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1st-2nd March 2003, Action!

Seeing as the oil light was reluctant to go out during the last test drive, I dumped 1/2 a gallon of 20w50 in to bring the level back from below MIN to nicely above MAX. Unfortunately when I started her up there was still no pressure :-( 

Next step was to remove the distributor and spin the pump up with the leccy drill for a few mins with the pressure switch out, but still no hint of usefull flow - the technical term 'bum' springs to mind.

Phase three involved removing the oil pump from the engine, in situ, without disturbing anything else. A bit on the fiddly side but it was off in 20 mins, and the gears were packed with grease. After another 30 mins it was back on the engine and ready to be subjected to the electric drill treatment.

The drill laboured a bit pumping grease through, but at least it guaranteed a good air tight seal while it tried to suck the oil up from the gearbox. It didn't take long before I got a good jet of oil out from the pressure switch hole, so I refitted the switch, spun up the drill and was treated to the happy bubbly sound of oil appearing at the rockers :-)

Refitted the dizzy, started the engine and the oil light went out, though initially it would come back on if the revs dropped below 900, but after 15 mins idling all seemed well.

Must remember not to let the oil get low enough for the pick up to suck air...  I guess that the dipstick needs to be marked with levels more suitable for a Princess box underneath the engine instead of just a Rover sump ! 

Scoops & lumps & bulges........

I had a dream, a vision, a burst of inspiration, or maybe it was just a mad idea.

What if the bulge in the bonnet could be kept quite tight to the shape of the plenum and other gubbins that protrudes above the normal bonnet line ?  Then it could maybe made to look like the bonnet had just been stretched by the two headed monster lurking beneath - kind of giving that shrink wrapped look.

OK, so maybe it's not a particularly good idea, but it would be quite easy to test, and if it doesn't work it can be cut out and or just covered up by the smoothy scoop.

Click here for pics of lump making.

Also found time somehow to look at a few more bits of Pievan - axle2

15th March, Bits.

Played around on ebay a bit this week and got a super bargain from SMC Trading, a brand new Unipart 3 part clutch kit for the Princess for 14.95 !!!!!

Also picked up a few other bits for secret development work - to be announced later ;-)

15th - 16th March, Bloomin Minis!

Due to a minor clutch problem on Edward (the blue clubby) we had to do some work to a more conventional Mini!!!! Ed Surgery + Ed moving

17th  - 22nd March, Action!

Ha ha, a week off work with plenty of 'pottering' time to strip the engine to see if the oil pressure problem has done any damage, finalise some of the prototype bits and fit the new clutch kit :-)

And so, the usual ancillary bits and pieces came out of the engine bay eager for a chance to clutter up the front room and kitchen surfaces, then without too much drama the engine got lifted out and the fluids drained. Hmm, it seems that the engine & box holds about 2 gallons of oil, and the block & front radiator manage nearly a gallon of water !

I was going to put the original (horrid ratio) crown wheel and pinion back in as I had assumed that the prototype mild set would be chewing themselves to bits, but after inspecting all the teeth (still in place, not loose in the sump) there is very little sign of wear or abrasion. Seems like I will be able to enjoy the 2.7 diff for a while longer, which is nice.

Next job on the list was to check the main & big end bearings to see how much damage the low oil pressure had caused. I popped off a couple of main caps and as the bearings showed a little scoring decided to replace the lot anyway, just for peace of mind. 

As I had to remove the prototype block/gearbox adapter plate (a nasty bit of work made from a couple of bits of 1.5mmish steel welded together) I took the opportunity to fire up the 9" cutter and carve a new plate from a virgin sheet of 3mm steel plate. This should be a little stiffer and less likely to leak from the seams. It also encouraged me to make some gaskets from real gasket paper so as not to deplete the worlds stocks of orange goo.

Another minor job was to give the inside of the driveshaft holes in the subframe a quick lick with the grinder to remove the inward facing flange lip thing that had rubbed a grease leaking hole in one of the pot joint gaiters.

Lastly, while the engine was out of the way of nasty dust, the bonnet bulgy/lump thing succumbed to a couple of hours with the P38 and some 120 grit and seems to have a reasonably smooth shape at last.

The engine & box was then assembled with the new clutch bits, and a disconcerting lack of silicone sealant and wiggled back into the subframe ready to be connected back up. I took the time to improve the cooling system by soldering some 30mm bits of pipe into the two 'T' pieces to give more overlap for the rubber hoses and reduce the chances of bits popping off.

With all the stuff back in place the V8 fired up on the 2nd try all seemed happy :-)

Until I found that the clutch wouldn't fully disengage :-(

Guess what my job will be next weekend !!!

Click here for general rebuildy pics

29th - 30th March, Action

After about 1/2 an hour of fiddling & tweaking with the clutch I managed to get a reasonable action, but I think until things bed in fully it may still drag slightly.

With that out of the way I moved on to the front wheel bearings, because both sides had developed a little play, making the steering a bit twitchy when a bit of right foot was applied. Also with the hubs it bits it was a good time to up rate the brakes with a set of drilled & grooved disks.

After assembling everything and leaping up and down on the torque wrench to get the hub nuts tight, I found that the drivers side still had a bit of play, so it looks like the hub is a bit  stuffed :-(

Having sorted out most of the real problem, I was sort of forced to start some general playing about, so I connected a 10mm bore central heating tap valve to a few bits of spare heater hose to make a handy 'idle speed control'. This just provides an easy way to bleed some extra air past the throttle plate for a faster cold idle. Cheap & easy :-)

Another minor niggle is the action of the gear linkage, it's mostly OK, but doesn't feel as nice as I am sure it could, so the twin 2" bore system was removed and a temporary single 2.25" bore system was fitted to allow some room to experiment with the shifter arrangements. I also took the time to record the before and after to see what difference a full single system made, and I think it has a much nicer TVR style growl, so I think I will make up a 'proper' single system soon.

Last thing to tackle was in the aesthetics department, so I bravely attacked the bonnet and lump with wet & dry, then applied a bit of nice yellow Dulux with a 4" brush (nice) and finished the effect with the "eeek, they're orange" Superlites :-)

Very yellow pics & some new wavs are here 


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This page last modified 04/02/2008.