An Executive Decision.

Nagging away in the back of my mind is a list of jobs that I need to do something about. The first is the Hillman tourer’s hood that you may recall departed the fix one Saturday afternoon last summer (just as well because it’s a pretty awful DIY job).

Tourer hood

You may also recall that I managed to find some 72″ duck with which to make a new one and I borrowed a sewing machine that a) needed a lot of work doing to it and b) I have since discovered won’t be up to the job, so it’s going back to the owner.

Singer 188k

In the meantime I’d got a couple of quotes for the work and asked the upholsterers to quote also for a pair of seats to be redone – the Austin 8 seats that are going in the Special. Well, this little lot was going to cost me upwards of 2k and frankly, although that may be the going rate, I’m just not sure I want to pay that much for something that I could probably have a go at myself.

Decision time. I bought an industrial sewing machine – a walking foot model – for less than the price of one of the seats being re-done and a book to tell me how to sew. And, in the last few days I’ve been offered the loan of 3 industrial sewing machines by various friends. It never fails, does it!

Nearside rear hub

Meanwhile, I’ve set about putting the rear hubs on for keeps now that I’ve got the Woodruff keys. It took most of a day to get the offside hub on – taking a thou or two at a time off EN8 by hand is a slow process  – and about 5 minutes to realise that the nearside hub was worn out – it went way up the shaft and clanged into the brake springs (and the brake drum would rub on the back plate). I checked the dimensions of the half-shaft – they’re all correct and swapped the hubs over to see if I wasn’t kidding myself – I wasn’t. I’ve done the stuff with the marker pen (no engineer’s blue to hand) and the hub has definitely been run on the shaft without the key. In the picture above, you can see how far the hub goes up the shaft – the split pin hole is left stranded (that’s not the nut I’ll be using).

A quick call to More Learned Counsel got me a ticking-off for suggesting I might try shimming the taper so I’ve got to find another hub or, bore out the existing hub and insert a tapered sleeve to bring the hub back to standard. The sleeve would be an interference fit in the hub and then welded both ends as a precaution. This would be a last resort so at least there’s an option if I can’t find another suitable hub. I’m going to go and dig about in the spares store and see if I can turn something up.

The boys at Pro Alloy have finished the radiator mod already but I can’t collect it until next Monday, by which time I should have re-worked the radiator mounting blocks which I cut without thinking and are a bit too short. I didn’t remember to take into account the fact that the bottom of the bonnet panels have to blend in to the bottom of the radiator.

Radiator mounting blocks

I’m surprised I’m allowed to make executive decisions.


2 comments on “An Executive Decision.

  1. asciimation says:

    What’s the argument against shimming? I know it’s done on model As a lot and I am thinking of doing it just to get my Austin running with it’s well flogged halfshafts/hubs.


    • I don’t know about factory approved shims like you mention for the Ford A but in the spirit of home-building, here’s my 10 cents:
      The tapered hub works when it’s a precise fit on the shaft. To introduce a shim presupposes that the hub is worn. The question to ask is ‘is the hub worn symmetrically?’ – probably not. If the hub has been run without the key for whatever reason, it’s likely that the hub will be out of true and introducing a shim will not effectively increase the contact surface. The upshot of this is that as the shim is loaded up, then distorted and starts to slip (and melt if you’ve used a drinks can) the torque loads will be transmitted partly or wholly to the key – the very thing we’re trying to avoid.
      This no-no is especially applicable to competition cars and cars with more powerful engines than the rear axle was built for but as a temporary measure and provided you keep checking the hub nuts every 10 miles, it’ll get you home.
      Really, you do it right or you do it twice.

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