Even my latest loaf of bread couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for the day – a portent if ever there was one.
It seemed that all the problems had been waiting to show themselves in the closing stages of the build. For instance, the new core plugs are too small – not cheap but definitely under size by about 1/2mm and a genuine 42mm plug is still too sloppy a fit. I’ll have to get some bigger ones and somehow make up a mandrel so I can turn them down to the exact size.
Also, I discovered, when I came to put the dynamo bracket on, the early blocks don’t have the same mounting procedure (the later blocks are drilled and tapped for the mounting bolts) so I’ve got to source an early dynamo mounting and hope the diameter of the new alternator is the same as the old dynamo – it should be.
And the brake return springs have been made 12mm too long so it’s a long trip back to the spring-maker to have them altered (it was probably my fault for chatting too much while chap was making them but he was very happy to pass the time of day as well). And that’s just today’s snags.
In the end, as cast iron is so easy to deal with (except when you want to weld it), I opted to drill and tap the block so that it would accept the later dynamo bracket. A drill block is essential when doing this, especially for starting off the tap in a straight line. No lubrication, nice and slow with a good sharp drill and you can’t go wrong.
Instead of trying to measure things, I went for the safer option of taking a pattern with a bit of paper and an oily finger from the old block. When that was done, I put the head gasket on and couldn’t help noticing how times have changed…
You can multiply that by about 20 for a head set nowadays – if you can find one. So the next job is to slip the head back in place, torque it all up, wrestle with the camshaft balance weight for half an hour and then whizz the whole palaver back in the chassis. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours to put everything back together again and the elusive start-up will be a bit closer.
I went back to the spring-maker and he very obligingly corrected the over-size on the spot. They’re the very devil to put on now which is as they should be. With the old ones you could pull the shoes off their mountings with almost no effort at all. When the new master cylinder arrives, I’ll be able to set the brakes up again and a chum has very kindly offered to lend me his Fantastic Vacuum Brake Bleeder (FVBB).
So here we are again; I’m hoping for some encouraging signs from the engine and, having spoken to Blue Swallow Aircraft about the wings, things are looking a bit more buoyant.