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The bad news

8 Jun

After fixing the dodgy wiring, it seems that it is the starter motor not just the wiring. I am planning on pulling the starter motor out and bench testing it. More to come….

On again, off again

11 Apr

Sandy is back on the road again… it has been a while since I last posted a few interstate trips and a few minor hiccups in keeping Sandy going.

I decided to order the dog leg repair panel but to wait till I am set up in a proper garage before doing it as it will be before a major respray and I can do that when I pull the engine. I decided that I can get away with a temporary fill job and give it a coat of spray to tide me over until the new house is ready. While doing the rust repair I also did the niggly job of fixing a small paint bubble on the passenger side windscreen pillar.

After refitting all of the interior the radio stopped working. After tracking down the fault, a screw had gone through a wire and ground the speaker to the car body which in turn had shorted the connections at the back of the radio. I decided rather than to waste more time and effort fixing that, it would be quicker and easier if I took out the old radio cassette and inserted a new CD player and speakers.

So after explaining to the disinterested staff  in the hi fi section of WOW (no one wanted to serve me!) that I was not after a thousand dollar doof doof sub woofer for a 40 year old car. I got a reasonable stereo that does the job without breaking the bank (or my eardrums).

All repaired and with a new you beaut sound system Sandy was running a treat then there was a disturbing loss of brake fluid and a very spongy brake that caused my heart too race.

Firstly I thought that in my major restoration a may have nicked a pipe and there was a leak from somewhere. So after frantically searching every pipe, bend and connection to find no puddles of brake fluid anywhere. A lot of head scratching and pondering where almost 250mls of brake fluid was going somewhere yet I couldn’t find it until with a flash of inspiration I felt under the brake booster and the air filter was moist with the missing fluid.

Pulling the brake booster out I found about half a litre of brake fluid had accumulated after the seal had failed. A quick bit of research showed me that I had myself a PBR VH44 brake booster that was pretty much the standard for most Holdens and Fords. To buy one new would cost about $400 to buy the parts to give it and overhaul would cost almost $200.

More research revealed there was a place in Melbourne that did reconditioned Boosters. Terry at Hydroboost got my busted Booster and I got a refurbed booster within the week for less than it cost to do it myself! Everything is now fixed and I can’t say enough good things about Terry and would recommend them to anyone.

So now after an extended break Sandy is back on the road!

Rust never sleeps

7 Mar

Not to make me feel too good about getting Sandy to start again, while under the car refitting the pipework and electrics, I noticed some suspicious looking bubbles in the drivers side dog leg panel. Having just spent the better part of two months repairing rust, I wasn’t about to let this go without a good assessment of how bad it was.

I had a good poke around in there, the rear two spots are fairly shallow but the front one has gone all the way through. So I have put a dogleg panel on order and will strip it back further to see if there is any further damage to the inner sills. I will then repair this while I still have access to all the welding equipment. Apparently this is a fairly common area for rust due to the design. So common in fact that they specifically make a dogleg repair panel.

At least I will have more confidence welding now.

It lives!

7 Mar

After what seems like months (just 6 weeks) I have finally got Sandy running again. I have almost finished fitting the interior and it looks good.

Not only new carpets but refiitted the drivers seat, new foams make it much firmer (and comfier!), new metal window winders (the old plastic ones had cracked), fitted fire extinguisher properly (used to be hidden under the seat) and new gear stick boot (old one was split and torn).

Unfortunately while I was fitting the carpets, I pushed against the accelerator which promptly decided to break. So new accelerator cable. Finally after refitting the brake pipes, fuel lines and electrics under the car I reconnect the batteries, took a long deep breath, turned the key and let the fuel pump prime the recently installed lines. I quickly checked under the car to see if petrol was pouring out but success no leaking fuel!

So after feeling a little bit more safe, I kicked her over and after a few attempts Sandy roared into life. So with the interior looking pretty schmic and the engine once again running I was feeling fairly happy with myself.

Now I just have to complete the interior fit out, bleed the brakes and she can get on the road again.

