A Gap in the Clouds.

Sunday morning presented a choice: a) go on a vintage run, catch up with lots of chums, lunch in the charming Norfolk countryside and generally blow the cobwebs out of the hayloft or b), heave the chassis out of the workshop, set it up in the yard and grind the rivets out of the old radiator mount in readiness for the new one. As the sun came out for the first time in about a fortnight and the temperature rose to a dizzy 12 degrees, the vintage run romped home to a comfortable first.

The day started well. A good 40 or so cars turned up on the grid and we set off for lunch. As I was on my own in the Austin and map reading would be a bit hair-raising at warp factor 9, I picked out some sensible looking people to follow and duly got fell in with the convoy.

30 odd miles later and about 200 yards from lunch, I was pulling out at a junction when a new and insistent percussion section burst in on the song of the Austin’s Brooklands exhaust. A glance at the oil pressure and water temperature gave me no clues to this unwelcome intrusion so I pulled over, switched off and hopped out to look under the bonnet. That didn’t tell me anything either. I started up and limped in to the lunch spot and pulled up next to More Learned Counsel and Assembled Cleverchaps. We all listened again and pinpointed the noise as being somewhere between the back axle and the radiator. So, we’re off to a flying start with the diagnosis.

I don’t think it’s big or little ends – the noise is a more of a random clatter-cum-chatter on the over-run so I’m wondering whether it could be a camshaft bearing but then the engine turns over quite normally and quietly on the handle. The other option is the mainshaft in the gearbox or the synchromesh breaking up. I mention this as I’ve noticed that it has been slightly more difficult to engage a gear of late and, it’s a jolly sight easier to get the gearbox out and replace that than stripping the engine. Or it’s the flywheel or the cam gear come loose. Most of the options involve engine out but I’ll have to do a bit more research before I take the whole thing apart and find it’s a spanner nestling round the back of the starter motor. Fingers crossed then.

I had to ring Learned Counsel – he has a trailer – and I’ve promised not to be rude about the Jowett Junkyard as he was kind enough to rescue me.

There’s been a bit of progress on that front……. not enough to affect the odds on The Monaco Dash of course but, definite progress.


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