the same (it looks more like chrome than stainless to me).