Rust Repairs- Part 7. The Refit

3 Mar

Finally I have started putting Sandy back together. It feels if some insurmountable task has finally turned the corner. A virtual whole day was spent prepping, priming, sealing, rust proofing and coating the floors. Now she looks like this:

and to make things even better I have started fitting the new carpets! It is all coming together now. It has certainly come a whole long way from this:

Well it doesn’t look like it has come too far except for the paint job but I know a whole lot of work has gone into that. Worst part is there still is a whole lot more finishing interior, reconnect fuel, reconnecting brakes, bleeding system etc. etc. etc….

Rust Repairs- Part 6. The Fixing

1 Mar

After making sure everything fits and goes together without too much hassle, the welding begins. Approximately 150 puddle (or plug) welds around the panel plus the butt weld across the bottom of the panel. All the welding took me a couple of days mostly because Darwin had some severe tropical storms which meant I had to pack up the MIG welder as the storms went by. This is because my work area is semi sheltered under the house and the rain was literally coming in sideways. Now being quite the scaredy cat when it comes to mixing high voltage and water, I would pack up when the big squalls went by and then have to restart once the rain passed. Took a while, especially when there was a few times welds had to be drilled out a redone when there wasn’t enough penetration in the metal.

Finally I have finished and it looks like this

When grinding back I was burnt a few times when hot slag managed to land on my arms, hair and even ears! Only minor burns but now I literally have the scars to prove that I did it all myself!

So now it is time to prep for painting and now it looks like things are moving forward.

Now to finish painting then start reinstalling stuff.

Rust Repairs- Part 5. The Fitting

25 Feb

After cutting the repair panel to size it becomes a matter of cutting and grinding until it fits properly

Now all that is required is the welding and finishing and the rust repair will be complete.

In my recent travels I was lucky enough to be in Sydney and my understanding wife let me go to Heritage MG at Smithfield to get some more parts that I could pack into my luggage. One of the things that I bought was new rear lights. So as a bit of a celebration in achieving most of the cutting and grinding I fitted the new lights.

It wasn’t until I compared the new against the old that I realised how bad they really were. For those with a keen eye will notice that they are “upside down” as they are US spec with the red at the top.

Now roll on the weekend so I can start the welding!

Rust Repairs- Part 4. The Replacing

25 Feb

My floor pan package arrived giving me the final piece required to get Sandy back on the road. I have now cut out the floor and the area in the transmission tunnel so that the floor can be replaced.

Cutting and shaping the repair patch that will fit the hole in the tunnel.

Then cutting the floor pan down so that it fit.

Rust Repairs- Part 3. The Removing

7 Feb

Today I bit the bullet and decided not to just patch up the drivers side floor pan but to remove it.

After close inspection and a great deal of hand wringing I thought rather than spend an inordinate amount of time patching, repairing and getting the floor pan into a state where I can drive again only to have to repatch the same part again in a few months time when the small rust areas join up again.

Now I have removed half of the floor that had holes and was heavily pitted and will replace it with a new floorpan. I have a slowly growing pile of scrap metal in my work area. So now before I head off for a week my floor looks like this:

I will need to trim and prep the where I cut the floor out so the replacement floor pan is on order and when i return I can prep before heading off again then weld the piece in when I get back from Sydney. Then if all goes to plan I can start refurbishing the interior by the end of the month.

Rust Repairs- Part 2. The Welding

6 Feb

The repairs are continuing, I am using my available time after work and between trips to slowly put Sandy back together. The passenger side floor now looks like this:

After a few false starts and a few “do overs” I completed the patch job. I’ve learnt that it can be very easy to blow a hole through metal if you aren’t careful. I’ve learnt that if you try to weld too much the metal can and will buckle. I’ve learnt that if you don’t get a good weld it will not hold. These are all valuable lessons to learn on the passenger side, not over the pipework I am trying to protect and not in the middle of a panel that anyone can see. Now for my next big challenge to drivers side floor.

Unfortunately I am going away for a week back for a few days then away again for a week, looks like Sandy will be off the road for some time.


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