…2014? Well, it’s gone and now it’s 2015 so, Happy New Year and thank you everyone for your continued indulgence.
This year’s New Year’s Day meet was a bit dull and damp and, following the cold snap and the liberal application of salt to the roads, I didn’t expect to see too much in the car park but, a full house caused plenty of congestion through the village of Hawkedon. My ‘this month’s most desirable motor’ was a Mercedes Cabriolet. On the way to the fun, I pulled over to let a car pass and the Hillman’s engine faded and died. It was a full five minutes before we got going again and it served to highlight the fact that I’d done nothing to try to eliminate this problem over the last few months.
When I rebuilt the Bayliss Thomas’s Meadows engine, I managed to get a new and correct carb for it but, for reasons I can’t now recall, I had to make up a spacing flange – possibly to retain the original control positions. This also served as a heat sink and helped prevent the carb body from getting too hot. I first made the extension out of wood, experimented with various lengths of choke for a couple of hundred miles and finally made the successful version in aluminium. In fact, I would have happily continued with the beech prototype but a backfire in the manifold blew a hole in it.
I think that I’m going to have to do the same for the Hillman although it could be a bit trickier in that the air cleaner elbow comes quite close to the bonnet side, allowing me only a small amount of play between the manifold and the carb. Some exhaust wrap – another thing I’ve mentioned before but failed to do anything about – will also help to absorb some of the heat under the bonnet which I think is at the root of all this (though I’ve never heard it said that the Morris MS saloon suffered in the same way).
As a by-the-by; in an attempt to get the Meadows 4EB engine to run more smoothly, my next experiment was to hook up a modern distributor to the mag.
It didn’t make the slightest difference so I took the camshaft out and popped down to see Barrie Price of Lea Francis cars. There we compared my camshaft with a new one – you couldn’t tell them apart. Eventually, Very Learned Counsel found that one or two of the new valve guides had been inserted in the head a swire out of square, thus stopping the associated valves from closing properly. Put right, the engine ran perfectly.
But, more importantly, I’ve got down to the business of making the alterations to the Merlin axle on the racing car and, in paying a bit more attention to the detail, I can see that I can leave the inner portion of the old spring clamp brackets in place which will be a big help in securing the radius arms that stop the axle winding up under load. There’ll still be a bit of fabrication in making what’s left of the brackets secure, but it’s going to make life a lot easier utilising what’s already there rather than starting from scratch.
If not exactly a resolution, it’s a plan.