Monday, 4 November 2013

Welding the crack of dawn...

.. Impossible!! welding cast iron, it can't be done.. etc, etc... So the engine block had been pressure tested and showed up 2 or 3 hairline cracks which needed fixing (there were actually 4). Having spoken to several 'engine shops' around and about, none of them were willing nor even dared to try and fix a cracked engine block!! I knew it could be done, and I've seen it done. So I took it to the only engine shop in town that would.. my own!

Having done my homework, and preped for this, I decided to give it a go, after all this IS the original Mercury engine and I'd really like to use it, plus trying to find a replacement period flathead unit is really going to be tough.

First things first. Preparation! Clean out the crack, identify the beginning and ending of the crack and carefully drill two holes to help stop and start the weld, 'plugging' the weld run. I'm using a dremel, an angle grinder and cold chisel to 'temper' the weld once done.. basically beat the weld with a chisel and hammer right after welding.

Cast iron will crack if too much heat is applied. But if you work in small short runs the block itself works as a big heat sink and dissipates the weldling heat quickly. To ensure decent adhesion, weld in small parallel strips.

You can see the crack, grind a 'valley' out to weld in and drill the plug holes.. and keep it super clean!!

Welded, grinded, and sanded... difficult to show, bit it's a solid fix.... The two other holes are required 'stud' holes. Repeat the process for the other 3 cracks and she's looking good!.. This took day to do, but well worth it. Next, send off for pressure testing again and chemical clean ready for rebuilding the engine.

Two of the cracks were on the flat sump matting face which made them easy to get to fix.

The other two (thought there was only 1) were on the inside block wall, but fortunately easy to get to and treat. Here the holes drilled and valleys ground out ready for stitch welding.

Finished!.. all 4 cracks flattened out and polished flat. Hope this does the job, time will tell : )

The chassis wrangler (part 2 The mock up!)

... The chassis.. was a big job. but it's done!.. and having spun it over using my engine crane I could get in everywhere to give it that first coat of paint. The next thing to be done was to get the chassis rolling and assemble the front and rear running gear, and to build a quick 'mock up' to see where things would sit and calculate ride height and wheelbase etc... I had no real idea as to how it would look up until this point..

The rear 'banjo axle' assembly

The rear end is mounted via the rear transverse leaf spring (which I don't yet have), so to set it's position wooden blocks were used to get an idea of chassis ride height. Not the rear 'damper' mounted to the inner chassis rail... not sure where this connects to yet!

The Front axle assembly packed with wood!

The front axle, again with wood in place of the front leaf spring. The flat piece of cardboard is actually covering the radiator which is now in place.. for now...All of the front suspension components need clearing and painting before to long..

... and suddenly it was on 4 wheels and rolling!! mile stone : ) I hooked up a few body panels and a few other bits and bobs just to get a positional feel for how it will go...

quick seat position test!
drop the gearbox in

The steering mechanism hangs outside the car and operates a push rod system (just like my landrover!) Here, held together with cardboard.... well it is a mock up!!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The chassis wrangler.. (part 1)

.. so a few weeks have passed and the chassis and me have become well acquainted. No, I've not actually taken it to bed, but I have dreamt about it allot! ...It's taken loads of welding, jiggling, grinding, welding and fabricating to get the chassis complete and looking like it should..

All of the internal panel work is now done along with finishing all of the cruciform centre sections, gusset work and one or two odd brackets than needed making at fitting at this stage (otherwise they would get forgotten!)

Using my engine crane, rotating the chassis about to really get into all parts has been a much easier task. Now the welding is complete, it's meant I can get really into both chassis rails and wax inject the unit with a suitable rust stabiliser and protector. This chassis should outlast me : )

Fabricating new brackets and repairing existing all needs to be done at this stage.

I use a light powder paint to 'hi-light' any uneven welding which needs correcting and also to prevent flash rusting on on fresh exposed welds.

Finally after loads of stripping, cleaning, degreasing, (repeat several times)
and then stripping and getting back to bare metal, the chassis had it's first coat of black goodness : ) ... There will be several coats culminating in a high gloss finish as much of the chassis is exposed on the final build, so it needs to look great!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Shirley Bassey...

So... picked up the Allard chassis last week and got stuck in..

Basically it's complete and original. There is a fair bit of work left to do. The first job is to finish the gusset and strengthening cross member supports. The internal panel work is tack welded and needs fully seam welding.

The chassis is quite light and strengthened by a cruciform cross section where the gearbox sits.

Once the welding is finished the inside of the chassis rails will be treated with a waxy rust preventative coating, that is injected into the rails.

For each of the strengthening sections I make a cardboard pattern from picture frame card. It's easy to 'form' and bend into the exact shape which I then use to make the steel pieces from.

The steel I have has an orange coating making it ideal for score marking to bend in the right place. Next stop, several days of welding to finish the chassis, then we are onto rust prevention and painting!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The invisible Chassis?

... had a few days off work and decided to start dry assembling as much of the running gear as possible without the chassis. Hope to be picking that up shortly. By putting all the pieces together I can see what have, what's missing, what needs replacing, rebuilding, and how it should all work.. yikes!

The front hub assembly was OK and quite self explanatory. The layout here is correctly spaced to be a 100inch wheelbase. I have layed out the old crank shaft, gearbox and twin exhaust system to give an idea as to how she will look.

 There are two leaf springs transversely mounted front and back. Both will need rebuilding and recalibrating to fit and be correct of the lighter body.

I have very limited reference material to work from. This one pencil drawing shows the front axle/hub assembly. Haynes manuals and the Internet didn't exist 70 yrs ago, we were in the middle of WW2.

 As well as making a start on all the running gear, I picked up the engine!
It's the original motor, hence I'm very keen to bring it back to like. It's a Ford Mercury 4.4ltr V8 Flathead. This is going to be a biggie putting this back together : ) .. currently it has a split in the base which will need patching up.. looking for a local machine shop to help out. Welding/plugging a casting like this is quite tricky.....

Thursday, 22 August 2013

.. and now for something very different...

.. so as the dust settles, my sanity remains (mostly) intact and I find myself on the edge of another exciting project, the likes of which I never thought I would get into but.. it's about time I did something fresh and very challenging so here we go......

I now have in the barn a large pile of bits, most of which are quite alien to me and I'm in the process of educating myself on pre and just post-war cars, mostly Ford parts..  To cut a long story short and how it came about (blah, blah, blah) I now own what I hope will be a 1947 Allard.  I'm going to leave it there for now as it doesn't really have a name/model, identifiable 'Ford Mondeo' title... It's a 'Special' .. certainly will be if I can pull this off!!. It's based upon one of 12 cars 'J' cars and were the pre-cursor to the more famous J2X cars.

 This is a one off Baldwin/Payne special which kinda looks like the Allard I'd liketo create. So far I have most of the bits in one form or another, the jigsaw is putting it all together and making it look really good.. This is what I currently have... 

Over the next couple of months I'm going to have a crack at front and rear axle assembly and the hope to mount up a chassis and get a rolling chassis together asap... more pics to follows as this unfolds...